Happy New Year!! 2016 wrap up. 

I know its been an eternity since my last post, but hope the new year finds you in good spirits.The past several months have been a combination of procrastinating on posting & living life, so this post will be mostly pics, of some of the projects I made over the past year. 

I made this shawl as a birthday gift for a coworker about a year ago. Initially I had made a scarf for her, but noticed she always put on a jacket in the workroom when it got cold. Plus I had changed my mind about the scarf when I realized it matched one of my winter coats perfectly, lol. 

It fit around me pretty well so I was a little concerned it would smother my coworker, who’s a much smaller frame. But nevertheless she loved it, and wears it quite often. She’s waiting for me to bring in one for myself, so we’ll both be chilly together in the same room, lol. 

Made this clapotis scarf for my friend Nicky from D’Nali. It was my second time making a clapotis. I got a few frazzled nerves at a couple points when it came time to drop stitches. It makes for a nice scarf for the spring or if you’re in a room with too much air conditioning. 

This poncho I started during a family vacation to Cancun over the summer. It’s made from Rowan wool yarn I bought in bulk at a steal of a bargain from a local thrift store. It feels soft though the yarn sheds a little due to the mohair content. And because of the red color when I put it on I look like Little Red Riding Hood. 

I brought home a much smaller haul from this year’s Rhinebeck festival than in years past. My primary objective was to find the yarn winder which I got at a bargain, and the dryer balls, which I’d been hearing good things about and promised myself I’d switch to using when I finished my fabric softener. 

The yarn were just random finds. I focused on shopping for worsted weight this year since my current stash is overwhelmingly sock and dk weight yarn. The white yarn, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet. I bought it on impulse after slightly stalking a fellow customer inside the booth who had it in her hands contemplating buying it, hoping she’d change her mind and put it down. Which she did to my delight, lol. 

The blue yarn, which I’m currently using for my latest work in progress, is from one of my favorite vendors, Blue Moon Fibers, that was being sold at discount. I bought all 5 of the remaining skeins from their discount rack at huge discount. 

The last project is this hat & scarf set I finished just in time to start wearing when when the weather started getting cold. The yarn is from Freia that I bought from their discount bin at a past Vogue Knitting Live show. I don’t usually wear fuchsia & purple together but I think in this case, it works well. 

Yarn bombing

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Yarn bombing has finally come to NYC. I jumped off the bus on the way home from Macy’s just to take a photo of this tree in front of El Museo Del Barrio on the east side of Manhattan.

Holiday knitting

This post will be told mostly in pictures, but I’ve been busy mostly working on knitting & crocheting holiday gifts for the family.

My goal was not to shop at the mall & give all handmade gifts. I made that goal, but did have to buy a couple gifts online.

This year was all about the hat & scarf sets. I made a bunch. The only regret is that I didn’t get an earlier start, so I could enjoy more of the holiday season in peace.

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I crocheted this hat & scarf set for my coworker who said she liked pink. It was a quick crochet with puff stitches throughout. The hat turned out to be a little too big but she was able to adjust the size with a brooch pin.

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This set was made for my sister. The scarf is a knit pattern I found online but couldn’t find an equivalent knit pattern for the hat so I decided to go with the puff stitch hat in matching yarn.

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These two sets I made for my niece & another sister in their favorite colors. My sister was surprised to get a set in her favorite green color, when I reminded her she not so subtly hinted she wanted me to make her a hat & scarf. The blue scarf is a crochet pattern I found online, the green I randomly made up by alternating rows of single & double crochet stitch. I made puff stitch hats for both because I was getting short on time.

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For my nephew & brother in law, I knitter their hats & scarves in  fisherman’s rib. My nephew works for the MTA so I used the gray & blue colors to match the uniforms he has to wear to work. The brown & beige for my brother in law were just randomly chosen as nice colors for a man’s garment from the selection at Michael’s, lol.

Finished another scarf yesterday as well but will add that in a later post once it’s blocked & given to its recipient.

Rhinebeck 2015

Didn’t mean to wait this long but last week I made the annual trek upstate to what is officially known as the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool festival. But knitters, crocheter & yarn spinners everywhere know it simply as Rhinebeck.

