Sunday, December 5, 2010

Search and Rescue NOT required

I'm still alive, friends.  Just using up every spare moment to knit and sew up all the gifts I want to send out.  My peeps all live really far away, so I have to get that stuff in the mail early to make sure it gets there on time.

I promise I'll be back soon!  Stay cool.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In for an penny, in for a pound

 I'm starting to look so much like my mother, it's frightening.  I think it's because, as I get older, the 20 years separating us disappear and I start to look more like her younger sister than her daughter.

I made a trip to the Mill yesterday.  It was a miserable day (first snow fall in our neck of the woods), but I really wanted to go because it was their last weekend for the season.  You see, they usually close down on the weekends all winter, with the exception of a few special events just before Christmas.  Except, they let me visit anytime, because I'm cool like that.  Seriously, I call ahead to see if someone will be around, and then I just go and hang out.  I know.  My life is really hard.

ANYWAY, I made several astounding discoveries yesterday:

1. They have a long-arm quilting machine that I never noticed.  Oh. My. God.  You know what this means, right?  I can finish my quilt top and bribe talk Hazel into selling me some wool batting, AND quilting it for me with some simple straight lines.  That way, it simplifies the process and I won't be as bitter if when the damn thing gets destroyed by careless humans and/or canines.  When I asked her if she'd do it, she kind of said "Hmmm, eeerrrrr, weeeeelll, uuuuhhh, weeeeell, maybe."  She'll come around, you'll see.  I'll knit her some socks or something.  Or I'll volunteer to help them move stuff around.  BECAUSE:

2.  The lady who was doing their weaving retired and they are selling their (very) large automatic loom.  They seem somewhat relieved to be getting rid of it, as it's huge and takes up tons of prime real estate.  It's really big.  I've seen garden sheds smaller than that beast.  ALSO:

3.  The extra space they are gaining is going to be used to display SPINNING WHEELS BECAUSE THEY HAVE DECIDED TO BECOME ASHFORD DEALERS!!!!!  THEY HAVE A JOY WHEEL IN STOCK!




I'm done for.  I may as well simply hand my paycheques over to them directly.  It's less complicated that way.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Wonderfully Wonky Switcheroo

I made mention a little while back about having moved some things around at home.  Here's the story:

As you know, we have a really small house.  You might also know that it is on the outskirts of a small village in the country (a 45 minute highway-drive from the nearest small city/big town).  Because of the rural setting, the availability of cheap (or free!) firewood and the elevated storm activity we see every year (causing numerous and lengthy power outages), we have a small wood stove to supplement our oil-fired (I know, I know, it's awful) furnace.

That wood stove is located in the living room, with good reason.  It's central-ish, it's roomy, and it's on the ground level.  Except we never use the living room.  You see, we don't own a television.  And living rooms are primarily tv rooms.  We each do lots of other things in our spare time, but they revolve around the use of desks and/or computers.  I knit while watching movies on my iMac, I read lots of blogs,  I sew, I paint and draw.  My husband is a teacher, so a good portion of his evenings and weekends are spent in front of his laptop.  Plus, being in such a small house way out in the country, we don't get a lot of visitors and when we do, we all end up hanging out in the eat-in kitchen or outside - if it's nice.  The living room contained a never-used sofa and not much else.  The dogs commandeered the sofa for their own use and the humans walk through the room on their way upstairs - that's it.

Up until now, my desk area was located in the smaller of the two bedrooms upstairs.  The furthest room from the wood stove.  Because I spend hour upon hour up there in the winter, I was having to use a plug-in electric heater to keep my fingers from freezing and falling off.  The laundry gets done in the basement, so that task was often-forgotten (out of earshot, out of mind) until the end of the weekend approached and we realized that we would have no clean clothing for the week.  

Can you see where this is going?

Behold, the new studio (sans iMac, as it was in the shop at the time - she's sitting there all pretty and primped up, now):

All this stuff is quite makeshift of course.  The idea was to use up some things we already have for now, in order to keep our budget on track (I didn't pay for any of this stuff - it is all recycled from other projects/rooms).  As I go, I will figure out what I need and we'll build new shelving and possibly a new desk when we have a few extra coins. 

