Dee: Hello, although I’m not sure anyone actually took notice (I mean I have no clue if anyone reads this blog or not) however, I had taken a long break from blogging. You see, 2016 was a particularly difficult year for me. I lost both of my parents in a few months time. My dad passed in the spring and my mom more recently. She had a massive stroke on election day and then passed the following day. The world became very unkind and I retreated to grieve and save myself. I thought I was doing pretty well until my mom’s birthday came around. Her birthday just happened to be on inauguration day. Again, the world was a very unkind place that day in particular as I grieved her first birthday without her. So I’ve remained in seclusion from blogging.
By all accounts 2017 looks to be a very promising year for my family. We adopted a beautiful six year-old westie named Finn who has become a particularly bright spot in my life. My sons are grown and there are weddings to look forward to in the near future. My work continues to delight me and there are always adventures, friends, crafting and knitting to be had. I seem to have emerged from the fog and I am rejoining society once again. My loving family and great friends are a huge part of my recovery. Thank you to all
So look forward to seeing some fun and happiness return to this page in the near future.
Make America kind again.
Dee: I’m having such a great fiber filled September!!! I went to both the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival and a Susan B. Anderson workshop in Madison via KnitCircus, also in Madison.
Next to YarnCon, which is in the spring, the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is my favorite yarn event. It’s small, rustic and oh so interesting. Local vendors carry a wide variety of items for sale. There are basket makers, yarn dyers, soap makers, cheese makers, broom makers, angora rabbit proprietors and more! I really tried to behave myself yet I succumbed to temptation and opportunity when I happened upon Yarns By Design in Neenah WI. They were having a retirement sale. Let’s just say I did okay. My arms were full, then empty, finally with a clear head I made it to the register with only a few specialty skeins for holiday knitting.
It’s safe to say I love sheep. So when I saw the Susan B. Anderson sheep knitting workshop I jumped at the chance, grabbed Jodee and headed to Madison. This little fella is so adorable that I have considered knitting him some attire. The workshop was part of the KnitCircus weekend retreat. Friday night, the ladies of KnitCircus held an evening of wine, cheese and shopping in their shop. You could also just hang out and chat while knitting away on a project as we chose to do for a good part of the evening. I love seeing all the gradient cakes of yarn that KnitCircus offers. I finished a project that the KnitCircus crew were kind enough to dye up additional yarn for me so I could finish my Pyropa shawl. I ran out of yarn shy of enough to complete the final one and a half repeats. The colorway is called Sexy Like A Labradoodle. The pattern includes placement for optional beads which I chose to incorporate. They are clear with a silver lining. So pretty, I don’t think the picture does the finished shawl justice.
Lastly I volunteered to test knit a pattern. It’s the PokeHat by Mrs. Luedeke. My son is on Team Mystic so I agreed to test that version. I always enjoy color work. It’s so satisfying to knit.
Next up on my fall knitting schedule is traveling through Wisconsin to the fall Schoolhouse Press Workshop with Meg and Amy. I look forward to this weekend all year long. It’s literally the best time a knitter can have communing with their fellow fiber brethren. I love it!
Dee: Along with gal pal Terry, I headed to Stitches Midwest last week to partake in “The Market” and the stitch marker swap. We grabbed our Sammy Snail buttons and set off. I didn’t get very far before making my first purchase. This is always the case with me I am so excited about the event that I have the crazed buying impulse that overtakes my brain. As soon as I saw the Cowgirl Bandana Shawl from Buffalo Wool Company, I bought it. Mind you, I am very happy with the purchase it’s just that I always plan to survey, contemplate and return thoughtfully. Yeah, that never happened.
Another vendor that caught my eye was Pawley Studios, I instantly fell in love with her designs. The artist uses a two step process in creating her knit ware pieces.
First the vessel is made and then the knitted sweater design in applied on top. The result is beautiful and full of rich texture. I tend to appreciate pottery pieces a lot because I spent a couple of semesters learning to throw ceramics in college. I was never this talented. Her glazing is amazing as well. According to her husband the red glazed pieces sold out early on Thursday evening. I would have loved to see those. Although I didn’t purchase anything from Pawley Studios they are definitely on my radar for the future.
As we wound our way up and down the aisles we paused to swap markers with others wearing the telltale snail button. I really enjoyed the markers I got in this year’s swap. I don’t think I came home with as many as last year however I pretty much love all the markers I took home. Here take a look.
Well I am a Ravellenic competitor so I better sign off and get busy with my event. I have already reached the podium once for WIP Wrestling by finishing my Fir Trees Cowl. It’s blocking so pictures to follow until then, happy knitting!
