Friday, August 31, 2007

I should be sad...

...but I'm not! On Wednesday, my youngest officially started First Grade -- his first full day of school. Now, of course I will miss my boy, but it is hard to be sad when they are SO REVVED UP for it! On Tuesday, the day of the school Open House, he was awake and downstairs before Rachel -- NO one is ever up before Rachel -- so excited to go in and see his classroom and get started. We aren't talking anxious nerves here, but uncontainable delightful eagerness.
Here they are running to greet their friend and neighbor...

Rachel dancing

and Jacob getting on the bus (Rachel escaped b4 I could snap a pic).

Jacob was so comfortable, that when the bus made its first stop, he hopped across the isle to introduce himself and sit with another little boy, instead of with his sister (who has been unendingly sweet with him, btw). They arrived home later suitably
exhausted, but in great spirits, and are still going strong on day three. YAY!

We celebrated the week and ended out the summer on Monday by going to the local lake with friends so the kids could get in one good last swimming day,

and then on Tues. went to the Butterfly Place in Nashua. AWESOME! I got so many great pics, and I hope to get a bunch printed to decorate Rachel's room. (Going to be a Christmas present I think.) Here are a few of my favorites...

I have been in a definite fit with my knitting -- restless, dissatisfied, and generally feeling like I am getting no-where (which is exactly true) so I cast on (again! I know!) for some mittens for the kids -- early handspun for Jacob, and Poems for Rachel -- and they are nearly done. Ugly, but nearly done. I'll have pics next time. I won't say "tomorrow" -- we know how that goes!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Gina made me cry!

OK, I know -- two posts in one day?? But this had to be done. While lounging on the couch w/ hubby, he noticed a shadowy figure attempting to escape my front proch unnoticed. I slipped out the front door, tripping over boxes, to catch Gina in the act. Yes, you, Gina! ;)
Hellos and hugs later, she drove off and I picked up my goodies (the aforementioned boxes) and brought them inside to open.
Don't you love the box?

Inside were some really great new yarns. 2 skeins of Patons SWS in Natural Plum (very scrumptious) and a very new yarn I had never heard of -- Moda Dea Silk n'Wool -- also in plum. Veery nice.

So why did I cry? Well, I also got this...

How thoughtful (and beautiful!) is that?? Now I'll have a sign for my booths, and something to put in the studio as well.
Thank you, Gina! You are the best!!

So, knitting...

Been doing that. Very, very little, and in my typical fashion, I've been starting rather than finishing, but in my defense, it has been somewhat necessary. I've been re-working the "Rachel" hat to suit the superwash worsted I am now using. While the hat knit last year for Rachel on 8's in a heavey worsted was nice, It did seem to loose it's shape a bit over the season, getting a bit short and it wasn't as snug as it could have been. I am using 6's now, and will add length and it works much better. I want to figure directions for a smaller and lager size for it to for kits for the Big E. I've gotten quite a few more inches done than pictured here.
I really like how the yarn is striping -- it is the Carousel colorway which is dyed differently than any of my other colorways. I think I'll come up with a few other colorways in this style just for the hats.
The shrug I was knitting for Rachel (you know, the mindless knitting?) has been frogged since I totally messed up the directions by trying to work from memory. She really likes it tho and wants it for school, so I have to get it cast back on. I have to say, that Suri Alpaca is a b*tch to frog! Ick. It isn't quite as soft as I tinitially thought either, but I figure a good blocking and subsequent fluffing will help. It isn't too happy at being frogged and is looking a little worse for the wear.
MS3? Let us not speak of this. Clapotis? It is calling me -- from the basket. I so wanted it done earlier in the week, when we were having a very fallish cold spell. But it isn't done -- not even close.
And then of course, there are the socks from the previous post (samples! a must have, right?). LOVING my Mystic Mountain socks -- now THAT is mindless knitting!
Bar Harbor? Weeellll, now ya see, that requires thought, time, and concentration, so, haven't done much. I did finally et the first row of shells connected. Aren't I so speedy? I'm determined to get back to it, maybe even today. (Lora has already finished hers!)
Pretty pathetic, huh? I did spin a little tho -- finally plied my Thistle superwash into this lovely yarn...

