Sunday, April 30, 2006

Maryland-bound Richmond Fiber Posse

I've moved the MS&W ticker back to the top of the blog, as the less-than-a-week-away countdown is upon us. Needless to say, I'm getting fairly psyched for the event.

And it looks like I've found some peeps with whom to travel and attend the festivities. Thanks to Melanie, Suzanne and Maggie for letting me tag along!... :-)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Swapping Obsessions?

I don't know the actual, clinical definition of OCD, (or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), and I don't want to know it, either, for fear of identifying too closely with the definition. Therefore, I will not Google it or look it up on Wikipedia.

But I may very possibly have it.

Oh, I don't wash my hands a hundred times a day. Only when appropriate -- you know, after visiting the restroom. After shopping and handling things a thousand other people have handled. After shaking the hand of someone with obvious cold or flu symptoms. After working in the garden. After handling money. After handling raw poultry. Before meals.

I also do not check the stove or the locks or the lights a thousand times, nor count things obsessively.

But what I DO do is, when I find a new hobby or interest, I become quite obsessed. Just ask my family. When I moved into this house almost twelve years ago, (yikes, that was a long time ago), within a year or two I discovered gardening. Look -- growing things! Look -- something I can do that doesn't require a companion! I quickly became sucked into the hobby, to the point of buying bookcases of books on the subject, joining online gardening groups and chat rooms, taking horticulture and landscape design classes, volunteering at the local botanical garden, putting in my mother's flower bed every year for Mother's Day, regularly visiting plant sales, flower shows, garden centers, home improvement stores, gardening websites, and anything else remotely related to the subject. And the catalogs. Oh, the catalogs. Not as bad as the books, but still....

The great thing about gardening is that because there are so many kinds of plants, there's always something new to learn - you can never know it all. And some grower is always coming out with a fancy new variety of something or other. There's always a new must-have gardening book out. Always something to keep you interested, and let's be honest, take your money.

The Great Big Greenhouse, a fantastic local garden center, used to be just down the street from me, and just a block from the grocery store. There were days when I only had enough money for either groceries or plants, but not both. As you may have guessed, I often chose the plants over the groceries. Somehow I never starved. Au contraire.

It's been this way for me for several hobbies, but to lesser degrees. There was the calligraphy obsession of my high school years. The photography obsession of my college years. More recently a mild obsession with collecting postcards. And there are still other interests that have fallen by the wayside - I just can't remember them all at the moment.

And then, last summer, I learned how to knit. And you know the rest, if you read this blog with any regularity.

I have vowed to not get as crazy about knitting books and yarn as I have been about gardening books and plants. And I think (hope) I can stick to that vow, for several reasons.

1) You can only physically knit on one project at a given moment in time. (Okay, if you're knitting two-socks-on-one-circular then that's two things, but they're still technically one project). With the one-project limitation, I can't justify too much yarn hoarding, (I think). It's not like gardening, where there's always room for one more plant out there, and once it's in the ground, you can basically ignore it. With plants, you can have thousands growing at once. With knitting, I'm uncomfortable when I have more than a few WIPs. I realize that some folks view yarn the way I view plants -- always room for more, you can ignore it once you stash it away, etc. I don't want to get that way, though -- not enough room in my house. And I don't want moths getting to the wool.

2) I may very well sour on knitting on some point down the road. Yes -- it could happen. Despite my rabid obsession in years past, I'm becoming a bit soured on gardening, as of late, what with last summer's drought, the too-mild winter, global warming and global dimming, the never-ending battle with the weather, heat, humidity, drought, dying plants, mosquitos, weeds, leaves and lawn guys. It's just doesn't seem worth the hassle anymore. All that effort for a few great weeks in April and May and lots of toil and disappointment the rest of the year.

So for now, it appears, that I've swapped obsessions. Knitting may be the "new yoga", but for me, it's the new gardening. And that makes me a little sad, to be honest. For years, gardening was my constant, steadfast (if abusive and co-dependent) companion, as it were. Now, it competes for my attention with everything else going on in my life, and it's losing out to my brand new shiny hobby. And just to make the choice even more difficult, the universe decides to hold America's biggest fiber festival on the same weekend as Richmond's best plant sale. What to do, what to do. Fortunately, the plant sale starts on Thursday, so I think I can hit it either Thursday or Friday, before heading out of town to mecca.

