Tuesday, May 31, 2016


So it has been a long time since I had anything listed in Etsy.  However, I just uploaded over 20 skeins of yarn that are up for sale.  A couple planned events for this summer fell through which means I have plenty of yarn that is ready for sale! 

 I thinkthis would be great for fellow Minnesotans....does it read U of MN to you as much as me?

like mini skeins?  take a gander at these....

The soft blues along with all the other colors make this one special to me.  I am a sucker for blues!  So if you look on the right side of the blog, you will see a link to my Etsy shop.  Hop over and take a look.  Maybe something is there calling your name.  And always remember, I do custom spins as well.  Next up are several of my cowl kits.  But I can fit in a special order most any time.  Let me know what you are interested in and we can come up with something unique.

I've just signed up for a new fiber festival for me, it is Fosston Fiber Festival next September 30 - October 2.  Looks like it will be fun and they have a lot of hands on demonstrations during the day.  I will be demonstrating stranded knitting.  So come look me up!

Over the long weekend I literally spun all day, I'm filling a special order for Polly and Lila and Claudine's.  I'm spinning up a couple pounds of white fiber so she can then dye it.  Can't wait to see what she will come up with, this is something new we are trying.  If you like local, don't think you can get more local than this.  I should have about 8-10 skeins to her by the end of the week.  Then on to my cowl kits!  I stayed up really late spinning....Virginia was NOT amused.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Another excuse to wear hand knits!

Hello to all the people who visited my booth at Shepherd's Harvest over the weekend.  What a fun although FRIGID time it was.  But then, could it be any better looking at all things fibery on a frosty nippy day (even though that day is in the MIDDLE OF MAY).  Yes, welcome to Minnesota my friends, where winter hangs on tightly, not giving in to spring easily whatsoever.  I guess that makes us all appreciate our summer months though.  Anyway, back to Shepherd's Harvest.  Saturday morning when I left home to drive to the fairgrounds it was 28 degrees.  Yup.  I looked at least twice and that is what it said.  I arrived and settled in to my booth filled with my yarn and lots of fiber from Fat Cat Knits and Tippin' With Dixi.  As the barn filled with people the temps slowly moved from really uncomfortable to manageable, but then again it could have been the addition of multiple layers of my samples too! 

I probably could have made some extra money renting out my samples, a hat here, a scarf there, you want to try a cowl?  Here you go!  But it was so much fun visiting with people.  I sit and spin when I'm not working with people in my booth and boy is that interesting.  The remarks are always fun, watching people trying to figure out what I'm doing.  I get that a lot of people just have never really seen spinning wheels work so I try and explain the process as simply as I can.  I hand out bits and bobs of my roving to the kids that come by.  We laugh about whether or not they've ever seen a blue sheep or whatever color I'm spinning before.  It is fun so see their eyes just light up and laugh at my silly questions.

My cowl (or infinity scarf) was a huge hit which is so rewarding.  I handed out a lot of cards with the name of the pattern, the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl by Wendy Johnson.  I'm placing an order today for more fiber so I can start working on kits of the yarn for those that were interested in getting one.  For you spinners out there, I'm also making up some fiber kits as well if you'd like to spin your own yarn for it.  Don't want to leave anyone out!  Just leave a comment with your email info and I will be in touch and we can work out the details. 

After two days of being in the barns it was a bit of a relief to pack every thing up in two cars and get ready to head home.  Until you discover that your car battery is dead.  I stopped Anna before she drove off so we could try and jump my car.  She got the jumper cables out of her trunk and I walked over to my car to guide her in to the very tight fit between a van and my car.  I look over and watch as Anna starts taking everything out of her backseat and moving it into the front seat.  I'm trying to figure out why but just don't get what is happening.  I walk over and she tells me she locked her keys in the trunk.  And the trunk release on her dash doesn't work.  So she pulled down her back seat and slithered her way into the trunk and pulled the release to pop it open.  Keys are recovered and cars are maneuvered, jumper cables attached (after the wonderful help from another vendor) and in no time my car is up and running, baskets rearranged to the back seat yet again in Anna's car and we are finally on our way home.

