Friday, January 30, 2015

In and Out

Lately it feels like I have a revolving door here.  Boxes of yarn come in, boxes of yarn go out. More and more shops are carrying Dirty Water DyeWorks yarn.

I'm still wrapping my head around this side of the business.  It's different from the retail game, and I'm working out the kinks as I go.  

The other day I took some time to organize it all on the website.  You can now find a current list of yarn shops that carry Dirty Water DyeWorks.  There are more coming, so be sure to check back.  There might even be a shop in your area.

With over two feet of snow, the world outside seems magical.  The blowing and drifting created interesting snow shapes and sculptures. And sometimes you can't get from here to there without a lot of extra effort or a pair of snowshoes.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Red on white.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow Days

A blizzard moved through the area, and I feel like time has been suspended.  Life and schedules have been turned upside down, and I'm struggling to remember what day of the week it is.  It feels like maybe it should be Monday, but I know Monday was consumed with all kinds of mad storm prep so that can't be right.  Today is another day of cancellations, but I keep reminding myself that it's Wednesday.  Maybe by the end of the day I'll have it all sorted out.

I love a good snowstorm, and this one lived up to all the hype. 

This is what greeted me at the side door.  Before the storm was even finished, we had to dig our way out so puppy Benji could take care of business.

The Blizzard of 2015 by day.

And by night.

Snow day selfie.

My daughters hard at work.  They were supposed to be shoveling, but I think they spent more time on their phones than with the shovels.

A good storm always includes quality knitting time.

Fishbone Gansey Sock.  This is the January installment of Yarn Knot Socks.  I got sucked into the gansey rounds and couldn't stop.  Just one more round, just one more round . . . 

I think I'll make the leg a little bit longer . . . after I do some shoveling.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Power of Suggestion

When I was in Rhode Island for Knitting Weekend, one of my customers showed me a hat she had made with my yarn.  It looked warm and soft and squishy and . . . I was tempted to put it on my head.  It was a cold day in the mill, and my head was the only thing not covered in wool.

That same weekend I saw another version of the same hat walking around the mill.  My daughter and I both commented on it, and I tucked the idea away for future reference.

The other day when I came in from one of my shoveling shifts, I remembered that hat.  It seemed like the perfect project when I wanted to knit but was too tired and sore to focus on anything very complicated.

Rikke Hat.  Glorious garter stitch.  While I worked on the hat, I browsed through my copy of Cast On, Bind Off.  It's fascinating . . . so many options.

It's hard to believe January is almost gone, but here we are.  It's time for the monthly giveaway.  Leave a comment.  What are you knitting these days?  What colors are you attracted to in winter?  Is there a seasonal difference?  Any tips on great patterns?  Please include your Ravelry ID.  The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks - winner's choice.  The contest closes on Monday, February 2, 2015.

If you're in the Northeast, our weather forecast includes excellent knitting conditions.  Stay warm and safe!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Honey Bunches

I'm wrapping up the week on a positive note with another finished project.

Honey Bunches.

I've wanted this project to be finished for a while now.  Not that I didn't enjoy knitting it, but I wanted to wear it.  And I didn't waste any time.  I wore it last night and enjoyed every minute of it.

This shawl was fun to knit - garter stitch broken up with lace sections. Just the right mix - not completely mindless, not so involved that I couldn't talk and knit at the same time.

The crescent shape makes for easy wearing and stays in place without too much fuss.  

This project was the Yarn Knot installment for August.  The yarn is a 4-ply Superwash Merino . . . soft, squishy and bouncy.   This is a base that I've wanted to experiment with, and Yarn Knot is a good testing ground.  The colorway is a YK exclusive for the time being, but it might make another appearance down the road.

I look at this piece of yard art regularly, and I'm still not sure what I think of it.  A reptile of this size seems oddly out of place in New England, but I must say the color has grown on me - a mix of brown and orange.  My color inspiration for this week . . . 

Weathered metal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sylvanus Brown Hat

Over the last couple months, I've always had a hat under construction. And as soon as I finished one, I'd start another.  Small, portable, quick to finish . . . hats have been the perfect companion.

Sylvanus Brown Hat by Thea Colman.

