Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Knitting time has been at a premium here.  It didn't help that knit night was cancelled last night.  I was so looking forward to a date with my needles and friends.

With the little time I've had, I did manage to wrap up this quick project.


On a whim I decided to give this pattern a try.

X-Mitts includes instructions for both fingering and worsted weights.  I knit the worsted weight version.  Just as I suspected, it was fast and fun.  The tuck stitches used to create the Xs provide texture and keep things interesting.  With the holidays just around the corner, I'm thinking this might be a good project for gift giving.

This mitt is destined to be a booth sample, but I've already decided I must have a pair for myself.

Since I'm going to offer this little project in the booth, I dyed several different colorways. 

These colors and more will be available this weekend at Fiber Festival of New England.

My biggest dilemma right now is deciding which color to make for myself.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting For Sandy

The gray weekend has given way to an even grayer Monday.  The pictures I had planned will have to wait for better lighting.  

Instead the week starts with waiting.  Waiting for Sandy.  We've made all the usual storm preparations - extra water, flashlights, batteries. We put away the outdoor furniture.  We stocked up on bread and milk as part of our New England storm ritual.

Sandy is expected to bring rain and high winds, flooding and power outages.  School is cancelled; businesses are closed.  At first news coverage of Sandy was a welcome relief, but after extensive coverage all weekend, today I haven't even turned on the radio.  I can't decide which is more distressing - constant storm chatter or analysis of presidential election polls.  For the moment I'm enjoying the silence.

I'm in the middle of a lot of work - work on a deadline that requires power.  I must confess that the other day I contemplated a generator, but over the weekend I shifted my attitude.  Mother Nature is in charge here.  If we lose power, I have plenty of things to do that don't require an outlet.  There are knitting projects in the works.  Board games and puzzles have a certain appeal.  Storms are a good excuse to slow down.

If you're dealing with Sandy, be safe.  Mother Nature is flexing her muscles.

Friday, October 26, 2012

From The Beginning

I've taken a detour from my bigger knitting projects to work on something short and sweet.

There's nothing like a fingerless mitt to take the edge off.  And a fingerless mitt knit in worsted weight yarn fits my definition of instant gratification.

Working on this mitt has been a good reminder that often it's best to follow the directions from the beginning.  I was reading and re-reading the instructions for the tuck stitch - the one that creates those fun Xs across the top of the hand.  The instructions say to go under the strand below, but I couldn't visualize where that strand was coming from.  If I'd read the directions from the beginning, I would have realized that the strand was created a couple of rows earlier.  Lesson learned - follow the directions starting with Row 1 and don't skip ahead.

Many of the leaves have fallen, and the vibrant colors of the season have given way to earth tones.  This week a bright leaf blew across my path and caught my attention.  My color inspiration for the week.

The red tones of autumn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Half A Day

I need to gear up for the next event, but in order to hit the ground running I gave myself a day off.  Half a day off is probably more accurate.

The first edition of By Hand recently came out, and I spent some time with it.

Knitting and reading.

Susan Gibbs is the moving force behind By Hand.  The magazine includes articles on cooking, growing, building, stitching.  Making. From the lattice cowl to the butternut squash salsa to the apple butter bread I want to make it all.  I think I need more time off.

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Done In

It's the Monday after Rhinebeck, and I'm suffering from a wool hangover.  The weekend whizzed by, and I'm sure I'll be processing it for several days to come.  Gorgeous fall weather, seeing many fiber friends, a crowded booth.  It was the kind of wool party that happens only at Rhinebeck.  My recovery may take a couple of days.

Of course there was more than enough yarn and fiber to go around, so I'll share a few shots of the sights and sounds of the fairgrounds.  

Rhinebeck.  A weekend full of color, fun and inspiration.

