Monday, December 27, 2010

Knitting up Rhinebeck 2008: Creme Brulee

This is the yarn that I grabbed first at my first Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival. It was a gorgeous crisp sparkling blue-sky autumn day, and the plentiful maple trees were in fantastic color all around the fair grounds. I wandered into this building with straw on the floor, flooded with sunlight, stuffed with amazing yarn. I found myself in the booth run by Decadent Fibers, and I wanted ALL OF IT.

I settled for 2 skeins from them. The absolute first choice was this hank of Creme Brulee, because the color was going to be my souvenir of the day. The yarn is absolutely a perfect reflection of autumn leaves, so I had to make something "leafy" out of it.

Merino, silk and mohair blend in a soft, chunky gently twisted cried out to be a beret, even though I had some fear of itchiness. I invented a circular leaf-lace pattern suitable for a hat, then added the mitts and scarf using a standard Barbara Walker leafy lace.

Lemme tell ya, inventing a lace beret pattern is HARD. I frogged the darn thing at least 6 times because I kept making it too big. It's really hard to measure something scrunched up on a tiny circular needle! Especially as it was only the 2nd beret I'd ever made. I finished the beret in 2009, but only wore it when winter was nearly over! The mitts and scarf waited even longer. I only finished the scarf in early December 2010.

The other thing that was hard was letting this yarn take me out of my personal color comfort zone. I've never been a huge fan of orange, and never thought it looked good against my skin. But there are enough complicated color changes in this yarn to allow me to ignore that small issue.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rhinebeck 2010 Stash

I was pretty restrained at the 2010 Sheep & Wool Festival. Mindful of having 2 years of gorgeous yarn still just sitting around at home unusued, mindful of having to still get rid of a lot of less special yarn, mindful of having less time than ever to knit, I did a lot more looking than buying. In fact, I finally saw the entire Festival! I finally made it into 2 buildings I never did before, and I enjoyed more browsing, and I enjoyed the walking and the beautiful day so much more than when I was anxious for MORE MORE MORE YARN.

I'm quite happy with what I got, and had projects in mind for all of it as I bought it. There are 9 projects here -- 7 entire, and 2 more that are new additions to previous year's purchases cos I love the yarn so much, I wanted to make sure I had enough!

So now that I've posted all my 3 Rhinebeck stashes, I'll next start posting the projects...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Belated Rhinebeck 2009...

Still not sure exactly what happened, but I suppose into every blog a temporal gap must fall. Or appear. Perhaps I had a sense that my life was entirely too leisurely, and chose to focus on other things instead. Harrumph. Well, now that life is no longer leisurely, now that I've returned to a 9-5 job for several months, now I can force myself to find time to blog again. Of course.

To catch up on one thing at a time, my 2009 Rhinebeck trip yielded yet another treasure trove of fantastic yarn goodies. See above. I figure, if you're going to a place like Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival, one might as well support true fiber artisans making really nommy handmade or handpainted stuff. ("Support" of course means in this context "hand over large sums of cash".)

From the above picture, I have actually begun a whopping uh, two projects. Two! And neither is finished. I might have to partly frog one, only 1/4 done.

But the good news is that from Rhinebeck 2008 I actually finished knitting 1 entire skein of yarn! The bad news is...Rhinebeck 2010. Next post....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Itty Bitty Baby Orchids

When one goes to orchid shows and one already grows orchids, one inevitably buys more orchids. I was again lucky enough to go to the Southeast Pennsylvania Orchid Society Show at Longwood Gardens in March. This time, however, due to new time obligations, I was able to-- rather, forced to -- skip the setup AND the early morning trip! Instead we spent about 4 hours there on Saturday.

I went into OMG THOUSANDS OF ORCHIDS!!!! mode, and went frantically about making 2 rounds of the show with two different lenses on my Sony a300 camera: first the 100mm macro lens for close-by flowers, then the 75-300mm macro zoom lens for everything else. Seriously loved using the zoom, as I was able to get really nice pics of plants waaaay in the back of the exhibits (and some of those bloody exhibits are like 10 feet deep), not to mention the miniatures on the floor and anything wired to a tree over my head.

I hate doing an orchid show rant since there are now so few, but here: I really HATE it when tiny flowers end up at ankle-level in a display. SMALL = EYE LEVEL. The BIG plants should go on the ground, where you can't miss them! Eensy-weensy mini-catts haven't a chance of being noticed or photographed or judged properly when you can't see them! Nobody sane would put a Masdevallia infracta on the floor, but plenty of displays put brachypetalum paphs there!

Nevertheless, I got plenty of satisfaction from the show, which was gorgeous and full of amazing and choice species and hybrids, and some very cool displays. And I got bagfuls of new planties. H&R alone, I went crazy. Will have some great recommendations up soon...