Monday, December 12, 2011

Hockey Time

With Anna officially a Hockey cheerleader, you can imagine where I'm spending two nights a week for the next several months.  Yup, an icy finger numbing ice rink.  I get to watch this...

and  this...

All the while I'm working on various knitting projects.  I keep forgetting to wear my own fingerless mitts to keep my hands warm.  Crazy!  I'm knitting Anna's fingerless mitts.  At this rate, I should have the second pair done in before the first of the year.  Check out what I bring to the games...

I have Anna's mitts on top.  Underneath them you can see my own mittens, I've worn them for two years and they are clearly my favoriets.  In the knitting bag on the left, you can just see a second sock that is waiting for the foot to be finished.  So once that mitt is done, look out, the sock will be next.  And I broke down this weekend and got a pair of sturdy warm boots to wear at the games.  I just couldn't keep my feet warm enough, even wearing hand knit socks.  So now I will be set, my feet will be warm in my new boots and if i can only remember to bring my own fingerless mitts I'll be fine!

Look who else was having fun at the game...might have been knowing that hot chocolate was near on the horizon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shocking Spinning Knitting Content

I know, this is supposed to be primarily a knitting/spinning blog. Well life happens, and while I'd love to spin and knit full time, unless i win the lottery, that isn't going to happen. And having two girls, a job, and my mom living with us, sometimes my crafting takes more of a back seat than I would like. But onward...I give you proof that I am still spinning....and knitting....

Isn't this basket of fluff just lovely? It is a beautiful tealy blue green with just hints of purple sprinkled throughout. It is Polwarth and spinning up nicely. When I was predrafting I wondered if may have felted just a bit, but once I started spinning it, everything worked out well.

This is the first full bobbin of the blue/green fiber, nestled in a bed of the softest squishiest cream yarn. I think the cream would be a nice base for some stranded work. I'm thinking of coming up with another hat to make up kits for, maybe this would be a good start for it.

I finished these yarns last week, moving from the left, I have two skeins of this, I call it Storm Lake, I can not take a good picture of this, it has much more blue than green in real life. The red is one of three nice size skeins of a Tuscany red colorway. It is Lorna Laces and I bought this roving on vacation in Colorado this summer. Next to it I have 2 skeins of Kodiak. I spun it before and loved how it turned out. And finally I have one skein of a beautiful St. Patrick green wool silk blend that I think is yummy.

I've also been knitting. This is a present for my cousin who is marvelous. She watches my girls when I need some help and is generally the kindest and most loving person I know. So Heidi is going to be the recipient of one of my few knitted Christmas gifts this year. This is the Advent Scarf from 2010. It was done on Ravelry as a KAL last year. A pattern per day was released for the month of December, resulting in a large and beautiful scarf/shawl. I knew I couldn't manage to knit a pattern a day, so started working on the 2010 scarf in November. Even with that, I'm only on the 9th day of the pattern. From the results I read on Ravelry, I know this is a very large scarf/shawl and so I'm planning on knitting about 18 days of the patterns, maybe 20.  So I'm hopeful this will be finished before I meet Heidi to celebrate.

And finally, what every photographer needs, is a good assistant or two.  Emily decided she could take better pictures than me (probably can).  Anna helped stretch out the knitting as needed.  And while Emily was taking her pictures, I took one of her.  So hopefully this confirms that I'm still spinning and knitting.  Let me know what you are working on...or even what you would like to see that I'm doing...always interesting to hear from readers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful time

I had the longest break from work since early summer.  Amazing how many things you can pack into a 5 day period!  Lots of family, food, and even rest.  We did some of this...since as a Hockey Cheerleader, one must show they can actually skate!  Emily's skates needed to be sharpened so she was content to running around the outside of the rink and having fun taking pictures of Anna and her friend.

This also happened, we got our first snow of the season.  Only a couple inches here, my sister got over a foot in the wilds of Wisconsin and were lucky they got plowed out in time for them to attend Steve's family Thanksgiving event.  We had to pass on that one as Emily had a wicked cold that morphed into a lovely case of pink eye.  Fun times at our house I tell you!

