Posts Tagged ‘BFL’


June 28, 2011

Sometimes it is the simple things that just cannot be simple.

In advance of some surgery last month, I carefully matched up some patterns and yarn with an eye to some easy and ~ above all ~ mindless knitting.  You know, nothing that would go wonky with a few days of prescription painkiller consumption.  (Of course, exactly the way I over-plan for travel knitting, I over-prepared for the actual time I’d spend knitting while laid up, but that’s a separate issue …  It turned out to have been a very good thing that I did.)

Paula in 3 coordinating blues

I chose the very pretty Sothia, a striped shawl in garter-stitch by Robin Ulrich.  Now, I know that all sock yarns are not created alike – calling a yarn “a sock weight” leaves a good deal of range in the actual thickness of the yarn involved.  I want to use Dirty Water Dyeworks Paula, 100% Bluefaced Leicester.  My plan is to blend these three shades rather than just two.  Paula has very comparable yardage/weight to the model yarn that Robin used, so to any reasonable soul, it’s going to be a good match.  Note the qualifier in the preceding sentence.

Time to swatch.

Which is where things go all sideways ~ even without the administration of the aforementioned meds.

The pattern seeks a gauge of 5.5 stitches/inch in garter stitch stripes.  The tester achieved this on a US 6 needle.  Now, I am fully aware that there is absolutely no meaningful relationship between my knitting tension and the unknown-to-me test-knitter’s.  I get that.

I'm down 3 needle sizes and not close to gauge!

So I swatch with my BFL on US 3 (3.25mm) Addi Turbos.  I get a gauge of 5 st/inch.  Which means I have to use smaller needles.  Bearing in mind that Addis use different metric sizes than some US markings, I next swatch on Addi US 1.

My gauge is 5.25 st/inch.

*  Ignore that this photo shows smallish swatch still on the cord – I wanted you to see how fine we’re talking about here.  To illustrate a really good swatch, I’d knit another 50 rows and it would be off the needle when I measured.

Meaning that I really should go down one more needle size if I want to match the gauge of the pattern.  This isn’t critical ~ it is a shawl.

It is the Big Picture that stops me dead.

Do I want to knit an entire shawl in garter stitch on US 0 needles?

Do I want to knit an entire shawl in garter stitch on US 1 needles, for that matter?

Nope.  Nuh-uh.  No way, nohow.

Call me stuck right here.  Very glad that for once, my over-preparation was not, after all, excessive.

There were plenty of other simple things standing by to be knit.

But I’ll be darned if I can figure out what to do about Sothia and my BFL.  Chime in with your bright ideas.


102 and counting

May 17, 2011

There is an undeniable feeling of celebration every time the Connecticut Sheep, Wool & Fiber Festival rolls around.  Think about it: in its 102nd year, we are talking about a truly enduring industry.  Yarn shops may come and go, but the shepherds, mills and fiber they produce exist far beyond trends.  As the first event of the year in New England, there is an almost-giddiness in the air: winter is over; festival season has started.

I Made It With Wool!

April chose its last day to demonstrate why it is “the cruelest month,” with grey skies and blustery wind.  That said, the whole event seemed a bit subdued.  Several regular vendors were notably absent, and the crowds ~ well, there wasn’t a crowd.  The weather may have encouraged early attendees to scurry home rather than linger listening to music and watching sheep-dog trials.  Or see the adorable contestants in the “I Made It With Wool competition” ~ like the grand prize winner from Still River Mill.  A felted juice box?  Genius.  Don’t look for this Owl to execute anything half as clever come Halloween.

The Painted Sheep painted yarn

Our good friend Kris of The Painted Sheep had a standing-room-only crowd craning necks to hear her demo on dyeing yarn.  Armed with soda bottles of color, she makes it all look so easy … but ask anyone who’s ever tried at home: coming up with harmonious colorways is not for the faint of heart.

