Archive for the ‘book reviews/events’ Category

eight days a week

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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oh my, what a week! and one full of smiles, i might add. it was so, SO good to reunite with wonderful friends during our week abroad at the big wool show.

i had totally planned to blog before this, but one disadvantage of being constantly on the go is that anything i might plan has potential to be sabotaged. for instance, while i did have wi-fi at the hotel, i couldn’t connect to the internet from sunday through wednesday. we finally figured that issue out just in time for me to move on to my next destination, haha.

ETA: and see? just when i was getting into the meat of THIS post, we lost internet at my mom’s, thus delaying it once again. sorry!

shall we back up a bit and start from the beginning? i promise there is some fun knitting to be seen all the way back there . . . in fact you might remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects i had going, yes?

well one or two of course were the october projects for our bare naked wools club and you can click here to peek at those (spoiler alert). in the two weeks before i left for rhinebeck i put the finishing touches on those and also worked on my secret rhinebeck swap project

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which would be revealed at our annual knitspot meetup picnic on saturday at the fair. this was my very first swap—talk about pressure! i didn’t know much about my giftee until a few weeks before the date, so i procrastinated a bit in getting started, waffling about what to make.

 

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when i finally realized who exactly she was, my plan took shape. originally, i wanted to make this shawl with shades of stone soup fingering yarn, but when i realized i knew more about my person’s taste, i decided to do some of the stripes in purple.

ETA: what a dope! i forgot to say that the pattern i chose is bayleaf and lime in size petite.

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i pulled a skein of woolen rabbit pearl sock yarn from my work stash (i think it’s colorway lady slipper, but the tag is back home, so i’m not positive). since it’s a tight twist sock yarn, it has a nice round profile with lots of polish; a nice complement to the flannel soft, tweedy surface that stone soup fabric has. i used about three ounces of stone soup fingering yarn in granite, and about two ounces in slate in slate, plus about two ounces of the purple sock yarn and i knit on size 6US (4.0 mm) and 5US (3.75 mm) needles.

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after our grand opening even was concluded, i got down to business and completed a serious amount of knitting during the drive to and from yarn in the barn. this shawl knits up very quickly and because of that, it’s quite a fun project. even though i was concurrently designing and knitting half a dozen color work cowls and two of the october club projects (plus creating the book chapter to go with them), i managed to get my shawl completed and blocked over the weekend before we left for new york. i remembered to snap a photo of the finished UNblocked shawl (above)

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so you could see what a difference it makes. i know you already know this, but the transformation still makes me go “wow” every time i stretch and block lace.

because i used bigger needles and a bit more yarn than the original pattern calls for, the finished size was also bigger—about 21 by 58 inches

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i’m pretty good at predicting what will work, but i really wasn’t sure i was going to love—or even like—this piece until i saw it all stretched out. maybe it’s because i’ve been working more with neutral combinations (though certainly not exclusively) but i kept wondering if the purple was too much of a contrast.

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once it was stretched however, the color impact was considerably balanced when the gray tonal variations and rich brocade textures were brought out in the fabric (i always loved the combined textures in this shawl!).

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isn’t she lovely?

i wrapped it up with some additional goodies and crossed my fingers that the recipient would love it  as much as i did. then i proceeded to plan my next project around this idea—i was really taken with the look and how much fun it was to create.

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the next one will be knit in that raspberry/chocolate combination of yarns i showed you in my last post. i packed everything i needed to get started, but well, so far i haven’t begun. i had to process my idea a little more; i was overwhelmed at first with possible motifs to go with. i’m just about there and have decided at least what the hem will be so i will most likely start that when i arrive home.

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so last thursday, with everything that could fit packed into the truck (thank you david!), sarah, barb, and i bundled ourselves into our vehicles to head eastward.

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in twenty minutes we were at starbucks, a necessary pitstop.  after that though, it was all business—we wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

i am very lucky and grateful that sarah drove the whole way, while i knit on a color work cowl sample for my classes the next week. i know that sound incredibly irresponsible to have left it to the last minute, but i have a good excuse!

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this is knit in our new confection sport yarn and we actually hadn’t received all the shades i needed until just before we left (in fact, one shade that i wanted to use never came til after we left, so i altered my design to suit). sigh—never a dull moment, i tell ya.

anyway, thanks to sarah taking the wheel for the day, i was able to get really far along on this project, having been all the way down in the bottom ribbing at the start of our trip.

