Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Michigan Country

I'm not sure what the polls say, but if you count bumper stickers here in Michigan, McCain/Palin are definitely winning this state (and a lot of folks with their heads about to go firmly up their asses, in my less-than humble opinion will not be voting for Obama).

Work Travels
Last week and this week found me traveling around the East side of Michigan and in all my driving I saw many many many McCain/Palin bumper stickers, very few (maybe two) Obama/Biden bumper stickers and even one pokey idiot in the fast lane not going fast with a "NO OBAMA" sign taped inside her window.

Of course, it doesn't quell my worries when the hotel where I stay has Fox News playing in the morning in the area where they serve daily breakfast.

For all you Obama voters...please realize that this is not a done-deal yet. McCain, despite himself and his dreadful policies is moving least as far as I can tell in Michigan.

Current Knitting
I haven't had a boatload of time to knit, but I have made a little progress on the stranded sweater, and you can start to see a pattern emerging.

The yarn I'm using is a KnitPicks yarn called Palette. It's fingering weight and loosely double-plied. I have to admit, I love this yarn. It's soft and warm and is making a wonderful fabric so far. People will definitely want to fondle me when I wear this sweater.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Crochet Kinda Weekend

While I got in my fair share of knitting, I also focused a bit on the "c" word this weekend.

New Interweave Crochet
I met my friend Kathy Merrick at Rhinebeck this weekend and her friend (who's name is pronounce like Marty without the "t" but I don't know how to spell it). Someone congratulated her on her cover design for Interweave Crochet Winter 2008, so I had to go out and find it.

Kathy does some lovely crochet work, and when she mixes her talent with Manos Silk & Wool, it just must be great. There are also a number of very fine projects in this issue. My compliments to Kim Werker on putting together an excellent issue.

Current Crochet
I had some of the Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn color 164 left over from my last pair of socks, and their was a crochet hook hanging around, so I just starting fiddling and came up with this completely ordinary granny square.

Putting the socks next to it, you can see it's not very big, so not very useful, but I liked how it looked, so I'll try to find some way of using it creatively.

Current Knitting
I started work on the stranded pullover and got past the most grueling section...the ribbing.

While the pattern is visible yet, I have completed a few inches and I'll try to reveal it a little better in future blog pictures.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Fredda asks about the stranded swatch/now sweater beginnings, "What kind of sweater do you have in mind?"

I plan on doing something shaped like this, but I'll be making up the pattern as I go along...we'll see how it comes out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm No BrooklynTweed

Despite how much I liked the result of the Fair Isle swatch that turned into a hat, it took dozens of pictures to come up with just a handful that look even decent.

Fair Isle Hat on Joe
Here's a few feeble attempts at photography.

Current Knitting
I've been doing very little knitting, but I did decide to swatch some new yarn for my next sweater. Since it will be a stranded knitting sweater, my swatch was done in the round, but I haven't even finished the swatch.

Shocking that this small swatch will someday grwo to be a magnificent sweater.

New Book
Okay...this looks like my next book purchase...and I've only seen the cover picture so far.

This is Men's Knits by Erika Knight, and I've only heard one recommendation for it so far. Anyone else seen it? Love it? Hate it?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Delightful Rhinebeck

It was a little colder this year, but the tree colors were spectacular and the friends even more abundant than in prior years.

Rhinebeck Friends
Mostly, I'll just show pictures of the event. As usual, the best part of Rhinebeck for me were the people that I get to see.

A delightful surprise to see Stephen (HizKnits) and Sean...always great to see Marilyn

Carol arrives to receive her amazing gift of spectacularly blue lace.

Dave and Scott arrive from Easton Mountain to brighten our day.

David and Mel...the happy (busy) couple.

Lorraine (friend of Lars...but who isn't) shows off her gift from Lars.

Alan, Lars, Ted and VĂ©ronik made the party complete.