Still River Mill Summer Breeze

My “find” of the festival this year came again from Still River Mill.  This local operation spins for scores of small fiber-producers across New England and beyond.  Because of that, they don’t go to a lot of shows, feeling that to do so, they would be “competing” for

What you need on a summer's night

business against their own customers.  But Still River Mill has its own unique fiber blends ~ and this year, they brought an extraordinary new entrant to the market:  Summer Breeze.  This fingering-weight boasts 40% linen, 40% cashmere and 20% seacell.  It fine yet soft and strong and just begs to becoming that all-summer sweater or shawl to ward off the evening chill.

Dirty Water DyeWorks

If I told you that I was somehow seduced yet again by BFL, you regular readers would hardly be surprised.  I can’t keep my hands off the stuff.  It just knits like butter for me.  So when our friends at Dirty Water DyeWorks, who provided us with lovely skeins of their Julia yarn at the KR Retreat, had a bushel of BFL sock yarn in discontinued colors, I was rather ~ ahem ~ powerless to resist.   Frankly, I thought I showed admirable restraint in sticking to two projects’ worth.  And it was discounted.  So there.

Digression: I am noting the absence of a LYS more acutely as the days go by.  There is no browsing, squeezing and sniffing of yarn to be done.  While positive on the pocket book, it is nonetheless missed.

Nubian goat

There were plenty of animal cuties on the grounds, to be sure.  This little Nubian goat was the most charming little flirt … and it seems that every year there is more alpaca of both the live and spun varieties.

Most importantly, I picked up my new copy of the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association directory, an invaluable resource for locally sourcing breeds of wool for our KBOW wool-along.

The skies opened up to bright sunshine later in the day.  By then, we had decamped for the massive lunch spread at Rein’s Deli.  A wonderful start to a new festival season any way you look at it.

A glance

January 6, 2011

When the calendar page turns, we are all conditioned to take stock.  A glance back, a look ahead.

A year ago, I promised to “make progress on the following”:

Tackle some of the baker’s dozen of unfinished objects ~ Hm.  Ten still undone.  Oops.  Too many shiny distractions and not enough brain space to wrestle with some of these.

Knit like crazy for the darlingest knitwear model ~ Still the cutest model, but woeful progress here, too.   One done, one missing a collar.  Still.  Idjit.

The secret test-knit

Knit one sweater for myself ~ I did knit one sweater, albeit for a soon-to-be-published book.  In 36 days.  On size 2 needles, with intarsia and fair-isle.  I think that qualifies.

Attend an extra day of the Knitter’s Review Retreat ~ Done.  Best decision ever.

Ready my own design for publication ~ Oh, that.  I forgot all about it.


Deep breath which can also be read as a sigh.

Peachy - the pattern and the model

Time to look at the year’s knitting from a different angle:

  • Projects completed:  21 plus 3 test-knits
  • Yarn used:  3.2 miles plus 1.2 miles = 4.3 miles of yarn
  • 8 shawls, 7 cowls, 2 hats, 3 fingerless mitts, 2 scarves, 1 adult and 1 child’s sweater, 1 pair of socks  No, the math doesn’t work, but I’m not going back to figure it out.
  • Number of “one-skein” projects completed:  16
  • WIP/UFOs today:  15
  • Fibers first used in 2010:  Bluefaced Leicester (BFL), California Variegated Mutant (CVM), Cormo, Targhee
  • Favorite yarns used in 2010:  Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days, Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna and Lyra, Sundara Sock, Foxfire Fiber Cormo/Silk/Alpaca, Quince and Co. Chickadee, AslanTrends Invernal
  • Designers I knitted from most:  Ysolda Teague, Gudrun Johnston

SHELTER - Button Jar for Woodruff mittens

On tap for 2011 (besides attacking those UFOs that are still UFOs – I mean, really):

E-nough with the navel-gazing already!

The past week has brought seismic shifts in several critical parts of my life, and these shifts are mostly good extraordinary.  They mean I am no longer carrying a Steinway in terms of the responsibilities and pressures of everyday life.  Will it mean more knitting time?  I sure hope so.


December 10, 2010

Mr. Owl got the mail.

“There’s yarn here for you.”

Yarn?  For me?

Second thought:  He actually recognizes that a) yarn comes into the house and b) what the packages look and feel like.

I have not ordered any yarn.

I am not buying any yarn.

