Wednesday, December 26, 2012

holiday surprise

christmas eve found us enjoying some time with family in the afternoon, then returning to our home for our holiday tradition. walk the dogs enjoying the holiday lights and after dinner settling in to watch the polar express. i was plying away ( i can't just sit and watch a movie, there must always be fiber involved) and my partner tells me he's been reading my blog. really??? after all these years he's decided to read my blog? i sat there reviewing in my head all the things that i've posted recently and felt my heart sink when i remembered the wine bottle bags. i just made an off hand remark that i'd need to be careful what i post.
yikes! there no time to even consider doing anything else, (believe me i considered it) so i let it go. christmas morning presents were opened and there sat my little gift bag with the 'non-surprise' gift. i handed it to him to open, and commented that i learned my lesson about surprises. he opened the bag and found these.....
he was flabbergasted! it seems that he only reads the most current posting, so missed the entire wine bottle- palooza! surprise was accomplished for both of us.

Friday, December 21, 2012

gingerbread solstice

time to get those gingerbread houses decorated and ready to travel to their new homes. i was talking about the evolution of traditions today with my sister. the new changes soon become welcome customs, and the memories of our child hood customs become stories for our children. my gingerbread house tradition has been in place for over fifteen years. i wish i had been better at keeping track in the beginning, but i never saw this as an annual occurrence. now it is so ingrained in our family, i can't see ever stopping. as with many things that are done over and over, it gets easier and easier.
they were all baked and ready, so i got them set up and started frosting the helps to have another pair of hands to hold them in place....
and while they look a little rough, they just need those finishing touches...
we'll send then on their way tomorrow. for now, i get to enjoy the sweet smell of ginger and chocolate!

Monday, December 17, 2012

christmas gift

i'm pretty sure i posted that i was not doing any christmas knitting. i had one gift to do for a family gift exchange and that was it! oh how soon i can forget.
my partner has done most of the shopping that will be gifted to him on christmas morning. there seem to be no surprises. i love the surprises more than i need the gift. searching and securing just the right thing that i know is their hearts desire is where i get my reward. so i was feeling a bit deflated knowing that there was no surprise.
then i opened and email and inspiration struck.
the chesapeake bottle bag, courtesy of classic elite yarns. i knew that my wine lover would be speechless when this was opened. this is where the story gets a bit weird. when i went hunting for yarn, i found none. thank goodness for all those michaels coupons. i grabbed two skeins of patons classic wool in red and leaf green. it will totally match the holiday themed bottles that are currently decorated.
i'm really zipping along, and hope to have this done tonight. i've already secured a special bottle of wine to cover. and this is it. no more. really.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

it won't be good enough

i can't tell you how many times i heard that refrain at my last guild meeting. this year we had a fiber swap, the idea being that the end result will be on display at our fiber festival in september. we did this in the past and had about 36 folks participate. this year we had 20. it's hard to find time to be fun and creative, i totally get that. what i don't get is when someone says that they can't do it because 'i can't make anything that will be good enough' really? i've yet to see anything that was totally crap come into guild. now i will admit, it may not be to my personal style, but it was constructed with care by someones hands. it does not need anything more than that!
i was urging a fiber friend to participate and she commented that the last time we did this, she made a pair of fingerless mitts that were terrible. the fiber knit up in two different colors, the mitts were really small and long, she couldn't understand why anyone would wear them.
i wear them. i wear them a lot. in fact, i wear them at least three times a week when i'm trapped  waiting at the skating rink for my little skater to practice. i love them, and when i shared this with her.... i know she didn't believe me. it's sad how we can undervalue our skills. i know that i'll never reach great acclaim with my hand-spun knits, and that is okay. i love hearing that it was worn until it was thread bare, or became a biter for the dogs, or was repaired so many times. that is the gift. that shows me i was successful.
so i'll sit with warm hands, knitting away at the rink and thank holly for the awesome mitts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

