I have published my pattern for the shawl. I named it Flames and Lace because there were a lot of other designs already that were using my initial idea, Candle Flames. I have it on the website and on Ravelry for $6.
I did get it written in time for the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend. I even wore it in the booth and got many compliments on it. We also have a new batch of Yarn Boxes in some woods we have been out of for a time. We have Mahogany, Oak, and Cherry for $60 and Walnut for $65. They were very popular in the booth!
I am currently in Ohio for the Wool Gathering festival at Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs. I will be getting the booth ready tomorrow. This festival is all outdoors in big tents. We usually have pretty nice weather so I hope that holds true this year too. The market opens on Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4.
I have a few hours of downtime this afternoon and hope to get a bit of knitting done on Saltarello. Here’s how it is looking at this point.
I am home for this weekend and have some knitting to show you. I also have a few new things in my home office.
I drove home from Pittsburgh on Sunday . The trip was long but uneventful. The one bonus of a long drive is more audio book time. During my trips from Nashville to Kalamazoo to Pittsburgh and back to Nashville, I had many hours of listening time. I listened to Later by Stephen King,Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, and began The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadesh.
This was my second time reading Later. I had forgotten how good it is. If you like the movie The Sixth Sense, you might like this book. Secrets of a Charmed Life is very good for fans of historical fiction set in two time periods. The main characters are two sisters separated by World War II and how that affected their lives. I am not even halfway through The Weight of Ink yet. It’s a bit historical too, but in a different way from the other one I read. It doesn’t feel as personal but it is very interesting. The main plot revolves around some manuscripts from the mid 17th century and the people that wrote them in the past versus the ones discovering them in the present. Technically it is the year 2000, so the past to us, but in modern times.
While we are on the topic of home, I want to show you that I added a few things to my home office recently. I added a few desk lamps, a filing cabinet and best of all, a comfortable desk chair. I am writing this post from here and it’s awesome! I really do feel more productive. Now, I just need to use that productive feeling to get my new knitting pattern written for that shawl I finished.
Speaking of that shawl, let’s take a look at the blocking shots and a few after blocking pictures.
I love how the pattern opens with the blocking. This stitch pattern is not hard to work because as you can see it’s pretty solid for a lace pattern. That is the reason I chose to use US 3 needles for the fingering weight Classic Merino Bamboo yarn that I used. Normally I used US 5 needles to knit lace with either of my fingering weight bases. I am happy with the body in this shawl that the tighter gauge creates.
I ended up using almost all of the 3 skeins. The shawl weighs 295g. I measured it after removing the pins. The length is about 84″ and the width about 23.5-24″. The width was more than I had planned but it’s actually a nice size for wrapping up in. I think the width is a result of how I blocked it. The edging wanted to be stretched more and therefore, I went with it rather than making the fabric stretch more lengthwise. You may also notice that I chose to accentuate the shaping of the selvedge that occurs due to the lace. Now, I just need to get the pattern written and published. I would like that to be done in time for my next show in Wisconsin next weekend.
I am finding the stitch pattern easy to follow, even in the dark yarn. I do need good light to work on it but that can be true no matter the color when working lace patterns. I have gotten through the first two charts at this point. I hope it will show the design well in the booth in the dark color. Blocking will help I think. I am using US 5 needles on this shawl to help the stitch pattern open up more. See you next time.
So it has been super busy in my world. I am on the the road traveling between Michigan and Pittsburgh for two fiber festivals. I will get into that first and then on to what am I knitting lately.
Michigan Fiber Festival
Michigan Fiber Festival was awesome as always this year. The weather was lovely for most of the weekend. It did rain some on Thursday morning, which was booth set up day, but after that it was sunny and pleasant. Sunday got a bit hot but it wasn’t too bad. The attendance was good and sales were fantastic. It is so satisfying to meet and chat with other knitters and to help them pick out tools and/or yarn that they will enjoy using. It’s the best!
Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival
On Monday morning I drove from Kalamazoo to Pittsburgh. The drive was fine. I took the Ohio Turnpike since it was the most direct and the fastest route, but oh boy! The tolls are nuts! I paid $48 so far and I think I will be getting another bill from Pennsylvania for the 376.
I arrived at the hotel and got settled in for the week. I had one full day off, which I haven’t had for weeks, and I spent that day just hanging out. I did make a short run to a grocery store up the road and got a few supplies but other than that I spent the day reading and knitting. More on the knitting in a moment.
