Monday, July 30, 2018

Big Yarn Projects

Back in 2010, Kyle suggested that the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat organize a group project to knit squares for a blanket that would become a blanket we'd donate to Easton Mountain.  I will never forgive him for that (fortunately, he's done tons more things for which I love him).

Oh The Work

The Easton Blanket project was organized in the second year of the retreat...before I learned to say "No!" to great ideas.  We had to choose a yarn that was machine washable and that was readily available to anyone that wanted to participate.  We decide on Vanna's Choice.  We had to decide which colors you could choose and limited it to five colors.  We came up with a specific size for each of the blocked squares (8 inches, I think), and finally the guys went to work and brought their finished squares to the retreat in May.

The sewing up of that blanket, and the subsequent edging crocheted by Tom Bloom took months, at which point we finally had a beautiful blanket to donate to Easton.

Suffice it to say, I will never organize another project like this...way more work than I cared to take on in addition to the regular tasks of organizing the retreat.

One of the talented crafters that I know through the craft show circuit sent me an article about an even more ambitious project...millions of times as ambitious, in fact.

The Immigrant Yarn Project is collecting knitted pieces from a very diverse population to celebrate the diversity of our world.

I would NOT want to be the person organizing this behemoth, but I'm thrilled it's being done.

Current Knitting

Over the weekend, I was able to finish the Interlocking Crochet Scarf.

I love how it came out...deep, rich, confetti-like links interlocking in a beautiful drapey scarf.

I couldn't be more pleased with how this one turned out...exactly how I had imagined it...perhaps even a bit nicer than I'd imagined.

I also made some progress on the second Slipper Sock of the pair and I am still LOVING the colorway of the yarn dyed by Michael.

I will be walking around Easton Mountain's main lodge building in the bright green pair and someone else will be able to wear the second pair.  The yarn is cushy and soft and has been a joy to work with.

Friday, July 27, 2018

2018 Craft Show Schedule

Like last year, I plan on doing two craft shows this year where I will sell my hand-knits.

Fine Arts & Crafts

You'll have noticed I've started to make scarves again.  This is in preparation for my first show (if I get accepted as part of the juried competition).  For local readers, here is the schedule of craft shows for me this year:

Flemington Fine Artisan Show
Sunday, October 28th
Hours: Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Location: Stangl Factory, corner of Mine St. and Stangl Rd., Flemington, NJ 08822

2018 Prallsville Mill Fine Arts & Crafts Show
Saturday and Sunday, December 8th and 9th
Hours 9:00 am to 5:00 PM
Location:  Prallsville Mill, Stockton, NJ

I'm realizing that I really need to pull out all of my inventory and booth set up (which has been neatly stored under my crafting area) and check to make sure I have everything I need and check to see how many of each type of hat, scarf, wrap, etc. I need to knit before the end of October.

Thank goodness I'm retired!

Current Knitting

There has been some progress on the Interlocking Crochet Scarf (which will go into the shows):

There will be a total of 12 rows of crocheted'll note I'm currently on my 8th row, so only a few more to go.

I also decided to start knitting the second Slipper Sock of the pair I started a little while ago.

I've only completed the toe, but this project moves quickly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

An Apology and a Whine

Actually, an apology and two whines.  First of all, I wanted to apologize to blog readers for insulting my postal carrier by calling her a lazy bitch in a blog entry a couple of weeks ago.  Sad to say, it never occurred to me how misogynistic that term is, and it was lazy and ignorant of me to use it.

Fine Whines

So first of all, I continue to be annoyed with my postal carriers.

This past Monday, whilst awaiting delivery of yarn (see below), I concurrently saw the postal truck at my mailbox and got the USPS text saying it was delivered to my mailbox.  I finished shaving and ran down to get it.

Not there.

Not on my doorstep.


Had it been left in someone else's mailbox?  Had it been delivered to one of the neighbors townhouse doorsteps?  Had the carrier scanned it in and then forgot to leave it?

I went to my next door neighbor's doorstep...not there...neighbor on the other side...not stoop, I noticed a package...looked to find it was MY package on her doorstep (addressed completely correctly, btw).

I might actually have to complain to my postmaster...incorrectly delivered mail has come into my box at least once a week, which hasn't been the case for years up until recently.

Second comments on the blog entry a couple of weeks ago, Kate left a comment about my use of the word bitch to describe a woman:
I like your blog and have followed it for years and I enjoy the knitting content and your queer perspective. But I was disappointed to hear you refer to a woman as a bitch. Perhaps you have the kind of relationship with her where you talk to each other this way, but putting it on your blog without context makes you look like a misogynist. And mail carriers work very hard. In all kinds of weather. So, yeah, not a fan of that remark. Really disappointed.
I'm hopeful she's as open to feedback as I am.  I have a couple of options she might want to consider when giving feedback like this:

  1. If you've been following a blog for years and enjoy it, you may want to reconsider having your first-ever comment be criticism.
  2. If you still decide that your criticism is valid and you want to leave it after reconsidering, you may want to send a personal e-mail so it doesn't look like public chiding.
  3. If you still opt to leave public criticism as your first-ever comment, you may want to frame it in a way that makes it more of an opportunity for educating someone...for example, stating, "You may not be aware that using that word to describe a woman is seen as misogynistic..." might have been a kinder way of phrasing it.
I hope you all know that I am open to criticism and opportunities for learning about myself.  Those who have read this blog a long time know that I have made mistakes and have sometimes been called to account for them. And I'm grateful that Kate pointed out my insulting characterization of women...and I am sorry for having been so ignorant.  My unconscious misogyny was not meant to offend.

