Monthly Archives: March 2014

Seaside Happiness

Today I’m taking a break from photos of knitting  to bring you a little travelogue about one of my favorite places to spend the day: Rockport, Massachusetts. Rockport is a pretty New England seaside village that’s right on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s about an hour north of Boston by car or train. It’s a popular day trip destination for tourists since it’s so close to Boston. It’s been a popular destination with artists for over a century thanks to the natural beauty of the ocean and the old New England houses and fishing huts.

I snapped a few photos a couple of weeks ago after my last stop on the yarn crawl. Most of Rockport’s shops and restaurants are seasonal so a lot of them were closed, but there were plenty of places that were open. Such as Tuck’s Candies, because I need my fudge and salt water taffy fix when I’m in town!  There were a lot of people out as well, even though it was a little chilly.

I tend to take photos of the same things over and over when I visit, and I’ve probably posted some of them on this blog in the past. Forgive me for being so repetitive.

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This is Bearskin Neck from a distance, It’s a peninsula, so there are great ocean views from either side. It’s thin but crammed with shops, restaurants and houses that are so close to each other, if one neighbor wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from their next-door neighbor all they’d have to do is lean out their windows.  I love that giant tree that towers over everything.

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Here’s a shot of some of the buildings along the ocean, with the beach in front. These are all shops, eateries, residences, a motel, and a new performing arts center. Fun fact: Rockport was a dry town until a few years ago. No alcohol was available for sale so if diners wanted some with their meal they had to bring it in to the restaurant with them. (Presumably it was purchased in Gloucester, the next town over.)

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I love this little gazebo, it looks like a mini fortress tower overlooking the sea. It was accessible to the public until about four years ago, when someone bought the open field in front of it and built a giant mansion. It’s too bad because people used to take their wedding party photos in there. The movie The Love Letter was filmed here in 1999. For anyone who’s seen it, the Fourth of July fireworks scene was filmed on this land when it was just a big grass field, pre McMansion days.

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Yep, Rockport rocks.

Before you know it summer will be here and I’ll be able to go back and spend a day here and there while the weather’s good. Where do you like to go to relax and be happy? Discuss!

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North of Boston Red Sox–I Mean Socks.

I was reading through this blog earlier today, going way back to the first post here on WordPress, and I’ve come to a sobering realization: I buy an awful lot of yarn and spinning fiber. I also lose securely store an awful lot of yarn and spinning fiber. It’s so secure even i can’t find it, to the point where much of what I’ve bought over the past couple of years has still not been used. I reviewed my posts about past yarn crawls and fiber festivals and saw photos of yarn I totally forgot I own.  I mentioned a lot of projects I planned to make but never did.  Clearly a serious spring cleaning–and a call to A&E’s Hoarders–may be in order.

So the fact that I’m making good on my yarn crawl purchases of two weeks ago makes me happy, since I’ve completed two projects and I’m working on a third. Maybe I’m not such a lazy, lazy knitter after all. I’d like to take credit for being industrious, but the fact is, I’ve done so much knitting because I was home sick this week.  There seems to be a new springtime tradition in my house: the Annual Spring Upper Respiratory Infection. This year’s was particularly hideous. Thankfully, I’ve improved greatly over the past couple of days, I won’t hit you with the details other than to say I’ll never take breathing for granted again. Much of my knitting was done late at night because I couldn’t sleep, and that became stressful.  Forget about “I knit so I don’t kill people,” My slogan this week was, “I knit so I won’t go bat crap crazy!”

I finished the Tangier Cowl I was working on from my previous post. Color #10, by the way, is called Forest Glade. I bought one ball of Cascade 220 Tangier during the crawl, but stopped in Seed Stitch Fine Yarn a couple of days later waiting for Indian takeout to be ready and saw the yarn in a color called Denim Blues that I didn’t see at Coveted Yarn. I bought it to make yet another Tangier Cowl, so now I have two. The cowl was such an easy and fun pattern to knit, I cast on for the second one as soon as I cast off the first one. Knitting an easy pattern took my mind off of how miserable I felt, so I plugged away at it while watching episodes of The Worst Cooks In America that I DVR’d (Go Jamie!). I need to press and block the cowls.  They’ll be the stars of my next post.

Once the blue cowl was off the needles, I pulled out the sock yarn I bought from Heather, the owner/dyer of Mad Color Fiber Arts. She’s always at Coveted Yarn during the Crawl, and she always brings a ton of wonderful goodies with her.

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This is her Doolally fingering weight yarn in the Poison Apple colorway. It was originally a club exclusive but she brought it back as a general color. It’s bright and dark red, with some black and grays running  through it, you know, just to add a touch of Evil Queen. I think Poison Apple is the perfect name for this color! The tiny tote bag is from a company called Rock Flower Paper.I love their bags and I have several of their totes and zip pouches. They’re handy and they use heavy cotton fabric that comes in many beautiful prints.  I bought this bag on the day of the crawl but not at a yarn shop; I found it at a stationary/toy shop in Rockport called The Paper Mermaid. It’s the perfect size for a sock project. If you’re a Bag Ho like me in the North Shore/Boston area you should make your way over to this shop. She carries a wonderful selection of purses, totes and bags of all sizes that make great project bags.

