Miscellaneous Monday

It’s almost time for our travel break to come to an end. We will be heading to Grayslake, IL  on Wednesday for the 6th annual Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair. We have been attending as vendors every year since its inception in 2007. It has changed locations 3 times as well as moving the date up from the third weekend of July to its present date of the fourth weekend in June.

We will be trying something new in our booth next weekend. We will be offering a yarn winding service. One of the girls will be manning the station. We will not be charging for it, but tips will be gratefully accepted. I think it will be a nice opportunity for customers to see our swifts in action. Hopefully it will work out and if it does we may do it more often. We’ll see how it goes.

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Here’s a picture from last year’s Fair. We are in the same location this year too, which is booths 102-103C. We are right next door to The Fold and Handspun by Stephania.

I really like the new venue. It’s a much better fit for the Fair than the Henry Co. college where it was held in 2008 and 2009. I always look forward to going to Chicago. I used to be intimidated by driving through the city pulling my trailer, but I am a pretty seasoned traveler at this point.

We will be packing tomorrow and driving most of Wednesday, so I decided I really needed to fit in a blog post today even though I don’t have a whole lot of news to share on the knitting front. I snapped a shot of my progress on Sticks and Stones. I like how the fabric looks and feels, however I am afraid that it is indeed turning out smaller than 38”. I measured across it today and it is closer to 36”. Maybe the blocking will help. Heh.

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Here’s what else has been occupying me this week. Do you recall in my last post that I was waiting for this CD to arrive?

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It did arrive, later that day in fact. I got it a day early. I was so excited but I waited until I could have an uninterrupted hour to listen to it the first time. Later that night, when the house was settled, more or less, I finally put it in my CD player. Let me tell you that it was well worth the wait! I have not been able to stop listening to it. I have played it at least one time every day, and sometimes more. It’s kind of like when  you have chocolate in the house and you just can’t resist eating a little every day. What, you mean not everyone does this?

But I digress. If you happen to be a Rush fan, you probably already have it and know what I am talking about. I am willing to bet that most of you aren’t, however, and that’s okay. I hope you don’t mind my occasional gushing over them. Their music just gets to me in a special way. I think I must be weird in my musical tastes since I don’t like the kind of music that is typically “chick” music. I tend to favor stuff that mainly has a male fan-base. I don’t know why, but there it is.

Actually I am a little unique in my taste in books too. I don’t care for romance books at all. The Outlander Series was as close as I ever get to that, and honestly some of that was a bit much for me. I have lately been in a crime novel mood. I read several of those and then on a whim a couple days ago I decided to re-read a Stephen King novel from 1988, The Tommyknockers, which I read when it came out. I had forgotten most of it except for a few major plot details. I am 150 pages in already. Good stuff.

 

Cast on for Sticks and Stones

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As you can see I made good on my plan to cast on for my Sticks and Stones vest.  You can see more details here on my Ravelry project page. I am pretty sure at this point that I will make a cardigan version of the vest, but since I am starting with the back piece I can reserve the final decision until I cast on for the front(s). 

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It is working up nicely in this yarn on the 4’s for the rib and the 5’s for the main stitch pattern. My swatch was a little small, 1 short stitch in 4”, but I am hoping it will loosen up a tiny bit when I am working on the larger pieces. I was reluctant to go any bigger with the needles since this is a rather fine sport weight at 365 yards in 100 g and since it is a soft merino wool, will by nature be more likely to pill if knit to loosely.

I debated making the 42.5” since to be on the safe side. Despite the fact that my bust measures around 40-41” whenever I make sweaters that big, they seem too large. So, I went for the 38.75” and if it’s too small, maybe one of the girls will want to wear it. It’s mainly a booth sample anyway, but I do wear them too.

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I am anxiously awaiting the new Rush Clockwork Angels CD which will arrive on it’s release date tomorrow. I will be stalking the mailbox all day I am sure, LOL!  I see it is only $11.99 now. I pre-ordered it in March the minute it went up for sale and paid $14.99 for it, but that’s okay since I will get it delivered on the release date without having to go out to pick it up. Yay! Oh, and notice my shirt there? :-D

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I will leave you with the yummy pasta sauce I started for dinner today. It’s a simple marinara with mixed peppers, onions, garlic, chicken and black olives, slow simmered for better flavor. Got to go cook the pasta! I am starving.

Rush Headlong Flight official lyric video

I just want to share this link for the lyric video to my favorite band’s newest single Headlong Flight which is on the Clockwork Angels album due to be released on June 12, 2012. I Can. Not. Wait. for this album!

Rush is a unique band and if you aren’t fan already maybe you will humor me and give this a listen. I think they are amazing. :-)

I’ll also have more yarnie related post later about Stitches South. Here’s a what I packed in my knitting bag and luggage to hold you over.

