Finally precipitation that I don’t have to shovel!

Things are starting to get busier.  Since the weather has been so nice I’ve been busy doing yard work.  I can only to a little at a time, but it shows. And I even got the bare spots raked out and reseeded.  Now if it would rain, gently!

I’ve also been busy dyeing yarn at the studio with my sister, Cindy.  Last week we dyed about 90 skeins of rayon, rayon/bamboo and cotton yarns.

We are getting ready for the Andover Crafts in the Park on Mother’s Day.  We are so hoping it’s a nice day for Mother’s Day.  We’ve had everything from a hurricane to perfect 80F sunny weather.

I have also been knitting up a storm.  I finished a pair of socks finally.  The pattern is Spiral Eyelet Sock Pattern from Ravelry.  I don’t remember the yarn but it was in my stash.

I have another pair of plain socks started too.  I always need a pair of socks on the needles.  It’s my go to project.  These are just my plain go to socks.  I am knitting them out of the Wildfoote in Forget Me Not marled blues that I got in the Spa Swap.  They are knitting up fast and will be so pretty.

I also recently finished a shawl that I knit for one of my god daughters, who is getting married in October.  Her gown is a strapless ivory gown so I thought a shawl would be appropriate.  This too was a ravelry pattern that I increased the number of repeats to make it bigger.  It was knit with a natural merino/silk blend yarn from my stash.

Pattern:  Percy

This is an intermediate lace pattern, and I am so happy with the way it turned out.  I almost tossed it in the trash unfinished a few times.  The Frost Flower pattern in the middle goes in both directions so I really had to concentrate and focus on it while knitting.  Definitely NOT a social project.

I have also been trying to come up with simple patterns of my own for some knitting kits that include my hand dyed yarns.

This one is very a very simple garter stitch shawlette

On top of all of the dyeing and knitting.  I’ve also been spinning a bit, but haven’t had a chance to take any pics of the new handspun yarns.

I am going to be teaching two Learn to Spindle classes.  One on Sunday May, 22nd from 2:30pm until 4:30pm at The Woolpack in Acton, MA, the other class will be on Wednesday evening, June 1st, at the Tyngsboro Library from 6:30 until 8:30pm.  I am sure there are places still open so if you are interesting check it out.

I am also going to be working temporarily at the American Textile Museum for two days as a Colonial woman demonstrating spinning and ‘teaching’ weaving on small table looms for a gaggle of 5th graders.  This should be interesting and fun.

Oh! and there are going to be some changes at the studio coming in June. The lease is up and I really wanted to stay but my sister is leaving, and so is my friend Alicia.  I really couldn’t justify carrying the studio all by myself so Rachel and I have decided to team up and she will be moving down from the 5th floor into Studio 206!  YAY!  It will be fun to have another fiber person sharing the space.  Now I need to get busy and do some major Spring Cleaning to make room for Rachel and all her lovely yarns, hand knits and fibers.

Don’t forget the Studio is Open on the first Saturday of every month.  And the next one coming up is on Saturday, May 7th.  Hope to see you there!

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Missing in Action

Yes I have been missing in action from the blogosphere of late, but I have been keeping busy.

Looking for a job of course.

Teaching Spindling Classes at the Woolpack in Acton, MA.  This has been loads of fun!  9 new spinners so far!  I just love this place!

I spent much of January and early February shoveling and battling the weekly snow storms.  But it appears that the little rodent may have been right predicting an early spring.  It’s been in the high 50Fs the past two days!  I know we will most likely still have cold snowy weather, but with the days getting longer and a bit warmer it feels like we’ve finally turned the corner of this winter.

I have been busy spinning and knitting of course.  I finished spinning the beautiful brown roving (all three pounds!)  for Cece!  It was lovely fiber to spin.  I wish we knew what it was because I would definitely get more of it!  I have also been spinning from my stash.  This was lovely merino superwash from Blue Moon. It was supposed to be socks but I wanted something more substantial, so spun it a bit on the bulky side and made hats.

This is a wonderful hat to knit and I adapted several patterns.

Simple Hand Spun Hat Pattern

I used 100 grams of my bulky/heavy worsted handspun on size 8 US – 16 inch circular needles.

Cast on 80 stitches – join being careful not to twist the stitches.

Twisted rib pattern for three inches. (K1tbl, p1 – repeat)

Knit stockinette for 6 inches.  Then do a radical decrease

K2 tog all the way around

Knit next row.

