when my dear friend kim comes to visit, she’s always packing—presents are one of kim’s favorite things, whether she’s receiving them or giving them. there is almost always chocolate for somebody, and fun things from her many travels.
but this year, when she arrived in canton—starting line for our rhinebeck adventure—she brought an extra-special, straight-from-the-heart, super duper gift for me. and one that i completely treasure
a budding apple shawlette knit by her own two hands—isn’t it exquisite??
HA! if you think it looks pretty, you should feel it, mmm
and now that i’m home, it’s a fond reminder of our close friendship and the fun we have when we travel together. thank you kim!
kim knit this up in one of the recommended yarns—natural dye studio angel, an alpaca/cashmere/silk blend in fingering weight. this colorway (sorry, i don’t know the name!) is just magical—first, it’s got an unusual iridescence that i’ve rarely seen in a knitted fabric; i have no idea how the dyer does it, but it literally changes color as you move the fabric, from pink to lilac. it’s almost exactly like the evolution of hydrangea blooms.
and secondly, it’s a great color for me; it goes with my hair and almost everything i wear. i get lots of nice compliments on it wherever i wear it (so it’s likely i’ll be taking it along and wearing it a lot). it’s also super comfortable to have on; i barely know it there, except for that lovely envelope of warmth around my neck, mmm.
i also love that this gift has had some interesting travels on its journey to me. the yarn was originally purchased in the UK by our friend helen, who then gifted it to kim in one of our ravelry clubhouse swaps. kim cast on and brought it to san felipe, mexico, as a summer knitting project, while she waited for the first fall club shipment. she knit in the car, she knit at the beach, and she enjoyed herself the whole time. then she packed it in her suitcase and flew to ohio with it. then i wore it to the wool show in rhinebeck, where it could see everything from its bird-nest perch around my neck. so in a way, helen actually joined us on our adventure—anything for you helen!
speaking of shawlettes, i have once again succumbed to the bug (they are like potato chips for me; i can’t stop with them once i get started). besides the bandana print one that i showed you the other day, i knit a les abeilles in sea pearl while i was away.
i have knit so many of these that i think i could do it in my sleep, but thank goodness i didn’t; i love knitting this pattern, i wouldn’t want to miss out. i’m itching to block it now, but i’m not going to.
instead, i’m saving it to block in my class at the knitters review retreat in november, where i’m going to present “beautiful blocking”. everyone who attends is encouraged to bring items of their own to block, but for once, i’m planning ahead and setting aside a few FOs here and there to pack along.
anyway, once these two items were off the needles, i wasted no time in starting another bandana kerchief
and i’m already into section C—the insert between the body and the hem pattern. this thing is going to be done in no time. i need to plan another new one to put on the needles for the christmas season—something quick and cute and fun enough to knit two or three times, the better for gifting.
in the meantime, i’ll probably cast on for a little iris shawlette while i mull over my ideas—i realized this week that i don’t have a sample of that one and that it would be really pretty in a number of yarns i have on hand.
i’m thinking of using this skein of zen yarn garden serenity silk single that roxanne gave to me at the knitters fair in september
i love that turquoise color and the deep sheen of the yarn. and if, by chance, i get distracted and can’t start it this week, this will be a good project to travel with when i leave home in mid-november for my last teaching trip of the year.
which i also received at knitter’s fair from tanis herself. they are so closely related as to be interchangeable; either one would make a lovely shawlette that is dressy, warm and entirely covetable.
yeah, shawlettes make the perfect traveler project, especially the ones that start at the hem and get smaller as you get closer to the end of the trip. they keep you on task and provide a nice present for when you get home.
i’m finally getting caught up and feeling a little less frantic this week, though i’m trying not to think about the fact that it’s almost halloween and just a few days ago it was june—the summer is a complete blur.
i can’t get over the feeling that i should be packing to go someplace this weekend, but every time i check, my calendar is blessedly free of travel for the next 2.5 weeks. i even did some cooking with food from our garden the other day. there will be more of that today, i believe . . .
there’s still plenty to catch up on—i’ve got patterns to write, edit, and knit up. and then david, beckie, and i are all working hard to organize our spring/summer neutrals club.
there is plenty more information to read and comment on in our ravelry groups—please do click over to get the information there and join in the discussion if you like; we’d love to know your thoughts. we will have a club webpage with complete information up and running by november 10, if not sooner.
i also need to get my yarn room organized again. while it seems like just last week that i spent a good deal of time clearing the clutter away and filing all the yarn from the floorspace into boxes and bins on shelves, i once again am tripping over a pile of yarn bags that sit just inside the door of that room. before i leave again, it’s got to be neatened up.
but as long as i’m talking about it, i may as well show you the stuff that came home with me from rhinebeck.
once again i made purchases form peggy hart’s booth, featuring her bedfellows blankets. peggy’s wool blankets are woven from mostly single-breed yarns (romney, corriedale, merino, etc.) on 1940s looms.
the log cabin throw (above is an example of those—the older equipment and artisanal yarn milling give these mechanically produced blankets a nice, handmade feel.
