I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

a bed of roses

These pictures are the complete opposite of what is going on in my house right now.
In the garden, we had some lovely peonies last week. More are due to open in a few days.

This lilac is almost spent now, but I found this one white cluster amongst all the purple striped ones. Rogue Lilacs!

Inside the house, it's quite another story. I am sifting, organizing, and tossing. I've rented a storage unit and brought several boxes of old files from the shop over that I have to keep for another several years. Yesterday, I brought over 5 bins of yarn. Yarn I have had for years...not sure what to do with it. I've put it in storage because I have to live without it for a while. More is yet to be moved. Then there are magazines and patterns that had to move out, too.

I am finding old unfinished projects -- like a pair of socks that only needs one toe. Can you believe it? A little boy's vest that only needs buttons. A scarf that needs the ends woven in. Why did I stop short with these?

There are knitting bags with works in progress, stalled. I have half a mind to frog them all.

My dining room table is heaped with yarn, needles, patterns, paperwork, and more needles. I pushed some of it aside to put the laptop on it so I could post.

Why am I doing all this?

My parents are coming in less than a month.
The kids are graduating from their respective schools.
Sometime in the near future, we want to put the house up for sale.
To that end, we are finally supposed to get contractors in to fix up our bathroom, the most hideous bathroom in the Western Hemisphere. Well, probably the world. The downstairs bathroom needs some repairs and sprucing up, the dining room ceiling needs to be painted. The basement needs to be cleaned out -- it't the place where most of my yarn lives -- the walls need patching and painting. It has taken two months of phone calls and people coming in and measuring and more phone calls and waiting for a floor to finally get to this point.

Now we are down to the wire, the relatives are coming, it's graduation time.

Maybe I'll just go sit in a corner and put some buttons on that little vest.

(Tonight, it's also Senior Prom night; tomorrow, the last concert of the season for Tall Son in the Empire State Youth Orchestra. Wednesday, new bathroom floor gets installed; Friday, Crafty Girl's endoscopy. Never a dull moment around here.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Massachussetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair

A brief pictorial history of a gorgeous Sunday, May 25th, 2008. Cummington, MA.

Above and below, naturally dyed yarn from New England sheep farmers, by Tidal Yarns.
Needless to say some of that went home with me. I also had a lovely conversation with the dyer, Patricia Fortinsky.

Here's a little princess petting the royal Angora bunny.

Beautiful horns on a sheep whose breed I was unable to determine. Anyone?

A really tall (but aren't they all?) Suffolk ram. This one was quite the ham and loved getting attention from all the passers-by.

A well cared for Tunis sheep.

A little Cotswold.

Here's Lynda Holt of Ancient Threads Fibers, listening intently to a customer.

Her yarn is dyed with natural dyestuffs also. Remember I got some at Wool n Word the other day? More went home with me from the fest. Lynda's etsy shop is all sold out right now, but you could call Stephanie at Wool n Word.
This is all sock yarn.

Here's some shots of some lovely handspun angora blend yarn. I left it there, because angora makes my nose itch.

There were some 4H classes; Crafty Girl made a pompom hairtie.
Spunky Eclectic was there! Two braids of handdyed BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) fiber and some sockblockers made by her dad jumped into my bag.

Crafty Girl and Dear Husband and I had a wonderful time.
Thanks for letting me share.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

it's really true

I got to go to Northampton, MA, on a beautiful Sunday morning in May, during the WEBS tent sale. I browsed but didn't buy anything. Well, I did buy a set of knitting needles, 2 skeins of Encore to help me with a blanket from stash for a little boy, and some innovative stitch markers that Cat Bordhi invented. And I bought her second magical knitting book, from the mobius series. (Told you I didn't buy anything.)

I must admit that getting into that class was such a fluke that to this day, I do not know what it was called. It was not about the Pathways socks -- she did that on the two days prior. There was no way I ever would have had time to go to that. But this class was about creativity and thinking outside the box with your knitting. We spent the morning doing some exercises in creativity, and we sure came up with some really crazily creative hat designs. ( I apologize for the lack of pictures. My batteries were dying.)

The afternoon revealed some more of the true genius that is Cat Bordhi. First of all, she is one of the kindest people you will ever meet on this earth. She made everyone feel wonderful and unique. Here she is, giving us a glimpse of what made her think differently about sock construction. Who would make the leap from an Icelandic sweater yoke to a sock? Cat Bordhi.

Here she is, demostrating her astonishing knitting skills: casting on for a mobius behind her back. The shawl she is wearing was designed and knitted for her by Sivia Harding. The edge was beaded. Truly beautiful.

Remember the mobius? How about a mobius basket, or a mobius cape? In her world, nothing is impossible, and everything is doable.

She was kind enough to sign my book (I stupidly had left the Pathways book at home), and pose with me. Someone should have told me to straighten my scarf...

It was a wonderful and inspiring day, and I felt validated in my thinking much more than I ever have. It was truly a treat to be breathing the same air as Cat Bordhi, a living knitting legend...

Monday, May 19, 2008

a little story with a happy ending

Every Friday for the last year or so, I go here:

I get to help my friend Stephanie (below, left) in her yarn shop, which is part of her house. We have been friends since before both of us had yarn shops. Right here, she is helping her customer, Annette, with a felting project (right after I took this picture, they ran off to the washer).

