Posts categorized "Rhinebeck"

More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  

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I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.

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And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.

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It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.

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I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  

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While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.

 


Lost a month somewhere

Ack! It's October!

I knew it's been a while since I've blogged, but over a month!  Where did September go?  I'm very sure I didn't fall asleep August 31 and wake up now (even though that running out of yarn thing was rather traumatic) and I'm still surprised it's October, even though it's the 10th...

September was a wee bit busy at work.  And at home.  Here's a little wrap up:

I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary September 30th.  That seemed like a pretty big deal.  You can see our wedding photo on my 10th anniversary post here.  That I have a decade of blogging also feels like a big deal.

Kids started school.  Both are now in High School.  How did that happen?  Here's what you get for a back to school photo in grade nine:

 

And grade 10

 

(that's actually cheating--she wouldn't pose for a photo...)

I ran and played ball hockey and even scored a goal! (A slap shot from the point which was one of those things I've always wanted to do.)

And when I wasn't falling asleep on the couch after a long day at work, I would work on my Brandied Cherry sweater.  It was slow going only because I didn't have a lot of time.  It was quite fun to knit and I think I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this one. 

 

It's off the needles and blocking.  This weekend I seam and then I'll have my Rhinebeck sweater.

Rhinebeck is a week away.  I'm SUPER excited.


Knitters, we have a problem

I have knit all my travel knitting.

I thought I brought ample supplies. I had two easy projects and a difficult one. Lots of yarn for a family trip to Ottawa with a short stop at the cottage in Tweed. Usually I don't have a lot of time to knit. In fact, I played a lot of Two Dots and didn't knit when I opportunities. My knitting was even confiscated during out tour of the Parliament building.

It should have been enough.

I finished Rickenbacker before we left Ottawa. It needs a solid blocking and then it will be a perfect little scarf.

I finished the second sleeve of my Rhinebeck sweater (Brandied Cherry) on the drive to Tweed and the first few hours at the cottage. Frankly, that was unexpected...I got into the groove of the stitch pattern and just chugged along.

So I started the front. The hard part. The cables for which I must follow a chart. I haven't knit cables in a long while and it was great. I sat on the deck, half watched the lake and knit. I almost ran out of battery on my ipad which has the chart. That would have bought me some later knitting time now that I think about it.

Then I ran out of the yarn so had to shelve that project. Totally surprised me.

I didn't knit again yesterday because I knew I only had one project left. My always-in-my-purse project. Socks. Almost done socks. Crap, why didn't I bring more knitting socks.

It was a lovely afternoon again on the deck. Interspersed with some Twitter and Two Dots and Netflix. Then they were done. The ends woven in.

I guess I can wear them home in the car. Where I have a 2 1/2 hour drive and NO KNITTING.

NEXT TIME I BRING ALL THE YARN.

 


On Swatching

Some of the great minds in Toronto knitting have been taking about swatching, and I don't mean me. Funny thing was, I was on a swatching spree whilst this conversation was happening on Twitter. Kate and Steph, aka WiseHilda and The Yarn Harlot took apart the myths of swatching in a great thread and exposed the knitter's dirtiest secret: swatching is important. Knitters know it and most of us treat it like flossing one's teeth: they get that we all should do it, but most don't do it all the time, some don't do it at all.

For the record, I came around to daily flossing about ten years ago and almost never miss a day. I feel gross if I don't floss my teeth.

I haven't yet come around to feeling the same way about swatching.

I know the reasons:

  • To make a sweater that fits
  • To see how the yarn behaves at the pattern gauge
  • To test stitch patterns, colours etc.-- if I hate the swatching process, I'll hate knitting the project.
  • To figure out if I have enough yarn to make the project
  • To avoid the anguish of any of the above.

All good reasons, all the bran of knitting. All good for you. Yep. Yawn.

That being said, I discovered this weekend it's not all that bad to do. I knew that, but sometimes I have to do it again to remember.

I decided it was time to figure out my Rhinebeck sweater and to knit from stash. I had some patterns in mind and some yarn I want to use and needed to see what fit in terms of gauge and design. I started with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Brick. This is pretty and somewhat precious yarn that's been waiting for the right project. One ball was attacked by moths and was living in the freezer. I took it out and just knit with 5mm needles to see what would happen.

Here it is washed (washing your swatch is essential since water can change the yarn and I expect you will wash the project at some point).

I got really smart and attached a note so I know what I did. It's a fine swatch but I found the fabric too loose. That disqualified it from a few project ideas.

I decided that I wanted to try Oshima again so got out yarn two: Briar Rose Charity. It's not the colour I remember (I swore it was blue) but knew it was likely the right weight so I swatched away.

The bottom was knit on 6mm needles and was too loose to get gauge so I did a line of garter and went down to 5mm needles. That worked and stayed consistent after washing. I also swatched the brioche stitch which is integral to the pattern and got gauge there too. Swatching also made me warm up to the yarn and colour. It's a mix of greys and blues that I dubbed Stormy Seas. It'll make a pretty Oshima.

