Tag Archives: rhinebeck

Portuguese Knitting and Rhinebeck

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In my quest to find knitting techniques that are easier on my arms/elbows, I decided to try a method recommended by a couple of women at my local yarn shop.  Portuguese knitting has now become my go-to knitting technique, and I even prefer it over the continental knitting method.  I was having a really hard time with my tension when doing the continental method and I’m not having that issue with the Portuguese method.  Once I heard that this method was also good for those with some hand/arm issues, I was all over that.  After borrowing and studying some books and videos, I was really hooked.

The Portuguese knitting technique involves using a knitting pin, attached near your left shoulder, which the yarn is looped over and helps to tension the yarn.

Then, the main movement for knitting or purling is flicking the yarn with your left thumb to wrap it around the needle.  It’s really very easy and, unlike English or continental knitting, purling is EASIER that knitting.  No joke.  I utilized the Portuguese knitting technique to finish my Dreaming of Spring hat:

Dreaming of Spring

I’ll be teaching this hat as a class November 18 at The Spinning Room if you are interested!  At any rate, it turned out great and I love it.

I also used the Portuguese knitting method to make my Big Herringbone Cowl:

I modified this pattern to use a size 15 needle and cast on 250 stitches (as opposed to a size 17 needle and 220 stitches cast on).  I used Malabrigo Rios which I love, Love, LOVE knitting with. And it will be another class I’m teaching in December at The Spinning Room!

And I am currently using the Portuguese knitting method to make my 21 Color Slouch hat:

(that’s the pattern picture)

Yes, it looks inside out becuase I am knitting it that way so I can purl the body of the hat, instead of knit it.  (See aforementioned purling is EASIER than knitting.)  There will be a gazillion ends to weave in because of all the color changes but I love this hat so much, I will put up with it.  Or wear it with the ends not woven in.  Who would know?  Besides you.

I will be teaching basic Portuguese knitting techniques in the next couple of months at The Spinning Room if you are interested!

By the way, I was working on that 21 Color Slouch hat on our way to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck!

It was the most beautiful fall day and we had a great time as usual….

Here is my haul by about 9:45 (gate opens at 9:00)….

(That is a fried artichoke/artichoke French combo in case you were wondering.)

And here is the end-of-day haul:


Wonderful stuff I can’t wait to work with.

In cooking news, I finally made an apple crisp with apples from our local orchard Indian Ladder Farms:

It is so yummy – Paul and I can’t get enough of it.  Recipe is from my trusty Good Housekeeping Cookbook that my mom gave me when I moved into my first apartment in 1992.

Also, on the suggestion of my friend Sue, I’m testing out making my own vanilla extract!

(Great book, also given to me by my mom: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch–Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods)

It needs to sit in the jar for a couple/three months but I’m hoping to try and use some of it for holiday baking.  It is definitely MUCH cheaper to make your own than buy at the store.  And so, So, SO easy!

And finally, I got the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites, from my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and niece for my birthday:

I love Smitten Kitchen and can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

So, as you can see, fall is in full swing here, including starting up the furnace and the wood stove! Bring on the cozy knitting!





Rhinebeck Recap

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The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) came and went this last weekend. In the world of a knitter, it is a HUGE deal.  We look forward to and save up for it all year.  Tons of vendors with tons of yarn and tons of roving and tons of whatever a knitter could want or need and tons of things a knitter doesn’t know they want or need.  Paul and I were there at 8:30.  Gates open at 9:00.   I like to be very prepared and early so that we don’t have to wait on this:


Or this:


…which formed as we waited somewhere near the front.  It would kill me to be way back there and watch all the people going in and getting all the things and then there would be none left. (I know, I’m nuts.  Seriously? ALL the things are going to get taken before I get there?? I have said it before:  Paul is a very patient husband.)

It was pretty chilly when we first arrived but then it warmed up nicely and it was the perfect fall day.  We browsed the festival and ate our usual treats.  I got fried artichokes and Paul got a pretzel and we got kettle corn.  We saw some sheep:


We people watched:


(That is well-known knitwear designer Stephen West.  Wearing knitted pants.)

And took a selfie:


And I took a picture of Paul in his most awesome vest with the hand sewn zipper and ribbon:


He likes it and wants another.  But blue.  And with pockets.  We bargained that it would have buttons and not a zipper this time, though.

