Category Archives: friends


Thrashing About

In the computer world, the term “thrashing” is used when a computer is swapping information in and out of memory so much that it can’t make progress on the task at hand. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting on a lot of projects but not finishing anything, so it feels like all I’ve been doing is thrashing.

I’m making progress on the Pinkerton Shawl. It’s a good tv-watching knit. (My husband and I finally got around to checking out the PBS series “Sherlock,” and we’re totally hooked. Gotta track down season 1 on DVD now.) Each row is shorter than the last, so (in theory at least, even though it doesn’t feel that way!) the pace is picking up.

I added the other side of the buttonband to the Scalloped Lace Toddler Sweater… and it was too long. I picked up exactly the same number of stitches as I did on the buttonhole side, but it looks longer. Pondering whether I need to frog it and pick up fewer stitches (and if so, should I redo the buttonhole side, which seems fine?), or do I try to block it out? Nothing is ever easy, especially where my knitting is concerned…

I even pulled out my Linen Stitch scarf the other day, which I haven’t touched in months. I had a lovely knitting playdate with a friend (our kids played, she and I sat and gabbed and knit; bliss!) last week. She was working on a lovely linen stitch scarf using multiple strands of lace weight cotton yarn. It’s worked lengthwise, and you swap one strand of yarn out at a time, so it slowly transitions from one color to the next. Inspired by her scarf, I pulled out my own linen stitch scarf. I had about 12g of yarn left, and each round uses about 1g of yarn, so I only had about 10 more rounds to go before I could bind off. But man, these rounds are slow. The ball of yarn doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, and if it wasn’t for my yarn scale slowly counting down the grams, I’d feel like I was stuck in an endless loop, knitting the same row, over and over and over.

I do feel a strange compulsion to finish something (or several somethings!) right now, so I think a case of Finishitis might be in the works. With any luck, I’ll have at lesat one finished object soon!


A good time was had by all…

I am still tired from Saturday’s marathon Sheep and Wool Festival. But oh my: Such fun!!

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and Cephalopod Bugga!

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and Cephalopod Bugga!

Carla and Hope and I met up at the gates at 9am, just as the Festival officially opened. We started out at the All About Yarn tent, where Hope went a bit nuts with Shalimar Yarn. Then we got about ten feet past that tent, and I got sucked into a couple of skeins of Cephalopod Yarn Bugga! (I’m totally blaming Hope for this one. Somehow we’re having a little challenge to knit up simple sweaters using only 760 yards of Bugga!) Then I was good… for a little while.

At lunchtime, we met up with another fiber friend, Claudette, and hijacked her to join our merry band. We waited in line for gyros for entirely too long, but they were sooooo good I can’t feel too bitter about the wait.

Spindle and Fiber

Spindle and Fiber

And then we went a bit berserk in the main building. I splurged on a Golding Spindle that I’d been daydreaming about. (And I think I sort of talked Claudette into buying one, too.) And such a pretty spindle deserved some gorgeous fiber, right? So you can totally understand my next two splurges: some Handmaiden merino/silk in a beautiful deep purple and plum and some merino/silk from Chasing Rainbows (at the Carolina Homespun booth) in drool-worthy shades of blues, greens, turquoise, and purple. Hope knits gorgeous intarsia sweaters, so she stocked up on a whole rainbow full of fingering weight yarn. Carla (like me) is a sucker for pretty sock yarn, so despite her best efforts to be good, one or two skeins found their way into her bag.

