oof, finally coming up for air after two catch-up days back at the ranch. but not for long—i’m heading out again tomorrow for a weekend trip to michigan.
the finger lakes fibers retreat in watkins glen, NY was really nice—i’m sure most of you have seen by now all the lovely photos that erica took and posted to Facebook and twitter. she was a much better blogger than me in the face of being wi-fi challenged over the weekend. when it turned out we couldn’t get online in our hotel during our entire stay, i was happy to relax and enjoy the experience of being a little out of touch. she, on the other hand, trucked all her work stuff over to the neighboring hotel during the wee hours of the night to use the public wi-fi there for blogging and email.
i, on the other hand, got several good nights of sleep (a real luxury for me!) so i could be ready for my teaching days and get up early to run (i have my sights set on running a half marathon in a little over two weeks, yikes).
watkins glen is a charming town that sits on the bottom edge of seneca lake. its claim to fame is a history of car racing past and present; sidewalks throughout town are embedded with racing memorial plaques. but there is plenty more to love about it—stunning geography for hiking, camping, and photography, situated well for great fishing, boating, and wine tasting, strong participation in the central new york locavore movement,
pretty gardens, kind and friendly residents, and last but not least, an active fiber community. oh, and did i mention yummy ice cream on every corner?? what’s not to love?
we arrived on wednesday evening and stayed til sunday morning; i taught on thursday, friday, and saturday, the schedule was relaxed enough that we had plenty of opportunity to get to know the town and sample a variety of local eateries (all good). the running was terrific, nothing short of inspiring; i did some of my fastest runs of this summer over the weekend (of course there were few hills and none like the ones in my neighborhood).
i really enjoyed the group that gathered for the retreat—with a range of knitting skills and interests, they came prepared for new knitting experiences. most of the participants were new to me but a few people from previous class offerings were there too—it’s always fun when students return for another class.
we did a wonderful yarn voyage class to get started, then moved on to lace knitting for the rest of the weekend.
there was an alpaca farm tour on friday which erica attended and a trip to bear farm on saturday, where most of the fiber in our soon-to-be-released corriedale yarn was sourced.
jim and carol bear, along with their son, raise approximately 150 head of very healthy corriedale sheep on a beautiful spread of land along the eastern side of seneca lake. you’ll be seeing lots more about them when we celebrate the yarn release in a month or so. i took the opportunity to get a group shot of all the retreat participants at the farm
in addition to classes and farm visits, we had a little pop-up shop at finger lakes fibers, the local yarn store which hosted the retreat. it’s always fun to watch knitters experience our bare naked wools for the first time; they are SO delicious and more so in person. the quality and richness really shines when you see it up close; truly a farm fresh product. we were treated to some surprise visits from friends who live in the area as well—like our friend kristin, who came in on saturday evening with her family.
i had several knitting goals for the weekend—not big project goals, but smaller ones that needed finishing and i did pretty well staying on track with that, despite all the fibery distractions, haha. i was determined to finish my second pair of waffle creams socks, on the needles since last spring. when i left home i was about halfway down the leg
but by the time we got home on sunday night i was well on my way to finishing the foot and in class on monday, i got all the way through the toe decreases. now i just have to clip the yarn and weave in the ends. yay, done!
these were going to go on david’s sock shelf originally, but he has a pair so i am gifting them to a dear friend instead.
i actually finished up this big swatch just before we left—in fact, it was a little damp when we packed the pop-up shop, but i was determined to bring it along to show off the breakfast special #1 yarn we are putting into the hourglass throw kits. david is working on listing those kits now, so if you want one, keep your eye on the kits page in our online shop; there will be just a few available from this test batch of forty total skeins.
another project i worked on is a second soft cotton cap, this one inspired by my sign of four sock design. i’m knitting it up in ecobutterfly organic color grown cotton sport again, this time in the rich cinnamon chocolate color, mmm.
this is a pattern you have to be patient with—at first, the texture doesn’t seem to be noticeable. but as the fabric builds the impact of the knit/purl motif makes itself known and is quite strikingly defined.