And then I have to find the time to plant everything in my flower beds. And buy the plants for my mom's garden. And plant my mom's garden. And water. And weed. And rake. It never ends.

Speaking of area plant sales, another great one was held today. And here's my modest haul:

For plant-by-plant details, go here.


And now I must go obsessively read some knitting blogs.... ;-)


Friday, April 28, 2006

Who's going to MS&W?


I can't decide yet when I'm driving up or returning, but I'm definitely going to mecca next weekend. Anyone need a ride (from Richmond) or a place to stay (in Columbia)?

I've got a suite with two double beds and a pull-out sofabed, so there's room for a couple people, if necessary. I'm using hotel points, so the room is free. My schedule is flexible, so I could come-and-go based on a passenger's needs, if necessary.

And I promise I'm not an axe-murderer or some other kind of nutjob.

Holler if you're interested. First come, first served.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Movie Musings

I'm slowly working my way through all of the 2006 Oscar contender movies in my Netflix queue.

I've recently watched Pride & Prejudice and Memoirs of a Geisha, both of which were beautifully made, and North Country, which I thought was well done, but felt vaguely familiar, perhaps reminiscent of Norma Rae. War of the Worlds was fun, and not too terribly bloody.

Sitting on my coffee table is Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I'm holding off on watching that until I finish the book, which I may do tonight. In today's mail are Crash and Walk the Line -- looking forward to watching both of those, perhaps on Sunday.

Still in the queue are The Constant Gardener, Syriana, Hustle & Flow, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich. No hurry.

I don't have much interest in TransAmerica, Cinderella Man or King Kong.

Tomorrow United 93 opens in theaters. It appears to be a wonderfully accurate and thoughtful depiction of the events of that day and that flight, but I don't think I can watch that movie in public, for the weeping. I've always been immeasureably proud of those 40 people, and 4½ years later, that day still remains irrevocably etched in my mind and heart, as I'm guessing it is with most Americans. It doesn't take much for me to tear up at the thought of it.

I will always remember where I was when the first plane hit the first tower. I was in a rental car in St. Louis driving from my hotel to my client site. It was first announced on the radio with mild amusement because the announcer thought it was a woefully lost small private plane. Minutes later amusement was replaced with shock and disbelief when the second plane hit and the truth trickled in. At the client site, we spent much of the rest of the day in front of the television down in the cafeteria. There was no getting through to CNN's website. At some point during the day my friend Debbie called me in a panic to make sure I was okay. "Deb, you know I don't fly on Tuesdays", was all I could think of to say. I remember how USA Today had an article in that day's paper with a list of items every savvy business traveler should carry, and included in that list was a Swiss Army Knife -- I remember how ironic that seemed. Three of us went to dinner at Appleby's that evening and watched the President's address there. Later that night I spent many hours glued to the news, but finally had to switch to Nick-at-Night so I could relax, stop crying and go to sleep.

I do want to see this movie, but will watch it at home, I think. I'm guessing it'll be out on DVD in mid-September, appropriately enough.

Hmmm. Didn't mean to slide into something so maudlin. It's only April, after all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Think Pink!


My friend Pat Sydney, (she recently changed her name and I'm still struggling to stop calling her by the old one!), has started a new knit-along to support women facing breast cancer. Her goal is to have volunteers knit or crochet and donate a total of 1,000 pink scarves by October of this year, in order to support Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I've helped create some buttons for the event:

(There are smaller versions over in the button section of my sidebar, if you want one. As always, please save to your own server so as not to overwhelm my bandwidth).

So, if you find yourself with an urge to contribute to a good cause, a little extra time and perhaps some spare pink yarn in your stash, won't you sign up for the knit-along?

There's even a couple of lovely patterns on Knitty that would be suitable, but really, any pattern or yarn is fine, as long as it's pink. I think I may make Knitty's heart scarf pattern -- it will be good practice for the kitchener's stitch grafting technique. Plus, it's just pretty!

Monday, April 24, 2006


This is a real shame:


This past fall we celebrated five years of Knit-Out & Crochet events on the National Mall. The Washington, D.C., Knit-Out & Crochet event began in the fall of 2001, and it has become a tradition. Through the years since that first D.C. Knit Out & Crochet in 2001, the event has been successfully planned and executed by Capital Crocheters and Knitters, Inc. (CCK) a small, non-profit group whose mission is to promote the education and art of knitting and crocheting and to enhance the communities that embody these crafts. CCK is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers. The D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet was envisioned to be a free event where anyone could come and learn to knit or learn to crochet, see the fashion shows, charities, and the exhibitors, meet up with friends and sit on the lawn in the shadow of the Washington Monument and knit or crochet in the autumn sunshine. Their vision was to take a craft that was traditionally practiced at home in solitude to the streets where everyone could enjoy and appreciate the craft together in public.