I think this is the most even yarn I have ever produced -- it flowed so nicely through my fingers while I was plying. Loved it. I am thrilled with it (yes, I know, I am simple to please), and of course am anxious to see it knit now. (note to self: I WILL NOT CAST ON!) There is actually a small bit left on the bobbin that still needs to be wound into a center pull ball and plied on itself to get the full 4 oz.
BUT THERE IS HOPE!!! The kids go back to school this week! YAY! Jacob starts first grade this year, so I will have a full 7-8 hour day to myself and hope to get in a routine of working while they are at school, and having the evenings for leisurely knitting and spinning after all of our afternoon activities. Cross your fingers!
Also, 12 years ago today, this happened...

Ahh, to be young again...
Happy Anniversary, honey! I love you! And you truly are a saint for putting up with me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shop update and my birthday

First, for those so inclined, let me just say that the etsy shop will undergo a major update today and tomorrow with lots of scrumptious yarn and fiber. I have a few new colorways included -- Sweet Clover (read about it here)and All Hallow's Eve (pictured in-knit above), as well as some of the standards. LOTS AND LOTS of typing to do! But the pictures are all taken, so I can plug away here on the couch sittin' with hubby. Woolgirl and One Planet will be receiving new yarns by next week as well, so if you don't see what you want here, be sure to check them out. I am also introducing a new line of merino/bamboo/nylon yarn. This stuff rocks! AND I got my copy of No Sheep for You today, and it reports that bamboo is anti-bacterial -- definitely a good thing on socks! I really do love this yarn. It is soft and shiny and the added nylon for strength is a huge plus for me. I personally am very rough on my heels, so I love a little nylon in the blend.
A little more yarn p*rn you say? Well sure! Happy to oblige.

I also cast on a much needed mindless sock while at Revival in the Mystic Mountain colorway (Falkland Superwash). I saved this one skein for myself from the first dye batch and I love it! I am thrilled with the way it is knitting up.

I have been doing much shorter color sections in multiple repeats on a lot of the new colorways to avoid serious pooling and I am very happy with the results. Of course, gauge always plays a big part in how anything will knit up, but the smaller sections do seem to help. I do still like me some big bold pooling and striping on the bright and wild colorways tho. Straight stockinette and let the yarn speak (or scream, as it may be). Oh yeah.
Now, lest my peeps think I am a total ingrate, my awesome, amazing, wonderful, fun, and thoughtful friends of the ManchVegas Knitters threw a little party for myself and Blogless Donna to commemorate our birthdays (mine was the 16th - yup, the big 36). I ended up feeling a bit of a schmuck since I had to leave before the cake came out since hubby had to work that night. :( As I understand it, Donna did me proud, tho. So what did I get? Well, Ericka, in her immense wisdom, peeked into my Ravelry and search out a pattern she "knew I would never buy for myself" and what a great pick it was! I love these little dolls!

I may have to make one for Gracie for Christmas (in my spare time, ya know? Right after I sew up Jacob's dragon. le sigh.) Other birthday goodies included...

a lover-ly pet skein of Artyarns in just my colors, an innovative "basket" from Ikea containing my treats and destined for stashy goodness, more patterns -- Thelonius from Cookie A. and Elves and Elms from Madelinetosh -- oh! and Sox Stix from Lantern Moon, already in my knitting bag, and this...

a cloth knit by Lora that is so sweet and pretty I don't want to use it. Seriously. And it is red. I love red. LOVE. RED.
Aren't I lucky?
From my wonderful hubby (and kiddos) I received a super sentimental gift -- tickets to see James Taylor at the Verizon Wireless Center. (You can read an account of the concert here. Terry said it better than I ever could, and then some.) Sadly, as we walked out the front doors, JT was coming back on stage for one of many encores -- this one Copperline -- but Jim was exhausted from working nights all week and I had been vending at Revival all day, so we just couldn't muster the energy to run back to our seats. Getting personal for a minute... I know it may sound odd that this was a "sentimental" gift, but aside from loving JT for being the man himself, and his amazing music, he was also the favorite artist of my big brother whom I lost 13 years ago, and still so desperately miss. (Someday, maybe I'll tell you more. Not normally the type of info I divulge here -- this is meant to be a happy place.) Scott once told me that, when times got tough and he was sorely stressed out, he would put on some JT and sit back and relax. I have taken this advice often, and now with Scott gone, hearing this music always makes me feel close to him. Jim knows this and could have picked no better gift. Yeah, tearing up now. (I love you, honey. Thank you!) And thank you, Mr. Taylor, for a wonderful, wonderful night.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm baaaack! And with so much to tell...

