Friday, October 26, 2012

A journey to Rhinebeck, and back again

As promised, my lovely readers, here comes the massive Rhinebeck update!

Our day began at the crack of dawn in Georgetown to meet our bus group for the first time.  We met at a coffee shop to sign in, fork over some cash, and get a hot beverage.

Breakfast of champions, plus gift bags for the housekeeping staff at the hotel.  I did not include the picture of Catherine at this early hour, where she was secretly hating me but putting on a good face.

Before we even got to the border, Catherine discovered a the perfect hole in the seat in front of her for storing a pen. 

Our bus ride on the way there was about 10 hours, but really only about 7 of actual driving time.  We were tuckered out on Friday night, and after getting super scammed by the local taxi services for a ride to the mall and back, we hit the hay to rest up for a full day of fun.  This is the site that greeted us on Saturday morning, look at all those knitters!

The very official sign that tells you I was actually there.

I took SOOOO many pictures of sheep.  All the animals were lined up in pens, and I had no idea there were so many different kinds of sheep. 

This one might be my favourite.

Don't forget about llamas!  The llamas and alpacas were regularly paraded around the fair grounds for touching and photo ops.

This little monster was at the Good Karma Farms booth, one of the first places I saw on Saturday.  When I came back on Sunday to make a purchase, this guy was already sold. 

Llama llama llama

Inside one of the vendor buildings.  SO many people!

Sheep dog demonstrations!  That'll do, pig.

On Saturday night after we got back to the hotel, we held a show and tell in the hallway.  Everyone unfolded their ironing board in the hallway and set up a display table.  This is our haul from day one.  Catherine's stuff is on the left, and my two humble packages are on the right.

Future sweater yarn.

Just because I like it sock yarn.

Other knitters with their treasures.

Day two was a lot more buying from me - we made a run-around plan based on all the things we saw on Saturday, so I knew exactly which shops to go back to.  We were only at the fair on Sunday for 2 hours, and I spent most of my money in less than an hour.

We didn't see this sign until we were on the bus leaving on Sunday, but this is where we were!

And now, the official stash additions that I brought home from my adventures at Rhinebeck 2012:

The Periwinkle Sheep, Oh so fine! sock yarn in "Memories of Summer"

BitsyKnits Sock82Me in "Fawn"

BitsyKnits Sock82Me in "Bronze"

Good Karma Farm 60/40 Wool/Alpaca in "Chicken Beak"

Sliver Moon Farm bulky wool in "Fern"

Cephalopod Yarns, Skinny Bugga in "Green Darner Dragonfly"

Blue Moon Fiber Arts, BFL Sport in "Manly yes, but I like it too!"

Blue Moon Fiber Arts, BFL Sport in "Tumbleweed"

My Cephalopod sock yarn next to the pretty bag it came in

My new project bag from go Monkey Design.

I've already updated my Ravelry queue with a few must-start projects since I've got knitting on the brain now and I've got that itch to start something new.  First up will be the baby bunting bag with the Sliver Moon bulky green yarn, and I chose a different pattern from the one I originally posted about.  I was looking at the specs for that one and realized the pattern called for more fingering weight yarn than it would take to make a sweater for an adult.  Yeah, no.  New pattern is a simple baby sack with some ribbing at the top.  Looks simple and cute, and it will be a fast project (instant gratification!).  My new sweater will likely be a project for after Christmas - let the swatching begin!



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rhinebeck planning, SQUEE!

It's October, it's getting cold outside, and I'm going to Rhinebeck next weekend.  Let that sink in for a moment.  I'll wait.

I'm going to Rhinebeck!  The holiest of all holy knitting events, and this little kid is going.  Catherine and I booked our place on a bus tour in the summer (mildly sketched out at first, we blindly sent money to a stranger and crossed our fingers that it was legit and not a knitting scammer), and we leave on Friday morning. This is where we are going.  I'll wait again while you check it out. 

I've been getting emails every week from the organizers of our trip with reminders and itineraries and I'm super psyched.  I'm even excited for the 9 hour bus ride to get us there, where I can knit and chat and read and eat car snacks.  I've been trying to focus on what I actually need to get while I'm there, since I didn't buy a single thing at the Knitters' Fair this year.  Catherine and I are meeting up on Thursday to go over vendor lists and project plans - we'll be keeping each other on track and on budget.  I really think being accountable to your buddy is necessary at a place like this.  It's way too easy to bring a credit card and just stop thinking about how much you're spending.  Here is my project list that will require purchasing yarn at Rhinebeck:

  • Knitted pillow shams in a bulky weight yarn (preferably roving style), mentioned in my last post here 
  • Baby bunting bag for my hair dresser who is expecting a baby around the new year
  • Possibly getting yarn for a sweater project for me, I'm leaning towards this:

 It's called "Paulie", and I'm in love with it.  I can see myself wearing it at my go-to fall and winter sweater, and likely wearing it at work
  • Sock yarn, any and all.  If it's cheap or pretty or it's being sold by the pound, I'm going to be all over it.  I don't have any patterns in mind, but it doesn't matter.  I always need sock yarn.
Aside from actual projects I'm planning for, I will also be on the lookout for awesome project bags, accessories, and knitting-related things that I need.  I've seen a knitter or two sporting a knitting needle gauge necklace, and I want one real bad.

