Friday, December 9, 2011

Randomly, on Friday

Wednesday night into Thursday morning, we had 2 inches of snow.  This was enough to topple transmission lines, and we were without power for 17 hours.  Not so bad, we have a fabulous woodstove that keeps the house warm.  The downside, once the sun goes down (4:30), it's dark.  Candles are very helpful, but not helpful enough if you want to knit or read.  Hoping to crank along on Christmas knitting while watching Gosford Park this evening.  I think I may be able to squeeze in another project (or two) before the gift-giving begins.  Delusional? probably.  Will I try anyway - YES!  I give New Year's gifts as well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful

I continue to be amazed how the time between Halloween and the New Year seems to go by at warp speed.  A week ago, I had the good fortune to attend Knitter's Review Retreat (again!).  I am grateful to have had this weekend away - it's the right mix of leisure and learning, with good food and fabulous conversation.  A special thanks to my mom who was able to entertain Alex, Alison and Pepper (the dog) while I travelled westward.  Bob had last minute travel plans, so this was extremely helpful.

Thanksgiving was low key - just the four of us at home, picking through the afternoon on the way to dinner.  Is it a terrible thing that my favorite part of the day was the brie en croute (which I seem to have consumed the lion's share of?)  I spent the balance of my time working on an addictive pattern (Prana) from Clara Parkes' new book - The Knitter's Book of Socks.  If you know a sock knitter (or any knitter, for that matter) and are looking for a holiday gift - this is the ticket.  I love this book (and I'm not just saying that because I have a signed copy...)

This evening we enjoyed the remains of Thanksgiving in the form of turkey soup (I think Bob is sighing with relief).  And now begins the journey towards Solstice and the holidays.  I love the Winter Solstice for it's promise of brighter days.  And once I click a couple of buttons to order some special gifts, I can settle into my knitting projects, destined to warm a person or two this Christmas. 

And lastly, I'm thankful for what's been a very mild November, and sights like these that close out the late afternoon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Walk of the Zombies

The past 2 weeks have been a blur.  There were so many things to organize for Bob's trip to China, Alison was in the last week of rehearsal for the drama production (which went off beautifully this past weekend), the new website is up, yarns are being dyed...  Now I'm getting ready for the Knitter's Review Retreat.  I've looked forward to this event for months - it is an oasis of fun and a place to unravel (seriously, there's a lot of frogging, untangling and skein winding going on).  I have lists and more lists so that I don't miss anything this week. 

This morning's adventure involved Alex giving an oscar winning performance of "not feeling well".  I was going to suggest he try out for the drama club next year, but thought better of it.  In a move that should net me the "parent of the year award", I handed him a Tums, a glass of water and shooed him out the door.  It's not that I lack sympathy - I really know about not feeling well, but it wasn't in my plan to have him home today.  His "unwellness" did not stop him jogging down the driveway.

I expect the school nurse will be ringing in any moment.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Night Out

Last evening I cooked a pot of stew for my family, then headed out the door to a dinner/knitting get- together hosted by a friend.  The food was spectacular and the conversation involved a lot of laughing.  Knitting didn't necessarily take a back seat, but projects sat waiting for more stitches to be put on as their creators became more engrossed in the stories being told. 

When there are so many things that keep us busy - work, children, the never ending list of chores, it's great to spend an evening out with friends.  As the holiday season approaches and things get even busier, I hope you make time to connect with friends and enjoy their company.  It's good for the soul.  (Thanks Diane!)  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post-Rhinebeck


Every year I look forward to the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck.  I love the buzz and buildup among the sheep and fiber people, and the event never disappoints.

As the years go by, we find ourselves at different stages with the kids.  We are currently in the "how can you be in two places at one time" stage.  (The answer, by the way, is that you can't.)  With a XC Invitational in Saratoga for Alex and drama rehearsal for Alison, Saturday was out as far as making it to Rhinebeck.  That helped build the anticipation for Sunday.

On Sunday morning I got ready, picking out only one handknitted item to wear - a fabulous black cardigan with silver buttons, knit in a bulky weight yarn by my grandmother about 50 years ago.  I stole this sweater from my mom about 25 years ago...  It seemed fitting to wear this as a tribute to the person who taught me to knit (although my family now thinks of my knitting and fiber obsession as some sort of illness). 

I thought we were all just grabbing coffee and heading out the door, but someone decided food was in order -  bacon, in particular.  Then it became clear that I am the only one who knows how to cook bacon,  All was looking good and then Bob called me over to the computer to show me a very funny clip from the BBC.  In this brief span of time, the bacon went from being "at least 5 minutes from being done" to "burned to a cinder".  That's a new one for me.  We were successful on the second attempt...