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For the last few years it has been an annual pilgrimage for myself and Nicky from D’NALI. Nicky decided not to travel this year, I have missed encouraging her to splurge on yarn, wool and such.

Rather than ride the Amtrak alone, my family decided to make the trek upstate with me. So it’s my mom, sister, niece & 4 year old nephew loaded up in a huge truck rolling upstate for the 2 hour ride.

Since I’m the only knitter in the group & would be the one yarn shopping, I directed them to the food pavilion. Then made a beeline for the yarn shopping. I didn’t aim to buy too much since I still have a lot of stock left over from previous years & recently bought a bunch of yarn from Michael’s to make holiday gifts.

Always a bargain shopper, I did manage to find these great deals though.

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On the top is handspun yarn from one of my favorite vendors, Fessler’s Spinning & Weaving out of PA. I’ve managed to buy yarn from them almost every year without fail. What I love about them is not just their yarn, but for the price they give a lot of yardage. This time I bought 3 skeins of worsted weight eggplant purple yarn that will be a future shawl, maybe a sweater, not sure yet. I’ll decide when I’m ready to work with it.

The orange multicolor yarn I found in the discount bin from

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Fiber Arts. I didn’t mean to buy anymore sock yarn, but this was too nice to pass up for the price.

The pink yarn is from Rose Spring Farm, also out of PA. I bought on a whim simply because it looked so pretty. It’s worsted weight which is my favorite to knit with. The sellers offer a 10% discount on your next purchase when you bring your knitted project at the next fair they participate in along with their product label.

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The folks at Harrisville Designs, from New Hampshire were running a clearance sale on this yarn the entire weekend. By the time I found their booth, this was all that was left. Skeins were reduced to only $5 each. This was totally an impulse buy. I saw all those blue skeins & instantly thought there’s enough to make a sweater.

While my sister & niece fawned over the pastries in the food pavilion, I headed straight for the wines.

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The Cocoa Island & Wellesley Island White are favorites of mine from last year that I bought from Thousand Island Winery. I’m happy to report their wine is stocked at one of the local wine shops I frequent but not these varieties. Raspberry Isle is a new dessert wine flavor that literally tastes like raspberries, which I’ll definitely enjoy during the winter months.

If you’re there on sundays at the food pavilion, later in the day, vendors will begin to discount their prices to move produce on perishable items. I bought 3 large pastries for $12 when normally they sold for $7 each.

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Sis & niece claim they will return next year, for the pasties no doubt. The best part of going to Rhinebeck though, besides the yarn is to view the autumn leaves.

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Stitches and Ribs: Kings County Fiber Fest and IKEA

Yesterday began the first day of my vacation, or should I say more accurately, staycation. Started out by deciding to check out the Kings County Fiber Fest in Brooklyn.

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I first heard about this festival last year after missing it by about 2 weeks. Occurring annually the weekend before the huge Rhinebeck festival, I made it a point to see it this year as a possible alternative to making the trek 2 hours upstate.

So I made plans to meet with my friend Nicky from D’NALI and made the long trek all the way to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Thanks to constant MTA track work & rerouting of subways, what should be a hour or less commute from Harlem ended up being an adventure.

I finally get to the site, which turned out to be a neighborhood park with a small, stone house in the middle of the block, aptly called the Old Stone House which has an interesting history in it’s own right.

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I expected to see dozens of stalls from what I read online, but was disappointed to find only a handful of vendors situated along the the perimeter of the park. Outside of the house was a table of folks demonstrating arm knitting, looming and a man spinning wool into yarn. By the time I got there Nicky had already stocked up on raw fiber, but I did manage to find a couple skeins of variegated merino wool from a vendor out of Pennsylvania.
Not certain what plans I will have from this yarn yet, but it has a soft feel and a nice light drape, perhaps a fancy scarf or shawl.

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After the festival Nicky and I ride the bus over to IKEA. You will all forgive me after reading this, but the last time I was at an IKEA store was the first one that opened up in Elizabeth, NJ. Since then, 3 more stores have opened up in this area so it’s been years since I stepped foot inside of an IKEA.

