how true . . .
i didn’t fall off the face of the earth, though i did visit some beautiful places where i wanted to . . . SO much to share about last week’s travels! i knew it would be a super-busy week, with no time to keep the blog updated on my many stops, so we had some nice book reviews and giveaways instead.
which means i have winners to announce before we do anything else:
the winner of the rizzoli edition of vogue knitting is romi!
i couldn’t help laughing when i pulled up her name; we’ve been friends since the first year of the blog, i think and she finally won a book, yay!
and the winner of coastal knits is connie; congratulations connie!
ooof, this was the scene in my entryway this morning—and that’s AFTER a bunch of stuff was put away. everywhere i look today, there is something urgent to take care of. it’s always like that when i get home; i don’t know where to turn first. but i know i want to blog, so let’s get started.
that is the only picture i have of my stay in rochester, can you believe it? i was so busy having fun with guild members that my camera went sadly unused the whole weekend. even my knitting was minimal, though i did get my hazel knits shawlette off to a good start
this color is one that i created when cookie and i visited with wendee last march, but it’s really close to a colorway that she has in her shop called entice. for some reason, i was happily able to add rows after classes for several days and it grew quickly—enough to get it to the point where i may want to start the hem
which means it requires some thinking time, which is why progress halted for the remainder of my travels. now that i’m home, we can commence with whatever is next for this piece.
another item i got started there were some wristlets to match the motheye scarf—a little project to use up my leftover yarn
this was a great take-along piece, as it tucked easily into my purse and was little enough to work on at the table, while chatting before dinner.
we had classes for three full days and then i gave a talk on monday night to the membership at large—which totals about 350, a very big guild. they made sure to welcome me warmly and took great care of me while i was there. rochester rocks!
and to prove that i listened attentively to the recommendations of local knitters . . .
this is the first stop we made after cookie landed on tuesday morning. now if you live anywhere but rochester, you might think it odd that we celebrated our reunion at the grocery store, but then, you probably don’t have wegman’s in your neighborhood.
virtually every person i talked to in rochester asked me if i had been there yet. the truth is, i had been to wegman’s many years ago when it was new to the area, but not recently. each person in turn gave me a knowing nod and then sagely recommended i make a visit. i knew just the person to go with, hee-hee!
and i wasn’t wrong. she had also been told to visit by some people (i’m guessing on twitter). so off we went.
and it was a lot of fun. first of all, they really do have almost everything there, especially at the flagship store we visited in pittsford.
(full disclosure, however—we didn’t find truffle honey there, but i bet they’ll carry from now on, haha; several staff members are now alerted to its existence.)
but they did have sheep’s milk yogurt and nice breads
and many, many fine cheeses, including manchego and a soft italian one with truffles that turned out to be sublime (it totally made up for the lack of truffle honey to go with the manchego).
once we were equipped with a picnic of delicacies and essentials, we headed off to trumansburg to visit our friend laura nelkin, a fellow designer who we had plans to stay with for a couple of days (you saw her in the motheye photo shoot).
she loved the truffle cheese, too, heh. we had a wonderful visit at her home; it was really generous of laura and her family to have us there and to let us get to know them.
once we had some lunch that first day, we headed out for taughannock falls state park and some light hiking on the trails around the gorge.
it was just wonderful to be outside in one of my favorite places on earth once again
accompanied by nocce the dog, we made the circuit on the upper rim trail and then went below to the lower one, then up again back to the car.
and in between there was this
and so much more—the running waters made a fantastic background.
back at the house, laura made a yummy butternut squash soup while we kept her company. i worked some more on my shawlette that first night, but soon switched to my zen yarn garden mitts as the daylight waned.
this design is a variation on the socks i designed for ann budd’s sock knitting master class, but also on the butternut scarf i designed a few years ago. obviously, i love this motif, heh. and the yarn is zen yarn garden serenity silk + in colorway frosted teal.
these photos were taken later in the trip, but give you a good idea of what the result will be. there will be a matching beret as well, with graduated motifs; i’ve yet to begin that piece, which requires me to sit and think for a bit about how it will be constructed and shaped. i always think i’ll do lots of that in my hotel room during the evenings and it never happens; travel teaching is just tiring and some day i will admit that before i leave home with a bag full of knitting to do.
now that i’m home, i should have it on the needles soon . . . meanwhile, i have one mitt left to finish, and i’m pretty far along on that—it was a good project to tote around and work on here and there.
the next day was wednesday last week and while we planned to maybe take another hike, the weather wasn’t looking so cooperative. so instead, we decided to head for the wine trail and get a photo shoot in somewhere along the way.
the views along seneca lake were stunning that day—rain clouds hovered, but held off just long enough to get some beautiful photos of my friends, who graciously modeled the most recent design for us.
the willows were absolutely brilliant; that single bright yellow one anchored almost every photo. these that were further from the lake were just beginning to turn
a phenomena we noticed everywhere last week—where most trees had completely shed their leaves, here and there were single ones that were still green or in full color and randomly so, as if a tiny microclimate exists just around their immediate perimeter.
the weather only held off for so long and eventually it began to rain in earnest, so we packed up the cameras and headed for warmer environments.
we tasted some wine at damiani cellars, where they really know their tastes. we loved that the descriptions of the wine flavors and scents were so accurate.