As you might imagine, putting on an event of this scale year after year, raising the money to pay all of the expenses and somehow just barely breaking even, recruiting volunteers, organizing the exhibitors, the fashion show and the education program, is a tremendous amount of work. CCK has looked on it as a labor of love.

Each year the attendance at the D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet has grown exponentially from the first year’s attendance of approximately 1,000 attendees, to last year’s incredible 8,000 attendees, including the more than 1,300 people who learned to knit or crochet. The D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet has now grown beyond the point where this small group of volunteers can pull it off and present the same high quality event that our participants have come to expect.

Now we regret that after five years of arduous effort we have come to the heart-breaking decision to cancel the D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet for 2006. CCK’s plan is to take these next few months to regroup, raise more money and expand and strengthen our leadership team. We also plan to look to the yarn industry and other donors for increased financial and logistical support. We are taking a critical look at the event as it has been in years past, and see how we can transform and possibly re-invent it so that it can be a rewarding and enriching experience for everyone who participates.

We would be remiss if we did not take a moment and send a special thank you to all of our volunteers who each year step forward and offer to teach knitting and crochet, and to help make the D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet possible.

While this is disappointing news, we want to leave you with a positive message. The D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet will be back, and it will be better than ever. We know that there are other passionate, dedicated knitting and crochet enthusiasts out there, whose ideas and energy could help us as we move forward. If you are interested in joining with us to do the important work of shaping the new D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet event, please feel free to contact us and offer your services, or give a generous donation to ensure the continuation of this Washington, D.C. tradition.

To all of our supporters, volunteers and friends, thanks again. You will be hearing from us again with exciting news about the new D.C. Knit-Out & Crochet. Watch for us at

Capital Crocheters & Knitters, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated
to promoting the education and arts of knitting and crocheting



Saturday, April 22, 2006

The knitting -- I had no idea.

A little Saturday evening navel-gazing, if you will.

It's funny how reading others' blogs and hearing others' perspectives on life and knitting helps one understand oneself a tiny bit better.

Recently, Laurie blogged about what her knitting group meant to her, how it's helped her get out of her house and her shell as she struggles to survive a painful divorce.

I can't pretend to know what divorce feels like, but I do know something about isolation. For the last six years I've been working in a business where I'm either out of town, or working from my house, and as a result, my social circle has fallen away to the point where I really have very few, if any, girlfriends left.

In my mid-twenties, when I finished my second round of college and moved six thousand miles away from home for a job, I had no idea, until after I got there, how much I'd become dependent upon school my entire life to provide my social circle, and how hard it was to make new friends as an ADULT. Years later, after I'd moved back to my hometown and was working the normal nine-to-five daily grind for awhile, I eventually left that grind to go into consulting work, but had no idea how much I'd become dependent upon my former nine-to-five lifestyle to provide my social circle. And I also had no idea how much harder it is to make friends as a single adult approaching middle age in a world skewed towards the married-with-kids.

And so, in a very short space of time, my knitting group has become very important to me. It may seem silly from the outside, (and especially if you're a non-knitter or a man, or both). I'm sure to spectators we appear to be just a bunch of gossipy hens. But it's so much more than that.

I really have had no other opportunities to regularly meet with women from various walks of life, from multiple generations, and with varied marital and family statuses, and not only have something in common with them, but also have no other agenda than to sit, enjoy each other's company, and knit. There's no structured meeting agenda, no hard-and-fast start and stop time, (it's sorta 7-ish to 9-ish, but people come and go as they please), no things-we-must-get-done-during-this-meeting, no minute-taking, no president or secretary or mission statement. We meet, we knit, we chat, we share, we laugh and we eventually go home. That's it. No rules. No responsibilities. No agenda. It is so incredibly freeing -- I had no idea. And I'm a single woman. I can't imagine what it must mean to the wife-n-mother types, to be able to leave their responsibilities at home for a couple of hours a week and have some innocent feminine fun. And what makes all of this possible? It's the knitting. The knitting.

