October 30, 2013

So I Went to Rhinebeck and Brought Back More Photos of Cats Than Yarn (Rhinebeck Debrief 2013)

I said I was going to post about Rhinebeck and...I don't know what to talk about.  I re-read my post from last year and realized that my experience was pretty damn similar.  I went upstate, stayed with family, went to the fair, had a fun time, and went back home.  It was great but it was pretty much a repeat of last year, minus the class I took then.  I didn't take a class this year, so I can't even talk about that.

So, I guess I'll just picture dump then (not that I have many good ones.  I seriously have just as many pictures of cats this year, and none of the yarn):

The view from the porch of the building my sister's apartment was in (slightly north of Duchess County).  Pretty leaves. Still loooove the fall upstate, though it was freezing cold both mornings (it was better during the day).  Dunno what was going on at that church over there though.

Crappy picture; got taken through my windshield
The billboard on the way to the fair!  They seem to use the same design every year, though this is the first time I got a picture.  I shouldn't have been on 9G anyway (the billboard is at the intersection of the road from the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge (it's also a highway, but I forgot the name) and Rt. 9G.  It's meant for people coming from the bridge, which is why it's at a weird angle here)  Turns out you can drive straight down Route 9 through Red Hook to the Fairgrounds.  Duh.  I turned in Red Hook, got on 9G, and got stuck in all the traffic coming off the bridge to the fair.  Took me 30 minutes to get through it.  On the other hand, when I went Sunday, there was no traffic and I got there early because I was expecting to crawl for at least 10 minutes.

I got to the fair with plenty of time though, and got to see everything this time, more than once (several times in some cases...hey, you miss stuff the first two times). Saturday was crowded (figures with all that traffic), so I did more looking than shopping that day, though my mother and I are a bad influence on each other and so we both ended up with unplanned things that Saturday (favorite quote from her this year: 'I'm buying so  many things for myself this year and not for other people!'  I told her that was a good thing, that she should make stuff for herself).  Sunday I ran around with my sisters, and bought most of the yarn I wanted.  I also convinced my poor college student of a sister that she had to buy some yarn there, he he he.

For some reason, I have no pictures of the actual fair, but a few of sheep:

...and a llama (llama llama duck.  You're welcome for the earworm):

Wait, I took this bad picture of a shawl I really liked and want to knit:

I did buy yarn to do it at the fair, and by buy yarn I mean I bought a skein of heavy laceweight dark blue yarn to go with some royal blue fingering weight yarn I bought two years ago and still haven't used...for a sport weight shawl.  Oops. All sorts of fail there.  For some reason I thought that vendor only sold fingering weight yarn.

Of course I then went a bought what ended up being three skeins of sport weight yarn for a fingering weight shawl I've wanted to do since Phil Plait,of all people, linked to the Ravelry page for it, because of course Socks that Rock Mediumweight isn't actually standard sock weight yarn.  At least that just gets you a bigger 'shawl' (it will most likely go on my wall, not get worn.  It's just awesome).

And before you ask, no, I can't use the yarn I bought for the second shawl for the first and vice versa (well, I could do that first one, but I don't want to).  I need a dark black-blue yarn for the second one and two different colors for the first one.

So...wait, did I mention I have tons of photos of cats? I won't derail completely so I'll just post a few that go with a story about yarn.  Saturday night I spent lazing around my sister's apartment. Of course I had bought some of the yarn I bought that day (not the stuff above.  Other yarn.  You'll see). One of her cats (she has two) first decided it liked the yarn I was knitting with:

And then decided it wanted to get the new yarn in my bag:

And then decided that on top of my yarn and bag was a good place to sleep:

Yes, the socks in the bottom corner are my Crazy Purple Socks.  Had to wear something I made to Rhinebeck...

I eventually moved the yarn to the suitcase so it didn't become cat toys overnight.

On Sunday we did dinner and then I drove back to my parent's place.  Since I was lazing about on Monday as well and never made it to the bus to go back to the city (took off Friday and Monday.  Yay four-day weekend), I took pictures of what I bought:

Lots of gray and black this year

...and then decided to go check out the new yarn store that opened up the next town over this year.  Because Rhinebeck wasn't enough yarn.  Anyway, it ended up being a pretty nice store, and I had a nice chat with the owner since I was the only one there mid-day Monday.  Turns out she had organized a bus trip to Rhinebeck on Sunday, and she also had bought more yarn than she needed (her actual statement was closer to: 'I bought some yarn and then asked myself why I was buying yarn; I own a yarn store').  I also bought a skein of yarn, and signed my mother up for the mailing list because she keeps saying she's going to go check out the store and never does (I also told the owner about her so now she has no excuse). 

After the yarn store, I went to a local park and took more pictures:

I also sat in the island in the middle of the lake and knitted a bit.  Because why the hell not;  I had an hour left on the meter for my car.

And that was my weekend at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.  And with the cats.

Next year I'll take photos of the fair instead, I promise.

October 27, 2013

The Tale of a Broken Needle

I finally got to the toe of the first sock I'm making for my Mom:

I was all like, whoo hoo, I only got 18 rows left. I'll finish the sock while at the laundromat.  I'm on track for getting both done by Haunukkah.  So I packed up my laundry and my knitting (standard protocol), get to the laundromat, start my laundry, and knit one row before one of the needles decided to rip away from the cable:

Sorry for the crappy pic, but you get the idea
Not pop out (I've had that problem with KnitPicks needles before).  The cable broke. Granted, magic loop is hard on the circular needles and that spot had been snagging a bit, but this is the first time I've had one break.