across the parking lot was finger lakes distilling, which immediately caught our attention—personally, i find nice liquor even more interesting than wine. since laura had never been, we decided it was a must stop.
and i’m so glad we went in. i had never been to a micro distillery before—i didn’t even know they existed, legally—and i found the whole idea both exciting and fascinating. we did a tasting of bourbon, gin, rye whiskey, pear brandy, and a few liquers.
the gin and bourbon were especially interesting; i brought home several bottles for future entertaining and for gifts.
i also worked on my lace wristlets at laura’s house—once i saw how quickly they were knitting up, i decided i should finish so we could block them in class at the upcoming retreat over the weekend
mission accomplished—they were almost done when we left on thursday. we lingered a bit through the morning and early afternoon, nibbling on cheese and fruit for lunch while we lazily chatted with laura. finally though, it was time to pack the car and get going—we had knitters to see.
some of whom you might even be familiar with!
next stop was canandaigua on the lake, where the knitters review retreat was moved this year. what a great location for this lovely event—it’s one of my favorite to attend, so low key and restful; there is plenty of time to enjoy the good company around one.
(ok, well, maybe these two troublemakers are not the best example of good company, but trust me, there was plenty)
ah, here we go, this is more like it, heh. louise and mary (left and right) are returnees for many years at the KR retreat, but this was mary rose’s first time. she was in my class on friday, which was a complete delight (we did bittersweet vines as a project; everyone learned a lot and we had a great time, right nancy?).
susan, another long-time returnee makes treats every year and this year was no exception—we had sheep cookies for dessert! (cookie ate three of them, hahaha, but to be fair, they were delectable).
the next morning we had a blocking class, for which i had saved a few recent FOs in case we needed extras. WHAT a great class!
sigh . . . you know, this is my fourth or fifth les abeille shawlette and i don’t think i’ll ever get tired of knitting it.
i already feel like casting on another, but i really need to do some christmas knitting on other projects. we’ll see—if i’m good, i’ll let myself make one over the december holidays . . .
meanwhile, this one will go onto the gift pile.
it’s knit up here in the sea pearl that was left over from my blümchen sweater. i love how dressy and pretty it turned out—perfect for its recipient.
the wristlets got a nice blocking and now they are ready for modeling. i just need to get david and myself up and running before dark one of these days.
i received a copy of clara’s newest book this weekend as well—the much anticipated knitter’s book of socks. if there is a sock question that isn’t answered in it, maybe it’s better not to ask!
now all of that was fine and dandy, an incredibly fun and relaxing weekend and rewarding as well. but i think my most favorite-est thing of all, the one thing that really epitomizes and sums up the tone of this weekend is this:
my dear friend chris holding her very first lace knitting—just look at it; isn’t it great?? she is so proud about it, too and rightly so. she and dawn worked together to make a les abeilles from her new kindness yarn. they used a larger needle with this worsted weight yarn and knit the smallest size to create a cozy, generous shoulder shawl.
but most of all, they pushed themselves to do something new. we blocked the piece in class and amazed them with the transformation. even though they see blocking on the blog all the time, it’s still amazing when you see it in person.
one of the things that happens at every KR retreat is the new beginnings on sunday morning during knitting church. this is where participants begin a new project and share the first stitches with other participants, a little like getting your yearbook signed by as many people as you can.
i started mine with a new offering from spirit trail fiberworks, which jen gifted to me on my visit to her booth friday afternoon. this is holda, a 12-ply lambswool/cashmere/angora blend that makes a lovely dense-but-drapey fabric with a soft halo.
i cast on for a hat—i’m in need of a particular hat to wear for running; what i want is something thin and lightweight, but dense enough to keep out some wind. i’ve been thinking that a very soft, smurfy-style hat which i can roll and scrunch at will would be perfect, but wondered what yarn i could use. i didn’t want anything too stiff like sock yarn—it needed to be very drapey.
and then jen plopped this right into my hands. wow. it is so perfect, it’s a little scary. i could hardly hold off from casting on, but i made myself wait til sunday to do it.
i finished it monday night when i got home (i told you i need it).
this morning i washed it and laid it out to dry. as you can see it’s a long-ish hat that will slouch at the back when i wear it—unless i pull it down tight and double up the brim for extra warmth. the extra length gives it some versatility.
it’s still damp in these photos, but you get the idea. i think you can tell, too how very soft and light it is. perfect.
as you know, i took up running in the spring and i’ve been pretty successful at keeping it going—i continue to improve week by week and even had a big breakthrough while i was away on this trip. it’s been a great source of inspiration for me this year. i’m still learning what clothes i’ll need to wear as the seasons pass; knitting the hat is preparation for winter, when i know i’ll need an extra head layer, but i won’t want anything heavy.
anyway, i think i hit it with this one—so perfect, i cast on another right away last night before bed, this time in winter solstice, a deep soldier blue. the new one won’t have stitches at the edge that were knit by all of the retreat participants, but it will still conjure up all the wonderful moments this retreat contained and honor my budding friendship with jen, who is completely lovely.
now i think it’s time to stop for today, but there is still all the yarn to show you, so it’s certainly not the end. i’ll be back . . .
and don’t forget, signups for our bare naked spring project club will open on friday—click here or here to read all about what’s in store.