Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WIP Wednesday

I've decided that it makes sense to give you guys a peek at what people are knitting around here once a week or so. On any given day, at least a couple of us knit at lunch time and it's always fun to see how things unfold.

Here is one of the socks that Stefanie is currently working on. It's a Wild Horse Farm design called Penllyn.

In case you haven't noticed, Stefanie is a sock knitter to the core. I think I've seen her with something else on the needles twice in the year and a half I've known her. I guess you can call that focus. Not only does she work from published patterns, but she does quite a bit of design work on her own. And reverse engineers vintage socks she finds at flea markets. Very cool.

This morning I cast on for a children's sweater that will be used as part of our disply at TNNA in Long Beach in January. I only had time to knit a couple of rows while I was drinking my coffee. It's going to be a fun project, the stitch patterns are interesting but not so complicated that I can't memorize them after a repeat or two.

Texture knitting has always been my favorite. Fairisle ranks pretty high on my hit parade too. I don't have the patience for a big ol' charted intarsia pattern where you have to keep track of each stitch and the whole lace thing frankly just scares my pants off.

I've tried them all and made the decision a long time ago that I knit for enjoyment and relaxation. If a project causes stress or doesn't make me happy, I'm just not going to do it. After all, knitting isn't a competition. It's about bringing something into your life that makes it better than it was before.

Last thing. We walked by Radio City while we were in NYC. This isn't the greatest photo, but where else are you going to find Rockettes dressed in Santa attire holding onto sheep, camels, and goats. In the middle of October! You gotta love it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

East Coast Fun!

I'm just getting settled back in from the trip to Philly and NY. Whew! It's crazy that it would take this long to get my bearings back. It sometimes seems that it takes a full day to catch up for every day away.

I think part of that happens because when I find myself with too many things to get done, I end up not being able to focus on any one task until completion. I work on several things in fits and starts and that's not nearly as efficient as doing one thing at a time. There's an old piece of office wisdom that tells you to only handle any sheet of paper one time. File it, toss it, reply to it. But only handle it once. I need to learn that skill.

The trip was fantastic! We arrived in Philadelphia mid-day on Thursday. The plan was to meet friends for dinner at an upscale place that had recently opened. That didn't work out because our luggage, independent minded thing, decided to take a later flight and we were in shorts and sandals. So, we went with Plan B and had a great meal at a little neighborhood joint they like.

The best part of seeing them was finding out that they are moving back to Chicago! If anyone is looking for a townhouse in the Museum neighborhood of Philadelphia, I know the place for you.

Friday was a day off. We spent most of it at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We saw lots of people running up the steps of the museum, ala Rocky. I have to admit that I did the same thing on Saturday morning, but I did resist the urge to jump around with my arms in the air. Touristy? You betcha! When in Rome....

Saturday was one of two dye workshops I taught over the weekend. I've done a couple of these at events like Stitches, but I'd never done one in a shop. .
I really enjoyed the intimacy the smaller scale afforded us. The students were wonderful and I had an amazing time with everyone. A big shout out to Craig, Loop's proprietor.

After class, we hopped the train to NYC. I love the energy there. Laurie from Sticks and String up in Scarsdale picked us up and we had dinner at the cutest little Spanish restaurant in Greenwich Village, Sevilla.

The next morning we had a meet and greet and then I taught a second time. This group was just as fine as the first. Lots of fun, lots of laughs and beautiful yarn was made by everyone.

I'm always fascinated to see how each person walks away with such different end products. Everyone has a different aesthetic and takes the same colors and makes something all their own.

Then it was back to the city for a couple of days of R&R. Well deserved if I do say so myself. I did learn a little something during this trip. In much the same way that visiting family is not a vacation, adding a few days onto a business trip isn't a vacation either. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time and got to see some of my favorite people in the yarn biz. But, it was still an extended work trip. One of these days I need to sit down and take a hard look at the calendar and schedule an honest-so-goodness vacation.

Will the person who bends time please provide me with a few extra days between now and the end of the year?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Last weekend, my husband displayed his artwork at Around the Coyote, a local show for emerging artists. That meant he manned a booth next to his work Friday from 6-10, Saturday 11-10 and Sunday 11-6. It also meant that I got to be single-girl-about-town. While I missed seeing his mug, I managed to muddle through OK.

Friday night, I had dinner with my friend Brad from Fiesta Yarns. (Look at me being all confident and strong putting up another yarn company's link. Well, maybe a little queasy, but hey, life is full of risks.) He and his wife Jeannie have been very nice to me over the past few years.