This hat is part of the Weekend Knitting from Knitting Weekend collection.  The contributing designers generously donated their patterns for this eBook, and the proceeds from all sales go directly to Slater Mill. 

All the patterns in this collection are named for things related to Slater Mill.  The hat is knit with Edna, and I collaborated with Thea to come up with a special colorway for this project.  

The colorway is named Sylvanus and will be posted to the website as soon as I can coordinate a photo shoot.

At the moment I don't have a hat on the needles, but I do have a few ideas.  The trend continues . . . 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mid-Winter Fiber Party

Winter fiber events are extra special.  First of all, there aren't as many to choose from.  Combine interesting knitting classes with a fiber market.  Add a charming, unique, picturesque setting.  Throw in a healthy dose of cabin fever.  You have all the ingredients for a party. That's what we had this past weekend in Rhode Island - a fiber party.

Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill.

This bell was used to summon the mill workers.  It still works, and this weekend it was used to signal the opening of the market.

Where there's a mill, there's water.

The market was held in the museum part of Slater Mill, and the vendors configured booths around huge pieces of machinery.

A circular knitting machine.  The mechanics of this old machine are fascinating.  I overheard a couple women discuss the possibility of fitting this piece in a living room.  I'm not sure there would be room for anything else.

The Mill Girls by Donna Berger.

This art exhibit is made from cardboard, styrofoam, yarn and acrylic paint.

It celebrates the young girls who worked in the mills.  Mill work required long, grueling days, but it gave the girls a chance at economic and social independence. 

The market included a diverse mix of vendors.

In The Loop brought a selection of soap from The Apothecary at Hobbit Hollow.

Kelly from Romney Ridge Farm was on hand with yarn produced and dyed in Maine.

Chrystee from Play at Life Fiber Arts dressed this mannequin.  I love the combination - Askews Me and Garter Path Shawl.  Friends from Ball and Skein, Green Mountain Spinnery, Katrinkles and more were also on hand.

Discussions with knitting designers and vendors, catching up on the latest with customers . . . Knitting Weekend was all this and so much more.  My head is spinning with ideas and inspiration - food for thought in the days and weeks to come.

Friday, January 16, 2015

It's All in the Details

The past couple days I've been pulling everything together for Knitting Weekend.  I loaded the truck yesterday and am driving down later this morning to set up my booth.  Last night just when I was getting ready to call it a day, I realized I'd forgotten one little thing - bags.  Shoppers need bags.  To be fair, many shoppers bring their own bags, but I have to be prepared for those who don't.

When it comes to bags, I keep it simple with kraft paper bags, but I do like to dress them up a bit.

I've decorated these utilitarian bags in different ways, but my current favorite is a little bit of curling ribbon.  Instead of knitting last night, I was cutting and curling.

Here's a little fun as we head into the weekend - Knit In Public Bingo. I'm always knitting in public.  It's a great conversation starter, but I have heard some wacky comments.  Now I know I'm not the only one.

Onions.  It's nearly impossible to make soup without onions.  The other day I decided to make soup, but I was out of onions.  I hate grocery shopping even if it's for just one item, but the soup needed onions, so I made the trip.  To my pleasant surprise I saw these lovelies - my color inspiration for the week.

A bright splash on a gray winter day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New and Nameless

I've been busy dyeing . . . juggling yarn to fill orders and yarn for upcoming shows.  In the midst of everything, I was inspired to play around with some new colors.  It's just a few more pots, I told myself.

Here's a peek.

Unnamed colors in Edna.  I'm not usually a pink person, but I'm rather smitten with this combination.  I'm resisting the urge to look at patterns because that can be a bottomless hole.  At the top of today's list is pulling inventory for Knitting Weekend, and I intend to stick with the program.  This combination is going to simmer a little longer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mum's the Word

Right now the projects at the top of my list are secret, and I'm coming up on deadline.  Secret knitting, secret dyeing.  Those projects are off-limits for pictures, but I can show you this.

Honey Bunches.  It's winter, and I'm craving a fresh splash of color in my wardrobe.  This shawl is just the ticket.  I'm working on the last lace section . . . it won't be long now.

This coming weekend is Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill.  The weekend includes a market and classes with Thea Colman, Bristol Ivy, Ellen Mason, Gudrun Johnston, Amy Christoffers and Adrienne Martini.  It looks like there are still some openings.  If you're in the area, you might want to check it out.  

