Archive for October, 2008

happy halloween

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

as has become our tradition here, halloween is a day to show off my neighbor’s most valiant efforts in yard decor. throughout the fall and winter bret provides an entertaining parade of changing holiday and seasonal displays; in summer, it is all about flowers and plants. but one thing is constant no matter what the season—bret does not do anything in a small way. and this halloween is no exception.

i went over earlier in the day to take photos as the sun set; it was the perfect time to take pictures of ghostly robes all afire

and to see the details of some of the smaller vignettes in the yard

there were figures rising from the ground

and dancing along the porch railings

in anticipation of the fast-approaching darkness.
i went back inside to finish up my day’s work and wait for it myself. i’m starting to feel a little more caught up on paperwork and email, finally, but sadly i’ve done less knitting than i’d like since i got home. it’s coming though . . . tomorrow i think my deck is completely clear for knitting. phew.

meanwhile, i finished the last of the spiraluscious neckwarmers, soaked them, and now they are laying out to dry. i have four completed now that will make nice gifts (i might keep one for me, but which one??)

late last night i worked on david’s grandpa sock. now it has a heel and i’m working down the foot toward the toe. handspun socks knit up so fast and feel SO good.

on the other hand, they wear out fast too; today i pulled on a pair that i knit a couple of years ago and have only worn maybe eight times. my heel went in and just kept going—there was a hole right at the heel corner. arrggh. it’s my own fault; the yarn was way too soft to be used for socks but i did it anyway. some day, i’ll learn not to do that.

i also worked on my mitts a little but realized i was knitting a second left-hand one, and since i don’t have two left hands, i’ll be spending this evening correcting that, i’m afraid, instead of making more progress (luckily, i wasn’t very far into it).

i also soaked and blocked my butternut scarf yesterday. this is the scarf i knit with the very fine (400 yds/ounce) spindle-spun yarn that abby sent me over the summer.

yes, that’s 2-ply—unbelievable, right?
it was an amazingly beautiful gift and i have enjoyed every minute of knitting with it. so much so that i stretched out the my work on this piece about as much as i could get away with, just to keep touching the yarn

but at a certain point, i wanted to see the completed piece too—i just LOVE this stitch pattern

and the rich, buttered-almonds color of the merino/silk/alpaca blend. sigh.

and it’s pretty on both sides, too.
tomorrow we get some modeling shots—i hope we have a nice day for it. maybe we’ll even walk over to the cemetery for that.

now it’s dark. and scary. and that means it’s time for

more of bret’s halloween magic.

and now a view from another angle with the high skeleton in the frame. nothing exceeds like excess, as they say

so happy halloween everyone, from my street to yours

knitting at the ranch

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

it really is all that.

you can set up your skein winder on the arm of the bench and crank away while soaking up the vista. then leave it there for several days cuz someone else might enjoy it too. now that’s living.

i hadn’t been to new mexico for a very long time and when lauren baldwin contacted me about the possibility of teaching at a retreat there, i was excited. knitting at the ranch is a relaxed yearly getaway which began four years ago with a small group of knitters local to albuquerque

which has grown now to include knitters from various parts of the USA. this was the first year they invited a teacher to do a workshop for the event and i was thrilled to be asked to do it.

the event takes place at ghost ranch in abiquiu, about two hours north of albuquerque. the spectacular red hills, vast sky, and desert quietude provide the perfect environment for the retreat. lest you get the wrong idea, though, this group event is far from a monk-like experience. these knitters are fun (well, aren’t we all??).

i began my trip west very early thursday morning. kim and i got up well before daybreak to make our flights out of canton (did i mention that i got up at around 3:30 am no less than three times in six days? i know some people do that a lot, but not me. not ever. it was totally worth it, though).

i arrived in chicago at around 6:30 where there was a good starbucks just outside my arrival gate, ready to serve up the caffeine i needed. once fortified, i set out to find my connecting gate and was treated to nice surprise at the first turn

this is what i love about big-city airports—just when all you can think about is how this connection can get screwed up, they hand you new york. it’s a lego exhibit promoting wind-generated energy (though i did not manage to make a mental connection between the statue of liberty and windmills, she was holding one in this exhibit; maybe it was just a height thing?)

