Posts Tagged ‘mittens’

Recovery

After the lows of the past week, I decided that recovery might come in the form of fiber over-indulgence.

I went to the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival early Saturday morning, where, sadly, I was cameraless. What a lovely way to spend a morning. I started with shopping. I went to get fiber, and I was not disappointed.

My first purchases were made at Misty Mountain Farm’s booth, where I picked up VERY reasonably priced 4 oz. rovings.

My next purchase was the major purchase of the weekend. Stony Mountain was there. This is a pretty well-known fiber store from Charlottesville, and I was looking forward to seeing their shop and I was not disappointed. They had the find of the day when I came across a set of Viking combs for $49! It is a standard set with a single row, nothing fancy, but good enough to get me started and I am excited to try them.

I went with the intent of buying a fleece as well, but I became intimidated by the sheer variety, range of colors, prices, and breeds. I now intend to educate myself and come back next year prepared to bring home a fleece.

I got to meet Gale of GalesArt, which you can find there at Etsy or over at The Loopy Ewe. I picked up my long-desired Proud Peacock roving, but it was a close call between Proud Peacock and Gumball, which was also very attractive. All of her work was very nice looking and of all the fibers I have brought home, it gets the most attention.

The last purchase was from Wild Hare Fiber called Citrus Tonic. It is greens and yellows and a hint of light blue in there and it was delivered to its intended receiver- my Mom. She seemed to like it; she liked the Lemongrass colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I don’t think I can do socks out of the three ounces I have, so I have to come up with something else. I could tell she was disappointed when I told her I couldn’t do socks.

Mental note to self- mom wants spring-green socks.

My only disappointment about the entire festival was that not a single merchant and not a single spinner there had a Kromski wheel. Of any model. At. All. This made me pause in my quest for a Kromski, since when you see most people at a fiber festival spinning on either Majacraft or Schact wheels, you have to wonder what makes these so popular; and if there isnt a SINGLE Kromski there, why was that? Must investigate this further.

After I had shopped myself broke, I went and looked at the competitions. I saw Ms. Ashley’s Moonlight Sonata shawl which made me jealous that I lacked the skill to make my own Moonlight Sonata shawl, but after seeing how pretty her shawl was, I think I will give it another shot with a heavier weight yarn.

I was thrilled to see a friend from the SCA had entered her stranded knit silk bag and won first place with it. It was quite pretty and Ms. Maggie was the person who inspired me to jump off and start knitting this time last year when she showed me a pair of handspun naalbinded socks she had made for an SCA event last October. Yay for her winning first place.

There was a stunning white circular shawl there too that made me want to get another circular shawl on the needles. I am thinking of doing either Rona or the very beautiful but somewhat scary Wedding Peacock shawl by MMario on Ravelry.

After oohing and ahhing over the beautiful hand knits and handspun skeins, I went and watched the sheep shearing demonstations, which was cool to see, and also made me rethink the idea I had this year of learning to shear sheep and doing it as a side-job to help fund my hobby. Shearing is not a hobby job. No way.

Then I watched the sheep dog trials which were phenomenal! I have never seen sheep dogs at work, but wow, it was cool to see. They are lightning fast and smarter that a few humans I know. Really, it was the most impressive display of animal behaviour I have seen before.

The rest of my Saturday was spent exploring the eastern end of the Virginia Piedmont; New Kent Winery in particular. Wow was their wine good. They had a red Meritage that blew me away, and in general, I am not a wine drinker and especially not a red wine drinker, so this was really special.

I finished the first Ruba’iyat mitten this morning. Need a little kitchner on my thumb and to weave in a couple more ends from the thumb, and it will be done.

No, no pictures today. Camera was left at home. One of these days, I promise you, I will get around to posting pictures again; hopefully all the neat stuff I picked up this weekend will make it up here shortly.

In the meantime, wash your hands, get your flu shots, and stay home if you feel poorly.

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Lithuanian Love

Inspired by having 4 ounces of beautiful roving that needs a project, the changing season, the latest Knit Picks catalogue, and the YarnHarlot’s search for the perfect pair of mittens, I am planning on knitting mittens myself.

As of last week, I had settled on Hansa, but as much as those need to be mine (and they still really do), I want a motif that lets me focus more on the blue/gun metal colors of the roving, with the pewter gray color I plan to use being more of an accent. I feel like Hansa is too perfectly divided between the two colors.

I found the Squirrelly Swedish Mittens, which would allow me to really show off the changing colors of the blue handspun, and be a nod to “Kim, step away from the squirrel food!” but I was hoping to knit something a little more traditional looking. It does have the advantage of being in English, at least, and it comes with full instructions on how to do things like knit the thumb, which will be important to me, at least this once.

Today, though, I have fallen in love with Kiehkuralapaset, or the Swirly Mittens. They are absolutely beautiful, have more of the traditional Baltic look I am after, and I think they would show off the blue yarn very well. But…there is a chart; no pattern per say, and no assist on the thumb.

I have managed Finnish-only charts before; in fact, this one has more English that the Finnish Socks I did earlier this year, but I had done socks before and had more of a clue what I was getting into.

The last pair I am considering now are Ruba’iyat. This might be the perfect pair. They have the “look” I want, the colors will show well, they aren’t in a foreign language that I read not a word of, and have complete instructions on how to work a thumb.

I don’t know how to choose, but I am leaning more towards Ruba’iyat. I want something with a strong Scandinavian/Baltic influence. In doing some very brief research on Lithuanian knitting (because there is SO much information out there…ha!), I learned that Lithuanian patterns strongly influenced by Scandinavian, Latvian, and Turkish motifs, simply because the borders in the Baltic region have shifted around so very much in the past century or two.

Why Lithuanian? It’s my heritage. At least, the largest part of my heritage. Like any American, I am a strong European blend, but my Nana’s family came over in her generation. My great-grandmother never spoke English. I identify strongly with my Nana and her heritage, and she would have turned 95 this coming November 8th. It all tied in nicely to me; beautiful motifs, combined with beautiful and useful handknits appropriate for the season, the season in which my Nana celebrated her birthday with me celebrating my own birthday only two months later, in the coldest part of the year, and the heritage and history of where I came from all combined into, well, mittens.

All this, just to avoid knitting those stupid beer socks that are overdue for my poor, beleaguered (and sockless) husband.