Friday, May 30, 2008

Fresh Purls....

Instead of FOs and WIPs, I have more travelogue for you. I just returned from a work conference in Providence, Rhode Island. I stayed in a hotel near the Capitol building - beautiful!


Since it's spring, flowers were everywhere in restaurant window-boxes!


Speaking of restaurants, we ate at The Cheesecake Factory! (I recommend the fried macaroni & cheese) I gained several pounds eating this desert, the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake --->


And only 7 minutes away (driving) I found Fresh Purls, a very charming little yarn store in a pretty neighbourhood. While I was there, a lively knitting group or class was sitting around the table in back and it sounded like they were having a wonderful time! The friendly owner gave me permission to take a photo for my blog...


My (non-knitting) co-worker was waiting very impatiently in the car, so I only had the chance to look at one wall of the shop. However, I managed to do extrodinary damage to the budget in just 15 minutes! (excuse the sight blurriness of my iPhone photos - I'm just learning how to use my phone camera)

Nestled amoung many wonderfully intriguing fibers, were two bins of Madeleine Tosh yarn!!


The colours are more vibrant than this photo shows, but the tones are correct. From left to right, I got Jade, Peacock, Mourning Dove, Fireside, and Pool. At over 400 yards to a skein, I should have a lot of options for how to use these yarns.

There was also a rack of Rowan Studio booklets, including a couple I hadn't yet seen:


The newest one, on the bottom right with the polka dots on the cover, has so many summer sweaters I want to make!

These two simple, easy-knit boleros will be perfect over summer dresses:



And this more formal sweater with its all-over lace pattern will be a good work sweater for me.


The trip was very successful in so many ways. Now I just need to recover from long drives, extremely on-edge colleagues, and hotel beds. It's Friday! Horray!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

taking tea...

Good Morning!

breakfast tea cosy

I am feeling cosy and happy this morning because we have a 3-day weekend! It's Memorial Day weekend, which means no work on Monday. Instead, there will be the sounds of trumpets and drums as the big Memorial Day parade passes along the street at the end of my road early in the morning. Shops will be open, but offices will be closed. Many - if not most - people will be grilling dinner in their back yards and picnicking on thier decks and porches. There will be fireworks in the evening, organized by the city over in the ballpark, as soon as it gets dusky. The cat will run and hide under the bed when she hears the booms and crashes.

But meanwhile, I enjoy the weekend, knowing that I can be more leaisurly about chores and things because I have an extra day. So, I am making tea and popovers for breakfast today, to be served with butter and strawberry jam.


Whisk together 4 eggs and 1 cup milk, at room temperature, in a fairly large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and whisk again. Add 1 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and whisk until the batter is smooth and pours like heavy cream.

Grease an 8-muffin pan and dust each cup with a little flour. Place in the lower part of an oven pre-heated to 450 degrees F. Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes or until popovers are browned and puffed high. Don't open the oven while they are baking, or they'll collapse! When they come out of the oven, you can pierce each one with a skewer to let the steam escape - some people think this keeps them from collapsing, but I always eat them too quickly for this to matter!

Enjoy hot will plenty of butter and jam and a nice pot of tea.


As for knitting & crocheting, I am working on the most beautiful 1930's hat I have ever seen, for the book A stitch in Time. It's such a pleasure to work on the photographic samples for this book because the patterns being included are the best of the best of vintage. You can believe me because I've seen so many patterns from times past, and there are definitely some that rise above the rest due to design, timelessness, and well-written directions. The editor allowed me to choose the yarn that I thought would work best for this pattern, both in terms of fiber and colour (with her approval of course), so I'm in heaven.

I can't wait for you to see all the lovely! September!

By the way, the tea cosy, above, on my kitchen table wasn't made by me, but is one I found in a thrift store. After I got it, I did find the pattern for it in one of my old books though, and if anyone wants, I'll search it out and post it...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Watermelon Tourmaline

I've been away to the coast of Maine and brought back pictures! We went to Bar Harbor, and had a marvellous view from our room's balcony:


You can see one of the five Procupine Islands. Doesn't it look just like a porcupine?



We climbed on cliffs:


and I ate Lobster Ice Cream (actual chunks of cooked, frozen lobster encased in frozen melted butter folded into vanilla ice cream. It was awful!):


Right in downtown Bar Harbor there is a little "Yarn and Candy Store" that is quaint and cute. It has a selection of yarns and supplies that will tide you over if you forget something or need a quick project, but it didn't have quite what I was looking for in terms of a 'remembrance' of our trip.

During one of our drives around the coastline, we stopped at The Lilac Lily yarn store in Southwest Harbor. This store looks tiny from the outside, and you might almost miss it as you drive into town - it's a little white house on the right. But inside, it expands like the house in Alice in Wonderland and you will find room after room filled with wonderful things!

The woman who owns the store was so incredibly nice and friendly. She carries a wide selection of yarns created right in Maine, so there were many souveniers to choose from.

I bought Watermelon Tourmaline-coloured yarn. I seriously wanted some real tourmaline jewelry, but the prices were huge... This yarn is a Silk & Merino blend from Done Roving, and is brilliant as the gemstone and lushly soft!


The kind owner let me have anything I wanted from the vintage and antique booklets stacked in her basement. These had been given her over the years by various customers who were cleaning out their cupboards:


I chose a rather large assortment ranging from 1901 through the 1950's. The ones in the photo are the earliest. I love the Beehive Men's booklet from the 1930's and hope to get a chance to show you the patterns inside.

Yes, I ate too much lobster and generally had a wonderful, peaceful, gentle time on the coast of Maine.


I wish you all could go to Maine in the pre-season. It is truely a beautiful place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a bit of Spring....

For me, Spring has only really arrived when the Sheep & Wool festival arrives.


My first experience with this fair was about 8 years ago, when it was held in a hilly field surrounded by woods on the back road to Milford (or at least that's the route I took to Milford). I went with a friend and my little sister. My friend, Nancy, was not a knitter nor a crocheter but she loved pretty things with a passion and had an acquisitive sense that so far has been unmatched in anyone else I've ever met. I mean this in the best possible way of course, and I can say this because we are still friends!

It seems so long ago now, the 90's. Fun fur scarves were still popular and silk chenille yarn was reaching rock-star status. We came upon a booth that sold this yarn in hand-painted versions so beautiful they rivaled the wild flowers...


My little sister clamored for the purple skein, and I - of course - chose one of mixed pale greens. Suddenly, there was change in the temperature. It was like that scene in Sleeping Beauty when the wicked queen appears and the sky darkens. We moved on - the field was blossoming with hundreds of versions of colourful and subtle yarns: enough for a nation - , but the silence was a silence like the eye of the storm.

At the end of our time at the fair, I commented to Nancy, "You haven't bought anything! Didn't you see anything you liked?"

"I only saw ONE yarn I liked." she shot back sullenly, "and YOU took it!" Needless to say, this yarn featured in her Christmas present that year! :)

Now I go to the Fair alone in a feat of deception that borders on misanthrope. As the Fair day approaches, I become quite cadgy about my weekend plans. "What are you doing this weekend?" I'm asked.... "Oh, I don't know, I say, My yard needs an overwhelming amount of raking and my house is an abysmal mess!" (Canny researchers on deception say its always a good idea to use the truth as misdirection rather than an outright lie)

The Fair is held in the Hopkinton Fairgrounds now - a much bigger and more organized venue and much closer to me. I sneak out of the house early - before anyone can call - and wait at the gate. This year I arrived at ten of 9 and the gate was open. I was the 5th car in the lot and the ticket booth window was just opening as I approached from the leaf-strewn path through the woods and over the merry brook's wooden bridge. This is how I know I was the first customer through the gates. Vendors were still uncovering their booths and tents and arranging fibers from the backs of trucks.

My plan was to hit Zeilinger's as soon as humanly possible because last year they were selling a small amount of spun buffalo for an absurdly low price and I was able to snatch it up. This year, alas, no buffalo, and I moved on. The next booth was A Touch of Twist (from NY) and I captured some unusually soft and vibrant lace-weight alpaca for a couple of Ravelry friends who have been uncommonly kind to me. Some for myself too, you ask? Bien sur!

I looked at the goodies displayed by the Rolling in the Dough Bakery about 5 times, (driving the nice girl overseeing the booth crazy I'm sure) but resisted on the theory that chocolate + hands + yarn = NO. I did pick up a blueberry pie on my way out though, to bring back for my boyfriend. Though he - inexplicably - didn't subsidize the yarn-buying this year, like he usually has, he is deserving just for general kindness.

My next stop was Ball & Skein, a booth that I didn't find until my very last stop last year when she was out of yarn and I was out of money! I picked up the Artisan Merino & Silk (in greens) - enough skeins for a light summer cardigan. Our summer here lasts for about 3 days in July, so sweaters all year are the norm. I confess that I also brought out the big guns (the "Card") to get a few skeins of this-and-that for friends or future swaps...

About an hour had passed, so I hurried over to The Irish Ewe, to try to meet up with my new friend Brian. I touched and examined and touched again (see? be very happy that I hadn't eaten that chocolate covered croissant on the way!) every item in the white tent, that was set up like a cosy yarn shop. These Lovelies found their way to the cash register:


as did a smart little handmade wooden tool for measuring wraps per inch. I would go back to the booth twice more throughout the day, but never did meet up with Brian.

I then rolled through the several barns, each with its booth after booth of fiber goodness. At Foxfire Fibers I did major damage to the budget when I found their basket of Sale Yarns. You didn't see that???? That's because... I bought it all!! Bwahahahaha! (no, not really, but my big bag-o-yarns would say differently). One again, a silk & merino mix, bulky weight this time, jumped into my bag to become a summer sweater-jacket. I also picked up some random discontinued sock yarns and the Very Nice Lady showed me the beautiful sock that she was currently making with the very same yarn. I got the Wintergreen Mitten Kit in "drake" and "moss" and the Bird in Hand mitten pattern for my boyfriend's mother, who is said to be a consummate knitter but whose work I've never seen.

After a brief sit-down with a lamb and vegetable wrap and a cup of frozen apple cider, I found the last barn on my search and Carolina Homespun. Last year, my first year buying from her, I got the chance to experience Nature's Palette sock yarns - the colours so subtle and flower/jewel-like - and I wanted more! Instead, I discovered the one-of-a-kind colours of a small-business sock yarn designer that Morgaine was displaying. Each skein (155 yards) was beautifully dyed on a base yarn similar to Koigu or Louet Gems - tightly spun and glossy superwash. The price was correspondingly small (around $12 per skein). I walked through this display case picking flowers of yarns, which I hope I can quickly knit and crochet up into short summer socks to wear with my Birks!


Another treasure Morgaine displayed in a little box almost hidden from view was a variety of lace yarns and although I coveted about six of the colourways, one made it home with me (can you guess which colour I chose?):


This is destined to be a shawl of my own design, based on a Luna Moth that I found one night in front of the old bookshop on Warren Street.

I have more to share about the fair and photos of good things that wanted to come home to my house, but I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NH Sheep & Wool Fair Theft

Just saw this on Livejournal, and thought I'd help to get the word out...

The cash box was stolen from Carolina Homespun's booth at the end of
the day on Saturday, May 10 at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool
Festival. Included in the cash box were cash, credit card receipts,
personal checks for purchases and addresses from customers who were
to have merchandise sent to them.

Carolina Homespun has reported the theft to the police and its credit
card servicing company to ensure the safety of credit card purchases
from theft of the account numbers. However, Morgaine is concerned
that her customers who paid by check be aware that their personal
information may be vulnerable.

More important than the financial loss that she has experienced,
Morgaine's main concern is for the safety and security of customers'
personal information.

If you made a purchase at Carolina Homespun on Saturday at New
Hampshire Sheep & Wool, please watch your accounts for any fraudulent
activity. If customers have any questions or need any additional
information, you can email Morgaine at
Also, if Morgaine was supposed to mail you merchandise, please call
her at 800-450-7786 to provide her with your shipping information

: I just got the news that the cashbox was found by the police and the theives only took the cash - not the checks or credit card slips. So it seems that people's accounts are probably safe... I do feel very badly for this vendor though. She was a nice and friendly person who never saw this coming.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

that sceptre'd Isle...

So often, in my blog-rolling hours, I read people's writings about their lives and those far-away places take on a mythical quality. I have left this continent only thrice - two times to Canada and once to Mexico. For me, Norwegian winters, German forests, Welsh castles, and Brazilian universities are the Narnias that back my wardrobe's depths.

So, being an armchair traveler, I am particularly charmed by the tastes and samples of another country - yes, even another state - that come to me by way of swaps. Receiving gifts from another country is almost like walking down its streets and exporing its shops. I belong to a group on Ravelry that has had a swap going almost constantly since last September, and I've participated in all but one of them. Since this group specializes in not one, but two of my particular obsessions: needlecraft and tea, I've been constantly delighted by the sending off of parcels full of local Northeast specialties and receiving mysterious curiosities from far away.


Today, in the midst of my furiously fast knitting for the book sample, I heard the postman's heavy footsteps down the long porch and soon after found a large box on my doorstep - return address marked: London, UK. Organic Scottish Shortbread biscuits and a wide variety of fragrant teas were the perfect refreshments when I took my break and picked up my book for 15 minutes of relaxing reading - a Hammish MacBeth mystery by M.C. Beaton set in the foggy, cold highlands of Scotland.

Nestled in the bottom of the box, was a pretty yellow bag marked "I Knit London".


Inside: SIX skeins of Wensleydale Longwool, spun in Yorkshire England on Cross Lanes Farm. Sea green the colour of drifting sea fronds and Seafoam blue - my favorite colours... Already, I can envision these yarns made up into a sweater of vintage design. The green will be the cuffs and neckline, and the blue, the lace-and-cable body of the sweater. I have almost 1200 yards here. What a generous gift!

In the way of swap boxes, this one yielded up its treasures through a myriad of wrappings and packings. Amongst those folds were tucked some tiny pewter treasures - a colander, pepper mill, wine corkscrew, and a teapot - so cute!


When people are kind and giving in unexpected ways it heals the nicks and breaks and bruises that everyday life brings. An act of Grace goes out into the world in endless ripples and affects people in ways the originator could never imagine. I have been graced by kind swap people three times in recent weeks. Thank you for being agents of goodness in my life.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wool Wool Wool Wool (and Alpaca)

This weekend is the Sheep & Wool Fair! Hooray!


This is always a huge event for me as so many venders gather in one place and I can find unusual yarns and even some unique accessories. This Fair is quite small compared to those in other states, but its friendly. Each year, the venders say, "Oh, I remember you! I saw you here last year!"

Here are some of the exhibitors who will be there - many of them have websites (I've linked to some, but for most you'll have to Google their names to find them) and the ones that are in Bold print are the ones I've bought from:

Blue Flag Herbal, Jean Bates-goats milk soap & related products
Spring Flag Herbal, Bev & Ben Chadwick- beeswax products & honey products
Maple Winds Farm, Victoria Collins-yarn, spinning wheels & maple syrup
SMM Embroidery, Ron & Dolores Figuly-custom embroidered products
Times Remembered, Pat Franklin-yarn, fiber, finished products, patterns & kits
Maple Creek Farm Fine Wools, Eileen Garges-hand dyed yarns & accessories
The Country Crafter, Judy Goodwin-spinning, weaving & knitting supplies
Zhong Guo Cha, Judy & Philip Guard-tea, tea ware, tea chest, imported from Asia
Leslie Wind Jeweler Ball and Skein, Leslie Wind-bronze & silver jewelry
The Spinning Bunny, Nancy Benda-fibers, rabbits, soap, hand cream, spindles
High View Farm, Boreen Billig, Will-Ewe Farm, Laurie Willey-wool products
Journey Wheel, Jonathan & Sheila Bosworth-Journey wheels and accessories
The Fiber Studio, Melanie Connor-knitting, spinning & weaving supplies
The Fiber Fetish, Michelle Day-fiber,knit items, handcrafted soap
Windfall Farm, Ann Desmet-traditional rug hooking kits, mitten kits & fiber
This and That Farm, Donna Herrick-fleece, roving, batts, yarn, locker & punch
The Yarn Farm,Dan Korngiebel-sheep supplies & equipment
Ink Drawings by Gene Matras, Gene Matras-ink drawings-prints,cards & shirts
Moat Mountain Farm, Robert & Roberta McClellan-splint baskets, broom & kits
Decadent Fibers, Pat Bull & Chris Moran-wool, yarn, needle felting kits
Nick's Meadow Farm, Bartlett Yarn, Susan & Lindsey Rice- wool products
Stonesthrow Farm, Katherine Smith-covered fleeces, blankets & sheep coats
Mostly Merino, Margaret Wilson-sweater kits, hand dyed yarn & stationery
Long Ridge Farm, Nancy Zeller-Earthues natural dyes, CVM & Romedale fiber
Dorchester Farms, Kenneth Abert-angora, wool & sock yarn
Spin-A-Bit, Sheryl Amaral-felting kits, books, supplies
Ward Brook Farm, Ingrid Byrd-rainbow dyed roving & yarns & natural
Black Sheep Designs, Sharon Costello-felt making kits, books & supplies
Grafton Fibers, Linda Diak-custom spinning/felting fibers, spindles, kits
Shepherd's Flock, Kathy & Rick Hege-sheepskin products
Jordan Family Farm, Jeff Jordan-custom shearing, spinning fleeces
Spinner's Hill Shop, Lisa Ann Merian-spinning fleeces, batts, and equipment
The Merlin Tree, David Paul-new wheels, antique wheels & fiber tools
Diamond Ledge Handspun, Norm & Darleen Ratte-felt paintings, handspun yarn
The Spinning Studio, Robin Russo-wheels, silk, silk kits, exotic fiber & silk paper
Elemental Designs, Susan N. Weaver-Cheshire sheep yarn, fleece, roving & dyes
Ackers Acres Angoras, Beth Acker-angora & rabbit fiber, yarn & wheels
Jule's Needles & Wools, Jule Cooper-roving, patterns, needles, yarn & supplies
Wild Fibers Magazine, Linda Cortright-magazines
Spin-N-Knit Crafts, Patricia Henecke-wool fiber, wheels, equipment & garments
The Wool Room, Anne Hennessy-knitting & spinning supplies, books & CDs
Solidago Farm Dilys Morris, Deb Kimball-Icelandic sheep products & fiber
Ellen's ½ Pint Farm, Ellen Minard-hand painted yarn & fiber
Foxfire Fiber & Designs, Barbara Parry-hand dyed yarns, patterns & luxury fibers
The Elegant Ewe, Marci Richardson-knitting/spinning supplies, accessories, books
Green Mountain Spinnery, David Ritchie-yarns patterns, custom wool processing
HodgePodge Yarn & Fibers, Tom & Sue Connary-fleece, homespun wearables
Mountain Vewe Coopworths, Marianne & Richard Dube-Coopworth fleeces, yarn
The Sweater Workshop, Jacqueline Fee-The Sweater Workshop book, kits, patterns
Golding Ring Spindles, Tom & Diane Golding-spindles, wheels & looms
Bit O'Heaven Fiber Farm, Judy Helie,
A Home-Spun Yarn, Donna Moody
Kitefield Farm, Carolyn Terhune-fleece, roving, yarn & sheepskins
Evergreen Farm, Harry & Louise Walsh-angora rabbits, fiber arts & jewelry
Ewe & I Farm, Jerry & Cindy Yeager
Cast-A-Way Acre, Shari Mead
Purple Fleece, Deborah Bergman-weaving, spinning, knitting, felting
The Spinning Bunny, Nancy Benda-fibers, rabbits, soap, hand cream, spindles
Fruitcake Farm, Marguerite Conley-yarn & fleece-Horned Dorsets
The Woolery, Deb Degan-yarn, needles, knitting bags, etc.
Still River Mill & Deirdre Bushnell, Greg Driscoll-bison & Samoyed yarn
K & R Crafty Gadgets, Karen & Ron Gandy-craft buddies, knitted items
Spirit Trail Fiberworks, Jennifer Heverly-rare breeds spinning fibers, painted yarn
Bunny Barn, Ann Jarvis-angora rabbits, fiber, hand kitted/woven items
Pollywogs, Diane Jezewski-yarn, fiber, needles, hats & patterns
Dover East Farm, Diane Kendall-art wear for knitters, spinners & sheep lovers
Heifer International, Kitty Lane-nonprofit organization
Loose Ends, Deborah McGlew (Freeman)-hand woven items, hand-dyed mohair
Valknitz, Valeria Merrell-hand dyed & painted yarns of natural & synthetic fiber
Woolybuns, Chris Morgan-luxury fibers, angora, wet felted scarves & mittens
Elihu Farm, Mary Pratt-fleeces-fine, medium & long
West Elm Farm, Patrick Roll-wool, soap, pelts
Abi's Web, Tom & Josie Speckert-variety of wool items, wheels and equipment
Sunrise Hill Angoras, Ed & Ruth Ticknor-Purebred French Angora rabbits
Evergreen Farm 2, Ray & Cheryl Walsh-cases, carriers & supplies for rabbits
Brimstone Hollow Farm, Deb & Les Weymouth-wool inspired art/craft
Carolina Homespun, Morgaine Wilder-spinning, weaving, knitting & dying
The Knitting Knook, Liane Wiley-yarn, kits & accessories, books
Weaving Guild, NH-demonstrating weaving, guild information
Long Ridge Farm, Nancy Zeller-earthues natural dyes, CVM & Romedale fiber
Bigger Stuff, Suzanne Beers-yarn, dyed fleece, rug hook wool & kits
Colonial Spinning Bee, Judith Cataldo-promoting Spinning Bees
Greenwood Hill Farm, Tom & Andrea Colyer-merino yarn, knit sweaters, kits
Fiber Dreams Farm, Jennifer Connolly, Critser Morse-yarn, roving, carding
Annie's Sweet Handspun, Dianne Edwards-patterns, bags, hats, scarves, yarn
Kelly Corner Farm/Lots of Locks, Julie A Patterson-roving, yarn, garments
Thyme & Ewe Farm, Paul & Sara Poisson-candles, soap & chocolate, stencils
Country Spun Treasures, Marssha Siegel-Jacob fleece, batting, roving, quilts, rugs
Kisakanari/Earth Haven Farm, Mary Iselin & Janet Sillars-Jacob & Romney
NE Border Collie Rescue, Donalee Slater-NEBR shirts, hats, leash & collar, cards
Western View Farm, Hope Thomas-hand weaver, sheepskins, fleeces
SayWat Farm Marble Meadows, Sue Carey & Cindy Watrou- fleece, felted crafts
Maggie's Farm, Maggie Alexander-tapestry knitting bags, soap, yarn, sheep signs
West Mountain Farm, Gayle & Lars Garrison-guard llamas, fiber, yarn
Buckwheat Bridge Angoras, Dan Melamed & Sara Healy-mohair, yarn, goat hides
Wellscroft Farm/Fence Systems, David Kennard-fencing systems
Pine Tree Knits, Faye Krause-wool, knitwear, accessories, gifts
Rocky-Rose Forge, Gary LaRose-wrought iron sheep heads, wood burning
Mirage Alpacas, Bill & Audrey Rhoades-fleeces, yarn, garments
Mad Angel Creations, Paula Warner-yarn, roving items, jewelry, used equipment
A Touch of Twist, Stephen Ableman-processing
Snow Star Farm, Loranne Carey Block-natural dyed yarns, kits, woolen products
Sheep Shed, Donna Carlstrom-wool, silk, sheep mugs, books, needles, yarn spindles
Riverslea Farm, Liz & Jeff Conrad-lambskins, yarn, roving, wool blankets
Golden Fleece Fashions, Adele Dupont-sheepskin & wool
Surprize Acres, David Dziengelewski-livestock supplies, clippers, sharpening
End of the World Farm, Katie Jarvis-roving, yarns, locker hooking, patterns
Hillcreek Fiber Studio, Carol Leigh & Dennis Kaiser-triangle frame looms
Friends' Folly Farm, “Pogo” S. Pogorelc-mohair & blends yarn, roving, dyes, hats
French Hill Farm, Bill & Diane Trussell-Coopworth fleeces, yarn, spindles, bags
Mohawk Valley Suffolks, Jean Walsh-framed sheep art, border collie items
The Irish Ewe, Deb Woolley-yarn, roving, fleece, Ashford & clothing from Ireland
Zeilinger's Wool Co., Gary & Kathy Zeilinger-wool related craft items, socks, yarn

PS - These photos are my wonderful yarns from the last 3 years of Wool Fairs. I won't be buying this much this year - that's sure. Not only do I need to be more frugal this year because of the economy, I need to make a dent in the Hill O' Stash I have blocking the computer room!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fine & Noble

My friend from Norway, Ziarah, exchanged a swap-box with me this week. Isn't it wonderful to be able to sample the unique teas and yarns from a far-away place? Even though, on the map, we are so separated, Ziarah and I have several things in common and so picking out treats for each other was not hard at all!


The first thing you see is the Biscotti that she made! It is orange and almond flavoured and is soooooo good! I'm eating one a day but I have to put the box away afterwards because I just want to keep eating them!

The Fine and Noble tea is a Green Tea that I love - two boxes!! Ziarah had sent me some of this last year and I was almost addicted to it. These tea bags will make my work days happier.

You also see some metallic fibers - gold and copper - so unusual. I plan to pair this yarn with a lace-weight for shawl making. It will make a soft glow I think, don't you? It will be good for emboidery too.!

And the yarn! She sent me 3 skeins of Silk & Baby Alpaca yarn in - guess what - Green! A beautiful sweet green like a new tulip sprout. This is from a company called Alpaca Du and has cute little pictures of alpacas on the label. It is uniquely Norwegian!

This information is from Ziarah about the yarn company - I think this is really cute, and fitting:

The yarn brand is Du Store Alpakka, which means "You Big Alpaca" and it is used in Norwegian as an exclamative way of saying "Oh my!", or "Wow!" - Kinda like "Holy cow!" :)

I do say "Holy cow!" to this yarn - the silk and the softness of the baby alpaca makes it the smoothest stuff ever. I just hugged it for about an hour after I unwrapped it. The yarn company is very correct in saying Oh my! about their yarn!

The cool thing is that Ziarah and I emailed back and forth about a yarn that would be especially Norwegian before we swapped. I was sending her some Seacoast Handpaints - made here in my state, in soft pinks and tans as well as Manos silk and wool. I had read that Norway has some very wonderful yarns because they have ancient breeds of sheep there that are raised no where else, but Googling was failing me. She knew all the websites to suggest and pointed me to this alpaca which couldn't have been more perfect. I feel that I got something so special.

I am mulling this yarn around in my head, but I think....perhaps, this:


Thank you Ziarah soooooooo much for these gifts!

ETA: Included in this package was a knitting designer's book too! It got missed out of the photo because I started using it right away as soon as I unwrapped it! It has measurements and yarn requirements, pockets and note pages, graph paper for designs, and abreviations and chart information - everything I need in one place. It even has a guage-counter and needle sizer included! When I am at meetings at work, I'm always designing on the notepaper I'm supposed to be taking notes on. So this book is coming back and forth with me each day, and I'll start putting my drawings in their proper place. :D

Friday, May 2, 2008

Past times

Yesterday, I received my knitting assignment from the Editor of the British book to be published in September, A Stitch in Time. I am one of the people making the garment samples to be photographed for the book. I'll have two projects.

The pattern and yarn was sent to me via Royal Post and took a month to arrive (darned Post Office!). I'll need to really put some concentrated work into this to get it finished in good time - I have about 4 weeks to complete it and get it into the mail for its trip back across the ocean. My boss is being very supportive of this project and given me today off to get started. I'll need to take a couple more days next week. I'm very much looking forward to this! I started the back last night and expect to finish it today and get started on the front.

My first project is so incredibly beautiful and a perfect example of vintage style! It certainly makes me look forward to the whole book. I think the editor is making fabulous choices of patterns.

Of course I'm not allowed to show pictures or to give details of the contents, but when the book comes out I'll be credited in the book for the items I made. When that happens, I'll point out which ones were from my needles. The cool thing is that I actually have the vintage needles that were originally used for these patterns! However, I think I'll used Addi needles, to make it all go quick quick quick! (This is so exciting!)

Off to make a cup of tea and get started on my day of professional knitting...

(not an image from the book...)