Sunday, August 1, 2010

Que Sera, Sera

Stephanie wrote:

I have childhood memories of Doris Day singing "Que Sera, Sera" and my own mother singing the song as she washed dishes and folded clothes. While I've been known to treat my kids to a couple lines from the song, I try not to notice when they roll their eyes and hope that someday they will appreciate the sentiment.

Que Sera, Sera . . . whatever will be, will be. This is my mantra. Life is short and unpredictable. While it's human nature to want to know what lies ahead, the future's not ours to see. And that's probably for the best.

It is with fond memories and an eye to the future that I say good-bye to Dye Dreams. The time has come to close this chapter in my life and start a new one. I've enjoyed meeting many of you online and in person at events across the country. It's been an honor and a privilege. You can follow my new adventures here.

Que Sera, Sera.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Running Around

Stephanie wrote:

For some reason this summer has been far too hectic. I keep hoping for some lazy days, but instead I'm coordinating various schedules, juggling too many balls. My front door has become a revolving door for family, friends, visitors and total strangers. The parade never ends.

I must confess that my knitting obsession right now is a wool cardigan. I plan and plot to knit a few rows here and there, but it's never enough to satisfy me. The sweater has gotten big enough that it's no longer portable and is a stay-at-home project. And really who wants to sit with a lap full of heavy wool this time of year? Note that last month was the hottest June on record. And yet the sweater is a magnet calling me to work just a few more rows, just a few more inches.

Too much running time and not enough down time has had a serious impact on my knitting. Since many of my projects are not good for on-the-go, most of my knitting time has been spent on Herbivore (Ravelry link). Almost mindless, easy to pick up, easy to put down. When I reached the suggested size for this shawlette, I decided to keep going until I used up all the yarn.


There was a point when I was working the finishing rows that I thought maybe I had gone too far, maybe I wouldn't have enough yarn. For once my calculations were right on. All that's left is the blocking.

This is the time of year to enjoy the farmers' market. Going to market is part of my weekly ritual. I never skip a week.


Hot, fresh pie from the oven.

And to go with the pie . . .


. . . coffee with a layer of ice.

Now before the day gets too crazy, time to work.



Time to wind.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Time To Twine

Stephanie wrote:

The heat is on, and I've become a nomad in my own home. I have the misfortune of having my work space in the hottest part of the house - the uppermost level that, due to funky wiring and poor construction, cannot accommodate any form of cooling. The heat coupled with the humidity has a definite tropical feel. We abandon this part of the house during the summer months.

I find myself wandering about with a skeleton of my desk - laptop, several file folders and a couple of pencils. I roam about in search of space where I can set up temporarily and do some work. The dining room table is ideal when it's not covered with dishes and/or clean clothes. The recliner works in a pinch, and I can sometimes incorporate a power nap. Even the kitchen counter is inviting if it weren't for the steady stream of food-seeking kids. When all else fails, I have to head out to the library or local coffee shop. I miss having my own space.

In club news the summer mitten kits shipped recently, and the KAL starts tomorrow on our Ravelry group. Beth Brown-Reinsel designed a two color twined mitten for this club installment. Twined knitting is a Scandinavian knitting technique that uses both ends of a center pull ball.


Wound and ready to twine.

In recent wanderings I stumbled across these lawn sculptures.




What a fun way to brighten up the yard. Propeller flowers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Official

Stephanie wrote:

Today marks the summer solstice, the official start of summer for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. For many the solstice is cause for celebration with all manner of festivities and time-honored rituals.

This is the season to worship the sun, and there's no better place than Taos, New Mexico. In the spirit of all things solar the Taos Solar Music Festival will be held this coming weekend. The festival boasts a solar village and great music all in a spectacular setting. There's something for everyone with a line-up of musicians that includes Robert Mirabal, Los Lonely Boys, Jakob Dylan and everything in between. Fun in the sun.

The beginning of summer is motivation for me to finally pack away winter coats and boots. Maybe I'll even replace the winter scene on my computer desktop with something more seasonally appropriate.

While I don't have much knitting progress to report, the week ahead will be one with lots of time spent waiting. And knitting. There are new colors coming out of the dye pots.



Always trying to stay one step ahead of the current season.

And goodies coming out of the oven.



Chocolate chip scones - a favorite any time of year.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Scattered

Stephanie wrote:

This time of year can be crazy busy. The calendar is full of extra parties, celebrations, commitments and obligations. We really should attend this. Can I fit one more activity in our schedule? Constant juggling. Never enough hours in the day. Is this the price we have to pay for the relaxed, playful days of summer?

As a result I feel like this.


Scattered puzzle pieces.

We are on a serious puzzle jag here. Everywhere I look there are puzzles. Completed puzzles because once you've put in all that time and effort, you can't bear to take them apart.

And puzzles in progress.