Friday, October 19, 2012

No Skein Left Behind

On Wednesday I was certain I had finished my Rhinebeck dyeing. Everything on my list had been crossed off.  All that remained was labeling and packing.  I was in the homestretch, and everything was coming together.  Late Wednesday night I stumbled across a handful of undyed skeins.  I had originally intended to dye these skeins but had somehow omitted them from the list.  Now these skeins were begging to make the trek to Rhinebeck.  Instead of rushing to put on a dye pot, I held steady.  Surely the urge to dye one more pot would pass.

Thursday dawned bright and early, and I couldn’t get the undyed skeins off my mind. I had just enough time for one pot, I reasoned.  They were cashmere, and they didn’t want to miss the Rhinebeck party.  Before I knew what had hit me, the wheels were in motion for one more dye pot.  No skein left behind is my motto.

With that bit of dyeing frenzy behind me, it was time to pack the bags.

Bags from Three Bags Full.

Bags for the season.  I'll have a nice selection of these bags available - Building C, Booth 42.

Now all that's left is to pack my own bag, and then it will be time to hit the road.

This week I leave you with a fall classic and my color inspiration for the week.

Rusty red.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kit Connection

I'm about to cross off the last item on my "Rhinebeck Dyeing" list. While the final skeins are drying, I'm pulling together the other pieces.

There will be kits.

A variety of kits - from baby sweaters to shawls to mittens.

There will be kits with beads.

The world of beads is magical.  From flashy to subtle there are so many options.

And now I'm off.  The labels are printed, the yarn is dry.  There's a labeling party brewing.

Monday, October 15, 2012

One More Pot

It's finally here.  The week of Rhinebeck.  The week of endless cups of coffee.

After a busy weekend of dyeing I'm firing up the pots again today. There's still time for one more pot is my mantra.  The kids don't know it yet, but I'm hatching a plan for a labeling party.  Labels first, pizza later.  Teenagers will do anything for food.

Dyeing involves a certain amount of waiting time.  Instead of frittering away my downtime on the computer, I've been knitting - a few rows here, a few rows there.

Cassis.  The sleeve stitches have been set aside, and the rows are zipping along.  Lucky for me all my measuring tapes have gone missing.  This way I'm not tempted to calculate just how many inches I still have to knit.  It's really a moot point.  No matter what condition it's in, this sweater will be on display at Rhinebeck.  The yarn is a delicious new BFL worsted, but that discussion will have to wait for another day.

Today is for dye pots and labels . . . but first, more coffee.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Button Business

A few weeks ago I finished knitting Catkin.  When I made this shawl, I included the buttonholes.  Buttons are a nice touch and also a good way to keep your shawl in place.  When this came off the needles, I was pressed for time and didn't make an effort to find any buttons.

Fast forward a few weeks.  This shawl has been on display at three events and still doesn't have any buttons.  Instead I've explained over and over to people that the shawl has buttonholes, but I just haven't found the right buttons.  The fact of the matter is I've been really busy and haven't done much looking.  I did search my button stash but came up empty-handed.  Let's face it - Catkin buttons haven't been a priority.

So this week in the midst of Rhinebeck prep I decided to do something about the Catkin buttons.  Because I don't have enough going on already.

I stopped at my favorite local spot for buttons, Gather Here, and came away with these.

I usually allow a lot of time for picking buttons.  I want to check all the options and look at them by the window for natural light.  After that there's always a certain amount of back and forth as I narrow down the field.  It's a process.

This was one of my quickest button buying trips.  Being tight on time probably helped expedite the process, but I love the result.  The pearly gray is perfect.  Next time out Catkin will have buttons.

A couple of weeks ago I was gifted with this bromeliad.  Like a semi-solid yarn, the colorful leaves are slightly variegated.  My color inspiration for the week.

Shades of pink.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living With Lists

I've been asked by quite a few people if I'll be at Stitches East this week.  No, I'm not making the trek to Hartford.  I'm sure it will be great fun.  Maybe another year I'll add it to my calendar.

Instead I'm focusing on Rhinebeck which is less than 2 weeks away.  I rely heavily on lists, and the steady stream of fall events is a true test of my list making ability.  I consult my lists several times a day - add, subtract, check, double-check.  There is a list for items that have to be ordered.  There is a list for show supplies - pattern inserts, extra labels, tablecloths (preferably clean), duct tape to name just a few. Always travel with duct tape.  

