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Another Day at Bay Colony Farm
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
An interesting article
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: Stevie Nicks "Stand Back"
Topic: Knitting

Illness seems to be plaguing our house this winter. My youngest son and I have both had the stomach flu this week (NOT fun!). I'm recovering, slowly.

Anyway, I wanted to share this with everyone. It is an article about men knitting. Share your thoughts with me on the subject!

Knitting Just Not For Ladies Anymore

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 4:34 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:36 PM EST
Monday, November 28, 2005
TA-DAH!
Mood:  special
Now Playing: Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf"
Topic: Knitting

Finally finished. The lack of a needle to weave in the ends delayed the final result by a day, but wah-lah! Here we are with my son modeling them.




O.k. So you're looking at them and saying "What is the big freaking deal? They're mittens, so?"

Ooooh, but it is a big deal. Mittens have evaded me for several years now. My first "real" project when I got back to knitting in 1997 was a sleeveless top made out of Egyptian cotton. It turned out just fine until I washed it, and it got W-I-D-E-R instead of growing length wise. Throwing it into the dryer didn't help. I had followed that pattern down to the last word, even using the suggested yarn (I was SUCH a blind follower then). ;-) My second project that summer were a pair of hand knit socks, with a short rowed heel, knit on 12" circulars. This began my love affair with circulars. The sock yarn was double stranded with alpaca yarn. They were stunning socks! The fit was perfect. I could try them on while knitting with those circulars, something I was sure would never have happened on DPNS. It took me three whole days of beach knitting to get those puppies done. They did have a nice (but short) career keeping my feet warm for a couple of winters until my husband put the first one into the washer on HOT water, followed by a trip through the dryer on HIGH heat. Poor socks were never the same again.

Various other projects followed. Hats, scarves, shawls, the occasional sweater. Mostly things that I could knit using circulars. Large things for adults. The kids hats I made only needed dpns at the very end. My friend Marcy even gave me several pairs of lovely short dpns one year. I knew that she was trying to make me jump off that cliff with the rest of the lemmings. I believe her chant at the time was "socks, Socks, SOCKS!" But I was not to be a lemming! I even tried making my mom a pair of mittens several years ago on 12" circulars, but never finished the first one, feeling a sort of superiority in thinking that mittens were really for kids, not adults. That thinking prevented me from having to knit the thumb using dpns.

But these blue mittens represented the final frontier for quick knit projects this past weekend. I saw the need, I bought the yarn, and I conquered DPNS and mittens!

I think I can hear Marcy laughing all the way over here. :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:04 PM EST
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Look what followed me home
Mood:  bright
Topic: Knitting
O.k., I'm seriously bummed out because my AOL Radio isn't working. It is probably corrupted somewhere, and I'm not about to reload AOL. I'm hoping that I'll be able to figure it out before too long. I miss my tunes!

I did get over to Webs yesterday. A while ago, I purchased a Denise Interchangeable needle set. I like it (although I do like the Addi Turbos better, but the Denise needles wind up being a lot less expensive in the long run), but I've misplaced my original set. It could be anywhere from in my office, to inside the trailer if I packed it up to take to a show sometime. And since I'm not unloading the trailer until at least this weekend, I bit the bullet, and purchased another set.

But look at what else I found!




Actually, I spotted the Yarntainer and the Suri Merino on Monday, when I stopped in, but resisted. Yesterday, I decided that the Yarntainer would be perfect for holding the new yarn in it as I design a pair of fingerless mitts. That is all I'm saying, but the mitts will have a design on them that I haven't seen elsewhere. :)

And how is this for a sky picture? I was out in Richmond, MA yesterday morning for my job, and passed this lake. It was raining, and it looked very dramatic. On the way home, it was sleeting and raining. Not exactly nice weather for driving on the MA Pike, but I made it home safely, which is all that matters.




Today I'm doing a spinning/bunny/felting demo for the kids at my son's preschool class, then shopping for Thanksgiving, visiting my dad, and finally home to start cooking for the big feast tomorrow!

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:29 AM EST
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
There we go again
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Ray Parker, Jr.
Topic: Knitting
Stephanie in her bookbookbook2 talks about "IT".

If you've read her book, you know what I'm talking about.

Finally, someone that understands the insanity of what we put ourselves through. And to be honest, a lot of what I've read in her book (which I really am enjoying!) I can identify with. From the wool stashed away in various places in the house to making myself crazy with IT knitting.

