Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Mitten Saga Continues!

While not quite as busy as last week, this week has its own share of things to do. I got my box for Warm Up Winchester in the mail yesterday, I am ready for Halloween tonight, and I have been working on the crochet guild's newsletter in an effort to get it in the mail on Friday. So I am slowly getting caught up, after my weekend away.

I thought today I would update my ongoing mitten saga. Last week, I worked diligently away on a pair of wool mittens. When I was finished, this is what I had:
2 identical mittens (ok, except for the thumbs). So identical, in fact, that they are both right hand mittens! I forgot that when you make mittens on 2 needles, which is how I usually make them, there is no right hand or left hand. However, when you make mittens in the round, you do need to pay attention and make the right and left hands slightly different. (I don't know why that is, but there you are.) So I started a third mitten last night. By the time I am done, I will have 2 pairs to donate to charity, so that's a good thing.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and sane Halloween, and even though it is only Wednesday, a great weekend as well. I'll try to pop in over the weekend with an update. If I don't get a chance, though, I'll be back next week, hopefully on a more regular blogging schedule.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back from Northampton!

Despite the rain and some fairly chilly temps, we had a terrific weekend up in Northampton, MA. My dh visited about 8 used bookstores, while I did my thing with fiber. The marketplace at the Fibertwist was small, as expected, but I spent an enjoyable hour wandering around, seeing everything, and talking with some of the nicest vendors I have ever met. I restrained myself as far as buying went. I purchased one skein of an Icelandic wool and one shawl pin.
Unfortunately, my lazy brain picked a colorway on the Icelandic wool that is almost identical to one of the skeins I bought at Rhinebeck, so the new skein will probably be used as a prize in some future contest. Oh well, you can't win them all!

I also made it to Webs on Saturday afternoon. I spent about an hour and a half wandering around the warehouse and the store. I had decided before I left for the weekend that I wanted to make the Nantucket Jacket from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. Happily, I found the perfect yarn in the Webs warehouse, at an excellent price.
Elsbeth Lavold Classic Al, an alpaca/merino blend, in a beautiful dark blue/grey color. I bought 14 skeins, which should give me a little fiber insurance in case something doesn't go well.

I'm not sure when I am going to start the sweater, however. I also did some thinking this weekend about all of the projects I currently have started, and I just have to get some of them finished before I start a big project like a sweater. I also have some charity obligations left before the end of the year. So I am going to try and be more focused and disciplined about my current WIPs before I go starting any new ones. We'll see how long this bout of self-righteousness lasts!

And before I go, here's a shot of my new scarf, using one of my Rhinebeck yarns. It was a delightful traveling project this weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fiber Twist

This has turned into a very busy week that has left me little time for blogging. And I have so many things I want to talk about that I'm a little frustrated right about now. There's the ongoing mitten saga, and there's the new scarf I started with some of my Rhinebeck yarn (because, you know, I needed another project). And there's another charity project looking for 8" squares. But that will all have to wait until next week, because today I want to talk about the upcoming weekend.

Since my birthday is coming up next Wednesday (yes, I was a Halloween baby), and since I will be stuck at home handing out candy on my birthday, my dh wants to get away this weekend to celebrate properly. Of course, such a weekend has to involve yarn and books to please both of us. So we are heading up to Northampton and Old Deerfield, Massachusetts on Saturday. I am going to spend some time at the Fiber Twist market, while he visits some book stores. I will also fit in a visit to Webs, while he visits a few more book stores. We'll have a nice dinner Saturday night, sleep in on Sunday morning, and then head for home later in the day. I wonder if I can persuade him to stop at AC Moore as well?

So it will be another fiberlicious weekend for me! I am going to take the new scarf along, since it is the perfect travel project, and see how much I can get done. I promise pictures next week. Have a great weekend, and I will be back next week with tales of my adventures!

Monday, October 22, 2007


So, of course today I have to blog about Rhinebeck! I thought I would just scatter some of the pictures I took yesterday throughout this post, without much explanation. There isn't much I can add, so I might as well let them speak for themselves.

