Archive for October, 2007

Knitter’s Heaven . . . with Food

October 22, 2007

That’s how I can describe Rhinebeck in 4 words. Yesterday was the big day. I went to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York with four wonderful additions to the list of people I proudly call my friends.

Allow me to tell my story with the help of some visual aids.

Rarely is there a Sunday in my life where I will set my alarm clock. For this adventure, it was set for 5:45 AM and I bounced out of bed at 6:00 on the dot. Okay, I slid out of bed, but I was bouncing on the inside. This was the view from the driver’s seat as I pulled off the highway to meet the girls. (Yes, Mom. I had come to a complete stop at the red light before I raised the camera. I know I shouldn’t take pictures while driving. It’s kind of like what your middle child’s daughter said about her many years ago, “My mommy doesn’t drink and drive. She only drinks at the stop lights.” I only take pictures at the stop lights.)

The sun wasn’t even above the horizon yet.

After fueling ourselves on Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, we hit the road for a pretty drive with lots of fall foliage to admire. This is what I knit in the car as the Mad Knitter was driving us to our destination. It’s another Baby Cuteness Cardigan made with Opal 6-fach self-patterning sock yarn. Not my usual baby colors, but it’s good-looking and will be great for a baby boy.

We all felt like little kids as we walked through the gates. It was the first time each of us had been to Rhinebeck, and we were drooling. These are a few shots of the festival – some of the outside tents and booths. The majority of the yarn/knitting booths were inside buildings. Some of the buildings are usually meant for livestock during the Dutchess County Fair (this event was on their fairgrounds), so we were walking on hay with lots of high wooden edgings for us to carefully step over. Happy to report that I did not witness nor hear of any shoppers falling on their faces. Yikes. I worried about that all day.

The weather was gorgeous – sunny and warm, but not too hot. Perfect.

There was an overwhelming amount of vendors to see. One building after another filled with yarn, knitted items, fleece, roving, spinning supplies, needle holders, gadgets and gizmos . . . So much to look at – and to buy. After going through our first building, I felt like I’d gotten my money’s worth for the $10 admission fee. Amazing.

We took a lunch break. The Yankee Lagniappe stood in an extremely long, slow-moving line to get fried artichokes. I don’t understand that at all. I mean, she could have gotten the deep fried pickles or the deep fried garlic.

I went to get a humongous cinnamon and sugar pretzel while CostumeChick and Wife”Mom”Knitter had lamburgers. Really – and they loved them. The Mad Knitter had what she called a hockey puck hamburger, but she didn’t seem to care much after her brush with celebrity – or should I say celebrities? She bought the Mason-Dixon Knitting book had it signed by Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner. Then, she met Jess and Casey from Ravelry. She kindly brought me over to meet them and I got a button to wear to identify myself to other Ravelers. I was a dum-dum and left my camera at out lunch table, so I didn’t get to take a picture. Here’s my button, at least.

After lunch, we headed toward more of the vendor buildings and we even braved some of the animal buildings. Do you recognize this guy? No, it’s not my last boyfriend. He’s a very handsome alpaca and I braved a through-the-fence picture before he spit again. I guess he doesn’t like aggressive women.

This guy, however, had a crush on me. Just look at the way he was staring at me. He was in the middle of an obnoxious cat-call as I snapped the picture. Puh-lease. I was just there for the yarn.

At one point, the Mad Knitter, CostumeChick and I went out to the parking lot so they could pick up their Ravelry t-shirts and we could put out purchases in the car. My return stamp looked like a prison tattoo.

Toward the end of our day, as we walked through the last few buildings, look what/who we saw! It’s the Kauni Cardigan on the back of the Yarn Harlot. Okay, so it does appear that we were stalking her. We weren’t. Really. Well, the Mad Knitter was, but I can’t be responsible for the actions of everyone else, can I? (She had stalked her earlier in the day – and a few months before at RJ Julia Bookseller. She has an issue. She’ll work on it.)

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was very kind and friendly after she turned around to find out what the hullaballoo was all about and she even took a picture with us. We admired her sweater and explained that we had to take a picture of it. She said that it wouldn’t be hard to see her in it in the future because she was never going to take it off. It’s really beautiful. We chatted for a little bit, and then she needed to get back to the wool.

