Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two Comments

I was very excited this evening. I had two comments on my post yesterday. It feels good to know that people are reading this.

It was a lazy day. The stomach virus came back, so I didn't go to work today, and ended up sleeping until 12:30. I did go to pick up Conor and went for a little walk and took some snow pictures. It was bright and sunny and not too cold, maybe 14 degrees. I took the pictures for those who might be reading this in an area where people aren't tired of snow already. Hi, Jan.

I took another foot picture. It made me quite happy to see the brick which will one day reemerge when all the foolish white stuff is gone.

This is my house looking all wintry and snow covered. The snow is nice because it covers up the porch roof which is badly in need of repair. See the poor little bushes with their top hats of snow.

Here is the end of my driveway. Notice the height of the car as compared to the snow bank. I don't know how Conor is going to shovel the driveway if we get much more snow. He won't be able to throw the snow high enough.

My neighbor"s looks like it will be a while before we will be sharing a chat here.

In knitting news, I have started a new sock. The yarn is Galway Paint, Color 814. Don't you love the exciting name they have chosen? I picked a lace stitch pattern out of The Knitting Stitch Bible and am using that stitch pattern to knit the sock, using my usual sock pattern. It's going quickly because it is worsted weight yarn. I just realized tonight that the end of January is almost here and I have not finished my January sock. I don't have much more to go, so better get going on that. Do you think it's legal to start a February sock in January before my January sock is finished?

I had to lay a little low on the knitting because I was starting to feel some pain in my hand. I think it was a result of all the Christmas knitting I did. It is feeling better today. I didn't want a repeat of last winter when I was forced to wear a brace and not knit for about a month. I was able to crochet though, and made squares for a granny square afghan. I should get those out and block them and put them together. We could use another afghan to keep warm under. I'll have to add that to my list of things to do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spinning and Snow

Today was a very snowy day. I debated whether or not to go to spinning, but felt the need to get out of the house after three days of sickness. All the way to Barb's house I kept wondering if I should turn back because the roads were very slippery and snowy. I persevered though, and prayed that it wouldn't snow so much in the few hours we were there that I wouldn't be able to get out of the driveway. When I win the lottery (of course, I would have to buy a lottery ticket first) I am going to buy a car that works well in the snow. That cannot be said of the Mercury Grand Marquis which I drive. It is a lovely car, huge, comfortable, great sound system, and was free, but would be much more at home in sunny California than snowy northern New York.

Getting out of the car and carrying my things into the house, I managed to spill a 20 ounce cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee all over my pants. I was ready to turn around and go home, but Barb convinced me to stay by offering to wash my jeans for me. That's the first time in a very long time anyone has washed clothes for me. Barb also made a fantastic peach cheese cake, the consumption of which made me glad I had decided to stay. So I sat wrapped in an afghan and did my spinning. I am spinning some Angel Knoll Alpacas' fiber. It's awesome, brown and rust, and very soft. I am planning to use it in the Fair Isle sweater I want to knit using mostly natural colored fibers. Here are some of the alpacas from Angel's.

When I arrived home I discovered two boxes on my front porch. One from Amazon and one containing fiber I had ordered. Upon opening the box of fiber, I immediately had to put some through the drum carder and blend it with some of my hand dyed fiber. This is so much fun, this drum carding. It is another awesome way to play with color and make colors of fiber which would be impossible to create any other way. I would show you a picture, but my camera was upstairs, and the fiber was downstairs, and once I came upstairs, I wasn't going back down. Perhaps tomorrow we can arrange a photo shoot for the batt.

The Amazon box contained a book I have been eyeing for a while called In Sheep's Clothing-A Handspinner's Guide to Wool. I want to increase my knowledge of different breeds of sheep and their wool's characteristics, and this book seemed like a good starting place. I also had ordered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. When Tim was home at Christmas he made us some delicious bread to have with our Christmas stew using a recipe from this book. He bought lots of bread flour and yeast because he thought I should be making bread as well. So I have the flour, the yeast and the recipes. I guess there's no excuse not to make bread now. If it really only takes five minutes a day, then I don't really have any excuses not to do it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

And in conclusion, here is a picture of my feet and snow. My children mock me for the pictures I take of feet, both my own and others. I think some day I will have a gallery showing photographs of feet, and it will make me rich and famous. And my children will be sorry that they mocked me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mr. Golden Sun

Mr. Golden Sun (Remember Raffi's song)came to visit Northern New York today. It made me so happy, despite the continuation of the stomach bug Conor gifted me with. And, of course, it was a short visit, because we now have a winter storm warning for the next 24 hours. It was nice while it lasted though.

