Some things to share

Hello! I hope you are having a good start to your week.


I had a great weekend, in part because we are “Trump-free” on weekends, which means we avoid all news.  It makes Mondays hard as we get hit with it all at once, but we are strong and rested and can take it.  Except when it is so grim as London’s news is.  That is hard to take no matter the day.  I just do not understand the darkness that is coming out of every crack these days.

My heart goes out to all who are impacted by the violence and hatred. Oh, and to anyone who was counting on us for sane, reasonable, responsible behavior on climate change.  That man does not represent even half of this country, he just happens to think he is in charge.

It makes sharing all my fun pretties seem shallow, and perhaps it is.  But I think we need soft pretty things in life and knitting and spinning bring me calmness, like meditating does to others. So I am going to try to distract you from news of the world and bring you to my happy place.

This weekend was not perfect, weather-wise.  But as our local weather fool likes to say, it was not a complete washout, either. Saturday was gray and gloomy and sprinkly, except when the sun popped out in the middle of the day for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, then it was a bit warm and humid. But as that didn’t last very long, it wasn’t uncomfortable.  And I got quite practiced at putting on the coat, taking off the coat, putting on the coat, etc.

As planned, I met up with some of the Whorls and Purls gang and we went off to the Maine Fiber Frolic,  I packed (actually, emptied) my bags early, and found this when I got ready to leave:


Allie was all cuddled onto my day pack, as if I would take her to a fair.  🙂

I went with a decent amount of cash, knowing it would last if I was careful.  And knowing I could easily spend ten times that amount without even thinking about it.  We had a good plan – split up (or not) and wander the fair, coming back every hour to meet in front of the ice cream booth to make sure we were all good, talk about what was next.  So I wandered the stalls and booths, scoping out what I wanted to buy.  In the end, I was pretty pleased with the fact that I only got one ice cream at lunch, and this lovely assortment:


The burgundy is one of my favorite sock yarns, Caper Sock.  It is dyed locally, in Blue Hill by String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn and is a merino cashmere blend.  It makes the softest socks!  I actually had this on my list (yup, I try to have a list when I head out, or it is too hard to choose).  Next to it is the purple-blue of Linda’s Soft and Silky sock yarn – 50-50 merino and silk, hand dyed in Denmark Maine by Pine Star Studio.  I bought a skein of this last year and knit a shawl for sale, which I loved and almost didn’t put up for sale, hoped it wouldn’t sell and of course it sold instantly. This one will be for me. And I would never dream of using this luxurious yarn for socks.  It is just too elegant to go into my sneakers. And no, it was not on my list.

Then there are the beads.  Last year I went with snips of yarns planned for shawls and came away with some beautiful beads. This year I wasn’t that organized, but I knew what yarn I was thinking about for knitting shawls . Next year I will do the snips thing, it was so much easier. All the beads are beautiful!  What I managed to buy this year will be useful, and the gold beads are the same ones I am using in my beaded yarn, so I know I will like them (and I still haven’t knit the shawl they were originally intended for.) The purple MIGHT go with the lovely blue angora/silk I got at Webs last month, time will tell.  And the big clear beads could show up anyplace! All from the Bead Biz, she is online, though I haven’t checked out her website in a long time, she says she has upgraded her photos and so I will check it out.

That’s it – the whole budget spent.  I went home with 41 cents after I bought a late day lemonade (and of course, lunch!)

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I did not find THIS vendor until I had depleted my funds – but look at all the great fiber my friends got, for $2 an ounce!  We spent a good chunk of the afternoon guiding people over to this booth for deals.


All of this fun, and I was home in time for supper, even after stopping at the grocery store on the way, to do the week’s shopping (I have to do some chores around the house, after all!)

A and stepdad tried to play golf, but it was raining, so they shot a bucket of balls at the driving range instead.  Since she got home early, she cleaned the house.  She is a keeper, for sure! So I came home to a sparkling house, the groceries were all bought and set for the week, and that left us free to relax on Sunday. Life is good!

We did go up to Brewer on Sunday for lunch with A’s sisters, niece, great niece, and great-nephew and their cousin Sunday, and we had a nice visit, got fun cards and presents, and were home in the afternoon – we didn’t even try to think of chores and errands we could do in “the big city” while we were there.

I gave the pool some more attention, and then settled in front of my wheel determined to finish this spin.  And I did.  I did not fuss when I came to a knot that could not be undone, I just cut the silk and called it good.

