Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Talking Knitting

One follow-up thought to the moving thing: The current plan is that I will put most of my stuff in storage when I move, and stay with my mother for a few months while we figure out What's Next; that means that I will have to decide what I want and need to have with me at her place, and not put in storage (not that I won't be able to get things out of the storage, but I doubt it will be simple, so that should be planned on an as-needed, not as-wanted, basis). And I realized recently that, since I am going to Florida for Christmas, I can take advantage of that trip to bring a second suitcase full of stuff to leave there, since $35 to carry 50 pounds worth of stuff is a pretty good deal.

So, now all I have to do* is decide what to bring. So far, I'm thinking some yarn, a few books, and maybe a few pictures, things to make it feel less like a visit and more like my home. Obviously, it can't be anything I'll still need here in MA until I move, so it's a bit of a balancing act. But I'm open to suggestions: What do you think?
*Well, other than buying another suitcase, and some space bags.

It's funny, I can accept that there are roughly 10,000 steps involved in this move more easily than I can accept that I don't know what they all are. Yet.

Now, it's time to talk about what I've been knitting lately! Given how crazy October is, it's not surprising that it's been a month since I have done so, and I know I've mentioned it here and there, but let's sum up.
So, what am I working on?

Socks, of course. The Bruins socks are still in progress, having been put aside before the trip in September, and only worked on a little since then. In the purse socks, I have finished the first, and started the second. In the world's-least-gradienty-gradient, the toe got ever so slightly darker, but you can only tell if you really look.
Honestly. It's nice yarn, but too gradual.
And since the skein is enough for three socks, almost, I won't be getting into the very darker end with this pair.
I thought about starting the second sock from the middle, but then they really wouldn't match. Who knows.

I blocked the airplane-knitting shawl. Remember that? Did I show you, and mention that it needed blocking?
Yeah. It needed blocking. I laid it out on Sunday, and pinned the bottom edge. It was just a little too big to fit on two squares.
In the evening, concerned that it was still damp as bedtime approached, I propped it at an angle on the couch, and pointed the fan at it.
When it was dry, it draped over two squares with only a little overlap.
Points pinned:
Points retained fairly well.
I'm happy with it. To recap, the yarn was Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering in colorway Montavilla (which I would have named Forest Floor, but that's just me), and the pattern is the Kindness KAL Shawl.

The other thing I have been working on is the shawl I cast on for the drive to Rhinebeck, and it's progressing nicely. The first side piece is more or less done, pending my decision about when to start the middle bit. I just weighed the yarn, and I've used 76 of the 233 grams I started with, so about a third. I think that means I should move to the middle now! It might even mean I should have already done that, in order to not run out of yarn before I finish, so I'll have to ponder a bit before making a move. I'm certainly happy with it so far, which is good. Better photos will come in time, but for now, here's a glimpse. The general idea:
And the length, the other day.
And that's about it for the knitting these days!

A final note: Here's a good idea from the Loopy Ewe, bag tags that you can attach to your knitting project bag when you're carrying it around, so that if you leave it somewhere, it can find you again! And not that you need to use specialized tags for the purpose, but they're cute.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

It's Been a Long Time

I haven't moved in almost 11 years.

I haven't done an interstate move in almost 15 years.

And I was never at all good at moving, at the getting ready and being ready part.

Also, I'm a planner, someone who wants to know what to expect, to prepare (even if only mentally) for what's coming. Which isn't always easy, or even possible, with a big move.

So I think it's understandable that I'm nervous about getting ready for this move. I'm not good at being spontaneous (stop laughing), and I'm not good with change (seriously, stop laughing). As my brother said, the fact that I want to go ahead with this move despite that means it really is the right thing to do.

But it is a daunting amount of work, from here. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Urge to Purge

Recently, and for no apparent reason*, I felt the desire to go through my files and see what I could get rid of, pre-Florida move. I still don't have a set date for when I'll move (I'm see-sawing in a big way), but I have a 2-drawer file cabinet that was very full, and I knew I wouldn't need to keep everything in it. If the urge to go through that strikes me, I'm going to do it!
*I mean, the idea of getting ready ahead of the move is not a new one, but this was so specific...

And boy, did it need doing. You might look at file folders labeled Optical or Dental and think, why not? But I don't actually need to know what day in 1992 I had a tooth filled, or what I paid for contact lenses in 1994. What a lot of paper into the recycling!

