my little patch of happiness

what a sight for sore eyes, eh?? i am SO happy to be home, especially with a greeting like this—my lipstick tulips (not their real name) just outside the garage door, at that perfect prebloom moment. sigh.

and these hyacinths—WOW. slightly past their prime, they nevertheless held out til i got home to show off their dressy easter ruffles and perfume.

one last daffodil also stayed the course for my viewing pleasure . . .

sorry for the delay in getting back into the blogging saddle, but the last couple of days have been sorta not what i’d planned—both the weather outside and my post-flight equilibrium failing to rise to an acceptable level. despite heading straight to bed after getting in monday night, i couldn’t work at all on tuesday. while not technically sick, i was so congested that i couldn’t hear or walk straight (cookie and david have seen me in this state and will attest it is NOT amusing after an hour or so, haha). thankfully, that has passed and i’m feeling much more myself.

yesterday i had a pile of bookkeeping and paperwork that needed urgent and immediate attention, so that was another day lost. but today—ahh, today is for us to chat.

so, i bet you’re all waiting with baited breath to hear who won the crochet inspiration book by sahsa kagan—thank you all for participating; we really appreciate that!

and the winner is . . . kristi~ohio. congratulations, kristi!
you know, many people leave wonderful stories with their comment entries for books—i’m not sure why, because it doesn’t influence who gets picked in the random drawings we do, but i LOVE reading them. it’s as if by telling the most elaborate story, the karma gods will smile on that commentor and make their name rise to the top.

anyway, kristi is one of those people that includes a little story with her comment and i like this one particularly well . . .

I learned to crochet at a young age and then taught my grandmother. We started out making afghans. I moved on to knitting. However grandma loved it so much she continued on with crochet for the next 40 years until she passed away. Over the last year I’ve been thinking of crocheting again. This looks like the perfect book. Thanks for the opportunity to win it. :)

i would love to see an old home movie of little kristi teaching grandma to knit . . .

i was SO busy in austin i never even got to tell you about my wonderful weekend at hill country weavers—wow, what a shop. that’s the owner, suzanne, with me in the photo above. we offered three full days of classes plus a trunk show and lecture friday evening. we did lots of lace knitting, finishing, and talked about making better yarn choices. we looked at all 565 photos in my slide show, too. oof!

the shop itself is a knitter’s wonderland—suzanne has been in business a long time and has an incredible inventory to show for it. everything from sturdy yarns to knit for kids to the most luxurious fiber blends are represented here. you need a nice long day to explore it all and the staff at HCW will let you have all the time you need.

i feel bad because i came home with so few photos—many of the ones i took didn’t turn out. i know david has a bunch; maybe he’ll put them up on our facebook page.

i did get this photo of the back of sherri’s gorgeous leaving cardigan, which she finished at 1am the night before her class—which is touching and impressive all at once in itself, but then damn, that is a nice sweater she made, too. it really does the pattern justice and i’m so happy she wore it to show us.
unfortunately, my photos of the sweater front did not turn out so well (too dark to see it), but sherri has some lovely photos on her project page.

most of our outside time in austin was spent exploring the local coffee joints before getting started on the day—we did not make it out to take part in the night life on this visit.

but with such beautiful mornings to wake up to, i didn’t feel like we missed all that much. the people watching is equally great in the early part of the day—just different, as they say there . . .

and while we didn’t get out to hit the social scene much, we DID have a wonderful time with our family. i got out every day in the gorgeous weather for along trek with junebug, who an excellent walking companion, very well trained. and the kids are a constant source of fun.

aaron wanted me to be sure to take a nice picture of his bike. moving vehicles are his passion—this kid is going to have a devastating ride one day . . . although i’m not quite sure where or how the dragon fits in.
like i said—different.

(seriously, can you resist the cuteness??)
even when david took us all out for a sushi meal and they were faced with a lack of traditional tableware, they carried it off with flare

the texas hansons are getting a screen printing business off the ground, so we spent some work days with my brother, discussing a few projects and swapping software skills.

we’ve actually had these totes onsite for a while, but soon they’ll be in our store; it’s a nice, sturdy bag, big enough for project, patterns (of course) and tools, but not SO big as to be threatening in a crowd. isn’t the print job lovely?? joe is really good at his work . . . and an awesome guitarist, too; they’ve put together a great family band—check it out on youTube

so you might think that with all that going on, i did not advance my knitting projects much, but funny enough, i got a ton of work done, too (as is often the case when i visit texas).

the pieces of the new whitfield shortie are complete and they await seaming and completion, probably this weekend. they don’t look nearly as cute as they will in a few days, with the collar and pocket on. and we should have a pattern ready for testing very soon as well, yay.

i swear, every time i took this project out of the bag to work on it, a flock of knitters fluttered over to feel the fabric—kim, the frolic yarn is just gorgeous and a big hit in texas.

