Knit East 2019

Last weekend Mom and I headed east to St Andrews by the Sea, NB, CA. There is something that feels adventurous when you need your passport to go away for the weekend. On one hand, you are just crossing a river, not far from home. On the other, once you do that, time changes, the dollars look like play money, all spelling rules change, French is on all signs, and people speak with a distinctly different accent. Oh, and all speed and distance road signs are in kilometers. The landscape is the same, but everything feels different. Adventurous!

We traveled very uneventfully the 2.5 hours from home to hotel on Friday, arriving in mid-afternoon at the beautiful Algonquin Hotel. We have seen it on past trips to St Andrews, but never stayed there before. It really is as elegant and comfortable as one would expect, definitely lives up to its reputation. Our room was at the end of a wing on the top floor, and except for the hike to everything, was perfect. Two comfortable beds, two comfortable chairs, plenty of room. The bathroom was small but so well arranged, better than most in that it wasn’t dominated by a giant marble counter. On the whole, we were quite happy with the place.

After we got settled we checked out the marketplace. I was kind of amazed at how they fit everything in. There weren’t a huge lot of vendors, but there was an abundance of yarn and fiber and knitting related things. As nearly as I could tell, most of the vendors were independent businesses from eastern Canada. The end of the room was turned over to Cricket Cove, the yarn store hosting the event. They had set up an entire yarn shop! Not all of that yarn was local, but it was all good.

My plan was to just scope it out and shop later, but I couldn’t resist a few skeins for a shawl. 😉

Then Mom and I headed back to the room for a nap before supper. It turns out that knitters had invaded the place, and we couldn’t get in to the pub for supper , so we ordered room service. Probably the wait was the same, but it was quieter in our room!

Saturday morning brought our first class, lecture style with Stephanie Pearl-McFee. She was as wonderful as everyone says, smart and humorous. I can’t remember the name of the class, but she walked us through selecting yarn, understanding different yarn characteristics and fibers, right through choosing a pattern, swatching, knitting a sweater, making it up and blocking it. All in three hours. As she said, once you get the knitting out of the way, you can get through a lot more material. We already know how to knit!

I did pick up some useful tips, and never will skimp on swatching again. 😉. Mom took lots of notes, and now understands why I always make her swatch and wash it before I will do the math on her patterns for her. So that was good!

After class we went to town for lunch, and to the grocery store for snacks for supper. And while there we found a treasure. A big display of Briggs and Little yarn, at half the price of the marketplace version! Naturally, I got a sweater’s quantity. They didn’t have the color I wanted, but they had natural, and I can dye it. I never thought I would get a sweater’s quantity of wool for $45 Canadian (I think about $35 US) but I did! I should have done what my friend A did and cleaned out their natural. But I was remembering the marketplace and wanted to save some cash for that.

Mom dropped me there on the return trip and it was much less crowded this time. I managed to buy a couple of amazing skeins of sock yarn. The dyer uses song birds for inspiration on her colors. It was very hard to choose just two! I eventually settled down to think about what colors I needed, and got a skein each of cardinal and ruby throated hummingbird.

I was tempted by so many things, but really was trying to behave, since I have a lot of yarn and plans already.

That’s all the yarn I bought, plus the swag. Not bad!

Saturday night they held a fashion show, which normally we would have skipped, but friend A had told us it was fun and there were valuable door prizes. She wasn’t kidding! There must have been 100, everything from darning eggs to Lucy Neatby videos to sweater quantities of yarn to complete sets of Addi and knitters pride needles! Naturally, we won nothing, but A’s friend did win a sweater’s quantity of yarn!

The fashion part was interesting. I liked seeing things knit up, and there was one shawl that I added to my favorites, for someday. Marianas is a lovely thing, I nearly went back to the marketplace for a kit, then realized I probably have yarn for it in stash. Such restraint!

It was fun, but a little overwhelming for these introverts, and it kept us up way past bedtime.

Sunday morning we had another class with Stephanie, this one on color theory. Oh, my, I learned a lot! How to use the color wheel, and be able to tell what goes with what. Again, she made it loads of fun to learn about analogous and contiguous colors, primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. The time flew!

Mom and I got ourselves checked out and loaded up, had one last lunch in town, and then headed back across the river, to a place where we know what time it is, the money is all one color, there is an “h” in “schoodic”, and the speed limit makes sense. It felt good to be in more familiar territory, but sad that such a wonderful weekend had to end.

Labor Day is NOT the end of summer!

Especially for those of us without kids! It’s just a nice long weekend.