color affection

when i first heard about this pattern i was intrigued. my knitting had been slow and suffering since i injured my elbow last year. to be honest, i didn't injure it, my 'little red' dog did. while training her to leash walk, i got several good, strong yanks to my left arm. soon i had numbness and tingling in my hand leading me to self diagnose carpal tunnel. i mentioned it to my doc this spring and after taking a look, he told me i had lateral epicondylitis and time was the best cure. time is not my friend. lots of ice, planned exercise and limited knitting is slowly making it better. i have struggled with any needle size below 5mm, so no socks, limited lace and shawls. that's one of the reasons i've been on such a kick making all the wraps.... i can use larger needles. so this pattern seemed like a great fit. it is all garter stitch, sock weight yarn on larger needles, a win-win. here it is ready to cast off....
i loved working on it. the colors just made me happy, happy, happy.
this is one big wrap! or maybe it can be a throw to cuddle with. oh heck who am i kidding....
i'll just wear it!

how soon til i cast on another???

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Felled by the flu

the week of thanksgiving was a blur. the tree was harvested on monday morning, our annual tradition. it's always up in it's stand and decorated by thanksgiving thursday.... rain or shine. or mud. or ice. or.... you get my drift. i've harvested trees with a babe in my arms, in a sled, dragged a toddler up a hill and through the woods. every year, i swear that it's not worth the effort and then i sit with a glass of wine and look at this....
so yeah, it's worth it!
back to my story, we came home with this beauty, set it up. later that night i was awakened to 'i feel sick' followed by the gastrointestinal bug from h%#$. just as the sun was rising, the next one started. i scrubbed, kept the washer running, fetched and carried and by the next day thought we were in the clear. our guests arrived for the afternoon, and i went south. i really have no clear focus on time until saturday afternoon when i was able to get out of bed. the worst part? no knitting or spinning or fiber!
this week, i'm back on track and see the end of the color affection wrap. i'm starting the bind-off and since there are 5 billion stitches, it's going to take me awhile. it really is a beast!
as i plug along, i've started to plan my next project. i have only one holiday knitted gift to complete, so i went searching for the yarn. i'm making the cloisonne mittens by yarn harlot as my christmas craft. i've done mittens in years past  and actually thought about finally making a pair of thrummed mitts, but amythefibergoddess reminded me that i had not done these yet, so yarn hunting i went.
i went with some stashed cascade 220. i love this yarn. it's durable, nice to work with and the finished product is lovely. this picture is a very poor representation of the colors, so look at this....
wow, what a difference. going with the basic black for the hand, and kicking it up with the fun colors. i want the recipient to look at their cuffs and smile when they get that blast of color.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New England Fiber Fest

Last weekend sandy ( longmeadow farms ), cc and i headed off to springfield, massachusetts, for the final fiber festival of the year. sandy was a vendor last year and decided to come back again. we filled two vehicles with all sorts of wooly goodness ( and our luggage) arriving late afternoon.
yes, we were those clown cars that you see traveling down the thruway, wondering just how that fit that much stuff into a vehicle. the goal is to sell enough so that we can fit ourselves (and purchases) in more easily for the trip home.
soon looked like this......
sandy has a great spot at the end corner, so we get traffic from two direction and have a nice presence as the booth on the end.
saturday was quiet, but steady with shoppers. after having been in the crush of rhinebeck, i appreciate the slower pace of this festival. i wandered out several times to sight see and found that i could get into each booth, linger and chat with the vendors. it was a wonderful laid-back vibe.
i was able to stitch away on my color affection wrap, making it (finally) to the short rows.....
we arrived home sunday evening, not tooooo tired. we're booked again for next year. and my purchases?????
two scarves to add to my collection, the color grid by kangeroo dyer - been on my wish list for a bit- and several skein of 'bb toes' by tuckerwood farms. i seem to be on a wrap kick!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


