Friday, March 05, 2010

Hip, Hip, Crochet!
I apparently crocheted as a child--I have a dollhouse size blanket and pillow to prove it. I've been trying to pick it up and it doesn't appear hard but I guess you need to practice. I'm feeling like I need someone to work with me on it. To that end, I've picked up a couple of books--Hip to Crochet (I have Hip to Knit and like it), 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet--which looks fun--and the adorable Creepy Cute Crochet--this is beyond my skill set so far but I'm hopeful.
I was going to crochet a tank top from Plymouth's new yarn Sprout, but that first row is very difficult, regardless of the project or the yarn so I've set it aside (although I fully intend to knit the Sprout using the tank top pattern in Hip to Knit). I have some ribbon in my stash that I'll try to crochet when it's warmer and I don't have Spring cleaning on my mind.

It was a gorgeous day today and I used it to deep clean. I put everything that was not stored away into the guest room, which brought to mind my grandparents, who had a bedroom that they used for storage when I was young that they called the "spare room." My guest room is looking pretty similar these days (and this is NOT a good thing).
I'm on a kick to finish the many many projects I have going. I mad
e a list and have enough projects for two to three years--no exaggeration. I just can't seem to prioritize anything. I had taken the Stella Shrug to The Skein Attraction yesterday for advice on how long to make it--the patterns calls for 57 inches from cuff to cuff. I'll need make it 64 inches wide to have it at the wrist, so I need another skein of Kidsilk Haze which is delaying progress on that.
But I finished knitting a bag from Manos del Uruguay and Touch Me this morning--I have to take it to my sister's to felt--she has a washer with a disinfectant setting that felts beautifully. If I ever find the charger for my camera, I'll post a photo of it.

I Won! I Won! I Won!

I went to Shirley Paden's book signing at Lion Brand Studios last night. What a lovely woman.

The ladies on either side of my couldn't praise her teaching skills highly enough. There's no space in her Master Class this coming Sunday but I'm definitely planning on finding classes that she teaches.

Interesting talk and inspiring environment--I couldn't help drifting off as I planned colorways from the thousands of skeins of yarn on the walls.

And, as an added bonus, I won lighted knitting needles--I've always wanted them specifically for use in movie theaters (got to keep these hands busy). This comes at a great time. Both my parents won door prizes at the Cape May Knitting Retreat, so we have a trifecta for the week.

Cape May Finds

There was, of course, no way to resist buying some special items at Fiber Arts. The first purchase was this beautiful bulky yarn called Handspun Bouquet from Pagewood Farms. One skein is 50 yards/5.5 ounces and it's recommended to knit on size 15-19 needles. Eight stitches and I don't know how many rows will produce a nice scarf. Can't wait.
The second item is a kit from Knit One Crochet Two. There are two skeins of cotton--one fuchsia and one mango--and that's enough to make two "fishy" bath mitts. The kit includes a bar of homemade soap that smells great. This will be a filler project but for evenings because there's a pattern to follow.
Lastly, I found these tubes of beads. I want to make the Gleam Evening Wrap from Silky Little Knits and have more than enough Kidsilk Haze for it, but I need 1700 beads. I couldn't tell how many beads are in a tube at the craft stores or online and when I was pricing them out, it got extremely costly so I was delighted when I saw a bin with several tubes of beads at the Fiber Arts shop. Voila! Two tubes of 1000 beads each. Now if I can just talk someone into helping me string these! ; )
Stella Shrug
This is the Kidsilk Haze shrug I'm knitting from Silky Little Knits. It's knit cuff to cuff in the round, flat then round again. The grey at the top is the back and knit flat. The fabric made from knitting Kidsilk Haze doubled is absolutely heavenly--so soft and delicious--like a cloud. I can't believe how much I love it. It's a little difficult to fix mistakes but so worth the effort!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Been So Long

Yes, yes, I know, I've been remiss about keeping up with the blog. But between work, vacation, work, knitting retreat, I haven't had much time.

I've been focused on a good inventory of my WIPs and the projects waiting in my stash so I can get a handle on what I have and what I need to get done. I donated three large boxes of yarn recently and still don't have room to store everything (I refuse to go beyond one room!).

We had a wonderful time at the Fiber Arts Knitting Retreat in Cape May, NJ this past weekend. Despite a rocky start with the blizzard-like conditions and a three-hour shoveling episode, once on the road, travel was easy. I'm listening to Pat Conroy's South of Broad and the miles flew by....

We stayed at Congress Hall, which is the nicest hotel in Cape May (IMHO) and we were greeted by some yarn ladies. There was a banquet and fashion show on Friday night, classes on Saturday and some events on Sunday too. First class, Margie taught us Crochet for Knitters (not my strong suit...yet), then Jim taught Button Making--that was a whole lot of fun. Finally Afton taught Knit One Below (the brioche stitch) after lunch. I did a lot of frogging but finally got it.

There was a trolley tour of the town scheduled in the evening, but we walked around town then went back for cocktails in The Brown Room and dinner at The Blue Pig Tavern.

The one thing that could have been better for me would be availability of coffee at an early hour. The coffee shop didn't open until 7:00 and room service and the dining room didn't start until 7:30--I'm an early riser under most circumstances, so I put on my coat and ventured outside the hotel looking for coffee. Unfortunately there's not a lot of options in February, so after admiring the ocean for a few windy moments, I went back to the hotel and got a cup at Tommy's Folly.

We were pretty much on our own Sunday, so we had breakfast at the Blue Pig then went to the Cape May Day Spa for hand reflexology. What a delight that was! We also wandered around town and of course shopped for pretty little things here and there. We could have visited an alpaca farm which was part of the retreat, but the weather looked rough and we ended the trip with a visit to the Fiber Arts store. I'll have to photograph what I bought so I can show you.

Progress report on my needles: I'm working on a shrug from Silky Little Knits by Alison Crowthers Smith. I'm using Rowan's Kidsilk Haze doubled in five colors. You knit 20 rows with AA, then 20 with AB, then 20 with BB and so on. It's knit cuff to cuff, sleeves in the round and back flat. I'm on the back right now. As part of my organizational attempts, I hope to have this project down this weekend, so I can finish the Prism Stuff Shrug next week. I'll let you know how that goes...