Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The End of October

Happy Halloween!

We have come to the end of Socktoberfest and, well, I am not mentioning the cursed socks. They are not finished--the first awaits kitchenering the toe and the second is only at the heel turn.

They are making me hate socks.

* * *

But then I looked at this non-cursed sock yarn:

I got this skein from Jeanie at UFO August. It is the "Cowboy" colorway of Hill Country Sweet Feet yarn. So yummy and soft!

And so I cast on for another pair--and in a last-minute fit of Soctoberfest energy, knit to after the decreases last night.

My faith has been restored!

* * *

In addition to this frantic-but-happy sock knitting, I spent part of my Halloween listening to Franklin Habit's phenomenal Poe-inspired performance on Brenda Dayne's podcast Cast-On. Go check it out!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Homespun Scarf

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Cider-buckwheat waffles and hot free-trade coffee:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Spinning Merino-Tencel

I love the soft, smooth hand of this yarn.
The drawback? Very slippery fiber with which to work!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Swallowtail is currently in solitary confinement (details tomorrow)--and I'm knitting sleeves in stockinette for therapy.

These sleeves have big plans to become a sweater fit for a young knight:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

knit together

Last night's knitting group was even livelier than usual. Such a lovely time!

Son was happy to have another youngster at the party. Martha's son brought his first FO: He and his mother bound off the practice swatch he started at Rhinebeck and felted it to make a beautiful trivet. He also made a lot of progress on the vibrant scarf he is knitting.

One of the most fascinating parts of the evening for me was seeing Wallace demonstrate his new Shetland knitting belt and pins--passed on to him by Beth Brown-Reinsel, author of Knitting Ganseys, who realized that Wallace's long arms could use the pins more easily than she did. Wallace stood and swayed his hips slightly to get needles to move in rhythm. Knitting became very much a sensual dance.

He then swore us all to secrecy and shared information about his new venture, all set to start in November. Details later--but suffice it to say that having the boys at the meeting definitely resonated with his plans.

Knitting was combined with talk about publishing. Mystery writer Maggie Sefton dropped by with her knitting and advanced details about her next book!

And Jennifer brought her new copy of local knitter Michael Del Vecchio's Knitting With Balls, a gorgeously-produced book full of projects to appeal especially to male knitters. David commented on how nice it was to see instructions drawn with men's hands.

Amy shared a little of her experiences in the publishing world, too: she's frantically finishing a crochet project that has to be in New York ASAP. (If knitting is the new yoga, she's definitely into hot power yoga!)

Finally, Rebecca noted that she now has a blog! Check out her amazing collection of knitting bags.

Amy has an even fuller account of the fun!

Monday, October 23, 2006


I had the very great pleasure to go with Martha and Amy and our children to Rhinebeck this weekend!

You should have seen the trunk coming home, full of all of our purchases. Here is some of my haul:

A skein of gorgeous bombyx silk yarn from Ellen's Half Pint Farm in Norwich, VT:

A luscious cashmere lacy scarf kit from Rabbit Tree Farm in Saxonburg, PA:

Beautifully dyed silk roving in the colorway Turkish Carpet from Stony Mountain Fibers in Charlottesville, VA:

* * *

In addition to wonderful yarn and fiber at the vendors' booths, beautiful autumn leaves, and amazingly crafted garments on all the shoppers, there were bloggers everywhere!

Stitchy McYarnpants came up with a fantastic icebreaker game to get us to introduce ourselves. Cara from January One, pictured below wearing her Seraphim shawl and cute socks, assisted us in finding each other by hosting a get-together on Saturday.

I looked at another woman's shawl and thought how much it looked like Stephanie's. Isn't it beautiful?

OMG! It IS Stephanie's!

Son seemed a little leery when he met his first Harlot.

But he was very excited to meet Adrian from Hello Yarn. She incredulously asked, "YOU know who I am?" He proudly answered that both his mother and his father knit the Irish Hiking Scarf. (Pictures of Papa's finished scarf coming soon!)

There were so many bloggers there that I had the chance to meet. What a pleasure it was!

* * *

Sitting between a 7yo knitting boy (Son) and a 6yo knitting girl (Amy's daughter), the 12yo non-knitter (son of as-of-yet-blogless Martha) did not stand a chance. On Saturday morning the younger kids taught him the very basics on my slippery Addis and some of Amy's spare yarn. When we reached the festival, his mother bought him yarn and wooden needles. The boy really got bit by the knitting bug--and was knitting when I put my head down at night and already knitting again by the time I hopped out of the shower the next morning! (A convert! Yippee!)