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after dropping the truck off with erica in kingston, we piled into barb’s car and headed for our little cottage on the other side of the river.

after settling in and grabbing a quick bite at a cute cafe in red hook, the three of us settled in for an evening of knitting and chatting. sarah was working through a strömming cap knit in bulky yarn (she just knit the smallest size, using fat yarn and 6 mm needles). it took all of a few hours and turned out so cute, but i never got a photo. maybe she’ll post it to her ravelry project page?

the next day was a big one, so we turned in early to get our beauty rest. we started with a visit to the fairgrounds to drop off various items with vendors, from samples to printed patterns.

we had a nice visit with jen and her team at spirit trail as well as the briar rose family (hugs all around!). i’m not saying if by chance we happened to get a preview of the wares that would be available to everyone on saturday—we might have . . .

then it was on to the CIA for our annual lunch date with friends nathalie and mary, to catch up on all the news with them and talk knitting (they are bot incredible knitters). anne marie was joining us for the reminder of the weekend as well, starting with this meet up at CIA.

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our dear kimkimkim couldn’t make it rhinebeck this year (WA-AH!), but i channeled her in by ordering multiple desserts. unfortunately i could’ eat either of these (clearly, i’m no match for her skills at dessert or shopping, but i try). i did eat them later in the weekend over several sittings.

we had a lovely and delicious lunch (butternut squash soup = A++++).  the weather was absolutely sparkling for once—it usually rains buckets the day before the wool show. and this was our last bit of relaxation for a while—the rest of the afternoon and evening was jam-packed with activities.

first thing after lunch, barb and sarah had to get back to kingston to join erica O. in setting up our display for the indie untangled event. anne marie and i headed back to the house to drop her things and then snuck in a quiet coffee and a bit of chocolate (see? i can eat dessert! i just have to make it it’s own meal)

back to kingstone to drop anne marie off; i actually had attend the romney growers association meeting for the evening. which was very interesting—i got to met several of the producers who provide romney wool for our kent yarn line.

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it was terribly dark so i couldn’t get a great photo, but you might remember devlin here, because i mentioned him in the post i wrote about the creation of our kent yarn. well, he won the romney growers scholarship this year—yay devlin.

by the time this event ended at 9:30 or so, the event across the river was also finished. i checked in with my pals and we decided to meet up back at the cottage for wine, snacks, and knitting. and of course swapping stories and relaxing if possible.

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this turned into a late night session of hilarity as we roasted kimkimkim in the ravelry threads for a couple of hours (serves her right for abandoning us). seriously, i’ve never seen anne marie laugh so much or so hard.

ok, this has got to be continued later—i need to go out with my mom; we’re seeing a movie today

back in a few hours with more

quick getaway

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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phew, i really didn’t think i was going to make it to this point at a decent hour, but somehow the hour is here and i’m ready.

 

we are off to rhinebeck in the morning! barb, sarah, and i are riding caravan style—barb in her own vehicle with me and sarah in the cargo van that will be carrying the makings of our popup shop.

i’ve got a couple of class projects on the needles and a couple of secret projects and a couple of fun new design projects that are my treat for working so hard these last couple of weeks. more on those as they progress. . . sounds like a lot of knitting, i know, but i’ll be gone almost two weeks and i’ll have some time to knit with my friends as well as my mom—i’m going to stop up and visit her after our after party.

meanwhile, back at the ranch, david, emily, erica, and anastasia will be holding down the fort. my october chapter is done and dusted and will be released sometime around midnight on the 16th.

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these are the yarns i’ve picked for one of my new design projects. i’ve been playing around, mixing handed yarn with our bare naked yarns; between striping and patterning, i’ve been having a lot of fun with it. what i’ve got here for color is a beautiful skein of yarn spun by my friend phoebe and gifted to me for my birthday; i just love the raspberry and chocolate tones in it and when i put it next to our wools, it really pops.

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i can’t wait to cast on—i’m thinking maybe a crescent this time. or a triangle. or both. i’ve got a hankering for a new little neck scarf and i’m pretty fond of the little triangle shape, but maybe a crescent would be a nice change up . . .

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the other day we had a special guest in our monday knitting class—my friend jude spent some time with us and after he mentioned about twelve times the he wanted to learn to knit, i scrounged up some needles and yarn, sat him in the corner next to me and showed him a few tricks.

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wow, fastest learner i think i’ve ever taught; i just and to show him once or twice and he knit himself a whole row. but then it was time to go, but i’m pretty sure he’ll be back.

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he says he needs a hat. or a cowl.

alright now, time for me to get to bed. but please come to one of our fun weekend events at the wool show—there is indie untangled on friday evening, our knitspot lunchtime picnic on saturday at noon, our popup shop on sunday afternoon, and our retreat from monday through wednesday. all are welcome; see you at the fair!

it’s that (fine, fine) time again

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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yesterday i was running my usual circuit of nearby neighborhoods as a break from desktop madness, when two young dear nonchalantly crossed the street just in front of me, as they grazed from one yard to another. the stillness of that street and their quietude instantly made me drop my shoulders and take a deep breath. this is why i do this, i thought, as they allowed me to get quite close to snap photos. i just love running . . .

with my ankle all healed up now (thank goodness), i’m training for a november half marathon event with a course on the towpath running alongside the ohio  and erie canal. of all the races i did in the last year, this was my favorite, running almost the whole way in the woods along the water—i wish they were all like that.

meanwhile back at work, things are just a tad crazy around here right now, as we all get ready for our trek to rhinebeck next week.

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david and anastasia are packing yarn for our booth at indie untangled on friday, 10/17 as well as our popup shop which opens on sunday, 10/19 at the kingston courtyard marriott

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we’ll be in that location for three days, participating in our fun after party retreat. the store there will be larger and chock full of luscious yarn, patterns, and design samples (we’ll also have needles and natural buttons available)

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as well as kits for my newest designs. we are bringing as much as we can fit into the van but if you know you want a sweater or blanket quantity of something specific and would like to be sure, please let us know—we are happy to take pre-orders.

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we’ll be doing a whole concentration on color knitting at the retreat, working out how color (or shade) and stitch patterns relate to one another. some spots still available for classes if you are making last minute plans to come—we welcome you to join us!

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don’t worry that these classes might to be too difficult—the emphasis for this one is on simple constructions and techniques so that we can fully explore and appreciate color behavior. we will  have one whole day just for working on a project.

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i’ve got a couple of new designs to use in that class or you could work with one of the recently released color projects. i’ve just finished this mass transit cowl using several shades of our new confection sport yarn along with a multi-colorway of briar rose fourth of july. i just love it!

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i also love the back side of this one a LOT, where the orange yarn is more dominant—isn’t that pretty? this one is especially dear to me because it was an exclusive colorway that appeared in our first fall color club.

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speaking of samples, i finally remembered to snap a few photos of barb’s wake and eddy test knit in spirit trail birte. it’s SO rich and lush, mmm.

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the scarf or infinity scarf require two skeins; the short cowl cowl requires one skein.

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sarah is editing the pictures from our photo shoot yesterday; i will be releasing this pattern next week just before we leave for new york. this scarf and the coordinating cowl will appear in jen’s booth as a show special—details to be announced.

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we will also be showing a beautiful new set called sugardance, designed by our friend lara smoot and knit in our ghillie sport/DK

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this cozy cowl and matching fingerless mitts are a wonderful weight for late fall weather and so attractive. i love the texture and those big holes; it always makes me want to look closer.

new samples in bare naked wools are arriving every day, in fact; it’s so exciting that other designers are publishing patterns for our yarns. we will be showing them off frequently in the months to come

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look for this brand spanking new set, including a sweater plus accessories knit up in breakfast blend DK by jen hagan to be released tomorrow. the sweater is just gorgeous; i can’t wait to see her photos. and she sent  a stack of hats along with it so we can take pictures too. these samples will be featured in our booths as well, so you can see them in person when you visit.

and last but not least, my friend laura nelkin has published a book recently—you may have heard. she’s going to be at rhinebeck signing them in the author’s alley at the sheep and wool show.

