Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweater Book is here!

Ever since Lynne told me last week that her new TS Knit Sweater book was out, I have been skulking around the mailbox daily, anxiously awaiting my promo copy. Finally, yesterday, I saw a book size package tucked into the side of my mailbox. I was so excited that I immediately dropped everything and went through the book page by page. I love this book. Lynne is a great author and fiber artist, so knowledgeable. This book is designed to help knitters and spinners get their creativity juices flowing. Excellent job, Lynne!

Linda LaBelle, owner of The Yarn Tree in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) emailed the other day and said she was out of my handpainted spinning fibers and said to send more. So here's a sampling of what I sent. These are Blueface Leicester wool, but I also sent an array of other fibers including superfine merino, silk, alpaca and baby camel. These should arrive next Monday, so, you spinners in the NYC area, The Yarn Tree is the place to go for your spinning fibers. Not only does Linda carry my handpainted fibers, but she has a great selection of just about any fiber you might want to spin. And she's got spinning lessons, too.

And while we're on the subject of The Yarn Tree, I finished dyeing a special colorway for Linda's "Sock for All Seasons" sock club. I also finished the pattern and knit up a sample of the sock. I was quite pleased with the outcome, but of course, there's no picture because this is a surprise for club members, who will receive my yarn and pattern in Spring 2008. And, I hear that people are already asking about the next "Sock for All Seasons" club, which I understand will be available for sign up in December.

For the past few days, I have been messing around with a Shetland ewe fleece I bought at Rhinebeck last year from Eileen Testo of Weston Hill Farm in upstate NY. Since Black Sheep Gathering, Karen and Miryha have been washing and carding the fleeces they purchased up in Eugene. Seeing the newly washed fleece and how pretty they were motivated me to wash and card one of the fleeces I had gotten last fall. And I have been enjoying spinning it outside, under a big umbrella on my patio. Here's the result:

After washing the fleece, I separated it into three piles, light, medium and dark. This yarn is the result of taking a strip of the light and dark and predrafting them side by side and then spinning them together. I got a very nice heathered yarn. The medium portion of the fleece will be spun and plied on itself. I hope to knit this yarn into a sweater, using some colorful handspun yarns as accents.

Aside from all the fibery things I love to do, I take long walks 4 or 5 times a week at one of my favorite spots, Dana Point Harbor, about 10 minutes from my home. I feel very fortunate to live near such a beautiful place. Walking down by the ocean is renewing and relaxing and is the perfect way to end a long day of working.

I spoke with Kat at La Petite Knitterie yesterday and she is set to launch her online store on August 1st. One of the yarns she will be featuring online is my handpainted superwash merino sock yarn, which has proved to be quite popular. I will also be doing a trunk show with my handpainted yarns and patterns on Saturday, September 15th, at LPK, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I have had much flack from friends for being lazy about updating my blog so, all of you naggers, I hope this will satisfy you! Since returning from a very successful and fun Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR, I had to take time to chill out and regroup: knitting, spinning, sipping wine, and looking at the birdies in my backyard. I finally kicked it into gear this week and had my friend, Karen, over for a dye sesh on Monday. Margie also stopped by for her Black Sheep stuff, consisting of a kid mohair fleece and 2 1/2 pounds of kid mohair locks. And since Monday, I've been dyeing sock yarn, since Kat (La Petite Knitterie) is getting ready to launch her online store with my handpainted sock yarn.

Getting back to the Oregon trip -- BSG was absolutely so much fun. I shared a vendor booth with Sandy Sitzman (Woolgatherings of Banks, OR). In addition to our handpainted fibers and yarns, we also had the beautiful hand-dyed rovings and yarns of Lynne Vogel, who wasn't able to make it. She was truly missed, but we did have a copy of her new Twisted Sisters Knit Sweater Book available in our booth for customers to peruse.

The book is so colorful and exciting, I am just chomping at the bit to get a copy. I heard from Lynne this week that the book is now out and apparently is shipping to stores. Thanks to the generous help we received from Rachel, Kate and Linda, our booth did amazingly well at BSG. And, if all goes as I plan, I hope to repeat the experience next June. Here are a few pictures of our booth.

Sandy and I and our crew were biased, of course, but we did think we had pretty awesome booth, and we had tons of positive feedback from customers. And the thing I loved the most was to see how many people are into spinning their own yarn. If BSG is any indication, I don't think the craft of spinning is going to be lost. It is alive and well and we are feeding the "beast".

Another cool thing at BSG was that my sister and brother-in-law, Lynn and Barry, happened to be visiting Eugene that very weekend and surprised me when they showed up to visit the show and our booth. It was such a treat to be able to show them what I actually do and the fruits of this dyeing that I keep talking about. I think they were kind of blown away by BSG and now see what all this fiber frenzy is about. Barry, it seems, was quite taken with the fiber stuff going on and may have caught the sock knitting bug while he was there.

We're Winners! Karen and I both entered some of our handspun items in the fiber arts competition at BSG. Karen took a First Place for a beautiful hat she knit from her handspun cashmere,merino and angora. I got two First Places for handspun skeins: one a natural colored pygora, the other a handpainted blend of merino/silk. I also got a First on a pair of socks I knit with my hand-dyed handspun merino/cashmere yarn and a Second Place for an entrelac hat I knit with handspun using a pattern designed by Lynne Vogel.
Portland! After BSG, Karen and I headed up to Portland, where we spent a couple of days exploring the Pearl Arts District, riding the trolley, visiting several yarns stores, Powells Books, eating Vietnamese at Silk, and, of course, we had to get coffee and pastries at the Pearl Bakery, a must. One of our favorite yarn stores was the Dublin Bay Yarn Co. which carries some very nice yarns from Ireland that you won't find elsewhere. Here are some pictures of the Pearl District and a little park where we sat and knit for a spell.

On Tuesday, the 26th, we headed just south of downtown Portland to Multnomah Village and to Northwest Wools, another one of our favorite Portland yarn/fiber shops. Linda Berning, owner of NWWools, was hosting a Twisted Sisters book signing party. The turnout was great, many people came with their TS Sock Books in hand, there was lots of signing going on, and much of the handpainted sock yarn Linda bought from me was sold. YeeHaa! And many of the sweaters from the new TS Knit Sweater book were on display.

After the book signing, Karen and I began our trek south towards home, spending the night in Cottage Grove, just south of Eugene. The next day, we ended up doing a marathon driving trip and (17 hours later) arrived home in the wee hours of Thursday morning, totally beat up but happy to be home. I think we were both muttering to ourselves by that time, "I think we're too old to do that again." The Grapevine at midnight, when you're dead tired, is . . . well . . . I won't go there.
So, in addition to updating this chatty little blog, I also managed to post some fibers for sale this morning on my Capistrano Fiber Arts blog. As of this writing, I've already sold one of the rovings and had another inquiry. Amazing!

Oh, finally, here's a skein of yarn I spun from one of Sandy's "superwash" merino/tencel rovings. I was just steadfast in my steering clear of superwash merino, for no good reason in particular, but I have to admit I really enjoyed spinning Sandy's roving, especially because the colors were so lovely. Okay, okay, Sandy, I'm a convert. So, I did it! I'm back in blogger land.