Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cashmere anyone?

Have you ever had the chance to play with cashmere? Any kind of cashmere, pure or blended? I recall being devastated when Knit Picks discontinued their yarn that was a delicious blend of cashmere and all fibers soft...called Panache (Decadence was that the yummy 100% alpaca they discontinued at the same time). As soon as I found out it was being discontinued, I called in my order ~ "Send me all of it please..." and they did.... "Plus, please send me all the Decadence too."

Well, on the happier side of discontinued yarn, have you ever checked out the WEBS website? I must say that I never had looked before yesterday... when I saw a beautiful scarf being made of wispy cobwebby cashmere that is oh-so-soft & oh-so-pretty.... WEBS has sales on cashmere. Several types of cashmere - DK & Bulky & Worsted.... wow.....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So you think you can crow?

When I was looking for my knitting pictures on my camera chip, I found this great video that my Ms H took this week, and I had to laugh. Our Richie is quite a crooner, and he means business! I haven't gone into the aviary in a very long time, as I fear he will attack me....(you could say that I'm just a chicken....groan....) But when there is a fence between us, I can appreciate him.
What does this have to do with yarn & knitting? I can hear him when I'm knitting in the back yard, I hear him when I'm knitting in my chair in our room, I can hear him no matter where I am knitting (unless I'm Road Trip Knitting).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More inspiration ~

Yippee! The new Interweave Knits has arrived! I've decided that I'll be "allowed" to read it once I've finished listening to Breaking Dawn as that will give me extra motivation to finish this audio book before the due date at the library. So far, the Interweave looks like it has a lot of potential ~ remembering that the last issue sucked me in from the very first page of advertising, as it was the Lacy Pullover (shown below March 31, 2009 post).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cozy knitting ~

I'm knitting in my new chair, listening to Breaking Dawn, the last in the Twilight series, being very cozy and relaxed. This chair has been the perfect addition to our room, and the perfect way to knit in my cozy room! I'm making progress on the lacy pullover, and I need to be patient as part of me wants to start a new project with a new set of stitches, or perhaps I should pick up one of my Works In Progress and then I'll feel like I've started a new project... I miss those hats that knit up so fast.....but, the lacy pullover is looking great, really it is.....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Interesting Knitting ~ too

I told you about our neighbor who does finger knitting using just her hand. I'm not sure exactly how she does it, although I've watched her do her finger knitting. She gave me a new color, so I knit it into the ever-growing scarf from the tube of finger knitting. Here is the latest version of the scarf ~ sort of looks like 1960's colors, avocado & brown... but the yellow helps keep it happily in 2009....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dolley likes yarn ~

Meet Dolley, named after Dolley Madison, our 4th First Lady. She is a Golden, just like our Aretha that you met a few days ago. As it turns out, Dolley and I have something in common, as you can tell by her delightful reaction to a basket of wonderful wool & alpaca. She likes yarn so much that she sings about it! Check it out!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dreaming of Frog Tree ~

Ms M is buying loads of Frog Tree alpaca ~ on sale ~ yes, say it all together "Frog Tree alpaca on sale" yes, she has found the mother (grandmother?) load of sale Frog Tree... and I can't stop thinking about it... all the colors, and all the softness, and All That Alpaca.....On Sale..... ah, what colors would I like if there is any left this weekend? Ah.... blues, greens, black.... do they make any bad colors?

If you are not having yarn fantasies about Frog Tree alpaca, then please check it out here (I'll wait). Hey, I'm not telling you where the sale is.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interesting Knitting ~

Our neighbor came over this past weekend with yarn that she had made "finger knitting" and asked if I could knit it into a hat. I'd never heard of finger knitting, but she had a lot of this yarn in a big long tube. It was bigger than bulky weight, perhaps bulky on steroids. I knew I couldn't knit a hat with that bulky yarn as my needle collection doesn't include ginormous sizes... but I tried to cast on for a scarf, and it didn't look too bad. It will be a very warm & thick scarf. She's bringing me over a new color this week to knit into stripes. As she described how to "finger knit" she used the word "interesting" one hundred times, so I told her I would title this blog "interesting knitting"... and I did.... here are some pictures of the original tube of knitting, and then how it is knitting up.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can She Sing!

