Tuesday, October 31, 2006

...and speaking of scarves

My International Scarf Exchange scarf arrived! That's me wearing it in Princeton outside one of the many fun shops sprinkled around town.

My pal' s name is Dee and she sent me such nice goodies along with my scarf - homemade chocolate, lovely stitch markers with matching notecards. There was also a candle that I'm sure to enjoy as I take my long and luxurious baths.

It is a lovely all over cable pattern knit in Malabrigio yarn. It is soft and long and blends nicely with my tones.

I have only one more deadline knit item to complete. It's a Karabella scarf that's giving me a fit with a motiff the auction winner requested. This is a very fine merino and it is not very forgiving with mistakes or awkward stitch placements. So I've frogged this one too often to count. I'll try to post some pictures later.

The Phyllis scarf

A few weeks ago Phyllis waltzes into our LYS announcing her new masterpiece - a most beautiful reversible cabled scarf in the most sumptuously soft wool I've felt in a long time.

It's Skacel's Adagio. I had to make it. It looked like a fast project that I could insert into the million others I had going on including some very seriously testy deadline projects (one being a scarf I offered as an auction win that has turned into a bit of problem - I'll post about that one once I've solved the problem).

Sunday night, I stayed up late to get started. I really indulged myself because I turned on a movie too and had the best time. I watched Prime and I actually laughed out loud! Here's my progress. What do you think?

I think this is suppose to be a gift idea for a man. However, with apologies to all the men in my life, ain't no man getting this one. It's just for little ol' me.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rhinebeck Sunday - two perspectives

My knitting buddy Phyllis wanted to tell you all about our drive up to Rhinebeck last Sunday. I think she has come to the conclusion that I am a bit eccentric when it comes to yarn and knitting. I don't think so, but I'll let her tell you about it...

Phyllis' View -
Rhinebeck - the truth about the obsessed
(Comments from the peanut gallery- aka the driver of the day, who sought her own perfect shade of blue, and was seduced by a cloud of laceweight.)

She said that she went back on Sunday because we had planned it- very true, and much appreciated. But, there was also the yellow/green scarf....

Deborah got in my car at 8 am, put down her coffee cup and whipped out the scarf. She finished the skein, and announced that she would need another.

We got there just around 10, and enjoyed some wide open spaces for a while. Deborah did lead us to some luscious yarn, and kept herself in control. Leslie and I kept fondling alpaca and merino- "oooh, soft!"

Eventually we found the booth with the yellow/green. The ladies there were very impressed with the instant scarf. Luckily there was more available.

A few minutes later.....

She was walking and knitting after the ball was wound, continued knitting for the drive home.

A perfect day- lovely scenery, no traffic, great company, bunnies to pet, sheep to smell (and thank for the wool) and no traffic on the Thruway!

Deborah's View

There are many knitting celebrities out there today and we love how they have brought skills and prose together to keep us all entertained as we try to discover and perfect new skills.

Well, Leslie and Phyllis are my real life knitting celebs. I met them both at my LYS. Leslie is the master of the most beautiful bags that Noni never created and Phyllis is the master of cables, sweaters, finishing and everything technical with knitting. What's better still - they share and inspire me.

Phyllis is the one who suggested the Rhinebeck trip, and she drove us all up and back which allowed Leslie and me to work on our projects. I worked on my Rhinebeck scarf.

As we were driving up, I ran out of yarn and had to keep my fingers crossed that I'd be able to find the vendor I bought it from and hoped that she had more left! Leslie was working on a beautiful shrug with yarn she bought back at her store. It was a fun 1 1/2 hours. We talked about knitting, knitting and knitting, oh and scouting (Phyllis is a master scout master too!).

One thing they didn't know about me until Rhinebeck is that I am not always worried about appearances. I was cured of that at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, when I was there delivering my first child 17 years ago. Ladies, I lost count of how many strangers (they said they were doctors) came to have a look see up my you know what. Who can be modest after that? But I digress...

I found the vendor with the yarn I ran out of and since I was having such good fortune, I set a personal goal to finish my Rhinebeck scarf, at Rhinebeck! The problem with shopping at these fairs is no vendor will take the time to wind your yarn. Well, if you want to jump right in and get started knitting with your new acquisition, somebody has got to wind it right? And I did. Admittedly, I may have looked a bit weird, but I rationalized that I was surrounded by fiber junkies and no one would really notice. Not true, I did get the occasional stare and one woman even stopped me to suggest that I was all tangled up and she'd help me 'unwind'. Whatever. My Rhinebeck scarf is now a FO!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rhinebeck - part 3

The Naked Truth

I had to take a break from the temptations of the fair grounds - the yarn, the spinners, the food, maple syrup cotton candy, the cheese (yes there was wine and cheese tasting), I have no will power really.

While I was walking out on the grass meadow, I saw those freshly sheered sheep. I wondered which of the many bags of fiber belonged to them. I stood there munching on my freshly popped kettle corn popcorn (man, it was the best kettle corn I've ever had, I ate the entire 5 gallon bag). I decided to take inventory of the damage so far -

I got to visit a lot of vendors. My favorites? Persimmon Tree Farm and Briar Rose. I never made it over to some of the other popular locations, the lines were just too long.

