Monday, May 25, 2009

Nothing to See Here....Move Along

At long last I have finally invested in a domain name of my own...and I have moved the blog.

For those of you who need to manually update your blog readers, you can now find me at

Everyone else can simply click here and then do whatever you have to do to update.

I hope you all join me over in the new space.

Monday, April 27, 2009


The official name of the festival is The Chancellor's Sheep and Wool Show. It is held at the Clermont Historic Site and, in the fiber community, is known simply as Clermont. With 30 vendors (plus or minus) this event is tiny compared to Massachusetts Sheep &Wool (Cummington) taking place next month, or New York Sheep & Wool (Rhinebeck) taking place in October. However, In the capital district, this is the first fiber show of the season and the gaiety surrounding it far exceeds the size of the show.

We arrived early, at 10:30, for an 11:00 am start. This proved to be a great idea, as we got the first parking spot that was not designated handicapped. It's a bit of a hike to the grounds from the parking lot, and I could feel the excitement building as we got closer.

First, we couldn't ask for a nicer day. After seven months of winter, we in the NY State we get really excited at the site of flowers:

A view of the river that is not frozen over and surrounded by snow:

Even if the trees are still bare, the grass is green.

And then, of course, the first sight of the house itself, majestic and white:

Then, as we made our way down the path, the festival grounds open up:

The excitement builds. If we weren't lugging a picnic lunch, spinning wheel, knitting, chairs and blankets, we might have started to run. However, we were, so we had to content ourselves with taking pictures as we made our way deeper into the grounds.

And this is what we saw:



More spinners:

Friends, Jess and Risa

Wendy (who spun for the first time, and Tina who taught her)


We got to ask questions:

And last, but not least, we got to shop:

Now, being that we need to stuff more spinning fiber in our 700 square foot box (I mean town house), we kept the shopping to a minimum. However, we couldn't turn down the lovely, light and lofty Shetland being sold by Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool:

The delicious, buttery Cormo offered by Blackberry Hill Farm

Yummy Wool and Alpaca from Sandy at Longmeadow Farm (who doesn't have a website and really should)

Or the deliciously soft Shetland and Llama blend from a farm that did not have its name on their tag (but was tied by a black ribbon, and if anyone knows who they are, please let me know in the comments)

Although the temps were near 90 degrees, and no one was prepared for it. It was with joy that we, the fiber-addicted, got to shed our winter gear and dive into the 2009 fiber festival season. A wonderful time was had by all (even if everyone did feel the need to go home, take a cool shower, and nap.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Weekend Update

What a busy weekend! On Saturday I taught the 4th, and final, section of Knitting: Beyond the Basics. It was a truly great class. I lost a few students and that could have been that it was the last weekend of Spring Break up here and family obligations might have intruded, however, I still had 3 of the original 6 students and one who joined us for the last class only. I learned a lot as a teacher in doing this series and I will definitely teach it again...maybe in the fall.

First, I have to get through the CR-RWA Conference. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I underestimated the amount of free time I have. I have not written a word since becoming Conference Co-Chair. Of course, I'm not great at budgeting my time, so that may have something to do with it.

On Sunday, I drove down to Tina's in Catskill, where a group of women met to do henna tattoos and bless the belly of a woman soon to deliver her 2nd child. I love henna. I adore the opportunity to decorate my body and have it be semi-permanent. About the time I'm getting tired of it, it fades. What could be better than that?

I had 2 pieces done. The first on my chest:

This is with the henna paste still drying.

The next is what it looked like right after the paste finished curing and came off:

The other piece I had done was the back of my left hand.

Again, this is what it looked like with the paste on:

And htis was taken on Tuesday, after the stain had time to set for a few days.

I can't get a shot of the chest piece. Maybe after Tim gets home from work.

Stay tuned for details on the trip to Northhampton, MA and (of course) Webs. I would have posted it today, but the weather decided to thwart picture taking. How could I talk about Webs without posting pictures of stash enhancement?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Today's Post Was Brought to You by the Colors Blue and Green

At Rhinebeck in 2008, I bought this:

And now it looks like this:

This lovely skein started out as 50/50 Merino/Silk with bit of Angelina for sparkle. Unfortunately, the sparkle isn't showing with my craptastic camera. But, it's a really nice 150 yards of sport weight. I'm kind of surprised that 4 oz of silk/merino had such a small yield, but what can I say? It's loverly anyway and I'm sure it will knit into something small but pretty.