And look who was waiting to greet me!  That is Virginia singing to me when I got home.

Thank you to everyone I met, it was a joy!  Now after a rest last night, tonight I'll be back spinning.  Because if I'm going to make the kits for as many people who want one?  Ya, must keep spinning!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shepherds Harvest Here I Come!

In a couple days I will be vending at Shepherds Harvest.  And look what will be in my booth----

It is the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl.  I love it!!!  I finished it over Mother's Day Weekend.  Emily and I binged on the last two Harry Potter movies, Deathly Hallows part 1 and 2 while I grafted the cowl together.  Started at 10 pm, grafted the last stitch at 2:12 AM!  As I said to a friend, I felt like the Sharon of old, not old Sharon!

I had a booth at Yarnover a couple weeks ago and brought along the cowl still on the needles as I spun up another batch of the same yarn and had it as a kit.  Wendy Johnson, the amazing designer of the cowl, gave me permission to have her pattern attached to the yarn.  I was very nervous about doing something like this since it was over 2100 yards of handspun yarn.  Not an inexpensive project, and my sample wasn't even complete.  But do you know the kit sold in the first five minutes of the show!  I nearly cried and hugged the poor woman who bought it from me.  She probably thought I was as crazy as the cowl!  I did make some changes to the yarn for the kit.  I spun it at a much finer weight as my original batch was just a wee bit heavier and thicker than the intended yarn.  On one hand, my cowl will be able to handily deflect a -30 below Minnesota blizzard perfectly, but may not be the easiest thing to wear on most other days.  And to top it off, I had such interest in the cowl I have a few orders for additional kits in the same and different colorways!  Talk about happy and excited!  So once I'm done with my spring shows, I will get busy at the wheel and work on those orders so they are done before my next stretch of shows this fall!

On the home front, Emily is moving on to high school next year, now that is a big transition on its own, but my girl?  Tried out for competition cheer and made the varsity team!  Oh boy, here we go again!  I may have mentioned this in years past when Anna was a comp cheerleader, how expensive these activities are.  So the more Crazed Scandinavian Cowl kits I can sell the better!  Because my fabulous sweet amazing Chinese Swedish Minnesotan girl is going to need every extra penny I earn!

If you are coming to Shepherd's Harvest, look for me in Barn C.  And if you mention seeing this blog post, it is worth 10% off your purchase!  The event is so good for family's with kids, so many things to see and do.  See you at the Washington County Fairgrounds, near Lake Elmo, May 14 and 15th!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Winter has been mild in Minnesota this year.  This week is a reminder of what our winters are normally like.  Cold, crisp, beautiful.  Beautiful as long as you don't have to drive anywhere at certain moments.  We got a huge snowstorm on Tuesday.  It started snowing around noon and quit Wednesday morning.  I love looking out into my backyard.  We have large pine trees and in the winter they take on a magical winter wonderland appearance.  I was able to work from home Wednesday so I didn't have to struggle in traffic for hours.  This is my view while I'm sitting at my table working.  Not too shabby. 

To give you a sense of scale, there was no snow on my outside bench before Tuesday.  Just a bit now!  And that is a very protected area too.  Virginia is not happy right now trying to go outside.  It is deeper than her legs so it is a bit challenging for her. 

I've been meaning to knit some new mittens for myself for the last 3 years.  Even got a few pair started this fall but they all failed for multiple reasons.  Finally this week, my old pair of mittens gasped their last breath.  The thin spots in the thumbs gave way to a gaping hole.  Not so warm here to have a gaping hole in the thumbs!   And I certainly can NOT wear commercial mittens/gloves.  Seriously!  I would have to turn in my knitters card if I did that!  But I have NO time to whip out a new pair of mittens right now.  I thought I was going to eek my old pair through one more winter since this year was rather mellow.  Um look at the pictures...not so mellow anymore.  So I did a little surgery.  I snipped off the top of the thumb, ripped back to a sturdy section of yarn on the thumb, slid the live stitches on needles, added some bright, cheerful, left over handspun yarn and knit a new thumb.  Sort of a Frankenstein mitten you might say.  I love it!  Not perfect by any means, but I do smile every time I put it on.  Tonight at Emily's cheer competition I will graft a new thumb onto the second mitten.  Maybe I can refine the first row or so, but if not?  My thumbs will still be warm and I will still smile at my mittens. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hand spun goodness

