Archive for October, 2012

October 14, 2012

Knit-A-Ganza Summer 2012

Summer is made for knitting. So are winter, spring and fall for that matter. I had a busy summer of embarking on new projects, finishing older ones and just enjoying the craft. Here are a few of the newly finished items.

This scarf was finally completed this summer. I believe I began it in 2003 and worked on it when we traveled to New Zealand. Then it kind of languished. I guess this proves that even after a long pause, things can come to completion. Knit in mitre pattern, the scarf is made from alpaca yarn. It is called the Van Gogh Stole.

This is a close up of the beaded fringe. I think the prospect of this fringe is what kept me from finishing for so long. It wasn’t actually that bad.

About a million years ago, we made a pilgrimage to Morehouse Farms retail store. I believe we were actually meeting with the authors for a book we had under contract. I bought the yarn for the Kentucky Sweater. I have always loved Morehouse Farms Merino. It is barely even plied and soft and warm. It is so little processed that there are bits of straw to be found. That doesn’t bother me at all. I love it and the smell of the wool left by the lanolin still in it.

I began this sweater when Ellie and I traveled out to California to look at schools. It was April 2010 and we were checking out Occidental. We stayed in Pasadena and Alex drove up from Camp Pendleton for the weekend. We also got to see my longtime friend, Ann Harnagel. I remember how irked I was to discover after four inches of knitting in the round that I had done the second most stupid knitter’s trick and twisted my cast on. Off went the entire mess only to begin again. The pattern required a bit of attention and there are two rows which were mistakes, but I don’t think anyone but me can find them. I don’t usually leave mistakes, but they would have been a bear to fix.  The sweater knit up small and I wasn’t sure I really liked it despite the fuchsia and green brightness. I blocked it larger and all is well. Should be comfy with blue jeans. Not my favorite finished project, but it may grow on me.

This sweater is knit with Seacolors Yarn. I had the yarn, but started the sweater last year when I was going to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. Nanney Kennedy always has a booth there and I just love her yarn and patterns. I figured if I started a sweater with the yarn, I wouldn’t feel the need to buy any more :). It pretty much worked. The pattern is the Low Tide Crossover Vee Pattern from the book, Shear Spirit. I was almost done with the sweater in April and went onto Etsy to see if I could find some buttons. I found these gorgeous glass buttons made by a woman named Nikki Ella Whitlock. Her site on Etsy is Inspirali. She is amazingly talented. Check out her blog. Anyway, I found the buttons I wanted on her Etsy site, but when I wrote her she had just sold them. I explained to her that they were to go with a sweater I was making and she said that she had sold them to a neighbor and would just “run round to see if they would switch”. They did and I have the gorgeous buttons. Next week is New York Sheep and Wool so I may just wear my new sweater.

Baby sweaters are fun to knit. They go so fast. This one is knit with yarn from my friend and former colleague Doris Cooper’s father’s sheep. The yarn was sport weight. I picked a stitch pattern out of Barbara Walker to give the sweater some texture and designed the pattern on Sweater Wizard. I love collecting buttons and it is always a treat to find some which are just perfect in my inventory. It is a cute little sweater. I have no idea what I will do with it.

Knitting socks is a love/hate kind of thing. I love the turning of the heel and the fact that it is such a small project. I don’t actually love wearing hand knit socks. It sounds awful to say, but I like my colorful Little MissMatched socks better. I do like knitting Wendy Johnson’s patterns and this comes from her book, SOCKS FROM THE TOE UP. This is the Lace Socks pattern which I have now knit several times. It has a simple repeat which is fun to do and the socks are very pretty. These are knit in Lorna Lace’s Sock Yarn and I love the colors.

Here’s another extended project. I actually have no idea when I started this sweater. I know I bought the pattern at Stitches East from the Great Yarns! booth, but I have no idea what year it was. It was, however, quite a long time ago. This sweater was not that much fun to make. The yarn is an extremely soft alpaca and the colors are gorgeous, but the body is very wide and required yards and yards of stockinette. There is a knitted cord defining the entrelac which was a b*tch. The entrelac was fine and I just alternated whatever colors I wanted. I hope this will be something I enjoy wearing, but it is very, very wide. Of course, the pooch in the photos is just gorgeous.

