Sunday, December 28, 2008

Featured Artist: Bonnie Rollin

Bonnie Rollin (aka: Mom) is a sculptor, poet, painter, and musician living in Sacramento, Calif. Obviously, if someone is that talented, the sky's the limit. She's done more than I could ever list, and everything she's done has been fabulous.

For example, I remember living in a town house in San Mateo Co., Calif., when I was in third grade. At that time, it was just mom, my sister, and me...a very unusual situation in the mid-1960s. Mom worked hard to make ends meet, but she also managed to make time to create gorgeous oil paintings.

A handful of fabulous tomatoes.

I can still see them, on the kitchen counter, leaning against the cupboards while they dried. And whenever I hear Moonlight Sonata, I'm transported back to the upstairs bedroom, where my sister and I often fell asleep to the classical lullabies mom played on the grand piano below (she went to Eastman School of Music before moving to the Bay Area).

The artist in her studio.

Over the years, she continued to explore art in its myriad forms. Then, in the late 90s, she began to work with clay, turning out some fantastic pottery before finding her passion in sculpture. Recently, she's been working on masks like the two pictured here. Her glaze-work is fabulous -- photos hardly do it justice.

Bonnie's work has been displayed in some pretty cool places -- like Sacramento's Crocker Art Gallery -- and is coveted by art collectors and others who appreciate her unique perspective. (The mask in the top photo, for example, was purchased by a prominent Calif. politician.)

I'm so proud of my mom and her many, many talents. Did I mention she can draw incredible sketches and that she has a gorgeous singing voice? From an early age, I've always considered myself fortunate to have had "the cool mom" on the block -- beautiful, independent, courageous, funny, and just a bit bohemian. She's a big part of who I am today, and is the my #1 role model for the way I hope to be/live as I grow older.

Betcha she's going to hate this photo I took after we went to a yarn store!

I'll share more photos and stories about her work as I receive them... That's just one reason I love having this blog: Being able to feature artists (like my mom) from time to time, and share some glimpses of their work with fiber artists (yes, that's you!) and others who may find inspiration here.


PS. If you'd like more information about Bonnie's work, just leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I'll get back to you.


Friday, December 26, 2008

To BE fingerless? Or not to be...?

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Who doesn't love a little red mitten?

For grown ups, though, mittens are often inconvenient. That's why I designed this ultra-cozy pair of fingerless gloves that don't always have to be fingerless.

I've made three pair: Two in red and one in green, all using Dale of Norway Sisik (now discontinued), a tweedy, fluffy yarn with all the warmth of mohair.

You can wear these gloves three ways:
1) With both cuffs up, pictured above
2) With the finger-cuff up, like this...


3) With both cuffs unfurled, to keep your fingers toasty:

They're so simple to make -- an easy, fun knit with worsted-weight yarn on US#3 needles for a nice, dense fabric. Having made three pair this year, however, I think I'll take a little break and make something else.

Perhaps a shawl? I'm in the mood for a little lace and some shiny beads...kinda like this one, but different:

Yes, the photo is sideways. I like it like that.

So I'm going to wind this little baby into a nice, neat yarn cake (thus combining two of my favorite things!) and see what I come up with...

LinkCTH Supersock Select in Moody Blues

Ssshhh...Don't tell anyone, though. It's going to be a secret ;-)


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

I don't have a lot to say today -- except, of course, to wish you a lovely holiday -- so thought I'd show you a few pictures of my studio...

All of my stash, except for a few random skeins, is contained under the table and in the plastic bins above.

Those are my writing books on the shelves behind the spinning wheel -- all my knitting books live on a "real" bookcase in the studio and on a second one in the bedroom.

By the way, what you see above is what you have to do to protect your spinning wheel when you have one of these cute little destroyers-of-all-things-valuable...

Yeah, my hand shook a little. Must get tripod.

He's learning, though. Hardly ever touches the wheel, and even knows to leave my knitting alone. Sure, now and then Charley's simply overcome by the yarn and loses control of his actions. I understand. I feel the same way.

I finished these last night:

They turned out well. I love these gloves. You can turn the cuff down over your fingers to keep them warm, and fold it back when you want them to be truly fingerless. And they're made of Dale's (sadly discontinued) Sisik yarn -- fluffy wool and mohair. Mmmmm. This is the third pair I've made, by request, which is a nice feeling :-)

Tonight we're going to make pasties (pronounced PASS-tees): Cornish meat pies enclosed in pie crust, with potatoes, onions, and butter. Lots of butter... In fact, I'm getting hungry now...

