The Next Part

So, I managed to post on my first day of vacation – And it’s been radio silence on the blog, although you might want to check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds, where there photos posted.

In short, it was great. There were a lot of different parts of it, and like that amazing tasty salad that has many different qualities to it – crunch, imami, sweet, sour, salt – the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.

First, I headed south to “the Southland” (yes, we really do call it that!) where there were friends and family, some of whom I hadn’t seen in over a year because of the not traveling thing. I stayed with my second Mom, Bonny, who remembers the day I was born because she lived a door or two down from my parents, and took in my brother while my parents went to the hospital. We had a good time, and hilariously compared our eating-alone habits of grazing rather than eating actual meals. So blessed to have her in my life.

Then after a day I went to check in at Vogue Knitting Live! in Pasadena –

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and headed into LA where I had dinner with my cousin Allison, who now lives there with her fiancé Eben. We ate at a great pizza place called Olio at the Grand Central Market. So yummy! Most importantly I got caught up on the Wedding plans. Oh, and I learned about this place:

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But never got to try it out. Next time!

I saw a couple of LA landmarks on my way back to Bonny’s house, including this one:

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Los Angeles City Hall

Vogue Knitting Live

There is much to like about Vogue Knitting’s events: they have top-notch teachers, the event is very well-organized and they obviously care about the knitting world. The students who came in the classes were all fabulous too. However, in spite of magically talented teachers who I may never get to learn from again, the event was a very down-scaled affair compared to last year. No teacher panels in the marketplace, fewer vendors, and while I loved the relatively small size of the classes, it added to a very empty feeling in the convention center. It was clear that this event was not going to be happening here next year (it looks like they’ll be heading to Florida instead). But there were still lovely things like these incredible art installations in the Marketplace:

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Indeed, I had a great time there – I ducked out on a few things I had signed up for because there were friends and family to see instead. Like my friend Lisa who lived a stone’s throw from me growing up who and hadn’t seen in about 30-odd years. She was also at the event, so we went to lunch in-between our classes, and it was great to catch up!

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I had amazing teachers: Steven Be, Amy Detjen, and Franklin Habit. Amy really does dress in purple hair to toes, and StevenB is really like a rock star and out of the box as one could hope, and Franklin Habit has the gentle habits of a true gentleman and wears his heart on his sleeve. I’ve walked away with a bunch ways to play with yarn that can definitely keep my busy for the next year or so.

Which reminds me that yarn was acquired, although I bought only one skein of yarn. Amazing! But it certainly makes a statement (Yes, it has sparkles).

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The color way name?

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But I also bought another cat pin from Sacred Laughter, because everyone should have at least more than one of hers!

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In the next post, I finish up my travels south with a trip to a hipster café, dinner with great friends, and go to a sportsy-event that brings back my childhood in a strong way. When I return home, yarn magically arrives in my mailbox.

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Finishing

Gosh, it’s been ages since I’ve blogged. Partly it’s the getting into new rhythms part, partly it’s that I’ve traveled three times since moving, and now I’m coping with a leg thing that has to be dealt with. In other words, life. Yeah, first world problems for sure!

Along the way, I’ve seen a lot of beauty:

Up at Lake Tahoe:

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In Sonoma County at the coast:

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Montreat, North Carolina (near Asheville):

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and I’ve even gotten all the things up on the walls in my new apartment:

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Sure, there are a few pesky boxes that still need to be unpacked, but I am feeling at home in my new world for the most part.

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting and spinning wise, there’s a sense of completion after a summer of slogging.

One non-slogging thing was my opportunity to teach some knitters how to make the knitted necklaces at the Sheeper Than Therapy knitting guild. I was nervous teaching over 20 knitters how to make the necklaces, but it went ok! And then the women’s group at my church has a fall boutique fundraiser, so I’ve been making a couple of them a week to sell.  I blocked a bunch of them, and sewed on buttons from the amazing dumpster stash I got for free:

Button stash for free!

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Necklaces for Fundraiser:

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The knitted knockers group is cool, and I was part of stuffing a lot of them last month:

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and I’m making bunch more, even though my pastor colleagues think this is pretty weird.

I finished another shawl from Ysolda’s shawl club, this one is called Crockern Tor with a lovely loopy crochet edge:

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And the yarn for the next one is waiting for me to start (Izzie is impatient too!)

