The NY Sheep and Wool festival this year was pretty much perfect. Every year people discuss the weather, the crowds, the animals, and of course the yarn. This year everything was superb.
We were very near the front of the line at the 4H gate, it was a chilly saturday morning and if you don’t like lines this early arrival is not for you. But if you bring some knitting, some coffee, and the expectation that the strangers around you are just friends you haven’t met yet – then the Rhinebeck morning line is really not so bad.
The animals are predictably adorable. Someday I want an angora bunny who will just sit in my arms and nap. The ones at the festival that patiently let 10,000 people pet them are such good sports. These goats were equally unfazed by the crowds.
My favorite part of the festival are the people (don’t get me wrong, I love yarn too). My friend Amy finally finished her Boyden sweater. Also pictured: me and Susie Allen, both of us in sweater dresses from the All Aboard! collection. I love meeting old friends, making new ones, and I LOVE seeing all the sweaters, and being able to complement on just about anything anyone is wearing, knowing there’s a good chance it’s hand-made.
And yarn. There’s always so much good yarn. I got a sweater quantity of WATERshed from Harrisville, except I’m not planning a sweater. Instead I’m going to knit some fair isle pants! Also pictured, the purple yarn is for a sweater for Windsor, sock yarn for myself (I’m thinking color work for those tiny skeins!) and for Neil (good ol’ brown.) In the non-yarn category I got aprons for myself and Windsor (the pink one has a lady-knight on it!) A lovely basket (which is supposed to be for yarn, but I’ve caught both cats sleeping in it already.) Not pictured: a sheepy mug, hand cream, soap, cheese, and blackberry marinade. Yum.
It’s autumn here in Vermont. Really and truly. The foliage is slow to come into its full glory. But we can all see it creeping up the hillsides.
We’ve done lots of appropriate fall activities. Like apple picking. Chutney-making will come soon too!
And there’s garden clean up. Did I mention we’ve moved? We’re renting which is a little weird after years of owning our own place. But this new place has a pretty sweet garden and I’m excited to see what I can grow in this deep river-bed soil.
And then there’s the fall knitting. My yarn for the MorningWalkKAL arrived while I was away on business. But I’m casting on just as soon as I can find those size 8 circulars. I know I must have put them someplace safe…
The corn in the field on my way to work is tall. So are the weeds. Everything looks green. You can smell the green as you walk. But the browns are there too.
Plants going from bloom to seed. Leaves curling under. Squirrels collecting acorns. Wait. Acorns on the ground, that’s new.
Burdock, aster, jewelweed, perrenial sunflower. I am learning the plants around me again. Like meeting old friends in a new location. We, plants and humans, are preparing for fall. It’s coming. And I can’t wait to get some more knitting time too.
I had a very important post that I meant to write up last Friday. It was also kinda time sensitive. But then Windsor was home sick and had a dentist appointment and and and…
I was at Rhinebeck with my new book last weekend.
I hope if you were there too you were able to come see me. And a huge thanks to everyone who did. The wonderful knitters who showed up excited to see my book and meet me help me to remember why I do all this work. I would create these things for myself anyway. But being able to share them with you makes the hard work of writing out patterns worthwhile.
You may ask what else I did at Rhinebeck, but I had a case of camnesia so I don’t have much to show. It was a quick down-and-back trip, I was only there for Saturday, and I was in the booth for half of it.
I did get to the Ravelry meet up, but I completely missed the Peace Fleece meetup… I saw some of the barns in their entirety but I missed all the animals (those barns were crowded Saturday afternoon!) I did but some lovely yarn, of course:
The green is 100% targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, The dark reddish purple is Periwinkle Sheep’s merino aran in the “any port in a storm” colorway (YUM). The multi is a fingering weight yarn from Gale’s Art with yummy nubs that are actually colors that match the yarn itself (otherwise I hate nubs and generally avoid them…) Also pictures are my newest project bag and a pair of Jennie the Potter earrings.
For those of you who couldn’t make the festival Cooperative Press will be adding the ebook to Ravelry as soon as Shannon is back in the office, or at least someplace with decent Internet…
Then I drove home. And it was a pretty pretty snowstorm that greeted me:
I’ve finally finished Windsor’s Camden sweater. If you’ve lost track of this one, I don’t blame you… I cast on back during the GAL2014 (so yeah, almost a year ago) Luckily I was attempting to make the 18 month size, and even better – I screwed up gauge and appear to have made a 24 month size. Which means it’ll be just perfect for THIS winter:
Even though it was originally supposed to be a Christmas present last year I wrapped it up and gave it to her for her birthday this year. And when she opened it she declared “Mama made THIS!” She actually says that rather a lot, and not always about something I’ve made (recently it was a pair of shoes. I’m not a shoemaker…) But it’s still one of my favorite sentences.
This is a seriously adorable little sweater. If you make the body in garter stitch like the pattern recommends then it’s completely reversible. I was trying to use up stash yarn and was pretty sure I didn’t have enough for garter stitch, so I went with stockinette for the body and reversible cables on the edges.
