Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival and New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, 2011

We made it to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival and home again safely with a lot of fun in between.  Holly is the best festival companion.  I really appreciate her sunny disposition and the help she gives me.  I also appreciate her lovely husband Tom who lets us take  his van and suffers with Holly's small car for the weekend.  It was such a treat to be surrounded by happy fiber shopping people-out to have a great day with their friends or family-nice to see some familiar faces and meet many new yarn and fiber lovers as well.

Silk scarves all in a row.
The whole booth-we're on a corner, so there is a little more room to spread out.

My friend Andrea let me use her display shelf built by her husband John.

The shelves the batts are on are ones my parents used when they vended at antique shows.  
Zoom forward a month and it was time to go to Rhinebeck and the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.  I went with Trina, Andrea and Suzanne and we had a wonderful time.  The drive down was uneventful and we arrived at our hotel around 3.  We unloaded the car, unpacked and went to an early dinner at the Eveready Diner, a must do destination for many.  We walked because it was right down the road from the hotel.  We returned to the room for some knitting and planning of what we wanted to see on Saturday.  Suzanne was prepared with printed out lists of vendors for all of us, and she had her route already planned with an index card with vendors she wanted to see for each building. This was a great idea, and definitely helped all of us.  We turned in early so that we could rise and shine at  5:30 since there were 4 of us and only one bathroom, and we wanted to be sure to be ready on time.  We had breakfast at Pete's in Rhinebeck, another restaurant inundated with knitters-it's so much fun to see what people have knit to wear to the festival.

Trina and Suzanne
Llama parade.
Sleepy sheepies.
This guy really wanted his picture taken.

Pendulum spinning wheel-not at all what I had pictured.  The spinner said it's very temperamental.

We arrived at the fairgrounds a little early and were able to get in, which gave us the opportunity to wander a bit before the huge crowds arrived.  I thought it seemed less crowded than usual in the morning, but by noon the hordes had arrived.  There was a big issue with parking this year because of extremely water logged grounds, and some people waited for two hours just to get onto the fairgrounds.  We were lucky and avoided all those issues.  We split up to shop and came together around 2 when I had definitely met my saturation point with crowds and being knocked into in the buildings.  It was time to go back to the hotel and see what everyone had purchased and do some knitting.  We had pizza delivered to the room and shared some wine as well.  The pizza delivery guy had his daughter, who was about a year old with him-so adorable.
More knitting and wine drinking and it was time to go to bed so we could get up bright and early and return for all those purchases we had regretted not making on Saturday.

More Llamas on parade.
Goat not wanting to be on parade.
Green leafed tree-usually they are brightly colored fall leaves.
Sunday morning breakfast of 4H apple cider donuts.

We did some more power shopping, hit the sale at Briar Rose, and were ready to leave by lunch time.  The Eveready Diner has added a second location directly across from the Fairgrounds, so we had lunch there and began the long trip home.  It rained most of the way, but having good traveling companions made it a fun trip.  

I have read many reports from people who did not have the best experience at Rhinebeck this year.  Parking was a mess because of the rain, a two hour wait to get onto the Fairgrounds, too many people, etc. etc.  We somehow managed to avoid all those issues, and when it started to seem too crowded we were ready to go back to the hotel.  Despite being able to avoid the pitfalls of attending Rhinebeck, next year I think I am going to be focusing on other fiber festivals that aren't as crowded and have many of the same vendors as Rhinebeck.  I like to buy local when I ca and am going to make an even bigger effort to support New York farmers.  There were people who stood in line two hours or longer to buy yarn from certain vendors, and I don't understand that.  I would rather find a dyer who has things that are just as beautiful as the "in" person, and support that person instead.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival or Bust!!!

It has been a busy couple of months.  About the time of my last blog post, Conor decided he wanted to go to SUNY Potsdam, I discovered I was going to have house guests in Cranberry Lake for two weeks in August, and I realized I'd better start getting ready for the fiber festival.  The fiber festival was weeks away, but I know how quickly those weeks can pass and I was correct.

It's also the season for the farmer's market, a fun time which will soon be coming to an end.   Last Friday I thought I would never be able to rewarm myself after sitting in the blistering wind for five hours.  It's the last time I will pay attention to what the weather report says about temperature.  I had to resort to wearing handknit socks on my hands because I was not prepared with the proper woolens.

