Thursday, December 27, 2012

Life lately


As the year is quickly coming to an end and things are winding down a tiny bit for my business, so I've managed to sneak in a few relaxing activities, such as these gloves I started embarrassingly long ago. I even managed to sneak in a whole book!


It's also possible that Nate and I have made several visits to A&J King Bakery. They're currently serving hot apple cider with caramel and it's delicious and addictive.

Tomorrow Nate and I will be getting on a plane for a seriously long flight to visit my family. I'm not sure how much internet access I'll have, but I'll pop in to share pictures when I can. Until then, Happy New Year! How do plan on spending New Year's Eve?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wishing you a happy solstice

Happy winter solstice, friends. May you spend the holiday surrounded by loved ones and happiness.

There has been so much tragedy in the world in the last two weeks and I've struggled with what to say about it on here. The truth is, I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said already. All I can say is that I hope we can take this holiday season to appreciate who and what we have, and to be kinder to one another.

Last weekend was the 12th Annual Bazaar Bizarre, and it was truly one of the most amazing experiences I've had. I am so thankful to the amazing organizers, my incredibly kind fellow vendors, and all the wonderful people who came out to support us. I didn't manage to take any photos, but luckily there was a photographer!

Bazaar Bizarre Boston 2012
Bazaar Bizarre Boston 2012

Bazaar Bizarre Boston 2012
Bazaar Bizarre Boston 2012
Bazaar Bizarre Boston 2012
Me and a customer about to sneeze / The lovely Kim / Laura and her fabulous vegan handbags / Karissa manning the Merriweather Council booth / Crafty rockstar Liz

All photos by Hank Hauptmann

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Featured in the Phoenix!


This week, something super exciting happened - my business appeared in a real, printed magazine for the first time. The Boston Phoenix did a feature on Bazaar Bizarre, with a suggested gift guide, and they included me! I really couldn't be more thrilled!


Other than that, my week continues to be filled with yarn dyeing and knitting. It's hard to believe that this time next week the holiday rush will be over!

That book up there? Don't be fooled, I don't actually have time to read. But I bought it so I can reward myself after this weekend. I know I'm a little behind the times, but I hear it's a great book. Have you read it?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Sirulian Cowl

With less than a week until Bazaar Bizarre, I find myself drowning in a sea of dye, yarn, and knit goodies. I admit in the wee hours of the morning, when I am sleep-deprived and my grasp on sanity starts to slip, I wonder why I do what I do. Then, you lovely folks remind me. Lucinda of Sew Wrong. is making a gorgeous cowl with some of my yarn. I had the good fortune of meeting her in person at the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl earlier this year. It truly fills me with joy to see things I've created out in the world.


This colorway is called Sirulian, after the reptilian humanoids from Doctor Who (no, not the geological period of the same name).

Thank you, dear friends, for all your support. I hope the holiday season is being kind to you.

PS - I am still having an end-of-year raffle to show my thanks. Any orders over $20 placed through December 16th will be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to my shop.

Photo borrowed from Sew Wrong.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Book: Knitbot Essentials


I recently filled up my Gather Here frequent maker card, which then becomes a $25 gift card to the shop! My favorite thing to treat myself to is new pattern books, and this time I went for Knitbot Essentials. I fell in love with the simple, wearable designs and the focus on drape. Every pattern in this book calls for needles larger than generally recommended for each yarn weight, creating lovely, drapey fabric. I am busy knitting away for Bazaar Bizarre right now, but I am planning on packing this book for my vacation knitting in January. I've even picked out specific patterns and yarn, so I can make myself some pretties!


Top: Trail Jacket, yarn is Toil & Trouble Merino/Cashmere/Nylon Bulky in Melisandre (Fall 2012 Yarn Club colorway, available to the public in January)

Bottom: Lightweight Pullover, yarn is Toil & Trouble Merino/Nylon Sock in Hecate

I can't wait! Do you like to take crafty projects with you on vacation?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Hello friends! I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a great holiday weekend. Ours was a quiet weekend, with pie, knitting, and books. I even had time to write some holiday cards!


As small business supporters, we kept our distance from the Black Friday madness. We did make one exception though - books! After lunch, Nate and I spent some time at the bookstore and I came home with four new ones. Strangely, they all had orange covers. A lovely reader recommended Kingsolver's Lacuna, and since I love Frida Kahlo I had to have it!

The Gather Here Sandy Relief Raffle ended on Thanksgiving, raising a total of $4,413! Totally amazing! You can check out the lucky winners here. Thank you to everyone who donated prizes and/or money.

How did you spend the weekend? Did you brave the Black Friday lines and crowds?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meeting Barbara Kingsolver

Last week, I went to see Barbara Kingsolver in Cambridge. She read from her new book, Flight Behavior, and had a discussion about literature and environmental issues with the audience. She is a fascinating speaker. My favorite part was when she talked about leaving her PhD work to become a writer. She said there was a moment when she realized that if she worked really hard and did a great job, her dissertation would be read by 11 people. She then left academia because she wanted to reach out to more people.

She has been one of my favorite authors since I read Poisonwood Bible many, many years ago. I also enjoyed Animal Dreams and Bean Trees. In this book, according to her own description, she uses the stories of people to discuss an issue no one wants to talk about: climate change.


Kingsolver said she loves first sentences. I have to agree with her - the first sentence can make or break a book. And how can you not love all the possibility contained in a first sentence?

It will take me a while to get through this book as I keep up with the fall schedule, but I'm excited for this read. Have you read any good books lately?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Recap: Twist Fair

Can you believe the holiday craft show season has already started? I kicked off my show season by heading to Twist Fair the first weekend of November. It was my first time in Northampton - I didn't have a chance to be out and about much, but I loved what I saw and can't wait to go back. Besides, I have to get to Webs sooner or later!


My favorite part of going to craft shows isn't selling my own work, but getting to see my fellow makers' work in person and picking wonderful things for myself to give as holiday gifts. This was my haul:

Handbound books by Rockpile Bindery / Bowl by Chrissy Ann Ceramics / Calendar, cards and magnets by Pressbound

Will you be supporting handmade this season? I'm not doing anymore events in November, but several of my friends will be at the Hingham Holiday Market next weekend. To see where I'll be in December, check out my schedule of events.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Inspiration

What a strange month it has been so far - hurricanes, snow, and such an incredibly packed schedule. Last weekend, I traveled to Northampton for Twist Fair (pictures forthcoming) and this weekend I'll be at two trunk shows closer to home. On Saturday, I'll be at Seed Stitch in Salem from 12 pm to 4 pm, and on Sunday I'll be at Gather Here in Cambridge, along with several other dyers and spinners, from 12 pm to 6 pm.

I've been working on some new colorways for this season, and I'll be bringing them to this weekend's shows. How about a sneak peek?

Something girly - a pretty variegated pink and yellow, inspired by the Snapdragon flower, available here

And something geeky - striking monochrome inspired by Rorschach, available here


Rorschach image borrowed from here and Snapdragon photo borrowed from here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

After the Storm

It's a strange thing, figuring out this whole "first blog post after a natural disaster" thing. We were extremely fortunate. The whole Boston metro area was very fortunate compared to areas like New York and New Jersey, but our home was especially lucky. We didn't lose any power, or internet, or water. Our trees lost some branches, but they didn't cause any damage. Now that the storm is gone, I feel both thankful for my good fortune and heartbroken for those who were less fortunate.

Image borrowed from Elizabeth Duvivier

It's so bizarre to see how quickly life jumps back to it's regular pace. Tuesday morning, the Boston public transit system went back to functioning, and a couple of hours later you could hardly tell what had happened the day before. The city went back to talking about work deadlines, chores, and gossip, because it's easy to forget about all the devastation when it's not right in front of you. People are calling the storm a "dud" and criticizing the city of Boston for "over-reacting" - like there is such a thing as over-reacting to an unpredictably destructive force of nature.

Even though life keeps moving forward here, there is plenty those of us who were fortunate can do. Gather Here will be hosting a Red Cross fundraising effort and several local makers will be donating prizes. More information will be posted on their blog on Friday.

Wishing all of you well and hoping you are safe, warm and healthy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Sightseeing

Today we might be eyeing our supply of water and soup cans while waiting for news on Hurricane Sandy, but Saturday was a beautiful day. I managed to do something other than knit and dye yarn! An old friend came to visit and I showed her around Salem. I didn't take photos of the crazy October crowds, but I did capture some of the beautiful historic parts of the city.


Good luck today and please stay safe!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Knitting: Artwork and Stigma

I am always looking for more art to decorate the walls of my studio and today I thought to myself, "what about art that portrays knitting?" So I set off to find some. The results were interesting. As much as there is a craft renaissance of sorts right now and a lot of knitters out there, it seems like there is still a stigma about knitting among non-knitters.

With Grandma

It's that thing your grandma does, or something quaint but not actually of interest to people. The overwhelming majority of what I found was tagged as "art for nurseries" and a lot of it didn't seem to capture the delight and comfort those of us who knit find in fiber.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this - do you find there is still a knitting stigma out there? I often find myself getting looks of sheer horror from people my age when I knit on public transportation.

But, I did find a few pieces I loved and I hope you enjoy them too.

The Girl Who Knitted Love

Knitting Girl on 7 Train to Sunnyside

I will keep on knitting in public, hopefully changing this stigma and teaching people about knitting: people of all ages, and genders, are knitters. Also, knitting is a lot of work. Maybe by watching knitting in action, people will start to understand why hand-knit goods aren't priced at $5 a piece.

This one - this one is my alter ego.

Superhero Girl

Images borrowed from each artist's shop

Monday, October 22, 2012

Loving: Lilla Van by 508

Happy Monday friends! I hope this weekend was kind to you. We had some bizarre warm weather on Saturday, which lead to open windows, a fresh breeze, and some serious house-cleaning - I was overtaken by the "spring cleaning" bug, courtesy of the springlike weather. The good part is the extra-clean house. The bad part is that I start thinking about our unfinished house projects and my desire to add more decor to some spaces. I came across 508 {restoration and design} several months ago. I immediately fell in love with their painted animal silhouettes but I decided to wait and see if I really loved them or it was just momentary infatuation. After this weekend's cleaning marathon, I cannot get these silhouettes out of my mind. You can read more about the concept behind the collection here.

I had already planned on posting about them today, then I went on their website and found out that they are going through some serious family illness right now. My heart goes out to them. It does make it the perfect time to support them though.

What do you think? Which one would you pick?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On Writing a New Pattern (And Losing to Hyper-Creativity)


So you may have heard that last Friday was I Love Yarn day. I was minding my own business on Twitter (ok, I was procrastinating) when Gather Here tweeted about their special I Love Yarn sale. My insane yarn addiction immediately kicked I made a mature, informed decision to go in and spoil myself with some Shibui. My schedule is pretty much 120% booked until January with shows and stocking shops, but I told myself I would save this until after the holidays and make myself something pretty as reward.

Then it happened. The Shibui yarn started haunting me, with its pretty warm purple tones. I got so distracted daydreaming about it that I started making mistakes on the knitting I should be working on. I pulled out my swift and winder and said, "this way I can interact with it a little, then I'll put it away." So I wound the yarn into pretty little balls and put them on the table, to put away in the closet later. Long story short: an hour later I had whipped out some spare needles and was casting on. Instead of just making any old thing, I semi-justified this misbehavior by deciding to write a new pattern to release after the holidays. Even though I abandoned my immediate to-do list, I was still being productive for my business so it's okay, right?


And here we are. Itch partially scratched, and a new infinity scarf pattern in the works. The next sample will be in a my super-squishy Merino/Cashmere/Nylon Sock in a light color to show off the stitching better, and then I'll be offering free yarn to a few pattern testers. Any takers?


On another note - after I assembled this post, I came across this article: Too Many Ideas in your Mind? Let Your Hyper Creative Mind To Achieve Success. Very convenient timing, no? I lost the hyper-creativity battle this time around, but maybe this will help me stay focused until January. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Studio Days


I've been spending a lot of time in my studio these last few weeks, prepping for fall/winter events - I can't believe how busy my schedule is (you can check out my schedule here)! There are only 2 and a half months left in the year, had you noticed? I'm hoping I can sneak in a couple of fall outings before the real cold kicks in. Have you been out on any fall adventures yet?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

In defiance of triteness


I am always afraid of posting quotes because they are often over-used and become trite. But, this quote brought me so much clarity when I first came across it a couple of years ago. When I find myself questioning what I am doing and the direction I am going in, this reminds me that not pursuing dreams is as risky as chasing them - the risk of mediocrity and unhappiness. As so, here are words of wisdom from Anais Nin:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
- Anais Nin

The photo above is from our trip to Antigua last year. Having grown up in a tropical climate and spending my childhood on the beach, nothing brings me as much comfort and happiness than the ocean. I love New England and I've grown very fond of the crisp fall weather, but warm days by the sea will always be my favorite. What does your happy place look like?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Columbus Day Weekend: Lowell Open Studios!

Can you believe Columbus Day weekend is already sneaking up on us? Instead of a trip to the country fair like we have done in past years, I'll be spending Saturday and Sunday at Lowell Open Studios! I am in studio #331 at Western Avenue Studios. There are lots of wonderful folks at WAS, including these lovely friends of mine:

Made in Lowell by Liz Smith

Migration Goods

Lush Beads

What are you doing for the holiday weekend? I hope it includes a trip to Lowell!

Images borrowed from each maker's website

Monday, October 1, 2012

Squam, Part 2: Classes!

Even though I feel like I could talk about Squam endlessly, I am going to wrap it up in this post. I talked about the indescribable feeling of change that came from the retreat and about a personal lesson. A lot of learning happens outside the scheduled classes, but the "real" classes are pretty fabulous too.

The first class was with Helene, the fabulous food photographer behind the Tartelette blog. Helene is French born and raised, and now lives in the southern US. Love her and her sassy French/southern accent! She taught a cupcake baking and photography class. I admit I didn't realize how focused on the photography portion the class would be, but I really wanted to learn how to bake cupcakes (I am a bit challenged in the baking department). In the end, I did learn how to bake cupcakes, but I also learned a lot about styling photo shoots. I had no idea how much work can go into it!

Squam - Cupcakes
Squam - Cupcakes
Squam - Cupcakes
Squam - Cupcakes

My second class, Simple Screen Printing, was with Heather Moore - the creative genius behind Skinny Laminx. I knew of Heather's work before Squam and it was super exciting to meet her in person. Heather was amazingly sweet, friendly and completely adorable. She taught us how to make simple screens out of embroidery hoops, and Lotta Jansdotter was in my class!

Squam - Screenprinting
Squam - Screenprinting
Squam - Screenprinting
Squam - Screenprinting
Squam - Screenprinting

It was a truly wonderful retreat and I can't wait to go back!