Tuesday, July 28, 2009

small packages

Good things really do come in small packages. Some of my family's favorite times ever have been in the smallest villages we've visited, including Kennecott, Alaska; and Jamaica, Vermont. This weekend, we again returned to our favorite campground in Vermont, a place we've visited often enough that we recognize more than a handful of the town's 1,000 residents. We only camped for three nights and never left the campground/village area, but I'd be hard-pressed to choose a favorite moment from the many delightful experiences there. Among them:

We oohed and aahed over fabric works of art, large and small, at the Best Little Quilt Show in Vermont.

We fished, swam, and modeled newly finished handknit socks in the gentle West River.

We laughed and cheered with the silliness that is a small town parade at the Jamaica Old Home Days festival on Saturday.

We tapped our toes along with the bluegrass band at the farmers' market along Main Street on Sunday. We chatted with the glassblowers, the local weaving/yarn shop owner, and the coffee shop folks, all of whom recognize us now.

We toasted s'mores over the campfire in the evening, the sounds of an acoustic guitar and a harmonica floating across the campground. We enjoyed sunshine and warm days while we were out and about, cool temps and downpours each night while we were dry and comfortable in our tents.
We sipped coffee brewed over the campfire in the early mornings and, while Scott scurried off to play with the fishies in the river,
I worked on the Woodland Shawl in blissful silence. Ah, exactly the balance we needed after a hectic week.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

like this

The evening started out like this...
(summer concert in our town, Fifties band w/ classic car show)

Some of the friends we were with were doing this...
(as was I)

but inside, I was doing a little happy dance about this...

It's a mobile wood-fired oven, the next step for Scott's bakery business. Ours won't arrive until October, but that's okay because we have plenty to do in preparation for its arrival. It's been a long time coming, but with receiving final approval from our Health Dept. yesterday, we're a big step closer.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

uncharted waters

Leah's in uncharted waters, trying things she's never tried before and loving it. Most of it is happening without my help, by the crafter's choice and by necessity, since I'm covering a full-time job in a client's office this week and then doing my usual work in the hours before and after. You can imagine the chuckle I got when I noticed the camera was not in its usual place and I turned it on and found this:
She had been searching the Web and found Simplicity pattern 4510, then hijacked Scott's bakery delivery route one day with a detour to Joann's and with a xmas gift card in her pocket. Pattern purchased, she rummaged in our fabric stash to find fabric. It's not enough yardage, but she plans to simplify the pattern anyway and says she'll figure it out along the way. Well, okey dokey then.

There was cutting and sewing the other night, and apparent rummaging through the button box yesterday. I am concerned about the pattern size she chose after measuring herself, but she tells me she will figure that out later too if she needs to. No prob, sez the confident one!

Yesterday, I arrived home from client's office to an email from her with a link to this Daisy and Rose Irish Lace Collar, which she found via Ravelry. When she got home from an afternoon of fun, she dug around in the needlework supplies and found DMC Cordonnet that she thinks will work and a vintage crochet hook, size 10, that's way smaller than anything I've ever used. The pattern is from New Zealand and they use different terms than we do for crochet stitches, but the terms they use are also terms we use, just meaning different things, so that's a challenge. In other words, if the pattern calls for a treble crochet, you don't do what we know as a treble crochet, but instead do a double crochet. If the pattern says double crochet, you don't do our usual double crochet, but instead a single crochet! I told Scott it's like if somebody said, "I would like you to help me paint this fence" but what they really mean is "Let's go to the beach tomorrow." The pattern makes perfectly good sense as we see it, but it means something entirely different!

Once she got the hang of how this all works, she was off to do her thing and here's where her first motif is this morning.

Her gauge is way, way off (loose = bigger), but she doesn't mind, says she'll just make fewer motifs or have a more elaborate collar than the original. Blocking will, of course, result in a miraculous transformation too.

Rock on, kiddo!
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Monday, July 20, 2009


Leah is learning how to read a sewing pattern. She hasn't sewn a garment from a pattern in the past two years, but she's on a mission to make a 19th century style dress.

