Thursday, August 30, 2007

Neighborhood Fiber Company

Last Saturday I went to a trunk show at my lys, Y2Knit, for Neighborhood Fiber Company. This is a small company based in Washington D.C. owned by Karida Collins. She handpaints everything from lace-weight to roving and names her colorways after the neighborhoods of D.C.
karida Here's a photo of two very hot women, Karida's on the right and I'm the pasty red-head on the left. It was sweltering in the shop that day even with the air and fans. My random hot flashes weren't helping any.

I'm glad I got there early because I had a great selection of fibers to choose from. Not that it was easy to make a choice from so many beautiful skeins. I immediately grabbed a skein of 100% silk lace-weight in the Logan Park colorway.
This yarn is so yummy that I am flummoxed as to what to make with it. I've vowed to make something from Victorian Lace Today but I swatched for the Myrtle Leaf Shawl and decided it was too lacy to show off the yarn. Then I swatched for and started the Handsome Triangle but 40 rows in I decided it was not the right yarn for the project so I frogged it. I want something that will show off the sheen of the silk. I'm sure inspiration will come to me eventually. This subtle variegation is perfect for lace, not enough that the pattern gets lost but enough to lend texture.
I couldn't leave the trunk show without some sock yarn so I bought a skein of Dupont Circle. It's a salmon, carnation, purple colorway that I couldn't resist. It's going to make one wild-ass pair of socks.

Karida was a joy to meet and really seems to love what she's doing. She also loves her home and wants people to see the beauty of Washington.

The colorways are available in each type of yarn she carries so you can coordinate yarns and vary the fiber content in the same project, while maintaining the overall color.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Progress Report and Knitting Scout Badges

babysocks3My step-mother fell on Monday and broke her femur just below the hip joint. The surgeon inserted a rod and some screws and now she's in the rehab unit for a few days. She has lived alone since my dad died in March 2006 and really values her independence. She lives about 100 miles from me so I'm not going to be able to look after her for more than a week (vacation from work) and I'm worried about how we're going to work this out. I know she doesn't want to come here because she doesn't know anyone and there still wouldn't be anyone there during the day. She'll be out of the hospital in a day or two so we're going to have to come up with a (low cost, cause none of us are rich) solution quick.

I've been working on a pair of Miriam Felton's Baby to Toddler Sized Socks for my step-mother's physical therapist. Her son is 5 months so I'm using Size #1US needles so that he can get some use of them before they're too small. I've finished one and cast on for the second. This is the third pair of these I've made and I'm still not tired of them. I'm a slow knitter and I can finish one of these in about 3 hours.

I was knitting in the hospital room and was amazed at the number of people who commented on my socks. One lady asked if I sell them and I told her I didn't think it was practical because the yarn cost over $20. She said I could probably sell them for $75 and I had to wonder who she thought would ever pay $75 for a pair of socks. Paris Hilton, perhaps?

dbl_eyelet_rib3I've stopped working on my Double Eyelet Rib Toe-Up Socks by Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits to work on the baby socks but I only have the leg of the second sock to finish and they're done. This has been an enjoyable if somewhat boring pattern to knit. It's only 4 chart lines so it's very easy for a beginning lace knitter. I didn't use the heel from this pattern because I didn't have it in front of me when I started the heel. Instead I used the wrap-less short-row heel with a gusset from Wendy's Southwestern Socks pattern. I really like this heel and it may become my favorite.

When I read Miriam's page I saw these Cast On Scout Knitting Badges and decided that's a few of them apply to me so I created a little bar with the applicable images. Thanks, Brenda.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Suprise Package from the Loopy Ewe!


Look what came today from The Loopy Ewe! I made a guess in Sheri's Anniversary Contest. She asked us to guess how much yarn she had in the shop. I didn't win but she drew some additional names for consolation prizes and MINE WAS ONE OF THEM!!!!!

Clockwise from the top:
  • Cider Moon Flurrie - Peas and Carrots
  • Seacoast Hand Painted Superwash Sock - Greensleeves
  • Perchance to Knit Superwash - Rainbow Black with stitchmarker
I never imaged anything like this - I thought maybe one of the clear Loopy bags or maybe, just maybe, a skein of yarn. But this, this is beyond my wildest dreams. And this is a consolation prize!

Sheri, thank you so much. You are so generous.

Sockdown: Ravelry Socks

Over on Ravelry, in the Sock Knitters Anonymous Group we're playing a little game.

Sockdown: Ravelry is a year-long personal knitting challenge that will begin on August 1, 2007 and end on September 30, 2008. Members of Sock Knitters Anonymous are NOT required to participate in the KAL.

This month the challenge is Sockbug/Lace. I chose the River Run Socks and started them in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the Champlain Sunset colorway but I got distracted by Wendy's Double Eyelet Rib Socks. I started them in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Spring Frost. They're lacy so they qualify. Sorry for the flash photgraphy but it's raining here today (Yipee! We need it so bad).

dbl_eyelet_rib1These are working up great. I'm not using the heel in the pattern though I am using another of Wendy's heels. I didn't have the pattern in front of me yesterday when I started the heel but I did have Wendy's Southwestern Socks pattern. So I used the heel from that one. I'm going to rip the heel back to the beginning of the gusset and a add a few rows because they're a little short. It's the first time I've made this type of heel and I wasn't sure where to start the gusset.

dbl_eyelet_rib2I think this heel is going to fit my ankle much better than the short-row heels that I've been using. I guess I could even make the gusset a little bigger if need be.

