Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Lesson In Brevity

Why does blogging make a person feel guilty for not keeping up with it?

I recently took a little vacation up to Albany, revisiting some friends I met last October.  Aaron did some homework and managed to make it a crazy-cool fiber weekend!

Here are some highlights:

A couple of yarn stores, both featuring local dyers...the stuff is hard to resist!  I had fun practicing for my recital at Trumpet Hill Yarns.

I take way too long shopping for yarn...I have to look at it, hold it, dream about it and what it might become...in short, it takes a bit of meditation.  The eagle-eyed may be able to spy a few skeins in the mulling-over stage on the couch to my right.  

I also got to play for a few of Aaron's friends during the weekly wine and cheese night ("cheese" referring to the TV entertainment...or was it me???).


Part of my enjoyment of visiting Albany is the freedom to knit, and to feed off the enthusiasm of another guy knitter/spinner.  Look at one of Aaron's finds at A Touch Of Twist: 


I loved the chance to see his yarns in person...they're worth fondling, let me tell you!  He just started spinning since my first visit in October, but he's made leaps and bounds to spin delicious yarn in that short span of time!

I got to knit a good bit during the weekend...I used Aaron's energy to get me over the hump on a couple projects that had fallen to the wayside, including my Legolas shawl and a pair of boxers for the men's knitalong. I finished my Rick socks by Cookie A!


Myra's handdyed yarn is gorgeous...next time I need to knit it up in plain stockinette; it needs nothing else to share its glory.  Cookie's pattern has yarn-over holes, so you could say these are lacey man-socks.

More highlights from the trip:
A visit to Wunsupana Farm, where I got to take away three very special llama fleeces (if that's what they're called).  Teri was so sweet, and I was glad to go with Aaron, who was able to ask all sorts of great questions.


Oh, and we made out with the llamas and goats.  Very sexy creatures.

And did you know that llama poo looks like chocolate covered espresso beans and is nicknamed "black gold"?  Turns out it makes an excellent fertilizer.  I immediately began picturing really cute mason jars wrapped up for Christmas or housewarming gifts... I figure there'd be at least three 'layers' of gift to enjoy:

First, the recipient contemplates eating the beans.

Second, after I get my giggles, I tell them it's really a jar of poop.

Third, after ticking off the recipient, I explain that it is really a wonderful contribution to his/her garden.

After that, the joke's on me...most people don't appreciate my humor.  That's why I only talk about it.

I actually spent a lot of time around animals in Albany.  Aaron and his partner are involved in an Italian Greyhound rescue group, and I got to experience canine love in a new way: a house of dogs who kept a woman for a pet.


Wolfgang was one of two oddballs, and both toyed with my emotions as I considered sneaking them into my car with my llama fiber.

To top of a great weekend, we broke out the Kool Aid and kitchen dye and spices for some dyeing fun!


I wound an especially large skein for a semisolid yarn.  I put orange Kool Aid and curry into the dyepot and had some fun with a gradual dippage of the yarn.


It came out smelling of curry and looking like cheese twists.  It's rather nice, if I may say so!  We tore up that kitchen and had a lot of fun!  Handdyeing makes for a great collaborative activity as you get to show your ideas and results with each other.

Here's my yarns drying on the ride home...I know it's a lousy picture, but the colors showed up better here for some reason.


From left to right: Orange KA and curry (maybe food coloring, too); Cherry KA; Blue and Green KA and FC; overdyed sage yarn with Blue Ice KA and yellow FC, and going in a second time with the last yarn in turmeric. 

The sage yarn went from this


to this:



Now that my recital is done, I'm looking forward to making some more knitting progress.  I'm also pumped about Maryland Sheep and Wool this coming Saturday...not that I need yarn!  

There.  Now I don't feel guilty any longer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Stroll part deux

Make-up time.

I wanted to include these pictures from last week's walk, and only just remembered:

A yarn-tree.


I walked with my parents through my favorite cemetery.  One of the stones had a sort of window carved in it, making for a very striking, if not eery, monument.  Another holey grave marker was made as a gate:



I've always thought the factory across the river looked reminiscent of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.




Okay, now I'm better.  Other news:
I'm just about ready to start the heel on sock #2.  
My recital is in less than two weeks.
I've been painted knitting!  Check it out at Julia's blog.



Friday, April 9, 2010

Deedly Doo.

Freeing the needles so I can subject them to further slavery:

I finished a cotton-mixed-with-other-materials Botanic hat on Easter, just in time for a stroll in the park with me mum and da.  I don't know why I'm typing in dialect.  But it makes me feel better.


I also finished my first sock in the handdyed yarn I got from Myra at Woolbearers:


I think it's interesting, and kinda mysterious, how the colors move with the racing stripes in the pattern.  They even switch directions when the stripes do!

I kinda love this yarn best in stockinette, though.  It's so gorgeous.  (These pictures don't do it justice!)


I played "Sweet Violets" for the old folks today and yesterday.  Fun times.

Peace, and have fun this weekend!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The part of the blog where I talk about harp

Here's something I've been wanting to do for a long time.  It's not perfect, but things with me never are.  It's a link to my first YouTube practice session.  That' right, I'm offering a bit of music on my blog.  I hope you likes it.  If not, then don't come to my recital on the 23rd.  If you do like it, and you're around the Trenton-Burlington area, you're invited to come for a full length recital.  


In a moment of fierce I-can't-stand-waiting-any-more, I cast on for a pair of socks by Cookie A., using the yarn I got from Myra at Woolbearers.  Thanks, all you two people who gave me feedback!  So far, I'm liking how they first sock is turning out.  The color transitions swirl around the leg at nearly the same speed as the pattern, purely by chance.  I've broken two DPN's on this sock, though.  Darnit.  So now, I'm magic looping the rest.  Here's a couple pictures of the beginning, since I don't have an up-to-date picture.  

And happy Easter and that wonderful American holiday, April Fool's Day.


The Easter Bunny is definitely real.  He stole my phone.

I beat him up and got my phone back.  Sorry if you don't get any candy tomorrow.