Saturday, December 28, 2013

See ya 2013...

The end of the year is upon me and I am reflecting on my finished projects and totals.  I lost a good week of knitting thanks to an unpredicted hospital stay a few weeks ago.  Ugh.  On one hand I am incredibly thankful to be home and getting better, but it was a wrench in my final few projects. 

My Christmas gifts have all gone to their forever homes.  For my mother in law was a set of All the Water mittens by Kristen Kapur in Blue Sky Suri Merino.  If you've ever used this yarn then you already know they are soft and lovely--no surprise there.
Previously finished was a Windschief hat for my father in law.  He and Phillip often bike together so hopefully the hat will be helpful this winter.

As I think about all the projects I finished, I can't believe my hands went so quickly... I managed to finish 38 projects, 11 of which were full sized garments.  It's insane to think that many yards (16,400+) and that many skeins were wound, knit, and blocked into submission.  I can't even imagine what will be done this time next year.  I also managed to begin (but not finish) three new projects prior to the hospital stay including a Rock Island Shawl for Julie, a Zig and Zag Cowl for Rachael, and an Indigo Ripples Skirt for me.  Hopefully these few will be done quickly and I can move toward beating my yardage totals in 2014.

Happy Knitting (and New Year)!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Finished: Seagrass & Sand and Sea Shawlette

Well, we had our first snow day this past week and it was every bit as delightful as I hoped.  I am getting a tad stir crazy now as I approach three full days in the same pajamas but returning to work ought to fix that right up.  Anyway, it gave me plenty of time to knit, so no complaints here.
I was able to finish my Seagrass cardigan by Cecily in Berroco Vintage DK.  This thing is pretty cute! I tend to prefer really oversize or tight and this is tight in a way that I am not accustomed to.  Overall, I am pretty happy with it and it took very little yarn;  I think I barely broke into the third skein.  And it took me less than a week.
I also finished a gift for a dear friend K, the Sand and Sea Shawlette in Coastal Knits.  This one is made with tosh merino light and as you can imagine, is to die for.  I am really sad to see this one go.  The yarn is so subtle and the pattern was well written.  I made the body in garter to avoid having to pick up all the wraps, and I have to say, I think I like it better than the stockinette versions I have previously stalked.  Hopefully she will love it.
I've also just begun a secretive color work project for Rachael, who gifted me the beautiful handspun.  Once that is complete, it is off to Rock Island for Julie... you know, I keep reading the pattern, over and over and over and over, and it appears to not be too difficult but it's one of those times that you know when you're actually knitting it, it has the potential to make you want to rip your hair out? Oh, but the finished project will be amazing.  I just know it. 
Off to wind some yarn...
Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stash: madelinetosh

My Webs order arrived yesterday and I would be lying if I didn't say that I wasn't still in a yarn-y fog.  I immediately told Phillip that I needed more...poor guy. But seriously, holy shit I am so excited!
Skeins for the previously mentioned Rock Island shawl for Julie arrived.
Skeins of tosh merino light in beautiful Jade came for an unpicked Rose Beck shawl.
And the finale, a sweaters worth of tosh sport in Composition gray... swoon.
I keep going back and forth on what to make with these skeins: Poolside or Audrey in Unst.  Either way, it can't be wrong as this yarn is to die for.
Other things arrived too: replacement needles, gift tags, crap that means nothing when you get your first whole box of tosh.
Happy Knitting!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Finished: Agnes & Terra

I wasn't kidding when I said I was dying to swatch for my Agnes sweater in Malabrigo Chunky.  I ended up finishing it in record time, something like three days and haven't wanted to take it off since! Melissa LaBarre  has always been a favorite of mine and this pattern proves why.  It is a lovely (and easy) raglan and so easily customizable.  The end result does fit (yay!) and I love it.
Right after the bind off for Agnes, I cast on a Terra shawl in some 220 that has been laying around for a long time.  I finished it up last night after an X Files marathon and it is huge! I should call it my accidental poncho.  I guess I didn't realize 600 yards of worsted on size 9's would be so epically large on me, but I am really happy with it.  I have been eyeing the pattern for at least a year or two so I am glad I finally pushed myself to it...and even better, I easily surpassed my self imposed 15,000 yard goal for the year.
With my long weekend, I am planning on swatching for a few things including a Seagrass cardigan by my knitting crush Cecily Glowik Macdonald.  I also need to begin planning my last few holiday gifts but I feel like I can coast for the rest of year knowing I've made major strides in my knitting life.  ALSO, expect a huge update early next week when my large Webs order arrives! :)
Happy Knitting!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Finished: Featherweight

