Thursday, December 28, 2006

Where Wool Comes From, a Blonde Joke

A little blonde (and brunette) humor. A commercial for the L.A. County Fair.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

OK Fine!

Ok Fine, I'm in.
I have been a bit smug about my very small knitterly stash. I scoffed at the idea of Wendy's Knit from Your Stash in 07 Challenge. Last night I went for a pair of needles and reallized just how many projects I've got lined up. So I'm in. Granted it's the total lack of organization that's the real problem.

But I do have plenty of yarn to last me a long long time. I've just ordered the yarn for The Perfect Sweater, I've got at least 6 pairs worth of sock yarn NOT counting my own hand dyed. I've got cotton in case there is a dishcloth emergency. I've got yarn for the scarf and mittens that I need for myself. And for several extra scarves. And I've got plenty of various yarns for the baby gifts I will be making.

So here is my version of Wendy's rules.

Knit From Your Stash 2007

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through December 31, 2007 -I'm going for the whole year

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

If I need to make a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.

If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.

We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Yarn needed to teach a class is allowable

Wendy had provisions for sock yarn and spinning fiber. As mentioned I have sock yarn, lots of sock yarn and I don't spin, so I took those out. I added in #4 because I hope to teach at least one if not more sock classes next year and I'll need some heavier yarn for that.
So there it is, it feels good. I don't much like having all these projects lined up, it's kind of like pressure. There's no pressure in knitting.
I guess it would be a bad thing to go over to Destash right now. Kind of like walking by the bakery on the first day of a diet.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Great site

Everyone should know about this website.
This site tracks the positions and predictions for all the satellites in our orbit. Including the shuttle, the space station, and a group of satellites known as iridium flares. I have no idea if you city folks would have much luck, but it's at least worth a try, the flares especially are brighter than any star. I love seeing the shuttle and the space station, it's such a rush to realize that the tiny dot floating past is really people out there doing their jobs. The flares are cool because there are a lot of them, so you can see them several times a week. It's like a slow shooting star that's brighter than anything you've ever seen in the sky. Negative numbers are brighter, there is a -6 tomorrow night at 7:10 from my location that I really hope to see. Your global position makes a difference so log on and find your area.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sock Story

Last week on the studio tour one of my very good customers bought a few skeins of sock yarn. She had never knit socks but her daughter had sent her a pattern. Today, one week later, I stopped by her house and she had finished her first pair of socks, and they're tall socks, none of this ankle stuff I usually make. I'm impressed. She said they were great sleeping socks and she'd even figured out a way to hand wash them. She wore them into the shower this morning! Nice and clean and layed out to dry. I'd have never thought about it, but why not?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Back again

I didn't realize it had been so long since I had posted. Lots going on, but not much to blog about I guess. The Studio Tour went great, we had lots of people and sales were as good as ever.
The sock class I'm teaching started on Monday, I think it went well. My 5 students didn't seem nearly as confused by the end as they were at the beginning of the class. I guess we'll really see next Monday if their socks are still socks. Next week we do heels.
I had cast on a sock so that I'd have an example of the first step. I carried it around the whole time and never knit a stitch. So I've got to get on it to get it ready for a heel. I had hoped to have two ready, that's not going to happen, I guess the other will have to be faked.
I took a few pictures, but any hope at natural light failed me. You can see why.

Even when the sun is peeking out it's really glarey. It's going to be 14 degrees by this evening. Yikes!

This is the sample sock for the class. My favorite Cascade Fixation color yet.

And this is almost a sock from my own dyed yarn. I really want another inch or so of the dark blue at the top. I hate ribbing, what was I thinking? The second sock is going to be so slow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Studio Tour Teaser

The Toe River Studio Tour comes up in just three weeks! On December 2-3 over 125 artists in 75 locations all over Mitchell and Yancey counties* will open their studios. The arts council publishes a new and improved map and has an exhibit to help visitors find their way. The tour has been going on for more than 15 years and has grown each year. This will be our 4th tour in my (not so new anymore) studio.

Since this is Lucas's first tour he gets to be first. These are two of his large pieces, but he has been working hard on a variety of items. So far I've heard about mirrors, candlesticks, bookends, end tables and flowers. With three weeks to go there's no telling what else he will come up with.

Having worked all summer at a real job Mom doesn't have quite the selection she's had in the past, but with her time more focused she has some especially great pieces.

Please ignore the top view carpet shot, I take full credit for last minute laziness.

And in my studio I've turning out pots at an amazing speed. Most days.