My first thought was: ah, man, now I got to order another one and wait a week to finish the sock.  You see, I'm not one of those knitters that has a gazillion copies of the same needle (I have a few repeats, manly within the interchangeable set, but not many).  For my long sock-sized circulars, I have one circular of KnitPicks Options solid 47" in each size from US 0 to 3, and three Knitter's Pride Dreamz wood needles in sizes US 0 to 1 1/2.  And the only reason I own the wood ones was for the last socks I made for my Mom, in which I used an alpaca/silk blend that did not tolerate my metal needles at all.

This is actually important to the story.  Because, you see, when I ordered the three wood needles from WEBS last year (which got delivered right after Hurricane Sandy.  I was impressed it got here at all), there was a mistake in the order.  They had shipped the size 0 and 1 1/2 Dreamz needles, but had sent me the size 1 in Knitter's Pride's Nova line, which is a metal needle very similar to the KnitPicks Options.  So I contacted them to inform them of the mistake and asked how I should ship the metal needle back so I could get the wood one I wanted.  They told me to keep the metal one and they'd just send me the one I ordered (which they did very quickly because WEBS is good people).

Guess what size I just broke?

Yep, the size 1s.  So someone else's mistake worked in my favor today, and I can finish the sock and start the new one without having to wait for a new needle.  

Now, a few of you may be going: But wait, didn't you say you had the wood ones as well?  Isn't that also a backup?  No, and the reason is because different needles can produce different gauges, and this effect is in full force if the needle is a different material.  Since wood is less slippery than the light metal used for the Options/Nova needles, it causes a slightly bigger gauge.  For me, it usually has an effect of making my gauge a half stitch bigger. Now, there is the slim possibility that the Nova needles will also change my gauge, but since they are the same material, it's way more likely to have a small effect if anything.  If I was doing it properly I would re-knit a swatch to make sure.  Since I'm on the toe of the first sock, I really don't care.  As long as the toe and the second sock don't come out radically different than the first one (which can happen even with the same needles for me), it'll work.

Now, I'll fully admit that there is another solution I didn't think of until now.  I do have the full Options sock DPN set as well. I could switch to those, just to finish the toe at least (I would be very wary of trying to knit the second one on DPNs after doing the first one Magic Loop.  Despite it being the same brand of needle, DPNs screw with my knitting style and therefore will most likely change the gauge even more.  And there's the fact that I don't like DPNs).

Nothing like the random coincidence that ends up working out. Anyway, at least I pack backup projects and got some of another present done:

[And yes, I know I haven't done the Rhinebeck debrief yet.  I'll be honest and say that it was great but very similar to my experience last year, so I dunno what to actually debrief, which is why it's not the post before this one.  I'll show off yarn and pictures at least.  Next post.]

October 13, 2013

Unrealistic Expectations

I have a problem I think most people have, but anyway it's a problem.  I seem to think there are more than 24 hours in a day.  And that within those 24 hours, I can be superwoman and accomplish all this stuff, despite the fact that I can't even get my ass moving too fast (like now).

In other words, it's October, and I of course have way too many projects going on.

It's a bit worse this year, though.  The first issue is that I decided to make almost everything for my Halloween costume this year, so not only am I knitting a couple of items (one done, the other in progress:

), I'm sewing a dress.  Sewing takes up a lot more time since you can't just do 'a couple of rows' like in knitting, and is not portable.  At least I have a machine now:

The fact that it lives on my dining table is another problem
The good thing about the sewing machine is that it does save time.  The bad thing about the sewing machine is then I think I can whip out a full dress in a couple of days.  No.  No, I can't.  Especially since I'm a novice, crappy seamstress.  I then think I can do more than I can within the three or so hours after work I have.  Except when I don't because I went out to dinner.

So that's taking away from my knitting time.  Other things taking away from my knitting time are the NYC Yarn Crawl (for which I bought more yarn I didn't need) and NYS Sheep and Wool (this weekend!  Buy more yarn I don't really need!), and concerts (I've got three shows this month I went/am going to), and my boyfriend (which is related to the concert and dinner thing, at least).  And I can't even be pissed about it; I enjoy it all. But when did I gain a life?  Actually...never mind that, when did I become an adult with all these adult responsibilities on top of it all (you know, because I also really need to cook two weeks worth of lunches, do laundry, and clean the bathroom today)?

The second (third?) issue is that not only am I working on things for Halloween, I had to start everything for Hanukkah this month as well, since the first night is the evening before Thanksgiving (American, so that would be late November).  Usually I get last-minute present plans around Rhinebeck, get the yarn there, and start early November.  It works if Hanukkah is at least mid-December (though I still run into scheduling issues).  It doesn't work this year.  The good thing is that I did plan ahead on some things, and I have one present done, and I got a jump start on my Mom's socks.  The bad thing is that I currently have two more projects (including the socks) going for that because why not start another knitted present while I'm working on one already:

Ignore the gray skein...that isn't a project, just some random yarn I thought I might use and didn't
Well...started being relative.  I did swatch and do some calculations for one of them so far.  The reddish one is the Jane Bennet socks from the Summer 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits.  I didn't pick the pattern; I had my Mom search Ravelry for a sock pattern she liked, and made the yarn I'm using the surprise (last year, it was the other way: she knew what yarn I was using, but didn't really know the sock pattern until I had to try them on her....ok, so we don't really do the surprise thing here.  It's just that she hasn't seen the work in progress yet). 

Oh, and I'm knitting another sock for a KAL:

Yeah, that's not getting done anytime soon. 

And don't even ask me about the tank pattern; I haven't started writing it yet.