Monday, October 31, 2011

White Halloween

Okay, so most of the snow has melted, but "white Halloween" sounds better than "some snow and mostly mud and freezing cold Halloween". We caved and turned the heat on last week, because even all the hand-knits in the world can't stop your pipes from freezing.

It snowed on Thursday and again Saturday night. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature! I was feeling like I had tons of time to knit and crochet before it got cold, but nooooooooooo. It had to snow in October, didn't it.

I did hit some "milestones" on the Binary Scarf this weekend. I attached the third ball of black (using up the stash, oh yeah!) and I hit 70%.

P.S. Does anyone have any clue why I wrote the letter L next to how many repeats I did on the first half? Because I don't have a clue.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ones and Zeroes and Zeroes and Ones

I've actually been working on the Binary Scarf -- stop the presses. Last night I finished the first repeat of two letters after I'd ripped out & picked up the stitches on the 18th, so I carefully counted my stitches and made sure the letters matched up.

Which they didn't.

I cried a little. I may have considered putting it back in the naughty bag. But it was all my fault, really. My Binary Scarf actually has a message in it, which means I have to be very careful that it says what it ought to! My problem was not paying enough attention. Part of my message goes N (space) L. What does that look like in binary?


Do you see the problem? The N and the L are ONE digit apart. When I'd knit it originally, it was fine (I'd put the zero), but reknitting it I misread and thought I needed to knit N (space), not (space) L. Hence I knitted it as a one, assuming I'd messed up on the original row and I'd duplicate stitch after I was done.

Well, that's what you get for taking a year off, I guess. I managed to calm myself by saying a few things:

1. Just duplicate stitch it like you were planning to. You don't have to rip it.
2. This is your first stranded colorwork project ever. The numbers aren't random, they say something! This is a huge undertaking and it's really impressive.
3. It's wool, not acylic, so your mess-ups will theoretically block out.

And you know what? I came to peace with my screw-up, and I've been vigilantly paying attention ever since. I'm almost to the end of my second repeat of 7 for this side. I hate to jinx it but -- this scarf might even be done for Christmas.

That would be good. I don't intend to make this a three-year scarf. And for my next colorwork project? I'm thinking not a scarf.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Being an Idiot

So if you've been reading for any length of time, you know all about the naughty Binary Scarf, which was supposed to be my husband's Valentine's Day present in 2009. (At least, I think so. I'm officially fuzzy on the details.) I finally started it in 2010, dropped a stitch somewhere around Thanksgiving 2010, and put it in the naughty pile, where it has lived for almost a year.

Well, today is our 3rd wedding anniversary, and I thought I would pull it out and see if I couldn't fix it. Lo and behold, I managed to get back to 66 stitches, which is more progress than I have made in said year. I'm sure I went wrong somewhere, but hey, progress.

So once I did that, I started to look for my little notebook so I could see what letters I was on, since I brilliantly wrote the message down in a tiny notebook that's not hard to lose, no siree bob.

I just spent the last half-hour looking for it. I mean, this was worse than my tendency to lose my interchangeable set AND darning needles combined.

And then I remembered that I took it with me to VT Sheep & Wool. Duh.

There is a danger to having like 6 tote bags devoted to knitting, and why would I look in the bag that's been at my feet for two weeks? Because that makes sense. But anyway, I found it, so maybe I'll even work on this thing at some point in the near future.

By the way, future self? GREEN GOES IN THE LEFT HAND.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FO: Gaenor (#2)

I've been horrible about actually photographing some of the stuff I've finished, which is why it seems like I'm the world's worst crafter. This FO has been done for a while, but the recipient has finally received it, so I can talk about it now!

Pattern: Gaenor (on Ravelry)
Yarn: I dyed the yarn from a Ewe Dye It kit at my LYS. (I don't own the kit; they opened one at the store.)
Needles: US size 7 on my Boye interchangeable set
Timeline: 8.5.11-8.19.11

So this hand-dyed yarn


turned into this shawl:


The colors aren't perfect, but you get an idea of how crazy it is!

