Wednesday, February 28, 2007

OBX Knitting Weekend - Yarn Crawl Loot

It's time for the big "reveal" of my purchases from this past weekend. Forgive me if this is "braggy", but people in my knitting group were asking to see it, so here we go:

Lantern Moon Rice Basket
I've always wanted one of these, but could never find a plain one until now.


Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets -- Fantasia, in "African Dance"
75/25% Cotton/Polyester


bottom view of yarn cake

extreme close-up of top of yarn cake - mmmmm

(L-R): Sweater Wizard software; Lantern Moon black sheep tape measure;
Blue Sky size 5 DPNs (bought just for that gorgeous tin);
"My Little Knitting Book" quick reference


Knitting Pure & Simple - Weekend Neck Down Jacket pattern (#234)
Knitting Pure & Simple - Neckdown Cardigan for Women (#9725)

Knitting Pure & Simple - V-neck Cardigan for Women (#994)
Vermont Fiber Designs - Cable & Rib Cardigan (#129)

Knitting Addiction's "Mitten Accomplished" pattern
(With directions for fingering, DK and worsted weight yarns.
The shop sample was knit with sock yarn, which
may inspire me to use up some of
my copious stash)

Doggie Driver - for younger brother's birthday

Woven bag in my very favorite color combination, from Endless Possibilities
(I love the win/win/win! philosophy of this organization)


Inside lining of woven bag -- love this fabric!

Woven kitchen rug from Endless Possibilities

Close-up of rug colors - love these!
(Thanks to eagle-eye enabler Robin H. for spotting this rug just as we were leaving

Just had to share this picture of Ali the cat admiring the rug

World's softest cotton t-shirts from the Life is Good store.
Love their philosophy, too.


Alrighty, then, that's enough mass materialism/consumerism for one day. Tomorrow I will post pictures of last night's very fun TNK knit night, and a FO. So, stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

OBX Knitting Weekend - February 2007

Okay, I think I'm rested and awake enough now to actually present a decent description of last weekend's antics.

I took lots of pictures, and posted quite a few of them out to Flickr, so will give a link to them at the end of this post. Forgive me for not putting more of them here, but it's just so much easier to organize a large number of pictures on Flickr than trying to post them all here, in and around my textual description.

So, without further ado, I'll just start from the beginning and give a play-by-play. Hope it's not too terribly boring.

This past weekend's knitting trip came about as a last-minute, serendipitous treat for me. While eating dinner w/ Robin H. and Sheddy and Linda two Sundays ago, Robin mentioned that she was going to the North Carolina Outer Banks for a knitting weekend with Emmy and Pam, two friends we met at our Knitting at the Lake retreat in January. I jokingly replied, "Hey, see if they have room for me!", and Robin took me up on that and later called Emmy, who talked it over with Pam, and both agreed that there was, indeed, room for me. Oh, happy day!

So, I left Richmond Friday, a little after noon and almost exactly three hours later I was driving across the bridge into Kitty Hawk. I immediately called Emmy & Pam who had already arrived at the beach house, and we agreed to meet at our primary place of interest, Knitting Addiction in Southern Shores. I bought some dark green Burlyspun for a birthday hat for my younger brother, (don't look so surprised), and after about an hour, we headed back to the cottage to wait for Robin, who had made a side-trip to The Woolery in Murfreesboro. I do believe that Robin could find a yarn & fiber shop in deepest, darkest Africa, if she happened to be driving through there.... ;-)

Anyway, once Robin arrived, we headed on to dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe in Kill Devil Hills. Good food, slow service. I had the Thai Coconut Shrimp Bisque and a Steak-and-Shrimp special w/ asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. Yummy, but very filling -- I had tons of leftovers. After dinner we stopped at the nearby Harris Teeter to pick up a few groceries, before heading back to the cottage for an evening of... you guessed it... knitting.

I cast on for my brother's hat, while Pam continued working on a baby blanket she started that afternoon with yarn (Plymouth Heaven, I believe) purchased at Knitting Addiction. Emmy worked on the first sleeve for her Noro cardigan, and Robin worked on several projects, finishing up a fun fur chemo cap, and casting on for her a Fiber Trends felted clog. Everyone was tired and nodding off, and we all eventually wandered off to bed.