Dee: I’ll be competing in a few events for the Ravellenic Games. I have entered projects in the following events Hat Dash, WIP Wrestling, Shawl Sailing and Scarf Hockey. Wish me luck!
Dee: With an abundance of windshield time ahead of me, I decided to pack up some knitting projects for my vacation trip out west. I finished up casting off on the shawl for my mother-in-law. This was paramount since it was her birthday celebration we would be attending in Montana. I think it turned out nicely… She cannot wear anything with wool in it and she loves fancy things so this yarn sprinkled with sequins was the perfect choice for her.
As soon as I finished the shawl I cast on for the New Directions Cowl that I had bought the kit for at last year’s Wisconsin Sheep and Fiber Fest. The cowl was fun to knit without a lot of directions or details to following making it a perfect project for the road and for sightseeing. I love the way that by switching yarns every nine rows that it kept the project interesting. This cowl is earmarked as a Christmas gift.
I then began with a repeat knit of the Timber Bay Hat. I had given the last one I knit away as a birthday gift and knew at the time that I wanted one for myself. This time I used some berry hued yarn from my stash and named the hat the Huckleberry Hat in honor of Montana’s State fruit. I really think you should knit one for yourself the fold over brim in a one by one twisted rib is so fantastically satisfying and beautiful.
I wanted enough knitting to last the entire trip and I brought exactly that, enough knitting to last me until I reached my driveway. The final item was my take along project that I started months ago and only work on when I have time to kill in a waiting room or during my lunch break. It’s also a favorite repeat knit of mine, the Veil Stitch Cowl that I knit last winter. Light, airy and perfect to wear indoors as part of an outfit this cowl features only one stitch that you repeat again and again even on the cast off row…the Veil Stitch. It looks impressive and knit up in Noro it’s a stunner.
My trip to Montana would not have been complete without a stop at the Dupuyer Cache where there is a room stocked with Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn. This yarn is minimally processed leaving it butter soft. The colors are phenomenal by the way and I had an especially hard time choosing which colors to bring home with me. I wanted to buy one skein in every color, however I did not do that. That would have been a lot of yarn…even for me. I took pictures of the shop to share…enjoy! Happy knitting y’all!
Dee: When my brothers cleared out my folks home to move them into assisted living and subsequently sell their home…a few of my mother’s things were discarded…namely all of the items that I have knit her over the years. Sadness. She’s cold so I’ve knit her a new shawl out of yarn that is washable. The shawl is based on the Madeline Shawl by Kate Jackson (not the Charlie’s Angels actress Kate Jackson, at least I am thinking not.) I knit the shawl with Plymouth Encore from my stash for something that is easy care for her new living arrangement.
I think it turned out pretty nice too if I do say so myself. I am loving this construction for her. It should sit nicely over her shoulders without falling off. I am knitting another for my mother-in-law who is turning eighty this month. Hers will be in all garter stitch and knit with some sequined yarn. Yes, she’s a fancy girl. At the rate I am knitting I’m going to be late for the actual birthday though.
I’m still knitting hats. I love knitting hats. I have two to share with you. One of them is going to be a gift the other I am planning to donate for a worthy cause….stay tuned. This first hat is Timber Bay. I loved knitting this pattern. The turned brim is spectacular. I am planning to knit more of these hats in the near future. For this one I used some Cascade 220 heather yarn which I just loved so much. Heathers and tweeds really make the nicest hand knit items, they really do. There is a depth to them that really adds to a finished piece. I was really nervous that I would run out of yarn as I was closing in. I made the comment to my husband that I was afraid that I was going to run out of yarn and he replied that I will never run out of yarn. Hmmm.
The second hat to share with you is the Five Pillars Hat. I knit the hat with larger yarn and needles since the finished measurements for the pattern were really small and would make a very tight hat. I used some Cascade 128. I think I would have preferred a smaller gauge yarn however I so love a big hat. I think they look better on my head.
So there you have it I have been busy knitting and not busy blogging. Shame on me. Until next time…
Happy knitting everyone!
Monica: That is a picture of a sweater I started a few weeks ago. I’ve had the yarn and pattern in my stash forever and I decided I didn’t want to avoid it any more. The pattern is an old Dale of Norway one that is probably going to be celebrating it’s tenth birthday soon. I just looked on Ravelry for a release date and couldn’t find one but I noticed it’s number 2 in my queue.
The reason I’ve been avoiding it is because of the scary steeking that I will have to do on the sweater. One of my friends at work is working on a Lopi sweater that involves steeking so she unintentionally pushed me into finally working on my project. It’s not a quick project. I already ripped 6 inches because I didn’t read the instructions. But I do like fair isle knitting so I didn’t mind too much.