Sandy's recent blog entry also got me to thinking. Here's a woman experiencing something that all mothers must eventually face -- the dreaded empty nest. Something with which I'll most likely never have first-hand knowledge, an experience with which I cannot really empathize. Same with Jane's current worries for her daughters health. I have no children and so cannot honestly say, "I know how you feel". But because we have something in common -- we've made a connection through knitting -- I can perhaps step across the chasm between non-mother and mother and if nothing else, offer support, a listening ear, perhaps some encouraging words.

Knitting is just a craft, just two sticks and some string. Just one of many types of hobbies and handiwork that people do in their spare time. Or is it more than that?

So far, the knitting, (and let's face it, the blogging), has brought me together with more new friends in the past nine months than I've made in the past ten years. There's something pretty special about this deceptively innocent hobby that I've yet to put my finger on.

But I do like, so very much, how it has opened up my world.

All thanks to the knitting.

The knitting.

I had no idea.

Friday, April 21, 2006

When in doubt, post a cat picture

I can't relax. My mind is a spinning whirling dirvish, as I've returned from three days of whirlwind meetings up North, two days spent with an out of town sibling and her kids, multiple work-related phone calls and emails, multiple things on the promised and to-do list that aren't yet done, multiple activities coming up in the near future, multiple KIP's on which I need to work, multiple things I'd like to blog about, and I just don't know where to start.

So, when in doubt, post a cat picture.

I give you my lovely Casey, whose greatest talent is sitting up on her hind legs like a bunny rabbit, for extended periods of time, in order to get her head a little closer to the hand that scratches it:

She's such a sweetheart. Her favorite thing in the world is getting her belly scratched, and so when not playing bunny, she'll lay on her back in the middle of the carpet and stick all four legs in the air. She's a ho for scratchin'. And then she sleeps for 20 hours. Low maintenance pets -- gotta love them!

I think I'll go knit while I watch the stuff I recorded on the DVR. Perhaps that'll help me relax....



Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Teeny Tuesday Meme...

...thanks to Beth for the inspiration.


Name 5 places other than your house or a knitting store where you have knit...

1) At a beach house in
Nags Head, NC
2) At a lakehouse at
Lake Gaston.
3) Along the parade route for the
Ashland Christmas Parade.
4) In countless airports and planes.
5) On a

A few more I'ved added, 'cause my list is not very exciting:

6) At
a church.
Watching the Redskins lose a play-off game at my brother Pat's house.
Watching the Olympics at my brother Tommy's house.
9) At
Barnes & Noble.

Finally, a place where I recently kicked myself for forgetting my knitting: a
Richmond Braves game last Thursday. (Pictures forthcoming in the near future).


Monday, April 17, 2006

Train Travel - Thoughts & Lessons Learned

I find myself in my Columbia, MD hotel room, (so close to MS&W's locale I can smell the barnyard animals!), (okay, not really THAT close), with a couple of hours to kill before dinner, and therefore have decided to record my thoughts and lessons learned as I've ventured into this "new-fangled" mode of transportation known as train travel.

It amazes me that I’ve reached the ripe old age of 40 and have never ridden anything more “train-like” than the inter-terminal trains in various airports like Atlanta’s or Dallas', the Metro in Washington, D.C., or the old-timey steam train at Kings Dominion, which I'm not sure even exists anymore. None of those experiences I count as actual train travel, although I suppose some might consider them so.

Now that I'm no longer a train virgin, I give you my thoughts, below.

Things that surprised me about rail travel:

* How anti-climactic boarding was. The train rolls in, stops, a guy opens a gate, and everyone just walks to the train and boards. Tickets aren't checked until after it departs - so cool.

* Departure - also anti-climactic. One quiet announcement and it just starts moving. On my first trip last week, the frequent flyer in me kept expecting the train to "take off" after rolling for a few minutes. Since I live in this universe, that didn't happen.

* The close proxity of trains traveling on parallel tracks. If the window opened and I had an amputation-wish, I could have reached out and touched the passing trains.

* How close some homes are to railroad tracks. Yikes! I thought I had it bad, living within a half-mile of an RR crossing. Some of these homes (think Ashland, VA), have tracks within 20 yards of their front porch. I guess you really don't notice the train after awhile, when living that close. A scary place to live with kids or pets, I would think....

