Archive for October, 2006

First time

A wise woman told me Saturday night that you never forget your first time (with a fleece). I might have made an inappropriate reference to the fleece’s name, but we don’t need to talk about that.

Instead, may I present Black Cherry:

(Here, in the blinding sunlight of my trunk)

(Here, a lock)

(Here, more crimp. Sorry about the finger.)

Some information:

What is it? A cormo fleece. I think. I’m pretty sure. (They took the card that told me so when I purchased it. I might have been a wee bit dazed at the time.) It could be a corriedale, though, because I just remember that it began with a C.

How much is it? It is just a hair under three pounds. 2.7, I think. From what I understand, this doesn’t actually qualify it as a fleece purchase (and therefore it was reasonable for me to nearly forget about it last post).

Why on earth did you pick that fleece? Um…I didn’t. Lisa did. Now, Lisa couldn’t care less (and that is stating it mildly) about fleece, and looked so bored in the fleece barn I was reminded of past bad dates. But, this one spoke to her and she called my attention back to it. I fondled it, listened to it, stroked its crimp until I wondered what all that brown stuff was on my fingers, took a deep breath and bought it.

Whatcha going to do with it? Good question. I have received some pretty strong hints that it wants to be plied with some caramel-colored alpaca I have tucked away, and sent on a journey to Florida. But I don’t know if I should listen to such hints. Really, all I’m thinking about right now is getting it to clean. I will worry about the rest much, much later.

What about pictures of that Olympic/Rhinebeck sweater? You hush, NeedleTart. I still need to wash it/block it. Y’all weren’t supposed to know that.

As for the washing (that I’m actually looking forward to) I hope to be able to get started this weekend. I’ve found myself overwhelmed with homework, as we’re just over half-way through the semester and rolling quickly downhill towards the end. While I was thrilled to have an easy week for Rhinebeck, I am paying for it now in a big way. That said, if anyone wants to take a short (15 minute) survey on internet searching, let me know at cygnet246 at yahoo dot com. (I’m in a bit of a pinch on my numbers!)

Until then, the fleece lives in the car.


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* “They” are the people who have gone before, who tell you that you *must* go, but not really why.

What have I learned about Rhinebeck:
I learned that it’s not the festival, its not the bloggers, its not the weather or the lamb burgers or the vendors or the h(m)otel that makes Rhinebeck. It really is all of it, all mushed together.

I learned that there are far far more knit bloggers out there than I could have imagined, and that though I saw a huge number (see pictures here and here, for starters) I only saw a wee fraction.

I learned that Socks that Rock are worthy of a looooong line. A long long long long line, the length of Building A in fact, and all the really super stuff was already claimed by the people in front of me in line. Which didn’t stop me from standing in a long line to buy sock yarn for someone I promised I would.

I learned that there is a finite amount of blithering idiocy that can fall out of my mouth when talking to people whose work I admire. Not that it doesn’t happen, but that I can control it. A little.

I learned that after you meet a few bloggers–no matter how terrified of crowds you are–you’re happy to talk to someone just as freaky on fiber as you are.

I learned that bunnies are like crack. Everyone stops to look, and those that stop to coo at them *all* talk in baby talk.

I learned that it is very important to get a recommendation on a hotel/motel and not just take what you can find. Trust that this is the best picture of the room:

(I’m in the room, facing out.)

I learned that friends can be really good to you. Lisa bought this for me, a Grafton Fibers batt and spindle:

And this is my haul:

(Except for the spinning stool I bought. Oh, and the fleece.)

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Off like a prom dress

It’s official: I’ll be wearing the Olympic Rhinebeck sweater on Saturday. I have it on right this second (though the bottom hem isn’t done), and while it’s a bit snug (or I’m a bit round), it looks pretty damn ok.

Mr. Cygknit is back from the bank for me. Dragon arrives in 30 minutes (I live 35 minutes from the airport, FYI). See you Saturday (or not. Sorry.)

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I have a list of things to do before Rhinebeck that is freakin’ huge. Overwhelming. And I know I can’t be the only one.

