Sometimes Weekends Are For Knitting

saltarello shawl

It’s not often that I get weekends off but sometimes weekends are for knitting. I was home and my work was caught up so I took the weekend off and did lots of knitting. It was wonderful!

Knitting Saltarello

I will get to my current knitting projects that I began this weekend in a moment, but first let me share my finished Saltarello (Ravelry project page) with you. I cast off on Friday morning and took some before and after blocking pictures. The transformation is always so amazing!

I am thrilled with how it came out! I used 160g of Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in color Obsidian. That calculates to about 690 yards. I used size 5 US needles. I measured it the day after I took it off the blocking pins, and the relaxed size is 72″ x 31″. So, mine is a bit smaller than Dee’s sample. She notes in the pattern that hers is 75″ x 35″.

saltarello shawl

I think I want to wear this in my booth this coming weekend at SAFF. It is a good size for me and I am excited to show it off. I hope it will be an inspiration for knitters to want to make it. I just love lace knitting. It is fun and interesting to make and looks so elegant.

New Knitting Projects

Mingling Daisies

Speaking of interesting knitting, I decided to go with the Sea Coral for my Mingling Daisies shawl (Ravelry project page). It is definitely interesting to knit. I had a rough start, which is mainly due to the inflexibility of the I-Cord edging I think. I started 3 times before I got everything going right.

Once I got past the setup and worked it bit of length it started to get easier. The daisy stitch is fun now but I hated it in the first rows. I am also used to working pattern stitches and lace from charts. This is not charted, but it’s pretty easy to memorize so it’s not too big a deal. I am adjusting and using my progress keeping app (Row Counter) to chart my place in the pattern. I really like how it is looking so far and it is fun to work on now.

Knitting the Geogradient MKAL 2023

This is an impulse project that I cast on this weekend along with the above. I can’t explain why I felt compelled to knit this shawl (Ravelry project page). I have never done a Westknits MKAL for several reasons.

  • I don’t generally like surprises in my knitting.
  • Despite his obvious gift for designing, I am rarely tempted to knit them. They are not typically to my taste.
  • I don’t care for garter shawls in lots of colors, but here I am making one. Who knows why?

I think what intrigued me was the colors. I have been watching and even helping some of my customers pick out the colors for theirs and it just seemed like such a fun knit. I dragged out almost every color I have in my Classic Merino Superwash sock yarn and started playing with sets.

I took dozens of pictures and looked at them in gray scale. I narrowed the sets down to three. The greens and the blues/teals fit the gradient criteria the best. It should come as no surprise that I settled on the greens. I love green.

I have completed a bit less than half of Clue 1. I am not going to stress about the time table. I am not concerned much if I fall behind or see clues before I get there. I got started a bit late anyway. I just hope I like where it goes and plan to have fun with it.

Meanwhile Back in Nashville: a visit to the Work Shop

Back in Nashville

I arrived safely back in Nashville on Sunday. The traffic on the drive was light for most of the day until I got to Knoxville. Between Knoxville and Nashville I hit at least 4 slow downs due to who knows what? There were construction zones a few times, but they didn’t have workers present. So, I finally arrived around 3:30 pm just as a rain storm was bearing down on Nashville. I got the trailer turned in the driveway and my luggage out before it poured. I waited for it to stop raining before unhitching though.

Back On the Road

I took the afternoon to unpack and rest a bit. On Monday I did the grocery shopping and some trailer restocking. Today, Tuesday, I washed and gassed up the truck, hitched up the trailer again, and packed for my next trip tomorrow. I am leaving in the morning for Michigan. I will be setting up the booth on Thursday for the Michigan Fiber Festival. I started vending at this festival in 2007. It is a three day show, Friday – Sunday and is at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. I have always liked this festival but improved more now that I am in the new Expo Building. The light and ventilation is much better than the old white building where I was for the first 12 years.

I will be going straight to Pittsburgh from Allegan on Monday next week. I am once again back for the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival in Green Tree, PA. We will be setting up the booths on Wednesday since the dates for the show are now Thursday-Saturday. It just makes more sense not to drive home. I’ll talk more about this show later though, because I wanted to spend some time in this post with a work shop update.

Work Shop Update

If you recall, we were starting a new batch of Yarn Boxes before I left for Charlotte, NC. While I was there, Jerry got the pieces all cut to final dimensions. That means that the next step is to cut ALL the finger joints. This is a time consuming process. Aside from the time involved in making the actual cuts, the jig is tedious to set up and tweak it until everything is lined up exactly right. If that doesn’t happen the joints won’t line up correctly when we start assembling the sides and bottoms together. Prayers for patience and wisdom are appreciated ;-).