I had the alarm set for 6:30 yesterday morning, which is my normal wake up time. However, my eyes popped open at 5 A.M., and I knew I wouldn't be getting back to sleep. I guess I really was excited about going! I had to be patient, though, and we finally arrived at the fairgrounds about 11:00.

Our first stop was the authors tent, but Margaret wasn't there yet. I was impressed, though, because Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Ann and Kay from Mason Dixon Knitting were both there. Unfortunately, I own all their books, so I didn't have a reason to speak with them. But it was still exciting to see them in person.

Then we started to shop. We went through one building with vendors in it, and then a second building that had the spinning guilds demonstrating and a lot of vendors selling food and wine. And I thought, this is ok, not too overwhelming. But then we moved on into the heart of the fair. All I can say is WOW! I had no idea there would be so many vendors in so many buildings. Not all of them sold yarn exclusively, but there was plenty of fiber to pet. And there were sheep and alpacas and llamas to look at. And people seemed to be spinning everywhere you looked. I don't think I have ever seen so much roving in one place.

So the rest of the day was spent shopping. I was good, though. I only adopted 3 skeins of yarn. I really concentrated on the hand spun and dyed yarns that I wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. My first skein came from Hamton Hills Alpacas in Somers, CT.
It is 250 yards of a sport weight alpaca in the colorway "Dark Jewel". I'm pretty sure this is destined to become a scarf.

I'm not sure where my second skein comes from. There was no label on it, and I didn't get a receipt. Nor did I pay attention to which stall I was in. But I fell in love with the color.
It is 200 yards of 100% merino fingering weight yarn. Again, it will probably become a scarf.

And finally, I bought a skein of "Duet" from Brooks Farm Yarn.
500 yards of a kid mohair/fine merino blend in a DK weight. It is soft and pretty, and I'm thinking maybe a small shawl/large scarf, possibly a Clapotis.

I can't wait to start some new projects!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mitten Love & Getting Ready for Rhinebeck!

Well, I spent yesterday working on a new mitten, and I am much happier with how this one is turning out. I am using some leftover Cascade 220 from a bag I felted in January, and I am obviously making it in the round. I would have finished yesterday, but I forgot to bring a tape measure with me. So it isn't quite finished. I promise I will make its mate right away, so I won't have to post again about second mitten syndrome! Since this one is 100% wool, I think I will donate it to Afghans for Afghans. Then I will start using acrylic blends for Soaring Eagles.

And speaking of mittens and charity, Lynne over at I was Knit Together in my Mother's Womb announced this morning that she is collecting mittens again this year for her From Hearts to Hands project. She has 3 or 4 groups in the Buffalo, NY area that she would like to collect for. I don't think I was able to send her any mittens last year, but this year I will see what I can do to send her a few pairs.

Finally, I have to admit that I am getting really excited about Sunday. I have charged the camera battery, so hopefully I will have some good pictures next week. I am still pondering what to wear, but I probably won't figure that out until Saturday or Sunday morning. This is silly, but some lines from an old Muppets song keep going through my head. I think the song was called "Cuanto La Gusta," and the lines go "Who will be there? What will we see there? And what will be the big surprise?" But that just sums up how I feel about Sunday. I'm not quite sure what to expect, but "we're going, and we're gonna have a happy time" (as the refrain ends up). So, as always, have a great weekend, and I will be back on Monday with tales from Rhinebeck!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Second Mitten Syndrome=Frustration

So far in my knitting life, I have avoided second sock syndrome. Of course, given the fact that I have only finished one pair of socks, with 2 more first socks on the needles, that's not saying much. With enough time, I'm sure I can develop second sock syndrome!

In the meantime, I seem to have a very bad case of second mitten syndrome. I was digging around in my box of charity projects a while back, and I found 3 single mittens, all needing mates. So this weekend, I declared war on second mitten syndrome. Unfortunately, my efforts to knit mates for mittens that were made years ago have not gone all that well.

Exhibit A - the yellow mittens:
The one on the left was made years ago, the one on the right was knit on Sunday. They are the same size, but not exactly the same shape.

