So Much Fun!

I have had so much fun the last couple of weeks! 

First, the things I have knitted: not much, actually. I have my stealth knitting project almost completed. In fact, it will be finished this week probably, and I can go to Freeport at the end of the week with a clear conscience. I have, in addition, sewn up my Sylvi coat/sweater, woven in most of the ends, and am now working on the hood:

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It is kind of hard to knit because of the weight of the sweater and only having one and a quarter hands, but it is going slowly onward. I hope to finish it next week, after SPA in Freeport. At least Hillary will be able to wear it for a couple weeks before Spring!

Second is the goodies that I have bought.

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I pre-ordered MAINEknits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen a few weeks ago, and promptly forgot it, and then there it was! I wanted to get it when I realized that all of the patterns in it were in my favorites in Ravelry, which was a sign that the book needs to be on my shelf.  I was pleased to find that the book has really gorgeous pictures of Maine, a foreword by Pam Allen, and well-written essays by Sarah Kilch Gaffney, Julie Letowski, Samantha Lindgren and Beck Robbins in addition to beautiful, highly-wearable and desirable-to-knit patterns by fourteen excellent designers, including Beatrice Perron Dahlgren. 

The book is divided into three sections: Sea, Farm, and Wild, which is how I think of Maine too. I'm from Aroostook county, Maine, the wilderness was all around me in Portage where I lived, my father was a farmer, and now I live by the sea! There are five or six patterns in each section, totaling seventeen patterns in the book. Most of them are sweaters and accessories for women, but a few are unisex too, and one is photographed on a man and a child; that sweater can be made in children's sizes too. There is also a cowl in child and adult sizes as well. 

I also got some little colored stitch markers from Cocoknits.com. They are so pretty, I want to string them on a chain and wear them as a necklace! 

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I succumbed to pattern lust and bought the yarn to make these socks:

They are 173-45 Sleepy Sheep from Drops.

Karisma

They are so springy and pretty! I don't really need 450g of yarn to knit socks. I'll have yarn leftover, so maybe I will design something with Mary Jane Mucklestone's books that I have been looking over.

The best thing though is the fluff that I got from On the Round! It is soooooooo gorgeous! It makes me want to spin and spin and spin! 

Fluff

This fluff is hand dyed Corriedale top in a OOAK (One Of A Kind)  color. That means it is unique!  Rachel Jones does an incredible job of dyeing. Her colors are imaginative, playful, and creative while being harmonious too. It takes real talent to do that. I will wait as long as possible to start spinning this, but I think the beauteousness of the fluff will overwhelm me. It is sitting right beside my computer and I keep looking at it and sighing happily. I need to get a couple things done, but soon ... soon!

The third and final fun thing is ahead: SPA!!! Lynne and I are going to Freeport for the weekend (February 24,25, & 26) and we will have so much fun. We are staying at the Hampton Inn. SPA is a weekend of fibery goodness that is at three hotels in Freeport, but it really kind of takes over the town. It is like a convention of 1000 (maybe more) knitters and crocheters and spinners and weavers and felters and other fibery folk who show up for the weekend. Some people go for three or four days. Lynne and I will pretty much stay in the Hampton Inn; the vendor area doesn't really interest me much (see above) but there are many vendors and people who want their wares. Also Mother of Purl is in the area and there are a few things that they offer too this weekend, including an On the Round trunk show -- Rachel will be there in person to amaze and delight you! 

Pogo's Sweater

I haven't the heart to tell Pogo that the sweater isn't for her.


Still at the Lake

Lake

I took this picture yesterday, and today the leaves are even more colorful. It's so beautiful up here!

The winner of the Faux Taxidermy Knits book giveaway is Jean! She has been emailed. I hope you make beautiful things, Jean!

I have been busy knitting. I finished the first sleeve on my pink cardigan:

1st Sleeve

Sleeve detail

The sleeve was originally a three-quarters length sleeve, but I made it a full length sleeve. I just hope the sleeve won't drag and be annoying; it's a full, lacy cuff, and pretty, but may be a bit aggravating to wear. I tried to make it about an inch shy of the full length, though. I am currently done one pattern repeat of the three repeats for the lace cuff on the second sleeve.

These tractors tilled their way across the field of yarn as well:

Tractors

Keep on knitting!


The Lake

I'm at my brother's camp in Winterville Plantation for a couple of weeks. It is  very restful here, peaceful. 

Lake colors

It is pretty close to Eagle Lake, so it is right up there in Maine. The trees are already starting to turn. The camp is on St. Froid Lake, a little bit of heaven on earth.

Lake

Lake2

And what would Heaven be without a cat? Meet Belizaire ...

Belizaire

He is the fluffiest cat I have ever known! 

I have finished my blue socks and gotten the third clue done on my mystery mittens:

Blue socks done

Clue3

Now my needles are poised to attack the sleeves on my pink lacy cardigan! 


Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Lynne and I gave each other flowers last week -- we visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. It was a great day in the sunshine! We picked the right day too; it rained Siamese and Saint Bernards the following day. Here are some pictures from the gardens:

CMBG1    CMBG2   

CMBG3    CMBG6  

 CMBG7    CMBG8

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CMBG18    CMBG20

CMBG21    CMBG28   

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CMBG11    CMBG26   

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CMBG30    CMBG31


There were some interesting sculptures every now and then, too:

CMBG4    CMBG5   

CMBG10   CMBG17   

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And there is a lot more to see! The gardens cover 248 acres. Admission to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens from April 15 throuch October 31 is $14.00 for non-members, free for members; $12.00 for Seniors over 64; $6.00 for children 3 - 17 (under 3 they are free). November 1 through April 14 admission is free. They are open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year round. I'd like to go in November to see it without the tourists -- without as many flowers too, but there you go. They have lots of fabulous trees, evergreens, that I think would be highlighted without all those showy flowers around. They have lots of places to sit and knit, too! It's a good place to spend the day. If I lived closer and wasn't handicapped and joined the Coastal Maine Botanical Society, you can bet I'd be there almost every day!

 


Maritime Fiberfest

(Sorry about the formatting ... Typepad is being cranky this morning. If you see it as you should, then YAY. If you see everything all smashed up together like I do, welcome to my world.)

Nametag

I had such a good time at the Maritime Fibre Retreat! Here's my nametag to prove I was there. I saw so many beautiful things at the event ....

Tea cozy
This tea cozy was interesting!

Red quilting
What a beautiful example of quilting... just gorgeous.
White coverlet
This coverlet was hand knit, and it is very beautiful. Here are some detail shots:
Detail
Detail2
Bobbin lace
I was astounded by this bobbin lace! 
Rug hooking
Rug hookers were everywhere! 
Color wheel
This is part of an example of Anne's natural dye display.
Beautiful shawl
I saw this wonderful shawl at breakfast.
Rug hooked sheep
I liked this sheep.
Sock machine Annie
Annie was busy at the circular sock machine and her spinning wheel!
Richard
Isn't Richard cute?
Richard Nametag
Love his name tag ... "Rented Mule". 
Sharon and Caroline
And it was so good to see Sharon and Caroline!
Caroline Sweater
This is Caroline's fabulous lace sweater in the fashion show! It fit her perfectly. It was so pretty!
Thank you so much, Sharon and Richard, for making the Maritime Fibre Retreat such an amazing event for so many people! It was fun to be with so many wonderfully talented people ... it was so welcoming. 

On the Road Again

Lynne and I headed up to the Maritime Fibre Retreat, organized by Sharon and Richard  Orpin, on Thursday. We stayed at a lovely place in Moncton on the way to Nova Scotia called the Rodd Moncton Hotel. We did a little sightseeing on the trip from there to Nova Scotia.

Joseph Salter

Next to the hotel was this monument to Joseph Salter, first mayor of Moncton.

More Mud    MUD

The Tidal Bore in Moncton is remarkable. It fills 25' in one hour ... the river reverses itself. Wow. To me it looks like lots of chocolate mud in a chocolate river.... yummy.

O Canada
The wind was really whipping the flags out in the Nova Scotia tourism centre.