Opinions: I liked the Gaenor pattern enough I made it twice! I didn't have yardage on this skein, just weight, so this was perfect.


Random Thoughts: I am a strange dyer. Most of my color "repeats" were 3 stitches or less, and some were just one stitch.

I have nicknamed this Water Lilies. Nobody knew this but me.

It was very difficult to send this to my mother-in-law. Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

VT Sheep & Wool Festival 2011

Smack dab in between two 12-day shifts at work was the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival, and you can bet your stitch dictionary that I made sure to have both days off! I ended up going on Sunday, and from what I heard about Saturday's weather, that was the good choice!

My friends with sheep were kind enough to let me tag along with them. They went for the learning and I went for the shopping, so it worked out well for everyone. I had a budget of $130 and I spent all but 16 cents. I'd say it was a success!

My pictures are few, far between, and extremely boring, so I'll share a few that were interesting and then show you what I bought.

I walked around first to try to scope out what I wanted to get. I chatted with a very nice lady who saw my Ravelry pin, but I didn't get her name. Darn! She was part of the Mountain Fiber Folk co-op, and she was the doll-maker. Anyway, they had a really cool display and she let me take a picture of it. If I'm remembering correctly, they did everything in the process, not just the dyeing.


It's a hunting vest! They also had kits for hats and the orange yarn for sale on its own. I was sorely tempted because it was awesome, but my husband doesn't hunt. But what a great idea! I hope they sold a lot of their stuff.

In my wanderings, I found Green Mountain Fibers, and they were kind enough to take the 3 granny squares I had made for Irene quilts. I live close to the store in Rutland, but I never manage to get there since I work into the evening, so it was great that they were willing to take them. I know it must have been a hard fit into the car, but it was appreciated! Of course, I didn't take pictures of my first granny squares, because I have -- what did we decide the word was? Camnesia? Yeah, camnesia.

More wandering was mixed with intermittent rain. I ran into Mary Lee from Stitchy Women (another pal), and it looked like her booth was hopping! She started telling some of the women there about my Boneyard Shawl and how she watched me at multiple guild meetings trying to bind off! I'd actually brought it with me, so they ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it and told me to tie it on, so I did. I think it was helpful for my friends when they were trying to find me! Plus I kind of looked like an awesome superhero. One lady even told me that I looked like "a rainbow in the storm"! Perfect!

I stopped by the Good Fibrations tent, which actually had a few vendors sharing the space, and the nice spinning lady whose card I apparently forgot to get gave me a spinning demonstration on her drop spindle. I have a drop spindle and I use it sometimes, but I'm not very good at it, so the demonstration was much appreciated. Then -- and this is one of the things I love about fiber people -- she suggested I go check out another vendor who was selling something I might be able to use when drop spindling. So few people are willing to lose your business by sending you elsewhere, but she was fabulous! I hope to see her next year and buy lots of her roving!

The booth she told me to check out was Ball and Skein. There were some gorgeous drop spindles there that the guy took the time to tell me about, but I didn't get a picture. They were modular spindles, and when you ran out of room on one, you unscrewed it and screwed on another one! He was selling boxes that you could put the used spindle shafts on and ply that way. I thought it was ingenious! Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the spindle AND the box.

However, I did buy a Wristaff, which is what the woman at the Good Fibrations tent told me about. You put it on your wrist and wrap your roving around it so it doesn't tangle or get caught while you spin. You can also put a center-pull ball on it and knit from the outside. Yep, sold.


They also had these fabulous beach buttons, which were natural stones that had been drilled to make buttons. I almost bought all of them, because hello, Storm Coast? Instead I settled for a skein of their Super Sock 416, which is 450 yards of fingering-weight, 75% merino and 25% nylon. I am really enjoying making shawls this year, and wait until you see this color. It's called Riverstone.



The second picture is kind of fuzzy, but you can see the colors better. Guh, right? I know.