Exhibit B - the pink mittens:
Again, the one on the left was knit some time ago. Obviously, this pair is the same shape but not at all the same size.

I will donate the yellow pair, on the theory that a toddler probably won't care if the mittens aren't exactly identical. However, even though I don't like waste, I am ready to cut my losses and give up on the pink mittens. I'm not sure I can duplicate the larger one, and I am getting really tired of knitting mittens flat and then seaming them. It's just so much easier to knit mittens in the round, and they come out looking better, too. So I think I am going to start on a fresh pair and make both mittens at the same time (without years of lag time between them).

Oh, and that 3rd mitten I found? It's crocheted using a pattern similar to this one. The problem is that I have to count every stitch on every row, so they take a lot longer than knitting (and I don't say that very often). However, as I have time, I will try to make a mate for that one as well. Hopefully, that one will go better than the last 2!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Middle of October Already!

How did this happen? How did it get to be October 15th already? I realize that the last few weeks have been a bit of a blur for me, between my mom's illness and then my own cold the last few days. But usually October drags a bit. It's a long month, and my birthday is the last day of the month, so usually October seems to take a long time to get through. But not this year.

It has also finally hit me that Rhinebeck is this coming weekend! I am definitely going on Sunday with some of my fellow guild members. However, I have had to admit that I am not going to finish anything new to wear while I am there. Maybe next year I can be more prepared.

And if I don't get busy here, I won't have much to show for the month, either! I worked on some mittens yesterday. I want to try to finish one tonight, and then I will post pictures tomorrow. But I also need to get back to making some scarves, since Dee's challenge only runs until the end of the month. Although, with Rhinebeck this coming weekend and a birthday trip to Deerfield and Northampton, Mass, planned for the following weekend, I'm not really sure how much I ultimately will accomplish this month.

Finally, I want to let everyone know that Rachel has posted final details for this year's Soaring Eagles project. It looks like we are making mittens for the younger children and socks or slippers for the older kids. Maybe I can start a pair of socks this month and celebrate Socktoberfest while I do some charity knitting!

Friday, October 12, 2007

My First Button Attempt

For those of you who read this blog through a subscription service, I want you to know that I have been playing around with Adobe Photoshop (finally!), and I have designed a button for myself. It seems to be a good size. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not Much New to Report

Things have been a little hectic around here the past few days. Mom was discharged last Thursday from the hospital and actually got to go home instead of to rehab. She was very tired the first few days, but she seems to be doing better now, which is a good thing, because she has doctor visits just about every day this week. Since she's not driving yet, my schedule is in shambles trying to get her to all the appointments on time.

After getting Mom settled in at home on Thursday, I arrived home to find my dh in bed, sick with a cold. So between taking care of him and getting the housework done, I just didn't have a lot of energy for crafting over the weekend. (I'm also sitting here this morning wondering if I am now coming down with his cold and trying not to think about it.) I am knitting away on my triangular scarf while waiting to get in to see Mom's doctors, so I might have another FO one of these days. But I have so many projects I want to work on that I am feeling a little frustrated.

I am happy to report that Rachel has decided to revive the Soaring Eagles project this year. She has enough hats left over from last year that she already has a hat for every child in her school. So she is looking for suggestions about what to make for this year. If you have any ideas, leave a comment on the blog by Friday.

I probably won't post much the rest of the week. I have to go to work early Thursday and Saturday to make up some of the time I am spending with Mom this week, and Friday is Weight Watchers. So have a great rest of the week and weekend, and I will be back next week, maybe with something to show for myself!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl Progress Report

Since Dee has a picture of me and my Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl up on her blog this morning, I thought I should post a picture here as well and give you all an update. As you can see, I have 6 rows done so far. I only have 2 more rows of the openwork in the middle and then I will be starting to create the flowers. I am using Rowan Yarn Cashsoft Baby Dk, a merino/microfibre/cashmere blend. I do love those luxury fibers! The yarn is extremely soft, and I think the shawl will have a nice drape when it is finished.

