Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Yarnarian Throws in the Towel!

Yes, indeed, I finally gave up on Laminaria. Not that it was so difficult, but I put it down for a while, and last night when I picked it up again, discovered some strange miscount . So I gently tinked back. Hah! And kept tinking and tinking, and then in total disgust, I just frogged the bloody thing. i might try it again, but now I'm too irritated with it.

So, instead, this afternoon, I started on a shawl of my own design. Same luscious yarn, but this will be made to my pattern. Here are my plans: garter stitch forever, and then a really, really neat border. Plus, I may just attach a small border to the outside edge. So, to prepare for that possibility, I'm making nice slip stitches. Needless to say, you can't see anything worthwhile yet, plus you know how lace is before you block it: a mess. But, still, here's a pic.

And while I'm on pics, here's my new Piddleloop bag from the terrific Piddleloop Sisters.

And that's the story.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Home From the North

We are back from our weekend sojourn to the lovely state of Massachusetts. They are considerably behind us in flowers and foliage, but spring has definitely arrived there.

The kids were great, and the grands are so cute. But then, you knew that already. A got in some of his adult teeth, and it's a bit disconcerning to see those large front teeth. But he is a great kid, and super bright, and awfully silly at times. He's turning 8 in June. And the Princessa loved her birthday presents from us. This is one little munchkin with opinions, which she is not afraid to express. And cuddy and yummy.

Hey, Grandmas are allowed to brag.

Knitting news: I made great progress on the sock. Christine informed me that it looks very much like the monkey sock without the purl stitches. I have to say that the monkey pattern is in most stitch dictionaries. I had been looking at the pattern for a while, totally forgetting that I had already knitted the famous monkey sock pattern. Surprise! But the reason it's so well loved is that it's very pleasant to knit, and looks great to boot. Here's my variation on it: I reversed the pattern twice. This was not as easy as it sounds. My initial reversal didn't work at all, and I had to think out of the box (sock?) to get it to work. Decreases are in an entirely different place. I was so pleased when they worked out. So here it is:

I also made a bit of progress on the lace scarf. I'm not in a hurry on this. It's very easy, only 2 rows, but I tend to knit lace slowly. Still, I added a few inches.

I'm uber busy this week. I want to finish up the May sotm dyeing, print out the pattern, reskein the yarn, and send the packages out.

Then, I start on the dyeing for the Mystery Shawl group. I'm very excited about this. I'll keep you posted as I hear from Renee.

OK, heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to dye I go.

Christine - That's what I was trying to tell you, but couldn't verbalize it. This whole sock designing thing is really challenging. It makes you really think. My BIL asked me why I couldn't get a computer to design it all. I couldn't make him understand that this is a human matter. But then, he also made the comment recently: People really knit? He's a sweetie, but is a complete muggle.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Yarnarian Knits Lace!

She does. And she is getting her lace mojo back! After frogging various patterns with different size needles, she now has the center of her lace scarf underway. The middle of the scarf is using a Ploughed Acre pattern in mulitples of 10. When it gets long enough, I'll pick up stitches on the long side and put in a pretty border. And then repeat for the other side. I'm using my alpaca/silk yarn in a sea green colorway. Here's a picture:

I've frogged that bloody sock at least 8 times and got disgusted with it. So I switched yarn to one that DD#2 had dyed while she was here, and changed pattern, and now I'm a happy camper. Here are pics of the beginning of it.

I don't yet know how I'm going to vary it, maybe reverse it at the halfway point of the leg. I love to play with patterns; it keeps my interest in the second sock.

That's all the excitement around here. No excitement is good!

Bev - I found the pattern on the sock in a Japanese stitch dictionary. It's so easy to do, and I like the way it works with variegated yarn. i have some plans to play with it on the sock. I might do that this weekend in between visiting family in MA.

Jen and KV - I did some more on the scarf this weekend, but only a little more. I find it hard to knit lace in a moving car. I did do a lot on the sock, though, reversed the pattern which turned out to be much trickier that I expected. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Lace Yarns Are Here!