Sunday turned out to be a serendipity day, as we brought home new chicks 3 days earlier than planned. If we would have waited until Wednesday, there would have been no chicks at the Grange. So, Happy Earth Day to all! This chick received her name as she was singing loud and long as the worker caught her and put her into our little box, so we named her "Aretha" and WOW, she can really sing!!! Although our plan was to name all the chicks after First Ladies, Aretha fits in as the First Lady of Motown Soul!

(just a wee bit of knitting occurred on Sunday)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Serving up knitting ~

There are few situations where knitting may not be appropriate. While I knit while watching sports on TV, I don't knit while watching my kids playing sports. Today was such a day, as H had a varsity tennis match today, and it is the first time I've been able to watch her play. She and her team mate won they their doubles match 6-2. The entire varsity team won as well ~ Bravo! Here is a picture of the winning doubles team!
P.S. I did knit in the car on the way, and on the way home....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Family Tree ~

This is a special tree. The first day we saw this house, there were deer grazing on the plums that had fallen below. The first spring, it bloomed white as a magnificent cloud. Last night, I looked out our window and the blooms were so white, the tree was glowing in the moon light. I have always loved this tree, especially in the spring.

Can you see the chicken's aviary off to the side? Plus the kids in front (no alpacas yet...).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring progress ~

The lacy pullover is slow going, but I am making progress. The lace is beautiful and the knitting is still interesting. The pima cotton~tencel is very soft and great to work with. I'm using addi lace turbo needles, and the lace tips make them my favorite needles of choice.

P.S. I still have not received the basket of yarn from the Easter Bunny.... if you see her, please let her know where she can find me....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Note to John ~

John: I was shocked by the news of your retirement. The thought of watching football without seeing "your game" of the weekend seems flat and lonely. You have provided so much knowledge and humor to the game over all these years, and millions of us will miss you terribly. I know you want to spend more time with your family, and I applaud that idea. You should also think about taking up knitting as a new hobby. Really. You would find it fascinating. Really. Since you'll be watching football without the broadcasting part, you'll be able to knit a lot during all those games. I do ~ its great. Plus you could continue to draw those great pictures as you change patterns and embellish on the different styles of the Kirchner stitch. Really. Some of your drawings could be very interesting intarsia designs, so I think you should give pattern designing a try. Think of it as a new way of watching football. We wish you the best, and hope that you'll have some cameo appearances this fall.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Knitting ~

Daffodils are in my top 5 favorite flowers ~ they are so happy and bright, and bloom right after a long dreary winter. Spring knitting should also be happy and bright, and full of the promise of warm days and sunshine, just like daffodils. Here are some daffs in my back yard, plus my pima cotton/tencel lacy pullover ~ lots of spring everywhere! This yarn is working well and feels great while knitting, plus the pattern seems to be working out as well ~ the lace is not hard, but moving slowly!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Backyard surprise ~

Trillium is a protected plant in Michigan, meaning you can't cut it for bouquets or any other reason. Our first spring in this house was full of surprises, and one of them continues to be the trillium that blooms each year. I'm not sure if it is a protected plant in Washington, but it is "protected" in our back yard. Here it is with my pima cotton/tencel lacy pullover.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It’s like ripping off a bandage ~

... just do it fast and get it over with! These were the words of wisdom from my very good friend and expert knitter, regarding the idea of knitting a 5th "dashed"square. So I did, and here they are....(and just a wee bit of yarn left, so no way can I knit another...)
She & I get the "done first" prize....whatever that is....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Fever ~

Have you ever thought that this is the Spring you'll get an alpaca? This is the year I will have my own yarn supply. This is the year I will learn to spin my own yarn, and if I have an alpaca in the back yard...well, what inspiration that will be! Wouldn't it be great to have a sweet, mild mannered dolly alpaca that comes when you whistle, and puts her fluffy head on your shoulder. They are so cute, and they must be so soft, as all the roving is sooooo wonderfully soft.... as the weather gets us closer to spring, I'm going to have a few knitting fantasies of my own little alpaca farm, where I'm spinning and knitting and farming......feel free to join me, as I'm sure you've been thinking about a little farm too.... right?
(not that I'm not really happy with our chickens....)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Serendipity misplaced ~