I've got two kiln loads of pots in the works, and I should have a good selection of everything. For the first time in two years I might even have enough mugs! I also hope to have a dozen or more yarn bowls ready to go along with....
the debut of my very own hand dyed sock yarn!

This is what's ready, I'd love to get another day to work on it, but at this point there is no telling if it will happen. The pots of course have to take precedence.

I hope to see many of you here! The maps are available all over the area. Pick one up when you get here at either of the arts council centers while you see the exhibit, the studios, galleries, or the Chamber offices. Or if you just can't wait, we can send you one in the mail as well. Just let me know.

You can also see more of our work at the website SKH Pottery

*And for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about and didn't get here from the newsletter, we're in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The hotbed of crafts in the country. More artists per capita than anywhere else in the US.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stash Score!

My local yarn store, Yummi Yarn, has a sale table this week. Bad news for those of us who pride ourselves on small yarn stashes. This is 4 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora, $4 each! and 10 skeins of Berroco Softwist, (deep breath first) $2.25!!!!! These are all destined to be scarves hopefully before the winter is over.
There has been very little knitting accomplished this week. I'm franticly trying to get lots of pots made for the studio tour, and my body is complaining. Looks like I've got to prioritize. Pots first, then the one stealth christmas knit for the year.


Friday, November 03, 2006


I finished up a pair of socks. I did finish the knitting on the 31st in time for Socktober, but I didn't kitchener the toe of the second one until the next morning.

I forgot the details, the yarn is Cascade Fixation, with my usual basic top down sock pattern. I'm please with the fit, we'll see how well they hold up to wear.

And since despite all the other projects in progress I always like to have a sock going. I cast on a couple of toes last night. I'm combining Wendy's Toe Up socks with the Jaywalker pattern from Grumperina. I'd promised myself that the Jaywalkers were next, but I was really in the mood for toe ups. We'll see how that goes. I'm using 2mm needles! Kind of like working with toothpicks, but I seem to get getting the gauge I want. This is also my first real project with my own dyed yarn. And finally just to make things more interesting I'm going to try to work them at the same time. I've done it before and got annoyed, but it's time to try again.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Finished Sweater and Fiber Fair

I finally have a finished object to show off. I started this sweater last fall, but it wasn't going right and spring was coming so I lost my motivation.

I usually tend to slack on the blocking stage. As you can see I seamed it all together before I blocked it. But since I did the body and the sleeves on circulars it didn't make much sense not to. It did need a little stretching in the arms. And I got about and extra inch in the overall length.

So here it is. Modified version of the Gatsby Pullover from Interweave Knits Spring 2003 issue. I used Cashmere Luxury Chunky yarn.

Also as you can see I visited the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair this weekend. What fun. Pictured here is a Suri Llama, she's about 11 months old and already a Grand Champion something. I was sort-of paying attention. It was cold and wet and there weren't many people around the barns, so we got to talk to lots of owners.

Also out in the barns we met the great people from Interlacements Yarns. It was great to see this yarn in person. I bought two skeins of Tiny Toes and their beaded scarf kit. Shown in the right of this picture. On the left is a pair of Sol Mate socks. How could I resist, those colors were perfect for me.

I've never done any beads before so I had balled up the yarn before I even took the picture. I've worked on it over the rest of the weekend.
I'm really not sure beading is my thing. If the beads slid on their own I'd be happy. But it's way too fussy to have to stop and slide so many beads down every few rows. But I'm loving the results!

Then there was my truly splurge purchase. Laceweight Tencel from Just Our Yarn

This company had the most wonderful yarns. Most were very light weights. I'm enjoying the lacy project I'm working on, but I'm into more instant gratification of smaller projects on medium sized yarns. But I couldn't resist getting something. They had cashmeres that I just wanted to stand around and pet, but pricy!!!!. This was pretty reasonable for 1000 yards. Now I need another lace scarf pattern. After I finish the one I've got going of course.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Yarn Bowls and Swatches

First, blatant commerce-
I present Yarn Bowls.

