Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Precious . . . .Yarn

I have a large stash, but most of it is yarn I will probably never use, bought at a time when I had very little knowledge of high quality yarn.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to that simpler time (kitting was a much more affordable habit), but then I pick up one of my really yummy skeins of yarn and I pet it and call it my precious.

Oh wait, that sounds a little creepier than I meant it.

Honestly, once you have knit with high quality yarn, it's hard to go back.  Especially when your friend is a dealer, I mean owns a yarn store.  Yarnover Truck is my favorite place to find indie dyed yarn.  All the yarn you see in this picture was purchased on the truck.

Most of the yarn is from Anzula, but there is also some SweetGeorgia, Forbidden Woolery, and Dragonfly Fibers (courtesy of their latest truck show).  I have patterns picked out for some of the yarn: the sweetgeorgia in the center (the one that looks like sunset) is going to be a shawl,  I bought enough of the Frobidden Woolery yarn (the skein on the far right) to make a custom knit sweater, and the green Anzula at the back is destined to become a cowl (I bought it with a specific pattern in mind).  I'm not sure which one of those will be my next project.  The choice is so difficult sometimes.

These skeins just scratch the surface of the mountain of yarn I should get through.  I really should put a moratorium on new purchases, but I just can't resist the beautiful colors and smooth textures of yarn.  Whenever I enter a yarn store (on wheels or not), it is so hard for me to resist buying yarn.  I always tell myself that buying a new skein motivates me to use one of the skeins I already have.  Nice rationalization, right?

I guess it just comes down to the fact that I love yarn, it makes me happy.  It's not weird at all that I pet it and horde it and call it my precious.  Right?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Picking Up Where I Left Off

I think I have mentioned before that I have a horrible habit of not finishing projects.  For one reason or another, I get part way (or sometimes almost all the way) through a project and then just don't finish.  Case in point, my Seascape Stole.

I started that project a little over a year ago and it is only slight further along in the pattern than shown in that post.  I wasn't using the charted version of the pattern and it has many stitch types in each row that have to be repeated so I got frustrated with exactly how much concentration it was taking and stopped.  I found it in its project bag (really just the shopping bag I bought the yarn in) and decided that I needed to finish it.

Well, something changed since I last worked on this project.  It doesn't seem to take as much concentration.  I did just complete two other shawls (I know, I actually completed projects!), so maybe my brain is just in the mode of remembering repeating stitch patterns.  I don't know, and I'm not going to fight it.  I'm going to go with the flow and see how fast I can get this done.

Once I get this done, I'm going to finally piece together the sweater I knit in 2010 for NaKniSweMo!  I've been on the search for the perfect buttons for this project and finally just realized I should make the buttons myself.  I have all the tools and supplies to do, don't know why I never thought of it before.

After that has been completed, I need to go back and frog a coin lace shawl I also started in 2010. (Wow, 2010 was a good year for starting and not finishing projects).  I stopped because I had made so many mistakes in the lace (that I didn't discover them until it was well past the fixin' stage), and I knew I would never wear it.  Now that I have more experience with shawls and lace, I think this should be an easy project to complete.  I love the yarn I was using and the pattern.  Which is good, because if I didn't like them it would be silly to pick up the project again.

I'm sure in between finishing these projects I will start others.  I have a lot of yarn purchased over the last year (mostly from my favorite store) that is just calling at me from my stash.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fair time!

I love this time of year . . . time for the OC Fair!

This year my husband won a four pack of tickets. Score! Not that it costs that much to get in, but saving every little bit helps when you have the Product Parade (or as we call it, the Carnival of Crap) to go through.  However, our first stop every year is the Centennial Farm and the livestock.

 Here we get to view, what I like to call, future sweaters.  This angora goat is sure to produce some wonderful fiber to be crafted into mohair yarn.  While mohair yarn is not something I like to use for my own projects, I certainly have an appreciation for the halo it produces when knit up in an open shawl.

