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Twins bound by a love of knitting talk about knitting and more.

Archive for the ‘Fiber Festivals’


Episode 57 — Heaven Knows


In which we discuss a dinner for more than two in DC, visits from dear friends (military friends and podcaster friends!), a fun speaking engagement, a visit to DC by Karen, getting the Full Monty, biking around mother nature, Yarnover, Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and baby lambs (!!!!), and in which Ellen’s geeks out.

Thanks to stalwart listeners, old and new, for joining us!  TwinSet Summer Camp has hit a critical mass of campers to be great fun, but there is still plenty of room to join us in July, the 10-12th to be exact.  The registration form can be found here. Please consider coming for a relaxing weekend of knitting in the woods (and enjoying great camp food. No lie, the chef at this camp really is good!).

Listeners, please note there is still a need for small bits of handspun for the “Welcoming the Stranger” art installation in Portland. The weaving is being called “Abraham’s Tent” and you can find more information from welcomingthestrangerart@gmail.com OR on Facebook: Welcoming the Stranger Art OR Ravelry. Abraham’s Tent Donations will be accepted till July 2015. 

Patterns of Our Lives:

The twins got together for a short visit while Ellen attended a sustainability conference in Washington, DC. Short, but sweet. And Ellen visited the fishing cats at the National Zoo, too. She enjoyed seeing them wake up and stretch. Jan was busy enjoying seeing Fulton Theater production of the Full Monty, including a little unintended fully full monty peek!

Ellen enjoyed her classes with Myrna Stahman and Susan B Anderson at Yarnover. And Jan is enjoying the growth of her flock as two ram lambs have made their way into the world.

Jan also enjoyed Maryland Sheep and Wool, especially a visit from The Savvy Girls that came with it.

Finely or Finally Knit

Ellen finished her simply stole.  The pattern name: Stole.  In nine stripes of Rach-Al-Paca Suri alpaca in lustrous colors ranging from deep orange through creams and on to greens and blues, it simply pleases her.

And Jan finally finished Felfs out of Paton’s Classic Wool Roving for her son.  She also worked up a little baby hat for Kiley (aka MiniPurlGirl) and her project to raise awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome. Get a hat to Kiley by the end of May and mention our podcast and you will be entered in a contest for a skein of Wollmeise (in addition to the drawing that everyone is entered into).

On the Runway

Jan continues working on prototype validation of the Tangled Vines Socks out of Pediboo from Frog Tree Yarns, an 80/20 merino/bamboo blend in colorway 1164 light teal, a semi-solid. She reports that the dropped stitch that caused her to frog last episode was a blessing in disguise as she cast on with slightly larger needles and is enjoying a more relaxed knit.

She is also working on Making Waves in gorgeous yarn she scored at Maryland Sheep & Wool – Bijou Basin’s Seraphim.

Ellen is working on Abria, a Bonne Marie Burnes or Chic Knit pattern, knitting it out of StraightFork Farm 60:40 huacayo:wool, on size 5 Signature circulars.  She’s on to the 3/4 length sleeves and hopes to finish the sweater just in time for heavy air-conditioning season.

Ellen is almost to the body on the baby Norwegian sweater, Geilo, from Dale of Norway.

Bitten by our Knittin’

Ellen’s is pretending that in her final stripe on her stole that she didn’t accidentally convert the 8×8 ribbing to 7×9 in one spot. You’ll never notice, right?

Jan reports that the thumb on one of her mitts for which the fit didn’t seem quite right, was actually just fine after blocking.

Ready to Wear

One of our group members, knittingdaddy, is proud to launch a new pattern, the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat, that benefits the Family Support Network of Central Carolina. Check it out and support a good cause!

Design Principles

Swatch. Just do it and reap the benefits.

5 Minute Interview

Starring the The Savvy Girls!

360 Degrees

Other than a bit of conference call spinning on her mini Turkish spindle, Ellen hasn’t gotten much spinning done in all the activity of the last weeks. She did carry a spindle around one night.

Fiber Jargon

Ellen discusses the phase change behavior of Outlast(R) technology which is showing up in yarns like Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play Train Case.