At least for the foreseeable future, or until some shiny thing distracts me.  (Heaven knows that if the rule is, “NutmegOwl buys yarn when she’s under stress,” then bales of yarn should be delivered to the doorstep.  Not so.)

Lisa Souza BFL worsted

This is what the postal carrier brought.

An incredibly gorgeous hand-dyed skein of worsted BFL ~ my most favorite of wools ~ dyed by Lisa Souza, with a hand-written note inside.  (I do heart the note on her page calling this her new Favorite Forever yarn … I do agree.)

The flip side

You like what it looks like?  Flip it over – and it looks totally different.  Yarn yum!

Colorway: Mars Quake.  Better colorway name: NutmegOwl’s colors!

My silly and dear friend, Hipparchia, took seriously a totally tossed-off remark I made a few weeks ago.

Oh my goodness!

How can I top this?

Unwound – Pt. II

November 19, 2010

For the previous days’ previous events at the 2010 KR Retreat, see this post.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear.  It wouldn’t have mattered if a hurricane raged outside, for we were all absorbed in fibery pursuits.  It finally felt like we were really “there” at the Knitter’s Review Retreat, not on a day-trip that would end too soon.  Hearing Darling Bebe sobbing for me on the phone and being unable to complete a song for her (because I choked up) the night before sort of made that real.

Ann Budd crunches the designer numbers

We were so delighted to crunch the numbers that result in perfect sweater-fitting with the legendary Ann Budd.  Her Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns lives on my coffee table and I refer to it often when working through a pattern issue or putting something basic on the needles.  Clara always manages to bring the knitterati who are both geniuses AND approachable people.  Ann is no exception.  However, she is exceptional.

Throughout the class, the BlackBerry blinked.

Quince and Co. Tern - Boothbay Blue

Of course, in addition to all of those finds in the Stash Lounge ~ the room devoted to yarns seeking loving new homes ~ the KR Retreat features its very own marketplace from some of our favorite fiber companies.  Pam Allen brought her Quince and Co. brand-new wool-silk blend Tern.  The camera does not do it justice.  I’m hoping I can execute the soon-to-be-released Ann Budd scarf pattern with it.

Where are all the pictures?  There were too many eager knitters and not enough air ~ or room ~ to mess with a camera.  After all, how

Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days - Colorway - Nutmeg?

would I then hold onto this: Briar Rose Glory Days dyed in a colorway just for me. Really.  Or at least that’s the illusion I’m working under.   Chris was soooooo kind.  And I have a swoony kind of weakness for this particular BFL.

Foxfire Cormo/Silk/Alpaca in Great Blue Heron

Foxfire Fiber also joined the other wonderful vendors in the marketplace.  I currently have this yarn, Cormo/Silk/Alpaca on the needles making a LaNovia scarf.  It is soft and drapey at the same time.  There are only two times I year I see Barb Parry, (and she  missed Mass. Sheep and Wool) so I picked these up for the day when inspiration strikes again.

There were a few other yarn purchases we’ll talk about another day from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and String Theory.  And another of Lanea’s sock bags (in a different colorway) not for knitting socks ~ or for knitting at all ~ but for mommy-running-into-store-with-free-hands-necessities-and-toddler.   I committed far less wallet damage than many of my dear friends in that guilt-free zone.  OTOH, there were some skeins of lovely things that Minh “helped” jump into my bag in the Stash Lounge, so I was in no way yarn-deprived.

Instead, we took over the tavern for an afternoon of knitting and conversation about yarn shops, direction of the industry, designers and life in general.  No photos required, though I regrettably failed to document the dozens scores scads of gorgeous creations adorning everyone in the room. I’ll let another friend show you.

Confession:  By this point, the ignored BlackBerry was apoplectic.  So much so, that I felt obligated to send an email up the food chain to inquire whether I was supposed to engage in the discourse that would. not. end.  Response: No.  But the red eye resumed blinking as soon as I locked the keyboard.

