Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tag, you're It!

Thursday, May 31, 2007
I Have Been Tagged !!!! And so Have You!!!! (This is all Penny's fault!)
  1. Each player starts with 8 random facts about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their 8 random things and post the rules.
  3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
  4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

8 random items:

  1. I am obsessed with really soft beautiful yarns.
  2. I love to fondle yarn and will occasionally buy yarn I have absolutely no use for just because it feels good.
  3. I love Italian food - any Italian food.
  4. I hardly ever seem to finish anything, but the things I finish, I love.
  5. I love a good cup of coffee and drink about 5 or 6 cups a day, sometimes more.
  6. I don't have any children.
  7. I have discovered that I love to knit socks, as long as they are done toes-up.
  8. I went to see the Yarn Harlot yesterday and spent a bunch of money on sock yarn at Webs.

Tagged: Monica, Wendy, Lynn, Nanette, Judie, Bonnie, Donna, and Elsie

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Part I – Sheep and Woolcraft Fairs and yarn and books, oh my!

Yesterday, Mike and I went to the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair in Cummington, Massachusetts, with a side visit to Webs in Northampton, Massachusetts. We had a great time and I picked up lots of goodies. I took a few nice pictures, some of which I’ll post today, saw a lot of sheep, and fondled a LOT of fiber. Now I can’t wait to go to Rhinebeck! It was not quite like I thought it was going to be, but it was fun, nevertheless. We got there around noon; the admission was $6 a carload, so very reasonable. We parked and then walked down to the barns to see what was what.

The first barn was mostly fiber and fiber-arts related goodies. First thing I saw as I rounded the corner was a gorgeous llama peeking around the edge of the barn at me. She was a beautiful honey brown shade and there was lots of fiber for sale for spinning and knitting. I fondled, but decided to look further before spending all my ready cash so quickly. We went up one side and down the other and checked out all of the goodies for sale. I even took a picture of the best sign I have ever seen: “Please Touch Everything.” How perfect, to be encouraged to come in and fondle all the fiber! Now anyone who knows me knows that I can’t fondle without buying something. I did restrain myself yesterday, or I could have spent much more money than I actually ended up spending (which was still too much...).

I decided that it would be much smarter for me to check it all out before I laid out any cash, so I went on to the next barn, and the next, and the next… I went on and found more and more goodies. I also found more and more sheep; there were all kinds of sheep. I didn’t even know what kinds they were. They never seemed to stop bleating as they were being prepared for their competitions. They did not seem at all happy to be washed and sheared and clipped here and there to make them pretty for the show. I even saw a girl cleaning her ewe’s hooves with a toothbrush! Talk about overkill! I do have to say the sheep were beautifully maintained and seemed to be very well cared for by their various 4-H owners. These kids were so serious about this competition. There were even some adults showing their sheep.

We saw everything from 2-week old lambs to full-grown rams and ewes. Now you might not think that sheep are that interesting, but they were all different. Some of them sounded almost human and they all had different voices. Funny, I never knew so much about sheep. The kids, after carefully shearing and cleaning their sheep, put little covers, or coats on them. I asked one of them what they were for and they carefully explained that it was to keep the sheep clean after all the prep. The sheep always want to lie down in the straw and of course, it sticks in their fleece and makes them messy again so the little coats keep them clean for the showing.

Anyway, it’s about time to get to what I actually did purchase. I fell in love with some sock yarn that came with a miniature sock blocker on a key chain. The sock blocker even came with a pattern for a sock sized small enough to cover it! I picked up a double hank of sock yarn from the same place as well (pictures on the right). I also picked up a book called “Golden Gleanings, Fifty Years of Knitting Ideas” by Joyce Englund. It contains all kinds of information on knitting, including reading patterns, stitches, finishing, and other tips and techniques. A pretty good find, I think. I picked three huge hanks of hand spun and hand-dyed wool from the Sliver Moon Farm ( to make a little something for myself besides socks (picture on the right). It’s a beautiful pink and raspberry colorway that I think will make a lovely sweater or cardigan. I can’t wait to find just the right pattern for it. Each 8-ounce hank contains approximately 560 yards of yarn so I have 1680 yards, give or take a yard.

The only really silly thing I picked up was a set of barrettes with little sheep faces on them. I don’t know that I’ll ever wear them myself, but I thought they were awfully cute so I bought them. Mike did persuade me not to buy a lamb marionette though. I get a little nuts at stuff like that and tend to buy “cute” things that I’ll never use, so it’s a good thing he was with me.

After we got some lunch (lamb-burgers, yum!) and sat a little bit to relax, we went and checked out some of the displays of spinning and weaving. I will NOT get into spinning if I can help it. I just don’t need another hobby that I can’t afford now. I can see myself getting all carried away with it, too, so the smart thing is to run, not walk, in the other direction when someone offers to show me how to do something like spinning. (Do you think I've talked myself out of spinning? I'm hoping this little rant will convince me, too.) Then we checked out the fleeces for sale. Even though I didn’t want to buy a fleece, I wanted to check them out just to see what was what. We were both amazed at the quantity of the fleeces that were available. We were also amazed at the feel of the fleeces. They were kind of greasy to the touch; I assumed it was because of the lanolin, and our hands were so soft afterwards from feeling them. No wonder they put lanolin in hand creams.

After the fair, we went into Northampton, Massachusetts to check out Webs. Check them out at and you’ll see why I wanted to go there. I was totally boggled by the sheer quantity of yarn in the store, and then I went into the back where the warehouse (and the discounted yarn) is. I did find some lovely Rowan cotton that I picked up. I think I bought enough for a summer top, but again, I need to find a pattern. I also found two books in a used bookshop in Northampton as well. “Knitting with Hand-Dyed Yarns” and “The Knitting Directory.” Who could pass them up at under $5 each? I mean, seriously, how could I?