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Earthshine and a SALE

Progress on my Gust scarf is coming along nicely. I am about 30% complete. I never get tired of knitting this lace. It’s rhythmic simplicity is soothing and easy, but somehow not boring to knit. How does she do that?  This is my third time using it and that is rare for me. 

I love how this color-way is knitting up! The name Earthshine looks even more appropriate to me after seeing it in a fabric. I named the color-way for a Rush song from their 2002 album Vapor Trails, which is one of my favorites, both the album and the song. It was their first album after a long break in their work due to the tragic loss suffered by one of the band members. No one, including themselves knew if it would ever happen, and so this was a special album to me. Their music speaks to me and it would have been sorely missed if they hadn’t been able to continue. Here’s some more info about this song in particular where you can also listen to the track if you are curious.

"Earthshine"

On certain nights
When the angles are right
And the moon is a slender crescent

It’s circle shows
In a ghostly glow
Of earthly luminescence

Earthshine
A beacon in the night
I can raise my eyes to
Earthshine
Earthshine
A jewel out of reach
Form a dream to rise to
Earthshine

Floating high
In the evening sky
I see my faint reflection

Pale facsimile
Like what others see
When they look in my direction

Earthshine
Stretching out your hand
Full of starlit diamonds
Earthshine

Reflected light
To another’s sight
And the moon tells a lover’s story

My borrowed face
And my third hand grace
Only reflect your glory

You’re still out of reach
Form a dream to rise to
Earthshine

I see in the colors of this, the beautiful glow of the moon in contrast to the dark colors which create the shadows. The dark colors I use remind me of an evening sky.

Anyway, back to knitting. I am thinking about casting on another Classic Baby Cardigan in the smallest size. I have discontinued some of the colors I used to knit up the first ones and would like to use these colors to do something stripe-y maybe. It might need another color too, maybe some Azure?

Speaking of discontinued colors, did I mention that we have marked down 50% all the colors we will be ceasing production on this year? No? Well we have, and you can check them out on our Specials page while they last.

While you are there, we are having a SALE through March 7th on all our fingering weight sock yarns. For every skein of Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn and Classic Merino Bamboo yarn you buy, you can save $3 with the coupon code sockyarnsale .  The coupon will even apply in combination with our volume discount prices when you order three or more of a yarn in the same color. Carpe diem!

Cowls and new colors

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Here’s what I cast on yesterday after finishing the Sweet Tea Slouch, which we will get to in a minute. If you recall I mentioned that I am test knitting the Spiral Effect Cowl which Heather knit in one of my hand  painted variegated colors, Malignant Narcissism, so I decided to use a solid for mine.  This is one of the new colors we will be dyeing up soon. I just ordered 265 pounds of yarn today and when it arrives,  we will skein it all and start dyeing more yarn for the spring and early summer shows. We are planning to do one new hand painted variegated color and two semi-solids. I already have the variegated color-way planned, since it is one I used for a sock club a couple years ago. It’s called Earthshine. I am thinking that I will mix up a new orange or a purple for the other solid. The above green is as yet un-named. Feel free to offer suggestions.

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I am sending this test skein of Earthshine to Heather to work up a new design. We both seem to be on a cowl bender, since I keep knitting them and she said she has another idea for one. So, that’s the plan. I can’t wait to see her idea and to see this color-way knit up.

Now for the Sweet Tea scarf and hat set; I love the cowl and the hat is adorable, but I don’t think it is quite as cute on me as it is on my 6 year old. LOL! 2012 02 20_0524.JPG

Here she is wearing it. Adorable, right?

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Here’s me. Meh. LOL!

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I just have one of those faces/heads that don’t do hats well.

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Here are some less interesting on the porch shots. The color frustrates my camera, even in neutral lighting. 2012 02 20_0505.JPG

The ones above where Emma is wearing them show the color more accurately, but still not exactly right. It is a much more red-violet color. Sigh. My camera hates saturated blues, reds, and purples.

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I haven’t talked much lately about my music and reading, so how about an update? I am still working my way through the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon right now, as well as dipping in to my new Principles of Knitting, which is a book that I can highly recommend to every knitter. It is so packed full of information. I know, we have the internet now, and that is a valid point, but I am still a firm believer in having books too. It’s a great reference point for those times when don’t have access to the internet for whatever reason. Not to mention it’s fun to just read. Well I think so anyway.

I am up to the 5th book of the Outlander series, The Fiery Cross, and am about 60% of the way through it. I must say that thus far I liked the 3rd and 4th books the best because they stuck much more to the personal conflicts and there was less political events woven into the story. Due to the time period and setting there is, in the 5th book, the rumblings of the tax issues during the pre-American Revolutionary period, which gets tedious to me. I know that some people probably love that detail, but it doesn’t hold my interest as much. It does add some realism and depth to the plot, but I could do with less of it. The book is 1300+ pages, so maybe there could have been some more editing?