BFL headband frpm Wool-along

Evening brought the long-awaited Knitter’s Book of Yarn / Knitter’s Book of Wool / Wool-along Hoe-down to KRR.  Oh, the lovelies we saw.  From headbands to shawls … and oh, the shawls.  There was this show-stoppingly gorgeous Tibetan Clouds designed

Tibetan Clouds in Sundara FSM

by Sivia Harding for KBOY, knitted by Hipparchia in Sundara Fingering Silky Merino with beads.  (Sadly, the camera hated trying to capture the bright, shiny colorway.)

Here, Sweet Jane poses with her peeps who made her design, the Falling Waters Shawl.  (Which,

Falling Waters with its creator, Jane

as was demonstrated, is long enough to cover lap and legs in a cold office.)  Between her Hedgerow Socks, the inspiration for Hedgerow Mitts, and Falling Waters, Jane is the de facto preferred KR designer.

Oh, and we had doorprizes galore!  From “it” yarns of the moment to needles, bags and beads, it seemed like Clara’s doorprize list would not end.

Spirit Trail Saule BFL and a new owlie bag

This is the part where I admit to embarrassing myself.  (It’s a state of affairs that happens too often for comfort, being a complete geek.  Not a geek in a cool way, just a geek.)  Clara rigged the drawing.  She had to have.  Because it’s just a little too coincidental that the BFL from Spirit Trail Fiberworks (called Saule, sportweight) came to me.  Poor KnittingKittens was afraid she’d have to sleep in the lobby while I … nevermind.  Shown here with a lavender/green owl bag from NanciKnits, the fraternal twin of another one I have.

All through this, I did something I’ve not done before at a KRR.

I knitted.

And knitted.

Into the owl hours of the morning.

While my voice disappeared.

And the BlackBerry blinked.

Leading the Yarn Church service ...

Sunday brought “Yarn Church.”  This is a chance to select a project for oneself and start it by having your friends help cast on a few stitches each.  It is a lovely tradition.

Though we were still together, I could feel the weight of home and job pressing from the outside.

Perhaps that is why I discovered nearly an hour down the road, that I had forgotten key items in the room, forcing us to turn back to retrieve them.

I wasn’t ready to leave.

Sleep socks for Darling Bebe

But I did get some actual knitting done.


Unwound – Pt. I

November 19, 2010

A mere five days after re-entry to the real world, and the 2010 Knitter’s Review Retreat already seems like months ago.  It elicits a wistful Casablanca, “We’ll always have Williamstown …”  So now I commit it to writing to try to recapture some of its magic.


And it is magic.  How many events do alleged adults plan four months in advance, then count down the days, weeding through stash, preparing presents and endlessly packing for?  On departure, the Owl and the Pussycat (KnittingKittens) did a fair job at filling a small SUV.  For 2010, we had given ourselves a special gift: the Thursday extension ~ four days and three nights unplugged and unwound.

My talisman

Then, the pleasant drive over rivers and hills, through the Berkshires.  KnittingKittens and I take periodic day-trips hither and yarn, so it didn’t yet feel as if we were going away.  Until we reached my personal milestone, the signal that we are quite near.  There’s something endlessly cosmic about it.

The 2010 KRR SwagBag

On arrival at the Williams Inn, well, it all started to sink in.  The hugs.  The smiles.  The how-do-we-get-all-this-to-the-room?  The goodie bags.  Yes, there is swag that for knitters, rivals the old Oscar presenter presents.  Inside:  A Schulana pattern book; Clara’s beautiful KR notecards; a stitch marker; a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock (which I have never knitted with before); Filatura DiCrosa Zara and Berroco Blackstone Tweed.  Indie dyer Dirty Water Dye Works Julia, too.

The official swag

And dear to me, as you’ll

Limited edition

hear later, a special commemorative button from Briar Rose Fibers.  We had checked in early, then scooted to a nearby grill for a bite of lunch, not surprised at all to encounter longtime KRR friends already seated.

The BlackBerry, set to “vibrate,” began to dance.  Took work call, returned to lunch.

An early Christmas

As cars filled the lot, the presents — less important than the presence — began to appear.  Notepads and sachets, stitchmarkers and project bags.  Each will remind me of the giver in the months ahead.