Embellishments

Birding season is in swing, and Ellen is enjoying both eBird and Merlin.  Jan was reminded how much she likes iBird Backyard Plus3.

Fun Fur

Ellen and W are cracking up at old episodes of Star Trek. And Jan is enjoying the cute little llama that the Savvy Girls brought her from Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Slick Trick

Ellen suggests that one starts out to finish – when you know you will need to pick up stitches along a cast on edge, make the first row a plain knit row even if the pattern is lacy. It will be much easier to pick those stitches up.

Jan suggests using a Channel Island Cast-on followed by a row of k1,p1 ribbing to start Tunisian Crochet in the round. She likes not having to pick up stitches in a slip stitch chain, which can be fiddly.

You May Already be a Wiener

LauraKnitsPA won Judy Becker’s book Beyond Toes. But don’t despair, a new contest for Lara Neel‘s Craftsy Class, Socks My Way has started. And if you can’t wait to take the class, take advantage of the 50% off code Lara has graciously shared with us.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen  has plans to attend Shepherd’s Harvest. Jan has plans to dash to San Diego and back. And both twins have plans for summer.

And with summer comes TwinSet Summer Camp!  July 10-12, 2015.  Registration form can be found here:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_26386300459

Registration fee of $265 ($240 if registration postmarked prior to April 30) includes:
A real bed for Friday and Saturday night!  With back-pampering Tempurpedic mattresses!
Meals served family style in the camp lodge, Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Special diets are well-looked after, please note requirements on registration form.
Lots of camp activities, like knitting by the river, knitting by the swimming pool, hiking into the woods to knit, singing campfire songs while knitting, making and eating s’mores (no knitting!), and more.  We hope to have some vendors, and we’ll schedule one knitting/craft class, but the name of the game for the weekend is relax in the woods, let someone else do the cooking, and knit and enjoy each other!

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!

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Episode 33 — Retreat!!


In which we discuss our recent experiences at retreats (Ellen at the Knit-a-Journey Mid-Winter Retreat in Duluth, MN and Jan at Tina’s Fiber Retreat in York, PA), farm medical procedures from which several of the animals would like to have retreated, the dangers of knitting lace after the drams, the value of The Knitting Guild of America Master Knitter classes, the whimsical and classic designs of Ann Kelly, plying yards and yards of Corriedale Cross singles, a slick trick and some other stuff — to include a new spinner!

We are coming and going these days – just catching Jan after a fun weekend at Tina’s Fiber Retreat at Camp Donegal and Ellen is getting ready for some work travel.

The previous weekend, Ellen played with the gang at the Knitajourney Midwinter Retreat up in Duluth.  Wonderful company, wonderful food (if you are ever in Duluth, a visit to the New Scenic Cafe is a must; At Sarah’s Table ain’t bad, either), and wonderful yarn (Three Irish Girls, based in the area (Superior, WI to be specific), has Duluth colorways like Hawk Ridge) made for a wonderful weekend.  A Scotch tasting may have contributed to some people being bitten by their knittin’ later, but The Balvenie Doublewood, the Glennfiddich 12 years old, and the Bunnahabhain Islay single malt were highly enjoyable (even if Bevil thought the later tasted like sheep).

Jan spun up a storm – and so did her daughter, Marie, at Tina’s Fiber Retreat, a local tradition.  As always, in both cases, spending time with kindred spirits was the real highlight. The spinning included Jan’s test drive of roving made from her alpaca, Dipper’s, fleece, which we hope will soon available via Etsy.  She also got some knitting in – a bootsock out of a Skacel yarn (sorry, Jan, until you link the project I can’t figure out what yarn this was!) containing a variety of lovely fibers – wool, silk, nylon, alpaca, and even some angora.  She avoided the Second Sock Syndrome by knitting the 2nd sock first.  Hah!

Jan also worked on a second version of her Surface Tension hat, this one for Team Knitmore’s Halos of Hope efforts.  She continues to work on her Socks Previously Known as Hugs and Kisses.

Ellen has the usual on her runway – Limpid which is her version of Martina Behm’s Lintilla , Forever in the Forest , and her nascent sock design out of ModeKnit Yarns ModeSock.   Forever in the Forest bit her, but really can’t be blamed as Ellen was working on lace late at night and after the aforementioned Scotch tasting.

