Sunday, October 30, 2011


While traveling to and from Rhinebeck I did have a slightly larger project with me than just two hats.  It was my Clockwork scarf, and it provided the exact amount of attention/inattention I wanted for lots of travel time. The tons of garter stitch were perfect for touch-only knitting - especially important if you happen to be the navigatrix from time-to-time, and then small amounts of increasing and purling just to keep you on your toes.

By finishing up Clockwork in October, I have now worked through 11.5 skeins of sock yarn in 10 months, and that is a great feeling.  My sock yarn stash is quite large, and could use a bit of cleaning out. Each skein I counted was based on a 100g weight, and so those 50g skeins counted as half, hence the peculiar number.

Pattern: Clockwork by Stephen West
Yarn: Pagewood Farm Chugiak, in Fruit Freeze, and Claudia's Hand Painted Yarn in Black Walnut.
Needles: Addi US 5 lace needles
Mods: None.

I really love the combination of these two sock yarns - the Berry Freeze varies from a lovely deep red to a slightly orange color, the Black Walnut moves from a red-brown to a deep charcoal grey. My art history training often plays an important roll when I start playing with color. This time I was thinking of the Flemish painters, like Jan van Eyck, and the rich, dark colors they used.

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of a Man in a Turban, 1433
National Gallery, UK
I love how the brown of his fur collar emphasizes the deep red of his turban.

All-in-all a really successful project, one that I am sure to enjoy this fall!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


This year I am dividing my charity hat knitting into two camps: Occupy Wall Street, and a local outreach program.  Woven Art (my LYS and place of employment) is now collecting hats for Occupy Wall Street protestors. In fact, I boxed up our first shipment to their Fulton Street address - 28 hats went out just in time for the winter snow.

My three hats will go out in the next shipment, which may go to our local Occupy Lansing protest at the Capital Building if they are needed or may head out to NYC.  Either way, I hope my hats will help keep someone warm.

Occupy Hat #1
Occupy Hat #1 was started in my tips & techniques class to show how to do the Channel Island Cast-on.    This used up a good portion of my no-name Chinese lopi-esque yarn (I used a lot of it last year, but not all!)  It is an retina-searing blend of bright red and hot pink, and has been in my stash since....2004? Certainly before 2006.  This was a totally made-up on-the-spot pattern, and was finished in the car on the way to Rhinebeck.

Occupy Hat #3
Occupy Hat #3 used up the last of the lopi (huzzah!) and used the last of my leftovers of Mission Falls 1824 wool in grey, and a bit of some Dalegarn Free Style. This hat was knit when I was recovering from  my first winter cold, which may have been Strep.  Using up the last of my MF 1824 was painful. I loved that yarn.

Occupy #2
Occupy Hat #2 was an actual pattern! (And, on a side note: I was so excited to find my alma mater sweatshirt in my winter storage drawer - I wasn't sure it survived last year's clothing cull. This ragged baby is over 15 years old, but still nice and comfy on a cold Saturday at home.)

Yarn: Khroma in Aegean. 50% Merino, 50% alpaca by The Fibre Company (now discontinued)
Needles: US 4, 9, 10.
Mods: I worked the pattern as written, then after working with the US10s for a while, I decided I wanted to make the hat a bit warmer, so I went down to a size 9. It was a simple and fun pattern, and I also finished this hat in the car on the way to Rhinebeck.

My next few hats will be for a local charity.  I would really like to donate them to the Greater Lansing Food Bank, but I am not sure they want knit hats.  Guess it couldn't hurt to ask!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Returned from Rhinebeck...

...and holy COW do I have a lot of yarn.  I got a lovely variety of things, and I will even admit to standing in the crazy Sanguine Gryphon line Saturday morning - my wait was only about thirty minutes. My favorite yarn purchase?  Probably the sweater's worth of Green Mountain Spinnery 'Green' yarn.  No pictures this year, unless I snag some from friends - I was more interested in my experience than documenting it this year.  I saw a variety of bloggers and other knitterati I recognized: Yarn Harlot, Jen of Nipperknits, Ann of Weaverknits, Stephen West, Casey and Jess (and Eloise) of Ravelry, Ysolda Teague, Clara Parkes, Steven of Bitches Get Stitches, among a variety of others! I went with three Michigan (and former-Michigan) friends, and it is always fun to watch Rhinebeck through another knitter's eyes.

Pre-ravelry dinner was fantastic at Ric Orlando's New World Home Cooking. I had Jerk Chicken, which at a hot-factor of '6' was just about right for me, but could barely finish it because of the portion size. If I get to go again, and if I order the same dish I might bump it to a '7'. The food was very good, the quantities were a bit much for me, but for a burly guy I am sure they would be satisfying.  Our large group was easily accommodated with reservations.

On Saturday my mom drove up from southwestern Connecticut to spend some time with me, which was fantastic. She braved the crazy mid-morning Rhinebeck traffic, and was greeted with a skein of Sanguine Gryphon yarn I bought for her.  We then went yarn hunting, and I introduced her to Miss Babs - one of my favorite indie dyers. Mom had fun looking through all the colors before making her selections.

Saturday night was my choice for dinner, and I took the same large group from Friday night to Another Fork in the Road in Milan, NY - my favorite low-key, fantastic-food restaurant in the area. (BTW, Milan is not pronounced Meh-LAHN, but MILE-an). My choice off their ever-rotating dinner menu was Hen o' the Woods Risotto with nasturtium pesto. YUM!

I will briefly admit to also going to Another Fork for breakfast Sunday morning. Can't. Stay. Away. Fried egg sandwich with pancetta and swiss. The only bit of improvement that I could offer their way is the tea selection was disappointing. Twinings? Really?

My haul:
* a sweater's worth of Green Mountain Spinnery 'Green'
* several skeins of Sanguine Gryphon
* Miss Bab's
* Bartlett
* Briar Rose
* Fiber from Spirit Trail

SO. Starting November 1st my coldsheeping odyssey begins again.  I will be knitting only from my stash until May 2012.  During that time I would like to use up six skeins of sock yarn, knit a sweater's worth of yarn, and knit at least one project from my own handspun.  My overall goal for coldsheeping is to improve the quality of my stash, rather than the quantity.  Although I would be really happy if I manage to reduce the quantity as well!