I spin all the time.  But finding the time to actually knit is another challenge.  But one I'm determined to change in 2016.  While I don't make resolutions as a whole I am determined as my life changes to find more enjoyment for me.  And right now that is knitting with my handspun.  So I spun up a beautiful, new to me fiber, from Ginny of FatCatKnits.  It is a wool/linen blend.  She dyed up a colorway for me called Uranus in a long gradient.  It goes from teal green to teal blue to navy blue to red wine to purple merlot, to black.  Gorgeous! 
The grey neutral is also the wool/linen blend.  It is the perfect foil to make the colors glow.  The pattern is the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl by Wendy Johnson.  What is not to love knitting a huge variety of fair isle patterns?  It is a long infinity loop type of cowl.  However, as I've been working, I think I'm leaning towards finishing it as a scarf.  The pattern calls for fingering weight and my handspun isn't quite that weight, just a bit heavier so I'm not sure if it will lay nicely after being wound a couple times around my neck.  Since it is knit as a tube, in the round, it is two layers thick.  No howling Minnesota winter wind will penetrate this baby! 
I do think it is a great sample for my yarn.  I will have it done in time for my fiber festivals this year.  Yarnover is fast approaching in April.  It will be finished and hanging in my booth so look for it there.  I need to keep spinning each night too so I will have plenty of completed skeins for upcoming fiber fests.  I'm thinking of spinning more of the same yarn and selling it as a kit for those fiber fests.  Considering you need 900 yards each of the two colorways that is both a big time and cost investment.  I'm still thinking on it.  I don't see a huge down side for me because if the kit doesn't sell I can break it up and simple sell the individual skeins.  But I often hear from people they would like to knit with exactly the same yarn as one of my samples so maybe I will put the 8 skeins in a package and see what happens. 
As I've worked on it, I fall into the "just one more row" as I see a pattern developing with each row completed.  That is the fun part.  Then watching how the colors are shifting brings another level of anticipation. Who needs sleep! I'm about half way done now.  I started it over the holidays.  Hoping to finish it in another month. 
This has been the perfect project this week as Emily had her tonsils out last Friday and I've been home with her.  Her medicine is every six hours, so I've been up late in the night and then early in the morning.  Amazingly, even sleep deprived, I've knit on.  With some help.  Virginia decided I was going to blow away or something so decided she needed to anchor me down on the couch.  She did a mighty fine job.  smile...must keep spinning...(or knitting as the case may be)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's Christmas Time!

We are in the final days before Christmas.  Anna came home last Thursday and will be home for 3 weeks.  Today is Emily's last day of school.  I will have Thursday and Friday off both this week and next.  Let the festivities begin!

I didn't knit much this year for gifts.  I did make a hat for my sister,
 I think she will like it.  I need to add the braids on the side, they will mostly be made up of the fun bright colors.  My sister loves bright crazy colors.  I took a simple Scandinavian hat (Susan B. Anderson pattern) and changed it up by using my variegated handspun.  I think MK will like it.  It is very her.

I'm also making a hat for her husband, Steve, but that had a bit of an issue.  I decided last Friday to make it for him.  Not a problem, plenty of time to make it before Christmas Day.  I had the perfect charcoal grey yarn I spun from Shetland fiber.  I found a simple pattern and whipped it up in 24 hours.  However, when I tried it on, I decided I needed to add a couple inches to it so it will securely cover his ears.  They live in the northern wilds of Wisconsin and shoveling and snow blowing is a big past time (most winters) so having all of your ears covered is a must!  This morning I unpicked the woven in end at the top and ripped it back past the decreases, got it back on my needles and started knitting again.  I'll finish it tonight and it will be better with the additional length to it.