Five Islands
We took a scenic drive along the Bay of Fundy. This picture is in Five Islands, which is a beautiful spot. 

We got to Atlantica, where the fibre retreat is held, and it is beautiful. This panoramic shot is from the deck of our room:

Atlantica Friday Morning

They expect around 200 knitters, spinners, rug hookers, quilters, and weavers to be here. I can't wait!


There and Back Again

I did it! I went to Nova Scotia! Thanks to Lynne who took me {{{hug}}}. Nova Scotia is very beautiful, and a bit warmer than Maine, which I found surprising. I actually spent most of my time travelling to/from Maine and Nova Scotia and visiting Sharon & Richard while I was there, and I was really very glad to see them too. I took about 30 pictures which I'll put here ... and then I'm going to go rest some more. See ya later....

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Lynne & the Picton Castle

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Picton Castle

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The Dory Shop and Symphony

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The Lunenburg Wharf

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It's a colorful town!

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They have a lot of churches.

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When they filmed Haven, the street where the killer fog came from was right here.

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The Academy

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Clouds

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Me, Sharon, & Lynne in front of "Jesse Stone's" house... can't you just see Tom Selleck walking across that bridge?

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Chef Richard makes an appearance :)

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At the Ironworks Distillery.... it used to be an ironworks....

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.... now it's a distillery!

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Yes, I bought some yarn..... 

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Sharon in her studio

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Anyone remember this??

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I wish Sharon lived near meeeeeeeeeee!

 

 


We're Going!

My bag is packed ... well, technically two bags, if you count my knitting bag, which holds more than just knitting. I'm all set to go. I'm very excited a not a little bit nervous (I'm a lot nervous), but this will be a leap for me. I think I can do it, but just not sure how it will all work out. It's hard to fathom how you can do things you usually do when you travel, when all of a sudden you're handicapped. I guess the thing you have to do is just do it, and make stuff up as you go. 

But I have a little friend with me (besides Lynne, she is a BIG friend):

MustChangeAttitudeMaryEngelbreit

I'm changing my attitude! And it's going to be fun :) Nova Scotia, here I come! They have yarn shops there, yes?? hehe....

 

(the picture is from Mary Englebright, and was featured on September 28 in my Mary Engelbright calendar)


Portland Flower Show!

Today my friend Lynne and I went to the Portland Flower Show. It was great to get a shot of spring by looking at all the pretty blooms and shrubs. I am not a gardener. However, especially this time of year, I love to see actual living flowers. Here are some pictures of what we saw at the show:

Daffodils      Daffodils2
Flowers      Orchids
Pinkflowers      Otherpinkflowers
Primroses      Tulips
                      Waterfall  

The best display in the show, in my opinion, was called "There and Back Again", a homage to Tolkein's hobbit world. This display had so much to see, but I only took a picture of the little hobbit house itself:

Thereandbackagain     Bilboshouse        

After the flower show, Lynne and I went to Whole Foods (what a great store!) and then we went to Jameson Tavern in Freeport for lunch. They had a drink special called an Elderflower Martini, and since I had never had one, I had to try it:

Elderflowermartini
It was, of course, fabulous. It has kind of a grapefruity taste to it and it is a pretty shade of pink, and it quite appropriately came with a decorative edible orchid perched on the edge. I loved this drink and bribed asked to get the recipe for it. It is made with Absolut Mandarain vodka, St. Germaine liquor and cranberry juice. If you're going to be at the knitting weekend coming up SOON, I will be making them there so you will be able to taste one for yourself! 

We sat in the corner and above us was a lighted sign that was quite reassuring:

Nostreetgirlsorsailors 

We were not street girls (however, after 2 elderflower martinis, I wasn't so sure) and although Lynne and her husband own and operate a fantastic windjammer in Camden, I was pretty sure we didn't qualify as sailors either, so we were safe. It was a very fun day :) 
 

 

      

   


It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Actually, it was a dark and stormy knitting cruise, but we made the most of it and had a great time anyway!! We were rockin' at the dock on Friday night, so we knit in the boathouse, which was fun. Then on Saturday, we actually had a little sun while we were taking a quick trip to Unique One to make last minute yarn purchases before leaving the dock, and then it got darker and rainier. However, the knitters were game and happily knit away, and the food was AWESOME.


Brenda has a fabulous crew, with John, first mate and master of entertainment. I will probably smile when I think of the  Chubby Bunny game for the rest of my life. I still kick myself for not taking pictures of it. Jackie is the most amazing cook. Everything was fabulous and there was plenty of it! I don't care if it pours every single cruise, as long as Jackie is there to feed us. Wow. And her right hand man, Mark, was hard working and fun and also very entertaining! They are a fun crew and made the trip really great :)

We got a lot of knitting done, and saved a ton on sunblock. No one got sunburned. I actually finished my second blue Wandering Path sock on Sunday, and have the first Ty Dy Sock "sweater gauge swatch" (wink wink) nearly half done.

Here are pictures from the cruise:

Knittingondeck     Flowers

Knitting Cruise launch pad

Uh oh, I did a week where I posted every day and now this week I have almost gone a whole week without posting at all!! Sorry :) 


I have been busy at the store and at home and getting prepared for the knitting cruise. I board the Isaac Evans tonight!! I have been looking forward to doing this, very much. And this year I get to do it again in August, so I don't have to wait til September for the next knitting cruise. Have you signed up for the August cruise yet? 

I have the pattern for the Compass & Anchors hat all done, and ready to print. I have to fiddle a bit more with the Wandering Path socks pattern, but it is minor fiddling, so I will be ready to print that shortly. I have to charge my ipod and load new music into it. I got a great Joe Bonamassa CD, "Blues Deluxe", from my mother in law on my birthday (I took Tuesday off from everything, because it was my birthday. I am 50! My sister says I am now a woman of a certain age, but I should remind her that she will always be of a certainer age than I am.) I also recently got the B.B. King CD "Live at the Regal", and I just treated myself to two more CD's, Donna the Buffalo "Rockin' in the Weary Land" and Vassar Clements, "Livin' with the Blues". So, I got some music importin' to do. (Importing as I type, here). 

I have to pack my bag, people like it if you have clean undies on the boat. More importantly, I have to pack my knitting bag. It is only a three day trip, so I am taking my last blue Wandering Path sock, a new sock from Ty Dy Sock yarn that we just got at the store. Oh my gosh, I love this yarn.... it feels like the best quality pima cotton, or maybe a silk blend, but it is just superwash wool and nylon. It is by far the softest wool sock yarn I have ever worked with, and the colors are fabulous. I love this yarn. I am also taking my new Millpoint spindle and merino/tencel fiber that I got at the Fiber Frolic. Those 3 projects should keep me pretty busy for the next 3 days. 

I have to go to Camden, to Unique One, and pick up the porthole prizes for the boat. They would normally be called 'door prizes', but on the boat, it's 'porthole prizes'. :) 

Then I go to Rockland to Staples to copy the patterns for the Compass & Anchors hat and the Wandering Path socks, and add them to the passengers' folders of patterns, which I will give them after breakfast in the morning. And finally I have to go buy a few supplies, like deodorant, sunblock, and hmmm beer? mmmm, beeeeeer. 

Looks like a busy day. I better get a move on! Wish me sunny weather for the cruise!! :) 

New Knitting Cruise!

Out of the blue, I got a call from Brian Thomas of the schooner Isaac H. Evans. Could I do a knitting cruise in August? They have a lot of teachers who wanted to go on a knitting cruise but couldn't make it for the June cruise or either September cruise.


I have always said I couldn't do anything like that in August, because July and August are just so busy for me. But this particular year I happen to have enough people who could cover me on the days in question, so I said yes!

The August knitting cruise will board August 4 and return August 8. Like all of the knitting cruises, passengers will experience beautiful scenery, great sailing, wonderful food (including a lobster bake), and all the knitting time you want, with a resident knitter fixer on board (me). It's gonna be fun! If you haven't already signed up for a knitting cruise but wanted to, now is your chance! I think the June and September cruises are nearly booked, but this cruise is wide open at the moment, I think, so hurry and sign up now!


Wonderful Fiber Frolic!