* How a train whistle is no louder when riding the train than it is if you live a half-mile from an RR crossing.

* How vulnerable this mode of travel is to unthinkable events like those that occurred in Madrid. One such event on U.S. soil and passenger rail travel could be history.

Lessons learned about rail travel:

1) The 6pm train from Richmond to BWI stops in D.C.’s Union Station for an hour-and-a-half before proceeding on to Baltimore and points North. This might be a good thing if one has all the time in the world to play, nothing to do when you get to your destination and it’s not a Sunday evening, but, if I have to travel on a Sunday for work, all I want to do is get to the damn hotel and go to bed.

* Cab from Union Station to Columbia, MD = $80
* Getting to the hotel an hour and a half earlier = priceless.

2) Do not, under any circumstances, sit near the front of the business class car (or any car), if at all possible. The bathrooms are at the front. Need I say more?

3) Do not bring complicated knitting projects (finicky yarns, difficult patterns to follow) to knit on the train unless you’re a better knitter than I am, as the lurching will impact your accuracy and precision. Mindless garter stitch rectangles all the way, baby....

4) Make sure that you have an mp3 player with headphones, to drown out the a-holes who sit next to/beside/in front of/behind you and talk on their phones THE ENTIRE TIME. We’re talking three solid hours, people. My guess is that their companies pay their cell phone bills?

5) Make crystal-clear sure that the cab driver knows the difference between Union Station in D.C. and BWI Station in Baltimore – do not wait to find out their inability to discern the two as you’re pulling into one when you need to be at the other.

6) Most importantly, if you've never been to a particular train station, and you hear there's construction near the highway exit, it's best to make a dry run on a non-travel day, or else you might experience my previous fiasco.

(Addendum - I remembered two more lessons learned today, 4/18):

7) For the Richmond-D.C/D.C-Richmond route, the west side of the train seems to have better views and sights, in my opinion. It might also be hotter on summer afternoons, however.

8) Do not look desperate, pimply-faced college kids in the eye when trying to catch a cab at Union Station, or else you may be subjected to unbridled whining, crying and begging as they attempt to cajole for cab fair to Georgetown. Hey kid -- the Metro to Foggy Bottom is only a buck-fifty.

Other miscellaneous musings on rail travel:

* Best whistle-stop town between Richmond & D.C.: Ashlahd, VA, without question. (2nd place: Quantico, VA)

* Best whistle-stop city between here and there: Fredericksburg, VA.

* Grandest station to explore if you have the time: Union Station, D.C.

* Funniest-named sight along the way: Possum Point Power Station

* Most patriotically-beautiful sights: Jefferson Memorial & Washington Monument at night

* Most surprising monument I didn't know existed: George Washington Masonic National Memorial

* Best business class "perk": footrests at every seat

So, do I prefer train travel over air travel? I don't think so. I have to admit I'm a speed freak, and prefer the fastest mode of transportation possible. Do I prefer train travel to driving on I-95 and the Beltway? Hell, yes.

I think that's it, for now. I'm sure I'll discover new surprises and lessons-learned on my way home Wednesday.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring Fiber Festival 2006 - Part 2



I promised in my previous post on the subject that I'd share about my "loot" from the event, so here goes:


Clockwise from lower left:

(1) Souvenier brochure from the event

(2) Soulful Knitting, by Barbara Hurd -- signed by the author:

(A lovely lady - I sat near her during the fashion show and we chatted the entire time. She was also wearing a beautiful Möbius that she had designed and knit. The pattern can be found in her book).

Note: Barbara Hurd's Soulful Knitting is not to be confused with Pat Turner's Joy of Soulful Knitting. I know that author, too, although she has recently changed her name.

(3) The Knitting Answer Book, by Margaret Radcliffe -- signed by author:

Margaret was signing books at the Lawre's Lane booth, so I got a few pictures of her in drop-spindle action and chatting up friends:

