Thursday, February 25, 2010


We lost a friend and fellow knitter, Nancy Van Hof, yesterday. Many of you knew her but many did not, so I'm going to tell you a little about her and what I will remember.

Nancy was a wonderful person and had an amazing attitude toward life. She was so positive about many things, especially knitting, and would often be heard encouraging someone who felt they weren't experienced enough to knit something. When someone would ask her if she thought they could tackle a particular knitting pattern, she always said yes, feeling that it was just a matter of learning some new skills. During the knit-ins many people often looked to her for advice about their knitting.

That's her in the upper left in the pink shirt. She had a wealth of knowledge about knitting and loved it so much. She was always quick to tell people that if nowhere else, they could come to the shop to show off a project and someone would "give them glory" for it. (sometimes non-knitters just don't understand how great it feels to finish a project, and they don't want to ooh and aah over it as much as you/knitters do!). Nancy was always at the knit-in's and usually stopped in Saturdays and Sundays to visit and knit for a while. She lived just a few doors down from the shop - many considered her lucky in that respect!

One of the things she loved to knit was socks and when I first met her in 2008 I learned that this was a fairly recent "obsession" for her. Several months before I took over the shop, she made her first pair. She had been resistant to it, not really seeing what the big deal was. After she knit her first pair she couldn't stop! Many people knew her as "the Nancy that knits all the socks."
This picture is small but this is Nancy displaying all of her socks at our Fashion Show right after I took over the shop in April 2008. She had knit something like 17 pairs from November 2007 to April 2008. More recently, during the holidays, she was knitting 13 pairs of socks for her co-workers at MicroKnowledge, all in about 5 weeks time. We all watched her progress (and cheered her on) to see if she was going to get them all done in time for the holiday party ( she got almost all of them done and finished the rest up soon after!).

She also liked experimenting with dyeing yarn and roving, and here she is with a pair of socks she knit from a scarf blank she dyed:
They happened to match the beaded bracelet Joan made for her!

Nancy was also a designer and her patterns are very popular at the shop. Here she is with her double basketweave scarf:

(She was always willing to humor me when I wanted to take a picture of her with her finished projects).

Nancy was also a talented spinner. She dyed roving, spun it into a plied laceweight yarn (do you know how thin you have to spin roving in order to ply it into a laceweight??????), and made this gorgeous seed stitch shawl:

It took her a really long time and we all ooh'd and aah'd over the beautiful colors that looked like fall. We also asked many times "Are you really going to do that whole thing in seed stitch???". But when it was done, it was absolutely wonderful. She said she thought it was her best work.
A couple of other things I knew about Nancy:
In order of preference, her sandwich of choice at Hungerford was egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad. And she liked Birch Beer.
She had a tiny crush on Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. (We all had a big conversation about him and his show at the shop one day.)
Nancy had a great sense of humor and we had many laughs together. We also had some serious talks about her health -- she was pretty private about what was going on but now and then when we were alone in the shop she would say, "Ok, I have some news" and she'd give me a little update. She even tested out some of her dark humor on me. I think sometimes she made these jokes just to see the shocked look on my face so we could then laugh together about it. I guess it made things a little easier for us both and I thank her for that. She really was very courageous.

Several people have told me that Nancy loved coming to the shop and I'm happy about that. She was here a lot so I know she felt comfortable here. She was a big part of the shop - so enthusiastic and so very supportive of me when I took over, for which I am very grateful. The shop won't be the same without her - she will be dearly missed. We do have great memories of her, though, that will help us through.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Knitting Olympics Progress

I finished my Heather Hoodie Vest today! I love it. I'm going to wear it all the time until it is 90 degrees out.

Ok, yes, you may notice that the buttons are not on there yet. I still have to pick them out and then spend the next year procrastinating before I put them on. I'm still considering it done.
How is your knitting olympics progress going?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just show and tell....

The Wintergreen Fingerless Gloves was a great success! Here is the work the participants did between the two class sessions:

Aren't they pretty?

More Show and Tell:
Iryth's adorable double knit dog paw hat:

Stevie's first completed felted bag project for the Knitting Olympics:
She has one more to do.....
And her very cute snake and turtle eggs (1st picture), complete with snake and turtle inside (2nd picture)
Jana's very soft and sqooshy Dashing Fingerless Gloves made with Cashmere 5 by ArtYarns:
Jan's second Einstein coat, made for her sister with Encore Chunky:

And her very pretty Mobius Cowl made with Noro Kochoran in the class here at the shop:
Diane's adorable squirrel sweater made with Encore Worsted:

Kathy's very cool Bloody Stupid Johnson Hat (see howthe cable just sort of falls apart?):

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Yarn Shop Visits

On Valentine's Day, Paul and I went back to Geneva, NY and Seneca Lake for an overnight trip. We stayed at the same hotel, The Belhurst, but had a different room... it was called The Carriage House and it was it's own little one room building:
Very cute and comfy.
We sat at the bar again to have dinner:

And had this nice view of the lake:

A nice, relaxing day.