And, the bloggers! That Blogger Bingo was HUGE! Below are some of the many faces I got to take pictures of -

Meet Iris and the cutest Paparazzi (paparazzo for you word people)I've ever seen!

Recognize anyone else? I have some more pictures that have no names associated with them. I need your help reminding me who is who. I'll have to put all of the other pictures in a separate post, blogger is so temperamental when it comes to pictures.

Back inside, I keep telling myself to pull the plug already, I'm nearly out of dough and my feet are feeling numb. Right there in front of me I see someone who had already run out of gas!

But, behind her are these -

Surely, I could not pass that by! Do I buy them all or just the dye lot? Do I buy the merino, the mohair AND the boucle in the same colorway? Oh, darn it! WWUDO??

As I stood there contemplating bankruptcy, the sun began to set and that was the final cue that it was indeed time to go home. I followed the crowds, like sheep, out to the parking lot.

Bye bye Rhinebeck. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We interrupt this Rhinebeck program for...

A Swap Report

I received my International Tote Exchange Swap in the mail, all the way from Nickie in California! Opening the box was an experience. There was the most wonderful lavender fragrance. Inside the box was a special chocolate bar, sachet and soap. Isn't the card cute!

And then there is the tote -
She really went way beyond anything I could have imagined for me. I've been checking out the exchange's blog for all of the creative ideas and I must say this is one of the best (including my own)!

Thank you so much, Nickie!

Stayed tuned for pictures of my Crafty Secret Sister, Secret Sister and International Scarf Exchange Swaps. After those, I only have 2 swaps left for the rest of the year.

Rhinebeck Files, part 2 - yarn porn

These are the cute free range llamas I referred to previously. Blogger wouldn't let me post any more pictures before.

Honestly, this entire day is going to go badly. It's not healthy to put a yarn addict at a fiber fair! It's like sending a alcoholic to an Oktober fest or something. One very positive phenomenon I can report is that I did not get the itch to spin. Oh, don't think they didn't try to seduce me with the beautiful spinning wheels, the artsy drop spindles, the beautiful braided fibers and the bales of sheered stuff in cotton candy arrays. All I kept thinking was - when the hell would I ever be able to knit??

The fair grounds were chock full with vendors. I had to set a plan, what am I looking for or will I just randomly buy whatever moves me to tears. I decided to do both! The first place I was lured into was a stall that was set up like a living room sort of. The grandma was in the rear spinning and the cutest little girl was sitting on a small couch reading.

I kept staring at some skeins of super bulky mohair boucle. Another woman calls over the little girl and asks her to find me a color. I kept picking up a tan, a red, an orange and a turquoise skein. The woman said that the little girl had a multidimensional sense of color. I bought the turquoise because that's what the little girl said would go best with my skin.

Below are some of my other favorite acquisitions.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Rhinebeck Files - Saturday, gettin there

My family kindly granted me a day off Saturday. Then I realized that my knit buddy Phyllis was only available for Sunday. So, what does a girl do when faced with the dilemma of going to Rhinebeck on Saturday or Sunday? She goes both days!

I only live 1 1/2 hours from Dutchess County in New York so I told myself that I could act as scout and go it alone for the first day. The drive would do me good. I'd get to take in the fall foliage and the beautiful mountains in the distance. I'd get to contemplate the seasons. I'd get to think about life and the open road...

I'd also get to think about traffic! Were they all heading for Rhinebeck too?

After about a half hour of open trafficy road, I pop in a tape of a book that I have been too wimpish to read. It is a poignantly painful story called The Bluest Eye. I told myself that I could lose myself in Ruby Dee's masterful performance and that it isn't often that one gets to hear her read you a book. This was a big mistake. Toni Morrison is a master at tugging away the facades that indifference devises to keep us ignorant. Before the book was over, I wanted to turn around, go home and go to sleep. But it was Rhinebeck and I'm a knitting fanatic and this was supposed to be fun, so I drove on.
Then, I came to the proverbial fork in the road -

In my state of depression, the winery sure sounded like a good segue but who would be my designated driver??? I passed it by and then I see this -

Yippee I'm there. And man you should have seen the long line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot.

After I pay my $10 bucks at the 4H gate, I go inside and see that it is buzzing with people - men and women in all of their knitted glory, children... and lots of sheep and llama! In my book induced depressed state of mind, I started feeling sorry for the sheep! The couple of black and white Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson Ebony and Ivory llama got to walk around and meet people. All the other sheep were in pens. This sheepish awareness mind you, was also the result of another book - Dominion by Matthew Scully that I read soooo long ago and I was sure that I had recovered from it - apparently not.

I began browsing trying to put my mind back on track looking for yarn nirvana. I had promised myself that I would be selective and not buy anything that my LYS could provide me a reasonable facsimile with.