but this year, peggy also had a few handwoven blankets, the product of an experiment she will likely never repeat, she says. producing them was a lot of hard, slow work; she appreciates her mechanical looms even more now.
all she had to say was that she wouldn’t be doing those again—how could i resist? the log cabin came home with me too; i so love the herringbone napping blanket i bought last year, that i wanted one for another room in the house, mmmm.
now, as for yarn, well . . while i always try to keep my acquisitions down these days, some yarn always manages to follow me home—the better to share it with you.
and the yarn binge started a little early for us. we had patterns to deliver to three different vendors the fairgrounds on friday, so we took advantage of the opportunity to get a sneak preview of their wares and earmark some skeins we liked.
decima is her newest yarn base: 80/20 merino/silk, but a little different. at 300-ish yards per ounce, it’s fine and lofty, but a rather firm twist gives it enough tooth and texture to keep it from slipping off the needles. that extra twist will also provide some excellent stitch definition.
i picked up the piney woods colorway and could not let it go, then took a couple of jen’s new colors—the orange harvest moon and the blue waikiki—with the idea that they will be just what we’ll be ready for in february and march.
it looks like decima is not up yet on her website, but we’ll let you know when it is . . . meanwhile, i also found some penelope in this gorgeous kismet colorway
a rich aqua/ocean of luxury. i so enjoyed knitting luciole with this yarn; i can’t wait to think up another project for it.
our terrific friends from shall we knit? in waterloo, ON not only brought me a good-sized bundle of toothbrushes (a brand i can’t get here), but another skein of their luscious willow street silk fingering yarn, this time in a rich gold. i dunno about you, but i’m thinking christmas when i look at that . . .
then at our lunchtime picnic on saturday, christine, who has started dyeing yarn to sell on her website, gifted me a generous bag of sample skeins—just look at these gorgeous colors (i’m sorry the photo is so dark christine; we’ve had awfully gloomy weather here this week).
oooh, and she’s got some gorgeous merino/silk DK that looks positively edible . . . ahem, just sayin’.
christine is one of my favorite ravelers—she’s been an active member of our groups and reader of my blog for several years, but i think she’s really hit her stride in the clubhouse group (as have many of you, hee-hee!). i’m just thrilled for her new venture and i hope it’s a grand success.
i gotta think of what i’m gonna knit with that yummy green yarn . . . it’s shouting my name.
now, no trip to rhinebeck would be complete without a complete falldown at the briar rose booth, and this year was no exception. all three of us undermined chris’s best efforts to keep the baskets stocked—it was shameless, but do we care?
i was pretty restrained during our friday pattern delivery, but chris went and drew my attention to this beautiful merino/silk combination she call kindness and i melted for the big red hank (ha! just like a four year old). the base is from mountain meadow wools, which means it contains my very favorite merino fiber from montana. they took a strand of that and wrapped it with silk which accepts the dye differently and shimmers the light.
color me a sucker, but i took it as if hypnotized. i don’t know yet what it’s going to be, but whatever it is, it should be good.
i was very, VERY good on saturday and did not even touch the briar rose yarn except to help kim and beckie spend their money, haha. but then came sunday morning and the sale at her booth.
i totally planned to stand outside and watch. heh.
when i got there, two things happened. i found a skein of the now sadly-discontinued grandma’s blessing
in these rich, rich tones of rust, brown, and red. one of my favorite pair of socks is knit from GB, which wears well for me (though not for david); i think i may have to knit a pair for myself with it.
then the real downfall came, when i thought i saw a ghost
a big basket of chris’s superwash merino worsted, which i knit up for our nephews’ christmas jackets last year. chris never put this yarn into production, because it just didn’t work out with her dye methods, but here was a whole basket of “limited edition” bundles that she was selling off.
before i knew it i had thrown down the bags i was holding and dived into the fray. i emerged with what i think are three, fairly well-matched lots of two skeins each—enough to knit each boy another sweater. maybe not for christmas this year, but you never know what crazy ideas i might get. they might need sweaters to match uncle david’s new rené.
ok, one last, very special thing and then i’m done with the yarn parade.
it was sunday afternoon, outside of building #31, when we ran into erica, who stopped us to say hello and tell us who she was. i recognized her name from the blog and from store orders—i just love meeting readers wherever i go; there’s truly nothing like it. i know some people will say afterward that they wanted to say hi, but they felt shy so they didn’t; i wish that wasn’t the case so often.
anyway, here was erica, saying hello and the next thing we knew she reached in her bag and pulled out this small bundle of finn fiber in a mysterious gray/green/gold colorway that made my hear thump
which she handed over, saying she dyed it just for me, on the off-chance she’d run into me at the fair—she came all the way from chicago. i was flabbergasted, not only at how sweet and thoughtful a gift this was, but also at how closely she must read the blog, because her guess of what i’d like was spot on. and finn, to boot!
BTW, you can find more of erica’s handpainted fiber in her etsy shop
(wow, i just looked; it’s awesome).
well if that wasn’t the perfect end to a perfectly wonderful fiber adventure, i just don’t know what is. so with that, i’m whisking myself away to work; see you next time.