While we are on the topic of the work shop and our processes, I’d like to share a new page I have on the website about that. I have had in mind for awhile to write up a gallery type page that not only shows but also informs interested visitors about what goes into making all of our various products. When people come into our booth at festivals or visit our website, they may not already know that almost everything they see there was hand made by us. From the wood knitting tools and accessories, to the hand dyed yarn and knitted samples, it is all us. That is pretty cool to me and I want to share what it takes for that to happen. I hope it will be interesting and informative and a work in progress itself as we add new items or change how we do things. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link to a Sneak Peek at Our Production. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think. Is there something you’d like to see there that I didn’t include?

Hello from the Southern Comforts Fiber Market 2023

I am grabbing a bit of down time to send you a “Hello” from the Southern Comforts Fiber Market.

Getting Ready for the Market

Thursday afternoon was set up day. I arrived at the appointed time and was there until they kicked us out for the night. I did manage to get the booth 95% ready when I left for the night. The final touches, sample arranging and signs, were easily managed on Friday morning before the market opened.

Market Days

Friday was a nice day in the market. I met lots a knitters and crocheters and had a wonderful time chatting and showing off our wares. I enjoy helping my customers find the right supplies they need for their projects. That can be the right tool, the best yarn base or color, or the perfect pattern.

One thing that I am excited to report is that the new trailer did, in fact, make restock pulling SO MUCH EASIER. It is great having the extra room to move the totes around to get to stuff. Also, since they no longer have to be stacked as high, I have an easier time manipulating them. It only took about a half an hour to get to what I needed, which means it’s earlier when I get my supper, LOL.

Saturday in the market has been a bit busier and it’s already almost break down time. I have my truck and trailer hitched up and in a decent proximity for loading in a few hours. I am anticipating a smooth pack up.

This is the third year for this festival and I have been at all of them. It is still a new show and I am impressed with how much it improves each year. The attendance is still on the low side, which is common for a new festival, but I see the potential for it to become much bigger. The committee seem to be focused on growth and doing a lot to achieve it. They are also fabulous at caring for the needs of their vendors. I will definitely be back next year.

Home Again

I’ll be staying the night and driving home tomorrow. The upside to driving home on a Sunday is, no rush hours to worry about. I started a new audiobook on Wednesday while driving to Charlotte. It’s one that I think I picked up during one of Audible’s BOGO sales. It’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. I am enjoying it and looking forward to continuing the story on my drive tomorrow. I have listened to a number of her books and they are always entertaining. See you soon Nashville!

Greetings From the Great State of Texas

This morning I am sending you greetings from the great state of Texas. It’s been three years since I was last here and I am excited to get my booth set up today for the East Texas Fiber Festival. I am writing from my hotel room which is about a half an hour from Canton, where the venue is located. It was a long haul to get here but for a change I took my time and stretched it out over two days. It was an uneventful drive this time. We made sure to check and grease all the bearings and air up all the tires.

Due to the leisurely pace of my travels, I had a bit of knitting time at the end of my driving days to get some knitting done. As you can see I have almost finished my second Shapely Mitts. I only have to knit the ribbing at the finger end of the hand and then work the thumb section to have a completed pair.

Progress on the Cables and Lace Blanket is coming along as well. I found that I use about 23g/84 yards per each pattern repeat. What this means, which is the good news, is that I did estimated well for the yardage required to make the Medium size. The bad news is that I don’t have quite enough yarn to make that size. I started with under 1400 yards. I knew that but hoped I had over estimated enough in the pattern that it would work. Oh well, I’ll just have to leave off a repeat saving enough for the border.

I am going to cut this short and head over to the venue for booth set up. See you soon!

We Are Getting Down to the End

The 2022 festival season is wrapping up. We are getting down to the end of our show schedule with only three more festivals to go. I am currently in Asheville, NC setting up the booth at SAFF (Southeast Animal Fiber Fair) which begins tomorrow. I didn’t get any booth pictures today before I covered up everything.

What I do have pictures of is my work station in my hotel room where I am doing a bit of website updating, order shipping and blog posting.

I also have some new knitting on the needles. I know that in my last post I mentioned that I was going to start another size test knit for the gansey pattern I am working on, but that didn’t happen yet. It will, but I wasn’t ready with enough numbers and info to cast that on. So instead I am test knitting the medium size in another of my patterns, Cables and Lace Blanket. I made the original sample in the small size using Organic Cotton Sport. I am using a discontinued base which I had a few skeins of un-dyed in my stash. I was in the mood to use it that way instead of dyeing it. This yarn is a sport weight merino wool that is similar to my current Classic Merino Superwash Sport, except that this one is not machine washable. I love this base. I hated to discontinue it but most people seem to prefer superwash wool. The yardage is similar so it should help me to verify if my yardage estimate in the pattern is correct. It’s a fun and relaxing pattern with enough going on to keep me interested.

Knitting only one thing at a time is my usual practice but every now and then I like variety, especially if I am not in a hurry for the current project to be finished. So I went stash diving before I left for Asheville for a second project to put in my knitting bag.