Swapacilious! - UPDATE

Before I can begin telling you all about my thrilling weekend at Rhinebeck I have to catch you up with my swaps. Last week I sent out a few items as evidenced by my middle son here holding the loot -

Those are the Secret Sister Swap, Crafty Sister Swap and the International Scarf Exchange boxes. Missing is the Kids Around the World Swap :(
My crip-tonight son has been recovering from his broken ankle accident and we weren't able to pull off the idea we had for the swap which was to take a video of his average day (it's kind of hard wielding a camera on crutches). Instead I had to do something else. So Brenden, your swap is on the way and I hope you won't be disappointed.

I received from my Secret Sister a wonderful amaryllis bulb along with a trowel and a strange weed wacker gadget that I've never used before!

Before I received the bulb, she sent me wonderful kitchen things with an Autumn theme. She also clipped to a memo board, a great sounding recipe for pecan pie, my favorite! My grandmother used to grow pecans in Savannah, Georgia! How did she know that??

And, last but not least, I found out over on the ITE site that my tote is in the mail! My pal Nickie has a picture on her blog of the absolutely gorgeous tote that is finding its way to me all the way from California!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fellow Rhinebeckers - something to better identify me by

This shot is just a few years old. I'm usually the one taking the digital pictures so I don't have any recent photos of myself, believe it or not. Oh, and guess what? That little fella I'm holding, is the one with the broken ankle who just turned 12!

See you all tomorrow!

International Scarf Exchange mailed

My first attempt. I thought I'd like a lengthwise scarf with some silky ribbon yarn.

Decided on this diamond pattern. Here she is all boxed up. I included a mini scarf for my pal's soon to be daughter.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thanks Willie...

We'll do it next year!


My LYS is having a 40% sale today. Don't tell my Stash KAL friends. My sobriety month is December so I'm not really violating my pledge but I still feel guilty just thinking about shopping. And, speaking of shopping, my knitting buddy Phyllis just reminded me that we made a pact to go to Rhinebeck this weekend.

My crip-tonight son should be able to get along with his dad for one day don't you think?? I mean, there is no other place on the planet that a knitter would rather be than at Rhinebeck this weekend right? I mean, I'm not going for the entire weekend. Many Blogger Bingo folks are going for the entire weekend! I'm just going Saturday. Also, it will be like attending a conference at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology in New York). I'll get to learn about fiber and such. I might even try my hand at spinning.

Learning to spin might actually come in handy the way the US economy is going. Who knows, it's possible that we won't be able to afford clothes in the next couple of years!

Back to my knitting buddies at my LYS, they are such instigators. I was hanging out there yesterday telling them about my ER day and how I couldn't find anyone that reminded me of my favorite hospital show - St. Elsewhere. There was not a Denzel look-a-like anywhere to be found at Valley Hospital!

Before I could even get started with my ER story, Leslie my other knitting buddy who makes the most beautiful bags, shows me her latest creation. I resist because I'm working on my ITE (International Tote Exchange) bag and can't possibly rationalize making another right now until I've finished with that. Then Phyllis walks in with this adorable scarf that I MUST make. A cabled beauty done with Skacel's Adagio. I've just finished and mailed my ISE (International Scarf Exchange) scarf so I'm available to try a new favorite scarf I tell myself.

Lastly, my Rhinebeck project is sooooo delayed. Remember the green boucle sweater coat I was making? I just can't get back to Englewood to work on it with the knitting zen master LYS owner. Soooo many meetings, not enough play time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The magic of swaps

You all have heard me talk about my swap projects. It is very new to me. I started doing it to force myself to be more inventive and creative with my crafting. I am a very shy crafter and I rarely gift any of my creations.

Some people just don't like "homemade" stuff. When I started the blog, I discovered a world community who love homemade stuff! Some of the things I've seen on the various blogs are amazing and I've been recipient of some amazing things. What seems to be as important for many of the swappers is presentation and the attention to little aesthetic details. I so enjoy the sensual nature of things - visual impact, smell, and feel and while I'm aware that this excites some of us more than others I'm happy to know people who enjoy this kind of stuff. Food is one thing that seems to excite most people because it brings pleasure to so many of our senses. I have one friend who does EVERYTHING food over the top! I've learned to accept her meticulous attention to detail(she has no patience for anyone else's sloppiness)
because I know that she throws an amazing dinner party!

Let me tell you about the blog of someone that I have to send things to. She lives in Singapore and her blog is so fascinating. She is very artistic and her photography is impeccable. It's called Hand Made Love and I find her blog's title a funny coincidence to my apprehension about gifting my crafts. As it turned out I didn't send her any of my craft items because I was so curious about how she would turn a moleskin into a work of art.

Then there's Cerri in Tennessee. She sent me a box for the aqua/red swap.

The sensation began as I opened the box. Even the tissue paper was a work of art, the cut edges were all scalloped. Then the aroma of a candle floated out as I marveled at the sweet little boxes and tucked away surprises.

Mind you, this is from a complete stranger! What is this thing? I thought surely we as a human community no longer engaged in such wreckless activity. Well, this is delightful and I confess to being one of the world's leading cynic, am totally confused by it. So if there are any social science crafters out there, care to comment?