Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of the Game, Part II

Okay, this is where I'm supposed to catch you up on everything.  I'll try, but I make no promises. Stitches East at  the end of October was amazing again. I took The Sweater Map and Aspiring Designer Bootcamp  with Shannon Okey and Stashology 201 with Christine Bylsma.  I took the Aspiring Designer Bootcamp class to see if I wanted to make independent knitting pattern designing and possibly submitting to knitting magazines a priority in 2012.  I found the class really interesting and I learned a lot about resources and services available for independents, but I'm not ready to put that level of dedication into my designing yet.  But it was fascinating and it was worth every penny.  I also found the Sweater Map class really interesting.

 The Stashology Class was fairly simple, but I liked the idea of it. You took 10-12 different stash yarns, and used them to make about 14 inch strips which you selected at random to knit a swatch. It was interesting as to what you got. She also showed us a method to make your own fun fur. I might not use it for an actual project, because I'm not a big fun fur person. But it might make a nice algae or sea anemone for the knitted aquarium diorama I'm planning.

I'm not sure I'd make a sweater out of it, but I think it'd make some fabulous throw pillows out of my odds and ends.  It was fun class after all the hard thinking classes I took.

Yarn I won, Malabrigo, woo hoo!
 This year we also went to the student fashion show.  There were some really fabulous things, and some that were not so fabulous.  The dinner was not great allergy wise, I could only eat the appetizer, prosciutto wrapped melon and the piece of prime rib.  But it was fascinating and I won a prize, and it was yarn.
Socks that Rock

Steampunkery Sock kit
Bashful Sparkle Lace
Madeline Tosh
It seemed like there were less vendors at the market this year, but given my stash reduction plan, that was probably better.  I bought little yarn, which was good, but the stuff I got was good yarn, and I got a sock kit for the Steampunkery Socks in pale purple instead of white. I got some Madeline Tosh in a single ply which is luscious in person.  The Socks that Rock I got to make another scarf.  The colors are muted for me, but I can get away with them at work.  The Bashful Sparkle Lace has a bit of bling in it that you can't really see, but I like it.
I also got a beaded purse kit with a really cool hardware for the handle.

At Webs I also purchased some of their new interchangeables.  I got a set of their Cubix tips and the new nickle plated starter kit.  I know they are produced by the same people as Knitpicks, but I just like the cables better for some reason.  I think I'm going to get the tips to make 16" cables when I'm not broke. I didn't like knitting with the square Cubix tips, which is just as well because I stepped on one during the Halloween power outage and snapped it in half. 

Since I was restrained in buying yarn, I picked up some books.  I stopped by to see Allison Sarnoff and pick up the next Knit Princess comic book.  She cracks me up.  I also got the Knitwear Design Workshop book.  Even just paging through it, it appears to be very complete and a great resource.  If you want to design, this is a very good book to have.

I also got the Custom Fit Knit Jackets by Jean Frost.  Heather took her lining class and I think I'll find it really useful.  There's a couple of jackets in the book that I could actually wear to work.

I also got a new little tool that's to help you fix dropped stitches in garter more easily.  It's cute.  Probably not necessary but certainly faster than flipping the fabric a million times.

We went to Feng's again this year for dinner and it was fabulous.  I had a really great time with Roberta and Heather, and I'm looking forward to next year too.

 After I got back from Stitches, it was a crazy race to get a group blanket project done, which is part of the reason why I didn't post in November. The Concord Knitting Group and the Manchvegas knitters decided that we needed to do a group project for our friend Mary T who is having a bit a health battle right now. I had ordered the yarn, but it didn't show up until the night before I left for Stitches, so I couldn't get it divided and out to people. Upon my return, I divided it and got it out to everyone who was participating. Here's my square. We managed to get it together in record time, and I finished it the Saturday before I left for the cruise.  You will note that I choose another overly complicated edging.  Mary really appreciated the blanket and I want to thank everyone again, even though I've emailed you all :)

 Thanks to the Halloween power outage (4 freaking days...lost 90% of my fridge and chest freezer again...why can't we trim the freaking trees around power lines??), and having to replace some of contents of my fridge and freezer, I wasn't able to spend the money to go to the Manchvegas Retreat, especially with the cruise in December.  I'm still ticked off about that, and it was almost two months ago. 

In mid November, a long awaited event occurred.  I got to go a book signing of my friend Sally Hirsh-Dickinson's book, Dirty Whites and Dark Secrets.  Sally has been working on this book in some capacity, either as part of her thesis or getting it ready in this form for as long as I've known her. Which is really a long time now that I think about it, that I've known her, I mean. :)  She gave a really fabulous talk, and the book is really interesting.

Mary Kate and I have been working on an allergy free cookbook.  One of the things we've been working on is a dairy free fried mozzarella replacement.  I still have dreams about fried mozzarella sticks almost two and half years after been dairy free.  They're pretty good.  And I learned to fry without a deep fryer, so that's cool.

For Thanksgiving in Maine this year, I had to bring my own food due to the whole allergy thing.  One thing I made was vegan whoopie pies from My Sweet Vegan.  They were much, much better than Cafe Indigo's but they still need work.  I'm going to experiment with them a bit to see if I can get them a little closer to the real deal.  My cousin Andrew and his wife Katie were in Maine this year, and I got to meet their son, Nolan.  Nolan is really interested in my sister Debra in this picture.

In December we went on a cruise with my mom, and one of my BFF's, Laura V.  We went to Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan and Grand Cayman.  We had a great time.  In Cozumel, we took a ferry to the mainland, I drove a jeep in a convoy of other jeeps to a cenote, and we went cave snorkeling and then to the beach.  In Belize we did a tour of the city, and then went to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins.  In Isla Roatan, we went to Gumbalimba Park, went clear kayaking, snorkeling, and got a tour of the park including holding a macaw and Shawn got to hold a monkey. In Grand Cayman, we did a Sea Trek walk/thing under the ocean.  There are just too many pictures.  I can't cope.  So here are some public links to my facebook albums.  The first is here and the second is here.

Christmas was at the LaRoches this year and they were very kind to us as always.  I got a purple personal blender from Corey and Cole and we got a electric wine opener.  I will be testing that later today.  We also got a Le Creuset dutch oven which was very appreciated and unexpected.  I just wanted a cheapo one from Walmart, but I love the Le Creuset. It'll last forever. I also got the neatest wine stopper. It has a rock on top of it, and it's just my kind of thing.  I brought a lot of my own food again because of the allergy thing, and I made vegan sticky buns, from the Lusty Vegan's blog,  which were awesome, and vegan pecan pralines from Sweet Utopia, which were also pretty good.

 In knitting news, I finished the cowl I was making for Mary T and she seems happy with it. It's Jade Sapphire cashmere and silk and it's very, very soft.

On the cruise, I brought some Berroco Mini Mochi and did a little shawlette with that.  If you see the green safety pin, it's a place where I dropped a stitch and didn't notice it until I was blocking it.  I'll have to go back and fasten it down and duplicate stitch over it to hide it.

I'm now working on a secret baby project for Kate S, using some coned cotton softball from Webs from a hundred years ago.  It's a little girl and she requested fuchsia so this should do it.

And I think that's it.  I'll try to be more regular in blog posting in 2012.  Stay tuned for further updates as they are broadcast.

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