Friday, October 30, 2009

not necessarily in order of importance

My souvenir from last weekend: One skein of Lisa Souza yarn, in the colorway St Valentine's. It's a big honkin' 560 yards of Sock!merino. Perhaps an Ishbel? I've heard wearing red gives extra energy. Works for me.

I bet you thought I was going to say something about a Red Scarf for the Red Scarf Project right? No, but I'm working on that. You should too. Have you seen the prizes Norma has for those knitting and donating?
Last Sunday , sister Lulu needed to do some reconnaissance in a charming CT town, prepping for a meeting. I went along figuring, whynot? Great weather, a Bloody Mary at the historic tavern mid morning, a hike around the colonial harbour...what could be bad.
She had in mind walking in and out of every. single. charming. little shop...and the tavern didn't open till too late in the day.
I think I've already made it clear how I feel about recreational shopping. Without the camera to give my morning purpose I'd have hung myself up on one of these lamp posts.
I can't complain too much. Twee overload was offset by the sun.

PS. my friend Birdsong is having a contest over on her blog, she wants to know about life changing events in yours, as she just had a biggie. Go. Enter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

me & younification*

(* I didn't make that word up, more here on the subject).
Oy this social media. It used to be easier to keep work & personal life separate.
This was personal life:
2 sons & their best friend ,random day at the summer cabin in the 90's
and this was work life
page from my website
The two rarely mixed. I thought it was important not to let on how I spent my non-professional time. Or that I even had a personal life. I did a lot of magazine and NY Times assignments that were odd or quirky or even dangerous. I worried if my clients knew I had a family they might not give me the same work. In retrospect, I bet they wouldn't care. But, you know what they say about hindsight, right? Then a few years ago I started this blog, and then started shooting Shear Spirit.
About then's when the veil dropped.
People I met through the blog became my friends and they became clients,
Behind the scenes shooting Mason-Dixon Knitting: Outside the Lines
then came Facebook, and Twitter and Linked In and OH FUGGEDABOUT IT! I can't keep straight who is work and what is personal. I just try to look presentable in public.

Which brings us to Friday, I traveled to NY for a meeting at my favorite publisher's (read that as: the one who is giving me the next book contract) to talk about art direction for another project with Joan Tapper. Yayaya! details soon, new adventures on the horizon. From there, downtown to a photographers' trade show at the Javitz Center, got teased about my knitting blog as usual by macho male colleagues, (yeah, I'm looking at you Jake) , listened to a pep rally for social media & Twitter (yeah I'm looking at you @photojack) BTW? Knitbloggers are light years ahead of even most gearhead photographers in this realm. I went home, woke up the next morning and off to StitchesEast, the knitters trade show in Hartford, to sign books and browse.

If you're keeping score, that's 2 tradeshows in 2 days in 2 cities, each was part work/part social. Does it matter anymore? is it better in this increasingly tech driven world to have transparency between your personal life & your business world and just be a human? Will we all soon speak in 140 characters or less no matter who we talk to, be it spouse, boss or that guy who hangs out at the bar in the center of town?

And more importantly, do you want to know if I managed to buy a skein of yarn this weekend? I did! Next post.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

last minute news saturday

I'm up in Hartford CT at StitchesEast from 12:30 on signing Shear Spirit at the Seacolors booth, # 727. Bring your copy, or you can purchase one there. Whatevah..just stop by & say hi. It's a rainy day, what better to do than browse the wool?

Nanney Kennedy, the shepherd, dye artist, sweater designer and force of nature is Mz Chapter One in Shear Spirit on her Meadowcroft Farm in Maine. You will be glad you met her. I know I am. An afternoon with Nanney is never, ever dull.

Holiday season is coming and a coffee table book makes a happy gift. Just saying.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the long post-rhinebeck post

Mine was a daytrip. I took the Robert Frost route to get there.
".........I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by......"

I was enjoying the scenery right down to every punny barn sign but worrying about the poor poor vendors, I wasn't seeing any other traffic. Had the economy finally thinned out the fiber fest crowd??? Till I realized I was just a little, cough ,off target.
Happily the New York Sheep & Wool Festival at Rhinebeck is as popular as ever.
1009famvar_511The vendors with ready to wear woolens were happy, too. It seemed like all the vendors were doing OK , although I didn't succeed in adding to their totals. So much to admire! Too much to take in! I am a sucky shopper!
This yurt between 2 barns was full of fantastic wet felted pieces & rugs. I liked the scarves, I can't explain exactly how they did it, they are part woven fabric and part felt.1009famvar_531
Retail slacker's remorse: wish I'd bought one.

Here's why I really went to Rhinebeck. My plans to hang with Team Mason Dixon Knitting:
Progressive Knitters in Support of Progressive Lenses
id's by Rav link: Kay, Bonne Marie Burns (of ChicKnits, she designed for the MD book), Ann, MaryNeal (another MDKnitting designer- Rav link to that Margaret sweater with the words) and yours truly. The combined brains & talent of these 4 is a forcefield. Plus they're a lot of fun to have a photo shoot with. Or a beer.

