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August 2008
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October 2008

What's Not to Love?

If fingerless mitts are just a "knitters thing" (although many of you don't think that's true), we're the smart ones (but we already know that, right?).  Mitts maybe something you need to try to see if they're right for you.  I've found them very helpful alone when it's a bit too warm for gloves, under or over gloves for extra warmth, and when it's cold but the fingers have a need to be free.  Last winter they were indispensable and this winter I expect to be wearing them almost constantly.  Do you hands get cold while you're holding a book, typing, knitting, or driving?  Mitts are the answer. 

Kirsten's Genmaicha Mitts are high on my list of favorite mitts. This was such a fun pattern to do. The textured rib on the cuff hugs the wrist and offers pure knitting entertainment and it is long enough to tuck under a sweater or coat sleeve.
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Mittsformeingenmaicha This is a well fitting mitt and many of my knitting pals have tried it on to find it comfortable and a "must add" to the queue. (It won't be too long before I knit another pair as I must have a set for myself.) The pattern is a nice combination of beauty, good fit, fun knit and elegant design. The yarn, Araucania Ranco Solid was also very impressive.  Every aspect of the yarn is wonderful from the dye quality to the yarn quality.  The color changes were subtle, gorgeous and rich and the yarn itself was soft, non-splitting, and top quality.

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If you haven't yet tried knitting and wearing a pair of mitts, you really need to give them a try.  They are the perfect thing for blustery fall days and the Genmaicha mitts are a cut above. There will be more!


Color Show

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Redsandoragesofcolorinthecanyon The weather has been picture perfect for over a week, with another week still to come.  From time to time the weather has a way of getting stuck on rewind and, for once, it's been stuck on heavenly.  The fall colors have taken over every tree in the canyon and area around Silver Lake has taken on a golden glow. (All images are clickable)
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The aspen trees are tucked in around the conifers forests that surround Silver Lake.  Saturday afternoon we were lucky to arrived when the light was at the right angle to produce reflections of sky, trees and clouds in the glassy lake.
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With every turn of the head the view was spectacular and full of shades of gold and green.  The trees were putting on the best show of the season. Instead of describing it all to you with inadequate words I'll leave to you enjoy the best tree show we've ever seen at Silver Lake.
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Zsilverlakereflectionofcolor Zsilverlakeislikeamirror
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T is for Trees of the season.


Wheel Time

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Fixing the crown on the Noho Boho Hat proved to be very easy.  I did one row of knit before the first decrease row and one row after.  The rest of the decreases were knit as published and they made a lovely star pattern.  Noho Boho is a charming cap and one I'll wear when the head needs to be warm, but not the ears. It was so much fun to knit and I also loved using my handspun.  A pair of mitts will be just the thing to go with. (I SO need to follow Vicki's lead and get a haircut!)

Once I sent out into the universe the idea of spinning for a sweater (or vest?) it took on a life of its own.  Friends started doing their best to encourage and enable the purchase of a fleece while I'm at Rhinebeck and I could feel the ewe-phoria of just that slipping into my consciousness.  Wouldn't it be a wonderful souvenir? Or not…grrl, that sounds like such a huge commitment and I still feel like I barely know how to spin. 

Vermontwoolvermontalpacafromjessie Yummyicelandicwoolfromnorma In any case, I already have 2 bag full of wool  that need to be dealt with (actually there are three, as should be, but we'll talk about the other later).  One is a pound of an exquisite blend of real Vermonter wool/alpaca from A Jessie's A Piece of Vermont store. The other box was a prize for a contest Norma had a long, long time ago and it's also a pound, but of very beautiful Icelandic!  These two very special rovings have been hidden in the closet for well over a year (or two) and must be spun.  They are both heavenly enough to leave undyed or could be dyed a color of my choice.  I feel like a piker, a hoarder, a schlump for keeping two lovely wools from the light of day. 

