Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Checking in!

Here's the one great thing about being in a knitting group. No matter how crazy your life is, you have a scheduled time to go sit and knit. My life has changed so dramatically in the last 2 months. I moved, suddenly, and as of an email received November 1 I am no longer engaged or partnered. Glad I never started that engagement sweater!

The good news is, I still have a yarn room! I somehow got a unicorn place within 2 miles of Manhattan where I have a great railroad style apartment, one room of which is for yarn and crafting! I am excited to get that in order, but of course it is last priority after the living spaces. Seems a little odd, as knitting usually centers me in times of strife, but I have been exercising and distracting myself by going out with friends a lot.

So the great progress I have made during my Tuesday knitting dates is on the Tulip sweater. I used the for real kit and I must say the Dream in Color yarn is totally divine. The colorways are just slightly variegated and so pretty and soft.

I went to WEBS on a visit to Northampton a couple of weeks ago. I bought a cable needle. That's it! I really am only looking for yarn I love and specifically want yarn for that darn Emerald sweater! The pattern calls for yarn that would retail at over $200!! So I am on the hunt for a reasonably priced but gorgeous bulky yarn in a subtly variegated colorway. My dream yarn? The bulky version of the Dream in Color light blue/cloud looking "Some Summer Sky". Not subtly variegated but totally delish. However, that would retail something like $300 for 1500 yards. HA!

Knitting group serves to bring more hilarity. Last One Skeining taught herself to crochet. As though she wasn't already a knitting savant! She actually said, "Crochet makes me feel powerful." Wow.

Beth kindly brings her swift and ball winder to group when she is asked. I wound up my bunny yarn from Rhinebeck and just need to find a nice pattern to go with it. Maybe one from Knitting New Scarves?

I'll post pictures of my pink yarn room soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Triumphant Return

This is Brian reporting in.

I know. It's been a while since I contributed to this blog. Shameful. I mean it has my name on it and everything.

In all fairness I took a year off. Oh, I still picked up my needles now and again, but I found myself occupying my hands with the new (well, new since I last blogged) boyfriend and my awesome Wii. And I found my new (well new since I last blogged) job occupied more of my time than the old one did.

But I can see the fall colors out of my window even if global climate change is keeping me from feeling crisp autum air and the fiber bug bit me in the ass again and now here I am. I have a number of projects OTN* and even a few recent FOs to report about, and I'll give a full update soon, but I really wanted to talk about a new book, Knitting New Scarves by Lynn Barr.

Some of my correspondence with Bevin about this title can be read in an earlier post of Bevin's here.

The book is exceptional and has been really inspirational for me. Just reading through it is encouraging me to begin thinking of knitting in 3 dimensions, more so than I had before anyway, and I'm anxious to start some of the more unusual projects. There's practically nothing in the book that I don't want to at least swatch if for no other purpose than to just try the unconventional techniques routinely employed by these challenging patterns.

I dove right in and grabbed some Lion Brand WoolEase I'd long ago stashed for some long forgotten project and cast on. I chose "Stacked Wedges" because I liked the effect of the short row shaping from the photograph in the book and I was looking for an easy knit to mindlessly work on while I watched Heroes on the sofa with Boomer. In less than a week I've managed about half a scarf.

Here's photo of my progress.

This scarf features some simple short row shaping to create a really interesting geometric design. It zigs and zags as it comes off the needles. The color changes keep it interesting and the pattern can be easily memorized.

One thing to be aware of. The photographs in the book show a scarf with a clear right and wrong side. In those photographs, the join between colors is only visible on the back, while the wedges stack cleanly on the right side. However, following the pattern as written will produce a scarf with visible joins on both sides.

Because I discovered this well after I'd begun I've decided to continue on with alternating joins. It's very small and doesn't bother me too much, plus it makes the scarf truly reversable. But if I ever knit a scarf from this pattern again I would correct this problem by knitting 7 full rows of the old color after the second short row pattern on the left wedges instead of 6 and then 4 full rows of the new color before beginning the short row pattern again instead of 5. This easy alteration on every other wedge will put all joins on the same side.