I'm setting myself a budget of no more than $400, although I'm not picky about what I have to get from that amount, and none of the projects on my list need to be done right this second with only brand new yarn.  I will be bringing a reasonable amount of US cash with my for general spending, but I hate going to the trouble of getting US cash and then not spending all of it (and refusing to lose money by selling it back to the bank), so I'll also be using credit cards.  Expect an epic blog update later this month.

In regular non-Rhinebeck knitting news, here's what I've been working on.

Rock Island shawl is DONE.

It's too pretty.  I wish it was for me.  I'm debating whether Tam Tam will get it for her birthday or Christmas.  Her birthday is coming up at the end of October, but I have something else planned for that (horseback riding!  Shhh, don't tell her).  I've already taken this shawl everywhere without the joy of actually wearing it - it came to the first Guild meeting of the year for Show and Tell, I entered it in a Fall Fair contest and won first place, and it came to regular knit and chat night.  Right now it's neatly folded up in my stash baskets, waiting for me to decide its fate.  I'm leaning towards Christmas.

My Cuff au Lait fingerless mitts are DONE!  I don't have a picture of the finished pair, so you'll have to settle for a picture of the left finished mitten.  Get over it.

I like this picture because it looks like I'm holding the ball of yarn between my fingers.

I'm working on Fuzzyhead's Christmas socks - a manly man's pair of socks in semi-solid black, in a railway stitch.  How masculine.  The stitch pattern is from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, one of my favourite sock books, but modified with a toe-up construction.  

I'm really curious to see if the rows of knit stitches will even out with blocking or if they will stay a little wonky.  

I also want to knit a quick brain slug for my Halloween costume this year.  Last year, I spent way too long and way too much money on a costume I will probably not wear again (which is too bad, because vrock as sexy hamburglar needs to happen again).  I'm working on Halloween day and I was searching for the perfect costume that is work appropriate, and not so awkward that I can't actually work in the costume.  I've decided on a brain slug on a headband as the perfect costume.  I can wear my normal work cloths and it doesn't require special make-up that needs to be re-applied or checked on all day.  I might even bust out my rarely-used crochet skills and try my hand at this little beauty:


Or support a fellow Guild member and make one of these felted slugs:

I'm also gearing up for Christmas, because I'm a giant nerd, and I look forward to this all year long.  In August, I wanted nothing more than to make a 2012 Christmas planner to keep track of all my crafty and baking and decorating holiday dreams.  The step by step DIY guide I followed is here, and it required a composition notebook, some standard paper crafting supplies, and Christmas themed scrapbooking paper.  Michaels let me down big time on the Christmas paper - in August, when they were already rolling out the Christmas ribbon and Christmas ornament aisle, they had not a single sheet of Christmas scrapbooking paper in sight.  Shameful.  How is a crafty gal supposed to get her craft on for a Christmas planner in August without Christmas scrapbooking paper?  I went back in early September and found exactly one style of Christmas paper (which I also happened to love), and my 2012 Christmas planner was born:

It has tabbies for all of the most important Christmas planning activities - a calendar to keep my on track, the list, the master Christmas card list with addresses, home stuff, and food.  

It even had a ribbon to tie it closed and keep peeping peepers out of the Christmas secrets.

Also, I'm firmly into the role of President at the Knitters' Guild.  If you haven't seen me strike passion in the hearts of Guild members, you should stop by and watch me in action at a Guild meeting.

And now I've got zombie-themed baking to accomplish today readers.  It's the season premiere of Walking Dead tonight dontcha know.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Acquiring freckles

It's been a great big week of knitting and knitting related activities, and this post won't even cover the knitting part of it.  It was World Wide Knit in Public Day on Saturday June 9, what did you do to celebrate?  For the first time in a million years, I was actually free and available that day to enjoy the festivities, instead of rushing around like a crazy to fit it in when I was supposed to be going to work or doing something work-related.  I headed over to Shall We Knit? for their day of fun.  It was raining most of the time I was there, so there wasn't too much blatant outdoor in-your-face knitting.  I wandered the shop half looking for an appropriate yarn for my pillow sham project, and half just looking around.  Since the shop moved to Waterloo, I had still never fully explored it, and I went upstairs for the first time!