This next lovely is actually purple, and again, thanks to my needing to be replaced camera (which completely didn't take 15 pictures taken with the digital zoom), looks blue. It is a sweater for a bear (a rather small bear) and is part of the Bear Hugs Project being done by Bridging People and Places. The original patter called for seaming, and that's not my thing, so I converted my favorite top down raglan pattern:

And down-sized it:

Yes, that's my hand it's sitting on, which will give you an idea of its size.

It was so much fun, I'm at work on another. What a great way to use up all that legacy acrylic from Mom.

On another note, my bag from Jessilu was delivered (by hand) on Tuesday night.

Again, the crappy photo's don't do it justice. But the fabric is called "Bad Kitty" and has a cat (much like my cats) chewing on computer wires and scratching furniture and altogether getting into mischief. The only thing tht could be truer would be cats eating plants and then barfing....But that wouldn't make for good fabric.

Residing in said bag are my Monkey Socks

Being made from Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino. I've turned the heels and am on the would think I'd finish them instead of knitting bear sweaters. One might think so.

Tonight is knitting. Tomorrow is a knitting class (part IV) and the wrap-up. Sunday is a henna party, so expect some funky foto's next week.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring, Glorious Spring!

Today is one of the 10 best days of the year. The widget on the lower right corner of my screen says "Now Mostly Sunny, 61 F". Can it get better than this after a long, cold, hard winter? Maybe it can, tomorrow is supposed to be just as clear and bright and 70F. Time to shave my legs. (Is that considered over-sharing?)

A bunch of you have been giving me crap about not blogging often enough. Maybe I would blog more if you would leave some comments! It's hard to know if anyone is reading if you don't say anything. Maybe I should get one of those widgets that counts hits on the page. Yeah, that's the ticket. Hey, Tim! How do I do that?

I also, finally, uploaded all of the pictures that were on my camera. I'm not going to overload you all, dear readers, with all of them...but i think I'll start posting them in groups and catching you all up on what's going on.

So, back in February, we needed a getaway, and so we went to the famous Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.

It's been a continuously operating inn since the 1700's and I've always wanted to stay there. The economy being what it is, and tourism being down, I got a great deal for the weekend. What's more, we got upgraded from a queen-sized room to a king-sized SUITE.

Of course, the first thing I did was take pictures of:

The living room:

The bedroom:

Note the king-sized bed swathed in high thread count 100% cotton!!

The bathroom:

Now, what I'm not showing you (because the pictures don't do it justice) is the 2 person, walk-in shower with 2 hand showers, 2 rainforest shower-heads, and about 100 side-jets. Let's just say that between the tub and the shower, we were both squeaky-clean.

And the view from our room:

Yes, heated outdoor pool and hot-tub OPEN in FEBRUARY

So, that was February....and now it's April.

I'm trying to get control of my life, which for lots of reasons I feel like I just been returned to (already in progress), and some of what I'm doing is trying to take a daily walk. Today I added the camera, so I can show you signs of Spring in the North Country.

Winter is our predominant season, lasting from November to March, and now in Mid-April, we're just getting crocuses:

and Forsythia:

And the magnolias are just starting to bud:

And that's when my batteries died....sigh.

Tomorrow there will be spinning content and maybe knitting (maybe even writing...who can tell?)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Drive By Post

Just a quick Drive-by post to let everyone know that I'm still alive. I've been busy, but that's not the reason I'm not posting. Frankly, I can't think of anything to say.

I know this means that there will be a lot to say as soon as I process it all. I've no idea what I'm processing, but I know when I go all internal like this, that's what it means.

Still not taking any piccies of yarnliciousness. Maybe I need a new camera, (no, really, I NEED a new camera), but the urge to photograph the finished objects isn't strong. Maybe later?? But I have been spinning, and knitting, not so much writing...OH MY!!!

Off to work now, and then maybe....who knows?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Time Flies

The problem with having a life is that it doesn't leave much time for blogging. I don't count end of the day drooling from exhaustion plopped in front of the TV time. That's non-productive time, no matter how hard I try to make it different. The only thing I can possibly accomplish during those hours is knitting. There has been quite a bit of that going on, but there are no pictures.

In fact, this is going to be a piccy free post. (Yeah, I know booo hisss) But there will be links. Starting with:

Most of my life is being sucked up by this: The Capital Region Romance Writers Association Annual Conference.

