Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Comfort Zone

I've been feeling lost without a sock on the needles.  I've missed having a small, portable project to be my on-the-go companion, so yesterday I vowed to remedy the situation. 

I considered which color to use.  I have a lot of options available. I'm knitting this pair of socks for me, and as I pondered colors I had to admit that usually I stay within my comfort zone.  For this pair of socks I set a personal challenge to choose a color that was outside my normal range of colors.

I narrowed down the choices.

Lucia Berry Patch.

Or this.

Lucia Mustard Seed.

And the winner is Berry Patch.

I have never been one for pink.  Don't get me wrong.  I think it's a pretty, cheerful color, but it's something I never, ever choose for myself.  The balance to all of this is that I have a pink-loving daughter who more than compensates for my pink deficiency.  I'm sure she'll want to claim these socks as her own, but part of the challenge is that the socks have to be for me.

Thanks to everyone who's entered the Change Of Seasons Contest. The contest is still open.  Leave a comment and enter to win.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fresh Start

My optimistic nature is starting to look at Monday as a day for a fresh start.  If the weekend didn't go as planned or I didn't accomplish what I had intended, there's always Monday waiting with a clean slate. Instead of dreading Monday as the start of another work week, Monday gives me hope and a chance to redeem a lost weekend.

I don't have any dyeing news to report.  It's all numbers right now as I plan re-stocking and inventory, but there are some fun new things in the works.

And Tower Mill Shawl is still on the needles.  I was coming 'round the bend into the home stretch when I had to stop for this.

Refueling.  There will be progress pictures later in the week.

As we gear up for another round of sheep and wool festivals complete with sheep herding and shearing, you might find this article interesting. Clara Parkes answers follow-up questions to a segment she did on The Leonard Lopate Show.  She talks about farm conditions, shearing and keeping sheep healthy.  

And now I'm off to make the most of my fresh start.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Change Of Seasons Contest

Today I have bits of this and pieces of that to share with you.  First here's a quick update on Tower Mill Shawl.

I had some "issues" with it last night.  Too many interruptions in the middle of a row created a mess.  There was no way to recover except to take out a couple of rows.  With just over 300 stitches on the needles it was not a quick fix.

Everything is straightened out now, and I'm back on track.

The lacy windmill motif is beginning to emerge, and I'm anxious to watch the rest unfold.

If you're in the Boston area, this weekend is the Red Line Yarn Crawl. Three yarn stores on the Red Line of the subway have teamed up for a weekend of special events, prizes and more.  Check out Mind's Eye Yarns, Windsor Button and Stitch House for more details and information.

We had snow flurries yesterday, but the calendar says spring. To welcome the season I'm hosting a contest here on the blog.  Leave a comment and share what's on your needles.  I've been searching through patterns lately so I'm curious to see what others are knitting. The winner, chosen at random, will receive a $25 Dirty Water DyeWorks gift certificate.  The contest closes on Friday, April 1, 2011.

I received these as a gift, and they've sparked a desire to knit something with beads.  They are my color inspiration for the week.

Glistening orbs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting Organized

I'm busy getting organized, taking care of behind-the-scenes work for my next round of shows.  When I'm in the thick of it later this spring, all the time spent on planning will pay off.  But right now I feel like I'm chained to my computer and my phone - leaving messages, waiting for replies, coordinating schedules, planning new samples.  And all the while thinking about how much dyeing and knitting I'm not getting done. 

The dye pots are calling - new colors to try, inventory colors to re-stock.  

And special orders to fill.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I've earned a long sit and knit session.

I leave you to consider the story of the world's largest woolen blanket - 20,000 knitted squares, 2 years in the making, all for a good cause. Inspiring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blame The Moon

I had a plan for this past weekend, but I encountered more interruptions than I thought were humanly possible.  The full moon probably had something to do with it.  Anyway I feel lucky that I came out on the other side with something to show for all my time and effort.

Last month I added a scarf kit to my booth.  I had several requests asking when it would be available online.  I'm happy to report that the Dipped Infinity Scarf Kit is now available on the Dirty Water DyeWorks website.

This pattern moves from dark to light by dropping one color and picking up the next one in the progression.  The kit uses 8 colors of Julia and is available in shades of blue, green or purple.

Needless to say I didn't have as much knitting time over the weekend as I had envisioned.  The short row section of Tower Mill Shawl is finished.

Next up is the lace and cable section.  And now I'm off to make up for some of the knitting time I lost over the weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Knitting Of The Green

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day.  A day for celebration and merrymaking.  A day when everyone is Irish.  We have a very local holiday here that coincides with St. Patrick's Day.  Evacuation Day celebrates the evacuation of the British from Boston.  It is a holiday for Suffolk County (Boston proper) and is marked by closing school and government offices.  There's your history lesson for the day.

