Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stop me before I buy more yarn

I’ve mentioned before that I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts.  Here’s another reason why that’s true.

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Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in the colorway “Herbalist.” I couldn’t resist this amazing handpainted work of art.  1200 yards should be enough to make a plain tee or simple cropped cardigan so the variegated dyework can stand out.  Hasina is a possibility. Or maybe Amya.

Then there’s the souvenir yarn from my recent trip to California.

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That’s Llama Lace by Queensland in the colorway Vanilla Cream.  It’s a lusciously soft sockweight (despite the name) with the faintest of halos; 1260 yards of decadence that is destined to be a lacy longsleeve cardigan, like Joy, maybe, or Balada.  I already have the perfect glass buttons for such a creation.  This heavenly stuff came from a tiny hole-in-the-wall LYS in San Luis Obispo called Yarns at the Adobe.

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Next, we have Mrs. Crosby’s Hat Box in the colorway Merida.  This is an incredibly soft superwash merino/silk/cashmere blend that says it’s DK, but in actuality it’s closer to a fingering weight.  This gorgeous stuff came from Ball & Skein, a wonderful LYS in downtown Cambria.  Eventually, this will become a tee: perhaps Miss Molly or Hemmed in Hollow.

And finally:  today I made a detour on my way home from a Pride event in North Georgia.

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Vocabulary Yarn’s Ethereal in the colorway Dia de los Muertos.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a working website, Facebook or Instagram page for this yarn company, so either they’re so new they don’t have anything set up (?) or, more likely, they’ve gone under.  Too bad, it’s lovely stuff — a 100% superwash merino single ply fingering — and I would like to have bought more.  But….here’s why I didn’t. Buy more, that is. This was purchased at Yarn Junkees in Hoschton, Georgia.  Apparently, according to the conversation I overheard while checking out, the owner and most of her clientele are unhappy about Ravelry’s recent banning of posts supporting Trump.  They failed to grasp the concept that Ravelry did not ban the people who support him, just banned posts supporting him and his administration.  (You can read the rationale for yourself by clicking the link above.)  So, at this store they’re either Trump supporters themselves or they’re stupid.  Either way, they’re off my list.

Okay, that’s it. I’m putting the credit card on ice for a while.

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Sunday: LYS closing, online madness, and visiting mom

So I may have gone a little overboard in the new acquisitions department recently.  Ever since I got home from Stitches United at the beginning of June, I haven’t been able to stop buying yarn for more than a week or so at a time.

Here’s the proof I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts:

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These two beauties (above and below) are Seacoast Fingering: mostly cotton, with a touch of alpaca and a hint of nylon. Two skeins each of Salt Water (the blue) and Sun Hat (the beigy-yellow). At 489 yards per skein, they are destined to become a striped pullover at some point in the future. The yarn is ripply and textured; I may knit it at a DK/sport gauge rather than a fingering gauge. We’ll see what happens when I swatch it.

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The sumptuous stuff below is Twisted Tweet Sport, all wool, in the colorway Mallard.  Four 384-yard skeins, meant to become a cardigan or pullover.  These skeins came with about a kajillion buttons as a bonus (one package of buttons per skein).  I didn’t shoot a pic of the buttons, but they’re really cute.

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When I visited my mother over Independence Day weekend, I had to stop in at the LYS near her, The Taming of the Ewe. I love that store.  Not only do they sell gorgeous yarn, they sell a wide variety of tea and will happily give you samples to taste.   I was in the mood for cotton while there, and picked up these cheerful skeins of Juniper Moon‘s Zooey, a 60% cotton/40% linen blend: two skeins of Aquamarine and one skein of Chartreuse. Each skein is 284 yards, so these are destined for a summertime tee.

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Sad news: Cast On Cottage, one of my favorite LYSs in the Atlanta metro, is closing.  This makes two Atlanta metro LYS closures that I know of so far this year.  Happy news: everything is on sale.  Everything.  So I went shopping yesterday and came home with more lovely stuff.