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There is some secret knitting happening and finishing up!

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and I am just finishing up a sweater called Gisela by CocoKnits – aka Julie Weisenberger. I think I’ll like the sweater, but the process of knitting it was not very fun.

   
 And speaking of finishing up, I also am adding to the stash with souvenir yarn from Black Mountain Yarns in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Lovely store, and it is important to support the LYS, even if it isn’t your LYS. She had a couple of locally dyed yarns:

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With several things finishing up, I’m planning on plying some singles that I spun while I was preparing to move, and working on a couple of Christmas gifts. Shhh, don’t tell!

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Stitches West

Friday I did the one-day quickie version of a trip to Stitches West. It was a bit of a blur.

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Partly it was because I’d had a really long day the day before, so when the alarm went off at 6:00 am, I made a wise decision to not get up right then, and sleep a little more. It would mean missing at least 1/2 of the class that I had signed up for, but I decided that it was better than making a fun day feel like work.

The travel down was a breeze, so fast through usual Bay Area choke points that I realized that in fact it was winter break aka “ski week,” so lot’s of commuters were not there. Made it to the Santa Clara convention center only to realize that the new 49ers home, Levi’s Stadium, is right across the street. Duh!

Having parked, I made it to my class, a color class with Laura Bryant, and fortunately they were on break. I told her I was late, could I still sit in if I didn’t ask for things I missed to be repeated, and she was ok, and a participant was very nice and told me that the seat next to her was open, and caught me up on what had been covered. What a lovely lady!

And while we were doing an exercise with color cards, one other participant recognized me as a water aerobics instructor, she had taken a class that I subbed at the YMCA, with a whole ‘nother group called 90 days to wellness, and she told me that they had such a good time in my class that when they had a choice to repeat a class, they went with water aerobics. Aw.

Laura’s class is fun. If you want to be stretched in your understanding of how color works, this is for you. She goes beyond standard color theory (which you can get from books pretty easily), and I really enjoyed it. And she apparently talked about training your eyes for color  – there’s an online test you can do as often as you want – will have to check it out.

Lunch was with a couple of Bay Area friends that I don’t see, and by serendipity, we saw that we were all headed there on Facebook. Good to catch up.

One change that Stitches made (since I last took an afternoon class), I don’t know when, is to lengthen the lunch break for those with morning and afternoon classes to 2 1/2 hours. I was so grateful, because it meant meandering more during a time of day when I’m fresher, and then when I got out of class for final purchases, the marketplace was pretty calm.

My afternoon class was with Carson Demers on the ergonomics of knitting (his website is ergoknit.com). So, Carson and I had never met me, but I had seen his classes listed for years and never got in to one.  A couple of years ago I was interviewing for an interim pastor job in San Francisco, and Mike, the head of the search committee, saw I was knitter in my bio information and asked me if I knew Carson Demers. Well, of course I did, and told him that I had wanted to take a class for years, that Carson taught at all the knitting conferences and sold out his classes. Well, apparently this story got back to Carson, and Carson and Mike take great delight in telling this story to all their friends about the pastor who thinks Carson is a big deal.

Not knowing any of this, I went up to Carson and kiddingly asked, “Are you a Presbyterian?” and his eyes got big, and then he told me the whole story. We are now besties:

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My final foray into the marketplace involved considerable damage to my credit card, although I think I bought wisely this year – for real projects, not fanciful ideas (except for one thing).

I bought beads to go with some lace yarn that I’m making into a shawl – I’ve got enough for two shawls.

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And then there was all this:

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Yeah, that’s a lot of yarn, except when you consider that I knit 20,000 yards of yarn a year (see how that post will serve me and my stash in the coming years?). There’s some sparkly Anzula yarn in a perfect colorway (that minty green) for me, a very fun rainbow colorway from White Birch Fiber Arts whose motto “Friends don’t let friends craft with insipid yarn” makes me smile, as does the name of this colorway: Nothing says screw you like a rainbow. Peeking out in the back  is a set of Yummy Toes 2-ply in teals to greens to purples. Oh, and a major score at the bag check with 2 boxes of Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts. It’s a miracle I didn’t dive into the cookies right away (pro-tip: keep them in the freezer, it will slow you down).

The biggest by far purchase was for the sweater kit put together by Rosemary Hill (Designs by Romi) and A Verb for Keeping Warm.

