town and country

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events

look at that—gorgeous green pasture and blue sky as far as the eye can see; who wouldn’t want to live here?

the car trip to maryland  on thursday was actually lovely—traffic was low, the weather was sparkling, and i listened to a book i really like. today begins my break between teaching gigs, so i thought i’d get us all caught up on the places i’ve been and the people i’ve met.

first stop was shalimar yarns and the farm-based studio where kristi johnson dyes up a storm of beautiful colors. i was surprised to see that nearly everyone who came to friday’s class was a returnee from the sweater fitness workshop we did in the spring; it was like a reunion. this crowd is a LOT of fun, too.

we gathered in the studio building for an all-day finishing series, where participants learned and practiced blocking, seaming, and garment add-ons—everything they need to finish off a sweater project like a pro. above, ashley prepares to steam block the back of her bel air sweater by pinning it out to the measurements in her schematic.

she brought along everything she needed and by day’s end, she was well into the seaming. and with those gorgeous yellow glass buttons from moving mud as incentive, who wouldn’t want to get to the final steps as quickly as possible?

around lunchtime, i noticed that the sheep and the donkey were wandering out of the barn, probably wanting to know what the humans were up to—i couldn’t resist running out right in the middle of class to take a photo, haha. i knew you’d want me to . . .

there was wet blocking too; several participants threw their accessory pieces or sweater parts into the wash water for a good soak before reshaping and blocking them to dry.

we even soaked and stretched a shawl on blocking wires, though to my dismay, i did not get photos of threading it onto the wires (we all pitched in to try our hands at it)

once it was pinned out though, i did get pictures—since it was white, we took the whole shebang (blocking boards and all) out to the patio to dry under the umbrella in the warm breeze. the fiber was so light, i don’t think it took even an hour.

it dried in plenty of time for susan to model it

she was beaming at the results (in  previous iteration, it was too small and a bit distorted in shape). and well, doesn’t she look pretty in it?

by day’s end we had covered seaming and adding on button bands, buttonholes, pockets, and all manner of other finishing concerns. everyone went home full of new knowledge and excited to put those last beautiful touches on their own projects.

the sun was heading down for the treetops as we got ready to leave the farm for dinner and the light was so pretty i couldn’t resist stopping for  few photos.

i find the donkey endlessly amusing—but i can’t ever remember their names! i think they have really commonplace names like clem and ron, but i know that’s not exactly right. sigh; one of these days i will become more thoughtful about these things . . .

this one wants to come in for a kiss at every opportunity; he’s SO cute i almost gave in!

i managed to restrain myself, however . . .

in a complete about-face, my next stop was alexandria, VA, which by comparison, is about the busiest spot i could find myself on a fall weekend.

i’ve been staying right in the heart of old town, where i get to run in the mornings on charming, brick-lined sidewalks through quiet neighborhoods of tilting old townhouses—it is so east coast, it makes me a little homesick.

i could take pictures of houses all day here, haha, but i held myself to just a few; i didn’t want anyone to think i was being inappropriate.

this is my favorite so far; if i lived there, i would use both doors every day.

i was here, of course, to teach at fibre space, which has to be the busiest shop in the yarniverse. i am always floored by how many shoppers are in there at any one time—it’s simply amazing.

i took my photos when the shop was closed because once it opens, all thoughts of my camera seem to fly out of my head, haha.

they even have a charming bike rack.

this is a shot of the famous knitting pit, which at any given hour is filled with knitters taking a break form the outside world to get in a few stitches while chatting with other customers.

i did manage one photo inside the shop, when i saw rich, who was in my sock design class in may at the shop. we chatted for a bit and then he pulled off his shoes to show me these

the socks he designed in class—aren’t they stunning? and they fit perfectly. beautiful job rich and thanks for sharing them.

luckily, they have a quiet upstairs teaching space away from the hubbub, where we had another finishing series on saturday and an advanced lace workshop on sunday, focusing on a twig and leaf shawl project.

i’m such a bad blogger; i didn’t even take one picture in class—thirty lashes with a yarn skein for me. but i think everyone had fun—we did some awesome blocking and had some real breakthroughs in the seaming and embellishments segments. i think everyone went home happy. it was also nice to see many returnees from the spring workshops; thank you everyone for another lovely event.

afterward, i took a nice walk and treated myself to a killer coffee at a local caffeinery. i thought about indulging here

but decided a photo was enough. i’ve been staying away from sugary stuff for a while now and feeling good; i don’t think the time to break down is during a working trip, haha.

you might already have guessed that i’ve barely knit a stitch since i left home; i really haven’t had that much free time. the first two nights it was all i could do to catch up on sleep. byt last night i finally felt more rested, but ended up grazing the internet far too long instead of knitting, in a zombie hangover state.