i arrived home from rhinebeck to find an email from a gal who raises lincoln sheep. emily recently moved to the area from rhode island with her flock of black lincoln's. she raises them to show, sheering twice a year and that saturday was sheering day. with ten fleeces she was looking for folks who like wool. a family member had been to our festival, so she gave me a try.
as it would happen, i was in her area last weekend so decided to stop and meet her and her wool!
my photography skills stink, but this is emily and the bags of wool. she had them all set out on a table, with the name of the owner (sheep owner that is ) on top. i had the best time going round checking out the names when i realized i should really be checking the locks! so round i went again, fondling locks, exclaiming over the curls and colors .... i'm sure she thought i was loony. on the third pass, i decided that bobbi needed to come home with me.
this lamb fleece is as soft as can be and is that same color throughout. i'm eager to get this washed and start playing with it.
even in the rain and mist her flock was lovely. as soon as i find a minute, i'll be diving into this project! i know where the other nine bags are ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

rhinebeck 2012

for various reason there were only three of us making our way to the NYS sheep and wool festival that is rhinebeck. i was looking more forward to this event than i can say. it didn't matter what the weather would hold, how many of my fellow fiber lovers made it, i was filled with excitement and anticipation to be there. we left on friday with the ~woodbury commons~ outlet mall our initial destination. sandy needed a winter coat from eddie bauer and i needed to see the vera bradley outlet. don't know if it was the rain or time of day, but it was quiet.... perfect shopping. we were decisive ( and lucky) and were headed to dinner by five.
we treated ourselves well. after a yummy dinner, we retired to our hotel room to enjoy a lovely Riesling and watch sandy ply yarn (it is a fiber trip after all)
saturday dawned foggy and warm. we were on the road early to arrive at the festival by nine. we got right in and headed immediately to the spots that we knew would be crowded later.....
socks that rock yarn in ochroid for the color affection wrap that i am going to make. the sun was lovely, the breezes warm and the fiber-vibe amazing!
cc needed some tools for her wheel, so she and i were off while sandy visited her pottery provider. low and behold, mr. ashford was visiting all the vendors who sell their product. he was charming and happily agreed to a photo with cc .....
while i was waiting, i found myself fondling fiber in another booth. 4 oz of merino roving came home with me ;)
even though i expect it, the crowds do become oppressive. we found ourselves going through barns and not being able to make our way into booths. we called it a day at 3:30, on the road to home.
cc and i realized that this was our sixth rhinebeck visit. the appeal keeps growing.... i can't wait til next year!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

little york fiber festival

early this spring, amythefibergoddess asked me to consider helping her at a new fiber festival that she was considering. of course, i said yes...... it's fiber right? a weekend away with fiber? we were soon giddy with the planning. then we found out that sandy long was going to be there and cc was helping her. we tandemed to preble in vehicles full of fiber ( and stuff ) to the cortland repertory theater. the venue was a lovely old building sitting on the bank of a lovely lake. charming area, but wait.... this is a lovely old building ( clue here..... old) and the summer home of the theater (another clue.... summer) with no heat. friday was lovely, but we awoke saturday morning to a balmy 26 degrees, had to scrape the ice off the windshield. we enjoyed all the friendly fiber folk, but we were cold. frozen cold. can't feel my feet cold!
it is such fun to sit and spin, people watch and chat with people that speak my language.

delightful event. next time??? ugh boots!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

picker magic

my dear fiber friend joan made her way over to play with the picker. i love the picker. i want the picker. i'm so lucky that amythefibergoddess lets me carry on this love affair with her picker!
it seems that joan is joining me in the 'picker love'. from all our dyeing adventures this summer, she had several batches that, well, got a bit felt-ie. i highly technical term for fiber that she just kept messing with during the dyeing process that got matted. it is so tempting to want to touch the fiber, stir the fiber, fondle the fiber when it is drenched in all that color. the problem is that hot fiber will get... felt-ie. hence the picker. see how it comes out all fluffy and loose? perfect to card when it's like that. we chatted and picked and soon she had..... (here it comes...) three bags full :)
all lofty and ready to put through her drum carder. i love the picker!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