I got the booth set up on Tuesday and Wednesday was when I had a day of rest. Today, Thursday, is opening day at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival. The market is open on Thursday from 12-7, Friday from 10-5, and Saturday from 9-5. I am glad to be here this year. I have been a vendor in this festival since 2008 and only had to miss one year. That was 2021 because of the date change and a prior commitment. I have met many knitters over the years in this area and I look forward to seeing them each year. It’s especially nice when customers show me what they are doing with their yarn from previous years.
What Am I Knitting?
Which brings me to my own knitting. While I was in Michigan, I finished my shawl! Of course I have had no way to block it yet, but I took a picture in the hotel for you.
I haven’t named it yet or written up the pattern, but you will be the first to know when I have that part done. I will be blocking this lovely thing as soon as I return to Nashville. I think that seeing it after it’s blocked will help in picking out a name, but if you have any suggestions I would be happy to hear them.
For the remainder of my down time in Michigan, which was very little mind you, I worked on my second sock in progress.
New Knitting Project
I also picked out a yarn and color to begin a new project. This one is one of Dee O’Keefe’s designs called Saltarello. I decided to use my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn this time in Obsidian. Dee used an 80/20 Merino/Silk blend which almost made me choose the Classic Merino Bamboo, which I used for my shawl I just finished above. I has a nice drape which is similar to a wool and silk blend. However, in looking at the stitch pattern, I felt like the crisper hand and better stitch definition of the 100% wool 2 ply spun with a tight twist, would be a nice substitute. I may be crazy for picking the Obsidian, but I think it will be very dramatic if it doesn’t kill me. I am not gonna lie, the garter tab in black was tedious. Once I was past that part it got easier but I definitely need good light to work on it.
I brought my yarn swift and ball winder along because I knew I would be starting this project before I got home. I hadn’t decided on which yarn I was going to use before I left. It is much easier to consider them when I can see them all hanging in the booth. Here I am winding the yarn for Saltarello and the spare skein I need to complete the sock.
This is my progress on the new shawl at the end of the first chart. I think that when it is blocked it will open up and show the stitch pattern well enough. I will reassess after completing a bit more.
It is getting close to the time I need to head over to the Double Tree for the market opening today. If you are in the area this weekend, come on by and stop in to say hello. I am in the Green Tree Ballroom in booths 25-26.
Wells kids, it’s time to head back out on the fiber market trail. Break time is coming to an end and I am off to Charlotte, NC for the Southern Comforts Fiber Market. Click the link for more details. I am looking forward to using my new trailer. I have taken it for a few spins just to check on the brake adjustments and such. Restocking the booth between market days is going to be much easier with all the room to spare. It’s all stocked and ready to hitch up today. I will be driving on Wednesday, setting up on Thursday, and market days are Friday and Saturday.
Oh! I forgot to tell you, we found a new owner for the old black trailer. Hopefully, someone will fix her up and get some more use out of her for many more years.
I am glad to be feeling myself again today because I was feeling under the weather for 3-4 days. So much so in fact, that I wasn’t up to knitting. I would pick it up and realize I just didn’t have the energy. I wasn’t severely ill, it was just a low grade fever that hung on for days and a couple days of lower GI discomforts, but knitting a lace edging was a bit taxing. After countless cups of various herbal and medicinal teas, and quite a few bowls of chicken soup, I am grateful that I was feeling better by Sunday. I wanted a least a few days to get back on my feed before hitting the road.
Before I got sick, I had started and completed one of the repeats of the lace edging on my shawl design. I decided 3 skeins would be a decent size. I had 20g of yarn left and the edging should only use 17g, so I should be good. I didn’t touch it again until yesterday. When I picked it back up, I worked 3 repeats in one sitting. There are only 18 repeats across and each is 12 rows. The end is in sight! I am excited to see how it looks when it’s blocked.
Work Shop News
Just a day or so before I was briefly out of commission, we decided it was a good time to make a visit to our lumber supplier. The plan had been to work on more Shawl/Hair Sticks for awhile and get more lumber in the fall. We had bought a few new boards of exotics last month at Woodcraft for these. We revised that plan, however, and decided it was better to go ahead and start a batch of Yarn Boxes first. We had completed a small batch in June to fill out the inventory some, but one wood is already sold out. Time to make more boxes. Who remembers the old Dunkin Donuts commercial? You know the one? “It’s time to make the donuts”, says the sleepy guy who is rising in the middle of the night to get the dough started. That’s what I thought of just now. LOL
While I was trying to get healthy again, Jerry has been busy cutting, sorting, jointing, and planing wood. We bought some walnut, cherry, and white oak. We haven’t made any cherry boxes for quite a few years, and while we use oak quite frequently, it is usually red oak. At this point in the process, they are now all planed to the proper thickness and ready to be marked out for cutting down to the dimensions needed for the sides, tops and bottoms. Then the joinery cuts are made and they get assembled and glued together. There are dozens more steps after that to get to the finished product. These are probably the most labor intensive, as far as number of processing steps, of anything we make.