Here's some foodstands area play by play action:
While BonneMarie is interviewed and taped for LetsKnit2gether knitcast,we ran into Guido, of Its a Purl,Man .
So Kay sits down, takes my knitting and starts going a few rounds (I am thrilled. It's a sportweight alpaca hat begun Thursday and I want it done NOW). Guido plops down next to her, take a sidelong glance and pulls out his drop spindle.
Only at a fiber festival is this so extremely normal as to not even get a second glance. Well , yeah, Guido's sweater may have gotten a second glance but its got a sweet story behind it, go ask him.

I know its silly since I live so close by them but I was thrilled to run into New Haven & Shoreline SnB friends all day long.
Fr'example Rebecca, Anne w/ 2 kidlets and no blog, and Alina. Between fairground and the Ravelry party later that night, our little corner of the knitting world represented.

What else is there to report?
Tons of inspiring handknits , reallive sheep & alpaca, delicious food and excellent company. What more could you want for a chilly fall day?
Maybe a little bunny to go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I am trying to train for Rhinebeck. Last year , I came home with a bottle of cranberry wine. Period. Full stop. In a year that had me at 5 fabulous fiber festivals - I know! weep for me! professional duties!- I purchased all of 2 skeins of yarn and a handful of mohair locks. Total.

1009fanvar307So when my friend Shelly asked me to meet her at an alpaca farm shop near her house yesterday, I thought it'd be good for me. I was missing my friends at Victory Ranch, and my visit there last October.
Bozrah CT is no match for the mountains of New Mexico. But still, not so bad on a fall day.

The alpaca were predictably adorable. Six Paca Farm has a coffee shop in its farmhouse shop too. In training for my pledge to be decisive and acquire some yarn this weekend at the NY Sheep & Wool hooha, I forced myself to practice.

Look , a skein of tealish, overdyed brown alpaca. Sportweight. 160 yards. Lovely! But what will I do with it? One skein. Why?

I am not meant to be a stasher. Instead of working later today, I just know I am going to dig around and see if any of my alpaca leftovers might be similar enough in weight to knit a stripey Felicity hat. Or I'm going to do what I began at 6 am: go through every freakin' sport weight alpaca project on Ravelry, in search of the right one.

Note to self: make shopping list before Saturday with quantities/projects . Or else, stick to the wine.

Friday, October 09, 2009

utterly twitzcapated

Oddness this week.
It started when I swept this book off the new non-fiction display at the library. I was all "Heh, go ahead and show me that Twitter is worthwhile and not just a whole lot of TMI". Or something like that.

Predictably, there I was the next afternoon customizing my Twitter home page. And then finding folks to follow, and checking out Tweet readers, and downloading Twit apps on my phone. There you have it. I'm tweeting now. You can follow me and so far I haven't been trumpeting stuff like a bad hair day and how I wish I had some more Imperial Cookies in the freezer stash but hey, give me time. (and by the way? both true today).

In tribute, but not necessarily adhering , to my newfound 140 character addiction devotion, a bulleted version of what's up 'round here:

• a 36 hour trip to DC for a family funeral gave me some unexpected knitting time: train to NY, BoltBus to DC & return. Annette (scroll down a bit to see it from that link ) is progressing, maybe a Rhinebeck debut

• nevertheless, I am no longer in the sweater-a-month club. That I never really joined, anyway.

• This blogpost from Yahaira, which led me here, got me jonesing for shot cotton. I rode it out all week, thinking it'd go away. Nope. Looks like I'm dusting off the old Singer.

• Conveniently I was in NYC yesterday with my childhood BFF's. Our shared passions for handcrafting, fueled by our shared passions for vodka drinks and the shared blog links from above kicked in. Our first stop, a fabric store near Chinatown.
iphone view looking up
• That ceiling glimpse alone should tell you what we faced. The teetering fabric bolts everywhere were too much to handle, plus no one working there thought they had anything resembling shot cotton. We headed over to Soho, passing the yarneristas crawling in Purl and found every color of the fabric we wanted at Purl Patchwork.

• And I fully planned to set up the ol' machine and get right down to it today but the weather demanded some hiking in the woods.
iphone view, looking down
See you at Rhinebeck next Saturday? Maybe I'll be the contrarian in my new sewn, not knitted, scarf.

And, maybe I'd better get knitting faster.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

traveling knits , or not

Maine Morning Mitts from Kureyon Noro
an uncharacteristically restrained composition from me, yes?

Last month I was supposed to be at a professional retreat up in Maine. Just before it, I recalled the most important items I brought the last time I attended this event: my wool socks and my fingerless mitts. But, oh, my poor old mitts. I blogged about the sad state of them here.

The obvious move, knit a new pair quick. Maine Morning Mittens, I know, startlingly unimaginative choice. Believe me if ony knitting something with a geographic name took you there, I'd be working on a Hawaii Hat, and a Brisbane Bonnet, too.

Yarn from the (no longer so) big bag o' Noro scraps. The funny thing is they are mostly from the same half-skein of Kureyon, with some purple for both thumbs that had been pulled out of another skein long ago. Maine Morning Mitts from Kureyon Noro
And a couple of rounds from some greyish Iro to end the purpley/lime green one when the half-skein ran out.
Maine Morning Mitts from Kureyon Noro
Quick, great fitting, functional. Completely unpaired looking but I'm going to wear them with the attitude that they are intentionally mismatched. Which, I guess, is the truth.

ps I had to cancel the trip at the very last minute. Glad to have'em anyway.