For two months (to the day) you have been patient with me as I worked from this

to this:

Just look at that silk shimmer and shine! And those beads glisten.  🙂  I got just under 600 yards of the beaded, and then I finished plying after the knot with no beads, and got about 130 yards of plain.

Plenty for a shawl, and then some!

It is all washed and hanging to dry (which it never will in this weather)  and I now know why beaded yarn is so expensive to buy.  This stuff takes forever to make.  I am glad I did it and I don’t expect to do it again any time soon. At least not with this method.  There is another way to do it, I wonder if it is faster?  Hmmmm.


This  week I will clean and oil the old wheel and carry her upstairs (where she will be my plying wheel), then prep some fiber to start a spin on the new wheel!!!  I can hardly wait.  But I won’t start a big spin for a few days, even though I have one in mind.  I have some mini batts that I want to spin up so I get used to the new wheel without worrying about the quality of the yarn. I will also focus on my knitting, which has suffered the past few weeks as I worked so diligently on this yarn.

And there is a yard that deserves demands attention. And the pool needs me to be brave and get IN it to scrub it.  I’d really like the sun to be out when I do that, and the temperature of the air to be higher than that of the water.  As the water is in the low 60’s that doesn’t seem too ridiculous a thought.  Maybe next week?






Quick shot of a finish and a few random things

I finished my blue socks, and don’t think I shared them with you.  Time to remedy that!


They are made with Caper Sock in the Stella Blue colorway from String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns in Blue Hill, ME.  The pattern is Fun-damental Toe-up Socks, which you have seen before if you have been reading for a while.  Love that pattern!


I immediately cast on my next pair:


These are the same pattern on the foot, but the leg pattern is the stitch pattern from Hermione’s every Day Sock. The yarn is my own creation.  The toes are Plymouth Happy feet that I dyed hot pink, and the rest is yarn I spun.  The fiber is merino/nylon, and the colorway is Three Waters Farm’s Garden Center.  I spun it with the intent of making socks, spinning two plies with Z twist and one with S twist, the plying it with S twist.  What does all that mean?  It means that two plies are balanced and soft and the third is crazy energized, full of over-twist.  The end result is supposed to mean a harder wearing sock – we shall see!  But I can tell you that the yarn feels a little bit harder than typical merino sock yarn.  It almost feels like it has some cotton in it.

I notice that the stitch definition is more pronounced than with my usual sock yarns, which is why I decided to put a bit of pattern on the leg.

These socks are so bright and cheerful, it makes me happy to knit on them.  I might speed up my one sock per month schedule if I keep working on them for the fun of it.  🙂

Other knitting and spinning:

I haven’t done much spinning this week, I have been tired.  I had a sleep test Monday night (so didn’t sleep as much as if I just slept!) and that has thrown me off all week, I am really tired after work. Luckily my cardigan is pretty easy straightforward knitting at this point, so I plod along on that.  No photo at this time, but I will get you one soon, I promise. I did have to rip back to the waist on the front section to better space out my bust dart increases, but now I have done that, and am back on track.  Soon it will start going much faster as I decrease for the armholes and v neck. I can’t wait to try it on and see if I got the math right…

This weekend we are going to meet Mom and B for dinner Saturday night – her birthday is Sunday, so we were surprised she was available Saturday night.  Usually she gets all booked up with celebrations, so we lucked out!  They are spending the weekend at some local cabins for a change of scenery, so they are closer to us than normal, which is quite nice.  Sadly, Mom was hoping to be able to get out and walk the trails and beach and get some fresh air, but we are going to have a weekend just like last weekend – temps below 0 over night, never out of the single digits, and howling winds.  That means windchill is projected to be MINUS 50 degrees!  Crazy!  I hope her little cabin is warm enough. I don’t think she will really be leaving it.

Other than that, I think it will be an ordinary weekend – I’ll go to knitting at the Purple Fleece on Saturday while A stays home and “does chores”  (read: plays with cats and watches basketball.)

Sunday we will both be watching basketball – it is March Madness, in full swing now.  We have seen a few of the women’s games this season, but not as many as we would like to.  That will change this month, and I should get LOTS of knitting and spinning done as I watch my UConn Husky women go forth and do what they do so well – WIN!  🙂

Maine Fiber Frolic

This weekend is Maine Fiber Frolic at the Windsor Fairgrounds, about an hour and a quarter away. I have been looking forward to it for a long time, but I got really excited when A gave me an early birthday present – cash. Added to what I had been saving, it meant I could really go wild. 🎉


And I did. But before I show you what I bought, I want to tell you about my day. The second part of my gift was that A did not go with me. 🙂 I tried to coerce invited my mom, sister, and sister in law to go with me but they were all otherwise occupied. So I got to go by myself and ogle and feel fiber to my hearts delight with no sense of having to hurry because a non-fiber person I love was bored out of her mind.

