the long trail

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, projects, spinning and fiber

when we left off last time we were just settling into spinning class to celebrate erica’s BD. by then our load-in was well organized; all that was left was to pack the car and go, a job we’d do in the morning. while the evening was lovely, by midnight there was crazy rain, which continued into the next day and the next day after that. our joke was that our car was like that cartoon where the rain cloud travels directly above some unfortunate soul wherever he goes.

when we first thought about doing a booth at the squam art fair, we tossed around all sorts of ideas, but as the date of the event drew closer, we realized we’d do best to trim our sails and keep the whole shenanigans pretty streamlined—squam was FAR away and it was going to be quite an undertaking just to get there.

the car was packed to the gills when we pulled away from the curb in front of the house—it’s so hard to predict what will sell well that we took a bunch of everything and some simple booth props to make it all attractive. we figured we’d learn a lot from this first experience.

we had some lovely new samples to show off as well, such as this gorgeous miss doolittle scarf knit by cathy in stone soup fingering yarn, color pumice.

and this scottish reel cowl knit by karolyn in ghillie fingering yarn. this is a brand new design which is a spinoff from our BNK club selection for the month of may. isn’t the ruffle adorable?

we’ll be releasing this special variation very soon in our shop to go with the ghillie sock yarn. it has three sizes that take 300(600, 900) yards respectively; shown here is the medium, which is a very good size that can double as a shawl or long scarf.

it’s a great piece to wear in the evening at the beach or while visiting north country; a little something to throw on in any configuration you like—we’ll show you more options when we do the release post (probably friday).

and of course wheaten, knit by vanessa, so elegant in stone soup fingering as well. this was probably the most popular piece we showed last weekend. it’s always interesting and different for each show, we never know which item is going to capture the crowd’s attention. more views of the booth a bit later . . .

it was two days in the car each way and we switched off so each of us could have some knitting time. i finished my secret project on the first day and packed it away in favor of the more recreational sock and sweater projects.

i’m using our ghillie fingering yarn here in a new design that’s a variation of the strömming cap pattern i published during the winter. it has a bit of a vintage feel that i love. this pair is for david, who has been working incredibly hard to get ready for the kitchen renovation while i’ve been off doing this and that. he’s going to need new socks this year and he deserves them . . .

we finally pulled into our new hampshire destination on friday afternoon, with plenty of time left in the evening to celebrate erica’s birthday, which we did by eating a yummy meal at six burner bistro in plymouth, NH (if you’re ever in the vicinity, eat there; it’s terrific). then we picked up a couple slices of carrot cake on the way back to our accommodations, where we changed into jammies and knit swatches for our booth. we did not stay at the squam camps, but in a lovely condo resort nearby where we felt kind of pampered, actually—after the trip we had running in and out of the rain for two days, we couldn’t argue with dry, comfy bedrooms of our own and nice big sofas to lounge around on while we knit and chatted.

not to gloat, but it felt great.
which was good because we had a big day on saturday. first, up early to get those last details organized; it was still raining when we took off for the campgrounds. by the time we got there however, the sky had cleared and it was shaping up to be quite a nice day, cool and clear with sun.

we had some time to kill when we arrived so we took a nice walk through the woods and down to the water.

which was gorgeous—we could have plunked down and stayed there the whole day, staring at the waves. but i had a couple of talks to give and erica wanted to scope out the room i’d be working in, so we didn’t loiter.

i gave two half-hour talks during the early part of the party; we were set up in a nice quiet building apart form the crowd where party goers could take a break to sit and learn more about knitspot and bare naked wools.

the first talk was about how our yarn lines evolved from idea to realization and how we decide what kind of yarns to make. we prepared numerous sets of knitting needles with our various offerings so that participants could take each yarn for a test drive to compare the hand of each fabric with the others.

anyone who has taken my yarn voyage class knows how much i enjoy talking about fiber, haha; i never run out of things to say about yarn and how its myriad characteristics affect the outcome of projects we knit.

the second talk was about how designs evolve from animal to finished sample—how differences between fiber types determine the various choices i make when developing designs or whole bodies of work.

everything from stitch definition to placement of seams is related in some way to the characteristics of the fabric; the puzzle lies in putting together a composition that showcases all the best traits of the components. i hope everyone else finds these topics as fascinating as i do and that i did them justice.

in addition to the talks, knitspot sponsored the ravelry party event on saturday afternoon.