I had the best time yesterday at the Fiber Frolic :) I got a little sunburned, ate a LOT of ice cream, and bought a few things. I don't think I went too overboard in the spending department, either. 


I got some pictures of some incredibly cute animals:

2alpacas  3llamas

Bluecollar  Cutetwins
  
Fuzzyhead  Goats

Llama1  Llama2

Llama3  Longears

Longhairgoat  Sheep1

Sheepbigears  Sheepchuckling

Whitegoat


I even got to see the llama parade: 


Rainbowllama

I ate plenty of ice cream from John's Ice Cream (where they make the best ice cream in the world); I had vanilla, chocolate coconut almond, strawberry, and pistachio:


I did buy a few things. I got a Fiber Frolic tote bag; 4 ounces of merino/tencel fiber in color "Bermuda" from The Sheep Shed; a fabulous spindle from Millpoint; and some fabulous superwash merino/cashmere/nylon fingering weight yarn from String Theory Yarn, in a glowing turquoise/blue with flashes of purple. 

The spindle is Canary Wood with a Purple Heart shaft; it is not a spindle I would normally have even looked twice at. The yellow canary wood is really pretty, but I tend to go for more natural colors of spindles. But when I picked it up, it immediately bonded with me, like in Harry Potter, when the young wizards choose their wands. You just know it is the right one when you pick it up and twirl it a little. I love this spindle a lot! It is 1.8 ounces and I know it is my new favorite wooden spindle. 

The fiber just glows in the sun.... I love shiny things. And the 'Bermuda' colors sing to me today.

The yarn, oh I wish you could feel how soft this yarn is. I picked it up and I seriously could not let go of it. My mind said, drop it, and my body said, nope. I was thinking 'scarf' when I bought it, but now that I see it is both superwash and has nylon in it, I am thinking 'socks'. Hmm. But it is so soft, I think I want it around my neck. Tracy was with me at the time, buying a similar yarn from the same booth, in a lovely green, and I think we might make scarves together. That will be fun. 

Pictures of newly-acquired stash:


Newspindle

I had so much fun!


Progress, Indiscretions, Promises

Progress:

I finally finished my purple Wandering Path socks that I made from the Ball and Skein yarn which I got at the SPA in February:

PurpleWPsocks

I really like the pattern, and the yarn is fabulous. I am also using Ball and Skein sock yarn to make my Mystery Sock, which is kind of languishing at the moment due to me needing to finish up the socks for the fast-approaching  knitting cruise. 

I am starting the next pair of Wandering Path socks today, using the Fortissima sock yarn that I dyed blue. My goal is to get at least one of the blue socks done in time to photograph it for the pattern and to have a model of it on display on the boat, and then knit the second sock during the knitting cruise. 


Indiscretions:

I couldn't help it, I started a sock with the new Ty-Dy Sock yarn from Knit One, Crochet Too. I had needles that matched the yarn; how could I resist?

TyDyStart

I will try not to work on them too much; I do have a few other projects waiting patiently for me to make progress on them, too. 


Promises:

I promise to go to the Fiber Frolic today! And I promise to take lots of pictures and blog about it soon! I can't wait to go. It will be fun and I will have lots of John's ice cream, yummmmmmm.  Since I have so much I haven't knit or spun from my Spa purchases, I will try to be good and not buy much, but I gotta have something, ya know. Still, it amazed me how long it is taking me to use up what I got at the Spa. I know I got a lot, but I *have* been making really good progress on my projects since February, and I still haven't used it all up. I figure I have through at least September using up my February purchases. And then that makes me think of the Spa purchases and Fiber Frolic purchases from the last 2 or 3 years that I bought happily and which are now lying in a Rubbermaid bin, unused. I hope to remedy that this year. I am making a push to start really using up what I buy, right away, and if I use it up and need more projects, I have the scary bins to open. 

And, well, I do own a yarn shop...... just in case I run out..... HAHAHAHahahahahahahahahhaaa


(I am a Yarn Demon, after all...)



Back from Cruisin'

Hiya :)

I just got home a couple hours ago and I have photos from the last knitting cruise of the year, hot off the press, ready to upload! It was a fabulous cruise, very fun, perhaps a bit chillier than the other 3 knitting cruises this year, but I actually like it a little cold, anyway. It wasn't bad at all, and we had great weather! Luckily we had no rain and very little fog, the sun shone every day, and the nights were cold but not uncomfortable. I do love the heated soapstones we put in the foot of the bunks at night, what a great idea that was!! Nothing like toasty toes to help you fall asleep :)

I accomplished the two knitting objectives I had for the trip: I completed a pair of mohair socks and I finished the second sleeve of my Rhinebeck cardigan. Now I just have to do the button bands and the collar, whack some buttons on it, and Bob's your uncle, I will be wearing it. Yay!

Pictures of the cruise follow in one big galumphing clump, with no captions cuz I am pooped. Enjoy:

Boarding


Rocklandharbor


Annesheep


Barbknits


Bartlettharbor1


Beginningknitters


Bethknits


Bethknits2


Bethknitssock


Birdsatsunest


Charlenessock


Coldknitting


Curlyscarf


Evansathell


Foggyknitting


Happynaomi


Heelpuzzle


Joanneknits


Knittingbythestove


Knittingondeck


Lbonhell


Lbonhell2


Lbonhell3


Lbonhell4


Lbonhell5


Mohairsocksdone


Oddsky


Pattieandkeknit


Pigdogrock


Prettyscarf


Rhinebeckwithsleeves


Riaknits


Ronnahat


Sandyknits


Sunnyday


Sunsetsept082


Sunsetsomewhere


Windyday


Another fine knitting cruise.....

Yep, I'm on day 3? What day is today? Day 3? of the knitting cruise and I think we are having a ball. I am actually writing this from the boathouse on the evening of the 16th. Everyone has boarded; we have a full boat, and now I have a full tummy, thanks to a wonderful meal at Rustica on Main Street in Rockland. I could eat there every day, but it is really better that I don't :)

My dear friend Ann and I had a great dinner, a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio, and a taste of tiramisu for dessert. You must go to Rustica when you are in Rockland.

Everyone is really looking forward to this trip and we certainly have a boat load of knitters on board! Lots of people have come from Colorado, and that's fun :) So many people want to learn things! I can't wait to raise the sails and get to work on helping them with their knitting.

I don't have any pictures for this blog post and I don't actually have anything to say, except woooohoo! I am sailing! And I think I am probably having a great time! I can't wait to get home and tell you all about it and share the pictures.

OH, and what am I knitting on this cruise, you may ask? Welllll... I succumbed to my Rhinebeck cardigan desire, and I brought it on board with me, despite its bulkiness, because it really is all I want to work on. And I found a partly done mohair sock that I think I started last May or June, and I hope I am finishing that pair of socks, too. I hope to have new socks and maybe even a new sweater to share photographs of when I get back to the store on Saturday.

Hope you all are having a great week, and happy knitting!


Knitting Cruise Photos

"Hey, you're out on a knitting cruise! What are you doing posting photos??"

hee hee

It's the wonders of technology. TypePad allows me to post stuff to appear on any date. So, I may be out on the water, living it up, knitting, eating lobster, hopefully NOT wearing rain gear, but I can show you photos from the second June Knitting Cruise while I am out on the second September Knitting Cruise, to give you an idea of what I am doing.

The rest of this post is all photos, so I put it all in a photo album. Click the link below to view it! Enjoy :)

Link to the 2008 June Knitting Cruise #2


I'm baaaaack

Now that July and August are behind me, I can start getting some stuff done! I can't believe how the summer days slip by so fast.