As is typical around here, we never seem to get out the door when we think we will.  I'm almost over the sensation of building tension when I'm ready and no one else is.  Because in the end, we had a great day.  I ran into a lot of people I knew and was really excited that a neighbor won Supreme Grand Champion for one of her Wensleydale sheep!  The shot above is one from her flock - gorgeous, no? 

And so, another festival come and gone.  Can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rhinebeck Around the Bend


This is the lovely Deirdre DeSantis, new owner of The Spinning Room in Altamont, NY.  Deirdre will be at The NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this coming weekend, Oct. 15 & 16, in Building A, booth 25.  She is bringing along a selection of our handpainted yarns (which are hanging about right next to her in this photo).  I feel there is good karma in this shot, as the yarns are flanking "The Knitters Book of Yarn" by Clara Parkes.  This is an amazing book, and it has a brand new sibling, hot off the presses, entitled "The Knitters Book of Socks".  Clara will be at the festival along with many other esteemed authors, signing books and chatting with all of us wool junkies.

I hope those of you travelling to Rhinebeck this weekend will stop by and say hello to Deirdre.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

While I was at a XC Invitational...

A few of my skeins were enjoying the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival.  This event is continues tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 25, if you are in need of something fun to do.  Please stop by this tent:



to support our local fiber farms.  You can purchase raffle tickets for a terrific basket of fiber-related goodies.  Proceeds will benefit those impacted by the recent flooding in Schoharie County.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Come Out and Support

Our local farmers at the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival this weekend, September 24 & 25.  Information on the event can be found here.  This is a free event (except for farm tours, which I believe are already sold out) with vendors and displays through the village. 

I wanted to direct you to the Schoharie Valley Fiber Producers table, where you can purchase gorgeous fibers either grown or dyed locally for spinning, knitting, weaving or felting, AND also buy raffle tickets for a basket of fibery goodness.  Proceeds will go towards flood relief.  As many of you know, our area was particularly hard hit by the flooding caused by hurricane Irene.  We are committed as a community to helping our friends and neighbors get back on their feet.  Please come out and support this event!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Feels Like Autumn

The trees around here are still quite green - a hint of color here and there, but you wouldn't suspect that Autumn begins next week.  Cooler temperatures at night are the first reminder that Summer is departing for another year.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at the Madison County Historical Society's Craft Days last weekend.  My kids enjoyed coming along and were a huge help in setting up and breaking down.  We missed our favorite food vendor - eclairs and half-moon cookies, but still found plenty to eat!

And further thanks to Lynn De Orio of the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum who invited me to demonstrate handspinning at their site.  There are several museums along the Erie Canal, each representing a different aspect of history along this important waterway.  Their site was where barges were built and repaired, and the work that has gone into the buildings is truly amazing. 

Now it's time to get into that Autumn groove - Cross-Country meets start up this week for Alex, Alison just secured a part in the drama club's production of "Oliver Twist", apples will soon be harvested by my neighbor (meaning it's time to bake!), and the dyepots will be cooking up deeper colors.

Enjoy these sunny, crisp days!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Catching Up


How the summer has flown - we're into September already, and next weekend (Sept. 10/11) I'll be at the Madison County Historical Society's Craft Fair.  I hope you'll stop by to say hello if you're in the area.  There are lots of new yarns for you to look at and I'm looking forward to this event - it's always a lot of fun.

I am in the process of renovating my website - it's been a summer filled with a lot of distractions, so the changes will be forthcoming.  It will allow me easier posting of current yarns and payment will be via PayPal. 

More photos and info will be in the next post.  Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Hot


These daisies look vibrant and fresh.  I, however, am wilting in the shade.  To say it's been hot has been a gross understatement.  It was 95 in the shade and my husband decided to check the temperature in the direct sun, on the concrete.  It was 117.9.  Holy smokes! 

So many of my conversations begin with comments about the weather.  In the winter, everyone wants it to be summer and swears that they absolutely will not complain when it gets really hot (they do).  And on these blistering days, thoughts turn to the cool, crisp days of autumn.  It seems that we can never be content with what is. 

I'm trying to look at the positive aspects of this heat and appreciate it while it's here.  The garden has gone wild - so much nicer to have an abundance rather than plants ruined by too much rain.  And, wool dries really fast in this weather - that means I should be taking advantage and conjuring up some new colorways!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

You Can Never Have Too Many Friends

I love birds.  Every spring I look forward to hearing the Red-winged blackbirds return with their distinctive song and I know that despite the cold days and potential for more snow (like this year), we are out of the worst of it.  The feeders have attracted larger and more varied groups each year.  This has worked to my advantage as the "regulars" know who I am.

A pair of Eastern Kingbirds decided to nest in one of our pine trees this year - the tree that is closest to the driveway.  The tree that you have to pass to get the mail, go to the barn, get to the road.  Eastern Kingbirds are apparently very protective of their nests as their young are getting ready to fledge. 

On a trip to get the mail, I heard one of the Red-winged blackbirds carrying on and looked up to see it hovering 6 feet over my head.  A second later, I realized what he was doing as one of the Kingbirds dove at me.  Had it not been for his warning, I think I would have received a puncture wound.

My friend stuck close each time I headed down the driveway, and by the end of the week, the Kingbirds had departed, their babies having fledged safely.  The moral of the story - make friends wherever you can! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another School Year Completed

First, thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at the CNY Fiber Show.  It was great to be able to talk to so many lovely people.  And the pen of Border Collie pups in our tent made the weekend for Alison - it helped take the edge off of losing two pets in the course of a week.  It will take some time before we consider another cat or dog, so I've told her to give her extra love to Pepper (our Jack Russell). 

The last 2 weeks have been packed with end of school activities.  Part of me is delighted to have a break from the continuous stream of sporting events, music events, and everything in between.  The other part is mourning the loss of quiet in the house for a ten week span.  I try to keep in mind that in just a few short years, there will be lots of quiet as they head off to college or other adventures. 

I think the rain has finally taken a break.  Maybe tomorrow I can take the photos of the latest yarns I've been hoping to shoot outdoors.

Hoping your summer is off to a good start!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On The Road


Just a quick reminder that we'll be at the CNY Fiber Showcase this coming weekend, June 11-12, in Bouckville, NY.   The event will be held at the Butternut Hill Campground on Route 20.  Drop by to say hello if you're in the area - we'll be in Tent D.  Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stronger

I recently finished the "Eiki" (strength) shawlette, and really love how it came it.  I knit this up with my own handpainted yarn, a BFL 4 ply, colorway "Paris" and I added a few beads at the edging for some extra zing.  Fittingly, I am feeling better every day, almost back to some sort of normal.  While I don't relish the thought of the follow up surgery, I am going to put it out of my mind until the time comes.  Right now, it's one day at a time.  This piece serves as a reminder to me that people go on every day despite overwhelming loss - my own mishap pales in comparison to those caught up in the natural disasters these last few months.

I'm gearing up for the CNY Fiber show on June 11 and 12 - the dyepots are in action, and there will be lots of new colorways available.  I am looking forward to this very much, and perhaps by then, the sun will decide it's okay to stick around longer than 5 minutes.

I've also been knitting up blocks like this:

which are from the very excellent Kay Gardiner, the pattern is "Mitered Crosses Blanket".  You can purchase a copy of it here.  These are very addicting, so be warned!
I'll post additional information about the fiber show in an upcoming post.  Hope you'll drop by to say hello if you're in the area!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Highs and Lows

In early April, our family had the wonderful opportunity to visit Rome, Italy.  It was an amazing trip where even glitches in the plans turned out to have far more rewarding results than anything we could have hoped for.  The weather was perfect - sunny, and 75 - 80 degrees every day (I think it was a little above normal for Rome, but how lucky for us!).  We walked miles and saw ancient and modern Rome coexisting side by side.  At every turn, there was something architecturally fascinating to see.  The food was fabulous, although I am still in awe of how Romans sit down to multi-course meals and everyone is trim and chic.  We met a lovely older couple who effectively adopted us.  We stayed in their rental apartment, just upstairs from their own, in the building that they have lived in and owned for some 45 years.  They cooked for us, showed us the "real" Rome and made us feel like family rather than tourists.  I am so thrilled we had this experience and it makes me dream of future trips!

Upon our return, I was excited to have a week to prepare for a fiber show at Clermont State Park.  With tubs packed and the booth setup clearly mapped out in my head, I felt prepared and ready for a fun day.  As luck would have it, my body conspired against me and I wound up having emergency surgery instead.  Ugh!  A ruptured abscess in the abdomen is not a good thing, so I spent a few days in the hospital, and have been home almost a week now trying to get back into some state of normalcy.  There will be follow-up surgery, but that's down the road a bit.  For now, I'm happy to be here, and extremely grateful this event did not occur while we were travelling (always look for the silver lining).

I had started knitting Janel Laidman's lovely "Eiki Shawlette" pattern (Eiki meaning strength in Japanese) as we started out on our trip.  This pattern can be purchased from Janel's blog or through Ravelry and the proceeds go to assist with Japanese relief efforts.  It somehow seems appropriate to be working on this project right now - to remind myself to be strong, and also to be aware that no matter how difficult things may seem,  there are always others in much more dire circumstances.

As long as the healing process goes well, I'll be at the CNY Fiber Artists and Producers Annual Showcase "From Animals to Art".  This event will be held on June 11 and 12 in Bouckville, NY at the Butternut Hill Campground.  I'm looking forward to something new, so if you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by. 

More updates to follow!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sentry


This is our old guy, Shackleton, asleep in his favorite spot, waiting for spring.  Luckily, the snow has melted and I'm hoping that was the last of it for this season.  Now that it is officially spring, I have high hopes that it will actually warm up and that green things will sprout from the ground.  The stark reality, however, is that it could still snow, and things don't really start growing until May. 

In a burst of optimism, we did purchase our vegetable seeds a couple of days ago.  Soon we'll have seedlings all over the place, and in late May, they'll be in the ground.  I am most looking forward to zucchini flowers, stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, battered and gently sauteed in olive oil.  Anticipation can be a wonderful thing!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back in Black


Over the weekend, the red-winged blackbirds returned.  If you look really hard, you'll see a black speck in the choke-cherry bush - that's him, our first real sign that spring is on the way.  I'm not even worried about the snow that is falling as I type this.  Not only were these guys back at the feeder, but the cardinals, robins, nuthatches, blue jays, chickadees and the ever present crows were socializing outside my kitchen window.  Maybe they're all happy I changed to a different birdseed this week.

Today is "Pi Day" (3.14).  Math fans already knew that, but if you're not a math fan, please take the opportunity to celebrate by having a slice of pie, and jogging your memory to remember that pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, approximately equal to 3.1415.  Alison insisted we make a chocolate cream pie (we did), and Alex had a homework sheet devoted to questions relative to pi.  I can't say I remember this much fun surrounding pi when I was in school - it was just something you had to remember...

My broken glass-topped stove has been replaced with a shiny new gas model.  It is beautiful and I love how the oven temperature is really the oven temperature, and not something higher or lower like on the old unit.  Now I will have to change my habit of stalking the cookies - checking every 30 seconds to make sure they are completely cooked, but not on their way to being overcooked.  How I will use this new-found freedom, I'm not sure.

Off to plan meals for the week - not because I want to obsess over my new toy, but because it is a week full of practices and performances and family coming to visit.  A little planning, even if it gets shuffled around, will keep me from serving potato chips for dinner.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Uncle

If you notice the white space around this post, it looks identical to what it looked like outside today.  White.  Everywhere.  Blizzard conditions.  And after almost all of the snow had melted.  Yesterday.

My "look on the bright side" is being tested in a big way.  It has been the winter of our discontent, where Murphy's Law has reigned supreme.  So things can only go up from here.

There was a flower catalogue in the mail today - I'll take that as an good sign.  And the robins are visiting the feeders - if they came out on a day like this, spring cannot be far off.

Wishing you all sunny skies to chase away the winter blahs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's Move On To Spring


I don't know about you, but I am more than ready to see Spring arrive.  There are glimmers of hope - robins are emerging from the woods, and I've heard  (but not seen) the songs of birds not heard since last September.

In a series of roadbumps last week, we are striving to get back to "normal".  One child sick with the flu for a solid week is now regaining her energy; the second child who could win an Academy Award for dramatic portrayal of the common cold is also making great strides thanks to nighttime cold medicine; my kidney stone is gone and all side effects from the removal thereof are also thankfully gone; the ice that has been damming up on the roof and leaking into my utility room has stopped for the moment (can't tell if all the ice has actually melted, or if it has just frozen up again); and a new gas range will be mine next week after my glass-topped stove shattered the other night (a sturdy lid from a soup pot slipped out of my hand, but I was surprised, nonetheless, that it would result in such damage).  Now that I've documented all of our problems, you're probably thinking your week wasn't nearly as bad as you thought.  You're welcome.

This Saturday, March 5, I'll be at a community event - Duanesburg Day - held at the Duanesburg High School.  I'll be showing off some of my hand-dyed yarns and will probably bring along some spinning to go along with one of the knitting projects I have in process.  The event runs from 10 to 3, there is no admission charge, and it is a great opportunity to see what people in our area have to offer (not to mention a chance to socialize after a long winter!).  If you are in the vicinity, drop in to say hello.

And now I'm off to concoct another spring-colored dye for some Bluefaced Leicester yarns!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finished Object

This is Lava Flow - a really terrific quick knit.  An example of it was at my LYS, and I knew I wanted to make one right away.  I could have completed the other projects I have on my needles, but this was a lot of fun and kept me entertained and distracted during an adventure with a kidney stone.  The stone is gone (surgically), and I know that I knit too much when told the size of the lodged intruder - a 5 x 7mm jagged object.  That's a size 8 to 10 (US) section of needle stuck in the works!  Maybe it was the "Flow" part of the project name that subliminally drew me to it.

Hoping this will be the end of my health issues for a while - maybe I could just get a cold like everyone else.

Moving on...  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Week, Another Storm


We were spared the 18+ inches originally predicted this week.  Instead, the snow turned to sleet and then blew around.  So there are spots with 5 foot drifts, and other spots with just a few inches.  With so many violent storms around the globe, I feel very fortunate that removing snow is a mere inconvenience when contrasted against the incredible damage so many are faced with.

While I am not a very talented seamstress, I have been stitching away at a royal purple dress that will be Alison's costume for her class play.  If I do say so myself, it's coming along quite nicely.  Photos after I hem it and add any "embellishments" she may want.  And she has decided to stitch the muslin apron that will cover a portion of the skirt.  Maybe there is fashion design in her future...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sun at Last

Ah!  The sun is out today - a welcome sight after so many grey days.  The birds have come back to see what's new in the feeders and the Bluejays, as usual, have bullied their way in first.   No matter, there's plenty for everyone and they are all fun to watch from the kitchen window.

The sun has improved my motivation, and as I write this, there are 2 dyepots cooling down on the stovetop.  Some of this motivation may also be the result of the kids being off to school today with no ominous signs on the horizon of cancelled activities after school.  Tomorrow may be another story, but for today, I'll make the most of getting things done.

I've picked up the Echo Flowers Shawl again and actually knit a couple of rows.  I've committed to only knitting on this, however, when no one is around.  I don't concentrate as well as I used to and it only takes the slightest interruption for me to lose track of what I'm doing.  And then it's 10 minutes of counting stitches and checking things over...  Better to just work a little at a time in the quiet.  A slower, more deliberate pace wins the race for me when it comes to lace knitting.

Hoping your skies are sunny today!  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Deep Winter

We have been spared much of the heavy snow here so far.  But it is gray and bitterly cold.  The oil line likes to freeze up in the morning - must be just enough water moisure to form ice crystals.  Fortunately, a teapot of hot water frees it up.  I can't say how thrilled I am to have our woodstove - it keeps almost the entire house warm and for once in 15 years, I don't feel a sense of dread about heating disasters.

The Wayfarer scarf is finished, I've been spinning some great fiber from Persimmon Tree Farm, and have started a pair of opera-length fingerless mitts (making it up as I go along) using String Theory Caper Sock yarn.

I'm looking forward to some sunny days - hoping it will spark my energy.  In the meantime, I will run up my electric bill just a little by turning on some more lights.

Stay warm everyone!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year


Happy New Year, and Happy New Decade.  As with each year, there are ups and downs, but as this year dawns, my goal is to let optimism have the upper hand.  There is no reason not to think positively about everything - what does it hurt?  And it's surely more fun than to be negative.

I'm already off to a good start.  Instead of bemoaning a return trip to the dentist, I'll consider it an easy fix vs. something "big" down the road.  Same with my car. (I love my old car and don't feel at all underprivileged that I didn't get a Lexus for Christmas!) While I didn't anticipate a major repair when I thought I only needed an oil change and inspection, I am grateful to have fabulous neighbors (who happen to be our mechanics) that keep me safe.  How lucky that I didn't break down (or worse), especially if the kids were with me.

And risk-taking should be a part of the picture this year, too.  I don't mean skydiving or some extreme sport, but acting on ideas that I may have previously set aside.  If the last couple of years have taught me anything, it's this - if you don't take a chance on your dreams, you may never get the chance.

One of my favorite holiday songs is "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" (Irving Berlin).  So I'll take that advice into the New Year, but I'll keep track of the sheep as well.  Wool, you know.

Peace & Love