Category Archives: Events

Visit to The Yarn Studio 2018 (Casey, Illinois)

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On my way to pick up my brother (more on that later this week) I stopped at a local yarn store in Casey, Illinois.  This is where I bought my Kromski spinning wheel many years ago.

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They are known for having the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.  It’s a thing ya’ll.  Owner Jannette also has funny sayings up on the wall such as “You have made 7,482 stitches correctly.  But let’s focus on that ONE stitch you twisted. – your OCD” and “Going on a trip.  Need about 4 skeins of yarn.  I’ve packed 152 just to be safe.”  We can all relate to those, right?

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I did some time sitting and knitting but I also did a little bit of shopping.  This is Three Irish Girls Adorn Luxe (an 85/15 merino/nylon blend) in the colorway Purple Rain.

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Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2018

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping.  It was hot and sticky (the sticky was worse than the heat) so I was motivated to get done what I needed or wanted to and go home to the air conditioning.

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I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic students.   Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures aside from one before the shawl shapes class.

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On Friday I taught Knitting From Charts and on Saturday I taught Continental Knitting and Shawl Shapes.  If you didn’t make it to either Hoosier Hills or the Fiber Event and you’re interested in one of my classes, please contact me to see about a private or semi-private lesson.  I had someone take my bead class as a private lesson and she loved being able to focus on what she needed to learn!

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Of course, I did a little shopping too.

Yaaarn & Goodies

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I bought some beautiful DK weight yarn at The Fiber Event from Bumblebee Acres Farm and found some fingering weight yarn this time I loved.  Colorway is King in the North (nod to Game of Thrones) and the base is their Bubble Sock, which is an 80/20 merino/silk blend.  It’s probably going to be a shawl, rather than socks though!

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There was a new-to-me indie dyer at Hoosier Hills this year – Youghiogheny Yarns and they have some truly gorgeous yarns. I loved the subtle speckle dye on the gray base and paired it with a solid red.  I was also intrigued with the inclusion of yak fiber in the yarn.  The colorways are Naiad (which is the speckle) and Cherry Red and the base is Woolly Yak (a 70/20/10 merino/yak/nylon blend).

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I was so excited when I saw that CraftyFlutterby would be at the festival this year since usually I only see her at Stitches Midwest.  She had so many beautiful pins of different styles.  I settled on one of the round ones called a Twirl Shawl Pin and the idea is you twirl (or twist) it around to secure the ends of your shawl. She also had to awesome kits (shawl pattern, yarn, pin) and some included beads!

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A DK weight self-striping yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns.  I’m going to use this for an entrelac cowl (because I’ve decided I want to learn entrelac).  Colorway is Cowabunga (in reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

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So I’d seen these rulers in some of the knitting magazines before and decided to give it a try.  The bracelets are made out of leather and have inch and centimeter markings up to 16 inches (you wrap it around your wrist twice).  The rulers are made by Ilovehandles and I bought mine from SpryWhimsy at the festival.  He also sells a lot of the fun sheep wine glasses, Ply magazine and other fun items.

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Two skeins of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway Martes I picked up from my local yarn shop, Nomad Yarns.  I fell in love with this colorway and am going to use it for a design I’m going to self-publish.

 

 

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2018

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a brand new new class!

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The new class is called “Master Continental Knitting” and teaches students how to make the switch from knitting American (or throwing) to knitting continental style.  Because it requires holding the yarn differently and moving the yarn differently it is a challenging class.  Thus, I provide pieces of chocolate for the frustrating moments.

This class, plus two new classes, will be offered at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in early June.  Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 158th and you can see class descriptions here.

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With Friday being my only day at the festival this year I shopped in the morning and immediately after teaching.

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 one new.

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The Yarn and Fiber:

  • (Top left) The green fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
  • (Top right) The brown yarn is from A Good Yarn and is a superwash merino fingering weight yarn.  I bought this to go along with the mini-skein set I bought at YarnCon the weekend before.
  • (Bottom left) These two skeins are from a new-t0-me dyer, Bumblebee Acres.  This yarn is DK weight merino/nylon blend in the colorway Dracarys (from her Game of Thrones collection).
  • (Bottom right) The green/white/gray yarn is the colorway Blarney Stone on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns

 

Other Items:

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  • (Upper left) I would have missed finding this book except for a friend pointing it out to me.  I had heard about this book multiple times on social media but this was the first time I had seen it in person.  As a bonus, the copy I bought has been signed by the author!
  • (Upper right) I found a few of the nine-inch circular needles I use for socks in very small needle sizes (000, 00 and 0).  I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
  • (Lower left and center) 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 three scents – lavender rosemary oatmeal, apple clove and oatmeal mint.
  • (Lower right) The tubes are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  I had a singular goal in mind when I started stopping – to find her chocolate cherry lip balm.  And I bought the several tubes she had.  This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.

