Friday, October 31, 2014

Dashing out the Door

Or I will be as soon as I tie up some loose ends.  It never fails that extra things crop up just as I'm getting ready to leave town.  I had a feeling of panic last night, so I made a list.  This morning it's all manageable.

The important thing is I have a new sample for the weekend.

Hoarfrost.  Remember earlier in the week I was working on the border. I made up my mind I wasn't going to get bogged down, and I fell into a rhythm.  Before I knew it this project was off the needles and headed for a quick blocking.

The yarn is Crystal, colorway Merlot.  Keep the name of the color in mind.  The color in this picture isn't 100% accurate, but you get the idea. 

Just a reminder that today is the last day for the October giveaway. Hop over and enter for a chance to win.

I enjoy it when my kids maintain some of our traditions - like carving pumpkins.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Glowing orange and yellow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yarn Knot Socks

Socks are one of my favorite things to knit - small, portable and practical.  I always have at least one pair under construction.  I've been getting more and more requests for all things socks, so I decided to do something about it.  

Introducing Yarn Knot Socks.

This yarn subscription is the socks-only version of Yarn Knot.  It includes 3 installments and will ship the middle of January, February and March.  Each installment will feature a different yarn base, an exclusive colorway and a suggested sock pattern.  Follow the link for more details.

This weekend I'm on the road again, but I don't have to travel far.  I'll be at Fiber Festival of New England at The Big E grounds in West Springfield.  In just a few short years, this event has really taken off. I'm looking forward to another weekend filled with yarn and fiber.  And now I'm off to start packing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Big Race

This has been a fall for training . . . training for a half marathon.

My daughter, Estrella*, followed a strict workout regimen to prepare for running a half marathon.  Her training program included diet, working out at the gym and running many, many miles.  Rain or shine, she was diligent in keeping to her training schedule.  And yesterday it all paid off.

Race day.  

Estrella had run several shorter races, but this was the big one . . . 13.1 miles.  Last week she was a little nervous.  Maybe she wouldn't be able to finish the race.  There was even a crazy dream where she missed the race completely. 

In spite of everything, she was confident she was ready.

Before we knew it, she was off and running with the pack, and I had a solid 2 hours to kill.  As any good knitter would, I came prepared with a couple options to while away the time.

I decided to work on my newest project, Hoarfrost.  I had a good start on the body of the cowl and wanted to finish it before the end of the race.

I did.  Now I'm working the border back and forth and attaching it to the live body stitches.  

Back and forth, back and forth on just a few stitches.  The border is deceptive.  It should be quick and easy, but it always takes longer than I think.  I've had plenty of knitting training.  I should know better by now.

As for Estrella and her race, she finished without a problem, and her time was what she thought it would be.  It must have been all that training.

*In case you're wondering, Estrella is Spanish for star and is pronounced Eh-STRAY-Yuh.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Running Short . . . Again

I've been bouncing back and forth between a couple knitting projects. They're both on the same deadline, and I'm anxious for them to be off the needles.  In some twisted way I've convinced myself they'll be finished quicker this way - a few rows of one, a few rounds of the other.  In reality this back and forth provides a little variety and keeps me from getting bored - nothing else.

Yesterday I came to grips with the fact that I'll probably run out of yarn on one of the projects.  I saw this coming a few days ago, but I knit on.  I told myself I was knitting on the outside of the ball, and the yardage was probably more substantial than it seemed.  That rationale lasted only a short while.

This running out of yarn business has become a bad habit - one I need to break myself of.  I have knitter friends who routinely run short on yarn, and it's come to be expected of them.  Up until now I've managed to avoid this curse.  I'll have to start padding my yardage at the beginning of a project.  Maybe that will get me back on track.

With one week left in October (how did that happen?!?), my electronic alert system worked like a charm, and I am back on track with the monthly giveaway.  Leave a comment with an update on your knitting projects.  Are you considering holiday knitting?  If you've been to any of the fall fiber festivals, what did you find most inspiring?  

Please include your Ravelry ID for easy contact.  The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks - winner's choice. The contest closes on Friday, October 31, 2014.

My color inspiration this week is one more glimpse of Rhinebeck.

Until next year . . . 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Working from a List

Rhinebeck has come and gone, but that doesn't mean I get a vacation. Next week I'll be on the road again for Fiber Festival of New England. As with every show I have a to-do list, and this is near the top.

A new cowl sample, short and sweet, out of Crystal.  Merino, Yak and Silk is always a nice treat, and I'm not going to argue with a list that makes me sit and knit.

While catching up on all things post-Rhinebeck, I stumbled across a handy helper.  How many times have you thought of buying yarn without an exact pattern in mind?  You want to get enough for a sweater, but how much is enough?  Consider StashBot.  It contains yardage estimates for vests, sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves and socks all in different sizes and different gauges.  Download the app to your phone, and you're ready to go.