Saturday morning, after eating breakfast, more knitting and showering, we all headed back to Knitting Addiction, where we spent another 2½ hours shopping and/or knitting. I think that between the four of us, we've probably helped shop owner Jeanne finance an addition to her house. I purchased mostly notions, although I did buy two hanks of some gorgeous, hard-to-find Ellyn Cooper's yarn to add to my stash. Oh, and I almost forgot -- I also bought several patterns and a knitting basket.

After leaving Knitting Addiction, we met my sister and my niece (who live down there) for lunch at Mama Kwan's in Kill Devil Hills. Another good meal -- everyone liked what they ordered. I had the crab cake sandwich.

After lunch, we drove across the bridge to Roanoke Island, to visit the other Outer Banks yarn shop -- Fine Yarns at Kimbeeba, in the Phoenix Shops on Budleigh Street, at the Manteo waterfront. I didn't purchase any yarn there, but did buy the Sweater Wizard software. (Last summer I bought my Sock Wizard software there, as well). We visited a few other shops while there, including one of my very favorites -- Endless Possibilities, where I purchased another gorgeous woven bag and a rug for my kitchen. At another shop that sold nothing but dog-related items, I purchased a very cool tennis-ball putter for my brother, so that he can play putt-and-fetch with his dog. At another shop that sold lots of beachy apparel and gifts, I bought him a Life is Good mug with a shamrock on it. (His birthday is on St. Patrick's Day).

While walking around in and amongst the shops, we took pictures of each other on that Great Big Chair in the courtyard across from the waterfront. I love that chair -- it makes everyone look tiny!

As the sun was setting and shops were closing, (and my debit card cried "Uncle!"), we hopped back in the car and headed on to dinner at Lone Cedar, at the east end of the causeway. I took a few more sunset pictures while we waited for a table. The place was jam-packed with people, and it's always like that, according to my sister, thanks to a very loyal following from Manteo locals. Our food was fantastic, and worth the wait. I had the she-crab soup (possibly the best I've ever had), and the Seafood Pasta (shrimp, scallops & mushrooms over linguine). Delicious, with enormous portions, so I had plenty to take home.

And home we headed, where we changed into our jammies and knitted for several hours before going to bed.

Sunday morning we knitted some more, ate breakfast (I ate all my yummy leftovers), showered, cleaned the house and headed out. The house where we stayed is owned by a coworker of Pam's, and is rented privately rather than through a rental company, and so we had convenient access to their sheets and towels, (which we washed and put away before we left) and were able to leave at our convenience, rather than being chased out by 10 am as is usually the case with beach rentals. Pam & Emmy were gracious enough to stay until the final load of towels was dry, to close up the house, while Robin and I each left around 1pm. I headed to the Life is Good store, right next to Kitty Hawk Kites, across from Jockey's Ridge, to pick up a couple of their incredibly, silky-soft cotton t-shirts. And while there, who did I run into but Robin, buying t-shirts for her sons! Robin went next door to check out the Crocs selection at Kitty Hawk Kites, and I left to visit my sister and her family in Colington Harbour, before heading on home.

I left around 4:30 pm, and was met with gully-washing rain for most of my drive, but made it home safely, if exhausted, around 8:30 pm.

All-in-all, a super fun weekend with knitting peeps, and I'm very grateful to Pam and Emmy for inviting me, and to Robin for being such a nice roommate.

I hope this wasn't too dry of a description of the trip, especially with no pictures here for immediate gratification. However, there ARE pictures -- you just have to go here to see them!

I haven't yet taken pictures of my "loot" from this trip -- I need to take those and perhaps will post them here tomorrow. So, stay tuned!

Monday, February 26, 2007

We had fun...

...and I'm exhausted!

I'll most likely upload pictures and a report of our weekend trip tomorrow or Wednesday, but in the meantime, the very eloquent Robin H. has described everything much more thoroughly than I ever could, so check out her full report.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hail to the Redskins!