I started out in the fleece tent, per spinning teacher’s instructions. It was pretty amazing. Fleece feels nothing like yarn. 😀  I thought the merino looked cool, all kinky. But I could see the staple was much shorter than I have worked with yet. And the alpaca was not as soft as I expected. I resisted buying a fleece but only because I have no idea what I want yet. Maybe next year, or in the fall. Plus there is SO much in a bag!  Yikes.

From there I peeked over into the used equipment barn- lots of things there but lots of people, so I skipped it for this year. Saving my money for vendor tents.

That’s where I went next, with my very strict lists of things I want to make and the yardage. I wanted some sock yarn, dark colors and bright red. One of my first stops was String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns where I snagged some caper sock yarn. I have used it before but gave all the socks away!! This pair will be for me. As will the neon and black striped socks I will make with another find. (Black is dark, right?)

I tried to stay away from blues with little success. I did get some other colors but it was so hard, everyone had such gorgeous colors, how do you choose? When overwhelmed by choice, I naturally gravitate toward the blues.

I found a couple of vendors I frequent every year and got yarn for hats and shawls. And my favorite glass button lady had something I had on my list – an orifice hook! So I splurged on a pretty one.  I looked and looked at gorgeous hand painted braids, and was nervous about getting one, but finally found a reasonably priced Corriedale, which I know I can spin. It is green and periwinkle which isn’t really blue, right? There were some gorgeous ones of yak and silk, but without my teacher at my elbow to tell me staple length, I didn’t dare spend the astronomical amount of money (relatively speaking) that they wanted for that lustrous thing.  Ditto for camel/silk.

And I had a good time with the owner of the Bead Biz, who is from my home town in Connecticut, it turns out. Small world. She was impressed with all my tiny snips of yarn to choose beads to match. I was so prepared, I am telling you. Turns out they all look great together, and so I was able to get three colors of beads that will go with 6 or 7 different skeins of yarn I have.  No need to choose now.  And she has a website – ut-oh.

I did not get any sweater quantities, which I sort of had hoped to, but I got some beautiful skeins to knit up things for me and for sale, and I got some pretty wool to practice spinning with.

I did see this, which made me smile- Ella Gordon’s croft house has made it to Maine!

People seem to be putting more kits together, which I think is great for those of us who have trouble deciding.  Pine Star Studio had some nice kits with mini skeins, a Leftie shawl kit, and a linen stitch scarf kit which REALLY tempted me, as I have been wanting to make something similar for a while.  But I stuck with individual skeins and will keep these ideas in my head.  There were lots of mini skeins around,  which were on my list, but it was too overwhelming to chose them in this venue.  Even though I got there nice and early, by about ten, it started filling up and that’s not my best shopping scenario,

I spent my lunch money on yarn – shocking, I know – so had to settle for just an ice cream for lunch. It was a real hardship. Then I headed home and had oodles of day left for admiring my purchases. 😍

Here they are:


A nice corriedale braid from Highland Handmades in the color way bearded iris.  The purple is really more of a periwinkle.  She had some amazing colors and fiber blends, and when I get to be a better spinner I will go visit her again. ( She was fun – her phone kept buzzing. It was her husband over in the fleece barn, wanting permission to buy more fleece.  She kept saying no. She already had two fleeces tucked away under her table.  He buys them, but she cleans and spins them, and she thought two would keep her busy for a while)

Also from her is this fun sock yarn.


I show you front and back so you get the full spectrum.  🙂

Here’s the handle of my new orifice hook – hand-made lamp work glass by Shipyard Point Glassworks.  You have seen Bev’s buttons here before, and I use her stitch markers all the time as well. This was her last Fiber Frolic but she says I can still call her if I need something. (Need ?  Do I need any of this?)  I guess she is semi-retiring, which I completely understand but still am sad about.


After a huge amount of deliberating at Pine Star Studio, this is what I came away with.  It will likely be a simple shawl for sale, and a happy me if it doesn’t sell, as I think I will like these colors worked up.  Even though it isn’t blue.  See how well I did in this booth?  🙂 the colors aren’t quite right here, but it is soft roses, a bit of purple and pale green.


