Thursday, April 30, 2009


Shazam! How does it happen that I barely started this scarf, then set it aside for a month to knit a ridiculous sweater, then came back to this project and it was finished in the blink of an eye? During a period of time when quiet evenings at home happen only once or twice a week?! This phenomenon -- the magical appearance of finished objects in a life with plenty of other activities and interests swirling about simultaneously -- is quickly becoming my favorite aspect of knitting. Rarely is there a substantial chunk of uninterrupted time when I'm focusing on a specific project, but instead the knitting happens in the background, in little bits here and there while waiting for/involved in other activities, visiting with friends, etc., so it's such a fun surprise when I suddenly realize, hey, this project's ready for bind-off!

Pattern: Taize by Susan Pandorf
Yarn: Ball and Skein's sock yarn, bought at Spa Knit and Spin

This pattern knit up in a honeycomb-shaped, deeply textured way that was thick and luscious. I had hoped to just block it enough to neaten up the edges, but of course the whole thing went limp upon soaking and I realized it was equally beautiful when blocked to open up the pattern fully. The honeycomb ridges settled in as gently undulating curves spiraling up around the paired holes for a full 12" x 80" of light and lacy goodness.

Next up: Knitspot's La Novia, I think. Because I'm loving the lacy scarves in semi-solid yarns and there are two skeins of deep teal alpaca/merino/silk on my desk, just waiting.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

that was a blast

While our guys enjoyed a launch day of Jesse's rocketry club in the morning,
Leah and I were also having a blast (heh heh), at CT Sheep and Wool. Those silly little glass sheepies were a big hit!

Since we were there as vendors, you'd think that was our top priority for the day, and selling stuff was indeed a pleasant part of our time there, but I found once again that the best part was the all the fiber people. Such a wonderful steady stream of folks we know and new friends who introduced themselves to us throughout the day. Leah had an equally great time demonstrating the 2-color, 2-handed, tangle-free knitting technique that she uses for her stranded projects.

Wanna know one of my favorite moments? Finding a $100 bill that a customer gave me, both of us mistaking it for a $10, and being able to return it to her!

The guys joined us at CT S&W in the early afternoon, so I was able to get to the Ravelry meet-up and wander with friends. Lucia showed me how to do brioche stitch, which I know is not difficult but I wasn't able to do the last time I tried. After browsing the booths with Audrey, getting some dyeing input from Jan (and drooling over his beautiful yarns), and running into so many people along the way, I came home with some glorious deep teal alpaca/merino/silk from our friends at Dye Dreams and three pounds of free alpaca roving that we can't wait to spin up.

After all that fresh air and sunshine, we all hit the sack early. I'm hoping to finish my Taize scarf during Leah's chorus rehearsal this afternoon and we're all looking forward to seeing Phantom of the Opera tonight.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009


The fruit loops are a convergence of art glass, jewelry, and knitting tools. Somehow, I'm still not really sure what they are. But now there are a couple of sets on Etsy.

Connecticut Sheep and Wool this Saturday will be a convergence of work, fun, friends, spring, food, learning, color, and temptation. Come and visit our booth in the Gold building, shared with our friends from The Farm on Grindle Brook!

This little video is not us, but it certainly is a convergence of our family's interests. You can imagine the wild cackling as the Inventor Boy went scurrying off to his contraption lab. I hear small motors being tested as we speak. ;-)

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and she's off!

For a long, long time, Leah's projects also took up a lot of my time to help her work through all the steps, fix boo-boos, etc. Now, though, she's flying solo!

Earlier this week, she mentioned wanting to make something for a friend's upcoming birthday. I saw her browse Ravelry. I heard her print a pattern. I vaguely noticed her winding a ball of yarn.

She did ask me how to crochet around the post of a stitch, which I described.

The next thing I know, she's choosing buttons and grinning ear to ear. B'day gift ready and of a style that she thinks her friend will love!

Pattern: Sophia Kessinger's Swirls Cap
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted, Emerald Blue
Hook: H

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

amethyst and amber

There's a lot to Etsy. So many different features, groups, options, and areas we don't know about. Such a pleasant surprise to receive a message there today saying that one of Scott's glass buttons, Ether, was featured in foxpots' treasury, Amethyst and Amber!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

twas the night before trout season

Twas the night before trout season, and all through the houses
the fishermen finished working and scurried like mouses.

