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.