The second day of Stitches was even more fun (and exhausting) than the first. But before I get to that, I have a little story to tell and a favor to ask.
My friend, Greta, is at the beginning of a very exciting adventure. She purchased some beautiful land in North Carolina and is starting a farm. There will be organic vegetables, flowers, and animals. And although it will be lots of fun (and hard work) for her, it is a farm with a purpose. Bee Happy Farm will also serve as the venue for training young adults with autism and other disabilities to be farm workers. Once they learn the proper skills, they will, will the help of a trained facilitator, be able to work as "farm sitters." Those of you who make your living from animals know that it is almost impossible to take vacations because cows and pigs and chickens and sheep and goats and llama and penguins all require 24/7 care. (Well, maybe the penguins can fend for themselves, but the rest definitely need attention.) This training program will provide jobs for people who often find it difficult to secure work, and will also allow many people and families to take a much needed break. Isn't this a GREAT idea! Now, I know times are hard for so many of us, but if you can spare just a little cash, you can be a part of this. Right now, Greta needs help getting electricity and plumbing up and running at Bee Happy Farm. You can go to her blog to find out how to make a cash donation, and/or visit her Cafe Press shop to buy some really cool Bee Happy Farm goodies. You'll get a really nice feeling in your heart for doing this - I promise! Thanks so much.
Now, back to Stitches. Blogless Diana, Pat, and I had a wonderful day of more browsing, buying, knitting, and visiting with friends. I also got to spend some quality shopping time with Knitterboy76. We often just pass each other quickly at SAFF, so it was fun to be able to spend some time with him. While the market was a bit more crowded than Friday, there was never a crush, and it was fun to stop in some booths we'd missed the day before, as well as revisit several favorites. Here, in no particular order, is my haul.
The Sanguine Gryphon has the most amazing yarns. I bought one skein of "Bugga" (which I understand is rather hard to snag outside of these yarn events.) This is the "Scarlet Winged Lichen Moth" colorway. It fit right into my goal of obtaining bright sock yarns.
I also picked up this yarn keeper, which was highly recommended by several friends.
And there was also a beautiful shawl pattern - The Clovers
Brooks Farm is always a favorite, and it was hard to walk away from a sweater's worth of pretty yarn, but I consoled myself with this.
Solo Silk (a 50% wool/50% silk blend.) As you can see, it's already starting to become a Feather & Fan scarf. Like all of Brooks Farm yarns, it's incredibly soft and wonderful to knit.
Speaking of a sweater's worth of yarn - oops!
This is amazingly soft alpaca, found in the Adelas Yarn booth. It was a big booth, full of lots of wonderful yarns and accessories, but once I touched this, everything else faded into the background.
It seems that my yarn preference this trip really did fall into the "must have soft" category. The alpaca, the Brooks Farm, and this.
Oh my goodness, this stuff is SOFT!! Maple Creek Farm 52% bamboo/43% wool/5% silk. In fact, everything in the Maple Creek Farm booth was soft. If you see them at a festival this year, definitely pay them a visit.
Another shop I never fail to visit is Knitting Notions. I already posted the pretty wood items from there, but I went back and fell for this sock yarn.
Merino Supersock in the "Red Hot Chili Pepper" colorway. Once again, bright without being garish. Perfect!
Of course, I couldn't pass by the Knitwitch booth. They have wonderful yarns and roving, but it seems I always fall for the yarn bowls.
Extra big! Actually, it's designed for Fair Isle knitting, having enough room for two skeins. But I just loved the colors.
One of the rules when attending a fiber festival is often "if you see it, buy it, because it might be gone when you come back." Exactly. There was an interesting shawl on display at the Yarn Barn, available as a kit - Hidden Squares Shawl. There on Friday. Gone on Saturday. Nuts! So I bought the pattern.
When the event closed at 6:00, it was time to regroup and get ready to meet with 104 other knitting fanatics at Scallini's for a dinner arranged by Mr & Ms Knitwitch. There are no pictures here because I was having too much fun (and eating too much food) to pull out my camera. Part of the festivities involved door prizes and I won one!! Amazing, as my luck isn't usually that good.
Knitwitch Celestial Sock Yarn in the "Mars" colorway. Not only lucky to win, but how perfect. Sock yarn - check. Bright but not garish - check! Yay!
Thus ended Stitches South. It was very different from the sheep & wool type festivals I've attended before, but was every bit as much fun. I'm already looking forward to next year.