By the end of the ride home, he had knitted a lovely rectangle of Lamb's Pride in a vivid blue--yarn destined to be a scarf for his father. Although the younger children did not have his stamina, they too enjoyed knitting in the back seat while the grownups knit in front of them.

At some point, Son came up with a game which, as he said, involved both cards and knitting.


Here's how to play:
Deal one card. If it is a number card, knit that number of stitches. If it is a face card, increase 1 per level so jacks are 11, queens are 12, and kings are 13. If you get an ace, you may choose to knit 1 stitch or 14.

The first one to finish a sweater wins.

We played cooperatively, so all of us knit every time a card was flipped. I recommend this strategy to allow for more continuous knitting, especially if you are playing with a lot of new knitters and/or are sober.

* * *

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fiber Fest!

Leaving Arizona...

...and going to RHINEBECK!

("Sheep Shearing" by Son)

For you Blogger Bingo players, I'll be wearing my Purloined Letter t-shirt and possibly the purple coat my Granny knit 35 years ago.

See you there!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sabino Canyon

We spent the afternoon at Sabino Canyon hiking through the desert looking at incredible cacti...

...watching ground squirrels...

...and road runners (this one running on just one leg due to an injury)...

...finding WATER in the desert...

...and letting Son take pictures of his shadow.

* * *

We had dinner at El Charro Cafe, the oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant in Tuscon. Delicious!

The specialty of the house is carne seca, seasoned beef dried under the desert sun in metal cages on the roof.

Oh--and prickly pear margaritas. Yum!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuscon's Beauty

We drove up Catalina Highway, an amazing 25 mile drive through Tuscon's mountains. At the bottom, we passed through desert filled with saguaro cacti and ocotillo. It was in the 80s. We began to ascend, the cacti ended, and the temperature dropped. The views of Tuscon gave way to canyons, mountain valleys, and gorgeous rock formations.

Our guidebook suggests pulling over at some of the "nauseatingly vertiginous" overlooks:

This overlook was at about 8000 feet and called Windy Point, I believe. It was freezing--only 50 degrees up here! I put my new shawl around my shoulders, wrapped my arms around myself tightly, and tried desparately not to fall into the abyss. Although David and Son happily climbed around the overlook, I stood relatively near the road with all my muscles totally rigid. (I need a massage now!) Eventually, David made me spread my wings for a photo shoot.

We drove on, eventually reaching a forest of ponderosa pines and a small village for summertime retreat. Even though we were over a mile higher in elevation from where we started, there were no cliffs and I got a few minutes to breathe before we turned around and faced the open mountains again on the way down.

* * *

In the afternoon, we went to Signal Hill at the Saguaro National Park.

As we set out on the short hike, we were warned to look out for desert life. First heights, now monsters....

At the top of the hill were petroglyphs from long-ago inhabitants, the Hohokum:

While it seems from the petroglyphs that they may have had bicycles, they did not have sheep.

We ended the adventure by watching the sunset.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Tubac, now a thriving arts community about 45 miles south of Tuscon, has a long history. Archaeologists have found evidence of people living in the area for the past 10,000 years. The Hohokam lived in the area from the year 300 to their mysterious disappearance around 1500. The Pima then settled here. In about 1700, the Spanish moved here as well. By 1860, Tubac was the largest town in Arizona. Now it is a tiny village full of shops.

I had hoped to find some local artisans interested in traditional crafts. Instead, I found a town full of traditional crafts from other places. Although some were from nearby sections of Mexico, many were shipped in from Equador and India and Peru.

There is also a vibrant community of local artists who produce fine art. We also found shops that marketed Hopi and Navajo jewelry and other crafts made in the northern part of the state.

This "Nosh Pot" was one of my favorites. (When Son was young, when he wanted to nurse he would ask to "nosh"--and it caught on because in addition to sounding like nurse, it is a Yiddish word for snack. Now, "nosh" is the family word for breasts.)

Although the town was not what I expected, we had a lovely morning wandering through the shops and walking the streets.

One of the galleries we went in was art dealing with the war:

This painting is entitled, "Why Are We Following Him?"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Arizona Diamondbacks

I brought the Adamas shawl, named after the Greek word for diamond, with me to Tucson for its coming-out party. What incredible surroundings for this lovely design!

(And here are the pictures of Adamas blocking.)


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