Thanks for the comments on my new office. I am really enjoying having my own space. As a matter of fact I am writing this post from there. I got a couple better desk lamps and a desk stuff organizer. I have a comfy chair, which I am in now, for work like this. I am, however, realizing that the kitchen chair as a desk chair is going to have to go. It’s not inviting to sit in for any task longer than, say packing an order. So, I am in the market for a suitable replacement. Maybe I’ll have found one by my next post. We’ll see. See you soon!
It’s the end of July and that means we are wrapping up the summer break time. The yarn is all dyed, labeled and in it’s storage bins. About 2/3 of the yarn is in the trailer and the remainder is stowed in the work room as back up to restock the trailer during the late summer and fall show season.
In addition to yarn dyeing, we have some new Yarn Bowls in the works. We will be bringing a selection of these to the festivals and adding them to the website. There are a large variety of woods and sizes, so the best way to see them is in person. The woods used include oak, cherry, walnut, and mahogany. We ended up with so many different sizes that we will have a range of prices to fit most budgets and uses. They will vary from $40 to $70.
I will be heading off to Charlotte, NC on August 9th for the Southern Comforts Fiber Market. The festival will be at the Oasis Shriner’s Auditorium on August 11-12, 2023. We have a full schedule after that, so hopefully you can make it out to one. I would love to see you!
I have been working on my new shawl design when I can. I would love to have this finished and ready for displaying in the booth soon. You may recall that I am using my Classic Merino Bamboo yarn for this shawl. The pattern will be forth coming as soon as I decide on a stopping point.
At this point I could work one more repeat of the lace pattern and still have enough yarn left for the edging. I am currently on the the third skein. The shawl measures around 65″ long unblocked. If I add another section and the edging, it will add around 7″. That’s 72″ before blocking. I think I may want it about a foot longer. That’s my indecision at this point. Do I stop at a 3 skein project? Or continue on and use some of a 4th skein?
My goodness! I have barely had time to breathe and finally a little break. Since my last post I have been to three fiber festivals. On Memorial Day weekend I was in Wooster for the Great Lakes Fiber Show. The weather was so nice and there was good turnout. I wasn’t going to bore you with more booth shots but I changed my mind since it’s what I have. Posts with pictures are more fun, right?
The first weekend in June was Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Franklin, IN. The weather was pretty warm this year but that’s not unusual. This show has really grown and improved so much over the 16 years I have been vending there. I am very impressed with it’s progress and look forward to it every year. The organizers do a great job with every thing, from vendor communication, to classes, to promotion.
This past Friday and Saturday, I was back in Ohio. For the third year, I went to the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair in Newark. This festival is currently one day only. I have given it a few years, and it’s a nice one for what it is, but it may be the last year for me. It’s mainly because it’s all in the one day. I drive up on Friday and then on Saturday I arrive at 5:30 am to set up the booth for the market which opens at 9 am and runs to 5 pm. Then it’s tear down time. I put in a long 13 hour day and it’s just a bit too much. Attendance has dropped off too, which makes it hard to make enough to be worth the effort and expense. If it wasn’t 400 miles each way requiring two nights away I would keep it, but as it is, for me, it’s probably not one I will keep going forward. It makes me sad to do it though. One bonus is that I have my trailer and truck right there behind the booth. Saves some time and energy during set up and break down.
So, not a whole lot of knitting happening lately. I did finish that first sock and the cuff if the second one. I am ready to start the heel flap when I get back to it. If you recall, I am making these with some remnants of discontinued colorways of my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn.
I have also been working on my shawl design. I am ready to join on the third skein at this point. It is measuring about 45″ unblocked. I am probably around the half way mark now since I want it to be generous for wrapping.
We have put in a huge yarn order to get started dyeing when I return from my next show. I am home this coming weekend but am back on the road for one more festival, Houston Fiber Fest, before the summer break. More on that in my next post. See you later!
Since my last post in April I have taken two trips to Saint Louis. I went the first time for the Midwest Fiber Festival and it was fantastic! I already signed up for next year and can’t wait to go back.
One of my customers from the show contacted me about some wood they had if we were interested. She sent some pictures and it looked promising, so we emptied out the trailer and drove it back up to their place just west of Saint Louis. We got there in the early afternoon and spent the next several hours loading up the trailer. We stayed the night in Saint Louis and then headed home. Here is some of the wood after it was unloaded and sorted in the work shop.