I really must figure out a way to type and knit at the same time... The cold weather is upon us and I can't stop dreaming of projects. It does not matter that I only have two hands, one brain and not enough power to knit like a real machine--I want it and I want it now.  In the last two-ish weeks I have finished three projects, all of which are Christmas gifts so I will have to save those for after the holidays.  Every year I always say I am not going to stress myself out with knitted gifts, but I always knit and I never stress out.
Finished a few days ago was my very first fingering sweater!  Featherweight in 220 fingering is complete and fits!  I don't know why I lagged on the last few pieces but I finally finished all those tiny stitches and I have a new little cardigan.  The project notes on Ravelry are basically right, the sleeves are a tad small and it probably would have trouble staying on if I hadn't made the collar a bit bigger.  I knit for an extra inch or two and it did make a difference.  (I am even planning other fingering sweaters...)
Recently, I started to feel bad for my husband.  I realized no matter the holiday, I always know what I want---yarn.  It does not matter that he chooses thoughtfully and well.  Deep down I am always dreaming he will surprise me with a room full of madelinetosh or Malabrigo.  But because he is so amazing and because I don't want to take anything from him, I decided to buy my own little holiday gift today.  It took a long, long, long time to decide but I filled a Webs cart with things my heart desired and I simply can not wait for the arrival.  It will include a sweaters worth of madelinetosh, madelinetosh skeins for shawls, and a few Dreamz replacement needles (technically he broke those so this was payback--an expensive one but still...) I will be sure to photograph (and swoon over it) all when it hits my doorstep.
I just received a shipment of Malabrigo chunky so I am aching to swatch for another Agnes sweater tonight.  Hopefully within a few days I will have a big, wooly monster to wear for the impending snow the forecasters say is coming.
Happy Knitting!
(In unrelated news, blogger has somehow managed to delete a majority of the photos from my posts... these posts will be removed soon, or fixed at some point.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Who's stalking me?

Phew... I thought not much had been getting done in the way of knitting lately but I guess my perception is a little off. 
I had the INSANE pleasure of test knitting for Lisa Mutch recently.  If you are on Rav, I will spare you because you already know her as lisa312, the lovely Canadian designer and yarn goddess.  When she allowed me to test knit and even gave me a choice between a few patterns, I really couldn't decide... they were all equally amazing and then Slain ended up in my email box and I couldn't help myself. This is probably my favorite shawl that I have EVER knit. (if you were keeping count you would know that is between a hell of a lot.)  It is made with madtosh and knit on size 7's to give a good drape.  I absolutely have never loved anything I have knit before so much. (I mean it.) I already need another one...  Anyway, she should be releasing the pattern sometime in the next few months and I highly recommend it; it is not "difficult" but has w&t's which help break the monotony of the garter.  I am dying over this one. Please make sure Phillip buries me with it.
Also finished was a Stockholm Scarf (in cowl form) in the amazing handspun by Rachel.  I really love the way this turned out.  I have had to stop myself from wearing it every day.  The yarn was amazing to work with and the cowl is large but not too bulky. (I am about to start swatching a Pebble tank in the beautiful red..WEEEE!)
And finally, I managed to pop out a Kathleen hat for a good ol' friend at work.  This hat is a great example of why I love (some) hats.  I have made it twice now but somehow it still manages to be interesting and not at all dreadful. The color was darker than I imagined (a Rav buy) but it fits his brain so I am pleased.
In other news, my yearly yardage totals are well.  I am hoping to hit 15,000 yards this year (aka 8.5227273 miles, or 45000 feet, or 540000 inches).  I have about 1000 yards tied up in my Featherweight Cardigan which will be done soon,  if I can manage to stop hating the last sleeve which is all it needs. With a few other projects on the way, I will easily hit my goal.
And just because it feels like a milestone, I have hit over 10,000 page views on mrsmurrayknits.  I will sleep easy tonight knowing that 10.000 awesome knitters, or one really creepy person has enjoyed my knitting adventures.
Happy Knitting!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rachael's handspun!!!