This was one of the only fiber producing animals we saw that still had it's full coat, which was surprising.  It was only the second weekend of the fair and all the sheep had already been shorn.   Most years, when it's this early at least some of the sheep still have their full coat.  They must have thought it was going to be scorching hot this summer and decided to shear them earlier than normal.

Can't speak for the weather the rest of the time, but the day we went was wonderfully cool.  The sun didn't even make an appearance  until  after 4pm.

After the goat, we went on to admire the Suffolk sheep. Even without the full coat, you could feel the softness that will eventually become yarn. 

After the family pulled me away from the future sweaters, we headed over to see what we would get suckered into buying this year.  We knew that we wanted to purchase our standard Garlic Festival products and a garlic grater.  What we didn't know we wanted were LED, color-changing, remote controlled candles.

In all fairness (pun intended), I had been looking at adding some flameless candles to the house.  With the cats, we have discovered that having real candles is a bit problematic.  I just hadn't expected to spend that much and get that many.

We also made our way through the arts and crafts hanger.  I was not impressed with the entries this year for knitting and crochet.  On the other hand, some of the quilts were amazing.  Having attempted my first "quilt" this past year, I have a whole new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into producing one of these. (Yes, quilt is in quotes, because what I did was more of a two sided blanket, but it was still a lot of work.)

With all the walking we worked up a good appetite, so that family split this . . .

A Texas donut covered in maple glaze and bacon.  Yes, it is the size of that plate.  Yes, that plate is a small lunch plate.  This stand also sold a donut with Pop Rocks on it, another with chocolate glaze, bananas and whipped cream, and you could make a donut into a sundae . . .oh there were so many to choose from.

There is so much food at the fair, none of it good for you.  Well, you might be able to find some semi-healthy meal options and there is always the fresh fruit stand.  But really, why go to the fair to eat healthy stuff you can eat anytime.  The fair is the time to cut loose and eat the stuff you wouldn't dare to eat on a regular basis.  In fact, there are so many choices that my hubby and I want to go back toward the end of the fair for one last bite of yummy, heart attack on a plate, goodness.

I think if we make it back to the fair we just might indulge in some of these . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Life Gone Square

I see it has been close to a year since I have posted.  Not astounding, I mean I really haven't blogged consistently in many years (if ever).  I know I've said it before, but I must get back to it.  Writing, like knitting, is something that helps keep me sane in an otherwise crazy life.

So much has gone on this year.  My mom has had two major surgeries, my dad had one minor surgery, I had an aunt diagnosed with breast cancer, and uncle have to have his knee replacement redone, I sprained my IP join (which is the top joint on your thumb and one I didn't know you could sprain), I started training for a 10K and ended up in a walking boot with Achilles tendonitis (still not completely healed), and work has cranked up to 11 on a dial that goes to 10 in recent weeks (today is day 11 of 12 in a row). Oh yeah, and the other night my car battery decided to completely die, after not giving me any indication something was wrong, while I was up in L.A. at 9pm and then miraculously be in perfect condition the next day when I had it at Pep Boys.

On the positive side, I discovered square knitting needles. . . and LOVE them.

With my mild RA, knitting was starting to become difficult and I would go weeks without touching my projects.  This past February at Stitches West, I finally gave in to my curiosity (on the advise of one of my companions) and picked up some of the odd looking needles.

It took me no time at all to see the benefit: I can knit for hours without any pain and my stitch structure is much cleaner.  It may just be that I can knit for longer periods of time, but I feel like I knit faster with them.

I've now started slowly replacing all my needles with square ones.    Right now there are only two companies (that I can find) who make square needles.  As you might suspect, one is a higher priced product and one is a lower priced product.  I have tried both and enjoy both.  What I like best (after the being able to knit longer part) is the cable on the circular needles doesn't hold any shape so I don't have to fight with it when I first take them out of their packaging.  In fact, the cable on higher priced needles comes in two levels of firmness and one is downright floppy.  The floppiness took some getting used to, but now when I have to use my "normal" needles the inflexibility of some of the cables drives me bonkers.

If you have been looking at them or hearing about them and thinking you just don't get it, pick up just one set and try them.

You might just agree that square is the new round.