6.6.14

Sherlocked

Do you ever have those times where it seems like everything comes back to one central idea or thing?  Like you don't mean to but everything you are carrying somehow has foxes on it and suddenly you are the fox girl?  This week for some reason I have been all about Sherlock.  I mean I love Sherlock in pretty much any incarnation (particularly the stories they did on Wishbone where he wore the little tweed hat), but for some reason it has been popping up a lot lately.  Maybe because the latest season of the show is now on Netflix?


I watched the episodes when they first aired, but I admit that I did not do a full scale rewatch before hand because I had grown weary of the years of prolonged anticipation.  But now, now I can watch it all again and revel in its existence.  Perhaps while knitting out of my new Sherlock bag!


Though I won't be working on these socks as they are currently bus knitting exclusive and getting a ton of mileage.  I would not be surprised if I complete them quite soon.  But the bag!  The bag is too cute to live in my backpack all the time.  This is from Noteable Needlework who from what I can gather is a newcomer on the bag scene.  If you have any interest at all in a cute sock size bag for a seriously good price, you should check out her stuff.  I saw this fabric at Into the Wool on another bag, so when I heard about this one there was no question I was picking it up.

And then, in more Sherlock fun, there is this Kickstarter campaign that you need to check out.  My friend Tabz is working on an effort to create a set of playing cards inspired by Sherlock Holmes featuring some pretty awesome original artwork.


The thing that makes this project worth backing is not the actual cards themselves (which are awesome), but the passion these folk have for original work.  I have heard Tabz talk many a time about how Sherlock was a founding part of her geek and how it shaped her passions and gave her a community.  And the people she has gathered to work on this project are just as passionate.  From contributing writers (oh, did I mention that there is an essay collection attached to this?) to project backers to the artists themselves, this is a love letter to the content.  If you want to know more, you should check out this interview she gave to Gamer XP.  And then go check out the project.  Because we all need a  bit more Sherlock.  Right?

27.5.14

FO: Bonnie

It's amazing how much knitting I can accomplish when I really put my mind to it.  This weekend I finished two garments and got a fair bit knit on a shawl.  I guess there really is something to be said for having Saturdays off.


I absolutely loved knitting Bonnie.  Well, with the exception of what felt like very real stockinette hell when I was about 80 rows in.  Note to self: buy a yarn counter before your next lace weight project.  Counting over 100 rows at such a fine gauge was not my finest hour, but the result is lovely.


I've had this skein of Madeline Tosh Lace kicking around the stash for almost two years.  I bought it at Webs on our honeymoon and it has been waiting for the perfect project.  It was originally intended to be a Nevis cardigan, but that was just not working.  So it sat, in its cake, waiting for love.  And then along came Tin Can Knits.

Obligatory selfie with the photographer because hello, honeymoon yarn
Bonnie must have crossed my path a million times before I finally realized it was the one.  The pattern my yarn had been waiting for.  It is open and lacy while still chic and slimming.  And the construction is genius.  There's no actual shaping in this knit.  It is all an illusion of the lace panel.  How cool is that?


I'm really glad I chose to take this with me to Into the Wool.  All the fun and conversation helped me to power through those long stockinette rows before I finally got to start the chart.  And now when I wear it I have two sets of happy memories -- the memory of Chris laughing when I realized he'd worked freaking Webs into our honeymoon and the memory of laughter that can only come when knitters spend days huddled together for warmth.

22.5.14

Summer Top Duo

Ever since I returned from Into the Wool I've been dying to knit all the things.  I've been plotting and planning to the point that I have knitted a million things in my head.  I have grand plans for several sweaters, a smattering of socks, and shawls for days.  I've been matching things up in my head and shopping patterns I really don't need.  And did I mention that a lot of this has been happening at work?  Yeah.  Luckily most of it is in my mind and has not taken away from my ability to be productive.  But still, it's become an obsession.

The reason for all of this, I think, is not just the exposure to an abundance of new ideas at camp but also the fact that I am hard core garment knitting.  I have two summer tops going and am trying my hardest to stick to them until at least one is complete.  Both of these projects are a lot of fun and totally lovely, but man am I a fickle knitter.


I started Bonnie at the beginning of the month and have been pretty much monogamous to it with the exception of my camp project.  I even worked on it at the retreat, which I was not expecting to do.  For those of you unfamiliar with the pattern, it is a gorgeous lace weight top from Tin Can Knits.  The magic of the garment is in the lace panel, which you really cannot see well because I haven't blocked it out.  This garment has taken what I know about shaping and turned it on its head.  Once again knitting has shown me that there are no rules that cannot be broken.  I also learned that counting a large number of rows in lace weight is not my favorite thing ever.  In fact I am pretty sure I'll be investing in a row counter before I take on anything else with large swaths of stockinette.  I'm halfway up the back from where I split for the armholes and I cannot wait to be done so that it can be blocked.  Maybe this weekend?  I'd say I want to wear it for Memorial Day fun, but I work that day and don't want to commit to a deadline.