We gathered, and under the watchful eye of Lanea, whipped the Stash Lounge into submission for all to enjoy.

2AAT tutoring

Friday, the day began with an intensive, speed-dating version of Melissa Morgan-Oakes‘ Two-at-a-Time From the Toe Up class.  Melissa is a very talented instructor, one who is able to communicate a concept in as many ways as it takes to help a student understand, and uses subtle tools to allow those who are behind a chance to catch up without pressure.  I use her 2AAT technique all the time, and prefer socks from the toe up (in those very rare instances that I knit contemplate knitting

Metaphor Yarns hit the sweet spot

socks).  Even with the whole day before us, Melissa condensed a seven-hour class into five, taking us through gussets and heel turns until everyone had something to show.  Of course, we were aided by these pretty little packages from Metaphor Yarns – fresh chocolate!

Jackie, fitted to perfection

By the time class ended, the number of retreaters had begun to swell.

And the BlackBerry danced.  And danced.

The gorgeous knits began to come out, like this perfectly fitted and executed Jackie in Briar Rose Fibers Fourth of July.  I think this version is much prettier than the original.

Fearless Leader Clara Parkes

There was Bullwinkle and Rosi and our dear Sweet Jane (whose name cannot be disentangled from that utterly apt adjective); Marfa, Purlewe, HappyStasher, Ripko and NanciKnits to name a few aside from my own cyber-sister, Luann.  Called together from the proverbial four corners by the woman known as The Yarn Whisperer, Clara Parkes, we assembled together for an evening of introductions.  (Note: Will some designer deconstruct that store-bought cardigan, please?)

And what a crowd we were!  From

Here a knitter, there a knitter ...

Arizona to Oregon to Maine and Florida … college students to retirees … new moms and grandmas … each with enthusiasm and the desire to create something from sticks and string.

The BlackBerry was reset to “Silent.”  Its red eye blinked.

Rather than the usual “who/where” introductions, we were asked to talk about our favorite fibers.  I shall refrain from repeating the racy terminology that followed so as to keep the spammers at bay. Suffice it to say, it was, ummmm, tactile.  There was little professed monogamy 😉  If you are wondering, I extolled the virtues of BFL – my yarn BFF ~ specifically Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days, which I’ve babbled raved displayed here before.  It was ~ yarnographic. ‘Nuff said.

Read on for Pt. II

Absence explained

November 5, 2010

Could things just s-l-o-w down for a bit, pretty please?

Apologies for my absence.  To say it’s been a whirlwind pressure-cooker couple of weeks doesn’t begin to describe current events ’round here.  But with more on the horizon, if I don’t update now, it’s not going to happen.

SHELTER - Wool Socks

Stitches East came to my neighborhood last week, the second of its planned three years in Hartford.  As previously noted, it’s not an event I would travel to attend after a not-so-positive experience in the past.  Candidly, it’s not my crowd.  With few exceptions, noted in all that color at left.

For starters, Harrisville Designs, one of the handful of vendors with BrooklynTweed’s new SHELTER, was on hand.  Somehow, my nutmeg-loving soul got sucked into this color.  Can’t imagine how. It was also an opportunity to fill a few orders for my peeps to hand-deliver at the Knitter’s Review Retreat next week.

TSG Eidos in Charybdis

There was one vendor that made it worth the ticket price for admission: The Sanguine Gryphon.  I am not one with the time or inclination to engage in all the F5-F5-F5 online games to try to get my hands on it through the usual channels.  Their participation in Hartford allowed me to see it in person in all its glory.

And color-genius glory it certainly is.  A monitor fails to do justice to the perfect-clear-hot-red that is Charybdis in their Eidos sock yarn base.

Warning: virtual swoon imminent.

QED in Tagmata - 100% BFL

Then, they had to bring not one, but two bases in that glorious fiber that is BFL, or Bluefaced Leicester.  I’ve had a torrid affair with this fiber this year, so you’ll understand what I mean when I say that abstinence was not an option.  The QED has so much “sproing”

TSG Codex in Delirium

going on, I have the sense it’s going to bounce out of the skein.  On the other side of the spectrum, Codex, a blend of BFL and silk, just cries out to touch skin.  And this colorway – Delirium – well, I was sunk.  (Can you think of a more-apt colorway name?) At the moment, I am thinking that a Just Enough Ruffles might do it justice.

