Monthly Archives: March 2009

Local Talent

Who knew that little Pawtucket, RI was such a hub of artistic bounty?? There are so many talented folks in my little corner of the world. I feel it is my duty to spread the word.

At last night’s Guild meeting I had the pleasure of chatting with Leah Cherry of Emmaline Designs about her very cool project bags.  We shared ideas on the best attributes for a knitting bag. She is designing a line of knitting totes and accessory bags in the most dazzling array of colors and fabrics. She is still in prototype stage, but plans to offer her fantastic creations at the South End Open Market opening this summer in Boston. (Leah, I hope I have the correct link…) She may be a California transplant with no hint of a Boston accent, but she sure does know what we cold-weather knitters are looking for as we schlep our projects about in the snow!

I also met Iris of Cutie Pies, who made the most scrumptios little mini sized treats for all us knitting and crochet addicts. Iris and I only spoke for a few seconds, but it is clear she is a spitfire of a baker, with a quick tongue and a clear vision of what people want in a pie. Look out, Iris is here and she is the master of yummy pastries!

If you need need a project bag or a tasty treat, please visit my friends Leah and Iris. Rest assured, I have not been compensated at all – these are just my personal opinions. Of course, pie and tote bags are always welcome, though not expected.

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What is the Italian Word for “Dog”?

In these tough economic times, everyone is searching for a bargain, knitters included. At last night’s meeting of the Slater Mill Knitting and Crochet Guild meeting I do believe I found one.

The smart ladies (and man – Hi John!) of the Guild devised a wonderful way for us to raise money and share some fiber goodness and yarn love. At each meeting members donate skeins of yarn to the “Buck a Ball” table. Other members peruse the table and can find new yarn delights for merely $1. All the money goes to the Guild. Such a deal!

These “Buck a Ball” donations are special.

You know these yarns. That one skein of colorful sock yarn that you just had to buy because it was on on sale and how on earth could you pass up such a deal?! Who cares if it’s not enough for a pair – you’ll find a use for it. Or how about the freebie ball of lime green fuzzy eyelash yarn with orange speckles that came in a gift bag you were so excited to receive, but upon closer inspection you realize it is  not enough, not the right color, too scratchy, too slippery, too glittery…You know these yarns. Think the Island of Misfit Toys, only yarn.

So what wonderful fibers did I uncover from the Buck a Ball table? Look at these lovlies! (Click for big)

I was especially coveting the mohair on the left. Despite my recent frustrations with Swallowtail, I am still determined to make a floaty, ephemeral lace stole and this forest green lace-weight looked like just the right yarn for the job. The Regia sock yarn on the right was a no-brainer. They don’t call me KnitSox for nothin’ you know. And yes, I realize it is only one ball and not enough for a pair of socks. Be quiet. I know. It was only a buck – you expect me to pass it up?

Tonight, because I am a Ravelry geek, I had to immediately photograph my new yarns and log them into my stash.  As I was lining up the artistic shot in the viewfinder, I looked closely at the label on the hunter green mohair beauties.

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It appears that there are two puppies on this label. An Irish Setter and a Poodle. Now I don’t speak Italian, but I’m wondering if “seta” is the Italian word for dog.

I know there are talented people who spin yarn from dog hair, but honestly, I’ve never understood that particular hobby.

I spend endless hours of my life combating the persistent fuzziness of the Max hairs that cover every surface of my home and my clothing. Jeff and I are sometimes lucky enough to travel to far-off lands and we always laugh at the amount of copper-colored Beagle/Boxer hairs we deposit at various stopping points along the way. Max barely leaves the family room, but his hair has covered most of North America, the Caribbean, and parts of western Europe.

Did I just get an amazing deal on two balls of Italian dog hair?? Please say it isn’t so.

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Happy Friday!

Max is looking forward to the weekend. Are you?

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Click here for more funny puppies.

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Swallowtail Shawl Update

The Kangaroo Alpaca Silk Swallowtail is gone. I ripped it out very quickly, while watching the Biggest Loser. (Why is Ron still there??? And can you belive how HARD the Black Team fell off the wagon?! Jumbo shrimp cocktail, tequila and cigarettes, have they learned nothing?)

If you read yesterday, you were expecting me to use KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud or Shadow for the next version. Ha! Fooled you!!

Because watching Biggest Loser on DVR is more fun than winding yarn, I grabbed another of my latest (already wound) hand-dyed, cast on, and pretty soon had 20 or so rows complete.

(Click for big)

What do you think? Pretty? I think so. Amazing how it turned from a yarn blob, into something so defined and crisp and clean.

But here’s the problem. I made a dumb decision and cast on with size 2s. They were the closest needles at hand at the time. People, believe me when I tell you, I am L-A-Z-Y, too lazy to walk up a flight of stairs and find a size 6. Knit on size 2, this finished shawl will be the size of a kleenex. Not so good.

But even if I did get my butt off the couch long enough to find the 6s, I only have one skein of this particular sock-weight yarn, meaning I am 50 or so yards short of the 516 yards recommended in the pattern. Which means I now have to wind up the yarn I showed you last night.

American Idol is waiting for me on DVR, so I must go wind, really fast. And maybe I’ll have a jumbo shrimp cocktail when I’m done.

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Just Not Meant for Each Other

I love color. I love lace. The two together are even better. Right? Wrong.

Prompted by my good friend Kim, who is attempting lace for the first or nearly first time, and my need to take a break from the recent abundance of sock knitting, I cast on for the Swallowtail Shawl.

As with most lace projects, it’s a bit of yarn blob right now.

Swallowtail Shawl Blob

Swallowtail Shawl Blob

The yarn is a laceweight 80% alpaca / 20% silk, hand dyed by Gail the Kangaroo Dyer.

The yarn is lovely – soft and silky, just yummy. The colors are dazzling. The problem, I think, is that the lovely yarn is competing too much with the lovely pattern.  Apart – beautiful. Together – kind of ugly Betty. Maybe the answer is (gasp!) ripping and restarting with a solid color yarn.

A quick trip to the stash uncovered these. Pretty solid color lace yarn

Pretty solid color lace yarn

They are all from KnitPicks, from left to right, Alpaca Cloud (100% Baby Alpaca) in Moss and Iris, and Shadow (100% Merino) in Sunset.

Oh decisions! I’m off to rip.

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Grateful

Today I am grateful for a sweet husband and a thoughtful friend, who both felt badly that yesterday’s snowstorm and resulting disrupted travel plans prevented a proper birthday celebration. The following images all brightened my day.

Okay, I can’t figure out how to remove duplicate images from this gallery posting. Apparently I am a WordPress loser.  My ever-loving, always thoughtful and super-attentive husband gave me a smiley face birthday cake and a happy little African Violet plant. Perfect!

And my very good friend and pseudo trainer V gave me a sweet little butterfly birthday cupcake.

I am a very lucky girl, who will be enjoying much chocolate this evening.

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Home Knitting

Perhaps the only thing better than Airport Knitting is knitting at home, while snowbound.  All the flights from Boston to Las Vegas are canceled, my trip is a bust. I’m making the best of it by enjoying some peaceful time on the sofa in between trips outside with a shovel to clear the end of the driveway.

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This is the same Welted Rib pattern, this time with another skein of hand-dyed. The colors of purple, fuschia and lime green make me smile, especially when the sky outside is all gray and white and dull.

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