Life On Hold For AMAZEMENT!

A & A at Prez's Door

A & A at Prez’s Door

I’m still reeling.

Whirlwind doesn’t BEGIN to describe the events of the last week! First, the facts: I got invited to a sort of “Tweet Summit” at the White House. It was 99% unexpected…

(I actually DID apply to go when I saw a tweet about
the event by @WhiteHouse, but I didn’t really
think for a moment that I’d be in the running.)

It was an opportunity for the people behind the scenes at The White House to meet with a group of folks who are known to be very active on social media.

My assigned crafting place

My assigned crafting place

I guess I fell into that group (THANK YOU friends & readers of my tweets & blog!)

I was SO excited to be invited.

It happened much more suddenly that I expected. When I got invited, my first impression was that it was a sort of ‘family event’ and that our whole family was invited.

Beautiful Daughter

Beautiful Daughter

Unfortunately, I misunderstood  It was more of a business / public relation than a family event.

However, the very kind folks at TWH allowed me to bring a guest when they realized that Andy is also an active social media person, AND part of an excellent demographic which happened to be underrepresented at this event.

Fog All The Way To DC

Fog All The Way To DC

Gerry didn’t want me to drive to pick up Andy at Earlham and on to DC alone, so he insisted on coming and sharing the driving burden. And it was INSANELY foggy both there and back, lots of white knuckle driving!

We wanted Max to come, too, but the suddenness make this impractical – Max had finals, too, papers to finish and a big project at his after school job (St. Paul Neighborhood Network) that he wanted to do well, so he opted to stay home. We missed him!

 

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Beautiful Hallway

Beautiful Hallway

What The Event WASN’T

    • We did not meet POTUS, FLOTUS or DOTUS
      (Doggies of the United States)  Dang.
    • We didn’t get lunch, but we DID get delicious cider and cookies (I brought some home for Gerry & Max)

What The Event WAS

  • A chance for folks involved in social media to visit & learn about The White House
  • An opportunity to meet White House staff who explained to us
    • How White House events are put together
    • How ‘average folks’ (like me!) can attend events like the Easter Egg Roll, tours, etc.
    • How the large staff works together to make these events spectacluar!
  • A crafting opportunity (probably another reason I was asked to come!)
Laura Dowling, TWH Chief Floral Designer

Laura Dowling Chief Floral Designer

We were given talks by many interesting folks, the first part of the day was spent discussing the social media strategies TWH uses to present their messages to various audiences.

For instance, I follow a lot of folks on Twitter, but one of my favorite accounts to read is @ObamaFoodarama. That lets me, a food lover, to see a different side of The White House.

By utilizing twitter to present different sides of The White House in this way, the social media staff can allow the average citizen to feel a bit more connected to the goings on of what is, essentially, OUR house.

Ellie Schafer, Director TWH Visitors Office

Ellie Schafer, Director TWH Visitors Office

Hands down, the most impressive person we met was Ellie Schafer. She was absolutely brilliant. The love she has for her job and her passion for presenting The White House to the world in the best way was infectious!

The room came to life as she was speaking, and I felt she was the best advertisement for the type of person we’d like to have heading the visitors office of OUR house.

She explained that The White House is a residence, an executive office AND a museum, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms.

I LOVE DC!

DC is one of my favorite places.

Union Station, DC

Union Station, DC

My first adult visit was when I was an intern with WNET in NY

(I got to fly a TV proposal down that needed to be turned in the same day it was finished, interns get to do the most unlikely things…)

It was spring, and I absolutely fell in love with the city. I’ve been back many times since then, most memorably when I was working on the Million Mom March for Gun Safety in 2000.

Gerry & Andy On Metro

Gerry & Andy On Metro

If I have any regrets about this particular trip, it was the physical difficulty for Gerry of sitting in a car for so many hours.

He insists it’s pretty much what he’d be doing at home, but I think he’ll be resting a bit over the next few days.

However, he started planning a SECOND family trip to DC on the way home!

This time we’ll take Max, too, and we’ll be able to spend more time and visit more museums!

