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? ;-)

Sorrel pattern release

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. :-)

New Pattern – Pillars

I finally got around to writing up the pattern for my infinity scarf this week. It also has a name too, Pillars. I have it for sale on Ravelry and on my website for $5.00.

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I have only knit it up in this striped version, but it would be great in a single color too. The stitch pattern is fun, easy, and has a nice stretchy texture.

Here’s another little fun thing I set up to go along with the pattern release. I was originally envisioning doing this design as a kit. I was going to pick 6-8 color combinations and package appropriate amounts of yarn with the pattern so that you can make the scarf in stripes without the need of purchasing full skeins when you only need 20-25g of a color (you need 40-50g of the main color, but more on that in a minute), but I came up with what I think will be even better.

Build your own kits! I have made these adorable mini skeins of the Classic Merino Sport and you can buy what ever combination you want. If you want it the way I made mine with a main color and two contrasts, you will need one ball each of the contrasts and two of the main color. For a single color scarf you one 100g skein. Fun, huh?

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This is just a few of the colors, but aren’t they the cutest things?

If you visit the link you will see that there are two skein size options there; 100g and 25g. Pick a color and a size and there you are. Then go put the pattern in the cart and you are ready to go. We will see how it goes and if people like it we may even expand the idea to other yarns. Oh, this would be a fun for my Classic Baby Cardigan too.

Okay enough with the self promotion stuff, LOL! I have some more progress on the wrap I am working on. It doesn’t look any different, just bigger, but I took a new picture anyway. I am close to the end of the first skein and have almost 20”, so my prediction of it coming out at somewhere between 60 – 64” for 3 skeins seem pretty good.

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I haven’t talked much about my reading lately, but that’s not for lack of it. I have actually made good progress on my TBR list. I finished my re-read of the Lord of the Rings and it was a pleasure to read as it always is. I swear it just gets better every time I read it if that is possible. I was listening to the new unabridged Audible version as I think I mentioned before, and I will reiterate that is is very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As soon as I finished that I started on Gone Girl, because my number came up on the Overdrive list for the eBook. I can’t remember the last time, not counting books I listen to while on the road, that I have finished book in 2 1/2 days. Wow. It was very interesting and just pulled me in and didn’t let go. I was going back and forth between reading and listening to the Audible version, so that helped, but honestly I just could not put this down. I listened to it while I was churning out those mini skeins you see up there, LOL! If you are one of the few people who haven’t read this one I encourage you to do it. I am not usually one to read something just because it’s popular, but I think this time there is a good reason for it.

So after I finished Gone Girl I started Clockwork Angels because I am a total Rush geek and I simply have to read it for that reason. So far so good. I just started it last night.

Okay that’s all for today! Happy knitting and reading!

We’re getting there…

Where to start? Since my last post I have made some small progress on my cowl/infinity scarf design, but not as much as I would have liked there to be.

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It’s about 4” wide at this point and I didn’t have any definite width in mind before I started. I just figured I would knit it until it seemed like a good size, but probably at least 6-7” and possibly more.

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My poor Boneyard Shawl hasn’t seen any action since I started the above cowl, but it did get to pose in one of our lovely new Yarn Bowls soon to be available on our brand new website. :-) We are tentatively planning for a Feb. 9 launch and I am so excited about it! 

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We are holding off several new products and some other cool stuff for a grand opening. Here’s some sneak previews of just a small sampling of the new Shawl pin Rings we are making.

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Y’all they are truly amazing if I do say so myself, and I think I am entitled since I am not even bragging on myself here. My talented daughter Meredith who also makes the Shawl Pins, Nostepinnes, and Darning Eggs, is the genius behind these as well. If you have been to our booth at festivals, you have probably seen or met her. She is always with me.

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Remember her?

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Here’s some more to whet your appetite, LOL!

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See? Fabulous, no?

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Anyway I will give you all more details once we are sure it’s a go. We have had quite a few glitches lately but it’s all coming together and I am optimistic that all will be ready in time. Oh, you can also sign up for my Newsletter if you would like to get updates in email. It’s up near the top in the sidebar right under my Find me on Ravelry button. :-)

I haven’t given any reading updates lately. Let’s see, in December and the first half of January I was reading The Brothers Karamazov. My reaction to it was sort of underwhelming. I expected to be more impressed honestly. It is such a highly regarded work that I was left wondering what I was missing. I was not alone however in the Goodreads group I was reading it with. Many were left with the same feeling of “what is all the fuss about”? Have any of you read it? Can you educate me on what I missed? I would truly like to know what it is that made you love the book. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am glad I read it and there were some parts I found very interesting and thought provoking, like the part’s where Ivan is telling the story of The Inquisitor and his conversation with The Devil, but overall I was glad to be done and don’t see myself re-reading it.

I possibly impatient with it towards the end because I was badly wanting to start my re-read of The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings books. I just adore these and am immensely enjoying the new unabridged Audible versions along with my Nook copies. I like to immersion read sometimes and I am savoring every minute of these books. I read The Hobbit in 5 days and started The Fellowship this weekend. My only hang up so far was that when I started up The Fellowship, to my horror I realized that they didn’t start with The Prologue: Concerning Hobbits. To me an unabridged version should have included that. It is not optional to me. So I just read that part and started the audiobook when I reached the first chapter. I am currently at the point where Sam, Frodo and Pippin have reached Crickhollow and Merry and Fatty Bolger are preparing their second supper, LOL! I just love these opening chapters where the adventure is just beginning. It’s kind of like that time in a knitting project where it’s all shiny and new and full of promise.

Okay well that’s it for now I suppose. Keep you fingers crossed for the website launch!

The Passage

The PassageThe Passage by Justin Cronin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it even more the second time! I finished The Passage and boy am I glad that this time I have the sequel in my possession and ready to start. I can not wait to get going on it.

As I was reading I found there were many parts which I remembered easily like the beginning stuff with Wolgast and Amy, and then in the second section with The Colony and the journey to Colorado. In particular I remembered the parts with Theo and Mausami and the birth of Caleb and the rest of the party encountering the soldiers. There were quite a lot of other details which I realize now were lost and it was good to review them. For example the opening scenes where the scientists were discovering the creatures from where the virus came. Also later on when the travelers set out from the Colony, the facts of why were fuzzy. I was thinking it was about the batteries for some reason. There was other stuff too, but suffice it to say I am glad I read it again. I now am fully prepared forThe Twelve :-)

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In other news: I am feeling better today. Fever seems to be gone finally and while I am experiencing the remants of cough and sinus symptoms, it is better.

Also Sprossling  is totally finished. I am very pleased with it and working on getting some pictures today which I will be sharing with you ASAP. Stay tuned :-)

My brief commentary on War and Peace

War and PeaceWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What to say about such a well known and revered work such as this? I hardly feel qualified for the task.

What I will say is that I am very glad that I finally got around to reading it. It took me almost 11 weeks to accomplish, but it was worth the time spent. I greatly enjoyed learning to know the characters and following their lives. There are many happy points as well as tragic ones, but such is life.

I admit that I skimmed and even skipped the very last section where he was waxing philosophical about war, nations and society. Maybe I will return to it another day but I was not into right now. I liked to read the thoughts of the characters when they mused but this was more narrative in nature and I was not in the mood for it.

All in all this is a classic for good reason.

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