Yup. They finally dried. And I've just put them up on Etsy. I'm calling them "Laces" for obvious reasons. I hope to try out a few different kinds of lace yarns to see which ones people prefer.

The first two are called Violets and Sea Spray. 80% Alpaca/ 20% Silk! You cannot imagine how lovely this yarn is. Soft and silky! I just want to pat it, it's so lovely.

These are pricey yarns for me to buy, so they are not cheap, but they are affordable at $30/skein. And with 860 yards, it can take you a lot longer to knit than a pair of socks.

The Yarnarian is ecstatic over this yarn. Sigh! Maybe I should keep it all for me. Bad, greedy Yarnarian!

KV - Not a vritti in sight here! Sea Spray sold in 10 minutes! I think it's a popular color this year. I love the way the yarn takes the dye, so muted and soft!

The Yarnarian is fixated on certain colors. Sigh.

I've dyed a bunch of yarns again. And even though 3 of them look alike, they were done at different stages of my dyeing session. The colors must have been in my mind! I did a few more, but they are for my sotm, so I can't show you.

Daydream, Rainbow Violet, Rainbow Lime, and Flower Pot!

Recipe: For those of you looking for a quick Passover snack, I have one for you. It's just as good on Finn Crisp crackers, too.

Spread some shredded cheese on top of your matzo, and nuke until the cheese melts. That's it. The entire recipe. And it is so good.

Betcha didn't know that I was a gourmet cook, huh?

Knitting news:
I have 3 things in progress: Laminaria, which is on hold, and a pr of socks and a lace scarf, each of which has been frogged so many times that I'm at the screaming stage! Snarl!

Off to visit the Mommie.

Velma - Miss P wanted that yarn for me to knit into scarves and blankies for her dolls. Hah! I'll make her some out of my leftover yarns.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bye-bye Minnesotans! See you in July!

We brought them to the airport an hour ago, and now I'm feeling quite sad. I miss them. But not to worry: there's enough clean-up around here so that I'll get over the missing feelings pretty quickly!

This was just the most wonderful week! Between DD#2's visit, the rest of her family, the seder, all my nearest and dearest around me, wow. Family and friends at their very best. We even had the Benster and his parents! The only sad part was that the Massachusetts kids and grands were not here. But we're visiting them next weekend for the Princessa's 4th birthday! And we'll be back there again mid June for A's 8th birthday! 8 years old. Holey mcmoley! These grands are growing up!

So now I'm back to whatever passes as normal around here. I think I'm somewhat shell-shocked! It's very, very, very quiet in this house.

Knitting news: Festooned Frippery has fripped her way into sock download heaven. She's available on Ravelry and on Etsy. She's so happy that her mom finally wrote her up.

Jen - Thank you! It's a cutie of a sock. It's soooo quiet around here.

Terri - We had our dearest friends, and then in the family: both DDs, one with husband and Miss P, the other with the very nice guy; the Mommie, Hubbo's son, wife and the Benster, the sister and her son. It was just so much fun.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Yarnarian has NOT vanished; she has company.

I'm alive and well, and pooped!!! Miss P and her dad arrived yesterday. Guess who woke me up entirely too early so that I could make her breakfast and a cup of tea? She is so much fun. I know that I keep saying that, but she really is.

Today we did the playground, library, lunch at the local diner, and the market. How did I ever ever do this as a young mom? I was young, that's how. I'm really tired, but happy.

That's it. I'm going to finish Festooned Frippery! I have another idea for a pattern and it would be fun and relaxing to start it.

Tomorrow night is the first seder! I'll give you a matzo by matzo description afterwards.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All Quiet on the Yarnarian Front!

DD and i went off to the Short Hills Mall today in search of some concealer for her. I haven't been to this mall in maybe a year or more. For those of you not in the area, the Short Hills mall is quite posh and upscale. There used to be a Borders there, and that left. That was my entire reason for checking out the mall: the book store. So now I very rarely go. I like nice clothes but I'm not much of a shopper. That's why I love Coldwater Creek: it's all contained in one nice store.