I shall just breeze by the others I could not keep my hot little hands away from.  No, I cannot explain how a semi-solid lover like me was smitten with the mix of blues and browns in Long-tailed Skipper.  Or the pure

TSG - Long-tailed Skipper in Bugga!

intensity of Karner’s Blue – both in the Merino/cashmere/nylon (aka MCN) known as Bugga! Nope, won’t even try.

Of course, all of this yarny exuberance was tempered 48 hours later as the reality of my cosmic sitcom kicked in with an

TSG - Bugga! in Karner's Blue

unexpected $2400 in necessary car repairs.

And elections of the nail-biter sort.

And the furious knitting of uber-soft hats to be donated to cancer patients as the unwritten price of admission to the upcoming Retreat.

And the culling of my yarnventory so things that I know I will not knit can have new homes through the magic that is the “Stash Lounge.”

And the finishing of some long-dormant projects that have sat, uncomplaining, waiting for attention for an embarrassing amount of time.

And the blocking of said FOs, with necessary photography to follow.

Somehow, you probably wouldn’t be surprised if all this was brought to a whiplashing halt by 48 hours of raging migraine.

I am vertical again.  Just in time.

Bath magic

October 26, 2010

One of Owl’s simpler rules of life applies equally to knitting: A warm sudsy bath never hurt anything.

For several too many months, my Ritzy mitts, knitted in Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days ~ the-skein-that-would-not-end ~ have been sitting in time out.  BFL was the March wool-of-the-month.  These got thumbs months ago.  Four teensy little ends to be weaved in was all that was left.  Except for the ladders.  I mean honkin’ big ladders.

I knit everything on circular needles, and for things in the round, use either the magic loop technique, or Melissa Morgan-Oakes‘ two-at-a-time method.  And for the life of me, I cannot explain how it is that both mitts had ladders on both sides that were big enough for me to step through.  I tugged and fiddled with a crochet hook to no avail.

Ritzy in Glory Days BFL

Finally, more months later, I gave up and decided to let warm water and Eucalan do the work.

I was right – the bath relaxed the fibers significantly.  Enough so that:

a) they actually fit an adult hand and

b) the ladders are evident only to me.

Blocked Glory Days Snapdragon Tam

Cross one more FO off the list.  These mitts  will become a teacher holiday gift.  Two sets of mitts to go to keep toddler teachers’ hands warm and fingers free for all those little zippers.

Oops ~ in adding links here, it appears that I neglected to post

Snapdragon Tam

a finished photo of the Glory Days Snapdragon Tam.  (The color is true in the blocked shot.  For some reason, the daylight in this modeled photo refused to be color-corrected.)  Another perfectly written Ysolda Teague pattern.  A delightful experience with beautiful Bluefaced Leicester as part of the Knitter’s Book of Wool wool-along.

So from that one 500-yard skein, there was also an Ivy Vines cowl ~ and there’s still enough yarn left for another set of mitts.  Talk about knitting-bang-for-the-buck!


May 8, 2010

That pretty much describes everything in my life at the moment.  Certainly my knitting.

At what point does the perfect become the enemy of the good?

When you are actually considering re-knitting a project for a third time.


Yes, I lost my good sense.  And  brought it all on myself.

See, I know that my Briar Rose Glory Days BFL – the Skein That Will Not End – will bloom a little when it’s had a sudsy bath.  With an Ivy Vines cowl and Snapdragon Tam already completed, all that was missing was a set of mitts.  Nutmeg Owl LOVES mitts, which allow her to buckle car-seats and fill out daycare paperwork without taking off her handwear.  Conversely, I really hate mitts that don’t hug your hand.  My Hedgerow Mitts relaxed tremendously after their bath and I’ve regretted not knitting them on smaller needles.  So when I chose the very simple Ritzy pattern to show off the lovely semi-solid BFL, I decided to make extra-sure that they would not grow too much.