And now it's time for me to get back to work.  Shhhh . . . 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Something Finished for a Change

While it seems that all I've been doing is starting new knitting projects, believe it or not I have finished a couple things along the way.

Simple Skyp Socks.  This is a free pattern on Ravelry and is really quite entertaining.  I wanted something a little different than my standard ribbed socks, and this pattern has a nice twist.

I've been struggling with taking pictures in winter light, so I decided to try an outdoor shot too.  Timing is everything, and I got a bonus with this one - fresh, falling snow.

The yarn is Lillian, colorway IPA.  This color is actually a smidge more on the brown side, but you get the idea.  I have plenty of sock knitting in the immediate future, so it's good to get this pair off the needles and on my feet.

Blood oranges are in season, and I've been enjoying them while they're available.  Every year I marvel at their rich, intense color, so it's no surprise they are my color inspiration this week.

Red to orange and in-between. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Listening and Reading

The internet can be a wonderful place, and most days it keeps me company as I go about my work.  This is what I've been listening to and reading lately.  

All in the Family . . . it's encouraging to note that a few of these stories are about family businesses.

~ Mulga Springs - the story of an Australian sheep farm run by women.  To keep the farm in the family, the women had to take over.

~ WEBS, a family business, turned 40.  Watch this anniversary video and learn about the history of America's Yarn Store. 

~ Brown Sheep Company is another family business, and you can read their story here.

~ The BBC has collected some of their knitting-related stories on one page.  Give a listen.

~ Finally, the Danes have a reality show about knitting.  Can you believe it?  I don't understand a word of Danish, but I'm mesmerized by this show.

If you're in the Boston area, here's a PSA.  This coming Friday Common Cod Fiber Guild is hosting Ignite Craft: Boston.  This event brings together a diverse group of crafters and is always well attended. The event is free, but you must reserve a ticket.  See the website for details.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Down to Business

After two weeks chopped up by holidays and vacations, I'm ready to get back to work.  It's Monday morning, and I'm going to hit the ground running.  There's been the sound of coughing and sniffling resonating throughout the house, and so far I've managed to avoid the bug.  This morning I woke up with a scratchy throat, but I'm not going to dwell on it.  I've prescribed plenty of tea, and I hope that's the end of it.

Here's a quick peek at some of my weekend knitting.

On Friday I got my Luna Viridis sorted out with the correct stitch count.  After knitting the stockinette triangle, I joined it to work in the round.  I've been working the lunar crescent pattern around and around, increasing along the way.  Right now this project looks like a hood, and I'm very curious to see how it fits.  All the more motivation to finish.

Thanks to everyone who entered the December giveaway.  The winner is klynnknits.  I've decided to keep the monthly giveaway going in 2015, so stay tuned.  Now I'm off to drink tea and get busy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

First One of the New Year

Make that first frogging of the new year.  No, I didn't waste any time. Sometimes forward progress can be so elusive.

Yesterday I was cruising along with my knitting.  In case you're wondering, this project is Luna Viridis.  This morning I picked it up . . . just a few rows, I told myself.  I had made it through a series of increases and moved on to the next section - the one where the pattern starts to take shape.  I realized the problem when I got to the next increase row and didn't have enough stitches to complete all the increases.  

The pattern said I should have had 129 stitches going into the increase row.  I counted my stitches twice and confirmed that I didn't have 129.  Then I went back and double checked the pattern to make sure all the previous increases added up to 129.  You never know. Sometimes there's a mistake in the pattern.  No such luck this time.  I should have had 129 stitches, and I didn't.  

Of course that left only one solution.

It's the second day of the new year, and already I'm ripping back.  It's like pulling off a band-aid.  If I do it quickly, it's not as painful.  I missed some increases along the way, and I'll rip back until I find them.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not too bad.  This is one problem I can quickly solve.  I'm sure this new year will throw a few more problems my way.  I hope I can solve them as easily.

Just a reminder that today is the last day for the December giveaway. Follow the link and enter for a chance to win.

This week's color inspiration comes from the Holiday Market event held at the Uniun - a funky space that was completely transformed by the festive decorations.

Colorful reflection.