Monday, May 23, 2011

Skyp The Sunset

I finished the Fiesta sock last night and immediately cast on for another pair. For some reason, I am really on a sock-knitting roll. Of course, it helps to have yarn like this with which to knit. I fell in love with the color...but have found that knitting with this yarn is wonderful!

It's ONline Supersocke Wellness II - Color. And these colors just scream sunset to me. I am using a pattern called Simple Skyp (pronounced, I believe, "skip" -- at least, that's how I'm saying it in my head) but I'm changing it about a bit. It's written as a cuff down sock but I prefer toe-ups so that's how I'm doing it. But I love the way the stitch looks:

But you know what? Even the sole is pretty in plain old stockinette.

Thank you, Rhodies, for letting my sock pose on you.

Another thing that got accomplished yesterday -- we planted the little planters we have on the front porch.

This year I went with polka-dot plant, gerbera daisies, lobelia and some sort of red flower that I can't remember the name of. They look pretty now (there are actually three is out of sight in this picture) but they'll undoubtedly look pretty ratty by the end of the summer.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our Trip to Massachusetts -- The Scenic Part

We had a lovely visit up on Amherst. Mr. Pointy Sticks and I had a good bit of time on our own. Rachel is more and more independent and busy and we didn't want to disrupt her time (or Andrew's) any more than we had, too. So we spent some time exploring the area a little more than we usually do. Unfortunately, the weather was not terribly drizzled, poured, or misted all the time.

On one of our days we went to the Holyoke Range State Park and took a .8 mile walk along the Laurel Loop trail.

It's hard to see here but this is a very up and down spot that is full of laurel bushes. I wish they had been in will be lovely, I bet.

There was a lovely little pool.

It was a nice and well-maintained path, though it was mighty wet. I was hoping for some birds or wild-flowers but it was just pretty woods.

There were some interesting things to see...look at these neat roots.

On another day we went to Skinner State Park in which Mt. Holyoke is located. We drove to the top of the park...rather tense making, as the road was very steep with lots of tight switchbacks. It was a very misty day so the view from the top looked like this:

We'll have to go back when the weather is clearer. I'd like to see what one can see from the top. Have to take some binoculars, too.

There was some impressive lichen.

Some pretty bleeding hearts.

And along the road, some wild columbine, growing among the ferns and moss.

We also saw some beautiful rhododendrons in South Hadley.

Looking at the map, there are lots of parks and things we can explore when we are back up there.

What else did we do while we were there? Well, we ate well. Had some tasty dinners at Osaka and Paul and Elizabeth's. Went to some used bookstores. Hit Webs, as mentioned in the previous post. And played with Rachel and Andrew's cats.

Sophie and Harley (Andrew's cats) -- somewhat deceptive picture as Harley is only a couple of months old and is smaller than Sophie. Here she looks larger.

Sophie trying out her soulful look...I think she's imitating an anime character here.

And ole Cooper, who is looking so good after having been on the raw food diet for a couple of months.

So it was a lovely trip (certainly better than being at work!), though the bad weather followed us home.

Note that the top of the George Washington Bridge is in the clouds.

And it's good to be home, too.

But I'm already looking forward to our next visit.

Our Trip To Massachusetts -- The Yarn Edition

I squeezed in two (count 'em, two!) trips to Webs this time. They were having their tent sale Saturday and Sunday and we made a quick stop there on Saturday when we drove into town. I wasn't really planning to get anything at the tent sale...I had other ideas. But we'll see how that plan held up.

What I made a beeline for was the Kureyon that was included in the May Sale, which was also going on. There were about 8 shelves of both full bags and loose skeins of Kureyon and I knew it was going to take some time to pick the color I wanted. Another woman and I had a little conversation about the colors as we both held up skeins and bags full of skeins. Finally she said, "You know, you keep picking up different skeins of this one colorway." And she was right. Oh, there were other skeins I picked up and look at, but this is the one that I kept coming back to...and that came home with me. Enough for a sweater from the Knit Noro book.

But I couldn't leave without at least looking at the Tent Sale, could I? And I came away with another sweater's worth (though I have no idea what sweater it'll be) of Elsbeth Lavold's Baby Llama.

Here's a better picture of the color.

Wish you could feel how soft this is!

Also on that day I grabbed two skeins of sock yarn that were on sale...the top one and middle one in this picture.

The second time we stopped at Webs was on Tuesday. We were in Northampton for the afternoon and we driving out about 5:00 when I asked Mr. Pointy Sticks if we could stop just one more time. They were closing at 5:30, so I couldn't take a lot of time. But I got the sock yarn at the bottom of the picture above. Don't know how I missed it on Saturday...actually, yes I do. There was another woman at the shelf at the same time and I couldn't see around her.

