Wednesday, December 24, 2014

twas the night before christmas....

and knitting am i! it doesn't need to be under the tree for another week, so i'm not panic knitting.
the cookies and carrot are ready for santa, ( he is tucked into bed) we sprinkled the oatmeal with glitter for the reindeer, watched our holiday movie ( polar express ) and all the creatures are at rest. i'm enjoying a glass of wine, the tree and the peace of the evening. i read an interesting post today celebrating those who make the season happen. the energy that chooses the gifts, gets them wrapped, bakes the cookies, plans the gatherings, shops for the food..... the magic of the holidays. it's a learned skill.... watching mom plan and make it happen, seeing my generation take the task and make it our own. the traditions have evolved but the constant is the love and care we bring. making it our own, incorporating our talents, honoring the past and putting our own into it.
this year ran with but a few hiccoughs. the unplanned colds, keeping track of dad's well-being, but an easy navigation. we delivered the last gingerbread house....
tomorrow we spend with family... just enjoying each other for the day.
and i'll get that knitting done!
merry holidays.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

i've been spinning

with all the frantic knitting excitement surrounding ~christmas on the farm~ i found myself in need of some time at my wheels. i started spinning some of amy's lovely wool/silk blend the day of the event, so i just kept going. as i was going along, i noticed that robin nistock had some roving titled: wine country, that would be perfect to ply with what was on my wheel. i wanted a pound, and since there was a titch more in the bag, i took the entire thing.... it just seemed right!
i wanted chunky, homespun yarn..... not sure what it will be ( i may stay on this boot topper craze)
i think the top picture is the better representation of color. it's grey outside, so all my photo's are dismal! while i was empting that wheel, i finally finished my rhinebeck roving.
last year i got the colorway in a merino/silk blend. this year i got it on my wheel and decided to use my new skill (from barbara perry's class) and plyed it with thread. i love it! it let me keep the long bands of color, but made it a two ply that will increase my options for a finished product.
the last set of boot toppers. these are a gift so i was anxious to finish them up. now back to my regularly scheduled projects.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

that amy

the second annual Christmas on the Farm is fast approaching...... actually, it's this weekend. amythefibergoddess and i have been dyeing yarn and roving, she's been stitching, beading, creating.... all amazing things that will be for sale. this is an excellent time to shop for that knitter or spinner or grab bag gift or yourself :)

the hot new accessory? boot toppers! they are everywhere, on legs of all ages and amy has the yarn. we custom dyed lots of amazingly soft, squishy, yarn for anyone who wants a quick handmade gift.

so here's how the phone conversations went after our dye day on tuesday......

amy: i've got an idea
me:awesome, i'm in!
amy: don't you want to hear it?
me: it doesn't matter.... i'm in!

with all that yummy yarn, she wanted to put together gift packs with a pattern and the yarn all set to give or knit. we needed a pattern and a test knitter. any of you that know us can see what happened next.......

how hard could it be? i've made leg warmers, so this is the almost the same thing.... right? i started swatching, playing with ideas and sizes and voila......
boot toppers! wear them up or.....
cuffed over your boot. it's taking me about a day to knit one, so you could easily finish a set (or two) before the holiday. the pattern is super simple and will be included with the yarn. amy will have these all packaged for gifting........
a skein of stone edge fibers hand dyed yarn with the christmas on the farm boot topper pattern.....

that amy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


so that wrap... the sample from webs that i just had to do? done, in just under a month. this wrap has some miles on it.... appointments, piano lessons, skating lessons, fiber festivals..... if it could only talk. then again, it's probably better that it doesn't.
i started with the triangles and attached the next as you go along. it just didn't get old. i loved seeing the next one form, the colors are completely random in the skeins, so i couldn't be all organized and have it band a certain way. ( and believe me, i had to really let that go :)
it started to get awkward when i had about 13 triangles as i had to shift the entire row as i worked it in the round.
the main body was done in short rows... perfect mindless knitting for the car, the booth, wherever i needed to be able to put it down. pick it up and not be lost. the stretch of gentle weather is ending and i got this blocked in time.
i have another in me, different colors for sure.

Friday, November 7, 2014

New England Fiber Fest

The whirl-wind of fall fiber festivals is finally come to an end. I feel like our festival starts the fall season and the festival in New England at the Big E wraps it up. This was the fourth year that i've helped sandy do the show, but the fifth year it's been in around. driving to springfield, mass we reminisced how far sandy's business has come. the first year it was like watching a clown car unload..... stuff just kept coming out. she had wooden coat racks and ironing board, an antique clothes washer, ceramic yarn bowls, roving, yarn, buttons..... it was crazy! last year we traveled with her new trailer packed full of the same stuff, but it was so much easier to unload.

