My friend Mel and I went to the local knitting group at the library last night. We had a great time. They are such a delightful group of knitters. There were only 5 of us there last night, but I was told that several ladies were not present. The lady who organized it, Dottie, she’s amazing. I am in awe of her skills, her knitting library, she’s a virtual knitting sensai! I am sure I am going to learn a lot from her. Mel and I agreed we would be going back for certain. Next Thursday though, we will be heading to the Stitch ‘n Bitch that meets monthly at the local Starbucks to check out that group. I’m not a big Starbucks fan, but who can say no to coffee and knitting.
I have been reading a lot of Yarn Harlot lately…a lot. I have been challenged by something repeated in several of her books, “Be scared of sky diving, not knitting.” It occurred to me how foolish I have been as of late. I have professed, here and on several other blogs, of being “scared” of things like fair isle, short rows, steeks, lace. Which is so silly as I have always been very good at figuring out how knitting “works” after the first couple of attempts, and am usually quite successful at whatever I turn my hand too. I got it into my head, finally, that being scared of wool and two needles is nothing short of ridiculous!
I wanted to knit lace, something fine and airy and light. Something that could very well make me blind as I searched on tiny needles for each mite of a stitch. I knew exactly what I was looking for. Hence my purchase at The Mannings (I’m going back this weekend, who wants to come?). Carol helped me pick out this heavenly fiber, Douceur et Soie, for my very first “tiny” lace project.
The Loden and I saw each other, and it spoke to me. “I am the one, let me wrap my silky, whispy halo of warmth around your shoulders, let me settle subtly under your red hair, setting off its auburn hue, let me whisper in your ear of mossy rocks in the cool dark waters of the deep, deep forests.” I was aghast! Who knew cobweb weight could be so seductive. Really, how could I say no. I picked it up and pet it and delicately sniffed it the entire time I walked around the shop. Then I also purchased the size 0 needles. The pattern calls for 00, but, well perhaps my next stole. And I finally have a CHIBI, I feel like a real knitter now…let’s see how long it takes me to lose all the needles that came with it.
A day or two before our trip to The Mannings I had found a gorgeous shetland shawl pattern by the lovely and gracious (it was a free pattern) Eunny Jang. I fell in love, and slightly off the deep end. The stole is beautiful and the pattern is simply lovely, I can’t stop touching it. Of course this photo doesn’t even come close to showing of the loveliness of the Print O’ The Wave pattern, or how truly tiny those stitches really are.
It took me a day or two to really get the feel for the pattern. I just kept telling myself, “You know these stitches, they are just smaller.” I was waiting in line at the deli a day or two after and picked up my “waiting-in-line-sock” and marveled at how huge my fingering weight sock yarn felt after working with cobweb weight yarn. It really felt very cumbersome in my hands. I couldn’t help but laugh.
I also made a discovery this past week: local knitters…two different groups even! I am going to my local library tonight to check out this first group, then I am going to a local Stitch ‘n Bitch next Thursday to see what that group is like. The library group meets weekly, whereas the S&B meets monthly. I am so excited…knitters, I knew they were here somewhere. I wonder if there are any knit bloggers? I can only hope.
Sooo, guess what I did this weekend? I died and went to heaven, well, at least I hope that this is what heaven is like. My blogless friend, Mel and her son and I took a trip to East Berlin, PA. We went to a fiber fiend’s paradise called The Mannings. Oh-My-Goodness. That’s really all I can say. The fiber, the color, the variety. Room after room of fibery goodness.
Giddy doesn’t even cover it folks. Every time I caught my breath I would step into yet another room jam packed full of marvelous colors and textures, and lose my breath all over again.
There was a room full of spinning wheels. A room full of looms. Even a room full of knitters. I wish I had taken more pictures, I knew I should have taken more pictures.
Here is the wall of sock yarn. Wow, I really hope I didn’t drool on any.
This is Carol helping out Mel and her son with some spinning questions. She is very kind, knowledgeable, and so helpful. She answered our ten million and one questions. She even helped me figure out how many yards of mohair I had from a skein I bought eons ago. Ladies and Gents, Carol is the quintessential fiber hostess.
Mel has a wheel, I do not…*sigh*. I did however get to spin on a wheel for the first time and I picked it right up. I can’t say how well I did, but I did it. Rhinebeck has officially been sloughed off for yet another year as I save for my wheel. I tried out several wheels and fell in love with this Ashford castle style wheel.
The outside was simply lovely as well. I believe this is the residence, and the supply center is just behind. All you long distance travelers can stay in the farmhouse when attending classes.
There is a pond nearby where the men can fish while the wives put dents in their credit cards. We sat out front in Adirondack rocking chairs and knit and laughed and knit some more.