I'll stop now, but look out for my next post which will feature the pair of socks I finished today. They are - say it with me - bright but not garish!
Lorna's Laces "Lion and Lamb" in the Buck's Bar colorway. This yarn is a 50/50 blend of wool and silk, which makes it extremely soft and drapey.
This is the third time I've made this pattern. My first used a wool worsted weight, and the second was laceweight cashmere. In both cases, I ended up with a scarf-sized object. But the Lion & Lamb (called for in the pattern) created a generous sized wrap. Just what I need now that the temps are in the 80's. Nevetheless, it will get a lot of use next winter.
Baby Backward Rib Socks. This is an extremely easy pattern, having just a one row repeat. Why it took me over a month to knit them will remain a mystery.
Numma Numma "Toasty" in the Pesto colorway. Again, Toasty is one of my all time favorite yarns. It's soft, not splitty, and has great stitch definition.
Now, my Stitches South report, part one. On Friday, blogless Diana and I headed over to the venue about 11:00. We had planned to leave between 2:30 and 3:00 to avoid Friday afternoon traffic. However, we had seriously underestimated the sheer number of wonderful vendors, and finally staggered out the door at 4:00. We didn't even take time to eat! Yes, it was non-stop browsing and buying, with a side of talking to a few friends along the way. Here's the loot.
I've been wanting this book for a while, because it contains the pattern for the spiral top pullover. I've seen several of them and can't wait to knit my own.
Magic Ball yarn. This makes gradual color changes to produce very interesting socks.
From Knitting Notions, a handmade shawl pin and sock darner. The latter is a gift for a special someone. I bought my own at SAFF last year. Knitting Notions is always one of my favorites. In addition to the lovely wood items, she has such a fabulous array of yarn that it's always hard to choose what to bring home.
This pretty silver shawl pin will be put to use as a closure for the sweater I just completed.
As always, Miss Babs has wonderful sock yarn. This is the "BFF" colorway. Looking at all my socks, I realized that too many of them are in muted colors. So I was on a quest to find bright, but not "loud," colors. This one fit the bill perfectly.
After wearing ourselves out at Stitches South, Diana and I went to Knitch for the regularly scheduled Friday knit night. I mean, really, there can't be too much of fiber related activities, can there? It was a wonderful day, but by the time I got home I was exhausted. Good thing I slept well, because the next day was even more tiring - and fun!
Tomorrow, more on Stitches South and a wonderful dinner party.
Not quite two weeks ago, one of the mares at the farm where I ride gave birth. While the baby was healthy, sadly the mom died. Apparently, she had a bad case of colic and couldn't be saved. But today, I finally got to see the little foal. He was in an outside corral, having lunch.
He gets 12 cups of formula, six times a day, courtesy of mom-substitute, the Igloo cooler. He's a tall boy (the vet says he'll eventually be about 16-1/2 hands high - which for you non-horsey people means "very big.") Just look at those legs.
Attending to his need for guidance in the proper way to be a horse is Molly, a sweet mare who I heard fell in love at first sight. She does not want to leave his side, and will be the friend and teacher he needs as grows.
She is a gentle soul, and is obviously very attentive to the little guy. It was nice seeing him out and about, and good to know he has someone who loves him like a mother. I'm sorry we will be leaving the farm in a month or so to return to our original home (which has been in the process of renovation,) because it would be fun to watch him grow.
In knitting news, I'm happy to report that both Clapotis and the seemingly never ending pair of socks are both finished. Photos soon, as well as some from this weekend's Stitches South event. Have a great weekend!
The wild weather of the last few weeks brought chain saws to the neighborhood yesterday morning. So many trees came down on houses and cars two Saturdays ago, that the city decided to do some preemptive tree cutting. At first, I feared they were taking down the two 100-year old oaks in front of my house, but it turned out to be my neighbors' that fell, instead. The huge tree stood just feet from our property, and provided a good bit of shade for the front and side of our house. Sadly, it had a lot of bare branchs, indicating that it had lived a good, long life, but that its time had come. This is what I saw when I opened the front door.
An hour later, all that remained was a stump, and a pile of big logs on the sidewalk. They also took down three more trees about the same size - one next to this one, and two belonging to the house across the side street from me. It's sad to see them go, but sadder still when they fall and crush things. Hopefully, the two in front of my house will remain standing. The city says they are safe, but I know there is no guarantee.
