Wednesday, October 30, 2013


One thing I've learned about the retail end of this business is that it's impossible to predict what will sell well.  Every once in a while I have a hunch that is right on, but for the most part I've given up trying to guess what will move.  

Colorways that I love might not be bestsellers. Unsuspecting patterns catch on like wildfire.  There are always trends, but it's hard to make concrete predictions.  Some days I think it would be nice to look into a crystal ball, but in the end it always seems to balance out.

One thing I do know with certainty is my schedule for the rest of the fall.  If you're headed to Fiber Festival of New England this coming weekend, I'll be in booth 432 / 433 East.  Later in November I'm back in Vermont for the Green Mountain Fiber Festival.  The festival season is winding down, but there's still plenty of fiber fun to be had in New England.

And now I'm off to wind yarn and make some educated guesses.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Across the Border and Back

This is the third and final week for Monday travel days.  While I do love traveling, I'm ready for my normal weekly routine.  Today has to be a dual-purpose day for both Monday and Tuesday.  I'm bracing myself for a long one.

Last week I trekked across the Canadian border again.

Life is a balancing act, and the trip was a combination of work and play.  

The CN Tower.

Yes, I went up.  No, I didn't get sick.  A ride to the top was my daughter's idea.  In all fairness, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Since I'm a baseball fan . . . 

The obligatory ballpark shot.

I have fond memories of growing up with Hudson's Bay point blankets. They speak of winter, cold nights and snuggling under the covers.

I see a new project in my future.

As if traveling with teens wasn't challenging enough, I ran into a bit of a knitting crisis.  Once we were settled in for our stay in Toronto, I pulled out my knitting only to discover I didn't have the needles I was sure I had packed.  I turned everything inside out and upside down. The needles I needed to start my project were nowhere to be found.

Like any good knitter, I rose to the occasion.  I went in search of needles and found some.

The new project is up and running.

Zephyr Cove.  

After I had worked a few rows of this project, I realized it's very similar in construction to another one in the works - Miss Winkle.  Both are asymmetrical, garter stitch shawls.  At least I'm consistent.

We made a quick stop at Niagara Falls on the way home.

It's easy to lose track of time when you're traveling.  Just like that, it's Tuesday . . . time to get back to work.

Friday, October 25, 2013


All week I've let my mind wander, and ideas for new projects have been percolating.  One of them is taking shape.

This color combination has been tugging at me like a little toddler pulling on my hand, and I finally gave in.  Bertha Bee Hive and Slate, in case you're wondering.

I'm heading off for a few days on a little adventure and felt the occasion called for a new project . . . a traveling companion for Miss Winkle.  My travel includes some designated knitting time, and I intend to make the most of it.

The other day a friend pointed out that October is all but over.  I don't know how that happened, but I feel like I lost a month in the fall fiber frenzy.  Many of the trees are bare, but I'm making a conscious effort to savor the last of the colors.  This tree is still fully clothed and is my color inspiration for the week.

Blazing red.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Since the weekend, I've been a busy worker bee - dyeing yarn, shipping orders, tackling paperwork.  But when I've had a moment to sit and knit, I've needed something simple - a project to help me recover from Rhinebeck.

Miss Winkle continues with more loops and more garter stitch.  Easy, effortless garter.  The yarn is Lillian Piglet, a colorway that hasn't been posted to the website yet.  

In the background ideas are forming for new projects, but for now mindless is perfect.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rhinebeck Review

It's the Monday after Rhinebeck.  The trucks are unloaded, and I'm picking up the pieces . . . sifting and sorting, setting priorities.  On one hand, I'm completely exhausted.  I'm not sure I can consume enough coffee to get me through the day.  On the other hand, I'm energized after a weekend dedicated to fiber, color and inspiration.  

And friends.  Rhinebeck is an event that brings together fiber enthusiasts from far and wide.  I connected with old fiber friends and made new ones along the way.  Rhinebeck is a fiber party.  I'm sure I'll be processing the weekend for days to come.

For today, I have a few pictures to share.

Fiber events are tiring.

"What's with the crowds?"

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need more coffee.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ready for Rhinebeck

Well, almost.  The truck is loaded, but my suitcase is empty except for a toothbrush and toothpaste.  Before I pack my clothes, I need to find several t-shirts for the mannequins.  The challenge is finding clean ones.  In the perfect world of mannequins, they don't wear shirts with coffee stains.

In the knitting department my second Rhinebeck sock is almost finished.  I'm holding on to a dim glimmer of hope that I can finish it later today.  It would help if I had a driver.