the finished display is stunning! she added the tent this year, and we strung twinkle lights inside for added charm.
it's still stuffed full with all the yarn, fiber, buttons you can imagine. sandy has such a way with her colors. it was great to hear and see familiar customers and a few returned with finished items. the weekend always starts slow, and the atmosphere is calm.... such a difference from some shows.
we had plenty of time to visit other vendors throughout the weekend. i came home with several new scarves for work, delightful soap and even some yarn to try my hand at core spinning ( i hear tell there's a youtube video to show me how :)
i even accomplished some serious knitting. i was at the part in my wrap were it was all short rows..... lots and lots of short rows. super mindless and a perfect fit for the weekend.
it's done and blocking. and yes, we will be going back next year!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


best time ever!! don't i say that every year and mean it :)
amythefibergoddess, kathy and i made the trip to the new york state sheep and wool festival, better known as rhinebeck. our trip was scheduled a bit differently this year to accommadate a friday evening engagement that i needed to attend. we were on the road by 8:15 arriving at our hotel just south of albany at 11:30. the room was quite nice and became even nicer when kathy surprised us with a bota box of delicious red wine. knowing we had to get up early didn't seem to stop us from chatting, knitting and planning our adventure. on our way to breakfast the next morning, i had barely uttered to amy (do you think they could possibly be going to....) when they looked at us and said "rhinebeck?" we all laughed at the image of a pack of fiber enthusiats'  recognizing their own.
the drive was lovely with little traffic putting us through the gate at nine-ish.

we had our plan and stuck to it. restroom, then vendors. first purchase was a gradient pack in kashmir from fiber optics in 'midnight gradient'. having finally used my first one, i treated myself to another. no clue what pattern i'll choose, but oh my those colors are lovely.
next was into the whirled, where i nabbed a rhinebeck colorway in polwarth. i knew i had on from last year, but those autumn colors just sing to me. by now it was literally a sea of people, and you went the direction they pushed you. i heard my name, and waved to manise. i couldn't believe that she saw me in that crowd! the lines were insane for several of the booths, and many of our old favorites were not there. we all fell hard for fibers in lisa sousa's booth...
having never seen her colorways before, we couldn't help but add some to our stash. a quick lunch and we were on to the barns. the cool dreary weather didn't dampen our spirits one bit. before long our shoulders were crying so we made a trip to the car to lighten our load.
which made it much easier to finish visiting every booth.
there was even time to wander through the sheep barns ....
we closed the festival and made our way home. tired but on that fiber-high that only rhinebeck can give. can't wait until next year!!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

samples sell

i will be the first to admit that i have fallen victim to an enticing project that was on display. remember last year? amythefibergoddess and i came back from rhinebeck with yarn from briar rose to knit the shawl from their booth. i spotted it as i was walking down a human packed path at the festival. i was like a bull with a red flag waving in my face. there was barely any discussion ( except for color) and that yarn was in my bag.
the same thing happened last weekend at webs. we walked slowly through the store.... touching, dreaming, chatting about the inventory and there it was. the colors drew me in.... the design sealed my fate. the poor sweet gal who helped me was online, finding the pattern, book was out of stock, getting yarn amounts, yarn was out of stock and i could not be swayed from the sample. truth be told, if i had seen it in any of the other colors, or just the pattern, not a second glance would it have gotten.
this arrived on tuesday.
i had already purchased interweave fall 2014 online magazine......
and i was off! the wrap is constructed with 17 triangles across the bottom and short rows for the top. i've made it to triangle 10. the construction reminds me of the baby blanket i made a few years back for baby samples. you just pick up stitches on the side of a triangle, cast on some more and off you go. it's a sickness.
remember my vacation project? windward that i purchased yarn, pattern, needles from a delightful shop in glouster, mass. again, i was captivated by the just finished project and yarn.... finally got it done and blocked.
i'm still working with how to wear it. the yarn couldn't be nicer and with the gentle fall weather i'm wearing it often.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


a few weeks ago, kathy mentioned that she had to put together and indigo pot, would i like to dye something. not being completely literate in all things wooly, i replied that i would love to. notice two things in that sentence that should be a concern..... i wasn't completely sure what 'put together an indigo pot' meant and then i enthusiastically agreed. i have to fess up, that i have infrequently had my complete, unreserved enthusiasm lead me astray in my wooly pursuits. if i were into honest self-assessment, it has probably lead me to my closest friendships and most fabulous adventures.
so, the indigo pot. kathy is enrolled in an intensive fiber program that required her to experience a 'natural' dye technique first hand. i use quotes because 'natural' dyeing has many components that can be toxic. in this instance natural does not mean risk-free. we employed all the safeguards needed and began to put the ingredients together. it always makes me chuckle to see how easy it is to get information and have at the ready. the counter was covered with books, instruction sheets, a lap top and ipad..... we were set!
i was surprised that we didn't use any heat with this technique. i'm used to hot liquids when i'm with amythefibergoddess, so this offered different options.
we soon took the entire process outdoors (much to the amusement of the neighbors) and got busy! when you submerge the wool into the pot it becomes the best shade of green. as you remove it the chemical reaction occurs, as the air hits the fiber it turns blue.
the lawn was littered with roving as we gently pulled the fiber apart to expose it to the air. after a bit, i chose to submerge some again to enhance the color. we had a perfect day to let it dry in the breeze. i took mine home and the next morning rinsed with cool water, added a splash of vinegar to help it set, then hung it out to dry. i had two different fibers, this is cormo alpaca blend
and 4 ounces of a BFL,alpaca and mohair blend.

