Saturday, October 14, 2006

Snow! In October!

Yes, it snowed here yesterday and the night before. We were lucky not to be in the worst area; we actually received less than an inch or so. Lots of power lines and tree branches were down, though. It was so strange to turn on the news and see all the school closings in the area. In October!

I knew this might be coming, and in fact the weather here has been unseasonably cold according to the locals, so I got busy making myself some cold-weather gear. The beautiful handpainted alpaca that I got at Hemlock just a month ago is now mittens and a headband.

I also made a hat and am working on a pair of matching convertible mittens to wear while I'm out pursuing my newest passion--geocaching! I had been reading bits here and there about geocaching, but when Jerry wrote about it, it sounded so intriguing that I wanted to learn more. I found many good websites, including, which is the main site for listing caches--there are thousands out there of varying difficulty--and also has a forum that has answered all my questions. Shortly afterward, I got a GPSr as an early birthday present, and I've been having a blast searching for, and sometimes discovering, caches. CP is not as enamored of tromping around in tall grass and briars and mud and the woods and whatnot, but I've gotten him to go along quite a lot and shown him some scenic spots that he never knew existed, like this one:

On Tuesday we drove to Letchworth State Park and spent the afternoon stopping at all the scenic overlooks and even searching for a cache, which I did not find. This is an unusual and gorgeous state park that we visit each year. I only wish we'd had more time this year, since the fall colors are fantastic. Here's a view of the gorge from the Hogsback overlook.

I must get back to knitting my mittens while it is too miserable and rainy to be out geocaching! I'll post a pic when they are finished.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


It has gotten pretty cool here in NY, and I found myself without enough handknitted socks to keep my feet warm, so I dug out both pairs of unfinished socks I’d brought with me, and within the week I completed both pairs and now have much warmer feet!

The first pair, made of Sockotta, I had started back in May, completing one sock and occasionally knitting on the other throughout the summer (Why is it so hard to get that second sock done?) I had gotten up to the ribbing and in one sitting finished it off early in the week. Here is the completed pair. I can’t remember the colorway, and I lost the ball band; I think it was something like “fruit stripe.” They were made toe-up, with yarn-over short-row heels and toes, and 3x3 ribbing at the top.

I also started the second pair back in the spring and completed only one. I began the second one on Tuesday and finished it last night. This is a record for me; cold feet kept me motivated! The pattern is from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road, and it is knitted with Kroy Socks in retro red, whitecap, and shaded spruce. If you look at the picture long enough, you can see that in the second sock I initially forgot which was color was CC1 and which was CC2 and therefore got the twisted part above the ribbing backward. I noticed it fairly early on, but decided it didn’t matter to me, and time was of the essence.

In closing, here are my festival purchases from last weekend. The yarn is a beautiful handpainted alpaca from The Alpaca Yarn Company that I got from the Golden Oak Farm booth.

The Golden Oak Farm is located in Honeoye, NY, and we drove by it while taking the scenic route home from Hemlock. They are having an open house in a couple of weeks, and we plan on driving back down if the weather is nice. It is a beautiful area--here's one last pic of a slice of Honeoye Lake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Finger Lakes Fiber Festival

Hello. Long time no blog, I know. I have no excuse other than that I simply lost interest in updating. However, the weather has turned cool, and the lake is churning, so my thoughts are turning to warm things, like the lemon tea I have by my side, and the unfinished wool/cotton socks in my knitting bag.

On Saturday CP and I went to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival down in Hemlock, NY. We had a great time, in spite of tricky navigation, both by car and by foot, in the ankle-deep mud in the fairgrounds parking lot. One woman drove past just after we parked and yelled out the window at people at the bottom of the slope, "Get out of the way! I don't think I can stop!", but she did just fine. The mud didn't slow anyone down; it takes more than that to turn back fiber nuts!

I made many new friends, mostly of the four-legged, fiber-covered variety. Here's a grinning alpaca with the same haircut that I got last summer. I don't go to that salon anymore, but on her it's pretty cute.

A few Jacob sheep, a breed I'd never heard of but found interesting for their spots (and therefore the lovely tan/brown mix of the processed fiber) and for the fact that they can grow up to six horns.

Here's a close-up of the ewe on the right; she looks a little like she's sporting the Statue of Liberty's crown.

The sole llama I saw. This guy didn't look too friendly, though later I saw some kids petting him with the help of the llama's owner. Maybe he was just hungry.

I really loved this display--several members of the Genesee Valley Hand Spinners Guild were given six ounces of a processed Corriedale fleece, and they had to spin it, ply it, and then make it into something. Look at all the great items!

