Friday, May 30, 2008


(click top photo to go through stack)

Does it get any better than a spring Sunday country fiber fair? I wish I'd stopped blabbing long enough to show you the folks I was thrilled to meet in person: the uber talented Judy Jacobs, the as charming in person as he is aurally Guido Stein with his wife, Pumpkin - they shlepped their magnificent handknit wedding chuppah out of the car to show me, Patricia from Tidal Yarns who, it turns out, has the day job of cheesemaker at Beaver Brook Farm. (aka the indulgence I can not resist a local farm markets) . A field trip to visit her in action is already planned. And of course, also not shown, my partner in crime at the show, Botanical Shades dyer Jody MacKenzie aka Shear Spirit chapter 2 , along with her former associates at Tregellys Farm.

That photo of a woman happily clutching her yarn purchases? She's the infamous mitering sister. The one who said , when we finished that project;" OK, that's enough with the knitting for me now......" yeah. sure.

Friday, May 23, 2008


More from my Shear Spirit knitted -but- not- shown sample vault, modeling by the visiting sister who was told she couldn't get on the road home until we'd shot all the samples. Glad you're not related to me?

patterns: The Noho Boho Hat and Berkshire Tote from Shear Spirit0508FamVar_257

yarn: Botanical Shades hemp blend from Jody MacKenzie in Mulberry and Bittersweet.

Here's the tricky thing: Jody's website is down :-(
You can buy her yarns this weekend at the Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair , and at some yarn purveyors. It is worth tracking her down. She is a master natural dyer, using botanicals in the most intensely wonderful hues. Most of her yarns are wool or wool/mohair blends but she gave us patterns for the book in her wool/mohair/hemp blend so that is what I tested. It is worsted weight and a little stiffer than 100% wool yarns, but still comfy to touch..

needles: oh puh-lease, I knit these a year ago. I can tell you I swatched for the hat but not the bag.

notes: Matchy matchy = not usually me. I mean, shoes and bag? Never. Mittens , scarf and hat? Nope. I feel dressed to the nines having these at my ready. The tote is a perfect book & sandwich size.
Fun fact: In Shear Spirit , Jody is associated with Tregellys Farm in Massachusetts as their dyeing partner. Her studio was there until a move last winter to Maine. So you can still go to Tregellys and visit the fabulous animals, walk the labryinth, picnic by the stupa but no yarn for sale. They do have wonderful weavings for purchase in their shop in Shelburne Falls, so you don't have to leave the area empty handed!

This is a skein of sportweight Botanical Artisan Yarn I brought home from Jody at Maryland S&W, in Poppy, dyed with madder, osage & cochineal. I'm thinking socks, nice cheery , poppy red socks. Maybe with cables.
Just so you know I practice what I preach.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

the past, a present

oh no, I can't really sound like that?
That's me chatting with the charming Guido Stein on Its a Purl, Man podcast.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
As in, what a gift ! Blog content sitting right here under my nose, um, actually on my shoulders. This is how happy I feel wearing my handspun alpaca shawl, knit last October. (full disclosure, I am portrayed here by a sister but I didn't have to coach her, it feels that good to be wrapped in this yarn)

I can finally show projects I test knit under shroud of secrecy feverishly and sometimes just barely competently last year while working on Shear Spirit.

A sister and niece passing through last weekend were invited bullied into modeling , you'll see them a few times in more of these posts.
pattern: Meseta Alta Shawl from Shear Spirit.
yarn: handspun alpaca from Victory Ranch. Luscious beyond belief.

For reference, here's the pattern shown in the book, knit by the designer for us.

notes: I made my brown shawl smaller intentionally than the one above , using (?) 430-ish yards of the heavy worsted weight handspun yarn, instead of the 700- ish yards of the lighter weight machinespun Victory Ranch alpaca shown in the book. The larger one is flowier and certainly more delicate looking but I adore mine, and its gotten a lot of wear. I like to make believe it's dressy but earthy may be the better adjective.

fun fact: see all that fringe? every inch of it was cut and attached to the shawl on a MetroNorth train enroute to a meeting in NY, I'd idiotically decided I had to have this shawl to wear and cut the timing too close. I 'd been fringing calmly for about 20 minutes after leaving the New Haven station when I did the math of how many fringes I had to do, how long it took me to apply each one - I think I decided it was 3 in every 2 minutes- and divided the remaining 90 minutes of the trip, and started to sweat...let's just say I looked like Lucy & Ethel in the candy factory. I bet I scared onlookers.

It was worth it.

Monday, May 05, 2008


added Thursday: hey, hello to anyone popping over from Mason Dixon, welcome! I'm a little low on the animal husbandry coverage today, and wow, not much yarn to see either (at a wool festival?! ) but do pop by again. Now that the cone of silence has been raised a crack, I am preparing my tell-all memoir "Last Summer with Ann & Kay".
Hint: It'll be like Girls Gone Wild. Except we kept our shirts on, and there was more knitting.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
There're plenty of blogs reviewing luscious MS&W yarn purchases. Me? One skein and a tank top. But that doesn't mean I don't have something to show from the weekend.
0508famVar_  036
The main walkway mid day on Saturday. Oh Caaaaarole, where are you?

0508famVar_  042
Maybe at lunch? What do you think the goat chili is also known as that I can't read? I stuck with the strawberry lemonade for nutrition, myself.

The reenactors of many periods doing fidgety-fussy fiber arts, with complete confidence.

0508famVar_  046
I revisited whether a sheep with the right look could pass as a dog to my neighbors.

0508famVar_  007
The most unusual Shear Spirit tattoo app of the day: meet Flo and her ta-ta!

0508famVar_  066
Here's Nanney Kennedy and some of her Seacolors yarn. Want biceps like that? Go wrestle some sheep.

Signing books at three booths, meeting blog friends and people who've read the book, handing out tatts and blabbing away with knitters was Even with laryngitis. (I promise I don't really sound like that)
I'm going to make a gallery of some of the other tattoos in action over at the bookblog, hop on over, maybe by late Tuesday .

Friday, May 02, 2008

hi ho, hi ho

It's off to Maryland I go!
Indigo dyed yarn in hand to knit on the train , tattoo'd and ready to rumble.

I'm handing out tattoos for all, and I'll shoot you wearing one for a gallery over at the Shear Spirit blog. You know you want one.

I've never been to Md Sheep & Wool. Heidi tells me I am not prepared. You'll recognize me by the dazed expression.
come visit me signing books and yakking it up Saturday at the Seacolors booth with Nanney Kennedy, Maine fiber farmer extraordinaire from 10-12 , and then at the Autumn House Farm booth, with their stunning yarns and fiber from 2-3.

If you're Sunday fairgoer, I'll be with Jody MacKenzie at Botanical Shades, from 10-12, she' the most knowledgeable and consistent all-natural dyer I've ever seen and ooh, to sit amongst her yarn for a coupla hours. That's not work, is it?

ps. Here's a link to the booth #'s.