Just right to keep your ball in place while you knit. The yarn threads out through the hole. I have one beside the couch, but I also carry mine in the car with me and keep it between my feet. Confuses the thieving furry creatures that you may live with as well. I hadn't expected to have any this soon, but managed to squeeze a batch into the next kiln load. They are about 7" across the top and 5-6" tall. I have 8 ready to go in the four colors shown. Light Blue, Dark Blue, Brown and Green, and Tan. The price with shipping in the US is $38. Send an email to

Second, I swatched up a couple of my latest dyeing efforts. This is a circular swatch of a gauge to approximate a sock. The first one is not so red, more a very rich Mahogany Brown, the second is denim blue like well worn jeans. I'd go outside and take better pictures, but it's about 35 degrees and 35 mph winds. Maybe later in the week.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Knitters Tea Swap

So I joined my first swap. The Knitter's Tea Swap. I had a lot of fun gathering up the items to send off to PA to my partner. And yesterday.... Ta Da! I got my package! My swap partner is Babette at I can't wait to get over to her blog and get to know her.

I opened everything very slowly and sampled along the way. Just like Christmas I want to make each one last as long as possible.The whole shabang! With details to follow.
The Teas- Scottish Breakfast, PG Tips, and a couple more exotic blacks.

The goodies! English Tea Cookies, (note the opened state of all the packages.) White Chocolate Malt Balls!!!! Those are amazing. Honey straws, a couple of honey candies. Green Tea Mints, and evading the picture. Teapot themed note cards that will just have to inspire a tea party this winter. They are perfect for the invitationsAnd the grand finale, KOIGU!! My very first. I hadn't even seen any in person before, just on the web. Lots of colors, and such a neat texture with the two plying.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Great Reception

The Raku bottles that I showed off this week were for an exhibit that I am in this month. Cedar and I are the featured artists at Toe River Craftshop in Celo. We had a great turn out for our reception yesterday. It was a little wet and dreary outside, but the shop was warm and cheery. We set up the tent on the porch for the food and music. So everyone was able to visit and chat outside and see our work and all the shop inside. I'll go back and take a picture of the display, it was just too crazy yesterday. Thanks to everyone who came, and if you didn't make it by already, the display will be up all month.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


In a blatant theft of Jessica's idea, I have gathered together all of the socks that I have made that are still in the house.

There are many pairs missing, I made lots of socks from Woolease before I knew about nylon, and the heels wore out. There are a few pairs here that have had a replacement heel. There is one pair that has suffered my lack of patients with hand washing and will now stand on their own, more of a boot than a sock. There is the pair that I made for my husband that were supposed to shrink down to fit. I didn't know about acrylic then either. I think they are in his work truck protecting his safety goggles. I've come a long way I think.

I finished this pair Monday night. I like them. They are way busy, and there is cable down the front and back that is sucked up by the stripes, but I know it's there.

This yarn was really spotty when I dyed it and I wasn't sure how it would look. But I knit it up and liked it a lot, though that swatch picture didn't come out well. Rewinding it helped too, broke up the splotches.

To answer some of Lolly's questions on my sock history.
I knew how to knit, but hadn't done it in many years. I was bored and lonely in college and there were some girls in my dorm who knit in the lounge. So I went to the great craft store in town and bought two books, the interweave press socks book, and the knitters companion. I decided that socks were the only thing I was really interested in. Other projects seemed too big or too impractical. I just taught myself out of those books. My first heel took about 4 tries. I had to stop reading the directions as a whole and just do it one line at a time.

Almost all the socks I've made cuff down, a variation of the basic sock pattern in the interweave book. I was a die hard dpn person up until the last three pairs or so. Now I think that two circulars is the way to go. I've used a lot of different yarns, I don't have a favorite. I haven't spent the money on some of the most talked about stuff out here in blogland. I started dyeing my own to save some money, and to hopefully make some eventually. We'll see how that goes.

In the pottery world

I showed off a few Raku fired bottles a few weeks ago. Here are a few pictures of the process to fire them. It's a very hands on technique with smoke and fire and heat. It's fun, but I wouldn't want to do it every time.

I've just raised the top of the kiln, you can see that the pots are glowing hot. They get up to about 1900 degrees.

Then you grab them with the tongs and move them over to a nest of sawdust and newspaper.

And once everything has caught fire you pop a cover on them and let them smoke. You can go back to the post at the end of August to see a few of the finish pieces.

This is my stoneware kiln, I just opened it yesterday and needed to let it cool a little more. This is the type of work I do on a regular basis.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Progress Finally

I sort of feel like I made some progress this week

The light blue is only partly done, I'm going to add another layer or two. In the middle is the other one that used to be yellow. Still a little weird, but we'll see how it swatches out. I can always make it more green. And on the right I tried a few tie dying techniques. It needed lots more tieing. But I'm using up the left over blue dye from the first green run. I've tied another skein, and there is still a big pot of blue left over. I understand that usually the problem is not enough color. I'm not having that. If nothing else, I am getting some strong colors.