Or the shredder. I'm sure, 15 years ago, that I would have been nonplussed at the idea that having my social security number printed on bills and records could ever be a problem, but in 2017, I'm horrified at how many of them did that. How times change.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

And the 2017 Rhinebeck Haul

Down to the nitty-gritty: What did I buy at Rhinebeck this year? (The full going-to-Rhinebeck story is here.)

Three yarns:
One picture:
And one book:

Yarn first. I haven't bought anything from Bijou Basin since 2009, which was my first time at Rhinebeck, when there was a half-off coupon in the Ravelry goody bag. But I noticed this one, Himalayan Summit, on my way past, and for their stuff, it was surprisingly affordable, $25 for a skein that's half yak, half merino. It feels very nice, and has a sort of glow. It's a good fall color.

I did not buy this shirt from them, but it does amuse me.
My first-ever purchase from Miss Babs:

I had to look up the meaning of the repeatable on the sticker, and it turns out my guess was right: some colorways they can consistently make again, and others they can't.
It's got 20% cashmere, not just 10%, and I wonder if the touch of nylon will help it hold up better? I like to make my socks with yarn that has some cashmere in it because I love how it feels, but it doesn't hold up as well as wool.
And the Socks That Rock. The classic, lightweight.

The story of buying the book is in the full recap, and I haven't started reading this yet, but I can't wait to. I love what she wrote in it.
I have a picture that I bought from Sheep Incognito in 2014; I'm sure that's when it was, because I put it up at the job I was working at, that fall (and that job was the one that laid us all off after a year, so there was only one October there). I can't find that I blogged it, though, perhaps because it doesn't have sheep, or any of the puns she does so well (seriously, go look at Ewe Tube), but is a simple, pretty landscape.

This time, though, I wanted a sheep, or at least a knitting reference.
Other than the perfectly ordinary row counter I bought, and the various edibles, that's it! And quite satisfying I find it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rhinebeck 2017: It Was Good

The full, loooong story, with photos! Like this tote bag says:

My friends picked me up Saturday morning at 7:30, and after picking up one more person (and stopping at Dunkin Donuts, naturally), we were on the road at 8:10. With one rest stop on the way, we got onto the fairgrounds at 11:20, so we made pretty good time. The traffic wasn't bad, the weather was sunny and pleasant, and there was much knitting done in the car!
(The camera just doesn't catch this colorway well. I guess it's too subtle.)

Art shot!
The weekend was not without flaw, good as it was, and one part of it that did not go to plan was now revealed: I had thought, oh, the doors open at 9, and we won't get there until after 11, so there won't be much of a line to get tickets, and there's no need to buy them in advance. Wrong! There was quite a line, and it moved very, very slowly, which was frustrating, especially as the fairgrounds had a new entrance area at the main gate, and two sets of ticket windows, and it all looked like it would move things right along, but the whole thing moved at the speed of glacier. Lesson learned*: always buy in advance. (Especially since I had printed out the online coupon, but it turned out not to be usable for buying the weekend pass.) The small fee for buying in advance would have been worth it.
*I say learned, but it is entirely possible that I have told myself this before, and forgotten it. Oh well.

They also had two tents set up for Extremely Pointless Security Theater, aka perfunctory bag checks, looking for god-knows-what*, and mostly relying on people to volunteer to be searched, or at least to respond to the calls to come over, which all struck me as...stupid, basically. Nothing personal, Rhinebeck security people. But what was the point of that?
*I opened my bag, he lifted the sock project bag to look under it, and that was it.

Once we finally got in, we all split up, having differing priorities; for myself, having decided upon sight of the line for the ladies room that I really didn't need to go yet, I went off to find some lunch. I ended up asking a woman I walked past where she got her sandwich, since it looked good, and got one of my own.
Mediterranean panini from Pete's Famous, quite good, and it was solid food to fuel the afternoon. I started through the letter barns (A, B, C), though there were many booths that were too crowded for me to deal with. And why do so many people feel it is just fine to stop in the middle of the aisle while they look at something in a booth, instead of stepping over to the side to look at it and not block all traffic at the same time? Or walk into you as they push past where there really isn't room for them, and don't even apologize. I've said it before: while some vendors do run out of some things, the Sunday experience is so much less frantic.

