Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Saturday, April 11, 2015

FOs, things off the needles. (Did you know I love cake?) Fiber Camp knitting

Bands of color
Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl
This pattern is one of my go-to, TV knitting type projects because it is so easy to follow. I don't often have a cake made up, but once I make one, the urge to knit is strong, it is such fun to watch the colors unfold. Adding garter to the field of stockinette stitches gives the colors even more punch. The splashes of color are one of my favorite things about this particular shawl, my other fav is the way the ruffle came out.

Two Cakes, Magic Cake class at Fiber Camp 2015
I learned about the concept of making a Magic Cake in 2014 at the Knitting Pipeline Retreat in Maine. Paula Emons-Fuessle, the host of the KnittingPipeline podcast and author of many patterns, brought this concept to us with many lengths of leftover sock yarn. She shared the idea of selecting colors to make a unique project with remnants. There are full explanations in the Magic Cake Shawl pattern, down to how to weigh your yarn and tie the Magic Knot that can be trimmed close (thus avoiding weaving in many ends). Below is a photo of a Magic Cake from Paula's pattern page. The cool thing in knitting from a Magic Cake is the anticipation of which color will pop out next. It creates incentive to keep going.

Magic Cake, image imported from PrairiePiper's pattern page.
Pattern: Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl by Paula Emons-Fuessle
Yarn: All this handspun yarn was picked up off of the SPA Swap table. I used size 7 needles.

Do you know about me and rescuing cast off skeins and remnants? Do you know that I view them like rescue pets that just need a little understanding and love to come to their full potential. I don't know why, but when a friend in my knit group de-stashes, or I go to an event with a Swap Table of yarn-y goods, I look upon these wools with a kind eye and I feel the challenge to help them become something to love.
When I was at SPA, I hovered over the Swap Table a number of times. You see, each time I passed, more stuff had been dropped off. Somehow I lucked out and collected all of this wool that someone had spun and perhaps dyed. I bought quite a bit of yarn on this excursion to Freeport and the concept of making it into a Magic Cake didn't dawn on me until I was prepping for a class I planned to teach at Fiber Camp. I pulled the bag of Swap finds out and realized I had the makings of something unique. I have posted photos in the SPA/NETA FB group in the hopes the donor might see what has become of the wool they de-stashed. I know the colors are bold and to some, a bit jarring. But, that is how I roll.

Close up of the handspun fibers
The color make up of my cake pretty much followed the quantities of color I had. This wool was beautiful to knit with and created such great stitch definition. I wish you could see the deep purple hue, I had trouble capturing its richness.

Fiber Camp class, Making Magic Cakes
I taught my first class at Fiber Camp. I brought in my Magic Cake Shawls, my two cakes and handouts. Sheeri loaned me the scale and I had my ball winder and sift available for anyone that wanted to use it. I had a group of about six and many had leftover yarns or things from the swap tables. We worked together to sort and arrange the colors of yarn and then practice the Magic Knot. It was such fun to share the idea of using up scraps and creating a colorful and unique design.

800 stitches in this ruffle edge
This is a shot of the finished shawl. The ruffle is a bit flooffy for me, but I still love how it turned out. I haven't yet blocked it and I am not sure I will, I like how springy it is.

Ode to Kristen Nicholas

Do you know of Kristin Nicholas? She lives in Western MA and has just recently released Crafting a Colorful Home, a book on decorating. Kristin is known for using vibrant and saturated colors, her interiors are rich and beautiful. The palette of colors in this shawl are much like the colors Kristin uses in her home and in her embroidery designs.

My Fiber Camp knitting
This shot was taken at the Fiber Camp fashion show. The scarf on the right is my Brickless, on the left if the SPA Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. I hope you will consider trying out this concept of creating a Magic Cake. If you want any input from me, my Ravelry name is 19vesperstreet, I would love to chime in with help and ideas. Just PM me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's Wednesday. What's on the needles?

Fiber Camp Magic Ruffle Shawl
It's Wednesday, typically I post about the WIPs, Works in Progress, on this day. Since I have been away from blogging consistently there are a number of things I have been working on. Here are three projects.
These leftovers became a Magic Cake.

