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…
I have an e-mail with this title that I use to send myself reminders. It’s the electronic version of writing stuff on a post-it note for myself. I’m sure there’s an app for that, but whatever. I look at my e-mail constantly so having my notes-to-self right there is easy enough.
I’m waiting on some gorgeous yarn from BMFA for the Morning Walk KAL. That’s right, I’m knitting myself a second one.
This time it’ll be in red (Love is a Verb is the name of their colorway) It’s another leaf-appropriate color but for the fall season. In the mean time I’m making slow progress on my poor, neglected greenery pullover.
I’ve divided for the front/back twice now. The first time I followed the pattern. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem. Except I’d added decreases for some bust shaping, which means that my stitch count was not the same as the pattern. So I had to frog a couple of inches of stockinette. But I’m getting there.
And in other news, I did a big (well, big for me) knitting photo shoot with a bunch of designs from some other designers! I’ve mentioned the winter designer’s retreat in passing before. This fall we’ve got a special treat in store. A project that was dreamed up around a delicious breakfast table last February is about to meet the world…
I have some designs in progress and I think they’re finally going to see daylight!
(Morning Walk – coming very soon)
I’ve mentioned a lot how busy life has been. That’s finally starting to slow down. There was a moving truck involved. Things are definitely looking up in the commuting department. I haven’t had much time for knitting, or design work. But that’s finally starting to change.
The things I have knit this year have been of my own imagining. And now I’m starting to revisit them. Write them up. Check my notes, my photos, dig out my samples.
(unnamed bunny hat)
Fall is coming. And new patterns will be here soon too! Watch this space!
(unnamed wine mitts)
All these items are potential new designs. Anything you’d especially love to see a pattern for? Consider signing up for my newsletter if you never want to miss a release!
(there’s a whole sweater dress like this)
Here’s a project that has been languishing for months. I picked up this gorgeous skein or aran weight merino from Periwinkle Sheep at Rhinebeck last fall.
I cast on for the mitts in late winter, and was probably done knitting them by March.
So why, oh why, did I wait until August to weave in the ends?!? Who knows. But they’re done, finally. I squeezed in some photos yesterday afternoon while the light was good.
Two mitts, long and cozy, with slightly offset cables. I love these little cables, the bigger twists are offset by little tight twists. The hands are designed long with twisted rib cuffs that can be folded back or up over the base of my fingers.
I used almost the full skein of yarn. Fingerless mitts are my perfect one skein project.
We’ve been going to Knit Camp for years and years, and this weekend was the first time it was just off and on rainy all weekend (emphasis on the “on”)
Everyone there was the sort of camper who knew how to adapt. And we had a good time, even when the rain was coming down hard enough that the people sitting at the edges of the tents got wet.
It is slightly easier to camp in the rain when all your stuff is staying cozy. Maybe not quite dry (it was more than a little humid this weekend) but no puddles in the clean laundry is worth a lot!
The fire sputtered, but only went out once – and that was after dinner. Hiking and canoeing happened between the showers. And I got some real knitting time!
My design work moves at a much slower pace these days. But my imagination is still simmering and occasionally things pop out. A couple of my recent finished projects may someday get written up (like the waistcoat and this hat.)
In progress right now I have an awesome pair of socks.
They use a simple slip stitch pattern which makes the fabric dense and cushy (perfect for socks) and at the same time it mixes up highly variegated colors (perfect for sock yarns)
I’ve got a bigger project on the needles too, it’s starting with four inches of gorgeous corrugated ribbing:
The yarn is from the Unique Sheep and I’m using a gradience set for the colorwork. I love the way it’s looking!
Big changes, my pretty and loyal rooster has gone home. He’s back at the farm where he hatched. I’m so glad he recovered, he was even back to crowing before we sent him home. I’m sure he was lonely here by himself. I miss eating our own eggs. And I miss watching the silly birds run around. But given the uncertainty in our future housing it just makes sense, not having chickens right now. Windsor clearly misses them too, she keeps talking about our sick rooster going to another farm to get better.
