Category Archives: Events

The Wool Gathering Festival 2017

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It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to this show and its grown even more!  The Wool Gathering is near Yellow Springs, Ohio and is held in middle September of each year. The show runs Saturday and Sunday and there are no classes due to space limitations. It is on the grounds of a dairy farm and vendors are set up under tents. WARNING: Picture heavy post.

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I went with several friends and we got there right about the time it opened on Sunday at 10am.  By noon it was crowded and hot (hot being almost 90 degrees in mid-September).  We shopped, ate, then shopped some more.  I had a couple items I was on the hunt for but otherwise wanted to spend time looking at yarns from vendors I hadn’t seen in a while.

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The non-fibery stuff:

  • Chocolate Cherry Lip Balm from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  This stuff is like dessert for your lips, minus any calories.  Goes on smooth.  Go check out her website for some amazing photography and cool products.
  • For Feet Sake by BarMaids in the Peppermint Plus scent – This stuff is amazing for your feet, especially if your dry feet tear up your knee high hose (yes, I wear knee high hose with my dress shoes).  I like that you apply it like a stick of deodorant, leaving your hands mess free.
  • Lotion from Amazing Grace Farms – I love this stuff.  It is by far my favorite lotion.  No dyes and its very hypoallergenic.  The proceeds go to support her animal rescue, which makes it all the better.  Please check out her website and consider ordering.  The peppermint and lavender are my two favorites.  I bought one bottle of apple cider and have two more bottles of the peppermint cream coming to me via mail.
  • Pattern for Rookwood by Mindy Wilkes.  Ravelry pattern page is here.

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One of my favorite vendors (of many favorites) at the show was Destination Yarns.  I met the owner, Jeanne, at Stitches Midwest the first year I went and love her saturated dyeing.  She also uses the most scrumptious yarn bases.

  • (left side) Suitcase base (a worsted weight merino yarn that I swear feels like it cashmere in it) in the colorway Underneath the Christmas Tree
  • (top) One skein each of her Note base in the Miracle and Stormy Skies colorways.  This is aiming to be a two-color shawl such as Quicksilver or Blackbird.
  • (right) A mini-skein set on the Postcard base in fall colors.  It’s a merino yarn and each mini (there are eight) has 92 yards.  This, and a solid, will become the Take It All shawl.
  • You might also notice I got a couple bags, including a Game of Thrones themed drawstring and a Destination Yarn tote.  I’ll just keep telling myself one can never have too many bags.

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Long-time favorite dyer – Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns.  She was really one of the first doing gradient yarns (as mini-skein sets) and I used to see her every year at The Fiber Event in Greencastle.  She has a background in chemistry and has a very good eye for color.

  • (upper left) Two skeins of her Kashmir yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon base) in Citron and Wicked Good.  This bright of colors is wayyy outside of my norm, which was my goal.  This is likely to become either the Cypri shawl or the Fallston shawl.
  • (lower right) A mini-skein set on the Footnotes base in the colorway Fire and Ice and a full skein of Footnotes in the colorway Ft. Knox.  I tried matching the mini-skein set with a gray but could not find a combo that made my heart sing.  The gold one did though.   This is for the On the Spice Market shawl.

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A new to me dyer – Ewetopia, out of Wisconsin.  The yarn base is called Pashm and is merino/cashmere/nylon and the colorway is Country Fair.  Given the cashmere content this will become fingerless mitts.

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A second new to me dyer – Betwitched Pigments.  I’m a sucker for tonals and her’s have a lot of depth.  I actually got an aran weight yarn (I know, not my norm) in the colorway Surprise!  These are pretty springy and soft so I’m hoping they will make good legwarmers.

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Last one, I promise.  A third new to me dyer – The Fibre Art Studio at Yarns to Dye For. This was the last yarn I bought, even though I had been looking for a bright rainbow gradient with over 500 yards of yardage.  The base is Fifty Shades of Gradient (funny pun) in the United colorway.  This and some black will become my Lambton Panes shawl which I’ve been lusting over since Sarah of Yarn Geek Fibers finished hers.

