Category Archives: Knitting

Makers Gift List and the Winners!

I know, I was going to announce winners last week, but the Craft Friday turned into wash the kitchen floor etc. Friday.  I did do some crafting, really.  Like finishing this update of my Tamworth Cowl in Maai, in a similar color as the skein of laceweight that three lucky recipients have won:


Asteride, kim in oregon, and Ellen B.  I tried to contact each of you, but if you didn’t hear from me, holler, so I can send your yarn.

What did you make on Craft Friday?  Something for a gift, or something for yourself?  I loved the comments, it seems like everyone is most irritated by the horrible overkill of Christmas in October, and buy, buy, buy.  Beverly had an excellent idea for a round-robin of gift ideas from makers or small scale folks who can’t beat you over the head with the excessive consumerism message, but make a living through making.

Here are some of my favorites, in no special order.

I didn’t really want to duplicate any of Beverly’s but had to for this one: Tide Pool kit for colorwork, in several several color ranges.  The one I want:


Lucious yarn, spun and dyed by Jani herself from Nash Island sheep’s wool.  Read the Nash Island/Starcroft story while you are there, it is sweet.

I have bought several project bags from A Needle Runs Through It.  Nice quality and fast service.

Want a little bauble with a fibery twist?  Emily has some lovely ones.

I have to say, I just bought a skein of of yarn for myself, because a) it was on sale, b) all the cool kids were knitting with it at Fiber College and c) look how cute the packaging is!  It comes in its own hachimaki.  Rifton from JillDraperMakesStuff is spun to stripe, not dyed to stripe.  Gorgeous yarn.


Horsey types on your list?  A pal alerted me to her friend’s shop where there is a FjordHorse ornament.

I love the e-balm and the solid lotion bars from GoodiesUnlimited   My sister swears by it, too.

I have lots of ideas for non-stuff gifts.  Maybe another post!

Craft Friday Giveaway

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

Nathaniel  Hawthorne

Welcome Craft Friday folks!  I’m hoping for a cold, unpleasant day for Craft Friday.  That will encourage me to stay inside and craft.  This fall has been so mild that I have been playing outside as much as possible.  Here’s a photo of a lovely ride on Sunday.  Orange vests are de riguer around here during deer season.

Sunday in November

Mine is the blonde with the big butt.  I am wearing a hand-knit sweater, but it isn’t really visible.  I am just telling you because this is a knitting blog, after all.

I want everyone to knit!  Or craft in some way.  To encourage you and celebrate Craft Friday leave a comment and enter into a drawing for one of these three skeins of pumpkin colored silk and merino laceweight.


The yarn is Swans Island Natural Colors.  They were a pale pink, not to my liking, so I overdyed them in the Dye Tent at Fiber College.  Badly.  ( I had photos of the dye tent, can’t find them for some reason.) The generous and talented Odacier fixed them up for me in this warm, autumnal tone.  Pumpkin seems perfect for the day after Thanksgiving, don’t you think?  Each skein (sans label) is about 50 grams, 530 yards of 50% Fine Merino Wool, 50% Tussah Silk.

So enter in the fun – leave a comment airing your biggest gripes about the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  Or anything, really.  Or what you want to make with this.  Or why you love the color.  Contest closes Thanksgiving at midnight.

Check out the Craft Friday pinterest board, too.  Beverly has been busy!


P.S.  I’ll mail your prize anywhere!


What happens to donated yarn

If it is lucky yarn, it goes to someone like the generous soul who knits sets of hats and mittens in all sizes for the un-mittened of Minnesota.

Look at this!  And these are only half of the ones I shared last week.

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The knitter (unknown) of these even sorted them into bags marked small, medium and large.  Some sets went to a program for families fleeing violence.  The others went to this lovely lady:


Rayanne staffs the information desk in the courthouse where I work.  She knits, and takes donated hats and gloves as well.  When families come in and she spots children without warm gear (sometimes with socks on their hands!) she takes out the box and allows each child to choose a hat and or mittens.  She does this gracefully and the children love being able to choose.  I watched one day as some very serious, stressed out little faces lit up at being able to ‘shop’ for a hat.

I’m sure there are lots of places that take donated yarn near you if you are going all KayAnn.  Or Jean – who has found a woman’s program where residents are learning to knit.

I’d be proud to think that some of my stash ended up in one of these items.

Not so warm hat

This summer-like autumn continues unabated.  I wore gloves for the first time last night, but didn’t really need them.  I felt as though I were putting them on just because, like for church.  Thank goodness wearing gloves to be ladylike is a long-dead custom.  I remember wearing little white gloves to go to church on Easter.  I chewed the finger tips until they were grubby.  We also wore them for special scout events.

three scouts

Hats were de rigeur, of course, because we were Catholic.  (Anyone remember chapel veils?) I’m working on a hat that is a bit more style than substance right now.  It is fantastic yarn, Dune, from Shibui, but it is light and drapey, rather than super cozy.   A hat for looks, or maybe a bit of warmth in the fall or spring, but not winter in a climate of the Upper Midwestern persuasion.  Unless it is an El Nino winter.  My challenge was to design a hat that only used one skein of this gorgeous but no inexpensive yarn.  I really enjoy designing with a certain set of limits in place.  Is there a term of art for that in the real world?

dune hat in process

I worked on this hat in a darkened auditorium the other day.  Not a good idea.  I ended up ripping it back all the way to the ribbing when I got home.  I ended up with about ten yards left.  I’ll post a finished photo soon as I find a model.