There was a man outside one of the buildings who was making drop spindles. Like, right there, at that moment. I watched for a while but forgot to ask if I could take pictures. Oops. Anyway, it was very cool. This trio of gals next to me started talking about how they were thinking of buying some, so I slipped away to check out the booth. It turns out I had already been admiring the spindles before I knew they were hand-made! Yellow Dog Farm is a husband-and-wife team. She spins on her wheel and he makes and uses the drop spindles. I bought a gorgeous heavy spindle. I don't know what it will be good for spinning, but it just felt right in my hand. I know I'll find something.


The spindle wasn't labeled, and of course I forgot what the lady said it was made out of, but I think it was cocobolo. Nobody quote me on that.

Brilliantly, I am going all backwards on my shopping, because the first skein I bought was in the same building, and I haven't told you about it yet. Remember that green skein of yarn I bought at last year's Sheep & Wool? Yeah, they're doing variegated now. Mountain Vewe Coopworths, who still doesn't have a website.



This is a bit different from the yarn I bought last year. It doesn't have mohair in it and it's a bit heavier, so it's 150 yards. Remind me to take a picture of the hat I made with the green yarn. (Yes, I made a green hat, sort of. It's complicated.) I LOVE the colors in this yarn. All oceany!

Well, I think I've mostly rambled on enough, so I'll show you the last thing I bought. I'd looked at this booth last year and not bought anything, and this year I'm glad I stopped by and did. The booth was Dyenamics Yarn, I believe, and I bought a skein of The Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors Sock Yarn in Thunderstorm. How could I not?



I'm a terrible photographer, so trust me when I say it's gorgeous. 460 yards of fingering-weight in a 75% merino/25% nylon blend. Hello, shawl yarn.

Funny story -- I recognized the purple sheep on her card, and it turns out she's one of the moderators in the Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry!

That's not everything I did, or everyone I visited, but I think it's enough. I wouldn't want to give away ALL my secrets, after all -- I want there to be some yarn left for me once I get more money!

As for the diet, obviously I blew it. 1060 yards. But you know what? I love them, I got some great tools to use with them, and I earned it. What a great time I had at the 2011 Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival! See you next year!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

As Much As Possible: 3rd Quarter

Wow! I can't believe it's October. I mean, finally! Here's the 3rd quarter report. I hesitate to say it's better than last quarter, but we'll see.

1. Not buy yarn.

I did not buy a single skein. I really didn't. A friend gave me two skeins of Debbie Bliss Stella, which adds 182 yards to stash, but it was a gift!

2. 1st in, 1st out.

No measurable progress here, but I have about half a dozen projects that are using various old yarns, and I haven't bothered to measure what I've used.

3. Craft for charity first.

Um. Well, any of the loom hats that don't sell next week are being donated to Pat Pat's Hats! I've also learned how to make granny squares, and I have 3 finished to give to Green Mountain Fibers for blankets they're putting together.

4. Projects for others before myself.

Loom hats! Granny squares!

5. 2 skeins a month.



I gave a lot away.

Okay, so we're still in a so-so position here, but wait until you see the numbers.

Used or given away:

1. Patons Berber Cotton - 230 yards
2. Lion Brand Homespun - 185 yards
3. 2 skeins Patons Divine - 284 yards
4. 2 skeins Lion Brand Jiffy Solid - 270 yards
5. Berroco Candy FX - 68 yards
6. Berroco Chinchilla - 77 yards
7. Brunswick Bermuda II - 105 yards
8. Lion Brand Fun Fur - 64 yards
9. Sirdar Funky Fur - 147 yards
10. Unger Plantation - 153 yards
11. 3 skeins Bernat Caress - 304 yards
12. 2 skeins Lion Brand Trellis - 230 yards

And that's not counting a lot of what I used in the loom hats, since some of those were partial skeins and I gave the rest away to a kindergarten teacher. Assuming the math is correct, though, that's 2269 yards out, or almost 1.29 miles.

Purchased or given:

1. 2 skeins Debbie Bliss Stella - 182 yards

So that's a net loss of 2087 yards, or 1.18 miles. Yeah, I can live with that.

Also, tomorrow I am going to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. I've been a good girl, I haven't bought any yarn in 3 months, I gave away over a mile of yarn, and I have been saving my money for months.

Justification? Oh yes. Do I care? Nope.