This is a really fun knit and at this rate I'll be able to show off a new FO next week. But that's not binding. You know. Just in case I fall behind schedule.

I'm trying to decide what to try next. I'll keep you posted. I swear.

*on the needles

Rhinebeck Redux

My knitting group friend Babs got sick so she couldn't go to Rhinebeck. However, my very good friend and non-knitter, professional comedian Kelli Dunham, agreed to go on a half-day jaunt to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.

Kelli asked if she was going to be the only butch dyke there, and honestly I think we only spotted a couple of others. People watching was the best part of the event and I loved how many men in utilikilts we saw. If I ever get her to come to the festival again (doubtful) she'll have to wear her utilikilt. Something butch dykes and male sheep and wool festigoers have in common.

It is always interesting bringing a Muggle into the fold of the Knitting world. You tend to look at the whole spectacle from a new set of eyes. We had a lovely drive up that ended with a bunch of traffic to get into a Sheep and Wool festival. One would not anticipate traffic for this sort of thing, but traffic there was. And tour buses, many tour buses.

Kelli was definitely not prepared for how many people would be at this event. And I don't think it was just the quantity of souls pouring into the gates of the Dutchess County Fair Grounds that astounded her, it was also the palpable enthusiasm of the fairgoers. People were all smiles and bravely wearing knitwear despite the 75 degree weather.

I have wanted Angora bunny yarn for quite some time. This angora rabbit cost less than the Angora yarn I ended up getting:

$40 on sale from a vendor in one of the stalls. I saw several other rabbits with sold signs on their cages.

I saw a lot of animals that look like my cats. Sheep, goats and Alpacas who are very similar to a Himalayan or a Persian kitty. Only their poop was a lot bigger.

Angora goats!

In a rare moment of shyness I was feeling a bit too out of my element to ask the sheepherders/farmers questions about the flocks. I remain very curious about the sheep to shawl process and intend to take some workshops next time I go.

The sheep pelts next to the live sheep freaked me out. Message to the sheep--"Behave or this is what shall come of you!"

The Lamb Chili also freaked me out (as a former vegetarian I still get skeeved out about eating baby animals) but I ate it and it was tasty. Kelli said it was tender and not gamey as lamb usually is. I think this is the first time I have eaten lamb in about 10 years, so I don't know.

We watched the Leaping Llamas competition. It is not really much fun for the Llamas since leaping isn't really something they tend to be interested in. There are a lot of photos at my flickr, but here's one. Basically the whole competition looks like this:

It was peak foliage weekend in the NY tri-state area.

I left Kelli by the food for awhile and went shopping. In all I hit maybe 4 of the buildings, and saw a lot of yarn but felt like it was picked over. Definitely no one had enough bulky to make the sweater I was looking for. I even thought I might go home with no purchases (shock, since Rhinebeck is the equivalent of a mall of nothing but yarn stores) but I found some last minute Angora yarn I loved, enough to make a scarf, definitely pricey but soft. I really didn't want to buy just to buy and wanted to be excited about it.

Overall, it was fun but overwhelming and even though we had only been through about 1/3 of the place, we were ready to go after 2 hours. Kelli was a trooper and supportive. Next time I want to go with someone well versed in animal husbandry and/or a huge knitter posse so that I can shop vicariously through others.

Coming tomorrow--video of the Leaping Llamas competition (Alpacas included).

More at The Flickr Album

I promised Kelli she could blog about it afterward, which she has done here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm Going To Rhinebeck

Okay, so I am about 90% sure I am going to Rhinebeck. I am moving on Saturday, but since I have a crew of 4 coming to help unpack and set up my digs I think leaving at 8 AM Sunday, returning by 4 PM Sunday should be do-able, still have my life reset in time to function Monday and run over to my old place to scrub it down to get my deposit back.

Last One Skeining suggested I go with a project in mind. My project is going to be Emerald. It looks like a cozy knit and I really want a nice fluffy cardigan right now.

I read this on the Rhinebeck boards on Ravelry:

It wouldn't be Rhinebeck without the 4H clubs lamb chili. It's my first stop. That's right, chili for breakfast.

