Friday, October 26, 2012

Rhinebeck Part 3: My Own Private Runway Show

Rhinebeck Part the Third: My Own Private Runway Show

I have heard people compare Rhinebeck to a knitter's runway show, and I think the analogy warrants fair consideration. Much like the runway, things need extra pizzaz to stand out; a truly street-ready handknit just doesn't produce the desired effect when it is being put on display next to thousands of other gorgeous handknits.  Even beautiful shawls and sweaters and hats can look rather - well, "meh"-  when surrounded by the glorious autumn colors that set Rhinebeck a notch above Maryland Sheep and Wool (IMHO).

Leaves 5

The natural beauty makes Rhinebeck a favorite place to photograph hand knits. I jumped on the bandwagon with my own items that I just happened to have handy, so here is a "what I wore" blog post, mixed in with the tree shots that are so difficult to resist.

Pterotactyl 8

Remember this guy?  The shawl, I mean. Some lady in the crowd told her friend as I passed, "That's a Boneyard." I love my Westknits shawls, but I wanted to butt into her conversation and educate her on the design that is in several significant ways not the Boneyard shawl; its biggest similarities are the fact that both designers are guys, and a guy can be seen wearing them.  I wish I had found a nice way to introduce her to another male designer and another guy-friendly, very wearable and easily knit-able design. But instead all I could think of was a snarky tweet.  It's a good thing the wi-fi was so lousy.

Anyway, get a look at the wingspan on the Pterotactyl:

Pterotactyl 3

Speaking of knits designed by guys, I finally got some pictures of my own green Armoirmeurs. They came in very handy in the middling temperatures we experienced through the weekend.

Armoirmeurs 3

I also finally got some pictures of one of my favorite hats. It's an experimental slouchy hat with short rows, knit in Rowan Wool Cotton 4 ply.

Armoirmeurs 4

Leaves 2
Gratuitous Tree Photo
I was delighted to find that the color scheme I picked for my Seasons Hat matches the gloves Aaron knit for me last year.  This is becoming a go-to part of my wardrobe.

Seasons hat and gloves

This next picture was actually taken on the ride back to Albany after Rhinebeck on Sunday, but only because I had been wearing my vest all day.

Vest 3

I may have looked ridiculous, but I loved the modular aspect of my outfit.

Abominable Knitter 1

While I kinda packed these items in hopes of a photo shoot, I also wore most of them during the weekend (not to mention the other items I did not photograph). I have embraced that I am one of those despicable, overly wool-clad festival attendees that I want to mock for giving in to the impulse to wear every possible knitted garment at one time: I am ... an Abominable Knitter! (cue dramatically ominous music)

Abominable Knitter 4

And apparently I've been a bad influence.

Benchtime 5
Chilling with Aaron and Jeff
I think I need to wait for another post to tell you about the House Color Sweater, so I leaves you with one more gratuitous tree picture.

The Leafy Knoll 2

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rhinebeck Part 2: The Part With The Maple Cotton Candy

Part the Second

The question came up several times, how does Rhinebeck compare to Maryland Sheep and Wool? I can think of three major differences: the music, the food, and something else I will save for next time.

The music at Maryland is much more to my liking, as there is an array of celtic and folk musicians, all quite good, on rotating display during the weekend. Not so at Rhinebeck.  This is probably my only complaint: one folk band, very similar to what I recall hearing in Times Square, literally playing without break through the whole weekend.  After a while, enjoyable turns into annoying, which turns into numbing, then exhausting. Later in the day I noticed the band slipping in a few Simon and Garfunkel tunes, though I don't know if it was just to keep themselves entertained or a part of their all-day repertoire.

Otherwise, it's all good.  The food at Rhinebeck is delightful. I went and got that maple cotton candy, and rather enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it in the designated eating area.
Cotton Candy 2

I enjoyed it near a trash can.
Cotton Candy 3

I enjoyed it in the exhibition halls.
Cotton Candy 5

I enjoyed it on my thumb.
Cotton Candy 6

And I enjoyed it while everyone else was being sociable on the "grassy knoll."
Cotton Candy 8

Just when it looked like I would spend all my time eating during the Ravelry meetup, the very people who introduced me to the cotton candy showed up: the Savvy Girls, Deborah and Melanie! They were very quick to throw on our fish hats and snap a few pictures.

Savvy Girls 1

Savvy Girls 2

I also got to eat lunch with a bunch of lovely guys. I've done test knits for two of these people. Just gonna dangle that one in front of you.

The boys eatin lunch

While I'm on the topic of famous people, I kinneared Ysolda on the grassy knoll Saturday afternoon.

Ysolda kinneared

I am rather shy at things like these, but it turns out that I didn't really need to be afraid; the next day we enjoyed cupcakes with Ysolda at the Ravelry meetup.


Okay, so I did tell her that the picture was for a friend that was too nervous to bother her and had to leave early, but as I look back, I realize that that picture was also for me.  I think Ysolda's amazing, too.

Saturday must have been my "nervous day" because I couldn't find the nerve to ask Dan for a full picture, and I am kicking myself for it. However, he graciously lent me his leg.


Those, my friend, are some hot hose. Kudos to the woman who knit them and made the heel/toe look so good with his kilt.

I was struck by the way I can at times feel somewhat accomplished as a knitter back home, but when I'm at Rhinebeck I see gads of beautiful handiwork and realize I have a long way to go before I can refer to myself as 'accomplished.' It's the place where I'm no longer a "crazy"; I'm just one of the crowd. And I can actually chat with people I usually only dream of talking to.