Pattern: Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl by Paula Emons-Fuessle
Yarn: Happy Feet, Araucania, Shibui, Cascade, various sock yarns on size 7 needles.
I taught a Magic Cake class at Fiber Camp this year. In preparation for my class, I made two Magic Cakes. This one is from all of my remnants. I love the combination of olive and purple and so that is the color story I started with, I added a few punches of saturated hues of orange and blue to make it interesting. If you have never made a Magic Cake before, I will post about this tomorrow, but the fun ting about knitting from aMagic Cake is that once it is wound up, you have to keep knitting to see which color is next. This speeds up the process of the making, at least it does for me! I used the pattern Paula created a few years ago, it contains all that you ned to know to make the Magic Cake and the shawl. It is such a great way to use up leftovers.

Neptune Turtleneck

Pattern: Neptune Turtleneck, Tang by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: Kerry Woolen Mills Aran Yarn on size 7 and 8 needles
I started this project as the winter snowstorm Neptune was approaching. Since I not a monogamous knitter by any stretch, I challenged myself to work on this one project for the duration of the storm. I wanted to stash bust and went to my bag of sweater quantity yarns and chose this wool. The yarn is from Ireland, I got it in a swap a few years ago. At 365 yards, it is a large put up and the knitting is smooth. The wool feels a little rustic but I like that type of yarn.
I got quite a bit done thanks to the aran weight yarn and larger needles, but as always, I stalled when I got to the sleeves. Knitting narrow tubes is not fun to me, perhaps this is why a I have resisted making socks up until now?

Highland Handmades Black Ash Worsted
Pattern: Handbrake by Kay F. Jones
Yarn: Highland Handmaids Black Ash Worsted in the Spiced Pumpkin colorway on size 7 needles.
This pattern was an impulse purchase, influenced by an Instagram photo. The cowl was designed by one of the podcasters of Bakery Bears and the proceeds will go towards cancer research. The intention during the design process was to create something men or women could wear that would be an easy knit. I love cowls and the small purl bump leaning diagonally appealed to me, so I PayPal'ed my way into another project! The pattern has links to a tutorial and a podcast and was only $1.53, (dollars converted from pounds.....) It is a simple and quick knit.
The Highland Handmades yarn is so soft, and the color flows from shades or saturation. It looks like butterscotch candy in color. I ordered the yarn quite some time ago, and when I was at SPA, I got to meet Heather and her husband Boothbait, aka Paul. It always makes me nervous to actually meet people I only know online. I am not sure why, but I go fan girl and get tongue tied and stammer and feel like a fool. Heather and Paul were so welcoming and sweet at SPA. I plan to write more about the wool piggery that happened in their booth later this week!

So, there are other projects lingering near my chair, but the above saw more hand work and made the cut to be featured. I hope the patterns and yarns inspire and enable you! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Mystery KAL by Jennifer F

Link to pattern here.

Mystery Knit Along defined:
A designer lures you into knitting their pattern with a few tempting details and the promise of a project broken into do-able chunks. The pattern instructions are released as "clues". You'll get a portion of the design and about two weeks to finish before the next clue is sent to you. The designer usually sponsors a forum where questions can be asked and help offered. There is often a "Spoiler Thread" that allows you to peek at the progress made so far and the colors those involved have chosen.

I don't always fall victim to mystery knit alongs. Normally, I want to know what I am making to a certain extent. I want to know it won't involve lace, dropped stitches, or funky stuff unless I am prepared for that look.

So, you are wondering, how did this one in particular suck you in????? Well, partly it was the fact that I didn't open the first clue until there were two clues available to knit. I liked the idea of an accessory that isn't exactly a cowl or a two (or more) colors knit in a stripe pattern. I looked and figured I could crank out the steps of clue one fairly quickly. Once I selected my yarn, I was hooked!

Pattern: Spring Mystery KAL by Jennifer Faifel
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints 150 in the Dahlia colorway, Cascade Heritage Silk in Primavera on size 5 needles.
I went to WEBS for the first time with my Common Cod friend Gina. I did go with a list and the open mind that I might find something I just had to have. Good thing! I saw the green first and then when I spied the multi colored wool, into the basket they both went. Thanks Gina!!

