Friday, May 31, 2013

Just A Little Bit

I usually hesitate before tweaking a pattern and knitting a shawl bigger.  Making it bigger doesn't make it better.  And I have my rule of knitting a pattern as written - at least the first time around.  Of course there are exceptions to that rule but only in extreme cases.

Yet somehow I couldn't resist the temptation to make my Pendulum bigger . . . just a little bit bigger.

And this is the result.  I didn't stop to calculate how much extra yarn "a little bit bigger" would require.  This is the last stripe.  As much as I was hoping there would be enough yarn to make it to the finish line, it's not going to happen.  For a brief moment I thought of ripping back, but that seemed foolish.

After all, it's not the end of the world.  There's more yarn where that came from. 

There's always more yarn.

Pink and green are a fun color combination and are my color inspiration for the week.  These ribbons are from our May Day celebration.  Where did the month go?

Bold and bright.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Instead Of . . .

I'll be on the road later this week.  I really should be organizing and packing up the booth.  It's a lot of work to get my booth from here to there - wherever "there" may be.

But what I should be doing and what I am doing are often at odds.  I've finished a couple projects recently and need a new companion for the weekend.  I'm sure that once I settle on this new project, I'll be able to get back to what I should be doing.  In the meantime, I've been distracted.  

These two colors has been haunting me for a while now.  I finally gave in and wound them up.  I'm not sure yet what they're going to be, but I have a couple ideas.  There's time to figure that out before I hit the road.

Swatch update . . . the yarn I was sampling the other day passed with flying colors.

I'm still in love with it.  I could start looking at patterns, but I'll be good and save that for another day.  There is that other work I should be doing . . . 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Extra Time

Long weekends somehow make it seem like I have more time . . . like there's an extra day in the week.  I know that's not the case.  In fact later this week I'll be scrambling because the week will be shorter.  I'll be packing for a road trip and suddenly there won't be enough time. But I'm not going to worry about that right now.

Instead I've used some of my extra time to do some extra dyeing.

Samples from a new yarn base I'm considering.

I'm smitten but promised myself I wouldn't make a commitment just yet.

The proof is in the knitting.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Taking skeins of undyed yarn and turning them into skeins of colorful fun is an involved process, and often there are snags along the way.  

I started this week with a full dyeing schedule.  Today is Friday and I have work planned through the weekend, but I'm on track with the dyeing.  

It's the drying that's put me behind.  We've had a relatively dry spring, and I've been spoiled with easy drying conditions.  Now it's payback time.  This has been a week of damp days with high humidity, and I'm at capacity with wet wool.  The orders are backing up, and I have to clear this yarn out to make room for more.  I guess it's time to pull out the fans. 

Dyeing is messy work.  This particular mess is full of color and texture . . . my color inspiration for the week.

Dye puddle.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Finding Patience

The last few days have been wearing me down . . . waiting for return phone calls, tracking a yarn delivery that should be here "any day now", checking my inbox for replies.  All my pending projects have been put on hold.  Usually I'm a fairly patient person, but it's been wearing thin.

Rather than be frazzled by things out of my control, I did what any good knitter would do.  I started a new project.

This new project has corrugated ribbing.  I love the effect, but it's slow going.  It turns out the back and forth of corrugated ribbing has been the perfect distraction.  And in the process I've found my patience.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Balance

I spent another weekend on the road, but this time it was only for one day.  Rhode Island Wool and Fiber was held on Saturday at Coggeshall Farm.

Coggeshall is a living history farm tucked down a narrow road with beautiful views all around.

This event is all outdoors, and it was a lovely day to be vending outside.

The weather cooperated with dry, sunny conditions.  

If there's a farm, there are bound to be animals.

Chickens roamed the grounds, visiting booths along the way.

This event included a diverse selection of vendors.

I didn't have much time to look, but I did discover Queen Bee Fibers. They carry interesting jewelry and more.  I brought a couple bars of soap home with me.

I always enjoy spending time with the Rhode Island fiber community. Thanks for a relaxing, fun day.