 The entire house is a work-in-progress, as evidenced by the huge gap along the stairs to the basement (currently being closed off by a dresser and a tabletop propped on its edge):

But the best part?  This little black box of miracles is right at my back.  I officially declare this the Winter of Comfort.

Pretty raw, all in all.  But it does the trick.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kitchener Stitch, Revisited (a.k.a. The Most Rambling Blog Post in History)

I spent the entire weekend knitting, as I mentioned.  And no, I am not mentioning this in order to make you green with jealousy, although if it has that effect, so much the better (HA!).  No, I mention this so you'll see the following photo and not think I am the Michael Schumacher of knitting.  I think I spent somewhere in the neighbourhood of 18 hours knitting on the cowl.  I am not usually this fast, just ask my as-of-yet-unfinished cardigan, which I started approximately 57 years ago.

I was just really inspired by it.  The yarn was totally dreamy (thanks Wood!) and I got a little carried away.

Ok, really carried away.  Don't freak, but I made several modifications to it:

WHAT!?!?  It was begging for more cables, ok?!  {Ooh, check out my sexy Crocs in that photo - that is just all kinds of awesome.}  I couldn't help myself!  Once I had done a few, I just couldn't seem to stop.

IT'S THE YARN'S FAULT, DAMMIT.  Don't look at me, dude.  I'm not the one steering this boat.

So anyway, as I was saying, I finished it.  As a result, I can now show you how to do the grafting part.  You'll notice in that photo that I removed the provisional cast-on (sorry, I'm stoopid and didn't take any photos of that part...oops) and placed all the stitches (carefully) onto my second needle.  I made sure that the stitches are placed properly and that both needle tips are pointing in the same direction.

Little tangent: It just occurred to me that if you are a beginner, you may not know how your stitches are supposed to be sitting on your needles.  When you place your knitting down flat and look at them dead-on (on either the Right Side of the knitting or the Wrong Side - it doesn't matter), the right-hand leg of your stitch should be sitting in FRONT of the needle and the left-hand leg should be BEHIND.  Here's a funny photo that will demonstrate the concept for you.  You want to make sure that when you take those provisional cast-on stitches back up on your needle, that you keep them sitting properly. End of tangent.

If you still have a lot of yarn left over, you can break it, leaving yourself a 36" tail or so. Thread the yarn tail onto a yarn needle.  Fold the cowl in half, so that the Wrong Sides are facing each other and place the needles in your left hand, with your index finger wedged between them, to give you some space to work:

 Do you like my vintage flannel?  I've had it since I was 14.  Don't you go saying anything disparaging about grunge or you and I are gonna have some harsh words.  I'm listening to Eddie Vedder as I'm writing this.  He's my secret boyfriend. We've been together since 1992.  We don't like to tell too many people about it, what with us both being married to other people and him being a dad and all.  If you are too young to remember grunge, I weep for you.

Ahem.  As I was saying, you hold the needles in your left hand and do the threading with your right hand.  There are a few VERY IMPORTANT things to consider BEFORE you start.  One: this is not the easiest technique.  Please, for the love of all things good and holy, only take this on when you have some quiet alone-time.  Don't start if you know you'll be interrupted or if you don't have any patience.  Two: keep everything VERY LOOSE.  The thing will look like a mess at first.  That's ok.  You'll go back and tighten it up later.

The first two steps are the set-up steps.  Here they are:

Set-up 1:  Slip the yarn through the first loop on the front needle, purl-wise.  Pull the tail through.  Leave the stitch there.

 Set-up 2: Slip the yarn through the first stitch on the back needle, knit-wise.  Pull the tail through.  Leave the stitch there.
Ok, that was easy enough, right?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the next steps are not as easy and are easily messed up.

But here's a trick I discovered during this last foray in kitchener stitch.  You will be working 2 stitches on the front needle then you will switch to the back needle and work 2 stitches there.  You will alternate back and forth between the two until there are no stitches left to work.  Sound ok, so far?

Right.  Here's the trick: when you work each needle, the first stitch you work will always get pulled off the needle, while the second of the 2 stitches will remain on the needle.  Always.  Got it.  Pull stitch off, leave stitch on.

That leaves you with only one thing to remember: the direction that you are going to thread into each stitch: knit-wise or purl-wise.

Front needle: knit-wise for the first stitch, purl-wise for the second.
Back needle: purl-wise, then knit-wise.

Here's what it looks like:

Front needle: knit-wise (remove the stitch), purl-wise (leave stitch on)

Back needle: purl-wise (remove stitch), knit-wise (leave stitch on)

So you see, if you can remember that you always need to slip the first stitch off the needle and keep the second stitch, all you need to do is chant to yourself:

Front, knit, purl
Back, purl, knit...
and so on, until it becomes rhythmic, your brain shuts down and your hands take over.

When you get to the last few stitches, this is what you need to do:

Front needle: thread the yarn into the first stitch knit-wise and slip it off...

...thread the yarn into the second stitch purl-wise and leave it on

Back needle: thread the yarn into the first stitch purl-wise and slip it off...

...thread the yarn into the second stitch knit-wise and leave it on

Front needle: thread the yarn into the last stitch knit-wise and slip it off

Back needle (ACK! sorry, no photo): thread the yarn into the last stitch purl-wise and slip it off.

NOW, you can go back to the beginning of your grafting and start tightening it up, one stitch at a time.  I stuck my finger in there, just to show you how loose it all was before I started tightening it up:   
The idea is that you want to tighten it up *just* enough to make it blend in with your fabric.

Oh, and what does it look like when you get the steps out of sequence?

They look like purl bumps!  Not the end of the world, surely.  Only, because they were so close to the end of my grafting, I backtracked and fixed them.  Had they been near the beginning, I would have shrugged and said fuhgettaboutit!

You're done.  You just need to weave your ends in and block it.  More on that later.

After all that, don't you think we could use a gratuitous cute puppy shot?

Yeah, I thought so, too.

Also, because you rock, here's a little parting music:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tumblin' weed

I am currently enjoying one of the most relaxing and satisfying weekends I have had in a very long time.

{As an aside, I must say that it has become more and more evident to me that I need my weekends to be primarily quiet and solitary.  I very much enjoy socializing, but I have to be careful how much I do that.  I get a lot of "people time" at work all week and this wonderful and silent 3-day break I'm in the midst in has really recharged my batteries.}

I've been almost constantly signed into Ravelry, exploring in a way I haven't been able to in quite a while.  I've watched two movies (have you seen Ondine?  I enjoyed it...), finished knitting up my Burberry-inspired cowl (kitchener stitch demo coming soon), started up the wood stove (heaven) and I've eaten lots of soup (and drunk lots of peppermint tea), in the hopes of clearing up my chest congestion.

This morning, I've been poking about on the internet, looking for new blogs.  I'm not quite sure where I started, but I ended up all over Creation, reading some mighty interesting things.  The web is a curious thing, isn't it?  I think I've been to Japan by way of Australia and then over to Scotland and back through the US Pacific Coast, before landing back in my own studio just now.

I'll update my blog list at some point this century, but in the meantime, I thought I might give you some suggestions:

Creative Thursday
Ysolda Teague
Her brother, Struan Teague
Gudrun Johnston (who I was already sporadically watching, but look! she has a new site)

And I'm hoping that you already read BrooklynTweed, but just in case you don't, I wanted to send you over to read this.

Sigh.  If only I had an unlimited yarn budget...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wherein I completely trash my reputation as Tutorial Queen

We're making some nice progress on the Burberry-Inspired Cowl knit-along over on Ravelry.

I've promised to do a bit of step-by-stepping with photos for those unfamiliar with the ways of the cable.  So that's what I've done.

Very badly.

{In my defense, I am home sick trying to fend off a nasty cold that seems to be making the rounds of the office.  That means that I'm alone and the whole "tripod/camera-on-a-timer/weird autumn lighting/fuzzy brain" combination is tough to work around.}

Still, I think it gets the point across.  I'm not going to bother making it into a pdf and posting it online, I'm just going to lay it all out right here.  Apologies to those who are not knitting along with us.  Hopefully, you can pick up a trick or two anyway.

Here goes:

First off, it is important to understand that the cable in question is a total of 16 stitches in width.  You don't actually see the "boundaries" of this particular cable, because it is knit in stockinette on a stockinette background.  Basically, it blends in with the scenery.

Cables can be as wide as you want them (although 8 or 10 stitches is probably about the max), but they are usually split into two portions (I won't say *always* split in two, because you just never know who might have come up with something new while I wasn't looking...).  A cable is formed by taking those two portions and crossing them over each other (think of braiding hair, only you're just using 2 hanks to form a twist).  Here's how it works:

Step 1: Follow the pattern instructions until you get to the point where the pattern tells you to slip 8 stitches (the first half of the cable) onto the cable needle.  (I'm just holding the cable needle in my right hand here, because I wanted you to see what it looks like.)

Step 2:  Note: slip your 8 stitches onto your cable needle PURLWISE (meaning, "as if to purl")

 Step 3:  Gather the cable stitches into the kink on the cable needle and let it hang on either the front OR the back, depending on what the pattern tells you.

Step 4:  Ok, this is the trickiest step.  And the worst photo, of course.  Murphy's Law.  What you need to do here is carefully scrunch your knitting a bit, so that you can knit 8 stitches (second half of the cable) from your left-hand needle over to the right-hand needle without dumping your cable stitches off the cable needle.  In this photo, you can see I'm just about to start the first one.  The cable stitches STAY ON THE CABLE NEEDLE while you are doing this.  You'll come back to them in just a minute.

Step 5:  Once you have knit your 8 stitches, you are now at the point of needing to knit the 8 cable stitches that have been waiting patiently (we hope) on the cable needle.  So, haul your cable needle over to your left hand and just let your regular left-hand needle hang out for a moment.  Your knitting will be tight and this will not be the easiest knitting ever, but if you persevere, you will have conquered cables.  So, persevere, will you?

{If you find it easier, you can just transfer those 8 cable needle stitches BACK to your left-hand needle and THEN knit them.  I just find that to be a waste of energy.}

Step 6: Once all 8 of the cable stitches are knitted off the cable needle, finish your row and sit back to admire your cables.

You're done.  You've just graduated to knitting cables.  Told you it was easy.

The next few rows are plain and as you're knitting them, the cable will magically seem to emerge.  Right now, it doesn't look like much, beyond a fold in the fabric.

Here is a YouTube video that might also help you understand the motions:


I just wanted to show this additional shot to demonstrate what I was saying about the first stitch of every row being slipped, instead of worked in knit or purl.  I don't know if you can see it, but the edge has a nice, almost "braided" appearance.  Here; I've highlighted it below:

When you actually work those first stitches, you don't get this nice chain effect.  You get a series of uneven bumps and bobbles, instead.  Oogly.

Any questions?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If I show you mine, will you show me yours?

I'm currently working on a tutorial for provisional cast-ons for our cowl knit-along in Ravelry (go here to check out what's going on and join in, if you'd like).  But in the meantime, I thought I would give you another little peek into my world (scary prospect, I know).

As I mentioned on Ravelry, I recently discovered the KnitPicks podcast, by Kelley Petkun and I am very quickly burning through them, as I'm knitting.  If you go onto iTunes and search "knitpicks podcast", you will find it.  There are 149 episodes (you can see them if you click on "see all") and I've already listened to at least 18 (in 2 days).  What can I say?  I'm learning a LOT from her.

Anyway, I was listening to her talk about her stash (she's the owner of a knitting catalog company, so you can assume it's probably pretty ample) and I recently read the Harlot's posts about her "stashroom" (for the record, I don't think that's the only stash Stephanie has - that's probably just the largest accumulation at the moment...I'm sure she's got several additional closets full of yarn and works-in-progress).  It kind of got my mind reeling about just how much fiber some people have stashed away.  Though I totally drool at the idea of entire rooms dedicated to yarn, I can not imagine owning that much unspun fiber and unknit yarn.  My house is 864 s.f. (80 m2, so says my iPod Touch).  That's slightly larger than a shoebox.  Most people's 2-bedroom apartments are bigger than my house.