I didn't get a chance to talk about the barter day we had at spinning. People brought things they no longer wanted to sell or trade. There were about 14 people there and I think everyone went home happy. I sold some fiber and yarn, so that made it a good day for me. I traded for some Cotswald fiber, white and black to spin. I have never spun Cotswald, so I am looking forward to it. But my biggest excitement was the purchase of a drum carder. I have been wanting one for quite some time, and was happy to hear that one of our members wanted to move one of hers on, and I was the lucky purchaser.

That is a picture of some of our group members and some of the bags of goodies. There were more hiding in the kitchen. You may notice the lack of spinning wheels. It was because there wasn't room for them with all the bartering goodies.

Judy spent the night after barter day. We also did a little bead shopping on the way home at Raw Treasures. That is always a fun activity. I was going to cook supper, but we were having such a fun time knitting and talking we decided to get pizza instead. I think Conor was happy with that decision. We must have been having a good time (I think the wine and chocolate helped with that) because we didn't go to bed until 1 a.m. Way past Judy's bedtime.

I am working on my January/February sweater here. I will be so happy when it is done and I no longer have to knit that yarn. This is the third sweater I've knit from this same yarn. It is not a color that I would normally buy, but I went through a brief period where I was trying to expand my color horizons. I think this purchase has made me realize that it really isn't necessary to expand one's horizons when it comes to yarn colors. It's OK if everything I make is green, really it is. I'm hoping that the third time knitting this yarn is a charm.

I have had a good time with the drum carder, despite not feeling very well. Dee gave me a bag of some alpaca and other fibers to practice with. I combined some brown alpaca with some glitzy, bright fiber I had bought at Rhinebeck and discovered I can make tweed yarn. Who knew? I spun up a little sample and was very pleased with the results.

I also carded some roving that I had dyed, and put in the tiniest bit of nylon for sparkle, and that is pretty fantastic too, if I do say so myself. I'm still learning, but it's so much fun to turn out fluffy, brightly colored batts, or brown, soft, tweedy batts.

Not the best picture, but it gives an idea of the fluffiness and brightness. It was fun. I can't wait to do more.

One of the reasons I wanted to start practicing making batts is that I am signed up to participate in the Phat Fiber Sampler box again in March and April and I would like to include some batts this time. March's theme is Celtic, so I've been pondering what I should do. Remember a while ago I mentioned that I am not the most detail oriented person? When I was preparing for the January Phat Fiber box I was totally unaware that the box had a theme, so the yarn, fiber and stitch markers I included did not match the theme. It makes it a little more fun to have a theme to work toward. I have loved seeing pictures people have taken of their boxes and seeing my Moonlight and Laughter tag in the photos.

The dryer just went off, which means my blankets are dry and I can go to bed. I wonder if I should wear my pajamas wrong side out to assure that it will snow and Conor will have a snow day tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And So To Bed

I had intended to write a post telling you all about my exciting weekend, which included some fiber bartering and selling, the acquisition of a drum carder, an overnight guest, and knitting this afternoon. I have pictures and everything. However, Conor seems to have shared a stomach bug with me, and I don't think I have the ability to write a cohesive post at this time. So it's into the bathtub (claw footed, big enough to float in) with some bath salts to help me relax, and then into bed.

I leave you with this poem, and a picture of Gerard helping Ju
dy knit last night by holding her yarn so it wouldn't escape.



Think in the morning.
Act in the noon.
Eat in the evening.
Sleep at night.

