Posted on 35 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, projects

i’m home for what feels like five minutes and even though there is a veritable tsunami of things to take care of today, i can’t help but notice how much everything has leafed out in the days i was gone. the lilacs have gone from infant buds to blooms and the climbing hydrangea seems to have doubled its presence

while the apple tree has burst out with full blossoms that are already on the downhill turn . . . but holding out for a day or two so i can appreciate them

the tree got a severe pruning last week and we’re hoping this might lead to more apples in the fall. i’m sorry about that blurry light surrounding everything—apparently there was a giant fingerprint on my camera lens that i didn’t notice until most of today’s photos were taken. ah, well.

and i can’t get over these chard plants that survived the winter—they are determined to provide an omelet or two before we replant new ones for this year.

a few more tulip varieties to go before they end their blooming period—these dark ones are david’s favorites and they always bring up the rear of the spring flower parade

yesterday morning, i was a couple thousand miles from here; i can’t believe it. i got up early, repacked my bags to leave camp and wandered outside to see if there was a parting photo or two i could take while on a short walk. it had been raining and all the ferns that grow through the wall next to the condo we stayed in were unfurling

omg, it was so amazingly strange and beautiful—very suessian. perfect.

a little further on, the mountains were sharply defined against the gray sky—this is something you can’t see in ohio . . .

the last few days of camp were as fun as the first ones. we had more crafts and evening antics than you’d think we could fit into a few short days.

there was a little more yarn shopping in the blue moon “store”

where it seems i picked up a couple extra skeins of yarn . . . or three.
oh yeah—four.

i almost forgot the one i bought and cast on with right away. it’s already becoming a sock and my only slim excuse is that i needed a consolation sock to cheer me up after my failed cabled sock (which i’m going to fix, once i return from spring fling).

i love the way this one is turning out—just what i had in mind for this luscious ethereal colorway.

the leg is almost done.

not to mention a skein of our camp colorway that i tried not to purchase (more about that later). that’s it in the photo above, next to the yellow sock.

i wasn’t sure about it for a couple of days and then dang it, someone cast on and started knitting with it and i lost my head. i had to have one, too

after swatching with it for a little bit and conferring with sivia, i decided on a simple knit/purl stitch pattern that shows off the colors in a way i really like. i cast on during the closing dinner party and once i got to the airport the next day, it was game on for this one

by the time i got home last night, i was all the way through the heel and ready to pick up the gusset stitches

i’m not even exactly sure what we named this color, but i think it is to be called “paula may; a night at the show”. you had to be there . . .

but it doesn’t stop there . . . one more skein was included in the camp goodie bag—named after the camp itself, cattywampus

it also looks really neat knitted up. i’m not sure when i’ll try it out myself, but i’m glad i saw some people knitting with it because now i do want to give it a whirl at some point.

i know i should not have started two more pair of socks, but what could i do??
it was SOCK camp.

(that’s barbara, working on her fishbone gansey sock)

i made sure to work on a non-sock project on the way home too—gotta keep my other knitting skills sharp, after all. and i have this project i’d love to finish while i’m traveling.
i got a few more repeats done on my twinings stole and now i am halfway done with this half.

i’ll be super happy if i can finish it this weekend at spring fling; then i can graft and block and be guilt free AND have a new beautiful pink stole.

before i got to the airport, i did take a little detour with some friends and campers to churchmouse yarns

it was a really REALLY nice shop. i didn’t buy yarn though; i found buttons that are wonderful and bought those instead.

then we had a little coffee and a snack and it was time to head out.
now i’m packing for the next journey and this evening, spending time with david.
in fact, he’s pumping our tires now to go for a bike ride, so i have to end here.

i’ll see you in st louis!

oh, the places you’ll go

Posted on 27 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls

we are keeping up such a hectic pace at sock camp that i’ve barely had time to check my email, much less write a blog post (honestly, i never even know what day it is . . .). but today i got up extra-early to squeeze it in, because i have so much to share.