Then I thought it might be too hot to wear that sweater at Rhinebeck so I went back to the orange yarn and swatched in pattern for Brandied Cherry. The designer, Thea Colman does a great job explaining what to do if you want to substitute yarns including swatching the cables, thinking about the weight of the finished sweater and ease.

Up to the marker I used a 4.5mm needle and realized it was too tight so I went up to a 5mm needles. I like the cables so decided to focus on the twisted rib which is the pattern needed to establish gauge and worked on that until I was satisfied. I'm a tad worried I won't have enough yarn for the size I plan on making but that is another post!

You will notice that I'm a lazy swatcher. I do four inches to get stitch gauge but fudge my row gauge. I should stop doing that. One day it will cause me problems.

Baby steps.

 

 


Worst Rhinebeck Post Ever

I finished my Rhinebeck sweater, with a bit of time to spare, and this much yarn:

I wore it at the fair, where the weather was perfect, but didn't remember to do a proper set of photos, so I have no evidence.

I stayed in a beautiful place with fantastic friends, excellent wine and food and I didn't think to get even one group shot.

I went to the Custom Fit meet up and did get a photo of Amy measuring people, but we didn't get a chance to chat.

I bought some pretty yarn and fibre, which will turn into lovely things later, but assed up all my festival knitting because of lively conversation and aforementioned wine. Most of it is fixed now that I'm home.

I did get a photo of Keri taking a photo of sheep!

Really the whole weekend was perfect. We drive down in record time, my friends are fabulous women who do great things in their lives (from which Rhinebeck provides a perfect reward/escape), and it's so great to go to the fair and fondle the yarns and talk to the knitters and eat the fair food and play.

I just forgot to take pictures.

 


Scale

It's been a tense week in Rhinebeck-sweater-knitting-land.  

The knitting is going just fine.  The body of the sweater is knit.  The underarms are grafted.  One zig zag front is knit up (ish) and blocked.  The other is coming along nicely.

But my yarn supply seems a tad light.  It's my fault as I did modify things a wee bit and since I always seem to have huge amounts left over, I have a false sense of security with yarn amounts.

You know things aren't going well when you start doing this

Scale
(I never use this scale for calculating nutrients in food--it was a gift and excellent for weighing yarn).

And then you get out the calculator and start following Kate's math to calculate the weight of yarn used for each stitch.

Except I can't do the math on how much I've knit already because it's a lot of shapes and the yarn was custom dyed so I don't have the original weight, just the yardage.  

So I weigh the yarn and knit 6 rows.  That uses a gram of yarn for 318 sts.  

Then I start adding up how many stitches I need to knit.  It looks good.  Really close, but I should be fine.

Yep.

And to ease the growing anxiety I just start knitting faster.  Except that speed doesn't increase mass. (Do I have that right?, I didn't take physics so I can't say for sure).  

Turns out, constantly weighing the yarn doesn't help either.

Last night, I start thinking about where I can use the contrast colour instead (like the back of the collar that I will never see).  

This morning, I get excited because I remember I have a swatch (which means more yarn).

The good news is that I have enough yarn to make a sweater, albeit one that might not have the final edge band along the collar.  Or it might have a skinnier band.  

I can live with that.  

I suspect I will run out right in the middle of binding off the 275 sts for the band.

Because of this:

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I totally deserve it too.  At least Steph can get more yarn.  

Now the question is have I learned my lesson about a) buying enough yarn and b) not being a smartass to other knitters?


My Rhinebeck Sweater

I try (and usually succeed) to have a new finished piece for Rhinebeck.

This year, it's Maxfield. I fell in love with this pattern as soon as it was released but didn't have stash yarn to make it, so I put it in my queue and tried to forget about it.

I kept thinking about it.

Plotted yarn ideas (the called for yarn had alpaca and it bothers me so I needed a substitution).

Caved and asked Kim at Indigodragonfly to dye me something spectacular to make it.

Polwarth/Silk to the rescue.

The main colour is a bluer Kathleen Turner Overdrive and the variegated is my namesake yarn, Paging Dr. Smartass.

It's a fun knit and I'm loving it. Here's the back and sleeves.

Only the fronts to go. Should be done in time for the trip. I've been blocking and seaming as I go. Don't want to have to do that one the road.

 


Rhinebeck (sigh)

Rhinebeck, I always love visiting you.

This year was made better by the absolutely perfect house we rented right in town.  We parked the car Friday night and didn't use it again until we left for home Monday morning.

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(one of three sitting rooms!)

I travelled with great friends: Michelle, Kim and Jo and we drank wine, ate amazing food, fondled yarn, enabled, laughed, cried and didn't share our desserts (even when we said we would).

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I ran into a bunch of virtual friends I only get to hug once a year: Vanessa, Angela, Hope, Jaya, Cassandra, Julia (I love love love her not-released green cardi), Cara (and her amazing Maxfield cardi!), Chris, and others that I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry!).

