Today Was Absurd.

Today was ABSURDLY INCREDIBLE, that is.

Got up at 7am and was out of the house by 8:30 to make the 10am-1pm class at Loop with Franklin.  Franklin brought his Introduction to Lace class to Philadelphia and when I got the Loop newsletter about it, I signed up right away.  This was, no joke, the first real knitting class I have ever taken.  Franklin, in his calm and witty way, took us through the history of knitted lace and lace knitting (two different things!) which I found particularly fascinating, being somewhat of a history geek.  There was talk of technique, a demonstration of Nupps, all while we worked through a pattern that Franklin designed.  I got a whole repeat done and even got a decent start on the applied border at one end.  There aren’t really words in my exhausted brain right now to express how much I loved this class, but I can tell you that I liked it.  I liked it a lot.

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After the class was over, I had to book out of Loop and cross all applicable appendages that one can cross while driving and hope that I got home in time to make it to my next item on the agenda.  Naturally, Philadelphia traffic failed me as there was bridge construction and then a HUGE OIL SPILL over a bridge I need to take to get home.  Naturally, by the time I realized that I should turn around, I was stuck between two walls of Jersey dividers with no way to go anywhere but insane with the stopped-dead traffic.  It finally cleared out and managed to get home with five whole minutes to get the dogs out, watered, fed, and back out the door.

Then, it was on to the Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA.  It had been on the list of places-to-go ever since we moved here and a friend and I finally made the trip.  No joke, I could spend a whole day there and just not be tired of the place.  The six story concrete castle was built by Henry C. Mercer (and a dozen local farm boys) in 1916.  He used tiles from his tile works to decorate nearly every square inch of the inside.  On top of the tile, he used scavenged and recycled materials, picking up old dressers and reusing drawers inside concrete dressers.  Broken mirrors were scavenged for their frames and hung lovingly with beautiful engravings and prints.  He even used scrap metal fences and various other metal material for reinforcing his concrete pillars and walls.  He was a true believer in the arts and crafts movement, and I’d even go so far as to call his house a ‘green’ house with all the recycling and reusing that he did.  It’s kinda interesting that people now are reclaiming glass for countertops when he was doing similar things back in the early 1900s.  It’s a completely overwhelming experience and definitely one I’d enjoy repeating.  We even managed to get on the behind-the-scenes tour later in the evening which took us all the way up to the top of the highest tower and to the crypt/basement, all of the places that are not normally seen on the regular tours.  Sadly, no photography is allowed inside the museum (it was making me all itchy, not being able to capture all that incredible beauty) but I have a few photos from outside.

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As the perfect end to the day, when I got home, there were two wiggly dogs to greet me.  They graciously let me give them belly rubs and a big long group hug.  Perfect end to a really spectacular day.  Now I believe it’s time to haul my tired self into bed and fall into a blissfull sleep and dream of beautiful lace and concrete castles.   🙂

She sews too

After a minor website outage (fixed quickly by the crack team at Dreamhost), I’ve got a small update.

Not only does she knit, she sews!  I’ve been in love with those great little boxy bags that people get for their knitting projects.  I have to hem most of the pants I buy thanks to a genetic defect (ie. Shortness), so I thought, hey, I can do this.  There’s a great tutorial by Patchy Apple here that I found it super easy to follow.  The resulting bag was put together and given to my friend Debbie for her birthday, but I have the photographic evidence that it exists and plan to make more! I modified the directions slightly and used two basic fabrics with a layer of canvas inbetween. I couldn’t find fusible fleece and that seemed to work out just fine – just the two fabrics would’ve left the bag much too floppy.

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Sunshine Surf Scarf

This is another one of those great spun-to-finished projects that I love doing. 

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Roving

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The yarn is fingering weight and a three ply. I just divided the roving into three parts that weighed about the same. This is my first three ply since I got the SpinOlution lazy kate and put her to the test. It worked out great and the resulting yarn was so squishy and soft.

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The Scarf! It’s longer than I am tall (5’4″) and is soft and puffy and squishy. Orange probably isn’t my favorite of all the colors, but I LOVE how this knitted up and how incredibly soft it is. I decided not to block the scarf since I loved the bubbly and rippled texture that the dropped yarn overs give the fabric. It’s been worn a bunch of times and has gathered a number of compliments.

Pattern: Morning Surf Scarf
Designer: Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm)
Yarn: Handpun from Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino roving, colorway “Sunshine of your Love”

Ravelry Project Link– 

February wrap-up

Still working on the knitting resolutions!
1. Clear the WIP queue from last year by the end of the month.
February is gone and I haven’t really made any headway there.  I managed to start way too many new projects at once and not make any real progress on any of the big ones.  I did knit three hats though this month, so that counts for something!  This means that I’m officially dedicating March to clearing the WIP queue completely.  Once that’s done, I’m going to start a sweater.

3. Knit one pair of socks per month
So close on this one!  But, I think I’m still on track for 12 pairs for the year, so this shouldn’t be a big deal that I’m 4 days over budget.  February is short anyway, right?  Just finished up the socks tonight, so I’ll have photos of them hopefully tomorrow.

4. Spin four ounces of roving per month.
Boy did I ever make this one!  There were the four ounces of superwash BFL for Thorpe and then a whopping eight ounces of superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farms for my Sunshine Surf Scarf.   I’ll post something more on that project later.

5. Dye more yarn and roving.
Got this one already too, though I hope to do this again throughout the year.  I attended a class at a local art center with the wonderful Pam Pawl who took us through the process she uses for dyeing.  It really made a lot of sense and I loved her method and great organization of the process.  I got to dye two skeins of yarn that the class provided (not great quality and really scratchy, but they’ll be wonderful for a felted project!).  With the leftover dye, I was able to dye some merino roving I had brought along.  Photographic evidence:
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Naughty Deer

A friend of mine wanted a knit hat.  Jokingly, I suggested using this specific chart to make him a hilarious hat and then offered a few other options for hats that were more tame.  He decided on the original joke idea and I went ahead and knit it for him.  Here’s the finished result!

Pattern: Basic hat, no real pattern, used Fornicating Deer Chart
Designer: Anne Rutten
Needles: US #7 (4.5mm)
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted, Jade and Gold

Ravelry Project Link

deerhat

This was super easy to knit and it was a ton of fun to watch the chart shape up and turn into a pair of naughty deer. I did modify the chart to make the deer on the bottom antler-less.  Cast on 96 sts for three repeats.  The recipient loves it and said that he got a bunch of compliments on it while he was out over the weekend.  I find it completely hilarious and have already gotten a request to make another one for another friend!

EDIT 02March2009:
Recipient of the hat made a video about the joy his hat has brought him.. I nearly fell off my chair laughing.
Myspace Video

EDIT 19April2009:
I had gotten a bunch of hits from a UK knitting forum.. linking back to the post for posterity  🙂   *waves to visitors from the Knitting Forum*

EDIT 02November2009:
This post was linked again and I noticed a HUGE jump in visitors to the site today from an Icelandic website.  While I don’t speak or read Icelandic, Hello there to you all!