fun, fabulous frederick

Posted on 34 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects

most antique malls are quiet enclaves—places where one can retreat to wander through the past, undisturbed except for the hushed movement of dust moats in the filtered light.

on saturday, though, that atmosphere was completely transformed at the antique loft in frederick, when area fiber fans arrived to celebrate the indie artist event

organized by kristi johnson and paul troxell, owners of the adorable eleganza yarns in frederick, MD. kristi is also the dyer behind shalimar yarns, which i am using in my longjohns sock project.

my lace knitting class convened bright and early, before the vendor area opened

and we had an awful lot of fun for the next four hours, working through some skill building tasks and a class project (they were awesome). i got to meet some long-time blog readers (i always love that part of any trip!) and made some new friends as well.

david found a quiet place to entertain himself in between taking photos and wandering the neighborhood (he scouted out good coffee and a great place to have dinner).

sometime just before noon, the vendors opened the doors to the sales area and the crowds poured in

(one of the reasons i don’t have a photo of paul yet is that he was swamped all afternoon at the checkout table, yay)

a delectable assortment of regional fiber producers was on hand, each with beautiful yarns, fibers, weaving, and accessories to display

there was awesome bluegrass music as well

my favorite shot of the day is this one:

looks like the guys took over the demo area, to show us how they “do” a fiber event . . .

at lunch time, we were treated to a scrumptious box lunch from veggie annie

complete with rockin’ brownies (just sayin’)

late in the afternoon, david and i put up the trunk show display

and i talked about the pieces, answered questions, and modeled sweaters and shawls

while we all mingled, looked at patterns, and shared wine and cheese while the sun went down outside

another good day—we were all thrilled with the outcome. the enthusiasm, the crowd, the fun and the fiber—everything came together to make it a special first-time event, with (hopefully) more to come.

ooops, gotta run—i have another class this morning and it’s time to get ready!


Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, food and garden, projects

i am never mentioning the size of our (puny) snowbanks again, hahaha.
the ones here in maryland are far, FAR, bigger than any i’ve seen in ohio.

i have to make this really quick and knitless—it’s almost time to get ready for class.

yesterday afternoon, somewhere in eastern pennsylvania or western maryland, we drove through the most amazing stretch of scenery and i instantly knew you would like it, too. for about 10 or 20 miles, the world around us was completely encased in rimefrost

thicker and icier than hoarfrost, this is a type of frost that forms in windy, humid conditions, such as those is coastal areas or pockets of highway. because it builds up and ices over repeatedly, it takes on the look of cooked frosting or glazing.

i was driving at the time and david was dozing, bu i shook him awake and slapped the camera bag into his hands—please can you take pictures?? can you do it faster?? (hahaha, my sense of urgency tends to differ from david’s)

unfortunately, we missed getting pictures at the prettiest stretch, where the trees were pressing in much closer to the road. good thing i have the image in my head.

once we got into town, we checked in with kristi and paul at eleganza yarns and then headed down to colombia to meet up with my nephew james and diana for dinner at a highly recommended japanese steak/sushi place

they had the steak and seafood hibachi menu, while david and i literally ate a boatload of sushi. mmmm. it was actually very good

we have a full weekend ahead and i promise to bring you more of it—david may be touring the white house on sunday (i’m so jealous!), and if he does, he’s agreed to take the camera along and do a guest blog about his trip there.

wish me luck in my classes . . .

piling it higher and deeper

Posted on 32 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

we are running out of places to put the snow, hehehe.
i think this current storm is coming to a close, but i dunno—the sky is still awfully gray. the sun came out for a couple of seconds during the morning, but quickly beat it when it saw how much snow it had to melt.

our snowbanks are almost at their limit—they’re getting so peaked at the top that they won’t hold dry snow any more. if we get enough wet snow, i might be able to build them up and mold them to a shape that will get us through another storm.

it’s always hard to know (or even remember that this is important) during that first big snow what shape you should make your base—it can all go terribly wrong down the road, when in february, you are sneaking snow across the street in the middle of the night, just for someplace to put it.

