Saturday, December 7, 2013

Destash is on!

Okay, my destash is up on Ravelry! Stop on over and see if there's anything you or a friend migh like. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm trying to scrape together some money for harping, so every little bit helps!

Now that that's out of the way, here's a little update on some of the things that have kept me so absent:




I scored the natural shades of Jacob wool yarn at the Garden State Sheep Breeders festival back in September, and threw in the red yarn for a little holiday pizazz. Ideally, the Jacob wool will provide a beautiful theme for a number of Christmas balls to come, even if it's not this year.  After all, I have a time crunch!

The headphone cozy I made for a patient at the nursing home sorely needed replacing, so this past week I got my rear in gear and cranked one out. This time I added some sporty stripes, and I love how it turned out.

Headphone Cozy 2.0

The smaller size of the iPod Shuffle made it easier to fit the player onto the whole contraption; the first time around the resident had a bulkier mp3 player that dangled uncomfortably.

The other thing that I can show you is not new; I simply rephotographed it with more care than before, as I plan to gift it to a woman who is moving away at the end of the year. Appropriately, the pattern is the Traveling Woman Shawl. At a time when we were feeling a bit unsure of ourselves, the recipient won my partner and me over with her candid and welcoming spirit; we're gonna miss her. The world needs more people like Hillary.

Traveling Woman

Traveling Woman

Alright... I need to go break out that harp now! In Hillary's honor, I offer a wish up for you, feeling like we could all use it right now: when you least expect it (and perhaps most need it), may you find yourself greeted with kindness, tolerance, and peace, and may your inspiration to extend the same to others be greater than mere deserving.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Leaves of Grass - a time for giving thanks

Okay, here it is, off the blocking mats. (I'm trying hard not to be obnoxiously excited.)

Mel of GirlsInSheepClothing asked how this ranks among the things I've knit, and I think it's right up there at the top. It's certainly the most stunning thing I've managed to work up, thanks to the sheer size and a fortuitous combination of Jared's lovely pattern and Chris's excellent dyework. The yarn is Celebration by Briar Rose Fibers, and the 40% bamboo gives a sheen that makes the shawl light up when held at different angles. 

Photographing this was really fun for two reasons: taking pictures of newly blocked lace is always fun - playing with the angles and admiring the different sections - but there was the added "fun factor" of having two walls near my back door that worked like Velcro. I just slapped the blanket on the wall, tried to arrange it fairly neatly, and it just stuck there. First I tried this weathered shed, then a stucco wall, and both held this particular yarn with ease.

Against the stucco

Hanging on the shed

I love how the handdyed colors ripple like water on a lake
As you can probably see, I played with some of the photos to highlight different aspects of the lace that are hard to capture with a less-than-ideal camera. I know it's not purist, but I'm a bit addicted. The two photos immediately above are pretty close to the real thing, even though they are different; the appearance transforms when viewed from different angles. This shawl/blanket really catches light! I'm grateful that Jeff helped me decide on this yarn.

One of the special aspects of this yarn is that the guys at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat blessed me by treating me to a spree at Briar Rose Fibers (and now I'm hooked). They did it under the guise of thanking me for helping do some work preparing for the retreat, but I think it's more a reflection of the kind of guys it attracts - talented, thoughtful, generous, and all-around fantastic. I'd go back to the MSKR in a heartbeat. The good Lord knows I keep trying.

The retreat is always a tough time of year for me to get away... and this year is almost definitely out, but for a good reason: I'm working towards taking a bedside harp therapy certification course in the spring. After years of my music being kept "under a bushel," I've gotten to a place in my life where I think it's time I did more with it. In fact, in just a couple hours I should be at my first harp lesson since my short-time harp teacher went off to college about seven years ago. I'm both nervous and excited to be reentering the world of music in this way. Probably the most nebulous aspect of taking this course is the "how to." For those on Ravelry, I am planning to destash some yarn in order to help defray the cost of the harp therapy certification, or at least the lessons. I'll post a link when it's up so you can take a peek or spread the word - any help is appreciated!

It's mere coincidence that as Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I find myself at a place where I feel the need to stop and give thanks to all the people who have shown interest in my life and in my work, and for the opportunities I've had to share the journey with people such as you. Thank you for being a part of my life! I could say more here, but I've gotta make tracks... I don't want to be late for my lesson! Happy knitting!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Beginning the Long Road To The Finish

I've finished Chart D on my Leaves Of Grass blanket!!!

Now it's on to that sprawling border!

In keeping with my LOG challenge to expose myself (and you) to more poetry, here's a video presenting a musical setting of a Latvian poem translated to English. The song is called "Long Road" - fitting, I think, for the idea of being so close and yet so far away. If you can take six minutes to listen, it's quite lovely.  I have been fortunate to hear this piece performed live several times, and I was struck each time by its soaring and wistful quality. The musical setting calls for a smaller choir that alternates with the larger choir, depicting the distance described in the text. You can read the poem's full text in the comments at this link. Enjoy!

"I love you night and day
As a star in the distant sky.
And I mourn for this one thing alone 
That to love, our lifetime was so short."
~ Paulina Barda

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And another one's gone

This past weekend I was able to attend the beloved Rhinebeck sheep and wool festival with my partner. There is too much to share all here, but I'll do what I can with the aid of some pictures. Sadly, the good camera seems to have given up the ghost, so you'll have to settle for camera phone pictures.