Flags of the World in 1000 pieces.

This morning I woke up and vowed to regroup and take some time for myself.

Time for this.


Coffee is the elixir of my life. Beer is in the same category, but I save that for later in the day. Isn't this mug funky? It's one of Jennie the Potter's creations.

Time for this.


This is my third time knitting Holidazed, and I'm determined to keep this pair. The light shade is out of my usual color comfort zone, but the yarn, Regia Stretch, is a good match for the pattern. And it was in my stash.

Time for this.


The beginnings of Herbivore (Ravelry link). I had a couple of false starts with colorful, busy yarns that detracted from the pattern, but I think I'm on the right track with this combination.

And time for this.



Maybe I'll find the missing piece to Canada.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frolicking

Stephanie wrote:

I still feel a bit damp after a wet weekend in Maine. Even though the rains were, at times, torrential and a boat would have come in handy, I had a delightful time. It's always fun to see familiar faces, catch up with friends and make new acquaintances. Kudos to those who braved the storm to attend this event. It wouldn't have been as much fun without you.

Since we were in Maine, it was only appropriate to spotlight a "Made in Maine" product. There's nothing like a table full of colorful bags to attract attention.


These are the handiwork of Michele from Three Bags Full.


Details. Most of the beads on the bags are also "Made in Maine". They are the work of Bev from Shipyard Point Glassworks.

And more bags.


These, however, are made in Massachusetts.

We were treated to a bit of entertainment.


A fast moving parade.

Of course there were many cute faces in the barns.


English Baby Doll.


And Leicester Longwool.

Some of the goats were too frisky for a photo, but this one was very cooperative.


I love the horns.

Llamas strutting about the grounds.


So regal. They are born to pose.

And I couldn't resist this Jersey Wooly.



A ball of fluff with a twitching nose.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out And About

Stephanie wrote:

Not much time for blogging or pictures this week. Dye Dreams will be at the Maine Fiber Frolic this weekend.

This event has a little bit of everything - shearing, demonstrations, workshops, a goat show, a used equipment marketplace. And, of course, a full line-up of vendors. This is a fun event for the whole family. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out.

I'll be back with a full report next week.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sneak Peek

Stephanie wrote:

With summer right around the corner we're working on the summer installment of our Four Seasons Sock Club. All of the pieces are coming together.


Yarn dyed and ready to go.

Summer means water, and we have a beautiful shade of blue to match. The yarn is Twinkle Toes, 50% superwash merino/50% tencel. The tencel adds a nice shimmer.

JC Briar designed the pattern. She's put together a delightful, elegant sock with a cuff reminiscent of bobby socks.


If you want a preview, check out JC's blog. You can find the summer edition of the sock club here.

At the top of my knitting pile . . . the right and wrong sides of a project waiting to be finished.



Perfect for a long weekend.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Waiting Game

Stephanie wrote:

I've had a week filled with waiting. As any good knitter would do, I planned accordingly and had a couple of projects with me at all times.

First up was my daughter's doctor appointment. After getting settled in the waiting room I pulled a sock out of my bag. The leg, heel flap, turn and most of the gusset were all done. I set off to march down the foot of the sock. I knit and knit and knit. After an hour or so I realized that with a little more time I would finish the foot.

My daughter was not quite as engaged with her book as I was with my knitting, but I was able to entertain her with chatter, all the while knitting away. More waiting while I knit several rounds . . . the foot was done, now on to the toe.

At this point I was secretly hoping our name wouldn't be called - just a little more waiting and I could finish the sock. When I voiced this to my daughter, she sighed heavily and rolled her eyes.


It was not meant to be. Our name was called, the momentum was lost and the sock was put away.

Later that evening with a few minutes to myself I finished what I had started.


Complete.

The next day I found myself hanging out at the airport due to a delayed flight. I reached into my bag and pulled out the makings for sock the second.


I cast on and got down to business.

I had a sinking feeling when I saw the departure board. I got a cup of coffee, made myself comfortable and settled in for the long haul.


The time for departure finally arrived, and I had accomplished this much. You'll have to excuse the off-colors - airport lighting is the worst.

The next day sock the second made an appearance at the dentist office. I picked up where I had left off at the airport.


I was about to start the heel flap, but my time was up. Two cleanings - just the amount of time I needed to finish the leg. While I hated to put the sock away, there was good news - no cavities all around.

I spend lots of time waiting, sitting and waiting. Rather than measuring the time in minutes and hours, I prefer to think in terms of knitting progress. It's liberating to shift the focus from the clock to the knitting needles. And it helps me keep my sanity.

Of course there were other wanderings throughout the week. On one run I pulled into a parking space, got out and was greeted with this sight.



Ten babies in all, fresh and fuzzy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Color Combos

Stephanie wrote:

Lots of dyeing, lots of different colors.

