Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Happy Spinning Group

Today was the day for my spinning group's Christmas Potluck lunch. We had a full house, with three first time visitors, Anita, her daughter Anna-home from school in Montreal, and her granddaughter Amber. Anna bought a drop spindle at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival this fall and is doing a beautiful job spinning. Anita is also interested in learning to spin and they plan to get wheels in the coming year. It was good for them to get a chance to see a variety of wheels at the group. There was lots of delicious food, great conversation, and fellowship with fellow fiber fanatics.

Anna, Suzanne and Trina

Suzanne and me.
Barb, Barbara, Anita and Carol. Barbara was showing us the weaving sample she made at a beginner's weaving class at Harrisville Designs this fall. She learned a lot in the 5 day class! Anita's sweater was amazing-it was a map of the world.

Kathy, Amber, Vernice and Phyllis. Phyllis is spinning on a Hitchhiker that used to be our hostess Barb's. Barb named the wheel Miss Piggy and painted her pink-she's decorated with rhinestones, flowers, and has red toenails and a toe ring.

Anita, Carol, Andrea and Carolyn.

The dish I brought is an old family favorite called Hash Browns Deluxe. I'm going to be like Cooking Light magazine and show you the original recipe and then tell you what I have done to cut a lot of fat and calories out and still end up with a delicious dish.

Hash Browns Deluxe

2 pounds frozen hash browns
1 cup diced onions, sauteed
1 cup cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Thaw potatoes for 30 minutes. Mix everything together except for the potatoes. After the other ingredients are combined, add the potatoes and stir until they are throughly mixed with the liquid ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 1-1 1/2 hours until brown.

Now the lower fat recipe-just as delicious, I promise.

2 pounds frozen hash browns
1 cup diced onions, sauteed (You can use 1 1/2 teaspoons of onion flakes instead)
1 cup cream of chicken soup (Any cream of soup works well. I often use cream of broccoli soup and add lightly steamed broccoli)
3/4 cup of low fat sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese.
Salt and pepper to taste

Thaw potatoes for 30 minutes. Mix everything together except for the potatoes. After the other ingredients are combined, add the potatoes and stir until they are throughly mixed with the liquid ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 1-1 1/2 hours until brown. If you want to make a one dish dinner, you can also add diced ham or chicken. The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Walnut Scones, Yummmy!

I spent part of today listing the rest of my thrum mitten kits in my Etsy shop. I am feeling the need to knit a pair of thrum mittens-I'm sure someone could use a pair for Christmas-perhaps my Adirondack dwelling, cross country skiing daughter. Thrum mittens are fun to knit and the knitting goes quickly because they are made with worsted weight yarn. They originated in Eastern Canada-made for the fishermen who found the mittens perfect because as the mittens were worn and became wet they became felted which made the mittens waterproof. Both the fiber and yarn felted so the mittens were super waterproof and warm. I think they used more utilitarian colors than are found in my kits.

Here is a photo of the mittens I knit as a sample. They have had a lot of hands inside them, feeling the soft warmth. It's fun to listen to people trying to figure out what they are and which is the inside and which the outside. My favorite idea was the person who decided they must be for dusting.

When I finished listing the kits I decided this cold, blustery day was a perfect baking day. I chose to make scones, which are one of my favorite things to bake, and I haven't made them in a long time. They are a quick treat-it probably took me 10 minutes to put them together once I got out all the ingredients. This is a recipe I've made many times over the years. I don't remember where the recipe came from, but they are nice and moist-a problem I sometimes find with scones is they can tend to be dry. I think this comes from too much flour and not enough liquid.

Walnut Scones

2 Cups unbleached flour
1 Tablespoons baking powder
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup butter or margarine
1/2-3/4 Cup walnuts
3/4 Cup milk
Milk and granulated sugar (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, 4 Tablespoons sugar and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in walnuts. Add 3/4 cup milk and stir until dough clings together. Do not over stir or the scones will be tough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat into a 7 inch circle that is 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. If desired, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar (I used turbinado sugar).