and then there is the ruckus caused by scottish heather colorway of grace merino yarn i’m using for my cable and rib cardigan—another crowd favorite.

i have to add that each one has been a wonderful knitting experience, too; the kind of yarns that make you WANT to rush to your knitting chair to work each evening.

my secret project is heading down the homestretch as well; i’ll be done very soon and getting that pattern on to the next step. which will leave some of my needles free to start something new . . .

i was thinking that since i came home with a scarf to block (hopefully this afternoon, when i’m done here), that i should get another on the needles right away to take along on my next travel dates to the loopy spring fling and the spinning loft retreat (still spots open and it’s sooo close to maryland; you could escape with your new fiber to spin/knit dreamland!).

i’ve printed off a few charts to keep in a folder of “spring scarf ideas” because i think it’s time we had some new and pretty lace scarves, don’t you?? it’s the perfect project for the season, totally totable and lightweight enough to slip into a mia bag (omg, that orange poppy dot one is too, too cute) and carry in my purse.

i just have to go through my yarns and pick something (that’s the hard part). i think the first one is going to be something fine, but slightly fuzzy; not exactly sure what yet, but i’ll know when i see it.

i still have to unpack my suitcases too, so i’m thinking that today, i’ll block the scarf and unpack while it’s drying. if i’m really good, i’ll get some stash organized before i have to go out this evening (i bought containers and everything before i went away, but never got started on the actual sorting and organizing . . .).

i have fiber and spinning to talk about, but i think i’ll save that for another day.

spring beckons and i think it might be a good day to get outside as well. if i’m going to have time for all that, i better get cracking.

one last thing though, since a few people have written to ask . . . we are DEFINITELY working on getting our fall project club pulled together and making excellent progress. we plan to open signups around the 1st of may; currently that is dependent on when the site is ready, but all seems to be moving along on schedule. we will let you know as far in advance as we can of the actual signup date, by posting an information page explaining what to expect. the club ravelry group will be put together at the same time to provide a place for everyone to get together and chat.

meanwhile, the yarns have all been chosen and most of the projects have been planned; we are super excited about the luxurious selections we’ve been able to pull together for it. i think it’s going to be a ton of fun; i can’t wait!

24 Responses to “my little patch of happiness”

  1. Welcome back! Junebug and Aaron’s dragon are a close second to the new tote. ;) Love it! Can’t wait for it to pop up in the shop. Also love the cable and rib cardigan.

  2. josiekitten says:

    Welcome home Anne! That shop is certainly a knitter’s paradise – I think I could spend a week in there browsing! I agree, there is nothing nicer than the simple pleasures of being back home, in touch with nature. We were working out in the garden today, and it was so peaceful – nothing interrupting your thoughts apart from birdsong and bees. I definitely ‘need’ one of those Knitspot tote bags! I think that I am turning into a bag-a-holic! And then you link up to that Mia bag. I will be strong and resist! Will places be limited in the project club? I ask only because we will be in Germany visiting my husband’s family over the May 1st bank holiday weekend and I won’t have access to a computer. I’d hate to miss out! I know that whatever date you choose is not going to be good for someone. Enjoy being back home. (How did David get on with all his DIY? )

  3. Harriet says:

    Hill County Weavers looks like a wonderful shop. Wish I lived closer.

    How nice to come home to those beautiful flowers. Still waiting for some of that around here. Is the last photo some hosta coming up?

    Can’t wait to hear more about the fall project club.

  4. LauraSue says:

    I think we leave stories because subscribing to your blog is more like a relationship than an unconnected consumption of media. Someone I didn’t care about, I could post a “Here’s a comment. Give me the prize.” But someone like you who I feel I’ve come to know, you deserve a bit of myself if you’re going to give me something. I think it’s all about relationship, even the strange, one-sided ones that happen on the internet.

  5. Liz in Missouri says:

    Beautiful flowers and beautiful knitting. Anne – you are always such an inspiration. I have half a sock to go and then I’m starting the PeaVine shawl at last. I’m convinced now though, that it’s Kim’s yarn I will use for the Highlander sweater. I’m thinking Grace. Your knitting is always such a great gauge to go by, and the fibers you use and recommend are always spot on.
    I wish you knew just how much my knitting has imporoved and expanded since I began reading your blog. I’m eager for the fall club.

  6. kleewong says:

    It was wonderful to see you and especially to get some insight into the inspiration for your designs. Our “knitting gals” enjoyed it enormously.

  7. Kat says:

    I’m so sorry you came home not feeling so great. You always stay so busy that I don’t know how you do it. I’ve missed you. But I’ll get to see you in less than a month!