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I stopped by to say hello to Romi, and then asked to see the sweater, called  Village Sweater Wrap (not yet on Ravelry) since I had seen the photos online. Mr. Romi is a wonderful assistant as he helped practically forced me try it on (thought I would swallow me, but it doesn’t), and then I was pretty close to buying, and lo! I saw these amazing colorways together, and I realized that my mental list for Stitches had included yarn for a light-weight sweater, and here, before me, was a sweater that looked good on me and a kit with perfect colorways including a shawl pin and pattern (and project bag). Romi’s son is adorably cute and reminded his mom about the project bag being part of the kit. I splurged, and not sorry about it.

Along the way at Stitches, I got to see Erica Hernandez, who has some amazingly good patterns in the Upcoming Madame De Farge Shakespeare book to peek at. She finally got to see the shawl that I test-knit for her). Ken Ledbetter at KCL woods was a fun drop-by, I just love his spindles, and one of the new cool-kids at Stitches West was Yoth Yarns:

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They were making quite a splash. Lovely booth, young dynamic vibe and some great colorways and patterns. One disappointment was I saw that Jennie the Potter was sharing a booth, but there were no mugs when I stopped by midday on Friday. Maybe they sold out, or it wasn’t in the plan. Will have to keep treasuring the one I own!

I won’t talk about the traffic back home, except to say, whew!

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The Fiber Communities

One thing I love about our county fair (which is the best county fair in the Western US – I’m not kidding about that – the trade association for county fairs voted this) is that the crafters and artists get to show off their work every year.  The Artists showcase is killer, and probably really tough to get into, the crafting categories are gentler and allow all folks to participate.

And the plus is that we get to see each others’ best work all together. This year, these are some of the things that I enjoyed. My clergy acquaintance Chris made this quilt which won Best of Show for Art Quilts:

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My friend Judy did her usual clean-up of Fiber spinning awards – for her lovely yarn and a great hat knit from Handspun:

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and she started new world domination in the weaving category:

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Gale K. had an amazing beaded shawl which sadly did not translate into a photo very well. Trust me, it’s spectacular:

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Then there is Linda. Linda is not a proud look-at-me kind of knitter. Indeed, in person, she is rather modest. But then, she pulls out FOUR amazing items for the fair, any of one of which a knitter would look at and be pleased as punch to have knitted. I took photos of three of them and see if you don’t agree:

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And my friend Melissa submitted this all too adorable crocheted hippo:

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and that wasn’t the only lovely crochet that was shining, this shawl was also lovely:

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Colorwork this year was lovely, as in these two sweaters – I love the color combinations and sophisticated palettes:

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And me? This was not a “big submission” year for me, mostly because last year sucked in most ways, and it frankly affected the knitting. As usual, the things that I thought would do well, didn’t so much, and a last-minute item did.  First, my fingerless mittens that went viral of Ravelry for a couple of days took 3rd in original design, which is not a bad thing when you consider how little knitting there is to the project:

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On the other hand, my Leftie shawl that I adore, only got an honorable mention. Perhaps its lack of a prize might have been due to the fact that it was displayed on the wrong side out on the mannequin (I mean really???). I’ll take it as a nod to my super-good finishing on this item so that they didn’t see the ends on the color changes.

The Wrong Side - oh well!

The Wrong Side – oh well!

And finally, my handspun took 2nd place in its category, and considering I was up against Judy and another spinner that robbed Judy of won a couple of firsts, I was pretty happy.

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Some people might think the Marin fair is a hoity-toity kind of deal, which it is not. I give you these two final photos to demonstrate that yes, Marin can get real:

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A demonstration that really makes me smile!

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I think it’s great that my credit union is so on board with the bacon!

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March Madness ends, a New Class on CustomFit!

The contest over at the Afghans for Afghans group on Ravelry is now over, and I managed to punch out a couple of small items at the close, one pair of mittens, one pair of socks. Yay! It was a really good time – we made 90 pairs of mittens and socks and hats for a worthy cause.

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Super-secret knitting continues, although I can show a wonderful gradient yarn that I am using. This is Knitcircus Thrilling, fingering weight 80/20 Superwash merino/silk blend. The colorway on the left is Nightfall, and the one on the right is Summer Afternoon. I took this to Knit Night, and there was generalized oohing and aahing. You probably should check out her website at Knitcircus.com. Don’t blame me if you get hooked!

