Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014 - New Hampshire

Happy Holidays!

We just returned from a trip to New England to visit the family for Christmas. It was great seeing the family (my little nephew is just the cutest thing ever!). But we didn't go alone - we also brought the pups and the bunny:
Getting cozy during the 12 hr car trip. 

It only took one evening of the dogs (my parent's pooch, Dutch and our two) being leery of one another before they became fast friends and tore through the house playing and chasing one another. Every evening we'd see the pups flop out tired from a day of play:

Dutch, so tired he fell asleep on Ryan's lap with his head on the table!
Boe Bear flopped out on the bed but with TWO tennis balls at the ready should he want to wake up and play!
The week wasn't all dogs and play (okay so it might have been). But I did get some knitting time in. In fact, I knit the world's ugliest sock:

Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98% cotton, 2% other) 
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm)
Started: December 24, 2014
Finished: December 25, 2014
So ugly Rosie can't even look at them! 
They fit Mumma Roy perfectly!
This yarn is so odd - it's a stretchy cotton which makes nice socks but a beotch to knit with. They are a DK so they knit up quick (hence the one-day to complete the pair). I CO on the 24th and lo-and-behold, Mumma Roy had a new pair of socks to wear on Christmas! Too bad it looks like the socks had a little too much eggnog and threw up on themselves! Ah well... Mumma Roy seems to like them.

Aside from ugly sock knitting I had other fiber-related goodness: I visited the Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe in Goffstown, New Hampshire. I thought this was a new LYS but I was surprised to learn it opened around four years ago.

Image Credit: (it was a dreary day and the photo looked terrible). 
Chip the Mascot! 
The shop is adorable and has a great selection of yarns and a HUGE selection of Blue Sky Alpaca Yarns -- sooo soft and luscious! The owner Bruce was great. We chatted about yarns, patterns and all things knitting while Mumma Roy and I browsed the store. Also very impressive - the exclusive patterns made by Bruce for the shop:

The Simply Lined Hat Knitting Pattern and Simply Lined Slippers are soft, cushy and quick knits perfect for gifts or for yourself! Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures inside the shop - I was too busy chatting and shopping. But if you are in the area I recommend a stop!

Last fiber-mention about my Christmas trip... the French Press Slippers I gifted to Mumma Roy and Sandy. I used Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool again (see my previous post about these slippers) to make these slippers. I knit the slippers and wrapped them without felting so they looked like this:

Waaaay too big for a human to wear. And I couldn't wait to see their expressions when they unwrapped these monsters:

You can tell from their expressions they thought these monsters were hilarious. Only after I explained that we'd have an afternoon of felting did they get it. And did we have fun later that day felting and stretching/forming to feet! BTW - blame Mumma Roy for the lack of finished object photos... will post those once she sends them to me. 

Overall we had a blast up in NH. It's always nice to see family especially during the holidays. I miss them already! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Amsterdam Trip

It's been a couple of weeks  months  and I think it's about time I show you my fiber finds from my Amsterdam trip!

Unfortunately work got in the way and I didn't have enough time to explore (dang work!) but I was able to stop by one shop -- Penelope and Stephen! One of the finals days we had a little break in the action so a colleague friend (who is just as addicted to knitting as I am) and I jumped on the tram and hurried into town to visit and patron the Penelope + Stephen shop:


The small shop was beyond cute. I mean, even before you got in the shop you saw knitterly goodness. Yep that is a crochet cozied bike! 

And the inside was just as adorable: 

 And of course, filled with yarns!

 Oh so much pretty yarn! Many were yarns that I could find here in the states. But some were unique colorways that I had not seen before. Mostly I just had fun looking around and squishing every bit of yarn possible.

The ladies working were very nice. They even gave my colleague and me a free measuring tape (pictured below) for shopping with them! 

Yes... we had fun! 
So I have to admit, I was a little bummed that we didn't see Stephen. HOWEVER, as we were heading back to the tram (we did, after all, have a conference and work to get back to!) a very pale, beautiful man, riding a bike COVERED with colorful knitwear rode by. Oh you KNOW I squeealed like a little school girl as he rode by. Maybe next time I visit the Netherlands I'll pounce on him!

Such a cutie!
Okay so now I know you are wondering... what did you get?!?! Okay, we'll start with the money shot of all the items:

And now I'll tell you a funny story. So I purchased this pattern book because I love knitbot and I had never seen this particular book. I checked the date and sure enough, knitbot Essentials is from 2012. Because it might be difficult to find the booklet again I purchased it. Fast forwards weeks later when I'm looking at my knitted sweaters on Ravelry and a friend mentions she likes the Lightweight Pullover I knit ages ago. As I'm checking out the design I realize it's a Hannah Fettig - huh, apparently I liked Hannah's designs even before I became a huge fan. As we're digging around more I'm noticing my e-pattern book is very familiar. I check out the cover... and sure enough! It's this same knitbot essentials book! So now I have it both e-format and in paperback. Oops! I guess you know I like the patterns.

An 80/20 (80% merino, 20% nylon) fingering weight yarn, dyed in Amsterdam. I walked by the yarn a couple of times and didn't think too much of it. I mean nice colors (the yellows and greens really popped!) but the yarn wasn't the softest. And I couldn't really think of what I'd do with it. Then the shop assistant told me it was all dyed by a lady who lives in Amsterdam -- okay sold! Apparently she specializes in yellows and greens so I had to grab a green. And I love purple so I though why not. But I have to admit, I'm kicking myself for not getting the neon yellow?!?! Ah well... next time. 

Yes I know it's available in the US but I really liked this particular colorway (24 carat!). It's 90% merino and 10% nylon, and oh so unbelievably soft! I'm thinking this might become a little shawlette rather than socks just because of the softness.

Three Irish Girls - Glenhaven Gold Sparkle
Yes, I can get 3 Irish Girls anywhere - even at WoolWinders! But this, THIS, yarn is an exclusive from the Stephen and Steven Tour! I know, I didn't attend but I don't mind grabbing some of the leftover yarn from the rockstar tour! I love that it has just a hint of bling in it - just enough to make a lovely shawl.

Another image of the lovely yarn. 
 And a shot of all the snacks I brought back... I promise I shared with others! Although I haven't had a stroopwafel in a month and now I'm craving one!

And finally, I'll leave you with some pictures of the lovely city. I went on a couple of early morning jogs and a walking tour with a group of friends. Here are some of the images:

De Gooyer Windmill
View from my hotel room. 
Another view from my hotel room - no that is NOT Hogwarts, but it's the place where we had our conference!
Things are so much prettier in other countries... even the details above doorways!
Beautiful canals.
The line to get into the Anne Frank House
More canals. 
For some reason my hotel thought it was important to let me know how many sunshine hours there were each day. 
I'm not even going to tell you how many croissants I had during the week-long stay. 
I had too many stroopwafels too.... 
So there you have it - my trip to Amsterdam. Okay I actually mostly worked but I tried to get a little fun in where I could!

This post should go up as the husband, dogs, bunny and I are driving up the NH. Not sure if I'll be able to write up a post while visiting with the family - so if not - happy holidays and see you on the return!