I did plenty of spinning, but have no pictures.  I have 3 skeins waiting to soak and dry, then they will be ready for their close ups.  But what I am excited about, is this.  I'm placing a big order from my favorite fiber dyer, Ginny.  I'm down to about 2-3 weeks of roving at the pace I'm spinning right now.  So with the holidays coming up and extra time at home, I will need some new stuff to work on.  It is a Christmas present to myself!  Once I've firmed up on my color choices, I'll share.  But I'm leaning towards lots of color, especially with all the winter gray that will soon be here...color is good! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Using my handspun

Last Saturday the girls and I went to the UMA Fiber Festival.  It was a good day as far as exposure and lots of people stopping by to chat.  I sold a few things, but frankly I had limited stock since I just sold a bunch of yarn to Lila & Claudines.  I had a good time, but clearly I'm going to need to spin like crazy between now and spring to ensure I have plenty of yarn for Yarnover and hopefully even Shepherd's Harvest.

Emily got bored and took a variety of pictures during the here goes a few the right lower edge of the shot you can see a wire basket that I labeled Hodgepodge - Yarn with Attitude.  I put small skeins, old beginner skeins, and my mishmash skeins of yarn at lower prices.  People laughed at these but had fun looking through them. 

The next shot appears to have caught Anna completely by surprise but made me laugh.  Anna finished reading a book during the day which drove Emily bonkers, since she didn't have anyone to talk to.  Hence Emily would try various methods to engage Anna away from her book and more to what Emily wanted to do.  Nothing like a little sisterly love!

I spent the day spinning some super saturated pinks/greens/yellows. I got quite a bit done however, the chair I sat on most of the day was much lower than what I usually sit on to spin. The next day my back went out. It wasn't awful like it has been in the past, but enough that I will have to take care in the future on what chair I use to spin with.

I've taken a break from spinning for the next couple weeks. I've been almost exclusively spinning which means my knitting has really taken a back seat. I miss the knitting time. And I especially miss knitting with my handspun. I promised a hat and fingerless mitt set to a good friend. We actually went to a local yarn shop and she picked out the yarn she wanted me to use.  Once I was done with last weeks festival, I knew I needed to get working on her stuff as it has turned quite cool here, there were snow flurries this week.  I started working on the mitts and the yarn we picked just did not work out at all.  It was too thick, I adjusted the stitch count etc and still wasn't happy.  So I took a chance.  I went through my handspun and found yarn that was maybe a shade or two lighter than the colors she picked for the mitts.  The hat is a stranded tam, solid color was brown, I had a beautiful merino silk blend in chocolate brown in my handspun as well.  So I started again, only this time using my handspun.  I think the problem is I love using my handspun and am finding commercial yarn just not the same.  Look what I've done...

Aren't they pretty?  I should have the hat finished this weekend, I'll block everything and have it ready to give her next week.  I need to weave in the ends on the mitts, but I'm really happy and I think she will also be happy to have some of my hand spun.  I sure hope so!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Work surprises

I work for a medical device company.  While our offices are in the suburbs, we are directly off a main highway.  However, our buildings are surrounded by woods and ponds.  We have wild turkeys, deer, fox, and other various critters roaming our grounds.  (sometime I need to tell you the story of the turkeys attacking certain cars)  The building I'm in is having construction work done on the parking lot.  Which means that I have to park at our other building and either walk through that building and then the sky way that links the two buildings or walk through the woods on a path that goes up and down some steep pitches while you are completely surrounded by trees.  You can hear squirrels and chipmunks chattering and scolding you as you walk through.  Imagine my surprise yesterday when I came around the bend and met him.