So, I'll sign off by saying: Take a few minutes to do something for YOU today, something you love and that makes you happy. After all, it's Christmas!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Dreaming...

Of a freakin' sun-drenched tropical island where the beach is hot, the ocean is warm, and the beer is cold. Really.

Well, in lieu of said island (someday...someday...), we'll settle for the white almost-Christmas we enjoyed in Seattle. Here in the D.C. region, our holiday is supposed to be chilly and semi-clear. But, thank goodness, snow free! (Can you tell I'm a summer kinda girl?)

Speaking of Christmas, I've been hearing something interesting from people lately. They're checking out of the consumer-driven rush. Not buying presents and telling family members they can forgo buying gifts, as well. Changing their focus, their priorities. After all, Christmas is supposed to be joyous, no?

For many, the answer is a resounding: "No." Caught up in the frantic cooking, the running around, the shopping, the wrapping, the trimming, the traveling, the partying, the spending...and all that damn "good cheer" and "holiday spirit" that our society crams down our throats beginning in September. It's exhausting! Can anyone honestly tell me why all this is a good idea? Most people can't.

So, even though we're all supposed to go out and spend money we don't have to "stimulate the economy," more and more people are choosing to celebrate their holidays more simply. They're focusing on everyday pleasures: time spent with those you truly love, time spent doing things you're passionate about, time spent contemplating the goodness that comes our way each and every day.

Give it a try. Here, I'll even go first...

I count myself fortunate. Sure, there are things I want. I want my college loans to be paid off. I want my CFS/ME to go away. I want a full tank of heating fuel. I want several sweaters' worth of yarn, more spindles for my spinning wheel, a pair of dark brown Dansko clogs. But do I need those things? To survive? No. Except for the heating fuel, perhaps, the answer really is: "No."

You see, I have what I need. I have my husband, whom I adore. I have two kitties who make me laugh and who warm my heart when they snuggle. We rent a delightful little cottage, and drive a fun little car (a Nissan Versa, in case you were wondering). AND I have a loving family (see husband, sister, and nephew, in photos above). I have tranquility, laughter, and happiness in my life.

Sure, I often feel like crap and can't do what I used to. Sure, we've had to cut back to bare-bones spending. Sure, we can't go out and spend, buy, do, go all the time. At first these things seemed BAD. But little by little I've learned some lessons because, without all the doing and going and spending to mask it, the truth was clearer: I am so fortunate.

Maybe it sounds mushy and trite, but it's true: I have what I need. What more could I want?

Just something to ponder over the coming (longer!) days...


Monday, December 22, 2008

Inspiration Parfait

Last week we traveled to visit family -- including our one and only nephew -- in Seattle. As expected, most days featured a certain amount of gloom and dampness. When Saturday rolled around, however, the sun --and the mountains -- peeked out just in time for our trip to Pike Place Market. Gorgeous.

First we had hum bao, tasty Chinese BBQ pork buns (yum). We followed with a chaser of hot, fried, sugary doughnuts, so fresh our bag was oil-soaked in minutes (heavenly). Then my sister headed off to be interviewed on a radio show. While she was gone, we grabbed a table at Local Color, where I had some superb pumpkin pie (my favorite).

The grub was good, obviously, but there was so much to see, so many places to explore, and so much color just exploding around us -- we were overwhelmed! I managed to snap a photo or twenty so I could share some of the images with you. And (surprise!) most were photos of food. I didn't think you'd mind...

Now we're back at home, getting ready for a very quiet Christmas with just the two of us and the kitties. Maybe some fresh cinnamon rolls for Christmas brunch, and some Cornish pasties for dinner. Simple and sweet. That's how we like it.

I hope this holiday season is bringing you many hours to enjoy the pleasures of anticipation, of serenity, and of doing what you love with those you adore.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Hat's Off! (New pattern coming soon!)

In case you're wondering, there really is a reason I put an apostrophe before the "s"in the title: My hat is off the needles! And just in the nick of time. We're headed toward a real Winter Wonderland this year, I think...It's only Dec. 5, and we've slid down into the low 20s at night more often than I care to remember.