it's all rolled up, waiting for a turn on the wheel.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

fiber, foliage and friends

last week an email arrives in my inbox titled: fiber, foliage and friends. hmmmm, intriguing. there were but two words: too soon? my fiber friend kathy is part of barbara parry's foxfire fiber csa, and last weekend was the annual fall visit for members. so the unasked question was: are you crazy enough to drive to shelburne, massachusetts for an afternoon touring her farm and playing in wool? well, everyone who knows me realizes that answer is absolutely yes!
i quickly found us a hotel and made arrangements for pets and families and off we went on saturday morning. kathy had never been to the yarn store that is webs, so our plan was to spend the afternoon wandering about the store. i chuckled when she commented that we'd have lots of time..... we closed the store after squeezing, sighing and dreaming over every item. i really don't have enough superlatives to describe the staff in this shop. helpful, pleasant, dilegant ( yes, i had one poor gal on the hunt for yarn & patterns) and most of all fun! we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and basked in our finds with a glass of wine after dinner.
i found room to pack my wheel, so got quite a bit of spinning done....
we slept in and slowly meandered our way to the farm. the weather was picture perfect

nothing better than an afternoon on the farm with fiber, sheep and your peeps! we harvested from her garden.....

had a lesson.....
met new friends...

and left with treasures....
i came away completely refreshed, with my fiber love renewed. i'm looking forward to joining the sheep shares for 2015 ( and hoping there's room)!

Friday, September 26, 2014

what happened to september?

i've sat down to write a post several times...... and still haven't been successful. it seems like yesterday that we were at the fair, then labor day was upon us ( awesome time at the lake) then it was back-to-school, helping amythefibergoddess get ready for the festival, getting myself ready for the finger lakes fiber festival, then it was set up at the festival.... you see what happened. so let's talk about the twentieth anniversary event.

this is where i spent most of my time. i lead the volunteer crew in parking. it is an awesome crew! i have my regulars and a few new faces this year. each and every one of them rocks. hard. they are the first impression that attendees get of our festival and i couldn't ask for better representation. we had almost 2000 people attend on saturday, which is a lot of cars to park. after previous years, we learned that it's better to guide people to safe parking, and i'm pleased to report no injuries (to vehicles or humans) no dogs left in cars and no one got stuck. yes, folks had to walk. but it really is all about perspective. once you got onto the grounds there was a lovely wagon to transport you about.
i did get to visit a few booths on sunday and the winery in the farmer's market. i think she took pity on me and was being generous with my samples. :)
this year, i entered a few skeins in the competition. knowing that we had a wonderful judge, i decided that it was a good thing to get some feedback. how did i do?
not too shabby! i appreciated all the comments. now i need to remember what i was going to use those skeins for.
monday i was able to take Barbara Parry's class on color. wow. it was amazing. so many of her thoughts and observations really resonated with me. the class started with observations about colors in roving and how to work with them. having had many of her same experiences, i was eager to learn how to gain better control of my spinning without loosing that special something that makes spinning work for me. you know what i mean? if i have so spend too much time deliberating about what path to take, it sucks the fun right out of it! she offered lots of suggestions and observations that really made sense.

she put us to work. we made singles, two-ply, chain-ply, and even cable ply. it was over way to soon. i've got a list of techniques to try when winter comes.
so that was my festival weekend. just wait until you see what i did this week!

Friday, August 29, 2014

summer's best show in show

yes, it was time again for the NYS fair. it really never gets old for me. the day couldn't have been better, sunny with a light breeze and temps in the lower 70's. i took the herd ( plus one... my niece joined us) for a day of good fair fun. i settled in with my spinning regulars.... and my hansen
yes, there was a starbucks stop along the way :) my table holds all the essentials, a drink, wheel, glasses, fiber. i debated about taking this or my regular wheel. to be honest, this one was picked because it is just so darn transportable. it was a breeze to carry it from the parking lot ( hint to securtiy: clear box with visible batteries is more of a threat than a little girls purse) and i was set up and spinning in no time. i've come to expect to see the two gals who spin the shift with me. we catch up on fiber happenings and the time just flies!
i found that there were less people this year, especially considering the weather. we stowed my stuff at the end of my shift, and made it to the horse coliseum to see the percherons. i just love that! we 'got milk', visited the butter sculpture, the sand sculpture, ate our potatoes, loved on the state police hound dogs (oh my gosh were they dear) and then headed home! i can't think of a better way to end the summer...