It was a young buck.  It has antlers and just stood there watching me.  I talked to him, trying to convince him that he should keep ambling across the path as I needed to get past him.  He didn't budge.  I slowly walked forward chattering away and still he stood there.  I got about 3 feet away before he turned tail and crashed into the trees.  I looked over and there was another young buck watching me from inside the tree line.  Funny that even though I'm smack dab in the city, even here I'm surrounded by wild life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

14th Gotcha Day

Gotcha day is celebrated in my family much like a birthday.  14 years ago I was in China being handed my first child.  Yi, Zhi Hua became Anna Grace ZhiHua.  I became a mom.  And together we became a family.  So many decisions lead up to this day.  When I was a teenager I read books like "The Family Nobody Wanted".  I read and saw documentaries about the DeBoldt family in California.  They adopted many children for other lands, kids that needed a family.  It stuck in my brain and my heart.  20 years later I read an article in a magazine about a single female Pastor who adopted a baby girl in China.  And that was it.  I started looking and checking and thinking.  Four years later I was in China and my life was forever changed.  It hasn't always been easy.  But it has ALWAYS been right.  I'm so grateful that in spite of the many obstacles tossed in along the way, I found my way to Anna.  And through her, we found Emily.  So to my oldest daughter.  Happy Gotcha Day!  I will always love you.  Thank you for letting me be your mom.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It amazes me how strong my yougest daughter is.  To see her dealing with multiple doctor appointments in a single day, to see her with metal boxes in her mouth that are holding her jaw in a much wider position while there are wires pulling her upper teeth too and fro is hard.  I try and show her how each little improvement is adding up to a big beautiful healthy mouth.  Try and explain that to a 9 year old who only wants to have a smile that shows her upper teeth just like every one else and who wants her top lip to have a cupid's bow instead of being straight across.  My girl is strong willed and determined.  Today we will go have more adjustments made to her braces and to check on her bone grafting surgery.  Will we have to redo the surgery to correct one side of the bone grafting?  That is the sugery that she said she'd rather eat 9 bowls of peas so she wouldn't have to do it again.  Pray for us that she can be spared another round of surgery.  But if not, pray that I can explain it to her so she understands that ultimately it will be the best for her.

***UPDATE:  I'm happy to report that Emily does NOT have to have the bone grafting surgery again, while there isn't as much bone in her right jaw as he wanted, there is most likely "enough" and that is good.  We don't have to go back for about a year and a half.  Whoo Hoo!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pre-Winter preparations

The winter basket full of mittens and hats from last year has been dug out and items too small or worn out have been discarded.  The rest was washed in preparation for the winter soon to come.  Note I didn't say carefully washed.  Sigh...I took a stranded knitting class a few years ago, I made a beautiful gray, white and black hat that Anna promptly claimed as her own.  She wore this hat happily for the last two winters.  Nothing makes this knitter happier than to see something she made used by one of her girls.  Nothing makes this knitter sadder than to see the carnage resulting in a slip of tossing a stranded hat knit from baby alpaca into the washer AND drier.

Not even Gadget will wear it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pictures Galore

November 5th I will be a vendor at the Upper Midwest Alpaca Fiber Festival, in getting ready for the event, I did a bit of staging for the show at home.  So here are a bunch of pictures showing my yarns ready to be made into something fabulous...or just to be admired and petted!
This is about 1/3 of my finished skeins...and on the right is the hat I made that I'm hopefully going to have a few kits made up as a package deal at the event.

I found two really nice baskets that I think work very well as displays.  And I love the idea of dreaming of what next I'm going to work it spinning or knitting...right now spinning is pushing knitting out of the way, but I really have several things I need to get done knitting wise in the next couple months.  Not all Christmas knitting, but still a few things that can't wait.

My cousin took the pictures for me, I emailed her and asked to hire her to take pictures of yarn.  Bet she never heard that request before.  Heidi is an amazing photographer.  Years ago, she took pictures of Anna and me that I used in my adoption dossier for Emily.  Maybe it helps that I'm more relaxed around her than other photographers?  I'm not sure...but even though it is hard for me to be in pictures, I like this...

Emily was our gopher, helping stuff baskets with yarn, running and grabbing my roving basket for this picture.  You can see it behind us on the stair landing.  It is filled to the brim, what you see in our laps is the overflow!  To say I have some spinning to do is the ultimate understatment.  Working full time, doing school things, church things with the girls and all the other life appointments makes spinning/kintting as much as I want more of a challenge.  But I'm determined to continue to stock my finished supply.  I really would like to have double my current number on hand for the spring fiber festivals I'm planning on vending at.  So I need to focus on moving things through.  What a chore!