Anyway, I did still have fun, though I know that doesn't sound like I was! I bought a skein of Socks That Rock at The Fold's booth. Kind of sad, it's their last year at Rhinebeck: that's where I first bought STR, having read about it so much. I'll do a separate post with details of the haul, but here's the overview.
I also bought a small picture from Sheep Incognito; I love her stuff.
In honor of the whenever-it-happens move to Florida, I chose Haulin' Stash.

I enjoyed the decor and surroundings, both in the booths and outside.
The foliage was an odd mix this year: some trees were still green, others had already dropped all their leaves, and there was very little wow factor. Oh well. It was still pretty.

I drank some cider, as the temperature was getting warm. It was lovely weather, really, but for all the people wearing, or wanting to wear, their hand-knits, the temps were a little high for that (in the 70s, I think, and sunny).

Fluffy, fluffy bunny.
Wonder woman!
I happened across a judging event, and sat down to watch. Dark mohair goat does, specifically. The judge explained why he was ranking each one the way he did, which was interesting.

Leaning on the human.
This photo doesn't show it, but this one was feisty, and by the end she kept jumping, trying to throw the person off. I guess she'd had enough.
Blerp! The woman kept nudging the goat, trying to get her to pull her tongue in, but no luck.
It was interesting, anyway. I stopped by a few sheep, afterward.

I then ran into someone who used to be in my knitting group, until she moved out to western Mass last year, so that was a surprise! It was nice to catch up with her a little. It's not the first time I've run into someone I know there; estimates I've seen put the crowd at 30,000+, so you would think the odds would be against it, but it happens.

I had a pretzel and a Coke around mid-afternoon, so good (you can watch the guy shaping the dough and putting them in the ovens--they're fresh), and sat down to rest for a bit. I ended up chatting with the woman next to me, who was waiting for her husband to come by with the spinning wheel she was getting, and it turns out that they're from Syracuse and (wait for it) were at Apple Festival two weeks earlier (as vendors, in fact). Small world, indeed.

I met up with my other friend and her husband at the breed talk on telling the difference between a llama and an alpaca. Basically, the llama:
 ...is taller, and has ears that are curved like bananas.

The alpaca:
...is smaller, and has straight ears.

And, sometimes, a "How you doing?" expression. And a mustache.
But that part may vary from one to another.

From there (it was sometime after 4), those friends left to return to the motel, where we would see them again, and I met up with the friends I came with. While we waited for the last person to be ready, we looked at some other animals.

Tortoise and hare.
Enormous hare. Chilling.
Small kangaroos, and a baby wallaby.
Six months old, I think they said.
He hopped into his pouch to relax.
When we left the fairgrounds, we wanted to turn left, but the exit we went out only let us turn right. However, GPS gave us an alternate route around, to get south toward Hyde Park, and by so doing we possibly avoided the worst of the traffics through downtown Rhinebeck, plus it was a pretty drive, so not a real problem. We went to the motel, and I checked in and dumped my things in my room while the others went to hang out together until I could join them (the woman at the desk ahead of me was booking for next year ... and asking about rates, and wasn't that more expensive than this year? ... what did she pay this year? ... and are there any other discounts than the AAA? ... and after a while, being so very tired and sore, I just wanted to smack her).

Eventually I got it done, and joined the others. We talked for a bit, then decided we were all ready for dinner, so we went to the Eveready Diner, of course. So delicious! We did have to wait a bit for a table, since there were six of us, but of course the knitting came out, and we chatted, and the wait was fine despite all being pretty tired. (And sore. Have I mentioned that? My back in particular was really unhappy with me.) The food was delicious, conversation good, and I got my sock done all the way to the toe. All good.

After dinner, the group that I had come with was heading out, to stay with a friend in the area and do other things on Sunday, so we said our good-byes, and I walked back to the motel with my other friend and her husband (the trip was what she wanted to do for her birthday, and he was very patient at spending the time on something he had little to no interest in--and they had dinner Friday night at the CIA, which was apparently fantastic, so it's not that he was miserable the whole time). I got back to my room shortly after 8.

I did have to stop for a photo of this sign.
Will do, as soon as I figure out when I'm "finshed." (Obviously, I was not using the fitness center; but the editor in me had to take the picture. It isn't even my first Rhinebeck-hotel typo!)