So. I went on a second fabulous knitting cruise in June, and then suddenly it was September and I have already gone on the first of two September knitting cruises! That means I have had (counting on fingers to make sure...) yes, I have had THREE lobster bakes. Yum! And... have met fabulous people, seen gorgeous scenery, viewed beautiful knitted goods, and solved a few knitting problems along the way. It's been great. I took quite a few pictures during the second June knitting cruise, and I will post them on a (soon) later date. For some reason, I really didn't take any pictures on the September cruise. Huh. Sorry bout that. I will try to get more pictures on the last September Knitting Cruise which, by the way, I board in about a week, on Tuesday, Sept. 16! woooohoooo! Lobster bake #4 coming up :))

You might wonder, what have I been knitting? Well I will tell you. On the two June knitting cruises I knit most of a sweater, "Rhinebeck" from Lisa Lloyd's book A Fine Fleece. It is an easy knit, which makes it perfect for a knitting cruise. Actually I haven't done anything too hard lately because of my brain-deadness. I have only one sleeve left to do and also the button band/neck. Pictures:


Rhinebeckcardionesleeve


Rhinebeckstitchclose

I'm knitting it with Hemp for Knitting Hempwol, in a color which purports to be purple but which most people view as a brownish gray. I like it. The yarn is not overly heavy, as it is 65% wool and 35% hemp. This makes it feel like a year-round fabric, warm in the winter but comfy in a cool summer evening too. The hemp gives the fabric wonderful drape and silkiness, and a lovely sheen. The fibers were apparently blended and spun, and then dyed, because the hemp did not dye like the wool, giving the knitted fabric a tweedy texture which shows up well in the waffley knitting stitch used in the sweater.

During the last cruise I finished a pair of mittens (meaning I only had to weave in the ends on one mitten. I really took them in case it got cold.) I knit the cover item from Vogue Knitting's Fall issue, Jared Flood's Druid mittens. I loved knitting these:

Bluesmittens


Bluesmittens2

I wet blocked the mitten on the left; the mitten on the right is unblocked. The unblocked mitten is prettier, but the blocked mitten, while more smooshed and not as crisp looking as the other, is nonetheless softer and nicer to wear. I put them on on the boat and held up my hands to display them, and found the the wind would blow through the unblocked mitten, but did not blow through the blocked mitten as much, making them warmer. The wet blocking made the fibers bloom, filling the air pockets between stitches.

On the same cruise, I finished a pair of socks I began knitting during the July 12 & 13 Blues Festival in Rockland. I had finished sock #1 and had sock #2 about 1/3 done. So I finished that pair of socks. Wooohooo! They are made with Knit One Crochet Too's Soxx Appeal, a lovely wool blend that has lycra in it, making the socks stretchy. They are wonderful to feel, very soft and silky. I love them very, very much! Pics:


Bluesfestsocks


So after I finished that pair of socks I worked on another pair. Back in March a lovely sales rep gave me a sample skein of Opal sock yarn to try, and I dutifully cast on to try the yarn. Sadly after about 3 or 4 inches of sock #1 I got sidetracked and completely forgot the Opal socks. While packing for the September knitting cruise, I ran across them and said, sure, why not try to finish them? so I finished the Opal socks. They took longer as they were on 64 stitches instead of 60 and they are knit 2, purl 2 all the way down, which is a little slower than plain stockinette. Here are the little darlings:


Opalsocks

I ordered the Opal sock yarn in the Harry Potter colorways, available this fall, a little before the next Harry Potter movie comes out. I have previewed the colors and they are gorgeous! The yarn is great to work with, a nice cushy wool blend. I was not too excited about the color of the above-pictured socks, but the Harry Potter colors are lovely. More on the Harry Potter sock yarn in a future post :)

These luscious Alpaca Socks from Classic Elite were the carrot that got me to finish all the other stuff. This alpaca knits like a dream and it feels so good, it should be illegal. I love it. And that hot pink little bag is a KnowKnits knitting pouch, which is the handiest darned thing. It snaps onto your belt loop or wrist and you can wall all over creation, knitting away. It's lightweight so it is really comfortable, and they aren't expensive either. Yes, I sell them at Unique One so I might be a teensy bit biased, but hey, I only sell stuff that *I* like, after all! Pic:


Alpacasocksbegun

In non-knitting cruise knitting, I have some sweaters I am working on. A Penobscot Bay Pullover in Christopher Sheep Farm wool:

Pbpback

I am using Signature Needle Arts needles.... I love them very much. These gold ones are size 8. I got the teardrop shaped end and the stiletto points. They are a dream to work with! Close ups:


Size8ends


Size8points

And see? these needles are something I love but I don't sell them at the store, you have to go to www.signatureneedlearts.com to buy them. Yeah, they're pricey. Oh well.

But! a wonderful, fabulous free thing that I discovered is GREAT for knitting is the little special safety pins that the Life Is Good T-shirts tags are attached with. They are shaped like little light bulbs, with the catch at the bottom, and they are great for marking stitches. I think they also could be used as stitch markers on really small needles, like ones or twos. I will have to experiment. See it:


Fabulouspin

Last week or so, I started another little short sleeved, summery top using Micro Bamboo Spray (a sport to DK weight bamboo & acrylic yarn from Schachenmayr Nomotta) and I mostly started it to have an excuse to knit with my new blue size 5 Signature Needle Arts needles. This yarn is utterly yummy, so soft and silky and good to wear next to the skin. You can get the yarn at Unique One. Pictures:

Orangey


Size5points

And finally, this morning I started a pink scarf in Misti Alpaca chunky. I will tell more about the scarf on a later date, but soon. Here is what I have so far:

Pinkalpacascarf


This morning started off with a vet visit. You know how those can go. This morning it was Grace's turn. She got poked and prodded and got all her shots. She is a real trooper, no crying or whining was involved. She was a VERY GOOD GIRL. Here is a picture of her after her return:


Graceaftervet

Doesn't she look happy? Now it is Nick and Nora's turn; they have an afternoon appointment. You know how Nora is. Wish me luck.

(More on cats tomorrow).


Knitting Cruise, June 10 through 14, was GREAT!!

I went out on the first knitting cruise of the year a week ago, and we had a blast! The weather was perfect, the Evans is in great shape, the food was amazing and the knitters were very industrious :) :)

The next cruise boards on Wednesday, just a few more days away! Wooohooo! I get to knit and sail again! And there is lobster! It will be fun :)

Here are some pictures of the last cruise to entertain and delight you:











Hpim0209_132530 Hpim0211_132530 Hpim0221_132530

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Hpim0226_132530


Hpim0230_133852

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Hpim0257


Update: My Knitting, Spa, Spinning, and My Knitting Weekends

I need to get caught up on my blog postings! I *think* about writing on my blog a lot.... I don't get to it as much as I should, though. But here goes:

My knitting: I am starting down the backside of the Hanne Falkenberg Ballerina's first sleeve. I love working on this project, but I got distracted by other things. I have not worked on my white shawl at all because I have mentally "put it away" until I finish something else. Neither have I worked on my Hedgerow Socks because they are kind of boring and I am beginning to realize if I am going to put the effort into putting even the simplest texture stitch into socks, I would like it to show at least a little, and it really doesn't. So I have it circling in a hold pattern because I am pretty sure I am going to rip them out and do a different sock; I just don't know what yet. I love this Classic Elite Alpaca Socks yarn, though! It is wonderful to feel and to work with. Lastly, I *ahem* started a new project. It is the Portuguese Fisherwoman's shawl, designed by Shelagh Smith. I am almost half done it and I will soon post more information and pictures... but I am kinda waiting until I get my next shipment of patterns from Shelagh because as soon as you see this shawl you are going to want to make one. I had 29 copies of it for sale at the spa, and Shelagh lent me a model to wear, which I wore Friday night and Saturday. I kept one copy of the pattern for myself, and sold all the other 28 copies at the Spa. I am using a strand of laceweight Douceur et Soie held together with a strand of French Hill Farm's fabulous "French Twist" hand dyed fingering weight merino (the two together make a worsted weight). I am using utterly wonderful glass circular needles... this is my ultimate happy project! I love working on it so much!