As I spin, I always think what I'm currently working on is my new favorite.  The middle skein is Kodiak, one of Ginny's fabulous rovings from Fat Cat Knits.  I love the greyish browns and silvers...maybe when things slow down I can work on something using it. 

And finally, just in case you think wrangling yarn is easy, check out this shot, we couldn't get a certain skein of yarn to stay in place, so we used a little help.

Hope to see you in Hopkins!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fabulous Day of Spinning

Saturday morning was one of those you memorize in your mind.  So in January when the wind is howling and the snow is piling up outside, you remember some of the reasons why you live here.  It was a gloriously sunny day to be spinning in public.  I got to Lilia & Claudine's around 9:30, pulled out my wheel and basket filled with plenty of roving and got set up outside their shop.  There were multiple vendors, selling pottery, jewelry, yarn, food treats, vegetables and much more.  People were browsing the many tents and I had such fun.

Within a couple seconds I had my wheel up and whizzing away.  And the first of many people stopped to watch and ask questions.  I forget how many people do not realize there are many of us who have our own spinning wheels and spindles.  Seeing the amazement on their faces as they ask what I'm doing and when they finally understand I'm making yarn it is the shock and awe effect.  I was surprised by the multiple questions on my "home-made" wheel.  When I explained that it was a commercial wheel (I have a Louet) and that there were several different companies that built many different types and styles of wheels, there was much shock.  Kids seemed to have an easier understanding, maybe between Rumpelstiltskinn or Sleeping Beauty, they seemed better able to make the leap to a finished yarn from sheeps wool.

I was asked so many questions on where I got the roving, how it came in such different colors, and what I actually did with the finished wool.  I did have a big issue, it was quite cold even though it was so sunny and bright.  I was mostly in the shade and with a light breeze blowing, my hands quickly got so cold.  Now I had some fingerless mitts along, but I had not finished the thumbs.  I was sure I would have plenty of time to whip out two thumbs.  Well, I was wrong.  I had a steady stream of people around the wheel for several hours.  I finally had enough time after about 3 hours to finish one thumb and gratefully slid my left hand into the glove and it quickly warmed up that hand so I could once again feel the roving slide through my fingers.

All in all it was a wonderful day.  I had the pleasure of seeing one woman buy 3 of my hand spun skeins during the day.  I was able to have a full day of doing something I love.  Thanks to Kirsten and Polly of Lila & Claudine's for helping set up such a wonderful event and including me!  I had a blast.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spinning in Public

Saturday, from 10-3, I'll be spinning in public at Lila & Claudines.  I think it will be a blast.  Considering it is MN, I whipped out a pair of fingerless mitts, althought I still need to do the thumbs and weave in the ends.  I can even do that tomorrow on site.  The weather is supposed to be glorious for the first of October.  I'll have my basket of yarn with me in case someone is in desperate NEED of handspun yarn.  They are celebrating Art in Triangle park...come and visit and see the many fun and beautiful treasures created by local artists....did I mention there are around 85 days until Christmas? 

Monday, September 26, 2011


I have a lovely friend who embroiders linens like you wouldn't believe.

Look what she gave me....

I'm in love...the linen is heavy like "old" linen...and her stitching is perfect.  It makes my old wooden farm table glow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spinning makes the world go round

Now I've been spinning for about 2 1/2 years.  My skills have improved quite a bit from the first bumpy lumpy "art" yarn I first created.  I'm pretty consistent in the size and shape of my yarns.  They are even and balanced.  But one thing that continues to amaze me and leave me totally in the dark?  How the yarn will look from roving.  I do grasp that the colors will usually not be as intense as they are in the roving.  But beyond that?  Each spin leaves me marveling at the end result.  Even when I have a bobbin full of singles, I'm not always sure exactly how it will turn out.  Case in point, I spun up two totally different singles.  One is soft lavenders, greens, and blues.  The other, appropriately named Peacock, is powerful, electric lime green, pulsating blues.  They look like this.