I wandered around the room, unpacking and sorting things out, checking the Bruins score* on TV, and just generally moaning and groaning, but also smiling. I had the light off before 9:30. It felt so good to lie down!
*They were leading comfortably, the last I saw, so let's just pretend that the result I saw in the morning never happened.

My sleep was choppy (first the room was fine, then I was too cold, then too hot), but I did feel rested in the morning, if still sore. I did my usual wake-up-slowly routine, getting ready and packed up, and took some photos of the room. Because I ended up with a room with a king-sized bed, and it's pretty clear that the room was not originally intended for such. I almost had to turn sideways to get between the big piece of furniture and the corner, there.
And they tucked an armchair in next to one bedside table, where there was almost enough room for it.
Unless you wanted to open the drawer all the way.
Also, the room came with a mini-fridge and microwave, which were certainly nice even if I didn't need them this trip, but there was an extra microwave in the closet.
Emergency backup?

I also took a photo of the shower, because I do love all the shelves!
Although the middle one was actually a little in the way; I bumped it a few times. And as I'm sure my mother will notice, there's no grab bar. There was one just outside the shower, to the left, but it seems an oversight.

Anyway, enough of the tour! (I just want to feel I really got my money's worth; for my mental health, having a room on my own, and space to decompress overnight, is vital on such a busy, social, stimulating weekend, but honestly, it's not cheap.) I was in the lobby at the arranged time, 8, to check out and head back to the diner for breakfast. Bacon and eggs and pancakes, mmm. Which was delicious, of course, and also:
And, also of course, I brought the bottle home, since I didn't use it all up. Note to self: I need to make pancakes sometime.*
*I just checked the cupboard for ingredients, and the flour and baking powder are both years past their best-by dates. Why, no, I don't bake a lot, how did you guess?

After that, we went on up to the fair, arriving shortly after they opened, just after 9. It was a little chilly at that hour, but shaping up to be another beautiful day. And yes, a much more laid-back day! And I don't just mean at 9, but the whole time we were there. Yes, some things sell out, but it's just a different vibe.

We each bought a little yarn: she had fallen in love with something she saw Saturday, while I happened to catch a glimpse of this lovely thing, when passing the Bijou Basin booth, which I had not intended to go into (nice fiber, NOT cheap).
And there were other fun things, that I did not buy. The third one down would be good for anyone with a Boston accent.
And llamas! On pillows and totes. I'm sure it's llamas, because of the banana ears. (One of my friends said her husband was walking around saying, "Llama banana, llama banana...")
At that booth, they tell you not only the type of fiber, but the name of the animal that contributed to each skein.
And then I liked this pattern, on display at the Fiber Optic booth: 
Which is this, for future reference:
From there, we went into building E, which has both the food vendors, not the eat-there ones but things to buy like fudge and cheeses and wine, as well as the competitions and contest winners. There were some lovely things in the competitions.

They were having a Fleece to Shawl competition at the time, and one of the teams had a very eye-catching theme: Pippi Longstocking. I had to get a picture, of course.
Then I went to put it on Instagram, as one does, and when I opened that, I saw at the top an entry from Clara Parkes, who was there signing her new book, saying that they had sold out of her book, although she was going to mail signed copies to anyone who missed out (I mean, you'd still pay for the book! but she was eating the shipping fees, which is sweet of her). I was kind of bummed out anyway, since I could easily have gotten the book signed on Saturday, but had just figured it would be less crazy on Sunday.

It wasn't 11 yet (and she was scheduled to sign from 11-2), so I wandered on, not sure if I would even bother with the "having her mail me a signed copy" part--I don't really need it signed, after all, it was just that she was going to be there.

I caught part of the exotic breeds parade.

And saw this shirt in a booth shortly thereafter. Can you read the small print?
"The llama fanatic in me sees the llama fanatic in you." I'm not into yoga, but I have friends who are, and these sightings amuse me. (Like the frog yoga hot pads I got at Apple Festival.)

Right after that, I was in Jennie the Potter's booth, and what did they have at the register but some books by Clara Parkes? Including the new one. So I bought a copy, and brought it to the signing area to get it signed. There was a small line; I guess you could say it was a big line for Sunday, though I'm sure it had been far crazier the day before. One woman asked me who the line was for, and when I said Clara Parkes, she said, "Oh," and wandered on. I said to the woman in front of me, "I guess if you don't know who Clara is, it would seem strange for there to be this line," and she said, "Yes, but if you know who Clara is, then you're..." and she gave a happy sigh.

