Monday, October 29, 2007

Alpacas Galore: 2007 Empire Alpaca Extravaganza

While many knitters were enjoying the weekend at the infamous Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, my DH and I stopped by the 2007 Empire Alpaca Extravaganza hosted by the Empire Alpaca Association. Not quite Rhinebeck, but it was free and only about 15 minutes from home. Now I like alpaca's. I wish I had one... or two, but since I can't even have a cat in my apartmen I doubt I could get away with a medium-sized domesticated camelid.

The event took place at one of the buildings at the NY State Fairgrounds. How many Alpacas can a NYS Fairgounds building hold? Lots! (EAA says 750+)

Here are some pics for your enjoyment, all taken by the husbeast.

There was one display that was selling some ready made alpaca gear, some yarn, and some roving at pretty decent prices. But as a whole this event seemed to be geared toward alpaca owners and people looking to buy alpacas. However, looking at all the alpacas and trying to pet them (many didn't seem like they wanted to be bothered) while trying figure out if I could squeeze one of the yearlings in the back of my Forester was well worth it. Maybe I'll drop a comment to the organizers about having a little more to offer for fiber enthusiasts. ;)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tech Yarn

Check out this article on some new-fangled yarn that can glow-in-the-dark! I think we'll definately see some interesting patterns when/if this stuff hits the market.

Go to article

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sneak a Peek at an FO While I Ramble On Incessantly


I finished part 1 of the Floral Lace Anklets on Saturday, as predicted, but I never got around to taking a picture before it got dark out. I'm a true believer that natural light is ideal for taking photographs. But it's been pretty overcast these passed two days and combined with the fact that our apartment doesn't get very good light, I postponed pictures again. BUT, today seems to be pretty nice outside. So alas, a picture! I'd like to put off a full-blown show-and-tell until I'm finished with the pair. But here's a sneak peek for now:

As these are intended to be a x-mas gift I don't want to post a pic directly on the blog. So here's a link to view the picture. WK DO NOT CLICK!!!

I friggin love this color. I was so excited to CO because I knew that these would be one of my first successful FO in a while. Trying to design my own sweaters has proven to be frustrating. I'm thinking I need a little more practice with actually completing sweaters from patterns before I can start having success designing my own.

Anyways, the yarn is Knitpicks Essentials. This Essentials yarn seems softer than other balls of Essentials I bought over a year ago. Has anyone noticed this? I'm not sure when or if there was a change in their manufacturing, but hey, I'm not complaining.

Going back to the sunlight issues I have: I'm thinking of following this tutorial from Lolly and make myself a photo-box. I'll pretty much only have to purchase some poster board. Most other materials already have in my possession. I'm hoping that having a photo-box will allow me take pictures no matter the time or day or level of sunshine. It's BRILLIANT!

Autumn still seems a little reluctant, but it's definately here. The colors here in NY are just beautiful. I really must get my tush out there take some pictures. I hope we don't get anymore heavy rain this week. Mum (and Co.) are coming up for a visit and Mother loves her Fall colors!

One more thing (can I ever stop rambling?), there was no Rhinebeck for me this year (well, not ever actually) but I did do something fiber related last weekend. It involved a hell of a lot of Alpacas. Post and pics coming soon.

PS - (sorry, this will never end, you're trapped here forever) I went to Mission Rose Quiltery and Knittery yesterday on the way home from work in order to brighten up an otherwise dreary day. What a CUTE place! And the yarns! OH, the yarns!! Noro, Rowan, and Debbie Bliss. OH MY! I cannot describe to you the kind of willpower required to NOT buy yarn at a place like that. So I bought needles instead. I have now become an Addi-Ho, if owning one pair of US1's counts. Now I can put my cheap US 1 dpns out their misery. DIE DPNs, DIE! All hail Magic Loop!


Friday, October 19, 2007

Crafty Happiness!

Thursday morning, when I was walking out the door for work, I saw a package sitting in the hallway. I knew exactly what it was: MY TEA TIME SWAP PACKAGE!!

WEEE! I scooped it up and took it to work with me. And as soon as I got to my desk I ripped that baby open. Needless to say the contents made my morning. Check it out:


Handpainted dishes. I loved the Asian theme for this package.

A tea canister with the "kenji" character. She informed me that Kenji means Tea. And a crap load of tea to go in my tea canister.

And last but not least, chamomile soaps, tea tree and rosemary lotion, scone recipes with some extra Asian themed recipe cards, and a muslin tea bag.

Well, I'm really, REALLY happy with my package. The teas are delicious and I can't wait to try the recipes. I hope she likes the package I sent her. I have to say, I think her package is better than mine.

There's a lot of interesting things being made for this swap. One person actually dyed yarn with tea. I'm not sure how this is done or what the resulting colors are like, but I'm sure Almighty Google can help me (or you) find a tutorial or two. But if you're reading this and have Tea-dyed before feel free to point us in the right direction. ;)

Knitting news: I'm knitting like a bat out of hell on the Lace Floral Anklets from Lace Style. Maybe it's the cooler weather or maybe it's the prospect of finishing something that's actually wearable that has me motivated. FO's have been a little dry around here lately so I'm thinking it's more of the latter. Well, I'll save the details for the next post. There's a good chance I'll be finishing the first sock today. And if I do, I'll post first thing tomorrow.