New Yarn Source!

Doug, one of the Ramkins (newbie at the Men's Knitting Retreats) at this past May's knitting retreat donated a beautiful cedar sachet to each of the guys at the retreat and also donated a pattern design to each of the workshop leaders.  I'm always amazed at the generosity and support for the retreat.

But little did I realize, he also runs an on-line knitting web site!

And I don't mean to be genderist, misogynistic, or anything else, but the site has a very masculine feel to it, which appeals to me very much.

I also fell in love with the colors of some of the yarns he carries.

I ended up ordering some on Friday and was thrilled when it arrived this past Monday (thrilled when I finally found it on my neighbor's porch!).

My photos suck...those two silvery colored hanks are really silvery...they look more white in my photo, but they're lustrous and I can't wait to see how they knit up.

You know me...when I find a source for yarn about which I'm excited, I always want to share it with y'all.

Current Knitting

The Teddy Bear Baby Blanket is finished!

Even though the Teddy Bear squares are a different size than the hearts on the earlier blanket, the total finished size of the blanket is the same.  I love how these two blankets turned out and hope the babies and parents will get enjoyment from them.

I started a new Interlocking Crochet Scarf in VERY deep, broody colors (including one of the yarns from The Perfect Blend Online shipment that came in on Monday).

It's not quite halfway finished but I'm loving the pop of jewel colors...I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be handling such visually and tactilely enjoyable fibers in my hand.  I am blessed.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Blog-Driven Knitting

There are some days when it seems as if I'm hurrying my knitting progress just so that I have something to blog about...tail wagging dog scenario, no?

So Close!

I've always called myself an aggressive knitter.  When non-knitters tell me how much patience I must have to knit, I tell them it's quite the knitting mantra is "NEXT ROW...NEXT ROW!!!"

Hardly peaceful, serene or patient, I know.  But it is how I've become so prolific in my knitting.  I'm not an extremely fast knitter, so I have to knit a lot to produce as much as I do.

Last night, I found myself close to the time Thaddeus and I would be going to bed and I was working on a baby blanket.  I kept thinking I was going to be able to finish this project before we went up to bed, knowing in the back of my mind that there was no way I could knit quite that fast.  Turns out, I was left with two and a half rows of knitting, and it pained me to head up to bed with so little left to finish the project, since I knew I would be blogging the next morning.

After a restless night of worrying about having left something so close to finished, I got up this morning and I present to you my current WIP instead of an FO in the Current Knitting section of the blog.

This blog ain't the boss 'o me!

Current Knitting

As noted above, I am working on the Teddy Bear Baby Blanket and I'm almost finished.

Just two more rows (I knit half a row this morning for the blog photo shoot...wagging the dog a bit) and a bind-off, blocking, and weaving in of ends.

I did finish the Knitted Cross Stitch Scarf (which was also almost complete on Friday's blog).

It came out beautifully, and I will be making a few more of these for upcoming craft shows toward the end of the year.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Secret Project

The last few weeks, I was working on a surprise birthday gift for Eric, a good friend of mine who just turned 50 this week.  He's always been into Star Trek and he's recently adopted a beautiful dog named Tucker.

Clueless Gift-Giver

Whenever I try thinking of a thoughtful gift for someone, it takes me days of pondering to come up with an idea...if I come up with something at all.

Fortunately Lisa, another good friend of Eric's suggested I make Tucker a Star Trek dog sweater.

Lisa is incredibly imaginative and the idea was brilliant...I had two weeks to make a dog sweater for a dog I had never met...but as unimaginative as I am, I can execute someone else's great idea brilliantly.

I enjoy Star Trek, but I'm definitely not into it, so I did some googling and came up with one of the original Starfleet uniform colors (black and mustard yellow) and also came up with the Starfleet emblem (I didn't realize until this project that the original Starfleet emblems weren't the communicators...I guess that happened later?).  And almost all of the Starfleet emblems I googled were embroidered.

So...within two weeks, I had to knit a dog sweater, guessing the size from photos and create an embroidered emblem.

It turned out to be a great success, and a very fun project.  Tucker is young and energetic, so the photo of Eric and Tucker was difficult to get (Tucker wanted to be wearing a wool sweater in July about as much as I do).

In case anyone is interested, I modified a free Ravelry pattern called Candy Corn Dog Sweater by Jodi Lewanda.  I used the 27" chest size, but made the length from the leg hole to the neck longer than it looked in the photo.  I used Patons worsted wool, so unfortunately, the garment will have to be hand washed.

I also used the following graphic to create the embroidered logo.