Margaret and Jane

(4) Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set. I have loved the idea of these needles for awhile now, but had a bad experience with plastic needles previously, so wasn't sure I'd like actually knitting with Denise needles. I'd read Amy's rave about them on Knitty; had read Clara's report on Knitter's Review; had read other knit-bloggers wax poetic about them; had read what folks on both the Knitty Board and KR Forum had to say, had seen other people knit with them, and the feedback was mostly positive. I still wasn't sure, and told myself I wouldn't buy them unless I had a chance to actually knit with them. I had my chance at the Stony Mountain Fibers booth, which had a demostration set open with some knitting in progress on a pair of the needles, so I helped myself to the knitting and knit a row or two. I was immediately sold. They are incredibly slick - much slicker than the plastic needles I'd tried in the past, which was my main concern. And I like the idea that I'm supporting a Virginia-based company that makes an excellent product. What also sold me was running into fellow knit-blogger Tanya, (whom I did not recognize until I saw her mentioned on Jane's account of the day), who stopped me to say that she loved her Denise needles and that I was making a great purchase. And icing on the cake - an older woman (mid/late-70's, I think), also stopped me to say that she'd been using hers for thirty years and loved them still. Word of mouth is powerful advertising!

(5) Lovely little stitch markers (my very first set of decorative ones), also from Stony Mountain Fibers. (Hey Jenny - they're turquoise!)

Here's a close-up:

(6) A cute stuffed carrot with a secret compartment holding four bunnies. This was a gift from Jane. Thanks, Jane -- the gardener in me LOVES it! Also from Jane, (but not pictured above) -- a stuffed Easter egg which I gave to my niece for her birthday last Sunday:

Inside the egg live a stuffed bunny, chicky, and lamby - so cute!

(7) Fiesta's "La Boheme" yarn (mohair, nylon, rayon boucle), in Iris (color #11174, dye lot # 12085), to use to knit a Möbius from Barbara Hurd's pattern.

Here's a close-up of the yarn:

And pictures of Barbara's knitted pattern:

The red version was on display at the Orchardside Yarn Shop booth where Barbara was signing books.

* Not pictured above, but also purchased at the Orchardside booth is a needle felting Easter egg kit which I also gave to my niece for her birthday. Here she is with it at her party:

I'm hoping she'll let her old Aunt "help" with the project one of these days.


And with that, I will end this lengthy post. Have a great week, everyone. I'm traveling again for work this afternoon, so may be quiet for a few days. Here's hoping my train travels go smoothly.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Have a Happy Easter!


Today my brother Pat's kids and I got a head-start on the Easter spirit and dyed some hard-boiled eggs:


These are my masterpieces. .Can I eat them all?


Friday, April 14, 2006

Spring Fiber Festival 2006 - Part 1

Isn't it annoying how work gets in the way of life? Since I was out of town for business for most of the week, this is my first chance to post about last weekend's Spring Fiber Festival at the Sedalia Center in Big Island, Bedford County, VA -- my first ever event of such kind.

Friday afternoon I drove to Lynchburg and stayed with my sister Anne's family. Rain was forecast for the weekend, and sure enough, a whale of a thunderstorm rolled through that evening. We woke to spit-n-drizzle the next morning, so Anne & I came to the festival prepared with golf umbrellas, which were handy in the morning but thankfully became unnecessary as the day progressed.

The drive to Big Island, VA from Lynchburg is just lovely - rolling hills, winding curves, picturesque farms with cows and red barns, mountains in the distance, and the occasional abandoned house, which always fascinates me:

It's "open-air", but what a pretty view the owners have....


Oh, the stories this place could tell, if its walls could talk....

Neither of us ever having attended a fiber festival, Anne & I were not sure where to start, so we worked our way from the parking lot, past the animal exhibits:

Alpacas have the cutest faces!

Who knew that baby emus were so cute and stripey?!


Or that their eggs are so big? (I'm guessing the white one might be an ostrich egg?)


An angora rabbit demonstration


And this little guy stole our hearts! I thought he was a lamb, but turns out he's a baby angora goat.


We then took a quick tour of all the vendors, with a special stop at the Lawre's Laine booth to say hi to Jane and her sister Lawre, who were both busy selling Lawre's wares.

Lawre and Jane

Anne had to leave shortly before noon to attend a wedding, and left me to my own devices to do some real damage to my bank account. But first, I grabbed some lunch and a seat for the fashion show, where some of the models were four-legged:

That's an alpaca modeling a scarf. I wonder how it keeps its model figure?

The fashion show's M.C. (on stage in photo) is Kim (Harrison, I believe, is her last name), a weaver and vendor at the festival, who also had a few entries in the fashion show. Kim is from the Richmond area, and I first met her last fall during the Knit-In I attended. Like many of the vendors, she lives on a farm, raises her own sheep and processes their wool for her weavings. If you like woven items and missed her this go-round, Kim will again be a vendor at Maryland Sheep & Wool.

