Why I knit…

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This is my current work in progress, a large cowl scarf. I could’ve taken the easy route & bought something from a department store, but it probably wouldn’t be a design that I wanted or a material that I would like. Plus I’m one of those folks that looks at something in a store and start mentally deconstructing the pattern thinking, why should I buy this when I could knit it myself, LOL.

I came across the article below while reading my facebook feed. I’d never heard of the term “slow clothes” movement before, which advocates being conscious of where & how clothes are produced. It’s sort of a spinoff of the “slow food” movement that promotes knowing where your food is grown. I can identify with all the reasons the author listed. My primary reason for knitting though is because I often can’t find what I like in the stores. Necessity being the mother of invention I guess.

It’s a short, concise read. I think you’ll agree. I like the idea of making something with my own hands that’s higher in quality than the same item mass produced by machine of often cheaper materials. Though sometimes it’s higher in cost, the time & effort put into creating your own article of clothing, regardless of how small it is, is worth the investment.

What about you? Why do you knit, crochet, sew, quilt or whatever is your hobby?

Why bother knitting a scarf?

Finished works in progress

Made a few hats over the last couple of weeks trying to destash my growing yarn collection & make room for new yarn I might wanna get in the future.

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The beige hat on the bottom is one that I knitted last year. I made a major mistake in the hat by sewing on the cable brim backwards. When you fold the brim the wrong side of the cable is exposed. To my knowledge, nobody seems to notice or care, lol

Autumn to me always means apple season and last week I had a bumper crop of apples from my local food co-op. Thought I’d try my hand at making some apple cider since there was no way I’d be able to eat all three bags I had that quickly. I didn’t realize how easy & inexpensive it is to make, and I’m hooked on the taste. I don’t think I’ll be buying anymore cider from the supermarket again.

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I’m brewing my third batch of cider as I type. The entire apt has the scent of cinnamon, cloves, allspice & nutmeg.

Rhinebeck 2013

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Last week was the weekend of the annual knitter’s pilgrimage to Mecca, officially known as the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival, but you all know it as Rhinebeck. Due to scheduling difficulties at work, this trip almost didn’t happen. Unless I’m on vacation, it’s one of my only opportunities to get out of the city, and I already missed a previous yarn festival I found out about too late. Despite my already existing stash, I’d have been disappointed if I didn’t get to go to at least one knitting related event this year.

This year I went on sunday instead of the usual saturday, and it was considerably less crowded at the stalls. I didn’t have a list, but I decided to be more selective of what yarn I would buy, since I’m still working with yarn that I bought from the previous two years of festivals. Rhinebeck also features shows with farm animals which I don’t normally pay attention to, but I did take notice of this angora hair rabbit one stall had on display. As cute as it is, I can’t imagine having to deal with all the shedding of hair that rabbit does.

After a few hours of shopping, I ended up with this…..

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If you’re wondering why there are wine bottles amongst the stash, know that yarn shopping can be a strenuous activity that can drive you to drink, LOL. But on to the details of my stash…..

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts “Woobu”, 60% merino/40% bambu, colorway: stumpton brown.
Blue Moon yarn has become one of my favorite booths at Rhinebeck. I had the experience last year of buying their yarn for a specific project and it turned out not to be suitable for that pattern. But their wool has a wonderful drape that if knitted into a garment will keep you warm without feeling heavy. It’s hard to see in this pic, but the yarn is a grayish brown color, I bought the 5 skeins to knit a sweater they had a display sample of and bought the pattern. God willing, I will have it done by the next trip to Rhinebeck.

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Fessler Spinning and Weaving, 2-ply hand-spun yarn, purple
Fessler has also become another of my favorite booths. I realize I have a liking towards hand-spun yarn and theirs does not disappoint. Last time I bought some bright orange chunky yarn I knitted into a couple of hats, this time I found this lovely purple worsted weight hand-spun. All of their yarn is hand dyed and and hand-spun, and prices are very reasonable too for the quality of yarn they make, another reason I love them so much.

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Briar Rose “sophie” sport weight yarn 100% wool
I’ve never heard of this company or their yarn. It’s another booth I came across one of their patterns that had a sample knitted that looked appealing and I wanted to knit with it. It’s another one of those yarns that provide warmth, yet are lightweight. I fell in love with the color of the yarn and though it wasn’t suitable for the shawl I wanted to knit with it, I found another of their patterns that will work beautifully.

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These notions remind me of real amber & jade stone. Stitch markers are something I don’t usually think of until I need them for a project. But these I couldn’t pass up, they were just too beautiful.

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Crooked Lake Winery, Finger Lakes “Niagra White”
Made with niagra grapes grown in NY State, I sampled some and it had a semi sweet taste. Good for eating with light fare like seafood or pasta. The winemakers produce 4 different wines including a red and 2 varietal blends. The only disappointment was that the makers produce small batches that are neither sold in stores or online.

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This wine also has a semi sweet taste. Unlike the niagra wine, this one is available in stores or online according to the vendor.

A good day was had. Whether I will return to Rhinebeck next year remains to be seen, I’ve been there three years in a row. Depends how much of my stash I can work through.

What’s your knitting name?

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I am Sexy Ambitious Lamb and I approve this message.

BK fiber arts festival and Rhinebeck 2013

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I found out about this event from one of my social media streams yesterday and was surprised to hear there was a knitting related event practically right in my backyard. I wouldn’t have had the chance to check it out anyway due to my jacked up work schedule this month. But judging from the pictures it looked like a really fun event to spend the day at. I will be sure to catch it next year. If you’re in the Brooklyn area, check out this site for the festival.

Speaking of the schedule, I’m ready for October to be over though we haven’t even made it halfway through the month. I’m working the second of three weekends in a row. Because my supervisor said he wasn’t able to give me the weekend of the upcoming Rhinebeck festival off, I almost missed the chance to go. Thank God one of my coworkers was nice enough to switch my schedule and work a sunday for me. Missing the BK and Rhinebeck would’ve made me one pissed off knitter.

This year, I may try my friend Nicky’s method of pre selecting some patterns I’d like to knit, then find yarns for the pattern. I’d like to be a little more selective of yarns this year since I’m still working with yarn that I bought from my first trip to Rhinebeck two years ago. We’ll see how that goes ’cause I’m always still a sucker for a good bargain on discounted yarn.

Yarn bombing

I think that’s what it’s called. Ran into this on social media. Someone obviously had an abundance of yarn and time on their hands. Tree huggers might not be fond of it, but I find it incredibly creative.

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Yarn Ball Winder

Because I always love a bargain, I bought this electric ball winder from Michael’s stores at 50% off, using their coupon…

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Haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. If all goes well, I may retire my hand crank ball winder. Has anyone ever used one of these to wind yarn? How well does it work for you?

Knitted Ball

You have to be a knitter to appreciate the workmanship involved with this decorative piece. As much as I would’ve loved to buy it, I didn’t appreciate the $50 price tag they were asking. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find it on clearance some day.

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Work In Progress: Every Way Wrap

Happy 2013 folks! Hope this new year is prosperous and productive for everyone!

Found this pattern in an old issue of Interweave Knits while thumbing through my knitting magazine collection. I initially started it with the British wool yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck a couple months ago. I soon discover something wasn’t quite right. The cable pattern design wasn’t showing up like the display picture. The pattern requires use of worsted yarn knitted at a size 9 needle to meet gague. I discover after googling the wool yarn I had bought online that it’s actually sport weight yarn.

Briefly I was bummed, as I loved the variegated color and how it was appearing knitted up thus far. But soon found another stash of wool that I was able to use; some Brown Sheep Wool I had bought from Rhinebeck the previous year and never got around to knitting with.

And then I run into another snafu. While at a recent knit-up gathering in Brooklyn, a friend who previously had knitted with the pattern before said she remembered there was some errata with the cable directions, something I was completely unaware of. After a bit of googling I realize there indeed was a published error, but managed to find a correction via someone’s post in a knit forum. I’m exhausted. At this point it’s now my third time casting on for this pattern. Fortunately I’m on vacation and had some time to spend figuring out the changes and finally made some significant progress.

I’m quite happy with the results thus far. The only issue I have now is that I’m probably short of yarn and I may need to track down at least one more skein. I should be finished hopefully by the end of the month. Tell me what you think.

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Rhinebeck 2012: The Results

Once again, we came, we shopped, we bought more than we probably should’ve, and we had a blast doing all of it. Of course I’m talking about the annual knitter’s pilgrimage that is Rhinebeck, or formally known as the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival.

There are three reasons I do this: 1. It’s a great opportunity to spend a day out of the city without going too far and spending too much money. 2. I get to indulge in my hobby, which incorporates bargain shopping and 3. My (self) appointed task each year to encourage my friend Nikki to give into her temptations to impulse buy yarn.

I’m not one who enjoys getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a train, but that’s exactly what I did to make the subway trek to the Penn Station to meet Nikki. The journey, in this case a 2 hour ride on Amtrak along the Hudson river is as relaxing as the destination. There was evidence of some rainy weather the night before. One moment, there was mist and fog above the river:

and in the next moment, the sky was crystal clear:

The train ride reminds me of the annual car trips my family took to visit my dad’s relatives in North Carolina. The countryside was full of miles and miles of pine forests. How can you not help buy enjoy those views? Autumn is in full effect up in this area, with trees completely covered in red or yellow leaves. I’m born and raised in the city, but everyone needs a bit of country to spice up their brick and mortar life.

Like I said in my last post, I didn’t have any specific projects in mind to buy yarn for. I was just winging it, buying whatever yarn I liked. I was on the lookout for some fancy crochet hooks similar to the ones that I found on eBay a while back. While I did see some hooks, nothing came close to the beauty of these.

I didn’t keep receipts, but I believe I spent about the same as I did last year. Bought slightly more yarn this time. I passed up the opportunity to buy more “sexy needles” in favor of spending on some more fancier yarn.

This year’s stash:

Clockwise from top:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport 100% Blue Faced Leicester, Colorway: Bittersweet. I had to google Blue Faced Leicester to find out it’s wool imported from English sheep. It’s very smooth, doesn’t feel heavy at all despite the gauge calling for a size 8 needle. I didn’t buy enough skeins for the original pattern I have in mind but found a shawl substitute from one of my old issues of Vogue Knitting that should work perfect with this yarn. Can’t wait to knit this one up.

Bittersweet hand dyed DK weight yarn 40% Merino, 40% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk. Color: Dark Heart I’m not really a big fan of alpaca because of it’s tendency to shed, but this yarn looked very tempting and the variegated purple color combination looked fabulous, plus the price was great. Spotted a couple of knitted clapotis scarves at the fair and thought this will work well. I bought all 5 skeins they had in stock that should be enough to knit the scarf as well as a matching hat.

Oasis Fiber Farm Mill: These yellow skeins were on sale. Not much info on them except that they’re a combo of 50% merino wool and 50% nylon. What I will do with these, I don’t know yet, I’m taking suggestions.

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool, worsted weight in Turquoise A nice lightweight wool that I may make into a hat or scarf depending on the yardage required. Or maybe a couple pairs of gloves or gauntlets.

Angoraonline.com handspun, hand dyed, handpainted angora yarn. 80% merino, 20% nylon sock weight. Initially I had in mind making some gloves with this one, but since the yardage is so great, I may work these two skeins into some type of shawl or coverlet. I also like that the wool feels light and won’t weigh you down.

I’ll leave you with more photos of the picturesque scenery we were surrounded by during the day.


View of Hudson Valley north of Rhinecliff Station Way in the distance is the Kingston-Rhinebeck bridge.

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