Brian and I once made 7 meat chili for the super bowl. This lamb chili fits right in with that theme and I will eat this chili, look at cute sheep and send text messages to Brian (who will be watching a preview of Cirque du Soleil on Sunday).

So if you see a fat girl with ginger spice hair ogling sheep and taking lots of pictures, say hi!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Rather abruptly, I find myself moving for the second time in the year 2007. This is a year that will go down in infamy for myself and several of my closest girlfriends (*knock on wood* hopefully not for Brian) as a year of total BS*. We are planning a type of Burning Man / Guy Fawke's Day style new year's eve party to burn the year 2007 in effigy and hopefully start the next year fresh and ready to fulfill our dreams or at least maybe 2008 won't be such a downer.

The delightful part of my new apartment is that I am maintaining enough space so that I will still have a bedroom, office and a yarn room. I lose a backyard, gain a parking space and a view of the Manhattan skyline.

In lieu of a veritable entry, I present for your enjoyment excerpts of a recent fiber discussion I had with Brian.

TO: Bevin
FROM: Brian



I bought this book Knitting New Scarves based entirely on my love of scarf knitting, the interesting cover art, and a review I read online. Yesterday my box from Amazon arrived and while it is completely different, Knitting New Scarves is every bit the equal of Scarf Style.

I never knew garter stitch could be so beautiful.

And do you remember the matching skeins of navy and taupe I bought at that barn sale? I've already decided that they must become "Zig Zag," a sort of interlocking intarsia scarf the author describes as "an optical illusion." It doesn't look very difficult, but it looks totally unique and fun to knit.

Of course, my favorite design in the book, "Wandering Pleats," she describes as the most difficult and the one that requires your "undivided attention." It's construction involves the use of 5 double pointed needles 2 single pointed needles, a third single pointed needle of a smaller size, and a j shaped cable needle all in use at the same time without any cabling or working in the round.
And there's a great design that I thought would appeal to you immediately called, "Black Pearls." It's a scarf that looks like a string of oversized, knitted beads. The beads are actually stuffed with batting. She said that people were constantly asking to touch the scarf when it was coming off her needles. The photographed model is in black, but she suggested white or multicolored beads would also be very nice.

I'm actually thinking about ripping out the progress I've made on my Noro scarf and using the yarn for one of the more intricate 3d designs in this book instead. That's an ongoing debate in my head.

You have to look at this book.
The above link has a book review of the book including a photo of the black pearls scarf. The photo is deceptive, the scarf is almost 6 feet long.



TO: Brian
FROM: Bevin


Brian I am very excited to see your new book. And you are right, the beaded type scarf is totally up my alley. Recall my Stalled Work In Progress on that off the shoulder Vogue Knitting sweater with the crochet beaded border thingy? Does it count as a stalled work in progress if I have abandoned it after 2 rows?

How much of your Noro scarf have you finished? I think if it is less than a foot you could rip it. Otherwise maybe your investment is too great to go back now?

I also noticed when I clickied on the Amazon link there is a new book out.


Folk Style,
Brian. It is like knitting a putamayo album cover in the shape of different garments over and over again.




The MQW** seems to be the ruffles of the Folk Style KAL***.


Am I wrong or is the MQW just a series of mitered squares? What is so special about it?
You are right, it is the Ruffles--although I only see one other project being cast on from that book in the whole first 20 entries of the KAL. The publisher sponsored KALs seem a little contrived but I must admit to getting a little amped about Bag Style by reading the KAL. Interweave apparently leaked a pattern for a bobble bag.

I still really wish the KAL for the Weekend
Knitting book took off because there are so many great projects in there I will never get to but want to see. Oh, wait, bitches have Ravelry now!! What number are you?



Bevin I broke into 4 digits over the weekend. There are 8862 people in front of me. It could be any time now.

Yes, the MQW is just a series of mitered squares, but I beleive as with all the Style books, it was very beautifully photographed and so is getting a great deal of attention. I'm sorry to say it looks really boring to me. The FO would be nice to have, but the process of getting there would be so painful.