What am I listening to lately? I got the new Van Halen album when it came out last week. Anybody else? I was very skeptical when I heard the single Tattoo it when released. I was not instantly impressed and almost wrote off the album. But…when I heard the raves about the album, I had to see for myself. On first listen, I was not totally blown away, but it was certainly good and worth getting to know. It took several more times through to warm up to it. I am a firm believer in listening to albums in their context since the songs are meant to be played that way most of the time. As a whole this is some of the best material they have put out since the mid 80’s. I never liked the Sammy Hagar albums. The album that I am REALLY waiting for is the new Rush Album, Clockwork Angels, which is rumored to be released in May 2012. I can hardly wait!

Okay, I’ll close for now. See ya next time.

 

Is it over yet?

Have I mentioned before how much I hate winter? Well I do. It didn’t bother me when I was younger but for the last 10 years or so it makes me cringe when the days get short and the dark falls earlier and earlier. I have never been a big fan of cold and snow, but I just hate it more every year. I hate the dark; short days; gray weather; all of it. OTOH, I do like that the temperate climate where we live at least has seasons. I don’t mind the change, I just wish winter didn’t have to be one of them. I would not be happy living any further north, that’s for sure. Fortunately our winters are mild with only an occasional snow or ice storm.

I have been putting off posting because I had hoped the second Owl Vest would be done to show you and it almost is. I only have to finish the armbands and weave in the ends. Here’s the best picture I could get indoors today, due to the afore mentioned crappy winter gray days. I should be able to finish the rest up tonight.

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Did you notice that gadget next to my Nook? That’s one of my most recent acquisitions to my audiophile equipment collection, my new Fiio E9 Amp and the little thingy inserted in the slot on the top is the Fiio E7 portable headphone DAC/amp (which for the non-audiophiles is a digital to analog converter, i.e. an external sound card and amp). I hook these up to my computer via USB. I can also use the E7 alone with my iPod if I want to.

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Amp attached to my iPod Classic

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I have a really nice set of Sennheiser HD595 headphones which benefit greatly in sound quality from an amplifier.  I freaking love these things. You don’t realize how much detail you can be missing in your music until you hear a fine set of cans with a decent amp. Night and day people. Seriously.

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I have done a little knitting retail therapy too. Helps with the winter thing. Heh. I recently ran across the new ( I think) Knitter’s Pride Nova SP needles at Web’s.  I prefer using straight needles when I can and really love my nickel plated DPN’s so when I saw these I ordered a set in every size from 0-8. I rarely use anything bigger, and really don’t even use the 8’s that often.  I  used the 6’s last night and give them 5 stars. They are pointy and slick, which is how I like them.  The price is great too.  That’s them in that glass next to my lamp. Kyla must have taken that one. She and Elijah were doing a photo shoot yesterday.

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She took a picture of the Nook cover she made for me at Christmas. I got her a bunch of embroidery supplies for Christmas, at her request, and I was the first recipient of her new stash. I got her off to a good start on the stash building. What can I say? I am a sucker for any interest in needlework in the offspring. Winking smile

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Here’s one of the cutest out of the bunch. Not bad for a self portrait. I don’t know why all my pictures have that little time/date stamp on them now. I must have accidentally changed a setting on my camera the other day. Will have to look into it since I think it detracts from the picture. Annoyed

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New toys and yarn sale

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Here’s my new toy! My Motorola Atrix. This thing leaves my Backflip in the dust.  You know my favorite thing about it besides how fast it is? I can run Firefox on it which syncs with my laptop. Can you stand it? Think of the possibilities! Open-mouthed smile 

Another thing that I had pre-ordered from Amazon that you see up there is my 30th Anniversary disc of Reo Speedwagon  Hi-Infidelity. This was one of my first albums, yes on vinyl, that I bought as a young teenager back in 1981 when it came out. I wore that record out and know every lyric for every song. It’s now on my iPod and I will be enjoying it shortly. I’m watching the Foo Fighters at the iTunes Festival on iTunes right now. Talk about awesome! This is a full 2 and a half hour set list. Go check it out in the iTunes store.

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Here’s a not too great picture of my sock in progress. The heel has been turned. Nyah-Nyah

Oh, I started reading The Help and I am about 70 or so pages into it and it’s very good. It’s definitely a character and issue driven story, but I like those just fine.

I am still into exploring a lot of the 90’s bands I missed and am currently on a Soundgarden and Pearl Jam binge. I am working my way through all 9 of PJ’s studio albums and some of it is an acquired taste, but then so is beer and coffee, and I love both of them too. Just sayin’. Winking smile 

One last thing I want to mention is that we are having a YARN SALE on the website until July 27th. All the yarn in the Specials section, which is already marked down from the regular price, is an additional 30% off with the coupon code julymadness .  Feel free to pass this on to anyone who might be interested. Smile