Thursday, October 30, 2008


Over the past couple of weeks, Leah has mentioned a couple of times that her foot was hurting. Not enough to make much of a difference in her days (she has every intention of going trick-or-treating tomorrow, for instance), so it didn't seem like a big deal, but it wasn't getting better either, despite the ace bandage and some new, supportive hiking shoes. So today we got an x-ray and it ends up she has an avulsion fracture of the fifth metatarsal. Stylish new footwear until we visit orthopedist tomorrow:
On the up side, the same day included purchase of some cashmere for a commissioned neckwarmer...
and arrival of 2 skeins of Noro received in exchange for some sheepie stitch markers.
Feet? :-(

Hands! :-)
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Monday, October 27, 2008

moments at the farmers' market

The last farmers' market of the season was yesterday and it couldn't have been more pleasant.
Leah wore the Fiber Trends Swirls Hat she knit last week, using Noro Kureyon and a skein of tweedy something or other from our stash. For some reason, the brim came out way wider than expected, so we turned it into a bucket hat by removing a few rounds to make the top more rounded. It's her first time trying the Latvian braid, which adds so much to this design. There's maybe not as much contrast between the yarn colors as we would have liked, but she's still very happy with how it turned out. This will be a gift for a friend's birthday coming up soon and I know she'll be making more of this design. I wonder if the next one will be a bucket hat or the expected shape. I'll make a point of helping her understand yarn dominance for her colorwork the next time too.
A swarm of hungry customers early in the day. Scott brought as much as he could make in the bakery on Saturday and just about sold out of everything. Again. :-) How cool to recognize old friends from high school among the crowd later in the afternoon.

My sister, who conveniently showed up wearing a pink shirt and immediately got drafted as the model for my recently completed Wisp cowl, knitted in Sheep 3 silk and merino handpainted yarn, a row of 11 tiny vintage buttons holding it in a ring. She rec'd compliments on it throughout the day and reluctantly gave it back when it was time to leave. I had it on the day before and am wearing it as I type now. I think it's safe to say this one is a winner!
Daughter of the farmer whose booth was next to ours. Dressed in her witchy Halloween costume, she watched me knit and off during the day, asked a couple of questions, and eventually I offered to show her how to knit (and swapped her farmer mom some garlic-parmesan bread and molasses crinkle cookies for leeks and napa cabbage). When we got home, there was an answering machine message from the mom of another young knitter, a sheep-for-Noro swap confirmed, and another online friend with request for pattern info.

So. Much. Fun!
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

recommended daily allowance

Yesterday was a blustery, dreary, gray day. Remedy? Hook up with a friend first thing in the morning and head north to the Franklin County Fiber Twist, where we exceeded our recommended daily doses of color, friendship, and inspiration!

It all started with a hooked rug display -- finished rugs, works in progress, kits and supplies, knowledgeable and fun folks. This art form keeps popping up in our lives and it's soooo tempting to give it a try. I don't even want to start with the wool fabric collection and strip-making, but didja know you can do it with yarns too? Hm. ;-)
Then into the room of vendors of other wonderful wooly goodness. Ran smack dab into our friend, Leslie Wind, whose cable needle necklace, a gift from Leslie, Leah was wearing because she's using it for the current cabled neckwarmer-in-progress.

There were supplies for fiber arts of all kinds, demos, finished items, patterns, kits. Ooh, the colors, the textures!

We bumped into a lot of folks we know as we wandered the booths and met more along the way. An incredible number of people recognize Leah at these events and stop to talk to her, ask about her current WIP (handwarmers w/ a sideways stranded cuff, a design she's making up on the fly), or compliment some piece of knitwear that she has on for the day.

For years, Gail, the Kangaroo Dyer, has made a point of chatting with Leah whenever we stop in at Webs, where Gail works. Leah must've made an impression on her during some visit long ago because Gail never fails to recognize her and strike up a conversation.

As I was paying Gail's husband for some dreamy handpainted roving at their booth yesterday, Gail suddenly turned and handed Leah these two huge, GORGEOUS skeins of laceweight yarn in shades of deep cranberry red to black, along with a coordinating skein of black w/ red undertones...something fuzzy...mohair?...again, GORGEOUS...and says, "I want you to have these!" The Goob, as you can imagine, was blown away by the kindness and just happens to also be ga-ga over the yarn.

By the time we left the Fiber Twist, my bag looked like this...
There were also some other bags of fluff hanging from the outside of my backpack. OMG, the colors.

Inspired by Gail's dyeing demo at the Fiber Twist and others we've seen in the past, we popped in at Webs on the way home. While browsing the dye colors, another customer struck up a conversation with us and offered some suggestions. Her colorful fingers identified her as an avid dyer. She sells as DK Knits and it's a good thing she dyes for a living because her enthusiasm for it is contagious. She bubbled over with ideas for blending the dye colors we were buying and helpful hints for achieving certain goals.