Jennifer gives a description of what is needed on the project page; 200 grams of fingering weight yarn in two or more colors. She also suggests the pattern is a great stash busting solution, use up all those leftover sock remnants. There are over 200 people knitting along, there is a forum page for posting the colors and types of yarns people are using. Go have a look, maybe you'll join us?

Have you tried Mystery KALs? Did you enjoy it? Share in the comments!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Romney Ridge Farm, Kelly Corbett

Romney Ridge Farm is located about two and a quarter hours north of Boston in Woolwich, Maine. Kelly is a Maine Made business owner, her sheep are raised and sheared at her farm, the wool is processed, and spun in Maine and the dyes Kelly uses are also Maine Made. My interest in Kelly was generated by the fact that she is a woman running a business in the state where I was born, she is continuing the legacy of creating from the grassroots, and her business is one I want my friends to know more about. I hope you will look at her website, visit her when she vends in the Boston area, and look for her Facebook page. Go to the FB page for Romney Ridge Farm, like the page. If you want a daily dose of sheepy fun, check off the FB notifications options. Daily, Kelly does an awesome job of sharing with us the moments in her day in video or photo format as she goes about caring for her flock and dying her yarns.

There is a variety of sheep at the Romney Ridge Farm, including Romneys, Border Leiester, Corriedales and Southdowns. She also raise goats and blends in their mohair into the wool. The fleece from other local farms are also added in when the wool is at the mill.

The Tickling Sheep video from the Common Cod Ignite Boston event will give you photos and Kelly's description of why she loves what she does. Go and have a look here.

Kelly has a number of bases:

  • Downeast is a woolen spun worsted weight in 200 yard, 4 ounce hanks. There are quite a few colors available and all are lovely saturated shades. 
  • Signature Yarns include Romney Ridge Farm Blend which starts as a base of natural white and brown fleeces over which Kelly adds her dyes. There is a small amount of mohair added to the mix. This yarn is DK weight with 200 yards per skein.
  • Another Signature yarn is the Gradient Farm Blend, this is a DK weight in a 200 yard put up. The colors are applied in runs of tonal colors.
  • The third Signature yarn is the Kaleidscope Dyed Yarn. This 250 yard, 4 ounce hank is individually dyed, no two are quite alike. Go and have a look at the color combinations that Kelly has created.
  • Kelly also has kits, felted animal kits, and stationery

Since the summer, I have stashed a number of Romney Ridge Farms yarns. None have yet become a finished object, but I do have a few in mind. Here is what I have purchased from Kelly.

Farm Blend in the Chartreuse colorway
Farm Blend in the Plum colorway
These two colors are going to become a Wavelength Cowl, that is unless I find some other pattern I like more before I cast on.

Wavelength Cowl by Kate Ray
This Mohair/Wool blend may become a vest.
Rousabout by Kristen Ten Dyke
Willow in the Violet colorway
Willow in the Turkey Red colorway
Willow in the Pumpkin colorway
Willow, in the hard to capture, Lagoon color
I know it is a leap, but this sweater in violet, with bands of the above Willow colors? Would it work?
I also have this yarn, Kaleidoscope in 250 yards of a hand dyed bulky weight in greens and golds. I may make a heavier weight shawl, but  I am still on the lookout for the perfect pattern match.

Kaleidoscope in Wind colorway.
Kelly has a Romney Ridge Farms Ravelry Forum page where you can join in and post your FOs or just witness how beautiful her wool looks knit up.

I hope you will enjoy looking at the links in this post and consider adding some Romney Ridge wool to your stash!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Looking back at events, queued patterns, wool piggery and happy times.

Knitting Nirvana, I'm happiest when in the company of knitting friends.
This photo was taken by Sarah and is from our one day trip to Squam years back. I went with the women in my Charlestown knitting group. The day was like a rave, a drug induced, feel so very happy, can't wipe that smile off my face kind of a day. Days like this and memories of the time spent with other creative people are what fuel my creative energies and make me wonder about my normal, loner-method of living. I have such fun when with my friends who love yarn, and knitting, and who aren't afraid to testify that life would be incomplete without needles, an unreasonable amount of stash, and piles of projects cluttering up the abode.