First leg of the journey on Thursday: a stop in Bethlehem to revisit that building that matches my Westknits Color Craving shawl.

Color Craving

On Friday my partner and I spent the day driving through the beautiful mountains of Vermont.


Bennington, VT

Bennington, VT

Robert Frost's grave



Covered Bridge

During all this driving, I worked on knitting the second sock for my final purple House Colors project, and I finished Friday night, just in time to wear them on Saturday at Rhinebeck!

House Color Socks

House Color Socks

House Color Socks

I also stole the moment and took a few more pics of stuff you've already seen.

Red Cardigan

Green Sweater

Shur'tugal socks

Green Sweater

Last year I searched in vain for the famed apple cider donuts, and this year I continued to work myself into a bit of a tizzy because I just couldn't find them. A deer friend (well, she had antlers, wocka wocka) finally was able to point me in the right direction, and it was the beginning of a love affair.

Worth the wait

Apple Cider Donuts!

Spare tires

And of course, my partner and I made a splash with our fish hats - we figured out a way to pose that shows of both the front and back simultaneously. We've become quite the hams.

Fish Hats!

The ride back afforded some nice sightseeing along the Hudson River, including walking along the Rip Van Winkle Bridge...

Rip Van Winkle Bridge


... and looking at the bridge from another vantage point (it was too long to fit into one shot).

Rip Van Winkle Bridge

Rip Van Winkle Bridge


We also got to see the Saugerties Lighthouse, which requires a lovely little hike to get there.

Saugerties Lighthouse

Saugerties Lighthouse

There are many more pictures I'd love to share with you, but this post is a bit unwieldy as it is. If you'd like to see more, hop over to my Flickr page. There are lots of fall leaves, at least.

Now it's time to buckle down and focus my knitting for the upcoming deadlines. I have only five projects left unfinished in the Countdown Challenge, though I think one of them may have to be counted as a casualty. My handspun sweater (Slade) is on the naughty seat for its ability to defy all sizing logic. At some point I'll rip it out and restart it, but I'm at a point where I need to press forward with other knitting. During the weekend after I finished my Rhinebeck socks, I took a little breather and cast on another pair of socks using a skein of lovely wooliness from Briar Rose Fibers.

Casting on another pair

I also managed to crank out a cozy for my water bottle, using some lousy handspun I made a while back. I love using handspun yarn for cozies; it gives me a way to enjoy those beautiful colors even if I can't wear it.

Water Bottle Cozy

Well, I think it's officially fall now, don't you? Happy Fall! (And a spring shout-out to all my Southern Hemisphere buddies!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another one bites the dust

Did you think I dropped off the planet? Sometimes I feel like I did. But I actually have a couple FOs to share with you today!

From my Countdown Challenge, I submit my Shur'tugal socks:

Shur'tugal Socks

Begun in March of 2012, this pair of socks has languished on the needles for some time; it's not a bad pattern to knit, but it just took me a while. I enjoy when a sock's pattern repeat is large enough that it creates natural 'landmarks' by which to count pattern repeats when duplicating the first sock. This was one of those stitch patterns.

Shur'tugal Socks

The sock is knit in The Sanguine Gryphon Little Traveler, colorway Doune Castle. Ain't it lovely?

Shur'tugal Socks

Now for my second FO I submit something that does not count toward the Countdown Challenge: my finished Color Craving shawl!

Color Craving

Special thanks to Karen for volunteering to model the shawl. She saw me trying to take selfies, and just happened to be wearing the perfect color to match my shawl! I joke that I'm always on a quest to make my knits in colors that will be wearable, but I think I actually did it this time, and I'm delighted. I think Karen did a lovely job modeling, too - all while walking her cat!

Color Craving

I have dubbed it the Ladders of Doom shawl because many of the people participating in the KAL got hung up on its rungs ... in more than one way. 

Color Craving

Once I had finished knitting, the only mystery that remained was how to wear it. I spent a lot of time in front of both the mirror and my partner, getting stink-face and approving nods, but in the end I decided a very long triangle was more challenging to wear than I originally had anticipated. All these photos were taken in an off-the-cuff manner, but I like the general direction they are headed. I even threw it on like a scarf and did a sort-of tie thing. I kinda liked it, but I'd never be able to recreate it, so I then reversed the process to show a three-step instructional on how I got there. It's really pretty simple.

1. Drape:
Step 1

2. Wrap:

Step 2

3. Tie:

Color Craving

Oh look - it happened to kinda match my brown shirt, too! Double-whammy for today!
Yarns used: Brown is Madeline Tosh Sock 'Burnished'; Grey is Fleur de Fiber 'Cloudgate'; Red is Shibui Sock 'Pagoda'.

I'm ticking off the days until Rhinebeck... I can hardly believe it is this weekend! I'll probably be decked out in purple (it's a House Colors thing... okay, it's also an I-don't-know-when-to-stop thing), but I also expect to bring last year's Rhinebeck Sweater that didn't quite make it. Remember that reddish cardigan? Since the weather's cooled off, I've been loving it. My handspun Slade is in time out for some ridiculous issues with not taking notes on the changes I was making, and now it's been too long and I think I've done things in the wrong sizes... yeah, it just makes my head swim a bit. So rather than stress, I'll just wear the sweaters that I finished and bring a bit of closure to my red sweater.

I hope to see some of you there! I think the afternoons might afford a bit of knitting/spinning time on the hill, so feel free to drop by and show me what you've found. And if you want bring me a maple doughnut, I won't complain...