Repeat the last two rows until there are ten stitches left.   Leave about 8 inches of yarn and run it through the last 10 stitches, pull tight to close and weave in ends.

This makes a warm, comfortable, uni-sex hat.

I also finished the Arroyo Shawlette (ravelry link) from some merino superwash that I had dyed and spun into a fingering/dk weight yarn.

Cindy, Stacy and I took a trip to Pasa Yarns last month and now I have a boat load of dyeing to do.  I’m testing our some different techniques and having fun playing in the studio.

Cindy and I are building up inventory for the upcoming Andover Craft Fair on Mother’s Day.  I am also carding some lovely batts for spinning and felting.  And in response to several neo-needle felters that have dropped by the studio, I now have a big basket of my left over carding bits and dye soppers.  You can fill a bag of your picks for $1/oz.

Last night I made some Oatmeal cookies that were to die for.  I basically opened the cupboard and pulled out leftover bits that I thought would taste yummy.  They were so good I am sharing this one for prosperity.

Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together well


1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 (approx) leftover bag of butterscotch chips

3 Tbsp chopped candied ginger

3 Tbsp chopped pitted dates

(I didn’t have any nuts, but pecans or walnuts would be good too)

Bake 375F for 9-11 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet for about 3 minutes before sliding off on to a cooling rack.  This made about 2 dozen cookies.

Another year around the corner

It must be that I am getting older.  The years just seem to fly by.  2010 started out with big changes.  My company went down the tubes and our division was sold off.  I was laid off three months later.  Looking for a new job has been daunting.  But it’s been amazing in the sense that I have found out what my true priorities are and just how you can not only survive but thrive with less.

I have spent a lot more time at the studio.  And loving every minute of it!  I knitted like a mad woman from Thanksgiving.  A shawl and hat for my daughter, a matching hat for her boyfriend.

A dead fish hat for my brother-in-law.  (We have had a fishing theme present thing going for a long time).

And then two weeks before Christmas I found this beautiful pattern for a cowl vest that I just knew my sister would love.  We had this bounty of gorgeous BFL hanging around the studio forever and I just knew it was perfect for this vest.

When I came to Wednesday knitting  two weeks before Christmas and showed the ladies of the group the pattern and asked if they thought I could complete this in two weeks – they just laughed.  But I did it!   My sister was thrilled and it fit beautifully.

The hardest part was finding the right buttons!

But now that the rush is over I am searching for the next project.  Time to browse Ravelry I guess.

I also spent a lot of time baking and cooking over the past two weeks.  I am really enjoying baking breads and bagels.  This week I made french baguettes which turned out fantastic and then I had to make onion soup to go with them.  Double YUM!  Now it’s time to jump back on the healthy eating train and dump the 5 pounds I gained with all the eating this past week.

First Saturday happens to fall on New Year’s Day this year, so I expect it to be quiet at the studios.  But I will be there just in case anyone wants to come and hang out.  We are going to do a pot luck up on the third floor so if you do stop by and the door is closed, come on up, grab some food and say hi!

I am not one for resolutions, but I do need to get a lot of spinning done.  And my sister got me a Bond Knitting Machine for Christmas, so I want to learn how it works and hopefully get it working.  And of course I want to find a wonderful job!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year!


A whole lotta love

The wonderful knitting friends all came together  to knit and crochet 85 hats, 47 pairs of mittens, and 4 scarves.  There were a few more pairs of mittens that were hanging at the Brush Art Gallery that a woman insisted on buying.  So Cindy collected about $75 for the mittens and that money will go to the Lowell Food Pantry.

We then drew the name of the winner of the Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom and the loom goes to Kali!!!  Congratulations Kali!!

Thank you to everyone who contributed.  We will be delivering them either at the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

I made it through two weekends of Open Studios.  Thank you to everyone who came by. My shelves look bare!  Guess I’ll have to take another trip to Pasa Yarns soon and get busy dyeing and knitting.

Oh and I made a little something-something for my Monkey Love friend Stacey.

Shhhhh – don’t tell her!

I also spent the day yesterday baking biscotti.  One batch of Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and dried Cherries.  Then one batch of Gingerbread ones with chopped Candied Ginger.  Both are pretty yummy.

Now I have to get back to knitting – I have to prove those doubters of the Wednesday knitting group wrong.  LOL!

Charity Knit-a-thon

It was a cold and blustery day, but at least the rain had stopped by noon.

Cindy had the front of the gallery all set up and ready to go, with piles of donated yarn.

Karen and me, knitting away.

Robin, our patron saint of charity knitting – I’ve lost count of the number of hats and mittens she’s knit for our charity drive.

Kali is checking out (lusting over) the loom.  This loom was just a sample of the one that will go to a lucky participant.

Cindy is modeling another hat that Robin completed.

Me, one mitten done and the mate on the needles.

Look at all the fabulous hats and mittens we’ve collect so far.  THANK YOU!

If you would like to participate and have a chance to win a lovely Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom, all you need to do is knit a pair of mittens or a hat.  The more items you complete the more chances you have to win the loom.

If you need yarn, let me or Cindy know and we will get some to you.  If you have stash to knit from, then all you need to do is get your completed items to either Cindy or myself by Sunday, December 12th at 5pm.

No Rhinebeck for me :(

Sadly due to my current economic status I am unable to go to Rhinebeck this year.  Boohoo…

So in order to get a little fiber thrill, those of us in the same boat who are staying home this year will be gathering at the studio for some great food, wine, and fun.


Grey days are why I hate Fall…

Another dank dreary gray day.  I just want to pull the covers over my head and spend the day in bed.  But I didn’t… I got my butt up and headed over to the studio.  If I can’t have sunshine, at least I can have color.

Kathy look at all the orange.  I can’t stop!  I may need an orange intervention.

I love making messes.

Fun and productive.

Time Flies…

Ok what happened to August and most of September?

I have been a very busy looking for a job, doing lots of fibery things, enjoying the summer and cooking lots of yummy things.

First the job search…  it sucks, especially when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.

Next Fibery Things

Andrew and the Dead Fish Hat

A few of us finally all showed up for Sunday at the Peddler’s Daughter a week ago Sunday so we presented Andrew with his new winter ski hat.  Fortunately he loved it.  For Rav readers – this is the dead fish hat, knit with various commercial and handspun yarns.

The Dead Fish Hat from the back

I also finished a shawl (no pics yet) and several pairs of socks in various stages.

I am also experimenting with shibori dyeing and felting.  I’ve rescued a few old 100% wool sweaters from my new favorite second-hand shop, Saver’s.  I then dyed the sweater a base color, then tied marbles and sewed pleats.  After that I felted the sweater and overdyed it.  Then removed the threads and marbles.  I love the effects and will cut this up and see what it wants to be.  I am thinking a bag at this point.

I have also been cooking with the harvest coming in.  Last week I picked most of the remaining concord grapes from a friends very abundant arbor.  I hoped to get enough grape juice to make a batch of jelly.  I ended up with enough for THREE!  I made two batches and froze the rest of the juice for later.   It made really yummy jelly this year.  Much better than last years batch.

Mary came down this week and we spent a couple of days making salsa.  This too came out really good.  So know we are stocked with salsa for the winter – I think we used an entire bushel of canning tomatoes from Gary’s Farm Stand and the end of the green chilis from my brother who lives in New Mexico that had been grilled, peeled seeded and frozen.  This is a good batch for sure.

This past weekend was Lowell Open Studios, so things were busy around Western Avenue Studios.  Some of the lovely people that did a dye workshop with me last week stopped by.  It was really nice to see you all again.  I hope we can do some dyeing again soon.

So as you can see I have been very busy, I almost don’t know when I had time to work.  But I really do need to find a job… soon!  So keep me in your thoughts and burn some green candles for me.

Oh and next Saturday is Open Studio again, so I have to get busy dyeing this week!

Things To Bring On A Camping Trip

Since we just got back from camping and apparently Carole did too.  I am joining in on her ten on Tuesday list.

Things To Bring On A Camping Trip.

  1. bug spray and bug candles
  2. rope and or bungie cords, for some reason you always need rope for a clothesline, to hang a tarp, tie something onto the car…
  3. matches (strike on anything ones if you can find them)
  4. bottled water. I just don’t trust the water on site.
  5. towels – beach ones and bath ones
  6. Paper Towels – great for cleanup – napkins and starting fires.
  7. batteries – you always need extra batteries for flashlights, radio, walkie talkies, etc.
  8. baby wipes, can be used for a multitude of quick cleanups
  9. entertainment for when it rains – knitting and spinning projects, books, magazines, Uno and scrabble
  10. sun screen

Since we have a camper now, almost everything is packed and ready to go.  Just pack consumables and clean clothes.