The SPAAAAAAAAAAAA (New England Textile Arts group's annual get together in Freeport, Maine) was fabulous and I love Freeport as a venue for this event. It was relaxed, comfortable, and I hope they keep it there. True, I didn't make as much money at it as I usually do, but only a part of that was due to the fact that people are spread out over 3 hotels. For one thing, because it was new, people spent this year exploring and enjoying their hotel; next year or the year after, their hotel will be more familiar and they will venture out more readily. Also, there was bad weather on Friday, and the economy in general held people back. There is also more shopping competition within walking distance in Freeport than there was in Portland. There is more to see and do, so people didn't tend to hang out in the vending area. So as a vendor, I guess I should be unhappy that I made about half of what I usually make at this show, but since I went into it expecting that, and was correct in my assessment, I am pretty happy. And as a participant, I would be crazy not to love having it in Freeport. It is more open, more comfortable, the service was great, there is a ton of stuff to see and do, and it is closer for me to get to.

Spinning. Ahh yes. I haven't spun much since the Fiber Frolic in the summer, and then only for about a week. At the Spa I bought a lovely new Bosworth Spindle, some soft and fluffy blue fiber (can't remember what is in it -- silk? merino? angora? it is yummy, anyway), some great sock yarns from Dye Dreams, a fabulous NEW enterprise who had their debut at the Spa, at the booth next to us. I also got from them some fiber for making striped socks, and some gorgeous cashmere/silk fiber. So once again, I came home with fiber and a new spindle. Pretty good for someone who doesn't spin. I have decided to do "meditation" spinning every morning for 20 minutes..... for twenty minutes, I spin (currently the cashmere/silk blend on my new Bosworth spindle) and do nothing but focus on the spinning itself. I don't think about my worries or make plans and mental lists for the day ahead or think about anything at all. The point is, to think of nothing... and just spin. Focus on the fiber, on the moment, how the fiber feels in my hand, how the spindle looks. I have always heard that meditation is good for you, and I never was much of a person for simple "just-sitting" meditation. I need something to focus on. Spinning is my answer. With only a couple exceptions, I have successfully kept up my meditation spinning every morning. I have a nice kop of fiber on my spindle and something to look forward to every morning. It is a good thing.

In another spinning note, I am finally spinning on my marvelous Merlin Tree creation, the reproduction antique Quebec production wheel that David Paul made for me. It is fabulous and it makes me want to spin forever! I love it! I am spinning the blue fiber I got from the Spinning Bunny at the Spa. My life is now filled with wonderful spinning. :)

Lastly, I have two fabulous knitting weekends coming up: March 14, 15, & 16 and March 28, 29, & 30. This will be my third year! Hard to believe. There is still plenty of room available at both weekends and I hope you can come! We are going to relax, laugh, knit, spin, eat good food, learn a little, and HAVE FUN! If you have signed up for one of the weekends, please note that I am sending a letter to participants this week, as I did the last two years, explaining any items you might need to bring with you for classes and giving directions to the Lord Camden Inn and Unique One. I am really looking forward to these knitting weekends! It will be great to see you there! Many of the participants have now become my friends and I am always happy to see my circle of knitting friends growing :) (Oh by the way, they got a new waffle machine in the breakfast room at the LCI and it is even more fabulous than before! Yummy!)

I guess that is enough for now.... have a great day, and happy knitting! :)


Saturday in the Park with Sock

You can't actually get food in Bar Harbor. Note to travelers: Always always always pack fruit, drinks, nutrition bars, or whatever, since you never know when you will NOT be able to eat a meal (or any meal) when you travel. Last night's delicious supper of a half bag of potato chips left over from the trip up to Ellsworth was, shall we say, unsatisfying. (I couldn't get seated in the hotel restaurant because they were too busy; I went into town to find a restaurant, and not only were they also too busy, but I couldn't find parking anyway.) And this morning, there was a 45 minute wait to get breakfast. You can tell where the restaurants are in Bar Harbor because of the long lines on the sidewalks in front of them. I couldn't even get into the the hotel restaurant, for heaven's sake, due to the four tour buses that had filled the place. Bar Harbor has too many people, and it is mid-October. I guess it is good for business, but ironically, I wanted to get away to be alone and to relax, and I *thought* Bar Harbor in mid-October would be perfect. Leaf-peeping season is usually over by now, but I guess it has been a late leaf season. Oh well, poopy for me.

So having not had supper or breakfast, I went into the only place in Bar Harbor that had food AND had no customers inside, the natural food store; that's telling, no? Apparently tourists don't like whole wheat and tofu. Who knew. So I stocked up on a day's worth of organic fruit, organic drinks, whole wheat fig bars, organic nutrition bars, and I got a big cup of organic coffee to go, with soy milk instead of cream. I would say "Yum!", but well... it was soy milk. In my coffee. Sigh... at least it did have caffeine in it.

I drove down to one of the back entrances to Acadia National Park and arrived at Sand Beach. Did you know you have to pay $10 to get into the National Park? Not that I mind, but I kinda thought the national parks were part of the national budget that our taxes pay for, like a park perk for tax payers, as in U.S. citizens should not have to pay a fee to go to the park that their taxes support. I'm sorry... I am being whiney. It's my conservative, soy-milk-in-my-coffee & too-many-tourists bitchiness catching up with me. I will try to do better!! I will get comments on my post today, you betcha. So to all you people who race forward to tell me how wrong I am and that it is perfectly wonderful to pay a fee for a national park, and I am just being a bitch, I say, Yes!! Today, I am a bitch!!! Tomorrow I will probably feel just fine! And to all my customers whom I have just offended, I deeply apologize. But now you know what I am really like.

Sand Beach is pretty. I had not been there since about my sophomore year in high school. It looked smaller than I remembered. I remembered it as a huge sandy beach, but now that I have been to southern California, Sand Beach looks small. However, it is very beautiful and the surf was really booming. I loved watching the morning sunlight through the tops of the waves as they crested, just before crashing onto the sand. I found a rock to sit on, pulled out my organic nutrition bar and some organic juice, and had breakfast while I watched the waves. The sun was warm and the breeze was cool but pleasant. There were tourists on the beach, but I walked as far away from them as I could and took a seat on a likely rock near the water. Here is where I sat (top picture) and some pictures of the water:
Whereisat

Sandybeach


Waves


Morewaves

I had untangled my messed-up sock yarn last night, so I got comfy and prepared to cast on 72 stitches onto size 0 dpn's:

Warmfeet

I knit a couple of inches and watched both the tide start to come in and the stream of tourists growing more and more numerous, and they had all decided for some reason that where I was sitting was the best place on the beach to be. So I left. But I took a picture of Sock in all his newly-knitted glory on the beach:

Sockonthebeach

I decided to go to my other favorite point in the park, Thunder Hole, which is conveniently located just a bit down from Sand Beach. I did go down and look at it, but did not take any pictures or stick around too long. Although the tide had just turned, it was still a few more minutes before Thunder Hole began thundering -- it was more whispering, at the moment. I would have stayed, because one of my favorite things about Acadia National Park had been hearing the huge booming thunder and seeing the giant explosion of cold, salty water as the waves pounded into the cave at the end of the narrow inlet. I noticed that two tour buses were parked on the road up above, and they were both full of people waiting for Thunder Hole to become active. If I had stayed, I would have become trapped by a wall of tourists, and I am afraid my impulse either to jump into Thunder Hole myself, or to throw some of them in, might have overcome me, so I erred on the side of caution and left. I think maybe the soy milk was getting to me.

At this point it was noon. I needed gas, so I drove down to Somesville and pulled into a Mobil station. I have never been so happy to see a convenience store in my life, heh heh. I stocked up on more food which is sooooo NOT organic, and carbonated beverages. I figured housekeeping must be done with my room by now, and they were, so I am holing myself up in my room for the rest of the day and night, and getting up extra early in the morning so I can get out of here and back to my nice safe store, where I can work every day for the rest of my life, and I don't even care. At least they do not have soy milk in the coffee there.

This afternoon and evening I'll be knitting the end of clue #4 on my black Mystery Stole, possibly a hat that I haven't shared with you yet, and maybe more on my Sand Beach sock. We'll see. :)


Ahhhhhhh........

Ya know, a vacation is a goooooooood thing....

After a few too many days of this:
Needcoffee
.... I realized I needed to get AWAY. I counted it up and discovered that in the last 35 days, there were only two days that I had not come into the store or been working in some regard. I wanted just a teensy bit of time where I looked at something that I didn't see every single day... I wanted to look around and see something new, and I am not talking about new yarn, either. I wanted to drive down a new road, not have to talk to anyone if I didn't feel like it, and be a person that other people helped instead of being the person they looked to for help, just for a day or two.