Not having to worry about the free ranging flock will make our next project easier.
The landscaper is putting in our lawn, over the leach field we installed last winter. He’ll also scrape up all those brambles and saplings. We’re finally putting in the wildflowers we intended to plant over five years ago (apparently I could have a tag for blog posts of large earthmoving equipment in my front yard.)
And my pretty sunflower kitchen has been normalized.
We’ve had our house on the market since November, and if we don’t sell in the next month we’ve decided to rent it out and find a place to rent ourselves. We need to move before next winter. Wish us luck.
Oh. And I knit a whole sock! More on that later.
Stephannie Tallent has a new class on Craftsy that I’m excited to share with you all! Custom Colorwork Techniques is more than just a class on fingerless mitts* – it’s a primer for designing your own mitts with your own trims, colorwork patterns, and sizes.
Stephannie has tech edited some of my patterns, published another in her Hitch book, and is an all-around awesome designer. So when she offered to let me view the class so I could recommend it to you all I jumped on the chance! Especially since I’m also getting to share at 50% off link with you!
The class is broken up into six videos each with its own focus. This class is not for absolute beginners, Steph assumes you know how to knit, purl, increase, etc… and if you’re comfortable with some basic chart reading and math that’d be helpful too. But with lessons including a chart reading refresher and how to use either the provided worksheet handout, or build a worksheet in excel, this class will help you make perfectly beautiful AND perfectly fitted fingerless mitts.
Steph’s style of teaching is approachable and conversational. One of the things I love about Craftsy classes is that they feel much more like a one-on-one lesson with a friend than sitting in a big classroom with lots of other students. This class is perfect in that it covers everything from my favorite increases (the lifted ones are the most invisible) to my favorite gusset-style (offset thumb gussets!). And she’s even provided a charted template so you can free-form design across the whole mitt – thumb gusset too! While the excel portion was mostly review for me I love the lesson on choosing colors; including complementary colors and a couple of tricks for checking the contrast between two yarns (that’s the part that trips me up the most when I start a new colorwork design.)
The Craftsy platform is designed for hosting craft classes, and its perfect for it. I love the note-taking feature, and the ability to check your notes later without having to scroll through the video. The 30 second replay allows you to re-watch the directions for something quickly and easily. You can ask questions of the teacher and get a direct answer, or you can just review other people’s questions and the teacher’s answers to them. The integrated project pages will even let you see what your classmates are working on!
Have I piqued your interest? Here’s the link for 50% off Steph’s class! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
*Although I love mitts enough that would be fine!
(Please note that I did receive this class free for review purposes. However my opinions are my own, I won’t review something I don’t truly enjoy and think that you will like.)
Hot off the press!* We have the summer 2016 issue of Interweave Knits: and I’m in it! I’m psyched to see my Summit Vest is in good company (check it out On Ravelry, where you can favorite and queue it as always)
When I saw the summer call included a theme for “mountain house” I just knew I had to submit. An entire story line in a summer issue about living in the mountains and needing a sweater once in a while? Sign. Me. Up. Working with the new editor, Meghan, was a pleasure and I love her eye for details. This issue is cohesive and beautiful.
I love this vest (easy for me to say). The cable and lace pattern is one that I’ve wanted to use in a garment forever. Integrating the ribbing with the chart took a bit of tweaking. So when you cast on follow those setup rows carefully. But once the ribbing is established it flows naturally into the charts and the body of the garment.
The body of the sweater switches to stockinette while the charts continue up the front and the ribbing continues at the sides to provide some stretchy fitting to the garment. The pattern keeps on going right up the hood and meets at the very crown of the head.
This is not my first time designing with Imperial Yarns and I love their Columbia base every time I work with it. You all know I love single source yarns and sustainable family farms. This yarn is also woolly, bouncy, but still soft and squeezable. I highly recommend it!
*well, sort of – the print magazines won’t even be on the news stands until the 16th! But the patterns and the electronic version are on Interweave’s site already. Isn’t living in the future fun?