I cast on for this hat on Thanksgiving Day and finished it up on Black Friday (which is called Frosty Friday in this region...something I'd never heard before). It was a super-quick knit, and it was nice to do a little colorwork for a change. It's been a while!
So here I am, looking a little geeky in my new hat, but who doesn't look geeky when taking self-portraits intended to show knitwear to its best advantage ;-)

Here are the vital statistics:

  • Pattern: Of my own making...
  • Yarn: Cottage Craft 2-ply Wool in Plum (272 yd /4 oz skein); Peace Fleece Worsted Weight in Antarctica White (200 yd/4 oz skein)
  • Needles: US# 6 & 7 circular needles (Addi Turbos)
  • Gauge: About 5 sts/inch in st st
I think I may write this pattern up. The hat is cute, in a reminds-me-of-my-childhood sort of way. (Remember all those long, long, rainbow-colored stocking caps we wore in the 70s?) Plus, it's woolly and warm. Who could resist such a combination?

PS. For those of us who love knitting, but don't care for cold weather in which to wear our creations: Spring's only a little more than three months away!!!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Red Mittens

Card design (c) 2008 by Hannah Six

I've always had a love for little red mittens. I must have had a beloved pair when I was a kid. Though I don't remember much need for mittens in San Francisco, I did spend a winter in Spearfish, SD, when I was about six-years old. And that's a place where mittens are de rigeur.

So maybe it's not surprising that, when I decided to make my own Christmas cards a few years back, I chose a little red mitten to symbolize "Comfort and Joy." Honestly, is anything cuter than a child's warm, woolly little hand on a cold day. There's your Joy. And the Comfort? Well, I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

I loved these cards, so I'm probably going to resurrect the design again this year. Deciding to send cards isn't easy these days. Postage costs a fortune, but then so does everything else!

And the joy (there it is, again) of opening your mailbox to find a handful of warm holiday wishes from your loved ones makes up for the time and energy spent writing and addressing your own batch. To me, at least. I LOVE receiving Christmas cards. Or cards for any other holiday we celebrate in December.

Actually, this year, I might actually pursue my life-long dream of printing some of my cards so I can sell them locally and on my (recently neglected) Etsy store. My head is bursting with design ideas. (BTW: If you think you or anyone you know might be interested, let me know; this really is about as close as I ever get to "Market Research" -- ha ha!)

On the other hand...If you decide to make your own cards this year, for whatever reason, take a few moments to consider what brings you comfort, what adds joy to your life during these long, cold months. That will make coming up with a design a little easier. After all, why not share these personal symbols, and what inspires them in you, with those you love?


On another note, I have some toasty green mitts coming off my needles today...

Cozy Mohair Mitts by Hannah Six

A few years back I made a red pair, with long, long ribbing at the end of the hand so you could fold it down over your fingertips when it's bitterly cold, then fold it back when you need to use your hands.

Knit on US#3 needles from Dale of Norway's worsted-weight Sisik, the red mitts ("Red Hot Mitts" on my Ravelry projects page) are virtually wind-proof! And the garter rib stitch creates little pockets to trap warmth. Cozy!

Well, this past summer, I set up a table at a local arts market. Even though it was closing in on 100 degrees outside, I decided to put the Red Hot Mitts on my table to fill in some space... (production knitting is H.A.R.D.!) And? Someone I know was so enamored of them that she actually bought them--in July! And she loved them, and I loved that.

Soon afterward, and this was a surprise, she asked me to knit a few for her to give to friends this Christmas. Thanks to some lovely Ravelers who had a few balls of the now-discontinued Sisik in their stashes, I managed to collect enough yarn to make several pairs, all in different colors. This is pair #1: Spruce. Next up? Maybe Eggplant. Or Cranberry.

Holiday knitting. The pressure. The pleasure. Is there anything like it?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Take it Easy

Now and then you just need some mindless knitting. A project you don't have to think about at all. One that you don't have to rush to finish, because it's for you.

I find this to be especially true during mid-winter and mid-summer, when you're often "trapped" in one place because you're traveling, or because it's freakin' freezing or bloody boiling outside.

Enter the humble sock. This isn't a fabulous look-at-me lace sock. It's not a startling crazy-colored sock. It's modest, yet warm. Comfortable, like your favorite jeans. And oh-so-easy on a tired brain...