What I'm saying is that I have a very humble stash.  Up until this past weekend, it was all contained in one large Rubbermaid tote (you know, the large blue ones that regularly go on sale at the hardware store or Zeller's and you buy them, knowing you'll need them for something).

When I took over the living room with my craft area, I needed something a little smaller, so that I could tuck it into a corner.  What I got was a couple of black plastic bankers boxes (from Staples).  They're stackable and attractive, in their own tidy way.  Bonus.

So, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the stash, so you could see that you don't need to have rooms full of fiber to be a Serious Knitter:

A bag full of cottony/flaxy/synthetic yarn donated by my grandma, last summer.  It's actually quite lovely and I'm thinking I might knit up a lacy lap blanket with it someday.  The hemlock blanket, perhaps?

The most luscious aubergine-y superwash (enough for a long sweater).  I'm not sure which pattern I want to make with this one.  Maybe something Veera-inspired.  Or maybe something Cecily Glowik MacDonald-inspired.  Ladies, you're killing me.

Next door to the aubergine is another sweater-worth of a beautiful navy/slate blue in the same yarn.  I have to take a good look at it and figure out if it will be suitable for a sweater for my husband.  Tora inspired this one, with the beautiful sweater for her husband. If I don't have enough, it will become another sweater for me.  Blurg, I hate it when that happens.

A pile of leftovers from several projects.  They look nice all mixed together, don't they?  I'm feeling another freeform blanket/wrap thing coming on...

Two hanks of O-Wool cotton/wool blend (grey) which I don't like and some local sock yarn that I'm not crazy about, either.  Lori, you want?

A tiny collection of odds and sods that I keep to use as scrap yarn (for provisional cast-ons, for example).

A sweater's-worth of this delicious chocolate brown Lamb's Pride which was earmarked for a Sunrise Circle Jacket, but now I'm not so sure.  I'm letting that one evolve...

Another little pile of odd bits.  I keep these around for those times when my husband feels like knitting (he starts little squares of garter stitch and works on them for a few weeks, before casting them which point, I unravel them, put the needles away and wind the yarn back up until next time).

That's the corner of my new stash box in the photo, see?

And the remnants from my yarn swap with Wood, last Christmas.  That charcoal is going to become my cowl for the knit-along.  It's not going to knit up to the same gauge as the pattern, but I'm just going to knit more repeats until it's the cowl is the same size as everyone else's.

That's it.  That's the almighty stash.  Despite the fact that I live a 45 minute drive away from the nearest yarn shop.  I don't order yarn online, I don't buy stuff unless I need it (ok "need" is subjective, I will allow) and I don't collect yarn.  I don't care how beautiful something is (qiviut, I'm looking at you), if it's financially painful to consider, I don't buy it.  I've never spent more than $75 or $80 dollars on a project.  Ever.  And I don't buy synthetics (anymore).

I just wanted to show you that it's possible.  This is the biggest stash I've ever had and to be honest, it feels a bit excessive to me.  I need to go on a bit of a stash diet in order to make me feel more comfortable with it.

Having said that, are we still going to the mill on the weekend, Lori?  I will have to show some serious self-restraint, but I am strong.  I shall conquer the temptation!

Off I go, to work on provisional cast-ons, while sucking back inhuman amounts of peppermint tea and other fluids.  Fightin' off a cold, I am.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Fine Frenzy

Ok, so can someone tell me what it is about autumn that brainwashes me into thinking that NOTHING is more important than knitting?
NOT that I'm complaining, mind you.  I just think it's a little creepy, on Nature's part - the whole mind meld thing.

If I say "out loud" that I am finally {FINALLY} starting to physically feel normal, for the first extended period since May, can I be assured that the Universe is not listening, waiting to prove that I'm so obviously not in charge of me?  You hear that, Universe?  I swear I'm not thumbing my nose at you!

I bring this up because my new-found comfort allowed me to churn out the bulk of the knitting I still had to do on my cardigan: 

Which has led me to ask a question.  This is perhaps one better suited to a designer (Tora and Chris, I'm looking at you, here - but anyone is invited to jump in with their two cents' worth): 

I find the neckline to be too small.  I'd like to create a cowl-y collar, a bit like this.  However, I knit this from the top down, with some ribbing in the sleeves.  Result: I can not rip back the neckline and pick up the stitches without making a mess of it... or can I?  How big do I want to make the neck opening, so that it sits right?  I've never knit a cowl neck before, but they usually look great on me, so I'd like to try it.  I just don't have a good example at home to measure.  Also, do I still want the neck hole to dip down in the front, or can I get away with a boat neck shape, instead?

