Monday, November 21, 2011

Fishermen's Friends

About a zillion years ago (or so it seems anyway), I was stalking browsing Springtree Road's site when I fell hard for a skein of BFL fingering weight yarn in the most absolutely perfect shade of red. It was magnificent, I tell you. It had richness and depth and it just felt luxurious, you know? It looked like velvet is supposed to feel. It was called Red Delicious, and I wanted very much to make it mine.

Of course, I was on a yarn-diet at the time, one that I was actually sticking with for a change, so despite some pretty gosh-darn strong feelings on the subject, I didn't buy it.

And for weeks that was how it went. I would stalk browse Maya's site and I would have a cyber-visit with the red yarn. I would look at it and sigh over it's magnificence, and I would let it go. Until one day, I visited my the yarn and saw that there was only ONE skein of my precious Red Delicious in stock. ONE SKEIN, people.

I think you can guess what happened next? Yarn diet schmyarn diet, and I'll take a membership in your fabulous sock clique club while I'm at it, thanks.

When it arrived it was just as fabulous as I had imagined it would be. Contrary to my usual habit, I didn't carry the skein around me for a few days, taking every opportunity to look at it and give it an affectionate squeeze (shut up, you SO do it too!). I wound it up almost immediately. I had fawned over this yarn long enough, my friends. I couldn't wait to knit it up.

For some reason, I felt that the skein wanted to be knit up into man socks. Awesome, kickass, Yeah-I'm-wearing-red-socks-what's-it-to-you-pal socks. Socks that would make an impression. Epic socks.

I chose to knit up my Red Delicious yarn into these Filey socks, inspired by a traditional guernsey pattern. Because it's my firm belief that if fishermen of yore had had access to some awesome red yarn, they would totally be more traditional red guernseys in the world. Heh.

Chalk ONE up for the Christmas Gift Pile (Yup, I said it. Hang on to your dpns my friends. Chrismas Knitting has arrived chez Dear.)

Happy Christmas Knitting, Everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Swatch

I had a really laid back attitude as far as Rhinebeck prep was concerned this year. I didn't have a buying plan, didn't have any specific itinerary. Honestly? It's been a rough year, and I was just happy to be going at ALL, you know? Me and my peeps, going to spend a weekend with people who know and understand the awesome power of yarnz.

It was going to be great! I was happy and at peace. Right up until Phil asked me what I was knitting for Rhinebeck, 17 days before the big day.

At first, I just dismissed the idea. Knitting something (aka a sweater) in 17 days? Was he mental? The schedule was crazy! I was starting a new job! Things were just WAY too hectic. 17 days to knit a sweater? There was just no way, right?


I mean... it just couldn't be done.

Could it?

The thing is... you can't just plant an idea in a knitter's head like that and have nothing happen. In knitterly parlance, by asking someone what they're knitting for Rhinebeck, you've effectively drawn a line in the sand. You've challenged the knitter's skillz, dedication, and fortitude. Shit is going to go down, one way or the other.

And so it went. Fester, fester, fester... the idea of knitting a sweater in 17 days gnawed at me. I was as excited at the prospect of a good knitdown as I was pissed at Phil for even suggesting it in the first place. And to add insult to injury, it's not like I had nothing appropriate in the stash. I just happened to have 11 skeins of Shelter lying around, earmarked for Gudrun Johnston's Kerrera, for the better part of a year.

- "OK," I thought. "I'll knit a swatch. See what happens. Maybe the Shelter won't be a good match for the pattern. Maybe I won't get gauge. And that'll be that. It'll be out of my hands."

Naturally, I got gauge. On the first try, no less, which never happens. The knitting fates were just laughing at me at this point. I stared at the swatch. Tumbleweeds blew across the living room floor. Time seemed to stop. There I was, on the cusp of knitting greatness. Deep down, I knew what I had to do. I couldn't back down. I couldn't let it go. I was Knitter, and I would knit a sweater in 17 days or go crazy trying.

