Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prepping for Squam

Getting ready for Squam ... evenings are likely to be cool, so I'm bringing along Stony Brook. Gave her a fresh blocking in preparation ...

Giving Stony Brook a Fresh Blocking
Pattern: Stony Brook, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy #016
Needles: US4 and US6

Chose a journal (made last summer) for taking notes in my classes ...

Journal Cover

Decided which projects to take along ... two simple ones that I have memorized, one that requires following an easy chart ...

Seersucker Afghan Squares in progress
Pattern: Seersucker, by Margery Winter, from the book Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Wool; color: Summer Sky Heather
Needle: US5

Claudia Scarf, 3/4 done
Pattern: Claudia Scarf, by Rebecca Jackson
Yarn: Classic Elite Summer Sox, 40/40/20 cotton/merino/nylon
Hook: 3.50mm

Seagull Socks
Pattern: Gully Socks, from the Chevron Collection by Miriam L. Felton
Yarn: Valley Yarns Huntington, Color #23, Sea Gull
Needles: 2.25mm dpns

One day to go!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Love Is Love

Love Is Love

I spotted this yarn bombing near WEBS yesterday. June 11 is International Yarn Bombing Day.  Are you participating?  I don't have any concrete plans, but that could change.

I was at WEBS because 1) some kind souls gave me a gift certificate, and 2) Karin, the creative woman behind Periwinkle Sheep hand-dyed yarns, dropped me an email saying she was going to be at the Mass. Sheep and Woolcraft Fair in Cummington, and did I want to meet? I couldn't get to the fair, so we met up at WEBS and took advantage of the last days of the anniversary sale (yes, some Cascade 220 at the never-to-be-seen-again price of $4.95 came home with me).

It's just as much fun to spend time with Karin in person as it is to read her blog. From WEBS, we walked to Paul and Elizabeth's in downtown Northampton. Over dinner we talked about everything from teachers who've inspired us to how hard it can be to get colors just right in photos. I've knit several projects in Karin's yarns, including two Diamond Fantasy shawls (here and here). I love her colorways because they're so closely connected to nature. I brought along the shawl I knit in her beautiful Memories of Summer colorway, so she could see how well it knit up. You can see a teeny bit of it in this picture:

Periwinkle Sheep Karin

It was too, too hot to wear a shawl yesterday, not even a light, lacy one. But it was just the right weather for some hibiscus peppermint tea ...

Hibiscus Peppermint Ice Tea

Pretty, no?  It tasted as good as it looked.

A few days ago, I hopped over to Karin's Etsy shop to get a skein of the Chai colorway of her merino silk. I've been eyeing it for some time and worried that somebody would snatch it up at the fair. I couldn't let that happen! Karin hand-delivered it, along with a second skein in a one-of-a-kind robin's egg blue:

Periwinkle Sheep Merino Silk

I gasped when I saw the Chai--it's richer and more golden in person than it looked online. Just stunning!  I can't wait to get it on the needles. And I've got a plan for the blue skein, too: since it came into my hands as a gift, it will leave them the same way. Every fall I donate a lace scarf or two for the annual craft sale in support of Access Arts in Columbia, Missouri, where my sister Jenny teaches weaving. This year, I think I'll make either Anita Caroline or Restless with Karin's blue merino silk. I'm not sure which one, though ... which do you think would be more likely to sell?

After the rainy, chilly spring we've had, coming on the heels of the snowiest winter in years, yesterday's warm sun made me almost giddy with delight. It was great to see people hanging around outside, soaking up the sun:

Finally, Sun!

Snickers has been enjoying the sun, too. In fact, now that the warm weather's here, the balcony is her favorite hangout:

Summer Snickers

She's hasn't been shirking her knitting inspection duties, however.  This morning she gave the homework for one of my Squam classes the once-over (and then it was back outside for her--no time to waste on a photo shoot):

Knitting Inspector Snickers

My Work Is Done

Squam is almost here, and the weather forecast for New Hampshire is looking good! This is my first time going, and if it's half as great as people say, I think I'm in for a pretty perfect vacation. I'm taking a class taught by Gudrun Johnston on shaping set-in sleeves with short rows, as well as an all-day embroidery class, and also yoga.

I'm so excited about Squam that I made two new project bags, one for each class.  I think project bags are even harder to get good pictures of than yarn, but I did my best ...

Project Bags

Project Bag_2

Project Bag Buttons

Motif 20 on Bag

I've gotta run now - time to make a roasted potato and green bean salad (from this cookbook) for a potluck. It's a risky thing, making a new recipe for a potluck, but it sounds so good (olive oil! rosemary!), that I don't think it can possibly come out too badly.

If you're off tomorrow for Memorial Day, I hope you have fine weather!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Rectangles of Various Sizes

My knitting seems to be all about rectangles at the moment, in different colors and states of completion. There's the Hanging Garden Stole, which I work on a little bit here and there, in no particular hurry:

Hanging Garden in Progress
Pattern: Hanging Garden Stole, by Sivia Harding
Yarn: Skaska Designs Laceweight Yak and Silk
Needle: US 1/2.25mm

With five repeats out of 12 done, it's moving along, but won't be finished anytime soon!

Ditto for my Seersucker afghan. I've finished 24 of the 48 squares. I think I'm on target to finish it in time for next winter, which would be perfect.

Stack of Afghan Squares_1
Pattern: Seersucker, by Margery Winter, from the book Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Wool; color: Summer Sky Heather
Needle: US5

Next step: seam the last 12 squares and join them to the strip of the first 12 squares. Then I'll have a lovely wool lap blanket ... just in time for summer!

Afghan Squares

I've been swatching and pondering and have finally settled on the yarn for a new sample of the lace pullover I made last summer, which so many people have asked me to write up. I'm going to use Quince and Co.'s lovely Chickadee yarn:

Chickadee Swatches

I won't be using this Goldfinch color, though. Pretty as it is, yellow just isn't a color I like to wear much--and I do intend to wear the new sample.  I'm going with Pomegranate.

And this very long rectangle?  It's my Falling Water scarf pattern, knit in a fine alpaca by Dustin Kahn. Dustin contacted me a while ago asking if it would be OK to knit the scarf for a fundraiser. Of course, I said yes, especially because the cause was so cool--creating a mill for locally produced fiber, along the lines of a CSA. Dustin emailed me the other day to share a blog post about the event.  Looks like it was quite a success.

It's gratifying to know that my very first pattern is still out there in the world (1,330 projects on Ravelry, as I write this)--and not just being knit, but knit for a good cause. I've knit two Falling Waters--the first was a gift, and the second I donated to a fundraiser for the now-defunct Fiber Art Center in Amherst. I really ought to make another, so I can wear it myself ... but ... I don't know when that will happen.  I can't justify casting on yet another rectangle until I finish one or two of the ones in progress. There's also a sleeveless top I'm knitting and designing, and a gift for a swap partner ...

As always, life is busy, but good!