And in a case where the knittin’ was bitten, Ellen reported that after almost 4 years of hard wear, she wore a hole in the thumb of her Springtime Sugarplums gloves knit out of Socks that Rock Mediumweight from Blue Moons Fiber Arts.  It is amazing how close in color the replacement thumb is – that is a good dye job!

Jan and Ellen discussed how the rigor and detailed curriculum of the TKGA Master Knitter program is both a bit maddening and really advances your skills.  They recommend jumping in whatever level you are at – the earlier in your knitting career that you do, the more you’ll learn, but you’ll learn something no matter how experienced you are.

Featured designer for this episode is Ann McDonald Kelly, whose Monkey Balls ornament amused Jan no end.  Other lovely patterns in her collection include the Houndstooth Tank and the Kelmscott Throw, among many.  Jan thinks a Nexo Jacket, which is a free pattern that uses mosaic knitting to excellent effect, may be in her future.

Jan shared her spinning during Patterns of our Lives, but Ellen had some content to share.  She has finished one bump of the BFL in the Sled Dog colorway using her Turkish Spindle from Jenkins Spindles, and plans to use a Golding spindle for the second bump.  But first, she wants to continue the great start she has on her CorriedaleX singles.

While on the topic of plying up skeins, Jan clarified the Fiber Jargon of skein, hank, and ball.  Technically, a loop of yarn tied in several places is not a skein, it is a hank, but even Jan agreed that modern use includes skein for this purpose.  A ball is clearly something else – yarn wound into a ball shaped (or cake shaped!) object.  Jan mentioned that you wouldn’t eat that cake from a roving plate, yet one more way fiber is put up for sale, in this case, a large shallow cake of roving.

Check out donniestatzer’s tip for accurate button placement on fine gauge knits, this episodes Slick Trick.
The Living Doll contest is proceeding with some wonderful descriptions of the living dolls our listeners would like to knit up out of the new e-book from Susan B. Anderson.  Check out “Mary, Millie and Morgan“to learn how to knit your own doll.

Enjoy the show!

Touch and Go

Dear Ellen,

1-dsc05939.JPGI’m just about recovered from the fantastic time we had at Rhinebeck and now need to get packed for my next trip.  I’m not complaining, not one bit!  I’m really just relieved that I was able to have several down days between the two…not sure I could have gone straight from one to the next as the fibromyalgia cum compression fracture had my back screaming and my body aching the first part of this week.  Before I get out the suitcase (didn’t need one for Rhinebeck since I drove there), I thought I’d throw up a few of my own Rhinebeck photos and some others.  Here’s my version of the sheepy photo op.

1-rhinebeck.jpgI had a great time in Jane Woodhouse’s class on natural dyeing.  It was helpful to me to walk through the entire process — a quick review of everything needed to get started.  Saves me all that book reading, you know.  It will be a bit before I put it to use…maybe even the new year as the end of the year seems pretty full already!

1-dsc05865.JPGThe fall colors were stunning…my favorite foliage picture is this one with the contrast of the black and golden yellow in this maple.  Our little maple we planted this past spring is decked out in a gorgeous crimson.  I’d love to plant one like this right next to it.

1-dsc05910.JPGThe podcaster meetup was great fun…you’re right — we need to come up with our own uniform for such events.  I am liking the idea of slacks and twin sets with pearls and penny loafers.  What do you think?

1-dsc05889.JPGFleece acquisition was so much better with the likes of experts like Deb, you and Erica.  I would have done it on my own, but would have been crossing my fingers while faking my way through picking out the ideal fleece!

1-dsc05915.JPGHeidi and I were walking along when I “squee’ed” — she thought I was reacting to a gorgeous sweater that had just gone by, but I had actually just made a Stephen West sighting.  He was, as always, so gracious and sweet and pasted a smile on his face while grudgingly smiled broadly while posing for a photo with me.

1-dsc05944.JPGHere are my Flat Feet socks that I finished at the cabins.  My project page has a photo that shows the sock blank in the background of one of the socks in progress.  This blank was pre-dyed, but I do have another in natural.  I expect it will benefit from some of what I learned this last week!

Gotta go finish publishing Episode 4…then on to packing!