Coming home from vacation was tougher than we thought it could be. Bad weather in Newark caused flight back ups and groundings all over the network, so we were stuck in the D.C. airport for a few hours. Of course I was knitting most of the time ~ so that was not too awfully bad.... Then after finally getting to Newark, we were stuck there for several more hours, and as we waited to find out if our plane was ever going to arrive from the south, so we could fly west, we noticed that we were in the gate being used by those passengers flying to Toronto. Could it be that Stephanie Pearl McPhee might be flying on this plane? Perhaps we might see her? She might be knitting, like me, in the gate waiting area right now.... Alas, although we checked every passenger that boarded, we did not see her.... So close, and yet so far.....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What's in your basket?

Did you get a basket this morning? Was it filled with chocolate eggs (yum) and peeps (yuk) or perhaps a chocolate bunny? These are baskets that I am hoping for..filled with lots of yarn ~ ALL my favorite yarn (who do I talk to about this?).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

International cooperation ~

When we I couldn't find any yarn within the Washington DC mall area, I decided this required extreme tactics. Upon finding the Canadian Embassy, I inquired if their most famous ambassador, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, was aware that there were no yarn stores easily found within the DC mall area. I thought she was already working on this problem. Also, I knew that President Obama had already held a sock during a photo opportunity and campaign tour, so I think he is working on this problem too. Oddly enough, those at the Embassy could not divulge any of the strategies to get yarn to the DC mall. I am hoping this is in the stimulus package, as I was certainly ready to do my part for the economy of Washington DC!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Before London ~

President Obama took a quick minute to pose for a picture before boarding Air Force 1 for London. I wish I would have known then about "no yarn in Washington DC" as I would have asked him when I had the chance. I'm very pleased about the White House veggie garden, so along those same values, I'm sure there is a yarn store planned for the Washington DC Mall area that is heavy on the natural fibers, organic yarns and recycled content woollies. Perhaps Peace Fleece and alpaca, and all those great ones! Hopefully there will be a yarn shop there by this summer?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

National Cooperation ~

When we I couldn't find any yarn in the Washington DC mall area, I pondered what my strategy should be. Since the President was in London, my next venue was to the Senate. Fortunately for me, Washington State has two amazing Senators. Our first visit was with Patty Murry, and she is impressive.

We talked about education and veterans' issues, and the stimulus package and how it would effect communities in our state.

Unfortunately we ran out of time and I was unable to ask if she was working on getting a yarn shop in Washington DC.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good news and bad news ~

There is a lot of good news in Washington D.C. There is hope and optimism, and very friendly and helpful people. Since you have heard all the obvious stories of D.C., here are some observations that you may have missed:

1) everyone has a hand held electronic device that they are talking to or texting on, except those wee persons in baby strollers;
2) not many people in D.C. wear perfume ~ not that they smell bad, but very rarely did I smell perfume;
3) the magnolia trees and cherry trees were amazingly beautiful ~ there are so many and the site of all the blooms are stunning;
4) there are runners everywhere, and they are good runners, not just the jogging variety, really good runners;
5) fashion ranges widely, and included lots of scarves ~ I thought everyone would wear comfortable shoes, but there were many sightings of spikey heels dashing up the mall...(I couldn't fathom this);
6) the President & First Lady made us proud in their European visit....

...and now the bad news....

1) knitting needles are not allowed in the Capitol building ~ they are listed with guns and sharp objects... good that I did not take my knitting out of our hotel room...
2) there were no yarn shops that we could find along the Metro line. A Google search said that the nearest yarn store was over 10 miles away... how could the home of the government of the free world not include a yarn store? I had such fantasies of vacation purchases.... Bad, bad news....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fighting with a vim ~

Knitting during sports events is a great way to multi-task while spending time with your sports loving sweetie. Tonight was no exception as we watched Michigan State and North Carolina. Since North Carolina was in President Obama's bracket to win, I suppose they were "well motivated" to win....The turnovers sank our Michigan State, and the only good news is we have only one senior that won't be back next year. So "wait until next year" will be our motivation until the next March Madness arrives. P.S. Did I tell you MSU's coach, Tom Izzo is a Northern Michigan University alumni?