The lists have saved me on more than one occasion.  I realized the other day that I was running low on shopping bags and kit bags.  How did that happen?  If it weren't for my list, I might not have realized until it was too late.  The bags have been ordered and are on their way. Crisis averted.

And of course there is a list for all that needs to be dyed between now and then.  The list is long, and I have some marathon dyeing days lined up.  But it's all manageable as long as I have my lists.

With that I'm off to check in with my lists.  Another day of dyeing awaits me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lab Work

Interweave launched Knitting Lab New England last week, and I was on hand as one of the vendors.  Knitting Lab offered an impressive lineup of teachers and classes - twined knitting, double-knitting, brioche, Tyrolean knitting, Bohus knitting, lace knitting, sock knitting and so much more.

I never ventured far from the marketplace, but I had some interesting discussions with students and teachers.  It was an inspiring four days.

Here's a glimpse of the Knitting Lab market.

Manos was one of the sponsors.

As was Biggan Design.

Fun, intense colors.

O-Wool for organic yarn.

Perfect for the season.

Solitude Wool from Virginia featuring locally raised wool.

Representing New England . . . 

Green Mountain Spinnery.

And Harrisville Designs with a rainbow of colors.

The market wasn't just about yarn.

Leslie from Twisted Sistah Beads & Fiber had a wonderful selection. Oh, the beads!  Let's just say I visited her booth more than once.

Beautiful buttons from Melissa Jean Design tempted me to buy the buttons first and figure out the garment later.

After four days of market fun, today I'm shifting gears.  Back to production.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tending Booth

These days I'm balancing my dyeing with a busy show schedule.  I flip back and forth between dye pots and events, repeating the process over and over.

This weekend I'm not dyeing.  Instead I'm doing a 4 day stint at Interweave Knitting Lab.

There is a lot of activity and many interesting people to chat with - discussions of techniques, colors, fiber blends.  When there's a lull, I'm knitting away on this.  It's a good balance.

If you're in the New England area, you might want to check out Knitting Lab.  Follow the link above for more details.  Don't forget the New Hampshire Wool Arts Tour is happening this weekend just up the road from Knitting Lab.  Fiber event overlap.  To top it all off, it's leaf-peeping season.  New Hampshire has fiber and fall foliage rolled up into one tidy package.

This time of year the falling leaves create a carpet beneath the trees. Here's a carpet in the making.  My color inspiration for the week.

Rich red splashed with shades of green.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And The Winner Is . . .

Thanks to everyone who left a comment for the Sexxxy Librarian giveaway.  It was reaffirming to see that others are juggling multiple projects.  There were a couple of comments about holiday knitting. I'm starting to feel the pressure.

The giveaway winner, chosen at random, is Kris.  Congratulations! Contact me using the "About Me"  link in the right column, and send me an email to claim your prize. 

With that I'm off to finish packing.  Today I load the truck for Manchester and Interweave Knitting Lab.  A new adventure awaits.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Very Vermont

I'm picking up the pieces after a delightful weekend at Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.  Mondays can be cruel.  

I give you a Vermont weekend in pictures.

All things maple.

Boots.  A must-have for Vermont mud.

Hunter's Wool Vest from Mountain Fiber Folk.  A felted face full of expression.

Spinning wheel from Green Mountain Spinning Wheels.  Follow the link to read more about their wheels.

Bobbin lace, anyone?

Evelyn Grant of Fine Threads was on hand with a beautiful display and demonstration of bobbin lace.

She also has a fantastic story to tell.

She designed and made the lace for this wedding dress.  This picture doesn't do the dress justice.  It took her 500 hours to make the lace for this dress.  The lace includes references to the theater, the date of the wedding, initials of the bride and groom and much more.  A masterpiece.  Kudos to Evelyn for keeping alive the art of making lace by hand.

And of course it wouldn't be a fall weekend in Vermont without some color.