They are both beautiful colors, but really not much alike other than they both have greens of a different mother and blues that glare at each other from across the room.  But they are totally different in hue and feel.  Until you ply them together.  Then the magic of spinning takes hold and creates something so unexpectedly beautiful and unpredictable.  Look....
The loud screaming peacock has been subdued but the pale blushing fiber has been elevated to something bold and softly daring.  So I spin.  And watch for each new mix to create something magical.  I love my wheel.

And now on a totally different note....look at my Gadget.  He is a well loved pug.  He is pampered and hugged and catered to.  And for this?  He puts up with great indignities most pugs would not. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First day of fall

I tell time differently than most people who simply use a calendar.  Today is my first official day of fall, why you ask?  Because today my feet are in handknit wool socks and REAL shoes.  sigh...when there is frost on the roof tops and the grass feels crunchy underfoot it means it is time to pull out the big guns.  So I kitchnered the toes on a new pair of socks (why do I always balk at doing the toes!) this morning, pulled out my rather dusty shoes and my toes were happily snug and warm on my walk into work today. 

I am thrilled we are getting a couple more days of flip flop weather but probably only a couple before the toes are snuggled up for months to come.  But really, while I love my flip flops, I love my handknit socks more!  Come on fall!  My toes are calling you!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finally a FO!

May I present my version of Fat Cat Knit's Floppy FairIsle Hat.  Emily has claimed it as hers, it still needs to be blocked but at least the ends are woven in!
I used Ginny's fiber as well as her pattern.  I did simplify the pattern as I used just two yarns, the neutral is her varigated BFL and a blue/brown mix.  It makes it look like I used multiple skeins to achieve the look.  But it is just 2 yarns.  The handspun is beautiful and soft.  I'm thrilled with it.  I'm planning on making up some kits with the appropriate amount of yarn to make the hat.  I have a couple fiber events coming up so I'll have them there and hopefully at Lila & Claudine's as well.

It felt good to finish some knitting, lately my projects have been big and slow...and I'm talking to you, Atalanta Scarf!  This hat I made start to finish in 4 days and those were mostly work days! 

I had to convince Emily that wearing a wool hat on a day that will top out at 90 degrees was not the best plan.  But just wait until Wed, the high is supposed to be a whopping 60!  Hats will sound perfect then.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall has arrived

As in many places in the US, the weather this year has been unpredictable at best.  Swinging from one extreme to another.  But we here in MN have apparently tipped from the hot end of summer lazy hazy days to the crisp cool evenings of fall.  While fall is my favorite season, I'm a bit sad at the quick fading of summer.  Both girls are back into school, Anna is now in HIGH SCHOOL.  My how did that happen.  Emily is charging full steam into 4th grade, happy to move from class to class.  I'm just trying to keep up.

I've been spinning a lot as I try to build up my stock for an event in November.  This is my latest spin, a lovely soft blue and lavender. It reminds me a a soft watercolor painting.  I'm thinking of naming it Water Lillies.  The fiber is from the wonderful Ginny of Fat Cat Knits. Her eye for color is just amazing and I'm so happy to use her fiber.  If you have any interest in spinning or knitting from great product, than you won't go wrong with buying from Ginny. 

On that note, I'm working up a hat, using my handspun that I spun up from Ginny.  And to top it off (bad bad pun) I'm using a pattern that Ginny worked up.  It is called the Floppy Fairisle Hat.  Now I'm simplifying it by only using two colors of yarn, a beautiful neutral and a charming blue/brown mix.  I just started it, but here is a quick peek at it. 
I'm quite happy with the colors working with each other and it is working up very quickly.  I'm hoping to make up some kits for a yarn/fiber festival in November as well as bring them to Lila and Claudines and see what they think of them.  But it is off to a good start.
I hope your fall comes in slowly and lingers long before we are thrust into a true winter, but at least it is perfect knitting weather!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Black Hole Knitting