So I took off. I asked Joe if he wanted to come with me, but he was unfortunately busy... just as well for him , since everyone knows that yarn shop ladies who go on vacation..... buy yarn!!!!

I'm on vacation. Right now. I'm actually in a hotel room right this second as I type this. I took off Thursday after work and I will be back at the store on Sunday morning after I drive back from Bar Harbor. Yes!!! That's where I went on vacation!!! Bar Harbor, where everyone in the world goes on vacation in Maine. I figured, why not??? It's like being on vacation without having to work very hard. It's practically next door (well, if next door takes you two and a half hours to drive to), it is easy to get to in the middle of October, and the ocean is just as pretty now as it ever is. Prettier, maybe.... lordy lordy lordy, you should see how gorgeous the foliage is up here. My, my, my... such pretty colors, orange and yellow and red and green and brown and the blue/green ocean.

I realized that in my two days off, one day, today, would be rainy (and yes, it poured), but one day promised to be a little bit sunny. So I am going to Acadia National Park to do the ocean & nature thing tomorrow. Today, my lovelies... ah, today..... I went to THREE yarn shops!!! All by myself!!!! I am still shivering with the delight of it.

First I went to Bee's, which is the most fabulous combination in the world: a yarn and chocolate shop. Sigh. I quiver at the perfection of that combination. I indulged mightily in yarn at Bee's, and I got enough Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool to make a sweater, along with the pattern book and needles to start said garment cuz ya know. I only brought about 9 projects with me, already started, and you know I neeeeeed to start this Silky Wool thing. Geez. I also bought a skein of utterly lime-a-licious sock yarn and teensy needles.... I tried to start the sock yarn in a restaurant, but why is it that the more you want to get started on a project in a hurry, and the more you are in a public place doing that, the more the yarn you pull out from the middle of the skein is a monstrous tangled mess??? I got the tangle half untangled and then my pie came. Guess which I finished first. Oh, and I also bought some loverly chocolates from Bee's as well: coconut snowballs, Grand Marnier truffles, espresso truffles, coffee creams. Yum! Here's the yarn porn for you to look at:
Beeshaul

Off I trundled to Southwest Harbor, where one of the best yarn shops in the state is located, Lilac Lily. I love this store very very very very very very very much. I had never been there before, and I am duly regretful. It is a fabulous and awe-inspiring place. You'll never meet nicer people, find a richer or more varied selection of products or have a more comfy place to sit and knit. It is amazing... a whole house filled on two floors with yarn and needlework supplies. I filled another bag with goodies and had a nice long talk with Chloe, the owner. It was truly wonderful to meet her! I walked out with a seriously decadent yarn haul: two skeins of 100% silk, hand dyed by Great Adirondack, a pattern and Lantern Moon rosewood needles for said yarn (see above about needing to have required goods to start any project immediately) and several skeins of that new sock yarn that has chitin from crab shells in it (it's new to me, anyway... ). And needles for said sock yarn, of course!! Here's the Lilac Lily haul:
Lilaclilyhaul

The last shop on my daytrip list was Shirley's, in Hancock, of course. Shirley's is truly a legend unto itself. It has everything. Really, everything. It is a huge gift shop and candy shop (with homemade fudge!! which I somehow escaped buying), but it is also one of the biggest yarn/needlework/craft/beading/paper shops I have ever seen in my life. So when I say Shirley's has everything, I mean it. It is no exaggeration. The people there are so friendly and wonderful, too. I love going there. I was kinda hungry by this point, it was after 2 p.m. and I hadn't eaten any lunch, so I shopped fast -- I had a serious pie date at Helen's in mind. Nevertheless, darlings, I managed to find some treasures to make your heart stop. I got a wonderful fingering weight 100% merino, hand painted yarn from Claudia yarn -- a skein of limeade and a skein of Tropicana, which has lime in it. Socks, of course... And I got some Omni Knit Sticks needles because I like the points on them better than the points on the needles I got at Bee's ... just in case I start that Silky Wool sweater before I get home. Never mind about the 27 sets of size 6 needles I already have at home. At Shirley's I also got a skein of luscious merino/alpaca/silk yarn from Araucania, a slightly thick and thin singles, hand dyed in Chile... in such beautiful, glowing colors! I had to have it. I'm thinking mittens. So I got dp needles to make mittens, in case I want to start them now. I am so pathetic, no??? Yes ... I did need a vacation... Here's the Shirley's loot:
Shirleyshaul

Tomorrow I am going to sleep late (again)(I always sleep late, heh heh) and then I am going to have a little brekky and head to one of the lesser-traveled entrances to Acadia National Park. I haven't been there in so many years... and it is such a gorgeous place. You could never see the whole park in one day, so I am going to re-visit two or three of my favorite spots, take lots of pretty ocean and rock pictures, and find a lovely place to knit for the rest of the day. Tonight I will have a little supper (better be a salad, after that pie at Helen's!!!) and knit my evening away. Yes, I think this is the perfect, perfect vacation, and it is just what I needed. :D

And just to end this on a really grand note, did you know that the Unique One fall yarn sale is going on right now? 20% off regularly-priced yarn in stock; the sale ends Oct. 21. So if you want to go on a little vacation too, come to Camden and snag some yarn at a good price! We have a lot of new yarns, so if you haven't been in Unique One for a while, now would be a mighty fine time to go!! And what the heck, wander up to Bee's and Lilac Lily and Shirley's too, if you have a few days. It is definitely worth the trip!!

Smile while you knit, darlings... :D

xoxo


2007 June Knitting Cruise!

Hi! I just got back from another great knitting cruise! It was fabulous.... we had so much fun! Here are some pictures for your amusement :

Rocklandharbor
Rockland Harbor in the morning before we left


Amyknitssocks
Amy knits socks :)


Breakfast_2
Breakfast!


Americaneaglesetsout
American Eagle sets out.


Breakwaterlight
We pass the Rockland Breakwater Light and set out for some knitting and sailing!

Signalflags
Shawn runs up the signal flags: "Knit Wit"

Sparkplug
Sailing past the Spark Plug.

Nemo
Nemo goes along for the ride (but he can't knit).


Jollyroger
We ran up the Jolly Roger so we could attack an approaching cruise ship ;)


Cruiseship
The cruise ship we shot our cannon at.

Hellshalfacre
Hell's Half Acre island where we had our lobsterbake. It's all granite, no sand!

Rocks
These rocks on Hell's Half Acre are amazing...


Shawngeorgelobbies
Shawn and George escort the crustaceans to the pot.


Lobstersup
The lobsters emerged all red and yummy!


Robjacquelineandg0013


Charles
Making S'mores! mmmmm


Hulahooping
After s'mores... fun with hula hoops!

Sunsetjune2007
Penobscot Bay, home of the best sunsets in the world.....


In the Meantime...

While I was finishing my Diamond Patch Sweater, I did have a couple other things going on. For one thing, Victoria and I went to Columbus, Ohio to the TNNA Needlearts Market. It was fun! We had a pretty easy trip, flew on JetBlue, which I never had done before. I love JetBlue; it was great to be able to listen to XM radio (although I noticed most people enjoyed watching television more).

There were a lot of exhibitors at the show and I think we saw each of them twice. Well... the knitting exhibits, anyway. Half of the booths were for needlework, like cross stitch and needlepoint, so we kinda blew right by them. Although, I will say, I really wish I knew how to do that stuff, and had the patience for it. Some of the items were really beautiful. Unfortunately I am too impractical to do needlework. I am not much for hanging things on walls, so working for 200 hours to make flat art doesn't appeal to me that much. (Sorry, to all the needleworkers out there.... it just isn't my thing.) It sure is beautiful, though!

I didn't really see too much of a trend at this year's show. Even though it is the "Summer Show", the exhibitors show fall and winter items at this show. I would say the hot fiber was alpaca... it seemed like everything had alpaca in it. I love alpaca! But we already have a lot of alpaca in the store. There were also a lot of shawl pins, beautiful shawl pins. I thought about ordering some that were magnetic, but passed on them.