So far she loves it exactly the way you’d expect a two year old to love something. Which is to say she’ll wear it for two days straight. Then when you tell her you MUST wash the sweater she’s so mad. But when presented the next day with a clean sweater she refuses to even consider wearing it again. Trust me, she looks sweet in these photos (I bribed her by letting her pick a pumpkin of her own) but she’s really, truely, TWO.
There’s a ton going on behind the scenes right now. I’m planning a full, knitterly post for friday. In the mean time let’s cover two quick things:
Someone turns TWO this week:
And she’s very serious about her cake.
I’m doing a little photography project over on Instagram. My goal is to post 30 days of leaf photos during foliage season (#30daysofleaves). I’ve been traveling a bit and so my schedule hasn’t been quite one-per-day but I plan to keep going until I hit 30. The goal is to showcase our pretty foliage AND to practice photography with my little camera phone. It’s been fun so far.
Autumn is a lovely time to be in Vermont. We headed down to the local winery to play tourist during their harvest festival. It’s the sort of place that really is fun, even for Windsor. We all took a ride in the hay wagon
But we didn’t get to do much of the winery tour itself. Turns out that’s too boring for a hungry little girl who was promised grape juice…
They have a gorgeous old farm wagon set up for decoration. The patriarch of the family came out to tell us about it while I was busy taking photos. His story is that they used these wagons, pulled by horses, to harvest corn when he was very young. Then the wagons sat, neglected, in a barn for decades. Until someone thought they’d make pretty decorations. Someone was right:
The tractor pulling the hay wagon was a bit of a scenic piece too… Windsor loved it.
But possibly her favorite part was this little garden path. Not really related to the harvest fest, but kids are so good at finding places to play when you give them a little space!
I hope you’ve enjoyed stick season – or if you’re just tolerating it, good news, I’m done now. Stick season is wrapping up too, outside the first snowfall of the winter is drifting down out of the sky.
I think stick season is under appreciated. Autumn foliage is gorgeous, but it flares, burns brightly, and dies out almost as quickly. The season of fall is really longer than that. It starts when the trees still look like summer and the last of the garden is being harvested. And it wraps up now (or sometime in November – usually) when the snow ushers in winter. Stick season fills as much of autumn as foliage season, and it can be just a beautiful if you look for it. Attentive mindfulness helps me to find the pretty parts of stick season. And I think that practice of mindfulness is great for a lot of things in life.
And now, I’m going to have to figure out what else to feature on wordless wednesdays. Photography is a lot harder when I’m at work during all the daylight hours…
For the record, I did not finish Windsor’s purple vest. Pretty much any time I say something like “If Windsor will let me” I should know it’s not going to work. Don’t get me wrong! I was very happy to spend most of the weekend helping her practice walking! But that’s not really compatible with knitting…
My weekend just wasn’t long enough. I did make pumpkin bread, finish the hood on that vest, and go for a long walk with the dogs. I did not start the sewing project I have planned. Or put my garden to bed.
And then there was Sunday. I’ve disliked changing to and from daylight savings time for years. But it turns out one year olds really hate it. They do not want an extra hour of sleep. They do not understand why nap time is delayed. It took both of us to keep her cheerful 15 minutes later than her old bedtime – which means she was asleep 45 minutes early. I only worry because we don’t have a lot of time to spare between our evening commute and bedtime on a regular weeknight. I’ll see how that unfolds tomorrow…
Don’t laugh, these are delicious. And I’d argue that in this world where EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored around the fall, pumpkin seeds have as much right to wear the spices as anything else.
What makes things pumpkin flavored, anyway? Because I promise you there’s very little actual pumpkin going into that latte*. The truth is that what people are labeling “pumpkin” flavored is really just the collection of spices that go into pumpkin pies. Personally, I would see nothing wrong with “autumn spiced lattes” but maybe I’m just too much of a stickler for the truth.
Anyway, back to my pumpkin seeds. These actually came out of a pumpkin, although you can make equally good toasted seeds with any other winter squash. I think the acorn squash seeds are a bit small for toasting, but it’s a personal preference. Since I was aiming for “pumpkin flavored” I didn’t bother to rinse these after I separated them from the pumpkin guts. I was pretty clean about the separation though, so there aren’t any chunks of pumpkin on my tray, just a nice orange sheen to the seeds:
For one pumpkin’s worth of seeds (almost a full cookie sheet) I sprinkled on 2Tbsp of raw sugar and less than 1/4tsp of salt. Plus the spices: just a pinch or two of each sprinkled on from a height over the pan so they spread evenly. In this instance I stuck with cinnamon and allspice. I considered clove, but I only have whole cloves and getting out the mortar and pestal for “a pinch” seemed overkill.
I’d recommend toasting these at 350F for 6-8 minutes. The trick is that with all the sugar and the pumpkin juices they can burn easily. For example, I got distracted by Windsor and my seeds were in the oven for almost 15 minutes.
15 minutes is much too long, but they were still tasty.
*There’s a well known pumpkin beer which actually contains ZERO pumpkin. It’s kind of a scandal in the beer world…