See, Ms. Dragon is flying up here on Thursday for a weekend of Rhinebeck fun. We’re spending Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at some nice place in Red Hook (let’s not dwell on the fact that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the place. We’ll worry about that tomorrow). Somewhere between the homework, the cleaning and the packing, I have to figure out the nearest Starbucks to Hartford Airport (apparently the girl needs caffeine immediately upon deplaning. I can’t argue with that).

(For the record, I spent over 20 minutes trying to figure out what to type next, as all that was in my head is was Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck.)

Right. So, I am taking everyone’s advice that 1/8 of an ounce of yarn is *plenty* to finish the mitt 2. I would feel silly about being so worried, but I’m going to wait to see how it turns out, ok? I am sure y’all are 100% right. I’m just a little slightly not noticeably high strung. I admit it.

Sadly, mitt 2 been getting little time with me, what with the alarmingly long to-do list and the homework that I *cough* kindagotbehindon *cough*. Progress as of this morning:

(Note the Rhinebeck Bingo card in the background!)

I made it through the last cable on my lunch break today, so it goes, if slowly.

Tuesdays are my Knit With Terry nights, assuming I’ve been a good girl and done my homework (due on Tuesdays). What was I working on last night? Hemmed down some stitches, that’s what.

(a poorly photographed Hourglass sweater)

Lest it appear that I will *actually* finish my Olympic Rhinebeck sweater, I still have a few more stitches to hem down.

(UV index in Connecticut 10/18/06: 0. Stitches left to hem: 270ish)

This angle is bad, I know, and the sweater isn’t nearly as shapeless as it appears. I was running late for a doctor’s appointment*. Also, for the record, I haven’t ever tried this sweater on. I know this puts me in the running for Stupidest Knitter of the Year, but I’m badly superstitious about this sweater. I don’t know why. I really hope to wear it Saturday. Really, really really. Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck. Anyone else as excited as a kid going to the circus?

* I was told today that I have to cut my caffeine intake to zero. I’m really not happy (read: I cried in front of the Dr.). There might be some whining or general crankiness in posts over the coming weeks. I’m really sorry, in advance.

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Not that kind of girl


I love to knit, and I do it as frequently as I can. Lunch breaks, trips with Mr. Cygknit (including trips to Target), and far too many hours I should be doing schoolwork. On a scale of obsessed, however, I don’t rank nearly as I high as my co-workers I would like to think I am. Yes, I will chose to knit over cleaning. I will even pick knitting over reading a book (which is a change of pace for me). But knitting over sleep? Oh. No. That’s crazy talk.

So. Right. *Ahem* I present Fetching

No sleep for me until the ends were woven in

So, Fetching is kinda Bunny’s fault. Mr. Cygknit set up the bunny pen a little after 5pm to clean the main cage out, and asked if I’d like to sit with Bun. I grabbed a jacket and sat inside the enclosure, watching the considerable frolicking (and eating of greens. Bunny likes greens.) The landlords walked over to chat, and we all stood around for a good while just talking. My hands got cold. Really cold. And I remembered: I wanted to make fingerless gloves back in April. When talking and cage cleaning and gazing fondly at the bunny were done, I cast me on a project.

There’s just one problem:

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Wish me luck.

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Again with the behind on Socktoberfest posting.

Here is my sock stash. Isn’t it pitifully small?

Lolly’s Questions:

Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?

Um, sometimes. The green Opal Gems in the top left is meant to be some leaf lace socks, and some Pinguin I forgot about until just now was meant for a lace pattern. Otherwise, no. When I comes to sock yarn, I go with what makes me happy.

Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)

Sure. The green/blue ball in the lower right is part of my Dye-O-Rama pal’s beeyoutiful gift to me (there’s more, but that’s what I could find while getting ready for work). The Artyarns came from the Yarn Harlot time at WEBS, while the Lorna’s Laces is from KnitterBunny and the Swizzle is from Lisa. I could keep going, but I think I made my point 🙂

Gathering my wee sock stash together has given me a very important insight: I need more sock yarn. For a while now, I’ve thought I had a whole lot more than I apparently do. How sadly mistaken I’ve been, and how much more sock yarn I can buy (I’m holding back an evil laugh). This afternoon I plan to be at Sit N Knit in W. Hartford for Stitchy’s talk. Bwahaha!