by the time we got there, the crowd had thinned out a bit, but there was lots of knitting and activity still going on. we mingled and chit-chatted with attendees, including our friends kate and courtney from kelbourne woolens. it was so great to see them again!

i took a turn at playing baggo to win chances for the KW door prize. i love these kinds of games; i have good eye-hand coordination. i get REALLY enthusiastic about playing horse shoes . . .

after this we took a little break for some knitting and a snack until it was time to go set up our booth; i had my ghillie sock in tow and managed a few rounds while we rested.

we were excited about the evening—our first public retail outing for bare naked wools. we have a terrific corner location in the VIP lounge (i.e., next door to the beer kegs)

the yarns looked awesome spread out with the samples; we know now that we need to get more of them up off the table where browsers can really see them.

while most of the booth focused on the bare naked wools yarn, we reserved one outer corner to display our fall in full color club, with samples from previous years and patterns that have been up for release. it was a pretty display that caught the attention of many attendees, who we welcome to join in the upcoming fun.

hard to believe it’s nearly that time of year already, but it won’t be long at all til we pack the first shipment. we are super excited about the yarn offerings this fall—we’ve got one luxurious yarn after another in the lineup and some great color choices, too. i don’t think anyone would be without a number of favorites among them.

now there’s a buffet i could linger over! but linger was not the operative word here—from the moment the doors opened our booth was packed. we hadn’t know what to expect but we were especially pleased to see it was a hit with passersby. the cowls, scarves, and lace stoles were the most popular items and we quickly sold out of our fingering yarns and patterns for the lace items that had the most visibility. yay! our first outing was a great success.

tired and happy, we packed up our wares and headed back to the condo with a pit-stop for a well-deserved cocktail on the way.

in addition to my sock, i have another little project tucked in my purse that’s been perfect for  knitting on the go. it’s a sample for a class i’m teaching later in the month at shall we knit? in waterloo—a pea vines mini/doll shawl that’s the perfect size for practicing all the stitches involved. i’m knitting mine with leftovers from my sprössling sweater.

i worked on this when we got home in order to wind down the evening. i’m about halfway through the hem, so it will be a quick job to finish it up once i get back to it. i think i’ll leave it unblocked until class time so i can show everyone how i’d pin it out.

we split the ride from new hampshire to ohio into two days, stopping off for lunch in albany with my mom (which was an excellent break, thanks mom!) and staying the night with erica’s cousins in the finger lakes (incredible; i love the lake region)

we got there early enough to sit on the deck to knit and visit with amy and pat through the sunset—thoroughly enjoyable. i was making excellent headway on my new top-down cardigan design in sea pearl and am now just about ready to split it into sections at the underarm area.

amy has her own business which i know you are SO going to love: she provides professional, in-home pet-sitting services through her company lucky dogs canine services, located in the skaneateles, NY area. ok, but that’s not all—she also runs the lucky dogs bubble bus, a mobile pet-grooming service; how cool is that? it’s fantastic for people who travel or those who prefer not to take their pets to another location.

i can’t think of a better way to bring a close to such a busy, long trip. and good thing we did have those hours of calm and quiet, because when we arrived back in ohio (where it was once again raining), the house was anything BUT.

david was frantically running around trying to get the first floor cleared for the demo to begin on tuesday; the poor man had not slept a full night since i left. but clear it all he did, even though it means we are going to be living with quite a lot of disorganization and mess for a little while (totally worth it, i know)

i’ve been relocated to a perch in my upstairs study, which is probably a good thing anyway; i may end up staying up here for a while until we get outside office space some day (haha, i’m ready to commit next week, but david isn’t on board yet for that i think). anyway, this spot affords me a nice whew of the sky as well as the work men going in and out (hehe and it just happens to be shirtless weather). that’s our dining room floor in the back of the truck i believe.

call me a callow lout, but i won’t miss this cruddy kitchen at ALL—not even the contact paper along the back splash or the thrill of juggling an entire kitchen’s worth of pans, appliances, and bowls between three cabinets for eleven years (the ones under the sink don’t count because they are rotting in the most evil, disgusting way and completely unsuitable for storing anything but trash bags).

that stair housing that butts into the room on the right will be dismantled and the basement stairs moved out to the center hall, where they will then make a straight run into the cellar. this will make david’s chores in and out of the lower level a lot easier and create much more room in the kitchen—between gaining the extra square feet and losing that traffic pattern to the stairs, the room will feel twice as big without changing the footprint at all.