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knockout knits is a collection of technique-driven designs that are paired with how-to segments for a variety of knitting types. include are instructional sections for such techniques as lace, wrapped stitches, beading, etc.

laura explains the purpose of each type and illustrates/demonstrates how to perform each one. discussion might also include appropriate choices for materials.

and then there are patterns to support each section of the book—these run the gamut from very simple and quick beginner projects to those that are more involved. this makes it nice for experienced knitters who have never beaded, but can handle (and even appreciate) a more complex project. at the same time, newbies or those with less time are not left behind. i like that feature a lot.

this is a beautiful book; if you are considering a gift for a new or intermediate knitter who has more to learn, this would be an excellent choice.

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alright now, somebody here said something about being REALLY busy and still working on materials and secret knitting for next week—sounds like she should get her heinie back to work right this minute!

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oh and by the way, for those who are not coming to rhinebeck—our BNWs boutique will remain open while we are traveling; david, anastasia, emily, and erica will be manning the fort while we’re gone.

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let the good times roll

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

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yes, good times indeed—david had a birthday last week and we were all so frantically busy getting ready to leave town that i didn’t get a chance to blog about it.

he had requested a chocolate cream pie and in the process of planning it, i got an idea about how to help myself with getting that troublesome gluten free pie crust into the pie plate in one piece . . . use TWO pie plates!

i thought i’d try it out here. i made the crust from my faithful, original recipe, subbing in gluten free flour and teaspoon of xanthan gum—even though it wasn’t devised to be gluten free i keep going back to this one because, out of all the ones i’ve tried, everyone seems to like it the best.

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i rolled it out between two pieces of plastic wrap and laid over an upturned smaller pie plate.

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i removed the top layer of plastic and lightly molded the dough to the plate so it wouldn’t tear during the next step.

i placed the bigger pie plate over the dough and rolled the edges of the crust all around to get them in place for crimping later. then i secured them in with the under layer of plastic wrap so nothing would tear (gluten free pie crust tears really easily).

i flipped the whole shebang over, removed the smaller pie plate and the plastic wrap, and finished making the edges neat.

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that worked a treat—it took just a few minutes and nothing tore or broke; i’m sold. i finished it off by crimping, put it in the freezer for a few minutes to set up, and then baked the shell to get it ready for the filling.

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i cooked a dark chocolate custard filling that i used to make regularly for david and have not made for a long time; i forgot to take photos of that, sorry.

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he was pretty happy with the results though . . .

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although possibly barb enjoyed it even more, haha. we cut and served the pie during last wednesday’s knit night (see? you should come!)

though we had miles to go that night before we’d be ready to head for michigan, it was a lovely way to celebrate together.

it was quite a frantic, nailbiter of a week, in fact.

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it started out well enough—debbie brought her finished and blocked capricorn triangle to class, which we all drooled over—it looks so pretty and now we’re having the perfect weather for it.

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on tuesday, debby sent all of us an update photo of her washed caravan blanket, which she’d repaired in class the week before. just look at that; you can’t even tell it was ever any different. and you certainly can’t see anything resembling a bite taken out of it, haha.

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i had that morning, washed all of the finished cowl samples i had knit the week before to get ready for my upcoming color work classes. it’s so interesting—the bottom two are form the same pattern and the top two are also from the same pattern. but you can change the look completely by putting the colors in a different order or organizing them differently. most of these are knit with briar rose fourth of july, paired with our own, brand new confection sport.

yep, we’ve got kits—coming up in the next post, later tonight.

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i also paired a couple of them with our stone soup DK, for a more soft and subtle tone. yeah, it’s easy to go crazy making these—as anne marie said, they my latest potato chip project; i can’t stop after just one.

hey there are worse things—and there is no shame in being ahead on holiday gift knitting for once.

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or how about this one in an all-neutral palette—is that stunning or what? as soon as we get the sport weight white chocolate shade of confection in, we’ll hustle this kit up into the store, too.

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i like this one so much that i even knit a cashmere lining for it, which i felt required a special drying setup. so i cantilevered my sleeve board over the edge of my pressing bench and hung it to dry, turning frequently.

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can i just say? nothing says i love you like cashmere and who better to be on the receiving end than you?

cashmere linings take just a few yards (like, 100 or so) and almost no time to knit, but are the absolute essence of luxury. i used our pura bella mongolian cashmere; one skein will make three or four linings—enough for all your special knitwear appreciators, with guilt-free leftovers for you. just saying’.

anyway . . .