William Blake

Good advice for us all. Since it is night, I will follow Mr. Blake's advice and sleep.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursdays Are For Working

I worked today and spent the day getting tax information together. It doesn't seem like it should be a tiring activity, but it was. I think I might just be too tired to knit tonight. Here is a picture, obviously not take today (no snow) of one of the lovely horses who reside at Pray Road Stables. Those who know me well get quite a bit of amusement from the fact that I work at a stable. Even though I don't really have much to do with the horses, I am occasionally called upon to hold a horse while something is being done to him or her. I'm getting much braver than I used to be, and since working there have learned what awesome, intuitive creatures horses are. And I have also learned what a valuable help they can be in therapy. Isn't he handsome?

My exciting news is I have a domain name and a very, very basic web-site, which is www. This is all thanks to my lovely sister-in-law Lisa who knows a lot more about such things than I do. There really isn't anything on the site but links to my blog and etsy shop, but I've been thinking about having my own website for so long I find it very exciting. And I'm sure it will be a piece of cake to build the site. Especially if I ask my 5th child Dave (whom I didn't give birth to, but I think spent more time at our house when the kids were growing up than Travis did) to design it since that is what he doing for a living right now.

Last night our knitting group met at the library. There were a whole two of us there. It's kind of frustrating because we have been meeting for about a year and a half and we don't really get anyone new who comes for more than a week or two. We wonder if it's us (of course that couldn't be it), or the fact that we meet at the library, or maybe just that everyone has such full and busy lives that they don't come. I think people would be more likely to come if we met in a yarn shop. It was great when Judy's shop, Liberty Fibers, was open and she would have open knitting one evening a week. It was an interesting group of women who would come, and I miss that. Of course we three who meet at the library are interesting too, but it would be nice to make some new knitting friends.

OK, I give up. I must stop typing and go to bed. I have a cat sitting on my arm as I am typing this and I'm finding it a bit challenging. I think he is indicating the need for some attention he missed since I was at work all day. Here's a picture of the handsome boy. Any guesses as to what kind of spinning wheel is in the background?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day tWhich Will Go Down in HIstory

I have spent today watching Barack Obama be inaugurated as our 44th President. I found it to be a very emotional experience for me, something I hadn't expected. For the first time in a long time when contemplating our future as a country I felt a sense of hope instead of fear. I realize that things are still in very bad shape, but think that if we can pull together and work together we can accomplish good things. I think that President Obama has an immense job ahead of him, but hope that Republicans and Democrats can pull together and work for the good of all, not their own political agenda.

I loved the poem that was read at the Inauguration:

Praise Song for the Day

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other,

catching each other's eyes,
or not.
About to speak, or speaking.
All about us is noise.
All about us is noise and bramble,
thorn and din, each one of our ancestors
on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem,
darning a hole in a uniform.
patching a tire.
Repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom-box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, "Take out your pencils.

We encounter each other in words,
words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed.
Words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways
that mark the will of someone
and then others who said,
"I need to see what's on the other side.
I know there's something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe."
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: That many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks,
raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce,
built, brick by brick, the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle.
Praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Others by "First, do no harm,"
or "Take no more than you need."
What if the mightiest word
is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national.
Love that casts a widening pool of light.
Love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this
winter air, any thing can be made,
any sentence begun.
On the brink,
on the brim,
on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.

— Elizabeth Alexander

OK, I'm done with politics and poetry-now to spinning. I finished my January scarf, so it's onto planning next month's scarf. I'm planning to make the Starry Nite Scarf, designed by Lynne Vogel, for my February scarf, so I wanted to spin the fiber I dyed in Harrisville in August to use for the scarf. Here is the fiber, very bright, saturated colors. When I was choosing what colors to dye with, I chose colors I had not used before and blended other colors using five basic colors.

These colors were more bright than what I want for the scarf, because I am also planning to use some fiber I had spun in Harrisville that was dyed by Lynne, and I don't think these colors would blend well with what I already had spun. So I used some of the techniques I learned in class for pulling apart a roving and blending the colors. These are the singles I ended up with.

Trina was here knitting yesterday and said it was hard to believe this yarn was spun from the fiber she was looking at, so I knew I had accomplished what I was trying to do. Here is the yarn after it was plied.

I really enjoy the color blending that can be accomplished by pulling a roving apart and manipulating the colors. I hadn't done any of it since class, and was glad I remembered what to do.