Canton Farmer's Market

Conor was successful in his quest to go to school, despite applying at such a late date.  I filled out the dreaded FASFA and he even got financial aid.  It just goes to show that, although it is a good thing to do things according to deadlines, it is also possible to attend college following a different time frame from the rest of the world.

My guests came to camp and we had a lovely time.  Three visitors from Rhode Island and two from New Jersey.  It was lovely to see them all and the weather was superb.  There was spinning, knitting, great food (thank you, Caitlin, for the most delicious of stews and roasted vegetables), and conversation and laughter-truly memorable times.

Holly, Bev and Sandy on the porch at camp.  Bev was fascinated by all the sheep talk.

Now it is the day before leaving for the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.  My mind is being boggled as I wonder why I felt that this was the perfect time to write a blog post.  I think it is a major procrastination tool.  I still have thrum mitten kits to finish, batts to make and bag, tablecloths and silk scarves to iron, labels to make for Angelina, lots of display items to be pulled together, and I suppose I also need to pack some clothes.  I guess I'd better get moving. Oh, yes, I also designed this sock, so I need to get the patterns together for this.  Oy vey!

Fern Bedsocks

Now it is the day before leaving for the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.  My mind is being boggled as I wonder why I felt that this was the perfect time to write a blog post.  I think it is a major procrastination tool.  I still have thrum mitten kits to finish, batts to make and bag, tablecloths and silk scarves to iron, labels to make for Angelina, lots of display items to be pulled together, and I suppose I also need to pack some clothes.  I guess I'd better get moving.

The beginning of the preparations for the festival.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hazy, Hot and Humid

It is humid and warm here-I know this to be true because by the time I was done getting dressed after my shower I needed another shower.  So now I am figuring out what to do with my day that will not require much physical effort, and writing a blog post seemed to be a good idea.

Since the beginning of July, I have been spending time spinning every day because of the Tour de Fleece.  This has been fun for me and I've been spinning some pretty yarn using Phat Fiber samples that I have accumulated over time.  
Samples sort of separated into color families
Seamus making sure the samples don't escape.

This is my favorite of the yarns I have spun so far, along with one of the batts from which it was spun.

The next day I made batts from the green and purple samples.
Seamus once again being a helper kitty
The yarn I did next, from the green and purple batts.

My other goal for the month of July is to return to reading more.  I used to read incessantly, but since I have been knitting and spinning incessantly, the reading time has lessened. This stack of books is residing next to my bed so I don't have to go searching when I am looking for something to read.  I just finished Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart.  I have been a fan of hers since my teen years and truly enjoyed re-reading this book.  I also want to revisit her Merlin series.  I discovered three of the four books when I was cleaning some boxes of  books out of the basement.  (It seems there are five books in the series, Wikipedia knows everything.)  So now I have two books to look for when I visit used book stores.

My final July project has been a giant granny square afghan using leftover yarn. Here it is as a baby.

And now almost done-it just needs a border. (The colors are brighter in person.) I really don't want to stop because it is so much fun to choose the next color, so I can see another afghan quickly being started.  I have been looking in the book Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs as my inspiration for beginning the next one.

Time for lunch.  I have a local tomato from the Canton Farmer's Market that is going to become a yummy cheese and tomato sandwich made on home baked bread from the market.  Delicious!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Yam What I Yam

It's been too long since I have regularly posted. I used to enjoy writing posts, but lately have lost the desire to write, and have been trying to figure out what changed. I've concluded that it stemmed from a meeting I had with a teacher of a class I was taking who asked me the purpose of my blog. She was looking at it from a business perspective and was especially puzzled as to why I would post recipes and talk about my family if the blog was for my business.

I let that conversation keep me from doing something I enjoy. My idea of this forum had been to share not only what I am doing with my business but also what is happening in my life, because it is all interconnected. My job for the past 30 years has been that of mother. When my children began to move on, out of the house and start their own lives and no longer needed me as much, I realized that I needed something to fill my time, and I wanted it to be something that I loved to do. My passion as a fiber artist led me to this wonderful business of dyeing fiber and yarn, and I truly feel blessed to be able to be a part of this world. I also enjoy the people I connect with online and in person-I am amazed and feel honored to be a part of the friendships that have arisen through Moonlight and Laughter.

I am still a mom though, and my children are still an important part of my life. I don't see how I could write a blog and not include them occasionally, and include the things I love to do, like cooking. I have let someone else's idea of what is right for me keep me from doing what I know is right for me. I am not being true to myself, and I do not like that feeling-so I'm going with what I feel is right, and I'm back.

Be forewarned that every post will not be about yarn, knitting, dyeing or something to do with fiber. You may hear about where I've been visiting or who I've been visiting with, you'll get to know a little bit about my children, you'll hear about the joys, but also the sadness which are an integral part of my life, you're sure to see photos of my cats and hear about their antics, and I will definitely be sharing recipes with you because I think food and eating together help form community, something I feel that is often lacking in the crazy world that is the 21st century.

So in answer to the question I was asked as to what is the purpose of my blog-I want to share what is happening in my life, both in my business and personal life, with people who are interested. Perhaps we can form a community here. If you would like to join me, I hope you will stop in and see what is happening, both in the world of Moonlight and Laughter and in the world of Marilla, which can sometimes be a very crazy world indeed.

In the immortal word so Popeye "I Yam What I Yam".

In conclusion, let me tell you about Gerard and Seamus' new favorite sleeping spot-a box that has been residing on my kitchen table for a couple of weeks. They actually fight over the box,



If you have a moment, I'd love to hear from you in the comments what you think of this post and the purpose of my blog. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Am Many Women

I have been cleaning and sorting and getting rid of things in preparation for putting my house on the market. Today I found this poem that I had copied from the inside of my sister Jane's recipe book when I was at her house last year as she was dying. Jane was a wonderful cook and baker, and she loved to make bread.

It seems an appropriate poem for Good Friday.

I Am Many Women

When sky and street merge in sullen grayness
and black trees stir in sleep,
my stove becomes a hearth.
I am many women who have looked at rain
through a flap of hide, from a handhewn door,
and felt secure against a threatening world,
blessed within warm walls and sheltering roof.

Hands deep in flour,
powdered grain from a million fields
garnered in sweating sunlight,
I am many women who have kneaded resilient dough
with strong hands . . .
brown, red, yellow and white hands.

Folding and stretching, shaping
smoothly contoured loaves
rich with the smell of yeast.
(Bread is like nothing so much as bread,
sacred in its own identity.)

The sky trades snow for night,
and the scent of baking loaves
is calm benediction for my home.
I am many women who have taken bead from an oven,
and breaking it . . .
felt consecrated.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Wanderer Returning, One Leaving

Right now what I should be doing is gathering my tax information. Instead I am writing this post because I can't contain my excitement at the news that my son Tim is returning from Austria and will be settling, at least for a little while, in Lake. This means I will be able to see him on a regular basis, for the first time in nine years. It fills my heart with joy, and I am looking forward to a fun summer spent with three of my children, since the youngest boy is taking over his brother's wandering ways and leaving in April to go to Nevada to train for a bike trip from Arizona to San Francisco and down the coast to San Diego. I'm not quite sure where these wanderers sprang from, but I think it's a wonderful thing that they wander, as long as they return home.

I spent most of yesterday as a passenger riding to Ottawa airport to pick up my nephew and then going to Camden, New York to attend the wake of his Grandpa (my sister Jane's father-in-law). 390 miles as a passenger and 60 miles of driving to get to and from my brother's house made it a very long day, but I was glad to do it. As I told Ethan's Grandma, as she thanked us, that is what family is for. It also enabled me to spend some time with my cousin and his wife, something that hasn't happened in a long time. I appreciated the chance to reconnect and learn what is going on in their lives.

Camden is on Tug Hill and gets a lot of lake effect snow. This snow bank was on the edge of the funeral home parking lot. That is a huge Victorian house behind the snow bank. It seems they had a particularly snowy winter because this snow bank is somewhat melted.

All that riding gave me the opportunity to get some knitting done. I worked on my cardigan sweater, and I'm almost done with the body. I need to measure one of my sweaters to make sure I have the right length. I also started a pair of socks from some of my handspun.

I love the way these socks are turning out. I added stripes because I was afraid I wouldn't have enough of the main color. I tend not to knit with my handspun, and I am going to make an effort to do it more often. Although the yarn does provide wonderful insulating properties in my house, knitting or crocheting with it seems like a better thing to do. I'm thinking of making an afghan using handspun. I need to give that project a little more thought-crochet or knit would be one of the major decisions. When it comes to afghans I usually opt for crochet because it is faster, but I've never crocheted with handspun.

As I was taking photos of the sock this morning Seamus was busy sleeping on a pink sheepskin.

And Gerard was busy being his usual energetic self-scratching his neck on the carpet and almost tumbling down the stairs, embarrassing for a cat.

He also spent some time checking out the desk-seeming to have discovered it for the first time this morning, although it's been in that spot for over a year. Silly cat.

Gerard, Seamus and I wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day! Don't drink too much green beer! Do they still make green beer?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm Late, I'm Late

This post was promised on Sunday to those Facebook friends who wanted the recipe I talked about making for my friends who came to knit on Sunday. I made Heath Bar Cookies and they are quite yummy.

Heath Bar Cookies

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour 1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 package Heath Bar Toffee or Chocolate Bits (or you can chop up some Heath Bars)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine Heath Bar pieces and chopped walnuts. Set aside. (I must confess that I did not sift the dry ingredients together and the cookies were fine.)

2. Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.

3. Alternatively mix in the flour mixture and the Heath Bar mixture, a third at a time, until well blended.

4. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Be sure to leave room between the cookies because they spread a little. (I did not line my cookie sheet with parchment paper because I couldn't find my parchment paper, so I used an ungreased cookie sheet. Cleanup was a bit difficult because some of the toffee melted and then hardened on the pan.)

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just starting to turn brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack.

Makes between 5 and 6 dozen cookies.

I finished spinning the batts I threw together last week from bits and bobs I had left over from making batts for the shop. I was feeling the need to spin something light, fresh and spring-like, and ended up with approximately 420 yards of worsted weight yarn. I'm not sure what I am going to do with the yarn. I had intended to make socks, but I have more yardage than I expected, so now I'm thinking a little shawl of some sort. Or perhaps a cowl and some fingerless gloves. This yarn is definitely outside my color comfort zone-very pale and a bit pastel, but I still like it.

The yarn is actually a little more buttery yellow instead of white as it appears in the photos. I added a bit of angelina so the yarn has just the right amount of sparkle. From looking at the yarn on the bobbin it's easy to tell I don't have a Woolee Winder. I'm usually better at keeping the yarn even on the bobbin, but here was so much to talk about at my spinning group that I was distracted.

I'm also spinning two pounds of fiber I purchased at Rhinebeck a few years ago. I discovered it in the back of my fiber closet and have enjoyed spinning it, but sometimes need to take a break from the brownness of it to do something different. I'd say I have another pound and a quarter to go. I hope to get it done in time to make a sweater from it next winter.

Today is the day I finally need to face getting my tax information ready to take to the accountant. I am also going to the dentist this afternoon. Doesn't that sound like a fun day? Tomorrow I will be going south to attend the wake of my sister Jane's father-in-law. I will be riding with my brother so it will give me a lot of knitting time. We have decided that next year we should skip the month of March. Not only is it the season of frost heaves, pot holes and mud here in the north country, but it is a month filled with anniversaries of the days people I loved have left this world. It is also the month where we begin to see signs of spring, and the return of warmth to the north country, so it seems we have to keep it.

The return of warmth means the return of the Canton Farmer's Market. I'm pining for fresh, local vegetables, and it's such fun to be a vendor and see familiar faces returning to visit our booth. I especially love it when people bring projects to show me that have been knit with my hand dyed yarn or handspun from my fiber. I feel like I have been a part of their creative process, and that is a good feeling.

Seamus, pondering when that cold, white stuff is going to leave.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When Will the Madness Stop?

The madness would be snow. I have tried not to complain too much about the snow here on the blog. (I save the complaints for Facebook.) I was on my way to bed and took a look outside and it's snowing! There is 100% chance of snow tonight, 100% chance of snow or rain tomorrow, and 90% chance of rain on Friday. I'm glad I don't live near any bodies of water that might flood. It seems that tomorrow ill be a good day for knitting and spinning.

Today was my spinning day. As always, I spent a lovely time with my spinning group with homemade vanilla pudding for dessert. Yum! My latest spinning project has been 2 pounds of wool I discovered at the back of my spinning closet that came from Rhinebeck a couple of years ago. It's been fun to spin, but because of the above mentioned continuation of snow, I was in the mood to spin something a little light and bright, so I quickly carded up 6 ounces of pastel and white batts before spinning today. I think I got a little carried away with Angelina because I was covered with it when I was done spinning. I'm happy with the way the fiber is turning out. I am focusing on spinning worsted weight. I have a natural tendency to spin fingering weight yarn, and really have to concentrate to spin anything heavier. I think I've been successful. The 6 ounces is spun and waiting to be plied.

I will take photos of the yarn tomorrow. Not that I think there will be sun, but at least there will be light. I really need to make a light box. I seem to be resistant to the idea, and I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it's because one of the supplies is poster board, and the mention of poster board brings back many stressful times of being told by a child, usually at 8:45 at night, that poster board was needed for a project that was due the next day. And as hard as I tried to keep poster board on hand, I never seemed to have what was needed. I will work at overcoming my poster board aversion so I can create a light box and be able to take photos at any hour of the day or night.

Gerard's eyes look quite freaky in this photo. He does love to sleep with hand knits. Can you see from this photo how tiny and svelte he is? 15 pounds of solid muscle, that is Gerard Fuzzywinkles.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

There's a Dalek in the House, and Avocado Melmac Too!

I recently participated in a tea cosy swap on Ravelry. What a fun swap, and what a lovely swap partner I had. Her name is Eirian and she is from Penarth, Wales and works in Cardiff, both of which are locations where Dr. Who is filmed. I love Dr. Who! It's an odd thing, because I am far from a fan of science fiction, but there's something about this series that I love. The Daleks are Dr. Who's most feared enemies, and I now have a Dalek residing on top of my tea pot. It made my day when I opened the package and saw what Eirian had crocheted for me in lovely blue and green yarn, my favorite color combination.

There were also lots of other goodies-her favorite book of 2010, some Dragon's Bite Chocolate made in Wales, Yorkshire loose tea, some PG tips green tea, and "bits and bobs" from Wales-a Penarth thimble, a Wales stone coaster and a Wales refrigerator magnet.

The chocolate is broken because Seamus and Gerard were playing with it. I heard the fall of something to the floor, and then the thing being batted around. When I checked it was the chocolate. Darn cats!

Aside from the Dalek, the most exciting addition to the package was a chocolate Kinder Egg, which is contraband in the U.S. I feel so wicked. I personally think U.S. border agents are big fans of Kinder Eggs and are confiscating them and then eating them all. Here is Seamus, knowing it is evil, trying to knock the Kinder Egg to the floor.

And here's Gerard investigating the invading (the Dalek's love to invade) Dalek tea cosy. I had a difficult time photographing the tea cosy. It took me longer to get a good photo of the cosy than it takes me when I'm photographing my yarn and fiber for Etsy.

Eirian took the time to find out what I liked and created a lovely swap box, and I really appreciate it. It took almost a month to get here, and I'm thinking that was some kind of divine intervention, because I opened the package on March 4, which is the anniversary of Jane's death, a day I definitely needed a lift. In some ways it is hard to believe that it has been a year, and in other ways it seems like yesterday.

I took a trip yesterday with Holly to put some new goodies in our booth at North Country Neighbors. It's full of awesome new treasures, so if you are in the area you should check it out. While there both Holly and I made some finds in other booths that we could not resist. I realize that the reason I have the booth is to empty my house of way too much stuff, but this is the first time I've brought anything home (oops, there was that blue lamp), but other than the lamp I've been really good at not giving into temptation. So for $10.70 I am now the proud owner of these beautiful treasures.

OK, I'll admit I love little ceramic animals, and these were so darn adorable. Look at the bowing birds that were made in Japan. They do have cute little faces, but I couldn't get them to stand up. They actually rock. And since Bob Marley's Three Little Birds is one of my favorite songs, how could I leave them there? I always try to follow the advice in this song to not worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing is going to be alright.

A stoneware, oven proof bowl from Universal-Cambridge, O. I'm sure my children would be tsking at me for bringing another bowl into the house, but I did take one to the booth yesterday, so the count of bowls has not increased.

I also found four new plates that I am going to use as my summer dishes this year. I have a small problem with dishes I've been told because I have three sets of dishes that I change seasonally, along with two sets of "good china", one set my Mom's, one set we received as wedding gifts, and a set of everyday stoneware that we received as wedding gifts as well. That's not too bad, is it? These plates are Symphony from Salem China in Ohio and they are edged in 23 Karat Gold. Very fancy!

And the final, most awesome of purchases-avocado melmac-all this beauty for $2.50. How could I resist? I've been looking at them for weeks, and then there was this half price sale, and I realized resistance was futile.

I don't know why, but I'm feeling the urge to serve deviled eggs on that platter. Wouldn't they be beautiful? And I'm getting my Mom's Jell-o copper molds out of the basement and taking my Joys of Jell-o cookbook off the shelf and returning to the 1960's. We'll have some ice cream punch in the cups too. It will be a party!

Time for some spinning. I am participating in handspun swap, so I'm going to start to spinning for that. Thanks for sharing my weekend acquisitions with me!