Love, Jan

Remember Me???

Dear Ellen,

Sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted.  As you know, I’ve been a tad busy.  So, here’s your quick catch up!

All the way back in April (as you obviously know) I had a wonderful, wonderful time visiting your workplace and meeting and speaking so many of your colleagues and co-workers.  So many good memories and ideas from that visit!  The Navy let me hang around for a few more days so I could do some outreach for them — speaking to a number of groups in academia and youth development.  (My favorite was the time I spent with about 60 3rd-8th graders talking about women in technology.  Ten year-olds really keep you on your toes!!) 

susannas-beaded-mitts.JPGIt was great that the trip included Yarnover weekend.  Vendors, classes with Chris Bylsma, Mary Scott Huff and Susanna Hansson, and of course, time with you meant for fantastic fun!  (For our readers, no, the picture on the lower left is not one of us.)  I loved the chance to visit StephenBe’s and to enjoy the sensory overload that is his world.

dsc04536.JPGAnd then, right after I returned to the DC area, I had the chance to take a class with Brenda Dayne of the Cast-On podcast.  She is as lovely as you would expect from her podcast.  I thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to get to know her a bit — witty, smart, funny and engaging.  She’d fit right in to any group that you and I put together, that’s for sure.

dsc04587.JPGThe class project was the Mrs. Beeton wristers.  I went against recommendations on my accent yarn choice (purchased at Yarnover!), but I’m very happy with it.  Future versions should include a modification to accomodate the lack of elasticity in the Seduce (rayon, linen, silk and nylon blend).  The minor problem is that without the “sproing” the knitted ruffle works up to a depth that is a bit too long.  It hides the inner ruffle knitted out of the main yarn, a superwash merino sock yarn.  I do love the contrast in texture though…even more so than for the versions of Mrs. Beeton worked with the recommended yarn types.  The simple fix will be to modify the ruffle pattern to lose just a few rows and that will be very easy.

may-20121.JPGThings are definitely popping up all over the farm these days. That gazebo I mentioned is firmly situated across from the house — bedding plants to come.  And I’ve got fairy ring mushrooms, knock out roses, peas, melons, corn, wildflowers, onions and spinach coming along very nicely!

may-2012.JPGOur tenants are doing well too.  I thought the chickadee had abandoned her nest in the birdhouse and opened it to make sure.  Surprise!  She was right there.  I quickly snapped a picture and closed it back up.  She didn’t twitch a bit and the next day was still sitting her clutch.  I was relieved I hadn’t frightened her by the rude intrusion.  The eggs above our front windows have hatched (see the tail sticking out?) and the babies are making a mess of things.  (That’s okay, we know how to use a scrub brush.)  And the purple finch who nested in the holly bush just outside our back door has laid a nice little trio of beautiful blue eggs with little black speckles.  I caught this photo while she was out taking advantage of the bird feeders.

dsc04573.JPGI’ve put some time in at the spinning wheel and now have 3 very full bobbins of alpaca/tussah silk singles.  I’ll be doing some trial plying of these to see how I want to finish them.  I’m hoping two-ply will yield a heavy sock weight or light DK. 

briar-rose.JPGThe alpaca fleece that I ordered from Morro Fleece Works arrived this past Saturday and it is incredibly lush!  I was so glad I had an extra bobbin at the ready and on Sunday I sat down and spun up about 4 1/2 ounces.  Like buttah!  The roving drafted like an absolute dream — the closest to the zen of spinning that I think I’ve experienced.  It’s a semi-worsted spin with a lot of energy.  I want to test out how a highly spun and highly plied alpaca behaves in a fabric.  I love this color and this fleece so much that I’d really like to use it for the Knitmore SPAKAL, but am smart enough to know I need to figure out the lack of elasticity issue before I knit an entire sweater out of it!  (By the way, I’m seriously considering Mishke by Julie Weisenberger.  Yes, she seems to have both of our attentions!

dsc04527.JPGBefore I say goodbye, I want to share the helmet liner I knit for my trusted assistant.  He is heading off to Afghanistan for a year to command an Air Force communications squadron over there.  I wanted him to stay warm, a small token of my appreciation for all the hard work he did for me over the last few years.  He loved it…can you see the smile?  His last day is tomorrow.  We’ll all be sorry to see him go.  Good luck, Mike!