Below is Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Fibers, a 50/50 blend, in the colorway Raisin. Five skeins at 146 yards per skein equals a luxurious future short sleeve tee.

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Next I discovered Mayu from Amano Yarns, a simply sinful alpaca/silk/cashmere blend that must be felt to be believed.  Three skeins of colorway Green Glass…

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Three skeins of the colorway Yellow Grass…

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And two skeins of the colorway Frost White. I see another striped pullover/cardigan in the making.

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I also bought a pattern book: Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. Simple and elegant designs, not fussy or overly ornate.  My kind of stuff.

Whisper

This seems to be a year for intense stash enhancement.  I haven’t blogged everything I’ve bought (and won’t because yipe!) but a look at Ravelry reveals there have been 33 different colorways (many of multiple skeins) added to my stash since January.  Yes, that last sentence was passive voice. On purpose. Because the yarn just magically appeared, you know?

Anyway, considering all the yarn already in stash, I think we can safely say I have achieved SABLE status (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). Oh well. At least my heirs will have nice yarn.  Life’s too short to buy or use bad yarn.

Just don’t tell the spouse.

Posted in Book stash, Books, Knitting, Project planning, Reading, Technique, Yarn stash

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time

This Led Zeppelin moment brought to you by… YouTube

Of course, it’s my blog that was lonely, not you all. You went about your days in ordinary fashion, never even noticing the eight-month absence here. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t really expect anyone to actually pay attention to my ramblings. It’s one of the reasons I feel only marginally guilty when I don’t post for weeks and months at a time.

But I finally found some time to catch you up, the three of you who still read this thing. 🙂

Since we last met, I made two shawls:

The Reyna

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and Arroyo;100_5067 (2)

And one hooded cardigan, the Lochlan.
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I performed in two plays:

The Vagina Monologues
TVM

and A Round-Heeled Woman.
RoundHeeledWomanBanner

I read all of 34 books and portions of eight others. Three of those are “did not finish” and five are still being worked on.

And I just got home from Stitches United in Atlanta, with lots of new goodies.
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At Stitches, I took some great classes, learned how to customize a pattern’s fit to suit me, tackled brioche stitch and Irish crochet, won a door prize, made two new friends, and (as you can see above) went a little crazy in the Marketplace. I had an absolutely fabulous time, and came home inspired and ready to tackle some new challenges.

This summer will include taking a dance class, learning an Irish accent, surgery (nothing major), and traveling to California for my 40-year high school reunion. My intention is to be a little more present around here, post a little more frequently. You know what they say about intentions.

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know you’re still here too!

Posted in Book stash, Books, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash confessions

Let’s see….last August was the most recent stash update.  And until yesterday, there really hadn’t been that many stash acquisitions.  Rehearsals got in the way of yarn shopping as well as yarn creating.  But yesterday made up for it.  Hoo boy.

Let’s start with some yarn I actually acquired a couple of years ago but didn’t put into Ravelry until a few months ago.

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Alpacas By The Falls Pure Alpaca, an undyed 100% alpaca light worsted/DK, purchased at a small town LYS in Alabama.  Each skein weighs about 115 grams, and my best guess on yardage is probably 200-220.  I really don’t know because the label doesn’t say.  This was a one-off production run by an Alabama alpaca farm, who has since decided that their alpacas are pets rather than products.  I found this out because, when I finally got around to putting it in the Ravelry stash a few months ago, I emailed the alpaca farm to ask them how much yardage was in each skein, and she emailed back with the information that she didn’t remember and they only made the one batch as an experiment. I adore the tweedy gray, but it’s kind of hairy and scratchy, so I imagine I’ll turn it into a sleeveless vest of some sort.

In February I had a photo shoot in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia.  After the shoot, I couldn’t leave town without visiting The Yarn Garden, where I found this fabulous color combo that almost literally jumped off the shelf into my hands.

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Manos del Uruguay Alegría in colorways Nickel (the gray tonal) and Turmeric (that gorgeous golden yellow).  This yarn is going to become the Make Space cardigan by Veera Välimäki.