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Here’s a closer look at the colors in there. The green in the yarn looks greener in the photo than in person. It looked browny-grey to me, kind of like when an apple is bruised or goes bad. Way to commit to the whole bad apple theme! I’m knitting plain stockinette socks with my all-time favorite basic sock pattern from The Yankee Knitter. A bold color such as this might cry out for a more daring sock pattern, but I enjoy the comfort and warmth of a simply knit sock, and I didn’t want to think too much this week, so I’ll let the color do all the talking. I’m sure these socks will stand out against whatever I’m wearing them with.

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I’m well on my way with sock #1. Since I have a doctor’s note excusing me from work until Monday, tomorrow will be another exciting day of knitting and breathing.

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Yay for breathing.

The Knittin’ O’ The Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! It’s 20 degrees out today, more like 8 with the wind chill factor. Hopefully spring will arrive soon. I’m sick of the snow and the low temperatures, even though winter means more time to knit warm articles of clothing.  Everyone’s wearing green today; they’ve been wearing it and imbibing celebrating St. Paddy’s Day all weekend, as a matter of fact. Believe it or not, it’s a mere coincidence that everything I’m knitting currently happens to be green. My green sweater has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s day, since I started knitting it around Christmas. But to tell you the truth, I was hoping I’d have it finished to wear on St. Patrick’s Day.  Once again, the best laid plans…

I have two projects on the needles. I am still knitting Armande. I always linger on the larger projects. I start with a burst of activity, knit hell for leather for a few weeks, and then put it down. I worked on it during the run-up to Christmas; I worked on it while hosting relatives during Christmas. Knitting is a great distraction when graciously allowing houseguests full control over your TV set when their taste in programming isn’t your cup of tea. I was able to avoid a lot of bad movies for a week thanks to this sweater (Steven Segall’s The Glimmer Man, I’m talking to you in particular).

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I plowed past the ingenious method of sewing down the pockets as you knit the sweater and I’m now on the body of the garment, with all its buttonholes, making my way up to the sleeves and neckline.

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It’s a lot of stockinette, but that’s what i like about this project. It’s mostly basic knitting with some shaping here and there, with a great collar at the finish.  This will be an amazing piece to wear when I’m done. In the meantime, I’ve started a quick cowl project, which, coincidentally, also happens to feature green.

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Even the new Knitters Pride circulars I picked up are green. Enough already! This is the Tangier Cowl.  I got the pattern for free during the weekend North Shore Yarn Crawl. It takes one skein of Cascade 220’s Tangier yarn. The yarn is made out of silk, cotton, acrylic and viscose. Tangier seems to be Cascade’s take on Noro. It’s similar to Noro in two ways: 1. it has the same mesmerizing color changes, and 2. it’s kind of rough and knotty. Some people may use words like “tweedy” and “slubby” but I stand by “rough” and “knotty.” Casting on was a little difficult and I didn’t like the way the yarn felt as I cast on. Fortunately, the yarn became much softer once there was some fabric between my hands, and it feels rather nice now that I’m halfway through.

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This is color 10, which contains green, brown and mustard shades. The green looked dominant in the skein when I bought it but as I’m knitting with it, the browns are taking over. In these photos, though, the mustard color is taking over. I think its serendipitous that i’m using this color on St. Patrick’s Day; the colors remind me of the patchwork fields of Ireland, with green grass, brown earth and plowed fields, and golden flowers.

It was very sunny when I took my photos so the colors on both projects look a little washed out.

I’ve been buying the Knitters Pride needles for a while now and I’m really impressed with them. Each size comes in a different color, which makes collecting their needles fun. They’re reasonably priced. The US9 24″ circulars I’m using on the cowl cost $9.50. The bright green needles and the black cable are stylin’. The needles are very smooth, which allows me to knit fast. It’s like using Addi Turbos. Most of my local shops carry them now, and some of the stores that used to carry brands like Brittany now carry Knitters Pride instead.

All of the yarn shops along the local North Shore (of Boston) crawl are fabulous, but one of my favorite stops is Yarns In The Farms, in Beverly Farms, MA. YITF has a devoted local following thanks to its quirky joie de vivre atmosphere, eclectic selection of local and art yarns, as well as its official mascot, guest greeter, and sometime in-house model:

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This is Chucho (the one on the right!) and he stole the show on Saturday (and probably all the other days of the Crawl as well). He jumped up onto the couch and perched there the whole time I was in the shop. He let people fuss over him and pet him. He sat patiently for photographs. Isn’t he adorable?

I brought home a nice selection of items from the crawl without going too nuts this year. I bought three projects home: two one-skein cowls and enough sock yarn for one pair of socks (pattern to be determined). I’ll take pictures of the fun and interesting items in my next post. For now, I’d better hit the Publish button because I only have 34 minutes left to publish my St. Patrick’s Day post before St. Patrick’s Day is over. Till next time!

Does your area host a yarn crawl? Where is it? Do you attend regularly? Let me know!