So now I have a bunch of new yarn to add to my stash and wind for projects and I can’t wait. Knitting is just so much fun to me and I’m glad I found that out.

By the way, I finished my SECOND pair of socks and have now started on a third. Can you believe it? Me, that hated socks, am now a nutso sock knitter. I’ve posted pictures so you can see how they turned out. I used Cascade Fixation for this pair in a mint green variegated colorway. I have included some “in-progress” pictures as well as the finished socks on my very own feet for your viewing delight.

Part II – me again
On Tuesday, May 29, I will be 51 years old. FIFTY-ONE! I still can’t believe it. I didn’t tell anyone when I turned 50; round numbers make me crazy. This year, I don’t seem to care. Is that a weird thing?

I’m still having some med issues and the doc has changed the dosages to see if that makes a difference. I did lose about 4 pounds and that’s a good thing. I’m off to wind some yarn and marinate something for dinner tonight and then to the store for picnic stuff for tomorrow. All in all, a busy day is planned, but I guarantee that I will get some knitting in.

Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cat!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Part I –Socks and Age and just thoughts

Well, here I am again. Today is my little sister’s birthday – she’s 50 today, and since I won’t be 51 until the 29th, we’re the same age for about 3 weeks. Mom called us “Irish twins” – no slur intended as I am Irish (and French and probably lots more, but mostly Irish and French). It kind of makes me feel old today that my “little” sister is 50; half a century, and I’m there, too, and soon I’ll be past that. I’m the oldest of three; my brother is younger than my sister by about 15 months. I never thought I’d get to be this “old”. I can remember telling my uncle when he turned 30 that “I could never trust anyone over 30”. He brings it up every one of my birthdays since I turned 30. Anyway, this is supposed to be a knitting blog, so I better get to some knitting content.

Drum roll and fanfare, please!!! I just finished my socks! I finished them during the hockey game this afternoon. My beloved NY Rangers went down in the second round in 6 games to the Buffalo Sabres and today was the last game of the series. Now the Sabres will be going to the Conference Finals, playing against the Ottawa Senators. I suppose I shouldn’t feel so bad; nearly everyone thought the Rangers wouldn’t get this far at all, so every game past the first round was great. Anyway, back to the socks: I’ve been working on them for about 2 weeks now, since I got the “Crazy Toes and Heels” book by Mary Ann Beattie. I must say that I enjoyed doing them and though there are some things I would change, I enjoyed it enough that I have actually cast on another pair already. I need to pay more attention to the length of the foot; mine are just a little too long, but I think that may change a bit once I wash them once or twice.

I’ve posted pictures so you can see how they turned out. I used Lion Brand Magic Stripes for the first pair and I’ve cast on Cascade Fixation for my next pair in a mint green variegated colorway. This is a cotton yarn with some elastic built into the yarn for a bit of stretch. It’s kind of like knitting with rubber bands, but very soft and I think it will make a nice pair of summery socks. I forgot to take pictures of them before I downloaded my pictures into my computer so I won’t be posting anything until next time. I’ll try to remember to take “in-progress” pictures so I can post them when I write again. I’m very proud of the first socks, though. Fun stuff, and I never thought I’d say that about socks!

I’ve also posted some pictures of my stash cubes now that they are all filled up with goodies. I opened up the canvas “drawers” and took photos looking down into them. They are 9-inch square canvas cloth cubes that fit into the storage cubes and have handles on the front so you can use them like drawers in a dresser. I also have some pix of my book, though not all of them, as they won’t all fit on top of the cubes. My latest find is my “Stash” jar. We went garage saling last week and one of the places listed in the paper said they had “contents of a former craft store.” Well, I missed the yarn and needles, but I found the little jar and thought it would be perfect for the top of my stash cubes. I didn’t do as well that week as I did this weekend, though…

Yesterday we went to the local public library’s used book sale. Jackpot! Even if I missed some, I still got lots. I got a whole sack full of knitting books and magazines for $5! I mean a grocery bag full of them, and even if some of them are a little bit dated, they still have bunches of “classic” patterns for men and women. I got some kid’s patterns, too, though I don’t knit for kids because my family’s kids are all grown up. I’ll probably just give those away to someone that I know will use them. I also got a bunch of magazines from another garage sale; they are all Pingouin books, which is a yarn brand I’ve never heard of. They are not dated, but have numbers in the lower right corner of the covers. They were apparently given free with the purchase of that brand of yarn.

You should see some of the patterns in these Pingouin “magazines.” They are just beautiful and the magazine contains foldout charts and some very high-end pattern goodies. I picked up about 20 of them, all they had, for $1.50! I think the luck was with me yesterday, as I don’t usually see anything related to knitting. Some stuff was stamped with the name of a knitting store that I didn’t know existed in my area. It must have been closed quite a while ago, because I pretty much know the address and there’s nothing there now. Pretty good haul, wouldn’t you say?

I almost forgot: I got 3 huge cones of cotton yarn (one may be acrylic, but I'll figure out what to do with it) at Goodwill for less than $10 and 3 wool sweaters at the Salvation Army (affectionately known as "Sally's Boutique") to felt for about $12. I'm feeling pretty rich in projects these days....all I need to do now is find the time to do them all. These have been stored in a giant Ziploc bag and will probably wait for colder weather when I can't or don't want to go out and need something to do, probably while watching hockey. ;o)

Part II – Me
Still doing pretty well, even though I’m still having med issues, I think. I may have to change up some of the supplements I take for something that is absorbed easier or just works out better for me. Keep your fingers crossed. Even though I’m still having depression issues, I think that I’m getting by for now and that’s pretty good for me.

Remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cat!