my hazeline has been getting the most attention, probably because i can almost knit it in my sleep. i’ve worked on it during odd moments in classes and i’m almost done with section A. i don’t want to show it on the blog yet, for fear of spoiling someone who may not have received this month’s yarn yet.

maybe next week . . .

well, it’s still early and i’m pretty much done here—i have time before checkout to go for a run and if i’m lucky, i’ll even get to check out this shop before i leave town

i’ve always wanted to go in but it’s been closed whenever i had free time during the last two trips. today could be the day.

next stop—pasadena to spend time with my dear nephew james and niece diana in their brand new home. they are so sweet to have me stay with them when they’ve just moved; i hope i can be helpful around the place this week . . .


35 thoughts on “town and country

  1. Now I’m even more excited for finishing class next month!

    Nothing compares to a kiss from a mini donkey. Great pix, as usual.

  2. Ooh – I was just on a similar tour in VA/MD (except I wasn’t teaching classes) – and I fell in love with Old Town Alexandria. It’s really such an idyllic town in the heart of DC. That donkey is so full of personality. I swear you can almost imagine what he’s thinking. Looks like a wonderful trip. Glad you were able to mix business with pleasure!

  3. Wow for Rich’s socks. He should write up the pattern!!! I love them. He could very well be the next big sock designer.

  4. The finishing class on Saturday at fibre space was fantastic! I learned so much, and I came away fromthe class motivated to finish up all those almost-completed projects sitting in plastic bins around my house. Using your tips for joining single-ply yarn, I finished one shawl on Sunday; and employing your techniques for weaving in ends and seaming, I’ve already finished one of the baby items I brought to Saturday’s class, and I am well on the way to completing a second (just one more sleeve seam to go). Thanks again for a great class.

  5. I’m soo envious of the folks in your fitness class–I’m a horrible blocker (esp. with lace). The odnkey pictures are awesome–what a character! And yes, Rich, PLEASE put those socks out as a pattern!

  6. Wow….I LOVE Rich’s socks!!! Please tell him to make that pattern available…..I would buy it in a New York minute!
    Or….he could email me at joyceetta(at)gmail(dot)com.

    PLEASE Rich!

  7. Sounds like a great weekend! I am so sorry I couldn’t make the finishing workshop at Kristi’s, but alas, I had to work. You’all had much more fun than I did! LOL Maybe next time you are in town I will be able to make the class.

  8. I love reading your travel blogs they are so informative and the photos you include are, as always, wonderful. Thank you for the chuckle…your comment “thirty lashes with a yarn skein…” made me laugh!!

  9. The verdant hills in Maryland are so beautiful, and so humid to a gal used to dry mountain air! So nice of the donkey and sheep to come out and pose for you. Your class looked like a great time! Rich’s socks must be an inspiration to continue teaching–it’s always nice to have some overachievers in one’s classes

  10. Her name is Fawn, Anne! And the Romney is Luke. I think you are thinking of my Karakul (who we had to have put down-old age). His name was Jed! Thank you so much for everything 🙂

  11. If I had know I was being blogged, I would have worn nicer clothing. 🙂

    I was lovely to see you again, and I hope our paths cross again soon.

  12. Haha, I look so serious! Let me add my praises for the finishing workshop. I’m hard at work on the sweater, and I hope to have it finished by the weekend. Pictures to come…

  13. Beautiful photos! Like taking a trip even though we’re stuck at home. Love the donkey and sheep – too cute! Enjoy yourself!

  14. It looks like you had a great time at Shalimar and Fiber Space! Sorry I missed you this time around. Hopefully vacation plans wont conflict next year.

    Susans shawl is beautiful! And seriously, those socks that Rich designed are fantastic! Ive made a note to take your sock design class if it’s ever within driving distance of home.

    BTW Andy said the only hat he ever needs now is his Slocfock!

  15. one more for Rich’s socks, really like the assymetry of the number of rows on either side of the diamond.

  16. me too Rich! I love those socks.
    Anne, it looks like you had a fantabulous time. The rural locale was lovely and restful. Alexandria is a gorgeous little city,my DD used to live there). I’m exhausted by your schedule, please save some energy for Yarn in the Barn. I’m in your sweater class there.

  17. Fibre Space’s classes fill up so quickly I don’t even have time to look at my calendar to see if I have any conflicts (like work!). Hope I’ll be quicker on the trigger the next time you come, Anne. In the meantime I’m glad you enjoyed one of my favorite places in the DC area. Maybe you should move? (Oh yes, there’s that San Diego thing. I forgot.)

  18. What is the pattern for Susan’s shawl? I bought some beautiful laceweight yarn at FibreSpace this weekend and have my eye out for patterns. Thanks for any help —

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