My St. Patrick's Day celebration was pretty tame, but I was working with green yarn throughout the day.  It was a day of appointments and meetings, and that green yarn made the rounds with me.

I know it's a busy day when I do my photo shoot between stops in the back of the pickup.

Most of my recent projects have a border in one form or another.

This project, Tower Mill Shawl, is no exception.  This design incorporates working the garter border along with casting on the stitches.  It's like killing two birds with one stone.  Very clever.  After casting on/working 299 border stitches, I'm ready to move on to the body.

While not every knitter is a lace knitter, I think everyone can appreciate handknit lace.  Lace knitting often requires a certain amount of patience and concentration.  One truly remarkable lace knitter is Gene Beugler.  Gene is a self-taught knitter who also designs exquisite, heirloom lace projects.  I had the good fortune of meeting Gene last year at Stitches West.  This 87-year-old, gentle man was willing to talk about lace with anyone who would listen.  You can read the story of this master lace knitter here

Blood oranges have been popular in my household for the past few weeks.  They are like candy, and they are my color inspiration for the week.

Slices of sangria.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I finished a pair of socks over the weekend.  I used my basic pattern and a heel flap edged with garter stitch.

I needed no-fuss knitting, and these fit the bill.  They knit up quickly and were easy traveling companions.

I love the color - a mix of blue and green with faint hints of yellow. These pictures don't do it justice.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Lucia, colorway Beryl.

Now I'm considering my next pair.  There are so many options. On one hand I have a running list of socks I want to make.  On the other hand I have several patterns I've already made that I wouldn't mind repeating.  It's the difference between making a new acquaintance or visiting with an old friend. Either way exciting possibilities lie ahead.

If you're curious about where to find Dirty Water DyeWorks, the sidebar has been updated with coming events.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gone Camping

I'm coming up for air after being immersed in FiberCamp Boston all weekend.  FiberCamp was held at MIT.

It's not surprising to find this sculpture, Alchemist, at MIT.  It's a human form made of mathematical symbols.  You can find out more about Alchemist on the artist's website.  After entering the website, click on Exhibitions and Projects, Current.

On Friday night Kathy Elkins from WEBS started the weekend with her talk entitled "It's Personal".  She spoke about the history of WEBS and how it's grown and changed over the years.  She also talked about the importance of community and how they try to maintain that at WEBS.  Since FiberCamp is driven by the local fiber arts community, it was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Dirty Water DyeWorks was one of the FiberCamp vendors so Saturday morning was spent setting up.

The other vendors were Stitch House and Mind's Eye Yarns.  We had a very comfortable space in the main registration room.

The attendees seemed to appreciate the variety of goods offered by the vendors.

Some couldn't wait to get started on projects and wound their new yarn right on the spot.

FiberCamp is run by the attendees who offer workshops on various topics and techniques.

Instructions on how to offer a workshop. 

All weekend long people were in and out of the registration room, checking the schedule.

There were sessions on everything from hyperbolic crochet to needle felting to making a dress form out of duct tape.  Magic loop knitting, backstrap loom weaving, spindle and wheel spinning - such a variety. 

Some of the workshops were spur of the moment, spontaneous offerings.  People were filling in the schedule as the day progressed. Seize the moment of inspiration, offer a session and go with the flow.

Probably one of the greatest benefits of FiberCamp was the time to simply hang out, work on projects and chat with other fiber enthusiasts.  It was an opportunity to catch up with friends and make new ones.  FiberCamp is a wonderful event to nurture and strengthen community.  Thanks to Guido Stein and Common Cod Fiber Guild for making it all possible.

One final note this Monday morning.  There are so many needs in the world right now, but I feel compelled to mention this cause.  The people at XRX who bring you Stitches events and Knitter's Magazine are holding a raffle for one of their employees, Sue, who is battling ovarian cancer.  You can read all about it here.  I'm inspired by Sue's strength, courage and tenacity.  I've mentioned before that ovarian cancer has touched my life.  Take a moment to read about Sue. If possible, help by entering the raffle.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ready To Roll

I'm packed and ready to roll for FiberCamp Boston.  I'm looking forward to a fun weekend.  The latest addition to my collection of booth samples is finished.

The body of this cowl was quick and easy.

And then there was the border.

This lacy border of 13 stitches was worked back and forth over a 6 row repeat.  Every other row one of the border stitches was worked together with one of the live body stitches to attach the two pieces. There's something about short pieces worked back and forth that seems to take forever.  I probably spent as much time on the border as on the body.  Maybe even more.

The cowl is finished and ready to travel.

The pattern is Hoarfrost by Anne Hanson.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Alpaca Blend.  Currently this yarn is only available at events.