And for the next 16 days, I knit like the wind, people. Every chance I got, I knit. A few rows here, a couple of stitches there. By the time we left for Rhinebeck, I had completed the body and 2 sleeves, but I still had to finish the hood, make the pockets, and knit about a zillion miles of edging (in double garter stitch - aka endless time suck stitch - no less).

Luckily, Kate understood. Without my even having to say anything, she sensed my desperation, my knitterly angst, and graciously offered to drive the entire way to Kingston, all so that I could maximize the knitting time. (Or maybe she just didn't want me driving her swagger wagon. Heh.)

When we got there, while other knitters were whooping it up with cocktails around the pool, Kate was right there with me, giving me oxygen offering words of encouragement while I knit furiously into the night. Eventually even Kate couldn't hold on any longer, fatigue got the best of her, and still, I kept knitting.

I wove in my final ends at a few minutes past midnight, the night before the festival. I sighed in relief, and not a little disbelief too. I had done it. I had knit a sweater in 17 days. Wow.

Bug eyed and stiff from hours of intense knitting posture, I turned off the lights and shuffled off to the bathroom, my sweater grasped tightly to my bosom. Again, pride washed over me. I had done it. I put on the sweater I had knit in 17 days, and...

It looked like ASS.

Crumpled, egg-cartony, misshapen ASS.

My eyes widened. I may have sobbed a little. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but it was just staring me in the face at this point. I was going to have to block the sweater.

What was going through my mind as I dunked the sweater into a warm bath at half past midnight the night before Rhinebeck? Resignation. Acceptance. Maybe a touch of insane hope as well.

- "Shelter isn't really a dense yarn. It'll probably dry quickly" I thought as I blindly patted it into place in our now pitch black hotel room, as Kate dreamed happy dreams beside me.

It didn't quite work out that way, of course.

The next morning (you know... 6 hours later?) it was still wet as... um... water. I wore it to the fairground anyway, draped over my arm when I became concerned it was going to stretch beyond repair if I continued to wear it. But eventually I came to my senses, mostly because I was tired of lugging a heavy, dripping, slightly smelly sweater around.

Still. I knit a sweater in 17 days, y'all. I rule.

Besides, she may not have been ready to make her debut at Rhinebeck, but she's still a damn fine sweater. Which is good enough for me.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where's Ringo?

I was thinking about how it had been (gulp) 2 weeks since I last posted this morning, when one of my favourite lines* from Boogie Nights popped into my head. It's from the scene when Dirk is practicing his lines in front of the mirror at the end of the movie. There he is, in all his cheesy-eighties-porn-star glory, and he scrounges up every ounce of his acting ability to ask "Where the f**k is Ringo?".

I'm here, friends. I'm here.

Adaptation to the new schedule continues, however, and I confess I'm having a little trouble finding the will time to do anything beyond taking care of the family unit lately. The good news is that I'm knitting up a storm, however, and I've even put in a few evenings on the sewing machine as well, so I won't lack for blog fodder. We'll get there.

In the meantime, how 'bout we take a peak at my Rhinebeck purchases?

Miss Babs Northumbia Hand-Painted 4 ply BFL Yarn (437 yds). Colour: Squash Blossom.

Foxhill Farm Cormo Cross, 100% wool (410 yds). Two skeins.

Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! (412 yds). Two skeins: Robberfly and Rhinocerous Beetle colourways.

Miss Babs Northumbia Naked 4 ply BFL (240 yds). Colour: Luna Granite (2 skeins), Moss (1 skein)

Spirit Train Fiberworks "Sunna" (350 yds). Colour: Aquitaine (2 skeins)

Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein 100% Superwash Merino (560 yds). Colour Lady Bug (2 skeins)

The Sincere Sheep Keen 100% BFL Superwash (465 yds). Colour: Milpa.

The only question is what will I cast on with first? Any suggestions? :)

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

* Sure, most people remember what comes AFTER that line (that'd be when he finally reveals his... um... assets. Ahem.)