Prettyspinningdistractions As I said to Manise last Tuesday, I have learned that, even with tons of lovely fibers at my disposal, what I really like to spin is a simply beautiful wool yarn. Knitting both the handspun hats has reinforced that desire. Since I love the process and have no trouble knitting through a large project, does it carry that I'll feel the same way when it comes to spinning?  Will spinning without color (or even with one color) be tortuously boring?  I'm not totally sure, but I do know the pull, the draw is there to give it a try.  Just as I do with knitting, I need to make some new rules and start spinning one big project with a few little distractions flirtations (as Cindy calls them) along the way. Does that mean I need another wheel?

The weekend weather here looks beautiful and we intend to enjoy it (you never know how long it will last).  Enjoy your weekend, too!


My Favorite Distraction

Should I be calling the little things I love to knit distractions?  Are they really distractions when you love them so much?  There is nothing wrong with a little something wonderful in your knitting life. Is calling them a distraction disrespectful?   In any case, I do love the Genmaicha Mitts to distraction.  It's the pattern, the color, the yarn, all rolled into one, that makes this a perfectly beautiful and lovely knit.

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Do you think that mitts are a knitters "thing"?  A few of my friends who aren't knitters just don't see the benefit of having the hand and wrist covered and not the fingers.  Did a knitter unvent mitts because they didn't want to knit fingers?  I think not.  Wearing a mitt is a great way to have the fingers free and keep the rest of the arm/hand (and body for that matter) warm.  I wear them to knit, to type, to drive, and around the office when it's not quite warm enough. 

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With my wrists covered I stay warmer overall and Kirsten's Genmaicha Mitts (did you know they are named for a Japanese green tea?) have a long, snug cuff and they fit very nicely on the hand, too. They have been fun to knit because of the textured cuff and cabled hand. Every row is interesting.  This pair is a gift for my sister who was in hospital last month and who is now doing very well.  Despite my ban on gift knitting, I just might make a few more pair of mitts for gifts this year.


Continued Distractions

Lest you think that hats are the only knitting happening and that I have become completely disinterested in Daniel….well, think again!  She is still my main squeeze and, while there have been miner dalliances, I do remain true.  Daniel is called a "she" because I did a rather ingenious (if I say so myself) thing and used a copier to mirror image the front panel charts.  This made switching the front pieces very easy. The left is now on the right and Daniel opens on the feminine side. Daniel made the transition very easily.

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This photo not only shows what fun the front panel is to knit, but it shows Daniel's true color.  The light and the camera came into sync and made good color together, finally!  It's been an ongoing battle between them with the light overexposing, most of the time, and the color being completely washed out.  I hope they will continue to work together up until the final photo shoot, which will not be right away. There is this front piece to finish and both sleeves yet to knit. Daniel should stay interesting until the end, however and we're shooting for a month end finish...maybe.

Swatchforchloenowmoonlight Oh wait, the title was about distractions....I think I goofed and will have to show you the last distraction tomorrow.  But, what's this?  Another distraction? It isn't a hat, a mitt or anything small.  I'm seriously listening to the talking yarn in my stash and Woodrose might have talked forced me into starting another sweat...er SWATCH...it's only a swatch, promise.  It was a bait and switch swatch, however as I started out with one sweater in mind and, due to gauge issues, it will now be a different sweater. (Thank goddess for that long list of favorites on Ravelry!) Details later...

Now, it's time to give Daniel some (more) love.


Shear Fun

Yesterday morning fall arrived on a blustery, wet and windy day.  There was a real chill in the air and it was, indeed, the first day of fall.  While the rest of this weeks weather should head back to more normal temperatures, it's very apparent we'll be in need of warm accessories and sweaters soon enough. It felt good to know that Smith had a nice warm hat in waiting and that one was near completion for my pate, too.  Of course, I had cast on for my own hat shortly after finishing Smith's. Knitting a handspun hat is just too much fun.

Bet you can't knit just one!