Signature needles and other tools

Signature needles and other tools

I’d planned to buy a US size 8 circular from Signature Needle Arts, but while I was in line, I talked myself into getting size 7 DPNs too. (And now I’m wishing I’d gotten the size 6 DPNs as well. These needles are just too addictive…)



Sadly, Moving Mud did not have the perfect buttons for my purple sweater, but she did have some gorgeous blue and green swirly buttons that I fell in love with. I had picked up some pewter buttons at the Bartlett Yarns booth for my green sweater, but maybe I’ll put those buttons on the purple sweater, and the Moving Mud buttons on the green sweater…

Miss Babs Yet Color Affliction kit

Miss Babs Yet Color Affliction kit

I had not planned to buy yarn to make a Color Affection Shawl. In fact, I’d sworn I wouldn’t. For one thing, I have yarn for a Stripe Study Shawl (also by designer Veera Välimäki) that I’d bought at MDSW three years ago that I still haven’t finished. And for another, the Color Affection Shawl is just so popular right now. Why knit what everyone else is knitting? Ahem. Well, I went into the Miss Babs booth and made the mistake of looking over at the Wall o’ Affection kits. And of course, I fell madly in love with one of them, in her yummy “Yet” lace (merino/silk). Sigh. I’m really just a lemming at heart…

I also bought another nifty notions case, a knit fixer tool (crochet hook on one end and a knitting tip on the other), and some highlighter tape that I’d been meaning to order online. And a skein of sock yarn at Cherry Tree Hill in shades of purple and magenta and teal that was just too pretty to leave behind. And I got some yummy almond honey and creamed honey from The Bee Folks to bring home for my husband (a total honey fanatic).

Trying out the Pocket Wheel

Trying out the Pocket Wheel

I was pretty good about more expensive fiber tools. I drooled a bit over the Ashford Knitters Loom. (And I got to meet Richard Ashford, which was pretty cool!) I carefully avoided making eye contact with the Ashford Joy Spinning Wheel. I did succumb to the invitation to try out a Pocket Wheel, though. Pretty neat! I’m a long way from buying a wheel, but I’d definitely keep this one in mind.

The day had started out quite hot and sticky, and despite generous application of sunscreen, my face and the back of my neck got a bit sunburned. Then a cool front blew through and threatened rain, but fortunately it held off. Not that some rain would have dampened our spirits!

By the time I got home, I was totally exhausted. I had just enough energy to get a shower and crack open a nice, cold beer.

Now comes the hard part… resisting all the pretty new yarn and projects calling to me! I need to get a few works-in-progress taken care of first. First up, finishing the scalloped lace baby cardigan…

I hope your weekend was full of fibery friends and fun, too!

Sheep and Wool!!!

This weekend is Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (known around here as just “Sheep and Wool!” in exactly the tone of voice that bold italics implies. Who, me, excited? 🙂

My parents in crime from last year, Carla and Hope, will be joining me again, and I think I’m looking forward to the girl time as much as the yarny goodness. Carla’s coming down tonight, and we’ll meet Robin at the fairgrounds bright and early tomorrow morning.

Since I’m already suffering from SABLE (Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) or close to it, I don’t really *need* any yarn. Hahahaha. You know that won’t stop me from buying yarn! This year I’m also going to look at spinning fiber and maybe another spindle. I always love to look at buttons; so many neat glass and pottery buttons that you just can’t find at the local sewing store. And I’d like a size 8 circular needle from Signature Needle Arts. (I’d also love some double-points from them in larger sizes, if the budget allows. I only have their DPNs in sock sizes, but I love them. The pointy tips and the not-so-slick body make for a DPN that is easy to use and won’t slip out of your work-in-progress. Perfect for wrestling with a sleeve attached to a top-down sweater!)

Plus, there will be yummy gyros, men in kilts, loads of adorable sheep and alpacas to pet, and lots and lots of fellow knitters. What’s not to love?!

I hope your weekend is full of yarny goodness, too!

Knitting Physics

This totally appealed to my inner knitting geek.  Thanks, Carla!

E-cards for knitters - ...and that's why you always knit and wash your gauge swatch. I hope you've learned your lesson! - But all those colors looked so pretty on the skein... - My husband will never find the yarn I've stashed in here...