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back to reality, it was an awfully long night last wednesday getting those last few tasks finished for our weekend at yarn in the barn at briar rose fibers in michigan. since i was up early on our travel day too, i took one last tour around the garden to gather whatever was out there; i saw the temperatures were going to plummet while we were gone.

then david and i piled ourselves and all of our booth stuff in the rental car and headed out.

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and it was oh, so nice to arrive at chris and rogers lovely home in the late afternoon. to spend a warm, cozy evening knitting and catching up with friends.

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i was so excited about the prospect of getting some knitting done that after dinner, i plunked myself into a chair and barely moved all evening. i worked on my wake and eddy cowl—a new design that i’m knitting in spirit trail birte, a merino/cashmere/silk DK blend. in fact, i finished it up that evening and this morning i grafted it while i had my coffee.

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it’s not blocked yet, but you get the idea—a rich, dramatic  swirl of cables with a bit of openwork; i just love the way it slumps in the shorter version. there is a longer version too, which you can make either flat or as an infinity.

barb knit the flat one; it’s over in the office and i haven’t got a photo but we all just love it. we’ll take some nice photos before we leave for rhinebeck next week. this pattern will go live over rhinebeck weekend. the short version requires one skein of birte and the long version takes two.

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somehow, fall well, fell this weekend didn’t it?

when we left home on thursday to go to michigan, it was 80 degrees and by the time we came home two days later, it was 39 or something. i think summer is really over . . . we’re gonna need these kinds accessories on a daily basis now . . .

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before i left home i had cast on yet another cowl, using some leftover octoberfest fourth of july from our first fall in full color club and several shades of stone soup DK. when i was done with wake and eddy, i took out my barely begun color work cowl and got busy on it.

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i knit on it throughout the next day and only stopped when i realized i was out of the darkest shade of SSDK—now that i’m home, i will finish it up, probably in class tomorrow. this one is a little longer—the better to scrunch up with pockets of warmth. everyone, including me, enjoyed watching its progress as we worked through our classes this weekend. and because of that, maybe this one is my favorite after all . . .

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speaking of classes, we had an absolute blast this weekend in our color workshops. judy asked her husband jerry to drive her to michigan for the event—all the way from washington state. and he said yes, which was just our luck because judy is completely lovely.

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we had the best time, especially on the final day when all of our weekend’s work culminated in our project immersion.

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we learned and swatched and experimented. we did some technique work, yes, but the main point of it all was to experience the interaction of color—and by midday on saturday the lightbulbs were going off and everyone was grinning and chattering over the possibilities.

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that was very exciting.

many of the participants chose to work with the red kit and yet each of them created a very different expression with it and marveling at their outcomes. so fun.

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interested in exploring color a little more, maybe in the company of good friends? come join us at our rhinebeck after party event in kingston, new york right after rhinebeck weekend. we will be talking about and playing with yarn and color for three days—learn, have fun, and enhance your stash in our popup shop. click here for more details

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meanwhile, out in the barn, erica and david were hard at work, setting up and running our booth, which looked beautiful. the hottest seller of the weekend was our delicious cabécou brillant. every last skein we brought was sold by saturday morning. people just make a beeline for that one . . .

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of course we brought all of our yarns, but also all sorts of other goodies. with so many people in our ravelry group finishing up ivar sweaters lately, there was a lot of interest in our ivar kits.

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rene and highlander were also popular choices for those looking to knit sweaters and almost everyone wanted a good hat or cowl pattern to knit up for holiday gifts.

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and now we’re home again and wow, today just flew by. i came back with an armload of blocking to do and plenty of secret knitting as well. and of course, i have to finish up this cowl—maybe tonight while i watch TV; i need to ferret out some leftovers of SSDK in slate, which will require a trip to the office. haha, good thing it’s not far!

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this morning i was looking out the kitchen window and noticed a bunch of red tomatoes on the vines—i don’t even know where those are coming from in such chilly weather, when we hardly got this many in july.

and seriously, the green beans? still pumping away; i picked another pound of those this morning too, along with some swiss chard and a few carrots that i pulled to snack on.

well, someone said something about releasing a couple of patterns this evening so i’d better go see about that—i’ll be back in a couple of days with an update of blocked and finished knits.