Look at the close-up. It's like an all-day sucker!

I also grabbed two skeins of Silk Garden (on sale) and a skein of the Kangaroo Dyer yarn I had been fondling on Saturday.

So I guess I'd better get knitting. And I have been doing just that.

I finished my Jellybean socks when I was up there.

Why, yes, I do have pajamas with sock monkeys on them.

And I started another pair of socks I am calling my Fiesta socks.

I couldn't decide what to do on the cuff (I am a big fan of stockinette feet on socks...they go fast...but I do like a little interest on the cuffs) but finally decided to do a very simple lace rib. You can just see the start of the cuff here. As well as some delicious carrot cake that Mr. Pointy Sticks and I shared at La Fiorentina Pastry Shop in Northampton.

Somewhere in Connecticut (I think it was) I finished the first sock.

And immediately started the second.

I love the braided look of the toe, which I first did, by accident, on the Jellybean socks. One is supposed to do one's little magic cast-on and then knit the stitches on the first needle, then knit-through-the-back-loop on the second needle. Well, I reversed that and did the through-the-back-loop on the first needle and then knit the stitches on the second needle. And got this neat looking braided effect. I liked it well enough that I did it again here.

Later (or tomorrow)...scenery! cats! fog!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Are Back...With Wool!

Mr. Pointy Sticks and I are back from a visit with the Daughter and her various side-kicks. There will be a longer post about our trip later but for now...

You may remember that I was excited to take the fiber up to Morgan. What I didn't know was that there was excitement in Amherst, too, because Morgan had a present for me! So on Saturday, when we went into Rachel and Andrew's house, Morgan was there and I gave her her fiber and a magazine that I had bought but realized was really more for a spinner. And she gave me this:

Handspun Blue-faced Leicester in such beautiful colors. And I have long coveted yarn with this sort of peppermint-stick striping. I just love it and need to find a pattern worthy of its drool-worthy qualities. Or I may just unwrap the skein and wear it around my neck like a necklace. It's more than soft enough to do that.

I really do sort of hate to think of using it up.

Later (or tomorrow) -- Views from Mt. Holyoke! Cats! Yarn! Cats! Socks! Pretty flowers! Bridges! And cats!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Put In My Place

Yesterday afternoon Mr. Pointy Sticks and I headed down to the soon-to-be-closed Baltimore Daedalus store (partly for one last look at the books and partly because we wanted to have dinner at Atwaters, which is right there). I wandered about a bit and, after finding two books decided to sit down and work on my jellybean sock.

(Which is coming along quite nicely. Almost finished the first one.)

As I was sitting on the couch knitting a little boy (about 6, I would guess) stopped in front of me. After a minute he asked, "Are you knitting a sock?!" (By the way, I give him very high marks for recognizing that 1) I was knitting and 2) it was a sock.)

"Yup," I answered, "it's a sock."

"Wow," he said.

And then after a minute, "Did you knit those socks?" he asked, pointing to my feet.

"Yes." I said.

"Wow. Do you knit all your socks?"

"No," I said, "I'm not a very fast sock knitter. But I've knit about 20 pairs for myself and for friends."

"Do you knit other clothes?"

"Yes," I said, "I've knit hats and sweaters and scarves. You should learn to knit. It's a lot of fun."

At this point a young woman, in her early 30's I'd say, who was standing nearby said to the boy, "That's pretty neat, huh? That she makes socks and things?"

"Yeah," he said, and then turned to me and said, "Is that your grand-daughter?"

Grand-daughter!!?? I wanted to weep.

As he walked away, he called to the woman he was with and said, "Grandmommy, I think she should knit me something!"

Except that it would have been sort of odd, I almost asked the grandmother to give me his name and address so that I could knit him a hat. Or a pair of socks.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You Know What This Is?

This is a big ole bag of happy, that's what this is! Yep, this weekend is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Show and that's where Mr. Pointy Sticks and I spent our morning. It's not really Mr. Pointy Sticks' thing but this year we got smart. We took two folding chairs and he took a book and some crossword puzzles and he would settle down in a shady spot and I would run around in the area and then come back to him and sit for a bit and then we'd move the chairs. He was very was my Mother's Day present.

Ah, I love the colors...look at these:

Not only were there pretty colors, there were pretty sheep.


Ewe! This one is a Tunis sheep...originally the breed was from Tunisia. They have lovely red fleece.

This ewe was a sweetheart. She loved having her head skritched...she was leaning hard into the hand of the person giving her skritches and almost seemed to be smiling. Her front feet were on a bale of hay so that she could see over the railing and you could see her checking people out as they came close.

