Yarn Chicken

Well…is that ball of yarn going to last? That’s what I am about to find out. I weighed the yarn I have remaining. It weighs 11g. It’s gonna be close. I’m going to knit one repeat of the edge pattern and weigh it again to see how much yarn it eats up. I’m six repeats from the end. Each repeat is twelve rows long. Now, of course, I doooo have more of this yarn in stock but I will hate it if I have to use a new skein this close to the finish line. Wish me luck!

Before I go I want to show you a little sneak peek at a new product we are working on. I am pretty excited about them. 😁

Shawl/Hair Sticks

This Week’s Progress

I am getting sooooo close to the finish on this project. I am about halfway through with the final side. I got a fair bit of this knitting done last weekend when Jerry and I took a short overnight trip to visit my mother-in-law. It’s the most knitting time I have had in awhile, which explains the slow progress I guess.

On our trip home after an overnight in Evansville, we took a slight detour and spent about half a day checking out the Land Between the Lakes park. Jerry has wanted to try some off road trail driving in his truck and we discovered that they have some there. We tried that out and while it was a fun adventure we weren’t too impressed with their trail markings and didn’t want to get lost in there, so we didn’t go very far in. LOL! It was a fun experiment though. I got only one picture of the Bison. There are also Elk but we didn’t go on the drive where you can see them. I think it was still closed anyway.

Since we are on the subject of nature; here’s our yucca plant in full bloom this week. :-)

On the business side; I got all the Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs added to the website last week, and since I told you I would update you on that, consider yourself updated. :-)

We are working on a few ideas for new products at the moment that we are getting very excited about. More on that when I have something to show you. :-)

The One About New Yarn

I have knit a little on my shawl but not enough to see a difference so I will talk about something else today. It involves yarn and a bit of history so if you are interested in either or both read on.

When we started Knitting Notions in 2005, we sold online only. We started with just Yarn Swifts and hand dyed yarn. We added Shawl Pins in 2006 and vended at our first fiber festival (SAFF) that fall. After that we decided that we wanted to expand and add lots of shows for 2007. We did about 10 or so that year and since 2008 we have regularly scheduled 16-20 festivals each year.

Jerry designed and built all our displays for that first full year (2007). This is the yarn displays he made. The size was pretty carefully determined based on average booth dimensions and to allow for room for shoppers while maximizing display space. The number of dowels for the yarn to hang on was based on even spacing along the bars. It happened to be a total of 26 so that has been my maximum color palette per yarn base for all these years.

This year, since I have been wanting to add some more colors and we had time to do it, we decided the time had come to increase the hanging space. We expanded the number of dowels from 26 to 32. All we needed to do was make eight new central bars where the dowels are attached with 16 holes on each rather than 13. I have those 6 new colors I formulated and dyed, and they are now listed on the website.

While I was getting this all loaded in the trailer this week, I decided to work out the placements on the new displays so I could box them appropriately for quick booth set up when we get to do that again. While I had all the yarn out anyway, I set up a yarn display rack on the patio near my trailer and the work shop.

Here’s the line up with the new colors worked in. I am pleased with it, but it took a bit of experimenting to get it where I liked it. It was good to do the head scratching when I wasn’t pressed for time during a real booth set up.

My trailer is pretty full now with the extra yarn. I am going to have to pack carefully to get the other new Bowls, Darning Eggs, and Nostepinnes in there. :-)

This Week’s Progress

I am finally nearing the finish line on my fingering weight re-knit and re-write of my Honeydew Lace Square pattern. It has been a long haul but it has been quicker than the first time when I was knitting the original in lace weight yarn. I have reached the third corner of the border which means I have knit 3/4 of the edging! I hope the yarn holds out and I don’t need to start a fifth skein when I am this close to the end.