Here is a skein that is definitely NOT blue – and another booth where I really struggled to choose colors.  Jan Marek Raczkowski Studio (no website, but he is listed as a vendor at shows across the northeast) had loads of colors, fibers, weights, yardages, and the prices on most were decent.  I wished I could afford a sweater’s worth from him, but it would have cleaned me out and then some.  I got this thinking baby sweater for sale, or shawl for sale…or not.


Next up I found Hidden Brook Fiber – always glad to see her and her affordable angora/wool blends!  She never has as many colors as everyone else, so I had to get blue, lol.  I was tempted by some of the natural gray, thinking I could over dye it, but this turquoise color called me.  Since I already have two skeins of a soft blue and one of a white, I probably could have walked away, but it is so soft! This is actually more turquoise than this shot shows.


String Theory Hand Dyed Caper sock – I told you how I love this yarn – who could resist this beautiful blue?  Not me!  I am calling it “dark” and want no arguments, please.  If she had a bright red I would have gotten that too, and I walked away from so many luscious colors and yarns, but I know I can just go to Blue Hill any time and get all I want or need.  Thankfully, she sells at that Farmer’s Market, and that is much closer to me than the Fiber Frolic is…plus it is weekly!  She has a cool display – a box truck outfitted like a yarn store – you go up some steps and there you are surrounded by bins of neatly organized skeins – just like a tiny shop.  Loads of fun.


Don’t worry, I am almost out of money.  Here are the beads I got – the white is a matte finish, the gold have one faceted side, so they really sparkle.  The pale pink/blush are silver lined, so they also sparkle nicely.  I wonder where they will all wind up?


That is all my purchases for today, but I have to warn you, before I left, I did set aside some money to buy fiber at my next (and last) spinning lesson and I might have gone over to theKnittingSarah’s de-stash.  More on that next week.

So all in all, I had a lovely time, and am seriously wishing I was done with tiny cotton hats so I could start on some of these things.   But I will be good, because I am hopeful that tiny cotton hats will bring in money that I can save for September when I go to the Common Ground Fair.

Which reminds me – something I noticed at the Fiber Frolic – it may be the Maine Fiber Frolic, but we had vendors from the whole northeast, and so it had a very different feel to it than does the Common Ground Fair, which is Maine only. Not better or worse, just different.  You won’t find yak/silk blends at the Common Ground Fair, for instance.  Unless someone somewhere in Maine is trying to raise yak and silk worms, which seems unlikely. So I enjoy them both and try to spend enough to keep them all in business.

Leaving you with another pretty – the sky when I took the bird feeders in last evening was just beautiful, these photos don’t do it justice.  I think I see where Pantone got it’s inspiration for this year’s colors.

To the west:



and to the east:




While the cat’s away…

Well, it is A who is away, not the cats… however, this mouse is still playing.  🙂


This morning I blocked the shawl.  It was a major piece of work, but I think it is going to be worth every minute, and every pin! Which was most of the pins in the house.every-pin

The directions say that I might want to pin out the picots after pinning and blocking all the rest.

unpinned picots:


pinned picots:


I decided to pin.  Those picots made binding off take several evenings, as you add many stitches in the process – about doubling the number. Since I knit them all, I think it was worth the extra time to pin them out so they can be seen, don’t you?  I think they are a wonderful finishing touch on this shawl, but I would think about replacing them with beads another time. That might get heavy, I suppose, but it sure would be easier and faster, and still pretty, I think.

So here it is – all blocked and pinned and drying.  You will still get one more post of this shawl, when it is dry and I can take it out side so you can see the real color:


It pinned out to just about 6 feet wide and 21 inches deep.

A few close ups of the lace and beads:






And that’s not all!

Last night I planned some necklaces and strung the beads so I can cast these on sometime this week – using the beautiful silk I got for Christmas:


This is 6, which is far more than I will be able to do this week, but they keep very well.  🙂

And on my needles right now is this shawl for me. (keeping 1+1+1 project in mind, my goal is four shawls this year – two for me, two for sale.  I am on target so far!)


This is Kate Davies Hap for Harriet.  I have loved it since she first released it, and it is as perfect a pattern as I had hoped.  The pattern is easily learned, and it is fun to watch it grow.  This lace is much less complicated than the Pease Blossom – I won’t need the instructions for every stitch!  The yarn is String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn in the Tinker Island Fingering weight, the color is called Ruby Slippers, and for once, this picture is fairly accurate, it is a dark rose color with a definite tinge of purple.  The fabric is coming out a tiny bit stiff, but as it is garter stitch, I know it will loosen up and be soft and stretchy when I finish and block it.

A busy morning today for sure!