I'm off to tackle my to-do list on this raw, rainy day.  I think more knitting is in order.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Of Rhinebeck and Winners

It's the Monday after Rhinebeck.  If I had more control over my calendar, I would have scheduled a day off.  But I don't, so I'm back in the thick of it.  As an added bonus, I've been puppy sitting this morning.  With so many things calling for my attention, today is a good exercise in setting priorities.

I spent the weekend immersed in all kinds of wonderful and have come out on the other side feeling energized and inspired.  From the constant parade of handknit garments to the chatter with friends to the broad array of yarns and colors, it was a weekend that was exhausting and exhilarating all in one.

Here are just a few things that caught my eye this weekend.

From the Tsarina of Tsocks . . . I've admired this design from afar, so it was fun to see it up close and personal.

This is the work of Cara Romano.  She has combined metal work with fiber to create beautiful jewelry.  Go ahead and follow the link.  You won't be disappointed.

Both the weather and the fall colors were spot on.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by my booth.  It was a delightful weekend all around.

And thanks to everyone who entered to win one of the gift certificates. The winners are Christine and Stacey L.  Check your email for details.

Friday, October 17, 2014

There Had to Be at Least One

Yesterday I was in the homestretch - labeling the last few skeins, loading the truck and assembling kits.  Everything was coming together right on schedule.  I should have taken that as a sign because it's rare I can pull it all together without at least one glitch.

I was working on the Sweet Bunting Kit when it happened.  I had the sweater yarn all twisted up.  When I went to the kit bin to grab the bunting yarn, the glitch reared its ugly head.  The cute little skeins of contrast yarn were nowhere in sight.   I emptied the bin and searched high and low - no little skeins.  

I try to have these skeins on hand at all times, but apparently when I used the last ones, I didn't make a note to dye more.  And now I had kits that needed them.

There was only one solution - dye more little skeins.

And so I did.  Two quick dye pots.  The yarn was in and out and in front of a fan in no time . . . the fast track.  

Now the kits are assembled, and I'm almost ready to hit the road.  I hope that was the only glitch I have to deal with because time is tight.

This week's color inspiration is as much about sunlight and shadows as it is about color.

Shades of autumn.

If you can't make it to Rhinebeck and want to get in on the gift certificate giveaway, see the Rhinebeck thread in my Ravlery group.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In the Thick of It

I woke up this morning, and I could feel it.  It's been building slowly, but the Rhinebeck rush is here.  It's time to put it in high gear and pull everything together before I hit the road on Friday.

While I get busy, here's another glimpse of what I'll have in the booth.

Crystal.  I call this the foliage collection, but I'll have the full range of colors available.  A Merino, Yak, Silk blend is always a nice treat.

If you're headed to Rhinebeck, stop by my booth - Building C, Booth 42.  I'll be giving away two $100 gift certificates - one on Saturday, one on Sunday.  Stop by and enter for a chance to win.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Petite Clara

My Monday is off to a shaky start.  While I head off to get it back on track, here's a sneak peek at a little something new for Rhinebeck.

Petite Clara, the 113 gram version of Clara.  This worsted weight yarn is 100% Blue Faced Leicester.  It's soft, lustrous and all round nice to work with.  Clara comes in large, 250 gram skeins - perfect for sweaters and other big projects.  If you don't need 550 yards of BFL, Petite Clara is just the right size for hats, mittens or other small projects.  I'm inspired to add a new hat or three to my post-Rhinebeck knitting list.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends north of the border.  Enjoy your celebration.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Puppy Therapy

When people ask if I'm ready for Rhinebeck, I don't know if I should laugh or cry.  I've checked off a lot of items on my original to-do list, and while I'm still dyeing yarn, I'm reasonably confident I will finish, and it will be dry before I hit the road next week.  It's a common occurrence for indie dyers to travel with wet yarn, so I always consider it a bonus when I'm not drying yarn in the hotel.

The problem is I keep adding odds and ends to my list.  Lightbulbs.  A couple of the bulbs for my booth display are burned out, and I'm out of replacements.  This is going to require a trip to the hardware store. Clean tablecloths.  I've made a mental note to wash said tablecloths and make sure I pack them immediately, so they don't get left behind. Enhanced checkout system.  This is still in the works, but the other day I invested a couple hours of precious dyeing time to set the wheels in motion.  The whole shebang still needs a test run, but I'm holding my breath and crossing my fingers.  I'm the eternal optimist.

My family has been encouraging me to get more sleep.  While I don't see that happening any time soon, the other day I did adjust my routine.  It was a gorgeous fall afternoon.  Lately I've let too many of them slip away, so I took a little break and went outside with our newest family member.

Meet Benji.