Time for a cup of tea and bed. My Phat Fiber sampler box arrived today, and I am excited about opening it. It will be interesting to see what other people sent to advertise their wares.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesdays Are For Spinning

Yes, I know it's Friday, but life (and the lure of a deep clawfoot bathtub full of really hot water) got in the way, and I didn't get a chance to write a post on Wednesday, so I would like to tell you that Wednesday I attended my weekly spinning group. I always enjoy our getting together. It is an interesting group of supportive women, and I enjoy not only the lively discussion, but the sharing of projects as well. We're an equal opportunity group, and welcome knitters as well as spinners. I was one of those knitters who was lured by the gentle sound of the spinning wheel, and the sight of the awesomeness that was emerging on the bobbin, to become a spinning convert. What person who loves wool and all it's goodness wouldn't want to learn how to spin so they could play with a cloud of fiber such as this?

When I was at Rhinebeck this year I bought two fleeces, one is white and one is pale gray pale tan. I had them processed, and they arrived at my house on Christmas Eve. What a fantastic Christmas gift to myself. I waited to open them until Christmas Day and began spinning the tan roving on Boxing Day. My plan is to spin enough undyed fleece to make a Fair Isle sweater. I am working very hard at trying to spin worsted weight yarn. I have a tendency to spin thin, and as soon as I am distracted, the yarn can quickly go from worsted to fingering weight.

I am enjoying spinning this roving. While spinning I was thinking how spinning involves all of the senses but taste. There is the smell of the wool and the oil that is used
in processing which combines to a very pleasant aroma. There is the feel of the softness of the wool and the lanolin that is left on my hands as I spin. There is the sight of the singles being wound onto the bobbin and the mesmerizing turning of the wheel. And finally, there is the sound of the wheel as it turns making what can be a hypnotizing sound, which, on occasion, has almost lulled me into sleep.

On another note, if I thought it was cold the other day, I didn't know what cold was. On Tuesday when I drove Conor to school it was -22. I discovered my downstairs shower pipes were frozen this morning. I have spent the afternoon trying to thaw them out without having to enter the crawl space through which they run. This is one of those time when being a widow really stinks. I don't mind trying to figure this kind of situation out by myself, but it would be a lovely thing to have some help (for instance, if it is required that the crawl space be crawled in), and some moral support.

I have two electric heaters aimed into the space from two different openings and I'm hoping that will be enough to thaw the pipes. I am praying that they are just frozen, and not split. Llooking at the forecast I don't see much warming up on the way. But I count my blessings and am grateful that we are
dry and safe inside a warm house. And all this coldness just makes me want to knit more. I think mittens are in my future.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Question of Dyeing

I have spent the last couple of days taking photos of yarn and fiber and listing the yarn and fiber on etsy. The most frustrating part of the process for me is getting the photos to accurately show the colors in the yarn. I also don't think that I am very good at color description. I need to amass a collection of color words that describe the myriad shades of blue, green, purple, red, and brown which occur when I dye.

I am always amazed when dyeing to see how different fibers and yarns take up the dye differently. Below is an example of the colorway "Island in the Sun" on superwash wool roving.

Below is a picture of the same colorway, using the exact same dyes on Shetland wool roving. The colors are much more muted on this wool then they are on the superwash wool.

I think the constant surprise is one of the reasons I enjoy dyeing so much. This constant surprise can also be a source of stress when trying to create a colorway that you can see in your mind, but can't quite seem to translate using dye powders. But it's always fun, and sometimes the colors that emerge might not be the exact color I am looking for, but I will make a color that I can use in another way. Then the issue becomes making sure to write down exactly what steps I have taken to reach that particular color (including the 1/16 of something I added at the end, just to see what would happen). Anyone who knows me well knows that I am more of a happy accident kind of person than a let's keep precise records kind of person. It's not that I don't keep records, it's that I have an issue with preciseness.

I also had a case of the vapors yesterday and had to take to my bed. Sometimes life gets too overwhelming and I find it necessary to retreat to bed with a good book (or in this case, back episodes of Dr. Who), a cup of tea, a bit of good chocolate, and, of course, some knitting. When I do this, I shut the rest of the world out for a short time, and somehow the next day when I get up, life seems a bit more easy to cope with.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It has been a very cold day today. It is now 5 degrees, but feels like -5 degrees. And my understanding is that it's supposed to stay this cold for the next several days. The only time I went outside today was to go on the porch in my pajamas to take this picture of the Saturday Sky.

It's not the most beautiful shot of the sky, but it does show that the sun was finally shining. Thank goodness.

Yesterday Andrea and Trina came over to knit. I was showing Andrea how to knit socks, and Gerard was fascinated by the process. He sat right next to her yarn to make sure that it stayed where it was. I don't think there are too many cats that could sit so close to a moving strand of yarn and not feel the need to attack it. I'm very proud of his self-restraint.

I have worked today on finishing knitting the other thrummed mitten and when I am done they will be on their way to Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

I have decided to start my January/February sweater tonight while watching Dr. Who. I am doing a Green Mountain Spinnery Pattern and using some Cascade 220 that I have had for several years. I have started at least three sweaters with this yarn and then frogged them. I hope this one is the charm. If not, I think I am going to have to pass the yarn on to someone else. I have 1 1/4 of my January socks done and I am pondering what scarf I should do. I was going to do Lynne Vogel's Starry Nite scarf using hand spun, some of which was spun at her class that I took in Harrisville, NH in August of 2009, but I think I need something a little simpler for this month. I'm thinking of making a mistake rib scarf with some of my hand spun.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Too Tired to Think

Not much to say. I worked today and am quite tired and thinking that rather than writing a blog post I would rather be in my comfy bed knitting a sock or a mitten, both of which I am close to finishing. So that is where I am heading right now.

Conor made dinner tonight. Leftover soup casserole. Since my soups are usually more like stews than soups because they are so thick, we just add a little grated cheese, bake for 30 minutes, and you have a very easy dinner. It was yummy and the best part was that I didn't have to make it.

I feel sad if I can't show you at least one picture, so here is a picture of one of the horse who lives at Pray Road Stables, where I work, wearing his winter coat. Doesn't he look warm and toasty?

And here is a picture of our darling Maggie, who loved playing in the snow. Isn't she cute? We miss her.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Snowing

It has been snowing since last night. Conor was disappointed that school was not cancelled. He felt there could have at least been a delayed opening. No spinning for me because of the condition of the roads. I had intended to spin at home, but instead spent more time preparing the samples for the Phat Fiber box. It is all packed now and ready to go, if I can get out of my driveway in the morning, since the snow is expected to continue to fall through the night.

I have been feeling a strong urge to get down in the basement and dye some fiber and yarn. (I added the words fiber and yarn because my children have told me it sounds kind of creepy when I just say I am going to the basement to dye.) I have been dreaming of color combinations, now I need to see if I can bring those dreams to life. I have to work tomorrow, and I'm teaching a friend to knit socks on Friday, so I am scheduling dyeing for Saturday and Sunday. Stay posted to see what emerges from the dye pot.

Here's a snow picture for you.

I liked snow a lot better when I lived in New Jersey and it only came a few times a winter, stayed for a day and then was gone. I loved it when it snowed there, because it was as if the whole town had a snow day. Because it snowed so infrequently, there was a holiday feeling that emerged when it snowed. I could enjoy the beauty of the snow and the fact that we were all home snug and warm together (because if it snowed there, the children always had a snow day)

Now that I live in Massena, I don't have the same relationship with snow I had in New Jersey. I try to enjoy it for it's beauty, but it's there all the time, basically from November until March, so it's beauty is lost on me. I have been told I would enjoy snow more if I went snow shoeing or did cross country skiing. Well, I don't do either thing, and don't think those activities are in my future. So I have brilliantly concluded that I will follow the advice I always gave to my children . Since the only thing I can change about the situation is my attitude, I am going to start loving snow and being accepting of it and going for walks in it, and maybe I'll invite it in for a cup of coffee and get to know it better. So here is a picture of my new best friend snow.

The wind made pretty ripples in it, which remind me of sand at the shore where the waves have washed in. And look at the blueness of the light when it hits the snow. I am starting to fall in love with snow all over again.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Phat Fiber Sampler Box

I was asked to participate in a new venture called a Phat Farm Sampler Box. It is a way to advertise products on-line and I have known that I was participating since October. I have to send in samples of my yarn, fiber and stitch markers and anyone interested can order a sample box from In my usual procrastinating manner I have waited until today to get my samples together and they need to be in another state by Saturday. I believe this is one of the reasons Priority Mail was invented. Trina came over to help me decide what fiber and yarns to put in my samples, and to start getting the samples together. Conor helped by resizing my labels. He had to use Microsoft Paint which made him very crabby because it was difficult to do what he needed to do using the program. But he persevered and was able to accomplish what I needed done.

I bought a new cable so that I could download pictures from my camera, and then guess what I found when I was looking for stitch markers for the Sampler Box? That's right, the cable for the camera. I had tucked it away in a very safe spot (the box I keep stitch markers in) and it was such a safe spot that I totally forgot where I had put it. I'm sure it seemed like a logical place at the time I put it away, but now I can't quite figure out the connection between stitch markers and camera cables.

I promised a picture of the thrummed mittens I finished knitting a couple of nights ago, so here it is. They are made from my hand dyed roving and yarn. I am not a big fan of pink, but I had a request that I knit some pink legwarmers, which led me to dye this yarn. I am pleased with the pink that I created. I hope Becca likes the mittens. I am now making a much more subdued pair of navy blue mittens for her brother.

Tomorrow our spinning group is meeting, but I just checked the weather, and there is a winter storm warning in effect until Thursday afternoon. If the forecast holds true, I don't think I will be driving to spinning, since it is being held at a house about a half hour from here. I guess I will have to spin here by myself. How sad.

I'd better stop procrastinating and finish the packages to send to Phat Fiber.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January Socks

When I decided to start a blog, I made a promise to myself that I would blog every day, not thinking about days like today when I have returned from work exhausted. I spent eight hours at work today entering expenses into the computer. Between that long day and my very stuffy head, I don't have the ability to come up with much to say.

I wrote earlier of my knitting group's plan to knit a pair of socks and a scarf a month. I have started my January socks. I am knitting the Embossed Leaves Socks from Favorite Socks-25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. I am using what I think is a Fleece Artist sock yarn. I have a tendency to wind yarn into a ball thinking I am going to use it right away and will remember what yarn it is, and then life interferes and I don't use the yarn, and surprisingly, a year or two later, I can't remember what the yarn is. That is the case with the yarn I am knitting my socks from. I am up to the toe on the first sock and am finding it to be quite a fast knit and fun too.

No pictures today because my camera cord still has not appeared. I have all kinds of ideas for blog posts that will be much more interesting if I can show pictures to go along with the post.

Seamus is here demanding to be petted, and thinks my laptop is in his way, and that it is time that I stop typing. I will hope for a less stuffy head tomorrow.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Lazy Sunday

There is not much dyeing, spinning or knitting that was done today. I have been working on creating a web site, and despite the claims of the program I am using, it is not easy, but I am making progress. It won't be fancy at first, but at least it will be a web site.

It probably doesn't help that I am developing a cold, and that means my thought processes get a little muddy. Conor and I went to the grocery store this afternoon and I discovered that Puffs have tissues that are scented with Vicks Vaporub. I guess I haven't been paying attention to advances in tissue design. This discovery made me happy because the scent of Vicks reminds me of childhood and being taken care of. Finding the tissues means if I must have a cold, at least I can have Vicks without walking around smelling like Vicks, and can be transported back to a happy childhood memory.

I finished a pair of thrummed mittens last night. I would show you a picture of them, but I have discovered that the cord for my camera has disappeared and the last time I used it was before Christmas, so it may never reappear. I was in Office Max this afternoon and would have bought another cord if my stuffy head hadn't meant I forgot one of the reasons I went to Office Max. The above picture is of a pair of thrummed mittens I made in the fall as a model to take when vending at fiber festivals. The leaves in the background have now disappeared under a layer of snow.

There have been some complaints from Seamus (Caitlin's cat) that Gerard (Conor's cat) had his picture in the blog, but Seamus hasn't had his, so here is a picture of the handsome Seamus. He was helping me choose yarn and fiber to make Thrummed Mitten Kits. He is not only handsome, but helpful as well.

I think it's time to give the computer a little rest and cast on for another pair of thrummed mittens. The pair I finished last night was pink, this pair is destined for a young man, so navy blue is the main color. I think thrummed mittens are awesome, so warm and soft, and I enjoy making them.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Another Harrisville Class

I signed up for another class at Harrisville Designs today. My friend Judy brought it to my attention when we were discussing going to Lynne's class. The new class is called Bohus Stickning and the teacher is Susana Hanssen. It should be fun, and it will be nice to visit Harrisville at the beginning of the summer as well as at the end.

Today Suzanne and Trina came over to knit. Suzanne brought two new sock books that she received for Christmas, and I can feel another book purchase coming on. The book I am feeling the need to buy is Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarns by Carol Sulcoski. I can't wait to get the book and knit a pattern using one of my hand painted yarns, perhaps Leaves of Grass.

My knitting group has decided to knit at least one pair of socks and a scarf each month, and that way we will have 24 gifts knit by the end of the year. It should really cut down on Christmas knitting anxiety. For the more adventurous of us, we will also be doing a sweater every two months. Since I have only knit one adult sized sweater, and it took me three years to finish it, that is a rather lofty goal for me, but I am going to try it. The other knitting goal I have for 2009 is to knit something with a steek. I am already feeling anxiety about it, but feel I must face my knitting fears and try it. I love Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice on cutting steeks in Knitting Without Tears to "Cut on basting, then lie down in a darkened room for 15 minutes to recover. You will never fear to cut again. (But always be sure to cut in the right place.)" Sounds like good advice to me.

Knitting Without Tears is the first knitting book I bought and I always recommend it when asked what is a good beginning knitting book. Elizabeth's message that there is no wrong way to knit, as long as you end up with a finished project and are happy knitting, is a wonderful knitting philosophy.

Here's a little eye candy to say good-bye for today. This is some of the first yarn and fiber I dyed. The colors are bright and cheerful and make me smile. I hope they do the same for you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happiness is Harrisville in August, 2009

Two years ago I took Lynne Vogel's Dyeing, Spinning, and Knitting class in Harrisville, NH and it was a truly wonderful experience, so I did it again last year. I decided to start 2009 in the right way so today I signed up to go again this year. It makes me very happy to have done that. Harrisville is the little town that time forgot, and is one of the most relaxing places I've ever been. I stay in the boarding house, and there is no TV and no internet access. It is quite wonderful to get away from those things for a few days. By staying at the boarding house (it was one of the original boarding houses for women mill hands many years ago) I was able to really get to know the people I was taking the class with.

Lynne is an awesome teacher. She has so much knowledge of color, spinning, knitting and crocheting, and teaches the way I need to learn, which is very student driven and not rigid. Both summers I have met some wonderful people and am looking forward to seeing some of them again this year.

It's snowing here today, and very cold, so it is nice to have the class to look forward to when looking out the window and seeing the snow falling. Not that I don't like the snow, but I know we have a lot more in the future and by March I will be quite sick of it. A few days ago we had 50 degree weather for about half a day and much of the snow melted. That was a good thing because it made some room for the snow that is to come.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

It's hard to believe that 2009 has arrived. I've been thinking about starting a blog for a long time, and set a goal to start one in 2009, so here goes. I am looking forward to a year of dyeing, knitting and spinning, and building my business as well. I have such a good time dyeing yarn and fiber, and will be sharing my adventures here.

I am writing this post in a very awkward position as my cat Gerard Fuzzywinkles enjoys a nap on my lap. It is only 8 degrees outside, so I am enjoying the warmth he is providing.

I started the new year knitting a pair of thrummed mittens using my hand dyed yarn and fiber while waiting for my son to return from his New Years Eve festivities. I made a whole mitten, except for the thumb, so that means he was out quite late. I have been having a fun time putting together thrummed mitten kits, and knitting mittens as well. They are so soft and warm and really keep my hands warm.