That’s it — next post will be sooner and shorter.  I promise!

Love, Jan

After this weekend, everything is in sheepshape order here…

Dear Jan,

last-viewed-events-28a.pngAs you are well aware, this last weekend was Shepherd’s Harvest, the biggest fiber festival in the Twin Cities area.  Four barns plus some freestanding tents of vendors, sheep, alpacas, goats and bunnies, classes and fleece sales all combine to make one of my favorite events.

I took 3 great classes.  The first, taught by Dee Heinrich of Peeper Hollow Farm, was on sheep color genetics.  Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Looking at the photos of lambs and figuring out their possible genetics was like sudoku on hooves.

The second was a photography class with Gale Zucker.  Yes, this is the second class I’ve taken with Gale, but now that I’ve been applying some of her wisdom I was ready to absorb a bit more.  Like how changing the exposure setting on your camera can make a big difference in picture quality in general, and how lowering it as much as a full f-stop can allow you to actually capture black yarn in particular.  The picture below shows the results of decreasing the exposure setting (with no other editing of the photo after it is downloaded).

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My last class was taught by Carol Wagner of Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill.  We played with fiber blending, color blending, and color layering.  A total blast, and I’m afraid it may have pushed me toward doing some dyeing.

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It definitely pushed me toward buying one of her Coopworth fleeces.  The fiber we worked with in class was so lofty and lustrous.  I also bought a pound of raw Rambouillet just to compare that fine stuff to the stronger Coopworth.  A Rambouillet lock  is on the left below, the Coopworth to the right.

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In between coming and going to the festival, I did get a little knitting done.  I’ve gotten a start on another test knit – this one for Erica.  Her spiral shawl is a great travel project, at least at this size, as the pattern is simple increases in a stockinette ground.

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And I haven’t forgotten the big event of the summer.  I’ve gotten a start on my sweater to wear to your retirement.  The pattern, Paulina by Julie Weisenberger, is much lovelier than this bit of sleeve suggests.

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All in all, I’m ending the weekend smiling.

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Love,

Ellen

Up, Up and Away!

Dear Ellen,

hot-air-balloon-ride-12-nov-11-1.jpgWow!  We had an amazing day yesterday.  It started off with a very early wake-up and a drive to the north side of the county where we met up with the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team for a ride in “the mother ship” — their 90 foot tall, 250,000 square foot hot air balloon.  We bundled up layers as we knew it would be pretty chilly at altitude.  Surprisingly, I barely noticed the cold and the one hour flight seemed to be over in a flash.  It was wonderful — so serene and smooth.  You feel like you are just gliding along with the best view in the house.  The sun came up while we were aloft — twice.  We saw it once and then went beyond a ridgeline and got to see it again…very cool.  The animals below were in divided camps — poultry was alarmed (‘The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!), horses were discomfited (‘I’m moving away from you because I intended to go over there, not because I’m scared.’), dogs were protective (‘You’d better not be thinking about landing in my fields!!’) and cows were totally bored (‘If you’re not dropping hay, I’m not interested.)  The high altitude perspective was fascinating.  Most areas looked so orderly and well-planned, even when the fences were obviously following irregular borderlines.  When we got back on the ground our chase van met up with us, the crew packed the balloon and we headed back to base for champagne, orange juice and pastry.

eastland-alpacas-open-house-12-nov-11-1.jpgThe flight alone would have made it a great day, but we had more planned.  We headed over to Mount Joy, PA on the northwest edge of the county to spend some time at the Eastland Alpacas Farm open house.  We walked the farm, took notes on barn and paddock lay out, learned a bit more about alpaca care and handling, bought 4H cookies (who knew!), stroked a kitty or two, hugged and petted and fed cuddly warm alpaca, and oh, yes, I did go in their shop and buy a bit of yarn and maybe a little stuffed alpaca friend.   The little brown cria in the collage was born on Tuesday.  We left even more enthusiastic about the idea of owning a few of these guys one day.  For comparison, Eastland Alpacas is situated on 20 acres, though we have a few more acres in woodland.  We, however, do not plan on having 90-some alpaca, so that should be fine.