I renewed my Rowan subscription recently and received the appreciation gift in the mail a couple of weeks ago.

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Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in Peacock.  There’s just enough of this to make a scarf and hat combo if I stay with a solid color.  I have leftover partial skeins of other 100% wool worsteds, though, so I could throw a bunch of colorways together to make a colorwork pullover or something.  We’ll see.  It’s a sturdy workhorse yarn, so I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

And then there was yesterday’s splurge.  My cohort in yarn crime Alice and I drove up to Gainesville for a coffee and yarn buy excursion.  Our target was a yarn store that had announced it was closing at the end of April.  Currently everything is 35% off.  The discount will be greater as the month wears on, but we wanted to get there before the stock was too picked over.  And we found some perfectly gorgeous stuff.

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Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat Fingering (Uncommon Nonsense collection) in colorway Flower Bed.  This one made me think of Monet’s Water Lilies.  Really generous yardage in this put-up — over 500 yards — so there may be enough to get a pullover or cardigan with short sleeves out of these two skeins.  April Come She Will is a possibility.  Or perhaps La Grasse Matinée.

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Malabrigo Silky Merino in colorways Ravelry Red and Vigo.  This will become a short-sleeved tee or cropped cardigan of some sort.  The Short-Sleeved Raglan Tee or The Girly Tee are both possibilities.

After a stop for a bottle of water, we drove back to Atlanta to visit a new yarn store, The Craftivist.  Here’s where I went a little mad in the MadelineTosh department.

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Tosh Merino Light in Winter’s Rest

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Tosh Merino Light in Purple Rain

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And Tosh Merino Light in Gracenotes.

I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m going to do with these, but the speckled colorways just screamed at me to take them home.  What’s a girl to do?

Go to the bookstore down the street, that’s what.  I’ve been intending to visit A Cappella Books ever since I moved to Atlanta over five years ago.  Since we drove right past it after leaving The Craftivist, we had to stop.  I picked up a novel that had been on my wish list, American War by Omar El Akkad, plus another novel I hadn’t heard of but had enjoyed a previous book by the same author, The Changeling by Victor LaValle.

So, it was an expensive day, but a happy day.  Four, count ’em, four small businesses supported (our coffee and mid-morning snack came from an excellent non-chain coffeehouse, Midland Station), so feeling a little virtuous about that.

But I’m hiding next month’s Amex bill from the spouse.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Latest stash additions

It’s been all books and weight loss around here recently.  Let’s jump back into yarnie stuff and look at the new(ish) stash for a change.

Laceweight yarn has caught my attention in a big way.  The last several skeins I’ve purchased have all been laceweight.

100_4790 (2)Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled in colorway Rost Turkey is a shimmering silk/merino blend.  Each skein is 798 yards, so there’s enough here for a cardigan or long sleeve top.  I going to give the colorway naming people the benefit of the doubt and believe they meant to spell it that way.

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Shibui Knits Cima in colorway Lumen.  This yarn was on clearance at the LYS so I bought every skein they had in this colorway.  1900+ yards of alpaca/wool laceweight that simply glows. I see this as a drapey A-line tunic to wear over black leggings with black suede boots.

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Swans Island Natural Colors Collection Merino Silk Lace in colorways (from top to bottom) Ivory, Sand Dollar, and Sea Glass.  These beauties are destined for a long-sleeve “fade” pullover, mostly likely Little Bird by Veera Välimäki.

 

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Sock yarn plans

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Sock yarn pile #1, to be used for actual socks

Some time ago, I pulled all the sock yarn out of stash and sorted it into two piles.

Into pile number one went the sock yarn that is suitable to be used for actual socks:  it has nylon or some other such fiber content that makes it suitable to take the abuse on being worn on feet, walked upon, and rubbed against the inside of shoes.