And it was the last of my 4 day weekends this summer. This week is my last 4 day week… to until October. 😉

I had a nice weekend, too. Friday A had to work in Bath, so I tagged along. Mom, sister C, and niece E met me for an excursion to Halcyon Yarn, followed by lunch at Mae’s Bakehouse. I was able to explore the weaving yarns, but I didn’t get any. I can always order them if I need some. I answered 1000 questions E had about everything she saw as she followed my around. Together we chose some basic gray Bartlett yarn for a sweater for me, and she showed me colors she likes and colors she doesn’t. And we talked about her sewing projects, which was fun. She makes flags, seeing by hand with embroidery floss. She chooses the flag based on colors she has and likes. Last year we all got a Peru 🇵🇪 for Christmas. Who knows what we will get this year?

When they left, I parked down by the river and knit and enjoyed the gorgeous breeze while I waited for A to get done for the day.

Saturday was a usual day, chores in the morning and knitting group in the afternoon. I was able to share my Durrow shawl with them, and also another FO, these baby leggings.

I have cast on to replace these, of course, so have started Odyssey shawl, by Joji Locatelli, in some of my handspun; and a baby blanket. My friend B is going to be a grandmother again this fall, both of her children are expecting daughters, where there have only been boys. So she has ordered a few things. I have one dress and one blanket to get done by the end of October.

Sunday and Monday we chilled at home. A hasn’t had two days in a row off all summer. She was nearing exhausted, so slow days were good for her. I did a tiny amount of pool vacuuming and warped the loom for more experiments. And finally redid the bind off on my Hankshaw pullover. I was so worried about it being not tight that it resembled a ruffle. It’s better now. And did lots of knitting on the blanket and my Japanese stitch scarf. I am far behind on the August clue, I hope to get caught up by October 1.

I also did a tiny bit of dyeing yarn, over-dyeing some gray Briggs and Little yarn that might work in concert with the new gray yarn. I had hoped they would work well as they were, but the grays were too close. So dark reddish pink it is!

And I committed to doing my one craft fair again this fall, so there will be lots of knitting of small things like hats and cowls and ornaments.

I think that’s it for how the weekend went… now it’s Tuesday and a work day and so I should get going. Sigh.

A Friday crafting list!

It’s been a while since I had a whole day free of obligations and work, but I scheduled three days off in August such that I have two four day weekends, and four four-day weeks! Ahhhhh!

This is the first of the long weekends, and while it is not as clear of obligations as I would like, I did keep Friday free for ALL THE THINGS.

As soon as my coffee is made, I am heading to the craft room, where I will

  • unpin biophilia and get photos for you
  • Gather my dye equipment to bring downstairs
  • prep some handwoven cloth for hemming into placemats and napkins
  • Cut a strip of fabric to use to finish a skirt I started last year
  • Maybe sew some of those things.
  • Maybe start warping the loom for the next project.

Then downstairs today, I will have fun with sock blanks and dyes.

I can’t wait to see what exactly I get done on this ridiculously long list!

And I also will vacuum the pool, maybe while the dyes are setting.

What I love about Fall

Lots of long weekends!

This one was really needed – the time change has knocked me down. I think I am transitioned now, but I have been really tired all week.

Still managed to get lots of knitting done, though!

Finished a pair of socks, long on the needles, and a shawl that just flew off of them.

The shawl isn’t dry yet, but here are some in action blocking shots.

So naturally I cast on a few new things. One is a hat that a young woman ordered. She wanted black,white, and gray. I am knitting a couple of them and will let her choose among them. That will give me an idea what appeals to the younger set. She gets at least one hat a year, and looks gorgeous in anything, so I am looking forward to seeing her in one of these.

I got a slight reprieve on the blue scarf, as J won’t be here for Thanksgiving. I am still aiming to finish it ASAP so I can ship it in plenty of time. I should finish it this week. Also need to knit some ornaments before next week. Hmmm I wonder what they will be?

Big news though, I ordered my first loom! It is an Ashford rigid heddle and I know it is the first step down a rabbit hole. 😉. I should get it next Saturday. Can’t wait!

Yesterday we met up with Mom and B for lunch in Belfast. Always fun! We ate at Bell the Cat, which just has yummy soups and sandwiches.

So today I am off and wondering what I will do. Likely putter and knit, and if the shawl is dry, I will reclaim the table and do some sewing. I have a Christmas present to sew up for A , and I want to get the dress finished, too.

Not sure that will all happen.

One thing that will is that I will try a new casserole recipe – chicken, cheese, artichokes and spinach with pasta. Mmmmm. Meant to make it yesterday but the day got away from me.