So we walked up and down the mall, which is quite small compared to the biggies like the Mall of America. Pretty stores with prices to match. Not a place where kids like to hang out, which makes it more civilized I guess. We had a grand time, and now I don't have to go back for another year or so.

DD decided that she wanted to try dyeing some yarn, so we did that too. I think she liked it a lot.

Elder DD ended up in the emergency room early this morning; she's on a particular medicine that can get wonky. Her dose had been raised, and it did not act nicely on her. But she's ok, now. A bit shaky I think, but fine. The doctor reduced her dosage so she'll be good as new in a couple of days.

That's all the excitement around here, and that's enough. All is quiet now, and we're happy for it.

Tomorrow we make matzo balls! Lots of matzo balls. Enough for 15 people matzo balls. I'm going to freeze them before cooking them. Then I'll defrost them on Saturday for that night's seder.

Carolyn - Matzo balls are done, all 43 of them. I don't know why I always make such a fuss over them; they go pretty quickly. I froze them, so in a little while, I'll peel them off the wax paper and put them in ziplock bags.

KV - A good Pesach to you and yours. May your matzo balls be the right consistency!

Linda - Peace reigns again; DD is feeling much better!

Christine - You have to admit that Short Hills is easier to negotiate than the MOA. I don't dare go to MOA alone because I get lost!

Holly - This is the first time I've frozen them in an uncooked state. I just peeled them off the wax paper, and stored them in a zip lock bag. I'll pre-cook in water and then plop in the soup. It was so easy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Daughter visit and stuff.

Just to let you know that the Yarnarian is alive and well and enjoying the visit of her DD#2. I can't remember the last time DD#2 visited without her family. This is such a treat! She flew in on Saturday. Today we did a local antique center browse, and then a marketing at Whole Foods. And chatting and napping and such. Delicious! The rest of the gang comes in on Thurs.

If you are on Ravelry, sockpuppet started a lovely group called "pennyroses". Come and join. If you are not on Ravelry, what are you waiting for? Join; you'll love it!

Here are some yarns I dyed up on Friday. As usual, if you want one before it's listed on Etsy, just email me (addy over on the right). Hey, it's my blog and I can be shamelessly commercial if I want to. So there. Tough Yarnarian! ;-)

Blue Sparkle, Fairy Flower, Rainbow Mauve, Rose Fairy, and Spanish Tile.

Bedtime for zonked Yarnarians.

Grace - Thank you. We're having a grand time!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bags, Yarns and Shawls

Lots of pics today. First of all, take a look at my new knitting bag. It's made by a lovely lady on Etsy: Quiltville. Is this cute or what? 2 pockets on the outside, each with a little magnetic shap, pockets on the inside, and lightweight.

Here's a pic of my new lace yarn, a combo of alpaca and silk. It's still damp, but I couldn't wait to photograph it, so here it is. About 850+ yards, and so so soft! Pricey yarn, so I'll have to charge more than my usual $18. I'm thinking about $25/skein. I need to make a little profit so that I can buy more of the stuff. In case your monitor is off, the colors are sea green with a bit of turquoise tossed in. Very subtle, and should work exceptionally well with lace.

And here's the progress on my Laminaria shawl. I am loving knitting this; it's easy and unusual. This is the Kona fingering weight yarn. I think this will be one cuddly, delicious lacy shawl.

Price update on alpaca/silk yarn: $30/850+yard skein. I talked it over with my dyeing buddies on Ravelry, and the feeling was that $30 was the right amount to charge. So that's where I'm going. So far I only have the one skein dyed, but I'll let you know ahead of time before i etsy it.

Knittyvritti and Sharon - Thank you. I like the yarn too. I better like it because I'm the one dyeing it! The Laminaria shawls is just a lot of fun to knit. Try it out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Yarnarian educates the masses, yet again. It's a tough job, but the Yarnarian is up to it!

Sharon, aka sockpuppet, started a Ravelry group called PennyRoses. I introduced Festooned Frippery to the group this afternoon. Like they don't have enough to knit, but a little tease is always fun.