I have no finished project to report today.  (I have been working dutifully on many projects which will hopefully come to fruition soon..)  Butttttt, I do have beautiful handspun to show off thanks to the amazing Rachael, who has tried to talk me into learning to spin for years now... Her work is so gorgeous; it has me burning with desire for a wheel.
This is seriously the most beautiful handspun I have ever ever come across.  I am so thankful and so lucky to have a generous friend like Rachael.
Off to dream of what to do with these beauties...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Finished: Salander & Toulouse Pullover

The weather is turning quickly and my needles have been clicking away.  I wish I could say I have completed more, but my instinct to hoard with fall and winter approaching gets a tad out of hand.  Finished recently was Salander, a pair of leg warmers in an easy four row repeat.  The pattern can be found for free on Ravelry and was a nice break from my natural tendency to knit big items.  They were finished in about ten days and the Quince and Co Chickadee is always nice to work with. 

I also finished my Toulouse Pullover in Berroco Ultra Alpaca earlier this week.  The yarn is beautiful and so soft.  The pattern was incredibly simple and this flew out of my hands in no time.  I would highly recommend the pattern.  It seemed easily adaptable and I've already enjoyed wearing it once this week. 

I've been working on a Featherweight Cardigan out of 220 fingering in a doe-y like color... It is moving along much more quickly than I anticipated, and it will mean the completion of my first fingering sweater!  All those tiny stitches seemed so daunting at first but Hannah Fettig really does a great job writing mindless yet enjoyable patterns... so here's hoping I won't give up anytime soon. 

Fall/Winter means my queue is beefing up quickly.  Pre-planning has begun for Kara (in Elsebeth Silky Wool), Stomping Grounds Pullover (in Berroco Vintage DK), Lady Marple (in Berroco Vintage), Heliotrope (in Eco+) and Buckwheat (in Malabrigo Sock--swoon).  Is insanity making me believe that I could legitimately finish 5 sweaters before we ring in 2014?? 

Happy Knitting! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Finished: Pendulum & Pasha

These last few weeks have allowed me lots of time to work on Fiber Christmas yarn.  Gemini started it all and then I felt like I couldn't stop! Finished recently is Pendulum, which I am finally finally finally happy with.  All of my other color combinations ended up looking muddy, despite what I think is good color taste on my part.  Either way, I used the Lost City Knits sock and Shibui Sock (from Little Rock, Yarn Mart) and I love it! It turned out quite long, somewhere around 70 inches in wingspan but I have already worn it out and am really loving the way it lays. 

Also done was another Pasha hat, this time for myself in Lost City DK.  The color is really rich and I am really happy with it.  Now that my hair has grown out some, I feel like I can finally wear hats comfortably too, so this one will gets lots of wear this fall.  (Is it telling that I am wearing it as I type this?) 

The best news of all is that I have officially knit over 10,000 yards this year! 10,668 to be exact.
But who's counting? :) 

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finished: Gemini

I am currently putting all that Fiber Christmas yarn to use!  This past weekend I finished my Gemini shirt made from the Brooks Farms Solo Silk of a few posts ago.  The pattern was easy to follow despite having a needle break mid project and having to perform major surgery on my garment.  The minor flaws aren't too bad, and the end result is very comfy and will likely be a go to top for spring and early fall. I certainly can't complain since the entire project cost about $40 and the pattern was free. 

I even managed to start another Pendulum shawl this weekend with Shibui sock and the Lost City Knits skein from FC.  This form of the project is making me much happier than my other two attempts.  After a day or two of knitting I am approaching being done with a lot of yarn to spare.  I have decided to go further than the called for 5 stripes, but the rows are starting to get incredibly long and the short rows have become a little tedious.  Either way, worked on a size 4 the wrap and turns are a lot less visible than I thought they would be so I am happy.  I still have yet to learn a truly invisible method, but to be honest, I haven't spent much time looking for an invisible garter one either. (Cocoknits has a great method on her website!)