i couldn’t take my eyes off the lego draping in her robes—what grace, what elegance . . .
there were smaller pieces, too

of astounding workmanship. ok, enough pictures of those, let’s get to new mexico. i have to mention here that i was extremely nervous about everything concerning this trip—it was my first time taking the show on the road, so to speak, and i had no idea what to expect, really.

everything went swimmingly on the flight which was good, since i was scheduled to be at village wools by 2 pm to lay out a trunk show. here i was greeted with about the largest yarn shop i have seen since patternworks closed their store in poughkeepsie. unfortunately, i was too nervous to think to take photos so you’ll have to click on the link to see it.

besides a huge sales floor packed with all manner of yarns and supplies, they also have a very large weaving studio, a large dye room in which the results of a recent natural dyeing exhibit were laid out, and a meeting/classroom. and have i mentioned the staff? they are warm and sweet and very knowledgeable. it is the yarn shops of our dreams, really.

i exhibited a number of my shawls and scarves and was on hand to talk to customers and answer questions all afternoon there (i’m really sorry about not getting photos—especially the naturally-dyed skeins from the state fair—i’m a blogging flunky i guess).

lauren came to pick me up in the early evening and we headed north for the ranch. i wasn’t very good driving company as i kept falling asleep but i did manage, at least, not to snore while i was at it. when we arrived, lauren had me step out of the car just inside the gate to see the sky and it was magnificent. so many stars—even the milky way was visible out there.

much as i appreciated that, i needed to sleep. the accommodations at the ranch are wonderfully simple, spacious, and comfortable, just the way i like ‘em. everything important was provided, and nothing more—perfect. by the next morning i was completely refreshed and ready to go at 5 am. one thing though—it’s mighty dark out there at that hour, so i sat in my room and knit for a while to calm myself

i finished the brown mitt and worked on the sock i am creating for the fearless fibers sock club (no photo yet). once it was somewhat-light i headed to breakfast which is served cafeteria-style in the cantina

this was the view out my door. the rooms all open onto the porch and offer a nice alternative to the carpet-and wallpaper-nightmare view you might find in a hotel. plus—get this—the rooms don’t have locks. you can leave the door wide open to let the fresh air in through the screen and go about your business all day—just like you would want it to be every day, everywhere. it’s all about respect and consideration; i love that.

the many residence buildings are small and set apart on the property so that there is a lot of privacy; everything is connected by trails and dirt roads with the main buildings grouped below in a single compound. there are infinite directions in which to walk and one can take a different sort of walk or hike every morning if one liked (and i liked—kim, i walked every day there).

we weren’t starting the workshop til 1 pm so i had the morning to spend exploring and later, getting to know the early arrival participants. first, i opted to walk down into box canyon toward kitchen mesa

the day was warm and exceptionally brilliant once the sun got up over the mountains. nights are cool-to-cold so you have to pack smart. i noticed a lot of shawls everywhere i went in NM—it’s the perfect all-weather garment (ok, i admit i only went to the yarn shop and the knitting retreat, but i feel it’s fair to count the airport, the coffee shop, and the restaurants, too).

anyway, to get back to the scenery, i think i spent that whole first walk swinging my head from side to side so as not to miss anything

there is just so much beauty and variety (see? they have autumn foliage too)

this is my church; this is what makes my heart expand with joy. i was so happy to be in it, and so aware of how precious a gift we have here

as i neared the mesa the true size of it began to reveal itself

the colors of the rock layers became more distinct and separate, reminding me a little bit (in a way) of torrey pines in la jolla, CA.

then, suddenly, i was standing right under it

well. nothing more to say, right?
just past this spot there was one big round rock to which i was inexplicably attracted

no other round ones anywhere nearby at all. huh.
at this point i decided i ought to get back for a much-needed shower and to see if there was anything i could do to help set up.

the trail back was bordered on each side by thickets of sage (well, i think that’s what is is) and scrub cactus. the hill leading up to our housing unit reminded me suddenly that i was at a completely different altitude. though i don’t suffer much from altitude changes and jet lag in general, that first morning it kicked my butt a little. heh. by the next day i was acclimated well enough, but it took me by surprise at first.