Sunday dawned bright and early, and I discovered I've lost the ability to sleep in.  After taking care of a little business in the morning, the rest of the day was work free.  And there were plans.

Birthday plans.  My son delayed his celebration by one day so that we could properly mark the occasion.  From fiber to cake it was a well-rounded weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2013

One More Stripe . . .

I should be doing laundry.  Or catching up on paperwork.  Or packing for tomorrow's road trip.  Instead, I'm knitting stripes.

Pendulum, in case you're interested.  I start a stripe and promise myself it will be the last one - that I'll put this project away and tackle some of the work listed above.  But after I've finished a stripe, I can't stop myself from starting the next one.  I'm wrapped up in the thrill of creating stripes - working back and forth in short rows to create bands of color that are wide on one end and narrow on the other.  So simple yet so entertaining.

I may need to reassess that work list and pare it down.  Since I have to be in Rhode Island early tomorrow morning, packing is not negotiable.  However, the laundry and the paperwork have already been lingering for a while.  I can probably let them slide in exchange for a couple more stripes.  If you want to know the truth, I don't see an end to the stripes.  I've already picked out a color combination for a second shawl.

My color inspiration this week is inspired by fair food.  Sweets and beets . . . fried sweet potatoes and beets.  These thinly sliced beets are ready and waiting.

Rich red.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I finished and blocked a new shawl.  It seems I was so busy with New Hampshire Sheep and Wool and the Boston Strong colorways that I never posted about it.

Draupner Shawl.  In case you're wondering, the name refers to a type of wave.

This design uses short rows to create a crescent shape.

The advantage to this shape is that it's easy to wear and stays in place.

The pattern is worked from the bottom edge up.

Each scallop is created separately using short rows.  Then they are all joined together, and the body of the shawl is worked to the top. Draupner combines a bit of lace and a garter ridge pattern for an interesting project.  I was surprised at how quickly it knit up.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Lillian, colorway Depression Glass.

The magic of short rows.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Whirlwind Weekend

It's the Monday after New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, and I'm wavering between exhilaration and exhaustion.  This event brings people together from all over New England.

It was great to see so many friends from around the region.  The event has a track record of crazy wet weather.  While it was a bit damp this weekend, it could have been (and has been) much worse.

There are buildings and tents stocked with fleece, fiber and yarn. Looking for equipment?  There are spinning wheels, looms and more.

Beautiful baskets with yarn added for scale.

Wonderful colors and gorgeous handknits are on display everywhere. It's easy to be overwhelmed.

There are animals, sheep shearing, dog herding and sheep dog trials.

If you get hungry, there are a variety of food vendors to choose from.

And you can top it all off with any number of sweets, including fudge.

I think I might be suffering from a fiber hangover.  Thanks to everyone who came out.  It was great fun.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Loose Ends

The post for today is bit random.  Bear with me.  First of all thanks to everyone who entered for a chance to win a skein of hand dyed yarn. The comments include a wide range of projects.  The winner, chosen at random, is Stacie.  Have fun selecting a skein.  Maybe something to feed your startitis?

This weekend I'm vending at New Hampshire Sheep and Wool.  I'm an outside vendor and don't know exactly where I'm pitching my tent, but I'll have more information later today.  I'll post to Twitter and will try to update the blog with more specific directions.

A note to Sarah D from the comments . . . Lately I've been obsessed with combining colors.  Sometimes seeing the colors in person makes the decision easier.  Or sometimes it makes the decision harder. Either way, it's all fun.  If you want to look at options, be sure to stop by.

Finally, a new Boston Strong hat pattern has been released.  All proceeds from the sale of this pattern will go to The One Fund Boston to aid victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.  I'll be starting my hat soon.  Be sure to check it out.

My color inspiration this week holds potential.

The promise of cheery yellow.

Update.  If you're headed to NH Sheep and Wool, check out the back side of Commercial Building 2.  You'll find Dirty Water DyeWorks across the aisle from the Bayou Billy Homebrew stand.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mountains Of Color

I'm just checking in for a quick chat.

All my work over the last couple weeks has created mountains of freshly dyed yarn.  Dyeing is only part of the process.  Now these skeins need to be tidied, twisted and labelled.  And this is not the only mountain I have.  There are several, so I'm going to be occupied for quite a while. 