The fishing vests hung by the tackle boxes with care
in hopes that the pretty little trout soon would be theirs.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
while the knitter wove in ends and chuckled at the Big Silly she had wed.

With a Eucalan soak and blocked to a perfect fit,
the Terror Fish turned out to be a super cool knit.

(Whew, you guys, making up this highbrow ;-) poetry stuff is hard! Okay, so let's just cut to the end.)

He sprang to his Jeep, to his buddies gave a whistle
and away they all blew like a trout-guided missile.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Happy Fishing to all, and to all a good bite!
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larger than life

One of Scott's customers today sent us a message for clarification about the size of the rubber rings on our stitch markers. She mostly works on small needles (up to size 6), so she wanted to make sure the rings weren't overly large.

Since one of the first comments we often hear from people who see Scott's beads in real life for the first time is "they're so small!", I'm realizing that the close-up pics on our Etsy site make the beads AND the rings look larger than life. I always try to list measurements of the beads, but I think it's still easy to imagine them much bigger than they are.

In an attempt to make their true size easier to understand, here's a pic of one of the rubber rings on a size 6 needle and another on a size 3 needle.
And here are a couple of stitch markers in my hand, with a penny also for scale.

Here's a sheepie stitch marker action shot, which might help to visualize scale as they relate to an adult sized sweater.

Sweet little things, for sure! I hope that helps.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, I was going to put some of the smallest fruit loop stitch marker/jewelry thingamabobs up on Etsy this weekend,
but then my sister laid her hands on them and...
poof -- claimed!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

for the record

This is the Terror Fish sweater's status with exactly one week until the kick-off of Opening Day shenanigans. I just might be able to finish in time!

Can't talk. Must knit!
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

reason #74952381

Reason #74952381 why we love this school-free life:

Because homeschooling on a sparkling spring day can look like this.

Leah lovin' hands-free Kindle2 reading and spinning by feel.

(Raking to come later this afternoon. Life skills. ;-)

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

two by two

Tiny glass goodies, two by two,
on Glastonbury Glassworks' Etsy store.
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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

maker faire, family style

The Maker Faire celebrates the risk takers, the doers, and the makers of things. So does our family.

A couple of posts of the past week have shared some of Leah's projects, but the rest of us have been happily working, learning, exploring, and making things too.

Scott's still enjoying working with borosilicate glass to make these tiny rings that we've dubbed fruit loops. We're not sure exactly what they'll be yet, except that they're pretty and they feel irresistably good rolling around in your hands.

They might be jewelry components, Pandora/Troll bracelet beads, stitch markers, or ______? The picture makes them look larger than life. The smallest loops fit up to a size 5 needle, with only a 1 cm outside diameter! Multiple recent commenters mentioned that they use bigger needles and sometimes have difficulty finding pretty stitch markers that will fit, so Scott has also made some in larger sizes, up to 17 mm outside diameter with a 10 mm hole. Keeping their size in mind, please feel free to leave a comment if you have ideas about how they could be used.

Jesse has been honing his skills in the renovation of his bedroom. He helped with all of the sheetrocking and mudding, installed most of the wood floor (all done now), did his fair share of the painting (sage green, all done), most recently helped carry some of his new furniture upstairs, and chose the rugs and all-important lava lamp. Many details still to be completed, but he's sleeping in there again and is happy with how it's all taking shape.

He also has a new rocket in the works, this one a three-phase blaster that will go half a mile up. Finishing work (paint, decals, launch rings, etc.) in progress. Wanna hear an otherwise stoic young man squeal with delight and do a happy Snoopy dance? Big rockets. :-)
And then there's my work in progress, Scott's silly Terror Fish sweater. Only one more row until I start the lettering!

