This post has been preempted.

Well, I was going to show you the progress I was making on my 2nd February Lady, but my cat disagreed, so…..

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Aaaand, she’s back.

Suffice it to say, this has been a rough winter. I didn’t feel like knitting (or talking) so I didn’t see the point of whinging to you – you have enough of your own troubles, I’m sure. I hope you can forgive my absence.

So, last night, for some inexplicable reason, I decided that I wanted to start knitting again. I looked over my 2 languishing projects & decided it would be more gratifying to – literally – start fresh. So I dug through the stash & decided to turn the beautiful Tess’ Designer Yarns Superwash Merino I picked up at Stitches East last October into a new February Lady Cardi. I made one last year out of Misti Alpaca worsted, wanna see?

I enjoyed making it & I enjoy all the compliments I get when I wear it, and I want to make it in a few more colors, so it was the obvious choice, really.

So, last night I wound the first skein of yarn. It had a join so 1 huge skein became 2 balls, which is just as well because my little Royal winder is medium capacity & wouldn’t have handled the whole skein properly. I did a little math in preparation for the morning & I went to bed. Shortly after I did, the thunder, rain & crazy wind conspired to keep me up, so I did what any sensible woman would; I turned on the light & cast on.

Tess’ yarn is variegated & the look reminds me of Shibui merino worsted. The difference being that this yarn is delightfully soft to the touch (softer than Shibui) & has better drape.

So my cardi is off to a good start, and it feels quite right to have needles in my hands again. Perhaps even more so because my project is one of EZ’s. I re-read her books over the winter, and her charming company really helped me to feel better.

Stitches East 2010

The buzz from Rhinebeck had *just* about worn off when I hopped into the car again & pointed it in a yarny direction: north to Stitches East in Hartford, CT.

I have been to Rhinebeck twice now, and have never attended any other wool festivals, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Stitches seems to be more of a shopping experience, whereas Rhinebeck is most thrilling for its social aspect. Ravelry does not have a presence at Stitches, at least not on the day I went, and that was a pity. I love meeting up with people I’ve been chatting with online & finally putting a face to the ravatar! However, Stitches had loads of great sales & deals on beautiful yarns to console me – too many to pass up. I bought a LOT of yarn – even more, I think, than I came away from Rhinebeck with.

I went on Friday, before the major crowds arrived for a weekend of fun, so I got to enjoy an easy, unrushed shopping experience. The upshot of this lack of frenzy was that I got to really peruse & consider the yarns – perhaps this is why I bought so many.

Shelter! at the Harrisville booth

Kauni!

Socks that Rock

I didn’t get pics of every booth, in fact the more enamored I was of the yarns, the less presence of mind I had to whip out the camera.

Sanguine Gryphon, String Theory, Tess’ Designer Yarns, Tree of Life patterns, Green Mountain Spinnery, Lisa Souza, Stitchuary, Black Water Abbey Yarns, Harrisville, Isager, Kauni, Shelter, Socks that Rock, WEBS, Patternworks, Flying Fingers, Debra’s Garden, the Mannings, Lion Brand, Yarn Barn of Kansas were in attendance, and many, many more. Many, but not all, offered nice discounts. There were a few indie producers, and dichroic glass artists that offered beautiful buttons, as well as jewelry & hair accessories.  Most shops had at least an armload of beautiful knitted samples of their patterns & wools to try on, and the colors & textures were amazing. I am definitely going back next year!

Next time, I will post pics of the great stuff that came home with me.

Rhinebeck: the stash

I was a busy girl this year! I bought some great yarns & some really beautiful buttons at Rhinebeck. Wanna see?

From the Sanguine Gryphon: amazing yarns from really lovely people

Sarah & Gryphon came in Renaissance dress!

now for the goods: cat approved

Little Traveller in Eastern State Penitentiary

Q.E.D. in Schrodinger's Cat

Q.E.D. in Mandible

Free Range in Ruffled Grouse

Free Range in Woodcock

Traveller in Tenochtitlan

I’d never bought any yarns from Sanguine Gryphon before – every time I checked out their website I had timed it badly, so that the colors I liked were either sold out, or in quantities too low for sweater-making. I’ll be watching their website more closely from now on, I assure you!

The only other yarn I bought was from an indie producer called Blackberry Hill Farm.

Beautiful, undyed worsted from Blackberry Hill Farm

They had some nice looking fleeces, but this yarn really caught my eye. This yarn looked handspun to me, but apparently it isn’t. Still, it’s beautifully made, long staple & it has that new-sheep smell. 😉

And finally, I also found some fantastic ceramic buttons from Melissa Jean Design. I have a hard time finding buttons that I actually like. At this booth, I had trouble making a final decision – I wanted them all!

handmade buttons from Melissa Jean Design

I had a wonderful time at Rhinebeck & a fairly productive shopping trip, to boot. I can’t wait ’til next year. *sigh*

Ahhh, Rhinebeck.

Ahhh, Rhinebeck. Also known as the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival to those with lots of spare time on their hands. I dreamt of it for a whole year, and it finally came.

This year’s festival was just as much fun as I had anticipated, but the pleasant weather provided an unforeseen twist; crowds. Last year was my first time at Rhinebeck, and the weather was decidedly…damp. Not so this year.

What attracts folks to this festival? The promise of beautiful new yarns? The chance to meet up with like-minded people? The chance to see a breathtaking parade of hand-knit garments and their creators? Or is it just the donuts? 😉

The weather was glorious & folks came in droves. It’s amazing that in a sea of people you can still manage to run into people you actually know. I managed to see Susie (KnittingKnoobie), Allyson (Thru the Back Loop), Ann (Pinneguri), and a whole bunch more people – some from Ravelry, some from Twitter, *all* of them, lovely, but having missed both Ravelry Meetups, I feel the loss of those I missed (like Kristin & Mary Jane!). Why did I miss the meetup? I had an EXCELLENT reason. I was standing in line to make a purchase. It was *the* longest line I had seen in the whole festival, and it was long for a reason. The yarns that folks were waiting to buy were divine.

I believe this was the Sanguine Gryphon‘s first year at the festival, and I really hope they return next year. Their sense of color is unparalleled, and their yarns are really beautiful.

Sunday was less crazy than Saturday, and I got to hit the vendors I really liked for a second time, and enjoy more of the scenery. I didn’t take any classes this year, instead I came away with a very nice little stash of new yarn and other knitting-related goodies, which I will show you next time.

I’ll leave you with some piccies of the sheep, goats & alpacas we saw. The sheep & goats had been friskier the day before, but they had been sheared & I guess that makes them a little cranky. :p

Goin’ to Rhinebeck!

I admit it – I have been waiting impatiently for this weekend ever since I left Rhinebeck last year, but at long last, the interminable wait is over. Tomorrow morning I’ll hit the road heading north in a quest for unique fibery treasures & as-of-yet unknown delights. I’ll post again when I return with lots of pics & things to share about this year’s wool festival. Stay tuned for what I hope will be a fun update!

Happy Birthday EZ!

Happy 100th Birthday,

Elizabeth Zimmermann!!

She was a major inspiration to me when I first started knitting, and continues to inspire me today. I credit/blame her for the fact that I almost always alter every pattern I choose to knit to make it suit my tastes better. Her legacy reaches well beyond the span of her lifetime, and I suspect it will never diminish.

Happy Birthday, dear EZ.