Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fait Accompli

Yessireee! I scored an issue of the vintage Vogue knitting magazine alluded to in my previous blog entry. You can find everything on eBay! I didn't want to give too much information before for fear of someone else finding the little gem, wanting it and outbidding me. In the last seconds of the auction there was another bidder. However, I bid to win and win I did, although not at the ninety-nine cents I was hoping for--especially since it's coming to me with mice bites and eau d' damp cellar.

So there it is, Vogue Sweaters to Knit for Men and Boys, circa 1965. More about it when the upgrade arrives. Mice bites have got to be smaller than dog bites!

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Everything Old is New Again

In the throes of de-cluttering I came across a very old knitting magazine. The cover is torn, teeth marks abound. One corner is chewed off, another chewed into pulp. (We had a mongrel puppy named Pepe back then.) Luckily, I throw nothing away. Thus the need for massive de-cluttering around here. The magazine has some wonderful sweater patterns in it and a few sock patterns as well. In an attempt to not cut my own throat in the quest to find a copy in better condition, I will give no more information than that about the magazine until I get my hands on a replacement. Then I'll tell you all about it and include pictures. In the meantime the copy I have is complete in its directions as long as they don't run into the bottom left corner. I'm thinking of making a pair of socks from it.

I also have a folder of tear sheets, clipped and saved newspaper and magazine patterns and old pamphlets. Most of these treasures are crochet patterns. They're from the days when I wished I could knit fast enough to make something before it went out of style. I longed to knit better so I did collect some knit patterns that struck my fancy. One booklet in particular, Tiffany Glass Knits from Columbia-Minerva was a favorite of mine although the patterns were beyond my ability.

The problem I see now is that although my knitting expertise has increased and expanded and I can knit well enough and fast enough to make them, my age and body have also increased and expanded . . . Need I say more?

But aren't they cute? The longer ones (mini dresses) would make nice tunics or tops to wear with the leggings being worn today. It seems the newest young thing to do is wear a short dress as a top over jeans.

But no retro bull's eye circles, PLEASE!

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, May 25, 2007

Knitting Limbo

I'm in some kind of knitting limbo. The UFOs have lost their pull. Even empty needles and new projects are not calling to me. Yesterday I left home without portable knitting (socks) and didn't realize it until I was sitting in the visitor's chair at the nursing home and had finished filing my nails! This is not good.

The usual stimuli are not stimulating. The yarn for the Philosopher's Stars sweater no longer beckons, nor does the latest Knit Picks catalog.

I listened to the next three episodes of Kelley Pitkin's Knit Picks Podcast and though excited by the sock knitting theme and book review of episode #3, I did not rush immediately to (or anywhere else for that matter) to order any of the books reviewed. I must admit that I might have purchased the Favorite Socks book from Interweave Press except for the fact that someone here misplaced the bank card and after hours of looking I had to report it lost and order a new one which won't arrive until next week. I'm grounded as to Internet shopping until the new card arrives. You wonder who would do such a careless thing? It wasn't me. There are only four of us here and two are little dogs. That leaves . . . I won't put it in print. Of course shortly after I cancelled the old card and ordered the new one, I found the old one. It was stuck in with the business cards in my PDA cover. Don't ask.

Anyway, my knitting has taken a nose dive. I have a yarn pack coming from Knitter's. Maybe that's what I'm waiting for. More on that when it gets here. I am determined to finish the soy sauce socks before I go on vacation. I'd better get knitting!

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Something for Sunday

I've seen many pictures of beautiful blooms from knitters' gardens so I thought I'd show my rhododendrons in almost full bloom. The sun came out just as I took the picture.

It's been a long, lazy Sunday. No knitting yet, but I did put swift and winder to work and wound some little hanks of sport yarn into little "cakes." As of now the yarn is for my first pair of toe up socks. We'll see if that's what the yarn tells me it really wants to be.

Nothing new on the knitting front. I'm still smarting from having to put SFSS back in the UFO box. I'm working on the soy sauce socks and revamping ideas on what to do next. I'm in a wishy-washy state of mind, one minute one sweater, the next minute another. Do I even want to start a sweater going into June, July and August? The jury is still out.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stitches East

Can you believe it's that time again? Well, actually it isn't. Stitches East isn't until October 11 - 14, 2007 in Baltimore, MD. Why do I want to write about it now, you ask. Because I have a major complaint. I received my brochure today, Thursday, May 17, two and a half days after the registration opened! Now, that might not seem like a big deal to most of you, but if you are a bona fide knitter and Stitches attendee who signs up for classes, you know how quick on the trigger you need to be to get your first choices. Some are already sold out!!!

The current techniques and trends--anything that's hot-- any short rows class, Lily Chin, Sally Melville and other 'name' teachers' classes sell out in the first minutes of the opening of registration. I say minutes, but it probably takes hours before the first deluge of registrations are processed by the the staff and the red SOLD OUT flags start to appear. You need to have the brochure with the class listing at least a week BEFORE registration opens so that you can agonize over the schedule, find your note you made last year of what you wanted to sign up for this year, and fill out the registration form.