 

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September 2017 Odds n’ Ends

It’s almost fall.  We’re almost there! I love fall – cinnamon, apples, fallen leaves, the slight chill, plaid shirts (which apparently is “in” this fall”) and more apples.  I might have already put out fall decorations and stocked up on cinnamon as I gear up for a busy September.

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New Bag I ordered (another) custom bag from The Silver Shed on Etsy.  The proprietress Ann is always so great to work with and this time was no exception. I found this Supernatural (as in the tv show) themed fabric on Spoonflower and was dying to have it as a bag.  So, I reached out to Ann, ordered and shipped her the fabric and POOF she made me a bag.  One of the things I love about her shop is the ability to customize the bag by adding different types of exterior and interior pockets.  I love the big clear vinyl pocket on the outside for storing my pattern.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

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Upcoming Design I’m wrapping up a cozy autumn/winter shawl that has mesh and a slipped stitch texture designed to show off highly variegated yarns.  It should go out to test knitters by the end of the month – if you’re interested in test knitting please shoot me an email or/ message me on Ravelry.  Test knitters get a free copy of this pattern PLUS a free copy of any other of my patterns of their choice.

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Upcoming Events

  • September 16 – I will be at Nomad Yarns in Plainfield, Indiana during their Santa Knits in September event for the debut of my new pattern with Malabrigo.  You can choose from a selection of Malabrigo yarns and get a free copy of the pattern.
  • September 17 – I will be in Yellow Springs, Ohio for The Wool Gathering fiber festival.  This event does not offer classes/workshops so I will NOT be teaching there.
  • September 23 – I will be at Montrose Farms Alpaca Ranch in Brownsburg, Indiana to demo spinning alpaca during their annual open house event.   There will also be a fiber processing demonstration, alpaca photo booth and all the cute farm animals.

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 Upcoming Blog Posts I’ve been thinking a lot about fixed versus interchangeable knitting needles, how to organize my needles, books I read last month, squeezing in a little yarn dyeing and some fun fall recipes.  Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear about?

 

 

 

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Stitches Midwest 2017

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I know what you’re thinking – Courtney, you didn’t go to Stitches Midwest this year, how do you have goodies from Stitches.  Well, my wonderful friend Erika (and her sister) offered to do a little personal shopping for me. I’ve linked to each vendor, just in case you’d like to check them out.

Some Non-Yarn Goodies

From Erin Lane Bags – one of her new Sheeple prints, Larry.  I’m also planning to get the Dr. Who prints/

From KnitBaahPurl – a shirt that says “I’m Only Fluffy on the Outside”

The YARN! Sorry I didn’t take the yarn out of the bags for the pictures.

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From Dragonfly Fibers – A gradient set of DK weight Traveller (100% superwash merino) in the colorway Starry Night.  The set consists of six 2-ounce skeins for a total of 840 yards.

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From A Hundred Ravens – A set of Yarn Poppers, which are small mini-skeins of coordinating colors on the Aesir (DK weight merino) base.  There’s a total of 75 grams in the one set.

 

 

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Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2017

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping.  I was slowed down, just a bit, by my broken foot and made an effort to keep it elevated as much as possible.

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I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic (and returning!) students.   Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures. So here’s a sheep from the day.

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On Friday I taught Beaded Wire Bracelet and DIY Stitchmarkers and on Saturday I taught Cables 101.  One of my Cables class students from April took the Beaded Wire Bracelet class and I got to see two cabled handbands (a pattern exclusive to the Cables 101 class) she made. Saturday morning I got to Franklin early so I picked up my mini-rug hooking kit and sat at the edge of a friend’s booth working on that.