those of you who are city dwellers know exactly what i’m talking about.

david is up on the roof again, trying to get as much snow as possible into the yard, instead of on top of us—no sense in tempting fate . . . especially when one is a neighborhood snow sinner.

the amaryllis is waving its arms about and growing a little bigger every day. david is concerned that we won’t be home to water it, but at the rate it’s using water (not very quickly) i think it will be ok on its own.

i was anxious to get that shoveling out of the way because today i got up early and finished another secret project, which soaked in the kitchen sink while i worked

yep, another one off the needles and blocking as we speak (sorry, i can’t show it to you now, but you may see it some day). and some early-morning knitting to boot—i can’t even remember the last time i did that at home; it was positively lovely.

i am SO happy to have this one done—i loved working on it, but i love even more that it will be winging its way to its recipient when i leave for the east coast. it’s always good to leave home knowing that i don’t have loose ends.

that done, i set about planning my travel knitting to get ready to write this post. we’ll be gone for 11 days total. i still have five socks on the needles but three of them are in almost the same place

i’m just past the heel on all three and i think i can even finish one of the longjohn socks before we leave, yay (which means i might have a pattern to release on friday—maybe)

i have two other secret socks that are almost to the heel.

what i don’t have is david’s hat on the go yet. i cast on for it in the restaurant during the opening ceremonies of the olympics, but i pulled it out the other day—i can’t remember what i was doing, actually, haha.

so i wound the cast-on yarn back up and am thinking i could maybe sit down this evening after our spinning class and start it again. once it’s on the needles and i know all the tools i’ll need for it, i can pack it up and put it aside to pick up later on the road.

i have a feeling that this is one of those projects that just flies along once i get it going—the start is the biggest challenge.

the second pine and ivy shawl in my handspun silk/cashmere is definitely going with me on this trip—i’ve been saving it as a treat for getting secret projects done and now is the time. i won’t touch it til after i leave home (i have too much packing and sock knitting to do), but i’m looking forward to spending time on it during the trip.

i might have a chance to play with a new design project while i’m away, so i’ll bring some supplies for that eventuality. nothing big, but certainly not any socks (i need a little break from socks, once these current pairs are finished).

you never know—we could be detained by a blizzard and unable to come home. hmmm, maybe i should pack one more small project . . .

on the other hand, the olympics don’t end til the day we head home, so i just might end up spending my whole trip on olympic knitting (let’s hope not). i purposely did not pick a stressful olympic goal for that reason. even though we are supposed to pick something that is at least a little stressful—in a good way—i didn’t. sue me.

i think that’s all i have for today—i have to try to get a little pattern work done before the spinners arrive. i’m looking forward to class tonight; i feel like it’s been ages since i did any spinning (and it’s just been a week!).

i hope i’ll have time to blog tomorrow before i go, but i gotta tell ya, my calendar is packed with last minute errands, so you might not see me again til later in the weekend.

it’s good to be home

Posted on 26 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects

how nice was it to arrive home last evening to this cute card propped against my computer screen and dinner just about ready? plus, david was vacuuming when i got here—what more could anyone want?

i love this man . . .

before i tell you all about my weekend in germantown, i know you want to know who won the copies of chrissy’s wonderful toe up! sock book (wasn’t that a great post??)

the lucky winners are: aura and alvine. if each of you would email me with your street address, i will send those books out right away.

i have another special quick announcement from our friend romi:

I designed a little shawlette Brandywine to benefit Haiti, and $5 of each $6.50 purchase price goes to Doctors Without Borders. I uploaded it on Saturday night and have already sent off $1,000. I’m pretty thrilled, since I could never hope to do that much on my own! My goal is to sell 10,000 patterns—I’m aiming for the stars.

you can purchase romi’s brandywine pattern by clicking here to buy it on ravelry or here to buy it from her online shop.

this one of many creative ways that our knitting community is pulling together to provide aid wherever it is most needed—
thank you for your participation.