In other news, Max came in 2nd in his Debate Meet on Saturday! GO MAXIE!!

BONUS

To see a funny video I took on the Metro Subway, click here!

One Knitter’s Road To DC

So something kind of cool happened this week…

I saw a tweet from The White House (known henceforth as TWH) asking folks who’d like to be invited to a holiday event at TWH to apply online.  I did, thinking, “They’ll NEVER invite me!”

Well, they did.

Apparently they tried to contact me several times, but for some reason our phone wasn’t connecting

The woman at TWH said it might have been because their number comes up as ‘blocked’ so depending on folks’ settings, it might not go through – odd…
We certainly have no problem getting a ton of 800 spam calls!

On Friday they emailed me, I didn’t get it until late in the day (annual ModeKnit Yarn holiday lunch at Kyoto Sushi …) so it was pretty late on Friday when I learned we were invited for Monday. Yikes!

Even if I weren’t someone who’d jump into a car and drive 16 hours without blinking an eye
(and I am), this seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I am allowed to bring one person, so it was between Gerry and Andy. The event was explained to me as a ‘decorating & craft event’ (apparently my knitting/craft chops AND my numerous twitter followers put me up on the potential invitees list..) I’m told we will me making Christmas ornaments!

Gerry insists that it’s really more up Andy’s alley, Andy insists that Gerry should go – and Gerry won. Andy’s going with me.

The problem was, this semester Andy had only two final exams, and they were both on Monday. Yikes again. Fortunately her professors are VERY understanding and one is allowing her to take the exam on Sunday, the other later in the week.

Andy & Annie at the White House (artists rendering)

Andy & Annie at the White House (artists rendering)

Max was originally going to join us, but he confessed to us today that he just has too much he feels he needs to do at the end of his semester, and he’s helping a friend with a project at SPNN (where he has a part time job) AND he had a pretty important debate meet today (where he came in SECOND – which is amazingly good)

We allowed Max to bow out of the event and stay at home. I’ve learned that when Max has a strong feeling about not participating in something, it’s really best to trust his gut. Every time I’ve forced him to do something he wasn’t really into, something has gone terribly wrong.

Return with me now to the dreaded Lyme Disease Summer of 2011
after I forced Max to go to camp in the Boundary Waters.

Bad mommy.

Plus, the pets are VERY happy that he’s staying.

We’re doing the trip in stages, tonight we’re in Beloit and I used some Hilton points to snag a $40 room at Hampton Inn (SUCH a lovely room!)  Tomorrow we pick up Andy and continue to DC, where I’m using Starpoints for two nights at a nice hotel in Arlington. It’s such a bonus to be able to use different membership club points to make this (hotel-wise) an almost-free trip!

I have to give a nod to Awardwallet.com, they REALLY help me keep my different memberships straight and monitor how many miles I have in 25 different programs. I find I’m able to use my points much more efficiently when I can access them so easily!

So while Andy and I are at the White House, Gerry will be exploring the Smithsonian. Then we’ll meet up late in the day and have dinner, perhaps look at the lights, and sight-see.  Tuesday we’ll have some time before we have to head back to Earlham to drop Andy off, we’ll stay overnight so she can take her exam, then we’ll all come home together.

Did I mention I’m getting a tooth pulled on Friday?
I wanted something to take my mind off of it, and this will certainly do that!

Apologies for the lack of book review – I promised two reviews this week and I’m afraid I’ll be lucky to get ONE done!  I can’t say I didn’t ask for this – I filled out the online request form – I just never really expected it to happen (and so QUICKLY!)

Lucky, Lucky Susan!

SA_GiftThe winner of Sock Architecture is SusanKnits! Congrats to Susan!!

I LOVED reading your comments, every one got me to thinking about how much I learn from other knitters.  Folks often show me their knitting shyly, with the implication that I’m a ‘professional knitter’ so I must be SO much better…

NOT SO! I’m an above average knitter, but not by much.

