Sunday, October 21, 2007


I returned from SOAR (Spin Off Autumn Retreat) in Michigan last week. What a fantastic time! I learned so much about spinning, knitting and other fiber arts. There were so many incredibly knowledgeable and generous people at the retreat willing to share ideas. The fall scenery was gorgeous as well.

My three day workshop with Katherine Alexander was full of experimentation with new ideas. She showed us how to use S spun and Z spun singles to create amazing energized forms in our knitting. What fun to see the knitted fabric curve from the energy of the singles. Katherine has tremendous energy herself and it was a pleasure to be in her class.

Here she is modeling one of her sweaters with a classmate from Minnesota wearing a sweater knit from one of Katherine's patterns. The color combinations and shapes are fantastic.

Then we had four, half-day workshops. My first was in hand combing with Robin Russo. Combing creates a lovely, light and airy top from which to spin. I can't wait to tackle the 3 fleece I have waiting to be washes and combed at home.

Next was a workshop with Margaret Stove from New Zealand in spinning and knitting lace. She taught the class how to wash a Merino fleece lock by lock and then spin it from the lock to achieve a smooth, very fine, lace weight yarn. It is amazing how much yardage one can get out of a single lock!

The next morning I took a workshop with Janel Laidman in carding batts using many colors. What fun we had experimenting with blending, striping and mixing multiple colors of fiber.

Here is the fiber we had to choose from.

This is my carding partner, Linda, with the batts we made and yarn she spun from her batts. We tried several different methods including choosing colors we don't like, just to see the outcome. We liked all the batts we created.

My final class was learning to use my wheel more effectively to get specific types of yarn. The teacher, was wonderful and helped us to see the difference that a gentle take up can make on the final yarn. I also learned the wonders of steaming the yarn.

The final night we had a spin-in complete with a bluegrass band. Imagine 200+ people in the same room spinning and knitting to bluegrass. Good Stuff.

Here are two of the scholarship receipients.

And, two new friends from my Katharine Alexander class, Jillian and Carla.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A night with the Harlot!

Last night was great! I went to Borders in Bailey Crossroads, VA to see the Yarn Harlot, aka Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I went with friends from my Wednesday knit night at A Tangled Skein, CiCi, Chelette, and Joyce. (Thanks to CiCi and Chelette for letting me 'borrow' their photo.)

Photo: Left to Right: CiCi, Chelette, Stephanie, Joyce, Anne

We were early in the line to get a number for book signing (I was number 12). It was fun sitting in the Science Fiction aisle, scaring the Muggles (non-knitters) while we knit. I sat next to the cutest baby named Oz. Then we went and sat in chairs waiting for the Harlot. It was well worth the wait! She is so funny and has a way of making her point stronger through her use of humor. Her descriptions of the perceptions of non-knitters towards knitters is right on target and her stash jokes are the best.

When we went up to get our books signed, I asked her how to pronounce the yarn, Kauni (connie) pointing to my bag. Well, she asked me if I had planned to knit a bag or if it was the result of a gauge mistake. When I looked at her sheepishly (pun intended) she said "Busted". She was right of course. I decided to make a bag, and felt it, after I had realized that my sweater was going to be 50" around. I love how it turned out though, so a mistake can be redesigned into something beautiful!

I had such a great time being with knitters. I saw so many wonderful garments and creative people. It is nice to be with 'your own kind' once in awhile. :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finished Happy!

What a wonderful name for a sweater pattern - 'Happy' by Elsebeth Lavold. It really was a joy to knit. I used the recommended yarn, Hempathy, which is easy to knit with and feels very comfortable next to the skin. I absolutely love the way the sweater turned out! I knit it mostly while visiting in San Diego as the colors remind me of the beach. A friend in my knit group at A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville Maryland is knitting this pattern in another colorway. There are endless possibilities for this simple, but engaging pattern.

I am currently working on the Kauni. I have taken a slight detour on this project and will detail this in my next post. I am behind in my Socks that Rock club and need to quickly knit the current pair before the next skein comes in the mail.