Of course, I did a little shopping. Yarny goodness:

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  • (Upper left) This actually just came – I loved the colorway but requested it on a different base (superwash merino rather than a merino bamboo mix) and they dyed it up this week.  It is a “shawl ball” from Brenda and Heather Yarns (aka BAH Yarns), a local dyer. This is 645 yards of fingering weight in a single gradient colorway called Sunset. 
  • (Upper right) Yet another large gradient, this time Arial Evolution (100% merino) from Twisted Fiber Art.  This is a new to me dyer so I’m excited to start on this soon.  Colorway is Downten.
  • (Lower left) This was a dyer I specifically wanted to buy something from this year as I’ve never tried her yarns.  This is sportweight 100% merino (superwash) in the Plum Drum Weekend colorway from Oink Pigments.  It’s actually not the softest merino but it feels like a very sturdy merino that won’t fuzz or felt so I’m planning to use it for socks.
  • (Lower right) Another yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns but this is a self striping DK yarn.  I love self-striping for socks but given I’m a crazy slow sock knitter, DK weight yarn is perfect for me.  Colorway is Sunshine on a Cloudy Day (or as I call it, Grellow).

 

 

 

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Lest You Think I Disappeared. . .

I fully realize I’ve been as quiet as a church mouse this month. It has been an absolutely crazy and insane month of weird happenings. So, I’m going to give you an update on the two big things and then some smaller updates on miscellaneous things. 


At the beginning of May my cat stopped eating (which was very scary for my food motivated cat). Initial diagnosis was a UTI but when she didn’t start eating within a couple days of treatment I took her back to the vet for additional testing. The vet gave me a diagnosis for lymphoma. At that point the biggest concern was getting her eating again because if I couldn’t within a couple days, I would need to consider letting her go. I tried a last ditch effort of an anti-nausea medication injection and that seemed to jump start the appetite. After another week of trying random soft foods, then hand feeding kibble, she finally started eating on her on. Due to the lymphoma we’re just in a waiting game but she seems happy and active and lovey. 


On the first day I got her to eat on her own, I went and broke my foot. The true story is I tripped in a ditch by a work colleague has a much better version, that being I fought off pirate ninjas with knitting needles and a skein of yarn, while saving a truckload of kittens. Totally beleiveable, right? Anyways, I’m in an aircast for 6 weeks and hoping the bone starts to heal on its own. While I can get around pretty well, stairs are still problematic and I’m trying to stay off my feet as much as possible because walking in the cast is discombobulating my back. So appreciative of my wonderful friends who have been helping out. Also, ordering groceries online is now a thing, which makes me feel like a lazy bum but so be it. 


My last fiber festival classes of the season are this upcoming weekend at the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Franklin, Indiana. More details on the Classes page but I’m teaching a fun variety of classes. Cables 101 will teach you how to knit cables, read cables from a chart and how to fix mis-crossed cables. Beaded Wire Bracelet is a fun in-class project to knit a beaded bracelet from wire. Lastly, DIY stitch markers will teach you to make three different types of stitch markers and you take home as many as you can make. 


All of my plants for the year, save for a few a friend brought over last night, are in their pots and growing. I have some fruit (strawberries), veggies (carrots, peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens), herbs (too many to list), and some flower/healing plants (chamomile, lavender, echinacea). Winston loves the fresh kale! 

More in June on Hoosier Hills, what’s on the needles and recent spinning.  I’m gearing up to participate in Tour de Fleece but I’ll, obviously, be spinning on my e-spinner rather than my double treadle Sonata. 

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2017

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a three new classes!

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I taught three classes, all new.  Of the three, I think the knitted wire bracelet with beads was my favorite.  Both students finished their bracelets in class.

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I also taught a class on making stitch markers and another on beginner cables. It is so fun to teach something that results in an items the students can take home.  The same classes will be offered June 2 and 3 at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 15th and you can see class descriptions here.

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After the classes on Friday I went to dinner with some friends where hijinx ensued.  One friend had dropped a skein while winding it (sans skeinwinder) and a mess bloomed.  While we waited for our meal we tried to help her untangle across the table.  No beverages were harmed in the process.

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Since I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  Made some purchases from some long-time favorites, and some new.