I love the Stargate tv series, mostly Stargate Atlantis, but either is fine.  Perfect knitting/spinning tv watching or should I say listening fodder.  There is plenty of techno babble speak throughout the series involving time dilation fields, out of phase episodes, alternate realities, and black holes.  I fear my tv world is turning into a reality.  I swear I'm in the black hole of knitting.  I've been knitting and knitting and knitting and KNITTING on my Atalanta scarf.  Now I love this scarf.  See?  What's not to love. I am much farther than this picture.  YES I AM!  I love the yarn.  I love the pattern.  I especially love the criss crossy border.  However, I'm still knitting on the first skein of yarn.  I actually did start knitting the pattern as if I'm at the half way point.  But I'm still on the same flipping skein!  I look at it each time I start, convinced that today will be the day that it will run out.  The second skein is wound into a cake and ready to go.  Each night when I'm putting it away I look and.... sigh...that little ball is still going strong.  I keep telling myself to just keep finishing each pattern repeat and before I know it I will be able to start the decreases and then WHOOSH!  I will finish it. 

Now I will admit I have let spinning take the forefront in my crafting time.  I finished two skeins of frolic.  I love how it turned out, it is very girlie I think.  There is enough roving to have another 2 skeins so I think I will end up with over 900 yards of Frolic.

The BFL variegated spun up beautifully.  I have two nice skeins of that although they are still waiting for a soak to finish the twist.  But what needs to really happen is knitting some hats out of my handspun.  My goal is to have some hats knit out of my handspun along with kits of the pattern and yarn to sell both at Lila and Claudines as well as at the two upcoming fiber/art festivals I'm participating in this fall.  So black hole of knitting or not, I must put aside my scarf and whip up some cute hats, I'm leaning towards one baby/kid hat and one hopefully two adult hats.  Did I mention the first event is October 1?  And looking at the calendar, that is a mere 5 weeks away.  Oh ya, can't see why I'm stressed over that at all!  Besides what have I got to do other than spinning, devising an oh so clever little pattern or two or three,and knit those clever patterns?  Oh just a full time job, two girls starting school in a couple weeks, shopping for final school clothes for my girls, getting girls and/or mom to various Dr. appointments and finding time to sleep.  No problem. 

If only I could figure out that time dilation field thing where time goes much slower in one reality than the other.  My luck?  I'd whip myself into the time that is moving exponentially faster than now....hmmmmm....maybe I already did!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spinning Frolic

Since I'm sitting on a MOUNTAIN of roving, I've been spinning like crazy.  So far I've completed 2 skeins of a yummy chocolate brown that is merino and silk.  What should have been a luxurious spin was one of frustration.  I just don't like spinning from batts.  These batts were really soft but as I spun, I could never find a good rhythm and found little nepps hiding in the fiber.  And to top it off, it lent itself to a really FINE FINE spin.  Which meant it took a LOOOONNNNNGGGGG time to spin.  Now that it is done, I like it, but for now at least I'm going to shy away from batts.

Once I was done with the chocolate puddle of yarn I turned to this...the first of the 9 pounds of fiber I selected from Fat Cat Knits.  Let me introduce you to Frolic.  Now you may need sunglasses at the almost psychedelic hues but oh my what a treat.

I spun it into a nice 2 ply, which I think would be great for something for a baby maybe.  You can see the single and if you squint past the flyer you can see a bit of the 2 ply.  Currently the 2 skeins are hanging on the lighting arm of my ceiling fan to dry after a nice soak from last night.

Which brings me to a dream I have.  Currently my yarn is in my bedroom.  Along with my wheel, a large cubby unit that holds ALL my yarn, a dresser, a queen size bed, two bedside tables and a floor Ott light.  This is my present yarn studio.  I don't claim any longer to have a bedroom, I have a yarn room with a bed in it.  My dream is someday I will have a dedicated yarn room or dare I say a studio.  I guess the luxury I have is I can plan and dream and decide what I would have in that studio.  Interweave has a new issue of its magazine Studios out and the amazing organized chock full of crafting goodness just made me long and dream about what mine would like like.  I think one of the things I'd like is some type of island that would have a top that I could use for blocking out my completed knitting.  It would have shelves underneath that I could fill with baskets of roving and yarn.  A practical item but at the same time one that would be a feast for my eyes and yet keep me organized.  I want a place where I could hang yarn to dry as I set the twist.  It would have a wall unit of some type that would be flexible enough to hold skeins of yarn as well as my books and magazines (which would be magically organized so I could find whatever pattern I wanted).  Someday I will have this type of space.  But right now, I'm happy in my version of a yarn room.  It is filled with yarn and fiber.  My girls come in and spend time with me all the time on their own (I know!).  I'm blessed.