My first time "IT" happened was when I stumbled across a yarn store in Northampton back in 1986 I believe. A nurse from the local hospital had opened a little shop for machine knitters, selling the ISM, and coned yarn. It was like heaven to me to walk into there and see all these various colors of yarn and think "Ohhhhh, wouldn't it be nice to have one of those, and one of those and one of those....". So, I talked my father into helping me purchase an ISM. Only, there was a catch. I had to knit hats for each and every one of my cousins that were under the age of 16, which was about 15 kids. So, I set about picking out various colors of yarn, setting up the ISM in the family room and getting to work. Only at that time, I really didn't understand how knitting worked, so there were a lot of dropped stitches at first (which I was able to fix, but lets just say those early ISM's weren't the greatest). I went down to the wire on that one, handing off the last hat to my parents as they packed up the car to spend Christmas at my Grandmother's house while I stayed home to work at my job. Not fun. And did I stop there? Oh no. I went back to that yarn shop and learned how to knit a sweater for myself on that machine. That was an experience I never wanted to repeat. The ISM sits in the basement of my parents house, unused and unloved for 19 years now. Perhaps that is where my fear of sweater knitting started?

Fast forward to Christmas 1997, when I relearned how to hand knit. This time knitting was fun! I had oodles of time with my husband working the night shift and I enjoyed spending my evenings sitting in front of the tv, knitting while I watched my favorite shows. And, being pregnant, I had lots of ideas for what I was going to knit for my bundle of joy. But instead, I decided that I was going to do "IT" again. Only this time, I was knitting for my own nieces and nephews and other family members. Hats and scarves were the projects that year. Three girly girl hats for my nieces, a nice hat for our nephew, a hat for my mother, scarves for my younger brother, father and uncle. I started out with 2 weeks to go. Surely I could get 5 hats and 3 scarves done in 2 weeks working a full time job. Yeah, right. Instead of sending the knitted items with my parents again as they traveled down to my Grandmother's house, I wound up FedEx'ing everything down so that it reached her house on Christmas Eve, with specific instructions for my brother to wrap everything up for me. I was nice enough to wrap up his scarf so that he wouldn't see that. My nephew's hat was finished on Christmas Eve afternoon, just in time for me to take it up to my husband's family Christmas party.

So why am I writing about this now? Because it just occured to me that I'm about to do this again. I have lots of ideas on what I'd like to do for people this Christmas, when I know that they would be just as happy with something that was store bought (especially my kids; after all, is any knitting safe with kids that go to school? Isn't that what the Lost and Found is really all about?).

I'll do it because I love them. And because a little insanity is good around the holidays, isn't it?

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:03 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:42 PM EST
Monday, November 14, 2005
And the color is......
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: Foreigner "Say You Will"
Topic: Knitting

Oatmeal!




O.k, so I didn't go for a sexy, vibrant color for the Rogue sweater like "Wine", "Raspberry" or "Turquoise". Instead, I went for a classic color and something that is going to look awesome with blue jeans. :)

I swatched up the baby blue Berkshire yarn today. This yarn is so soft against the skin, yet has nice stitch definition. It is 85% wool/15% alpaca.

Here is my sample swatch:




My gauge was right on with my first swatch on a #7 needle.

I'll be casting on tonight. After seeing Heather's post about the Rogue (which hit Bloglines *right* after I finished my swatch!), I knew it was fate and I had to go get the new yarn.

Of course that leaves me with about 130 yards of the baby blue Berkshire and a whole skein of Cascade 220 Quattro in the blue to use for some thing else. Maybe fingerless mittens?

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:49 PM EST
Thursday, October 27, 2005
It looks like I got my wish.....
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: Paul McCartney and Wings "Silly Love Songs" and Pilot "Magic"
Topic: Knitting

But at my kids expense.

All this week I've been feeling rushed, with very little time to myself. Most nights I haven't been home from work until close to 9, and that is after being up since 5 a.m. or earlier.

Tonight we were supposed to head down to the Holyoke Soldier's Home for their annual Halloween party, which we were all looking forward too. But at 3 p.m. today, I got that phone call that every parent dreads; the school nurse calling to say that my oldest son was in her office with a temp of 101.4 degrees. So I head up to the school, pick him up and bring him back home. Yep, he's sick alright. And the nurse already told me he can't go into school tomorrow, even if the fever is gone (which I wouldn't do anyway; few things bug me more than parents sending their kids into school to infect other kids). So we'll be home tonight and all day tomorrow.

However, this little development has given me knitting time. Right after I go outside and bring up wood for the woodstove since it is chilly here!

Now, the question is what to start on? Do I swatch the yarns for the Rogue sweater, or just jump right in on the Flower Basket Lace Shawl? Never mind that I haven't dyed the Alluring yarn yet, I want to start! I guess I'll just reach into the bag and whatever I grab is what I start.

As a side note: I've had a few people ask what I listen too, since I seem to have lots of 80's tunes listed. I usually listen to AOL's Awesome 80's online station, but today, I scanned what was playing on their Super 70's station, and two of my favorite 70's hits were back to back. I just love these songs as they take me back to being a little kid on vacation at my grandmother's house in southern NJ. Ahhh, those were the days! :D

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 5:24 PM EDT
Thursday, October 20, 2005
What I did today (besides almost sit on the cat)
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Hall & Oates "Family Man"
Topic: Knitting

See this?