Also on my cast on list is a Kit Camisole in Shibui linen in the velvet colorway.  Can't wait for this one!  Just finished reading the pattern over and I am sold.... linen and a tank top.  I have a feeling someone will have to pry the FO out of my cold, dead hands. 

Happy Knitting!

PS. Remember the arrow caplet I finished a month or two ago?  Courtney has released the pattern on Ravelry and my photo is even featured on the page.. Go buy it! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Finished: Levenwick and Henslowe

I have had a productive few weeks of knitting but I am anxious about the arrival of fall and winter.  I feel like I have a queue full of too much and not enough hands to knit, knit, knit.  I have recently finished my Levenwick sweater and my Henslowe shawl (pattern gifted to me a while back by a generous Raveler).  
I was to a point with Levenwick when I really wanted to give up.  The pattern is well written and not nearly as complicated as the many pages would have you believe but I found myself bored and wishing I had picked something in the round to avoid all those rows of purling (which I actually don't mind!). Thanks to Orange is the New Black on Netflix and a few hours of gritting my teeth, I finished my new sweater.  And onto the bad news.. it is too big even after ripping out the sleeves.  I have a tendency to make everything too big because that seems so much better than too little... this sweater could have used a lot of inches of negative ease though.  I am not sure how much wear it will get but maybe under bunches of layers, I will not look as if I raided a giant's closet. (The second photo shows the severity.)

As for Henslowe, I couldn't have asked for an easier pattern.  It too looks much more complicated than it actually is.  The picot bind off was torture as I expected and much like Levenwick I wanted to run away but Beth Kling has made a pattern which looks really difficult without that much effort, and those are always my favorite! 

Upcoming projects are calling my name!  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finished: Kirkja & Fiber Christmas in July!

I will try to limit my enthusiasm in this post, but no promises.  I have been boasting about my four day work weeks to anyone who will listen which this year allowed me to visit Fiber Christmas in July on its opening day.  It is a smaller fiber festival with lots of local dyers, spinners, weavers, etc. This is also proof that I can overspend in ten minutes flat, and be mesmerized by animal fibers--who knew? 
While there I picked up a lot of beautiful skeins including a huge 875 yard skein from Dawning Dreams, who is one of my favorites. This skein is begging to become a Simple Lines Shawl. 

Also acquired was a skein of "Wooly Shoots" by Two Windows Dye Co. The owner, Deb, whom I had a great conversation with was gracious and kind and this skein was too beautiful to pass up at 600 yards.  (She even gave me a cute hand made bag to take my goodies home in.)  I haven't made plans for this skein but you better believe I will be using Rav to see what will be best for this superwash merino/bamboo mix. 

In attendance was Brooks Farm Yarn, which had a huge booth with lots of different bases and colors.  I had a hard time picking which color would be just right but eventually settled on two large skeins of purple Solo Silk which are begging to be a Spring Garden Tee for a KAL with my awesome boss (who has taken to knitting quicker than anyone I've ever met). These skeins are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen.  They have a luxurious sheen and are so soft; I imagine the 50/50 blend will be amazing against my skin. 

And last but not least, I finally finally had the chance to visit a Lost City Knits booth!  I am sure I have not shared this story before, but I have been stalking their festival page for years and somehow always manage to miss them, even at local events.  One year I ran around in the rain for about 30 minutes and couldn't find their booth and was forced to return to work empty handed and mega upset.  I spotted their booth in record time and felt insane anxiety at which skeins would be mine.  Eventually I picked a skein of their High Country DK in a beautiful rusty color aka Baked Earth.  This skein says it should be a Pasha hat for myself.. 
I had to have their Pathways Sock (in Extra Virgin), which is a generous skein of superwash merino.  I am not much of a green person but this jade-y, rich color spoke to me.  It reminded me of a beautiful And so are you shawl by a Rav friend  which I have dreams about. 

After all of the million skeins I have added to my stash over the last few weeks (including an unblogged 9 skeins of brown linen from a knitting friend), I decided to dare myself to avoid yarn buying for a few months.. perhaps until the end of the year.  I don't find the "job" of picking to be an issue and lucky for me, all of these purchases have been made without a second thought financially but I am starting to get to a point where when I start searching the store that is my stash, I itch a little with the what ifs... What if this yarn would actually be better? What if I hate this? What if I should really save this for something else?  And worst of all, I can't get rid of that... I love it too much.  MINE MINE MINE. 