The Yarn and Fiber:

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Working left to right (then the bottom)

  • The green yarn is 8oz of DK weight alpaca/merino/silk from Briar Rose Fibers
  • The blue/purple fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
  • The rainbow yarn is the colorway Mr. Roy G. Biv on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns
  • The red yarn is the colorway Heart’s Blood on the Slightly Silky (merino/silk fingering weight) from Copper Centaur Studios
  • The fiber at the bottom is 100% nylon from Hello Purl

Notions and Accessories:

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  • The canvas and fiber is a mini rug hooking kit from Breezy Manor (aka Donna Jo Copeland aka where I got Winston).  I’ve always been intrigued but a large project is a little overwhelming.  So I got the little kit.  It will have a bunny on it and Donna Jo gave me some white fiber so I can make a white bunny like Winston.
  • The two “pouches” in the upper left of the photo are yarn keepers.  You put your yarn ball in (the bottom opens up square) and close the snap.  I’m hoping it’ll protect my yarn when it invariably hits the floor.  These two are from The Felted Garden (on Etsy as thefeltedgarden).
  • The soap is from Simple Soapworks and I buy some every year.  I love the oatmeal in the soap because it really does exfoliate.  This year I got two scents – lavender rosemary and oatmeal.
  • The pouch in the lower left is a yarn keep from a different booth.  I like this one a lot because the fabric is heavier and it has a d ring on the side.  It has strings to cinch close but I might replace those with the little plastic stoppers you squeeze.  These are made by DC Bags and she will be be opening a shop May 1 on Etsy.  She also has a lot of nice wedge project bags.
  • The white stick on the left side it a goat milk lotion bar in the lavender scent.  The maker is Gentle Meadow Goat Farm but it was sold by Midwest Fiber.  They had a lot of nice alpaca yarns and fibers as well.
  • The tubes on the top are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  I got chocolate cherry and strawberry vanilla although there were many more options.  This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.
  • The odd looking contraption on the right is a ball holder.  You put the base of the V up the center off your yarn cake and the ring on your wrist/forearm so you can carry your yarn.  Usually I can clip a project bag to a belt loop but that doesn’t work for my skirt.  Hopefully this will! I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
  • Last but not listed I found a stemless wine glass from knitbaahpurl, sold via a different vendor’s booth.  I got the one that says “Three Sheeps to the Wind” (which I have on a t-shirt already) and may order another that says “Sheep Faced.”

That’s all folks!

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2017 Classes – The Fiber Event

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Its that time of year again!  Registration is open for The Fiber Event and I will be teaching three new classes.  I’m so excited for this opportunity.  In addition, I will be teaching these classes at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Franklin, Indiana, and hopefully that registration will be open in a few weeks.

The Fiber Event is April 14 and 15 in Greencastle, Indiana, which is about an hour west of Indianapolis.  A ton of vendors and a lot of great classes.  Registration fee is $40 for each three-hour class and now you can sign up on their website here.  You will see that there are a fixed number of spots available for each class so sign up now if you’re interested!

The Fiber Event Schedule

Friday, April 14, 9:00am-12:00pm – Beaded Wire Bracelet

Friday, April 14, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Stitch Markers

Saturday, April 15, 9:00am-12:00pm – Knitting Cables 101

If you can’t make it to the class or would like a specialized focus please see my page here for private lessons.

 

Classes:

Beaded Wire Bracelet

Beaded Wire Bracelet - Two Strand

Create a custom bracelet from wire and beads that you, and your friends, will love. See different styles and options, then jump right into your own bracelet. You will leave the class with a completed bracelet and the tools and skills to create more!

Bring to class: Your creativity!

Materials fee is $13, payable directly to me at the start of class, and covers wire, metal needles, beads, jump rings, clasps and handout.

 

Make Your Own Stitch Markers

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Explore ways to make your own custom stitch markers for knitting or crochet. We will make three different types of stitch markers using flexible beading wire, headpins and a variety of beads. You will leave the class with at least a dozen stitch markers and the skills to create many more!