(Sorry for the bleh pic on this dreary day.) This Intarsia is definitely a slow and fiddly process, but once I got used to all of that, I didn't really mind. I read a tip on Ravelry about not using bobbins for each color section, but just using a few yards of each yarn, letting the strands dangle and tangle in the back. When they get too twisted to use, just pull a strand out of the tangle, from the top, and then do another strand until all are untangled. Lather, rinse, repeat. I'm doing some crazy mash-up of that technique, bobbins for colors that I use a lot of, and two-handed fair isle/stranded knitting for the striped body areas. I'm sure I'm breaking every rule in the book, but it seems to be working well enough for me. I'll pick up the provisional cast-on stitches at the bottom and knit down for length and ribbing later.

I was bummed for a moment when I realized that some of those lowermost red spot had been knit with the yellow yarn, so at that point I just continued knitting the "red" stitches in the gray background color. This morning I threaded a needle with the red yarn and duplicate stitched over the yellow boo-boo stitches and then continued duplicate stitching over the gray stitches that should have been red. I left the gray stitches underneath, but picked out the underlying yellow stitches. The red stitches are holding the fabric together as the yellow had done and the duplicate stitched red stitches in the top portion were much easier to add in afterward than while knitting. I love how many solutions there are for knitting problems as you progress along the skills and knowledge continuum.

Scott has had some big disappointment this week, upon learning that two of the original fishing buddy tribe aren't able to do the traditional opening day of trout season weekend camping/fishing trip because of work/family/economic problems, but he still plans to have a blast with the remaining fisherpals and it looks like he'll be wearing a fish sweater that is just goofy enough to match the weekend's fun.

Also fun? Having cupcakes and sheep and other beads selling almost as fast as he's making them! Since we're also trying to gear up for wool festival season and the farmers' market, and my seasonal clients are emerging from their winter lull, so there's an extra lot going on here lately, but it's all good, so yay!
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Monday, April 06, 2009

when she's not knitting

When Leah's not knitting, she might be needle felting with a gaggle of girlfriends, or

spinning Grafton Fibers and Spunky Eclectic rovings at Nutmeg Spinners Guild while taking a fascinating romp through world history from a textiles perspective, as told by Abby Franquemont, and being offered a source of fabulous free alpaca roving, or

putting a poodle and leash on a silk skirt from Goodwill in preparation for her chorus group's production in a few weeks.

While I've been getting a kick of seeing our names pop up...all...over...the...Internet!

Off I go to knit the Terror Fish...
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Friday, April 03, 2009

help Gale help Heifer!

You all know The Heifer Project does good things, helping people learn to help themselves, right? We've been donating to them for years and, if you're on our gift-giving list, chances are that at some point you've received a card commemorating a donation we've made in your name or you've made a donation in our name. Good stuff all around.

Well, Gale Zucker is an awesome photographer who wants to help spread the word about Heifer's efforts and hopes to win a Dream Assignment that she calls One Goat at a Time: Showing the Heifer Project Change Lives & Better the World, but she needs our help.

Please vote for her to win this assignment TODAY!

Please click on the One Goat... link above to visit Gale's blog and get all the details. You do need to register at the voting site, but that only takes a minute and is worth it to help Gale get this excellent opportunity.
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Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Yesterday morning, Leah started knitting the sleeve for a Rogue hoodie, cardigan version. She was enjoying it so much that, by the end of the day, she had this (which includes 2" of turned-up inside-cuff ribbing, 12" of knitting all together):

When she'd check in with me during the day, there were a few little things we noticed that aren't quite right, but she was happy with it overall. Her gauge was spot on, consistent with her swatch, and the lower part of the sleeve fit around her arm nicely.

This morning, though, I thought the upper portion looked not quite wide enough, so we tried it on her arm for size and...oh no! Way too small!

Hm. Checked again and gauge is still perfect. Counted stitches and realized she had way less than called for. Back to the pattern notes, she almost immediately smacked herself on the forehead for having missed those four little words that have tripped up countless knitters through the ages:


Not only did she need to follow the decreases within and the corresponding increases just outside the cabled section, but she also needed to increase at the beginning and end of every however-many-rows so the sleeve gets wider as it goes up the arm. Oops.

In the past, this realization would have been terribly disheartening, but today's response, shortly after the forehead slap, was a wide grin and enthusiasm about getting to do it again! Only a day's knitting lost, plenty of learning accomplished, and the opportunity to travel this pleasant path another time, clearly enjoying the journey.
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