I'm reserving judgment on folk style. I was dubious about Poncho Style until I saw it. Now I'm even comfortable calling it Wrap Style. Amazing how perceptions can change.


FROM BEVIN: Brian have you read the book Cold Comfort Farm?


FROM BRIAN: no. I've not read Cold Comfort Farm.


FROM BEVIN: So far it seems really good and it came highly recommended by the knitting podcast I listen to, Cast-on. I will pass it along when I'm done.


BRIAN: Check out this really interesting use of self striping yarn and short rows for socks on Mag Knits.

*If you don't know what that stands for you shouldn't read this blog.
** Modern Quilt Wrap
*** Knit Along

Friday, September 21, 2007

This Just In: From an Endcap at Michaels

Brian needed size 11s so he could start a pure Manos* version of My So Called Scarf.

We naturally stopped at Michaels so that he could get said size 11s.

We saw this on an endcap.

I say, it only figures Vanna White is a crocheter.

She has a whole line of "Vanna's Choice" yarns from lion brand. Dude.

The celebrity endorsed yarn was cutesy when Vickie Howell did it. Vickie is a real live knitting celebrity and designer. But honestly the Vanna yarn is just dumb.

Also, P.S. Though we didn't buy any yarn, I bought a copy of Big Girl Knits. I couldn't help myself.

*It is worth mentioning that the Manos Del Uruguay (in colorway Meadowland or something like that) Brian bought was from the Flying Fingers website. Recall our recent disappointment at the hands of their unadvertised vacation. Despite all of that, enclosed with the order was a personal note to Brian on a sexy sheep postcard and a sheep gauge counter dealy. Kevin and Elise, how you taunt us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Barn Yarn Sale

As advertised (see my previous post) Brian, Knitting Group Sue and I embarked for the Barn Yarn Sale Saturday morning. A former Local Yarn Shoppe owner was destashing from her basement. Brian remarked that it might not be so bad to have had a yarn store and go out of business because you end up with the greatest stash of all time. Arguably, this woman totally had it and then some. And destashed for charity! All of her proceeds went to help build a school for children with autism.

We drove into the far reaches of New Jersey, sweating the whole way as we realized all of the good bargains might be gone by the time we got there. At 10:30 we finally pulled into the parking lot of a spectacularly green farm. Just magnificent, really.

Brian's excitement was so great he had to keep his eyes closed.

There were many cars parked, which led us to believe the great bargains were already gone.

However, the real magic was not outside on the tables, but inside the house. So, really it wasn't a Barn Yarn Sale at all, it was actually a dining room yarn sale. Go figure.

Look at all of that Koigu!

It was really difficult to choose from the great things for sale. A lot of cashmere, fancy merino blends, etc...

And, to be honest, the true magic wasn't just in the deals it was the sheer variety and quantity of Out of Business LYS things available. The volume of things for sale was astronomical!

Novelty yarns coming every which way!

A mega ton of sock yarn.

Mini skeins of Koigu that totally delighted me, though I could find no practical use.

There was knitting paraphanalia everyhwhere you looked.

And an entire dresser full of knitting magazines from the last five years.

I developed a serious crush on this French Angora on the cone.

It was $200 for the cone. I decided to adopt an Angora Rabbit sometime in my life instead.

She even had partially knit kits available!

And, for the seriously lazy knitters, some FO*s!!!


Ultimately, I got some great deals but came out mostly unscathed. Like yarn, I also have a thing for collecting totebags and got a super cute one for $2 and a super cute picture for my chicken themed kitchen.

My favorite bargain is something I never would have been able to get for such a deal anywhere else. You know that glittery type of string you can thread along your knitting to give it an extra bit of glitz? This is just up my alley, and yes, I already have a skein of it at home. Well, I got a whole freaking bag of those skeins and for the sum total of $10!!!!

The pink is my favorite.

I got two skeins of blue koigu for socks and a random skein of Cascade something or other that was too sumptuous to pass up.

Brian scored some nice merinos and a bag of Rowan tweed.