What's that you say? What is this? Why am I doing it? Hell if I know.

Remember media vacation week? When I had all that free time to write and read and do all those loved thing? Well, at the end of that week, I was at my local chapter RWA meeting, and the VP of our Chapter voiced an appeal for someone to chair the Conference Committee. I'm not totally insane. I did specify that I would only CO-CHAIR. And someone else did step up to the plate with me. That was in February, and I've been overwhelmed with conference stuff since.

Of course, since the past chairperson is not helping, and won't release any information because she's a control freak; and the person doing our web-maintenance refuses to talk on the phone and will only communicate via email; this has not made for an easy transition.

Oh, did I mention that the conference is in June?

Onwards and upwards.

The first of the knitting classes, Beyond the Basics at Beau Knits in Cohoes, went smashingly. I had 5 students and although we didn't cover as much material as I would have liked, everyone got their project started. I can't wait to see what they come in with on Saturday. I've always known that I love teaching, and I'm totally stoked to be teaching knitting. I would really like to do more of this in the future.

;This past weekend was the Capital District Knit-in 2009 at the Troy Arts Center. Put on by 4 local area yarn shops. It was fantastic. The venue was great, the turn-out wonderful. There were door prizes and great conversation. There will be pictures as soon as I get them from my cellphone camera to the web.

The highlight for me was sitting a newbie down at Asherah with some good beginners fluffy fiber and teaching her to spin. I have a feeling there will be another new spinner in our midst. She seemed quite taken by it.

On the spinning front, I've been doing a fair bit of that, and will have pictures as soon as I wash what I've been working on.

Oh, and my dear husband has joined the ranks of the bloggers. You can find him at Geeky Fiber News.

On the writing front, I'm working on the new book. In fact, that's where I'm headed for work on it.

Look for another post in a few days, and in the mean time, keep on giving those sheep a reason to give up the wool.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Washcloths and more washcloths

I know there are those out there who will loudly attest that they will never knit a washcloth, or dishcloth or whatever you want to call it cloth. I used to be one of them. I mean, why would I, who was not raised in the mid-west, want to do that? I found my answer...stitch patterns.

I like trying out new stitch patterns, and I hate swatching. So, what do you get when you mix some cotton yarn, a new stitch pattern and the desire to make something useful? A dishcloth. Now, I don't do dishes. I have a dishwasher (and a husband). But I do take showers (on a regular basis, even) and I do like me a washcloth. I've discovered that hand made washcloths are the best. And why wouldn't they be? Isn't hand-knit anything better than its machine made cousin?

I'll get back to the discloth thing in a minute.

One of the benefits of my media vacation is that all the creative juices started moving around again, after the mind-numbing winter in front of both TV and monitor. I was flipping through Barbara Walker's 2nd Treasury of Knitting Patterns and read the introduction (for the first time). In it she says (and I'm paraphrasing here) that many people learn to form a knit stitch and a purl stitch and think they now know how to knit, when in fact, they've begun to learn to knit.

It got me thinking. I go to Friday Night Knitting at Beau Knits in Cohoes on a regular basis. There are a LOT of new knitters there, and I realized that there seem to be many who have looked at the The Husband's intrepid dive into knitting with awe and wonder. Yes, he's pretty intrepid, but come on's only knitting. It's only sticks and strings and lots of loops.

I went back to the book and started looking at all the stitch patterns that are simply combinations of knits and purls, no increases, no decreases, not a yarn over in sight. I thought, aha, there's a class here. So I pitched a class on Beyond the Basics to Barbara Hildreth, the proprietess of Beau Knits and so I will be teaching a 4 part series starting in mid-march. What will be making?


What have I been knitting in preparation for the class?


Piccies will be shown when they're all done.

In the meantime....keep giving those sheep a reason to part with their wool.

Friday, February 20, 2009


First, these are the beads that I made at Glass Beadmaking Class.

Did I mention that making them was SO MUCH FUN!!!!??

Something about working with a superhot torch and molten glass just lit up my soul. If you'll pardon the almost pun. Seriously, it was a blast. The most fun I've had since I learned how to spin.

It's all in the "making" I think. Creating something out of nothing...transmuting...I'm not sure I have words for it. All in all I made 6 beads. 2 cracked coming off the mandril. It happens. The photo is pretty crappy, but two of the beads are pretty well matched and will become earrings. I can't wait to do it again. Probably in April.

