Wednesday, October 26, 2016

postcards from rhinebeck 2016: ny sheep and wool

A splendid weekend all around. Sheep, wool, friends, yarn, the Hudson Valley, autumn.....what could be better?

Facetime with fiber on the hoof (and on a head). I adore the NY Sheep and Wool Festival weekend.
Booksigning: Most of my weekend was shoulder to shoulder with my co-authors, Kirsten Kapur and Mary Lou Egan, signing and blabbing about Drop Dead Easy Knits. It is a joy to share the book we worked on all last year, with knitters. We had a blast, as we squooshed into our Barn B space with friends Ann and Kay of Mason Dixon Knitting as tablemates.  Fortunately, friends old and new came by, like (upper right) Emily (LoveaSlug) and Karen Clark, (ChooChooKnits).  So many inspiring knits! And um, yeah, Mary Lou and I really did wear matching versions of the Keynote Pullover. And, um, yeah, we do know it looks dorky but we both love this sweater she designed. We tried to act all sophisticated and pass it off as showing the sample on two different body types.....
Friend Sightings:  clockwise from upperleft, Mal from Common Cod Fiber Guild in perfectly accessorized necklace and cowl, the adorable Jill Draper and her mom Gail (Jill's studio open house on Saturday night was a scene, itself), Bristol Ivy's killer Rhinebeck sweater, I mean..that yoke! Those colors! and I finally got to meet Jan, of the Twinset Designs. Ellen Silva, the twin on the left, has been a friend for  years.  She tech edited Drop Dead Easy Knits. I can't say enough about how great it is to work with her.  Go ahead if you want to hire her, she recently retired from her non-knitting job and may be available, if you are very very lucky. The Twinset Designs Podcast, linked above, is excellent too, give them a listen.
More sightings: Clockwise- the vendor with the beautifully whimsical felted sheepy headwear- apologies, I forgot the name- was a hit this year.  Another (non-yarn) favorite was Grace Gunning's Reliquary Boxes, beautiful art pieces in hand wrought copper boxes. That quick shot doesn't do them justice, click over on her link. A performance piece by Corpus. And the crowds and trees-- wouldn't be NY Sheep and Wool without them.
The weekend digs: Our house rental was last minute, and we struck the jackpot. I'm not even going to show you how amazing the inside is, you'd want to book it for next year immediately ;-) And also, this blogpost is already running crazy long, right?
There was , of course, knitting! My plum wool Pompano Tank tunic wasn't finished, but got some inches added, as we lounged and wallowed in our luxury. That bright orange Fringe Supply Co. bag in the lucite bubble chair with the sequined pillow is colorwork by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  It's the bizarro-world version of Fringe Association aesthetic, right?  Not shown here, Mary Jane was knitting a modern feeling two color version of her new design Sigla.  Onto my queue it went.
The roomies (most but not all): Jani Estell, replendent in her Starcroft Yarn knits and her handcrafted dresses . This one is a new design from Odacier, but I didn't really give you much of a peek...sorry, Fibertrek Sarah Hunt, always in beautifully executed  knits from thoughtfully chosen yarns, Beverly Army Williams in Alabama Chanin and Stopover, and the original Stopover, modeled by the designer herself, Mary Jane Mucklestone. By my unofficial count, Stopover was THE sweater from the festival this year.

I missed getting photos of so much, and so can't show the joy of meeting/seeing friends in person, like Vicki Knitorious . And yes, her stitching and knitting is every bit as gorgeous as it looks online. (Also--I thought she was going to be super tall)! 

I'm a slackerly shopper by nature, even so I didn't come home empty-handed. But that is another post!

Friday, October 14, 2016

what it's all about: rhinebeck style returns

Bringing it back!  Years may change but the feeling is still the same. (I'm humming As Time Goes By here). Although everyone talks about shopping and eating at the festival, what the weekend in Rhinebeck is really all about? Is putting on all your knits, flying that fiber freak flag and being amongst your people.

Whether you are heading for the Dutchess County Fairgrounds and the NY Sheep & Wool Festival * this weekend, or you are knitting on a beach in the southern hemisphere (and if you are, good on you!) or busy with work, family, and life demands.....enjoy!  Happy sweater gawking!

Feel free to embed this video wherever you want. I like to share it.

 * so, if you are going to be at the festival- do come by Barn B where the books are,  and check out Drop Dead Easy Knits, squeeze the trunk show, say hi,  and get a signed copy from Kirsten Kapur, Mary Lou Egan and me.  We will be there on Saturday from 10-11:30, and from 4-5, as well as on Sunday from 10-1, we'd love to meet you. Check us out! 

Upcoming this week
Tuesday Oct 18th 4-6pm (or so) booksigning party & trunk  show at Knit New Haven  in CT

Thursday Oct 20th 6-8pm slide talk, trunk show and booksigning at Knitty City in NYC!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

a happy week for knitters: rifton, rhinebeck and sweater weather

So much to revel in this week! I suspect you've heard of Mason Dixon Knitting but on the teeny tiny chance that you haven't, or if you haven't checked out their space lately, let me point out it is reason to rejoice. They have turned their longtime inspirational and entertaining pretty-much-daily blog into a ...I plus web-zine plus shop. And still daily. And still funny and clever and inspiring.  It's a bonanza. And wow the shop. The latest offering is killing me, it is so good:

 A CUSTOM COLORWAY of Jill Draper Makes Stuff Rifton. Swoon. 

One cake of it makes a STUNNING version of the Grand Central Scarf from Drop Dead Easy KnitsFor example. 
with CUSTOM semi-solids to coordinate.  It's too good.

I am a Jill- and a Rifton fan from the moment  I saw it a couple of years ago, and made my Wingfeather Shawl in the winter colorway. 
 A new cake of it, in a colorway with natural brown, and pinks/raspberry came home with me from a photo shoot at Jill's last month, it'll no doubt be cast on any moment for the Grand Central Scarf, as I mentioned above, instead of two colors, use the inner and outer ends of the same cake.  (as beautifully executed by Mary Lou Egan, I'll add a photo here when I can)...and I am eyeing some of the semi solids when I visit her open studio this weekend. (Saturday night, Kingston NY, the Mason Dixon Knitting ladies will be there too, info on her etsy page link above)

So even if you are a summer loving knitter like me, it is a happy week for working with wool  (can I have an uh-huh) and suddenly there are new patterns and books popping up temptingly, daily,  and... if all that isn't jolly enough, this weekend is the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck , NY, which is the State Fair for Knitters. (But better.)

 You can find the Mason Dixon Knitting ladies, Kay and Ann, signing their new Field Guides in the booksigning barn - along with me and my Drop Dead Easy Knits co-authors and a slew of folks you'd like to blab with. Full schedule here. Get your sweater on and say hi!

Monday, October 03, 2016

pompano tank tunic underway + the DROP DEAD EASY KNITS giveaway winner

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments on our little video for Drop Dead Easy Knits, and for the book itself.  The giveaway winner: Liza Kirschner. Come on down!
Our book launch was a blast.  We were stunned, and thrilled, to sell out of copies right away.(I mean, for that night! Plenty more to go around, online and in stores and at events).
Seeing as we were at FibreSpace surrounded by gorgeous yarn, we knew how to to fill our time. I was seized by the need to cast on a wool version of the Pompano Tank, I am thinking of it as the Pompano Tunic. I'll be wearing it as a layer over a long sleeved top, with dark jeans, styled differently than our model Katrina in her linen version of this fabulous design.  In my mind, it's what you'll see me wearing at two and a half weeks....
I chose this yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Loft, a nice dark tweedy purple**. I have been acquiring purple yarn in unrelated yarn-acquiring incidents all of September, without realizing the vast cumulative purple-ness of it all.  I am declaring it my new neutral. Officially. 

The Pompano Tank it is a delightful knit, just as you'd expect, as it is designed by Kirsten Kapur. The last two weeks have had  little needle time for me, so I've only completed the first few repeats of the holey bottom edge.  It's fun knitting this texture, and after this, it's all stockinette with some shaping.  One piece from the bottom up. I can get some steam going- and if I have some knitting time--then there is  hope I'll have it done for the NY Sheep & Wool Festival,  
If you want to check it out or even better, come get a copy of DROP DEAD EASY KNITS  signed by me and my co-authors, and touch all the samples from the book, we will be on a teeny tiny tour.

Saturday & Sunday OCT 15 & 16th in Rhinebeck NY at the  NY Sheep & Wool 
Saturday 10-11:30 am and 4-5pm
Sunday  10am-1 pm
booksigning and trunk show in the barn where all the author events take place

Tuesday October 18th at Knit New Haven* in New Haven CT 4-6 pm (or so)
 trunk show & booksigning

Thursday October 20 at Knitty City in NYC, Upper West Side, 6-8 pm
we'll present a fun slide talk about making the book and all that is in it, along with signing books and trunk show

* it'll most likely be Mary Lou Egan and myself in New Haven. You can always snag that third signature when Kirsten comes to Knit new Haven inNovember to teach a workshop from the book. 