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My choice of hat is the Noho Boho Hat from Gale's book, Shear Spirit and the yarn is one of my best ever handspuns, Celebration (Shetland from the Spunky Club ).  It was chain plied so the colors stay true and it's fairly even and consistent.  Knitting with my handspun has been an eye opening experience. I really did do a pretty good job. My spinning has suffered as sweater knitting time has increased, but more time needs to be invested in getting the fingers ready for Rhinebeck and the class I'll be taking. (I am watching the video Marcia, not to worry!) Now, I must put what (little) I know into practice.

Nohobohohatfromejustbegun Truthfully I could knit with a yarn like this forever and have just as much fun spinning it up, too.  Just handling my own handspun is inspiring and tells me it is time to get back to it and do some spinning.  While I'm not so great at making goals or resolutions, I would like to say, to the universe at large, that spinning and knitting a sweater is high on my life's "must do" list.  But, let's get the hat done first, eh?  As you can see, I got off to a quick start and had the first couple of inches finished early in the day Sunday. It wasn't until later in the day, as evening came and dinner finished, that I had time to relax and get back to knitting the body of the hat. 

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After work last night, I sat and put the finishing stitches in the crown.  The last few rows are not in the book so make sure to check for errata. However, I really didn't care for the way it fit anyway and will be remaking the crown to fit my head. It's just a little too small on top.  Not too worry, I love the hat and think it turned out very cute, especially in my handspun. There was a little new snow on the mountain peaks yesterday and a hat may be put to good use soon.

The contrast color of gray/brown is the same Cascade used for Smith's hat and there's enough left to make part of a third hat, plus both handspun's yarns have enough yardage for other projects, either hats or mitts. This hat trick could be addicting!


Hat Trick

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HatcocktailonthepatioThe Saturday Sky photo foretells what Friday night was like in the land of Zeneedle.  Thunderstorms were in the area but, as usual, lacked much in the way of precipitation.  We enjoyed the accompaniment of thunder while we had cocktails and dinner on the patio.  The before dinner appetizer and after dinner aperitif was the Turn A Square hat.   

Goofyingaroundwithmacro While we lallygagged and enjoyed the evening al fresco, I played around with the camera...something I should have done long ago. I also should have read the manual (yes, I know Cara!)...better late than never.  As you can see from the photo on the left, the macro capabilities are now known to me. How cool is that picture of my Goblin Eyes handspun?  Smith, by the way, calls it lovespun...isn't that cute?   

He also loves the TaS hat, and I love it as well, because it was easy and fun to knit.  By the end of the evening the body was finished and first thing Saturday morning I was able to finish the crown decreases.  Cascade, which I have not used in any great quantity, is a great yarn and was the perfect compliment and perfect companion for the handspun. Smith's ears will be nicely dressed and very warm this winter.

Nottoleavemoxieoutoranything_2 Smith and Max enjoyed a quick photo shoot Sunday morning and Max is quite delighted to be a blogstar.  He's our rescue Schnauzer and we've loved having him as a part of our household.  Moxie has decided Max isn't too bad as a buddy and they've had loads of fun together.  While Moxie is a little shyer, he wanted his chance to be a blog star too, so he's in the picture on the right.

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Knitting a hat with handspun was so much fun. I think I'll rummage through the stash and find something suitable and make a hat for myself!


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  • In her post on Tuesday, Vicki listed 10 simple things she loves. 
  • One item on her list was getting "real" mail, mailbox mail, and I admit it's one of my favorite things, too.
  • In order to share the love of "real mail" a pile of thank you gifties  were package upWednesday evening to send to dear friends who have been very kind and generous.
  • Inside is not only a little gift, but a piece of my heart, too.
  • The last few beautiful days have been beautiful and to take advantage of the nice weather, we've been eating dinner on the patio.
  • I've been knitting and reading outdoors as much as possible.
  • The cooler and shorter days of fall are encroaching quickly.
  • BethS made the brilliant suggestion of using handspun as the contrast for Smith's Turn A Square  hat.
  • See?  As I said, BRILLIANT!

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Have a fabulous weekend!!