Dropped our friend off back at her house, swung by our house to pick up Jesse, then to get nephew Zach and off to see a performance of Willie Wonka, in which a family of friends has been actively involved. It was a colorful, fun, clever performance that we all enjoyed immensely. Saw my sister's Dominican Republic vacation pics, schemed some Halloween costume ideas, and helped my mom learn to do magic loop on a wee bunny she's making to tuck into the chest pocket of a sweet dress she's knitting for a friend's daughter. A short night of sleep and I had to laugh this morning when I saw that one of the DK Knits lines is Wonka-inspired semi-solid/tonal colorways. Yum!

Recommended daily allowance of fibery goodness achieved!
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

crafty kids

Group picture of the younger pairs of busy hands that made up yesterday's knit night at Creative Fibers.
Much enthusiastic chatter about great books and assorted creative projects as they knit together, interspersed with little jaunts to fondle yarn and visit the snack offerings.

BTW, that white scarf in the center? The yarn glows in the dark!
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Sunday, October 19, 2008


Leah and I spent much of yesterday marveling at beautiful handcrafted items and glorious autumn weather.
Jesse was at a blacksmithing workshop, happily learning some more specifics about pounding hot metal into useful shapes.

This workshop took place a little over an hour from home, so Leah and I decided to hang out in the vicinity while he was busy. We thought about going to Rhinebeck, but decided it made more sense to work on our current projects and just be mellow for the day. It was a good choice. We browsed the gift shop at Brookfield Craft Center and also a farm-turned-art/cooking school. We both laughed out loud when we noticed a yarn store at the end of the farm's road!
Browsed the sunny, comfortable store, then worked our way back to the Craft Center.

Did a bunch of knitting together, listened to podcasts, and oohed and aahed about the trees the whole way home. We weren't at Rhinebeck, but this was a mighty fine option.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

neckwarmer parade

The knitterly girl behind Cotton Hollow Handcrafts continues with her neckwarmer craze, trying out different stitches and styles.

Today is one of those days where I think my head is going to explode from all the project ideas coursing through it. I need to finish getting the flower garden ready for winter, but after that, I'm definitely looking forward to the quiet, creative time that's scheduled into my evening while the rest of the family is otherwise occupied.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

it's a mystery

You just never know who the spinning wheels will grab next...

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Sunday, October 12, 2008


What a difference a week makes. Last weekend at the farmers' market was raw and wet. This weekend? Stellar! Glorious sunshine, perfect temps, beautiful foliage, hungry people. :-) Some glimpses into our Sunday, from a yarny perspective...

My lace ribbon scarf in Jojoland yarn.

Field next to the farmers' market, where some dogs were chasing balls and some people were riding their horses. (Yeah, I know, nothing yarny about that, but aren't those trees pretty?)

Yarn given to Leah as thanks for keeping an eye on the White Crane Design Studio's booth while Rhonda, the dyer, browsed the market for a few minutes.

Back in town, a pleasant visit with Claudia while she worked on a neckwarmer.

Home again for a quiet evening. All in all, not a half bad way to spend our 17th anniversary! Extra fun to realize that some of the people in that wedding pic visited with us at the market today.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday snapshots

Purty buttons sitting in the sunshine on my desk.

Jesse, happily participating in Atlatl Day at its new location at the beach. This is about the fifth year we've gone to this event, one of his favorites of the year. This time, Jesse was one of the guys who helped new folks learn to use atlatls. He had some great shots and an even greater time. He received plenty of compliments and thanks from organizers and participants.

Wisp, in Sheep 3 silk/wool yarn. I'm hoping to make it long enough to go twice around my neck, held with buttons, like a two-layered neckwarmer. Makes me wish this blog had touchavision because this yarn is incredibly luxurious.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Oh, how we love the blocking wires. Nice straight edges with just a few pins.
Very much appreciated, especially lately, because I blocked two scarves this week and Leah is blocking three neckwarmers and a headscarf. (Leah's been a knitting machine the past few days, since she's almost sold out of neckwarmers!) Always such a thrill to see a scrunchy bit of knitting open up to reveal a neat pattern.
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

mudskating at the market

Upon arriving at the Coventry Farmers' Market for Scott's first time as a bakery vendor on this very wet morning, the last thing we wanted to see was deep mud gullies, a van spinning its tires, and hay being scattered furiously about to help everyone traverse the field of ankle-deep muck. Oh well, we were there and had lots of yummy things that Scott and Jesse worked hard to bake yesterday and this morning, so we might as well make the best of it!

(Edited to add: You guys know Scott's a baker, right? Yeah. We have a licensed wholesale bakery in the basement of our house. The glass stuff is for the fun of it; I just talk about it more here.)