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Because I can’t stop

Forgive me. I really should be Socktoberfest posting. But, oh! I’m taken with the bunny.

Apparently, Olive and Juniper are getting along: they played hide and seek last night. It terrified the heck out of *me*.

PS Today, Dragon turns 30. If you can stand any more mushiness from me, go read how we met and why I like her.

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So far behind

I had a wonderful, (if cold medicine filled) weekend with Jess up at the Hancock Shaker Village. We were part of…wait, we WERE…the spinning demonstration for the end of National Spinning Week. Aside from being a great excuse to go up and see Jess, and hang out with her (very fun) family, and chill in her wool-filled house, this was a heck of an experience for me, even in my cold medicine stupor.

I had never spun in public before.

See, I’ve never had a class, or any spinning instruction beyond that very first day I sat at a wheel. And with all that I was doing that day, I really haven’t the foggiest idea what I was told, except “draft and twist/draft and twist/draft and twist.” (Which I finally got after several long moments of questioning my own intelligence).

Anyway, here I was, with Jess The Experienced Spinner sitting behind me. Me, out front, with all the curious staring at me. Need I say I was terrified? I prayed no one would have a clue that I had no idea what I was doing. For the most part, they didn’t. I was able to prattle on when asked a question, and so long as I didn’t have to name a part (“Oh, that’s a doohicky. No, really. That’s its name. Really”) most people were just looking at the very basics, like how we can all be making yarn with different kinds of wheels. (My amazing fright aside, this really is the kind of thing I want to do. I’ll suck it up, I promise.)

When I came home on Sunday, guess what I found? (If you guess “home” you’re right! I made it all the way home with no directions from Jess’ lovely home in the middle of freakin’ nowhere far from the sound of highways with only my wee mind to guide me. Yeah, I was sweating bullets.) No, really, what I found when I got home was this:


This was one of the very first pictures we took of him, though it isn’t really the best. He’s still a bit nervous, here

Why, what did the kitties think of him, you ask? Misfit was the first to see him, through the glass door between our kitchen and mudroom (where he lives). He was NOT interested in meeting him face to face, though. Olive gets that distinction:

Olive the Wild Bunny Chaser is surprisingly not interested in eating chasing this one. Instead, she hangs out with him. There’s a bench next to his cage, which was for *us* to sit on when we’re in there. Olive, though, will take a nap there if given the choice, happily stretching to touch noses with Bunny whenever the chance arises. While I thought this was cute, and all, my real fear was what would happen when they met in the wild (ok, the front yard).

Mr. Cygknit built a foldy-up sort of pen, about 5 1/2 feet across, for Bunny to play in. It seems that when he saw Bunny’s natural habitat in Vermont, there was much frolicking about in the grass, and he wanted to replicate such a thing here:

Don’t I look healthy?

The odd thing, again, was Olive’s lack of murderous heart for this little creature. We were all out there for over an hour, with Olive ranging around the property. She’d see him hopping about, and the movement would make her crouch. She’d run about half the distance to the pen, see it was him, and turn around, disappointed. She didn’t care. She chased squirrels, instead (for the record, the squirrels always win).

Misfit, however, was not as amused by the bunny.


For the most part, he just leaves Bunny alone, which is just fine by me. Bunny got his first free range in the house yesterday, after I blocked off about half the kitchen. Misfit pawed at the screen (a handmade room screen) a bit, and then resigned himself to whining. When Olive finally woke up, she whacked the screen over, and joined Bunny. At least he’s getting the litter training down.

Finally, a Gratuitous Bunny Shot:

There are plenty more where that came from. Maybe tomorrow?

*We’re in a bit of a dispute over names, here in the CygKnit house. Mr. C likes to call him Senor Pantalones (and has several songs he’s created to the tune of “I Have A Little Dreidel.”) I prefer Juniper, a suggestion from Terry. It is looking like Juniper will be his “Official” name, and he’ll be known as Pantalones in the home. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

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I am sick. I know I will be all better soon (I have to! I have too much to do!) but boy, today hasn’t been so very fun. The socks for my mom (the Sockotta) were not working out, and after much cursing I ripped them out and started a different pattern, the last on one the right, here. The color change in the yarn happens about every three stitches, and I think this one will show it off better.