And then...the other BIG NEWS is the car. As some of you know, I've been driving around in a 1994 Toyota Corolla with 175,000+ miles on her. Tim's been driving something older with less mileage and more rust. Not anymore.....

Now Tim is driving the Corolla and I am driving:

A 2008 Kia Rio5. Isn't she a beauty!?

With help from Dad (thanks again, Dad), we were able to buy her and pick her up yesterday...which explains why I was driving all the way back of beyond, running errands all day.

And, because there must be knitting content, remember when I was in the midst of winter doldrums, bogged down by projects that wouldn't end? Many of you suggested that I do something small, immediately gratifying and that used some of my luscious looking (and feeling) handspun? This is what I did with less than 4 oz of dk weight handspun BFL. I leave you with fingerless gloves.

More reasons to shear the sheep....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm Baaaaak!!!

Didja miss me? Didja notice?

I had a wonderful media vacation. In fact, so wonderful that I'm planning at least one day per week to be media free. It might even be electronic free. It sounds like Sabbath, except there will be knitting and spinning and both of those qualify, at least in Judaism, as work (I think).

Somehow I managed to get myself into all sorts of trouble, though.

It was very odd, I did my morning pages, ate breakfast and sat in the kitchen what? On any other day, the answer would be "check email." Since there was no email checking I started to look around. I cleaned the kitchen.

I looked around some more and decided I wasn't crazy about anything I was looking at. I didn't feel like spending my entire "vacation" cleaning, so I went up to my office. I organized my desk. I threw out 2 large garbage bags of paper. I found all the pens that the cat had hidden in the far corner behind my desk.

More in next post

Monday, February 9, 2009

Media Vacation

Although I haven't been posting regularly, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of media in my life. (read too much TV, internet, email, facebook, etc.) I've realized I spend more hours per day doing these things and not enough time writing, knitting, spinning, meditating or just plain ole thinking my own thoughts.

The other day it occurred to me that I need a media vacation. I need to unplug. And so, I'm turning it all off. The TV, the computer, the radio. I will spend the week catching up with friends on the phone, writing, reading, knitting and spinning. Perhaps I will get all the laundry put away or finally get the house really clean. Maybe I'll get to my office more than a half minute before my first client, and have a chance to get centered before I work. Maybe I'll get another 50 pages written on my book.

I don't know how this will play out, which is half the fun.

Look for "How I spent my media vacation" on February 16th or within a few days thereafter.

Have fun!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Further thoughts

I want to thank everyone who commented yesterday for their thoughtful posts.

I did rip out the socks. As Tina said, life is too short not to knit something that makes me happy. I'm still using the Mirasol Hacho yarn, because I do love it; but I changed needle size, correcting the sizing issue that I should have corrected by ripping out starting over, and I'm happily knitting myself a pair of socks.

I have 140 yards of sport to dk weight, handspun BFL that I would love to make into something nice for myself. Any ideas? I'm not terribly into Cowls, because I always ending up sweating and not wanting anything around my neck (damn hormones). Other ideas?

I stayed up way too late last night reading Burn Out by one of my favorite mystery writers, Marcia Muller. I've been reading this series since it first premiered 1977 (youch!) and Muller has never disappointed me. If you want a mystery series that keeps its heroine edgy and yet takes her through character growth over time, get a copy of Edwin of the Iron Shoes and go forward from there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Must update blog....

Sometimes, when I sit down to write a blog post, I look back on my recent weeks and wonder what I've been doing. Frequently I can't find anything to write about. Today is no exception. But, since I'm rarely at a loss for words, I'll babble for a awhile, and you can stop reading when you lose interest.

I spent yesterday watching President Obama's inauguration with a dear friend who doesn't blog. I don't think she reads this either. All I can say is that it was really, really nice to just hang out with a girlfriend during the afternoon. It's been a long time since I've done that. Not since I had to cut A. loose.

I've been knitting, but I don't have anything to show for it. The hat for J. isn't done yet, I'm still in the process of the Mirasol Hacho simple socks . I'm about 1/3 of the way done and I don't like the way they're turning out but I don't want to start over. So in the spirit of deluded knitters everwhere, I'm forging ahead.

Mr. Greenjeans is still on the needles. If I read the pattern correctly, I misread the pattern about 81 rows ago. It's sitting in time-out until I have the presence of mind to read the pattern again, count stitches, see where I am and what I can do from here. If I have to frog it again, the yarn will become something else. I will accept that Mr. GJ is NOT for me.