I still haven't finished any of my knitting, although I'm very close with Clapotis. Today, I spent time sewing two project bags. These will be door prizes at the dinner Knitwitch is hosting on Saturday night, as part of the Stitches South festivities.
I'm looking forward to seeing all my friends there this weekend. I'm planning to be at Stitches South for a bit on Friday, and all day Saturday - and will do my best to look and NOT buy! (wanna bet?? LOL) See you there, I hope!
Saturday, Jim and I drove up to the North Carolina mountains. It was a much longer drive than I expected, which made me a bit surly, but once we go there, it was well worth the time. We went far enough that we caught up with early Spring again. The trees and flowers seemed to be about a month behind where we are now here in Atlanta. It was such a lovely day, and I returned home feeling much better and ready to get some things accomplished.
I leave you with some pictures from our trip, and will be back soon with one of a finished Clapotis.
Bored, bored, bored. I guess it's mostly Spring fever, but despite having several hundred things that are either on my "want to" or "have to" list, none of them interest me. However, the weather has improved, and we most likely will take a drive to the mountains on Saturday. Maybe that will begin to recharge my battery.
In the meantime, some knitting has been accomplished. Despite the fact that I've been working on the same pair of socks since the middle of last month, and need to block a shawl that was completed a week or so before then, I do have a lovely finished sweater to show off.
Golden Vintage Cardigan by Thea Colman. This is a wonderful pattern. Thea's directions are some of the clearest I've ever encountered, making it a pleasure to knit. It's very pretty when paired with a tank top. (I would also like to note that when worn, the neckline is not anywhere near as baggy as it looks in this photo. If I could get nice weather and my husband together in the same place at the same time, I wouldn't have to always be hanging my sweaters from the tree.)
The yarn is a discontinued product from Artfibers - "Paco." A loose 8-ply blend of 35% superfine alpaca and 65% cotton, it is very soft, but also has the inelastic qualities of both fibers, as well as having a tendency to sag. I've had this in my stash for several years, and was pleased that its gauge matched that of the sweater, but I'm not too thrilled with the fabric it made.
Modifications. I followed Margene's lead and picked up around the neck and knit six rows of stockinette to create a rolled edge. The pattern calls for sewing an i-cord around the neckline, but I had very little yarn left, so the stockinette worked out to be a safer option. I also opted not to put in buttonholes. This may or may not end up being a mistake, but when I tried, they were so HUGE that I felt having them would just end up ruining sweater's look. Now, I'm left to figure out a nice closure. I'll be checking out some of Nicky Epstein's books for inspiration. With about ten yards of yarn left, this should be interesting.
I will definitely knit this sweater again, although next time, I'll be more picky about my yarn choice.
I'm currently about halfway through a Claptois, using Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb, which is the yarn called for in the pattern. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish that, as well as the second sock before next weekend. Then I'll dig through the stash and find a project that will hopefully help lift me out of my boredom!
I give up. This weather is just too nuts. I mean really, it's April. Things are blooming all over the place. And yet, Tuesday morning it was below freezing, and there were snow showers on and off all day. Ok, tiny snow showers, but still! Fortunately, it isn't going to last, but I'm definitely ready for Winter to go away.
The colder weather has provided good incentive for knitting, though. Lately, I've been working on a Spring sweater. The main knitting is done, and it's currently drying on the counter in the laundry room. Tomorrow, I'll seam it and pick up for the neckband and it will be ready to wear. Pictures when all that happens.
In the meantime, here's a little finished project that, although not knitted, did involve a lot of yarn.
The Lois Scarf - a kit put together by Knitch early last year (or maybe the year before - I forget how long I've had it.) Nothing could be easier - tie one end around a doorknob and braid. The finished scarf is about 92" long. I have no idea what specific yarns are in it, but there is a mix of natural and synthetic fibers, as well as smooth, bumpy, and ribbon yarns. Here's a closer view.
I've made a big pile of projects from my stash, with the idea of working through them this year. Don't roll your eyes, it could happen! Of course, my first choice turned out to be a fail. The yarn I chose didn't work with the pattern, so I'm going to put the pattern away and use the yarn for something else. I'm determined to use some of the lovely yarns that have been languishing for too long. That's not to say I won't buy anything else this year, but I'm going to do my best to keep it to a minimum. Hey, you - quit laughing!!