Many years ago I dyed hand painted colorways in addition to my tonal solids. I switched over to all solids several years ago, but I hung on to a few souvenir skeins from that time for myself. Here’s one of them in my Classic Merino Superwash Sock base in a colorway that I called Malignant Narcissism. It’s a Rush song title, for anyone who cares.

I will probably make a pair of Shapely Mitts from this. I can always use more of these. It’s hard to have too many pairs of finger-less mitts on hand.

An Unfortunate Turn of Events

I spent a few days getting some work done at the hotel plus a bit of knitting and reading. Wednesday afternoon everything changed though. I had been planning to work some more on pattern writing through Thursday and on Friday drive to Orange, VA to set up the booth. Hurricane Ian caused an unexpected and unfortunate turn of events. The festival decided that it would be best to cancel since it is an all outdoors event. It was disappointing but probably the right call. It is a right mess there when it rains a lot. It’s no fun having all your inventory in a tent under those conditions and driving in trucks and trailers on muddy fields is not for the faint of heart. LOL!

So I am home and have a weekend off that I didn’t expect. It’s just as well since I need to get in some yarn dyeing and now I have 5 days instead of 2 to get it done. We also got a call from the mill and they brought me 18# of fiber to dye as well. There are some more Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs that Jerry made while I was gone to get finished and labeled.

He’s still got more blanks roughed to make more of both.

I am mixing up dyes today with the plan to get the dyeing done over the next day or two.

In knitting news, I have almost finished the Gridiron Sock but I am almost sure I am going to run out of yarn. I will dig up something to finish out the toe. They are for myself and I don’t mind.

A Wonderful Weekend

The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend, was awesome as always. All three days kept me very busy. I saw so many knitters and even a few fellow WordPress bloggers, Alissa of Headknits and Bonnyknits. I came home on Monday, tired but happy.

Bensusan Shawl (Ravelry project page) got a very nice debut in the booth. It drew a good amount of attention too.

I took a few pictures of Bensusan here at home last week before packing it. The color is a bit off. The Cypress is more dark olive like this picture from my website.

So try to mentally fuse the color of that skein above with the shawl and there you go. :-) The texture is lovely from the cables. I knit the large size and when I measured it fresh off the blocking pins it was about 80 inches on the longest side and 35 inches down from that to the point. That is a bit larger than Dee’s measurements for the large but it may draw in a bit more after awhile. I used all three skeins of the yarn with only 3g left over. That comes to about 740 yards.

I have not been getting a lot of knitting done lately due to my busy schedule. Here is my latest progress on my second Gridiron Sock. Sometimes a sock on the needles is the perfect thing. It will be accompanying me to Yellow Springs tomorrow for the Wool Gathering at Young’s Jersey Dairy.

Michigan Fiber Festival and More

I had a great time at Southern Comforts Fiber Market last weekend. The festival had good attendance for a new show and I think it will get even better as it gains an audience. I had only a few nights at home before I was off to Michigan for the Michigan Fiber Festival this weekend.

Today was setup day, which took most of the morning and afternoon.

As you can see we have a good selection of Darning Eggs and Nostepinnes, and more to come soon.

I couldn’t decide which of the yarn display pictures was my favorite so I just put them all up.

I’ll be pretty busy for the next few days with the festival so I may not get another post in until next week. I do want to pass on some news though. Do you recall that I test knit a shawl last year for a Kristi Renshaw?

The pattern is called Confection Shawl and she has published it on Ravelry and on her website.

Maize Cowl Knitting Pattern

Maize Cowl Knitting Pattern

I really like my new Maize Cowl. I am pretty sure that it will be my go to scarf when the weather cools off. For Nashville that will be quite awhile yet. I have a project page for it on Ravelry.

Maize Cowl Knitting Pattern

I love the texture and ease of knitting in this design. I wrote it about 8 years ago as pattern support for my Classic Merino Superwash DK yarn. It was a new base that I wanted a one skein project to help promote it. Up until now I have only had it available in my booth. To celebrate my new website however, I have decided to publish it online. It is on my website only, for a $4 download. I haven’t listed it on Ravelry. I may in the future, but for now it’s only on my website or in my booth at festivals.

Speaking of festivals, I am going to be in Charlotte, NC next weekend for the second annual Southern Comforts Fiber Market. I will be leaving on Wednesday and setting up the booth on Thursday. The festival happens on Friday and Saturday. I have really enjoyed my nice long break, but it will also be good to get back to the festivals. I like being with the knitters and talking about yarn.

Yarn Dyeing Day Two and Three

Yesterday’s yarn dyeing was greens and a few reddish purples. We dyed 465 skeins and then we prepped for last two days work.

Today’s work was dyeing the rest of the purples, oranges, yellows and warm neutrals. The total skeins for this day was 365, which was a half day. :-)

We have one more morning’s work and all the yarn will be dyed for the second half of the fiber festival season. There are more tasks to be done like printing labels, affixing labels and boxing in the trailer, but the hardest part is done.

I’ll have pictures of my knitting and the last day’s yarn dyeing next time. Thanks for reading!