Sunday, October 28, 2007

SAFF (boy am I behind)

Hello Friends,

I know it has been a while since I've posted, but those of you who know me irl probably already know the reason for my blog silence recently. I think the worst of the work will be over Tuesday when the external advisory board comes in for the annual review. Let's just hope things settle down after that. I really wanted to get this post up today before I go into work because one of my readers (who checks the blog obsessively) is celebrating her 14th birthday. Happy Birthday, Li'l Bit! I'm so sorry I can't be there.
Now, let's get into fibery goodness! A few weeks ago I attended SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival) with Melinda (thanks for driving!), Karen, and Gena. All 3 were sporting gorgeous new handknit sweaters. I, however, did not have the blogger instinct to photograph said sweaters. I actually did want to, but when we met up it was still pretty dark outside so I figured we'd wait until later in the day. But once we got to SAFF we were all so overwhelmed that I completely forgot. Trust me, they were lovely. And, it was perfect sweater weather.

It was totally Tocktober in the llama barns. Check out these fluffiest of 'tocks! Llamas are not terribly friendly. One of them even snarled at me - he/she had this great Elvis lip action going on.

The vendor area was completely overwhelming for all of us as this was our first fiber festival. There were so many beautiful sights like this one. We were kinda in yarn overload.

I was so overwhelmed by all the yarn that I forgot my shopping list: FIBER, Shawl pin, Estonian Garden Shawl pattern. I did find a lovely shawl pin from Knitting Notions. I chose African Padauk because the wood matched my swallowtail shawl so well. The ladies working the booth were incredibly nice and they had the most gorgeous shawl samples on display. It inspired Melinda to make the Icarus shawl (here is a lovely example) from a previous issue of Interweave Knits.

I also found the Estonian Garden Shawl pattern at the Kid Hollow Farm booth. I've been wanting to make this shawl for months after seeing Firefly's (ravelry link). I'm so glad to have finally found the pattern - I already have the perfect yarn for it:

Now, recall how the first thing on my list was fiber? There were just so many fibers to chose from that the fiber-picking part of my brain went on vacation. I came home with none. I'm going to practice my spinning a bit more and brace myself for next year. Instead of fiber I came home with a skein of yarn. I'd show you a picture of the hank, but I'd already wound it in the car on the way home. Instead, some knitted up pictures:

The yarn was dyed by the incredibly talented (and friendly) Miss Babs. This colorway is Raspberry Cane - I really wish I'd bought Saturn as well!

After we got our shop on, the four of us migrated to the Ravelry meetup and met lots of knitters we know from blogland. It's been a few weeks so I'm sure I'll forget some people, but here goes! Aimee, TurtleGirl, ZKnits, Mean Girl, and Trillian. Aimee recently participated in a walk to raise money for Lupus research and asked the knitting community to aide her in raising funds. She raised a total of 4.6k! To help raise the money, she had a number of prizes available that would be distributed to donors. Much to my surprise (and delight) I won one of those prizes. Namely, the prize pack from the Zen Yarn Garden. It consisted of a cute lined drawstring project bag (currently housing the Miss Babs socks) and some ultra-squishy sport-weight sock yarn. The yarn is a merino/seacell blend so it has a lovely shimmer to it. The colorway is named Lilacs, and the hank had a whopping 375 yards! Dood, those socks are gonna be a mile tall!

What a day! I can't wait for next year.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mileage May Vary

I've been working slowly on the Tangled Yolk Cardigan from Fall 'o7 Interweave Knits. I hadn't blogged about the project yet because the project isn't visually exciting in the beginning. Instead, my joy has been purely tactile. The Silky Wool (by Elsebeth Lavold) I'm using is incredibly soft, and in a DK weight the resulting fabric has a very nice drape without adding bulk. I already anticipate this being a favorite sweater in the coming autumn months. I tend to stop every few rows just to pet this sweater. I've found my progress slowed by the need to stop and remove little snarls of grass from the yarn as I work (nope, I'm not a perfectionist at all!). I have worked with this yarn before so I anticipated the problem. However, you'll notice that I did not find this to be enough of an issue to select a different yarn for the project. One thing I will say for this yarn - it does hold up to my incessant nit picking very well!

Here is the sweater at the end of 2 balls (roughly 400m). It is a mere 2 inches from the underarms. I was absolutely shocked to discover that this yarn went so far. I will probably have a fair amount left over despite lengthening the body.
The astute readers out there will say - "Wait up! The tangled yolk cardigan is a cardigan. What you have there is knit in the round all pulloveresque." Those readers would be correct. I really do try to learn something new with every project. Sometimes just learning the limitations of the yarn is enough for me, but I'd used the Silky Wool before. So this time I'm going to learn the crochet'ed steek. I chose this method because it will retain the stretchiness of the knitted fabric - unlike machine stitching to reinforce the line of cutting. Plus, it leaves tidy edges which appeal to the perfectionist in me. We will see if I'm still so keen on the idea when I am sitting poised with scissors in hand.