But back to spinning...this is the next batch on the wheel.  It is a variegated BFL and it feels like silk....

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lila and Claudines

This has been a banner week in my spinning/knitting world.  I brought a basket of my handspun into a local yarn shop, Lila and Claudines.  And I heard such lovely and warm compliments on my yarn.  And to my delight and amazement, they bought a chunk of my handspun to have in their store!  Yup, bought it from me.  And asked me to come back and spin at their store and attend an upcoming festival and sell my yarn.  This is one of the most vibrant color exploding yarn shops I've been in.  Take a look!
Doesn't that just read fabulous!  And full of creative and funny people who encourage and guide customers into really exploring yarn to its fullest.  I'm thrilled to be "part of the family." 

Monday, August 1, 2011

The aaaahhhh from up north

We went to Grand Marais this weekend.  It is one of my very favorite places in the world to visit.  The air is fresh and clean and gazing out over Lake Superior is just awe inspiring.  This isn't actually in Grand Marais, but is Goosberry Falls.  The best part is the weather, the temps at home have been in the 90's with high humidity.  To the point you feel like you have to physically push your way through the air.  But in Grand Marais, it is usually 20 degrees cooler.  You are on the lake so the breeze is cool and soothing (at least to me). 

The girls were going to go swimming until they stuck their toes in the water and gasped at the shock of 45 degree water!  But still we played and walked up and down the shore, looking for magical rocks, dragging up driftwood for my mom (which is now safely home nestled among our potted plants).  I was content to laugh and watch as the danced in and around the water.  Emily was the one who would wade out and grab the rocks from as deep as she could reach.  Anna and me?  We picked the rocks actually on the shore! 

Once we returned home, it was back in the humidity and grateful for air conditioning.  Went to work today and what was delivered to me?  But a BOX of roving from Ginny at Fat Cat Knits, I mean a BOX people!  I got NINE pounds of roving.  NINE!  Don't even ask me how long it will take me to spin that up.  I placed the order 2 wees ago and have spun madly trying to clear the way from my stash so I can nestle these beauties in the basket...

Is that not the MOST fabulous pile of roving ever?  There are 8 colorways jumbled together and another pound not pictured of a natural light beigy taupy bfl.  So I'm in heaven and it is the most I can do to not dump out the roving from the box on to the floor of my cube and rolling around in it.  It is a mix of BFL and Merino.  Just can't wait to start it. 

Oh and while in Grand Marais, I found a small yarn shop and Emily picked something out there for my upcoming birthday.  I picked out a book Knit! Swirl!  This is the most beautiful sweater idea I've seen in awhile.  And I'm toying with spinning enough yarn to make it for myself.  Can't think of a better way of showcasing my own handspun at events than to work up something like that. 

Well I better get back at it and NO I don't mean rolling in my roving!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Squinty eye pictures

I need to take better in latest spin, Wizard Island...

This looks like the yarn is moving so fast that it is in motion...wait, you mean yarn doesn't move?  So that means my picture taking is well, awful.  In real life this is over 400 yards of beautiful two ply wool yarn.

So lets move on to my knitting project.  Yes I still knit, really I do.  While spinning is taking over more and more of my time, I still knit almost every day.  I found this great pattern, the atalanta scarf I fell hard for this one, the edging just about made me swoon.  I immediately favorited this on Ravelry but kept knitting away on other, now much less worthy projects.  Finally I started it, first in some on hand yarn because I couldn't possibly wait to go look for the perfect yarn.  After a few failed attempts to understand the pattern I got it, and worked away for several repeats until I came to the bitter conclusion that the yarn was too puny.  The knitting was lackluster at best.  So rippppp it went.  My girls love to "help" when something needs ripping.  In seconds they have undone what took me hours to do. 