Every Friday, I get to look at beautiful yarn, but this past Friday was extra special. New shipments of sock yarn had come in.

On the right in this tub, we have Farmhouse Yarns Bo Peep's Sock yarn.

On the left, and shown bigger in the next picture, is Ancient Threads (blog) naturally dyed sock yarn. Since I had just obtained a skein of the Farmhouse Yarn at the recent tradeshow, I opted for one of these as my payment for the day. It's the one in front with the slight yellow streaks. The rest of the skein is mostly pinks and roses.

And that's the skein that Kristine will get as her prize for being the first commenter who guessed right that I was attending a workshop with Cat Bordhi yesterday. An anonymous person who I am unable to identify, got both the name and the place: WEBS. Anonymous, if you tell me who you are, I'll send you a consolation prize. Don't worry, it'll be something nice.

Last but not least, a huge enormous thank you to the wonderful Liz who offered up her seat in the class when she realized she wasn't going to make it. And to Stephanie who facilitated the whole thing. And to my husband who just said: You should go!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

guess who! guess what! guess where!

Who did I get to take a workshop with today, and where?

I'll let you guess for a day.
First one with the right answer gets a prize. Attendees of the workshop excluded. :) Also, friends who I blabbered to beforehand. Sorry, guys...

Friday, May 16, 2008

...and the winner is!

First prize for Most Ill Placed Ad EVER goes to:

The New York Times.

The article is here. After you read it, how about a nice little email to them that patiently explains how bass ackwards that is?

this is where it gets complicated

Friday is here, and I am getting all nervous because I want to put up another post before the weekend. So when you all sit and sip your Saturday morning coffee going through the blogs (isn't that standard procedure?), knitting in hand, there's actually something new to read here.

You know me. I am a serious gal, usually struggling to see the humorous side of things. Growing up Lutheran and German, a sense of humor is not something I have in heaps. Consequently, when things pile up on my psyche, I am not one to laugh it off. I sit and mull, I get fatigued, I am sensitive to the most mundane disappointments. (Like when that very talented girl Sayesha Mercado got kicked off American Idol this week. Lump in my throat.) (Or like when John Edwards decided to side with Obama. Siding with a woman candidate was not the most comfortable thing to do, evidently. Boys will be boys, they stick together, taking just enough time out to give the woman a nice little pat on the back. Just before they point out that the glass ceiling really is still there, and she better go home now.)

Pair those news with the rising death toll in China after the earthquake. That has the tears rolling down my cheeks as I drive my kids to school in the morning. If anyone hears about an organization that will send knitted blankets and other items over there, be sure to let me know. I'm a mom and a knitter. My first instinct is to make a blanket.

The Myanmar cyclone catastrophe has me seriously wishing for the first time in my life that the people who are not letting aid in, would please be sent straight to hell. Enough said.

I am trying my darndest to do some knitting, even some designing again, but my energy is going elsewhere. Last week, I was hit by a full scale flashback memory to an emotionally abusive relationship I was in when I was young. A panic attack was narrowly averted. I have a good therapist and an even better husband. I am OK today, but it did take me a few days to get over it. (I had heard about a young woman at work who was moving out from her boyfriend's with her baby. To get away from him who does not treat her well. I gave them some dishes. And I just this morning decided to make that little one a blanket for his crib. I don't know what non-knitters do.)

On Wednesday, Crafty Girl and I had an appoinment with the pediatric gastroenterologist. While my daughter is tall, she is too skinny, not gaining enough, and some foods bother her stomach. There is a high incidence of Celiac disease in my family. Crafty Girl will have an endoscopy and get tested for a variety of things. I'll let you know when the appointment is.
We are hunting for a shrug pattern for her; she would like a little cover-up for her graduation dress. If you know of any good patterns that accomodate Rowan's all season cotton, 4.5 sts/in, and a tall eleven year-old, pop me a line.

Does that wrap it up? Not quite. I have to leave you with a silver lining kind of item.

I just this minute (and I am not making this up) received a phone call from a woman who is a handdyer and is represented by a yarn rep. They both want to meet with me. They want me to come up with designs for the yarn. I meet with them next Tuesday.

Just in time for me to get out of the house when the contractor's here to fix up our bathroom, to the tune of 3500 bucks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day cards from my kids

Crafty Girl was annoyed that the teacher only let them have 2 colors of paper for the cards. She swiped a third one for the insert. :)

They recently wrote limericks and haiku in school.

Tall Son opted for this.

I promised him some twig cereal this week. Hehe.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

This year for Mother's Day, I thought I'd send you lots and lots of flowers.
First, some tulips from the 60th Tulip Festival:

From my place to yours:

Enjoy your day, whether you're a mom, or not! (If you've ever made a difference in the life of a child, you deserve recognition.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

hostess with the mostess

I also need to tell you that the poet and hostess of the open mic poetry reading I told you about, Carol Graser, is one kickass knitter.

She once made this backpack out of Tahki's Cotton Classic, with the most amazing mosaic knitting

a zipper pocket

and a 2 color cable trim.

She has been hauling this pack around for years, so it's showing the love of using it.

I also think that her book might make a great mother's day gift for yourselves.

Enjoy the day!