We did all the shopping:


Project bag and stitch markers from The Spinning Room; dryer ball, felted coasters, felted aromatherapy ball, and roving from Weston Hill Farm; and two skeins of Atlantic yarn in the limited edition Blue Moon color from North Light Fibers which is on Block Island.  Notice the blue-not-purple theme going on? (What is wrong with me?)

Then, when we were all done, it was lunchtime, and I went to get my newest favorite:


But… the line.  It was long:


(It goes out of my picture to the right.)  See aforementioned comment about the entry line.  I just don’t have the patience.  So we walked around the town of Rhinebeck and found:


Great panini’s!

In the car I knitted a little Spice Pumpkin:



A fun and beautiful day!



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Sunday was the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (aka “Rhinebeck” because it is located in Rhinebeck, NY), which always occurs around my birthday and makes for a great excuse to buy things (even though Paul and I don’t exchange gifts for birthdays or holidays).  Although, I REALLY don’t need more yarn or roving for spinning.  So, my plan was to get two things: a yarn bowl and a hand made sterling silver yarn darning needle by Leslie Wind.

First up was finding the yarn needle – of course, they sold out the previous day.   But, I did find a yarn bowl at The Spinning Room booth!:


Ha!  Not just a yarn bowl was found.  Ugh.  It’s so hard to be there amongst ALL THE THINGS.  And Paul is a terrible influence.  When I told him that I was not buying any yarn he looked at me incredulously and said, “WHAT????  How can you NOT buy any yarn????”

So…… there was the Buffalo Wool Co.  We didn’t see any yarn with bison in it in Yellowstone, so Paul said we HAD to get some here, in memory of Yellowstone and the bison we loved seeing.  And at the register, paying for the wool/bison blend yarn (the green skein in the picture), there was a book, Lovely Knitted Lace, which had a pattern in it that I have been looking at forever:


And their booth also had this sign:


….so, you know….things went downhill from there.

I came up with a plan to buy a sweater’s worth of fingering weight yarn because I’ve always wanted to make a lightweight sweater.  So that ended up being the “Juneberry” color of O-Wool up there.  Pattern TBD.

And also at The Spinning Room booth:


There were kits by Laura Nelkin, one of which is for a pattern in her book, Knockout Knits, which I recently won at The Spinning Room, and the yarn and beads were already in it so who could resist that?

And then there were the knitting sticker and pins.  Just because.

And then I had a falafel sandwich and that was to-die-for.

And then.  Then, I spotted Anne Hanson.  She walked right by Paul and me.  She is the designer of Wheaten, the wrap I recently made:


and the Longjohn Socks I’m currently working on (and worked on while flying to Yellowstone):


….and the owner of the Bare Naked Wools Boutique  which we went to in Ohio.  I grabbed Paul’s arm and said, “That’s Anne!!!!!”  He was clueless until I reminded him about our trip to the boutique on the way to his drag racing event.  I had written about that adventure here on the blog and Anne had read it, thought it was funny, and emailed me to say thanks for coming.  Paul said, “Go say hi!” And I said, “No, I’m too shy. I’ll look silly.”  And also I was thinking, she probably wouldn’t want to be bothered.  I’d probably be the millionth person stopping her (she’s got a very successful design business and popular blog) and she probably just wants to shop.  Paul said, “No you won’t look silly.  Go!”  So we ran to catch up to her and I introduced myself, reminding her of my blog.  She got a sudden realization on her face and gave me a big hug!  Then she also shook Paul’s hand to thank him for sending me back into her shop after I came out with only one skein.  The funny thing is that Anne was inside her house, which we parked right in front of with two trucks and a race car while all my running in and out of the shop (across her lawn!) was going on (the shop is right behind her house) and she had no idea:


She was so very friendly and it was great to meet her, especially since I admire her designs and her business.  Her designs and yarns are lovely (you should get some) and her blog is fun (you should read it).  Anne was with a friend, who had read my blog too, and I forgot to ask her name and feel silly now because I was so flustered about seeing Anne.  Hello to Anne’s friend if you are reading this!  (AND I didn’t think to ask if I could take their picture for the blog.)

That was definitely a highlight of Rhinebeck for me this year.  Now, on to figuring out which fingering weight sweater pattern to knit.  Oh, but I also got obsessed with the new Periwinkle Sheep Merino Aran yarn  at The Spinning Room, so I have this set up and ready to start:


Uh oh. I feel an I-want-to-knit-all-the-things-right-NOW phase coming on…..