color me excited—no more hand tools and bits of hardware dropped onto the counter top on the way to and from the basement; i couldn’t be happier about that.

yes, say goodbye forever to my kitchen of horrors, which is now banished to the back of that truck and on its way to the dump as i write this (the guys just left for the day). this wall will have a six-foot center opening onto the dining room

now, i just know that we’re all going to miss that wallpaper like crazy, but i’m trying to pull up my big girl panties and focus on the end result.

the office is another story—that i will miss, with its corner view of the comings and goings down harvard avenue. this will become a cozy sitting room for us, opening into the dining room with double doors so that the three rooms together make a lovely contiguous living area.

i feel like it’s the end of an era, but we’re very much looking forward to the changes and upgrades in our main living space; it’s been a long time coming.
and with that, i’m closing the book on today; i’m just about tapped out in fact.tie to get ready for spinning class; i wonder if i have time to block something before susan and barb get here?
i hope you come back friday for the release of the scottish reel cowl; i have some fun photos of all the different ways you can drape it. it’ll make a deliciously fun weekend project, too.

17 thoughts on “the long trail

  1. I can’t wait to see photos of your finished living space. All of the discomfort will be worth it.

  2. Wow, that’s going to be one wonderful renovation when it’s done. I can’t wait to see the progress pictures.

    And your set up at Squam – what a delight to see all of those BNK projects and yarns. Just beautiful.

  3. How fun to hear all about your travels AND see the changes going on in your home. You are amazing in every way and I love viewing your blog ( along with a few others) just before I hit the hay each night. Such a sweet way to end the day. Many thanks!

  4. Oh my goodness, you don’t do things by halves do you?!! That certainly is one BIG renovation!! It will be wonderful when it’s done! Thank you for sharing your Squam trip with us too. One day, one day………..

    (PS That wallpaper is fantastic, I hope you have kept a bit for posterity!)

  5. This is quite the reno project! Now you sure you don’t want to salvage that wallpaper? lol

  6. Wonderful Squam recap! It’s definitely on my bucket list. The kitchen etc… will look beautiful when all is said and done. Looking forward to the process/ progress photos in future posts.

  7. It was such a pleasure meeting you and Erica at Squam and hearing your talk. It was also a real treat to see so many of your samples. Your work always looks fantastic in photographs, but in person the designs and the yarns are even more stunning. The new Scottish Reel Cowl really took my breath away, and Wheaten was particularly lovely.

    And it was very sweet of you to model Birchleaf! There’s a cute picture of you on my Squam blog post.

    I hope you will be back at Squam again!

  8. What a lovely virtual trip for us that read your blog and couldn’t enjoy the long drive and monsoon rain!! You’re booth looked great and how wonderful to have such a big renovation to look forward to, good luck with getting VERY creative in how to make another meal with a micro, electric fry pan, crock pot, or what have you!! Enjoy, this to will pass!!

  9. Yay!!! Goodbye rotting cabinets! Good riddance flower wallpaper! Won’t miss you at all ugly contact paper!!

    I can’t believe you managed with that kitchen for 11 years. You’re a much more patient woman than I am. Anyway, congrats on the reno start — the suffering will be worth it, for sure.

  10. You faithless wench haha. I can totally relate to the old and unmissed kitchen. We redid ours three years ago and there is NOTHING that hits my nostalgia button–the new itchen is glorious. I wish you the same joy and success. Squam looks glorious–hmmm, my brother lives in D.C. Is there a trip in my future?

  11. Exciting news on so many fronts! Looking forward to seeing the results of your renovation project.

    And I LOVE the Scottish Reel cowl and Wheaten scarf!

  12. Hey, you could have put in a vegetable garden, too, to complete the 3 ring circus. Yikes. Deep breaths, repeat, all will be well…..

  13. Thank you so much for your wondeful photos of Squam! It truly gives those who cannot go, a chane to experience a fiber event. Your renovation / remodel is going to be fantastic! It may seem like it will take forever, but I bet the finish line will be here before you know it.

  14. Thanks for taking us along on all your journeys – through the woods or through the renovation. Much appreciated.

  15. Now this post put meat on the bones. Ann, if running is the reason for your boundless energy, then I have to start. Wonderful post. Thank you.

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