After the fashion show, I took a more serious look at all of the vendors' wares, and snagged a few nifty items, which I'll display in tomorrow's Sunday's "Part 2" post.

Before I close this entry, however, I will leave you with one final picture:

That is (L to R) Jane, Bess, and Margaret Radcliffe, heatedly discussing some fiber-related topic or other....

(Be sure to read both Jane's and Bess' accounts of the day's events.)

Since I had to travel for work on Sunday, I drove back to Richmond straight from the fiber festival Saturday afternoon. By late day the rain was back, and my windshield wipers never stopped during the entire drive, but other than the rain, it was a blessedly uneventful return home.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nancy Bush Knitting Workshops

FYI, local folks -- this looks like a fantastic opportunity. I'd seriously consider doing this myself, except that I don't think I'm advanced enough, unfortunately. I hear nothing but great things about Nancy Bush, though. If someone decides to take one or more of these classes, let me know, because I want to live vicariously through you!


Dear Friends:

Ok, Ok, I know you’re probably thinking that I get excited about everything related to knitting, and I do, but this time I’m really, really excited! You are in for a treat with the upcoming Nancy Bush Workshops. Nancy has been one of my knitting mentors for many, many years. When I first started reading Knitter’s magazine in the 80’s, Nancy had a column called Knitster’s Notebook. I found myself turning to that column first thing every new issue. Already a seasoned knitter, I was delighted to find that I was learning new techniques with every read. Then, I tracked her down in other publications, including Threads magazine (when they still had knitting articles) and Interweave’s Knits. When Nancy’s first book, Folk Socks, was published, I went over the cliff. This book changed my life (much as Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books had many years earlier). The socks were so beautiful, the patterns so straightforward, I determined that I would make every single pair of socks in that book. I didn’t succeed, but it made me an avid sock knitter. Her other sock books, Knitting on the Road and, most recently, Knitting Vintage Socks, are equally captivating. When Nancy Bush discovered the traditions of Estonia, knitters around the world discovered the same treasures through her eyes. Her book, Folk Knitting in Estonia, is a gorgeous book full of enticing patterns. Nancy Bush is a fabulous knitter, designer and instructor, and we are so honored to have her teaching in our shop. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, famous as the Yarn Harlot, wrote on her blog in November 2004 that Nancy Bush “is a goddess walking the earth as a woman,” and listed the “Top 10 Reasons Nancy Bush is so Cool I Can Hardly Stand It.” I couldn’t have said it better.

There is still room in Nancy Bush’s Workshops the weekend of April 29th & 30th. Join us at one or all of them:

Estonian Lace: 9am to 12noon Estonia has a lace tradition spanning nearly 200 years. You will learn about its unique stitch patterns, special edging and corner treatments for modern lace, and some very different ways of creating texture in lace. For the intermediate to advanced knitter. $45; reduced rate of $150 to enroll in the entire two days of workshops. $3.00 handout fee. Limit 20.

Nordic Color—An Inlay Technique from Estonia: 1 to 4pm Estonians use a special inlay technique for decorating gloves and socks similar to embroidery but worked right into the knitting. By knitting a sample, students will learn how to read the charts and work this unique and colorful embellishment. This class is for the intermediate knitter. $45; reduced rate of $150 to enroll in the entire two days of workshops. $3.00 handout fee. Limit 20.

Vintage Socks—Old Tricks for New Socks: 9am-4pm (with a 1-hour break at noon). This workshop will begin with a discussion of the patterns that were written for sock and stocking knitting in the 19th century, drawing extensively from the Weldon’s Practical Needlework journals. Nancy will look at styles that were popular and how they translate into modern times. She will also discuss the patterns, how they were written and how best to translate them into 21st century knitting language. Students will make a sampler in this class, using techniques adapted from Nancy’s new book, Knitting Vintage Socks, including a very interesting heel and toe shaping not commonly used today. Students should have intermediate knitting skills and have experience knitting socks with either double pointed needles or the Magic Loop. $85; reduced rate of $150 to enroll in the entire two days of workshops. $5.00 handout fee separate. Limit 20

On behalf of Kat, Carol and staff-- maybe being a
Nancy Bush groupie is in your future. Happy knitting!! Cathy

Knitting Sisters
Village Shops at Kingsmill
1915 Pocahontas Trail
Williamsburg, VA 23185


If I hurry up and finish my sock, maybe I could qualify for the sock class? Or is that a stretch?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wild Weekend

Well, busy, (for me), anyway.