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Finally, and I’m really excited about this – I will be starting a new class at Bluebird on creating the sweater of your dreams with CustomFit! As part of the class, you’ll get your measurements taken (and totally private, right?), review the options for creating a pattern, talk about (and work on) a swatch, so that you can generate a personalized pattern just for you!

I was a beta test-knitter, so I’ve been through the program, and I gave it a review here  and here if you want to see how wonderful it is!  It’s a great way for newer knitters to knit a successful sweater instead what I knit. Yeah, never did wear that sweater!

The first CustomFit class will be next Friday, April 11th – go here for sign-ups, and know that we will be offering this multiple times!

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Ravellenics Endeth; March Madness Cometh (not what you think)

Wow, the Olympics is a total time-suck. I am so into the figure skating coverage that I managed to get up at 7 am to watch the live (online streaming) of the whole event, then race back home after work to catch the prime-time coverage.

Add in getting sick (being without a voice for six days – yikes!), a business trip, and that’s why it’s been radio silence here at Casa del Revknits.

But now that the Olympics is done, I can share my Ravellenic projects, which started with this pile of yarn:
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and I ended up with these socks:
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and these mittens:

Ravellenics Mittens for A4A
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and an original cowl pattern both designed and knit (sorry, still a secret knit for an upcoming publication).  Not much other knitting happened.

And March Madness? I confess that my days of bing-watching sports is done for now. Instead, I’ve cooked up a short-term competition we’re holding over at the Afghans for Afghans Ravelry Board. During the month of March, we’re going to see how many hats, pairs of mittens and socks we can knit up in a month.

If you participate, you have a chance to win some lovely knitterly prizes that have been donated. Here’s one lovely skein of Cephalopod Bugga! yarn that I am donating to the cause:

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Join us as we attempt to go over 100 items in total. I’m sure you can even do it while watching basketball.

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Gearing Up for the Ravellenic Games (aka the Knitting Olympics)

It’s the Winter Olympics again! And for this figure skating fan, the competition already started early this morning with the new team event. Ten countries have teams of one man, one woman lady, one dance team and one pair. Unfortunately for the USA team, halfway through the qualifying round, the USA is tied three-ways for 5th place. I hope our skaters will rally to qualify for the finals, and maybe win a bronze medal. Bring on the triple/triple jumps, the quads, the Beillmann spins, and Spandex and crystal-laden costumes. I love it all!

This also means that it is time for the ravelympics Ravellenic Games on Ravelry. I am team leader for Team Afghans for Afghans, and our mighty goal is to knit as many socks and mittens as we can for children (and their teachers) in Afghanistan, under the auspices of Afghans for Afghans. Check them out!

Along the way, I managed to turn a cold into a nasty throat infection, and lose my voice.  Now, I have managed to preach with a broken ankle, but no voice means no preaching and not much of anything else (that communication thing in ministry). Urgent care Doc was only helpful in ruling out strep (I have had strep, already knew this wasn’t it), so only after going to my ENT doc did I get a megadose of antibiotics which, 48 hours later, seems to be turning the tide. Day 6 of no voice, but hopefully I’ll get one soon.

With all this sickness, mindless knitting has been the order of the day. I knit some socks. First, a pair for me out of a really good deal at my LYS. The colorway is delightful. Project details here (rav link).IMG_1249

and I have enough leftover to make booties to wear inside as well:

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At the same time, I decided to get warmed-up for my Ravellenic competition by knitting some very basic socks. I’m calling it “pre-stockpiling” or “last-minute training.” One pair (the ones on the left) are from when I was recovering from my fractured ankle, which just needed a small part of the leg done, the others from scratch.

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I’ve also collected the stash yarns (scraps and others stuff) that I will use for the stockpiling projects. Some is bulky, other is worsted.

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Tomorrow evening, I’ll cast on for something (either a mitten if I have the brain power, or a another sock if I don’t). Should you wish to join in the revelry of the Ravellenic Games, come on by and join our team!

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A belated well-wishes

One of the delights of living in the SF Bay Area is that we have so many lovely yarn stores. One of them is A Verb for Keeping Warm, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary in its current location. There was new, unique, organic, USA-grown and manufactured yarn, an indigo dip, and of course, seeing everyone.