The rain had slowed to only a drizzle and the hay made all the difference in navigating the field. Die-hard fans of the farmers' market came anyway -- certainly not as many people as would have been there on a sunny day, but enough to still keep things hopping. The stuck van made its way out with three hooting and hollering people weighing down the back bumper for traction. When the coffee vendor's coffeemaker broke, I fetched a bunch of Boxes o' Joe from Dunkin Donuts, which Jesse offered to the chilly vendors in need of caffeine. Leah went into the historic Nathan Hale homestead for some warm cider and allowed herself to be mesmerized by the fire's flames.

It was 4H day at the market, so there were goats and sheep and bunnies parading around with their humans, as well as the usual dogs of all shapes and sizes. We loved the free samples of wood-fired pizza and did an enjoyable lot of swapping with other vendors.

We met new yarnie friends , other bakers in their own small businesses, and folks from our town. The conversations continued to flow as the rain stopped and the ground firmed up. People helped each other, shared freely, made the most of a less than optimal situation, and had a darn good time along the way.

When the visitors to the market had gone home and the vendors' booths were dismantled, out came the crock pots, casseroles, and desserts for a vendor potluck, a festive market community celebration. We felt privileged to be a part of it all. Man, if we can have that much fun at the farmers' market on a washout of a day, it's going to be a blast in the sunshine!
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hey, I know that sheep!

Check out the stitch marker in use on Knitting Interrupted's How I Knit video! Aw, so cute. We love to see our glass sheepies in the wild. 

fiber-craft day

You just can't go wrong with a Fiber-Craft Day that starts out like this,
is spent with fine fiber enthusiasts of all ages and projects ranging from knitting to rugmaking to needle felting to spinning to puppetmaking to needlepoint,
and includes a metalworking workshop with our friend Leslie Wind. Of course, I had to incorporate one of Scott's beads into the scarf pin I made.
Leslie was kind enough to give Leah one of her beautiful cable needle necklaces and plans to make some featuring Scott's buttons as the embellishment at the top. I can't wait to see how they turn out!
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Friday, October 03, 2008

Fiber-Craft day tomorrow

Hey everybody -- if you happen to be in the vicinity of Rockport, MA, tomorrow, stop in at the Rockport Community House for Fiber-Craft Day. Should be a great time!


I blog through Picasa, which I like very much, except that it limits me to four pictures per post, so there were four neckwarmers in yesterday's post and one leftover to share today.

This is a pattern of tiny cables, knit by Leah in deep forest green alpaca along with a strand of laceweight variegated tencel that gives just enough of an accent to keep the color from being flat. Feels fantastic around the neck and alpaca is toasty warm.
When we're not slogging through technological/automotive/insurance/financial/political and other grown-up-like cruddy issues and life-suckers in the past week, there has otherwise been a continued bunch of funstuff. For instance, we've discovered the ultra-cool ukelele club in town and are participating in the monthly gatherings for playing uke (Leah's been doing the freebie beginner sessions and her continuing ed uke class will start soon), which are then opened up to the public for the last hour for a big singalong.

There are maybe 30-40 uke players in the club, who are joined by harmonica players and guys on electric bass and sax. A local dermatologist is the leading ukelele enthusiast and he is an awesome combination of great teacher, uke cheerleader, singer, musician, leader of the band, and comedian. We started going to this because Leah loves to sing, but it's actually a crazy lot of fun for anybody and now I wouldn't want to miss it either. Lots of seniors come for the singalong, but plenty of families with kids too. There are leis and Hawaiian shirts galore, ukes available to borrow, and they get you playing about five songs within the first hour of instruction. The thing I like best is that I've seen everybody from a 6-year-old girl to a maybe-90-year-old guy with a walker strumming along, wearing leis, and grinning from ear to ear, having good, old fashioned, low tech fun together. The world needs more of that, don't you think?

During the singing and playing, I get a good bit of knitting done at the uke parties. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the second Edelweiss mitten. I'm running low on red yarn, so they might become fingerless gloves instead, which is just fine with Leah.

There's also been paintball, Airsoft, the Pequot Museum, ice skating, and historic miniature gaming, all with pals, and lots of reading about a remote-controlled underwater vehicle that Scott and Jesse are planning to build. Yup, still plenty of good times to enjoy in this week of challenges.

As has become an annual tradition as soon as those first chilly autumn days arrive, the season's soapmaking is underway. I don't put any effort into selling my soap anymore, but I still have a good number of orders that come through from past years and I'm happy to oblige because I do so enjoy making soap and keeping a good stash around here for little gifts. Luckily, one of my munchkins is also an enthusiastic soapmaker who joins in every time. So nice to have his help for the >100 bars we made last night and to wake up to all the fantastic fragrances this morning.
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