My life is blossoming into a new direction and I am both excited and terrified of this adventure that I have begun. I am currently developing a new career as a Life Coach. As I develop my website and settle more into this new role, I will discuss it in future posts and create a link to my site. Until then, remember to ask for what you want to create in your life, but also be prepared to receive it. If you ask you will always receive an answer, but it may not be the answer that you expect!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Back from San Diego

My trip was wonderful. I had a great time with my Mom and my sister. We are a chatty group and spent most of our time catching up, but we also had time for sight-seeing at the Quail Botanical Gardens and the Meditation garden (Koi pond in photo), both in Encinitas. The beautiful weather and brilliant flowers were rejuvinating. In addition, we discovered a raw foods restaurant called Cilantro Live. Amazingly delicious food! I highly recommend it.

I spent a week of my time at a life changing seminar on Life Coaching run by Coach for Life. The marina photo was the view from our meeting room. I felt priviledged to be a part of this group and I felt connected to each and every participant. I had expected to learn about life coaching, but I did not expect to learn so much about myself. I am currently setting up my coaching practice and will post a link to my website as soon as it is complete. Life is an amazing journey and a gift for which I am profoundly grateful.

Fortunately, I also had time to work on my Happy sweater, designed by Elsebeth Lavold. It will be complete soon and I will post a picture of the whole sweater. Until then, here is a sleeve.

I have two other fo's (finished objects) to post today. I completed my Madli shawl that I started on my Christmas trip to London. It was finished in February, but I did not photograph it then. I knit it out of handspun yarn spun from CVM (California Varigated Mutant) roving. It is soft and natural - very comforting. My other shawl is knit following the Tuscany Pattern by Amy Singer out of a blue/blue green silk lace yarn dyed by Claudia. I knit it in May. I wore this shawl to Florida a few weeks ago and again in California. It is my most comfortable and lightweight shawl - lovely for summer evenings.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sock and Roll!

I am trying to catch up with my posts of FOs (finished objects) therefore, I am posting three pairs of the several pairs of socks that I have completed this year. I am a member of the Socks that Rock sock club. They have sent some wonderful yarn and I have completed two pairs so far. I also knit with a great summer yarn, called Tofutsies. It has wool, soy, and Chitin, a fiber made from crab shell.

Above is Socks that Rock 'Monsoon' knit in a baby cable rib. I like the deep purples and dark, almost khaki, greens. The yarn is soft and the socks are very comfortable.

Below is Socks that Rock 'Walk on the Wild Tide' knit in Elongated Corded Rib. Very different purples and greens from the above sock, but equally as gorgeous. I didn't have time to block these socks, so you can see the difference sock blockers make! Both of the patterns I used came from Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch. It is a great book since you can knit a gauge swatch and then knit any pattern to size. I knit both of these on size 0 double pointed needles.

Below is the Tofutsie socks knit using a lace pattern from the Socks, Socks, Socks pattern book. It is a variation on the traditional Feather and Fan lace pattern. These are much lighter weight than the other two pairs of socks. It suits a lace pattern. Again, I knit on size 0 double pointed needles. I tend to knit loose therefore need to use smaller needles than is usually called for in a pattern.

In future posts, I will discuss some of my other projects included entrelac, a hemp yarn sweater and the latest craze, the Kauni. It is so interesting to see the influence a superb writer/blogger/knitter can have on the knitting community. Check out the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, if somehow you have had your head in a bog and missed seeing her books or blog.

This week I leave for San Diego for a two week visit with my Mom, my sister and my best friend. Ah, the sound of palm trees blowing in the breeze, and the scents of the ocean, eucalyptus and sagebrush.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

All Knitting and No Posting!

I have been doing a lot of knitting since my last post. (OK, I know it has been a long time.) I will be posting every week from now on and post pictures of the things I have been knitting. Really! I mean it this time! ;)

I have had an obsession with sock knitting this year. So far, I have completed six and a half pairs of socks. I have also done 1 and 1/2 scarves and 2 shawls. I will be posting pictures of these finished objects (FOs) over the next few weeks.

I will start with the pair of socks I knit my daughter for Valentine's Day. She is currently living in Germany and going to a German school. Therefore, it is not surprising that the yarn she picked out at Christmas time is red, black and yellow!