Everyone likes to hear about stuff I bought, so let me satisfy your craving:

 My haul from Shall We Knit? during WWKIP day

 Have you heard about Soakbox?  I have, and I love it, and I think it's such a smart idea.  I bought this little beauty partly because I was responsible for introducing the designer of the pattern included with these kits for the Knitters' Guild Adjudicated Show, and because I love pretty things.  The box includes a baby bottle of Soak wool wash (convenient travel size), a coordinating bottle of Handmaid hand cream, Lorna's Lace yarn, and a pattern for fingerless mitts designed by Fiona Ellis.

 I also got a sampler of Soak scentless for just showing up to the fun!

 The boxes come in four colours, and this one is called Cuff Au Lait, and my pretty little fingies are wearing the polish as I type.

Sock yarn!  I missed my chance to buy some indigodragonfly yarns at a Guild meeting earlier this year (ne pas de cash on hand), but I was quick to load up my arms with all indigodragonfly lovelies.

Sonic f**king death monkey

Slutty Thursday afternoon things

We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero!

Oh Glenna and her lemongrass martinis

My Soakbox all out of the box

Very shortly after my fun at WWKIP Day, I was also responsibly for MCing the KW Knitters' Guild Adjudicated Show.  How did I land such a prestigious role, you ask?  Why dear readers, I was volun-told.  At a Guild Executive meeting earlier this year, when we were discussing how to make the Show happen now that our Show Coordinator had stepped down with 2 months to go before the Show, I was informed that it is tradition for the incoming Guild President to be the MC.  Neato, huh?  I prepped my speaking notes in the week before the Show, with most of it being done the night before, well into the wee hours of the morning.  With the actual adjudication of the show pieces done on Monday and the Show on Tuesday, I didn't receive all of Fiona's comments until Monday evening, and I had one of those completely-miss-the-tab-at-the-bottom-of-the-Excel-notebook moments, that resulted in me retyping information and looking back and forth between different copies of the information unnecessarily.  Ugh.  

Oh, and then there was the plumbing issue that came up on Monday/Tuesday at the church where our meetings are held.  We had the church booked and reserved for the whole day on Tuesday for Show preparation, and on Monday I got several frantic emails from the nice lady at the church and other Guild members about how there would be no bathrooms available on Tuesday night.  It wasn't a SUPER big deal.  We were just, you know, serving drinks to 100+ people for 2.5 hours.  After some back and forth phone calls and emails, we found out that the plumbing crew hadn't even started the work on the bathrooms at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, so they would just hold off on the work until the next day.  Phew!

Other than that hiccup, I think everything went really well.  The biggest "oops" on my end of things was not communicating what I had done with refreshments before I left the church to grab dinner.  I was super-duper organized - I filled three coffee percs with water (AND tested them all to make sure plugging all three in at once wouldn't pop a fuse), and adding coffee/decaf where appropriate, then left them in their respective corners, ready to be plugged in and turned on when I got back.  I was held up at dinner since I went out with Fiona and another Guild Exec member, and when I got back I noticed that some kind person has started one of the percs.  But just one of them.  Hmm.  The one that was blupping away was the one clearly labeled TEA WATER ONLY and I had left it filled with water and next to the tea supplies on the counter.  The other two percs were farther down the kitchen, where they were ready to plug into separate circuits, and these were not on.  "Curious" I thought, and then I plugged in the other two and went on my merry way.  A short while later, soon to be past-president came up to me looking flustered and asked if the coffee in the blue plastic bin was ours.  I told her it was, and said that was the extra coffee.  She told me she just dumped it in to the perc and set it off because she thought the coffee should be on by now.  My little heart sank, and I asked her which one she put coffee into.  Yes, of course it was the TEA WATER ONLY one.  Ugh.  I unplugged it as fast as I could and poured out the half-brewed coffee.  It was reassuring to note that I was clearly not the only one to brew coffee in the tea perc since the inside of it was mildly coffee-stained.  Oh, and hardly anyone drank any coffee.  

So the rest of the night was pretty uneventful, and went along without any problems.  The pieces were modeled and walked around the room while Fiona read out her comments about each one, and then the top three pieces in each category were announced.  I read out the winners and butchered my way through reading out the names of the prizes each winner got. 

Oh, and I won some things!

My prize haul!

I won a door prize!  I never win door prizes, and this one looks super cute

This is the pretty bag I won for winning FIRST PLACE for my Laminaria shawl in the "from a pattern" category

Inside the bag were more goodies!  This pretty little purple lace weight yarn will likely become some kind of lovely shawl, maybe for Skim Jim

And finally, there was a shawl pin that was just perfect for holding my WINNING SHAWL in place.  Wa-bam!