With that, I'm off for what is sure to be a whirlwind weekend.  I leave you with my color inspiration for the week.

A sign of the season.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Filling Requests

I get many requests . . . everything from colorways to fiber blends to weights of yarn.  For example, recently I've had several requests for bulky yarn.  No, I don't carry it.  Personally, I don't knit with bulky very often and can't remember the last time I did.  Maybe I should knit with it because there's nothing like bulky when you need to crank out the projects.  I'm not going to run out and invest in kilos of bulky, but I am willing to entertain the notion.

On the other hand, I didn't linger over the request for spinning fiber. I've carried it off and on in the past but haven't had it on hand at my most recent shows.  So many people asked for it that I didn't think twice about bringing it back.

Plus, I really enjoy dyeing fiber.

Just in time for Rhinebeck.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Socks Will Do

I've been bumping into all sorts of online discussion about Rhinebeck sweaters - everything from patterns to yarn to colors.  There's a Ravelry thread on the topic, and last time I checked, even the weather forecast this year is favorable for wearing a sweater at Rhinebeck.

I do a lot of planning for Rhinebeck, but the sweater is one area where I drop the ball.  I go through this every year, and it starts a couple weeks before Rhinebeck.  I see all the chatter about Rhinebeck sweaters.  Then I regret not having a sweater in progress and vow to do better next year.  Finally, in an effort to make-do, I substitute something else for a sweater. 

Last year I made a pair of Rhinebeck mittens.

One of my favorite pairs.  I love the way they fit.

This year I'm going with Rhinebeck socks.

These socks are keeping me sane.  It's crunch time, but I take little breaks here and there to knit a few rounds.

And I've come up with a new strategy for my Rhinebeck sweater.  If I plan to have a sweater next year, I should probably start knitting it now.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fueled by Coffee

Rhinebeck is one week away, and I'm in the thick of preparations.  I rely heavily on lists.  There's a list for yarn that has to be dyed.  The list is still long but not as long as I expected it to be going into this weekend.  It's nice to know that some of my early preparation is paying off.  

There's a list for kits - yarn, patterns, inserts, bags.  There's a list for random important items - paperwork (taxes, insurance), camera, power cords, chargers, duct tape.  Always duct tape.  It has saved me more than once.

It never fails that when I sit down to add one item to a list, I think of half a dozen other things that need to be included.  There's always plenty of coffee, and you'll notice a wee bit of knitting that I keep close.  Maybe I can squeeze in a round or two.

I admit that my mind does wander.  What will I work on when this festival frenzy is over?  There are color combinations that are calling my name and a long list of pattern options.

And embroidery.  A couple weeks ago I was discussing embroidery with someone, and now I'm pondering the possibilities.  I embroidered my share of samplers and pillow cases back in the day, but now I want to combine it with knitting.  I was browsing, and Lene Alve's Kaamos Mittens caught my eye.  By the way, if you're looking for a healthy dose of inspiration, be sure to check out Lene's blog.  I would love to dive into any number of new projects, but for now the ideas will have to percolate.

Our farmers' market is starting to wind down for the season, but I still find new and interesting things.  This week one of the farmers had large stalks from a flowering bush.

The name of the plant escapes me, but the bottom part of the stalks remind me of rhubarb.

My color inspiration for the week.

Shades of wine.

If you're in New England, enjoy the foliage this holiday weekend.  For those of you north of the border, a Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Loving the Loops

For two weeks in a row Monday was a travel day.  Last week it was a planned travel day.  This week it wasn't.  The forces of nature and several mechanical issues conspired to keep me in the Adirondacks one day longer.

When I finally conceded that I was going to spend another night on the road, I was annoyed that I had to rearrange my schedule.  Time is tight this time of year, and I don't have a lot of wiggle room.  Then I reached into my knitting bag and pulled out the new project I had tossed in as I was heading out the door - my "just in case" project.

In spite of all the inconvenience, I was delighted that I'd had the foresight to pack an extra project . . . because you never know when a knitting emergency will arise.

Miss Winkle.  I'm smitten with these adorable little loops.  They were a lovely distraction when I was stranded.  Now that I'm home, the only challenge is putting them down and getting back to work.

Finally, the Eastwood Cardigan pattern giveaway.  The winner, chosen at random, is Zombie Queen.  Thanks to everyone who participated.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

From The Adirondacks

I'm on the run this morning as I try to get the work of two days rolled into one, but I want to share a quick recap of the weekend at So. Adirondack Fiber Festival.

Torrential rains on Friday gave way to overcast skies and showers on Saturday and Sunday, but the weather didn't keep people away.

