Monday, July 24, 2017

Perfect Rainy Vacation Day

Some of my favorite vacation days contain massive amounts of rain. My favorite hike (Iceline Trail, Yoho National Park, 2001) was possibly my favorite rain-drenched vacation day, but today is a pretty close second. A much different vibe, Burlington, Vermont, bed and breakfast stay, and a local jaunt through some great local businesses.

My two favorite spots were the Lake Champlain Chocolates tour and chocolate shop and the NIDO fabric and yarn store. Nothing like locally sourced ingredients for delicious chocolates and great explanations of how your favorite confections are created. My skein of souvenir yarn was made from a sheep named Thelma and a mohair goat named Louise from a farm in Shaftsbury,VT. I know I don't need any more yarn considering the formidable amount of boxes of Shady Grove Alpaca skeins sitting in my own home, but how can you not support a local store while vacationing? Plus, heart be still, the shop featured an entire wall of Brooklyn Tweed yarns… 

Say no more, I am noshing on fine chocolates with a pot of hot tea and knitting a hat while looking out of the window of a delightful inn. Perfect way to spend a rainy vacation day, I'd say.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Annual Buzz Cut

Last Saturday finally arrived after the poor alpacas had to carry their fluffy fleece around for an extra month. Our shear team had multiple scheduling conflicts, so we waited…

And waited...

As usual, we asked ourselves if we are feeding them enough… such skinny bodies underneath the richness of the fiber!

The alpacas were thrilled to be free of their winter coats as the temperatures soared into the mid 90's shortly after their buzz cuts.

Only one hot pack member is left. Poor Tenny will have to wait until her undercoat falls off in about a month. In the mean time she is not complaining about the loving brushes she is getting to encourage the shedding process! 

All the best summer wishes!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Twitchy Mitts

I have an annoying addiction to my cell phone, so I decided that I needed to do something about my twitchiness over Spring Break. Every time I was tempted to pick up my phone, I would reach for the knitting needles instead. The plan was not fool-proof, so I also made myself add knitting time to equal the time I spent on the phone. With no real effort, these wonderful mitts finally made a debut:

I've had my eye on the Spring Foliage pattern by Alana Dakos since it was published, and last year procured the pattern book for very little money in a yarn store that was liquidating its merchandise. 

(click on this and next two images for full size photo)
The yarn had also traveled around the world during this trip. I never got past the first cuff on that iteration of mitt knitting. The dream of mitts will only die if you make some, it turns out!

The worsted weight Malabrigo Rios yarn combined with small size 3 needles made a very dense fabric. They will be of better service next fall when the days are less than today's 79*. Complete notes on Ravelry found here.

Finally, I have a set of mitts to go with a shawl/ scarf that I made during a different Spring Break that was ultra snowy. 

Here's wishing you a beautiful Springtime with great knitting projects! Maybe next break I'll twitch by playing some viola...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bloomers for Two

When you are a knitter and have twin nieces, there is something irresistible about knitting matching cuteness for them. For the holidays, I made a set of matching convertible baby bloomers, pattern by Carina Spencer.

Unfortunately, I did not finish both on time for gift-giving, so both nieces needed to point and feel the same set of bloomers on gifting day.

A few weeks later, there was a fashion show!

Notes on Bloomer #2 are here.

Notes on Bloomer #1 are here.

Hard at work:

Adding a fluffy vest… I decided not to add the leg warmers that would normally button onto the bottom of the legs. I don't think I had enough yarn, and also the product looked great to me. Of course this means that tights are probably needed to stay toasty in the winter.

Inside joke in the language of toddler twins!

Spring bloomers are here. Might be time to retire wool pants for the season pretty soon.

I'll be knitting some more bloomers soon; they were really fun to construct. Anyone have a small child who needs them?!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Champion Chicken!

Commence egg-laying, year FIVE! 

We're not sure which chicken laid the egg. The size points toward Heinrich (posing here), but the color is all Athena. Time will tell, but let's celebrate with a fresh egg sammy for now!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Bit Early

The sights of Spring are all around… but so early.

The only thing that's late is the egg-laying from our chickens. The older chickens are almost 5 years old, so not too surprising.

And there is that late-season snow storm predicted for this week. We'll see, we'll see...

Better content soon… or later. Hard to tell these days… 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Chunky Inspiration

A few days ago a friend asked me to make a hat with super chunky yarn. I have been knitting a long time, but I must say that I was shocked to have to go to the craft store for SIZE 35 (!!!) needles. Even more surprisingly, I could have bought size 50 needles. I was basically lever-ing with turkey basters…

The upside of thick yarn and large needles is a hat that fully materialized in 50 minutes. The Loopy Mango merino yarn was super soft and just one twist more than basic roving, which made it very fuzzy to work with. A wonderful choice to make a very cozy and stylish hat with.

This new experience led me to contemplate the large amounts of Shady Grove Alpacas rug yarn that I have no idea how to use. So I cast on 24 stitches on those fat new needles and knit about 20 rows, at which point I decided the design was symmetrical enough and cast off.

It looks much nicer than I expected, and is super soft to stand on. The other reason I was inspired to make a rug was the terrible choice of tiling in my master bath: muddled pink marble. It is the worst combination of ugly and freezing cold, inexcusable in the face of the fact that it would have been easy to pick a different color, or at least put a radiant floor heating unit underneath.

This experiment in alpaca bath mat knitting seems to solve some of these issues nicely. I believe I shall be knitting this again to cover that hideous floor with more warm, cozy foot blankets.

The mat also doubles as a squishy rug to alleviate back pain while practicing the guitar. Bonus!

I have a few posts I need to catch up on. Hopefully I'll gain some new momentum soon. In the mean time, stay toasty!