Debbie is learning that, because linen does not stretch, errors with extra stitches are not easily fixed and blended because the extra yarn isn't absorbed by the remaining stitches, as it can be with stretchier yarns. Boo-boo made while knitting at dusk pre-fireworks on Saturday. Fix-it failed. Rows ripped back. This is worth doing right.

We all learned that farmers' market days that look like this just might bring out swarms of customers and friends, both of our kids' grandmas, and even Scott's sister, Vickie! And...whoosh...three hours go by in the blink of an eye and leave a happy baker with very few leftovers. Yay!
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Sunday, July 19, 2009


Wowza, I love times like this, where there are options galore on the calendar. Makes me tired, but there are so many good things going on out there.

Leah's solidly into the lily of the valley section of her Swallowtail Shawl now. She's using iridescent beads in place of the nupps, to add a little sparkle. Can't see them in this pic, but they're in the spaces at the lower section.
Shakespeare performances abound. There are no less than five shows on my calendar for any given weekend evening for the remainder of the summer. After a riotous ukulele band gig on Friday, we headed out for Taming of the Shrew. Big fun for all of us, especially a certain scene involving a ukulele.
While Leah and I were at a bbq at a friend's incredible property (20 gorgeous wooded acres with pond) yesterday, our guys were psyched to meet their peeps for a rocket club launch. Jesse's rockets flew beautifully. He learned a bunch from guys who are more experienced, was able to help some newbies, sold something he made to modify a launch system, and came home excited about new rocket ideas and inspiration.
Quick dinner, then out for fireworks last night. Good fun, as always!

Business name that made me laugh out loud:

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


While at an outdoor concert
on a perfect summer evening,

some of our friends create knitted items

and some try to eat them.

Update on secret project on my Ravelry page.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dear Birds,

What did Scott ever do to you?

p.s. You might want to lay off the
all-you-can-eat burrito buffet.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

kerplink kerplank kerplunk

The theme at the market yesterday was Blueberries and Bluegrass. The festival atmosphere continues, with so many items containing blueberries, demonstrations and workshops, activities, free samples, pony cart rides, living history, and consistently excellent live music played throughout the three-hour market.
Winter reading Blueberries For Sal to a group of
little folks as they all munch free blueberries.

We've been there often enough that there's a steady stream of friends and acquaintances with whom to chat, starting with the vendors and market masters who stop by for something from the bakery to start their day. Up next are the customers who come every week, without fail, and are becoming friends.

Then there are the surprises, the people who stroll by on their way in, the ones who just happen to be old friends, not seen in years. It happens almost weekly. Yesterday's surprise visitors (ChrisO and family! Aimee and family!) arrived at almost the same time and I couldn't believe how much fun it was to see them all in such a happy place.

Blueberries and bluegrass sock yarn, dyed by Mocha's Fiber Connection,
special for the weekly theme.

Then there are the String Thing folks, who I bump into in the market area as we all get our shopping taken care of and then we settle in near the stone wall, in the shade of the barns. Then the people who stop by the String Thing to chat because they used to knit or they've always wanted to learn to knit or they're just starting or they just want to see what we're making.

The cow bell rings to signify beginning and end of market hours and the place clears out quickly. Leah and the other junior docents at the Nathan Hale Homestead were beginning to map out this year's corn maze after their market events ended, so I enjoyed the quiet time on a bench in the kitchen garden.

It's official. I like my new camera.

At the beginning of the season, when I mentioned that we would be at the farmers' market every Sunday, June-October (and now, continuing as a winter market through February -- yahoo!), a friend responded that she didn't know if we were blessed or cursed. At that point, honestly, neither did we. Now, I think the answer is clear. There's definitely no curse in being able to do the work you love, surrounded by fulfilled family members and people who enrich your life, in an environment you enjoy and where learning opportunities abound.

p.s. The Fail in previous blog post has been corrected and should be finished (well, the knitting portion) later today!

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

a fail

But first, a celebration of success! Leah and about a dozen knitterfriends are making good progress on their swallowtail shawl knitalong. They're at various stages of completion, but all moving along nicely.

Leah is nearing the end of the main body repeats and will move into the lily of the valley lace pattern soon. So many beautiful yarns being used, in different weights so the finished objects will range from shoulder shawl size to a big, warm wrap. Some are subbing beads for nupps and Leah is thinking about doing this because she's a little bit short in yardage needed and beads will help conserve yarn while also adding a little sparkle.