I finally got to meet (and hug) Lisa Souza and Nora Bellows of Noni knits (must write to her about getting copies of our photos in our Ella coats).  

I ate amazing meals and drank fantastic wines.

I got this super duper fantastic custom mug from Jennie the Potter. My morning coffee is now being consumed in style (and I got to hug her too!)

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(yarn on an orange bike-squee!)

I bought yarn (seen on my lap) to knit pretty things.

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I enjoyed the scenery. But didn't take any photos until we were driving over the Hudson on our way home.

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I'll be back next year (to take a bath in that tub!)

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Rhinebeck (sigh)

Rhinebeck, I always love visiting you.

This year was made better by the absolutely perfect house we rented right in town.  We parked the car Friday night and didn't use it again until we left for home Monday morning.

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(one of three sitting rooms!)

I travelled with great friends: Michelle, Kim and Jo and we drank wine, ate amazing food, fondled yarn, enabled, laughed, cried and didn't share our desserts (even when we said we would).

Untitled

I ran into a bunch of virtual friends I only get to hug once a year: Vanessa, Angela, Hope, Jaya, Cassandra, Julia (I love love love her not-released green cardi), Cara (and her amazing Maxfield cardi!), Chris, and others that I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry!).

I finally got to meet (and hug) Lisa Souza and Nora Bellows of Noni knits (must write to her about getting copies of our photos in our Ella coats).  

I ate amazing meals and drank fantastic wines.

I got this super duper fantastic custom mug from Jennie the Potter. My morning coffee is now being consumed in style (and I got to hug her too!)

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(yarn on an orange bike-squee!)

I bought yarn (seen on my lap) to knit pretty things.

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I enjoyed the scenery. But didn't take any photos until we were driving over the Hudson on our way home.

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I'll be back next year (to take a bath in that tub!)

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Which was more challenging?

What a weekend!  Two big things happened:

1. I finished Breakwater (Rhinebeck sweater number 2)

2. I finished my first Half Marathon

Which was more challenging?

The sweater.  It was a total slog.  I realized a few things about what I like to knit when making a sweater getting through this one.  

I have no problem with endless stockinette but I hate top down sweaters.  The endless rounds with no end in sight, the flipping around of the sleeves and the dpns, the monotony just about killed me.

This is no slight on the pattern which is simple and straightforward; it's about my knitting style and it's good to know what that is.  

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The yarn is Indigodragonfly MCN sock in The World is Doomed! (Giles) and I love it.  The colour is a pleasant neutral and while it seemed loose and wobbly in the sweater while I was knitting it, after a wash and a dance in the dryer it came out full and soft and fantastic.

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This is a knitted sweatshirt and it's great.

I skipped the waist shaping because it doesn't work on my body but should have tapered in the body a bit after I divided for the sleeves.  I needed the 38" size for the shoulders and bust, but not the rest of me.  I know better for later (note to self: remember and listen to myself when this arises!)

Now for the Half Marathon.

It was awesome. I had so much fun.  Even two days later, I'm still riding on the crest of accomplishment (and perhaps endorphins--I still hurt).

The day didn't start out promising because it was raining.  Hard.  I hate running in the rain.  

At least the temperature was a warmish 14C so I put on my big girl pants and my running hat and made myself a garbage bag rain cape and fretted about a wet race on our short drive over to City Hall for the start.

I also had on the most awesome armwarmers.  That helped my mood.

Arm warmers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a wet and long wait for the porta-toilet (a pre-race must), I got myself over to my starting coral and the rain stopped.  Perfect timing.  I started to feel the good anxious instead of the impending doom anxious.

I decided the day before that I would run with the 2hr 15minute pace bunny since I knew I could run the race in that time and thought the pacer would keep me on target.  

We started and it was all good.  Except I was having trouble keeping to the pace.  It was too slow.  

I stuck with him for 6km and then noticed I was creeping up on my pace and just went with it.  I chatted with a really nice seasoned runner during this time. He was in his 60s and this 1/2 was a warmup to his full marathon this weekend in Amsterdam!  He told me I looked comfortable and could up my pace and was really encouraging.  

So I did.  And I got faster.  We met a few times more and he said something really interesting: "I bet right now you're thinking, I wonder how much further I could run?"

And he was right.  I had such a good time and felt so good, I am thinking that. It's crazy.

Here are my splits (according to my Garmin, so they won't be perfect) and I ran the last 5km fast.  

Half marathon splits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother who came to see me at 8km and 17km said I looked good and like I could have ran faster (he's very sporty so I welcome his advice).  

I had a great race finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 30 seconds and I'm happy with that, but also think I could have started faster and maintained a faster pace throughout.  

21.1km in 2:11:30. Go me.

(I was totally hurting once I stopped running.  But man that post-race burger tasted good!)

It wouldn't take off a lot of minutes, but probably a few and I realize that while I want to let go of time goals, I am motivated by them and I need to work with that.

I guess I'll find out on my next one.