i arrived in port ludlow on wednesday for a day of R&R before camp began. my dear friend karolyn (yes, the famous karolyn, test knitter extraordinaire) came to the inn to meet me for lunch and an afternoon of knitting

look at her in her sprossling sweater; isn’t she gorgeous? after a delectable meal, we sat in front of the fire to knit and talk for a couple of hours; it was wonderful.

karolyn brought along a bag full of finished shawls so i could see them in person—since we live so fr apart, this was a real treat for me; she’s an awesome knitter with very good taste.

i worked on my twinings stole and got several more repeats done; it’s starting to grow (of course, ive barely glanced at it since∏—there’s hardly any time to actually knit at camp).

on the plane over, i also worked a bunch on my little campanula cashmere scarf

and it’s also gotten to a respectable length now. i have a feeling that these two pieces won’t see much action til i’m back on the planes home, but then i’m going to spring fling afterward, so maybe then, too.

anyway, it was so good to see you karolyn; thanks for making the trip to visit with me!

there’s not much to say about that evening; i decided to take an hour-long nap and woke up seven hours later at 1 am, completely rested and ready to go.

go where?? nothing to do at that point but knit and listen to a great book (which was really, really good and which i finished).

so i motored along on my cabled sock til it got light enough outside to take a walk. i got it past the heel and gusset shaping and everything was seeming to go well with it at this point, but as you will find out later, there was trouble brewing in paradise.

at this point, i was still under the impression that i’d be getting TONS of knitting done at sock camp, heh.

once the sun was up, i started out for a walk, deciding to take one of the wooded trails near the inn

don’t let that paved stretch fool you; i soon came to a fork in the road and chose the direction that had a soft undulating surface underfoot—which was totally the right thing to do

the pacific northwest is a rainy, damp, and cool environment and the woods are full of the most fantastical mossy sculptures

and these are just a few i captured with my iPhone camera.

it’s even hanging from the finest branches.

oh, and there’s all manner of lichen too—it’s everywhere, crawling up tree trunks, latching onto logs, encrusting rocks. just take a look at these amazing ruffles, worthy of a queen

i’ve been on several early-morning walks since i got here, each one in a different direction. i’ve been trying to get to “the falls” each time, but so far, have managed to get off course every day and haven’t seen those yet—i’m starting to think i’m destined not to see them. but, maybe later today.

around noon on thursday, my lovely roommate arrived

yes, that’s sivia harding—i get to share a cottage with her, isn’t that awesome?? we are getting on in grand style too, having good talks and lots of fun. someone told us last night we seem like sisters that made me feel really good.

we knitted for a while in the afternoon while we rested up for the days ahead. i worked some more on my sock

and finally had it long enough to try on. ooops.
remember last week when i ripped it out and resized it? well, now it was perfect on the foot, but the leg is still way to tight to pull comfortably over the heel. dang it.
i think i’m going to have to reconsider this design completely. it’s in timeout right now . . . after all, there’s enough yarn here to distract me from it; i’m sure i’ll find something to knit a sock with . . .

the campers started arriving later in the afternoon and that’s when the antics began

we had a lovely evening get-together with yummy appetizers (the food here is out o this world—the array of dishes from local producers are simply amazing)

this is maria. and that’s maria’s caricia shawl. maria knits a lot of knitspot patterns and she has a different shawl for every day and man, are they lovely. i’m so flattered; i can hardly speak.

she’s holding out though—she has a finished pine and ivy shawl that she’s saving for the last day of camp and i’m just itching to see it.

we had a few announcements and a little getting-to-know-you activity and then we all headed off to get ready for the first full day of camp. this year’s theme is a suessian one . . . you can imagine the depths to which we plunge into that one . . .

the next day we had our first class. these are my class materials packets—aren’t they yummy looking? this is what you can make with one of these

it’s a swatch—you know how i love swatching? well, i’m spreading the love; i’ve got my classes swatching like mad. i figure, as long as i have them captive, i may as well exert my influence, right??