On Saturday, I got up and ran in the Pumpkin in the Park 5K with Tony, Dave and Edward. I run most every morning with Tony and/or Edward. I managed a respectable (for me) 30:30. I think it was my first sub 10 minute mile run ever. And girl ain't getting any younger.

The main event this weekend was Yarn Con. It was a spectacular gathering of indie dyers and spinners, LYS's, authors. We saw Shannon Okey, the aforementioned Franklin,

Sharon from Arcadia Knitting held several workshops. I just loved the little mitten shaped lanyard for your data stick. Loopy Yarn's booth was chock full of fabulous finds.

My absolute favorite thing at the show was the fact that there was a mobile ATM on site. Can you say "ultimate enabler"? I intentionally left home with a limited amount of cash to avoid spending great sums of money. I was even doing a pretty good job at it until I came across Susan Strawn and her new book Knitting America Wow! I just had to have a copy. I trotted right outside to that fancy truck, inserted my card and voila! I found myself the proud owner of my very own copy.

I've only been able to spend short bits of time with it, mostly looking at pictures and skimming a little here and a little there. I think it's one of my favorite knitting books to come along in quite awhile. I'm always a sucker for history and that's really what it's all about. I'll spend some real time with it and tell you more later.

The past couple of days have been dedicated to getting ready for my trip out east. Three days in Philly and three more in New York. Can't wait! I'm going sans laptop, so this will likely be the last you hear from me until I get back.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Franklin Habit

Just a quick note today.

When I was at YarnCon, I ran into Franklin Habit of The Panopticon fame. He was taking photos for his 1,000 KnittersProject.

We got to talking and I invited him to come visit us here at the studio. Think he'll bring Dolores? A girl can always dream...

Friday, October 12, 2007


This time of year is just chock full o' wonderfulness for all of us yarnaholics. Here are a few events that are hitting my radar.

For folks that are in or near Chicago, this weekend is YarnCon It's a place to "promote, sell and celebrate the yarny arts". This looks like fantastic fun and I plan to be there at opening bell! Tons of indie stuff that makes my heart just sing. I can smell the creativity.

Then, there's SOAR. This is a week long event that goes through Sunday, but from what I've been hearing it's been funner than fun. Perhaps I need to get it inked onto next year's calendar.

Stitches East is also happening. I know how much fun I had at Stitches Midwest and I hear East is even bigger!

Then looking forward, Rhinebeck is next weekend. And I'm going to doing dye workshops at Loop in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 20 and at Sticks and Strings in Scarsdale, NY on Sunday the 21st.

What do you think the odds are of talking Matthew McConaughey into chauffeuring me around in his Airstream to all these fantastic fiber festivities next year?

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's HOT

A couple of posts ago I told you about how much I love the fall and apple picking and pumpkins and all the rest. I decided to have a dinner party Saturday night to celebrate the fall bounty. Those pumpkin ravioli and apple tarts were calling out to me.

So, in case you were wondering, that's why it's in the mid 80's today and forecast to be even hotter over the weekend. Phew! I think I need to rethink that menu. It seems to heavy. Too bad the tomatoes and basil are all gone.

On the bright side...the gardens and parks are still looking beautiful.
We'll be able to sit outside and enjoy a drink before dinner. Winter will be here all too soon and we'll be parked inside for the duration. This is Chicago after all.

We were up pretty late last night getting organized for our little shindig. Somehow the guest list grew to eleven. I know I was the one that invited them, but really, eleven? I'm going to have to go home and count the forks. I suppose I could ask one or two guests to eat with their fingers. Or, I could hand out knitting needles and call them chopsticks.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Did you hear the squeal last Friday? I'm sure you must have, my throat is still raw. That's the day we got our Ravelry invitation! Of course we've done little else since then which is why you haven't heard me prattling on about it. It is far too easy to get sucked into its depths never to be heard from again. It took resolve of superhero strength to resurface. The site is pure genius. So are the folks using it. I have been inspired on many levels. Wow!

But, back to the real world. There's yarn to dye, socks to knit, colors to conjure. Speaking of colors, the new ones that we'll bring out in January have been pretty much decided on. And we're looking at designs to best show them off. This is the part of the job that makes my heart sing.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Just a quickie today. Per Danielle's suggestion, we just sent our third quarter donation from Flamingo Stripe sales to the American Cancer Society and earmarked it for breast cancer research. It brings this year's total to $2500. Woot!!