Have a good Saturday, especially all you Rhinebeckers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yarn Shops in the Syracuse Area

For some reason, I was under the impression that there were no (are at least, very few) yarn shops in the Syracuse area. When I think back to when I was a knitting-noob I remember trying to find yarn shops and somehow, not really succeeding. And then I found sites like Knitpicks and Elann and realized I can buy yarn on the internet for pretty cheap when I was ready to expand my horizons to other things besides acrylic. So, my interest in LYSs quickly faded. But now I’m curious about this LYS thing even though I know it might be the pricier option. But have I not proven my commitment to knitting and honed my skills to justify spending more money on yarn? And these LYSs surely have sales, right? And what about helpful, friendly staff? Surely that counts for something. And wouldn’t it be grand to know exactly what color your yarn is when you buy it instead of rolling the dice when you order online?

And shouldn’t I be supporting local businesses in this, the age of WalMart?

For those of you who are local and are interested in yarn shops, here is a list I found using Almighty Google. Some of these places have websites, some don’t. Where possible I fished out their hours of operation. I’m pleased to see there is a place, The Knitting Connection, on the other side of town from me. Perhaps I'll check that out in the near future.

The Knitting Connection
3056 Burnet Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13206-2571
Hours of Operation:
M - T - W - Th - Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri - Noon to 6 p.m.

Mission Rose Quiltery (And Knittery) Thanks to Carla for adding one more location...
456 S. Main Street
North Syracuse, NY
M,W,F,Sat - 9:30-4:30
T,Th - 9:30-6:30
Sun - 12-4

Village Yarn Shop
3401 Erie Blvd E
Dewitt, NY 13214
(315) 449-2051
...And for letting us know that Village Yarn Shops are no longer in business

Village Yarn Shop
511 E Genesee St
Fayetteville, NY 13066
(315) 637-0416

A Yarn For All Seasons
8240 Cazenovia Rd # 100
Manlius, NY 13104
(315) 692-4580

Patchwork Plus Yarn
2532 Cherry Valley Tpke
Marcellus, NY 13108
(315) 673-2208
(315) 673-3716
Open Sundays noon to 4pm, Monday - Saturday 10am to 5pm, Thursdays 'til 7pm

Elegant Needles
7 Jordan St
Skaneateles, NY 13152
(315) 685-9276
(800) 275-9276 - Toll Free

Yarn Bin
51 Fennell St
Skaneateles, NY 13152
(315) 685-5070

So tell me. Has anyone been to these places? Are any of these shops no longer in business? I would really hate to drive out to say, Skaneateles to find the store unoccupied and yarn-less. Tell me your thoughts.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Another New Look

It's Friday night and I've been updating my blog while streaming Regina Spektor Live at the 9:30 Club.

Bars? Clubs? No thank you. I'd rather blog about knitting.

I decided to upgrade my template to the customizable blogger formats. I wish I did this earlier. This is way easier than trying to learn HTML and editing the template through the code. Really, I'm not a programmer nor do I want to be. I picked one of the "Minima" templates and then customized away. EVERYTHING was easier. You can rearrange elements by just clicking and dragging. I was able to add my banner, no problem. Changing fonts and colors? No problem. If you use blogger and want to customize, I highly suggest going this route. Now before you start thinking that Blogger is paying me, onto some knitting content:

Well there's not much, really. I'm waiting for my Knitpicks order consisting of two skeins of coral blue Essentials sock yarn and two balls of burgundy Essentials. These are not for me, but for xmas gift knits. My inlaws have decided that they want to do a handmade xmas, which is ok by me. As I said before, handknit socks make great gifts. You can't go wrong.

The coral blue yarn will be Cookie A's Pomatomus socks. I'm not sure about the burgundy yarn, I'm thinking perhaps the Floral Lace Anklets from Lace Style.

I just got the book from the library and I really like it so far. Scarf Style and Wrap Style were really good too. I've got some craft swap projects to post, but I want to wait until my partner gets the package before I post. I had my first felting experience recently and of course I've got pictures.

I've got tickets to the Tori Amos concert at the Landmark tomorrow night. She's my all time favorite. I've been a fan for years, but she's never toured close enough for me to see her. I'm glad she decided to swing upstate.

Monday, October 08, 2007

What to Do with All that Leftover Yarn

2007 -the year of the stashbuster- has not been the success I was hoping it would be. I have matured as a knitter, and therefore, my taste in yarns has matured. I'm not saying I'm a yarn snob or anything, but I've finally realized that cheap acrylics are NOT suitable for every project. But my stash you see, it's not cooperating.

Just what in the hell am I going to do with these large skeins of boucle, LB Homespun, and other acrylic remnants?? Will I ever again experience the fun of acquiring new yarn??

Finally, my DH (probably tired of my wining, bitching, and fretting) offered a solution: make a big-ass patchwork blanket.

"Whip out your stitch books and make up a square of some fancy stitch or try a new technique. Have fun with it." He said.

Too which I reply, impishly: "But, but... my yarn is all different weights. How do I make the squares all the same size?"

To which he replies, as cool as ever: "Just make the squares however big or small you want and work it out when you're ready to assemble it."

Ah, epiphany. The clouds separated and beams of light shone into our apartment. (Ok, not really)

My husband is not a knitter. But he is the Master of Perspective and Intuition. How cool is that? What would I do without him? Probably continue to acquire cheap acrylic boucle which get stuffed into plastic containers which I hide under my bed chanting "I'll find something for this yarn. I just know I will."

No more. That's the old me. And now since I've solved my stash problem (or rather my husband solved it for me). I can acquire new yarn!!!

It's already on it's way.

Sock yarn for two Christmas gift-knits. Now I must go stalk my postman...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I got an ALPACA!!

Sort of....

It's the next best thing in my opinion. Perhaps even cuter than the real thing.