Would it be easier to {gasp} sew the neck hole with my sewing machine and {gasp gasp} cut the fabric, pick up stitches and proceed up the cowl?  Sort of like a steek, I think...

Anyway, if you could help me out, I would really appreciate it.

Next up:

And with this latest venture, I think I can safely say that I have a lot to learn about garment design.  That's ok, it's not really something I aspire to.  I think it looks really weird laid out flat like this.  But, it was fun and a good learning experience.  I've got to make some revisions to the pattern but once I do that, I'll publish it in case anyone else is desperate trusting enough to knit it.  It's not a difficult pattern and I found that I was able to knit most of it up while watching movies on my iPod Touch.  And of course, it may look totally ok when displayed on a little human.  We'll have to wait and see, won't we?

Other than that, I spent the weekend puttering around my new "studio" space (photos to come).  I went through my needles and updated my Ravelry needle inventory sheet.  Did you know this was available? (check out item #4 in the list for more info - you can find yours under the "My Notebook" tab in the top-left corner of the screen)

What a fantastic idea!  You can log on anywhere and find out what you already have at home and avoid buying thirteen 4.5mm dpn's {AHEM, that doesn't sound like ANYONE WE KNOW, does it? *cough cough* Seriously, who DOES that?  Geez.  Pathetic.}.  You can even print it out in a small card format, to carry around in your wallet.  I haven't tried that yet, but only because my computer was out of commission and the printer is set up to use on my husband's laptop.

{By the way, my computer is back from the "hospital" and you know that scene in Forrest Gump, when Lieutenant Dan shows up at Forrest's wedding and shows Forrest his new prosthetic legs and Forrest says "Lieutenant Dan, you've got new legs.  New legs!!"?  That's how I felt about my iMac today, when I booted her up.  She's got new legs!  Not sure why I felt compelled to share that with you, but there you have it.}

Hey, speaking of Ravelry, have you been reading Wood's blog?  {Or maybe I should say Wood's blog being ghost-written by Jim?}  Did you see this most delicious little sweater she made for Juniper?  Yeah, I know.  Totally gorgeous.  Seriously.  Even the photography is lovely.  My point in sending you over there, besides shaming her into encouraging her to blog about her projects more, was to let you know about the group she has set up in Ravelry.  I totally snuck in and crashed the party {that's me, getting shitfaced and dancing on the table in the corner} and I must tell you, it's really FUN!  People are so enthusiastic to learn how to knit that it is quite contagious.  {FYI: you don't have to be a newbie to join - jump on in, the water's fine!}  We're going to start up a knit-along of this awesome cowl in a little bit, as soon as I can put together some instructional pages on cabling and provisional cast-ons.

If you'd like to knit (and/or learn) along, we'd be happy to have you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why are you here, again? Oh RIGHT. For the KNITTING!

There has not been as much of it going on as I would like, what with all the renovations (almost done folks, almost done) and the moving around of furniture (photos and details of my new work area to follow).  But I have made some progress on my shawl (the one I bought yarn for during Hurricane Earl, remember?):

 I'm really loving the texture and the colours.  So nice.  The pattern I'm using is Shadow Knitting Sock Yarn shawl, by Kimberly Gintar.  You can find it on Ravelry and it's really easy - no fancy stuff, nothing complicated to memorize.  A pretty nice first-time-knitting-something-lacy project, all in all.

My other knitting project (let us not speak of the unfortunate teal cardigan that is languishing in the project bag, while I shamelessly cheat on it with other, more exciting knitting...) is a little something I'm working on with one of your fellow readers, Laura B.  She wanted a little girl's tunic in aran weight yarn.  So, she's getting a tunic in an aran weight yarn:

I live to please, people.  I live to please. 

