Posts tagged ‘alpaca’

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 31, 2010

The 2010 New York Sheep and Wool Festival

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October 16th looked like it would become a perfect fall day. The forecast was for sun with a few clouds and some wind. It was going to get up to the mid-50’s. The leaves were turning nicely and the scene was set for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival! The third weekend in October is always the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. And even those Frosts who don’t knit turn out for this annual family pilgrimage.

We piled into the car at 8:30 and the cars were streaming into the Dutchess County Fair Grounds when we got to Rhinebeck after 10. It was brisk and a hot beverage was first on Ellie’s list while I purchased my annual t-shirt. Each year much is the same about Rhinebeck. The vendors have the same locations, we follow the same path through the barns and even eat the same foods. That is part of what makes it all so wonderful.
We walk around and see all our favorite vendors. The fellow who makes the fantastically warm and soft sheepskin slippers, Ellen’s 1/2 Pint Farm, Nanney Kennedy’s Meadowcroft Farm Seacolors, the woman with the gorgeous and colorful blended yarn from Vermont, Green Mountain Spinnery and the folks with the huge supply of Socks That Rock Yarn. Even when I don’t buy, I love seeing the fabulous yarn and crafts these artisans have on offer.
Each year Peter is bound and determined to return home with an angora rabbit. He sees the women spinning fiber right off their bunnies and he goes wild for a soft, furry bunny.  This year there were puppies for sale and Ellie was possessed by a desire unfulfilled by even her great love for Dakota. They were really cute and if Jim hadn’t been along and if I didn’t know that Dakota has no desire to share, I might have fallen.
Jim is patient, but bored and heads off to sit quietly in the 4-H booth with a cup of hot cider and his book. The best place for him at this point. We walk up and down the rows looking at the booths and break for lunch early. The chicken pot pie line gets really long and one year they ran out for a while…I enjoyed a roast lamb sandwich.
After lunch we wandered over to watch the dogs in the Frisbee competition and then hit the barns to oggle some sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. It is fun to watch the sales going on, but visiting the animals in their pens is even more fascinating. Here is a whole agricultural life about which we know little, but the sheep are clearly well cared for and loved. Their owners wait patiently for the judging and tend to the animals while probably wishing the dumb city folk would stay out of their way. It isn’t an easy way to make a living no matter how romantic it looks from the outside.
All too soon critical mass has been reached and the voting is to return to the car and make our way home. I wonder what it would be like to spend an entire day or weekend at the fair? Somehow even after just a few hours, the car feels warm and comfortable and it is tough not to doze off over yarn and needles as we head south in the afternoon’s darkening light.
It was a good day. A day anticipated for many months and enjoyed in the best of company. It will be another year until Sheep and Wool and yet, it will be very much the same as this year. A turning point as summer truly fades into autumn and the world prepares for winter. A good day’s outing in the country and a chance to enjoy the fresh air, animals, some good food, my family and lots of yarn and fibre. It doesn’t get much better than that!
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