And because this blog is not just about yarn buying (though I wish), I have been working dutifully all week to finish a Kirkja Shawl out of madtosh 80/10/10.  This skein is beautiful.  If I didn't wonder who read this, I would use many curse words.  The yarn is beautiful, the pattern was free and I have not one bad thing to say about it.  The charts are easy enough but still produce an amazing lace pattern, which can fool knitters and especially non-knitters into amazement. 

I also ripped out the finished sleeve of my Levenwick, which was pitiful looking... I am afraid I am losing my mojo on it but I will force myself to work on it in the coming week. 

Happy Knitting! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Finished: Edgewood & More

I have been a bad yarnie lately.  As usual, summer has taken its serious toll on my knitting.  Lucky for me, two coworkers were eager to learn which helped revive me.  In the last few days, I have finished an Edgewood shawl and made major strides on my Levenwick cardigan, which I am currently avoiding due to a sleeve issue (Dont ask, but do bell sleeves make you shutter, too?!). 

Though it is never a bad day when you come home to glorious yarn just waiting to be knit.  Just received are a few skeins of Quince and Co Chickadee in Chantrelle (Again! This time for a pair of Mirry Dancers), Silky Wool which is dying to be a cardigan, and a beautiful skein of madtosh merino light in Gossamer, which is even more beautiful in real life. 

 I am dancing inside..
Happy Knitting! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Finished: On the Grass & Arrow Cape

I have been terrible at updating lately.  For one, I started a new job and am a little mesmerized by my new duties and my wonderful four day work week.  I wish I could say I have been knitting up a storm but thanks to Phillip, I have been trying my hand at riding my bike a lot more and trying to quit being such a lounge about.  Our apartment is beginning to get hot inside, so it is almost worth going out and getting a little breeze these days.  In the meantime though I have finished (maybe?) an On the Grass Sweater by Joji in Malabrigo Rios.  I finished the body and then became convinced that I wanted/needed another tank top.  A dear knitting friend, Vanessa politely questioned whether I would wear a wool tank top... well, that probably doesn't seem very practical to the average person but put me in Malabrigo and I will sweat in it until the death.  I still need to do a simple crochet edging around the arm holes (Phillip coyly told me they look raggedy for the time being), but I am still very happy with it.  The way I see it?  I could add those ribbing sleeves later in the year when I actually need them :) 

Also finished was a test knit for gorgeous knitter Courtney, and her Arrow Capelet.  This is everything I needed: quick, easy to carry and made in the softest alpaca.  Hopefully she will release the pattern soon so everyone can get in it on the cape thing.  I was hesitant at first thinking I would look  like a psych patient but I am actually quite happy with it. 

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Finished: Dovetail III & Toast III

What is with me repeating patterns so much lately? Normally I just can't wait to start something new and can't be bothered to remember the details of a particular pattern (unless it drove me crazy!).  This week (actually, today) I finished a pair of toast gloves for myself in Plymouth Boku and another Dovetail Cowl in Berroco Vintage to go with the State Street of my last post for my boss. 
Both were easy, both yarns dependable as always.

And as it is just now midday, onto another project.  I can't stop dreaming of wooly sweaters as the weather warms to summery temperatures :( Happy Knitting! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Finished: Lots!!!

I have been terrible about updating lately.  I have been knitting--duh.  I just haven't been able to find the time to sit down and talk.  
Added to my 2013 roster: 
Romney Kerchief, in beautiful Sweet Fiber sock--Fossil colorway.  I acquired this on my birthday at Loops. Couldn't be happier with this; it is dreamy and soft and the pattern was a breeze.

Odile, an easy cabled cowl made from the Malabrigo Worsted I bought at Mockingbird Moon in Arkansas. This pattern was well written and Malabrigo worked at a loose gauge is always begging to be next to my skin.

And finally, a State Street Cowl for my the niece of my boss.  I don't feel quite in touch with what young girls would like, but hopefully she will appreciate it in some way.  