I am really disappointed because I didn't get a picture of a delightful pair of sheep, black and white, in a pen together, that were adorable...very outgoing and friendly, wanting their heads patted and just being so sweet. (Generally the sheep just ignore you or skitter to the far side of the pen.) When we gave them scratches, they closed their eyes and if they'd been cats, they would have been purring up a storm.

So what did I bring home? Well, unfortunately not a sheep. But some other nice things.

My first stop was at the booth of Creatively Dyed. Diane dyes the most gorgeous yarns.

From left to right: Calypso Queen in Koskelle, Steele in Heat, Beaches in North Beach and Sami in Visionary. So pretty.

I also bought some buttons:
The top two came from a booth in the Main Hall...and darn it, I can't remember the name and the little bag the buttons came in isn't marked with a name. They had gorgeous buttons, though. Lots of beautiful shell buttons and such.

Look at the back of the sleeping cat...

Even the little feet have been carved.

The ceramic button was an imperfect one (little chip on the back) and I bought it because it was pretty but also so that I would remember the name of the dealer, who had lovely ceramic buttons. She had some adorable polka-dotted ones that would be so cute on a Baby Surprise Jacket.

Then I happened to walk by the booth of The Fold and, lo and behold, there was no line either to look at or purchase the Socks That Rock yarn that they bring to the Show. So I wandered in and, a short time later, wandered out with these:

From left to right: Bag Lady, Sassafras, and Storey-time. Very soft and very pretty. A woman standing to my right saw the Bag Lady and said, "Oh, I've used that one. It works up so nicely." And about 2 seconds later, the woman on my left pointed to the Bag Lady and said, "Oooh, I love that one. What's it called? Where'd you find it?"

I also bought a little present for our friend Morgan, who's taken a spinning class. I'll be taking it up to her soon. Shall we just have a little peek?

What? One more little peek?

And on the way out Mr. Pointy Sticks bought me one other little Mother's Day present.

A little silver ball of yarn necklace. That Mr. Pointy Sticks is such a sweetie.

Sigh. Such a good day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kitchen Redo

Meet Russell Stover.

And Annika, the dishwasher.

The guys were here first thing in the morning...7 a.m....and were done by 9 a.m. Could have gone to work I suppose, but instead Mr. Pointy Sticks and I stayed home and watched some Mad Men and went to Wegman's to pick up cookies for a baby shower at work tomorrow and had a nice day off.

I realized early this week that I hadn't checked with Bray and Scarff to see if the flat surface of the stove was white or black and alas, it is white, as I feared. It looks wonderful but I know that the black top eventually discolored and I'm afraid this one will do so even faster. And our old stove had the knobs and control panel on the top surface, which I think was a little easier to use than this one. But hey, it's done.

Heh. And despite the high cost of the stove, it didn't come with a broiling pan...instead it came with a special offer to send away from a broiling pan for only $18. Glad I hung on to my old one!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review -- Knit Noro

So...another stellar book from the Noro team. The cover says that there are 30 designs here but I seem to tally up 31. Perhaps I miscounted or perhaps a nice round number like 30 looks better on a cover. Who knows? I do know that there is not a single pattern in here that I can't see wanting to knit and wear... though I like some more than others.

Here's a better look at the cover sweater. Nice, eh?

But look at this pretty vest!

This might be the first one I try. I love this vest, with its vertical stripes and applied I-cord edging. It's knit from Taiyo and comes in sizes from XS to XXL. Seems very wearable to me.

And I like this cardigan a lot, too. This one is knit with Silk Garden and, again, comes in sizes from XS to XXL. Pretty.

But there are lots of other pretties in this book. I wish I could have scanned every picture for you. There are gloves.

There are scarves.There are blankets.There are socks.

Here's the break-down on the patterns:

Throws -- 3, two in Taiyo and one in Kureyon

Vest/Tunics -- 7, knit in Silk Garden, Kureyon and Taiyo, all of them running from at least S to L and 4 of them going to XL or XXL.

Scarves - 5, in Silk Garden, Silk Garden Sock, Kureyon (2) and Taiyo.

Cardigans/Pullovers -- 5, knit in Silk Garden, Silk Garden Sock, Silk Garden with a touch of Cash Iroha, and Taiyo, four of them start at S or XS and go to XXL, one runs from S to XL.

Hats -- 4, one of which is felted, knit in Silk Garden and KureyonSocks -- 2 pairs, one a lacy cuffed sock (shown above) and the other a pair of knee highs. Both out of Silk Garden Sock.

Shawls -- 2, both out of Kureyon. One very simple trangle, one with odd bobbles.

Accessories -- 1 cowl, 1 pair of gloves and 1 pair of fingerless mitts, all out of Silk Garden Sock.

Not a lot of space wasted on knitting instruction but there is a page or so in the back with illustrations of things like the three-needle bindoff, kitchenering, I-cord, etc.