Until then, check out the Michigan State Fight Song, better yet, sing along with this amazing 4 year old (I wish I could tell you who he is... what a great singer!), here are the words:

On the banks of the Red Cedar
Is a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is winning,
And those Spartans play good ball;
Spartan teams are never beaten,
All through the games they fight;
Fight for the only colors, Green and White.
Go right thru' for MSU,
Watch the points keep growing.
Spartan teams are bound to win,
They're fighting with a vim. RAH! RAH! RAH!
See their team is weakening,
We're going to win this game. Fight! Fight! Rah! Team, Fight! Victory for MSU.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meet my newest knitting friend ~

Isn't she lovely? Isn't she perfect with my knitting? Isn't she the serendipity I've been waiting for? Yes, as a matter of fact, she is all these things. Plus, she is now in my bedroom as my knitting chair, and oh~so~comfortable there, and I'm oh~so~comfortable when I'm rocking gently knit knit knitting. Thanks to Tif, the bargain fairy, I was able to bring this delightful chair home with me, and we have begun a wonderful friendship!
Thanks Tif!
(check out how amazingly clever our Tif is here)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Michigan State in Final Four!

What a game tonight! Michigan State advances to the Final Four after a hard fought game against the Huskies of U-Conn. What a great game! Final score, Michigan State 82; U-Conn 73.

In honor of the Final Four, I cast on 204 stitches for the Tahki Stacy Charles top called Textured Lacy Pullover. I am knitting the top in the round, so there will be a bit of change to the pattern. I don't like sewing seams at the end of a knitting project. I'm using some very soft pima cotton ~ tencel blend by Classic Elite Yarns called Premiere and so far it is good to work with.
P.S. Did you know that MSU's coach is Tom Izzo, of Northern Michigan University?! Hurrah!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hard decisions ~

I never know which knitting projects to take on vacation. How do you choose? I think about the new projects I want to start, and those that I want to finish. I think of which projects I want to associate with that vacation. No cotton acrylic should cloud good vacation memories... I'm just saying.... Perhaps I'll find some great yarn stores and need to buy a memento of the trip, in the form of a new pattern that is representative of the area, or a special "home grown" local yarn. Or, perhaps I should take all my yarn, patterns and hope for some inspiration...
any advice?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Results are here ~

Well, if you are following along, remember that my sister & I learned to dye silk yarn and a silk scarf with natural dyes at the Sewing Expo at the end of February. We were supposed to let the silk seep with the colors, and then wash out after a week of seeping. Well, the silk has been hanging in our laundry room for over a week now, and is ready to take pictures. The colors were not as vibrant as I had hoped, but still rather pretty. I asked rockin13 she felt inspired to take pictures of my silk... and she took up the challenge, and was inspired by... shoes?
I love this! "Shoes & Silk"

Also this picture: "Flamingoe's Silk Feathers"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No peach for you ~

The third tank top was not peach, although it has some peach in the mix of greens. This was completed last year, and I wore it a few times before the cooler weather arrived. Still using the Fiber Trends pattern, and this time knit with a single strand instead of double. I've learned a bit in the last few years of knitting, and although bigger yarn and larger needles makes the project work up faster, it sometimes is not the best fabric for the project! That is true for a summer tank top! The fourth tank top, the purple ribbon "Bonnie" project on my needles, is also a single strand.
The ceramic chicken looks just like our Lemony Snicket!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Double vision ~

My first tank top was a Fiber Trends pattern, and it worked well. It knit up fairly easily, although a bit dull with all the same knitting in the middle. I changed the construction so I could knit in the round. After knitting my first one successfully, I knew that the next one would be even better as I'd learned so much.... the funny part is that when I found the perfect yarn while on vacation, I was surprised to find upon returning home, that the yarn was oh~so~similar to the first tank top! I guess I like the color peach! Tomorrow's post will show the third tank top, are you curious if it is peach?