So a quiet kind of homebody day is ahead.

Do you have the day off? What will you do with it?

What I did or didn’t do this weekend

Happy Tuesday that feels like a Monday!

For those of you NOT in Massachusetts or Maine, you might be wondering why today feels like Monday – but we celebrate Patriots Day here, and so yesterday was a holiday.  It has nothing to do with that (in)famous football team, and everything to do with Paul Revere and his famous midnight ride. The one he might not have even made.

I also, being somewhat of a conforming rule-following perfectionist by nature (no, not controlling!), struggle a tiny bit with the fact that we had April 16th off, when everyone knows it was the 18th of April in ’75 that someone somehow made the ride to Lexington and Concord to warn the colonists that the Red Coats were coming.

I don’t care if he did the ride or not, and I can get over the mismatch on dates,  I was happy to have the day off!

What did I do with this wonderful day, you ask? Or not do?

Well first let me tell you that I was in pajamas all day.  A true holiday.  It was cold and rainy out, and I wasn’t going anywhere, so I declared it a pajama holiday.

I did not ride a horse around Boston and environs.

I did finish up the week’s worth of laundry that I started on Sunday.

I did not run in the Boston Marathon.

I did spend several hours in the morning making curtains for A’s office. It’s what she wants for her birthday, and she had chosen the (ugly) fabric years ago.  So, I managed to sew many straight lines to join pieces and hem them.  Just have to get her to hang the curtain rod so I can get the final length on them. Truly, they are not pretty, but they will block the light, which is the goal.  When they are hanging, I will take a photo so you can see what I mean.  I understand why she chose the pattern, but it reinforces my firm rule that we both get veto power on design choices.  Were these hanging anywhere but in her office, I would have rejected them out of hand.

I did not clean the bathroom as I intended.

I did finish a cowl I cast on Saturday.  It is Fisherman’s Gansey by JenJoyceDesigns (I highly recommend this pattern for a few reasons – one is that it is easy to knit and memorize, and doesn’t take much yarn, and two is that it supports a fiber artist who lost her home in the California Fires.) I love the end result, which I knit from yarn I received as a gift from Texas on my trip to Wisconsin last September.  It’s a treasure. It is unblocked in this photo, a theme as you will soon see. Also, the color is bad here, blame Mother Nature, she only sends gray days this year. It is actually a pretty pinky-beige, like granite.

I did not cast on my next sweater.

I did block the Hitofude (after I took this photo), and so have a slight amount more hope that it will fit. I finished the knitting on it Friday and foolishly tried it on.  Very disappointing, it was tight when it shouldn’t be, and cut in unflattering ways across the front of me.  I am hopeful that I stretched the lace out enough to fix all of this, but if not, I am resigned to that fact, and will happily give it to the niece whom it fits, and who wants it.  I am moving on.  And I have enough of the yarn left over to knit a nice lacy shawl, so that is good.

I did not spin.

I did knit a few rows of my Durrow, and have determined that once you get about 8 rows in, the going in squares are easier than the going out squares.  Not sure I will believe this all the way through, but for now, it is easier to manage.  I can see how the whole will look already, very exciting to me.  And when I finish this square, I get to change out the dark purple for the medium purple for the next squares.  Progress!

I think that is about it!  It was a holiday, after all.

Oh wait – one more set.

I did make delicious, scalloped potatoes and ham for my lunch (adapted recipe from William Sonoma cookbook “Cooking for Yourself.”)

I did not eat supper.

 

I wonder if Longfellow would be able to write a many stanzaed poem about this day in 2018?

Another short post

Not a lot to write, but photos say a thousand words, right?

A visit to my brother C:

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Two days spent slowly spinning:

 

Cars are shiny and clean, beaded yarn is becoming a reality (and is much farther along than this photo, but still only about halfway done.)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

 

A quiet weekend in Lake Woebegone

A long weekend, to be sure!

I did go to Whorls and Purls on Saturday, and so did a bit of knitting. Finished up a little hat for the Community Caring project there, using yarn that Debbie wanted us to test out. It was merely OK, so no more about it. We discussed the fact that we are all yarn snobs and we know it, having grown used to good quality wool and silk. So maybe we aren’t the perfect testers? Yet we are her customer base, and we are happy with the commercial lines she does carry…

The rest of Saturday was for puttering about the house. And knitting a bit.

Sunday, I convinced A that we wanted to go for a ride to see the colors north of us. Naturally it was the first rainy day in a long time. NOT complaining, we need the rain. Just noting.  We took the back roads up to Bangor, then the highway to Staceyville.