Bake in a 425 degree oven 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

In place of walnuts, or in combination with the walnuts you can use other add ins such as chocolate chips, cranberries, candied ginger or anything else you think would be tasty in a scone.

In knitting news I have been working on a scarf for Caitlin. When she was helping me at the Craft, Food and Wine Show we enjoyed checking out knits the attendees were wearing. A girl had a scarf with pockets on the end. I complimented her on the scarf and she said the pockets really come in handy. Caitlin liked the idea, so I am making her one using a skein of my Aran weight yarn. I designed the pattern myself-I will be writing the pattern up and sharing it on the blog once Christmas is over. It has cables, something I think I don't like to knit, but once I do them I remember how much fun they are. They are the kind of thing that entertain me as I am knitting and that makes knitting a scarf speed along.

Time for a cup of tea and scone and then bed. I'll leave you with a photo of Seamus modeling one of the hand dyed silk scarves I recently made.

Gerard wasn't quite as cooperative. He walked right out of his scarf. (Don't worry-the scarves were washed before they were sold.)

Can you see why I needed to spend a morning cleaning off my kitchen table?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter has Arrived!

I find it hard to believe how quickly December is speeding by. It's looking like we will have a very White Christmas. I have spent a lot of time in the last few days shoveling. Today it took me almost 2 hours to shovel the driveway and front walkway. I was so proud of me-I even managed to shovel the end of the driveway after the snowplows passed by several times. It helped that it was relatively light snow. I'm looking forward to a nice soak in the clawfoot tub later.

By the end of the winter this pile of snow will be my nemesis (a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent). The end of the driveway becomes narrower and narrower as the winter progresses and this pile gets higher and higher and it is harder and harder to throw the snow on top of the ever growing pile.

Here's a view of my winter garden. This is a chair that was not put away when all the other outdoor furniture was put away (why would that be Tim, Travis and Caitlin?) and it was lying down under the snow. I was able to extricate it and it has been safely stored, so it will see another summer. I don't think it could have survived a winter outside.

I had to shovel so I could get to the post office to mail my very late samples for Phat Fiber. This month the theme is "The Music Box" and I chose one of my favorite songs by Gordon Lightfoot to interpret called "Song for a Winter's Night". I dyed merino/nylon superwash sock yarn and created a batt from alpaca, merino, wensleydale, romney, tencel, superwash merino and angelina. I am loving the batts and think I may have to spin one myself.

The batt is black with some midnight blue and gold with dark blue angelina. The yarn is dyed in shades of midnight blue, sapphire, denim blue and gold. They will be available in my Etsy shopthis weekend following the box drop.

I had so many people at the Craft, Food and Wine show ask me where they could get my yarn and fiber locally that I have decided to set up a little shop in my front living room. (It's convenient to have three living rooms.) This is how it looked in the beginning.

As usual, I had a cat helper, which made it so much easier to accomplish my task and get the living room looking like this.

A visit to the shop will be by appointment-just send an email and a time will be arranged. This will also make filling Etsy orders easier-to have everything out and easily accessible. I filled an order this afternoon and it was lovely to just go the basket and pull the yarn. The yarn is already on it's way to California.

I'd better go and check to make sure the dastardly snow plows have not blocked me in . Stay warm!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010

Life is moving quickly on. It's hard to believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. We had Thanksgiving this year at the bed and breakfast where Caitlin is living this winter. It was a delicious meal and a lovely time spent with my children and their friends. It was most wonderful having dinner cooked by 5 professional cooks, with 3 of them being my children. And what a beautiful place to have dinner, a century old farmhouse in the middle of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.

The thing I was most thankful for was having all four of my children together. We talked and laughed, cooked and washed dishes (commercial dishwashers rock when cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner for 8), ate delicious food, drank a little wine, did a jigsaw puzzle, and a little football was watched too. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.

Guess what these young men are doing.

Our feast.

Hungry group.

Begonia being contained so that she couldn't eat cats.

The happy O'Brien family, well fed and content.

I have returned home to prepare for the 2010 Craft, Food and Wine Show to be held at Cheel Arena in Potsdam next Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4. It is my first year doing the show, and my booth will be next to my brother Tim, who is St. Lawrence Valley Roasters, and my sister-in-law Lisa, who is North Fork Gifts. It should be a fun time, and I hope to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones. I am putting together kits with Anne Hanson patterns and my yarn, and will also have some new thrum mitten kits, which will make a great gift for the knitter in the family. Because this is a non-fiber show, I have also knit some hats, socks and miscellaneous things to sell, since many of the attendees will not be knitters, spinners or crocheters.

I have a lot to do in the next few days. My least favorite thing will be taking Tim to the train to return to New York City and then onto Dublin, Germany, and Austria, his final destination. I know I will see him again in six months, which is a lot better than a year, but it will still be hard to say goodbye. He is heading off on another great adventure, this one on the side of a snow covered Austrian mountain.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Wanderer Has Returned

I am filled with joy because my son Tim, who has been traveling and living in Australia, Southeast Asia and China, is almost home. He arrived in the states on Wednesday, and is currently in New York City visiting with friends and family there, and selling some things he has in storage. He will be continuing his travels in December and will be going to Austria to manage a kitchen at a ski resort. Since he is the only one of my children without culinary experience, I did ask if he had sent his brother's resume instead of his. (Travis has a degree in Culinary Arts from Paul Smiths College). Tim assured me he got the job all on his own.

When I think of the things he has seen and done in the past year it is mind boggling. Tim has been traveling with only a backpack that contains all his possessions. He told me the one pair of jeans he has is pretty bedraggled, but he is going to keep them because they have been on four continents. I will be traveling to New Jersey to pick him up soon, which will give us the opportunity to visit the old neighborhood. I can't wait!

In fiber news, the newest Spindies boxes went on sale on Wednesday. They are gorgeous! I know this because I am the Spindies member who mails out the boxes, which is great because I get to see all the beautiful fiber each month. The colors this month are Harvest Night (navy blue) and Harvest Moon (gold). I twitch a bit when I say the colors blue and gold together and flash back to way too many Blue and Gold Banquets I have attended over the years, both as a child when my brother was in Cub Scouts, and when my own children participated. But when I see the fiber, all those bad memories are swept away and I want to spin the gorgeousness that is the boxes.

This is my contribution to the Harvest Moon box-"Golden Slumbers", a blend of merino, silk, cormo, tencel, firestar and angelina.

This colorway was my contribution to the Harvest Night box-"Blue on Blue, although my contributions to the box were dyed on Finn wool instead of this merino/tencel blend. I discovered after dyeing the contribution that I had no more Finn to dye.

I will be listing full sized samples of the box contributions in my shop today.

I spent an hour in this little country cemetery on Tuesday, where some of my ancestors are buried. A cousin is interested in genealogy and traveled all the way from Kentucky to visit this cemetery, when my brother finally figured out it's exact location. Look at that beautiful sky. We were blessed with a sunshiny day-the only one this week.

My mother's maiden name was Fish, and this is the Fish family stone.

We visited this cemetery at least once a year as children, because it was important to my mother to honor her ancestors. When I started looking around I realized that this was the cemetery where I had decided the names of the five daughters I planned to have-Faith, Hope, Charity, Remembrance and Experience. Turns out I had four sons and one daughter, so that plan didn't work out. I'm sure Caitlin is happy I changed my mind when it came time to name her. Here is the stone of Experience Bacon. Can you imagine having that name, not just Experience, but the combination of the two conjures a lot of images to my mind.

We had a lovely visit with my cousin and his wife. I'm glad they decided to come to visit relatives, both passed on and still here.

Time to take a sick kitty to the vet. Gerard has been sneezing and is congested. Right now he has taken over Seamus' spot and is asleep on my arm as I type.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yummy Applesauce Cookies

I was cleaning my bedroom the other day and discovered this delicious recipe under my bed. I'm not quite sure how it got there, but I do remember going through some of my mom's recipes there a couple of months ago, and I'm assuming this one escaped from the basket. It seemed like a nice autumnal (love that word) recipe, so I made some and they were delicious. My one error was using sea salt to replace regular salt, since I seem to have no salt that isn't in huge chunks. As I was doing it I was thinking just skipping the salt would be a better idea, but I do love an experiment. It's a little odd to bite down on a chunk of salt in a cookie, but they are still tasty.

Applesauce Cookies

3/4 cup soft butter or shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly together shortening or butter, brown sugar and egg. Stir in applesauce. sift together flour, soda, salt and spices and stir in. Mix in nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy! You can also use pureed banana in place of the applesauce, and I increased the spices to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves.

I finished the Spiraling Leaves Fingerless Mitts I was making. It's a pattern by Lynne Vogel, very well written and easy to remember. I think it's a great pattern for someone just starting in lace knitting. I used some of my worsted weight merino yarn in the colorway "Celery Tonic".

I think the next pair I make will be fingering weight. I am looking forward to making another pair, and think it will be good to do it soon so I don't have to relearn the pattern. I did make two right gloves my mistake but realized my error before I was done and did a bit of frogging. They are very soft and warm and will bring some springtime cheer to a dark winter.

I know you are wondering if there will be a photo of a cat. Seamus has recently taken a great interest in helping me when I am at the computer. He likes to sit on my right hand as I am typing. Here he is in helper mode, not understanding my impatience with not being able to use my right hand, just purring away. He is a good hand warmer, but makes getting work done a bit difficult.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Farmer's Market

Yesterday was the next to last farmer's market for the season. I was not looking forward to going and sitting in 40 degree temperatures, but as a knitter I was well prepared to face those temperatures with fingerless gloves, felted mittens, hat and scarf, along with long underwear and a down jacket. The thing I really needed was a nose warmer. That was the only part of me that wasn't warm after donning all my winter paraphernalia. After loading the car, as I was pulling out of the driveway, snowflakes began to drift down. I was sure I was crazy to be going, but continued on, as I was meeting my booth partner Andrea..

It had not snowed in Canton, so we were safe from snow at least, although there was a brisk wind blowing. It was a much smaller group of vendors than the last time we were there in September, but a friendly and cheerful group of people it was. There was a lot of talk about the temperature, many more squashes and pumpkins than were there last time, and we were all very grateful when the sun finally broke through the clouds at about noon. By then, my mission to get some thrum mitten kits to a customer had been completed, Andrea had sold the nuno felted scarf from her neck to a very persistent customer, and we decided to leave early and go out for a nice, warm lunch. All in all a good day at the market.

Andrea, having made a wind blocker out of a blanket, attempting to stay warm.

A basket of Moonlight and Laughter yarn basking in the sunshine.

I recently visited the St. Lawrence County Arts Council for an exhibit and saw this beautiful scarf when I walked in.
I thought it looked familiar, and upon looking at the tag discovered that it was made by a friend, Vernice Church, who is the best hand spinner I know. She knits beautiful things, and only uses her handspun when knitting. The reason this looked familiar was that I had seen her knitting it, and it looked even more familiar because I had dyed the fiber the yarn was spun from. It's always such a thrill to see what is created using the fiber or yarn that I have dyed, and to wonder what will be the final destination of this beautiful scarf.

I can't leave without a cat photo. This is Seamus, not so happily wearing a cowl I knit as a store sample for a yarn shop in Saranac Lake that sadly has closed. When the shop closed, I received the cowl back. I think it looks beautiful on Seamus, matches his fur, even the green matches his eyes sort of, and it has a ribbon threaded through it, so it gave Seamus something to do while having his photo taken.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

I had not intended to write a blog post today. I had intended to do a bit more dyeing because I'm addicted to dyeing, it would seem. When I sat down to eat my breakfast though, I noticed that the pool cover which had an immense amount of water in it due to the recent rain, had slipped and a lot of the water that had been in the cover was now in the pool. This is not a good thing with winter coming. I now need to call the pool company and have them come and check things out, but before I can call them I need to remove the rest of the water from the cover. So instead of dyeing, I have started the pump, started putting the garden to bed, discovered a rosemary plant I didn't know I had, and then decided to start photographing all the new yarn and fiber I had dyed for the fiber festival so I can put it in my shop. But, once again my plans were thwarted because my camera battery chose this moment to die, and I had not yet charged my backup battery. So now I am writing a blog post while the camera battery is charging and the pump is removing water from the pool cover.

This led me to thinking of the quote that the best laid plans of mice and men oft times go awry. But I wasn't sure that this was the proper quote, which led me on an internet search to find out the exact quote. It turns out that the quote is from a poem by Robert Burns called To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up In Her Nest With the Plough, a poem apologizing to a mouse for having destroyed it's house, just as the winter is approaching. And the verse is actually

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Who knew? It seems the verse I am remembering has been changed a bit from the original Scottish.

Now turning from our English lesson, I want to share a little bit about my time at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. It was a beautiful weekend, although Friday was more than a little warm. The temperature increased almost 30 degrees from leaving home in the rain and cold, to arriving in Greenwich to bright sunshine and 85 degree temperatures with lots of humidity. It was an interesting drive as well, as it turns out there are two routes with the same number, one a county route and one a state route, and Holly and I ended up on the wrong route. Although we had a lovely side trip along the Hudson River, I was rather anxious to arrive at the fairgrounds to start setting up. Once we were on the proper route, who would have thought there would be two Old Schylerville Roads in the same town, but there are, and we also took the wrong one. We finally arrived at the Fairgrounds. thanks to the internets and no thanks to Holly's navigation sytem Bertha, and began setting up my booth. I was fortunate to have a corner booth when you first walked in the barn, but on a hot, humid day with the sun streaming in, it didn't seem so lucky. We unloaded the car and got the layout of the booth figured out and then went to check into the motel with plans to finish setting up the booth in the morning.

It was a fun show. I met people who had purchased from my shop on Etsy, which is always a treat, people who remembered my yarn and fiber from a show I did two years ago at the Adirondack Museum, and made lots of new friends too. People seemed very intrigued by myThrum Mitten Kits, and I gave quite a few lessons in knitting thrums using the sock I was knitting. Which led me to think it would be a great idea to make a few thrum sock kits. Wouldn't they be warm and cozy on a cold winter evening, or slipped onto very cold feet when waking up to a chilly house? I was surprised at how little fiber I sold, but there will be many new pairs of socks knit with Moonlight and Laughter yarn.

I am planning to do the show again next year. It was well organized, the organizers did nice things like having volunteers who would man the booth if you needed a break, the 4-H kids came around and took lunch orders, and there was a nice steady stream of attendees. I think they need to advertise in a wider geographical area though. A lot of the same vendors who are at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival and Rhinebeck were there, and the atmosphere was much less hectic.

I used this shelf unit for the first time at the show. While thinking about display pieces that I could use at shows, I remembered this shelf that my Uncle Lyle built for my parents when they had an antique shop and did antique shows. I removed Conor's books from the shelf, placing them in neat piles, of course, and took it to the fiber festival where it worked splendidly as a display piece. The great thing is that it breaks down so it will fit in my car.

Because of my lovely friend Holly, who came with me to the show, whose lovely husband let us use his van, I didn't have to take the shelf apart. Here is Holly spinning the Poppy Spindies box. Holly's favorite color is red, and so she had to buy the beautiful poppy box. She carded the 5 ounces of fiber together and made some beautiful batts which she spun into some gorgeous yarn. I really appreciated that she was able to come with me. Where would we be without our friends?

This is Luciole, a Knitspot pattern knit in my merino, nylon fingering weight yarn. The first picture is taken in natural light, the second with the sun streaming into the building in the late afternoon. It is a great patten if you are new to lace knitting because every other row is a purl row, and a lot of the middle of the pattern is stockinette stitch with an occasional lace motif. I am selling Knitspot patterns in my shop now. I am working on a big shop update, which I will return to once my camera battery is charged, and I will soon be listing the Knitspot patterns I have available.

I guess I'd best check on the pump-don't want it getting clogged with leaves.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!

September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here is one of my favorite pirates. Avast and shiver me timbers. I'm sure if Jack were to knit, he would use beautiful hand dyed yarrrrrrn.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival

I've been frantically busy the past two weeks preparing for the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. It's hard to believe that in a week I will be in my booth, bopefully selling much fiber and yarn. I have had to put blinders on as I walk through my house though because the frantic dyeing and labeling has not left time for much of anything else, like housework. I keep telling myself there will be plenty of time for all that silliness in two weeks. It took me a whole day just to label my yarn, and I haven't even started on the fiber labeling, nor am I done with dyeing. I think I need a fairygodhelper. Where are you, Trina?

Yesterday was the farmer's market. It was pretty quiet, which gave me more time to purchase vegetables. I am very excited about getting 50 pounds of potatoes from a local farmer who is going to give me the 50 pounds in a variety of types of potatoes. My family and I adore potatoes-it must be the Irish in us. Travis makes the best mashed potatoes ever, and his scalloped potatoes with carmelized onions are to die for. Am I making you hungry?

It was a fun day at the farmer's market too because we had a visitor in the Donahue Family Farm booth, which is next to ours. Heather and her husband are organic dairy farmers, and also sell organic pork and beef, which is delicious. The visitor was a six week old golden lab puppy named Maddie. Heather brought her to help her get used to being around people and other dogs. There were some St. Lawrence University students who fell in love with Maddie and totally exhausted her. She kept trying to go under Andrea's chair to rest, and the girls kept pulling her back out. When they left, Maddie heaved a sigh of relief and returned to her box to collapse.

She was even too tired to play with her sticks.

When she woke up I was able to get a photo of my brother Tim without his hand in front of his face because he was distracted by the adorable puppy. Tim is also a vendor at the market selling his delicious coffee.

Perhaps I see a new dog in his future.

Here is Maddie with Heather after she woke up and was ready for more play.

One of the things I enjoy about the market is the opportunity to meet new people and make friends. I am sorry that the Donahue's will be moving back to New Hampshire this fall, but Heather has extended an invitation to us to visit anytime, so we will keep in touch.

Time to get back to work. This is my 4th blog post in September, which ties with January when I also had 4 posts. Stay tuned, with 12 days left in September, there is no telling what will happen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Facebook is My Friend

I just went down to the basement to rinse the pounds of fiber and yarn I dyed yesterday, and much to my dismay discovered standing water with toilet paper floating in it. Panic! I called the village and they sent a truck to clean out the lines, and I'm waiting to see if I need to call RotoRooter. This happened once before when we first moved into the house, but it was much worse that time. The water was over half the basement floor and we had to throw out all my and Paul's record albums (something my children wish we still had), tons of fabric, most of my stored books, cards and letter I had saved, and lots of other things too. I guess it' was a way to rid myself of an accumulation of "stuff" but not a very fun way. I am praying that the village will fix it.

So I figured why not write a blog post while I am waiting, since I can't do what I need to be doing, all of which involve water, such as showering, dishes and fiber rinsing. I am pondering why, when this occurred, one of the fist things I did, after calling for help was post my dilemma on Facebook. I think it is because I felt the need for support, and know that there is a community of people who care about me and my life, who will respond with a kind word and a virtual hug, and I guess that is what I need right now. I'm too nervous about it all to carry on a phone conversation, I have no humans in my house to talk about it with (although the cats are being incredibly supportive), so I reached out in a way made possible by this giant virtual community I have become a part of. Yesterday a friend had her Facebook account hacked, and her address book stolen by thieves wanting people to participate in an Ipad giveaway. She said she thought she would be leaving Facebook because of it. I think Facebook is just like the rest of the world, you have to be wary of strangers and take precautions to guard your privacy, but if you do those things, it's a great place to keep in touch and reconnect with friends and family. If you had told me a year ago I would be writing a blog post about my love of Facebook, I would have told you you were crazy. It just goes to show one should never say never.

That's all I got. All the new pretty fiber I haven't shared is still sitting in pots waiting to be rinsed. I am hearing a lot of noise outside, so think the village workers have arrived. I'd better go check to see what is happening. Thanks for listening, all you blog friends.

Monday, September 13, 2010

'Tis a Gloomy Day

It's a rainy, gloomy day and I'm still here, dyeing, reskeining, labeling, blending batts, knitting and generally surrounded by tasks of a fiberous nature preparing for the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, which takes place September 25 and 26. It's fun, but exhausting, and leaves not much time for anything else, although I did go to our spinning group on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, and spent with good friends-laughing, eating, and spinning too. We had the opportunity to buy some mohair right off the goats too, but I didn't get any this time, although I did get some black alpaca and mohair roving from Angel to put in my Midnight Spindies batts for October.

I am also knitting a shawl that will be a sample garment at the festival to show that sock yarn can be used for things other than socks. It's Luciole, a Knitspot pattern, and it's been a fun knit. I think it's a great first lace project because all the purl rows are purl back which gives the new
lace knitter a chance to breathe for a row. I'm thinking positively that it will be done in time.

Here are a few photos of the results of my days of dyeing. Sorry for the obviously flash photos, but as I said in the title, it is a very gloomy day. Which means it's a great day to be dyeing because I don't feel that I am missing out on a beautiful fall day.

Seamus has arrived to lie on my right arm, which makes typing a bit difficult, so I guess it's time to go. I need to eat breakfast and get to the dyeing anyway.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fall is in the Air

Looking at the weather today, it is hard to believe that a week ago it was 91 degrees and humid. What a difference a week makes. It seems good to feel the cool night air and think about hand knit sweaters, socks, hats and mittens. I am working on a hooded sweater for Conor that only has the arms remaining to be done, but I keep putting it off. I'm not quite sure why I have such an aversion to knitting sweater arms. I tend to get to this point in a sweater and not finish, but with Conor's relentless questioning of when I am going to finish his sweater, I don't think that will happen this time. Now that it is cool enough to sit with a sweater on my lap while knitting I will have to finish it. Is there a particular kind of knitting that you have trouble finishing? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

I am very busy right now preparing for the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, which is being held at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Greenwich, New York on September 25 and 26. I am looking forward to vending there. It will be especially fun because I am going to meet two of my Spindies cohorts in person for the first time. I've been dyeing up a storm and creating some colorways that I hope will be pleasing to those visiting the festival. There are some already for sale in my Etsy shop.

Polwarth fiber in the colorway "Back Down to Earth".

Merino Tencel fiber in the colorway "Magic Carpet Ride".

The return of an old favorite "Loon Lake" in Merino Nylon Superwash

Another old favorite "Ghost and Goblins" in honor of the approaching fall season.

It's been a fun summer at the Canton Farmer's Market.
This year I've only gone on Friday, and that has worked out well. And unlike last summer when we missed numerous days because of rain, we have not missed any days this year. It's a lot of fun to meet and talk with people about yarn and fiber and find out what they love to knit most of all. It amazes me how many talented knitters are afraid of knitting socks, and I do my best to persuade them to try knitting socks, because they are the thing I like to knit most. I think it is a good idea to knit first socks out of worsted weight yarn because there are 40 stitches in a round instead of 60 or more, and the socks get done much faster, which gives the knitter a sense of accomplishment much more quickly. I had one customer who doubled sock yarn to make a pair of worsted weight socks, and she was really happy with the outcome. So we learn from our customers, as well as our customers learning from us.

Time to return to the dye studio and dye all that superwash merino and laceweight yarn that is soaking and waiting for me. I am making a commitment to blog more frequently. This has been a very difficult year for me, and that made blogging difficult. Things are looking up, and I promise to be here on a more regular basis.