Archive for the ‘webs’ Tag

The Weekend Report   23 comments

Gang, I had so much fun out and about with Mom last weekend!  We started off on time early Friday morning and decided to stop for breakfast at a place we had heard about near Augusta (not Aunt Gin’s, which would have been a better choice, it turns out) and it took them over an HOUR to get us some coffee and eggs.  Wow.  So then we were behind schedule but not too worried as we had no deadlines or commitments Friday, just plans and anticipation.

It was raining and spitting most of the way through the boring turnpike driving.  I had MapQuest plot me a route using “shortest distance” so that I didn’t have all highway driving all day.  It was 8 hours of driving after all, I wanted to see something other than yellow dotted lines.  🙂

Mom navigated, and it was fun, though we have no idea where we were most of the time, we knew we could figure it out with maps and GPS if needed. We wandered through western Mass, and wound up in Amherst, which I have always wanted to see.  It was very lovely, but it was UMASS commencement weekend, so to say that there was a little traffic is an understatement.  It took forever to get to Northampton from there.  And once in Northampton, we added road construction to the mix, it seriously took us more than half an hour to go the short distance from the pretty bridge to WEBS.

But get there we did, and by then the sun was shining (as it should over this wonderful place!)

IMG_1673

It is in an industrial setting just in back of town. If you are looking for a cute yarn shop, this isn’t it (but there is one in town.) However – go in the door and you are transported to fiber heaven. There is a HUGE retail space with all the yummy yarns beautifully displayed.  A whole entire section of Madeline Tosh just hanging there, showing off it’s lovely colors, calling for me to buy it.  🙂  There are wheels and buttons and yarns and fiber and pattern books and loads of room to move around, good lighting and (mostly) very nice staff.

And then there is the backroom.

It’s actually where we started, because the restrooms are back there… and we were five hours from coffee after all.  🙂

This room is much more like a warehouse, I can’t begin to guess how big it is.  Aisles and aisles of shelves from the floor to over my head, filled with yarn.

I spent the most time in the Valley Brand aisle, touching everything (remember, this is why I was there!) If I liked how it felt, I took photos of the tag so I would remember it when I get to ordering online someday (soon I hope) and so my phone is filled with photos of tags.  🙂

All the prices were reasonable but some were on sale, so they were WAY more than reasonable.  This coming weekend is their huge tent sale, I can’t imagine what a zoo the place will be, but I bet people will be getting some great bargains.

The other aisles are organized by fiber weight.  I cruised fast through bulky but slowed to a crawl in fingering, sport, and lace.  Oh so many things were calling my name.  But I had a strict yarn budget for the weekend.

But I wanted it all.

But I had a budget.

But…

I finally settled on this selection:

IMG_1692

The Leyden for some socks, the Southampton for a shawl, or something light and fluffy.  Southampton is a yarn I have been wanting to try since I can’t seem to get Soie et Doucette anymore.  It is very similar to kid silk haze, which I also love.  So I will give it a shot and see what happens. At $7.99 a ball, it didn’t seem too bad an experiment.

I was pretty impressed with myself, coming out of there with money left and my homework completed!

Then I caught up with Mom, and she staggered me.  She was in there with me the whole time, and she bought NOTHING. Because she had no project in mind.

I didn’t know that was a thing.  🙂

Anyway – we got some vague directions about lunch and parking and muddled through that and got out of that town as fast as we could, which was not fast.

The directions continued to meander through the Berkshires in the general direction of New York, and we blindly followed them, trusting MapQuest.

Until we found ourselves in a two track dirt road wandering under leaning dead trees. A road not on the map we had, but clearly marked and where MapQuest said it would be. As we drove, the road got narrower (it hardly seemed possible) and ruttier.  When we finally came to an intersection with a paved road we abandoned MapQuest and took the paved road.  First chance we got, I pulled over and we set the GPS with our hotel address in Poughkeepsie.

Our new route zipped us along Route 23 through Great Barrington and out onto the beautiful Taconic Parkway.  I mean it, it is a beautiful road.  NO trucks!!!  It’s a true parkway, loads of pretty trees and green grass.  And of course, it is late spring there, the trees are fully out.  The dogwood was blooming in the woods. It was really a gorgeous trip down to the hotel, which we found with no problem.  Thank you, GPS.  Sorry, MapQuest, I won’t ask you for shortest route again.