Yarn: Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock; needles from KnitPicks

The stitch pattern is a double-garter rib (you'll find it in most stitch dictionaries and in the fun Blueberry Waffle pattern). It's stretchy and allows some air to be trapped in the little "pockets," keeping your feet nice and toasty.

This sock has no secrets. It's a plain old cast-on-64-stitches-and-knit pattern, allowing your hands to fall into the rhythm and your mind to wander. No need to urge yourself to relax, to focus, to hurry, to do anything. No need. Just hang out with your knitting. Just take it, as The Eagles advised, easy.

Why not grab a skein and give it a try -- use plain old stockinette stitch or K2 P2 ribbing, if you want. All I'm saying is, give yourself permission to cast on something easy once in a while. Like now. Go with it. See where it takes you.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mittens for Knittin' (Free Pattern!)

About a week ago, I found myself with some knitting time on a Saturday morning. As always, plenty of unfinished projects lurked about the house. But that day, they didn't tempt me much. I wanted to knit mittens.

During the previous week, Afghans for Afghans sent out an e-mail update asking for mittens, ASAP. So I gave myself permission to cast on yet another new project and went stash diving.

When I surfaced, I had in hand a skein of heathery-raspberry Peace Fleece (appropriate, no?) and another of Knit Picks Telemark (in green, which, according to A4A, is "the beloved color of Islam"). I grabbed some DPNs and tuned the radio to hear two of my favorite shows: Car Talk and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! The sun was shining, the heater was blurbing and glugging (it's an old house), and I was happy.

Off I went, knitting without much thought to the hows and whys of mittens. They're pretty simple, after all...Nothing more than a cuff, a simple gusset, and a toe-like tip. If you've ever knit socks, you can knit up a pair of mittens, no problem!

Once they'd been blocked and had dried through (with a bit of assistance from my air purifier), I packed them up and shipped them off to San Francisco, where Afghans for Afghans was tallying up an impressive mountain of mitts. In about three weeks, they received more than 1,000 pairs!

In my enthusiastic state, however, I'd failed to take a photo of the finished mitts! So, until I make another pair, I've photographed my sketch for you (a reasonable facsimile, I think). Together with the notes I jotted down after finishing the second mitten, I managed to create a pattern I call "Knittin' Mittens!" and I'm posting it here, free, for your knitting pleasure. Happy stitching!

Knittin' Mittens
  • Yarn: Two colors (approx. 150 yds main color [MC] and 20 yds contrasting color [CC]) of Peace Fleece or other worsted/heavy worsted-weight yarn (I used Peace Fleece for the MC, and double-stranded KnitPicks Telemark for the CC)
  • Needles: Set of five US#6 DPNs (or circular needle, if you prefer)
  • Notions: scrap yarn, tapestry needle, scissors, stitch markers
  • Size: Child's Medium (but very easily customized by adding length to hand/thumb)
  • Gauge: 4.5 sts per inch in st st
CO 32 sts with MC and join to work in round; place marker (PM) to mark beginning of round.

Work two rnds K2P2 rib.
Join CC and work K2P2 rib for four rnds, carrying MC up side.
Break CC and continue with MC for ten more rnds.

Start Thumb
Rnd 1: K to end.
Rnd 2: K7, PM, M1R, K1, M1L, PM, K to beg of rnd.

Alternate these two rnds until you have 11 thumb sts between markers.
Knit around, placing thumb sts on scrap yarn as you go.

Next rnd: K6, work RT* on two sts immediately above thumb opening, K to end.

K three rnds.
Join CC and K six rnds, carrying MC along inside edge as you work.
Break CC and pick up MC.
K three rnds.

Decrease @ Fingertips
Rnd 1: [K6, K2tog] four times (28 sts).
Rnd 2: K to end.
Rnd 3: [K5, K2tog] four times (24 sts).
Rnd 4: K to end.
Rnd 5: [K4, K2tog] four times (20 sts).
Rnd 6: K to end.
Rnd 7: [K3, K2tog] four times (16 sts).
Rnd 8: [K2, K2tog] four times (12 sts).
Rnd 9: [K1, K2tog] four times (8 sts).

Break yarn leaving at least 8" tail. Thread yarn on tapestry needle and draw through rem 8 sts two times, pulling tightly to close hole. Insert needle into center of hole and draw yarn through to inside. Weave in yarn end on inside of glove.