I received and dyed a big order of alpaca from New Era Fiber last week. I needed to get my yarn labeled that I dyed last week (those six new colors I told you about; more on this next time) before I started work on the mill order. I got the fiber dyed the first half of this week. This was 45 lbs. of a huge lot. There will be eight colors in all and this was the first three.

So after that was out of the way I had a couple days free to get the Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs finished. This is not all of them. There are a lot more eggs that Jerry was still sanding while I did this. I do now have them all done.

I spent the afternoon with my photo equipment and new products so I can get all this stuff loaded on the website. I photographed all the new yarn plus the Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs. I have the yarn listed but the color pictures are not up yet. I need to do some editing. The tools will be listed as soon as I can.

It’s looking like my sub-contract work and our website sales may have to get us through this year so I am trying to make sure there is plenty on there. :-) I am sad so many festivals are still canceling. Sigh. I am trying to not let it discourage me too much. Things have to start improving at some point right? As my precious great grandmother Mamie was fond of saying “all things come to an end…both the good and the bad”. Well, it’s high time for the bad to move along, right? :-)

Mother’s Day in the Smokies

I promised on my next post I would share about our trip to the Smokies. This was an unplanned, spontaneous trip. Before all this craziness happened we had been planning to take a trip the last week of April but we hadn’t picked out where to go. So, when we found ourselves with free schedules, except for continuing to make product for the business that we hope we’ll be able to generate some income from later this year when festivals start happening again, we decided let’s do it now while we can.

Where to go though? Since Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountain N.P. was opening by Mother’s Day weekend, that seemed like a good destination. It’s only a 3-4 hour drive and I had some hotel points to burn. We decided, made reservations, and packed late Thursday morning. We were on the road with lunch packed to eat as we drove, by midday. Very impromptu, which made it all the more fun.

Caney Fork River at the Rest Area

It was rainy and chilly all day on Friday, but we had a fun time anyway. We mostly walked around and explored Gatlinburg at the shops and restaurants that were open at the time. I didn’t get many pictures of that day, except these two. We ate at the Smokey Mountain Brewery for lunch (and a couple other times as well) and then while walking around in the afternoon ran across this phone booth where Jerry made me take this silly picture. We had a few beers with lunch. LOL!

The Park was open on Saturday and we had went to Cades Cove in the morning and spent about 4-5 hours. The weather was gorgeous and even though there were a lot of visitors it was great fun spending the day with nothing in particular we had to do but see the sights and look for places to eat. :-)

Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel in Gatlinburg and headed back in the Park to maybe hike up to Rainbow Falls before getting a late lunch and then heading home.

We knew the trail was almost 5.5 miles round trip but what we didn’t know was that the first half, 2.7 miles, was entirely uphill. Yikes! We almost turned back at least 8x, LOL! Glad we persevered, but it took way longer than we expected, because of the frequent need to take breaks on the way up. I am so glad we brought extra water and snacks! We wouldn’t have made it otherwise, trust me.

We didn’t get back to the truck until about 4:30 and we hadn’t had lunch yet. We decided we were in no big hurry to get home so we booked another night in Pigeon Forge. We checked in at the hotel and headed to the Smokey Mountain Brewery again (the Pigeon Forge location this time) for supper and beers. We had a lovely night. :-)

On Sunday morning we told the hotel we would exercise my Platinum Elite Priority Club benefit of a late check out so that we could hang out in Pigeon Forge and have a nice dinner before heading home. We visited the Hillside Winery and bought a few bottles. We have already had one of them since we got home and it was quite good. I only like dry (not sweet) wines and found a couple. It’s hard to find in these parts. We did a little souvenir shopping and then found a great Mexican place for lunch.

We had such a great time! We have been married 32 years and these last 5 years have been the first time we have had both the means and freedom to do some traveling as a couple. We are going to try and take at least one more trip somewhere that will be fun but not be too expensive. Hopefully we can do that in June. Any ideas?

Wood Bowls Now Instock

Small sampling of the available wood bowls on the website

I spent a couple days last week getting the wood bowls added to the website. We have a lot of different sizes at the moment. They range from larger ones at the $55 price point which are big enough for holding a full ball of yarn down to some mini bowls ($20) which are perfect for holding small items like beads, stitch markers, coins, etc.

We will soon be bringing back some other wood tools we have not had in stock for quite a few years. Jerry had some big logs of walnut and cherry that he hadn’t had time to process. Well we have time now, so he started working on that this week after we returned from a little trip to the Smokies for Mother’s Day weekend. I’ll tell you more about that next post. :-)

After trimming up to turn-able size pieces

He is making some Nostepinnes at the moment and some of this will also be Darning Eggs.

So while this is keeping Jerry busy, I am planning some new yarn colors for 2020. I have decided to add six new colors to my palette. Here is a sneak preview.

I have made some more progress on the Honeydew Lace Square in Superwash Sock Yarn.

I have added the 4th skein and hope it will be enough to finish. I am almost to the halfway point on the edging.

See the stitch markers in the top right corner? That is the half way point. When did I start this thing anyway? Oh, wow. Ravelry says Jan. 06, 2020. Sigh. Perseverance is a virtue right? :-)

Okay more on our mini vacation next time. :-)

Wood Bowls are Making a Comeback

It’s about time for another blog post, don’t you think? So, what’s up at your house? Hope spring is in full force and you are well. We are fine here and ready for some changes. Are you with me?

For the time being, and maybe permanently for all we know, my husband is home and working on the business full time with me. His job in the food distribution industry, serving restaurants, schools, hotels, etc. took a double whammy when the Nashville tornado and then the quarantine caused him to be laid off for at least a year or more. So, when you have lemons you might as well make lemonade right? He is keeping busy making product.

Once upon a time, a few years ago anyway, we used to make wood bowls. They are fine for plopping your yarn in but also great for lots of other uses. We had a lot of blanks glued up already that he hadn’t gotten around to when we started making the bowls in 2017. It seemed like the time was right to put them on the lathe and make some more.

These are waiting a new outboard tool rest which will make it much easier to carve out the inside. It arrived yesterday and it is installed and ready to go so they should be finished soon.

And here it is in action. Who knows, there may even be some darning eggs and nostepinnes coming up? Would there be any interest in us bringing those back? We would love some feedback on that.

See you soon with some other knitting and pattern news!

Yarn Boxes and Other Updates

We are keeping production going in the hopes that we can get back out there soon vending at festivals. So far we have lost 7 festivals from the first half of the year. Two more that are in late May and mid June in Ohio are holding off until next month to decide on whether they may hold the events. I am trying to remain hopeful that they will be able to happen. We do have our online sales, but that is such a small percentage of our income in comparison to festivals that it is not making up our losses. Maybe the second half of the year will rebound us all?

Finishing Yarn Boxes

Anyway, so we have finished up a large batch of Yarn Boxes, as you can see above. The finish is curing for a few days before we apply the final wax and labels. We have plenty on the website ready to ship if you had been planning to pick one up at a festival that cancelled this spring. :-)

At least spring didn’t forget to arrive in Tennessee. It’s one consolation to be able to walk around our property and see evidence that life does go on even in the midst of many upheavals. I have always appreciated the wild flowers on our lawns. I don’t mind a bit that it’s not all just grass. I think it’s much more interesting. Here’s one of my favorites that are usually blooming by mid March or early April in these parts. I love violets because I am a big fan of purple.

I wish you could smell these Mountain Laurels that we planted when we bought this house 22 years ago.

In other news, I have progressed on my Honeydew Lace Square in fingering weight yarn. I have begun the knitted on edging now. I am only on the first side, so quite a ways to go.

Quarantine Life

How are you all doing today? We are getting through alright here. We are excited to report that we found actual toilet paper for sale in Kroger on Thursday! We were allowed to purchase two packages. My faith in civilization was restored just a little bit. LOL!

Making bread today

So, lots going on here at home to share with you this week. First of all we were notified that Jerry’s truck damage from the tornado was deemed a total loss. We thought it was going to be repaired all this time but the repair shop discovered after they began working on it that nearly everything was worse than they could determine at first. Mostly it was due to glass, probably not the glass from his truck but flying in the atmosphere. There was a huge debris ball and I suspect that was the culprit. Fortunately his truck was worth more than the payoff so we were able to get a replacement. He decided to go with something a bit different. He likes it a lot. It has a pretty awesome sound system!

2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4x

I have made some progress on my Honeydew Lace Square fingering weight edition. I have five more rounds of the inner border and then it’s on to the edging.

We are trying to make the best use of our time during this quarantine/safer-at-home time. Jerry has been out in the shop a lot in the last week. He did a lot of tidying, re-arranging and de-cluttering. After that he got back to work on a big batch of Yarn Boxes that were all ready for sanding. We have some available on the website now if you were planning to pick up one at a festival this spring.

sanding, sanding, and more sanding

I have not been idle either. I have been cooking and baking more lately as is evidenced by the bread baking above. I have also been out at the dye pots a couple of times this week. New Era Fiber Mill has been keeping my busy (gainful employment which is appreciated more than ever about now). Here’s a batch I did the other day using my new work space, which I love, BTW. Did I mention my husband is amazing? Because he is. <3

Okay, stay well, and safe everyone! Make good use of your time and search for the silver lining! There is always something to be thankful for.

World Upside Down

It’s been quite a crazy couple of weeks since my last post. Where to begin?

On March 3 in the middle of the night, Nashville was hit by tornadoes, as most of you may already know. Our home and family are fine. The biggest effect on our family was that my husband’s workplace, Sysco Food Distribution warehouse was basically ground zero for the touchdown of the tornado that took out John C. Tune Airport and then proceeded to hit Germantown and East Nashville and beyond. Jerry’s truck was hit pretty bad. It’s in the shop and insurance is paying for the repairs fortunately. He is unable to work at his normal job though because the warehouse needs extensive repairs to be back online. We are receiving some lay off pay at the moment but the future is uncertain.

So, in the wake of this I left home on March 11 for Raleigh, NC for the Carolina Fiber Festival, and from there I had two more festivals. By the time I was setting up the booth the following day, both Stitches United and Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival had regrettably announced their cancellations. I was 95% done setting up the booth, when the organizers of CFF had to deliver the devastating news to us all that the show was cancelled. We had to break back down and leave. Since returning home on the 13th I have been notified that Greencastle is also gone. I know this is all old news to a certain extent, but I am still reeling from it all.

I am trying very hard to be optimistic, because it’s my nature. I know we are all in this thing together and it is tough. It may get tougher before it gets better. I am thankful that I know my hope, security, and peace don’t lie in the circumstances of this world although they are admittedly important and impossible to ignore. My peace must remain in my God. No matter how bad it looks and even when we can’t see the purpose in our sufferings, He sees all the ends which we cannot and in the end His will is good. I am not being an escapist here. I am preaching this to myself most of all. Hopefully it will help someone else to be reminded as well. I am praying for my family, my country and the world. Oh, and taking all prudence to keep ourselves and others as safe from illness as possible.

So, we are unexpectedly, along with all of you, finding some time for doing stuff around the house. We have been spending this past week overhauling my “dye studio/work area” . Here are a few progress pictures:

Tearing out the old concrete pad where I set up my propane tanks and dye pots
Tamping down the paver base
Building the retaining walls.
Laying the pavers
Digging the holes for the concrete and roof posts
Posts in and leveled!
Roofing platform built
Roof on and landscaping done
Ready for work!

I am picking up some fiber from the mill today, so I will be testing this out soon. It’s at least something to be excited about. We can all use those little boosts now a days more than ever. Stay safe everyone!