I really love Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn. Thank goodness The Loopy Ewe keeps a good supply on hand. It and the Claudia Hand Painted Yarns that I get from my LYS Y2Knit, seem to be my go-to sock yarns.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


babysocks1Isn't it cute! It's my first baby sock ever. It was a littly wonky working with something that small on my dpns but I stuck with it and about 1-1/2 to 2 hours later I had a finished baby sock.

Miriam Felton created the pattern and it was just what I was looking for. So many of the baby sock and bootie patterns I looked at are knitted flat and seamed. I didn't want to fool with a seam.babysocks2

This will go to one of my friends who is due in February. Late winter babies need lots of warm socks so there will no doubt be other pairs made from leftover sock yarn. There are so many things that I want to make for this baby that I know I'll never get them all done. I've never had a baby to knit for before and this is my big chance to knit baby things.

I used to crochet baby cloths and sell them at craft shows many years ago when I was unemployed for a brief period. That was fun but this is better. Not only am I enjoying the knitting but I get to use yummy yarns. Back then I used Red Heart. Yeah, I was young and stupid.

Project details:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It was a Loopy Ewe Day

Loopysock2_1What a day! I received my yarn from last weeks sneak up in the morning at work and when I got home another box was on the porch. I was the second installment of The Loopy Ewe Sock Club.

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, O-M-G! I love Claudia's yarns. The package was loaded with goodies for fall including two Good to be Girl stitch markers: a chocolate covered donut with sprinkles and a pumpkin. I love stitch markers and have started making some of my own. I've found those rubbery ones from Clover are too light and have a tendency to fly off the needles during transfer. I like markers with some weight to them. I loose the Clover ones left and right and can go through a whole package while making a lace project. But haven't lost a handmade one yet (knock on wood).

Loopysock2_2The pattern looks like fun. It's Pheasant Run Socks by Lisa Parker from Wildhorse Farm Design. Sheri also included a pocket reference for all things knitting. That will come in handy along with the small Loopy Ewe pouch. I love the clear bags and pouches.

Earlier in the day my sneak up order came. I exercised remarkable self-restraint and only purchased two skeins. I like to try new yarns so both of these skeins were first-time purchases from these dyers.
First up is Seacoast Handpainted Yarns in the Greensleeves colorway. It's 100% superwash merino and it's a whopping 560 yards.

I also ordered a skein from Gypsy Knits. Here's Sheri's description, "Kathy has hand dyed this yarn in small batches and you will love it. She calls this BFL Superwash Fingering Wool the "poor knitter's cashmere"! This yarn is milled in the UK from long staple BFL fleece producing a strong, soft yarn. Because of the long staple it is especially durable for socks yet it is as soft as cashmere." I like a fine spun yarn is this fits the bill. I can't wait to try it for myself.
But that will have to wait because I have two pair of socks on the needles and a lace project, as well as a Clapotis that I've moved to the back burner for now.

If only I didn't have to work...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Chair as Art


Two years ago we dropped into Gummel Chairworks in Castine, Maine while we were on vacation. We were spending a few days in Castine and I had looked up a few local places that we might want to see while we were there. It's a very small town on the end of a peninsula, in other words, a long way from anywhere. We were there to relax and take life easy so one afternoon we rode out to Gummel's. Mr. and Mrs. Gummel were so nice and spent a great deal of time explaining the whole process of making a chair.


We picked out a Nantucket Fanback and put down a deposit. Mr. Gummel said it would take about a year and our plan was to pick it up ourselves during a little mini-vacation. Plans have a tendency to go astray, don't they? Well, long story short, we picked up the chair at our local FedEx Freight depot last week.


The chair is a very, very dark green with a barn red undercoat. It's all done with milk paint and has a somewhat matte finish that shines with use. As the green overcoat wears the barn red shows through. The under side of the seat is branded with the M & E Gummel Chairworks brand.


We feel so privileged to own this beautiful piece of handmade furniture. It sits comfortably and is very easy on the back. We'll be using it as an occasional chair and possibly as a desk chair. Go visit the site and take a look at the wonderful chairs and tables.

The Desert of Maryland


It's not a fit day out for man nor beast so the beasts and I are hanging around in the air-conditioned house today. Hazy, hot and humid - the three words that best describe Maryland in the summer - weather has been entrenched here for a few days and shows no sign of leaving in the near future. Add dry to that description and you've got a more accurate picture. But dry doesn't really do it justice. Crispy, burnt, crunchy, those words describe our lawn. It's not grass anymore, it's straw. We are in a drought here in western Maryland, a pretty severe drought.


There's a mountain in the background but you can't see it because of the haze. Three years ago our landscaper planted sunset maples along our driveway, ten on each side. We've been in a drought ever since. Rainfall totals have been far below normal each year so we have been force to water the maples during the summer both to protect our investment and to keep the poor things alive. We've only lost one thanks to Doug's dedication and determination. But it's a lot of work to water them as they should be watered and two of them are showing signs of stress. Leaves are falling here at Idle Hour Farm and it's not fall yet. It makes us both very sad. The haze, the white sky seems so oppressive to me. Don't even like to look out the window and I hate to take photos in this white, sickening glare.

drought1This is a tree in distress. It hurts me to look at it but I drive past it each time I leave and return to the house. Doug keeps pouring the water on them but the sun bakes it out of the ground before it can benefit the thirsty roots. Even watering at night doesn't seem to help.

We've begun to refer to this area as the Desert of Maryland although the whole state is hurting for rain. The weather patterns in this small area seem to have changed in the last ten years. We don't get enough snow or rain anymore. It all goes around us or breaks up before is gets to us. A few more years of this and the local vegetation will make a shift to plants that can stand the arid conditions.

I want to move to Maine.