Another hat for another nephew's birthday:

His birthday is today, actually, but the party isn't until next weekend, so I hope to get a live-action shot of him wearing it then.

  • Yarn:
  • * Main Color: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran 55/33/12% Merino/Microfibre/Cashmere in Brick (#611)
  • * Stripes: Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL 50/50% Baby Alpaca/Merino in Pinewood (#010)
  • Gauge: 4.5 stitches per inch
  • Pattern: Cast on 96 stitches, join in round, K2,P2 for 1½", increase to 99 stitches and knit every round for 5", adding stripes as desired, decrease & finish according to Super Simple Hat Calculator
  • Needles: U.S. size 8 Denise interchangeable circulars & Clover 7" bamboo DPNs
The main brick color is much closer to the required burgundy, it's just a little washed out by the flash in that picture. I do wish the color of the stripes was closer to Redskins gold, but that's a hard one to nail down. This will have to do.

Here's hoping that the kid likes it!

Today I spent a large part of the day downtown at the Convention Center, attending the Maymont Flower & Garden show. I took lots of pictures, and will most likely have a lengthy report about that on my gardening blog, but the extended report will have to wait, because tomorrow, I leave for a 3-day weekend at the beach with knitting friends, where I doubt I'll have internet access, so things will be quiet around here until Monday, most likely.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another Tuesday Night...

...knittin' with my peeps:
Issy, Jane, Jo and Deb

Mary Jane & Rita

Christina, Amy & Linda

Patsy & Sheddy

Everyone looks so serious in those pictures, but it was really quite a raucous evening, at least at my end of the table!

I didn't catch everyone's WIPs or FOs, but I did get a shot of Patsy's beautiful finished sweater:

I'm not sure of the pattern, (which I love), but the yarn is Berocco Foliage carried along with a strand of mohair. So very warm and autumnal. Good colors for Patsy. And Sheddy. And Christina. All our TNK redheads. :-)

Extreme close-up of the buttons -- aren't these fabulous?

Another fun, knitterly evening! Love you guys! :-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A lovely, leisurely, knitterly Sunday

This past Sunday, several of us TNK'ers met up at our usual knitting spot for a lovely afternoon of chatting, knitting, and chatting-about-knitting. In our small group were: Robin H., Sheddy, Linda, and myself.

The place was jam-packed w/ people, so we were fortunate to get a table. While there, Linda worked on her Noro Kureyon mistake-rib scarf, while Sheddy worked on her SWTC Karaoke cartridge belt rib scarf. Here they are for a side-by-side comparison:

Kureyon vs. Karaoke;
mistake rib vs. cartridge belt rib

Linda modeled her recently completed Noro Blossom vest:

Isn't this cute?

And Robin shared the stitch markers she's been making:

Robin says that she's making the stitch markers faster than she'd ever use them, so if any catch your fancy and you're interested in buying some, leave her a comment on her blog. I have to say that, in person they're really very pretty! I hope my pictures did them justice.

I worked on.... wait for it.... drumroll, please... another hat. Alert the media. I will probably finish that tonight or tomorrow, and will share FO pictures hopefully soon after, so stay tuned!

After knitting for several hours, we drove across the street and ate dinner at Bookbinders Grill, which was wonderful and delicious. Here are my lovely dinner companions:

Linda, Sheddy, Robin

And here's what we ate:

Sheddy & I both orderd the grilled chicken w/ sauteed mushrooms & sun-dried tomatoes

Robin had the pan-seared mahi-mahi

Linda had the special: grilled mahi-mahi w/ shrimp

Yum! After dinner, I was told by all three dinner companions that I must go see the tiles in the ladies room, and so, like a dork, I trooped in there with my camera and took pictures. Luckily, there was no one else in there at the time.

glass wall tiles

floor tiles
Guess you had to be there....

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday! I have to say that it's just a blast to spend an extended amount of time with other knitters, because you just can't talk for hours about knitting (and yarn and patterns and yarn shops and knitting blogs and websites) with muggles (non-knitters) and not have the muggles look at you with real, grave concern, like it's time they stage an intervention before you get too far gone....