And here is the book I bought out from under Dee! It's going to take some time to absorb all of the ideas in this book. The motifs and blocks are adorable. There are instructions for crocheting every letter of the alphabet, as well as a really cute Christmas tree applique and a square with a Scottie dog in the middle of it. And there are pages of patterns that incorporate the various motifs and blocks. So this book should keep me busy for quite a while!

Obviously, I had a great time at Borders yesterday morning. I was a little distracted, waiting to see if my mom was being discharged (she wasn't, so we are hoping for today), but it was so nice to be surrounded by beautiful crochet and pleasant conversation while I waited. It turned out that Kathy and Patty, who had just joined us yesterday morning, both live in my town and know me from the library. So, all in all, it was a lovely way to spend a Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mom Update

I wanted to thank Valerie for her good wishes for my mom's recovery, and I realized that I should probably give you all a quick update. She is doing much better. The fever/infection has run its course, and her speech is really coming back. She has been working with a speech therapist in the hospital, and I hear improvement daily. The problem has been that her blood pressure is still spiking. Over all, it is coming down, but then it spikes up again. So I was sure she was being discharged yesterday, but at the last minute they decided to keep her another day. Hopefully they will discharge her today, because she is really tired of being in the hospital. A rehab facility isn't home, but at least she can wear real clothes and get in the shower while she is there, and she should only be there a week or so.

Yesterday was also my dh's birthday. Luckily, I had gotten his gifts ahead of time (thank goodness for, so I was able to spoil him last night. We went out for a terrific dinner, then visited with Mom briefly, and got home in time to watch "Cavemen" on TV and open his presents. (He wanted to watch the show, and it was his birthday, so what could I say?!)

Of course, this explains why I'm having another week when I'm not getting much stitching done! Hopefully, I will be able to drop in to my guild's "Coffee, Chat and Crochet" this morning for a little while at least. And if Mom is discharged today, that will involve a lot of waiting when I can get some stitches in. As always, I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rocky Road Shrug Pattern Corrections

Between my mom being in the hospital and my having no internet connection at home last week, I forgot all about posting the corrections to Doris Chan's Rocky Road Shrug pattern. So let me do that this morning. (My corrections are in bold.)

Row 2 (WS)(INC): Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch2), *sc in first ch-sp of shell, ch 3, sk next ch-sp of shell, sc in next ch-sp of shell, ch 3, V-st in next sc, ch 3, sk first dc of next shell*, sc in first ch-sp of shell, ch 3, sk next ch-sp of shell, sc in next ch-sp of shell, ch 3, sk first dc of next shell; rep from * to * once, sc in first ch-sp of shell, ch 3, sk next ch-sp of shell, sc in next ch-sp of shell, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch of tch, turn.

Row 8: Ch 4 (counts as hdc, ch 2) [omit "sk next ch-sp of shell"] *sc in next ch-sp of shell, ch 3, sk first dc of next shell, sc in first ch-sp of shell, ch 3; rep from * 9 times, except omit last ch 3, instead work ch 2, hdc in top of tch, turn.

The more I thought about it, I realized that there isn't a mistake in row 10. You just have to read it very carefully, because there should only be 2 increases or V-stitches, which set up each sleeve. It can just be confusing if you read the row too quickly.

You may be wondering why I haven't posted another picture of the shrug. Well, it's like this - I started the second sleeve and promptly ran out of yarn. I was really surprised, because I have had yarn left over with every other Doris Chan pattern I have made. I have no hope of getting more yarn at this point, so I am going to try making both sleeves 3/4 length. I'm not sure when I will get to that, though. I'll have to see how my time goes. Luckily I have other Doris Chan patterns to work on in the meantime!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm In!

After putting my name on the Ravelry invite list in July, I have been waiting patiently and keeping myself busy with other things (as you all well know). But it finally happened this morning - I got my invitation and I'm in! How exciting! I took a few minutes to look around, but I am going to have to find quite a bit more time to really explore the site. In the meantime, my user name is PriscillaM (I know, really original!), so feel free to look me up. And now I have a Flickr account too. I will have to upload some photos and learn how to use that site as well. So much to do, so little time!