My nephew and his wife recently announced they are expecting their third baby!  Which means I get the pleasure of knitting (hopefully) a new baby blanket for Baby J.  I just spun up a bright fun colorway called Frog and Carp dyed by Ginny at FatCatKnits.  I love how clear and strong the colors are.  I spun it as a 2 ply gradient and was thrilled with how it turned out.  I will have more dyed for me in a Merino Superwash and I think I'll do a 10 stitch blanket ((Ravelry pattern)  It will be easy to use my handspun in it and it is forgiving.  Sounds like a perfect fit to me. 

I'm working on my schedule for next year's Fiber Fests and at this point will be attending 4 shows.  I'll be at Yarnover in April (their 30th anniversary and I'm having special fiber dyed for me by Polly at Lila and Claudines to celebrate), Shepherd's Harvest in May, a new event for me in September, we will be at North Country fiber fair in Watertown, South Dakota, and finally the Fall Fiber Fest in Hopkins in November.  Toss in keeping my yarn shops happy and filled with stock I will have lots of spinning to day.

On that note, Merry Christmas everyone.  Can't wait to see what the new year brings!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What happened!

As you can see, I've been silent for a really long time.  Lots of things have happened in the last year.  My mom, who lived with the girls and me, passed away the day after Thanksgiving.  The girls and I were blessed to have her living with us for the last 10 years.  We miss her every day but know she has been reunited with my dad and they both are happy to once again be together.  Then Anna had her 18th birthday and Christmas came and went.  The winter was spent sorting out the house and making changes so it completely became the girls and my home.  Then we had to put our beloved old pug, Gadget asleep in early spring.  More changes in the house as we painted the whole downstairs.  Emily turned 13!  Anna graduated from High School in May.  I took the girls off for a big vacation, we were in Maui for 2 weeks.  That was an amazing time for the three of us.  We left laughing and returned laughing.  I can't ask for more than that.  In the next two months, we had Anna's grad party and last week took her to college in Ely, MN.  Now Emily and I are figuring out life as 2.  In that vein, we got a new dog.  My wonderful friend had a lovely Brittany Spaniel named Virginia.  My friend has a large loving family filled with siblings with small children and Virginia struggled with all the little ones who wanted to love her.  So we took Virginia into our much quieter home.  Slowly but surely she has settled in, loves to go on walks and when she returns promptly hops into my bed, burrowing amongst the pillows before snuggling into a long nap.  She is good for us.  The last 10 months have been filled with sorrow yet much joy.  I just may be returning to this place to fill it with my thoughts for no one other than me.  If others read, great, but if not, it will be for me.

As far as my spinning and yarn, I've been blessed this year to continue working with my stores.  I am scheduled to head to Yarn Harbor in Duluth, MN on October 10.  I'll be bringing lots of yarn for Kathy to select from and spend the day spinning with my many friends there.  I can't wait to see Kathy's new location. 

I'm also going to be a vendor at the Fall Fiber Festival held in Hopkins on November 7th.  That is a great venue.  Each year there are more and more vendors and I'm really looking forward to heading there again this year.  The last two years it has been such a challenge for me as Anna had a Cheer competition that same day right down the road, but this year that is no longer an issue.  Although if Emily has anything to say about it that will change next year.  But I'll enjoy this year as a bit calmer.

Finally, I will be at Needlework Unlimited on November 21 for a spinning day as well as bringing in new stock for Karen.  Whew!  As you can see my next 3 months are busy ones.  But with all the stress this year, I've found solace in my spinning.  I may not have spun quite as much as in years past, I still have some absolutely beautiful yarns in my basket ready for stores or fiber fests.

And before I forget, one more store is stocking my yarn, head to Double Ewe in Circle Pines.  Kelly started stocking my yarn and picked out some really pretty selections.  And she has several of my samples to show how things will work up.

I just noticed something, apparently I only work with yarn shops that have owners with names that start with K!   Even Lila and Claudines follows the trend with Kirsten.  Makes me smile.

Well that is enough for now.  hopefully a few people are still reading this, maybe mention it at an event I'm at, I'd love to chat with you.  But for now, must keep spinning!