It’s hard to tell yet what this will all end up as, but there is for sure quite a bit of usable stuff. It does take a bit of time to process because it’s mostly cut offs, but that works for some of our products. A lot of it was mahogany, with some walnut, oak and a little cherry.
So, once the trailer was emptied again we had the job of reloading and restocking the trailer for our next festival. That is where I am right now, actually. I am near Saint Paul, MN for the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival in Lake Elmo, MN. I will be setting up the booth today. The festival is Saturday and Sunday.
It’s a long haul to come up here every year but it is worth it. A bonus is that I get lots of audio book time while I’m driving. I finished Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane and am starting the sequel Fly Away I am also reading Justin Cronin’s newest release The Ferryman. I got hooked on his writing when I read The Passage trilogy. So good!
I also have done a tiny bit of knitting. I haven’t had much down time inwhich I also have the desire to pick up my needles. So, when I do reach for my knitting it has been my sock that gets the action.
It’s almost ready for the toe shaping. I will be switching back to the green for that. With any luck I may get this done over the weekend. I have a couple hours this morning before heading over to set up. Speaking of which, I better get busy. See you soon!
As I mentioned in my last post, I needed a little bit of interim knitting. The shawl is still coming along but some variety was called for. Here’s where my shawl in progress is at the moment. I am down to the last 30g or so of the second skein of Classic Merino Bamboo. I measured the main section, aside from the edging, and it is about 38-40″ unblocked. The edging adds about 3″ which means it is going to require at least 3 skeins of yarn to be long enough. I should have known that 2 weren’t going to be enough.
I apologize for the photo quality. I am currently in another hotel room, this one is in St. Louis, MO. I am going to be setting up the booth this afternoon at the second annual Midwest Fiber Festival. I am excited to be here. It was a great show last year. The staff are wonderful and the enthusiasm of everyone is contagious. I’ll share some pictures from the festival later. For now, let me get back to the bit of interim knitting I teased in my title.
We all have tons of fingering weight/sock yarn in our stashes right? I got an idea recently to pull out some of mine and make myself some summer shorty socks. The first pair on the needles are made with some of my hand dyed Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in some discontinued colorways. I have all sorts of remnants from booth samples and such, so I will be combining them in fun ways to keep it interesting. I am just following a basic cuff down sock formula with a 1×1 cuff (2 1/2″) and a slip stitch flap heel. I am using 68 stitches and my US1 (2.25mm) Signature Needle Arts DPNS. I have no affiliation for the link, but I am a fan of their needles. I only have two sets of DPNS and one circular US5, but they are great. I love the stiletto points. They are pricey but the quality is there.
I have been doing a bit of spring cleaning in between fiber festivals. I think that we are firmly into spring weather. I hope most of the volatile storms are past and we can enjoy the warmth and sunshine.
Last week when we had a few days that were warm and sunny, I washed all the bedding, cleaned the windows, and then washed both trucks.
Of course by the next day they both had tree pollen and bird poop on them, but at least the inside is still clean.
Jerry is totally responsible for putting in the garden. The smaller bed (up close) has kitchen herbs, peppers and a few tomatoes. The larger bed farther away) has some more tomatoes and veggies that we plant from seeds. I think he put out some peas, green beans, summer squash, corn, and possibly some cucumbers.
This past weekend I was in Greencastle, IN for the Greencastle Wool Show. We are long time vendors there and we thought last year was the end. It was thankfully saved from extinction. The weather was great and there was a nice turn out, especially on Saturday.
I have a weekend at home again this week. The next festival on our schedule is the Midwest Fiber Festival in St. Louis. This will be the second year for this one. It was well attended last year and we are looking forward to going back.
In knitting news, I have made some progress on the shawl but not enough to bother with a new picture. It is a nice stitch pattern that is easily memorized. I also love knitting with the Classic Merino Bamboo. That said though, I am getting to the point where I am ready for a change in my knitting, IYKWIM. I may need to cast on a little something for variety soon. I am trying to push through so I can get it ready for the booth and write up the pattern. We’ll see.
I wanted to write a post so many times in the last few weeks but you know how it is I am sure. So, here I am with a couple of hours before set up time and finally the energy to get it done. The weeks have been filled with the usual tasks. I have done a bit more dyeing to restock a few popular yarns that were already getting low. We have some more Shawl and Hair Sticks on the website. Thanks to my husband’s diligence and hard work, we have eight different woods available.
I made the drive up to Ann Arbor yesterday. I had a bit of time last night to knit on my shawl. I am into the second skein of yarn now. Here’s a picture I took this morning in the hotel room. It’s gray and rainy at the moment so it’s not a great one.
I need to get my lunch packed and head over to the fairgrounds in about an hour. See you soon!