Monday, October 24, 2005

Works in Transition

My little Swedish Swift

My roving lies under the spinner!

Waiting for it's big ruffle and a real close-up!

Lucy's Paradoxical Mittens

It's been a few weeks since the sheep and wool festival and I'm still recovering from the overload of stimuli. This is the third year I have attended and I admit to being less stimulated than in previous years but that's not due to a lack of great vendors or stuff -- it is just that I'm beginning to feel overloaded on "stuff". The fibers are just as beautiful, the vendors just as prolific and the stash of goods just as plentiful. I'm in a different place as I try to define my relationship with the craft and the amount of material out there.

This year there were even more spinners in the group. Spinning interests me, but I admit to being a bit scared at the thought of undertaking it. It's just one more craft (or interest) that I don't feel I have the energy or time to undertake fully. Nonetheless I did allow myself to buy some wonderful roving (at Stitches East) so there's something happening that is beyond my common sense boundary. At the wool festival I was lucky enough to find a small swedish swift so my habit of using my knees as a holder for skeins of unwound yarn has gone by the by unless i'm in the car - as a passenger, I might add.

A little digression here: It seems as if there's a constant tug of war inside me that prompts me to go beyond any parameter of control I might have. I have an on-going dialogue between common sense and willful creative energy. Ms. Sense tells me to behave and be disciplined while ms. energetic force tells me to go full tilt toward everything and see what comes naturally - or what sticks. Ms. Energy, so far, has won the battle of the stash - I am beyond reason in the amount of material I own - She's also responsible for a boatload of patterns. Ms Sense at least got her to forego buying individual skeins of beautiful fiber and insisted she stick to enough of each color so that she could make something viable. It slowed the process down a bit, at least, since economy of purse and space reared its sensible head.

Over the past few years I have begun to collect books and things of limited historical interest. I did score this year with a book - the Agricultural Report of 1862 - in which I found marvelous plates of sheep breeds. The book is beyond the pale in terms of condition, but the illustrations are still viable and will make a wonderful addition to my collection of sheep prints.

Last weekend, we had an adventure in a similar vein - this time, food related. We love the countryside as much as we do the city and there is a cool facility in Sleepy Hollow NY called Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture ( The site is dedicated to the preservation of a beautiful farm owned by the Rockefeller Trust. Dan Barber who owns a restaurant called Blue Hill here in NY, opened another, equally fine restaurant, at the farm. They strive to raise as much of the food as possible on premises - including all the poultry and meat. It's a wonderful, valiant effort and is paying off in terms of quality and purity. They also hold educational classes, discussion, demonstrations (cooking & farming), give tours and have a wonderful assortment of activities for adults and local school kids.
We attended a special weekend luncheon with a tour of the place and a terrific lunch - conducted through the Institute of Culinary Education ( one of my favorite food-related places here in New York. I urge everyone who loves food to check this place out - it's a treasure trove of inspiration and a class there makes a great gift for the holiday!

Back to knitting: currently on the needles: The Hannah Falkenberg sweater (mermaid) has been begun! Given the fact that in order to obtain gauge I have had to down-size to size 0 needles, I figure it should be done by next Christmas. This is because of my habit, i might add, of working on 5 projects simultaneously. I have also just started Lucy Neatby's Paradoxical mittens (size 2 dps) and am finishing up a beautiful lacy little shawl which still needs its second ruffle, as well as a jacket for my niece. It's the old problem I have with the discipline thing - with energy and curiousity triumphing, once again, over common sense.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

October 2: Knit-Out 2005

The day was warm, the crowd large and the enthusiasm overwhelming, as at least 10,000 people wandered through Union Square Park and caught the knitting and crochet fever.
I know since I was volunteering at the Information Booth. We built it and they came, as the Craft Yarn Council sponsored for the fifth year (?) in a row, their annual Knit Out in Union Square. Simultaneously, the same event was being held in Washington, DC and throughout the fall there will be more Knit Outs held in other major US cities. (Google CYCA for further information on other city knit-outs.)

Just a few pictures here to give you a sense of the scope. In addition, there was a yarn company sponsored fashion show - plus a dog fashion show. In Manhattan there are quite a few dogs that live anything BUT a dog's life, and their owners like to pamper them so it was only fitting that they had their own accessory show.

The Knitting and Crochet "Doctors" were in all day to help with vexsome projects and each one of the major knitting companies had booths --where they distributed free patterns and magazines. The lines at the learn to knit and learn to crochet tents were around the corner as over 75 volunteers donated their time and talent to teaching.

It was a fanciful and fancy-filled crowd. Just take a look at the hat handwork of one of the shawl knitters - you couldn't miss her. She was almost as noticeable as the Lion Brand Lion!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Finished Project ---And a Great Model

It's been a while since I have posted. All my blogging pals have posted at least 10 times since I last wrote - I know since I read them all religously and am thankful that they are out there and doing a much better job that I am currently able to do. I feel badly but I feel relatively certain that all my would-be readers have full enough lives so that the loss hasn't been too great.

Sufficeth to say (I just love the word sufficeth - such a mouthful), I have been busy with a job, painters in the house and the organization of my home office - and stash. Nonetheless, I admit to being remiss and I throw myself on the mercy of my peers. I have been knitting and this little bolero is proof positive, but, like my blogging, I am woefully behind on finished objects.

Thank you, first, to Polly ( sending the gorgeous Kid Silk Haze in the divine shade of blue. This was the prize I received after winning her famous "Geek's Birthday Wish" contest. (I was shameless, but i really wanted that Kid Silk Haze - so I bribed the nice man with a promise of my fabulosa Carrot Cake recipe.) If anyone is as much as a carrot cake fan as my family is, let me know and I'll send it to you. I may be a tat shameless when it comes to Kid Silk Haze, but I'm very generous with my recipes. I fully intend to do the shawl suggested by the incredibly gifted Ms. Polly (it'in the Rowan Fall issue) just as soon as I finish the other 3 projects currently on the needles. The koigu are not done, but the sweater for my sweet 2 year old nephew is well on the way. I used Cascade 220's "Quatro" in a wonderful shade of blue and acqua - perfect for his blonde hair. I am also at work on a chanel type jacket for his mom which, hopefully,will be completed by early October - in time for San Francisco chill.

In the meantime, take a gander at the sweet little bolero that found a home. This gorgeous young woman --someone I work with -- could make anything look wonderful so I gave it to her - she does it proud, wouldn't you say? I keep on discovering that the more you love something, the more it is important to share it. Besides, it looks far better on her than it does on me.

Like Kay of Mason-Dixon fame ( attended the Stitches East conference last week. Swearing to buy no new yarn, I, of course, did exactly that along with some incredible merino batting. I am determined to knit something (a baby hat or two) out of unspun fiber but the batting is so beautiful that I am going to just stare at it for a while. It's like a wonderful nest.

Tomorrow I work at the Knit Out in Union Square. It's my 3rd year volunteering and my 5th year attending. Such fun, such excitement and the weather promises to be great - a real fall day in New York.

I'll send pictures and post - I promise