Bring to class: Your creativity!

Materials fee is $10, payable directly to me at the start of class, and covers flexible wire, headpins, eyepins, jump rings, beads, crimps, round nose pliers and handouts.

Knitting Cables 101

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Learn to knit cables like a pro! We will cover yarn and needle selection, cabling to the front and back, and reading charts. Put your new knowledge to practice in class to master techniques, learn how to fix cabling mistakes and start a cabled headband.

Bring to class: Worsted weight yarn and appropriately sized needles (approximately US 6-8)

Materials fee of $5 covers pattern, cable needle, stitch markers and handouts.

 

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Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2017 – The Goodies

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As I promised last week, here are the goodies from the Knitting Pipeline retreat! I have included  links to the vendors (ok, I’m enabling you) so you can check them out. Now to try to go through these in a semi organized fashion.

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Oh, bags.  People keep telling me I have a bag problem.  I can’t help it!

Upper left – teal and white circles – I bought the bag at a LYS booth (it was a retreat sponsor) but the bag was actually made by Trappings and Trinkets (available on Etsy). I actually squeeled when I unzipped the bag because the interior fabric was so cute (teal, pink and white kitties).  If you want a peak, take a look at my instagram feed!

Upper right – arctic animals on a gray background – this bag is from Fat Squirrel Fibers.  She actually made a bag specifically for the retreat but I loved the animals on this one even more (see the little narwhal?).  The bags are nicely made and she picks out fabrics that are fun but not necessarily loud and crazy.

Lower right – these two little notion pouches are from RainStorm Studios.  I toss them in my project bags that don’t have pockets.  I really like the one on the right because it has a circle base but opens up wide enough you can include a pair of small scissors in there.  Very functional for me.

Lower left – this is the gauge ruler from Ann Budd knits. KnitCircus carries them and they’re all of $5. You line up the stitch symbols on the ruler with your stitches such that the with of your stitches matches the symbols.  Whichever set of symbols it lines up with tells you your gauge (not the most elegant description).

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Oh, the yarn! If you saw my post about found patterns you know I went into the vendor market with some projects in mind.  So I can happily say I did buy most yarn with a project in mind.

Upper left green and purple skeins – The slightly variegated green skein is Strong Stock (80/20 merino/nylon) from Another Crafty Girl in the colorway Numerical Vampire.  The purple next to it is Tenacious Sock (75/15/10 merino/nylon/tencel) from Dyeabolical Yarns in the colorway Ever After. I plan to use these in a two-color shawl together.

Upper center gold and black skeins – Both of these are from Sun Valley Fibers in the merino/cashmere/nylon fingering base.  The two colors are called Golden Harvest and Onyx.  I also plan to use these in a two-color shawl (see a trend yet?).

Upper center gray variegated skeins – These are from Yarn Geek Fibers in her Rocketeer (merino/cashmere/nylon) base in the To Boldly Go colorway.  Yes, a Star Trek reference.  This yarn is super soft and squishy.  So squishy I can’t describe. This doesn’t have a project planned for it – maybe a cowl? a shawl? There’s a lot of yardage (962 yards of fingering) so maybe a shawl? Still can’t decide.

Top right dark green skeins – These are included in our Knitting Pipeline bag from Quince and Co.  100 grams (total) of fingering weight wool.  I think these are going to be boot toppers.

Lower left red and black skeins – Both of these are from Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Box Office base (100% worsted weight merino).  The colors are called Poison Apple and Darkest Hour.  These are going to be a Themisto Hat and there might be enough left over for wristers or boot toppers.

Bottom left green skein – Also from Leading Men Fiber Arts – this is the Diva base, 150 grams of 80/20 merino/silk.  The colorway is Envy.  Definitely going to be a lace shawl.  I love the extra yardage – its great for shawls!

Lower right – black and blue skeins – All three of these are Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet (90/10 merino/nylon), which is squishy soft.  One of the blacks and the blue are going together for something brioche.  I got the second black to have as an extra because I frequently pair colorful yarns with black.