Here's the plan:

  • Friday: shower, pack and leave for Lynchburg, stay overnight with sister's family
  • Saturday morning/early afternoon: attend Spring Fiber Festival with sister; wave at Bess and Jane and Lawre and everyone!
  • Saturday late afternoon: drive back to Richmond
  • Sometime between now and Sunday: purchase & wrap birthday gift for niece; do laundry and pack for business trip
  • Sunday noon: drive to Hanover for niece's birthday lunch
  • Sunday afternoon: drive home, pick up luggage, drive to train station
  • Sunday evening: train to Baltimore (I will make the train this time, dammit!)
  • Sunday late evening: catch shuttle to hotel in Columbia, MD; sleep.
So, probably no blog posts for the next week or so, unless I unexpectedly find some time in the evenings, and even then few if any pictures, (I think posts without some kind of picture "reward" for the reader are less interesting). Here's hoping I'll have some great fiber festival pictures to share by next weekend.

Have a great weekend everyone, wherever you may find yourself!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Knit Wits

Watch this, if you know what's good for ya. Ya big galoot.

click ^ to watch film

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Either I've matured...

... or the yarns on sale at my local Tuesday Morning this morning were just too fugly to take home. (Or else someone got there earlier and beat me to all the decent colors). Nothin' thrilled me. So much of what they had was either crappy fun fur or beige. Beige! Bleh. And so, once again, I maintained restraint.

I could proudly pat myself on the back and say that I'm holding out for this Saturday's fiber festival, but that would be a lie. However, it does makes me happy that I can go there somewhat guilt-free to ogle and possibly purchase some gorgeous stuff. Yippee!

I hope to see y'all there! :-)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Restraint and the lack thereof

I'm guessing that there were more than a few knit-bloggers out there like myself who felt a bit guilty after Saturday's "Flash Your Stash" day. Although my stash is relatively small in comparison to that of more experienced knitters out there, it was still more than I had imagined, and definitely more than I need at any given time. And that guilt, coupled with the shameful number of WIP's I currently have, (final count = 6), was enough to allow me to restrain myself from driving over to Unraveled this weekend for their Blue Heron Yarns trunk show. As much as I love their yarn, I don't need it right now. (And besides, I can get it more cheaply off of ebay, if/when I feel it necessary.)

However, that being said, and lest you think I have the willpower of a saint, (HA!), my stash guilt is not enough to restrain me from sale yarns! And look who's having a sale on yarn tomorrow:

Look at all that fuzzy, ribbony, tacky, eyelashy, flaggy, novelty, yarny goodness!

I'll be the one at the store when it opens at 8 am, ready to pounce on all the "good" yarns. Just don't get in my way! ... ;-)


Oh hey -- did anyone else catch all the knitting content on last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy? Way cool. I knew I loved that show for a reason!


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Avert your eyes...

... lest you wish to be FLASHED!

First, the crap yarns:
*** Nuthin' but acrylics and eyelash yarns. And lots of them.
Next, more novelty yarns, but slightly less crappy:

I still get a little thrill from these yarns. And that's sari silk in the lower left corner.


Finally, a mixture of old and new acquisitions:

Clockwise from top: Wool for a rainbow scarf that never got knit; some KnitPicks "Shimmer" that I drool over every time I touch it; some cotton yarns for future dishcloths; some purpley sock yarn; and my new spindle and rovings

All of the above yarns fit in one rubbermaid tub bought today at Target, in an effort to organize the stash whilst flashing.

Not included in today's "flash", (nor could they fit in the new tub-o-yarn), are leftover partial balls of yarns from previous FO's, and yarns dedicated to current WIP's. (If I just tossed the crap yarn, there'd still be plenty of room!)

I think I read on someone's blog recently that they thought there should be a "Flash Your WIP's" day, which isn't such a bad idea. If I remember correctly, the Yarn Harlot wrote in her previous book about counting up all her stray WIP's, and came to a mind-boggling total of something like 35 projects in various places around her house. God help me if I ever have that many. I think my grand total of WIP's is 4 or 5, which is still 2 or 3 too many.

I guess I'll need to get another tub next time I'm at Target. After all, there are a couple of fiber festivals coming up!