That’s all folks!

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YarnCon 2018

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My first year at YarnCon! This show has indie-dyers from the Chicagoland area and is held in the west loop of Chicago.  The show runs Saturday and Sunday and is held in early April.  The event is held indoors and food trucks were available for lunch (although they started to run out of food through the lunch hour).  The issue that would probably keep me from going back was the lack of available parking.  We got their 20 minutes after it opened and the designated lot was full.  It took 30 minutes of driving around and paying to park to resolve the parking issue.  WARNING: Picture heavy post.

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I went with a couple friends and met up with a few more when I got there.   By 11am it was pretty crowded, although it thinned out a bit around luchtime.  We shopped and shopped and shopped, before heading to a (very) early dinner at Lou Malnati’s for Chicago style deep dish pizza.  For the most part I made a pass through all the booths before making any purchases (with two exceptions).  There were many wonderful new to me dyers, and a few I hadn’t seen in a long time

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Bags’n’such:

  • (right) A canvas YarnCon bag.  It’s lined and the canvas is pretty thick.  Not huge but large enough for a sock project or a blanket square in process.
  • (center green) The center boxy-bag is really cool.  It’s from Beautiful Syster (Etsy) and is one of her Heather bags.  I got this bag primarily because I could carry it on my arm while knitting.  You can also make it into a box (and it has a pocket inside).  The material is a heavy duck cotton and it stands up on its own.
  • (left and bottom) A small bag and notion pouch from MidMitten Designs (Etsy).  I like the clear vinyl panels so you can actually see inside (and its something I don’t know how to sew).

Yarn (descriptions under each photo):

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A beautiful gradient ball from River’s Edge Fiber Arts, with SPARKLE.  I know, I’m not normally a sparkle kinda of girl.  but I was really drawn to this ball.  And it’s a large enough gradient to make a decent sized shawl (600 yards).  Colorway is Peacock.

 

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A pair of skeins from Grinning Gargoyle, who I haven’t seen in several years (since a prior Stitches event).  I plan to use these in a new design – a colorwork cowl.  The yarn is MCS Fingering and is a merino, silk and cashmere blend.  The colors are Sun Kissed and Turquoise.

 

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Also from Grinning Gargoyle, I found these two skeins on sale. The yarn is called Seda DK and is a 50/50 silk/merino blend DK yarn.  Two skeins totals 450 yards.  The colorway is black over lilac and it a very dark purple.

 

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A beautiful (and spring themed) mini skein set from Lorna’s Laces called a String Quartet.  535 yards total of fingering weight yarn in a merino/nylon blend.  I need to find a contrasting color – I’m thinking a gray with brown undertones?

 

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A new to me dyer – Honey Girl Farms.  This yarn is on her Deluxe Sock bases in the colorway House Targaryen, part of the Game of Thrones collection.  This fingering weight yarn is a merino/nylon blend of 437 yards.

 

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Another dyer I haven’t seen in a few years – Icemelon’s Stash.  She has beautiful yarns with saturated colors.  Most notably right now she has a Supernatural (the tv show) collection, which is one of my favorite tv shows.  I fell in love with the I Don’t Like Poetry colorway and decided to get one skein in the sparkle (Alrisha) base and one in the merino/nylon (Desmos) base.  I

 

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2018 Upcoming Classes – The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana

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Its that time of year again!  Registration is open for The Fiber Event and I will be teaching one brand new class and two of my previously most attended classes.  I’m so excited for this opportunity.  I will also be at the Fiber and Friends event Friday evening for some quality knitting time.

The Fiber Event is April 13 and 14 in Greencastle, Indiana, which is about an hour west of Indianapolis.  A ton of vendors and a lot of great classes.  Registration fee is $45 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

[please note with the exception of the continental class I will be teaching DIFFERENT classes at Hoosier Hills this year]

Friday, April 13, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Master Continental Knitting

Saturday, April 14, 9:00am-12:00pm – Lace Knitting 101

Saturday, April 14, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Bead Knitting Rockstar

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

 

Classes:

Master Continental Knitting

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Are you ready to learn a different style of knitting that will let you knit faster and decrease the strain on your hands? Continental knitting results in smaller, quicker movements and makes it a snap to work colorwork, ribbing and more. We’ll learn the knit and purl stitches continental-style and explore different ways to tension our yarn for evenly knitted fabrics. Then we’ll practice our continental knitting with stranded color knitting and more complex stitches such as increases and decreases.