She created these photos herself. Very artsy!
I cannot wait to see the photos that she has taken of her adventure this year in Germany and travels to France, England and Scotland.
She is coming home for a week on Saturday. I am looking forward to a week of her company. Then she is back to Germany until August. Her brother opted to stay with me this year, but will travel to Germany with her and stay a month.
As the 'Yarn Harlot' said so eloquently, "motherhood is the only occupation I can think of where your eventual goal is to put yourself out of business". I know it is all about creating independent beings, with their own opinions, their own goals and their own way of creating their lives, but it is hard. I have missed her so much. I am glad that she likes the socks.

Monday, February 26, 2007

More goodies!

I received my second skein of handspun yarn in the Interweave Spin to Knit swap. Cayli sent me a gorgeous skein of merino, some tea and some chocolate (the chocolate is not pictured for obvious reasons :) Her choice of colors and her spinning technique are perfect. It is much appreciated. Now I have to do this skein and the previous skein justice by knitting them into some projects. I think I have just the right shade of blue to go with the latest skein to make a hat.

I have also been spinning up my fiber from the Flawful Batt exchange. I love how it has turned out! It is a blend of romney wool, sari silk fibers and naturally colored cotton slipped in a slubs while spinning.

I have enjoyed playing around with different ways to photograph my handspun yarn. Below are a skein of the Flawful Batt fiber, a skein of orange merino, and a skein of Blue-faced Leicester dyed with Kool-aid. I think I will call them "yarn parfaits"!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fiber Bliss

I am in fiber heaven. Currently, I am involved in several fiber exchanges and having such fun. I received my first skein of yarn a couple of weeks ago, for the Spin to Knit exchange organized by Interweave. I love the color - green with bits of red, yellow and orange blended in. It was very nicely spun and is a soft merino. My swapee also sent some chocolate - yum! - and a cute notepad. Thanks very much to my fiber swap pal from Valley Center, CA (near where I lived years ago).

I also received the Moosie spindle that I had won on Spindlicity. Janel was also kind enough to send four ounces of the softest BFL (Blue-faced Leicester) I have ever felt! The Moosie is, of course, a dream to spin with. Each one is so unique and I know they must have mystical properties. It carries the energy of the moose, the Bosworths and the spinner. I feel so content when I spin with it.

Today, I received my batt from the Flawful Batt Exchange organized by Julie from Flawful Fibers and Yarns. I received a wonderful batt from Kathy of natural, brown Romney with Sari silk strands blended in. She also included some natural green cotton. I am already spinning it up by letting bits of the cotton slip into the wool as slubs while I spin. It is becoming a wonderful, lumpy, colorful yarn. I have never used cotton and wool together in this way and I am enjoying trying a new technique. Julie also was nice enough to include a bar of chocolate and an essential oil blend. Thank you Julie and Kathy!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Back from London!

I have been back for a couple of weeks, but I am only now able to post to my blog. I had a wonderful trip and I thank all of you who sent suggestions for places to visit in and around London. I walked all over the city and visited as many places as I could in 10 days. I particularly liked the London Eye (what a view), Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tower of London and a day trip to Oxford. Yes, I know they are all tourist places, but they are for a reason! I also found a fantastic vegetarian restaurant (Food for Thought) near Covent Garden. The above photo is Big Ben with Westminster Abbey behind, taken from the London Eye.

Each day in London I would start walking in a new direction.
One day was Portobello Road and the antiques and food stalls.

Another day was Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard.

I went to St. Paul's Cathedral for Christmas Eve Choral Service.

I walked along the canals to Regents Park and Camden Locks. It must be even more beautiful in summer.

The only fibery finds were some knitted baby items in the V & A using what looked like cotton thread it was so fine, and a case of spindles and other spinning related equipment in the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford - very interesting museum.

Here is the courtyard of Oriel College in Oxford.

I also spent some time in Bremen, Germany visiting my daughter, Julia. She is there for a year with her father and his family. She is attending a German high school (9th grade) and rapidly learning German. I am so proud of how well she is doing, and how excitedly she approaches new experiences.

Here she is wearing the headband I made for her for Christmas. She wants to be a photographer and has a great eye for interesting compositions.

I also started a shawl using my own handspun yarn from CVM (California Varigated Mutant) wool. I love it and will post a picture when it is finished. I will save other fibery things such as my recent acquisitions (a wonderful handspun yarn from my swap pal in the Spin to Knit swap, and my new Moosie) for future posts.