it’s going to be a very busy week around here—david and i are getting ready to head out again next weekend, this time for a pretty long road trip (i’m so glad david is coming along). we are driving to maryland on friday for the indie artist celebration and a weekend of workshops (sock design and advanced lace) organized by eleganza yarns in historic frederick.

afterward, we are driving north to new york state, stopping off to visit friends in the catskills on the way to albany, where we will visit with my mom for her birthday and i will also teach a weekend of classes (sweater fitness and advanced lace knitting) at trumpet hill on feb 26 and 27 (call for more information).

so—did you have a good weekend and get a lot of knitting done?

for the last three days, i joined the knitters in germantown, OH for the kickoff of the knitting olympics and a series of workshops organized by susan, owner of ball and skein yarn shop

here we are making silly fools of ourselves yesterday . . .

she got me set up in the extremely quaint guest house in town, where i settled in nicely for a quick nap

and after a little rest, we headed out to join the knitters for the evening. we had lots of fun, beginning with dinner, sporting events, and a grand cast-on event at a local gathering place.

i cast on for a new hat project at the table, but it’s dark and cabled and needs a little attention at the start, so i switched to sock knitting fairly quickly

i have two goals for my olympics—to finish five second socks and to make david a hat (i think his drawing of himself up there explains why he needs one right away).

i really don’t think i can get five socks done, but i’m gonna try . . .

we were entertained in between olympic events with some really beautiful showing of FOs—nichole (above) was sporting a lovely shawl and jenny (below) had just completed the most yummy, orangey central park hoodie in briar rose abundance (looks like colorway 8212, maybe?).

she says that now she “really gets the briar rose” . . .

germantown is full of historic buildings and homes, with colorful gingerbread and beautiful windows. unfortunately, i didn’t get out to walk around and take pictures because it was so cold and snowy, but hopefully i’ll get back there during more temperate weather to do that.

our class was held in the community center, which used to be the old train station in town. it ahs beautiful light and is a great place to work with a group.

we spent all of saturday dissecting the way we plan, choose, and knit sweater projects in the sweater fitness class. everyone took a complete set of measurements and learned how to use that information to better choose patterns and sizing for themselves.

susan’s husband sent flowers—wasn’t that nice?
(he was golfing in florida . . .)

in the afternoon we did some swatching and analyzed that process, while discussing some pattern alterations that will result in a better-fitting sweater for individual figure types.

here and there, while participants were doing quiet work, i managed a little progress on the red longjohn sock and in the evening, quite a LOT of progress on one of the secret projects (yay) while susan and i had a little knit night on our own, complete with great chinese food.

on sunday morning we did a finishing class which focused mostly on preparing and putting together seamed garments, such as sweaters. we talked about blocking, joining, and working common trims (pockets, neckbands, button bands, etc). this is always a fun class for me to teach because i enjoy fine finishing so much and want others to enjoy it too. we even had time at the end to do a little wet blocking with a bit of lace.

after lunch the lace knitters arrived and we dove right into advanced lace knitting techniques—complex stitch patterns, knit-on edgings, shaped lace pieces, dealing with provisional castons, etc.

i know they look a little grim, but trust me they are having a blast!
(the start of the sample project always requires a lot of concentration).

that’s better . . .

it was a wonderful weekend and i think everyone went home very happy, including me. hopefully, i’ll get to go back at some point for more.

i came home with one secret project all finished (just two more to go), one new hat cast on, and two socks that are much further along

these are knit with shalimar zoe sock and i’m trying like crazy to finish one of each of these socks by wednesday so i can release the pattern in time to celebrate the indie artist event.

(i need to weight the yarn i have for the red ones—i need to watch how long i make that leg to be sure i won’t run short. thankfully, david doesn’t like his sock legs to be very long (whereas, i like mine as high as possible).

today i’m playing a bit of catch-up on email, as well as finishing the pine and ivy shawl pattern so i can pass it along to the test knitters. the henley sweater pattern is also back from proofing, so i have to attend to that, too. oh, and i have class at 3 pm.

i think then, it’s time to go—more later in the week . . .