Saturday dawned gray and dreary and raining.  We had breakfast with one of Mom’s classmates and his wife, and I left her with them to enjoy her day of reunion activities. Then I settled down to await another highlight of the trip – meeting up with a blogger in the real world!  Slipped Stitches Weblog is a blog I have loved since I found it, Maryanne is hysterically funny when writing about her adventures with her little dog, her knitting and the calamities that befall one at the hand  (or paw) of the other. We are friends on Ravelry and our blogs, so I knew she lived in the general area, but was nervous about suggesting a real life meeting.  I was so excited when she was not only willing to meet, but willing to come to Poughkeepsie to meet me!  I wondered if we would find enough to talk about or if it would be awkward, but the minute she walked into the hotel lobby I knew it was her and we just jumped right in, sharing current WIPS, stories, talking about our lives.  It was like seeing a friend I just hadn’t met yet.  🙂

I used the app Yarn Places to locate a local yarn store, and the kind desk clerk told us how to find it, so we went there to start with.  We spent quite a bit of time in Walkway Wools checking out the bright colors of yarn she had packed into her tiny shop (the owner is the dyer behind Mother Frogging yarns, check them out if you can).  Keeping in mind that I had only $7 left in my yarn budget, I tried really hard to be good.  But this yarn was too pretty to pass up!

IMG_1700

I have been wanting to try linen, and the price was just right.  I am thinking that someday I will make this into a shawl, but meanwhile, I am just enjoying the color. And I only went $8 over budget, which if you think about what I could have spent this weekend, was kind of like a miracle.  🙂

From there we went through the rain to lunch and gabbed for a couple of hours before Maryanne returned me to the hotel.

I am so glad that she was willing to take a chance to meet up with me and that she gave up a rainy Saturday to do so.  I am pretty sure that she could have been chasing the dog through the mud, around the pond, and down the lane as he ran off with her Shetland lace shawl, or something equally entertaining instead.

Saturday evening Mom and I went back over to her school to have a fancy dinner “with musical entertainment.”  There were a total of five from her class at this reunion, so with spouses and a daughter, we all fit at one round table.  I heard a lot of funny tales about kids at boarding school in the late 1950s. There (apparently) was lots of smoking behind buildings, and some panty raids, football games against giant farm kids, and other memorable moments.  After dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a few hours chatting with one couple until it was really time for bed if we were going to make that long drive home again in the morning.

I think Mom had a wonderful time, and is looking forward to the 65th reunion.

So – we got back to the room, mapped out a route (using a real, paper map with indicators fro things like pavement) that would avoid all major cities and be pretty and get us home reasonably quickly, and hopped into bed, where we slept like babies until 2 am when the fire alarms went off.

Have I ever told you about my hotel curse?  I have rarely stayed in a hotel more than one night that I didn’t experience the fire alarms going off. Sometimes I even manage to do it on a one night stay.  It is darned annoying.

We were up on the fifth floor, so we donned shoes and rain coats, (yup, still raining) and did take the time for a speedy bathroom break.  And I DID grab the car keys.  If the hotel was burning up, I wanted to be able to leave! And down the stairs we went to the dripping parking lot.  I was sort of surprised at how full the parking lot was and how few people came out of the hotel.  I guess they could stand the noise and didn’t mind burning up.  Hmmm.

We sat in the car, watched the big hook and ladder trucks come in with sirens blaring.  After a few minutes they all left and we went inside.  Seems an overly steamy shower was to blame, so at 3 am we climbed back into bed to stare at the ceiling for a bit.

Naturally we got off to a later than planned start Sunday morning.  At least it was sunny!  We headed back up the Taconic Parkway to Route 90, by which time it was raining again, and all the leaves were still only thoughts and the world was gray and dreary again.

Our new route seemed a bit longer than the other way, though the drive time turned out about the same – 8 hours or so to mom’s house. And no Worcester, Hartford or any of those other traffic nightmares.  It was after 8 when I finally pulled into my driveway, and I was really ready to be home!