That’s a wrap!

 

 

 

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Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2017 – The Weekend

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I’m back from the Knitting Pipeline retreat in central Illinois and have so many fun things to share with you.  As usual, there will be one blog post about the retreat and another about the goodies I picked up.  I went with my friend Patty and we made a four-day weekend out of it.  Yeah, we don’t pack light.

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The retreat actually started Friday afternoon but there were some optional activities before.  We drove over Thursday morning and had lunch before taking a class Thursday afternoon, which was held at a local yarn shop in Morton, IL.  The class was Beginning Brioche with Amy Detjen (you can see her patterns here). Now I’ve tried to knit brioche before via a book and YouTube but it just didn’t click.  This class made it click.  To learn Brioche we started knitting Amy’s Chromatic cowl, and I bought one of her kits of yarn (a 50 gram gradient ball and a 50 gram solid).  I almost picked a red/gray combo but ultimately decided on the rainbow and cream.  Fun, right?  I made good progress but ripped it out later that night to restart on smaller needles.

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After class we went to our hotel in Peoria and then to dinner at Granite City.  I loved that the restaurant was right down along the river and we could watch the sun set over the river.

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The next morning we went to our second class with Amy Detjen, which was essentially the “part 2.”  We learned a brioche cast on, and then did increases and decreases.  Not sure I have those nailed quite yet but I guess I will need to figure out the decreases if I want to knit a brioche hat.  After lunch the retreat started!

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I made some wonderful new friends at my table and some new friends from other tables.  There were some free break-out sessions during the retreat, although I did not attend.  Saturday afternoon there was a vendor market with a lot of indie makers (more on those goodies in the next post).  We had a little more knitting time before the retreat wrapped up and we had to say goodbye.

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After the retreat we headed down to Springfield Illinois to stay the night with my aunt.  We had dinner, some wine and some “show and tell” before wandering off to bed.  Sunday morning Patty and I went to have breakfast with Kristi of the In a sKnit podcast before heading back to Indiana.  Stay tuned for next week’s post on the amazing goodies I got, complete with links for enabling.

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September 2016 Odds n’ Ends

It’s almost fall.  We’re almost there! I love fall – cinnamon, apples, fallen leaves, the slight chill, plaid shirts (which apparently is “in” this fall”) and more apples.  Seriously, I’ve already dehydrated five pounds of apples and made chili.

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Small Stash Swap Weekend before last my friend brought over some yarn she wanted to swap.  She had received some yarn from a family member that she couldn’t use (she’s allergic to wool – how tragic is that?). In particular, she was hoping for some Knit Picks Stroll I had in my stash.  So, I traded for the beauties pictured beauties.  Left to right: 1)Sassafras Sock in Jack’O’Lantern from Hiwassee Creek Dyeworks; 2)Vesper sock in Tartan from Knitterly Things; and 3)Bounce in Here We Go from Fibernymph Dyeworks.  So far I’ve avoided skeining them up, but that’s coming.

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New Bag Here is my very large custom bag (think sweater size) from The Silver Shed on Etsy.  The proprietress Ann was so great to work with and had the custom bag off to me so quickly.  One of the things I love about her shop is the ability to customize the bag by adding different types of exterior and interior pockets.  I also was able to choose to the interior fabric.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

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Upcoming Design I’m wrapping up a cozy autumn shawl that has mesh, lace and some simple cables.  It should go out to test knitters next weekend – if you’re interested in test knitting please shoot me an email or message me on Ravelry.  Hopefully it will be released around Halloween.

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Super Secret Project I’m not ready to disclose any names or details but I’m excited to be starting on some possible design work in collaboration with a yarn company.  They’ve sent some skeins and, after I finish the autumn shawl, I’m going to work on some sketches and swatches.  Hopefully I’ll have more to tell you about this next month.

Upcoming Events I will be demoing spinning and/or fiber prep at the National Alpaca Day open house at Montrose Farms on September 24th.  I have it on good authority there will be wine there 🙂

 

 

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