A few minutes later, we saw this. No, we weren’t stalking. We just came upon the scene. The Yarn Harlot is talking with another woman who was wearing the same Kauni Cardigan. How could I not take a picture of that?

After a bit more last-chance shopping, we headed home with our purchases and our happy memories of a great day. This is what I bought:

Being the furthest thing from a yarn-snob, I followed Wife”Mom”Knitter’s lead and bought 4 skeins of Cotton & Eco-Spun yarn for $1.79 each. (!) 167 yards on each skein. (!) As you can see from the label, it’s a blend of organic cotton and recycled soda bottles. I love the idea of that. It does have a plastic-y feel to it, so we were thinking it might be great for a market bag or some other kind of bag. I doubt it would be suitable for a hat – imagine the sweating. My mother suggested kids’ mittens. They might be water-resistant. Good idea.

With advice from CostumeChick, I bought a bajillion yard hank of beautiful laceweight wool. Okay, it’s only 1,375 yards. I’m going to try my first lace shawl. Can’t wait. Just have to choose a pattern.

I bought some pretty dyed-roving. It can be used for spinning my own yarn (don’t thing I’m ready for that, although I’m tempted to try it) or for felting. I have some plans for it for Christmas gifts, so I won’t tell you what I’m going to make.

At the top of the picture below is my ball. Doesn’t everyone need a ball? It’s a felted ball made of fleece. $4.00. Had to have it. I can toss it, roll it, hold it, or squeeze it. It’s my ball. If you’re nice, I might let you hold it. Also pictured is my favorite new gadget!

It’s called a Lucet. It’s made of wood and it’s used to make “strong, tightly woven square-shaped cord.” The cord it makes is durable and stays tied if you tie it. The Lucet was “used during the mid-to-late 18th century and for a time during the Edwardian era.” You can use any kind of yarn, string, thread or floss with it. I tried it out at lunchtime and I was making a mess. I went back to the booth and the woman who sold it to me gave me a quick lesson. With some practice, I think I’ve got it. Did I need this tool? Nope. Did I have to have it? Yup. I love gadgets. I especially love them when they work.

I had a fantastic day and I’m so happy I went. In the picture below, I’m the one with the big smile on my face. Wait – we all have big smiles. I’m the one in the middle, holding my ball.

I’m grateful to have been invited to take the last seat in the car and to have the opportunity to enjoy the big event with a great group of girls. It wouldn’t have been the same without them to laugh with and ooh-and-ahh with. We’ll do it again next year, and we’re already making plans for new yarn adventures to go on while we’re waiting for October 2008.

Not Matchy Matchy

October 20, 2007

I knit a hat to go with the Baby Cuteness Cardigan. I used the same yarn, and I even worried that it might be too matchy matchy. Some poor baby girl would be lost in a sea of variegated yarn. Not likely to happen. As it turned out, it’s not at all match matchy. The two pieces look so different. The picture might not show it, but believe me – they don’t go together. With the combination of being knit in stockinette stitch instead of garter and the way the colors pooled, some of the hat colors look duller than they do in the sweater.

No worries, though. The variegated Cuteness will just have to have a solid hat to go with it, and vice versa for the variegated hat. I have to knit more of each anyway, so each one will still get to go to a good home. Hopefully, the families who adopt these baby items will keep them and not pass them on to other families without my prior notification and my written consent (a la Ellen), so I don’t have to take them back anyone. (What a sad, sorry state of affairs. What could possibly break my heart more than seeing Ellen cry? And not just any cry. A sobbing, splatting cry. I want to have her over for ice cream and Oreos to help her cheer up. With this country in the shape it’s in, American citizens deserve to see a happy, dancing Ellen at 4:00. It’s important to us.)