Actually, it has been a kind of whacky few days.  Friday we had a real snow storm – and although it didn’t start as early as I prefer, my boss closed the office!  HURRAH!  A and I scooted up to Bangor for a car appointment.  Her car needed a going over before her trip, and she had the appointment set, so we were glad the driving was easy in the morning.  the worst of the snow came in the afternoon.


Saturday we had to take the car back, as they were waiting for a part, and it was Super Saturday Free Tax Prep day, so we got up early to shovel, then drove to Bangor, dropped off her car, she dropped me at the tax site and came home.  I did taxes all day, hitched a ride with a coworker and picked her car up at the end of the day.  So, my day started like this:


And ended like this:


and I understand it was a beautiful day in between that sunrise and sunset.  🙂

While I was gone, A and her electrician friend replaced the non-working bathroom fan/light!  Very nice to get that working again.

Today we were up early, and I made her breakfast before she set off for Texas.  Well, Pennsylvania tonight, to stay over night with her nephew, then Tennessee tomorrow night, then Louisiana the next night, and finally, Texas on Wednesday, for a work training session Thursday.  Friday early she will hit the road, and come home.  She is going to try to do it in two days, so get home sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Crazy to make people go to Texas for one day of training, but I am glad she was able to get permission to drive instead of flying. She enjoys it so much more, and plans to make stops along the way.  She also took her golf clubs with her, so she can go to the driving range when she gets where there is no snow.  🙂

This means I have a week that I can fill with things that she doesn’t like to do – as she said, I can make all the messes I want.  As long as I get them cleaned up by Saturday night!

I have plans for food she doesn’t like to eat, plans for watching you tube spinning videos on the big TV, plans for making valentines at the dining room table…I might even put the smooth cotton sheets on the bed for a flannel-free week.  Such ambition!

If I get really crazy, I might paint the loft.


Yea, probably not.


Sunday evening already?

this weekend sure flew by.  It was pretty good, too.  Did some knitting, some paper crafting, got the chores done, and cleaned up some of the garden work (although, i might be the only one who can tell.)

Anyway – I also took photos – not great ones, but they are photos.  🙂

Last year’s Halloween cards were quite elaborate to make, this year, I went a different route – found some nice pre-made plain cards at JoAnn’s (even on sale, cheaper than the paper would have been!  Then with a bit of ribbon, stamps, glitter and stickers, I made them fit the season. the colors on these are really bad, the cards are cream and dark brown, in case you can’t tell.  🙂

halloween cards

They started plain, and this is how some of them came out.  I should have taken these outside, but the wind was howling today.  So interior lighting and some flash makes these a bit odd, color-wise.

spooky house card

crow card

happy halloween card

pumpkin card

Oh, and I did some knitting on my socks – pair number 23 this year.  This is String Theory Hand Dyed yarn from Blue Hill, in Cobalt.  My first time using this locally hand-dyed yarn, but not my last, I  love it!  The pattern is business casual (third time making this, I really like the argyle effect) and it moves right along quickly.  Ravelry pattern page is here for more info.

.sws 23 one done

I also worked on the Estonian lace scarf, but haven’t got photos of that to show just yet.  I’ll try to get some of them next weekend for you.

The care giving grows easier as the patient is much more mobile.  She actually drove her car 1/2 a mile today to visit a friend,and has been going along with us on nearby quick errands.  She has to learn how to get about in public, and this is the first time she has had the energy for it.

Girls night out got postponed as one of the “girls” had to unexpectedly babysit her grandson.  So we had cookies and more time home together this weekend than we expected.

Appointment at the dermatologist went really well – there are (of course) a few spots she wants to treat with the topical chemo this winter, but nothing as drastic as it was last year – for one thing, I can cover these up, they aren’t on my face!  She thinks I did really well with sun this summer, so it was worth it, I guess.

I stopped at JoAnn’s on the way home, got all kinds of goodies on sale – they will be showing up in more than the Halloween cards above, I promise.

Last thing I can report on is reading.  Book group meets here on Monday evening, and will be discussing “Unbroken” which I have finally dug into this weekend.  I won’t get it done in time, but I have gotten through the war and out the other side.  Probably have 50-100 pages left.  I’ll read some at lunch tomorrow and fake the rest.  It won’t be the first time one or more of us have not finished the book.  🙂  However – I can say this – while it took me a long time to get into this book, and I don’t really like the protagonist, it is an amazing, disturbing tale.  It was tough whenever I really realized that this was non-fiction. really well researched and written, it reads as easily as a novel.  I look forward to hearing what the rest of the group thinks of it.