Made a beeline straight for the cafeteria since we hadn’t eaten all day. Nicky amped me up for some ribs, only to be derailed at the last second when we got to the counter to find out they ran out and told us it would be 20 minutes before the next batch. The woman serving behind the counter had multiple tattoos and was clearly in a bad mood. I don’t like to judge folks based solely on looks, but she reminded me of one of the characters from Orange Is The New Black as I watched her almost throw plates of food at waiting customers. I ended up settling for some chicken tenders with fries, feeling defeated, lol.

But then it was on to the shopping. Stores like IKEA are dangerous for me. A huge warehouse style space full of lots of things you didn’t know you needed. I didn’t do too bad, but I did need one of those iconic blue bags, and it was a good thing I didn’t come with a car. On the shuttle ride back to downtown Brooklyn, we listened to a young man who grew up in the local area give us a tour and tell us stories of his struggles having grown up in the old neighborhood. One of 8 million stories that make living in NY interesting.

I’m sure I’ll be back to IKEA. If only to get the baby back rib plate that I pined for. But first it’s off to Rhinebeck next week.

Knitting Challenge

It all started when I heard about the warehouse sale at the local Save-A-Thon stores they have periodically every year.

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I’d been wanting to check out their warehouse sales in the past and never had a chance to go. For the first time I got the chance to go this year, and my primary intent was to check out their sewing machines and fabric, since I have a renewed interest in getting into sewing in addition to knitting. Where I’m gonna find the time to do both? I don’t know, I’ll work it out somehow, LOL.

I had no intention of going home with any yarn, but then my mom reminded me that one of my aunts, who briefly was into crocheting had expressed interest in me making a cowl or scarf for her when she saw me knitting a cowl for myself. So ok, while I’m here, I figure I’ll take advantage of the discounted yarn prices & see if I can find some yarn to make a project for her.

My plan was to make the scarf for my aunt as a Christmas gift. Yes, not even summer yet and I’m thinking about Christmas in June. But then this happened…..

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You’re looking at that picture & probably wondering what kind of shenanigans I’ve gotten into. Well, what had happened was…. somehow one aunt turned into 3 aunts, an uncle, a cousin, my two sisters, my brother in law, a niece, nephew, and my mom. I figure I’ll get a jumpstart on them since I’ve now committed myself to an iron man knitting challenge; doing 11 projects by Christmas. The upside of that at least is come this year’s holiday season, I’ll be cozy in my home sipping wine and knitting while you folks will be battling it out at WalMart like this woman on black friday:

And the sewing machine? Well I did see one I’m interested in buying, but found a better deal for it online. And bought some really pretty fabric too. But more about that in another post.

Pottery Class….The Results

I almost forgot to post about this. Been busy the last few weeks prepping for a cruise with the family that turned out to be a well needed vacation. In between, I got the email from La Mano pottery stating that the yarn bowl I made was finally ready for pick up. That episode almost turned out to be drama in itself.

I receive the email over the weekend, and made plans to head there the following tuesday. When I get to the studio, I tell the receptionist at the counter I’m here to pick up my pottery. I give her my name, and date of the class and she proceeds to search. She’s looking through all the bags of student projects stored on the shelves and she cannot find it. Another worker joins the search, they go to the back, downstairs in their basement. Still no pottery. My heart is slowly sinking. All kinds of wild thoughts are going through my head. What if it broke? Did they mistakenly give it to someone else? Twenty minutes I’m standing there and staff can’t find it. Finally she apologizes and tells me to follow up “Damien”, the staff member who emailed me to pick up my bowl in the first place.

I follow up later with a “dude, where’s my stuff?” email to Damien, he replies it’s been found. I return to the studio two days later. I encounter another receptionist and some different staff, which included the instructor I had for the course. In the midst of another 10-15 minutes of not knowing where it is again, the owner, a middle aged woman with a pleasant manner appears. She remembers my yarn bowl, remarking on it’s size. “It’s so big, students don’t usually make anything that large in the wheel throwing classes.” What can I say? The class was at half capacity being it was Easter Sunday, so there was extra clay to work with. She also recalled having worked on the finishing of the piece itself, noting she had to do repairs on the cylinder portion which had separated from the bottom.

After all that drama, they finally present my piece. I’m pleased with the way it came out for my first project. It’s got some sharp edges on the inside so it won’t work for practical use as a yarn bowl, but it’ll make for a nice display piece in my crafting room. They glazed it a cobalt blue. I’d have preferred a mix of colors or some accent colors, but students were not permitted choice in coloring.

And now, the pictures. So tell me, did I do a nice job or what?

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Finished projects

Look what I’ve made over the past couple of weeks…

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I posted about this project a few months ago while a work in progress that’s finally done. Actually, I finished it a long time ago, but somehow never got around to finishing off the seam.

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The original pattern I think was made with a softer yarn so it doesn’t lay as flat. The wool is a little bit scratchy at the moment, hopefully it will soften after I wash it & look forward to wearing it when cold weather returns.

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One of my aims was to get back into doing some crocheting this year and I did with this pattern I found on Ravelry. I used some thick Lion Brand wool yarn I bought at Michael’s a few years ago that I couldn’t quite find the right pattern for.

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This will be perfect for those really cold days. It’s so thick I will have to wear it outside my coat. Still have some leftover yarn, maybe enough to make a matching hat.

This baby blanket was made at the request of a coworker who was pregnant. It’s another pattern I found on Ravelry, it’s a pretty design & the ease of the pattern directions made this a relatively quick knit. I didn’t finish knitting in time before she had the baby and it still needs blocking but since it’s acrylic, and machine washable, though I would not advise it with this pattern, she’ll still get plenty of use out of it when she receives it.

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close up of pattern:

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Next up, I’ll be attempting to make pottery, and soon I’ll take a stab at spinning my own yarn. And of course, I’ll still be knitting and crocheting in between.

Fashion Show

I never got around to uploading this video, but it’s a fashion show at Vogue Knitting Live I went to back in January. Some nice inspirational garments and accessories. Enjoy!

Vogue Knitting Live 2014

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Soon after I woke up, I looked out my apartment window and it was beginning to snow heavily. Normally I would call it a good day to stay in, curl up on the couch with some hot chocolate & knitting and watch a couple of movies. Instead I had plans of trekking out to the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square to attend this year’s Vogue Knitting Live.

I unfortunately waited too late to buy my ticket in advance online, which would’ve been slightly cheaper. But I found a coupon on KnitPick’s website for $10 off purchase of a two day marketplace admission ticket. I didn’t plan on attending both days but with the discount, the price would be the same as if I had bought the one day ticket online. When I got to the ticket booth, somehow the man behind the counter somehow misread the coupon because he only charged me $10 for admission. I’m not one to complain about an unexpected discount so I took my green wristband and kept it moving, LOL!

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I haven’t been to Vogue Knitting Live in about 3 years. The vendors are mostly local knitting shops & some yarn manufacturers. It’s not nearly as large or extensive as the annual Rhinebeck festival. It looks like they’ve expanded a bit over the past few years though, because this year the vendors were spread out on two floors. Even if you’re not into knitting, you could appreciate the gallery of sculptures from fiber artists displayed outside of the gallery.

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I already have a pretty substantial stash of yarn so I wasn’t really looking to stock up. I didn’t want to necessarily leave empty handed either, but it was going to take something spectacular to move me. And as usual, it’s a bargain deal.

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The 5 skeins in the middle are from Full Moon Farms in upstate Gardiner, NY. The woman at the booth had a trunk full of mill end skeins that normally sell for $25 but were reduced to $10 each. By the time I got there it was a small crowd around the trunk, so I had to put in some work going through the stash & competing with fellow shoppers to find enough skeins to make a project and came up with these. The vendor even took off an additional $5.00 for paying in cash. WIN!

The gray yarn in the bag is from Black Sheep and Ewe The two skeins included are enough to make a beautiful cowl they had on display I unfortunately did not get a picture of. I bought the bag mainly for the pattern, and to try out the new yarn, which the vendors say is good for folks who are sensitive to wool.

The pink yarn on the right is from Freia One of the stalls I was looking forward to checking out, because they have these fabulous hand painted yarn that variegates when knitted up as if you mixed the colors separately. These balls came from their discounted yarn bin. Don’t know what I’ll make with it yet. It’s sport weight yarn, so it will most likely be a shawl or cowl of some sort.

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