On another note, I’ve been having some morning trouble. No, Mom, not morning sickness. I said morning trouble.
On Thursday morning, I overslept. Normally, my alarm goes off at 6:01 AM. I hit snooze. I hit snooze again. When the alarm goes off at 6:28 AM, I don’t hit the snooze anymore. I let the radio continue to play and I listen to top stories on CBS 880 News. Then I get up and get into the shower. When I’m done, I wake my son and we get ourselves ready to leave the house at 7:15 on the dot. On this particular morning, instead of hearing the announcer say, “CBS News time 6:28,” he said, “CBS New time 7:07.” It took me some time to process what I was hearing. 7:07? That’ts not what he’s supposed to say. What could that mean? What does 7:07 mean to me? Crappity crap crap. That’s what it means. I had to jump up and race into my son’s room, apologizing while I tried to get him to get out of bed. He got ready speedy quick (thank goodness he’s a boy) and I drove him to school in my pajamas. I couldn’t let my mess-up make him late. I raced home, jumped in the shower, got ready and made it to school on time at 8:10 – even stopping at Dunkin Donuts for my large french vanilla with extra milk and Splenda. Amazing, but exhausting.
On Friday, I got up on time. When the alarm went off at 6:01, I didn’t hit snooze. I left the radio on – LOUD – and I woke myself up. I decided to read my book for a while since I had time. Everything went smoothly. M and I both left the house on time and I dropped him at school at 7:19. Good mother.
As I was driving, I realized that I hadn’t put on any jewelry. Not a big deal. Although I feel naked without earrings, I knew I could get through the day without them. No rings on my fingers? No big deal. No watch? It’s raining, so we’re not going out for recess. Don’t need a watch. It was when I stepped out of the car after I parked on the street in front of Dunkin’ Donuts that I felt the cold air. On my stomach. I looked down and realized that I had only buttoned one button on my shirt. Just the top one. Everyone who drove by got a peek at my stomach.
Now, you may not know this about me, but when my stomach was created, it was never intended for public viewing. It serves its purpose, but it’s meant to be cleverly hidden under shirts, sweaters. and comfortable nightshirts. Really. And since it’s been cleverly hidden for all of my 41 years, it’s extremely white. Well, maybe it’s more than just your average white. I think it could qualify as glow-in-the-dark.
I quickly yanked the shirt closed, clutching the fabric between my fingers while my heart pounded. It’s really not that I was embarrassed – although I was. I felt a combination of guilt and fear. Guilt over having innocent drivers and their passengers get their days off to a bad start after catching a glimpse of my belly. Fear that I was going to cause an accident when headlights flashed off my glow-in-the-dark skin and blinded a driver who might rear-end someone else or end up face first into a telephone pole. Luckily, I was able to button up quickly.
On Monday, I’ll wear a pull-over.
Tomorrow is a happy day. I’m going to Rhinebeck with 4 fun friends from SnB! I’m so excited. I never even considered going because I thought it was so far away. The girls have a seat available in their car and it should only take about 2 1/2 hours to get there. Rhinebeck is what all of the knitters call this event, but it’s really the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. I’ve never been – never even heard about it until the last few months of blog-reading and SnB chatting. From what I’ve been told, it’s a knitter’s dream with an overwhelming abundance of yarn, yarn and yarn. There will be yarn vendors, demonstrations, and I don’t-even-know-what. Can’t wait. I’ve got my money and my camera. That’s all I’m worried about. That, and being sure I’m fully dressed before I leave the house.