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Sock yarn pile #2, to be used for other accessories like shawls or scarves

Pile number two contained all the sock yarn that will not be used for socks.  Now, this could be yarn that is 100% wool with no other strengthening fibers; or it could be a single ply with no twist that can’t take the abuse; or maybe the yardage is far too excessive for socks and must be made into some other accessory; or it could be yarn that’s just too dang pretty to be hidden inside shoes.  The yarn sorted into this pile is destined for scarves, or shawls, or in a few cases where the yardage will allow, perhaps even a lacy shrug or cropped cardigan.

Progress notes:  I made a pair of socks from one of the skeins in Pile #1 already (Dragonfly and Rosebud, blogged here); tried a second skein but, after struggling with it and its splitty nature, relegated it to Pile #2; and am currently knitting socks with a third skein.

True confession:  Since these photos were taken, I’ve added more sock yarn to the stash.  They were pretty evenly divided. Four of the new skeins went into Pile #1; five into Pile #2.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting, Project planning, Technique, Yarn stash, Year in review

2016 in Review: Yarn

Last January, I proclaimed 2016 as the “Year of Knitting Selfishly”.  Out of a total of seven projects completed, five were for me, so that’s a win.  On the other hand, only seven projects were completed, so that’s a blow to the Ravelry queue.

The two gift projects were for babies:  Kaysen’s Blankie for my newest grand-nephew; and Davi’s Stocking for a girlfriend’s baby.

Both were knit projects and took far longer than I expected.  The two months it took to knit that baby blanket — size approximately 24 inches by 34 inches — gave me pause to reconsider tackling a couple of other knitted blankets I have queued.  I can crochet  blankets far faster than I can knit them.  I may stick to crocheted blankets in the future, especially for babies.

The five remaining projects were for me.  I’ve blogged three of them:  Ribby Striped Cowl; Wildflower Cardigan; and the Lacy Moebius Cowl.  The two remaining projects, a shawl and a pair of socks will be blogged shortly.

2016 Technical Accomplishments

I  designed and knitted three projects: Kaysen’s Blankie, the Ribby Striped Cowl, and the Lacy Moebius Cowl.

I made my first pair of toe up socks (to be blogged).  That same pair of socks also included my first short row heel.

I made my first real colorwork project with Davi’s Stocking.  Learned a lot about intarsia by muddling through and juggling bobbins.

2016’s Stash Accomplishments

I used 3,743 yards of stash yarn.

I acquired 5,576 yards of new yarn for a net addition of 1,833 yards.

I refuse to feel guilty.  Look at this one.  Look.

Silk Traveler 1

Fingering, 70% Merino, 30% Silk

*drool*

2017 Goals

I make no plans whatsoever to avoid acquiring new yarn because that’s a silly idea doomed to failure.  In fact, I’ve already doomed it by buying four skeins in January alone.

What I plan to do is:

  • Make a baby blanket for my nephew and his wife
  • Make more socks
  • Finally tackle a Fair Isle project — probably a hat that can be knit in the round
  • Continue to knit from stash as much as possible — the baby blanket for my nephew and his wife may be the exception because I don’t have much yarn suitable for that purpose
  • Continue to knit through my library of patterns
  • Write out and publish the patterns I’ve designed

Everything else is on a wait-and-see basis.  I’m dropping weight fairly rapidly (down approximately 17 lbs since surgery), so I don’t intend to make any cardigans or other  garments until I’m much closer to my goal weight.

What are you going to make this year?

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash enhancement Saturday: First new stash since June 2016!

I’ve been on a self-imposed yarn diet lately.  It wasn’t on purpose; I just was so busy taking care of daily living stuff and knitting from stash that I hadn’t been to an LYS since last June.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, a girlfriend posted photos of her latest yarn store binge on Facebook.  I fell head over heels in love with one of the skeins she posted and had to buy it for myself.  Witness below:

100_4689-2Shepherd Sock by Lorna’s Laces, colorway “Aslan”.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  It knits up in stripes, and I have 870 yds (2 skeins), so I’m thinking maybe a lacy cropped cardi?  We’ll see what pattern presents itself and screams for this yarn.