muddy-run-park-12-nov-11-1.jpgWe left feeling very accomplished and satisfied with our adventures…but wait!  There’s more!  Next we drove into Lancaster proper and spent a few hours at the Pennsylvania Fine Arts Guild Show and Sale were we saw some beautiful pieces.  Dale spent a good deal of time talking to all the wood carvers.  I spent some time chatting with a jewelry designer whose work I really enjoyed — at the end of our conversation we had shared enough tidbits of information that I realized that her sister was a good friend of ours…a fun discovery.  We then headed home, but on the way stopped at Muddy Run Park.  Dale had discovered it a few weeks ago and wanted me to check it out too.  It is only a few miles from our place — I’m thinking summer bike rides! — and it is wonderful.  It’s basically the property surrounding the reservoir of the Ektelon Hydroelectric plant — very large and maintained for the community.  This is the same company that holds Peach Bottom and Three Mile Island nuclear power plants.  This kind of community benefit keeps the population favorably disposed.  The park would make a great knit in public site…my gears are turning.

dsc03956.JPGAs for knitting, the sleeves are on the Rocky Coast Cardigan.  I haven’t added the cuffs as I’m worried about yarn supply.  My approach is that after I finish the body, I’ll either decide I have enough to do the cuffs and collar/front bands with the vintage Manos I’m using, or I will procure some pale silvery gray Manos or Malabrigo to do a contrast treatment.  As I was winding another hank of the Manos, I saw that the tag on that hank had the price on it — $8.50.  As a similar Manos yarn now runs about $20.00, this helps confirm that the yarn is definitely old!

I hope you had fun on your Veteran’s Day weekend too!

Love, Jan

aka Rhinebeck…

Dear Jan,

My trip to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and Bred Ewe Sale was wonderful.

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We (Karen, Cricket, myself and Erica) got there early; 3 out of 4 of us were awake.

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As a point of reference, if you arrive 45 minutes before the gates open, there are barely any lines.

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It totally lived up to our expectations.  There was yarn…

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…and some of our favorite knitterati (Cricket and the Yarn Harlot, Karen and Kay Gardiner, and Gale Zucker hamming it up with me over the Tongue-in-Chic skirt from her recent book, Craft Activism)…

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…and of course sheep.

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I’ve started narrowing down the breeds that I plan to run on your estate, just so you know.

Though we spent the entire day on our feet, we were still smiling at the end of it.  Especially when the beer sampler at the Hyde Park Brewery showed up.

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There may have been a few fleeces purchased, but I’ll fess up to those in a later post.  I did want to show you the spinning action of my newest spindle, though – a Golding!  That baby just doesn’t want to stop spinning……….

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That is the inside of the cabin we rented.  It was lovely, nestled in the woods about 30 minutes from the fair.  What a treat to relax and knit together.

Karen worked on her Green Mist…

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…and I finally finished my Maeva socks, knit from the yarn I spun from the roving you brought from New Zealand.

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I apologize for the long post full of so many pictures, but I needed to pretend it wasn’t over yet, so I hope you’ll forgive me.  Here is one more picture of Cricket as penance.

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Next fiber festival, I hope you are in some of the photos.

Love,

Ellen

Memories…

Dear Ellen,

dsc03233.JPGdsc03239.JPGdsc03236.JPGdsc03235.JPGdsc03237.JPGSock Summit is a memory, well a collection of memories…and a pile of loot.  I took the formidable mountain of yarn, fiber and knitting related tools and gadgets that I acquired in Portland up to the farm this weekend.  Once there I had a wonderful time reliving the great times we had up there as I went through it all.  Not a single regret in the pile.  Here it all is — from several angles.

dsc03242.JPGdsc03248.JPGdsc03246.JPGI loved the stitch marker swap you so brilliantly conceived and executed.  Unfortunately one cellie’s marker (the green acorn) is missing from this first picture.  I was quite alarmed.  But I found it when I went through the larger collection — can you spot it?  And don’t you just grin whenever you see the cellie in her tiara??