Now, the fail portion of this entry, that would be all mine. I swatched, I calculated gauge, I cast on as indicated. Then I looked at what I had, stretched it out on the needle, and thought, "nah, that's not enough." Then I cast on 20 more stitches.

Yes, those would be the 20 more stitches you see here, having overshot their intended boundary. D'oh! Let's try this again.

Did I tell you about the neck of Scott's gansey, which was too small to get over his head? Trying that again too.

And the pair of socks where one has significantly fewer stitches than the other? Re-knit to come.

Is it any wonder that I feel like I'm not making any progress on my projects lately?!

--- p.s. If you or anybody you know just happens to make blueberry muffins, adding some orange zest will elevate them from good to EXCELLENT. Just sayin'. :-)
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Friday, July 10, 2009

road trip!

'Tis the season for outdoor events, the time of year when the folding chairs don't leave the back of my car because we're putting them to use at least four times a week. Between the live concerts and the Shakespeare shows and our usual evening activities, and the friends to meet at all, the calendar is plump with options.

Yesterday, kids and I decided at the last minute to do a road trip for our first Shakespeare show of the summer. It was Midsummer Night's Dream, one of our favorites. We had a few minutes before the show, so my favorite yo-yo guy started practicing some of his tricks and, as always, drew an audience for an impromptu performance
while I enjoyed the view from the park's edge. I guess they don't call these shows Shakespeare On The Sound for nothing.
No pics were allowed during the show, but this one from their site shows a portion of the four-armed curved runway/boardwalk stage. More pics of the stage at the website.

We've seen so many Shakespeare shows over the years, Midsummer Night's Dream the most often of them all, but every one has a twist that keeps them fresh and exciting. This one, besides having the very cool runway stage, had recorded instrumental music to go with the live songs. The musical score was beautiful, magical, haunting, perfect.

I did a bit of knitting during the show, before it got too dark (and cold!) to continue. My project looks exactly like the green leafy one in this blog post, only there's more of it and now there's an opening where a pocket will go. There was a traffic jam getting out of the park area, a nap at a rest stop so I could get us home safely, and a nighttime construction back-up, so we got home at nearly the time the baker was getting up to start his day. With three farmers' markets, three stores, two farm stands, and another account in the works, the beadmakerbaker is in full-on bake mode and we're all psyched. And finally, a forecast for three solid days of sunshine! Happy weekend, everybody!
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

w-w-what's happening to me?

There's sumpin' fishy going on. Lately, I'm drooling over all sorts of crocheted projects.

I crocheted through much of my childhood, making clowns and blankets galore, but I've barely picked up a hook in the past 15 years, except to teach Leah how to crochet.

Then, suddenly, there's this infinity wrap and this star flower mandala (scroll down to the 5th set of pics) and this stained glass window afghan and these magnificent rugs made of reclaimed yarn from old sweaters!

Then and now, if I did pick up a hook, I'd love it to be my favorite one, the Susan Bates H hook that fits my hand just right and was the tool I used for every single clown and blanket I've ever made. The thumb rest is a scootch further up or down on this old hook than on the newer hooks and it makes all the difference in the comfort for my hands. Even my kids know that one is special and they should keep their cotton pickin' hands off of it. If the H size won't cut it for whatever crochet project I do finally settle on, I'll probably try the Clover soft touch crochet hooks for comfort.

Gotta love the multicraftual buzz.
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Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Sunday's farmers' market theme was Blues and Brews. The weather was stellar, the blues band excellent, the free beer samples from local breweries and a homebrew club oh so tasty.
The beer garden field was like a party within a party. I ran into someone I haven't seen since I was about 20 and enjoyed much of the day with knitter friends and other friendly folks. By the end, Scott was nearly sold out of baked goods, so he swapped a bit for some of those homebrews to take home and then sold the remaining items to one of his bakery accounts who didn't order enough for the weekend and left a message on our answering machine saying she'd take anything he could make to help her restock NOW. Sold out day = Yay!