like the slouch potato hat i knit in deep green cotton last week, this too will be slightly slouchy cap, not too much, not too fitted. the wide brim helps keep it in place.
highly recommended by sarah, haha.
we arrived home to a stack of mail and all sorts of activity in the knitspot office. one thing that arrived while i was away will be of special interest to you, i’m pretty sure—a beautiful sample of the wasp and rose shawl, graciously knit for us by our friend kari in bare naked wools mrs. lincoln’s lace.
i took the photo above yesterday, just before putting it on to soak in a nice warm bath with my favorite patchouli wool soap. last night after dinner, i finally had a chance to stretch and pin it out.
it’s really lovely in this rich black/brown yarn with its beautiful lincoln lustre. not a soft yarn to be sure, but very rich, nevertheless. and after blocking, the lace opens up amazingly to show off the motifs in this composition.
i’ll take some modeling shots over the weekend; i’ve got a special person in mind who will look radiant wearing wasp and rose in dark brown. we are so excited to have all the pieces in place now to release this yarn into our online store; it’s been trending high on the ravelry yarn list ever since we shipped it to our club in june and clubbies snapped up the few extras we had on hand. that will be next week; hopefully tuesday and we have plenty in stock, plus more at the mill if we need it.
do you want to drool over the blocked piece in the meantime?? haha, i know, a dumb question . . .
what a difference, right? it’s like magic, sigh. i’ll get more nice photos over the weekend; you’ll love that.
so yes, i’m taking off once again for a few days, this time to spend time relaxing (at least partly) with friends. i plan to bring my easy to knit cap and my secret project (which i aDORE) to knit, plus my sea pearl sweater, which we last laid eyes on before my trip to the finger lakes.
i’m actually not all that anxious to be on the road again BUT it is a good thing i won’t be here in a way. as if we didn’t have enough going on with two-thirds of our first floor under construction, we are losing the use of our enclosed porch for the next few days.
we’ve always used the sunroom/porch as a summer living space but this year, it represents ALL of our available living space for cooking, eating, and sitting around. it’s been quite nice actually; we are used to using our kitchen/dining room area as a household hub, so it’s not all that different from before, with added benefit of birdsong and critter chatter, haha.
oh yes, and no running water. i’ll admit that’s proved a bit inconvenient, though for the most part, we are quite content with the situation. however, sometimes our interests compete for space.
for instance, our dish collection and drying station (we wash in the lavatory sink, then carry everything out to dry) is now sharing space with what appears to be a garlic drying station, probably for the next month or so.
though we didn’t plant a spring/summer garden, we had put garlic in the ground last fall before deciding to go ahead with the renovation. david harvested it while i was gone—a bumper crop, indeed.
but as i said, we are about to lose even this small oasis for a few days. you may have noticed that the windows are very vintage to put it nicely—big cheap double track storm windows that were installed in the 50s or 60s and haven’t worked in years. with no screens, so it can be an oven in there at times (thank goodness this summer has been quite cool).
and then, to add insult to injury, some decorating or architectural genius thought it would look just fine to fill in the ends of the porch with plywood inserts when they couldn’t get stock windows or doors of the right size. sigh—this has been bugging me for years, but i’ve turned a blind eye and focused on saving my pennies for its revenge.
finally, we are ready to undo all of that meticulous dreck and get some real divided windows and transoms installed. we went to the window place in may and ordered everything and as luck would have it, the windows are now ready in time to enjoy for a while before fall comes. it will be lovely when it’s done; the new windows are heat reflective too—the setting sun is kind of harsh in that room. i’m trying to remember if we ordered tinted ones or not . . . with so many changes, i can’t remember all the details any more.
that reminds me, i know it’s time for an update on what’s happening behind the plastic wall in our front hall, but i’ll have to save it for next time. i’ll be posting the jazz strings sock pattern and kit tomorrow night when i get to michigan; i’ll see you there!