(at this point, my camera battery died and i realized i was not carrying a fresh one, so i switched to my iPhone camera for the rest of the trip. there aren’t any settings or buttons to “help” with taking photos, i think it did ok and it sure beats no pictures at all.)

by this time, knitters were arriving by the carful and a joyful noise was sounding in the meeting room.

coffee was brewing (NM knitters are serious about that—so many people brought their own coffee and espresso makers, i thought i’d died and gone to heaven), snacks were set out,

(the chiplotle brownies were especially yummy) and sounds of reunions filled the room. i spread out the trunk show around the fireplace

but couldn’t get far enough back for a really good photo angle (but you know what they look like).
there were two yarn vendors with luscious offerings

heather, from shivaya naturals, drove down from colorado to participate in the event with her photographer-buddy stacyZ. heather provided the yarn for the first samples of spiraluscious, which was to be the project for the workshop.

let’s just say that a feeding frenzy ensued as soon as heather started opening the bins she toted in. i would even venture to say that she got rushed by a clamoring crowd. i don’t think she minded a bit though—everyone pitched in to tag yarn and sort things out (once they staked out and claimed in no uncertain terms what they wanted of course, heh.)

more yarn was supplied by gudy of strandavarious, who arrived a little later in the day

gudy is a dyer local to albuquerque who produces unique skeins of variegated yarn in a variety of fiber blends, including alpaca lace, merino/silk fingering yarn, merino worsted, merino/silk laceweight, and merino laceweight. her yarn can be purchased at village wools or by contacting her through her site.

for the retreat workshop i chose a skein of gudy’s merino/silk fingering weight yarn in an array of greens to knit my spiraluscious

the piece in browns and oranges is her wool/nylon sock blend that i picked up at the shop for the sunday class. it was hard to tell in the skein how it would knit up but it’s wonderful—like a swirl of falling leaves blown about by the wind.

i’m in love. i lost the ticket that says how many yards are on it, but i’m hoping to have enough left over for a short pair of socks, or maybe a pair with contrasting toes and heels. it’s a nice wooly yarn that should make cozy socks.

gudy is also a designer and brought some of her own pieces to exhibit

(please excuse the fact that we all pawed over them and made a mess). aren’t they lovely?

soon, everyone found a comfy place to settle in and we all got to work.

as if all that excitement wasn’t enough, ann hood (center, above) and her friend mary (above right) joined us for the weekend. ann is writing a story for girlfriend getaways magazine about the retreat which should appear next fall (so if this looks like a trip you want to take next year, make reservations early).

along with them came a photography team, of course, but we all suffered along gladly . . . they were actually wonderful. the photographer, amanda, is a new knitter (who learned to bind off on friday evening) and her assistant, seth, sat himself down to learn right then and there, he was so intrigued (either that, or he was totally freaked and running for safety from the men’s wellness group sharing the ranch over this weekend)

on friday we worked through the first two parts of the pattern during a three-hour class. we didn’t finished the body section but we got far enough along that everyone could work on their own

which they did, far into the evening. oh, we did other things too, like talk and fool around. there was show and tell, and lots of wine and chocolate. once again i fell into bed at a much earlier hour than usual and woke up well before the sun (aftter twelve days of this, i might be a changed person).

i knit in my room til it was light enough to go for another walk, followed by a quick breakfast—class started a lot earlier on saturday so as to leave the afternoon free for a field trip.

i saw this lizard log on the way down to the cantina on the second morning—i thought you’d like it.

saturday’s class was mostly filled with learning to do a knitted-on edge. i expected this to be challenging for those who had not done one before—and it was—but as we say in our LYS, “nobody cried”. everyone seemed to pick the technique up pretty smoothly, in fact and i’m hoping that they will be able to navigate it easily on their own at home.

i love this photo—in it are heather and stacy (front), margaret, my buddy near the window, who revealed what might be a tendency toward stalking, but also is a great traveling companion and conversationalist so it balances fine for me, and lauren in the back who organized this amazing weekend. connie, who is an artist is also there but i manged to cut her head off and now we can’t admire her . . .

as i said, the afternoon was reserved for a field trip to tierra wools in the small village of los ojos, NM. tierra wools is a spinning, dyeing, and weaving workshop that produces rugs, clothing, yarn and other articles used in the home. but not just any rugs

one enters the workshop through the store, which faces the street and is immediately struck by the fact that something incredible is going on here

the wool that is spun on the premises and used in the rugs and blankets woven here is churro, a soft, long fiber from a rare sheep breed that is produced locally and regionally through a project aimed at replenishing the population of this once-endangered breed.

the rugs are positively luxurious—tightly woven and soft, made of richly-handpainted yarns, they are individually crafted and signed by the makers. i decided i’m saving up for one, starting right now.

it’s either going to be turquoise, like this one, or gray (surprise). sigh. i have time to decide.
i almost did succumb to a pair of charcoal pillows or a sheepskin for david

but then realized that would put me behind on the rug so i got a grip on myself.
after a short introduction to the workshop’s history and operating principles,

we soon moved to the back of the place where we entered a magical world indeed and forgot all about giving in to the temptations of shopping (momentarily, at least)

sophia was our guide into the labyrinth that is the pulsing heart of the workshop—the fiber studios. you thought the store was good? never mind . . . this part is great

ok, i will admit right up front that i know nothing about looms, but there were at least six of these giants in the weaving studio and my guess is that they’re of an impressive type because those rugs you saw above come out of them.

the light in here glows and is full; you feel you are in a sanctuary (this is my church too. just sayin’).
and sophia is the pope.

sophia walked our group through all the stages of the shop’s production. in the weaving studio, she was working on a rug in which she uses the yarns created by the beginning spinners (she says she cannot let anything go to waste). it is beautiful . . .

as is everything created here. talk about making something good enough to put in the fair—these fiber artists do it every day and have the medals to prove it.

next we passed into the dye studios in the very back of the building (dyers, you may want to grab a glass of wine here, or at the very least, a drool rag—quick).

there are black walnuts on a drying table in the entryway

this is the view into the depth of the dyeworks. skeins of singles hang there blocking—i really liked the way they rigged that up.

these rooms are where we truly see sophia in her element

among pots of what she lovingly calls her “stinky stuff”. ok, pause here for the dyers in the group—you have got to see the cooking setup they have

sophia explains about soaking and cooking natural plant materials while showing us a pot of practically-putrid black walnuts

we all inhale deeply and agree that yes, it stinks. but that’s not the best, she crows . . .

just look at the rot floating on top of my indigo pot—i’ve added urea and all sorts of other stuff now and it’s really stinking. she stands back with smug satisfaction as we all take a polite whiff and nod, tears springing to our eyes—we smile adoringly and nod back.

she has us completely within her power at this point.

next she guides us through the materials they use in the dye process, a combination of natural dyestuffs collected locally or ordered from distributors. these they cook on site

and include nuts, berries, plants, and insects. they also use some commercially-produced dyes, but it wasn’t explained exactly what type or processes they use with those.

here is some chamisa drying in the furthest back room

(still using the iPhone camera BTW—i can’t believe all these photos came out; the light was very dim throughout this space here)

next sophia talks to us about the yarn (i know—you’ve been dying out there, but here we are at last)

these are some handspun skeins in their natural state. the yarns produced onsite are singles from the churro wool i mentioned earlier. they basically offer one weight that is equivalent to a worsted.

they also dye on plied yarn spun for them by green mountain spinnery and darned if i can remember the fiber content but i believe the wool is from new mexico (one of these days i’ll learn to take notes, i guess; i keep thinking it’s more natural to just write from my head but maybe i do need prompting on the details . . .).

sophia has a really great collection of test pieces in jars that i wanted to shove my hand into

but i resisted

you didn’t think i’d leave you without a closeup did you? here are some drying skeins that have been dyed with indigo, walnut, and chamisa. once they leave the hanging rack they will join the collection in the shop

where we were gently herded like lambs to the slaughter (how could you not buy at least a skein after that?). actually, i resisted reluctantly but successfully, keeping my future rug in mind—i’m going for the big daddy of purchases. some day.

outside in the bright sun we explored the village a little more

the wool works runs a guest house where one can stay while taking classes or enjoying the region. further along there is the tire recycling shop

where they make these great rubber mats—the kind that last forever

the afternoon passed quickly—it was time to get back for our dinner at abiquiu inn, where we were treated to a variety of local dishes creatively prepared and served. there i ate the best corn cakes i ever had—bar none. i kept eating them, too (pats stomach). i wish i had the recipe . . .

meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . hahaha, i’ve always wanted to use that phrase in a context where it actually applied . . . the knitters who had not joined us for dinner (in order to buy more yarn) were busily finishing neckwarmers and socializing.

when we returned we were treated to a reading by ann hood from her book, the knitting circle. we lazily socialized and knitted long into the evening. i kept putting off my packing because i didn’t want it to end, but finally i folded each shawl and placed it in my carry-on bag—i had to be up early the next day again to move on back to albuquerue and meet some different knitters for redux of the same class.

did i take pictures?? no! what a doofus.
well, maybe next time—suffice it to say that a lovely dozen women surrounded me for six hours of lace knitting and all went home with smiles on their faces, which left me happy, too.

i flew home immediately after the class and finished my butternut scarf while traveling. i’m hoping to block it and write the pattern tomorrow

as i knit, i started getting really excited to see david. with no cell phone or internet for five days, we did not have a chance to talk except for one time—in the parking lot of tierra wools i had FOUR bars on my cell, so i grabbed the opportunity to talk to him.

i’m thinking that it’s because i was in a magic place—check this out

see that bar of blue light running straight back into that shed door?
land of enchantment indeed.

spiraluscious

Monday, October 27th, 2008

need a little something to help brave the newly-chill morning air, but hating to hide behind a muffler just yet? or maybe it’s time to search for gift knits that are quick and fun to work up, but special enough to say i love you dearly, my friend. this neckwarmer might just do it for you . . . knit it up as written for a speedily-finished but entirely thoughtful gift, or make it a little longer to scrunch up a bit against the cold.

shown here in shivaya naturals silky merino, colorway, iris (above) and sunset (below).

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

the luscious silky merino yarn for this project was generously provided by heather, who offers a wide range of gorgeous yarns dyed only with natural materials at her online shop, shivaya naturals.
as always, thanks to rachel for her ongoing proofreading efforts.
and a big hand for my lovely friend beckie, who graciously modeled this new piece for us; it’s hard to be in front of the lens for the first time but she’s a natural!

are we sick of the cake yet??

Monday, October 27th, 2008

what a week! i’ve been across the country and back(with practically no internet access anywhere to keep in touch with you) and gotten up for the day at 3:30 am three times in the last six days. from frosty new england to the frosty southwest desert, i’ve done so much talking and met so many incredible knitters that i can hardly figure out where to start. maybe just at the beginning, ok? we’ll see how far i get today and i might extend the travel journal into tomorrow, with a break later on to put out the spiraluscious pattern tonight.

first, there was rhinebeck, which was amazing. the wool show is one thing—it gets bigger all the time and has so very much to see. but the trip itself is what makes it a real event for me—six days and five nights of vacation with good friends, good food, good environment and good fiber; what could be better??

in fact, there is a real scarcity of yarn/fiber pictures among my 500 or so rhinebeck photos. ooops.
i really was playing hooky, you guys . . .

we started out very early thursday morning from ohio with the goal of getting to newburgh, NY in time to pick up our housemate david from the airport at 3pm

along the way we appreciated some groovy art at bathroom stops in pennsylvania

and awesome driving scenery along the taconic parkway in new york’s hudson valley

that is, we did once i figured out how to use my iPhone camera. poor david; i thought he was going to bust a gut trying not to laugh as i attempted to take photos with the camera held backwards.

i accidentally got this picture of him while i was trying to figure out how to use the viewfinder from the wrong side of the instrument. that might be what he means when he says i’m a nerd—i’m not quite sure—i’m a nerd in so very many ways. cough, ahem, oh yes—and then there was the thick folder of printed driving directions and maps i plopped in his lap once he got into the car; that may have been at fault, too. (shrug) hey, i needed a navigator and thought i’d help it along, you know?

we found the cottage with no trouble and were delighted when we drove in to find it was situated right in the barnyard of a beautiful thoroughbred farm, complete with a wide variety of small livestock and pets making up the welcoming party. there were ducks

and a fine goat standing atop the stone wall.
but the star of the show (and my fave) had to be butchie

who immediately let all of us know what game he liked best, and that if we wanted to enjoy our stay, all we had to do is play along—endlessly.

we think he liked david best, even though kim was angling every which way for the honor.

after we grabbed some food we settled in for the evening to knit. david worked on the start of a frost flowers stole and kim worked on her stonewall, which she is knitting up in some beautiful soldier-blue alpaca/silk she bought in ecuador last summer. but did i take a picture?? nooo—apparently being a naturally diligent blogger is not yet entirely ingrained in me.

i did some spinning on my joy wheel

this is the yarn i spun and plied in the evening from the woolen rabbit’s new line of splish-splash. rovings; it’s either dear prudence or fool on the hill colorway (i’m betting on the latter). it is really soft and drafts quite nicely; i spun and plied the whole braid i had in just a few hours.

kim and i got up very early the next day to go walking along the narrow roads of the surrounding the area—we needed to work up an appetite for the big day ahead.

the air was very crisp and the terrain beautiful—the trees were on fire with color and there was mist rising from the fields. we saw a lot of deer and discovered an old family cemetery

with graves dating back to 1810 (and maybe beyond; some of the oldest gravestones were very difficult to read as the letters had mostly worn away).

it was a pretty large burial ground and no wonder—this is the view looking outward from amongst the graves

who wouldn’t want to end up there some day??
i mean, if necessary, of course . . .

for friday we had a very special day planned; we had reservations for lunch in the escoffier room at the CIA. this has become an annual tradition that we all very much look forward to. we arrived early enough to take a little walk around the place

in the pastry kitchen they were just putting the final touches on some sort of pumpkin confections. it was a good thing there was a window between me and this full tray of café pastries

i wouldn’t want to have to wrestle that young chef for them.
in the dining room we were seated at my favorite table—it has a full view of the kitchen and we could watch the cycle of the lunch service.

this was the first day of the new student rotation, and though we couldn’t hear any of it, the chef-instructor seemed to spend a lot of time laying down the law throughout

nevertheless, the table service was consistently calm and enjoyable—we had the good fortune to once again be the guests of our friend frank (left, below), who was our waiter last year. this year he was doing a turn as maitre d’hotel

on the right there is jeff, who was our waiter for the afternoon.

kim was on something of a mission—she traveled to rhinebeck with the express stipulation that we would eat the winter squash soup at CIA again this year. now that’s a tall order, as the restaurant menu is constantly changing.

but as you can see

once in a while, the universe bends to one’s will.
actually the soup was a little differently flavored this year but kim deemed it “yummy”, and worth the trip. david and i had a sublime mushroom velout.
we moved on to appetizers and entrées, but i got so busy eating that i forgot to take pictures of those. however, i do remember now and again what’s really important

this was extraordinary. it’s a frozen lemon souffle with a layer of something crunchy accompanied by a blueberry sauce. jeff actually made it himself on the previous day when he was still in the pastry rotation

in this photo kim is deciding whether to go home to her family on tuesday or run away with jeff and eat just this for the rest of her life. she decided that she should go home but ordered a second dessert to console herself . . .

comforted by the fact that anything eaten at the CIA on the third friday in october has absolutely no calories. this one of course was the chocolate “brownie” which turned out to be a mere random label for a pile of muddy-dark chocolate of the type you might find in heaven.
again, yummy.

i love to watch the kitchen wind down after the intensity at the height of the main service. first, another, more important (i think), chef comes in to see how everything went

while the the wait staff relaxes a bit and begins to visit the tables to see how we enjoyed everything (as if they need to!)

the kitchen is quickly and efficiently returned to its immaculate pre-service state and slowly begins to empty of students

until we are left with just a clean, organized space awaiting the dinner frenzy.

we rolled ourselves out of our chairs; kim headed to the blookstore and i went outdoors for some air. when she came out after what seemed like hours, she had a surprise for us. as she was chatting up john fisher, the professor of table service and our maitre d’, and asking him to sign the cook book that she bought (he wrote it) she found out that john is a spinner

well, of course she had to run outside and drag us back in to talk to him about it. turns out that john has been spinning yarn for four years for his lovely wife natalie and adorable sister mary to knit into sweaters for him. we ended up having a good gab session right there and making plans to meet up over the weekend.

now i know that in this picture john doesn’t exactly look entirely thrilled to be hanging with us, but maybe this next photo from the ravelry party the next night will convince you that this is not just stalker-talk—we really did make friends with him (i got his card, too).

(ps: he spun the yarn used in that sweater he’s wearing)
next year, john, we’ll make plans to have dinner with you guys, ok??

that night we met up with the ravelry group at rosarita’s in kingston for margaritas . . . we ended up at a great table with kate, irene, and julia, from twist.

it was the perfect table for us—we had a blast talking to them and downing some “fortifications”. it was a challenge to get good photos in the available light, what with all the action . . these people just never stop moving

but they are fun and that’s what counts, right?

after that we got ourselves home to get a good night’s sleep for the big day saturday—we were in town to go to a wool show after all.

along with just about everyone else east of the mississippi river.
boy-howdie, was it ever packed that day—truly i’ve never seen anything like it at rhinebeck. you could not move inside the buildings at some points in the day, which i found kind of exciting (of course, i wasn’t looking to buy anything particular, so my patience was pretty high for that).

fortunately, there was plenty else to do. we watched the dog trials for a while, enjoyed the cool autumn air, and took our time seeing the fiber booths. it really was not a good environment for taking photos, though (sorry!). we also saw many friends, admired countless stunning creations, and were awed by new ideas and products everywhere.

this is kate-the-enabler with her gale stole (and her awesome rogue hoody). she was with a friend who had a cluaranach that matched mine, but i can’t seem to find a photo of us together (darn it!)
[well, tara was much more on the ball than me, so now we have a photo, yay]

at the end of the day we headed first for coffee, then to the ravelry party and got on line

which actually was kinda fun. it was pretty cold out there but we warmed up by chatting with our line neighbors who found clever ways to pass the time

once inside we grabbed a drink and mingled. there were bob cupcakes

for miles. and wall-to-wall people too. we actually couldn’t stay long because we wanted to go over to the small briar rose party that chris was throwing at her hotel

this is one very happy woman—i don’t think there was a single skein of yarn left in her booth by mid-afternoon on sunday. the place was so mobbed all day saturday that we just ducked and ran in. kim scored some excellent choices in several different fibers.

chris’s whole family was along this weekend to help out and cheer her on—they are just a happy, generous pack, they are and i always enjoy spending time with them. chris is such a special friend, too; it was SO so nice to have a good talk together.

and look who else was hanging with us on saturday night

that’s knitty’s amy singer and jennie the potter. we had an excellent visit—it was really good to catch up with amy (and amy, we should do it more often!).

while we chatted i worked on my mitts

i decided to cast on a pair in a natural colorway of my own handspun as well as the beautiful berry blend from new hue handspuns just to show how this mitt would look in a colorway that a lot of guys might like.

the next day was a little more of the same, but we also explored the building with the fiber exhibition for a good long while

this is the wall with the knitted lace entries

this piece won every award, i think, and deservedly—it is an incredible piece of work. there were woven rugs i lusted after and some i did not

though i did appreciate each of them greatly—how could you not??
we also looked in on the sheep-to-shawl competition—there were five teams i think in all and they were hard at work already by 10 am when we walked through.

this is our favorite team simply because they have the youngest member operating the loom.

overall i didn’t shop very much—i spent most of my money on a few things for the house. i got a nice handwoven rug, a deep, thick, coopworth sheepskin for david from hatchtown fibers, and a norm hall niddy-noddy (a great suggestion by amy).

i picked up just a couple of small bumps of coopworth fiber from hatchtown, one from stefania, and a couple of naturally dyed bumps of soft maine wool from bill huntington’s hope spinnery, a new vendor at the show i think (i could be wrong about that, though). i think i brought home less than a pound of fiber and i bought no yarn—can you believe it?

actually, i very much wanted to buy yarn from bill to knit a hat (it’s really soft; don’t let the maine wool label fool you . . . ) but i just could not decide on a color, so i opted for six ounces of spinning fiber for now. it was completely the right choice

about four ounces of it is a deep apricot with some gentle streaks of brown and gold; the other 2 ounces has yellow, pink, apricot, and some green. i’m spinning for a 3-ply yarn and hoping it will turn out to be about worsted weight. here’s a better photo of the actual colors

the fiber drafts like a dream—i got almost all the way through what i had before we left for home on tuesday. i’ll ply it wednesday night in spinning class (we are doing a make-up for the sunday classes we missed).

i’m thinking i might need some more of this stuff—and maybe now, in the quiet of my own home, i’ll be able to choose a yarn color as well.

on monday we went off to woodstock for the day for shoe shopping at pegasus shoes and browsing in thrift shops (which were sadly not very well stocked on this visit). we also had an excellent lunch at joshua’s.

on the way back we stopped here

for a much-anticipated visit—i was here a couple of years back and was looking forward very much to showing kim the place. crafts people is a quiet enclave deep in the woods of the catskills.

each of the four unassuming buildings is home to a gallery for a specific craft discipline—these galleries are fabulous inside.

i spent most of this visit in the pottery building

drooling over one astounding piece after another. i settled on some mugs (much needed at home) and a few small bowls. i have so enjoyed eating my lunch each day from the bowl i bought last time, that i thought a couple more would be a nice addition to our dish cupboard (but just a couple—we are severely limited for space that way).

kim found an aMAZing adam and eve ring that i forgot to take a picture of (maybe she’ll send us one . . . ); i’m hoping she puts my name on this piece in her will . . .

it was getting dark by then and we knew that we needed to head back to get ready to leave for home in the morning (pout). the weekend was suddenly over, but we had plenty to take back with us.

kim and i drove together and she spent one more day visiting us in canton

she sat in the office with me while i went through email and got the pictures ready for this post. but once i was done i just couldn’t make her wait while i continued working at the computer—it was a gorgeous day and my friend was here for just 24 more hours—i knew we should spend it together doing something fun.

so out we went to explore the neighborhood and stockpile some chocolate sustenance for her to take home.

we had a little knitting-and-potluck get-together that evening with beckie and karen who came to rhinebeck with us last year (but sadly, couldn’t make it this time).

the next morning we were off again—up early and to the airport so she could go home to san diego and i could go on to teach my workshops in new mexico.

sigh—i really wanted that visit to last longer, but we’ll just have to do it again, right kim?

ok, now, i have run on long enough for today i think—if you stuck with me this far i am bowing at your virtual feet.

i have tons of photos from my second trip to share and lots of excitement about that experience. tune in for another installment tomorrow (probably in the evening—i really do have lots of photos to go through!).