Here's a little intra-pattern cuteness just for you!

Make Thumbs
Place sts from scrap yarn AND two new sts directly above thumb opening and one new st on either side (between thumb and hand) on 3 DPNs [15 sts].

Divide these sts as follows:
N1: first 5 sts from scrap yarn
N2: next 5 sts from scrap yarn
N3: last st from scrap yarn and the 4 new sts picked up where thumb meets hand.

1) K one rnd.
2) Next rnd, K to N3; on N3, K2 tog, K3, K2tog (by knitting last st on N3 with first st on N1) [13 sts].
3) K one rnd.
4) K2tog, K to N3, K2 tog, K to end [11 sts].

Work even in st st for 11 rnds or desired length.
Next rnd: [K1, K2tog] around.

Break yarn and, using tapestry needle, draw through rem sts twice. Draw hole closed tightly, then thread yarn through to inside of thumb.

Turn mitten inside out and weave in ends.

Block by soaking in lukewarm water with a bit of cleanser. Rinse gently unless you used a rinse-free wool wash. Be careful not to agitate the mittens as you wash and rinse them or they'll felt and shrink (unless you used superwash wool).

If yarn color bleeds, soak in lukewarm water with a bit of white vinegar to help set dye. Blot dry with towel, lay flat, pat into shape as desired, and allow to dry thoroughly before wearing.

Just one request: If you use this pattern, please consider making a pair for the charity of your choice. And, as always, do let me know if you spot anything that needs clarification.


* To work RT: Insert tip of right needle into next two sts on left needle and K2tog without letting either st drop off; insert right needle into first st on left needle and K this st again; drop both sts off needle.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Twist Collective and Knotions

Did you notice that the Winter 2008 edition of Twist Collective is live? Isn't it beautiful? A treat for the eyes. And the needles, I'd say.

Knotions' Winter issue is up, too. Lots of cool designs and articles...

Hmmm...Good reading, inspiring patterns...Where to start?

Happy knitting ;-)


Friday, November 14, 2008

Hannah Six Designs Six Shalimar Yarns Exclusives

Over the past couple of months, I've designed six patterns for Shalimar Yarns. It's been a whirlwind of creating, swatching, ripping out, revising, writing patterns, and having them test knitted. In other words: It's been a blast!

In total, I did six designs for Shalimar Yarns, inspired by their delicious colors, by the scrumptious base yarns, and by Kristi, who owns both Shalimar and Eleganza Yarns, a Frederick, Md.-based store (which is well worth a side trip if you're in the area!).

One of the designs, the Clover Honey Shawlette, was particularly popular, with 20 copies sold in just a few days! Clover Honey is knit from just one skein of Shalimar's Zoe Sock (each skein has an ultra-generous 450 yard put-up!) on US #5 needles.

With a bit of shaping to ensure it hugs your shoulders and a fun beaded cast off, it's both practical and unique. What an amazing (and affordable!) holiday gift this would make! If you're interested in buying the yarn and pattern, just visit the Shalimar Yarns Web site or contact Kristi at Eleganza Yarns.

Swatching for the Shenandoah Capelet

In the coming days, I will post more info about my other patterns, which include:
  • The Rotunda Baby Blanket, a Rococco-inspired confection in Honey Worsted, with an intruiguing pattern ever-increasing cables...
  • The Shenandoah Capelet, knit in Missy Bulky, with soft and lofty braided cables and unique twisted-I-cord button loops...
  • The Freesia Socks, inspired by the glorious Iris colorway and my memories of a freesia-filled garden at my Northern California high school...
I've even created a special pattern, named Schuylkill Punch (in honor of Philadelphia's World Series Championship), for the Shalimar Yarns sock club! So stay tuned for more photos, more pattern information, and more about Shalimar's wonderful yarns and colorways...

And meanwhile? Happy Knitting (of course)!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yarns from Stitches East!

As promised: Fun stuff about the yarn I brought home from Stitches East...

Cottage Craft 2-ply Wool in Spruce Green (Aran weight/272 yd skein)
Cottage Craft, purveyors (what a fun word!) of exclusive knitting yarns, handknit wool sweaters, handwoven tweed coats, boasts a rich history. Founded in 1915, the company is located in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, in New Brunswick, Canada.