dsc03148.JPGdsc03157.JPGClasses were so FABU!!! Cat Bordhi, Amy Singer, Kate Atherley, Gayle Roehm,…FRANKLIN HABIT!!  He really helped me up my game in the photo department.  Just take a look at how my Lingonberry Scarf photographed using my “normal” settings…and then look at how rich the chocolate color appears after adopting his advice.  dsc03172.JPGdsc03166.JPGAnd getting the color right on my Hugs and Kisses Socks previously thwarted me.  Not any more!  Also, he taught us that when photographing socks, you really need to have the camera at an angle that is flattering, the most flattering of which captures a side view of and arched foot like on a mannequin.  Much nicer than the many “self portraits” of socks on the knitters’ foot from above.  A sure recipe for cankles!

dsc03230.JPGAnd I have to admit that I’ve succumbed to the spinning bug…18 grams of the BFL that I bought at Fiber Optic is now plied into a lovely fingering weight yarn…and about 9 more grams are a single ply.  The photo here is the one you took of my first mini-mini-skein spun from that sample I picked up in the market place.  There will be more photos of my spinning in the future, I’m sure.  The zen quality of the repetitive motion with no patterns or variety of manipulation allow me to empty my mind — something I surely need these days.  (No comments from the peanut gallery regards how easy you might imagine that to be!)

dsc03175.JPGdsc03176.JPGdsc03177.JPGdsc03174.JPGVCC and VCP and I had a great time being treated like royalty at the nail salon.  There are many other great memories too…meeting Carin of The Knit Wits during the podcaster meetup — and Paula from The Knitting Pipeline too.  (Darn!  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture!)   

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You laughed so hard it looked like you would choke (yourself)… thedsc03182.JPGdsc03190.JPGdsc03183.JPGdsc03184.JPG other cellies laughed a lot too!  And we saw sheep, yarn bombing and lots of young knitters…enough to make your heart sing! 

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dsc03189.JPGOf course the very best part was spending a week with you and our cellies.  So very much fun, so very much laughter, so very much love.  It was like we went through a magical portal into another dimension.

Love, Jan

Bliss

Dear Ellen,

dscf1503.JPGYou were right…Sock Summit is absolutely fantastic.

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dscf1488.JPGdscf1485.JPGYesterday was a good time, yarn crawling through Portland and gaining fortification at VooDoo Donuts.

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dscf1514.JPGdscf1494.JPGdscf1506.JPGBut today was fantastic.  My class with Cat Bordhi was fascinating.  She is genius…and she helped us see stitch patterns in a whole new way.  Like her socks, she soars.  Six hours with her went by in a flash and then we were all exhausted.

dscf1516.JPGdscf1520.JPGIt was fun seeing Stephanie Pearl McPhee and she was great at the opening reception.  And need I mention the shopping?  We all sure got a great haul.  And I appreciate thatPortland has many larger than life objects for our amusement.

Love, Jan

Yarnover…and over…and over…

Dear Jan,

No time for deathless prose – two very full weekends in a row have left me so far behind at work that I really need to get back to it this evening.  I don’t want the Yarnover coverage to get too stale, so here is the flash run-down.

7.jpg12.jpgI had  classes with Annie Modesitt, Susanna Hansson,  Fiona Ellis, Julie Weisenberg, and Nicky Epstein. (Susanna with me, Fiona by herself,  pictured here.)

6.jpgBest classes – Annie’s colorwork class (something like 6 techniques in 3 hours – packed with value and laughs) and Susanna’s Japanese Short Rows class (totally elegant, and I think she is right, just about perfect).  Pictured are samples from Susanna’s class, which, as always, is totally organized and thought out to bring maximum learning to the students.

31.jpg4.jpg5.jpgMeet ups with the Ravelry team (Sarah and Mary Heather).  Look at that cute original logo (click to embiggen), upper left, literally scratched out on a cocktail napkin.  They gave a very interesting history of Ravelry and then showed us some cool features, and then posed with us in front of the giant Bob head.  They don’t come much sweeter than the Rav-team.

1.jpg2.jpg3.jpgSteven was his glorious self.  I love that guy.  Just love him.  He asked about you, as did others.  I told them you were off protecting the free world. Thank you for that.

Next year I hope someone else can stand duty and you can join in the fun.

Love,

Ellen