Suffice it to say that someone saw me working on them on US 3s and asked whether I was making them for Darling Bebe.  Ahem.  Uh, no.  And they were pretty tight (and nearly finished) when I tried them on (the only down-side of working 2-at-a-time).

Rip it, rip it, rip it.

Ritzy, take 2

Okay, I went up to US 5.  Much better.  And I should say that one of the things I liked about this pattern was knitting the mitts inside-out in reverse stockinette.  I really like the built-in long cuffs – for in wintertime, that “gap” at the wrists between coat and handwear is most uncomfortable.

When it was time to pick up the thumbs, I needed a sanity check on something my brain wasn’t processing in the pattern, so I asked a friend who already made them.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.  “Let me pull up my pattern.”

Ummm.  Turns out, the most recent iteration of this pattern is knitted right-side out, and includes a lovely little thumb gusset.  Oh.  Withdrawal from karma bank because someone gave me the paid-for pattern and I didn’t know there was an update.  The Yarn Goddess snarls, “Take that!”

I confess here that I put the mitts in time-out for several days.  To re-knit or not?

No. There is more knitting waiting for you.  These are done.  You are an absolute control-freak dork.  You are finished.  Stop trying to compensate for all the things you cannot control in your goofy little life and give those mitts a bath.

Funny, though – there’s still enough yarn left for another project.

Well-bred yarn

April 26, 2010

Saturday could not have provided more glorious weather for the 101st Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival.  A sunny, breezy 70-degree day to squeeze and sniff to one’s heart’s content.  That’s right – I belong to the tribe of wool-sniffers, who derive great pleasure from the way yarn smells as well as how it feels.

KnittingKittens and I were joined by our KRR pal Hipparchia, who left her too-busy life behind for a day with us, and our extended gang o’ knitting pals.  Or, as Darling Bebe refers to them, “The Ladies.”  Once a week, we “go to the diner with The Ladies,” which is how DB describes our SnB nights.

Since I don’t get the chance to talk about Hipparchia much, let me say that I’m often in awe of her – well, her boldness, or her self-assuredness – about life and knitting.  She was thinking about finding a knitting trip.  Where does she go – by herself – the first time?  Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp.  Talk about hardcore!  Yikes!  Lest I fail to mention it, she is a kick-a** knitter who has mastered flawless fitting.

We return you now to our regularly scheduled festival programming:

Mohair in your eyes?

Goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas and bunnies all made their seasonal debut, many left shivering after shearing.  One of my favorite things about this festival is that many of the vendors are from local farms that do not participate in other larger festivals. This is their chance to put their micro-batches in front of hundreds of knitters and spinners.

Fox Hill Farm Romney

These batches were decidedly different this year: for the most part, the labels saying “100% wool” were replaced by actual breed information.  While spinners have always experienced better disclosure of the breed of the fiber for sale, this was not the case for knitters, with

Long Ridge Farm CVM/bombyx

the exception of Navajo Churro has always been well-represented at this event.  But for 2010, we saw beloved BFL, Cormo, Coopworth, CVM, Jacob, Romney and more.  Sellers marked the breed of their sheep on their labels far more prominently than they ever have before.  Some made mention of the Knitter’s Book of Wool as one of the reasons.  In a couple of cases, we were asked if we knew what the next month’s breed for the wool-along would be.  (Alas, we were of no help – that’s strictly up to Clara.)  Be that as it may, there were some just-in-case advance purchases in anticipation of a month dedicated to ____(fill in the blank)____.

Oh – and stay tuned for Thursday’s post.  It involves prizes.

One of my favorite things about the day was seeing a bobbin lace demonstration in person.

Bobbin lace

This stuff is not for the faint of heart.  Having recently read The Lace Reader, I really wanted to see the physics of this.  It is rather extraordinary.  See the dots on the blue paper?  Pins are moved into position in those positions, then the bobbins are wound around one another in a sequence that resembles sleight of hand.  I’m still not altogether sure I understand how it all holds together.

I’m sure given more time, I would think of some sort of parallel construction involving lives being intertwined or something.  Let’s just skip that part and be glad for a lovely day.

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