Anyhow, there has been a bit of a discussion about the words "Festooned Frippery", and I though I would share this with you. It is, after all, a mission of the Yarnarian to educated the unwashed masses in order to enlighten them and bring them fulfillment.

Carolyn the llama mama, posed the following query: "Okay. Fripp as a verb… Ms. Librarian… define that word!!"

The Yarnarian answered: "You know, fripp! As in “my festoon fripps. I fripp, you fripp, he, she, it fripps. Fripptoe froo the frootloops. Laughing and fripping.

As Shakespeare said: “Dost thou not fripp?” “To fripp or not to fripp, that is the question.”

And then Sockpuppet answered: "Festooning – is that anything like tp’ing things on Halloween?"

Llama mama: "Methinks he flips fritters, flapjacks and other foodstuffs if he doesn’t get a fair tip."

The Yarnarian, in an effort to put things on a higher plane, responded: "To festoon is to decorate. I festoon, therefore I am. Some people fripp while they are festooning; they are called fripped festooners. Others festoon while they fripp; those folks are called festooned frippers.

Then, in a category all to themselves, are those folks who are a bit tipsy. They are called fried fripped festooners. In some parts of the country, they are referred to as festooned fripp fries."

SP has just answered again: "Oh, you have been in West Hollywood at Halloween. There is more festooning and fripping (not to mention the fried fripping) here than you would believe. The festooned frippers parade up and down the festooned streets (which are no competition to the festooned individuals). I mean these folks give new meanings to the words and I feel certain that fripping probably was invented here (or maybe San Francisco)."

The Yarnarian feels that this topic is too important to be left to our little Ravelry group; these matters deserve world-wide attention.

Linda - Your husband could be right. Weeds are fripping things, except to other weeds. Then they are festooned with frippery. 'tis a frippery, slippery frope we climb on.

Festooned Frippery!

She's done. Well, the first one is done. Poor Festooned Frippery has to wait for the next sock to get knitted to be a pair. Life is tough. Here she is.
Can you see how she festoons and fripps?

Some purty new yarns are dry. The newly-listed ones are over on the right under the Etsy column. Here's what is not yet up for sale (unless you have a yen. If you want one, let me know and I'll put it aside.)

Leaf Green, Hot Shot, and Tree Fairy

Do you think I'm on a green binge?

I have to get my house in order; the Minnesota Neatnicks are coming. They quite despair of us. Eh, it gives them something to kvetch about, and a way to feel very superior to their slobby folks. See, it's a good deed being sloppy!

Emily - Did you buy your box of matzos?

Linda - you can just paypal me for the thing. Use my email addy over on the right at the top. $22.60, including the ever-popular priority shipping.

Mette - So far I have not cleaned a thing.

Barb - Thanks. I like the yarn, too. If no one buys it, I might be forced to keep it for myself. ;-)

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Yarnarian Loves Yarns!

Laminaria is coming along quite nicely. I love the Estonian pattern, and there are no NUPPS! What's a nupp? Sigh. It sort of a bobble except it's a lace bobble, and I truly hate making them. They look wonderful, but they drive me crazy. But this cutie patootie of a shawl has no nupps.

I'm following a Raveler's advice and doing k3tog on one side and sssk on the other to balance it off. It seems to look fine to me, so I'll keep doing it. The Kona (have I told you that I love the Kona? How many times have I told you already?). That Kona is delicious and I think this shawl will be super snuggly and soft.

This skinny 2-ply yarn blooms as I knit with it. I'm using a #5 super sharp lace needle (thank you, BF), and it is just the sharpest #5 I've ever used. I'm a convert as of right now. Give me them thar lace needles.

Clearly I'm going to dye up these yarns and sell them; Everyone should try this yarn out. I told you that a lot of sock knitters don't like the yarn because of its skinnyness and splittyness, but it hasn't once split on me since I started this shawl. Maybe the answer is to use it for something else.

Are you getting tired of my Kona frenzy? OK, got it, I'll just show you a little picture and then I'll shut up about it. At least for today. Nasty smirk.