I went off in pursuit of the perfect yarn to make my Atalanta scarf.  I found a couple skeins of Prism Saki yarn in the Copper Penny colorway.  Perfect yarn I'm telling you.  After another few false starts, clearly I had yet to fully wrap my head around how to execute a six row pattern repeat of the right edging with the eight row pattern repeat on the left edging.  What?  I confused myself again just typing that.  So a slight alteration, ahem, "pattern design" and I was on my way.  Last night I took a picture, laid my shining copper penny scarf on a white t-shirt for the BEST possible picture.  The result?

I know my tshirt is not new, but it is NOT yellow!  So clearly my picture taking is at an all time low.  I'm sure all of you are ju

I'm getting feed up, this is my third attempt to finish my oh so witty observations on why my picture taking is crappy.  I mentioned melting due to the sun (hence the yellow cast to my white t-shirt).  I mentioned future problems may be due to frost bite (it will snow here again someday).  Believe me it was funny.  Side splitting funny.  not lame at all.  nope not me.  But since neither the blog gods or picture goddesses are with me today,  I'm saving and moving on.  Watch, this will go up without a hitch! 

nope, this is my fifth attempt...maybe the pictures are so embarrassed they are being gremlins and trying to prevent this missive from hitting the world at large.  Ya, get over it, few people will see you!  Buck up buttercup, let your blurry yellow tinged glory stand proud.  POST for crying out loud.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Return of the knitter

We've returned from vacation.  I'm telling you, the last few months have been a bit overloaded and I really enjoyed our time away.  Just look at this....

Is that not the most glorious picture?  We were at Mount Rushmore, it was a beautiful day, I looked up and it felt like God's hand would reach out to me at any moment. 

We were gone for about 10 days, a lot of driving, but I loved the scenery.  We started in Vail, CO where my nephew and his wife live.  While the mountains were gorgeous, I decided it wasn't a place I'd like to live.  Does anyone else do that?  Measure places by deciding if you want to live there or not?  I do.  We had  a lot of fun there including the girls slid down a mountain top.  Yup, I said SLID.  There was still snow up there and combine that with some plastic garbage sacks and they can now claim they slid in July.  smile.  After a few days in Fail, we headed to Rapid City and had even more fun at Mount Rushmore.

Even though I've been here before, you forget how amazing it is until you are standing below the Presidents.  And the story of how they were chiseled out of the mountain is worth the trip alone.  Directly from there we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial.

This I had not seen before and even though is is not finished it is stunning.  And what I think they do better than the Mount Rushmore site, is there is a great museum and informational center right there.  The story of Mount Rushmore is explained in great detail in a museum in Keystone, a nearby little town at the base of Mount Rushmore, but not actually at the site.  Crazy Horse had a great informational center right there.  Now you may notice a difference in the skies, they were taken about an hour apart.  Maybe because in trying to get from Mount Rushmore to Crazy Horse, the driver (ahem, that would be me) somehow ended up going up a road climbing a mountain that was maintained by the Park Rangers.  Yup, that was one interesting ride, full of switchbacks, one lane tunnels carved out of the side of the mountain, and even wild critters crossing the road in front of Bison!  Just an additional adventure on the way to Crazy Horse.  We left the Crazy Horse monument and in 10 minutes were pulled over on the side of the road as torrential rain and HAIL pounded our rental Jeep!  Fun times...the girls had plenty to say about that, let me tell you!

I only found one place on our travels that had yarn.  In a small town near Vail, there was a yarn shop.  I bought roving but was disappointed I couldn't seem to find more wool/sheep filled fun.  I did finish knitting a scarf out of my hand spun, but it needs to be blocked before any pictures can be taken.

But I'm back and have been spinning and knitting as much as I can.  So many ideas are floating in my head!  Just a few more pictures of our time away...

My mom and my girls.  Can't ask for much more than this.