This is only the second time in our friendship I have spent less on yarn than Brian has. Technically I spent more at Knitting Nation two weeks ago, but half of what I spent was on Brian's birthday present.

However, the greatest moment of the day was when all of Sue's wheeling and dealing paid off and she got 52 skeins of great wool for felting for $3 a skein! It is single ply and bulky so it felts up really well. I jokingly asked the woman if she would throw in the storage bin and she did!

Ironically enough, Sue began our trip by telling us she didn't have a stash... What a way to start!!!!

*Finished Objects

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Best Knitting Treats Ever!

Holy crap!

These are truly the most wonderful cupcakes ever!

Click here for the full entry. She even includes a tutorial!!

I am allergic to wheat so I can't have regular cupcakes. But give me a little flourless chocolate cupcake action and four hours to spend knitting individual cupcake toppings and I am all over it!!

Maybe I really will make these cupcakes for our Wild Jersey City knitting group!

[ETA: Ellen totally beat me to the discovery, though I didn't read her post until now...]

Today I received the following email:

Subject: [jerseycityknitting] Big yarn sale in NJ this weekend
To: jerseycityknitting @ yahoogroups . com

A friend of mine who lives in Princeton asked me to pass this along:

I got a call yesterday from Lee who used to own the Glenmarl
Woolworks in Princeton. She's got more yarn than she knows what to
do with and is having a giant sale out at her farm - details below.
Feel free to pass it on to anyone you think might be interested.

GIANT YARN (yard & barn) SALE
Saturday & Sunday
September 15 & 16 (Rain or Shine)
9am to 3pm (no early birds please)
139 Route 604 - East Amwell, NJ
(between Ringoes and Sergeantsville)

fine yarn, knitting needles, books, notions, patterns, coned yarn,
spinning wheels including antique walking wheel, spinning fibers,
looms, equipment, handpainted needlepoint canvases & completed
needlepoint pillows, coned yarn, cashmere & novelty yarns...Koigu,
Rowan and lots more... including saddles, harness, computers, office
furniture & IKEA shelving...

Listen, I know I just went on a yarn binge two weeks ago, but the turmoil in my life continues, so I am doing more yarn retail therapy. Plus, how often do you get an invite to a YARN YARD SALE??? With Koigu and not just a bunch of late 70s acrylic leftovers from someone's Nana's attic?

I am picking Brian up at 9 AM Saturday.

Pictures forthcoming.

I certainly hope there is a sheep to go along with the barn.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When Crochet is Cute

Both myself and Brian constantly criticize crochet as an "inferior fiber art" and "just a whole bunch of flat knots". It's true, our derision of crochet is all over this blog.

However, I am here to tell you the universe is conspiring to change our minds about crochet.


Go look at her star afghan! Go look right now! That truly makes me want to learn to crochet it is so cool. Honestly, I have no idea with what witchcraft she is able to make that star happen but it is truly truly cute beyond words.

Edit to Add: I just got Spindelicious to give me the pattern for it. It is located here clickie but I am not sure if the pattern is written in english? I mean, what is the deal with crochet patterns I just don't understand. dc=ch 3? Huh? I feel like I am trying to read bytes in a series of 1s and 0s and it just isn't coming to the fore. I think I am going to have to get a real crocheter to help me learn how to read a pattern before I have any hope of star afghans in my life.

Also, Spindelicious totally spins amazing yarns located at her etsy shop. My favorite is Parisian Candy.


Angie from my knitting group showed up crocheting. Once we all got over the shock, we realized her crochet basket weave pattern looked very much like knitted basketweave and she went very quickly along on her blanket. I think the gauge had a lot to do with it (thin, maybe DK weight yarn and small hook) but still, it was just as good as knitted basketweave and clearly more efficient.

I don't know if I will ever quite get over the Traumatic Event from our trip to AC Moore when we were first learning to knit. There were crocheters there who knew we were knitters and they talked derisively about knitting while we stood just one aisle over. Oh, I can't stand knitting! Those needles clacking together? It just GRATES my nerves! Right? I mean, our first introduction to crochet was marred by this. Also, that woman had crocheted a cozy for a toilet paper roll. I can think of a million other things that need warming in a household before toilet paper.