And speaking of spending hours with fellow knitters -- I get to do it all over again tonight at TNK. Yay!

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Let It Snow!

Snowman hats are finished and ready for mailing:

  • Yarn:
  • * Main Color: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in white (#16014)
  • * Nose: Cestari 3-ply 100% merino in Bulky Poppy
  • Buttons, (both sets purchased at Couture):
  • * Eyes: JHB International ¾" (#32178)
  • * Mouth: JHB International - Raven, 5/8" (#89030)
  • Gauge: 3.5 stitches per inch
  • Sizes:
  • * Terry's hat (w/ 5-button mouth): 22", (cast-on 77 stitches)
  • * Jenny's hat (w/ 7-button mouth): 21", (cast-on 74 stitches)
  • Design: Jane Pollard's Snowman Hat
  • Needles: U.S. size 10.5 Denise interchangeable circulars & Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs
  • Modifications: made the noses a little pointier and longer by decreasing all the way down to 1 stitch; used buttons instead of french knots for mouths, (since I don't know how to do a french knot...)

I considered knitting a little hat and scarf for these snowmen, but thought better of it. They're done. I'm done.

The story behind my making these is that after I made the mistake of sending the link to Jane's post about her snowman hats to my sister and my sister-in-law, both of whom are teachers in their kids' schools, both immediately, independently emailed me back and said, "Make me one!".

I replied to both of them with, "You know how to knit -- knit one yourself!".

Both responded with, "But, I only know how to knit rectangles!".
(What I heard: Waaa, waaa, waaa!)

My response: "I'll be happy to guide you into the magical, mystical world of hat knitting."

Neither of them took me up on that offer.

Bunch of chickens I'm related to, apparently....

And so, I succumbed to familial pressure and knit them each a snowman hat.

I'm such a pushover.

They better not ask me for snowman hats for their kids, or spouses, or fellow teachers....

That's all I'm sayin'....

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sheep Shearing, the Traditional Way

Today's topic is brought to you by a guest blogger, the lovely and talented Patsy B., a loyal, card-carrying member of the Tuesday Night Knitters.

Patsy is an incredibly crafty woman, in the best sense of the word. Patsy sews, knits, spins, and dyes her own yarn, to name just a few of her talents. Every November, Patsy and her good friend and fellow TNK'er Nancy have a craft show where they sell much of their lovely handiwork. I had to miss her last show because I was out of town for the Knitter's Review retreat, but I sure hope to make it to her sale this year.

Last weekend, Patsy attended a traditional blade-shearing demonstration up at Stony Mountain Fibers, near Charlottesville, and observed Master Shearer, Kevin Ford, as he gave SMF's Cormo ewes and rams their annual hair cut.

Cormo sheep

Patsy sent me an email with a wonderful description of the event, which I felt might be enjoyed by other fiber enthusiasts, so I'm posting the contents of her email here, with her permission.

The text that follows is all Patsy; the illustrations & photos were added by me:

I did venture up to Stony Mt Fibers last Saturday to the sheep shearing. Went on to my friend's house about 20 minutes away for lunch and a visit. The shearing was much different than what I've seen previously. The shearer, a master shearer from MA who travels down the coast to different farms, sheared the old traditional way with large shears.

The other times I've seen shearing it was always done with electric shears and the sheep were often nicked in the process and were very restless and afraid. These beautiful Cormo sheep were calm and almost daze like. The shearer was very precise in his cutting and followed the same routine, taking about 10 minutes per sheep with the fleece coming off in a single piece.

He would get the sheep in a sitting position with their hind legs straight out, kind of straddling their backs. It was funny to watch as the sheep often put one of his front legs up on the shearer's shoulder to rest.

The fleece was then put on a skirting table....looked a lot like a large wagon wheel....where the "poopy" edges were pulled off and put in a large trash can. Barbara explained that she uses this around her roses/flowers as fertilizer and mulch.

The skirted fleece was then wrapped in a sheet and put with the others to either be sent for processing or bought by hand spinners.

