Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I've been so very, very bad...

First off, let me start off by saying this: I suck, and I know it. I have been neglecting blogland for a while, but because I suddenly find myself with a refreshing amount of free time on my hands, I have decided to return to the land of the internet-living. I haven't been knitting as much as I'd like to, and that's truly sad, sad, sad. But, thanks to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I've found new inspiration and happily, the need to knit is back in place. Thank the Goddess!

Let me start by re-capping my weekend in Maryland. Friday, me and the in-laws (MIL,and two SILs) woke up early and headed off for our long drive. We were armed with coffee, knitting projects and plenty of cash to spend on Saturday. Ten hours later, we arrived at the Comfort INN, in Catonsville, MD. Next year, we're planning on staying somewhere else, but as far as hotels went, it wasn't so bad. The rates were good, which was a bonus, but on the negative side we had to deal with being surrounded by a high school basketball team the whole weekend we stayed. And they were loud, and kept knocking on our door all fucking night. Probably, they figured that they were banging on one of their teammates' doors,but in reality, they weren't. They were lucky that we were too tired to chase them off with pointy sticks. Instead, we unpacked, went to Wal-Mart in search of sandals, and then crashed after eating dinner at a local fast-food joint called Chick-Fil-A. It was okay. If you like fast food crap, which I'm getting kind of sick of.

Saturday: We started off the day bright and early by getting to the festival at 7:30 a.m., where we were instantly greeted to a few smiling early birds camped out up front (complete with chairs and knitting in laps), and the cheerful cry of "Is that Lickmysticks?" by none other than the wonderful LanieRed!
Maryland SnW 009

Not only a fellow Ravelry member, but a fellow LSG bitch as well! Yay, what a great way to start our day. She drove all the way from Biloxi, by her lonesome, to head up to the festival, and we marvelled at her true-blue knitterly status for a moment before heading right over to the Fold where we could make sure to score enough STR to tide us over till Rhinebeck. I myself only bought four skeins, but kept running back in after I'd paid to fetch skeins for my SIL and another fellow raveler KnittingKris, who had also arrived with some other ravelers and friends. Let me tell you, there were a lot of us there! Once we were done there, we hit the food stands, where I had a healthy breakfast of a fatty, fried, HUGE corn dog with mustard and then prepared to hit up some of the other booths where I bought a braid of BFL from the Flying Fibers stall.

Now I had originally told myself that I wouldn't buy any roving as I hadn't even spun up the stuff I bought at Rhinebeck, but that was most likely a bold-faced lie as I couldn't resist the soft loveliness of that bfl, and on top of that, it was in pretty sky-like blues so I had to have it. Gorgeous! So, yada, yada I bought more yarn and then, at around 12:45-ish we arrived at the Rabbit building for the Ravelry meetup, where were greeted by this...
Maryland SNW Ravelry Crowd

What a huge friggin' crowd! And better yet, while hanging around waiting for Jess, Casey and Mary-Heather to arrive, we managed to meet a few more LSG girls and ravelers!

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You girls rocked! Thanks so much for helping us pass the time with chatter while we waited for the rock stars of the internet knitting world to appear.Also, earlier in the day I met Michelle from Sweet Sheep while I was buying a more than generous skein of her hand-dyed fingering weight yarn in "Fields Forever" (gorgeous pink/green colorway).
Maryland SnW 026 She also rocked. In fact, I can't wait to buy more of her yarn. Thanks Michelle, for giving me yet another yarn to be addicted to! :)

Once the heads of Ravelry arrived, buttons, and avatar stickers were passed out, and pictures galore were taken with our three hosts. So many, that none of my group wanted to bother them for a picture just yet, but Mary Heather came our way, and to prove she's not a narc, snapped a picture with my SIL, the infamous LickMySticks - LSG loudmouth extraordinaire! Good times were had, and then we headed back out to catch some more shopping before heading back to our hotel to take a yarn nap.
Maryland SnW 041 A hobby Pam apparently took far too seriously. Still, it must have been nice to lay in all that skwooshy yarn, and I'm jealous that I didn't get to stage dive into it too. Either way, yes, that pile of yarn she's laying in is the amount of yarn four women are capable of buying in a five hour time span when budget constraints are abnormally large. Want a better look? Sure!
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That's a whole lotta yarn. I'm sure plenty of people bought more than that themselves, but still...that's a lotta fuckin' yarn! And what, out of all this swag is actually mine? Allow me.

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Total purchases for me = 4 skeins of Socks That Rock - Mediumweight (two in Dutch Canyon, one in Sherbet, and one in Knitty Rocks)

2 skeins of Acero from Brooks Farm

2(4?...they're each two skeins but were sold in pairs for a sock amount) skeins of Made by Ewe Sock Yarn.

1 skein of "Out of the Dyepot" yarn...I don't remember the actual name of the booth though.

1 neat-o expandable shopping bag kit from The Spinnery

1 HUGE skein (745 yds) of Sweet Sheep Fingering in "Fields Forever"

1 4 oz Braid of super-soft BFL roving from Flying Fibers

Not bad eh?