There was so much to look at; it was truly a knitter's and spinner's paradise. Although I don't spin (yet), I was transfixed by all the beautiful hand spindles, especially those made of exotic woods. In spite of all the beautiful yarns, I only bought one skein of 100% alpaca, hand painted, that I plan to make into mittens. I also got a t-shirt, of course. I'll post pics of those later.

It's good to be back!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just in time for spring

Patternworks is my hero this week; they had in stock and have already shipped the skein of cotton fleece that I need to finish the Hourglass sweater.

While I'm waiting, I decided to make a pair of handwarmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Nothing on my list of possible projects from the last entry really appealed to me; after the Hourglass sweater I wanted an instant gratification project. These knit up very quickly on an 8" circular needle, though my hands tend to cramp up knitting in the round on that small a circumference. The yarn is Elann's Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in spiced wine.

Of course, it was 68 degrees yesterday and spring is less than three weeks away. However, I'm sure there'll still be ample opportunity for me to get a lot of use out of the handwarmers this season; just a few years ago we had a massive snowstorm mid-March that pretty much shut down the town.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Medal denied

There wasn't enough yarn. I'm within a few rows of being finished, though, so I still consider it a success. I tried the sweater on and it is going to fit well and look great when it's done, which makes me very happy. I'm just not letting myself think about how shiny and pretty the gold medal would have looked on the sidebar over there.

So tomorrow I will call Patternworks in hopes of buying another skein in the same dye lot, and in the meantime I'm trying to figure out what is next. I'm actually down to one project at a time lately, which is fine with me. There'll be a new baby in the family in May, so I could make something for her, or I may start another LoTech Sweat--I made one a few years ago, before I fully understood the importance of gauge, so even though I love the design, I don't wear it much.

What I should do is take apart a sweater I designed and knit late last summer and early fall. I thought all my calculations were okay, but the set-in sleeves will just not set in correctly; they look puffy at the top, like those sweaters I wore in high school in the 80's. The rest of the sweater, a chestnut v-neck with mistake-stitch ribbing, looks pretty nice, but the sleeve problem ruins it for me.

I was sad to hear of Don Knotts' death. We are watching all our Andy Griffifth DVDs this afternoon as a tribute. My all-time favorite episode is the one where Barney wants to sing in the choir, and Andy and the choir director try everything to keep him from singing because he is so bad. And the one where Barney buys a motorcycle, and the one where he arrests the whole town, and every single one where he accidentally shoots his gun. He will be missed.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cue the dramatic music

I decided to go for the gold and get this sweater finished by the time the flame is extinguished. However, as with many Olympians, my story is fraught with drama; will years and years of practice and mental preparation all go down the drain because of one small mistake? Will I fall on my….triple lutz? It’ll be an entirely mental game from now on, and I won’t know if I can pull it off until the end is almost in sight.

I don't think there's enough yarn.

Yeah. What a disappointment. It may work out okay, but it’ll be very, very close. However, if I can finish the sweater and have enough yarn, and it turns out beautifully in spite of it all, what a great story that’ll be for Bob Costas or Dick Buttons.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to do the first sleeve back and forth, because when I started the second, after a couple of rounds it went quite easily onto a 16” circular. It must have been cold-induced brain fog. So one sleeve will have a seam, and the other will not, but maybe I’ll be the only one who notices.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Go for the gold?

I joined the Knitting Olympics with the sole intention of making a good start on the Hourglass sweater, never expecting to actually complete it. However, if I really push, I might actually be able to finish! Here is the body up to the point where the sleeves will be attached.

Knitting this the second time was much less painful; by knitting every day I did, as expected, eliminate a lot of those ugly lines. There is one, however, that I didn’t spot until I’d knitted another three or four inches. After I finished the body, I wet it and blocked it a little and am waiting to see if that takes care of the problem. So far, so good.

I didn’t have a 12” circular needle for the sleeves, so I began the sleeves on dpns. After three inches or so of not really liking the resulting knitting (uneven between dpns, etc.), I frogged and decided to knit back and forth and seam up the sleeve when it’s completed. I don’t like seaming either, but it seemed the lesser of two evils in this case. I’m over halfway finished with the first sleeve, and since I am recuperating from a nasty cold, I have the opportunity to knit all afternoon and perhaps get this one done and the second one started.

In other news, last week I visited my grandfather, and while I was waiting for him to come out of the post office, I photographed this across the street. I was trying to find a little beauty in the midst of small-town squalor, and I think this works.