I've never bought a fleece like that, although I did learn to spin from that point. Even with most of her sheep coated (actually wearing a coat) they still get dirty. Underneath the fleece is beautifully clean and white and the dirt comes out easily, even the crusty part. I watched as Barbara carefully checked the fleece for strength, indicating good health and nutrition.

The reactions of the sheep when the shearer finished was so funny....some stood up like...."Ok, that was good, so what now?" Others would shake and then run out into the pen saying, "boy that felt good!" It was fun to watch.

I thought how slim and trim the shearer was. He must have a very strong back since he has to support the 150 lb (average) sheep while shearing. He was a smallish man, actually, about 50 years old. The one time he nicked the edge of a back leg, he carefully held the spot till the bleeding stopped. The sheep didn't seem affected by the incident and was fine when finished.

Barbara had coffee, teas, donuts, and other goodies set out in the little room leading into the small barn. The whole process was simple and quick and very calming. I met some fun people who came to watch, talked with Barbara Hurd, (The Souful Knitter author), ate then shopped.

I decided to cut the work and bought a lb of Cormo roving, ready to spin, from the last shearing of Barbara's sheep....expensive but definitely worth it. Can't wait till it warms up a little so I can dye it and spin up something wonderful.


Thank you, Patsy, for being my guest blogger today and for sharing such an interesting experience! I look forward to seeing the results of your spinning and dyeing your new Cormo fiber. And I'll see ya next Tuesday night! :-)

In the meantime, I'll be posting finished snowman hat pictures tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday Night Knitters brave the elements

The weather was miserable this past Tuesday night -- very cold and rainy and just not anything you'd want to be out in, but we TNK'ers are a hardy bunch, and made our way to the warmth of Barnes & Noble and the companionship of our friends and fellow knitters.

Here's the group, in all their smiling glory:

Howdy, gang!
That poor soul in the green sweater whose head I decaptitated in the above picture is the lovely Christina. Sorry, hon! I thought I got everyone in the shot! Ack! Not to worry -- I captured her lovely face in another shot, further down in this post.

Here's one side of our long table:

(L-R): Jo, Rita, Sheddy, Amy, Mary, Hannah, and to her left, her little sister Lily

And here's the other side of the table:

(L-R, facing camera): Linda, Norma, Renny, Christina (she kept her head, this time!)

Christina is working on this beautiful scarf made out of a potpouri-type yarn:

Love this!

Here are the yarn details, if you're interested:

Visit this gal's website to see her other yarns

Until Tuesday night, high schooler Hannah held the honorable rank of youngest member of our group. Hannah's mom just gave birth to child #9 (!), and this week Hannah brought her sister Lily to knit with us. Here's Hannah helping Lily work the heel of a pretty purple sock:

Hannah and her sister.... ;-)

Amy is working on several projects, including this beautiful cabled sweater:

Looks warm!

To Amy's left is another Mary in our group who is working on a purse made with Rowan denim, which will have a very cool jeans pocket sewn on the outside, after it's all knit up. I hope to get a picture of that sometime soon.

Sheddy "cheated" on us last week and knit with a group up in Pennsylvania that also meets at a Barnes & Noble on Tuesday nights. While in her home state, she picked up some SWTC Karaoke, a lovely wool/soysilk blend that's incredibly soft, and according to the Pennsylvania knitters she spoke with, is their preferred (softer) alternative to Noro. Sheddy is knitting a cartridge belt rib scarf using a very cheerful colorway:


Norma is diligently working on her Knitting Pure & Simple top-down hooded cardigan for her new grandbaby:

Yarn: Sugar & Cream

And Renny is knitting the lovely feather-and-fan shawl from Folk Shawls for her daughter's wedding this spring:


Rita is tackling the Colinette AbFab throw with yarn purchased down at the beach at Knitting Addiction:

Absolutely Fabulous!

I continue to work on my snowman hats, and should have finished-object photos to share here tomorrow, so, stay tuned!

In the meantime, the February issue of Yarnival is now out, and this month can be found over at the The Purloined Letter. And guess what? I made it in again! They're linking to my post with the video of Issy demonstrating how to do a Russian Join. Way cool!

I will end this now, so I can go finish my hats. Stay warm, everyone!