Boston Strong Update.  Thanks to everyone who has purchased Boston Strong colorways.  If you're in the Boston area, this coming Friday evening Gather Here is having a fundraising event for The One Fund Boston.  It's sure to be a fun evening of crafting.  Gather Here will also have the Boston Strong colorways available for sale.

Finally, today is the last day of the contest I'm running.  Leave a comment and enter for a chance to win a skein of hand dyed yarn. The contest will close tonight at midnight EDT.  

And now I'm off to tackle the mountains of color.  This calls for more coffee and lively music.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Boston Strong

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings I've been searching for a way to help.  The events have altered so many lives, and we don't yet realize the full impact.

The local media are full of powerful stories - people reaching out, people recovering, people moving forward.  A few days ago my daughter told me about a bagel shop owner who is donating 100% of his profits to The One Fund Boston, a fund to aid the victims of the bombings.  The owner, an Egyptian Muslim, felt compelled to do something positive in the wake of the tragedy.  

It was late at night when I heard this story, and the wheels started turning.  By morning I had a plan.  First, I bought some bagels from that bagel shop.  Then I started experimenting with color.

The result is two exclusive colorways in the popular Lillian.



These colorways were inspired by the Marathon colors.  All proceeds from the sale of these two colorways will be donated to The One Fund Boston.  What that means is $24 will be donated for every skein sold. These colorways are available online in the Special Skeins listing on the website.  They will also be available at events starting this coming weekend at New Hampshire Sheep and Wool.

It's a long road ahead, but tragedy has a way of bringing communities together.  All contributions big and small will help with that process.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Short Supply

It's a busy time of year, and the dye pots are getting a workout - dyeing yarn to fill orders, dyeing yarn to restock inventory.  I've found the easiest way to manage all the yarn coming in and going out is to have a dyeing schedule.

Of course there are any number of distractions, but I've been holding steady.  Oh, there are plenty of temptations.  I know the computer could easily suck me in and consume big gulps of time, but putting myself on a strict schedule has made me very efficient with my computer time.  I get on, take care of essential business and get off.  

A dyeing schedule also means my knitting time is in short supply. With many activities I can incorporate a little knitting here and there.  I can easily knit a few rows while on the phone or browsing on the computer.  Dyeing, however, does not lend itself to knitting even a few stitches.  Needless to say I'm feeling deprived when it comes to my knitting time.

The other day I found myself waiting for one of the kids, and I was thrilled.  Enough time for a few rows.  I had the makings of a new project in tow . . . just in case.

I decided to invest some of my precious time and do the right thing.  I made a little swatch, and I'm glad I did.  It turns out the needles I was sure would give me gauge, didn't.  I made a slight adjustment and got gauge.

Once the needles size was sorted out, I didn't waste a minute in casting on.

After a few rows I had this to show.  I ran out of time just as the fun was getting underway.  I can tell it's going to be hard to leave this project alone.  I may have to surrender it to someone for safekeeping.

Time takes its toll, and it's very evident with my color inspiration for this week.  Texture and peeling paint reveal a past life for this old fence.

Layers of color.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day Merriment

Happy May Day!  May Day celebrations have roots in pagan rituals and the movement for workers' rights.   For me this day symbolizes spring, fertility, the International Workers' Day and political demonstrations.  We're headed to our annual May Day celebration where the festivities include a picnic, sack races, a couple games of pull-for-peace (the pacifist version of tug-of-war) and a traditional Maypole dance.

To mark the occasion I'm running a contest.  Leave a comment here and tell us what you're knitting these days.  I'm always looking at patterns, and your comments might highlight a design I haven't stumbled across yet.  The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks - winner's choice.  The contest closes on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

If you're headed to Maryland Sheep & Wool this weekend, you'll find a selection of yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks in the Spin-A-Bit booth - Main Exhibition Hall, B8.  Be sure to take a look at the Spin-A-Bit fibers while you're there.  I would love to go to Maryland but having my yarn there is the next best thing.