We looked hard at a couple of Classic Elite yarns... one is an alpaca sock yarn, and another is a really wonderful 100% not-superwash wool that comes in amazing colors. Pam Allen, Classic Elite's new creative consultant, was in the booth and it was nice to see her again! She had designed a gorgeous sweater from this new yarn. The yarn reminds me a little of Jo Sharp's wool dk yarn, but the Classic Elite version is about $2 cheaper per skein and comes in better colors, in my opinion. We did look at the Jo Sharp yarn.. but I just couldn't do it. Too expensive, and there are about 10 kinds of Jo Sharp yarn now... and her pattern books include designs for many of the Jo Sharp yarns. That's fine, if you carry 10 kinds of Jo Sharp yarn. I didn't think my customers would want to buy those pattern books only to get one or two patterns that they could buy the Jo Sharp yarn for locally. Also the sales person mentioned the Jo Sharp wool dk yarn wasn't a really hot seller in the Jo Sharp line, so we decided to keep looking. I wanted a good, basic, high-quality 100% wool, dk weight, non-superwash yarn that came in a great selection of colors. Classic Elite has one of the best color pallettes in the industry, as far as I am concerned. Throw in the fact that Pam Allen particularly loves this yarn and will probably come up with some amazing designs for it...yup. I didn't order it at the show... but my Classic Elite sales rep will be visiting us soon, and I can order it then. I will be looking for a late summer, or early fall ship date on it. I believe the yarn is called Classic Elite 150 (it has 150 yards/skein).

We ordered some fabulous Morehouse Merino knitting kits. There are some really cute, whimsical scarves, and some very fashionable scarves and shawl kits. We also ordered a really neat wool/hemp blend yarn from LanaKnits. I think it's called Wool Hemp. Or, Hemp Wool. Can you tell I am blogging with no notes? heh heh. I will have to go look through my orders from the show before I go on, I think.

Victoria and I took classes at the show, of course! Victoria took the Sally Melville class on creativity that I took last year, and I think she really liked it! She also took a class on short-row shaping, but I kinda got the impression she already knew most of the material. I took only one class, Portuguese Knitting, from Andrea Wong. It was great! When I was in college I had a friend who was from Colombia and she knit in a very different way from anyone else I had ever seen. I kept trying to figure out how she did it... she had the yarn around her neck and she made the stitches with her left thumb. She could purl about 5 times faster than she could knit. I tried to figure out how she did it, but I never could. But now, I have finally learned! The technique is fascinating, and it is a totally different way of knitting and purling than anything I knew previously. I am not that fast at the technique, but like with anything, with practice, I think it could be a pretty speedy way to knit and especially purl. In this technique, purling is WAY easier and quicker than knitting.


Home, Finally

Well, we did in fact make it back to Bangor, and I did end up having to drive in the messy yucky weather. I took Victoria home and then got back to my house at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Driving was slippery and yucky (I had to go about 35 mph the whole way!) but a slightly worse problem was my extreme tiredness. The warmth of the car and the rhythmic slapping of the ice-coated windshield wipers created a soporific effect that I barely staved off by opening the window for most of the ride home.

I slept for about 6 hours and then jumped back in the car about 9:30 that same morning and drove down to Marlboro, Massachusetts for the New England Apparel Club (NEAC) show. This is where the clothing companies show their summer (and some fall) clothing, and it is the show where I must order all the clothing that we sell at Unique One in the summer. I had an appointment at 3 pm to look at the new Icelandic sweaters/jackets, and I was able to get a few orders for scarves and straw bags and hats in before my appointment. (I got to the show about 2 p.m.) I looked around a little more but was really too tired to make any good buying decisions, so I went back to the hotel, checked in, had a nice supper and a couple of martinis and then pretty much collapsed into bed.

The next morning after a great breakfast, I really went to work. I had two important appointments right off the bat, at 9 and 11 a.m., with Produce, and with the representative for Cut Loose, Click, and Color Me Cotton (CMC) -- all very popular and well-known clothing brands. I ordered such cute clothes for summer! Wait till you see them! :) The only thing I didn't order much of was shorts, oddly enough ... all the shorts they were showing were knee-length Bermuda shorts and I think they look rather silly on pretty much everyone. So I only ordered one line of them. I got some very cute dresses, several different types of pants sets (capri and cropped lengths) and all kinds of shirts... camisoles, sleeveless, short sleeved, long sleeved, T-shirts, gauzy tunics... all in great colors! I started out a little heavy on blue and white for colors at first, but then I threw in a good bit of taupe, brown, neutrals; and coral/orange/peach. I got a little purplish periwinkle, and a little lime green and avocado, quite a bit of white, a little black... one color I really wanted more of was pink, but *nobody* was showing any pink anywhere (sorry, Peggy!). Colors in general are rather muted and not wild and bright, but that may be because many of the vendors "New-Englandize" their lines for this show, and show the bright, wild stuff to the southern market.

I also ordered quite a few nice sweaters from the Alps company. We used to sell a ton of sweaters from them, but got away from their products in recent years. They offer well-made, classic styles for very reasonable prices. Most of their pieces retail for between $45 and $80. They also had several great styles that I ordered specifically for men. We get a lot of "what do you have for men's sweaters?" but when we show them the sweaters that we make, and the Irish sweaters, we don't always get a good response.... many people find those sweaters to be great, but many people really are asking "what do you have for inexpensive men's sweaters?" I think the Alps sweaters will fit their needs and we will not lose those sales, as we have in the past. We really didn't have much for men that cost less than $90 last year, but this year we will, and in cotton, too!

One of my really favorite finds at the show was fabulous godet skirts by Sandy Starkman (you can see one here -- I didn't get that color, I got black, turquoise, a blue/white print and a brown/taupe/beige print). I also got one of her jackets... it is so colorful and gorgeous that it made me happy just to look at it. And it goes perfectly with the turquoise skirt, too! Also, our Unique One cotton sweaters will look great with the Sandy Starkman skirts as well. :)

I ordered a bunch of wild and crazy scarves and some lacy shawls and a knitted lace shrug/bolero/jacket thing with very cute ruffles, the perfect thing to wear over a sundress to go out to dinner in. I also ordered some great new watches, and some cute reading glasses in a variety of colors and strengths.

I picked up info from a company that sells utterly gorgeous, fully reversible, cotton quilted jackets in Indian prints and paisleys .... far more beautiful than the ones we have sold before. They also sell really gorgeous silk and/or rayon scarves, also from India. I wish I had found them first! But unfortunately, I found them at the very end of the show on Wednesday, and I knew I was too beat to make reasonable decisions. And, they offered such a huge selection! So many designs and colors and patterns to choose from! I took their catalog and I will place the order soon.

Almost all the clothing I ordered will be arriving between May 1 and June 30, so I hope you all come in and buy, buy, buy... because I will have to *pay* for this clothing! It's really cute, and I must say, buying lots of great summer clothes made me happy ... just knowing that summer really will arrive, and sooner than we can believe.

So after the show, I went back to the hotel because it would be crazy to try to drive home that night. I had another great dinner and only *one* martini, and fell into bed. :D The next morning dawned cold and sunny, I ate breakfast and drove home. All in all, it was a great show. But I am so glad to be home!!!!

Now I can concentrate on getting my next newsletter to the printer on the 29th, and promoting my upcoming classes, and getting stuff on my blog and website about the upcoming March knitting weekends. Oh, and getting things ready for the SPA weekend in Portland in February! Wooohoooo! I am really looking forward to that! Man, it is going to be April before I know it...... And then the summer clothing will be arriving shortly after, heh heh. Maybe I will just start listening to the Beach Boys now.....


TNNA Show January 2007 Day 4

TNNA Show Day 4

Sunday morning we had another great breakfast at Cafe 222. Victoria headed out to a lace knitting class with Myrna Stahman, but I lazily went back to the hotel room to relax, as I had not signed up for a Sunday class. It gave me a chance to look over what we had ordered so far and determine what we had left to do and how much money we had left to spend. As it turned out, we really hadn't found that much to order the previous day, and so we were still in pretty good shape.