But WAIT!!! I was making you wait until this post to show you my High Plains poncho and then I almost pushed “publish” without showing you!


love. Love. LOVE.  So cozy and comfy and I. LOVE. IT!!!!

Yarn Delivery!

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Big News!  My Lollipop Yarn yarn came!!!!  (Totally big news to me, but not to you I know.) To remind you, this is the yarn that is put on the Lollipop Yarns Etsy shop every two weeks or so, and it goes fast.  So, you have to sit at your computer and do some quick clicking when the time comes.  I was able to score TWO last week and I. Love. Them.  I haven’t even knit with them yet, but I. Love. Them.

First of all it came in these cute little bags:


And here are the colors:


The one on the left is called “Squeak”  and the one on the right is called “Pillow Talk”.  The “Pillow Talk” comes with a “mini-me” skein to knit contrasting cuffs, heels and toes if you want.   They are hand wound and you can see by the way they are wound how the striping will occur: nice, crisp stripes.  Stay tuned for when I knit these.  Soon, I hope.  HA! (must we recall my knit-a-long-a-palooza plans?)

Ooh and how about a look at my progress on the Princess Franklin plaid cowl?

Finished the garter stitch section, left it on the needles, then took out the provisional cast on and put that on needles:


Would have been nice if I took a photo of me taking out the provisional cast on…. plus, what a horrendous clash of patterns there.

Then I used the garter stitch Kitchener stitch to weave the two ends together and make a tube:


Now it is on to the weaving and I’ll show that to you next time.

On to more interesting stuff like what Paul and I did this cold, cold Sunday morning…  we took a drive down to Rhinebeck, NY and went “the long way”, taking all the back roads and seeing the beautiful scenery.  I was so busy looking at the beautifulness that I didn’t take any pictures.

Rhinebeck is a quaint, pretty little town with lots of little froo-froo shops:


We went to breakfast at the Eveready Diner…


…where we shared blueberry pancakes and corned beef hash with eggs.  We share a lot.  We’re like that.

Then, because we are obsessed with bakeries and, more accurately, pastries, we found:


We got what turned out to be only so-so pastries (they should stick to bread alone.  Ha!) for tonight’s dessert, but decided to have them for lunch instead.  We’re also like that.  I think we would have liked their bread.  It looked yummy.

How about a book review?

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice is an about-to-be-40-year-old woman who falls off her spin bike during a class and bumps her head, causing amnesia for the past 10 years of her life.  Her last memory is being newly pregnant with her first child and happily married.  She soon finds out that she now has 3 children and is in the middle of a divorce.  Her quest to fill in the 10 year blank is intriguing as she tries to reconcile the person she thinks she is as a 29-year-old with the person she realizes she has become as a 39-year-old.  I listened to this in the car and really enjoyed it.  The narrator was great, the story pulled me a long and it was very entertaining. It was one of those let-me-just-stay-here-in-the-driveway-for-a-while to keep listening because I didn’t want to turn it off.  I highly recommend it. You can get it on Amazon here:

Now, I’m off to weave my Princess Franklin cowl, finish cooking a yummy Sunday afternoon chicken dinner, and get ready to watch Downton Abbey and work on my next Downton Abbey knit-a-long clue….

All Spun Up

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Last night was Halloween.  So Paul and I went out to dinner.  It’s become a tradition since we live on a street with not many houses and no one comes to the door anyway.  The kids that live on the street go down to the village where they get way more bang for their buck (or way more candy per square mile).  We got to see all the costumes while driving through the village to get to dinner and, this year, at the mall where we needed to make a stop.  And since we were nearby, we went and trick-or-treated at my mother-in-law’s house and got a pack of oreos.  And an Almond Joy from a doodlebug’s pumpkin – they were there, but already out of their Superman and Ladybug costumes.  Booooooo.

The Jacob roving purchased from The Spinning Room booth at Rhinebeck is all spun and plied up:



(I just realized how terrible these pictures are.  They looked ok on the phone, but not when they got to the computer.)

This is the result of plying two “singles” or two strands of yarn together, which previously looked like this:002 (2)

I ended up with about 200 yards of what I think is about a worsted weight yarn.  I haven’t measured my wraps per inch yet, but given that I got 200 yards out of 4 ounces, that would be about right-ish.

Here it is washed, hung to dry and skeined up:

jacob handspun oct 2013 (2)

And in balls, ready for knitting!:

jacob handspun oct 2013 (3)

It looks so different in each form.   I think this is destined to be a pair of mittens. Get in line with the other yarn, Jacob.  Bring on the pretty red roving for me to spin next.

And in case you were wondering, my Umaro blanket is coming along.  Only twenty-three more rows to go and you’ll have some finished pictures to view.  For now, suffice it to say, it’s keeping me warm while I knit:


Birthday Goodness

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Yesterday was my birthday so I had a weekend full of celebrating!  Friday afternoon, I made a trip to Connecticut to go out to dinner with my mom and my sister.  Our birthdays are all within a month of each other so we celebrate with one dinner.  I was having so much fun I forgot to take pictures, except for one of my sister’s cute cat, Nikki:001

We had a great dinner at First and Last Tavern in Avon, chatting, eating good food, and exchanging presents.  (They have the best bread pudding ever.)

Saturday was traveling back home and then the first fire of the season:001

So cozy!

And then, Sunday was the big day – Paul and I went to:026

Yay!  My favorite fiber festival – partly because it is smack in the middle of fall, partly because it is in a nice setting and especially because it falls on or near my birthday every year.  It was a gorgeous fall day and we were so happy to be outside enjoying the sunshine and crisp air:022

The view just inside the gates was so pretty:013

I asked Paul, mostly rehetorically, if there was anything in particular he wanted to see.  It was rhetorical because, let’s face it, he comes to keep me company and spend time with me and to people watch, not to purchase yarn or wool or sheep.  However he immediately said he wanted to “go to that one building where you know that lady near the doorway”:014

Aha.  A pole building.  And this was in order to see:015

…how they poured the concrete.  Our concrete is due to be poured this week, so apparently it’s on his mind!

Then it was on to see some alpacas:016

And do some yarn and wool shopping. I got a little carried away.  But it was my birthday so, seriously, I just couldn’t be stopped.   Pictures of my purchases are at the end of this post.

I also got my favorite snack from the artichoke vendor:018

Fried artichokes and French Artichokes (egg batter dipped, then fried in butter, garlic and wine).

On the way home, we had to sit at the exit for an extra 30 seconds, since Paul saw a Buick coming from way down the street and he wanted to wait for it to drive by us.  Which gave me time to get the camera out to take a picture:024

I couldn’t deny him that when he just spent 3 hours walking around looking at yarn with me and watching me melt the credit card.

We had a beautiful drive home, with pretty view of the mountains:030

I worked on my sweet tomato heel sock and half way home realized something:035(2)

That red section is the portion of the heel I have already completed, coming out nicely from the back of the sock.   That yellow section is the portion of the heel I’m currently working on —- coming zombie-like out of the left side of the sock and not at all in line with the rest of the heel.  Argh!  After putting the sock down and picking it back up mid-heel, I started working on the wrong two needles!  Took a deep breath, put it away and enjoyed the rest of the ride home.

Before heading home, we stopped at Paul’s mom’s house since she made me a birthday cake!:036

Chocolate cake with vanilla and chocolate frosting.   VERY yummy.

So, do you want to see what I bought at the festival?

There was yarn, of course:041

The Periwinkle Sheep Rhinebeck 2013 colorway in pretty fall colors is at the top.  A DK weight merino wool which will likely be some fingerless mitts.

The blue yarn on the bottom is 1266 yards of worsted weight wool – Rainbow Dyed Yarn by Mary Badcock.  Mary was judge of the wool items at the Altamont Fair this year and she remembered my Watermelon socks!  I purchased off-white yarn from her last year and am using it to make my Bloody Mary Cardigan which is almost finished and you will see soon.  I liked the yarn so much I decided to get another sweater’s worth this year.

Then there was wool roving, of course:038

…to later be spun into yarn.  A pretty “Queen’s Red” red, Polwarth/silk blend from Fiber Optic Yarns; a very pretty “Watercolor Sky” blue, merino/tencel blend from Sliver Moon Farm; and a 4 ounce ball of Jacob wool from our newest senator, Cecelia Tcachyk’s farm, purchased at The Spinning Room booth.