they seem willing enough though—just look at them go.
i was a little nervous the first day, but since then, my sessions have been going swimmingly.

in the afternoon, we had craft activities. that day we made our own little suessian creatures from orphan socks.

tina read us dr suess stories (extremely well, i might add) as we worked.
the room was awash in feathers, pom-poms, pipe cleaners and fluff of all sorts. but it was SO worth it

everyone got into the spirit of it and some amazing creatures were born.

this is my purple thatched hatch-a-batch—i love crafts.
after crafts, the store was open for a little bit and i’m afraid i succumbed at the mill ends rack. i found a beautiful skein of yarn i could not let go of and decided it would do to console me for my cabled sock failure

isn’t it lovely?
i will rework the cabled sock as soon as i have time to rip it back and start over; i still love that yarn too and the fabric it makes is incredible. it will be a good project to take to spring fling.

yesterday we had another class and more afternoon crafts, but the highlight of the day for me was the evening program—talent show and group storytelling

complete with the perfect hats, provided by debbie. they were an unexpectedly HUGE hit with everyone.

just awesome debbie—great choice.

and with that, i think i have to end now—time to run to breakfast. i won’t be proofing this post even, so please forgive my typos that are sure to be here.

i’ll try to be back before i leave, but you know, they keep me very busy here.


Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in patterns

celebrating my first trip to sock camp, a quick-knit sock with a motif that plays well with socks that rock® and other variegated yarns. the knit/purl checks move along with the color changes as they spiral down the leg and foot to provide some texture and interest, without the stress of a complex motif. use a sport weight yarn for a warm sock that flies off the needles, or knit at a tighter gauge in a lighter yarn for a comfortable all-season treat for your feet.

shown above: size medium in blue moon fiber arts socks that rock®, colorway, rare gem (a one-of-a-kind color, but similar to hot flash or dragon dance)

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

i think tina’s dyeing talents are known far and wide, but i just want to reiterate how very, very nice it is to knit with her fine yarns. socks in her yarn always go so quickly once i’ve started, in no small part because her colors are so entertaining to work with. you can view the huge array of colors and fibers in her online shop—go now; i’ll be here when you get back . . .

the special rare gem skein of yarn i used to knit this project was a gift from my dear friend gail, who then offered to test knit the pattern as well. not only that, but she was in on creating the name for it—how lucky am i to have such a creative friend?

gail was joined by carol, another much-appreciated test knitter—carol has tried several sock patterns for me and always provides such great feedback—thank you carol!

and finally, thanks to david, our inveterate photographer; i’ll sure miss him while i’m away . . .

visiting home

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

gone for only a few days and look at how big everything has gotten. i’m home for just a visit in between trips, but ran out between the raindrops this morning to record the garden’s progress in my absence.
the hostas have gone from stubby points to unfurling leaves.

even the lime leaf miniature hostas are up now

the epimedium are in full bloom while their leaves mature a bit more; soon their bright green heart shapes will be rimmed with red.

and my very favorite in the cuteness department—may apple

these little gnomelike sprouts make me laugh. nearby, the fiddleheads are showing the smallest signs of life, but you have to be watching closely each day to see it

right now their little chicken heads are just rising up; i’m hoping that when i come back from sock camp next week, they’ll have started uncurling.

next to them, the red astilbe is beginning to emerge, while a little further away, the pink one is well ahead of it

i’m a little sad that i’m missing so many days of observation during this intense period of resurgence, but i’m making myself feel better with a constant supply of fresh flowers

this week, we have pretty double jonquils with a frilly center, the big hyacinth flowers in three colors (and wow, i’m almost fainting from the scent that fills the house), more tulips, and gorgeous apple blossoms.

heartbreakingly delicate; they make me pause every time i walk by.
david is already scouring the garden catalogs for more bulbs—he thinks we need more flowers next year. i love a guy that loves flowers.

you might think by now that all i’ve got today is distracting pictures of the garden, but i’ve been knitting too. while i didn’t knit on much else besides my sock in philly, i’ve completely widened my scope since i got home.