One of my last stops before leaving Stitches--they were located along the far wall, in a booth lined with a dizzyingly colorful display of utter sheepy bliss. In fact, my excitement about Cottage Craft yarns literally made me forget my oh-so-tired feet!

One note before I continue--especially to those seeking the ultra-buttery-soft experience modern knitters seem to crave: This is WOOL. It has "tooth," and feels scrunchy and real when you squeeze it. I happen to adore that feeling. How it behaves when washed and blocked will be interesting indeed, so I'll be sure to keep you posted as I swatch and play.

Cottage Craft 2-ply Wool in Plum (Aran weight/272 yd skein)

My two skeins of two-ply wool can hardly begin to represent the company's mouth-watering colors. This tempting palette
, according to the Cottage Craft Web site:
"...reflect(s) the beauty of the landscapes and seascapes surrounding our seaside town. Many of our shades were created by Miss Grace Helen Mowat, a forward thinking lady who began the business in 1915. Each shade reflects rich heather tones, which blend beautifully."
I chose the two-ply wool (with its generous 272-yard put-up) for swatching, playing, designing, and/or knitting some holiday gifts. But Cottage Craft also offers a single-ply, lighter weight wool. With plenty of energy, the single ply is hardly a "dead," over-blocked yarn. It knits up into pretty lace on larger needles, and would make a warm and comforting wrap for the colder months ahead.

Honestly, if you can't trust Canadians to bring you lovely wool and woollen products, who can you trust? Just joking. But it does get cold there! And this Canadian company specializes in the most texturally tantalizing, fabulously woolly, inspiration-inducing yarns I've encountered in a long time. Please, if you enjoy real wool, do yourself a huge favor and buy some. Actually, it's such a great value and amazing product, go ahead and buy A LOT!


Maple Creek Farm Fine Wool Merino (Worsted weight/200 yd skein)

Discovering Maple Creek Farm yarns was another unexpected treat. The fibers and colorways are dangerously, pocket-emptyingly beautiful. It was hard to leave with only one skein, but the skein I did buy is really lovely.

Spun at a mill in Taos, NM, of fleece from Maple Creek's own sheep, this is a soft, spongy Merino with a delightfully quirky texture. It reminds me of handspun yarn, round and elastic, begging to be knitted or crocheted into something special.

Maple Creek Farm started in 2002, with "yarn from our own Merino sheep, a couple of pots, a few burners and a dream," according to the company's Web site. Now, just six years down the road, Maple Creek boasts 25 hand-dyed yarns, eight of which are also available online: three weights of silk/Merino blend; four sock yarns; and one Merino/Mohair blend.

Clearly, this small company is based on a grand love affair of color, fiber, and texture. I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be disappointed with their products.


One last note: If you do try yarn from either of these companies, do let me know what you think of them...Comparing yarn experiences is half the fun of knitting--to me, at least.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cat's Eye

This is my brain...

Well, actually, this is more like my brain...

And this is my brain on kitten...

Remember: When in doubt, play with fiber.


For anyone wondering how Katja and Charley get along,
here's some feline body language for you...

Don't be fooled. This is probably less innocent than it appears.

A cat's eyes are windows enabling us to see into another world.
- Irish proverb

Wishing you all a peaceful Tuesday!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Knittin' and Kitten

Meet Charley...
He's the newest member of our little household. After Maggie died last January, we couldn't even think of getting another kitty. But over the months, Chris, Katja, and I found ourselves grieving less and then, suddenly, feeling like it was time for a new kitty...a playmate for Katja.

Enter Charley -- about two pounds of 24-hour-a-day, nonstop Kitten. When I saw his picture, with his little newborn blue eyes and apricot-cream coloring, I knew he was the one.

My friend Elaine rescued him, along with his siblings, near her home in upstate New York. We waited for him to grow up a little, and then, last Thursday, he arrived in style, chauffered by Elaine and her husband (who were on their way to DC for the weekend). Have no doubt: You'll be hearing about his antics for years to come!

Shalimar Yarns Missy Bulky

Speaking of the weekend, I stopped by Stitches East in Baltimore on Saturday to see how my designs for Shalimar Yarns were doing. I created the following five patterns for the Frederick, Md.-based company:
  • Shenandoah Capelet
  • Clover Honey Shawlette
  • Freesia Socks
  • Rotunda Baby Blanket
  • Heart in Hand Fingerless Gloves

Shalimar Yarns is owned and operated by the delightful Kristi, who also owns Eleganza Yarns, in Frederick, Md. Her line of hand-dyed yarns includes some of the softest bulky-weight Merino I've ever had the pleasure of knitting.