Stitch MarkersA lovely and talented friend of mine gave me this wonderful set of stitch markers the other day:

Aren’t they neat?  I know I will enjoy using them.  Not only are they attractive, they’re  a knitting tool that will make my projects easier.  (I can’t imagine tackling a complicated lace project without stitch markers.  Ouch!!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about knitting tools lately.  My husband loves to say that you need the right tool for the job, and I think this one of those cliches that became a cliche because it’s so frequently true.  When you have the wrong tool (or the right tool in poor condition) a simple or enjoyable task can become tedious or frustrating, and the results may not be what you hoped for.  If you’re going to chop vegetables, would you prefer to use a dull, rusted knife with a flimsy blade or a well-balanced knife with a good, sharp edge?

Knitting tools are no different.  Good tools can make your knitting easier and more enjoyable, and can help you finish your projects faster and obtain the results you want. 

So what tools are in your knitting bag?  First off, of course, are your knitting needles.  I blogged about my new pair of Signature knitting needles the other day.  They have very sharp, slick points, so I can execute even tricky stitches like k3tog or p2tog tbl with ease.  The cables are very flexible, and they turn freely where they join the needle, so my stitches won’t become tangled or distorted. These needles are expensive, but they make lace knitting easier and more enjoyable for me, so I think they are well worth the price tag.  I also have two sets of Signature double-pointed needles that I use for sock knitting.

I also use and enjoy my Knit Picks nickel-plated needles.  They are also very slick, so even bulky sweater yarns glide along them with ease.  The interchangeable needles make it easy (and afforable) to always have just the right length of cable, and I have found that I can swap between the circular needles and the double-pointed needles as I work from sweater to sleeve without worrying about changes in gauge.

As you can tell, I prefer metal needles.  I started out knitting with wood needles, but my stitches were so tight that I felt like I was fighting to move the yarn along the slightly “grippy” surface wood needles provide.  But I know other knitters who refuse to use anything but wood needles; they find metal needles too slick or too cold or too inflexible to use comfortably.  Still other knitters prefer needles made of plastic, carbon fiber (the same material used to make Stealth Bombers), or even milk

So I’m curious… what needles do you use?  And why?

Sheep & Wool

I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend with some good friends, Carla Kempert and Hope Ramsay.  I had so much fun that I’m still smiling, four days later.  What could be better than a day spent with friends indulging in a shared addiction interest? 🙂

MDSW-2011Here I am fondling some yarn in (I think) the Cloverhill Yarn booth.  Note Hope’s amazing Fair Isle vest!  She was stopped repeatedly by people wanting to admire it.  One woman told her it was as good as the first place entry in the show!

I bought more yarn than I planned.  Spent more money than I planned.  Came home with yarn and buttons and new knitting needles.  (And allergies, sunburn, and sore feet, but hey, those trifling inconveniences are more than worth it!)

So… what did I get?

The Haul

Three skeins of Minerva (50% merino, 50% bombyx silk) from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, colorway Storm Clouds. Sweater pattern to be determined soon!

Two skeins of Bugga! from Sanguine Gryphon, in Sooty Dancer and Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz (gotta be a Douglas Adams fan to get that one; I might have bought it just for that!).

One skein of Northumbria from Miss Babs, in Sugilite.  (The colors are a little washed out in the picture; it’s shades of pewter and taupe and a gorgeous dusky mauve.)

Buttons from Jennie the Potter (blue) and Melissa Jean (green).

And new knitting needles (circular and double-points) from Signature Needle Arts (which aren’t in this picture because I already put them to use!!).

I spent Mother’s Day sitting in the backyard with my feet up, working on a new project (which I cast on entirely as an excuse to use the aforementioned new Signature circular needles, which are an absolute dream to use).

This is a modified Haruni shawl.  I am using the plain Ishbel body with the Haruni petal border, and adding beads to the flower stems and edges of the petals.  I think it’s going to be gorgeous!  (I actually didn’t get as much knitting done as I’d hoped, because I had to keep stopping to admire the colors in the yarn– Sundara sock yarn in Lunar Landing.)

If you’re a mom, I hope you spent Mother’s Day relaxing and indulging in one of your favorite interests (and/or chocolate!!).