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Falling

Rhinebeck aka the New York Sheep and Wool Festival has come and gone.  It was the usual whirlwind of people, colors, wool, animals, and yummy foods.  To add to the fun this year it also snowed.  At one point I was walking through a swirl of bright red orange leaves and snowflakes.  The snow meant that it was a little chilly.  In fact, I barely took off my coat all weekend, which was a shame because it is fun to show off handknits.  It was so cold that I barely took any pictures and that is partly why it has taken me so long to write up this post as I have been waiting for the husband to download the pictures he took so I can use those.   Life is busy, though, and time’s ticking by, so you’ll just have to make do with what I have.

The cold did not stop me or anyone else from shopping, and I think maybe people were buying extra because of the cold, even though we all know that there’s not much hope that all of that yarn will be turned into winter garments or accessories before the winter is over.

One thing different about my trip to Rhinebeck this year was that I got to help out in a booth for a little bit.  My friend Michele makes wonderful bags that are super useful for knitting projects, purses, etc.  You can find her bags on etsy at her ThreeBagsFull shop.

I also loved reconnecting with knitting friends.

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My Rhinebeck shopping strategy this year was to try to buy things that are harder to find elsewhere.  For example, these two skeins of Cormo from Foxhill Farm and this skein of blue sock yarn from indigodragonfly.  The former does not have an online shop and really only sells through these festival shows.   The latter is based in Canada and I took the opportunity to try a skein without having to pay international shipping rates.

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My only sweater quantity is this lovely berry color from Harrisville.  I have been told that this is a great yarn for sweaters and am looking forward to trying it.  Any sweater suggestions are welcome!  I am leaning towards a pullover, maybe something with cables, but not too many as I don’t want the sweater to be too heavy.

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Before we left, we made a quick stop at the Knitspot pop-up shop.  It is always a treat to see their yarns in person and they never disappoint.  I’ve got three of their newest ones to try: Better Breakfast Blend, Hempshaugh, and Chebris lace.

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And that’s it really.  The trip went by really quickly and I am already looking forward to next year.  For now, I better get knitting!

Bright

This past Tuesday, I was blessed by an unusual day. The boys were done with school early and I had some time on my hands, so I did something I had been wanting to do for awhile. I reskeined some balls of yarn that has been sitting in my stash for quite awhile.

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Then, I made kool-aid, but without sugar. And we did not drink it.

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Instead, I put the yarn in it and dyed it. I have only ever done two kinds of dyeing, indigo (which you can read about here) and kool aid. I like kool aid because it doesn’t require any chemicals and is not toxic, unless you have one of those food dye allergies, but in this case it isn’t ingested, so it might be ok. Plus, there is a nice fruity aroma.

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The dyeing process is pretty simple. You can do it in the microwave or a pot.

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I did both because I had a lot of skeins and different colors I wanted to do. For the microwave, I used glass bowls that would not stain.

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You know when the dyeing is all done because the water turns clear because the yarn has absorbed all the color. It’s like a magic trick that never gets old.

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The downside to kool aid is its limited palette of bright colors, but it is a fun way to dabble in the world of dyeing without investing too much.

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I was going for a rainbow of colors, but did not have any green, so I will have to do that another day. At the moment, I have no immediate plans for the yarn. Perhaps the boys will want to do something with it. If you want to try your hand at kool aid dyeing, I used this guide to help me. It certainly brightened up my day.

Seaglass Cape Cod

One wonderful thing about knitting a top down, all in one piece sweater is that when you’re finished with the knitting, it’s really just a few minutes away from being wearable.

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The sleeves on this sweater went quickly during the hour or two before bed over the weekend when I was too tired to do anything but plain stockinette knitting. Then, it was ten minutes of weaving in ends and a good long bath followed by a day of drying. After that, it was ready to wear.

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It grew a little in its bath, so the fit is looser and longer than I thought it would be but the fabric of the sweater itself is dreamy. The yarn has a light, fluffy quality to it and the high silk content makes it shimmer and also causes it to be comfortable to wear against the skin. There is no itch factor here.

