Post From Virginia

Hi again! The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival was great with wonderful weather and lots of attendees.

I have been enjoying a few days off while waiting for my next show set up on Friday for the Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia . I have mostly spent my time catching up on my reading and knitting, but I did go out on Tuesday to visit Luray Caverns. I had a nice time and have a few pictures, though not great ones I am afraid.

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I have been re-reading the Cormoran Strike novels before starting the newest one that was released last week; Lethal White. It’s not a genre I read often but I can’t resist anything written by J.K.Rowling. These are both interesting as far as the mystery goes, and, even better to me, they are also character driven stories. I have loved getting to know the main characters Cormoran and Robin as the series has grown. It’s what she does so well. I am almost finished with The Silkworm already.

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In knitting progress news; I have gotten to the last chart on Tendrilly which repeats 4x or 6x but I may be doing a hybrid size and repeat it 5x. If I do 4x it will leave about 3/4 of the 3rd skein but doing 6x will require a 4th skein. I am hoping to use just about 3 full skeins with my modification. I will know more as I approach that stage.

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When I get a chance I like to sample local micro-brews, and this was my find here in Virginia to enjoy on my little vacation. Cheers!

Break Time is Over

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This is the only picture I took over the holiday gatherings. This is my grand daughter Pandora. She is eight months old now. I can’t believe I didn’t take more pictures. We had all of our Nashville family over for Christmas Day and some of them came over on New Years Day also to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Break time is officially over now. We have resumed school and I have dyeing work to complete this week. I did some of it yesterday but the weather turned off wicked cold today and it’s getting colder for the rest of the weekend so I am waiting until Monday to finish the remainder of the order.

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I have gotten quite a good piece of the knitting done on my sweater. I have finished both sleeves and the back. I cast on the left front last night while watching season 2 of Sherlock. I wanted to re-watch everything before watching the first installment of Season 4. I am starting season 3 tonight. It’s about the only “TV” I watch.

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I prefer reading or listening to music to watching TV or movies, although I do like to watch a well made movie based on a classic book too. It’s good for knitting by. Smile  I have been on a classics kick lately. I have been working through a Great Courses audiobook on American Literature which has been very interesting and prompting me to re-read some classics and try a few I had passed over up until now like the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I am to the lectures on Nathaniel Hawthorne at the moment. He has spent a lot of time on The Scarlet Letter which I have read a couple times. I may read it again or I am thinking about reading The House of Seven Gables since I only read it once quite a while ago.

My oldest son also bought me a boxed set (books) of The Game of Thrones. He has tried to get me to read this series for awhile but I have been hesitant due to me knowing what the HBO series is like. I will probably give it a shot since he swears it’s not as graphic in the books and besides it’s easy to skim over that stuff if you choose when you are reading. Anyone read these? Yea or nay? What did you think of them if you read them?

Knitting and Harry Potter

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This is the best picture I could get on a rainy morning of my progress on the Bermuda Triangle shawl. I am in the final stretch now with only 10 more rows of the ribbing and then the contrast color garter edge. I am looking forward to seeing how it changes after a blocking. Right now the slipped stitches are drawing it in some but I think the soak and block will fix it right up. I really like these colors together too.

I dyed another large order for the mill this past weekend but since the daylight hours are so short and I was working until near dark every day, I didn’t get any pictures to show you. Just picture lots of colored fluff and some hand painted yarn. Smile 

I can’t remember if I told you that I am finally doing a re-read of the Harry Potter books, but I am and they are even better after a long break of eight years. This is the first time I have read all seven books in succession and that is quite fun. I just started the Order of the Phoenix last night. The first three books are pretty fun and fast paced. I most noticed this time around that when you get to the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, things do start to get a bit more serious, don’t they. The stakes get higher and I was more emotionally invested in what was happening to the characters. Personally I am moved many times with empathy for Harry and his struggles against the darkness and hatred that he is up against. His courage in the face of it what he barely understands but knows is evil is admirable. Sure he has help, but does that diminish his fortitude? Of course not. The truth is none of stand by our own strength and we all need help to combat evil in this world. Love is the antidote as he finds in the end and it is the same for us all. Perfect love casts out fear.

Knitting Content

Okay it’s not much but I did finish the cowl last week.
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I have been wearing quite a lot. I took this picture (sorry for the off color. Bad lighting) in the truck on one of the coldest days we have had in years. We were in need of groceries during the worst cold following the Polar Vortex last week. It was 2 degrees F that morning. Glad that is over.

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It is a much warmer 50 this morning which is an immense improvement despite the gray drizzle. I once again have to make the trek out for victuals. Sigh. I really wish I didn’t dislike that chore so much since I have to do it so often it seems. I guess I can look on the bright side. It is a fine opportunity for listening to my current audio book. :-) I am towards the beginning of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens which is quite good.

I have been on an extensive Stephen King binge lately which has been fun but it is good to get back to some classics for a change. What are you reading lately?

A Study in Color

In preparation for our summer dye session I am brushing up on my color theory and mixing and deciding on what new colors to create this year.

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I was reading through Betty Edwards’ Color which is aimed at mixing and using paints/pigments. It is different than working with dyes because dyes are opaque and also you use depth of shade instead of adding white to adjust value, the color theory is still tremendously instructive. Her exercises inspired me to create a color wheel of my dye stocks to better arrange them in my mind of where they fall on it. Her ideas of assigning a clock face and in a circle is a great visual exercise for seeing “into” a color to identify it’s hue and it’s direct complement. You will also notice a gray scale in a circle which is helpful for determining value.

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All this is invaluable to seeing a given color and mixing it. First you must identify the hue from the twelve (3 primary, 3 secondary, and 6 tertiary). Next judge the value, or lightness/darkness. You can see on the black and white version of my stock color wheel below how those translate. Thirdly determine the intensity (saturation of hue). Is it closer to pure hue or “dulled”. Here’s where knowing the complements by heart is invaluable.

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It’s all very fascinating to me, this thing of color. It is really in the brain that it happens and it’s positively mysterious. ;-)

So, after my refresher course I went to my local Lowe’s to visit the paint department to collect a stack of chips for study and inspiration. I have three or four firm ideas to experiment with. I am leaning towards a yellow, and clear purple, and a medium pink. The challenge for me is that I have to constrain my colors to 26 in my palette and I want to keep it balanced in value and hue. This means for every new color I must discontinue one color. That’s the hard part. Saying goodbye to colors is bittersweet. New colors are fun but the old ones are familiar friends. :-)

On the knitting front I did get a bit accomplished on Sorrel this week. I completed the body and one sleeve while re-watching A Study in Pink which is the new PBS series Sherlock. I finished A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four in the book and so it was fun to watch that and get some knitting done.

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Okay I have a fair bit of work to do so I will close for now. See you later. :-)

Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair 2013

We are traveling again this weekend. We are in the Chicago area for the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair which is n it’s 7th year. We have come every year from it’s inception and it is one of our favorites.

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I really love the venue here in Lake County Fairgrounds. I think this has been the best location and I hope it has finally found a permanent home. This is the third venue since the first three years in Crystal Lake.

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When we return from Chicago on Monday we will have the remainder of June, the whole of July and the first week of August at home, as I have probably mentioned before. We will be spending that time firing up the dye pots and the lathe to restock for the rest of the season.

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When we return from Chicago on Monday we will have the remainder of June, the whole of July and the first week of August at home, as I have probably mentioned before. We will be spending that time firing up the dye pots and the lathe to restock for the rest of the season.

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Again no knitting done. Man, I am really in a knitting slump. Sorry about that. I have however finished three books this week. :-)

My Classics read was The Age of Innocence and I liked this one a lot. Well okay I was irritated by the ending but I get it. He loved the idea of her more than the actuality and it would have been a disappointment, or a least he wasn’t willing to risk it anyway. Eh. It’s not what I would have done but I get it. I did really enjoy the unfolding of the story though.

My fun read was Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I recently joined the Constant Reader group on Goodreads and this was in the queue. It’s not one that would have otherwise caught my attention but I am so glad I came across it. It was just so funny and entertaining. It may depend on your interests and geek factor. Mine is up there so I loved it. While the questions raised for thought or discussion could be delved into but for me it was just fun. I laughed out loud very many times and I rarely do that with a book. 5 stars for this one. :-)

The third book I read was Shutter Island. Again this comes from a group read on Goodreads, the Stephen King Fans group. I also might never have noticed this one despite the fact that I apparently watched the movie in 2011 according to my Netflix history. I vaguely recall the movie but fortunately I didn’t recall the details because that would have spoiled the book. :-) It was very compelling reading. Again the ending here is a bit…disturbing I guess…but a worthwhile read to be sure.

Okay I will close for now. Take care!

Lazy days of summer

We are really enjoying our weeks off around here. I am still reading a lot and knitting a little.

The summer is in full swing. The trees are gloriously green and lush. The tomatoes are setting their fruit and we can hardly wait for the first harvest.

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We need to get into production mode soon and the orders are in for yarn to dye. The wood shop will also be opened back up soon but for this one more week we take a small break and catch up on life.

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The oldest five offspring are off to Holiday World today and then on to their grandma’s for a short visit. I am home with only the husband and the three youngest. I have visions of quiet evenings to read but I doubt that is very realistic. :-)

What am I reading you ask?  Well I finished the latest Dan Brown novel, Inferno. It was okay and certainly was surprising in the ending, but I didn’t care for the preachy way the “crisis” was handled. I give it 3 stars for pure entertainment value and for the fact that he did at least attempt to change up his formula some what.

I immediately started listening to Stephen King’s Joyland and even though I haven’t gotten far I can tell it is going to be good. I have the Audible version since it is only in paperback and I can’t stand reading them since I went digital. ;-)

I also started Age of Innocence for the Classics group on Goodreads. This is very readable and I am enjoying it so far as well.

Okay well maybe I will have some new knitting to show off next post but I hope you don’t mind my sharing my reading with you.

One More To Go

Wow, two posts in one week!

We are in Franklin, IN this weekend for the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. I had an opportunity this afternoon to take a few pictures and write a brief post. I don’t have any internet or cellular connectivity in the building so this will be uploaded when I get back to the hotel.

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We arrived yesterday afternoon and got the booth setup. The festival opened today for a half day from 12-6 pm and will be open all day tomorrow from 9 am – 5 pm. We will drive home on Sunday and have a longer break than we have had since mid April. We have a weekend off before leaving for Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair in Grayslake, IL, near Chicago. When we are done with THAT we are off the road until the second week of August. :-)

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Of course that’s our production time so we will still have stuff to sell at the late summer and fall shows, but hey at least we are home for a while. I love traveling but I am glad for longer spells at home to catch up too. It’s all good.

I have made a bit more progress on the small Sorrel. It’s only going this slowly for ME because I hardly ever get any chance to work on it lately. Both my test knitters completed it in a week or two. Actually I think the proto type I knit while designing it took about that as well. It’s just my schedule right now. To be honest if I have down time I sometimes (dare I say it?) would rather read than knit. That’s been my mood lately anyway. I think picking this back up and working on it this week has helped with the knitting mojo.

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I am still reading The Lost Symbol but I expect to be finished soon. I can listen to the Audible version on Sunday on the drive home and between that and other reading time at night I should be done soon and ready to finally start the new book, Inferno.

The Classics group I am in on Goodreads is starting The Age of Innocence on June 1 which I haven’t read yet, so I want to do that one. I still have Sherlock Holmes on my short list too. Thank goodness for Audible, huh? LOL! We need something like that for knitting don’t you think? ;-)

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Well another 10 days have gone by in which I have neglected the Blog. :-(  I appreciate each and every one of you who are still reading this no matter how sporadic it may get at times. Mwah!

So since my last post we have been to another show which I didn’t even remember to get any pictures while we were there. We were in Wooster, Ohio for the Great Lakes Fiber Show. This is a show that dates back for us to our earliest year of doing festivals and we look forward to it every year. We took Emma (8 year old daughter) so she could see the horses. I meant for the girls to get some pictures but we all forgot.

I do however have a few pictures for you today. I am still making ridiculously slow progress on the smallest size of my Sorrel pattern sample, but fortunately my test knitters are much faster than I am. They have both come through with theirs and I am ready to call this thing ready for public consumption. Yay!

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This is my pathetic progress in what? three weeks? four? Gah!

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The Tiger Lily one is the large, as mentioned last time; and the Tea Rose one in front is the middle size as is the Thyme one in the center.

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One skein of Classic Merino Bamboo is all that is needed to knit any of the three sizes. I have the pattern listed on both my website and Ravelry for $6.00.

The traveling may interfere with knitting time, but it does give my more reading time. Bonus! Right before Mother’s Day weekend I treated my self to a new Nook HD+ when they added Google Play and put them on sale. I have used it quite a lot. I still use my e-ink Nook sometimes but I have found the Nook HD+ easier on my eyes that I thought I would. One advantage it has is that I can listen to music or my audiobooks while reading which comes in handy for blocking out distractions. I can use my phone or iPod but it’s nice to have it all on one device too. My Nexus 7 can do this as well, but I am liking the beautiful large screen on the HD+. :-)

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I bought this sleeve to keep it in which I prefer to a cover.

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I have been reading through all the Dan Brown novels in the Robert Langdon series before I read the newest one, Inferno. They are fun and interesting light reading. I am currently about one-fourth of the way through the third book, The Lost Symbol. My favorite so far is probably not surprisingly The Da Vinci Code. I am probably one of the few people who didn’t read it when it came out.

I think I will start my summer reading off when I m done with these by working through the Complete Sherlock Holmes collection.

I also got this book right before I left for Ohio. I had pre-ordered it in late January when I first became available and it finally came! I am savoring it by just reading a chapter a day. :-)

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More design fun and some book reviews

Since last time I have made a bit more progress on the blue wrap design. I have made a decision at this point to work this in two parts. I have a couple of reasons for that.

  • to insure there will be adequate yarn to finish edge pattern
  • to made the transition between stitch patterns consistent
  • for ease of knitting; it’s hard to knit a big bulky piece reaching 5+ feet long.

My thinking on the first point is that if I knit it all in one piece with such a deep border it is hard to tell when to start and be sure the yarn lasts. I am certain if I use all the yardage it will be about the right length but this way seems easiest to accomplish that goal. I took the yarn and equally divided it all in half. The plan is to knit the first half until it’s gone, or nearly since I need to end at a specific point in the pattern stitch, and then knit the other half and graft them together.The stitch pattern is such that there is a perfect point at which to do this and have the pattern remain seamless.

On the second point; since one stitch pattern begins with a right side row and the other a wrong side row it works better when the way I worked it and will not match exactly in the reverse order. It would require on additional row and while it would be barely noticeable it would be slightly different and would bug me. :-)

And the third point is what swung the vote since I could possibly have lived with the extra row but since it would be easier in general to work with the smaller pieces it seems the way to go.

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In addition to this I also got around to swatching for another design that starting knocking about in my brain.

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It will be a baby garment in honor of my impending new granddaughter due in May. Since she will be born in late spring a sweater seemed less needed so I started seeing a little casual everyday dress. Also since it’s warm weather a light weight and all weather yarn would be best and the Classic Merino Bamboo fir that bill perfectly.

I envisioned a seamless top down raglan at first with a little bit of eyelet lace in the yoke and edging. I couldn’t find the right thing when looking through all my stitch volumes. Finally this welted leaf border struck my fancy and after swatching it my plans began to reformulate and solidify.

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I got out my calculator and started making a rough first draft, an outline really, of how this would go to be sure I would have the correct number of stitches in place at the points where I want to add the stitch pattern, and also to make dimension plans and work out decrease rates. I realized too that it would be better to do this bottom up with a circular yoke. At this point I am planning little cap sleeves with the stitch pattern placed as you see above at the bottom hem and again in the yoke. The sleeves will probably just be a garter edging. I will decide when I get there whether to leave a Henley type opening on the back with ties or a button for closure.

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I also did a little fun dyeing this week for myself. I have my eye on Antler cardigan for some time and thought it would be fun to dye some yarn up for it.

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I have no idea when I am going to get to this since I feel I must finish my designs on the needles first. I will save it as selfish knitting that I get to start when I complete them. ;-)

I have read/listened to several good books while working and knitting this week. I finished Clockwork Angels and it was pretty good. I valued it more for the additional dimension it added to the album which was it’s intent, so it did accomplish it’s goal. The character was a little shallow but I think it was meant to convey the concepts rather than be a story like a novel. I think a fairytale is really a better way to describe it. I saw that on someone else’s review on Goodreads and it is accurate so I will echo it here. I gave it 4 stars.

I then read In the Tall Grass and I will copy from my review here: This one was creepy but to me lacking in some way. I started out the story liking the character build up but I lost it towards the end. The style of the writing shifted and got more vague and sparse. I think I just really hated what happened to Becky in there too. I gave it 3 stars which is not typical for me with a Stephen King book.

My current read is another Gillian Flynn book, Sharp Objects. I have the Audible and the eBook versions of this one and am switching back and forth, so will probably get through it pretty fast. I started it yesterday and am already 38% into it. I like it at this point, but I suspect I am in for some game changers and surprises if it is anything like Gone Girl. I like that. :-)