This weekend was New Jersey’s 20th annual fiber fest, and although it’s small, I like to think of it as powerful. There are four barns full of animals, fleece, spinning, shows and vendors – just enough for a good half day, with the added bonus of being local for me. Almost everything is under cover, which worked out nicely this year in the feels-like 100 degree heat, followed in the afternoon by drenching thunderstorms. I left before the actual rains came, but felt like I had been soaked anyway by that time from the humidity. The shade helped them, but the animals were hot too; the sheep that were getting sheared seemed pleased to lose the extra insulation. This guy was a blue ribbon winner, and he looked totally over it. The angora bunnies were alert, but keeping motion to a minimum. There were kids leading sheep around the show ring, the local spinners’ guild doing their thing, lots of fibery crafts (SO many felted things!) and a super array of booths from indie dyers. . . .
I never really think of myself as a lace knitter, either in terms of making things in delicate lace stitch patterns, or working with laceweight yarn. I do both of those things, though, and always forget how much I enjoy it. Katie Scarlett was a case in point; 800+ yards of bfl wool & silk, mostly lace ( I did sneak in a little short-row ruffle at the bottom, since that’s my favorite sort of thing) . . . And it was a rhythmic, easy knit, due in large part to the beautiful Artio Lace yarn from Wooly Wonka Fibers. To spread the lace knitting love, I’m giving away a skein of Artio Lace in the shimmering Twelve Oaks colorway used in the sample, and dyed exclusively for the Heroines Shawl Club March kit, where Katie Scarlett debuted. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry to everyone as of June 1, and for the next week will be 40% off with the coupon code FIDDLEDEEDEE. All purchasers will be entered into a random drawing . . .
and mixed feelings. Exultant over the fabulous stash enhancement, at excellent prices. And despairing at the reason for the sale – my fave LYS is closing. It’s always sad when a small, indie business shuts its doors, and it makes me re-commit to buying local in the effort to prevent more of the same from happening. In this case, the owner of Down Cellar is relocating for family reasons, and there’s no one to step in and take over. Even though as a consumer I cant really help with that in this case, maybe I can in others. That’s a thought to sticky-note to the computer as a reminder during future surfing sessions.
There was that big sports thing this weekend . . . y’know, football? Championship? Kind of exciting, because it was held at the MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, right here in my lovely state of New Jersey. Plus, even though we’re not real sports fans, DH was born and raised in Colorado so he’s for the Denver Broncos on principle – poor guy, that was a disappointment, but hey, at least there was a connection. Did I mention pro sports aren’t a priority for us? Instead, there was skiing. And a visit to the excellent sale at my LYS, Down Cellar. And lots of time working on my OWL project for the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup on Ravelry, which is like knitting, with wizards. It’s more plaid! A sweater this time, with a nod to the purples of 2014. You might notice the vertical plaids aren’t in there, yet. Sure hope all those sporty people can get home the day after the game. Fortunately, my Superb Owl will continue along at . . .
I usually go to fairs, and even stores, with the “look around and see what I find” sort of mentality. Several things are at play there; I design around stash that I have (those yarns I’ve “found”), I like the thrill of discovery, and if I really NEED something I go straight to sourcing it online and ordering. But this year at Rhinebeck it was different, because I was hunting the Tiger. Tigers . . . quick, what do you think of? Orange and black, and fierce. I have a concept, and it requires orange and black yarn – which is alarming. Especially the orange part. Fortunately, I had my best orange-loving peeps with me. If anyone knows orange, it’s Amy and Jenny. They know when it’s too rusty, not golden enough, or just plain pumpkin overload. We must’ve looked at every orange yarn at the festival, plus taken in the foliage inspiration, and visited the wool sources themselves. And as if orange weren’t enough of a challenge, black is NOT a . . .
For whatever reason, I’m working on two projects with two giant skeins of yarn. The silver is a 620 yard skein of sportweight BMFA Woobu, which I picked up during the NJ Yarn Crawl at Knit Knack during my trunk show. The elecrtic blue is all of 1120 yards (!) of fingering weight, from the Sliver Moon booth at Rhinebeck this fall. Together they practically obscure my desktop keyboard. They seemed like a good idea at the time; top down summer cardigans, no joins, no ends to weave – and I’ve no doubt they will be good. The blue was a bit of a challenge to wind, though; not only did it exceed the capacity of my ballwinder (even with the metal arm pulled as far away as it could go without bending), but it also swallowed the beginning tail of yarn when I pulled it off. So of course I thought I’d just yank it back out again, and somehow it came out the bottom end in a tangle that refused to pull free . . .
. . . and Stitches East, too, of course. October is a busy month for yarn acquisition in the northeast; the weather is just getting right for all that fall sweater knitting, and there are yarn events. Stitches East, the regional yarn expo put on by Knitting Universe, and the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck, are always a week or two apart during cider season. This year my cronies and I were focusing on Rhinebeck, and we had a beautiful, wonderful time there. You cant beat this: I only went to Rhinebeck for the first time last year, and that was a quick one day trip by myself. This time I was with friends and stayed over, and we had time to visit every booth, rock the Ravelry meetup with friends old and new, and eat the Artichokes French as well as the Apple Crisp. About those snacks – all I know is that my weekly grocery run is tomorrow, and artichoke hearts are on the list, along with apples. But enough . . .
3KCBWDAY1 – what does it mean? Well, crafters are a bloggy bunch, and this week many of the knit and crochet bloggers are harmoniously in unison for the Third Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. Today’s topic is Color. Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour. I have indisputable, unabashed favorite colors – grey and purple. Greys from dove to cement to charcoal, even the dirty greys like french grey and the almost black ones like basalt. My favorite greys are cool-toned blueish . . .
The Craft Yarn Council has declared October 14 I Love Yarn day! Not one to miss a celebration, especially one involving yarn, today’s post is in honor of fibery goodness. My yarn of the day is Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Lace, a luscious Merino Cashmere Nylon laceweight, in what is probably my all-time favorite colorway, Composition Book Grey. Light and airy, yet with an element of luxury; and at 650 yards, just the thing for a laceweight Lumina. The Craft Yarn Council suggests: Show it off, tag with it, carry it, gather with friends. Declare your LOVE! Get involved. Create an I Love Day Yarn badge Teach someone to knit or crochet Do something for charity Wear a knitted or crocheted item Give a gift of yarn Take your yarn to work day Host a yarn-a-bration party Knit, crochet and craft in public Although they dont mention “Buy Yarn,” that’s exactly what I intend to do tomorrow at Rhinebeck, thus extending my own personal celebration. Yarn – what’s not to love? Happy I Love Yarn Day!