Dee: Oh man…I broke my yarn fast and I was doing so well too. Shucks! I’m going to have to start all over again tomorrow. The only way I can explain it was that the pretty fibers of YarnCon got me. I would have to say that YarnCon is my favorite yarn festival each year followed very closely by the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Note to self…you need to find someone to remind you not to work the weekend of September 8-11.
I arrived at YarnCon, flanked by gal pals Terry and Celeste, where I didn’t even make it passed the check-in desk before snagging my first skein of fiber. It was a skein of a special edition fingering weight yarn from last year in a colorway of grey, blue, white and a bright green named Concrete Spring…strike one.
Strike two was KnitCircus, they were positioned just inside the door of the main room. With nowhere to escape I heard the tune of a skein of Over The Rainbow worsted wool that sang to me it’s siren’s song. It sounded a lot like “Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole on ukulele. There is so much yardage on the skein I could knit up something really pretty for my neck. I also grabbed a pretty cashmere blend in browns and roses from the sale bin, this will be a hat. I should have left at this point but as is so often the case…the deck was stacked against me…Sophie’s Toes was right next door to KnitCircus…I was in the danger zone.
At Sophie’s Toes I enabled Terry, as I so often do with friends, to purchase some delicious fibers. I took pleasure in this and it should have sufficed however it backfired on me as strike three was a skein of fingering weight yarn in Tiger, a gorgeous colorway that would be perfect for some fall fun like All Hallow’s Eve without it actually screaming Halloween. If you haven’t purchased from Emily you really should. May I suggest a Magic Ball to get you started? I should have left at this point yet there was so much more to see and feel.
Now I know there isn’t a strike four in baseball, both my boys played little league for many years and I attended many Dodger games growing up however, strike four hit me just before lunch. There was a booth that held many mini skeins in themed packages. I bought the Wizard blend (think Harry Potter) from Brew City Yarns. I bought the base yarn to go with it to make the Cathedral Glass Cowl. They also had this really fun beer koozie pattern and kit that could be a great gift for that bottled beer drinker in your life…which I didn’t buy.
When it was lunch time we headed outside to check out the options. I love food trucks and the one I ordered from did not disappoint. I ordered their special of skirt steak tacos with brown rice, black beans, red cabbage coleslaw, cotija cheese and tasty green sauce. Yummy!
I took plenty of pictures so I could share with you all of the fun that is YarnCon including a photo bomb of Emily. Enjoy!
Dee: Esther’s Place just celebrated ten years of being in business. Truth be told I’ve probably been wanting to visit there for many of those ten years. Well, thanks to glad birthday tidings from my friend Celeste, I finally made it down to Big Rock, IL for a visit.
Celeste, gal pal Terry, and I traveled down to Esther’s Place to take a needle felted bunny class. We learned tips and tricks for mastering the art of needle felting while sipping on tea in beautiful china cups. We then had a lovely luncheon at the studio all provided by the lovely ladies who work there. I had such a great time, it was so well worth the drive. I see myself going back there again some day soon. Perhaps I’ll make the Heartfelt Sheep project on my next visit.
I’m currently working on the Five Pillars Hat for my next hat of the month. I’m using larger than recommended yarn, Cascade 128 Wool and larger sized needles to create a hat that won’t squash a girl’s hairdo. Hopefully doing this will work out well. It looks like it might however the hat is still very much on my needles and not at all long enough yet to try it on for size…stay tuned and happy knitting!
Dee: Well, not exactly a cherry however I did consider making a classic red pompom to top my hat for the month of March, the Big Herringbone Hat. Instead I used a faux fur pompom from the stash of faux fur pompoms that I have apparently accumulated…you may realize that I’m a girl who rarely passes up a good deal on knitting related paraphernalia. Knit out of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted, this two color hat was a very fun knit. I had originally planned to use Green Bay Packers colors of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in Sunshine Yellow and Pine to knit this one up however I recently bought a houndstooth skirt in classic black and white so I was inspired to knit likewise. Perhaps I’ll still knit a Packers version…perhaps not.
So you may have heard that I’ve put a kibosh on buying yarn for the remainder of the 2016 calendar. However, it’s only March and I am now beginning to feel the pull, the allure of the stash enhancement. If I make it until YarnCon in April that would really be something!
What’s next on my needles? I’m still thinking about that. A shawl for my mom? Another hat? Definitely! Or perhaps something with one of my KnitCircus gradients? Stay tuned…until then, happy knitting!