Waaaahhh, I wish I was at Rhinebeck! Everybody's there 'cept me. Well, 'cept me and Lene, and Angie, and Karen and Sukie - well, ok, perhaps not everybody's there, but it sure seems like it when you read the brief excited notes on people's blogs. But lookit, I just might get to the Fibre Frolic in Toronto next April! Rachel H has been telling me about it and it sounds so much fun. Well, why not? This isn't a rehearsal - you only have one life!
I saw a new posting on Knitter's Review Forum asking what recommendations were for the best needles to use. Of course there were hundreds of replies, with everyone suggesting different brands. Me, I'm definitely in the circular lobby and within that lobby, if money and availability were no object, I'd live permanently with Colonial Rosewoods (courtesy of those lovely people at Warm Threads) for the medium gauge, a few Lantern Moons from Knitty-Noddy, and of course Jenkins Woodworking for the big fat needles as well as the crochet hooks. I suppose it all depends on what you're used to and what works best for you. But I do know that when you find the right needles or hooks, your crafting life is transformed! It's worth experimenting over and over until you find them.
Big excitement chez Celtic Memory - the plunge 'as finally bin took and the subscription committed to Interweave Knits (thanks for the sneaky encouragement to check out their winter preview, Peg!) Can't wait for the first one to arrive. It's daft really - I've spent years hoping to find a copy in Borders when I get to London, or alternatively buying up tons of past issues when I'm Stateside, when all the time the sensible option was to take out my own subscription. At least now I'll know what the rest of you are talking about so excitedly when the latest edition hits the stands!
For those envious of my new antique swift for winding skeins, temax61 is the eBay identity of the lady I got it from. She lists a lot of sewing and craft items from time to time, as well as old kitchen collectibles and other stuff, so she's well worth checking out.
Let's have a fanfare! Ta-da!!!! The Glitz socks are FINISHED! I got so fed up with all the projects hanging around that I had a late afternoon session yesterday with said footwear and vowed I wouldn't get up until they were done. That actually involved a messy session at the frog pond with one foot since I realised after all the grafting and everything that they should have been a few rows longer... Let me recommend that if you have got past the grafting stage and find an error, give the socks to someone else. Do not try this at home! Anyway they're done, and they're beautiful and I'm mad about them.
So chuffed indeed was your correspondent that she got out the champers and the Waterford to give the socks a celebratory birthday party in advance of Samhain. (They will now officially become the Samhain socks, and will be worn to welcome in the Celtic New Year on October 31.) Gosh aren't socks fun? The next pair up will definitely have to be in a colourway suitable for midwinter, so that I can wear them for that festival on December 21. Must create a new designer yarn for then too, in the Celtic Festivals range. In the meantime, if anyone wanted a skein of Samhain particularly, and missed them when they sold out on eBay overnight, drop me an email and I'll make up another one for you.
Oh help, I haven't even cast on for the Red Sweater KAL yet - my excuse is that I'm waiting for some suitable circulars to arrive from a dear friend Stateside, but probably the catastrophe associated with Muffy has something to do with it too. You can't cast off a trauma like that very easily. And then there's the pattern! Cast on five million stitches, work seventy-five thousand rows in a very complex pattern, stop and check your gauge... you know the kind of thing? If you're not in a very positive frame of mind from the beginning, it can be a bit daunting.
I did once work out a new method of casting on a lot of stitches. I got the notion of having a sip (well a
gulp really) of wine for every twenty stitches cast on. A lot more fun than placing a stitch marker after all. And once you've got about sixty or eighty on the needles, whash the PROBLIM? I'll HIT the first fella who says we have a problem...
Me I really prefer patterns that say 'Cast on - oh about 40 sts - and work in garter or st st or whatever you want for about 60 rows. Cast off. There you are, done and dusted, wear it tonight and garner the plaudits.' Norah Gaugan isn't like that, though. Neither, it is hardly necessary to say, is Alice Starmore. But then, that's why they get the adulation. Nothing good is easy (all the same, what a market lies waiting out there for the person who invents the designer-outfit-in-an-evening project).