follow the pattern

i was on the hunt for some yarn, and that turned into a huge cleaning frenzy. i up-ended baskets, bags, bins sorting everything into proper groups.... tossing away bits and nasty stuff.... i was ruthless. in the process i stumbled across a partial sock, on a holder with no pattern in sight. sigh. this is really not like me at all! i ripped it out, balled it up and set it on the counter. i felt sad that this yarn and project just languished. i kept looking at it, moving it out of my way and finally decided to measure how much yarn there was. then i hunted for a pattern. i didn't go far when i realized that i was going to make another 198 yds of heaven. it seems that this has become my 'go-to' shawl knit. i've made it twice in handspun modifying the directions to create a larger shawl/wrap. this time i had just enough to actually follow the pattern and make it the way the designer intended.
it was lovely, but very small. i used up all the yarn (see that little bit left). i put it on my trusty blocker and then it looked like this.....
lovely, but still petite. soon, anyone that walked past it asked 'what happened to this one?' when the residents of the house start commenting on the project, it starts to give you pause.
then i put it on.......

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fiber Festival Fun

saturday dawned sunny and brisk. perfect festival weather. yes, there were puddles, but the rain did not make another appearance for the weekend.
the grounds were filled with fiber folks and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. the committee decided to implement a new parking plan and i spent most of saturday greeting attendees and helping in the parking lot. the volunteers were amazing! there were some great suggestions to help make the process roll along a bit smoother, and all in all it was a success!
soon it looked like this.....
for our guild display this year, we had a knit along using the lala shawl pattern. there were 51 shawls created by members and placed into the display. it was amazing! the talent and skill was just stunning. i kept saying that this was a wonderful testament to our members. so many agreed to participate, and then put all their hard work into our hands for this purpose. . . .

the festival goers vote on their favorite, and this year the choices were many. i 've yet to count them (i may wrangle some help for that one:)
it wasn't until sunday afternoon that i made my way to the skein and garment exhibit. the gals that coordinated it told me that i had a prize waiting. since i only entered one thing, i knew what item won, but i didn't know where it placed.
it was the traveling women shawl that i had made this spring. the yarn had been entered several years ago as the handspinners basket, part one. then the yarn kicked about the house for a while before finding its way into a tote in the basement. earlier in the year when i was searching for some yarn to make my own lala shawl, i happened upon it. i had planned to make the sunrise circle jacket and as i looked at the yarn i wondered what i had been drinking..... it was a terrible idea. i brought the yarn into the house and decided to try the traveling women. amythefibergoddess was knitting one ( and i'm always quick to hop into a new pattern) so why not?
i was flabbergasted ( and really quite shocked ) to have received the award. what a great way to end the weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

festival set up

this weekend is the annual finger lakes fiber festival in the lovely finger lakes region in upstate new york. plans have been made, vendor arrived, set up commenced.

soon became this.......
after living in moderate draught conditions for the summer, today..... yes today it decides to rain. not just water coming out of the sky, but pelting water hurled upon us! we lost power on the fairgrounds, and thankfully the guild display was done. i'm hopeful that tomorrow will dawn dry and bright.
amythefibergoddess has oh-so-many tasks to do that i was able to trick convince her to let me come home with six pounds of freshly made roving to prepare for sale. it was amazing the least i could do to help a friend. i had to touch all six pounds of wool and silk, winding it into balls to sell.....
( i even got to spin some up...... hopefully she'll get all of these tomorrow ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

sample knitting.... done!

so my sample knitting was hampered by the end of summer, beginning of fall. suddenly my knitting time was non-existent and my brain was full of too much life stuff. i made it almost to the end, realized that it wasn't right, kept on knitting somehow thinking that it would spontaneously correct itself. it didn't. so..... i ripped it out. ripping out two stranded knitting is a pain in the basket. you've just spent all that time twisting them together only to tug them apart and try to form two separate balls of yarn. yuck. on a positive note, the fiber held up beautifully ( although i don't think this would be my marketing strategy)
on the second try, i was successful. wove in the ends, gave it a hearty dunk in warm water then blocked it on a dinner plate.
 it's a beauty! i was worried that there was too much green in the handpaint to have it stand out, but i was wrong.....  yeah!!
hopefully amy will be pleased!!!