On our way out we, of course, stopped at some yarn shops. Paul, in doing his usual internet search for shops (his job when we go away) found:

In Ithaca. Their customer, Connie Chang Chinchio, is a featured designer in the most recent issue of KnitScene (which I hope to have back in stock today - it's a GREAT issue and flew out the door!). So, of course I had to buy some yarn:

Rowan Felted Tweed.

To make the Tudor Henley pattern that Connie designed from the magazine:

Knitting Etc. was a very nice shop with lots of yarn. They had a nice big table in the middle of the store for classes (a crocheted afghan class was going on when we were there).
Almost forgot, I also got these cute stitch markers made by someone local:
Then, as we made our way along to Geneva, we stopped at Finger Lakes Fibers:
In Watkins Glen. Also a nice shop! The owner was there as well as an employee and they were both very friendly --(I forgot to get a card and forgot their names!)-- and they were both familiar with Altamont, promising to stop in the next time they are in the area. The owner of this shop owns another shop, Green Mountain Fibers, in Rutland, VT and previously owned, but just closed, Needleworks Fine Yarn in Greenwich, NY.
I found these goodies there:
Anne sock yarn by Schaeffer and this very cute Dream in Color Tulip sweater kit!
Knitting Olympics Progress:
I'm getting a lot done! The car rides were very helpful and I got my hand-dyed socks finished (I had needed to knit the second sock and I got that done in two days.
This is the yarn I dyed used the Louet Sock Dyeing kit. So much fun! I'm going to be scheduling another class on this in the next session.
I've also gotten another swirl done on my scarf. I'm trying to do one a day so it won't seem overwhelming having to knit 11 swirls (thanks to Trudi for that suggestion). And I'm making great progress on my Heather Hoodie Vest. Got the hood done. Now I just need to do the sleeves (short) and pick up 258 stitches for the button band/hood band.
I was dying to start something with my new yarn, especially the Tudor Henley, but I restrained myself.
And, finally, here is a picture of Paul in his snow plowing hat:
He insisted on the sunglasses. It's a little big/loose so my plan is to soak it and then put it in the dryer for a little bit (fingers crossed). It snowed yesterday, and he plowed. BUT, it was apparently too warm for the hat (34 degrees). Not sure what the threshold is, but hopefully he'll get a chance to wear it before this winter is over.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Progress already!

Before the end of the opening ceremony, I had my first WIP finished! The thrummed mittens:
Full disclosure, I picked the project that I knew wouldn't take me long. I only had about 2 inches of the 2nd mitten and the thumb to get done. That's ok, though -- it gave me incentive to keep going.
Today, I've gotten one swirl out of 11 done on my Swirl Scarf. My plan is to try to do at least one per day in addition to the other things I'm working on.
Customer Show and Tell:
Sandy's fire breathing dragon scarf, made for her grandson:
How absolutely adorable is that??????? He's breathing fire!!!
Sheila's felted hat made with Noro Kureyon:
And Lois' TWO cowls that she made after taking the Mobius Cowl class last Sunday:
She's working on her third now!
How are YOUR olympics projects coming along?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love-ly yarn

(Yarn picture from Romney Ridge Yarn Co.)

Saw this and couldn't resist sharing it with you. Happy Valentine's Day!

Ok, so the Knitting Olympics start today, in just a few HOURS in fact! It's so exciting. What's great about my picking to finish some works in progress is that I CAN'T WAIT TO FINISH MY WORKS IN PROGRESS! Usually I see them there and think "I really should finish that" but I don't feel excited about it. And usually there is something else I HAVE to get knit for the shop or a class. But now, I've given myself this challenge and my enthusiasm is renewed. I think I'm going to start by finishing my thrummed mitten, but I might change my mind and work on my hoodie vest. I've still got some time.... So, I'll be posting my progress as we go along and, again, feel free to comment here on how things are going for you. When you post a comment, you can just post as "anonymous" and you won't have to worry about a username etc.... If you want to leave your name you can put it in your typed comments.

What I'm working on:

I finally finished Paul's endless snow plowing hat however now I'm having trouble getting a picture of him in it. Yesterday wasn't a good day apparently, but today might be. As soon as I get it, it will be posted.

I started this Easy Bulky Sweater by Yankee Knitter Designs, with the Kids Rock (a new yarn! acryllic and therefore washable and dryable - perfect for kids things):

It really is easy and since I took this picture I've finished the front too (this is the back) and just started on the sleeves. Look for this as a great first sweater class in the next session! (I'm going have to put it down soon, though since my WIP's are waiting!!!!)

Customer Show and Tell:

Lynn's beautiful mobius cowl, made in the class here at the shop, with Noro Kochoran:

Kathy's shawl made with Kathmandu Aran using a pattern from the Friendship Shawls book:

Wonderfully soft, since the yarn has some cashmere in it!

Barbara's afghan made using the Learn to Knit afghan book by Barbara Walker and Encore worsted yarn:

She recently got back into knitting and used this book to help her learn some new stitch patterns. The book has 65 squares to knit but she chose 8 and knitted them each 4 times.

Stevie's fingerless mitts made with Malabrigo Silky Merino (a yarn coming soon to the shop!!!)

This is a wonderfully soft yarn - you'll see....

Happy Olympic Knitting!

Monday, February 8, 2010

All kinds of stuff

First of all, here are some of my Knitting Olympics WIP projects, ready and waiting....

It's so tempting to just get started, isn't it? The aniticipation is killing me - I'm not a very patient person when it comes to things like this.

This past weekend was the beginning of the Wintergreen Mitts class. A pretty, stranded mitten worked on size 0 needles... here's what happened to Kathy:

Ok, my focus was not great - but one of her needles broke in half mid-row. She was unflappable though, and easily replaced it with a spare (luckily the Brittany's provide an extra just for this purpose - they are soooooo skinny!).

And look what Linda made for me:

A miniature yarn shop! In addition to being a knitter, she is a miniaturist. So adorable. I put it next to this little lotion bottle so you can get an idea of how small it is. Thank you Linda!

What I'm knitting.....

My finished Sniffle Mitts! I love them. The tissue pockets were a little challenging for me, especially since I took a short cut and didn't do the basting stitches. Next time, I'll do the basting stitches.

And I'm still working on the endless hat for Paul. I'm hoping to finish it today. It is one of those hats that has a neck part too - you pull it over your head and there is an opening for just your eyes. This was it will cover his nose and mouth and be nice and warm for when he is plowing. If he ever gets a chance to do that again this winter. We're supposed to get a few inches today but who knows if it will be enought to plow.

Speaking of which, the weather is supposed to be iffy around knit-in time, so if you are reading this during the day and are planning to come to the knit-in, give me a call around 4pm to see if we're still having it!

Customer Show and Tell:
Pat's scarf made with a very soft chenille-y yarn:
And here hat and scarf set made from the One Hour Scarf yarn; and her blanket made from stash yarn:
Nice and comfy...
Wilna's almost done Baby Surprise Jacket:
So cute!
Kathy's "A Noble Cowl" made with Louisa Harding Kashmir DK:
She was making this at the same time I was making mine! Beautiful and soft, too!
And Kathy's Pebble Yoke Baby Sweater and Hat, with Saartje's Bootees, all made with Sirdar Baby Bamboo DK:
What an adorable set!
Karyn's Capitan hat - a pattern from Ravelry:
Cute, huh? I forgot to ask her what yarn she made it from.....
Sue's beautiful Waterfall Beaded Scarf:
Sally's "Nancy's Scarf" made with Baby Alpaca Grande:
So soft! Robin will be teaching this class March 13, 9:30-11:30 - call me at the shop if you are interested in taking it.....
Sue's cowl made with handspun yarn she got in a swap on Ravely (yet another fun thing to do on Ravelry) and her Fetching Fingerless Gloves made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in the class here at the shop:
Lisa's scarf and hat made from patterns in "A Fine Fleece" with Cascade Heritage sock yarn:
So pretty!
Mary Kate's warm and toasty Thrummed Mittens made with Ella Rae classic:
She made this in a class here at the shop!
Patti's sock:
She working on the other one....
And Maryann's Double Basketweave scarf made with Mushishi:
Pretty yarn!
The Knitting Olympics starts in 2 days! For those of you taking the Ravelry 101 class, I realize that the opening ceremonies overlaps a little with class (they apparently are starting tv coverage at 7:30 ---- I had thought it was going to be 8 or 9), so feel free to bring your project to start casting on in class.....