The niece is one in a set of twins, so I have another cowl to make, this one a Dovetail in Berroco Vintage. 

And in other news, still growing the stash thanks to Webs summer sale.  Just when I say I am done for a time, I receive an email with deals I absolutely I can't pass up. 

Soon to come, an On the Grass sweater of Malabrigo Rios, Barbara W in Cascade 220 straw colorway, and for Madmay (YAY!) a Henslowe shawl in merino light, striped fingerless gloves in pashmina, 
and many other wooly concoctions that I just can't stop dreaming of! 

Happy Knitting! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Finished: My Favorite Sweater

About ten days ago I started My Favorite Sweater by Fancy Tiger Crafts.  I am not sure there is much to say.  The pattern is really great for beginners and has plenty of ability to be customized.  Luckily for me, not much needed to be done UNTIL  I was finishing the last sleeve the other night and noticed a hole that looked like a rat had chewed threw my knitting.  The hole was near the raglan increases on one side and there is absolutely no way I could have missed it previously.  Perhaps I ripped it as I was pulling it out of my zippered backpack (the one time I don't use a project bag)? Who knows. Either way, still happy with this and would highly recommend this pattern for knitters like myself who like to be guided along the way.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finished: Cecily's Shawl

After returning from our long weekend, I cast on my Cecily Shawl.  I am convinced there is not much to say about it, easy garter, beautiful Rowan Felted Tweed, and stripes.  Many of my favorite things all together. 

Against my better judgment, I cast on My Favorite Sweater by Fancy Tiger Crafts.  This is an easy (but customizable) raglan, which I am using Berroco Vintage Chunky for.  The odds of me having a new sweater before next week are high, if only I were not actually sweating in my apartment today! :( 

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vacation Yarn

I had an incredibly yarny weekend.  Before we pulled away from the front of our apartment on Thursday, I was anticipating two small packages of yarn from Ravelry destashes.  I have become a little nervous about my stash getting out of control, not financially, so much as running out of space to house it all.  But with these two small packages (4.5 skeins in all--1.5 of Rowan Felted Tweed in Clay for a Cecily's Shawl and three more skeins of Ella Rae to go with my Tea leftovers so I can make another, in the right size, for me), came the delight of already knowing that I had big plans for them. 

Phillip and I went to visit a gracious aunt, whom we have visited on many occasions.  She is delightful to spend time with and even better, there are a number of yarn stores on the way--some that I have visited and loved, some that I have only stalked with the help of the knitmap.   
While in Little Rock, I visited one of my favorite Arkansas yarn stores, Yarn Mart.  This store has always impressed me because not only does it have beautiful hand dyed skeins but it also always has medium range work horse yarns like 220 and Eco+, so while I may have something in mind that is "cheap" (like two extra skeins of Vintage for Beauborg) I can also oogle beautiful things like Shibui sock, which I just had to have.  Also being added to my roster, a sweaters worth of Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton (at a great price!), for something that will hold up to the sweltering Oklahoma heat. 

I also had the pleasure of going to Mockingbird Moon, which is a relatively new shop from what I gathered. Not only did they have a great selection of completed projects (including a finished and beaded Jeweled Cowl), but they had colorways of favorites that I can't seem to find in my neck of the woods.  Picked up there were a few skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in Chapel Stone. 

Making a short trek to Fayetteville, I landed at Handheld Knitting, which was a delight to visit.  Not only do they house an amazing selection of beautiful things I had never seen before, but they have a cute little shop cat, whom I was able to pet ((and fall in love with)).  It was obvious the women knitting there were having a regular knitting date, which was really nice to eavesdrop on, but I fell in love with a beautiful skein of Manos Fino, which I had never even seen before. 

The trip was a major knitting success.  I was able to get about 10 hours worth of Rectangle completed, two swatches for Beaubourg and I picked up a printed copy of Knit.Wear, which I have been fawning over since the first issue but can't seem to find in person anywhere here.  I also accidently picked up a Jared Flood pattern (thinking I had Guernsey Triangle in my hand), Romney Kerchief, so I have lots to work on, including a thank you gift to our gracious host whom made my knitters dream possible.