This may actually take a few posts. Life has been pretty crazy lately, and rather than try to cover everything in chronological order, I'll go by topic. Since it is a knitting/fiber blog after all, we might as well start there...
FIBER REVIVAL! wow! what a day! I had such a great time and met so many folks - but next time bloggers MUST WEAR BLOG-TAGS! I know I must have met a ton of you, but darned if I could match the faces to the blogs. Next fair, I'll have these at my table. I really wan tot thank each and every person who came through my booth for helping to make my first vending event such a fun and wonderful day. Was it financially worth it? You bet. But even better was the opportunity to chat with everyone and share an art I love. I was worried, being a vendor, of coming off as some pesky sales person, and having people shy away from me as such (many years ag, I worked int he car business. I guess some wounds take a while to heal!). That so didn't happen -- everyone was wonderful! I had so much fun, even tho I couldn't mingle as much as I would have liked. Kudos and huge thanks to both Cheryl and Julia and all the others in charge (Kathy at Spencer-Pierce Little Farm was simply amazing, too, but I don't have a link for her!) for inviting me and making it such a huge success. Can't wait for next year!
Some pictures of my booth...

How did I do???
The awesome amazing Blogless Kelly also cranked out a sampling of my sock yarn with dyeing remnants...check this out!

that is almost 8 feet of wonderful yarny goodness! I so have to get me one of those machines! (Colorways from top left swirling down to bottom right are...(brown scrap) Summer Blooms, Triple Scoop, Motif#1, Lilacs in Bloom, Martian, Tree Frog, Macintosh, Romance, Autumn Blaze, Summer Blooms again, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Violas, (scrap brown). How cool is that??
And some close ups...

All the yarns were fingering weight, some merino superwash, some Merino/tencel -- it is so great to see them knit up! And to see them do exactly what I wanted them to do -- eps. Tree Frog. YAY! Of course, gauge changes everything, but it is nice to know I hit the mark for the most part.
My dork moment for the day? I met a very sweet and unassuming young woman wearing a simply lovely sweater, which I complimented, to which she replied -- "Thank you! It is my own design." I gushed a little more thinking, "Really? Her design? I could have sworn I have seen that before." I never thought to ask where I could get it. Well, duh! This is the design and this is the designer. Yeah, big dork. We even chatted up the sweater her daughter as wearing made out of her handspun (gorgeous -- and the sweater was nice I'm thrilled to have met her.
Ok, back to work for now, but I'll get caught up on all the other family doings later -- and the paltry little teensy bit of knitting. There have been a few stitches here and there. Until next time!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Heading to REVIVAL

No, I haven't faded into the ether, I have been a dyeing fool -- getting ready for Revival,and my first ever vending booth.
Stop by and wish me luck!!! It is sure to be a great day, and I'll have lots to tell when all is said and done.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ok, so I lied...

It isn't exactly "tomorrow". I am definitely learning lots about the amount of time I need to calculate for my job, and the weather doesn't always cooperate! I lost a day to wet weather, even with the yarn inside with fans on. The ir was so humid, the moisture just had no where to go. As it is, I left home on Tuesday evening with over 1/2 of the total yarn re-skeined (including the order I needed to deliver to the YArn Sellar on my way to camp) and brought a box to label for Woolgirl with me to finish at camp Wed. AM -- still about 50 skeins to wrap and tag here at home, but those will be out to her soon, along with another special project for her. (lil' squee)
This week will be spent prepping for the Fiber Revival in Newbury, MA. Lots and lots of fiber to dye, and then on to kits for the Big E. In the meantime, I have some pics of the process of last weeks work -- enjoy!
Yarn in the washer waiting to be spun out...

ready for re-skeining...

my wonderfully-ingenious-outdoor-drying-system that had to be moved INDOORS thanks to the rain and humidity...

me, at the end of the dyeing day,

the clock,

documenting the time that this happened...

Yeah, I was thrilled. Called it a night at that point!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

By the numbers

Yes, I'm still here. Sent the family away to camp so I could work.
29 pounds of yarn dyed.
19 colorways.
8 pounds left, in 5 colorways.
1 glass of wine.
Many more to go.
Pictures tomorrow.