I met Victoria at 11 and we went into the show. We placed button orders at Blue Moon Buttons (where I found a great pewter moose button and a pewter pine cone button) and at Renaissance Buttons (those are the little "picture" buttons we sell; they had a new series of buttons with cherubs on them that were really pretty -- yes, we ordered them.)

One of my very most wonderfullest favorite finds at the show was a vendor selling circular knitting needles made of glass. I ordered them!! I have by-passed ordering glass needles for two or three years now, but when I saw circular needles of glass, I couldn't resist. And they'll retail for about $30 per set. Currently our rosewood straight needles retail for $20 to $25 per set, so I didn't think that was too bad. Wait til you see how beautiful they are! I was able to test a pair and found the tips to be marvelous and more importantly, the join is wonderful, too!

We also ordered, from Unravelled, Inc., a series of knitting and crochet themed greeting cards. They are funny as hell. I had to have them. I think even if you don't knit, they are funny, and if you do, you will really "get" the jokes. It was a very good find.

We stopped by KnitWhits and placed a re-order for some of their knitting kits. It was nice to see Tina again. :)

The last two stops we made were really as much to re-connect with old friends as it was to place orders. First, we stopped to talk to Austin Wilde at Alchemy Yarn. You know how very much I absolutely love Austin and Gina and their wonderful yarns. We ordered two new kinds of yarn that they are offering at a slightly lower price than their other yarns. The first is "Migrations" which is top-dyed and then spun, not hand-painted as their other yarns are. It travels from one color to another as you knit. They had a scarf knit out of it that was beautiful.... it is a Shaker-rib stitch, and it comes out looking striped because of the color migration. Their second new yarn is "Vita", and 100% raw silk in solid colors. Gina designed the color selections to reflect Alchemy's signature color look. We also ordered Alchemy's wonderful lace-weight mohair and silk yarn "Haiku" in several of their new colors for this year.... their colors are so wonderful!! I can't wait for you to see this Haiku. What a lovely yarn. Lastly, we ordered several patterns to support the Alchemy yarns we ordered.

Our last stop was to visit with Tricia and Chet of Frogtree Yarns. We really intended only to say hi, didn't plan on placing an order.... but they had new colors of their merino, which we ordered, and I ordered their hand-dyed fingering weight alpaca. Wonderful, muted colors of fingering alpaca... so pretty.

So, amazingly, we were done..... and it was only 1:30 on Sunday. So we went back to the hotel and napped. It was an enjoyable coincidence that the Patriots were playing San Diego that afternoon, so I watched the end of the game. (The Patriots won ... barely, but they won!). Then we went back to Fred's for one last night of great Mexican food, and I had a couple of grande margaritas and persuaded Victoria to have *two* beers. Then back to the hotel and bed. We had to get up early.

Monday morning we got up early and boarded a plane back home. I am not looking forward to driving back to the midcoast region in the yucky freezing rain and "wintery mix" predicted for tonight. But if all goes well, I will be home by midnight. Yay! So I can get up and drive down to Marlboro, Massachusetts tomorrow morning. :(

If all goes well, if I can find a place to plug in my laptop (I am at only 33% power at the moment), I will be posting all of the TNNA show posts to my blog at once, from Boston. Wish me luck!

:) We made it to Boston & I can successfully post these blog posts now. The weather looks terrible up in Maine but I think we are going to try to drive home in the mess anyhow. Wish me luck driving!


TNNA Show January 2007 Day 2 (really... Day 2!)

TNNA Show Day 2

The TNNA show went pretty well. Here's a blow-by-blow of what we did:

Friday, as planned, we blew off the educational opportunities and headed out for a day of fun in San Diego. Originally we thought we would go to the San Diego Zoo. However, the weather was iffy in the morning... coldish and with a hint of rain. Victoria and I both realized we liked the idea of having been to the zoo more than the idea of actually going to the zoo. Meaning, we both realized we only wanted to go to the zoo so we could say we had been to the zoo.... not because we really cared about seeing the animals. Plus, it's expensive to go to the zoo. So we decided to blow off the zoo, too, and go do something else instead. What, though, we didn't really know.

First of all, we had to go register, so we walked down to the convention center (about a 15 minute walk) and registered and picked up our badges and stuff. The new products table wasn't completely set up yet, so we didn't bother to look at it yet. I thought it might be fun to go to a yarn shop (of course) so we went to the information desk to see where there was a yarn shop in San Diego. Unfortunately, there isn't one, apparently. There were a couple of shops in Old Town and another nearby town (I forget the name) which we could go to.... we would have to change trains twice to get to the first one... and the second one might not still be there, although it did have the distinction of being across the street from a Hooter's. Victoria and I looked at each other and silently agreed that a yarn shop visit was probably not in our near future. I really cannot believe that there is not only no yarn shop in San Diego, but that there isn't one right near the convention center. Seems like it would be a perfect location, especially given the rise in how many career women & men knit now, but oh well.

As I had left the house on Thursday morning, my husband had called after me, "Take a taxi across the Coronado Bridge and go have a drink at the Del!". See, Joe used to drive a taxi in San Diego. He hated having to take people over that bridge, and they were invariably headed to the Hotel Del Coronado to the bar there. Or possibly to stay there. I have heard him talk about that bridge for 18 years. I, of course, had no intention of doing what he suggested. However, given our sudden whole day with nothing to do, the idea appealed to me.

So Victoria and I gamely climbed into a taxi and headed over the Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island to have a drink at the Del. The Coronado Bridge is high-ish and long-ish, but nowhere near the scary behemoth construction described by my husband. I loved the view from the top. I called Joe from the taxi as we drove across the bridge to tell him where I was. He sounded bemused.

We got to the Hotel Del Coronado and walked down to the beach. It truly is a gorgeous place. I took a picture of flowers:

Birdofp

We walked on the beach for a while. A family from Tennessee asked me to take a picture for them, and we chatted a bit. Victoria sat on the sea wall and listened to a song called "California". We strolled up the beach a ways and watched the birds -- gulls, sand pipers, and little birds that might be plovers? We are bird illiterate.

Delbeach


Thedel


Thedel2


Waves

Then we strolled back to the Del, visited the gift shop, and went to have lunch and the required "drink at the Del". It was a really great lunch... I had a fabulous ahi tuna salad nicoise and a martini; Victoria had something else, I forget. I called Joe to tell him I was having a drink at the Del. Apparently I was supposed to have a *margarita*, but he neglected to mention exactly what type of drink I was supposed to have.

After lunch we walked across Coronado Island (about a mile and a half walk) and took the ferry back to San Diego. It was at this point, I am sad to report, that my camera broke. So the pictures above are the only ones you are getting for this trip. Sorry! It worked fine until suddenly all I got was purple, black and white blobs for pictures. I have no idea what is wrong with it. I didn't drop it or anything... it was fine for one picture, and then suddenly all the others were a mess. Prior to the mess, I did get a "zoom error" which I never have seen before. I hope I can get it fixed.

We walked back to our hotel from the ferry landing and got ready to go to the Galleria and Fashion Show. The Galleria was where several companies set up panel displays for people to get a sneak peek at ... we looked at them, but a lot where for needlepoint and cross stitch, so not too interesting to us. I don't remember seeing anything at the Galleria worth noting. Then we went to the Fashion Show. There were about 120 pieces shown. I remember several shrugs and shawls, quite a few jackets and coats (which seemed odd for a summer show) and a few sweaters, but to be honest there was nothing so outstanding that it stuck in my mind. And I really paid attention, too. The fashion show being over, we toddled back to the hotel and collapsed into bed.


TNNA Show January 2007 Day 1 (more)

Well Victoria and I made it to San Diego! We finally got here about midnight our time and then went and had a great dinner at the hotel restaurant. She had a cheeseburger and I had a salad. And I had a martini. It was good. They have this specialty martini here, the "Crazy Dazy" martini, or something.

There are tons of people staying here for the show. We even saw Linda Cortwright of Wild Fibers magazine in the lobby!

I am so tired I cant' stay awake... I will post more tomorrow. :D