    I’m so looking forward to the club. Must save my pennies for that one. Love the project bag! Oh my!!! I’d be your best advertiser with one of those. : )

    Your beautiful garden brightens the day even long distance. I love spring and all of the pretty flowering plants.

    That Aaron is something! And so is Junebug. What cuties. I’m so glad you had a good TX visit with family.

    I’ve added HCW as a place I’d like to visit one day. In the meantime, I may have bought yarn online from them. Shhhh…I’m supposed to be on a yarn diet. But a girl has to have some fun every now and then.

    Welcome home!

  8. Meg says:

    Love the spring flower shots, but they are making me itch. :-) I got into a patch of poison ivy when gardening last week and voila-rash galore. I have to remember not.to.scratch. anything before a good wash off! I think we share our stories with you because your posts inspire it–a virtual community you bring together through your talents. Knitters seem to share so much of themselves with each other in so many nice ways……

  9. Fibrefanatic says:

    How lovely to see those spring blooms waiting for when you got home. We’re having a week in the high 70s in the UK so we seem to be transitioning into early summer blooms already.
    I love the Knitspot bags and will be stalking the site for those and then the idea of the club too, oh you spoil us!
    Norfolkknitter and I were chatting about you and your brilliant patterns this afternoon as we sat out in the warm sunshine chatting, knitting and she helped me get my Nplying sorted at last. We were discussing the best patterns for my new yarn but I need to sort out the yardage first but the new grey scarf is a strong possiblity especially as we saw it at Loop.
    Enjoy being at home, you’ve been so busy.

  10. Susan Gill says:

    Welcome Back Anne – I missed you and your blog entries. Love the photos – esp of Junebug :) Looking forward to the club details as well as the signups. So much knitting so little time!!!

  11. Kathleen says:

    Loved all the knitting you showed us today and hearing about your travels. I must admit that I’m most excited to hear about the club and all the details. I can’t wait for updated postings on it.

  12. Kim says:

    Welcome home and what a beautiful greeting you had! It’s snowing again here….ugh.

    I always get congested like that when I fly too. One thing that really helped me a ton was to bring a small bottle of nasal saline solution and flush my nose out every half an hour or so. It would get me out of my seat for a short walk and really really helped with the after effects from flying.

    LOVE, love the little sweater!!!

  13. nancy schwartz sternoff says:

    ooooh that whitfield shorty….cannot wait!
    and your flowers brightened my day. still so cold in NYC. going down to the 30′s tonight. but my lavender has poked its new shoots out and my weeping birch is already aglow. lost a few things over this horrid winter.
    summer awaits us all! welcome home and feel better.

  14. Athena says:

    BEAUTIFUL bulbs–it makes me miss the east. California just does not do bulbs the way the east does.

  15. Alexandra says:

    Hi Anne, love the knitspot tote! Will they be available soon for purchase? Also I was wondering about your project club. Is that for fall 2011? Thanks so much Anne for all your beautiful designs

  16. Chloe says:

    I would like that green (lace-trimmed?) shawl on the mannequin in the Hill Country Weaver’s photo please.
    And, Anne, I’m no gardener, but thank you so much for the pictures of yours. Around my house, the best anyone can hope for is a container pot or two of shade-loving impatiens. (Luckily all my neighbors love tulips so we’re not completely deprived!)

  17. Kim says:

    Aaron REALLY looks like a Hanson for sure! Chica wants to be friends with June Bug.

  18. stashdragon says:

    I agree with LauraSue (3:10 yesterday).

    And thanks for tipping us to the knit scene in Austin. Now I know where to head if ever I’m there.

    Love your tulips!

  19. Danielle says:

    Anne,
    You may already know this, but the South Congress Cafe is across the street from Hill Country Weavers and it has the most awesome brunch :) I’ve only been to HCW once, but I remember it fondly as the place I first saw Handmaiden yarns in person and completely swooned haha – isn’t it weird how distinctly you can remember one tiny little detail on a big vacation? Love that shop!

  20. linda welch says:

    I’m glad your spring flowers held out long enough for you to enjoy when you got home!

  21. Ely says:

    Your photos of spring have perked up a lot of readers- me included! It’s looking pretty bleak outside my window here in Brooklyn so vibrant colors courtesy of Mother Nature are very much appreciated.

    So I have a question, which I should not have posted to the giveaway post, and that is: do you remember any of the sources for the lace crochet designs you shared from your “past.” I’ve been looking for pattern books with those kinds of designs and motifs, and aside from Dover books, I haven’t been so successful.

    Happy Spring!!

  22. Jody says:

    I love all of the great photos, but I have to say the one with your new bag, might be my favorite!

  23. Brandi says:

    I’m loving your greenery it’s still pretty brown here waiting for spring still.

  24. Wasie says:

    Glad you had such a wonderful visit in Austin and thereabouts. Hope your St Louis trip is blessed with fair weather and good friends!