In the pottery world, I'm glazing pots this week as well as finishing up a few last minute ones. I have to fire on Thursday to be ready to set up an exhibit on Monday. Then another firing the next week. All that and my 10th high school class reunion this weekend too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yellow is now Green

So that yellow yarn from last week?
It got dipped

And turned into this

Not in the slightest way what I had hoped for. But maybe not a total loss. And variegation that may show on the picture is an illusion, It's pretty much all one color of dark green. I don't hate the color, but it was supposed to be a little more interesting. I'm still planning to go back and work on it a little more. Maybe a little more blue, a little black.
It turned into the largest continuous knot that has ever existed, so I appealed to my dad for a little help and we built this:

It still takes forever, but I've got the next couple of skeens ready to go. But first I've got a lot of pots to make.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another in a long line of...

...things I don't have time for.

This is the first two hanks of sock yarn that I have dyed myself. Pretty darn yellow don't you think? They are currently drying vvverrryyy slowly. If they ever get there I'm going to try out a dip in blue to make a graduated effect. We'll see how it goes. I have grand plans indeed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


There have been two people interested in buttons this week, so here are a few pictures of my latest buttons since I had just happened to line them up this morning in my quick clean up.

They are about 1" wide, each have two holes. They are $4 each. What you see is what I've got. My camera won't get any closer, sorry.


Back again

Pretty bad form to start a blog and disappear, right? Oh well, my only excuse is computer problems, hopefully all fixed now.

So, since then, you ask?

In the pottery world I attended the Mt Mitchell Craft fair. It's always hot there, but this year it set a new precedent for miserably hot. I've gotten back in the studio today for the first time in a month. Nice to be back. I've got lots of special orders to work on in addition to all the inventory I need for my next show and to get the shops stocked for October. That next show is the very first, maybe annual, Old English Inn invitational Pottery Show and Sale. That will be in Spruce Pine Oct 14-15. Also in October I will be one of the featured artists along with my friend and fiber artists Cedar Johnson at Toe River Crafts in Celo.
I'll post some pottery photos in a few days, I threw a couple of lamps that might work out well enough to show off.

In the knitting world I've been ignoring the new neck project that I mentioned in the last post. I'll get to it. I've been distracted by socks. I've finished two socks this week.

unfortunately they both need mates.
I'm making progress on that too. As soon as I'm done with those, I've got a few project to finish up, the previously mentioned top, a cashmere blend sweater that's been waiting since last fall, and I've been dreaming of a skirt in a really cool yarn that I've found. I've got a ball to swatch and play with. We'll see how that goes.

Otherwise, we spent a great week in Washington state visiting friends, setting up a pottery studio, and being tourists. I took about 150 photos (unheard of for me) but just one for now.

The Sound Garden

When we got back Wildacres need a pottery teacher on short notice so Mom and I filled in and taught a week long Raku class. Here are a few of the pieces I made as examples for the class.

Enough for now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Finished Sort of

I finished the top last night that I pictured in the previous post. Now I have to take part out and start over. The front arms and neck just don't do it for me. Way too much arm showing, and the neck just sucks. So I'm going to rip to the top of the arm holes and make the front wider and add a V-neck instead of the mock collar. No problem, but it will take me a few days to get around to it. I'm still planning to wear it for the Mt Mitchell Craft Fair the first weekend of August. We'll see how that goes. In the mean time I'm working on a pair of socks for K and mixing glazes in the studio.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

First Blog

Everybody else is doing it why can't I? Not that I need anything else to do, and not that the world needs any more blogs. But here goes anyway. I'll probably talk mostly about knitting since I always forget to take my camera out to the shop, but I'll throw in some pottery talk too so that I can pretend that I'm working :)

This week I finished a pair of socks with cascade fixation yarn on size 3 needles. I used 48 stitches per round and it's a little stretched. Also they drew up just a little in the first wash. I've started another pair a big bigger, we'll see how that goes. I'm teaching a sock class in a month, so I'm trying out several things. Also I made one pair on my prefered DPN's and the other with 2 circs for the class. I'm just more used to the DPN's. I'm sure I could come to love the 2 needle method, but not yet. Still need to try out the loop.

I'm also working on a sleeveless top in Berrocco Cotton Twist. Here is the back, I'm got about 10 more rows on the front. I'm trying to have it done in time to wear it to the Mt Mitchell Craft Fair in a couple of weeks. It finally feels like I might get there.

Off to get some work done.