Current Knitting

With the completion of the Finish The Dance Cowl, you'd think I'd go back to the Teddy Bear Baby blanket.  But no...I decided I needed to cast on for a new pair of slipper socks and also to cast on for another Knitted Cross Stitch Scarf.

I've completed the first slipper sock of the second pair and I love how the colors work...I love it so much, I'm looking forward to making the second slipper sock, and that's not usual for me!

The Knitted Cross Stitch Scarf is almost finished already (I love how fast I can knit these up).

I'm using two yarns...a Zauberball sock yarn with blacks, browns and silvers and a Madeline Tosh single-ply yarn in emeralds.  I'm hopeful that after blocking, the camera will pick up how rich and saturated this scarf is with fantastic color.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Finishing The Dance for Stanley

Stanley Almodovar III, a 23 year old pharmacy tech-in-training was one of 49 people killed at the Pulse massacre.

Finishing What He Can't

Stanley was in the bathroom when the shooting started, and this young hero ran toward the gunfire when he realized lives were in danger.  He pushed people out of the line of fire and saved lives before taking a fatal gunshot himself.

June 6, 2018 marked the 2nd anniversary of the shootings that killed 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. Kyle Kunnecke created The Finish the Dance cowl to celebrate the memories of these individuals, while also working to raise money for Lambert House, a Seattle, WA based nonprofit that empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth through the development of leadership, social, and life skills.

There is so much about this project that touched me deeply.
The pattern has a thumbnail photo of each of the 49 who died in the tragedy
The pattern also lists all 49 names
The initial kits for the cowl each had a numbered tag corresponding to the list of names
The kits all used Skacel-donated yarnsThe kits came with a hand-sewn bag from Erin Lane BagsThe kits also included a single bead to be incorporated into the cowl representing the sparkling memory of the deceased
The pattern repeats 49 times

The 49 kits sold out very quickly, and honestly, it would take quite a bit of work to put together the amounts of yarn that Kyle so lovingly created assembled, but you can buy Kyle's pattern here.  You can also contribute to the Lambert House here.  Or, buy all the HiKoo CoBaSi yarn plus enough glittery white yarn (Karat) to make the original of Kyle's pattern and support Skacel while you're at it!  If anyone decides to purchase the six rainbow colors of CoBaSi yarn and the Karat yarn, I'd be glad to try and put you in touch with someone that will purchase your leftovers for their own cowl!

Current Knitting

As you can guess, I was able to complete the Finish The Dance Cowl project.

One of the suggestions for the KAL for this project was that you lock in floats every other stitch, which I thought would have made for way too much work.  But I'm glad I followed that advice...I improved my stranded knitting speed significantly, and the back looks almost wearable!

You'll notice there were quite a few ends to weave in as well, but I really enjoyed making this project and will think of Stanley often because of it.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Eating - Near and Dear to My Heart

What are your regular meals for a typical day?

What Are My Options?

Here is the list of meals I typically think of when I look at my options for eating throughout the day.

The first meal of the day. Usually around 6am-9am.
A meal eaten in the late morning, instead of Breakfast and Lunch. 
A snack (for example, biscuits and coffee). Around 11am. 
A meal in the middle of the day. Usually around noon or 1pm.
A light afternoon meal of sandwiches, cakes etc, with a drink of tea. Around 4pm. It is also sometimes called afternoon tea. The word tea can also refer to a cooked evening meal, around 6pm.
A light or informal evening meal. Around 6pm-7pm. 
The main meal of the day, eaten either in the middle of the day or in the evening. Usually when people say "dinner", they mean an evening meal, around 7pm-9pm.
My typical eating schedule includes:

Dinner - at noon - we eat our main meal in the middle of the day.  It is usually comprised of either a large salad with some combination of protein (bacon, sliced meats, sausage, etc.), eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, etc., or a standard protein, vegetable, starch meals, like lamb chops, ratatouille and sweet potato.  Sometimes it's even a large bowl of chicken soup with hominy, served like a pozole in Mexico), or a meal out at a local restaurant.

Tea - Small afternoon snack around 4:00 which sometimes includes tea or a latte, but often will be just a glass of seltzer water with cheese and pickles, or my most common favorite, peanut butter and crackers.

Supper - Usually around 6:00 or 7:00, we fix ourselves a small plate of cheese or sardines with pickles or relishes on the side.

I don't eat breakfast (unless you consider a latte breakfast) which I don't miss in the least.  I've found that even with little exercise, I can eat this way and maintain my current weight with minimal worries about what I eat.

What meals do you eat (and where do you live if you think that has an impact on your eating schedule)?

Current Knitting

The Finish The Dance Cowl is almost finished!

In fact, I'm on the very last row of knitting.  One of the things I had forgotten about stranded knitting is that I'm always pushed along to get to the next pattern row and before I know it, a complex and labor-intensive project is completed (or almost completed in this case)!

I've also finished my first pair of KAL slipper socks and started a second pair.

I think I'll make 3 or 4 pairs of these and either let one of the guys at the retreat wear them in September, or create a product label for them and donate them to Easton Mountain to sell in their store...we'll see how ambitious I get.