He belongs to my daughter, Luz, and while she doesn't live at home any more, her puppy has been spending a fair amount of time here.  It seems we're in the puppy sitting business - not that anyone is complaining.

He's cute as a button.

He even comes equipped with a beard.  

Every day Benji confirms that puppies are a lot of work.  Thank goodness there are a lot of us to share the responsibility.  And he's a good excuse to take a break from work.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.  As always, I enjoyed reading the comments, although when 1Geek2CraftAll made mention of Rhinebeck Sweaters (3!), I immediately felt like a slacker.

The winner, chosen at random, is Pat's here.  How appropriate since she can't make Rhinebeck this year.  I'll miss you, Pat, and will think of you when I eat my cider donut.

There's nothing like the impact of colorful trees this time of year, but sometimes I enjoy a single leaf just as much.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

A splash of yellow.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Caught in a Rerun

I'm in the midst of my own personal Groundhog Day.  Yes, just like the movie I wake up to a rerun of the preceding day . . . dye, rinse, dry, repeat.

There is one difference.  The colors change from day to day.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything

I'm in the midst of my usual Monday scramble after a weekend on the road.  I was in Vermont, and it was splendid.  The weather had everything from damp to delightful, and it was great to see so many people come out.  

The weekend was full of variety.  I gave a demo and encouraged a group of knitters to take the plunge and try thrumming.  I also had a wonderful discussion in the sugar shack with one of the Orange County Sugarmakers.  He explained the new maple syrup grading system that will soon be used in the US and Canada.  I'm a big fan of maple syrup and found it all very interesting.

Here's a glimpse into my weekend.

Quechee Gorge as the fog was lifting on Sunday morning.

The picturesque fairgrounds.

Paper art from SisterZart.

The yarn tasting.  This is just a small sample.  There were many plates to choose from.

Thanks, Vermont, for a weekend full of wonderful fun!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Knitting to Taste

Knitting is a constant in my day-to-day life, and most days I to knit at least a few rows here and there throughout the day.  It keeps me going. On the rare occasion I can't squeeze in any daytime knitting, I console myself with the fact that, at the end of the day, I will have knitting time.

That was the case yesterday.  All day long I was looking for just a few minutes to pick up my needles.  It didn't have to be much.  I have booth samples under construction, and every little bit helps.  The opportunity came late afternoon as I was sitting in the truck waiting for one of my kids.  I knew I had a decent wait on my hands - probably enough time for several rows.  

And then it happened.  The dark started to creep in, and it moved quickly.  I haven't quite made the adjustment to shorter daylight, and I wasn't prepared with appropriate knitting.  I had only one project with me, and it required light.  So I waited in silence and thought about how I was going to finally enjoy some knitting time later in the evening.  My mind started to wander, and it's a good thing it did because I remembered a little project for the weekend that needed my attention.

This is what I worked on last night - my contributions for a yarn tasting at Vermont Sheep & Wool.  This is the first time they've offered a yarn tasting, and I think it's a fun idea.  I'm not sure how many vendors are participating, but I plan on tasting some other yarns.

In an effort to be ├╝ber-efficient (my inner German requires the umlaut), I didn't unpack the truck after last weekend.  All week I've been driving around town with a full wool wagon.  This morning I still have loose ends to deal with, but at least the bulk of the packing is done.  I'm almost ready for another weekend on the road.

I caught this week's color inspiration on a gray, rainy day.  The weather conditions probably made it appear more vivid. 

If you look closely, you can even see a star.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Better Late than Never

All last week, without actually looking at the calendar, I kept thinking I had another week of September - a few more days before we got serious about fall.  Then late last night (or maybe it was early this morning), I realized September had come and gone.  Time to turn the page on another month.

I was fine with saying goodbye to September until it dawned on me I hadn't run the September giveaway yet.  So that's what I'm doing these first days of October.  I'll do my best to get back on track with the October giveaway later in the month.  In fact, I'm putting it on my calendar with a message alert.

To enter, leave a comment.  Please include your Ravelry name so I can contact you.  What are you working on right now?  Do you have any fall rituals?  Are you contemplating or in the midst of a Rhinebeck sweater?  

As a helpful tip, if you're in the planning stage for that sweater, it's probably time to get started.  Even if you're not going to Rhinebeck, it's a lovely excuse for a new sweater.  The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks - winner's choice.  The contest closes October 7, 2014.

One of the perks of attending fiber festivals is I get to see a lot of knitting either in progress or finished.  The downside is I come home and want to start half a dozen new projects.  This past weekend one project in particular caught my eye . . . just a little project.  

I have no business starting something new, and so far I've resisted. Well, I printed the pattern and picked the yarn, but you'll notice I didn't wind the yarn.  Yet.  It's a gray, rainy day here . . . perfect for starting a new project.  Or spending time with one already in progress.  Maybe I'll even do both.