and not just knitting, but finishing things—i’ve gotten three projects off the needles since sunday night. i worked the last couple repeats and top border for the baby blanket in class yesterday.

since i wouldn’t be able to block it AND take photos for the pattern cover before leaving town again tomorrow, i’m putting that on hold til my return home on april 25th—i’ll work on it when i get back and release the pattern at that time.

it never hurts to fill the time with looking at all the beautiful colors of knitting notions classic merino sport yarn you could use to knit one though . . . i used less than three skeins for the smallest size blanket and the other two sizes probably require four or five skeins respectively.

remember my last little pine and ivy shawlette, the one knit in fibre isle magique? i changed the pattern to make it a regular triangle and eliminating the shoulder shaping means it takes more yarn. lo and behold, i ran out just before the finish.

sylvie sent me more yarn, which arrived while i was in philly, so this morning i finished it off and put it on to soak right away.

you know, when i got to philly it was beautifully sunny, but chilly and windy and guess who didn’t bring a scarf to wear? what an idiot—this is just the weather all those little nothings are for, for heavens sake.

and i’m tired of being the only person without a chic little scarfy thing happening—like i don’t have fifty-three of them or whatever. i tend to dress more for speed and agility, if you know what i mean (for those of you that don’t know, what that means is that i’m too rushed and klutzy to really pull off the look; i tend to get, um, tangled and messy).

for my own satisfaction, i want to try on this next trip to look a little more pulled together and maybe keep warmer in the bargain. and what better thing could a person have than a little shawlette to serve both purposes?

especially one in such a luxurious yarn—cashmere and bison; YUM.
it’s drying as we speak; i should be able to unpin it in the morning before i leave.

and then there are the socks—done. i couldn’t be happier.
in socks that rock mediumweight (a rare gems colorway similar to hot flash or dragon dance), this was a quick, fun sock, all finished just in time to go to camp.

we even got some nice modeling photos of them today, so i can release the pattern to celebrate my first trip to sock camp.

(can you tell i’m excited to go to camp?? i think the socks are, too)

what then will i be bringing for knitting?
well, no shortage of projects laying around, that’s for sure.

i’ve just barely started my little campanula lace scarf, and it’s the easiest of travelers, so that’s definitely going in my bag

this project is so compact i can fit it easily in one of my mia bags, which takes up no more room than a cosmetic tote. it’s a no-brainer for a trip—small, light, and easily memorized. and the yarn, great northern yarns 100% cashmere laceweight, colorway cherry blossom, is so touchable, who’d want to leave it home?

and then i have my twinings stole to finish up; i’m just a couple of repeats in at this point, so there’s plenty to do on it. i am falling in love all over again with this rubicund colorway and the squishy, yummy, laceweight merino from fearless fibers.

i haven’t knit with so much pink in a while, but i’m glad i am right now—it’s just what i needed in my knitting palette. i like all of the pinks i’m working with (heh, there’s a third pink in the wings you haven’t seen yet), yet they are all very different.

speaking of fearless fibers, i also have that cabled sock on the needles in deb’s MCN luxury—a merino/cashmere/nylon blend

now that i’ve got the other socks off the needles, i can focus on these plump, delicious beauties in colorway sublime.

so that’s what, three projects? for 6 days?? . . . hmmm, i may have to find another one to bring along. unfortunately, it won’t be the lace beret;i haven’t had time to figure out what i’m doing with that yet; it will have to wait til i get home.

i may bring my swatching project for the next shawl design, even though i haven’t fixed the charts yet for the second draft. i might have some alone time to work on those and then wish i had the yarn and needles to swatch with, right? or maybe not . . .

oh yes—that’s right. i also have my longjohn socks to finish; those will be wonderful takealong projects. even bringing one of them will be a good idea. problem solved.

you know what? i’m talking like i’m going out the door already and haven’t even packed for camp yet—i better get going.
here’s some more flowers—enjoy.