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Saw this from a highway overlook. That’s Mount Katadhin, the northern end of the Appalachian Trail.

From there we took State Route 11 up to Patten, then back down through Millinocket.

This was in Patten.

Here we made a slight detour to the New England Outdoor Center, for which I had an ulterior motive.  I wanted to see this site of the Highland Handmades knitting retreat. Can’t make it this year but I want to sometime. I wanted to see if it is a place A might like to spend a weekend. 😀  I think it is. So perhaps next year…

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From there we followed route 11 to Milo, then went back down the highway and home.  As A said “6 hours of driving and we didn’t go anywhere!” But I said since she likes to sleep in her own bed think of it as a vacation. Lol.

Monday was yare work as the weather was fine. Pool is all ready for the winter, gardens are getting there.  A used her new brush cutter to clear the edges of the driveway, she wants to get that done before snowfly. And who knows when that will be?

Of course there was more knitting and spinning. I finished the knitting of Mirno, I’ll try to block it this week so you can see it next week. That left two shawls on the needles from my big cast on in July. So naturally I cast on 2 more. 😝  One is a Gloria del Sol in Purple Fleece’s Radiant Gradient in aquamarine, the other is hitchhiker in my handspun you red my mind. I’ll post photos when there is enough progress to see.

Now it’s Tuesday and so back to normal routines. Like knitting isn’t?

What have I been up to?

Well, there has been a whole lot, actually.

But it all seems mundane and just busy work.  Work has been a long line of not hard but very frustrating things – getting 400 invitations to come out of the computer with no streaks blips, blobs, or smears,  and all lined up.  Getting 400 mailing labels to do the same.  And deal with division heads who didn’t know that I MEANT it when I said I needed their mailing lists at a certain date and time, and so going back and redoing labels and printing more invitations.

You know -around my other work,  being special projects girl is not always easy.  🙂

 

But then there was a weekend, and a big finish!  Just look at this yarn, I am so proud of it.  This is just UNDER 4 ounces, and it is about 600 yards!!!!  (601 before the bath.  Don’t know the after the bath number yet.)  That is lace weight, my friends, and it is what I have been striving to make since I learned to spin. It took forever to spin, and it is a good thing it is my favorite colors, I would have grown bored otherwise.  Even plying it took two evenings, and I ply pretty fast.

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I took it with me to Whorls and Purls on Saturday, for show and tell.  🙂  While there, I picked up 3 skeins of yarn that Debbie got sent “on approval” which I will use to make hats for her box.  Not loving the colors but the yarn is OK.  Other people must like these colors as they turn up everywhere.  🙂   Of course I cast on a hat immediately even though I have plenty of other things going.  I needed a mobile project and wanted to get it done for her. And someone will be glad for a warm hat in just a few weeks, right?

I also finished my first Christmas present which I can’t show you yet because the recipient might read it, but I felt it was a nice quick knit and I hope she likes it.  🙂 It was knit in Ella Rae Seasons, again a yarn I would not normally choose (acrylic wool blend, chainette structure) in colors the recipient chose.  Let’s just say it came out better than I would have thought.  🙂

I had hope to finish Mirno by the weekend, but that didn’t happen because I made a huge push on the spinning, so I am working in the last chart of that shawl, and then I will have two of the four done.  The last two are slower going, but I work on them regularly, so hope to have progress worth sharing in the next few weeks.

Since I do try to spin each day, I put the next project on the wheel.  Amanita was the September roving of the month at Purple Fleece, and I remembered some Lamb’s Pride I have in the hat yarn bag that will go nicely with it.  So, I am spinning it to be thick – I will three ply it and try for a bulky yarn for  the accent yarn on an alpine topper.  We will see how it goes.  The spin is going SO FAST!  Finished the first bobbin, and am about halfway through the second one now.

 

I feel like I am missing something, but if I think of it, I will share it later.

 

This weekend coming is a long one – love it!  The weather is so nice and warm, I am still getting cherry tomatoes from the garden, but I need to start putting things to bed, and plant some fall things like garlic, and maybe a bit of lettuce. I also need to dig up the remaining carrots.  So I expect we will do some yard work, and I will definitely do some knitting and spinning.  Maybe we will go on a little day trip someplace – can’t sit home ALL weekend, and the trees are so beautiful right now. Colors are getting perfect around here, and farther north, I think they are prime.  Maybe I will see if A wants to go for a ride.  Not that she doesn’t do that all week long…but this would be for fun.  Haven’t been for a ride for ages.  Think of the knitting I could get done.