The other big meal was a dinner in Rhinebeck Saturday night.  The food was delicious, and we had four birthdays that weekend out of six people.  My pictures came out poorly, but know this: I am so glad to have been a part of that group - happy times! I only wish I could have taken a whole plate of that pumpkin ravioli home with me.

One more photo before I leave you today:


You can see anything at Rhinebeck, if you don't get too lost in the crowds.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rhinebeck Part 1: Roadshots

Rhinebeck has come and gone, and I have some photos to share with you! I hope to offer them in several pieces for easy viewing.

Part the First: The Road

The ride up to to New York was characterized by rain. 

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.  

And I loved it. To be fair, I was not the driver, and I was frantically working on my sweater. I'm deeply grateful to my guy for doing literally all the driving during the course of the weekend. What a sweetie!  (Read between the lines: I'm not the best driver.)

Rain 1

If it had to be a rainy day, it was about the most beautiful rainy car ride I could ask for.

Rain 2

Rain 4

Once we arrived at our friend's house in Albany, however, the rest of the weekend was gorgeous. Our host wisely suggested we take the Taconic State Parkway down to Rhinebeck on Saturday. 

Taconic Pkwy 8 

We were happy to do a repeat of the TSP both ways on Sunday, and the trip home afforded us a couple minutes to take in the breathtaking view of the Catskill Mountains near sunset.

Taconic Pkwy 11

I'm so grateful that of all weekends, our trip up to New England fell on this particular weekend.  Just wait till you see the trees on the fairgrounds! Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ziggy, my happy blankey

A quick Finished Object post, because somebody decided to procrastinate on doing last night's grocery shopping!

Zig Zag 1

This is a very pleasant way to dip into those scraps of yarn and take them for a second ride, and I love the adventure of deciding which color to pick next.

Zig Zag 4

One of the things I enjoyed about it was the mantra-like counting no higher than four in the chevron section. I was gonna keep going and make it a shawl, but someone convinced me to finish it for now.  I was sneaky, though, and left a 'lifeline' in the last color stripe using the very long tail, so that I can rip the border back and continue knitting it if the desire strikes.  I have to confess, that was the smarter half's idea, as well.

Zig Zag 3

Of all the scrap yarn projects (edit: patterns) I've seen, I think this is my favorite because of the way the colors seem to sing. That, and knitting hexi-flats involves constant casting on and off. What do you do with your scraps?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Tis a Season Makes Me Jolly

I just finished my Seasons Hat by Jared Flood.  I picked my own color scheme, and while it's significantly different from my original plan, it looks much more like the original design.

Seasons Hat

I've been going around work, trying to drum up some ideas for the costume party that is three weeks from today. So far the best idea seems to be along the lines of Peter Pan characters for my department.  (Because we have to dress within a theme.  Those crazy nursing home recreation people!) I'm not so sure I'm comfortable prancing about the workplace, wearing a stock costume and begging people to clap their hands.  No, I believe I can do better than this.  Perhaps Mr. Smee... or Michael?
Another costume theme idea I am tossing about is that of characters you thought were true when you were a child; you know, like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy (how would that work with dentures?), the Sandman (I could reuse my vintage nightcap), and the Man in the Moon.  Can you think of any others, without going too scary or religious? I'm thinking the monster under my bed could be fun if there was a way to walk around with a bed on my head.  Or the monster in the closet... but that would probably be more appropriate in a non-work party.

I just realized I never showed you aforementioned nightcap.  Last year my hunny knit me up Franklin Habit's 1840 Nightcap because I also did a Wee Willie Winkie costume for the Nursery Rhymes theme. That was one comfy costume.  Here's my guy modeling the hat.  Isn't he darling? 

Yes, the hat's made with crap yarn, and no, it's not blocked or steamed, though it will be if I use it again this year.

Now I gotta get back to knitting.  I've got a sweater to finish!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Update: Start the Countdown!

Happy October! I got to work today, and only as I looked up at the calendar did I realize that we begin the new month today.  How September flew!

This sweater isn't exactly flying, but I tried it on the other day and found that I had made some headway, at least.  When this ball of yarn runs out, I think I'll switch gears and start the other shoulder.

sweater progress Sep 29

It is only a couple weeks until you-know-what.  Besides the sweater, I have two more projects I want to finish within this time. Wish me speed! I just hit the half-way point on one of them, so I'm hopeful that things will go alright. I guess it doesn't help that I couldn't resist adding another project into the mix besides these:

It's Jared Flood's Seasons Hat, but I picked out my own color scheme. It's been a lot trickier than I initially thought. If you decide to pick your own colors for this project, you would do well to heed my words: you will need two neutrals (the greys) and two related colors (medium and dark green here) that contrast well with the neutrals, and the main hat color also needs to contrast well with the lighter of the color shades.  I so wanted to use the Loft colorway "Sap" in this hat, but it just didn't seem to deliver the contrast I felt it needed, even though it looked very nice with the other colors.  I actually ended up throwing out two of my colors and lifting some shetland from the Honey's stash for the neutrals.  After lots of fussing, it's coming out pretty well, I think.  Hats are usually so effortless, but I expect the extra work on this hat to be worth my while. It's a beautiful design, and I'm thrilled with the chance to use Loft again.

Alright, enough blabbing.  Time to tend to that knittin'!