So. Adirondack Fiber Festival is only five years old, but it's growing by leaps and bounds.  The people who run this event are pleasant, helpful and all around nice.  The grounds crew go above and beyond the call of duty.  From a leaky roof to a broken down truck, they do it all.

Just down the aisle from my booth was F'enomenal Felt and the work of Linda Van Alstyne.  Sorry, but the link I have for her is a dud.

Linda makes beautiful, creative felt objects.

All weekend long she was running a felt making demo in her booth.

I saw people lined up, taking turns, shaping wool.

I didn't get in on the felt making fun, but I did take a few minutes on Sunday to check out Linda's creations.

Inspiring works of art.

Perfect for the season.

I came home with cider donuts and fudge for the family . . . 

 . . . and plenty of ideas and inspiration for myself.  

I haven't forgotten about the pattern giveaway.  I'll announce the winner in tomorrow's post.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Before I Hit The Road . . .

Later this morning I leave for another weekend fiber adventure.  The truck is ready to go.  All that's left is packing my personal things.  I always leave this to the very end, but it only takes a matter of minutes.  

Yesterday I was thinking ahead to the weekend and my weekend knitting.

Movie Night Sock in progress.  This project is moving right along, so my first thought was that I would take only the sock with me for the weekend.  Often I don't have as much knitting time as I think I'm going to have.  With only one project, there wouldn't be any conflict over which project got all my attention.  I could travel light with only one project in tow.

This morning as I was packing my bag, my resolve to travel with only one project began to wane.  What if the sock didn't hold my attention over the weekend?  What if I wanted to take a break from it and work on something else?  What would I knit?  Suddenly the idea of traveling with only one project seemed beyond crazy.

So I did what any good knitter would do.

I now have another traveling project.  Since pink isn't my color, I've convinced myself I could get a jump on holiday knitting with this one. Now taking another project along for the ride isn't selfish, it's virtuous.

In keeping with the pink theme . . . my color inspiration for the week.

Pink and green - a perfect pair.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Charity Knitting And More

I lost this past Monday to travel, so the week is moving along at breakneck speed.  For today I don't have pictures of knitting or colors, but I do have a couple updates to share.

It must be the time of year, but several days ago I was thinking about charity knitting and how I don't have as much time for it as I used to. One thing led to another and before long I was feeling more than a little guilty about the charity knitting I'm not doing.  My time is tight these days and my knitting time even more so.  I was contemplating a mindless project to be left in the car . . . one that I could work on while waiting at endless red lights.

Before I got that car project situated, I heard about a unique campaign being run by Caribou Coffee to generate scarves for cancer patients.   Every time #CaribouKnits is used on Facebook or Twitter, an employee at Caribou Coffee will use a knitting machine to knit an inch. Forty tweets of the #CaribouKnits hashtag will generate a complete scarf.

I'll still try to do my own knitting for charity, but it's nice to know I can contribute to charity knitting in other ways, too.

On another note . . . if you're in the Boston area, this coming weekend is the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl.  I know.  This time of year the calendar is full of fiber events in the Northeast. 

Starting on Friday, fifteen shops in the Boston area will feature trunk shows, demonstrations, giveaways - all manner of fiber fun.  Don't forget about the yarn shops in the midst of this fiber festival season. Spread your fiber dollars around and buy local.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Double Duty

This past weekend I had two booths running in two very different locations.  I sent one booth off to the mountains of Vermont for Vermont Sheep and Wool.  I took another booth and headed across the border to St. Andrews, New Brunswick and KnitEast.  Both locations are lovely, and both had gorgeous weather as a bonus.

My team in Vermont didn't take many pictures (I guess I left that out of the job description), so the only ones I have are from KnitEast. Here are a few highlights from the weekend.

The KnitEast weekend included a full lineup of classes and a market.

Yes, the market was held in a curling rink.  

Cricket Cove, the shop that sponsored this event, had a wide variety of yarn available, including a nice selection of Fleece Artist.

I may have experienced a moment of weakness in this section.

Ready-to-wear for those who couldn't wait.

I resisted these, but aren't they adorable?

There was yarn bombing everywhere.

It was a lovely weekend chatting with new knitter friends and old.  I was delighted to meet Lyn.  Every time I turned around she was wearing a new beaded shawl.

This is her Laminaria with thousands of beads . . . absolutely stunning.

In the blink of an eye, the weekend was over.  Now I'm back at work plotting my next adventure.  From the mountains to the coast, thanks to everyone who came out for this fiber-filled weekend.