Bring to class: Samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching, 32 inch circular needle in a size US 5, and skein of fingering or sock weight yarn with at least 400 yards for a cowl

Materials fee of $4 (payable directly to me) covers the cowl pattern: Cinque Terre Cowl

 

Lace Knitting 101

UntitledLearn to knit lace like a pro! This class will cover yarn and needle selection, basic increases and decreases, chart reading, shawl construction and lifelines. After practicing with small swatches we’ll start a lace shawl you can continue knitting on at home. Learn tips and tricks that will take lace from scary to addictive.

Bring to class: 32 inch circular needle in a size US 6., at least 400 yards of fingering or sock weight yarn for shawl, extra samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching (I will have some but you are welcome to bring your own).

Materials fee of $10 covers shawl pattern, highlighter tape, stitch markers and handouts.

 

Bead Knitting Rockstar

UntitledLearn to add beads to your knitwear for texture and bling. You can choose small subtle beads for a shimmer or contrasting beads for a pop of color. This class will cover how to choose the right beads, two methods for adding beads to your knits (pre-stringing or as you go) and how to place beads for a desired effect.

Bring to class: Fingering or sock weight yarn(you are welcome to bring multiple samples), 16 or 24 inch circular needle in a size appropriate for your yarn.

Materials fee of $10 covers beads, crochet hook, big-eye beading needle and handouts.

 

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Holiday Goodies 2017

Welcome to 2018! Before jumping in my 2018 fiber arts goals I want to recap the holiday, and some new goodies!

UntitledI did very little holiday gift knitting (just the pompom wreath from last week) but I did a lot of sewing for gifts.  This included the knitting project bag, toy bag, Star Trek curtain, and Star Trek pillowcase noted in a December blog post. I spent Christmas with my family, first in Illinois and then in Missouri, and then spent the following week with my brother at my house.  We watched a lot of Star Trek (I know, shocker) and Disney movies.

On to the goodies (related websites are linked – check them out!):

UntitledI actually bought these for myself – I could not pass up the colorway name. The yarn is from Fresh From the Cauldron on her Schoodic Sock base and the colorway name is “You Have Dyed of Dysentery.” Yes, Oregon Trail game reference there.

UntitledA zoo animal set of stitch markers by local glass artist Ann Tudor.  She has a ton of different stitch markers, which you can see here.

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UntitledI received these beauties from my parents.  Two skeins so I can make a shawl.  The yarn is from Destination Yarns on her Postcard base in the Dragonstone colorway (Game of Thrones reference there).UntitledThis knitting flask is from my aunt (who knows me too well).  Since I’ve been asked several times – she found it on Amazon by searching “knitting” + “flask.”

UntitledLastly, I got two knitting t-shirts from my parents because I asked for “witty knitting t-shirts.”  Success!

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December 2017 Odds n’ Ends

Welcome to December! This is my favorite time of the year – as in, I had the house decorated for Christmas by Black Friday.  Here’s some odds’n’ends since September.

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Montrose Farms I had a fun time spinning at National Alpaca Day at Montrose Farms.  My friend Heather came with and we demonstrated spinning.  I about have all my blue singles finished.  I’m planning to ply it (two-ply) and then knit a shawl with it and a gray.

 

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Ann Tudor Stitch Markers As a charter member in the Collectors Club I get first access to that month’s set.  Above are the September and November sets and I love love love both.  Ann is so creative and her work is beautiful.  Her website is here.

 

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Needle Case Labels I’ve been collecting a few needle organizers from Erin Lane Bags for the purpose of organizing all of my fixed circular needles.  I also wanted to label each pocket so I’d know where needles went, and be able to find them without a needle sizer.  So I bought some Avery iron transfer paper on Amazon and made sheets of labels.  Then I cut out the labels  and ironed them on.  I’m very happy with how they turned out and will definitely make more if needed.

 

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Jessica Knits In early November I had a work conference in Scottsdale, Arizona and due to flights, I got in many hours before the conference started.  I found online a local yarn shop not too far away from my hotel and headed over there early Sunday afternoon.  The local yarn shop is called Jessica Knits and I loved it! They had a good selection of different yarns, including some local yarns.  The burgundy and gray skeins above are from Gherkin’s Bucket, a local indie-dyer.  So, I was excited to buy some “vacation” yarn.  The dark purple is some Malabrigo Rio to go with orange in a hat.  I also hung out for a bit to knit with their Sunday afternoon knitting group.  What a wonderful group of ladies! They were so welcoming and kind to a stranger.

 

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Sewing Next week I’ll go into detail about my numerous sewing projects.  There are a lot of them!

 

 

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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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