Over the years, the store has grown and changed a lot. For the party, most of the spinning stuff took a backseat, as the new version of Pioneer yarn was proudly displayed, (see below). There’s also a very much expanded sewing wing to the store.  It was full and busy, just like I’d like to see all fiber stores!

This happened a couple of weeks ago, but I still am excited by it. I got to meet one of my favorite podcasters, Nicole of the Stash and Burn podcast. She is as delightful as that photo shows, and she saw me and recognized me from my ravatar. I always forget people know what my face looks like!

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Nicole has caught the sewing bug, and told me about her adventures in sewing panties (as in underpants). I was fascinated, but it’s not likely to happen at my house until the Zombie apocalypse.

And for dropping a fair amount of cash, I got a free project bag that we could all dip into the indigo dye vat. A lovely momento!

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And yes, there was yarn, but some of that is a secret gift, so it must wait to be revealed. Here’s what I can show:
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Organic wool, spun by the folks at Green Mountain Spinnery, naturally-dyed by Kristine at Verb. So yummy!

Here’s hoping that the next five years continues to bring fiber goodness to all.

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Inspired

Despite all the corporate thugginess associated with the Olympics these days, I have to say that the athletes themselves are inspirational for the most part.  And this year, the uniforms are making me cry. You see, there was a big to-do leading up the 2012 games when it became clear that Ralph Lauren had outsourced the making of the uniforms to China. A petition from US labor asked the label to source the uniforms for 2014 domestically. And they did.

Last week (while I was neck-deep getting certified as a water fitness instructor), I happened on the video of Ralph Lauren’s announcement about the uniforms for the upcoming games in Sochi.

You gotta watch:

I cried a little. You might too.

And it niggled a brain neuron that fired, and voila! I found my very own skein of Imperial Yarn bought a couple of seasons ago – a bouncy, two-ply woolen yarn (tough to find woolen spun these days, let alone mulespun!):

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Yep, the yarn comes from that very company whose wool is used for the uniforms.

And isn’t this message on the tag great? They think of everything:

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This will be a wonderful project to knit during the games – my homage and reminder that sometimes a corporate giant will listen to the complaints from the public, and change course. We who care about wool need to remember this!

 

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Rhinebeck Redux – Part 2

Rhinebeck is more than a marketplace, which is its charm. I happened on a sheep-dogging demo when I wandered in around 12 noon on Sunday

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and then met Amy again for lunch. (You should really check out her video blog Hudson Valley Knits.) I got to meet her mother-in-law after lunch, and then I had one of my fan girl moments when Amy Herzog and her trusty sidekick Jackie were only 10 feet away. They are as lovely in person as you would want them to be, and I apologized for not bringing my beta-test Customfit sweater on the trip (needed cardigans for my long journey amid wonky HVAC systems). Amy had read my review of Customfit, (you have checked it out, right?) and we chatted about all the plans – some secret – that they would like to bring to the market. And bless Amy, she got my photo with the two of them:

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Stash Enhancements:

I don’t need any yarn really, and the fiber had to really call to me. I managed to buy some yarn from Cephalopod Yarns (Bugga in a really subtle colorway), and on Sunday, another very bright skein for a secret gift at Miss Babs. These are the two skeins:

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and then I went by Into the Whirled, and showed Chris (the dyer) my hat and cowl combo that I knit after spinning her lovely BFL.

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She was quite interested (no lines at that moment) so I wasn’t pulling her away from customers) and shared what must be a dyer’s dilemma: she only had time to test knit swatches of her beautiful colorways. I might have bought certainly did buy  a couple of more bumps of fiber to spin. But since this was the second fiber festival of the year for me, I held back because I have a lot of fiber to spin!

IMG_1914I also bought a couple of new spindles, and an adjustment to a third. In Abby’s class, we got to choose a student spindle, so I picked up a low-whorl one since I don’t own any, and with Amy, we found an interesting hybrid, a top-whorl Turkish spindle. I know! Amy apparently has been getting a lot of looks with hers, but the price point was good, and I didn’t see a lot of other ones at Rhinebeck. Finally, I got some new arms for the Trindle  I bought two years ago – these are heavier, and are little bronze hearts. Really lovely!

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Finally, I left with lovely memories of amazing samples, trees with flaming leaves, and the knowledge of a special time..

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