What else is going on: a pic of Festooned Frippery. It's longer on the foot than it looks, about an inch from the toe decrease.

And look what came in the mail today! Tess superwash laceweight yarn. The colored ones are for Sock Madness 2, even though I'm out of the running. The blanks are for me to dye up. I had forgotten that I ordered this, and here it arrived. Nice treat, no?

Hubbo and I are recovering from our colds. Isn't it amazing how a little cold can make you feel so punk! Well, you know, it could be much much worse. So we're done grousing about it. Which is a relief because we were carrying on as if this were the worst thing that could happen to a person. Enough histrionics!

I dyed this morning, so with a little bit of luck, and the skeins dry, you'll get more pics tomorrow.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Yarns and Odds

The Kona dried! It took about a day and a half to accomplish this but it really dried and now I've started on my Laminaria shawl. The yarn got loftier and softer, if that was possible, in the dyeing process. I think I'm going to love this yarn. I might even start selling it if I can bear to part with it. Here's the beginning of the shawl. You think I have a ways to go?

More knitting news: Here's the latest sock. It's beginning to look festooned. I love the word festooned. I may yet change the name of this pattern to Festooned Finery.

The diseased one and I seem to be on the mend. We sound like a chorus of hackers and sneezers. He hacks; I sneeze. We both blow our noses. Such cacophony.

Ibunny...- What are you knitting on deadline? We're all nosy.

Carolyn and Knittyvritti - I cough, I sneeze, I complain. Shawl is a bit longer now. just large enough to cover a couple of fingers. I'm always slow at lace.

Holly - Thank you!

Friday, April 4, 2008

"Kona, Oh Beautiful Kona", I sing thy praises. If only thou wouldst dry already!

I just heard from an old friend of mine from my old hometown days. She's on Ravelry and found me. Don't you love hearing from people who have dropped off your radar screen? She's a lovely, intelligent woman, whom I like very much, and we lost contact a while ago. So it was so good to hear from her! Thanks, SE, for contacting me.

Her husband used to take me to the opera because it gets out late and she really didn't want to go. So B and I had many Metropolitan Opera dates. I was just thinking about those evenings last night when I watched Romeo and Juliet at the Met. If you haven't seen these new productions, give them a chance. Opera at its most accessible.

Knitting news: Here's a picture of my still-soggy Kona wool. It's now been about 30 hours and that darn yarn still isn't dry. But if you take a look at its 1100 yards goodness, you'll see why. We are talking a helluva lot of yarn here. I wish you could see it in real life. The merino feels like alpaca and has that same alpaca sheen to it. Dry, sweetheart, dry! Mama wants to knit you up already!

Some more yarn I dyed up; these are or will be all for sale. Sand & Sea,Rainbow Teal, Pretty Flowers, Chocolate Mint Swirl, Hazy Hills, and Leafy Green.

Certain husbands, who shall remain nameless, gave me his rotten cold. Bad Hubbo!

Why do we call it a "cold"? It feels more like a "wet" to me.

Dawn - Kona is put out by Henry's Attic and is 100% Australian superwash merino, and the most gorgeous stuff going. If we live long enough and it dries, I'll show pics as i knit along.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Yarnarian dyes to knit!

I did. I just dyed up 8 skeins, and at least one is for me, selfish Yarnarian that I am.

Pics tomorrow, I hope.

Knitting news: Here's my sock in process. I need a good spiffy name. I've posted that question of Ravelry in Sock Knitters Anonymous. The folks there have truly bizarre and funny names, so I'm hoping for a good one. Any ideas from you?

And here is my exciting news, well exciting to me: I just got in 4 1100 yard skeins of a gorgeous sock weight yarn. 100% Australian merino wool. I want to play around with knitting shawls out of this weight for warmer, less fragile shawls, but lacy nonetheless. The skeins are long, so I can do lots of soft color blending if I want to. And I have just the shawl in mind to knit. It's Laminaria, on Knitty. Or, as Jo calls it, Kelpie. I told her I prefer Pooka, but she's the real Irish person, not moi. Although I might have been in another life. I put all the dyeing stuff away, but I think I'll take it out and dye up a skein. Oh frabjous day, calloo callay, she chortled in her joy!