Instead of whining any longer though, I present:

Long Promised Spinning

So, way back in August, I started spinning this

Then, something happened. I couldn’t spin it any more. Every time I tried, it just sorta fell apart. I’d spin and spin–even adding way more twist than I thought–and still it would just whip away onto the bobbin. I adjusted the tension about six million times and…nothing. I posed the question to a spinning forum, and…nothing. I thought it might be all the humidity, so I just walked away. Yeah. I’m not proud, but I walked away.

Now, our house is pretty small. At about 700 square feet, there wasn’t anywhere to hide the wheel. And the room you see her photographed in all the time? Really, it’s just a nook between the bedroom and the bathroom. With all the coffee I drink…I saw a lot of Edina. And I felt a whole lotta guilty.

So, fast forward to a week or so ago, when the Project Linus blanket came back to me with a gift inside: Cherry Tree Hill Roving (I wish I had a picture of it before splitting it and spinning it). Oh, Lord, I had to do something. So, I told Mr. Cygknit I was going to do this spinning thing, and Do Not Disturb Me!

He found me later, in tears. It wasn’t working. He gently asked me to slide over on the bench, he made one adjustment, and it worked. (I’m never very sure if I love him or hate him. So hard some days.)

This is what I ended up with:

Two-ply. About 300 yards. Very “designer.”

Do you see, in the very first picture, how very baby fine the fiber is? While it was a dream to touch and pet, it made spinning it *maybe* not the best choice for this novice.

This, however, is what 100% Merino does:

Isn’t it beautiful?

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Socktoberfest!! (again!)

Late, again! I’ve been reading everyone’s answers to Lolly’s Socktoberfest questionnaire, and want to play along (what with being on a sock high, and all).

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I started making socks in March of 2005. My mom’s birthday was coming up and she perpetually has cold feet. Socks seemed the perfect gift. Ha!

I taught myself, with only a little success. I really wanted to try DPNs (having been afraid of them for so long). Unfortunately, a lot of instructions leave out that you are to knit the outside of the loop (either that, or they assume you’re not as dense as me). I was viewing the stitches from above and knitting into the backs, though I didn’t realize it. My socks were being knit inside out (!!!). A co worker at the time, an older Danish woman (with that brusque Germanic accent that can render a person two inches tall) literally laughed at me when I pulled them out one day at lunch. She helped me tweak the process a bit…

What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?

My first pair was for my Mom’s birthday. They were a month late, they took so long. I don’t know if they’ve held up, though, as I don’t think she wears them. It could be because she treasures hand-knit things–or it could be that one was a whole size smaller than the other. It’s hard to say 😉

What would you have done differently?

Well, I would have knit them both right side out!! Also, I left in two or three mistakes, as I didn’t see them right away (what with the insideoutedness). It seemed that it had taken so very long to get where I was that I couldn’t bear to rip back. I know better now. Oh, and I would have knit them both the same size, and all.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

Almost all of them. The only one I haven’t enjoyed was the Regia Nation Colors (the bumblebee socks), since they felt kinda wiry. I’m also not liking the Sockotta a whole lot, but I hope that changes.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I do NOT like to crochet socks. I tried once and gave up, figuring the pattern was much smarter than I was. It could just be that I’m allergic to crochet. Much like my aversion to toe-up…

The bestest way for me to knot socks is on 4 DPNs (total). I can completely get my head around the math (ratios) for decreases at the gusset and toes, and I haven’t looked back since then. Much.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I’ve not tried short-row (yet). I keep meaning to, but because I can knit a flap-heel and turn with no directions (read: while at work) I’m pretty partial to it. The socks I’m doing for my mom, though, are short-row, so be prepared for the whining fun.

How many pairs have you made?

Only five, I think, have been finished.

Hopefully I will have some spinning pictures tomorrow. I really have been spinning, despite what it may have appeared, though I’m not yet ready to talk about the issues I had with Edina, yet. Tomorrow…

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