If you're signing up by snail mail, you need to time it's delivery to reach Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the first day. You can FAX or sign up on line at the stroke of 9 a.m. CST (or should that have been CDT?). If you are not computer literate you are going to catch a bad break.

I am lucky enough to be online, a member of Knit U and have the time to check my mail daily, sometimes multiple times a day. It was more luck that I read an email giving a link to a PDF version of the soon-to-be-mailed Stitches East brochure. I was able to give a heads up to my Stitches roomie who was in travel status for work and might not have read her Knit U email. So we had a couple of days to decide on our classes and extra curricular activities before registration day.

On the appointed day at the appointed time the class schedule still hadn't appeared on the Knitting Universe website. Thank God for that PDF file. My friend printed the whole thing out, leaving the hotel's printer inkless. I read online. Not ideal because of all the clicking back and forth from class offerings to scheduling to class descriptions. Flipping through a hard copy is easier and less time consuming.

And then the sign up! Snail mailing the filled out form to arrive on d-day is easiest, but will your form get there and get processed before your most desired class is sold out? Forget calling. The odds for getting in are too great, worse than first hour of voting for American Idol. Busy, busy, busy! Forget FAXing! I programmed my FAX feature to send my form at the stroke of the hour. Busy, busy, busy signal for automated try after try. Back to the website for the sign up. Not there yet. FAX--busy, website--not there. Did the site crash under the pressure? FAX, website, FAX, website and then, wonder of wonders, the blank page sprang to life and there was the class schedule, shopping cart and checkout page. Whew!!!

By then an hour had passed and I was in a frenzy. I had to stop the FAX from its automatic re-dial and sign up manually. I entered my choices--First, Second and Third--and checked each twice. No mistakes. Cart filled. Automatic checkout done. Oh no! Was the card information from last year still current? NO! The Kaffe Fassett event had to be signed up for even though it's open to all registrants? YES! Back to the cart to sign up for Kaffe. Call the card company to make sure that although they issued a spiffy new card with same account number, the old card not due to expire for another year is still valid . . . "Ummm, maybe." Of course I can't get through on the phone to the Stitches registrar. Too much!

After all that, none of my classes have sold out yet. (But one of my friend's has. I hope she got in in time. She's still in travel status.) I probably should call today to make sure my card was okay. I wonder if can I get through . . .

In case my complaint got lost in the telling, bottom line to the powers that be is, NEVER EVER AGAIN MAIL THE BROCHURE TO ARRIVE AFTER THE REGISTRATION OPENING DAY!!!

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

White Socks and Soy Sauce

I had a near disaster. I rarely make white socks, but I'm hand knitting a pair from what I think is an old Trekking XXL colorway. The ball band is missing. The wool is white with tiny lengths of red, blue, green and yellow, just long enough to make one stitch using US 1 needles. I've been making these socks since last summer. They were to be my beach project, but I didn't spend much time on the beach. They became my portable project for the fall. I remember making quite a bit of headway on sock number one at Stitches East during the long fashion show and banquet last November.

A week ago I picked it up again and finished the first sock and started the mate. This week I've been making the leg. Yesterday I worked on them during some wait time at the auto repair. I threw my zipped plastic project bag into a supermarket plastic bag along with some mail when I returned home. I went into the kitchen threw the whole thing on the counter and rummaged in the fridge for leftover Chinese food to have for lunch.

While the chicken lo mein heated in the microwave I got comfortable and immediately forgot the bag on the counter. I ate lunch, complete with a packet and a half of soy sauce. Can you see where I'm going with this? Are you wondering what I did with the rest of that soy sauce packet I used only half of?

As usual there was a plastic bag used for trash and garbage on the counter near the sink. I threw the soy sauce packets in it. Later my husband cleaned up the kitchen, collected the trash and recyclables, got it all consolidated into appropriate containers and placed at the curb for pick up in the morning.

Later, when I decided a nice, fast inch or two of mindless stockinette in the round would be relaxing, I couldn't find the bag I put my knitting and the mail in. I searched high and low. I recalled my actions upon entering the house earlier. I had visions of the bag with my knitting in it ending up on the kitchen counter. Then I had visions of my knitting resting in the trash and garbage in a container at the curb for collection! My husband went out to do the dirty work of checking the garbage. Sure enough it was there.

I knew I was in trouble when he brought it in sans plastic store bag. Sure enough the mail, the completed white sock, the partial second sock and the attached ball of yarn were saturated here and there with soy sauce. The completed sock and the ball of yarn had attracted the most of that dark, dark, brown liquid. It was awful, ruined, I was sure.

Resourcefulness kicked in. I took the sodden sock mess to the laundry room and ran cold water over the biggest stain while I looked around for a possible stain remover. Oxy Clean, would that work? I looked back at the sock in my hand under the stream of water. The soy sauce was gone! It was a miracle!! In the second I looked away all the soy sauce rinsed right out!!! Either the wool had some kind of protective finish or soy sauce isn't the vicious stuff I thought it was. I was able to get every trace out of all the wool without even wetting the whole pieces or the whole ball of yarn. Disaster diverted.