I've learned that the drying phase of this whole process can be a good opportunity to experiment with color combinations both random and planned.


Recently I've paired gray with several different colors, and it works well with all of them. What a versatile color.

This combination caught my eye.


And so did this one.


When it comes to mixing and matching colors, the possibilities are endless. The result can be everything from warm and cozy to cool and refreshing; traditional and classic to funky and hip. It's your choice.

Lately I've been thinking of pairing this color with something. I think it could be lots of fun.



And on this dismal, rainy day it's like a bit of sunshine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Braving The Elements

Stephanie wrote:

We're back from New Hampshire Sheep and Wool. True to form the weather provided challenges all weekend long. Those who have been attending this event regularly know what I mean. The only thing we were missing this year was snow, and at times I wouldn't have been surprised to see a few flakes swirling around.

Of course on Friday the weather was nice.


This was our first time vending outside. We got off to a good start when the E-Z UP did just that.



Stocked and ready to go.

Saturday was raw with rain, heavy at times. We had some issues keeping everything dry, and there was a slight puddle forming at the back of the booth. Compared to what some of the other outside vendors experienced, we really couldn't complain. While Sunday was dry, the temps were cold and the winds fierce and blustery - an invitation to wear layers of wool.



The view from our booth.



It wouldn't be a fairgrounds without Italian sausage and fried dough.

This alpaca was beyond cute.


Almost made me wish I had one of my own.

In case you think that there is only wool for sale at a sheep and wool festival, we made a stop at Thyme & Ewe Farm . . .



. . . and came home with these goodies. We've already sampled two of them - delicious.

I was gifted with this from Five Sheep and a Donkey.


Very clever.

At Kisakanari, a vendor selling Jacob fleece, I spotted this and had to pause. I learned that this shawl is a beginning knitter's second project. Yes, second project.


I've been knitting for so long that I have no recollection of my second project, but I do know it was nothing like this. What an inspiration!

Thanks to all the hearty souls who stopped by our booth. New Hampshire Sheep and Wool - always an adventure.





Friday, May 7, 2010

Heading North

Stephanie wrote:

This can mean only one thing.



Packing up yarn for another event. This weekend we will be at New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. This is a large event with plenty to see and do. It's a tradition for many in New England. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out. You won't be disappointed.

And now I'm off to finish packing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stuck On Gauge

Stephanie wrote:

The last few days I've been dealing with a knitting quandary. I'm hungry for a bigger project - a pattern that is clever, challenging and long-lasting.

I thought I had one lined up, but I've run into a bit of a snag. Have you ever had the situation where you like the yarn at one gauge but the pattern is written for a different gauge? That's the dilemma I'm faced with.

At first I thought I could live with the yarn knit at the gauge stated in the pattern. I knit up almost a full skein before I slapped myself and came to my senses. I don't like the yarn at that gauge, but I still want to use the yarn for the pattern. So I've spent a considerable amount of time re-working the pattern to accommodate the gauge I do like.

While I think I have worked out most of the kinks, I'm cautiously optimistic. These things have a way of coming back to bite me.

In the meantime I've started this basic sock to travel around with me and keep me occupied.


Plain sock in Mega Boots Stretch, color 707. I've used this yarn before and like the gradual shift in colors. I'm almost to the heel and think I'll go with a garter stitch flap.

In the news . . . we've had more water issues here.



Earlier this spring it was the heavy rains. This time it's a broken main. They had to tap into reservoir water to keep the system up and running, but that water isn't safe for drinking. We are under a boil water order for all drinking water. Granted this isn't a crisis when you think in terms of hurricanes, volcano eruptions and earthquakes. But it is a hassle.

This brought back memories of life in New Mexico when I had to boil water for bathing and washing dishes. While the kids have fond memories of those days when we had to boil water, not so for me.

Since boiling enough drinking water for my crew could be at least a part-time job, I resorted to this.


I struggled with buying all this plastic but soothed my conscience with the fact that it's temporary.

Just in case . . . a reminder for those who can't remember to stay away from the tap water.



As I write this I've received notice that the boil water order has been lifted. I think we all have a greater appreciation for free-flowing drinking water.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

Stephanie wrote:

Today is May Day. May Day is synonymous with spring, fertility, the International Workers' Day and political demonstrations. While the calendar has said spring for several weeks, I never feel it's truly spring until May Day.

May Day is a centuries-old celebration with roots in both pagan and religious observances.


We participated in our traditional May Day celebration.

While our celebration includes games and music, the centerpiece is the maypole.



Ribbons blowing in the breeze waiting for the dancing and the weaving.


Coordinating ribbons, dancers and weaving is not an easy task. It takes focus and concentration.

And in the end a decorated maypole.



As I watched the dancers weave all those ribbons I was struck by the similarities with knitting. Creating fabric from ribbons or yarn . . . nothing could be more satisfying.