I promise there was no alcohol involved, we were just having that good a time.
And of course, like any yarn shop (I feel like I am belittling The Mannings by calling it a mere yarn shop) worth their salt, they had a cat.
We ended up staying most of the day. We grabbed lunch from a convenience store and headed right back, where we parked ourselves on the picnic table and ate in the sunshine.
In conclusion: My pictures do not even come close to doing The Mannings justice. Go yourself! And thank you Carol, thank you so much. You made our trip so memorable. We will be back very soon. Did I mention their huge selection of knitting, spinning, and weaving books…..
What did I buy? Well, that will have to wait until tomorrow.
It has been hot this week. Hot and humid. Hot and humid, and sticky, and miserable. Every day I have come home to a house that is stuffy and at least 84 degrees inside. The dogs have been permanently camped in front of the fan in the kitchen.
And what, pray tell, have I been working on? Cotton? Linen? A deliciously cool silk? Nay, only the faint of heart would work with such light and airy fibers in this intensive heat. I have been up to my elbows in merino roving. And at last, despite the sweat dripping from my brow, I managed to achieve success. My very first skein of handspun yarn.
*Cue Stevie Wonder music* Isn’t She Lovely? It’s really awful stuff, but I love it because it was made by my hands, by the sweat of my brow…and believe me, there was sweat.
Also! Last night my MIL and I went to our neighbors house after a crazy thunderstorm and picked cherries. It was nice and cool out, finally. We were all visiting. I picked 8 quarts. They are beautiful and much better tasting than anything I have ever bought from a store. So dark and shiny. I was up until midnight pitting them. They are just delicious. I was so sticky when I was done. I was covered in cherry splatters.
Guess what else? My neighbor spins and knits. She wants to go to Rhinebeck but her boyfriend doesn’t want to go and she doesn’t want to go alone. Woo Hoo! Talk about an answer to prayer. So we are going to try and get together to do some knitting and spinning. AND I found a local Stitch & Bitch that meets at the local Starbucks every 1st Thursday of the month.
AND…..my hubby and FIL put the air conditioner in last night. It was a good day.
Well, I called my husband last week to tell him that my boss gave me a load of crap on Friday, and yes I was going to take it from him. Literally, he gave us a load of crap. I work for a tree care service/landscape service and I was telling him about my garden and how full of clay our soil is, to which he replied, “Well, tell Travis to come over with the pick up truck, we’ve got that pile of compost, have him fill it up. That will help out your soil immensely.” So of course when your boss offers you a free load of crap…you take it from him.
I always laugh too, because the landscape crews call it “amendment: “Don’t forget to add some amendment to the soil at the Jackson site.” It cracks me up that old cow poop can be suddenly transformed into something so refined with a simple name change…a rose by any other name…
So here it is Dad! My garden. Aren’t you proud? I have to say despite the clay soil, it’s the nicest garden I’ve ever had. Plus I can eat all the peas I want without hearing you yell, “Hey, get outta there!”
The best part about this garden is how little space it takes up. I apply the Square Foot gardening method and check it out, not counting the 3 watermelon plants which are left to sprawl on the yard as they will, I have 6 4′ X 4′ squares and this is everything that I am growing: cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, green beans, peas, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, beets, radishes, spinach, and green peppers. Not bad huh.
Sooo, I am exhausted from VBS, and yet a funny thing happens each day. I drag around all day like a slug, and the moment those kids walk through my classroom BAM! Energy! When I get home I can’t settle down, but I am too scatter brained to knit so I have been spinning. Let me tell you, Spin To Knit has been a God send. Between the instructions and the pictures, it’s got me saying, “OH! So that’s how ya do it.” If you even have the teeniest inkling of learning how to spin, grab this book.
Of course, I have wanted a spinning wheel for a couple of years now, and this recent discovery of the book has really not helped matters. In fact I am seriously considering getting a credit card to order one. Grrrgg, I so don’t want to. I have been looking for someone who has a payment plan for spinning wheels. If you know of a shop that does, let me know. *sigh* Yep, it’s bad. The hubby says, why don’t you save up for it and then get it…um because with the minuscule amount that my mad money is each week it would only take…um around 3 years! So if you are spinner who wants to graciously pass on a spinning wheel free of charge or at a reasonable price…email me. Or ya know, my birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, so ya know…It will be cherished! Be careful folks…it’s contagious.
I’m just giving you a heads up. I am half way through our churche’s VBS this week. So even if I did have time to knit, which I don’t, I wouldn’t have time to post. I am having a blast teaching my 5 & 6 year olds in Prairie Dog Preschool. They have so much fun acting out the stories. Last night was Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. I’m telling you these kids really get into it. Waaa-Hooo! Ya’ll come back now, y’here?