Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Finds #1

intend tag
The wish tree at Squam, photo by Abby

Have a great weekend, my dears!

This weekend is the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl! I'll be doing a trunk show over at Black Sheep Knitting in Needham.

If you want to experience some of the Squam Art Workshops magic from home, they offer online workshops!

It's undeniable, Hallowe'en is right around the corner. I love Hallowe'en but I am super picky about decorations - this Ghoul Art Doll is perfect!

If you've been thinking about joining my Yarn Club, now is the time! The Fall 2012 club closes on 9/30, and then you'll have to wait for the Spring 2013 club!

Whitney Deal over on Darling Dexter made another absolutely gorgeous dress.

I've been eying these beautiful handmade flats - have you ever worn handmade shoes? Did you like them?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pattern Review: Sherilyn Shawl


Pattern: Sherilyn by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Toil and Trouble Silk Merino Sock in Amethyst

Back in January, I was invited to a shawl swap. Folks get partnered up randomly and anonymously, and you knit and send someone a shawl and receive one from a different person. The due date for the finished piece was September 1st. In my misguided naivety, I thought to myself, spring and summer are quiet for small business owners, I can totally do this! Almost 9 months to knit a shawl? Piece of cake!

Fast forward to the last 2 weeks of August and I found myself scrambling to get this thing done and kicking myself because I had so many other things I needed to be doing. This is in part because my year turned out much, much busier than I could have guessed and in part because this pattern and I didn't get along very well for the first 2/3rds of this project. Instead of picking a simple stockinette shawl with a fancy border, I picked an all-over lace shawl. Why? I don't know, I had never knit one it seemed like a good idea back then.


The pattern calls for either sock/fingering or lace weight yarn. I picked sock weight because I find the heavier yarn makes for nicer stitch definition and gives the shawl a bit of weight.

This pattern has both written and charted instructions. I started with the written instructions and found them impossible to follow. I frogged it no less than five times because I could not for the life of me get the right stitch count after a few rows. I finally gave up and moved on to the charts, which worked much, much better. About 1/3 of the way in, I put the project down for a few weeks, forgot where I was and frogged it all over again. All that, um, experience casting on proved to me that Judy's Magic Cast On works much better than the Figure-8 Cast On because it doesn't have the problem of too much slack.

I never made it through the written instructions, but I did manage to get through the charts and loved the end result. The pattern is very clever and the logic starts to make sense after a few rows. I made the smaller size and still found it to be a good-sized shawl. Eventually I hope to make one of these for myself.

What have you been making lately?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today is the First Day

Scan of a polaroid photo taken at Squam by Mommijune

Yesterday was my birthday. A quiet Sunday spent at home watching back-to-back episodes of Walking Dead while making a mess of my kitchen with dyeing (I didn't go to the studio so I could stay home with Nate). It's nice that Squam and my birthday were so close together, because its gave this whole month a feeling of "new beginnings" and a shifting mindset.

Wish . . .
Photo of the wish tree from Squam by West of Whimsy

One night at Squam, we had a presentation with author Maya Stein. She shared stories and photos of her experiences as she worked on her book, Type Rider. A particular image stuck with me: a photo of her typewriter, with a piece of paper in it. Typed on it was one of the writing prompts she used for her project. I don't remember the whole prompt, but I will always remember two lines: "Today is first the day. Today is the first the day."

l o v e
Photo from Squam by MeeganZ

I am a planner and a list-maker. I like knowing what is coming, and I tend to have my schedule booked months in advance. Having a small handmade business has only reinforced this part of my personality. But being at Squam forced me to be present. I wasn't worrying about what would happen the next day, the following week, or the next month; and there was a sense of peace that came with this feeling of being present. I find the phrase, "today is the first day" to be empowering (even if my cynical side cringes a little at that word). It can be a commitment to do something - "today is the first day of x" or simply an affirmation: Today is the first day.

So what does this have to do with my birthday? Here is to a new year, a year of learning to be present in the present and not losing sight of today because of the future.

Today is the first day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Squam, Part 1

Squam Art Workshops 1

So I've been back from Squam for 5 days at this point. I keep telling myself I need to blog about it, need to share it, and yet I stare at this blank page and find myself unable to articulate it. I have watched many of the folks who also went start posting on their own blogs, and finally Finch managed to express what I couldn't - "Coming back from Squam is always a strange thing – part of you wants to tell everyone about what an amazing time you had and the other part wants to keep it all for yourself."

I am incredibly cynical. I accept this about myself, so when I signed up for Squam I felt the cynicism kick in. I read reviews by previous attendees and just couldn't believe a retreat could be as transforming as everyone claimed. But it was, and I was happy to find my cynicism breaking down. And with that in mind, I am going to share pictures and talk about some of the things I encountered - but I feel like it's important to say that while this will help you see the beauty of the place, it's impossible to capture the amazing spirit of this retreat. At first I felt like this would be a negative in sharing part of my experience, like I would be letting everyone down by being unable to completely capture it. Now I've come to understand that because the experience is so intimate, personal and transforming, it's ok not to expose it in its entirety. This first post shares pictures of Rockywold-Deephaven camp, where we stayed, and beautiful Squam Lake.

Squam Art Workshops 2

Squam Art Workshops 3

Squam Art Workshops 4

Squam Art Workshops 5

Squam Art Workshops 6

Squam Art Workshops 7

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So I went to Squam...

Squam Art Workshops
Last week I was hiding away in the woods of New Hampshire at the most wonderful creative retreat. I signed up for my first Squam Art Workshop ever and spent 5 magical days living in a wood cabin, dipping my feet in Squam Lake and meeting the most amazing people. I feel like it's too soon to really get into the trip, like that somehow will make it more part of the past (I am so sad it is over!) so for now I am sharing a collection of some of my Instagram shots - a little sneak peek into my experience. As I force myself to accept the reality of coming back to "real life," I will share more, including the wonderful classes I took with completely amazing teachers.

Squam 2

So have you ever gone to an art retreat? Did you love it?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Finds #2

This lovely shawl was crocheted by Amy in my Snow Flower sock yarn

I just recently learned about Pate (Pie inside a Cake) . Have you ever tried one? Sounds more appealing than Turducken.

Mystery Owl Grab Bag? Yes please!

I am really loving this cheerful yellow hand-printed pillow. Time for a home makeover?

This month's Makers in Business episode is with Sweet Lydia's. Best treats ever! Also, it was so interesting to learn she has a bachelor's degree in Psychology, like me!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Finished Knits: What you guys are making!


Nothing makes me happier as a yarn dyer than seeing what you wonderful folks make with my yarn. I am always blown away! The sparkly skein above became these pretty socks! The yarn is my Sparkle Sock in Apricot Marmalade.

Sparkle Socks

As a scarf and shawl addict I loved Katrina's Trillian, knit in my Limited Edition Falkland Merino Sock in Sun Also Rises. I am a big fan of Martina Behm's designs, so exciting!



I have yet to knit a cardigan myself, so I was very impressed by this project. Using my Tweed Sock in Persephone, Scass knit this gorgeous Georgia cardigan. I sort of wish she had knit it for me...



Have you knit up any of my yarn? I'd love to see!

Photos of yarn by me, photos of projects from Ravelry