The other garment I'm working on is a test knit for Andi Satterlund.  This does not look like much right now, but I've already learned a new technique, sewn elastic, and changed colors -- twice.  I don't want to say too much just yet, but let's just say it is knit out of Quince and Co Chickadee and there's no way to not love this yarn.  Believe me.  I have the swatches to prove that I've tried.

All of this is great, but I really just want to be knitting a giant navy cabled sweater.  Or maybe socks.  Or a shawl.

Someone stop me.

20.5.14

Back from the Woods

Hello again, my lovelies.  I hope you had a fun fiber-filled weekend and enjoyed the rest of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  It was great fun to take part again, especially in the week leading up to Into the Wool Fiber Retreat.  I got back Sunday night, but as Chris has Mondays off as well we spent yesterday hanging out and watching even more Breaking Bad.  Can I ask why people love this show?  We're up to season four and I just don't get it.  But I will persevere because the more Breaking Bad I watch the more Harry Potter Chris will watch and I refuse to reach our second anniversary still married to a Muggle.

Before I even begin to tell you about the insane amount of fun that was had over the weekend let me take a moment to thank the organizers and sponsors once again.  This was my first retreat and Dana, Brittany, and Jess did a wonderful job of keeping it fun, chill, and very welcoming.  I love that they went out of their way to be sure everyone won a door prize and goodie bag stuffed to exploding while keeping the emphasis of the retreat on the people, not on the stuff.  Thank you ladies for making it such a special weekend for all of us.

So the retreat.  I traveled with a group of ladies from North Carolina, including one who lives very close to me.  My goal going into this was to meet other knitters, maybe even some from my area because even though I've been here three years I still don't really know anyone outside of work.  As soon as I got in the car I realized that I had hit my hope of one new friend and surpassed it.  I had three fabulous roommates, four awesome road trip buddies, and tables full of new Ravelry friends to communicate with when I got home.  I wish I had taken more pictures, but if you go to Instagram and search with #intothewoolfiberretreat you can get a glimpse of the fun.  It was much colder than any of us really expected, so we spent our time huddled together around tables, knitting and laughing and learning from each other.


My other goal was to learn to spin.  There is no way I can get a wheel any time soon, but I signed up to take the drop spindling class with Melia from the Yarn Raising podcast.  You might remember my sad attempt to teach myself to drop spindle a few years ago -- it did not go well.  Clearly this is something that I needed to see in person and have someone guide me through.  Melia is a wonderful instructor.  It was a mini workshop, only lasting an hour, but she loaned me a teaching spindle to practice with for the weekend.  I was hooked.


No one was selling spindles in the vendor market, but Diane of Suburban Stitcher was looking to sell hers so I offered to buy it from her.  The morning of the last day she leaned over and handed it to me, saying "Merry Christmas."  I was and still am overwhelmed by her generosity.


The kindness of knitters was a recurring theme for the weekend.  I have been struggling personally with many things that don't need to be blogged, but top among them has been loneliness.  I don't have the kind of friend base I always envisioned for my adult life and that has been hard.  Going to this retreat was a complete refresh for my spirit.  It was like God reached down and said "Here.  You seem a little down lately.  Let's see what abundance can feel like."  The women I met were all generous and kind.  Many people joked that I was unusually lucky in my winnings, but I was not lucky in just material goods.  I was already blessed with the opportunity to spend time with amazing women who just happened to share my love of yarn and fiber.  And the fact that it happened in the backdrop of gorgeous Lake Frances?


Perfect.

I said before that the emphasis of the weekend was on the people not the stuff, but I would be remiss if I did not share with you some of the other goodies I came home with.  First there was the goodie bag.


I mean seriously.  The only thing that I paid extra for was the tshirt, everything else was either included in the cost or donated by sponsors.  I came home with new patterns, yarn, fiber, and a wealth of coupon codes all generously donated.

I also participated in the sock yarn swap.  Again I say, luckiest weekend of my life?  I put in a skein of Zen Yarn Garden BFL that I liked but was never going to use.  I drew the second to last number, which meant that I waited and waited while everyone drew out lovely and amazing yarn ahead of me.  And then it was my turn.