My Mommy Taught Me to Share

October 16, 2007
So here are the details of the cuteness:
Baby Cuteness Cardigan
(Pattern is based on Mason-Dixon Baby Kimono with a little tweaking.)
Yarn: Bernat Baby Softee – Sport D.K. weight (color: Rock a Bye Baby) – 4 1/4 oz. 333 yd. skein
(used less than one skein)
Needles: US size 6 (4mm)
Gauge (Now stop laughing. Of course I figured out the gauge. Geez.): 5.5 st./inch.
This cardigan is knit in one piece and folds over with only a few seams to sew. Easy.
-Cast on 44 st.
-Knit all rows in garter stitch for 5 inches, ending with a WS row. (You’re beginning at the back bottom)
-Next row (RS): (Beginning the sleeves) Cast on 4 st. using backward loop method.
-Repeat this at the beginning of the next 13 rows. (14 increase rows = 7 4-stitch increases on each side = 28 st. per sleeve = 100 total stitches – How’s that for helpful?)
-Knit even in garter stitch until sleeve measures about 2.5 inches from the last increase row, ending with a WS row.
-Next row (RS): K 38, bind off center 24 st. (for neck opening), K to end.
-You’re now working on the left front.
-Next 3 rows: Knit in garter stitch.
-On next and every following RS row, increase 1 st. at neck edge.
(To increase I did this: K2, yo, K to end. You can also K1, yo, K to end OR K1, M1, K to end OR even K, Kf&b, K to end. It’s up to you. Choose your poison.)
-Continue to knitting with increases until there are 50 st.
-Knit even until sleeve is 5″ wide at wrist. (You may already be there – or you’re close – after stopping the increases. Only a few more rows to knit at the most.)
-Bind off 4 st. at beginning of the next 7 WS rows to finish sleeves.
-Knit all rows even (22 st.) until front is the same length as the back.
-Bind off.
-Now you’ll work the right front:
-Rejoin yarn to sts. of right sleeve at neck edge (WS).
-Next 3 rows: Knit in garter stitch.
-On next and every following RS row, increase 1 st. at neck edge.
(You’ll mirror what you did on the left front. I did this: K to last 2 st., yo, K2.)
-Continue to knitting with increases until there are 50 st.
-Knit even until sleeve is 5″ wide at wrist. (Just like before.)
-Bind off 4 st. at beginning of the next 7 RS rows to finish sleeves.
-Knit all rows even (22 st.) until front is the same length as the back.
-Bind off.
-Weave in ends.
-If necessary based on your yarn, block using your chosen blocking method.
-Sew up side and underarm seams.
-Add on the closure of your choice. I crocheted two chains and sewed one on each side at the opening of the v-neck. You could also knit narrow i-cord or use ribbons the same way. You could also crochet a button loop for one side and sew on a button.
So that’s it. That’s the Cuteness.
I’m knitting a hat to go with this sweater, and then I’m going to start another Cuteness. I really wish I could knit one for myself, but I doubt I could make this translate to an adult size and have it not become one of those things you fold up and keep in your closet permanently. If anyone has ideas, let me know.
And one more thing.



I Can’t Even Stand It

October 15, 2007

Just look at this cuteness. My baby cardigan. Love it.

Wish it fit me.

Look What I Just Started

October 8, 2007
What? I started another project. No big deal. It’s okay to have more than one thing going at the same time. It’s not as if I can’t stick to a project and finish it. I simply choose to try new things before I finish the old thing. Things. Lots of things. But really . . . it doesn’t mean that I have some great weakness of character. It doesn’t. Does not. I’m not weak.


Now if you went to A.C. Moore, innocently making a yarn purchase for your mother so that she could finally start knitting the perfect gift for her only grandson who has named as his favorite color a certain shade of green that just does not seem to be manufactured by any yarn company which sells its products in the state of Connecticut and you looked once again online and thought you found something that just might be right so you ran out to take a look and you saw this:

you would have bought it, too. It’s going to be a cardigan for one of the many new babies that will be born to friends within the coming months.

And it really isn’t an additional project, now that I think about it. It replaces the light yellow baby kimono that I was knitting along on happily until this morning when I realized I’d made a big mistake. I’d really rather not talk about it right now.

It was almost done. Just a few more rows to go. I don’t want to talk about it though.

It was going to be so cute, but the neckline was all wrong. I tried to widen the sleeves, but hadn’t considered the need to adjust the neck line. When I took a good look at it this morning, I saw that it would be perfect for a baby who would want to show off the smooth skin of her upper back while appearing to be choking from the sweater bunching around her throat. I haven’t met any babies yet who might go for that. Actually, I could have had a lawsuit on my hands if a mother put that on her child. I really don’t want to talk about it.

Here’s a look at it. We can look, but just don’t say anything. Here’s the front.

And the back:

See what I mean? Don’t say it. Thanks.

Emmie is really getting tired of my nonsense.

Let’s talk albino squirrels. Here’s a little guy that M. and I saw across the street as we we’re pulling out onto our road on the way to school. He’s completely white with pink eyes.

I’m happy I got to see him, because I’ve never seen an albino squirrel before. But . . . I worry. I hope he has friends. I imagine a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer kind of life for this little guy. What if all the other squirrels laugh and call him names and never let poor albino join in any squirrel games?

A Poem

October 1, 2007

Roses are red.
Ribbons are pink.
It’s time for a mammogram,
Don’t you think?
It’s October.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This month brings the 2 year anniversary
of my very first mammogram ever
– and my breast cancer diagnosis.
Here’s some advice based on what
I’ve learned in the last 2 years:
Be good to yourself.
Put yourself first sometimes.
Be good to others.
Let others help you.
Be ever so grateful for your family and friends.
Do your monthly self-exams.
Schedule your mammogram appointment.
Knit something pink.
And perhaps the most important bit of advice I can give . . .

Listen to your mother.