Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Gathering

(The last of 4 blog posts I did tonight)

Last Saturday, Mo, Donna and I ventured eastward to Port Hope to attend The Gathering. It is a BIG spinning event sponsored by the Northumberland Fibre Arts Guild and the Northumberland Hooks & Needles Guild and is held in the Town Park Recreation Centre. There, we met Terry, Alexa, and Jennifer.

There were many vendors around the periphery of the hall.

Pine Hollow Farm offered lots of yummy batts,
fleeces,
and rovings.
YvieKnits Yarns was there,
with several of Natalie Servant's shawls on display, Francine Hebert's lovely shawl pins,
and binders full of Natalie's patterns. That's Yvonne (Yvie).  (sorry about the bad photo quality)
Other vendors had lots for us to peruse and purchase.
Wellington Fibres is a regular vendor. We'll see them again at the Knitter's Frolic on April 25 in Toronto at the Japanese Cultural Centre. Be advised the DVP is closed that weekend so an alternative route to Wynford Drive will be necessary.
Thistle Dew Farm had a lovely display. They were Grand Champion Fleece winners at the 2012 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
This vendor had lots of fleeces, rovings, yarns, and felted items.
The Sock Diva specializes in hand cranked (made on a circular sock machine) socks made with Opal (TM) sock yarn.
A demo on the sock machine.
Photo - Pete Fisher, Northumberland Today
Dye-Version also had a booth. We'll also see them at the Frolic.
Our spinning friend, Jennifer, recently told Paula Lishman about this event so Paula got herself a booth to display her fur yarns and some knitted fur items.
Someone from the local newspaper got a show of part of the group.  I'm facing the camera on the right in the green shawl with my mouth open. (what else is new?). That's Terry to my left, and Jennifer to her left.
Photo - Pete Fisher, Northumberland Today
I worked on this Cormo roving I purchased at Rhinebeck several years ago.
I took a few pics of the rows of spinning wheels.
There were lots of Lendrums (the tilted ones), Louets and Ashford wheels.
Plus many others.
This year's event was the best-attended ever. I estimate there were over 250 people there. I saw almost every spinner I know there plus a couple of knitting acquaintances.
I accosted this woman who was sporting a beautiful Aran sweater, hoping she could tell me the name of the pattern.
In fact, she had purchased it at a mill on a trip to Ireland. I really like how the shaping was done with the ribbing. She was pleased to accommodate my request to take photos. I hope to deconstruct it and design my own sweater with the yarn I brought back from Ireland in 2013.
Fullin' Woolens was also there and we'll probably see them at the Frolic, too.
After all the draws we went for lunch at Basil's Market & Deli, then over to Laurie's at The Black Lamb. The we stopped in at Soper Creek Yarns in Bowmanville, then home.

It was a great way to spend the day.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

More Afterthough Heels

I finished another pair of striped socks with afterthought heels. (please forgive the too-small sock blockers)
See how the pattern is not interrupted on the stripes on the instep? That's the main reason I use this heel.  It is somewhat fiddly picking up the heel stitches to knit the heel so I still prefer a heel flap or short-row heel.
I had to reknit the heel of the second sock about 7 times to get it to match the first one.
I just have this 'thing' about identical twin socks.

Shuttlebug Make and Take, Haruni the Third Completed, and a Conclusion to the iPhone Saga

For our program at last week's Shuttlebug Guild meeting we made pins.

We had a variety of threads to use that we wrapped around small squares of mat board.

These were our inspiration pins.
I liked the one on the bottom right. We used double sided sticky tape on the back to hold the threads.
This was my version. Then we attached a pin to a piece of black felt and glued it onto the back.
Here is Judy's. She used variegated thread and it turned out really well.
Carol Ann's sister, Gale, was visiting and was able to join us for the day. Here is the pin she made.
I'll have to remember to wear mine to the next meeting for 'show and tell'.

Speaking of show and tell. I got my latest Haruni shawl blocked in time to wear to the meeting.


From humble beginnings...
Don't let the edging discourage you from trying this pattern. The main part is a simple lace pattern which you can make bigger by adding repeats of the pattern. There is no tedious counting of stitches before you start the lovely, leafy border. Simply complete an even number of the 'leaves' in the main shawl. No matter what size you make, you will need at least 500yd of fingering weight yarn - more than one skein. There will probably be enough left over from the second skein to make a cowl or even a pair of ladies' socks.

The bind-off row looks crocheted but it is indeed knit with very clear instructions in the pattern. to close the points of the leaves, you simply knit 3 sts together.
The blocking does take some doing, I admit. I recommend you have a good look at a photo of one on Ravelry to see how the border and point work. I chose to run wires on either side of the 'spine' stitches and through the eyelet on the long side. then I pinned out the two loops on either side of the eyelet points. Then each individual loop. Believe me, taking the time to do a good pinning job really is worth it. I also measure along the top edges from the centre to the tips to make sure I've pinned it symmetrically. The shawl will fold up properly as a result.
And finally, I've had Wifi connection problems with my iPhone 4S since about the middle of February. It was very frustrating in Texas not to be able to connect to Wifi with it and I hadn't taken my iPod Touch along, which could have done it instead. The iPhone either wouldn't even find a network to connect to, or if it did connect, the connection would disappear after about 15 seconds. Long enough to download email sometimes but not long enough to do any browsing with Wifi.