I hit Webs today. I needed to talk to Kathy anyway, but I wanted to check out the Berkshire yarn after reading about it first thing this morning in Knitters Review. So between taking coffee to my husband, and visiting my dad, I headed off to Webs.

Yesterday I had asked for comments on yarns that would work for the Rogue, and Teresa suggested several including Cascade 220. So I go into Webs and start looking around. I am directed to the Berkshire and the Cascade 220. Color choices abound with these two yarns. But I decide that I really like the tweedy looking turquoise blue Cascade, so I pick up that. And then get some #5 Addi Turbos for the Flower Basket Lace Shawl pattern (yes I bought another one, which I forgot to add to the photograph), the Yarn Harlot's book "the secret life of a knitter", and some jumbo tapestry needles for sewing in ends (that white yarn in the picture is the Alluring yarn which I will use for the FBS). I leave Webs and head to visit my dad. An hour later, I'm on my way back up to Webs after realizing that I need a crochet hook to start the FBS. So in I walk and get my crochet hook, but also go back to the Berkshire yarn. Yes, it sucked me in. I'm going to swatch that too along with the Cascade 220 and see which one I like best for fabric. The colors I'm equally in love with, although if I do the Rogue in the Cascade, it will look more summery than it is probably intended. We'll see; I might decide that it looks very cool.

I'll keep you posted.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 2:25 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Special Day and Projects Galore!
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: Michael Sembello "Maniac"
Topic: Knitting
First off, I want to wish my husband a very happy 9th anniversary! Life has been more colorful with him in it and certainly richer. Dale, thank you for the support you've given to me; it hasn't always been easy, but life without a few challenges would be boring. ;-)


Now, on to fiber!

When Teresa came by on Sunday, she was wearing a Rogue sweater. Now, I've looked at this pattern for over a year now, and lusted after it. But, because I have a fear of complicated projects (I know, I know, I must get over that!), I've shy-ed away from it. But Teresa convinced me that the pattern was so well written, that anyone can follow it and do it well.
So, now I'm on to make Rogue. But my question to readers who have made it is what is a good yarn for this? I know you need an aran weight yarn, and I would prefer a 100% wool one that won't break the bank for me. Cottage Craft has some lovely colors and the yarn is really nice, but even their heaviest yarn might be too light for this. Any ideas that people can send to me on what yarn works best for this, or something that they used and really liked? I'll take suggestions though Friday night, so that I can buy the yarn on Saturday.

And, now that things have calmed down here quite a bit, I'm also thinking of knitting the Fiber Trends Flower Basket Lace Shawl. I've been eying this pattern for a while now; I think I even bought the pattern this summer. But the question was what yarn to use with it? And then I had a "Doh!" moment. The Alluring yarn would be perfect for this! So now I have to find the pattern (or a trip to Webs would also suffice), and figure out how much yarn I'll need. I think I'll dye the yarn too, keeping with a single color, as I think that a multi colored yarn might detract from the pattern a bit too much. I'm thinking that a nice blue color would be good, don't you?



Posted by baycolonyfarm at 10:24 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 10:25 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Sock Yarn Anyone?
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: ZZ Top "Legs"
Topic: Knitting

Here is a portion of the yarn that I plied today, from those two bobbins shown yesterday.




I still have 2/3 of a bobbin of the Magical Roving left, but used up 2/3 of the bobbin with the Border Leicester roving. Why? Because the BL roving is a much loftier yarn than the Magical roving, which is really a combed top.

I like the way this is looking when it is plied. I don't mind the barber pole effect, and think that it will make some stunning socks; subtle yet colorful.

Unfortunately, the rest of the black BL roving is in the trailer, packed at the front, so it may be a while before I can finish spinning it up. Two weeks until my last show of the season, which is when I'll actively try to get the roving back out.

Until then, I'll satisfy myself with spinning another Magical roving, this one a cream/orchid/peach combination. And get to work on dyeing silk caps too. :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:42 PM EDT
Monday, October 10, 2005
Blocking to go
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: ABC "The Look of Love (Part One)"
Topic: Knitting

I didn't get much done today fiber wise, except wash and block two shawls, including the "Wings" shawl I've designed. I'm planning to meet my friend Kristen this week and take pictures of her modeling the shawl so that I can have a picture on the front of the pattern.

Other than that, I cleaned our entire living room, and it is now presentable for any possible company that might drop by.

I'm exhausted now, having been awake since 3:45 this morning. I'm sure it will be an early night. Maybe tonight I can sleep all night, instead of waking up way too early. :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 7:05 PM EDT

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