We had Saturday fireworks and Sunday rocket launching, so much looking skyward this weekend. Outdoor cooking, outdoor eating, and plenty of soaking up the sunshine that has been absent for weeks.

My secret project is moving along nicely. I expect a couple more days with a mail delivery like this as part of the process.

I'd show some knitting pics, but nothing is pictureworthy right now. Oh, speaking of pictures, I can haz them! New camera purchased when I braved mall hell zone on Fri. I am so not a shopper. Anyway, back to the knitting, there's been progress on Scott's gansey, the green leafy wrap, a pair of socks (with a big boo-boo that may or may not end in a restart of one), and Leah's swallowtail shawl.

Rec'd word that Glastonbury Glassworks has been accepted as a vendor at Spa Knit and Spin in Maine this Feb. Looking forward to that.

Otherwise, there's another big project in the works, the research and discussion of which is taking up the remainder of our spare time. We're thiiis close to taking the plunge on it and then it'll get fun. Will talk about it here when we make the leap.

We've also been enjoying a house guest for the past few days. He's a spunky little imp whose morning energy results in an entertaining game between him and our big ol' Kodi girl.

Me in flannel jams. Shexay!
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Thursday, July 02, 2009

third try's a charm!

Leah's Swallowtail Shawl,
finally underway and going smoothly!
(I'm getting pretty good with the lunatic camera, eh?)
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You see that subject line? That's the sound of my head exploding. It hasn't actually happened yet, but I think it will soon from the pressure build-up of all the ideas swirling around in there. This is all very exciting, but it's making it awfully difficult to get any work-for-pay done, which is unfortunate because there's a whopping lot of it around here lately.

So anyway, because I didn't buy a new camera yet and spaced on taking my auto pilot camera to last night's outdoor concert -- knitters, live tunes, yummy chow, Magic Hat #9!!!! -- I have no pics but a different kind of treat for you today. This video was forwarded to me by one of my favorite Most Excellent Blog Commenters, Christina, it made my whole family exclaim with delight when I played it for them, and then the song popped up again at last night's concert and I can't get it out of my head (see? there's another thing squishing around up there!), so here you go. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

on auto pilot

So, it ends up that my camera isn't dead; it's just in charge. It'll still take a single decent pic when I turn it on, but no more than one and I have no control over any of its settings or timing, so for the past few days, I've been aiming in the general direction of something I'd like a picture of, turning the camera on, and hoping for the best. No control over flash, zoom, focus, etc. Eh, whatever. ;-) The auto pilot pics are what will be on the blog until I make the time to get a new camera.

I wish I had understood the camera's new-found independence last Sunday, when nephew Zach wove a basket at a workshop offered by the Hale Homestead during the farmers' market. I was mostly with the knitters at The String Thing, but I'd pop over to see how Zach was doing every once in a while. I've never done basketweaving before, so it was all very interesting to me. Each workshop participant started off with the same supplies and basic instructions, and each basket turned out very different from the others, totally functional and attractive!

Meanwhile, Leah's participating in a swallowtail shawl knitalong with friends at our LYS. Knitting lace and following a chart are still fairly new to her, so it's been a challenging project. This was her first try to get it started:

She realized she was off kilter in a few places, so that attempt was torn out. Second try reached approximately the same point yesterday, when we noticed a few problems on that one too. She was frustrated at that point, so I helped her tear it back to the third repeat and I think we can get her back on track today. She's trying to learn to read her knitting better so she'll see boo-boos as they happen and can more easily correct them. It'll come with practice.

I put together three strands of fingering weight wool (two dark green, one army green) and the Woodland Shawl pattern for the start of a thick, warm winter wrap, which will look infinitely better after I block it, as is the case with all lace knitting, even the chunky kind.

The leaf motif is easily memorized, so this will be a good social knitting project until it gets too big to lug around with me or too hot to have it in my lap. Good thing, too, since there's a lot of social knitting on the calendar. Hooray for evenings at summer concerts and outdoor performances!

Thanks, everybody, for the well wishes for my Gram. She had a cardiac cath on Monday, where they found a kinked vessel and two mild areas of narrowing. They put in a stent right then and there for the kinked vessel and the narrowing will be treated with meds. She'll be back to her usual activities in just a few days.
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