Also ran into a bunch of other great folks, like Mindy, BJ (of M&M's fame!), a bunch of guys from the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat and tons more that my dementia-addled brain isn't coming up with at the moment.

Current Knitting
I finished sewing up the Fair Isle hat, did minimal work on the microscopic gauge sock and starting swatching for my stranded knitting sweater.

I've already reached my quota of pictures, so I'll post more later this week.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mycological Advice From Thaddeus

Thaddeus doesn't always read the blog, and when he does, he rarely participates.

He offered to suggest two mushroom books he found useful when he first started foraging for wild mushrooms.

Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America, by David W. Fischer (Author) and Alan E. Bessette was a useful book because it was specific to edible mushrooms and it also started Thaddeus on a search for groups that could mentor him in his quest (he was able to join the New Jersey Mycological Society and meet experts in the field of mycology and mycophagy as well as folks who used mushroom to dye yarn even.

A more comprehensive book is Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America
by Roger Phillips. This one provided more in-depth information and Thaddeus found it was more useful than some of the field guides published by folks like Audubon.

Getting Back to Knitting
I ran across this book in my knit-book searches:

Continuous Cables: An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues by Melissa Leapman looks like quite an interesting book. I've always wanted to play around with various methods of using raised motifs using cabling techniques.

Anyone know anything about this?

Current Knitting
I started swatching for a new sweater.

I'm not overly thrilled with the color combination, and I've decided that I don't like the bulkiness of stranded knitting using DK weight yarn, so I've decided to make it into a hat instead. I'm just knitting a lining with a yarn that is a bit softer than Shetland. I'll post a picture of me modeling it, despite my super power of making any hat look completely stupid.

For the sweater, I may have to choose a different yarn, but I guess I should read through the my copy of Knitting in the Old Way fully before deciding on which yarn and sweater I should make.

Readers' Comments/Questions
New reader Shihtzuma asks, "I've been knitting for years. I am obsessed with smaller knitting. I have US 0, but didn't know US0000 even existed. Where do you buy US0000 needles?"

Nice to meet another size-queen...I adore microscopic needles. I first bought my sets of Addi steel doublepointed US0000 needles from Laci's when I was doing beaded knitting bags, but now I'm glad to enjoy them with laceweight yarn. Here's one place I found through a google search that carries them. I've never seen any, but I've heard of folks using US00000000 needles (yes, 8 zeros!).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Too Many Things To Discuss

I read a lot of blogs...but I have to admit, when I'm going through my standard list (see sidebar), and I find a blog with a big ole block of text, I usually either skim briefly or go to the next one.

With That Being Said...'s blog has a lot of stuff, but it will be mostly pictures.

Current Knitting
Having finished the afghan, I also finished the Noro Kureyon socks (even though my picture still shows a couple more rounds to go.

I'm planning on washing them to see if the Kureyon sock yarn will bloom a little bit.

I also started a new sock.

Obviously, it's a top-down sock, and I'm using the leftover laceweight alpaca from Briar Rose Fibers. I'm making this sock on US0000 needles. Each round is 112 stitches, so this pair of socks may take me quite a while.

I have also decided to start a new sweater, but I haven't even swatched for it yet, so I'll post pictures on the next blog entry.

Fiber to Scarf Exchange
For those who don't know, Ted organized a Fiber to Scarf exchange. A week or so ago, I got back what originally started as merino roving, but Michael had turned it into this.

He made a lovely center-cable scarf on a garter background. He was able to keep a wonderful differentiation in colors and make a lofty and soft yarn and resulting scarf. I'm quite pleased, and trying to keep Thaddeus from claiming this scarf as his.

Non-Knitting Stuff
Thaddeus and I went out foraging for mushrooms a couple weeks ago and found a bunch of one of my favorite mushrooms.

This rather large cluster of mushrooms is technically known as grifola frondosa, but is also know as ram's head (giving it a slight knitting, or hen of the woods or maitake in Japan. It's an incredibly tasty mushroom that keeps it texture very well during cooking.