Speaking of screaming, on Thursday I had to go by The Needle Nook to drop off a couple of pussyhats for today’s March in DC and wandered through the store while waiting for the clerk to photocopy more of the little cards to attach to each hat.  A couple of skeins of Malabrigo shouted at me, so they had to come home, too.

100_4694-2Malabrigo Sock, colorway 139 “Pocion”.  Destined for socks if I can find the right pattern.

100_4692-2Malabrigo Mechita, colorway 850 “Archangel”.  No idea what I’ll do with this one.  It’s a single with no twist, so socks aren’t a good idea.  Will probably end up as a shawlette.

Posted in Book stash, Books, Project planning, Reading

Speaking of reading challenges…

2016SFFChallengeLet’s read some award winners!

I caught wind of this challenge to read books that won major science fiction or fantasy awards by way of Chris Pontius over at Exploding Steamboats.  Chris and I go back, way back, to our BookCrossing days. I’m no longer an active participant there, although recently I registered and released some books after a coffeeshop visit with Alice.  (Should have blogged about that, but see my recent post about blogging slumps.)

ANYWAY…..

Reading challenge.  First one hosted by Shaunesay at The Space Between, who is also a BookCrosser (and whose blog I am now following), and who recently decided that Award Winning Science Fiction and Fantasy deserved its own challenge.  Go read this post to find out why.

Luckily, I have several unread Hugo and Nebula winners already on my bookshelves, so I didn’t even have to buy new books.  That makes the spouse happy.

Gateway Cover  Neuromancer Cover

Man In The High Castle  Windup Girl 

Frederick Pohl has been on my list to read forever.  It’s coincidental that I purchased Gateway yesterday while visiting the Half Price Books that recently opened near me. (Okay, so I bought one new book.  Don’t tell spouse.)

William Gibson’s Neuromancer has long been on Mt. TBR. I’ve dipped my toe in only one other Gibson (Count Zero).  It’s past time to read the novel that initiated the cyberpunk subgenre.

Likewise, The Wind-Up Girl has occupied space on my bookshelf for several years.  I read The Water Knife last year and kicked myself for not having read Bacigalupi sooner, even though it was sitting right here in my house.

I bought The Man in the High Castle a couple of years ago when Amazon first piloted their TV series based on the novel. (It’s marvelous, by the way.  If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you must see it.)  I have only read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? previously, although several of Phillip K. Dick’s short stories and novellas are on my Kindle.

This challenge fits in nicely as an extension of the R.I.P 11 Challenge (hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings).  These four novels are a good start, and put me at the Ursa Major Challenge level.  If time permits, I’ll read more.  It’s not like I don’t have other SF/fantasy award winners waiting to be read — or even re-read.  We shall see.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Oops, I did it again.

I have new pretties to show you for “Stash Enhancement Saturday”.  It’s all Alice’s fault, of course.  I’ve mentioned Alice, right?  She’s been my partner in yarn crime ever since I taught her to knit a couple of years ago.  We go out for coffee, we end up at a yarn store.  It’s inevitable.  It’s a good thing our respective schedules keep up from getting together more than about once a month.

Sprout Spanish Moss 3Our coffee date in February resulted in me taking her for a first-time visit to The Needle Nook, one of my favorite yarn shops in Atlanta. I managed to limit myself to one skein of sock yarn.  That bit of loveliness is Sprout by The Fiber Seed, a “heavy” sock yarn — heavy in the sense that it’s slightly denser than your usual 90% merino, 10% nylon blend, but it still works up at 32 stitches in 4 inches.  The colorway is “Spanish Moss”.  Isn’t that a lovely name for a lovely hand-dyed yarn?

Aura Northern Lights 2The next time we went out was in March to the Atlanta Spring Fling, an annual event held in the ballroom at one of the hotels at the north edge of town. This was a dedicated yarn event, so new acquisitions were no surprise.