And then there was this:039

That contraption with the black tubes on either side of the bobbin (of yarn spun from the Jacob wool I just purchased) and the white gears at the bottom of the bobbin is a Woolee Winder for my spinning wheel.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I LOVE IT!!!!  I’ve been hemming and hawing about buying one for some time since it requires a little more cash that one might be comfortable spending for something like this.  But Paul convinced me to bite the bullet and well, it was my birthday after all….

So, what is a Woolee Winder you ask?  It is a special flyer (which holds the bobbin and guides the yarn onto the bobbin) device that evenly distributes wool that you have just spun onto the bobbin, without the person who is spinning having to stop and manually do so.  Here is what typically is used on a spinning wheel:


See that little metal loop that the purple yarn is going through on the right side?  I would have to stop spinning and move that loop in small increments down the side of the flyer so that the yarn goes onto the bobbin evenly.  You might also see a flyer that has several hooks along the side that you would move the yarn along. Even-ness is important so that you can put the most amount of yarn as possible on the bobbin and so it can come off the bobbin evenly when plying it (twisting it) with another strand of yarn.  Sometimes, when concentrating on the spinning, one forgets to move that metal piece and then too much yarn builds up in one spot and collapses on itself and then it’s a mess and you have to unwind everything.

So, I came right home and put it on my wheel and I just love it.  Stay tuned to see my finished yarn!  Overall a wonderful weekend and most especially a wonderful birthday spent with Paul (and wool).


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There has been a lot of finishing going on around here, in more ways than one.

The ice cream finishing:001

Last one of the season from our local spot.  Boooooooo.  It was really yummy – simply unadorned vanilla for both of us this time.

No pictures, but the finishing part of the pole building is going on.  Just like knitting, the main part is done, but there’s lot of other stuff to be done before it is done done.  First up was cutting up rigid foam insulation into 6″ wide sections to glue to the underside of the walls.  This is so when the cement floor is poured, and the winter cold makes things expand, the cement will compress the insulation rather than lift the walls/building.  I have six letters for you regarding this bit of finishing (and, let’s be honest, probably all the other bits of finishing): B.O.R.I.N.G.  And it’s even more “fun” when the days are getting shorter and you are trying to get it done before the sun goes down, working in partial darkness because the cement guy was coming the next day and we wanted him to see it, only to have the guy not be able to make that next day.  Whatever.  Bring on the next bit: Preparing for the garage door.

Then there’s the knitting finishing.  Also a little boring for me, but a totally necessary part of my favorite hobby.   And I figured I should really finish some projects since the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival (commonly known as “Rhinebeck” in the knitting world, since that is where it takes place, and when you say “Rhinebeck” everyone knows what you are referring to…) is coming up this weekend and there is a high likelihood that I will see/find something there that I will have to buy/start immediately.   So, I turned on my audiobook – which I will tell you about soon, because I am “this close” (finger and thumb really close together) to finishing it – and decided to crank out the finishing bits of two sweaters.

My Aaron’s Aran Sweater is done:004

love. Love. LOVE.  Made with Merino Worsted yarn from Malabrigo, it is soft while you are knitting with it, but so incredibly soft and squishy now that it is washed.  You just wouldn’t believe it is 100% wool.  I made the medium, sized for 3-4 years old. That little ball of yarn is all I had left of my third skein.  Whew.  (Truth be told, I do have more of that yarn, but who wants to break into a brand new skein for just a few rows and then not know how many yards you have left when you want to do another project with that yarn?)

And I made a huge dent in the finishing of my Bloody Mary Cardigan:016

All sewn up with one button band done.  One button band (the one with the buttonholes) and the neck left to do.  Oh, and then sewing on the buttons.  UGH!  However, one of my purchase items for Rhinebeck will be buttons for this sweater.  Then, maybe I’ll hire someone to sew them on for me.

Ok, and this doesn’t really count officially, but it counts in my head so I’m counting it.  I’m almost finished with the body of the Ecuador sweater:005

Just 12 short rows and 17 regular rows to go (if that means anything to you).  Then there will be the sleeves, which will be short, so hopefully they won’t take too long.  Ha! — I say that now….

Lots of things for you to look forward to on the blog in the next week or so…. a book review, a Rhinebeck re-cap, a visit to Connecticut, more finishing (maybe)…. it’s probably the only blog you’re going to want to read, and share with the world.