On Monday we went to the local Apple store to see what could be done. It was going to cost over $300 with tax to replace the 3 year-old phone with the same model. The Apple employee then suggested that for another $150, I could upgrade to a brand new iPhone 5C. The only problem was they only come with 8GB and I already had 11GB on my 4S without any music files at all. I needed more storage. The 16GB 5C was yet a couple of hundred dollars more. I figured while we were in that ball park, I might as well update to the most recent model, the iPhone 6. It, however, didn't have a 32GB model so I bit the bullet and got the 64GB model. I can now put my music files on it.

The reason I didn't buy the new phone with a new contract is that I have an OLD plan from 20 years ago that only costs $15 per month which gives me enough minutes to do everything I need to do by cell phone. I also have a $25/m data plan. I have been advised by many people to never give up the phone plan unless I want to pay a lot more. The only down side is that I don't have call display on the plan and I do pay extra for texts. But I save at least $25 per month not having those two features. That's $300 per year, folks! Also, the new phone is unlocked so when I go to the US for extended periods of time, I can put a US SIM card in the phone if I so choose.

This year, for our US phone usage, we bought an LG TracFone at BestBuy for $4.99. I then bought a $19.99  card with 90 days of service and 90 minutes of time. When I activated the card, I got an additional 60 days and 30 minutes, so for about $25US we had US phone with 5 months of service and 2 hours of talk time.

Long story short, I bought a new iPhone 6.
I also picked up this very cool zebra patterned case. Wouldn't that print make great fabric?

I'm Back... and A Cool Knitting Tip

Skip and I arrived home on Easter Sunday after a 6-day drive home from the Rio Grande Valley by way of Graceland in Memphis, TN and visiting a friend just north of Indianapolis. The driving was fairly uneventful - just LONG.  It took us quite a few days to recover from the change from Central to Eastern time and so many days on the road.

I have been doing some knitting and spinning, which I will detail in the next blog post.

However, I stumbled upon a technitting.blogspot.com post where she discusses dealing with the unsightly purl bumps visible on the right side in knitting when ribbing:
I remember dealing with this when I knit Skip's Dale of Norway St. Moritz sweater. There were stripes on the ribbed cuffs and along the bottom. I LOVED that the pattern included the direction to eliminate the purl bumps of the next colour.
The technitter explanation is a thorough one and is found here.

I will give you the abbreviated version. When you are doing ribbing and change colours, in the first row/round of the new colour, knit ALL the stitches. Then in the second row/round, begin the ribbing as indicated in the pattern.

That's it!

Basically when you do the ribbing after the knit round, the knit stitches are buried between the rows of purl stitches so there are no unsightly purl bumps in the new colour.
If you look closely, you can see 3 rows of knitting but only two rows of purling in the ribbing.

That is because the knit stitches sink beneath the textured purl stitches and aren't seen. On the reverse side, you can see the solid purl row (created by knitting a row on the right side) where all the purl bumps in the new colour appear.
Because it interrupts the ribbing on the private side, it won't work where you are using the ribbing for a reversible effect, such as a cuff of a sleeve you might fold back or the edge of a ribbed hat that might get folded back. However, you can certainly see its advantages when changing colours or knitting stripes in ribbing.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

More Afterthought Heels

(If you're looking for posts about birds, scroll down to the previous posts)

The closest yarn shop is about 5.5h away by car in San Antonio so I am forced to shop at craft or discount stores for yarn. I had planned to buy some online while we were here but we had a real snafu with an Amazon order so I was mail-shy.

I did have big success with Kroy sock yarn purchased locally and these afterthought heel socks so I went out and bought two more colourways of this yarn - neither of which has the same kind of striping.

I'm almost finished the second sock.
I continued the 3 x 1 ribbing down the instep and front of the foot. I used 2.5mm needles on the leg and switched to 2.25mm needles on the foot for more durability.  It may take a bit of adjusting to get the toe of the second sock to match that of the first one. Then I have to decide which colour to do the heels and exactly where I'll insert them in each sock - probably right in the middle of the darker grey stripe below the green stripe.

Back Again

Skip and I are trying to cram in as many visits to the Birding Center as we can before we leave next week to go back home.

It was SO nice there yesterday - sunny with not a cloud in the sky and only a slight breeze.

Just as we got out of the car in the parking lot, Skip spotted this female ruby-throated hummingbird flitting around. Then she landed on the barbed wire fence to rest - and stayed there long enough for me to dig out my camera, turn it on and get several shots.

 Out on the boardwalk, we noted that there are still some redheads in residence and a couple of royal terns
that seemed to be having a deep conversation of some kind.
I wanted to get a photo of the Eurasian collared dove for my archives.
This willet was also wandering around the bank along the waterway by the boardwalk.
A tricolour heron landed close by.
Over by the gator pond,  the mama was keeping an eye on her offspring on the far shore.

There are many schools of blue tilapia of all sizes in the waterways.
The males  make these round 'nests' by digging out the sand and spitting it out onto the sides, creating 'craters' under the water. There are several of these along one of the boardwalks. The males have the red colouring on their tails.
 
 Blue-wing teal.
In this group shot is a little blue heron, two snoozing black-bellied whistling ducks, a black-necked stilt, some snoozing blue-wing teal and a great egret.
Back at the centre, I'm taking a few scenic shots for my memory bank. We won't be back to SPI for at least 10 months and possibly years.
These will make great pics for my desktop slideshow.