** Normally indecisive picking out yarn for projects, I surprised myself (and my eyball-rolling friends) by quickly nabbing this colorway, Plume. Then I cracked open the pattern and realized I'd subconsciously gone for the shade most similar to the sample in the book. D'oh! Does that happen to you, too?

Friday, September 16, 2016

a Drop Dead Easy Knits video + GIVEAWAY

Presenting our book trailer!
 My co-authors,Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops and Mary Lou Egan and I could not be more excited that the book we've been working on for the past year  DROP DEAD EASY KNITS will be out in the wild this week.
In the spirit of the book, which is all about enjoyable but smart knitting- things you can knit while sitting around with friends, or in meetings, or on trains, or while watching the sports practices/rehearsals/schoolboard meetings or waits in the carpool pickup that come our way...stylish but not requiring isolation to follow the pattern
We present this video with a few of our favorite knitting (and life) tips.
And a peek at some of the 28 wonderful projects in the book.

 signed by all 3 of us 

Leave a comment below, by midnight September 22nd,  pacific US time, letting us know which of the tips in the video is your favorite. 

We can't wait to hear from you.  Tips up!

Book Launch 
 Thursday September 22nd at Fibre Space in Old Town Alexandria VA on Thursday evening, 
with classes from all three of us the next day, details here, please join us! Kirsten will be teaching one of my fave projects, the Short Beach Shawl, shown below, and modeled by me in the video. I'll be teaching a Ten Tips & tricks Photo Class , guaranteed fun. Mary Lou will be running a drop in Finger Puppet Bar, so bring your littles, or , um, make some adult puppets happen. We won't judge!
(but sign up soon, these are almost sold out)

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

fiber college bound:sept post 7

Heading north tomorrow! I'm recycling this image from a couple of years ago, of the house I stay at while teaching at Fiber College of Maine in Searsport. I suspect the few days we are there each year is the only time freshly dyed skeins of yarn hang from the trees. It adds something, right?

I'm hoping not to over schedule myself, for a change, and spend some time on that porch with my talented roomies.  If you are free this weekend, there're still classes with space in them. And Ellen Mason's prepping her dyes, so anyone can play in her dye tent. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

the ssk and k2tog memory challenge solved: sept post 6

Thank you for the comments yesterday. My  problem is solved, and then some. First this:
Wilderness Scarves in Tahki Spencer yarn, shot by yours truly a few months ago for their new lookbook, Knit Country.  Pattern here or on Ravelry here . Location and styling (and fab vintage coat) credit to  Karin Strom.  This bulky felted wool tape style yarn looked like it'd be fun to knit quickly--and these scarves are definitely fun to wear . what? wouldn't you try on the samples at a photo shoot???)

But back to the SSK and K2tog question, in which I wondered how others recall which way the SSK leans and which way the K2tog. 

So many excellent answers ! Thank you!  It's a wealth of ideas and I'm thrilled.  The three I am pretty sure I can retain:

Manise said  "Lean to the right- k2tog -right leaning
Skip to the left- ssk- left leaning

 A clue in the spelling/words. I can do that!

Helen said "...your needle is pointing in the direction of the slant. Towards the right with k2tog and left with ssk"
Mechanical reasoning--duh! This is the way I think, and I'm astounded I never quite, ummm, noticed.

Susan from Katonah  really tickled me with her method when she said "The upright on a 2 leans right, as does a k2tog. The upright on an S leans left, as does a ssk. Thats my trick. I write 2s and Ss in the air and mutter. I suspect it scares people in coffee shops."
I love it-- typography to the rescue! I can totally do this. I hope to be frightening people in coffee shops soon, right with her.

And most interestingly, Denise from Lost City Knits mentioned this,  a question I was thinking but didn't even get around to to posting outloud
"And if you want to use the same stitches that Shetlanders use (SSK was invented by Barbara G Walker and is therefore fairly new) instead of the SSK use a knit 2 together through the back loop or a slip, knit, psso."
I grew up knitting without an SSK--it was always one of the methods Denise mentioned. When I encountered the SSK in the last decade, I just thought maybe my family didn't knit that way, so had never passed it on.  Case closed! 

PS I am still using an old Blogger platform that doesn't allow me to hit reply to most comments, any address or link is removed --so please don't think I'm rude. I appreciate all your comments :-)