I looked at the table of contents, and I know who half of the contributors are, which means lots of chances to find new writers I like. Can't wait to get into it.

As long as I was in the area, I went back to see just how crazy things were at the Miss Babs booth; I've never gotten any of her yarn, because it's usually a madhouse, and then there's the line to pay, which can take an hour or more to get through at peak. I did want to see just what the fuss was about, though, and the booth, though busy, did not set off my claustrophobia, so I edged in, and only had to have a few, very civil conversations about how if you would move that way, I could move this way, and it all worked out. I ended up with a skein of Caroline, in a lovely combination of greens and blues. It has a touch of cashmere, mmm.
And the line was startlingly short! I waited longer on Saturday, at a different booth, to pay $3 for a row counter (I didn't bring the kind that you can attach to the knitting project, and in the car on the way there, I kept dropping it; it was worth $3 not to have that keep happening).

Having gone back to E to get my maple cotton candy, I found I was starting to run down; I'd done everything I could think of that I most wanted to, and so I sat and knit for a little while. Then I met up with my friends, and we talked it over and decided that we were both good in terms of the fair experience, we were hungry, and we wanted to sit down to eat (not just at a picnic table, waving off bees). At close to 1 PM, it was time to leave the fairgrounds.
On our way back to the car, I noticed this Doctor Who sticker on a car we passed.
And we had to stop and look at this vehicle.

We had seen a woman wearing a dress in much the same knit-stitch pattern and color, so it was probably hers. And if you have a yarn store, why not advertise it at Rhinebeck?

We drove into town, and had lunch (at Pete's Famous, actually, and my lunch was fine but not as good as the sandwich I had had the day before). Then we had to stop into Samuel's Sweet Shop, since a friend of mine was (coincidentally) in the area the weekend before, and got me some caramels there that were out of this world. Ridiculously expensive, and worth every penny. It's a very cute store.
Though I was not tempted by these. Savory cookies? 
Not my style.
But interesting!
We also saw a van that must mean something to someone.
And a statue of a doughboy.
We were on the road around 2:20, but this time it took us four hours to go the ~150 miles. Traffic was bad before 84 came in to the Pike from NYC, and pretty heavy after it. Bless my friend's husband for driving! I got a lot of knitting in, as well as shifting my sore hips around.

Overall Rhinebeck Thoughts
I have a few, well, not regrets, but let's say incompletes. One was yarn that I saw but did not buy. It's called Dark Side of the Moon, from Alexandra's Crafts. Nice and soft, a bit of silk in the wool, and colorful surprise spots.
This was on sale at The Fold, and they had a sample that showed it also came in a grey background, and it knits up so it's mostly solid but there are sprinkles of rainbow color in it, very fun. But I didn't want the white, which was all that was out; I went back on Sunday to check, but that was all they had left. She said that it's available online, and in fact there are other colors (black, blue, purple), so I'll have to decide which I want, and get me some, someday.
Not white, aka Moonbeam, not for socks, and I do think it would be fun as socks. Silver, Twilight, Midnight Eclipse, Purple Haze? I like them all!
I think the display sock was Silver, but I may like Twilight even better....Well, I don't have to decide now which to get (first).

The other incomplete was a sweater that I saw and loved. While I was admiring the model, another woman said her friend was just buying the kit, and it was $155. So that's a bit outside my budget this year! But I did most of the right things, when you want to remember something.

I took pictures of it. Front:
Side detail.
Sleeve detail.
And the back, kind of from the side. (I went back on Sunday for that, since I realized I had looked at the back, but not photographed it.)
And I asked the man in the booth for the name of it, since there wasn't a hanging tag, as many places do with their samples (which is so handy, because you just take a picture of the tag, like I did for the one further up, and there you have it, pattern name and yarn and all, no chance to write it down wrong). He said it was called North Point Godte, and that it was a brand new design by Fiona Ellis, made for their yarn.

Unfortunately for me, I can't find anything about it online. I will keep trying, and maybe message the designer to ask. My one mistake was not making a note of who the vendor was, though I know exactly where they were: downstairs in barn 22, to the right as you go in the door at the back, in the corner. Based on the vendor list and deduction, it may be North Light Fibers, but I'm not positive. Further digging required.