Here's the picture of the skein in all its naked splendor. Did I tell you that it has a sheen to it?

That's it. Gotta dye up that yarn. Be good or not.

I dyed it and now it's drying. Oh, man, this is so beautiful! I would not use it for socks because I value my sanity; 'tis a might thin. But as a lace yarn? Whoo hoo. Of course I haven't tried it yet as a lace yarn. I may end up with a lot of yarn I can't use. But I think it will be very pretty.

Melissa, Emily and Mette - Knight's Daze it will be, unless someone comes up with some name equally silly.

Yeah, Melissa, I gave up. The yarn I was using is the one I just dyed up, and it is very think as a sock yarn. There are folks who love skinny yarn for socks, but I'm not one of them. I like a nice average sock yarn. Anyhow, after 3 tries, I decided that my wrists were getting tetchy from trying to knit tightly on size 0 needles, so I said enough. I feel a little bad, and I probably could actually finish a pair and go onto the next round, but not at the expense of my only 2 hands. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yarns and Odds

Did you have a nice April Fool's Day? I fell for the oldest line around. I was having lunch with the Mommie, and one of the kitchen staff, Mary, said to me: "Ruth, did you drop a 20 dollar bill?" So, of course I looked down And then she said: "April Fools!"

BTW, Mary makes the best soup around. Not the best chicken soup, that's mine (she says with all modesty), but veggie soup and pea soup. Friday nights, being the beginning of the Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew), the folks have real, made by a human being, chicken soup. And then Mary takes the boiled meat and makes the most delicious chicken salad out of it. How anyone can make awesome chicken salad out of the boiled chicken is amazing. But she does. Amazing salad!

Knitting news: I started a new sock yesterday. Actually I started the sock on Monday, and frogged it a number of times. Last night I think I came up with the pattern, or at least the 1st part of the pattern. Here it is and a pic of the yarn too.

I originally had this neat complex pattern, but the yarn was too much for it and it completely disappeard in the variegation. I'm going to dye up an almost solid for that pattern because I think it has great possibilities.

Hubbo, the flu meister, actually stayed home yesterday with his flu-ish symptoms. He felt much better this morning, so went to work. I'm hoping I don't get it!

I'm anxiously awaiting 2 yarn orders; they both have possible lace shawl yarns in them and I want to try them out.

Melissa and Holly - I chickened out. I just couldn't get the bloody things to fit me. They fit Hubbo, who is over 250lbs and tall. I tried 3 times, and finally gave up. I can't go down to a 00 needle; it's crazy to do that. So, I'm out. The competitive part of me is not happy, but the knitting part is.
A 72 stitch sock just is not a medium sock in my book. Too bad, but there's always next year.

And anyhow, the prizes are yarn. That's like bringing coals to Newcastle for me. And I'm one of the people donating yarn. So it goes!

Bev - It's not that I find it difficult; it's that I'm using my very precious time to knit something that i can't use, or give away to friends or family. But I'm stepping away from it for a day or two, and maybe I'll give it another shot. I was so disgusted and burnt out with it that I needed a break. So we'll see. Anyhow, it ain't over until it's over. But if I don't do it, I'll cheer you on!

Mette - it's a nameless yarn. Last week i dyed up a bunch and loved this one so much that I kept it for myself. I'm inclined to attempt to duplicate it next time I dye, but that is virtually impossible. I just dye the things. No notes, no samples, just dye them. BTW, the rosy color in it is Cape Cod Cranberry. When I use this color, it starts off as a blah beige, and when it's cooked up, it turns into this nice color. Weird, huh?

Mama May - I don't have little kids nor am I pregnant. I'm retired after a full career and now my time is my own. When my kids were little, I had barely any time to myself at all. And when I did, I was zonked. That's why being a Gram is so much fun: you enjoy them and play with them, and then you give them back. Tee hee!


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