As for the mail, it was junk anyway.

Bona Fide Knitter

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Week Gone

Time flies when you're having fun whether you're having fun or not. I had no particular fun this past week and it flew by anyway. It's hard to believe it was a whole week ago that I was at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Yes, at this time last Saturday morning I was parking at the wrong end of the Main Exhibition Hall. I think time flies faster the older you get and I must be at an age where it zooms by, fun or not. Next it will be moving at warp speed (which is faster than 'zoom' so I might as well make it fun while it lasts.

More about the Festival: I bought some household items, a broom and a couple of hand towels. I even took pictures of a broom maker and his wife and his brooms which were works of art. I didn't buy one of his ($50), but found something more suitable to my pocketbook ($18) by another broom maker, whose picture I didn't take.

These look like brooms for riding!

Making a weekend of it allows me time to see everything and spend time admiring the animals. What can I tell you, I love animals! One of the most attracting things I saw at my first MDS&W four years ago was a woman calling herself "The Barefoot Spinner." She was sitting at a spinning wheel with a huge angora rabbit on her lap, gently pulling off the angora and spinning it. She pedaled the wheel in her bare feet (as the name implies) and I was mesmerized. I wanted a spinning wheel and a rabbit right then and there! Never mind the fact that I don't know how to spin or take care of rabbits. I was able to contain myself. Another hobby or animal is nothing I need. But four years later I am still mesmerized by it all and still feel the pull of holding a bunny and pedaling out angora yarn in my bare feet.

She had socks on this year. It was a chilly morning.

It's hard to tell which is bunny head or tail.

There were more animals there than you could shake a stick at. Actually there were sticks being sold, lamb prods and walking sticks, but not for shaking at the animals . . . unless you were a shepherd trying to move your flock I guess.

There were alpacas, llamas, and lambs, but none can voice their displeasure better than a sheep being groomed for the show ring:


Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, May 6, 2007

My Muse Has Returned

It took a weekend at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival to rediscover my muse. I have returned all fired up and ready to knit great things. My mojo is back.

Each year I look forward to the cover art on the catalog. This year's winner did not disappoint.

I drove down on Friday afternoon to get an early start for the gate on Saturday morning. I was there before opening and headed straight for the Koigu booth. It wasn't there! Koigu did not attend this year. I couldn't believe it! I had such great plans for all the half price Koigu mill ends I was going to score. It was my main reason for attending. The second main reason was to demonstrate the antique circular sock knitting machine with a few others from our MidAtlantic group.

But back to Koigu. I have no idea why they were not there and only hope that it was nothing that will keep them away in the future. Oh how I missed the fun of making up 100 gram groups of matching, similar, blending or contrasting colors and dye lots out of less than 50 gram hanks. That was always my Saturday night pastime as I wound down from the day of shopping. I've been told it's called "owning your stuff."

Not to be outdone, I found another place to spend my money. Philosopher's Wool was my first stop. My original purpose was to show the owners, Ann and Eugene Bourgeois, my sock knitting using Ann's two-handed fair isle technique that she showed me last year.

I was struck by the sweater Eugene was wearing and the next thing I knew I was picking out buttons for my kit which I will make into a cardigan.

When this one is completed I will truly be a star. Eugene told me today, when I went back with many questions after reading the directions last night, that I should begin the sweater right away. Just what I needed, an excuse for a modification to my modifications to my mentor's Rule of Three. Did you get that? In other words, I am going to start the new sweater today, after having put SFSS back into the UFO container, probably for another year.

Another of my purchases was "Cotton and EcoSpun" yarn from Little Barn of AL in a neutral gray/beige variegation which might become a ruana from Sally's Knit Stitch. At 99 cents a skein, it was an offer I couldn't refuse.

Another purchase I'm quite proud of is a shawl pin. After looking at every shawl pin at every vendor that had them--wooden, ceramic, pewter--I found just the right metal (bronze) in the right size (2") and weight by accident at a vendor I almost overlooked. Thank goodness for perseverance. This craftsman, a blacksmith, was in the barn where the Festival merchandise was located. There was a line out the door and down the road! I remembered that you could get in past the line to visit the vendors. And there was THE pin!

Even with the absence of Koigu, I was quite happy with a couple of good deals I got on sock yarn, three little skeins--enough for one pair to be hand knit for me--and two cones to run through the sock machine and produce a few pairs for others.

Speaking of the sock machine, I did the demo in the afternoon. It was fun, exhausting and rewarding. More information on that can be found at The Sock Lady's blog tomorrow.

I left the Festival at noon today and drove home. It is now time to 'own my stuff.' There will more the weekend in the days to come, as I think of it. Right now I have to go wind some Philosopher's Wool into balls.

Bona Fide Knitter