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Please, don't mind the scary red-eye in the picture and just look at all the lovely stuff I'm holding. It looks like a lot more than I listed when in my short, stubby arms, but I assure you, it's everything!

So, after we played with our new yarn and napped a bit (erm, a bit longer than intended that is), we rushed out the door (after prettying up again)to head to the Ravelry after party, where we got boozed up and had plenty of laughs with silkworm and a newfound friend, ChezAristote (who won a door prize and gloats about it very demurely)Maryland SnW 055 while Pam pouted a bottle of beer that she could not drink. Maryland SnW 058

The whole night was quite, quite spiffy, and we even managed to score some photographic proof that the heads of Ravelry DON'T hate LSG. Maryland SnW 059 Note: Casey looks a little terrified, but at least this further proves that MH is not a narc and that Jess likes us too. After this picture was taken, we headed back to our hotel only to have those asshole basket ball players keep on knocking on our door, jiggling door handles and basically just being annoying, teenage kids. Ugh. No sleep for me. But at least I woke up plenty early in the morning so I could pack it up and shove it back in the car before heading back to the Festival for a quick peek around to make sure we didn't miss anything. All I wound up buying was a fabulous, hand-made wooden drop spindle made by Bill Hardy! So far, I love it. It's weighted nicely, spins like a dream and really is lovely to look at. I still might check out a Kundert though, as they came highly recommended! ;)

Anyway, we left the festival at 11 a.m. on Sunday, and eight hours later I wound up back in good old New Beige. Note the sarcasm. Anyhoo, (If you are KaRi a.k.a Coggie TM then read no further until you get your package!!!***) later on in the week, I got kind of hungry so I helped myself to a nice, big piece of Blueberry Pie!
Blueberry Pie 001
Isn't it cute? It's the first piece of knitted anything that I've ever made that required stuffing, and I think I did a pretty good job of it. I used Caron Simply Soft for the filling (I think it was Country Blue or something like that) and then I just used some Red Heart Supersaver for the crust. The pattern was super-easy to crank out (once I looked at it with tired eyes) and was knit up for a swap that took place in the Kitchen Item Exchange group via Ravelry. I made a couple of extra things to go along with it, just because I tend to be a bit of a spoiler when it comes to swaps.
Blueberry Pie 009
Cupcake Cloth
Swap Pack

Besides the blueberry pie pincushion, cupcake cloth and kitty/butterfly stitchmarkers, I also included a set of ten bamboo blocking pins and a tiny little bamboo crochet hook, useful for picking up stitches. I hope KaRi likes it! The cloth was the result of me just messing around, and it's way larger than a normal dishcloth , so maybe it's more of a mini-towel or something. At any rate, I especially like the cupcake portion as I pretty much just kind of designed it off the seat of my pants. I didn't write down anything that I did, but when I try to replicate it again, I'll write it down and maybe I'll have a pattern up for it soon!

Once I finished that swap package up, I cast on for me later-than-late to the party Clapotis - after all, it's what I bought those two skeins of Dutch Canyon STR for ;) (totally biting your idea Pam...and doing it unashamedly as well : P). I originally wasn't going to knit it, because honestly, I'm not one to knit something just because everyone else in the knitting world was. Not to mention the fact that I didn't think it was all that pretty. I guess you could say that looking at everyone else's work on the pattern finally made me want one of my own. I'll be posting pictures as soon as I get past the damn increase rows. Those things take forever.

Also, I finally have a picture of my previously mentioned Entrelac Tote to show off as well. It's still not finished as I had stopped knitting on it due to being disheartened by the fact that my LYS didn't have another skein of one of the colors I needed to make it look pretty (I bit the bullet and bought it off eBay...luckily for like two bucks cheaper because it was an auction). So far, so good, though, don't you think? IMG_0040 Made with Berroco Peruvia It's huge though, which is good because once it's finished it will be summarily felted, and then shaved with disposable razors to remove fuzziness,and then will have leather handles added to it so I can hopefully wear it around Rhinebeck right along with my Clap and hopefully my Luna Moth shawl (I plan on making it out of that gorgeous Sweet Sheep stuff I just bought)...if I can actually manage to cast on for it. Right now I'm supposed to be knitting my Slow Bee, but the lace that I have for it is packed away so it'll have to wait I guess. At least until I can get off my lazy ass and poke around the box my yarn's been shoved into. Either way, I plan on keeping myself busy knitting over the next few months, as , sadly, my hobby has been quite neglected. Not to mention the fact that I've joined a couple of other swaps and have plans for a Dexter Swap 2 in the making (The first one can be found here.)

On the homefront, life is going well for me. My wife might be getting a new job as a Corrections Officer with our local Sherrif Department, which means that she'll be making TWICE as much as she currently makes as a CNA (yay! That means that I might actually be able to be a housewife soon!). Beeba is still the cutest doggie in the whole world, though I still need to knit her a sweater. I just can't find the right pattern. I think I might have to try at designing again for her itty bitty skinny body. And well, everything's going good! It's cold as hell here right now though, so I'm gonna head off upstairs to get cozy with my knitting for a couple of hours before I have to sleep. Goodnight all and happy knitting!