Ms Knitingale introduced the idea of really sensible greeting cards on her weblog recently and I loved her notion. Go over and look at it - if it doesn't make you crease up with laughter, you need to loosen your corsets. Listen, why don't we all do it this holiday season? Send each other cards commiserating on the trip to the frogpond, or congratulating on finishing that ghastly project, or wishing well in the search for one last ball of that designer yarn desperately needed to finish the gift.... you know better that I do the concepts we could create! Love you for the idea, Ms Knitingale!
And by the way, does anyone know how I fix my weblog so that people leaving comments leave their email addresses as well? I've seen it on other people's sites but I can't get it to operate on mine, and there are so many times I'd like to reply personally to someone.
Associated with that topic, sincere apologies to anyone who found she couldn't leave comments on my postings. I don't recall doing anything weird within Blogger, but maybe somebody dusting or vacuuming with more energy than usual pulled a few wires out. I'm checking, I'm checking (wish I knew what I was checking...) Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.
And those who have complained they can't find either my designer yarns or the stash sales on eBay, I'm going to make sure that the words 'Celtic Memory' get in the title on each one from now on so they can be located, since often each is in a different category (mohair, lambswool, silk, cashmere, whatever.) No, don't have an eBay shop at this point - keeping such a shop maintained and operated 24/7, with the lights switched on and a friendly little man in a clean white overall ready to welcome visitors is more than this correspondent can take right now. Look, I'm listing them on Sunday nights and that's when you should look for them, OK? Unless there's a full moon, when it might be Mondays. Or Tuesdays.
Actually, I do need to list yarns tonight. I have this mouthwatering fine kid mohair boucle that is to die for, and a vastly entertaining black, silver and grey speckled sockweight, and an unexpected surprise in the Battered Rejected Cones section - a laceweight lambswool/cashmere in a plum or grape shade. That one was a bit damaged on the outer layers, with a few broken threads, but superb once you got past that. And when it's washed, it blooms and puffs up so beautifully. It will make an incredible lace shawl.
But listing each one means first of all working out the number of metres in a skein, then skeining up 100 gr or so, working up a swatch, photographing it, and finally listing it on eBay. You think that's easy? Look, I haven't even cuddled a dog tonight, let alone DH! One does have priorities. Not to mention a deep need for hot chocolate.
Speaking of priorities, went to an old-time threshing today with DH. It was great fun, if a little dusty (forgot how much chaff and bits of straw natural threshing could throw around), and I found some women churning butter in the old style which was nice.
DH climbed up on top of the old threshing machine to get a better shot for you - it was lovely to see the way those men seemed to remember the traditional ways instinctively, and forked the sheaves quite naturally.
Did you see that amazing Saxon Braid swatch on Dog Lovin' Knitter's recent posting? Loved how it looked so much that I tried it in the silk/cashmere trapped on my Muckross hunting trip.
It came out beautifully with perfect stitch definition. Discovered along the way, incidentally, that the silk/cashmere smells very strange when it's wet - rather like a manure heap - but is fine once it's dry.
Oh - nearly forgot to tell you. The Elann lace crop cardi finally got its outing the other night when the Chisinau Opera Company were in town with Die Fledermaus.
Looks every inch the part, doesn't it? Wore it with an ankle-length panelled black suede skirt and boots, plus a silver ribbed polo neck (it was a chilly night for once). The Elann loved the operetta and sang along to some of the choruses, chinking its little beaded points for all it was worth. If you were thinking of making this cardi, go for it. It's worth the trouble and would decorate the grandest occasion.
Still wish I was at Rhinebeck. Would so love to meet everybody. But Toronto in April does seem like a definite possibility (can you have a definite possibility?) How many of you would I meet there?