Free pattern to follow...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Testing testing

I'm still trying to figure out this Scribd/free file sharing problem I've been having.  Can you guys tell me what happens when you click on this link and try to print out the document?  I'm concerned about what happens on pages 3, 4 &5, specifically.

I would do it myself, but my printer is not hooked up and I'm on the hubby's laptop (the internet is not hooked up to my own computer).

Thank you - you're all just peachy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blatant Consumerisn

Every fall, one of our local organizations puts on a inter-county garage sale that takes place over 2 days and boasts over 100 different venues and events.  It's huge.  They print up a booklet that offers descriptions of all the entrants and a map, so you can see them all "at a glance". 

That special weekend took place last weekend.  I hadn't attended in a couple of years (can't remember why I missed it last year...) and I had only one goal: find a small, solid-wood chest of drawers.  This is something I've been pining for since last year and the reason is that I'm getting annoyed with storing my fabric stash in cardboard boxes.  I lose things completely and get so overwhelmed by the bits and bobs in there that I avoid sewing.  I don't want avoid sewing because of something so fixable, so I've been on the lookout!

This place was neat - their sale was held in a nice courtyard of a motel, along the side of the highway.  It was multi-family and well-staffed.  We picked up a slew of mint-condition DVD's from a widow who was downsizing.  Her husband had been a big movie buff and had a truckload of action movie DVD's (my husband is like-minded).

I spotted this bumper sticker and couldn't resist.

Check out this fully-functioning Japanese washing machine!  It's made by Hitachi and my grandmother has one just like it.  They were asking $20 for it and though we don't need a washing machine, I was sorely tempted to take it home.  These little things are fantastic!  And very water/energy-efficient, too!

I bought these adorable little cups for 10 cents each.  I tried to find a fourth, but it was not to be.

This little bowl/dish was 10 cents and I just love it.  We have a serious serving dish shortage in this house, so I've been on the lookout for that, too.

These insulators were a bit steep, price-wise.  However, I couldn't resist.  I got the pair for $5 + 2 eggs.  Yes, 2 eggs.  The sellers were a couple from out-of-town, camping in an RV and they had been trying to buy only 2 eggs from any of the local stores (they didn't want to buy 6 or 12, as the leftovers would have gone to waste).   We went and bought a dozen, kept 10 for our own use and gave them 2.  Strange, but effective.

 This isn't something I bought - it's a piece of green milk glass that my grandmother gave me.  She used it for mashed potatoes for YEARS (I don't think I ate mashed potatoes out of any other dish for the first 8 years of my life) and never for anything else, oddly.  Last year, she started thinking about moving into the local "seniors' community" where all her chums live and she wanted to downsize her possessions before it comes to that point.  She came to visit last summer and brought me this (the only thing I really wanted) and her ENTIRE COLLECTION OF VINTAGE KNITTING NEEDLES (the only other thing I wanted). 

 See why I love it?

I found and bought this little fan for $2...

...and this one for only $1!

 (Yes, do!)

And guess what?  They both work perfectly!!!

 This one even has some neato swivelly action going on.

Found an awesome wool blanket for $10 (army surplus-style which, in addition to the goose-down duvet and other wool blanket on my bed, keeps me toasty).  The vintage sheets in this photo were also a garage sale find ($2).

And yes, I DID find a little chest of drawers.  It needs to be stripped and painted white (with these knobs in white and red, methinks).  It was $15.  Much better than the $200 I was finding in the stores...

Oh, and we found a much more suitably-sized dining set for our kitchen.  Picture it painted white, please.

Oh, and as I threatened to do at the beginning of August, I bought myself a Nantucket Bagg for my knitting.  So so so SO SO SO glad I did!


But, by far, my most important and unexpected purchase was this:

 Have you guessed what it is, yet?

 Yes, that's right!  A beautiful vintage bicycle!  I am so over the moon in love with it!  It needs some love and I haven't had a chance to roll up my sleeves on it yet, but I will.  Oh, will I ever!

She needs some cleaning, new reflectors, a rack and lights, but that's no big deal.  The tires are original, as are the seat, the handlebar grips, the paint, the decals, the everything.

And how much do you think I spent on her?  $100?  $150?  Nope.

Yup.  It was fate.  Thank you, Universe.  I love you.