I'm still working on Waves of Grain, which is currently the only project that I have on the needles that is pleasing to me. Although, truth be told, I kind of wish I'd used a different yarn. Don't get me wrong, the yarn I'm using is lovely, handspun merino, but I think it could have been better showcased in a different project. But again, I'm not going back. I'm also in the super boring section of repeating the same 2 rows SEVENTY FIVE times (and that's just for the first half...oh look! I get to do it all over again for the 2nd half!!!!)

And then there's The Luna Moth Shawl which is still in its embryonic phase and, as far as I can tell, looks like crap. True, that's the general issue with lace until it is blocked, but there's something about either the yarn or my general lack of confidence about the knitting (don't understand that one) that makes me want to rip it out and start over.

As I'm reading this, I can tell I'm not feeling very enthusiastic about anything that's on the needles. Maybe that is why I keep thinking about starting another project.

On the writing front. Wait is there a writing front? For there to be a writing front, I would actually have to be writing no? Ever since my crit group exploded last April, I have been writing only sporadically. Of course, the manuscript critique I received that said, "this book cannot be salvaged" didn't help. Nor did the rejection from the agent that said, "I wish there was someway I could have loved this book." (maybe not a direct quote). Maybe that hurt more than I've been allowing it to hurt. Maybe I've needed to put it out to the world that something that I thought may have needed some more work, but was essentially a good piece of work (and certainly better than a lot of crap on the market) was actually crap. Maybe putting that out there in this journal will help spur my creativity. Let's hope so, anyway.

Spinning. Yet another thing that has been languishing. After a fairly good start at the beginning of the month, in which I spun up a half bobbin of alpaco/merino blend, I've kind of been watching the wheel collect dust while I've been struggling with less than satisfying knitting. Is anyone seeing a pattern?

I am. And I think it means I need to dust myself off and get back to work. Thanks for reading this guys (if you've gotten this far), I think it helped.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A missed opportunity

Because I didn't post it earlier, here is another picture from Yule and Yarn 2008.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Playing Catch Up

As noted in my last post I've been busy, busy, busy.

A few weeks before the holidays, Tim and I took a ride to Kinderhook to pay a visit to Year Round Yarns. Where I purchased some Plymouth Suri Alpaca

On the way back we stopped at Wholly Cow Restaurant for dinner and had the best BBQ I've had north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

And to keep this fiber related, I did knit at the table.

The Suri Alpaca was purchased to make a hat for my friend Judith. The hat is not yet finished.

But that's okay, because our plans to see Judith on New Year's had to be moved because she was having some stuff go on with her apartment. We'll catch up later and the hat will be given. Since I have extra yarn, maybe a pair of mittens? Fingerless gloves?

On the subject of fingerless mitts, I made two pair. A goth version of Fetching

And another pair of my own design that remind of a Chanel suit I had a long time ago (in another life)

They are for two young friends, Maggie and Janet.

In the meanwhile an 11 year old girl in foster care wanted a pair of mittens, a hat and a scarf. Her favorite color is purple. We figured not many kids in foster care get hand knits, so....

We hope she had a very happy Christmas and stays warm throughout the winter.

At some point we went on a Yule Tree expedition, which included a Hay Ride

A magical grove

Freezing (if not for our wooly hand-knits)

And warming ourselves with hot cocoa around a bonfire (while waiting for the snow and ice to melt off our tree)

And the day ended with a beautiful sunset

The following week, I received email from my niece,

who is studying in Paris. At a museum, she saw some wool

And, naturally, thought about her aunt and took pictures, which she sent to me.

The week after that, was Tina's (formerly Pheonixfiberworks and now Rows Red) annual Yule and Yarn party. It was held at the Muddy Cup in Hudson (where it was hastily moved to after the discovery that The Muddy Cup in Catskill was closed for renovations), where a splendid time was had by all.

Tina is wearing the cowl that was my gift to her:

Since then, I got a chance to hang our with both my nephews and my niece who isn't in Paris

As well as my sister and brother and their spouses.

I've had a chance to spin.

416 yards of laceweight icelandic wool (singles)

And 4 oz of Carolyn's handpainted merino in the Jammy colorway.

And, I've finished a pair of socks for myself. These are Tina's "Baby Fern" socks, made with Pace Step yarn.

And, finally, for those of you who don't know why I'm called the Cat Whisperer, I leave you with this: