Monday, January 30, 2012

Pass The Chips

I've fallen down the rabbit hole.  The hexipuff rabbit hole.

The Beekeeper's Quilt and the adorable, colorful hexipuffs are all over the place.  Everyone is making hexipuffs.

A couple friends and I had discussed a mini KAL - make hexipuffs, swap yarn, share in the joining.  We never got it off the ground, and I vowed to put this project on the far back burner.  I don't know what got into me, but the other day I decided to try one. 

Just one.  What could be the harm in that?  I have oodles of leftover yarn rolling around, and each hexipuff takes just a smidge.  I knit the hexipuff, stuffed it and closed the end - quick and easy.  A soft, cushy mini pillow.  All I need is several hundred more and I can have a whole quilt. This could be a problem, I said to myself.  Before I knew it I was digging through baskets and bags, looking for yarn remnants, lining up more colors to use.  Just one more hexipuff.

I have a lot of dyeing on my plate right now, and this new obsession could be either really good or really bad.  It's nice to have a quick knitting fix when I'm so busy.  But if I can't stop making them, they are a total distraction and time suck.  I'll never get any work done.

Be warned - hexipuffs are potato chip knitting.  You can't knit just one.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crazy For Kits

In two short weeks I'll be hitting the road for my first event of 2012. I'm busy planning - making lists, dyeing yarn, knitting a couple of new samples.  And I'm working on knitting kits - yarn and pattern in one tidy bundle.  Knitting kits are popular.  In addition to my regular lineup of kits I'll have a couple of new ones available at this event.

These skeins will be wound off into smaller skeins for kits.  With several color choices there's something for everyone.

Sometimes a color catches my eye because it seems so out of place, so uncharacteristic for the surroundings.  That describes my color inspiration for the week.

Mother Nature's graffiti.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Walk Away

New booth samples.  It's always fun and exciting to knit new samples for the booth.  Adding new samples is my way of redecorating and giving the booth a fresh look.  I've chosen several patterns and colors have been selected.  The process is underway.

But I was stuck - stuck looking for one more design, one more . . . something.  I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, but I would know it when I saw it.  I searched books, the internet, Ravelry.  I convinced myself that if I spent just a little more time I would find that one last design - the one that spoke to me.  I spent hours sipping coffee and perusing patterns all to no avail.

Yesterday I brought my search to a halt and decided to walk away from it.  For now at least.

There's nothing like a new project with new decisions to clear my head.  Distraction is a wonderful thing.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I do a fair amount of traveling throughout New England, but most of it is work related.  I live in an area rich in fiber festivals and events. Last year I was a vendor at almost twenty events, all but one of them in either New England or New York.  Don't get me wrong.  I love hitting the road with a truck filled to capacity with fiber, but every once in a while it's nice to travel light with just my personal knitting.

I had a small window of opportunity to visit a dear friend in Maine and had been planning a long weekend getaway. 

The weather cooperated, and I was gone.

Gone to a small coastal fishing village near the Canadian border.

It's nice to escape every once in a while.  

Lingering over a late breakfast with knitting in tow.

Plenty of time for late night chats and a couple of beers.

Plenty of time for knitting.  I worked on several projects and finished this one.  Another Scrunchie Hat.  

This Scrunchie is for me.

Made with leftovers of Edna - Slate, Dijon, From The Bog.

Change of scenery and time with a friend - just what I needed.  I would have loved to stay longer.

The time passed all too quickly, but I came back rested, refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Captiva Wrap

Just last week I started a new booth sample.

I was consumed with the magic of short rows and couldn't stop knitting.

In no time the enchantment was over, and I was binding off.

Captiva Wrap.

This design is worked from side to side in a series of short row waves. The short row shaping makes Captiva a shawl that stays put when you wear it.

The scallop border is knit as you go.

The end of the border is finished with a tail.

A tail that's perfect for tossing over your shoulder.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Edna, colorway From The Bog.

This yarn is one of my current favorites.  Edna is a blend of Polwarth wool and silk, a combination that gives Captiva elegance and drape. You'll have to excuse the color variation in these pictures.  Winter lighting is not my friend.

But I am enjoying the winter weather.  An arctic blast created my color inspiration for the week.

Icy gray.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I've been surveying odds and ends of yarn.  They are everywhere - buried on my desk, tumbling off the work table, spilling out of my bag. Bits of this and that.  Remnants of completed projects.

I set a challenge for myself to use up some of these yarn leftovers.  It so happens I need a new traveling project - something that doesn't require all the charts and elaborate pattern instructions I'm currently working on.  A sock project would be the logical choice, but that doesn't work so well with a mishmash of yarn.  Instead I'm going with a hat.  The bonus to knitting a hat is that it's fairly quick.  A little instant gratification now and then is a good thing.

I've narrowed the yarn down to these four.  They are all Edna so I won't have to deal with varying weights and gauges.  Deciding on colors is the next step.  Mix and match, pick and choose.  Now the real fun begins.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Slip

I have a steady stream of knitting requests from family and friends. While there is always a wait time, eventually I come through.  This project seemed to take especially long.

The popular Felt Clogs.  It took me quite a while to finish this pair.  It could be because I've made this pattern so many times now that I'm bored to tears with it.  Or it could be because this pair is for men's size 12 feet.  Either way it was a bit of a struggle.

I was relieved to get these slippers off the needles and even more so to felt them.  The final detail was finishing the soles.

These slippers are wonderfully woolly warm, but they are like skating on ice if you have hardwood floors.

Over the years I've tried different things to deal with the slippery soles - everything from adding full leather soles to strategically placed leather patches.  

My current solution is Plasti Dip, a rubber coating often used on tool handles.  I get this wonderful goo at my local hardware store.  It comes in a variety of colors, but usually I settle on basic black.  

I've developed a method for applying the Plasti Dip.

First put the slipper over a full one liter bottle.  This makes it easy to work on the sole and keeps the slipper steady.

Give your Plasti Dip a stir and grab a paintbrush.

I prefer to use a foam brush but any kind of paintbrush will work.  Be warned that Plasti Dip has a strong odor.  Do this outside or in a well ventilated space.  Cover the entire sole with a layer of the goo.  It's very thick and won't drip down the sole.  

Allow the Plasti Dip to dry.  Then paint on another layer.  I add 3 or 4 layers for a nice solid, non-slip surface.  Yesterday I applied all 4 layers, and today this pair is ready to wear.

Now I can start the process all over.  My son just informed me that he's worn out his pair.  Men's size 14.

Friday, January 13, 2012


All fall my to-do list included adding a few new colorways to the website.  These are Bertha colorways that I added for the fall shows but never got around to posting live.  This task hovered near the top of my list but never made priority status.  With the new year I decided to add the colors and cross it off my list.

Since I was adding a few colorways, why not update the website and give it a fresh look.  Spend a little more time, make a few minor changes.  This was going to be fast and easy.  As so often happens what was initially a quick job mushroomed and became a huge project that required computer savvy reinforcements and bottomless cups of coffee.  I've long since lost track of my time investment on this endeavor, but I'm happy to report that the project is finished.  You can view the final product here.  It's the same as the old website in many ways yet different.  It's like rearranging the living room furniture.  At first the room seems so wonderfully fresh and new, but really it's still the same furniture.

Since I've been chained to my desk, I don't have any pictures of knitting or dyeing to share.  Not to mention the weather has been gray, dismal and all round lousy for taking photos.  Instead I have a couple of random bits of . . . 


~ Granny squares.  You know what I'm talking about.  Those thick, firm crocheted squares that were assembled to make afghans back in the day.  Granny squares have come a long way - there's even a granny square dress.  Consider granny squares on steps.  A lot of granny squares, a lot of steps.  Crazy, colorful, beautiful art.

~ Kids, color and a mountain of stickers.  These three things combined can change a room.  You can see the transformation over at Colossal.  Take some time to click around on this site.  It's full of art, design and color inspiration.

~ Finally, a new take on the travel mug.  If you use a canning jar for coffee, now you can take it on the road.  I'm all about coffee, and timing is everything.  Just last week my travel mug started leaking.  I'll have to give the cuppow a test run.

As a bonus for cleaning off my desk I uncovered my color inspiration for the week.

A rainbow of color.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shades Of Brown

Recently I've had several requests for custom dyeing.  I thoroughly enjoy this process - narrowing down the color, experimenting with different options, discovering unexpected surprises along the way.

The other day I found myself working with this yarn.

Bulky Peruvian wool.  Currently I don't offer this yarn, but maybe I should.  A project like this is a great way to give it a test run.  I wound off some sample skeins.

The request was for a color in the brown family.  I came up with half a dozen formulas and decided to try three of them.

I'll get feedback on these.  Maybe one of them is the right color, maybe I have to dye more samples.  Either way I'm glad I don't have to choose because I love them all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Shaping Up

Ever since the holidays I've been enjoying my share of self indulgent knitting.  In a moment of weakness I even ordered yarn to fuel the fire. Toward the end of last week I was updating my calendar when it hit me.  In a matter of weeks I'll be back in my booth for another round of festivals and events.  That means it's time to start knitting a few new booth samples.

I keep a running list of patterns for potential booth samples.

I consulted my master list, and after some debate I settled on Captiva Wrap.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Edna, colorway From The Bog.

After a series of short rows the first wave is complete.

An eyelet row marks the end of one wave and the beginning of the next.

Short rows with lacy details.  I'm mesmerized.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Felting Fun

Once in a while even a cushion of extra time isn't enough.  I've been sucked into a website update that's taking longer than anticipated.  I always allow extra time, but this go-around my allowance wasn't enough.  The faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel was extinguished yesterday.  Right now there's no end in sight.

While there's been time for knitting and dyeing, there hasn't been time for photos.  Instead I have needle felting to share with you.  I play around with needle felting every once in a while, but my daughter is the one who has the needle felting bug.  

Needle felting is sculpting with wool.

She started with these three colors of wool roving.

Add some time, patience and a lot of poking. 

The wool was transformed into an adorable fox.

I love the whimsical face.  Now my daughter has asked me to dye fiber in specific colors.  I can't wait to see what other creatures appear.

The remnants of our New Year's Eve celebration provided my color inspiration for this week.

Bright and cheery with a bit of shiny silver.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


My post-holiday knitting indulgence continues.  I have a project in mind and have spent a lot of time contemplating color combinations. I've been obsessed.  It's the last project on my radar at the end of the day and the first one that comes to mind in the morning.  The funny thing is that I spent hours agonizing over colors online but couldn't come to a decision.  I was about to scratch the whole project when it dawned on me that I had some real live color samples that would make the whole process easier.

I've narrowed it down to these.  A decision is imminent.

And because one new project isn't enough . . . 

This rich colorway has been calling me.  Dirty Water DyeWorks Bertha, colorway Chocolate Raspberry.  In this case I have the yarn picked out but haven't quite settled on the pattern.  Now that I think about it some beads might be nice.

So many options, so many decisions.

Monday, January 2, 2012

All Mine

It's January.  This is the month that knitters wait for.  After weeks and months of frantically knitting to make things for others, they can now indulge themselves.  This is the month when knitters knit for themselves.  Spend some time with your Ravelry queue.  It's time to cast on one, two or five projects for yourself. 

Even though I still have a couple of outstanding holiday gifts to finish, I couldn't resist any longer.  Over the weekend I had to cast on just a little something for myself.

I think I showed great restraint.  There are two or three sweaters near the top of my queue, but all of them involve dyeing the yarn first. Instead I went with something small, something I could start right away. 

Selfish knitting.  There's nothing like it.