Anyway, I am starting to change my mind.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Brian's Birthday Yarn Binge

Though Brian's birthday isn't until September 13, I thought it would be fun to go on a yarn shopping trip. We hadn't been yarn shopping together in quite some time and also I owed him from some ebay destashing I helped with when he moved a year ago. Brian took an hour and a half train ride up to Jersey City from Princeton (it usually doesn't take that long but it was a holiday weekend) and we had a lovely brunch at a French restaurant I LOVE.

After breakfast of lamb sausage crepes, we proceeded on the hour and a half car journey up to Tarrytown, NY.

View Larger Map

We went through New Jersey to try to avoid the traffic in the city on Saturdays. We failed and hit traffic anyway.

Once over the Tappan Zee Bridge and onto our destination, we cruised Main Street in Tarrytown and remarked that the new location for our favorite LYS* looks just like the old location for our favorite LYS. However, as we went down the street looking for Flying Fingers, we had a hard time finding Wooly Wooly, the Fiber Glass Yarn Ball Sheep that is so ubiquitous of Flying Fingers. We thought for certain she would be in the front window.

All we found, however, was the following:

Yes, it appears that they are decorating in craft paper and with no warning from the Flying Fingers website, everyone related to the yarn store is on vacation and we are stuck in Tarrytown with no yarn to drop bills on.

We felt like this:

However, I am a travelling attorney and I have done my share of closings in the Greater New York City area (and beyond) and my legal assistants know to hook me up with directions to the closest LYS to my far flung closings. This once led me to a barn in the middle of nowhere, but I digress.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Knitting Nation twice previously, and it is located just over the Tappan Zee bridge (from whence we came) in Nyak, NY. I went to this store once right after they opened and bought materials for my first socks and once again a little over a year ago. I was always impressed by the yarn and the book selection.

This time, however, they really outdid themselves. The store was full to bursting with yarn, sample projects and the bookshelves were overflowing. We were giddy and spent at least 2 hours in there poring over potential purchases and giggling over new yarn content since the last time we had any sort of yarn binge.

We both bought sock yarn with Chitin content. Tofutsies had a ton of colorways and it was really difficult to decide which one. Brian got a great beige colorway that I convinced him to get because how often do you really find sock yarn in a great muted colorway like that? Mine was a pretty outrageous color.

I grabbed a stack of books I wanted to look through. Not only did they have virtually all of the Elizabeth Zimmerman tomes, they had Barbara Walker, too. Some LYSs just have a few pattern booklets and the major "new guard" knitting books. I had been reading a lot of blog posts about the new guard versus the old guard and I wanted to see for myself. Obviously, I have only been doing this for about three years and have enjoyed immersing myself in the new knitster culture, but I also want to know where we come from and get a feel for it myself.

Nicky Epsteins Knitting on the Edge series reminds me a great deal of the Barbara Walker treasury I looked through, but I don't think I have found anything contemporary that reminds me if the Elizabeth Zimmerman series. I would really like to read her work in depth because the mathematical concepts are so intriguing. If only I could get my mother (a math teacher with a pHd) to read knitting books though she does not knit.

Brian scored some Noro Silk Garden (not on sale) as his birthday present from me in a fantastic colorway, both masculine and colorful, we both got some Classic Elite Miracle on sale, the aforementioned crab sock yarn, he got a couple of other yarns on sale, I bought some magical pink fuzzy yarns that looked so good I almost don't want to knit them and instead put them in a vase. For $20 on sale I was really excited to get all this pink yarn.

The anniversary sale is totally the best time to "stumble in" to Knitting Nation, even though the proprietess does not wind yarn on the ball winder when you buy stuff on sale.

Anyway, our day was not a total bust even though we are still sort of pouty about Flying Fingers not even putting a note on the website that they are closed for Labor Day Weekend.

Check out our whole Yarn Day Adventure at this flickr set!!

*Local Yarn Shoppe