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.

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

BitsyKnits

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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Pottery class part 2

A week ago I posted about the wheel thrown pottery class I went to at La Mano Pottery from a groupon deal.

On this Easter Sunday morning, I’m back again for the original pottery class I signed up for. A hand building pottery workshop that I also bought a groupon deal for.

This time it was a much smaller class so our instructor started us off with a tour of the studio. She took us downstairs into the area where finished pottery work done via the pottery wheel or hand built are dried, fired in their kilns and then glazed. Some of the finished pieces are the work of students who’ve taken workshop classes, others like the ones you see with the white tags are done by professional artists. Showing various shapes & designs, the students drew ideas & inspiration on what to make.

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We return to the class area and the instructor then begins to demonstrate how to cut & shape the clay, imprint designs, attach pieces together and seal any gaps. I came in with the idea of making a yarn bowl, then became concerned when the instructor said bowls were not very good to design with the flat clay because of the higher risk of the finished piece cracking while drying.

After speaking with the instructor about my concerns with making a yarn bowl, she suggested I do a cylindrical design as opposed to a bowl shape. (sigh of relief)

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All pieces start out with a flat slab of clay. The clay is quite moist, a newspaper is required under the slab to prevent it sticking to the table surface. With a trimming instrument smooth away any uneven surfaces, then depending on what your desired piece is, you will then cut & shape your clay into whatever the final piece will be. Any design you want on the finished piece can be stenciled on at this time.

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Lucky for me the class wasn’t full so there were extra slabs of clay to work with. Most yarn bowls I see on the market will hold small to medium size skeins of yarn. I wanted something that would hold one of those really huge skeins which I haven’t found anywhere. For that size, I needed an extra 1/2 slab of clay, which I cut and attached here. Originally I wanted a floral design on the outside but the imprint didn’t turn out well, so I went with this wicker basket design on the background.

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If you’ve ever baked any bread or pastries you’ll find those skills useful here. The piece was so huge when I seamed the edges together, the instructor had to roll out a new piece of clay for the bottom. I used a lazy susan to spin my piece around while sealing the sides & bottom together and then adding other decorations.

There was a letter & number stencil I tried using to carve out letters which didn’t work out. I went with slabs of clay with handwritten words “yarn” “knit” and “purl” and some hand drawn motifs of knitting needles and a basket of yarn to decorate.

The final step was carving out the sections for threading the yarn through. I’ve never had a yarn bowl and I wasn’t sure how deep to carve the openings, plus I was concerned about the bowl falling apart. I may or may not have carved the opening deep enough.

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Compared to the wheel throwing class I had, I’m proud of my result & I get to keep what I make this time. For a $15 fee, this masterpiece will be fired in their kilns and glazed with whatever color they happen to have in their stash at the time, we don’t get to choose. The end result will be smaller than what you see here due to the clay drying. Crossing my fingers for the next 6 weeks hoping the piece doesn’t crack.

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.

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?

Knit bikini top

Found this video by Threadbanger posted on another blog. I have some bamboo yarn that I think would be perfect to use to try out this project. It’s pretty, but looks small and wondering about the coverage. Hoping the adaptations I’d have to make to accomodate larger breasts work ’cause I’m *ahem*, a bit more endowed than the woman knitting in this video.  We shall see. 

On the needles….

Chunky Cables Blanket

A criss cross lattice work cable knit pattern from Bernat Yarns. I’m currently knitting this blanket for a coworker about to have a baby boy. It’s a beautiful turquoise blue, & I’m about halfway done. I don’t want to put up the picture now since it’ll be a surprise, but the pattern is here, click the link:

Baby Coordinates Chunky – Cables Blanket

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