I have been negligent in sharing these moments of joy, fun and greedy hands over the past few months. I have not seen many of my knitting buddies, I have not visited my favorite LYS. But I have gone to a few events that I want to share. I have so much to catch you up on. As you can see in yesterday's posts, the needles have been busy and the projects completed have been many. I will continue to put up the projects with my notes but I do want to acknowledge some of the things people and places that have resonated with me since the year began.

I went to Ignite Craft Boston in January, SPA in February, Fiber Camp in March and I miss the company of my friends when we don't have an planned event or weekend in the works. I have been asked to share some of my purchases, pattern finds and general impressions of these events. I hope what I have will encourage you to join us in the months to come. The first post is about Ignite Craft Boston 2015.

As a member of the Common Cod Fiber Guild, I am also on the board, and the women there have met have made an impression on me in my creativity and in my actually getting out there with real vs. virtual people. These women give me a reason to get out and go to events like the ones I mentioned above. Thank you to Karen, Gina, Sheeri and Amanda. You have made my life as a knitter a happier thing. (Imagine?)

Our guild meets on the first Friday, every other month, for a speaker and sometimes for weekend classes. In January we sponsored Ignite Craft Boston. Ignite is something you need to bookmark for next year, you need to be there! We invite people to submit their topic and when approved, they hone their presentation down to a five minute description of a craft they want to share. The presentation is accompanied by a twenty slide Powerpoint that advances as they speak. If you go to the Ignite page by clinking on the links below, the videos are now up on the speakers who presented this past January.

Here are links to the other presenters and their videos:
The Healing Power Of Craft by Joanna Weston
Putting The Craft In Craft Brew by Will Lefevers
The Many Ways To Quilt Of A Sandwich by Alanna Nelson
Spend Wisely, Waste Less, Appreciate More by Sarah-Grace Farrar
What Is A Home Knitting Machine And What Can It Do? by Ann Gibson
Night Photography Around Boston by Jurgen Lobert
Fiber Camp 2015 by Gina Balzano
Powerpoint Karaoke
Balloon Jamming by Sara Krakauer
Tickling Sheep by Kelly Corbett
How Can I Can? by Willa Bandler
I Can't Wait To Play by Michael Ananstasia
Food Biker, Entreprenuer's Toolbox by Seth Diamond
Backyard Bundles by Amy Stein
Lacto-Fermenting: Just Add Salt! by Sheeri Cabral
Please note that below the list of presenters on the Ignite Craft Boston page is a list of presenters with links to their info pages. Please consider viewing these five minute videos. Also, please  consider becoming a presenter for the next Ignite Craft Boston in 2016. Watch the Common Cod page for a link to proposal documents!

Romney Ridge Farm


One of my favorite presenters is Kelly Corbett of the Romney Ridge Farm. Kelly raises sheep on the coast of Maine; she has the wool sheared and processed in the state and she creates the finished yarn in her signature colorways. She posts lovely farm photos daily on her Facebook page of the sheep and chickens and dogs that fill her life. I first met Kelly this summer at SOWA.  I loved the feel and color and smell of her yarns, and bought a few skeins and a felting kit. I encouraged Kelly to check out the Common Cod Guild and mentioned the Ignite event. Can you imagine how happy I was that it all came together and we saw Kelly at the Ignite and Fiber Camp events! Pleas support Kelly by visiting her webpage, liking her Facebook page and looking for her at SOWA in May. She is also going to be at Stitch House to teach a felting class next weekend. I think you will enjoy her genuine personality, her warmth and her stories of being a Maine Made business!

Tomorrow, I will show you the collection of wool piggery that I have amassed from Kelly's collection. Please, please, give some time to exploring the Common Cod page for Ignite Craft Boston 2015, and watch some of the videos. Share in the comments if there is one you think other readers shouldn't miss!