I drew Wollmeise!  Evidently I was a sight to see.  I opened the bag, realized what I had, and the next thing I knew I had run down to the end of the porch.  I've never even seen Wollmeise in person, let alone thought I could own any.  Like I said, these woman were beyond generous.

And then there was the vendor market.  I didn't shop till I dropped, but I almost did.  I hit my budget before I got to all of the vendors, but I plan on doing some online shopping once a few shops are reopened.  Here are my goodies from Unwind Yarn Company, Fibro Fibers, Jelby, Suburban Stitcher, and Hiyawasee Creek.


Oh!  And my door prize was a gift certificate to Yarn Patch, the nearby LYS, where I picked up a skein of Jilly.  I'm pretty sure the retreat attendees bought them out because it was such nice yarn.

Overall I loved this retreat.  It was small and fun and full of amazing women.  I cannot wait to go back next year.  Is it 2015 yet?

15.5.14

Conversations Between Workers (5KCBWDay4)

So I have this ball winder.


I've had it since I learned I needed more yarn than one project at a time would suffice.  That puts it at about 5 years old, which is getting up there for plastic ball winders.  It came to me at Christmas and has always had a bit of a lofty opinion of itself.  It was not content to wind yarn off of the backs of chairs.  No, it needed a swift.  But it also refused to properly clamp onto a table or said chair back and so needed to be held.  It's very demanding, my ball winder, and we've developed a bit of a co-dependent relationship it and I.

Take this week for example.  I'm doing some test knitting and so needed to wind up some yarn rather immediately, which the ball winder did not like.  It likes to be prepared for anything as strenuous as winding yarn.  It needs time to stretch its gears and size up the skein before it begins winding.


Me: I need to wind this yarn

Ball Winder: I'm sorry, I must have misheard you.  You need to wind this yarn tomorrow?

Me: No, I need to get going on this swatch so I need to wind this yarn now.


Ball Winder: But you already have a garment on the needles that you swore you'd be monogamous to.  Clearly this is you just falling back on your promises.  You do not need to swatch.  You do not need to wind this yarn.

Me: Who is the knitter around here?  Designer needs this test knit and I'd like to have it done before June so I need to get swatching.  Please.

Ball Winder: Sighs dramatically Fiiiiiine.  But you'd better remember this next time I say I don't believe you can be a monogamous knitter.

Me: Just wind, will you?

Ball Winder: Sulks its way to the swift and starts winding.  Immediately begins clicking.  Oh, I don't think I can do this, my gears are clicking.  Didn't I tell you I need to warm up or my gears will click?


Me: Grits teeth and tries to ignore the whining

Ball Winder: Continues clicking and finally separates.  See! I told you this wouldn't work.

Me:  Seriously?  You did that on purposes.


Ball Winder:  I did not!  You take that back!  

Me:  You are getting to be too much of a hassle.  I think it's time you finally retired.  Picks up pieces and looks at them.

Ball Winder:  No!  I can do that.  Sucks in breath while I put it back together and begin winding again.  See?  We're winding.  We're almost done!

Me: Looking unconvinced.  Ok.  We'll see.

Ball Winder: Aaaand we're done!  Whew!  I'm tired.  This is why you have to let me warm up to these things.  Put me back on my shelf!


It goes like this.  Every time I go to start a new skein.  But somehow my little ball winder keeps working, denying me the ability to buy a new one.  It's manipulative like that.

This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay4

This will also be my last post for the week -- I'm off to Into the Wool in the early morning and will be having far too much yarnie fun to write.  Thanks to everyone who took part and to Mimi for coordinating once again.  It's been fun!


14.5.14

Experimental Photography and Image Handling (5KCBWDay3)






This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay3




13.5.14

Dating Profile (5KCBWDay2)

Unfinished Sweater Seeking Knitter


Hi, I'm Rosemary.  I am a green sweater knit out of Cascade 220 and am approximately half completed.  My age?  Well, we ladies don't talk about our age, you know that.  But I promise, I look as good as I feel.  You won't even notice that I came from destashed yarn. I still need sleeves, but I promise I can make your cables pop.  And my stockinette?  Soft as a feather and flat as a board.

I'm a bohemian girl.  I like walking through fields of tall grass and ducking into local coffee bars.  Doing both of these things on a mountaintop would be ideal.  My heathered green goes well with flowing skirts, high-waisted shorts, and I love a good pair of boots.  I see myself one day on an epic road trip.  Just me, a single carpet bag, and a good book hitting the road.  Care to join me?

Turn offs include country music, the use of carpet bag fabric for anything other than carpet bags, and novelty yarn.

This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay2