Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fo friday: the audrey cardigan

OK, not quite Friday?  Ironically, my blog turned 10 years old right around when I clammed up in February. I was working on an epic, thoughtful, all encompassing post...but, um, yeah. To sum up--- yay, blogging! Meanwhile, I've been up to many things.  Including knitting.
Here's my Audrey cardigan, debuting during lunch with Beverly Army Williams a few weeks ago. We met to plan course proposals for Fiber College *,in Searsport Maine, we'll be co-teaching again come September 9-13th. I hear class registration launches later this week.
In answer to questions surely crossing your mind....
    - yes, it was really cold, all the layers you see were not nearly enough, and that's inside  the restaurant. Let's just say it has been an excellent winter and spring for wool lovers around here.

    -  Beverly is wearing her Wingfeathers shawl, in JillMakesStuff Rifton. Rather fab, isn't it?

 I adore my sweater, loving it right from the cast on with Starcroft Nash Light yarn ,  a perfect wooly, soft, bouncy yarn. 
Plus the realization that  I know exactly where the wool grew. Nash Island sheep! I accumulated the skeins a few at a time over the last couple of years- you can see me clutching some halfway down in my blogpost here from the first time I helped with roundup and shearing day on the island.
I made it a little more over sized than it needs to be, but no matter, it's a favorite and brightened my winter wardrobe-. Psychologically, too.

The color blocking was changed from the pattern as written, to suit myself- both my shape and my quantities of various colors. This is what I love about making my own clothes. Changing it up as I wish, or spontaneously. I know there's also the camp that wants to make a sweater to exactly match the sample..but I am almost never happy there.
As you can see, I AM happy here. The pattern is a yarn gobbler...if you think about it, the front is double layered. It's knit top down, in one piece, with faux seams. When I got to the the sleeves,  I'd planned the Lobster (truly great colorway name)  lower arm but didn't have enough of the main body (Cove) color, so improvised the striped section between the two. I'm very happy with it. You'll notice I ran out of Lobster before I came to the knuckles on my left hand too.  I like to think it looks intentional. Humor me!

One of my favorite features is the extra long sleeves with thumb holes-- like built -in fingerless mitts. First time I've made a sweater with them, won't be the last. I couldn't decide on a front closure, or where I'd  place it, so I left it open. If you look at the projects page, which I assure you I did a gazillion-millionty  times, there are many options. Sometimes I just let it fall open, like in the image with Beverly, and sometimes I pin it shut. Or, I guess, hold it, in a weird and awkward way.

And that in the upper right? If you have taken a workshop with me, you know I disparage (OK, outright mock)  cliche poses, especially hands cupped clutching something. It's so overdone, and in any case, whatever is in the hands inevitably becomes the focal point of the photo when it should be about the knits. I especially poke fun at the use of empty mugs. Extra pokes if the model is in some deep woods or natural setting with empty tableware. Beverly, who kindly photographed me, couldn't resist. So, there you have it.
* Fiber College is the best annual event with the least slick web presence. Don't let the website give you a false impression.   It is an  inspirational fiber arts retreat in the most beautiful setting.  Unique vibe, fabulous teachers and a certain something special happens every single year.   I am already looking forward to it!

Friday, February 13, 2015

goings on

A quick hello because it is upon us: I am teaching a Smartphone/iphone Photo Class this Sunday Feb 15 at Knit New Haven.

On the left, the straght-up photo from my phone. On theright, after a a few moves /Apps to fix it up.
Come on out & join me. This is a fun class, and really, it doesn't matter if you are a knitter, this is a class you can take with a non-knitter friend, while sitting in a cheerful yarn shop. I guarantee you'll both leave with a few new apps & tricks to make your phone camera images fabulous.(You might leave with some yarn, too...but that's another story.)

Here's an example we shot while teaching this class in November, in Maryland.

On the far left, a quick phone camera shot of a skein of yarn on a typical meeting table, warts and all. Same photo; rotated, quickly fixed up a bit, and then labeled, all in Phone. If you're on Instagram, it's the kind of image that works well in the feed. (We'll talk about that).
 Even if you own a big beautiful camera, your phone is so much easier to whip out when you want shots of a new sweater, or a nice moment while walking the dog. I know I am guilty of that . Like, daily. The trick is to make the most of the image Why not ?
 We'll use free and inexpensive apps to take our phone images to a new level. The workshop is hands-on, moves fast, is fun and  and a review/critique at the end, of what we've accomplished. See you there? Call ahead to register.  Sunday 10-1.

Many more of my phone photos on my Instagram. Follow me

Thursday, January 29, 2015

FO (day before)friday: wingfeathers

 Wingfeathers by Cal Patch, in Rifton yarn from Jill Draper. And my new Chucks! 
Shot before the snowstorms started, a week ago.

Were I a more restrained blogger, I'd simply caption this "What Beverly said". 

But, I am not. Still, go over and read her story of the shawl.
More and more,  I make things with meaning attached to the materials. A special yarn, a pattern that's suggested or created by a friend, colors that remind me of a very specific geography,  the handwork done in a moment that stays with the piece forever.  This? Has it all.  
The Rifton yarn is a joy to work with, I wish you could see the subtle speckles and color blends. It's softened,  drapier now, a week after blocking, than in these photos. The color is exactly the Atlantic in winter,  the views I never get tired of.
550 yards, almost down to the last yard. I added a picot edge. I am no ace crocheter--I may hook out a Big Ass Granny Square blanket now and then, but I rarely follow a crochet pattern. That may change, I enjoyed this so much.

Three Wingfeathers underway, mine on the left, in two Rifton colorways. The yarn comes wrapped in a muslin cloth, a lovely detail. It's a limited run, so if you feel inspired, go get it now.
oh and about those sneakers..they really have knitting on them! An impulse purchase while in NYC. Love. Pretty much them and the Wingfeathers=my winter uniform. Except , of course, for the 2+ feet of new snow on the ground making real boots a necessity.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

the Starcroft yarn has popped up in NYC!

Here's the full view of the sheep shots from Nash Island that I put in the Starcroft Fiber Mill popup this week at lf8elevate
these three are all there as large , mounted, coated photographic prints, and as small lovely cards singly, and as a set with those below
I made a limited printing for the week but will re-stock and sell by mail, too.  If you are interested, send me a message at

Jani Estell herself, perhaps a little stunned,  just after we finished setting up the pop up shop on Monday. Instant yarn store!  It was magical how beautifully it fit in. I hope you have a chance to visit this week (Jan 13-18th).
POP UP ADDRESS: 80 east 7th street, NY NY between 1st and 2nd Aves. 
HOURS:  12-6   thru Sunday only  till 9 pm Thursday 1/16.
on Thursday 1/16 and Saturday 1/18 there are gatherings with Jani, Kay Gardiner (who masterminded this) and FOJ (Friends of Jani)  knitwear luminaries like Kirsten Kapur and Mary Jane Mucklestone and I hear Laura Nelkin will pop in the pop up too.

3 hours earlier, standing in a chilly drizzle in the middle of East 7th street, as Kirsten Kapur/Through the Loops, Jani and Yliana unloaded the woolpacked-to-the-gills car.  You know Kirsten has many talents, and it turns out one is making delicious cascading arrangements of yarn.Sooo tempting.
Here's Jani and her husband Grant, on Nash. Keep in mind they live in the woods, in a town of 400 or so, Down East (that's way north in regular geography) so this whole shop in NYC for a week is just...radical, I guess, is the best word to use.  I feel like you need to see a little more of Jani's "real life" to understand where the gorgeous handyed yarn she's brought down comes from.  I'm super lucky to have crossed paths and become friends over the last few years.  Helping out at the roundup and shearing on the island is a standout joyous top ten day of any year.

Jani commuting to work with the flock, by lobster boat, with Alfie Wakeman, the island owner. Cleat, the orphan sheep last year, rides along.

The view Jani is used to. Not quite lower Manhattan. Still, no parking.

 Tossing a just sheared fleece onto the skirting table . All of her yarn comes from the island sheep.
yeah. Couldn't resist ending with this one.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

island sheep yarn in nyc

Borrowing the artful history writing of Kay Gardiner, as it appeared on Instagram recently
 "True story. Once upon a time in the 1970s (approximately), two little girls named Kay and @galezucker were NOT allowed to start flocks of sheep. So they became Camp Fire Girls. Which was great, but not the same as having a flock of sheep on a lighthouse island off the coast of Maine. To repair this psychic injury, when they grew up Kay and Gale persuaded @janistarcroft to bring her Nash Island wool yarns to a jewel box of a shop on East 7th Street in NYC, @lf8elevate One week only starting January 13. 
Join us on January 15 from 6-9 and January 17 (Saturday) from 3-6 for knittin' and chattin' old skool."

 I can't add much except to say 
• the Starcroft yarn is very special, and never available in NY before.
• there'll be a flock of knitters you'd enjoy the company of at the shop, during the knit and chats on Thursday and Saturday
• Jani graciously invited me to share some of my printed photographs and limited edition postcards from visits with her Nash Island sheep--all sepia toned, including the one above--so that'll be in the shop, too
• This whole crazy adventure is Kay's brainstorm, and I never say no to riding shotgun when Kay's behind the wheel. Join us!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

with icing on top

I hope you had the sweetest of holiday seasons. It's been an unusually- even for me, who doesn't sit still easily-  bustling month.  My blogging habit evap-o-rated!

Above, a sneak peek* from yesterday's photo shoot in Portland, Maine for Swans Island yarns. Such lovely clients, such to-die-for designs, and oh yes, the donuts are awesome, too. So good we are swinging by the shop to get some before we leave town today.  If I am allowed one teeny tiny kvetch, the temperature is -8F degrees...and it wasn't too much warmer while we were shooting outside yesterday. Although it was above zero.  The warmth of squeezing in visits with friends Mary Jane Mucklestone and Samantha at A Gathering of Stitches made this work trip all the sweeter.

See you in NY next week, between January 13-18? ? I'll be at VK Live for funs  and am so excited to be helping Jani from Starcroft Fiber at her pop=up Nash Island yarn  in the City shop at lf8elevate at 80 east 7th street in NYC. If you'll be in town, come down! Jani's yarn and island wool, some knit and chats with designers you know and love, it is a charming, artful shop..  I'll have a limited edition set of Nash Island photographs mounted and cards just for the occasion. The special events  are on Thursday evening 6-9 (with Mary Jane Mucklestone there)  and Saturuday afternoon. 4-6 with Kay Gardiner knitting along .details tomorrow!
Stay warm, wherever you are!

* ok if you know me, you know how I can go on and on about how there's one main story per photo, and how wrong a photo shoot can go when you can't keep it straight. That, my friends, is definitely a photo about donuts.

Monday, December 08, 2014

FO monster monday

Finished just in time for the cold weather:  Monster Cowl . Started last winter, tucked away when I hadn't finished by spring. I love this chevron stitch, it's gently hypnotic to knit. I was chugging on merrily, when I noticed the pattern suggested stopping to kitchener it at 45", warning of blocking growth. ooops! I was closing in on 50". No worries. I love the size.
Excuse the, ummm, styling, or lack thereof. It was an impromptu photoshoot. Want some details? 
pattern: Monster Cowl by Julia Allen.
yarn: Shepherds Wool from Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in Michigan
needles: US 9
finished size: after blocking, about 54" in length around, and 7.5" wide
notes: so obviously, one edge is going to be nice and neat and the other, the side where you change colors,  is going to have the yarn carried up along it.  I'll fess up to sometimes forgetting to properly wrap the working yarn around the one lying fallow for that row. 
(oh man. I just fell down this grammar rabbit hole and I am still not sure if I used the past tense of lie correctly or if maybe it should have been laying). 
Where was I? 
Oh yeah, my less-than-neat edge. Before blocking, it was messy enough to considering covering with icord all around,  or maybe a row of crochet. Afterwards, it settled in A-OK. Don't you love well behaved yarn?
This was so satisfying to knit that I may cast on for one as a gift for someone I like who admired it repeatedly in that kind of way. I've already cast on for a coordinating hat. Those skeins are generous at 250 yards each.  Not the Monster Hat- that would be too matchy for me --but using the rest of the yarn held double for a bulky hat.
What are you knitting this fine frosty morning? 
(and if it's not frosty where you are? well......)