My mojo for larger projects has waned post-book.  I’m working on smaller items, like socks for ME!

When I lived in Ottawa, I longed for a Hudson Bay Blanket coat, like this one, but they were waaaay out of my price range.

300hudson-bay-coat-hbc-classic-stripey-pure-wool-coat_7140021hudson bay sock

They don’t make them any longer, but I still think of them with nostalgia when I am freezing at a bus stop.  Then I saw the sock yarn, not sure where.  Susan B. Anderson?  Now I have little coats for my feet.  Sock selfies are a challenge – I just threw my leg up on the kitchen table on my way to put on my shoes.  Classy.

Is drop spindling haunting me?

I have been going through a major clean and purge for the past month.  I don’t know what it is about the autumn that seems to bring it out in me.  Maybe because I am indoors a bit more?  I took a before picture of my home work space, but I may not be able to bring myself to show it to you.  I hang my head with shame when I see it.  Maybe I’ll wait till there is a before and after.  I’m getting there.  I have donated three full bags, contractor-size, of nice yarn.  I have plenty left, believe me. (I have not gone the full Konmari, but fall somewhere between there and the KayAnn method.)

In a file of textile crapola, I found this:

invitation to spin

No idea where it came from, or how long I have had it.  It appeared to be mimeographed.  (Just kidding, probably on a Selectric.)  It went into the recycling bin, along with so much more.  This was also in the file, and I will keep it.  I still have the yarn I was planning to use – Harrisville shetland bought when Ram Wools in downtown Minneapolis went out of business…



I haven’t spent as much time indoors this fall as I would think.  A work trip to Salt Lake City was fun, and boy have things changed there in 15 years.  I didn’t make it to Blazing Needles, it was just too long a trip on transit.  The weather has been glorious.  We still have some roses hanging around.

ramblin red in the rain

And there is plenty of  chard, broccoli, lettuce and acorn squash.  These heirloom carrots are a bit scary.  They really are purple on the outside – that is not some sort of radiation poisoning.  I set the carrot on a step to give you an idea of how big it really is.  My beets are much smaller.

extreme carrot

I may try to roast one whole and see what happens.  Suggestions?

Spinning. If you can call it that.

I have avoided spinning for many years.  I have too many hobbies and commitments already.  Husband, house, horse, job(s) — spinning will have to be for my next life.  But a bit of drop spindling for fun?  Well, why not.  Hanging around with spinners and yarnie geniuses in Maine, I suddenly acquired a drop spindle on long-term loan, beautiful wool to spin, and a couple of teachers.

Sadly, my product didn’t measure up, being much less than the sum of its parts.

Sad yarn:

first try

No better:

jani's wool

I thought I might have sharp dressed dudes checking me out while I spun:

watching men

Instead, here’s me looking at my yarn.  (And I use the term yarn  loosely.)


This is no reflection on the team that tried to get me going.  Yarndude has offered to give me a lesson in exchange for teaching him how to make Yorkshire buttons.  He’ll be wholesaling product before I have something worth showing, I’m sure!

Green Pepper Sandwiches and Borscht Concentrate

Green pepper sandwiches were one way my mother handled the bounty from the garden.  We loved them.  Sliced green peppers on white bread with  Miracle Whip.  I cannot imagine eating that now, but I do have garden harvest to handle.  (Just not seven kids to feed, thank God.)  My most recent brainstorm was borscht concentrate.  Soup takes up lots of space, and my freezer size is limited.  I have a lower drawer in my fridge and a small dorm fridge size freezer.  I experimented with making a sort of essence of borscht with very little stock and roast beets figuring I could add the stock and cabbage and potatoes after defrosting.  Who knows.  But how can anything this beautiful be bad?

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I also have massive amounts of broccoli every few days, no idea why, so if anyone has genius ideas on that, I’m open.  My neighbors are tired of getting it, I think.

I had the good fortune to teach at Fiber College in Maine again this year.  I took a bag of sliced peppers and some other garden goodies to eat on the plane because I have so much – the people around me seemed to feel shamed.  One woman looked at her Cinnabon and then at me and muttered – “I’m eating crap.” So funny.  I leaned over and told her I had a giant chocolate bar in my carry on.

I taught Broomstick Lace, a chilly day but a warm group.

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I’m a bad photographic record keeper, especially when surrounded by people like Gale Zucker, who document beautifully all the time.  I shared a a house with seven fun, talented and inspirational women.  Here’e one picture I did take of the hippy Rugosa Rose next to the porch – I almost gathered some to bring home.  They were bigger than crabapples! Our roses don’t have full hips like these.

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I had to spend some time working on edits with my co-authors, and missed some fun classes.  Jackie Ottino Graf, the genius yarn maker and dyer at Swans Island, taught an all day-class on Madder.  One dyestuff, many add-ons and mordants.  Here’s a a house-mate’s result:

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My flowers are still hanging in there.  I stopped planting Morning Glories, although I love them, because they are invasive little self-seeders and come back as purple sports after a few seasons.  It’s the blue I love.  But year two can be pretty, as well.  These invaders from next-door are trying to cover the grill to hang on to summer.

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Thanks for all the comments on the last post.  Although, as Chris said, there are all those other forums out there, I enjoy the longer chats from time to time.  Please lets keep talking.