This weekend I have an different sort of an adventure planned.  I’ll get up and hit the road around 4:30 Saturday morning, and drive to my sister’s, in Portland.  Together we will travel down to Connecticut (she will drive, I will knit – see, it’s different already!) to visit an aunt who lives down there, and our dad and step mom.  Then we will drive back to Portland, and I will stay over night in there with her and her family.  Home fairly early Sunday morning.  At least that’s the plan.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

And next weekend?  I am going NO WHERE.

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We are off on an adventure   27 comments

The first of several this summer – yeah!

Mom graduated from high school in 1957.  She had plans to attend her 60th reunion with her old roommate, but then plans changed.  Mom decided not to go if her roommate couldn’t.  Too long a trip.  So of course, I offered to drive her, and this weekend, we are headed off to Poughkeepsie NY.

While she spends the day remembering old friends and crazy times, I plan to meet IN PERSON a blogger who’s become a friend, Slipped Stitches.  I can’t wait to get to put a real person with the imaginary one in my mind.

But before we get to that on Saturday, Mom and I have decided to break up the drive on Friday by stopping in Northampton, Massachusetts for lunch.  And um, well, you know, going to WEBS.  In person. The real store.  I have wanted to do this for years, and I am pumped.  I want to touch all the yarn.  It is the one thing I hate about buying yarn on the internet – if I haven’t seen it elsewhere, I have no idea what I am buying.  So I plan to do a  lot of touching, and perhaps a tiny bit of buying.  A conceded that I have been exceptionally good in the yarn buying department these last several months, and we worked out a budget we can both live with.  Woot Woot!

I am looking forward to this trip.  I am sure to have lots to share with you when I return on Sunday.  And I think you will care more about it than A will.  🙂  She is happy to be staying home playing with cats, I think.

And guess what?  Next weekend, another adventure – but more on that later.

 

 

Oops! Time flew again…   14 comments

A week slips by…

There was knitting:

seabreeze-seathwaite-finished

Cut that yarn chicken game pretty close – what you see is what was left of the big skein.  I do have a mini skein I am saving for another project, so it would not have been the end of the earth if I needed a bit more, but I am glad I didn’t.  This is the merino/cashmere I spun up a few weeks ago. The pattern is Seathwaite from the Fringe Association, and I love it.  The variegated colors don’t hide the cables as much in real life as they do in this photo, and it fits me perfectly.  The yarn softened up with knitting, who knew?  And I am sure it will even more with washing and wearing.

And spinning:

broad-bill-finished

I finished the Broadbill plied with black, got two skeins, total weight about 5.75 ounces, yardage is just over 350.  The second skein seems to be a bit more like fingering weight than the first, but what amazed me was how much black I had left over!  I first spun two ounces, and plied it with the first two ounces of Broadbill.  I had a lot of black left over (according to my scale the first skein weight 2.625 ounces, which means I only used .625 of the black!) so I just joined the next ounce or so with the leftovers until I filled a bobbin, and plied the second two ounces of Broadbill.  I had a decent amount left on the bobbin (this time, the finished yarn weight about 3.125 ounces, which means I used 1.125 ounces of the black), and I had about an ounce unspun, so I changed my mind about chain plying the leftovers, and just started spinning the remaining ounce on a new bobbin.  I plied those together last night, and got about 70 yards of a nice THIN yarn.  I also chain plied the last bit and got about 15 yards of that. I plied this black stuff a lot tighter than any I have done yet, because I think I am under-plying, in general.  This was almost kinky, but when I washed it, it settle down a  bit. The end result is that I have a nice amount of the broadbill yarn with which to make a hat and hopefully some mitts, and I have a good amount of black to use with it, or with which to do something else entirely.  I am building a collection of mini-skeins, unintentionally – I can’t quite fit 4 oz of plied yarn onto a bobbin, no matter how hard I work at it.  So, I am collecting mini-skeins for a future project – odd scarf?  Crazy quilt afghan?  Who knows.

Last night I started spinning the 1 ounce of BFL roving I dyed a few weeks ago – I love the colors, reminds me of Monet’s paintings.  And I love how differently it is coming out, compared to skeins of yarn I dyed at the same time.  It is really teaching my what I can do with colors and spinning, and how to tell how things will come out.  Colors blend more when they are dyed before spinning.  There is purple on this bobbin that was NOT there on the roving.  🙂 It is also letting me spin VERY skinny!!! And pretty evenly!!!

So, my week!

Friday, A had the day off and I took a half day off. It was hideously hot – close to 90 at our house! Rarely does it get that hot there, thanks to ocean breezes wafting up the river.  And about 110 percent humidity.  We need scuba gear to breathe. So naturally, we did all errands. First up was PO, bottle return, dump, and we stopped for take-out “lupper”.  We made the mistake of going home to eat, and neither of us had the oomph to go back out to the grocery store.  🙂  I went for a swim, and floated around until I felt quite human.  After that, we decided we WOULD go to the grocery store, and were pleasantly surprised at how few people were there – need to remember supper time on Friday is the time to go in summer!  It was annoying, however, that I nearly froze in the store, having gotten quite cool in the pool, adding AC to that had me shivering before we left. A was not, and so wanted to stay in the coolness as long as possible.  She thought I was crazy.  🙂

Saturday I spent 8 hours at the shop in Bucksport.  It was a hot and humid day, and the “AC” there is a window that opens onto the water, a door that opens to the street and several fans.  It was inadequate.  But I didn’t have to move very often, so that was good.  Customers were steady in the morning, and sparse in the afternoon, but I still had 19 sales, and that was a good thing!  Sonja took lots of things to the Celtic Festival, hers, mine and others, and I think had a decent day. Sunday was the second day for her at the festival, though I didn’t cover the shop, her daughters did.  It POURED rain all morning, I haven’t heard yet how everyone did.

I do know that on Saturday she sold one of my bracelets, so that was nice to hear.

Sunday A and I spent inside puttering and looking out side thinking and often saying “Really? Still pouring?” There were things I wanted to do outside like grass clipping and gardening and clearing the tangle of large things where the lilacs are trying to grow swim as much as I wanted as often as I wanted that just didn’t happen.

I got some pool time in after work Saturday, and late Sunday when it stopped storming and the sun went behind the trees.  This whole avoid-the-sun thing tends to drive me nuts. When it is hot out, I either can’t use the pool or yard, or go out so covered up I might as well stay inside.

Since then, I have been working.  Very sad way to spend time (still remembering that I am lucky to have the job, yes.)

Oh, Monday, I got a hot tip from WEBS that my yarn was at the PO, so I stopped and picked it up.  Not too terribly exciting, the Baby Ull is for baby hats to sell.  The blue is for Maine Blueberry hats (sold the blueberry baby hat this weekend!), the red is for red and white striped hats and booties (we have a famous red and white striped lighthouse) but I got a lot of white so I could do some dying to get the colors I wanted that they didn’t have.  Or to mess about with colors.  You choose.

baby-ull-for-web

I finally decided I needed to buy more lace weight yarn to knit the High Country Crescent shawl.(Or maybe the Biophilia?)  High Country has been on my list since I won the pattern, and I have loved Biophilia since I saw it the first time.  I felt like I needed some thing different than what I had in my lace weight stash.  I perused the Tosh selection for hours, thinking about what colors I wear, what color shawls I already have.  I decided I needed something fairly neutral, maybe a tonal gray?  Definitely not blue, aqua, teal.  I already have quite a few shawls, as well as a substantial stash ready to be knit in those colors. I finally chose Madeline Tosh Prairie in Cloud Dweller, which I recall is a soft, tonal gray, just like I planned. I resisted Worn Denim, and Spectrum, which I LOVE (I have socks in that one, how cool to have socks and shawl match?) and all the other luscious blues and greens.  Cousteau anyone?  Oh my.

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the package to find this:

cloud-dweller

Just can’t stop buying those pretty blues.  🙂

One thing we did NOT do this weekend was watch the news.  Monday morning listening to the radio on the way to work was like getting sucker punched in the stomach over and over. Is the whole world going to hell?  Listening to the news all week as not changed my mind on this front. CAN NOT WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 9 when it is over and done with.

 

Off the camera   3 comments

Good morning! Back home again, living in comfort if not luxury. 🙂

I tackled the camera this morning and I managed to get photos out of its clutches – so here are some photos of things I have mentioned in recent posts – yarn from webs, yarn from Halcyon, progress on socks and red sweater. Enjoy!

yarn from Webs

yarn from halcyon

wip red sweater 2

socks with sarah #1

socks with sarah #1 in process

Dying for the first time   13 comments

I did lots of blog-hopping last week, and followed up on something I first read about over at http://www.shemakeshats.com – dying yarn using KoolAid. And as I read, I learned that you could also dye using a crock pot. And then I saw chemknit’s youtube post on dying cake yarn to make symmetrical strands.

I put it all together and dyed cake yarn using KoolAid in the crock pot.

Here’s the thing – it is REALLY simple.

I started with this:
all the tools

The yarn is a Spud and Chloe wool/silk blend sock yarn I got from Webs at a steep discount (I think because it is a discontinued color) and is a nice off white that definitely has a yellow tint. As I had no real plans for it, I figured it would be good to experiment on.

and in the end, I had this:
finished product

In between, I learned lessons. Lots of them.

out of the pot

Chemknit showed how to wind a cake of yarn so that you basically have two repeats of the colorway. I figured if 2 is good, 4 is better. So it would be, if it weren’t for that whole spinning thing. She blithely says “untwisting as you go” as she winds it into skeins. Well, adding that extra doubling when making the cake added so much to the twisting that it took me FIVE HOURS to get it apart so I could wind a new cake.

I was chicken to try many color combos (fearing muddy brown), and blue is always good, so I went with just using one color, but wanting it to not dye the whole thing, so that the original color would show through. Good thing that was my aim, I have to say. I did not read until after I was home from the store about how much KoolAid it takes to really saturate the yarn. I did use some vinegar (1 cap full for each cup of water) and blue food coloring to intensify the color – one drop for every cup of water. I used one envelope of blue raspberry lemonade for each skein.

SO – I do love how it came out – I can’t wait to knit it up. But it is third or fourth in line of planned projects. You will see more of it, I am sure.

Meanwhile, lessons learned –

Don’t make the cake 4 strands thick – it is too hard to unwind. Two would be mildly annoying. 4 was downright horrible. The second cake went better, but it still took a couple of hours and was annoying to unwind inches at a time, untwist, unwind a few more inches for 250 YARDS.

DO get extra KoolAid.

The water really does get clear!!!! I did not really believe it.

DO not unwind it all with kittens present. While they were obedient about not playing with it, they really wanted to, and it was hot and frustrating and not fun for any of us, so next time, I will wait until they are asleep. Why should they be as frustrated with the twirling strands as I was?

DO try it, it is very fun and I am looking forward to seeing what boring yarn I might have in my swatch that I can spark up. I think I am ready for multiple colors….

sweet Friday!   2 comments

Oh, I had plans for today, when I got up – it’s mid-day, and I have already revised the list. Here’s the original:

Errands:
Post office
EBS to order dirt for raised beds
Dump
Grocery store

Housework:
Laundry
Change bed
Start spring cleaning

Work-work:
Compile end of season tax stats
Complete report
Check email

Knitting:
Finish the darned leg warmers!
Finish red hat that’s been on the needles way too long
Start baby blanket (really crochet, but whatever)

Here’s the revised list:

Errands:
Post office – ooh, yarn winder delivered, AND first ever Webs order.
Wind new yarn
Resist winding all yarn in house, because it is so fun to do.
EBS dirt order placed. To be delivered Monday or Tuesday

Housework:
Change bed
Laundry – there is no escaping this one

Work-work:
All those same things

Knit and knit and knit

Notice the groceries, the dump and the spring cleaning are gone.
I should have remembered that since this is the first Friday at home, I would be really slow to get going, with little or no energy, in spite of the really long list of things that are calling me. I think knitting will get the rest of my afternoon. Maybe I will clean the bathroom so that tomorrow is a more pleasant day. But maybe not, too.

the new yarn winder distracted me. I have read blogs and reviews from people who just couldn’t stop talking about how great this tool is. I have been knitting for more than 40 years, winding balls by hand, and really thought they were all a bit overboard. But I won that basketball bracket bet, and so got my own winder, and now I know – they were all understating how great this thing is. My word, in MINUTES I can wind a whole skein of yarn! It is neat, tight, the pull out yarn is easy to find. WOW. I love it. I already had a swift, and thought that was all the help I would need to wind great skeins. Was happy with it for many years, but now I know, it was only half the solution.

ps the cats love it too, they were fascinated, sat and watched the whole process. Which is good – better than them helping. 🙂

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