The worsted-weight knits up with a nice drape on US #6 - 7 needles, and is next-to-the-skin gentle. Then there's the new Zoe Sock, a fingering-weight from a terrific source. It's not only soft, it "has tooth," if you know what I mean. The colors are fab, and the yarn just plain feels good to knit with.

Apparently, the Clover Honey Shawlette (see a photo of the yarn and the very beginning of the shawl in last Tuesday's post) was the hit pattern of the show for Shalimar. I have to say I was happy with the final product: a lace and garter stitch shoulder shawl with a sweet beaded edge.

Kristi tells me my other patterns also generated a good amount of interest. This is SO exciting to me!!! As I learn more, I'll share any info that might be of interest -- including photos of the garments.

Chris and I also chatted with Kristin Nicholas, who is so down to Earth you couldn't be star-struck if you wanted to, met tons of yarn vendors, and went for a walk around the market.

At one point, I stopped in to say hello to my friend Karida, owner of Neighborhood Fiber Co., in D.C. Along with her yarn, she had some gorgeous roving, which she was generous enough to share. Thank you, Karida! So here are some initial photos of my Stitches loot...

Neighborhood Fiber Co. Silk-Merino Roving (above and below)

We also spent a few minutes with Sharon, owner of Three Irish Girls and co-owner of Yarn Love. I was glad to introduce her to Chris, so he could put a face with the name when I mention her. She's lovely, as is her yarn...Check out her online stores!

By necessity, I was very good and didn't splurge, but I did come home with a few goodies. Photos are awaiting editing, and will arrive shortly. As will links to my patterns, which will be on sale soon at Shalimar Yarns' new Web site.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Vote for the future.
Vote for the past.
Vote for hope.
Vote for peace.
Vote for yourself.
Vote for your true love.
Vote for your children.
Vote for your neighbors.
Vote for your parents.
Vote for no reason at all.

But...whatever you do...PLEASE VOTE!

(Then pull out your knitting and watch the returns tonight...)

PS> Thank You for Voting!!!!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Philadelphia Phillies: 2008 World Champions!!!!!

Harry Kalas: THE Voice of Baseball.
And, hey, check out Chris Wheeler in the background ;-)

BTW: The only way I could stay sane through the 7th and 8th innings was to KNIT. The 9th inning? All sanity lost...It's a wonderful three-out blur!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yarn Stew

Handspun Leftovers: Yarn Stew, anyone?

For the past few years, I've been collecting random bits and bobs of my handspun yarn, throwing it in a baggie with other leftovers. Recently, I pulled the baggie out and realized my collection of handspun ends makes for a pretty combination. So, I've been thinking: Randomly striped scarf? Fingerless gloves? Hat? What do you think?

Shalimar Yarns' new bulky weight yarn--soft as butter. Mmmmm...

I do want to say "Thank you" to those of you who haven't given up on me over the past few entry-less months! In August and September, a tendonitis-type injury sidelined me. No knitting for two months? Horrors! (Just ask my husband...)

For a fiber-holic like me, not being able to knit is like giving up cigarettes. I couldn't spend time around knitters, in knitting stores, or even on Ravelry--being completely unable to join in was just too painful. So I withdrew for a while.

During the past five weeks or so, however, my shoulder, neck, elbow, and wrist began to feel a better, little by little. At first I could knit for five minutes, then 20 minutes, and finally to an hour or two (max) here and there. Believe me: Taking regular rest breaks and doing a few hand and wrist stretches makes all the difference. If you feel discomfort, pay attention! The alternative is awful.

Gorgeous Zoe Sock from Shalimar Yarns in a gorgeous clover-honey color

Since my injury began improving, I've focused on much more "original knitting" (AKA: designing), and am spending a bit of time (health permitting) writing my patterns down. Soon, I hope, they'll be available via my Etsy store, and maybe someplace else, as well ;-) Stay tuned!

Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock in a color I think of as "Country Lane."
Warm socks (new pattern) coming soon!

Happy knitting, all! See you soon...promise :-)

Oh, and yeah: GO PHILLIES!!!!!!!