Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Discombobulated and trying to stay focused

Dear Mom,
Step away from the blog for a couple of days and the next thing you know a couple of weeks have flown by.
I've been busy, distracted, fragmented, productive (in an unorganized way), panicked- in other words, the Holiday Season is Upon Us.
Most of the past two weeks in not blog worthy, or I've been too unfocused to blog about it, or I cannot show it here lest it spoil Christmas.
I will take a pretty safe bet that The Young Man doesn't read this blog and show you a hat I knit up for him in about 5 hours. He admired some hats similar in style at the Meijer and no way was I going to let my son wear a store-bought, cheap acrylic, knitted hat on his head. I've lined it in a soft fleece and it will be stuffed into a stocking or find itself under the tree on Christmas morning.

The pattern is loosely based on this one and used up some left over bits of Lopi (gray), Classic Elite wool bamboo (black) and Briggs and Little sport weight yarn (red). The Young Man wanted a crazy pompom on the top- hence the crazy pompom. I figure that is easily removed (or trimmed) if he has second thoughts.

At November's Spin In, Mary Alice shared some of her walnut "tea", and while we sat spinning, various fibers steeped, becoming rich shades of brown.
I took about 600 yards of some already hand spun yarn. I'd used a good portion of it last summer when I knit my To Eyre shawl.

This photo shows the walnut dyed wool laying on top of the To Eyre Shawl so you can see the color change.
I've long admired this scarf, have the pattern booklet on my shelf, and should have just enough walnut dyed yarn to make it. I will muster all my will power to put off starting it until AFTER all my Christmas projects are finished.
The only other thing I can show for my blog absence is the following.

Remember the bungee cord over-twisted purple/copper penny yarn I spun?
I've turned it into a springy, spongy warm cowl.

Yes, that is a ReLinkWish you see there.
This is a quick, relatively simple garter stitch, moebius cowl with a placket of sorts (thus the ReLinkWish)- I'll try to find the time to make another and write up the pattern. I did this one in an evening, and that was while figuring it out as I went, so the next should go faster. Good short notice gift, or an instant gratification knit (because sometimes that is just what you need).

Lots more happening behind the scenes. And even more that I'd like to accomplish. All shall be revealed in time.
Be warm. Snow is on the way. I'll try to remember that without cold weather, wool hand knits would not be so appealing.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl

Dear Mom,
One of the knitting goals I'd set for myself this week was to finish knitting this shawlette.
MelissaWhoSpinsButDoesNotKnit purchased this lovely NightFall yarn at SAFF last month, and in exchange for a delicious home cooked Stir Fry dinner for my family of four, I've had the pleasure of knitting this shawl for her.

The Pattern is Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl. The only modifications I made (and the pattern includes instructions for this) was to increase the body of the shawl to make it a little bigger AND to use up as much of this yarn as possible. The yarn is hand dyed to create this gentle, magical change from light to dark within the skein.
Melissa also brought home some Nightfall sock yarn. Again the colorway works itself from a lighter shade to almost black and the sock yarns are packaged with two identical skeins making it easier to create an identical, rather than fraternal, pair of  socks. Those socks are the next on my list of knitting goals for the week- they'll count as my November socks, and the first of that pair is already finished!

I've added SAFF to my bucket list. After seeing Melissa's show and tell and hearing about her trip, I wondered if I would have noticed this wonderful yarn. I would have been attracted to the color, but may not have taken the time to notice how special it is. I tend to get completely overwhelmed when I shop and can easily shut down to the point of not seeing anything. It's like I need extra time to become acclimated to the sensory overload and to quiet all the ideas in my head that squawk for attention like a nest of hungry birds. On a previous little fiber excursion, Melissa and I discovered that we each gravitate to very different colorways. We helped each other see more of what is really there. While Melissa was disciplined enough to "shop outside her comfort zone" while she was at SAFF, I am pretty sure I would need someone there to physically point out what I was missing.

Keep warm! It is definitely feeling like November out there today!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shipshewana Part 2

Dear Mom,
The rest of the Shipshe weekend had a bit of the expected- the cheese shop, the bakery, bulk foods and JoJo's pretzels, but the highlight for me was our stop in at Ruth's Weaving.
If we lived in Shipshewana, Ruth would be our friend. Our short visit with Ruth in her weaving shop touched our hearts and her gentle spirit left an unforgettable impression.
Ruth weaves rugs and her shop is filled with handmade baskets made by her daughter. But the LOOMS in that small shop! I don't have the words to describe the beauty of those looms.

In my conversation with her, Ruth told me that she is learning to spin and will work at becoming a better spinner this winter. I just wanted to plop down next to her right there and then and spend the rest of the weekend talking about spinning and weaving and nothing else. Part of me has just fallen in love with Ruth.

After reluctantly leaving Ruth's Weaving, we drove into the very crowded downtown Shipshewana. My favorite purchase of the trip is some softsoftsoft alpaca/bunny roving to spin. Once I got home I couldn't wait to give it a "whorl" and spun up a little bit....

Dreamy. Soft, easy to spin. Beautiful shades of smokey gray and black.

I've set some pretty lofty knitting goals for myself this week that I Must Accomplish before I will allow myself to sit down and spin any more of the heavenly fiber.


P.S. My etsy shop is stocked with ReLinkWishes and notecards!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shipshewana Part 1

Dear Mom,

Thanks to the miracle of antibiotics and lots of napping, I rallied and our weekend in Shipshewana went as planned.
Wedged into the back seat, and with Bonnie Jo behind the wheel, we departed on schedule Friday morning. A slight detour to Culver for a quick errand and some lunch had us arriving in Shipshewana mid afternoon.

We did a tiny bit of shopping before checking in to our B&B, and then made our first attempt at meeting up with the gentle, kind Amish lady who would be finishing a quilt for CarolWhoseHouseGotStruckbyLightning. This was my Main Mission. It took us a couple of tries (and would have taken only 1 attempt had I rung the doorbell that first time.) We eventually met with her on Saturday morning, so all ended well.

Our generous B&B hostess directed us towards Emma's Cafe for a light dinner Friday night.
It was the perfect place, with good food and atmosphere- a kind of general store/soda fountain, oil cloths on the table
 kind of place. The old jukebox played a wide variety of oldies and soon Rockin' Robin had us swinging in our chairs. (4 obviously not Amish, non-local women DANCING might have been too much, so we kept our fancy moves confined to our seats, swaying from the waist up. Plus we didn't want to hurt ourselves.)

Bonnie Jo and I ordered tea, and after our first sips, realized that our tea was instant, not brewed.
A little doctoring was required and we decided to turn our teas into Arnold Palmers. Behind our table was a refrigerated case with a variety of juices and soft drinks. No lemonades.
But! There was a raspberry lemonade and we decided we could make do with that.
Not exactly an Arnold Palmer....

An Amish Palmer.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's time to call "Uncle"

Dear Mom,
When I am too tired to knit and Don't Care, I know it is time to seek medical intervention for the cold that is now a sinus infection. Hot tea + antibiotics + lots of rest = I'll be feeling better soon.


P.S. I did manage to knit about 1/2 a sock while waiting in the medcheck last night.