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There is a bit more fabric under the arms than I would like, which is a common problem with top down sweaters. However, it is likely that few people will notice this and it will probably bother me less as time goes on.

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One thing I like about this pattern is that the back detail is a little different from the front. It’s things like this that make knitting more interesting.

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I am pretty happy with how this turned out and I hope I get one or two coolish days this spring to wear it before it gets too hot. The pattern is Cape Cod by Thea Colman and the yarn is Haven by Shalimar Yarns in the Seaglass colorway.

More Pink

With the delay of spring here in this part of the world, I find myself looking to create a little spring of my own wherever I can. This is manifesting itself mostly in yarn and in pink.

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First, my Brandied Cherry sweater is all done. The depth of color on this yarn is difficult to capture in photos. The pink is dark and vibrant.

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Before I seamed, I blocked my sweater pieces. This is something I used to never do, but now I do it every time because it really makes seaming much easier. One thing I noticed about this yarn is that it really stretched out in blocking. I was expecting this since it is a superwash yarn and don’t mind extra length in my sweaters. I find, in general, that you can really stretch out SW yarn when it is wet, but once it is dry, it usually bounces back a little.

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I used some of my new clover clips to help out with the seaming. They are really handy and easy to use and reposition.

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My row gauge was a bit long, so my sleeves turned out a tad longer than I expected, but there is a cuff incorporated in the pattern that is meant to be folded back, so all is well there, too.

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I am very happy with how this one turned out. It is a warm, cozy sweater in a happy color.

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As soon as I was done with this, I went back to work on my spring mystery shawl, in a very similar pink color.

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Additionally, I am already planning another sweater in (surprise!) pink, though this one is a little more muted in its tone.

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This yarn is from The Woolen Rabbit and is made of 85% Polwarth wool and 15% silk. It has a lovely sheen from the silk and is very smooth to knit with. My plan is to make this sweater with it. The blue sock yarn just came along for the ride because even though I am very smitten with pink right now, blue is my true love.

Usually at this time of year, we have some flowers and budding blossoms, but this year we are still stuck in the polar vortex. Any cherry blossom color around here is coming from this gorgeous yarn by the same name.

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Yes, I am a little obsessed with pink and likely will be until the riot of spring colors finally arrives. Then, maybe I’ll go back to gray or brown. For now, I need pink.

The Next Good Thing

Can you believe Christmas is only 3 weeks away? Since Thanksgiving was so late this year, it feels like we have a lot less time to prepare than usual. Actually, in our house, that’s not necessarily true. We like to try to celebrate just one thing at a time and the thing that comes after Thanksgiving for us is my birthday.

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For many out of the last several years, we have used the day to go get our Christmas tree. Sometimes, we go to a farm and sometimes we just go to a local side of the road kind of place. This year, we opted for the farm since it was supposed to be a little warmer. And it turned out to be a great day for getting a tree. Now, we just have to make time to decorate it!

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After we got home, we cut into the cake that the husband made for me. Every year, he ventures into the kitchen to bake a cake of my choosing. He started off many years ago making angel food cakes and now, he can make butter cakes, genoise cakes, and he can even make ganache and buttercreams! This year, I picked a recipe from Sarabeth’s Bakery. It’s a vanilla genoise with lemon curd, raspberries, and a vanilla buttercream.

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I think this may be the best cake I have ever eaten. It’s got the perfect balance of tart and sweet; it’s moist and light, and the buttercream melts in your mouth. It takes a bit of work to prepare each component, but many of them can be made in advance. In fact, I helped the husband out by making the buttercream base a few months ago and stored it in the freezer. I tell you, I am really blessed to have such a talented hubby!

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And that’s not all! I also got some very sheepy gifts that I am just really excited about; a sheep cutting board (isn’t it cute?) and two colors of a most luxurious yarn made from baby llama hair and silk. I can’t wait to wind these up and knit with them.

Ok, now that my birthday festivities are over, it’s time to get serious about Christmas baking. Stay tuned. There will be lots of baking, maybe some crafting, and definitely a give-away!