Aura Sweet Violets 2 The two colorways at right were bundled together as a “kit”, more or less, but the shawl pattern they were intended for was not part of the deal.  I bought them anyway because they’re spectacular together and equally gorgeous on their own.  The yarn is a 65% superwash merino/35% bamboo sockweight called “Aura” from Silver Threads and Golden Needles, and clocks in at a generous 560 yards per skein.  The greenish colorway is called “Northern Lights”; and the purple is “Sweet Violets”.  I haven’t decided if I’ll use them together or separately.  If history is any indication, they’ll marinate in stash for at least a couple of years before I make any sort of decision about their fate.

1502-Birdsong-cover-rav_small2The other Spring Fling purchase was Birdsong, a pattern book from Classic Elite.  Twelve pretty patterns, mostly pullovers and cardigans, designed for use with cotton and mostly cotton yarns.  I’m totally in love with the cabled top shown on the cover; I even have yarn suitable for it in stash.  The cabled V-neck cardigan with short sleeves and a casual rolled-edge hoodie are going into my Ravelry queue as “must-makes”, and a couple others are on the bubble.

The news that Hancock Fabrics is going out of business and closing all of their stores was surprising.  I’ve shopped at Hancock Fabrics for decades, and had no idea the company was in trouble.  Of course, I seldom pay attention to business news, so my surprise isn’t surprising.  Anyway, last week was the beginning of their clearance sale, and I went to check out the bargains.  I rarely sew these days, but I wandered through the aisles of fabric to see if something jumped off the rack into my arms.  Nothing appealed.  I looked through the patterns; nothing spoke to me there.  I knew most of their yarn wouldn’t be to my taste — I have become a yarn snob, and I’m not ashamed to admit it — but I hoped to find one of the acrylic brands that I like to use for blankets.  No luck there either.  Just when it looked like Hancock wouldn’t get any of my money that day, I wandered into the button aisle.  Success!

Purply Buttons 1These abstract purplish floral buttons screamed at me, so I grabbed all three cards.  They’re 1.25″ in diameter, made out of a layered laminate-type material.  I envision using them on a flyaway cardigan, maybe, or even a rustic button-up cowl.

The button aisle held other temptations but I held back; my time was a little short and I had somewhere else to go.  Hancock wasn’t done raiding my wallet just yet, though.  On my way to the check-out line, I passed by the rack of books and magazines.  One of the Interweave publications I had eyed over the last couple of NewVintageLaceyears jumped off that rack and into my hands, so I brought it home with me as well.  New Vintage Lace by Andrea Jurgrau is chock full of gorgeous lace accessories, mostly shawls, based on vintage doily patterns, and even several doilies themselves.  My favorite of the patterns is Diospyros, a rectangular stole; and I’m rather taken with the half-circle Blue Dahlia shawl, as well.  The Clematis and the Peaseblossom hats will probably end up on my gift-making list.  (“Peaseblossom” as a pattern name makes me smile:  it’s also the name of a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I never played one of the fairies, but I’ve been Hippolyta and Philostrate.)

Finally, there’s the membership gift that came when I renewed my Rowan subscription:  the scrumptious and versatile Rowan Colourspun in the Hubberholme colorway.  Because I managed to buy two years rather than just one year (and duplicated my subscription), there are three more balls of this same colorway to come.  And Rowan’s excellent customer service department fixed Colourspun Hubberholme 2my goof, extended my subscription through next year as pre-paid, and didn’t make me return the duplicate issue of Rowan 59.  If I weren’t already impressed with this company, I certainly would be now.

I gave the duplicate magazine to Alice.

I have just one or two more book reviews to write and then I’ll be caught up.  I hope to get those done in the next few days and schedule them for publication.  Our anniversary trip is coming up shortly and we’re headed to New York for almost a week.  I can hardly wait.  Along with the usual tourist attractions, I have a line on a vintage button store near Central Park, and I hope to visit at least one LYS while in the Big Apple.  If the spouse doesn’t mind.  Probably even if he does.