I'm in love with this motif created by a combination of lace and cables. This cowl makes a nice transition piece as we move from winter to spring.

We've been playing with clay and paint around here.  This bowl provided me with my color inspiration for the week.  It's late winter, and I've been craving green.  In fact I'm getting ready to cast on a new project in green.

The color of spring.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holding Steady

The past few days I've ben busy with the dye pots.  A little of this, a little of that.  Nothing too overwhelming.  I had a little slip and dyed some yarn for a new project, but I've promised myself I won't start it until I finish the current booth sample under construction.

I like to think of this as controlled startitis.  I could easily take a big fall, dye several new colorways and start as many new projects.   For the time being I'm holding steady.  

I'm fascinated with dog sled racing and have been following news of the Iditarod.  This beautiful, treacherous race course is over 1150 miles long.  Conditions are both breathtaking and extreme, challenging on many levels.  

In the spirit of the Iditarod knitters have formed Iknitarod.  Choose a project that is personally challenging and try to complete it before the last musher crosses the finish line.  Usually the Iditarod lasts about two weeks.  One of the challenges of Iknitarod is not having a fixed end date.  Of course there is a Ravelry group, and you can follow along with one knitter's challenge here.  I'm watching this one from the sidelines, but it's not too late to join.  It's still early in the race, and anything can happen.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Work

Another weekend come and gone and here it is Monday morning already.  I really don't know where the time went - probably because I was so busy.  In addition to juggling the rest of my life I managed to get some work done.  

I spent time dyeing for FiberCamp.  Sometimes the planning takes more time than the actual dyeing, and that's the case with this round of dyeing. 

And I did some knitting.

The first sock is finished with ends woven in, and the second sock is under construction.  I hope to be wearing these by the end of the week.

I had time to plot and plan while working on the plain sock and came up with another booth sample.

A wee bit of a cowl.  I'm in love with this yarn and pattern combination. I've made this pattern before and never seem to tire of it.  More pictures and details in another post.

For your amusement I leave you with time lapse amigurumi.


Friday, March 4, 2011

FiberCamp Boston

FiberCamp Boston is just around the corner, March 11-13. FiberCamp, hosted by the Common Cod Fiber Guild, is an un-conference.  The topics for discussion and demonstration are determined by the attendees.  People attending FiberCamp offer to lead sessions on various fiber related topics.  It's been fun and interesting to watch the list of topics unfold on the website.  This is an excellent opportunity to connect with other fiber enthusiasts and to share your passion.

Kathy Elkins from WEBS will get the weekend rolling with a talk on Friday night.  Kathy recently interviewed Guido Stein, president of Common Cod, on her Ready, Set, Knit Podcast.  You can listen to the interview and find out more about this event here.

There will be a marketplace at FiberCamp, and I will be vending.  I'm looking forward to this free-form event and the creative energy it's sure to generate.  If you're in the Boston area, be sure to check out this weekend full of fiber fun.

On the needles . . . I've been making progress on my latest sock.

I don't feel I've had all that much knitting time, but I'm already past the gusset and making my way toward the toe.  Working on this sock has given me the mental space I needed to plan my next booth sample.

I haven't decided which pattern to use, but I've narrowed it down to two.  I do know I'll be using this yarn.

My weekend knitting.

Yesterday was a day for celebration here, and it provided me with my color inspiration for the week.  I hate to see winter end, but spring is coming, bringing changes in light and color.

Delicate white with fresh green.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Calm

The dust is still settling from my last event.  There are orders to fill and colorways to re-stock.  But after the flurry of activity leading up to last weekend, it's relatively quiet - the calm before the next event. This is when my thoughts turn to new projects.  

For the past month or so I've been resisting the urge to start a new sweater.  I haven't settled on a pattern, haven't even allowed myself to look at patterns in earnest.  Even if I had a pattern in mind, I haven't dyed the yarn.  While this is not a project I'll be able to start tonight, now I can start plotting and planning.  Rolling around with the new sweater idea are a couple of thoughts for new booth samples. Patterns, yarns, colors all swirling around in my head.

While these ideas are percolating, I started a plain sock.

This winter has been hard on my handknit socks, and I'm in need of new ones.  There's nothing quite as meditative as working on a plain stockinette stitch sock.  I'm sure that by the time I've turned the heel and started marching toward the toe I'll have come up with a plan for all these new projects.

In other news a couple of worthy causes have come across my radar. Genny Stevens is donating 100% of the sales from her Tiki Mittens pattern to earthquake relief efforts in New Zealand.  Follow the link to the mittens and read about the tiki symbol.  Very interesting.

Norma from Now Norma Knits is helping a friend de-stash and raising money for a good cause.  Take a look.  There are some beautiful items up for auction.