I expect there are a few other things which I made this summer and which have slipped my mind. You might say I was nonetheless pretty busy. I want you to know that I could never do this without the unfailing support and unwavering commitment of my feline compatriots, Zoe and Xena. They know what knitting is really for.

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October 14, 2012

Frankfurter Buch Messe

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the granddaddy of all book fairs. It is held annually in Frankfurt in their outrageously enormous conference center, the Messe Frankfurt. Easily five times the size of the Javits Center in New York, each of the ten halls are devoted to geographic regions representing publishing around the world. The U.S. publishers are in Halle 8 along with other English-speaking countries including the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, etc.

Frankfurt takes place in October and the weather is notoriously awful. It is usually in the fifties, grey and rainy. The fair is mobbed with people. For the Germans, the fair is both for the trade and on the weekend for consumers as well. Taxis are notoriously tough to come by and anyone attending should expect to walk and walk and walk both to get to and from hotels and the halls of the fair and to find a cab or reach a restaurant.

My colleague, Wayne, and I decided to attend the fair at the last-minute. This would normally be impossible, but two of our colleagues in the Book Fair business offered us the opportunity to sit in on some of their meetings. Scholastic still had two hotel rooms and, once our flights were booked, we were set. I had not attended Frankfurt since 2004 out of a deep-seated dislike, but this was a different set of circumstances. We made our plans and got ready.

Having decided at the last-minute to attend, we flew coach overnight. The arrival in Frankfurt was only eventful in that the day dawned sunny and bright. Were we really in the correct city? This was a delightful welcome.

We were staying at the Hotel Maritim which abuts the Messe property. This is extremely useful when the weather in Frankfurt is its usual drab and dreary rain. After checking in at the Maritim, we got cleaned up and headed for the fair. This would have been much easier if I hadn’t left my Exhibitor’s Pass on my desk in New York. Happily, my German skills stood me in good stead. We navigated the bureaucracy of replacing this important document and ended up with 50 Euros in our pocket to boot.

Right off the bat our meetings went well. Our app, Storia, is fantastic and there is nothing like it. We had loaded all of our screen shots onto our iPads and launched into the Wayne and Jenny Show at each booth. We shared many meetings with our friends from the Book Fairs and by the end of the fair, we could give each others’ presentations. It was pretty good fun.  The response to Storia was extremely positive. This, along with the amazingly tasty fare at the Exhibitor’s Restaurant, made our two and a half days at the fair great fun.

Thursday night was the Scholastic Family Dinner–an annual event. All attendees at the fair have dinner together and Dick Robinson, CEO, gives a speech. The crowd is mostly the international division and it was a chance to meet some new people. Dinner was fantastic. We ate at a true German restaurant,Zum Gruenen Baum, with traditional decor and wooden tables and chairs. It was echt Deutsch. I was in heaven. Schnitzel, Leberkase, kartoffel salad, weiss wein…they fed us so much and so well that I was almost in pain.

Of course, the flight home was to be anticipated. Since it was the return and during the day, it would be an extravaganza of knitting. There are few better places to knit than an airplane. Complete and total attention to knitting is possible. The movies on Lufthansa were awful, but who cares, I had pink socks with cables to knit.  The pattern was Errant Socks from Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner’s outstanding book, MASON DIXON KNITTING, and the yarn was Spud and Chloe Fine.

The trip was successful for business purposes. We had some very good meetings which will lead to long-lasting relationships. It was so wonderful to be in Germany again and to remember how much I delight in the German language, in the food, the people and just being there. I feel like I had a three-day vacation with a lot of business meetings. Vielen Dank.

October 6, 2012

The Spring House

This morning it was a gorgeous autumn day. The sun was shining, the air warm and the leaves were bright with color. The air had that tart smell of decaying leaves and it was so easy to remember all there is to love about fall.

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