We each have our gifts, we each do different things well, and other things not so well. There are a LOT of things that I don’t do so well. So many, many ways to improve, all of them fun in their own way!

For me, the whole point of knitting is threefold:

  1. to spend time with something you love
  2. to love the process and the challenge
  3. to learn stuff (when you feel the time is right.)

Most of all, my mantra is:

We don’t knit to make THINGS,
We knit to make ourselves HAPPY!

So CONGRATULATIONS Susan! Enjoy your eBook, and for the rest of you – you can find the book here!

AND – I’ll be reviewing a new book in a few days, this one for the DYERS out there!

Here’s a thought… Perhaps you’ll want to share the link to this post to that person who’s been asking, “What can I get you for the holidays?”

The Architecture of Socks

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.43.35 PMWhen people ask me, “What’s your favorite thing to knit?” the immediate answer that pops into my mind has never been, “Socks, of course!”

I’ve never been a ‘sock person’ (heck, I don’t even wear socks very often!)

I’ve knit many socks, I’ve designed a sock (okay, a pair of socks…) but although they’re not my go-to project of choice, I definitely appreciate sock knitters.

I’ve long felt that most of the staying power that the popularity of knitting has experienced over the past decade is due to the army of sock knitters who keep so much excitement bubbling in the knitting world.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.44.54 PM

Great Illustrations

In my quest to more fully appreciate the mystery of the sock, I’ve read several great sock books (Cat Bordhi, Ann Budd, Andi Smith and Charlotte Schurch have all written amazing sock books)

I would put Lara Neel’s* new book, Sock Architecture, up there with them.

What I particularly like about Lara’s book are the instructions and images. She uses clear graphics and photographs to work,  step by step, through the techniques.

For a non-sock knitter like myself, these type of illustrations are very helpful. I can visualize a technique much better when I can see a few images, I really appreciate the amount of work that went into creating these images.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.45.45 PMThe book begins with an explanation of certain sock verbiage, why different heels and toes are named as they are, and the main differences between Eastern and Western socks. Foot shapes,  sizes, and tailoring a sock for a specific foot are discussed in depth, as are tips and tricks for creating a really good-looking, well fitting sock.

The remainder of the book is divided into Top-Down and Toe-Up sock construction, with myriad heels and toes discussed under each topic.  Patterns are provided for each of the variations discussed, and helpful charts allow the knitter to determine whether one of the standard sizes listed would work for their sock, or how they can do the math to create a custom fit.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 4.30.28 PMOne of the nice things about the book is – for lack of a better description – a ‘cut-and-paste’ layout which allows the knitter to either use the designs as written, or create their own design combining elements from various patterns.

As someone with rather long toes and a low arch, I find this SO helpful. Breaking down the patterns in this way also allowed me to understand more fully the actual construction of a sock.

I can’t see myself becoming a great sock knitter, but with Sock Architecture I will feel a bit less adrift when I tackle my next sock pattern.

*in full disclosure, Lara’s a friend of mine and photographed my upcoming Bolero book for Stackpole Press.

Giveaway

Cooperative Press, the publisher of Sock Architecture, is allowing me to give away a copy of the book (as an eBook) to a lucky blog reader!

Simply leave a comment below, tell me the most challenging technique (in a sock, or in any other type of knitting) you’ve attempted and you’ll be entered to win the eBook.

I’ll be selecting one winner on Monday, Dec 8th, by the end of business day.  Good luck!

Judgement Induced Paralysis

I haven’t been writing on my blog for a long time, for various reasons, but one of the strongest is fear of judgement.

Tired & Judgy

Tired & Judgy

I’m speaking in part about judgement by other folks (always a bit of a fear for anyone, but something we all deal with in our own ways) and in larger party judgement by myself. I am the author of that nagging voice in my head which has been relentless in it’s scrutiny of my life.

The shingles pain continues (yes, it’s baa-aack) and in August my doctor prescribed Lyrica. The drug did amazing things for the pain, but affected me in very strong, negative ways, so I had to go off of it (slowly, with a doctor’s help)

Memory is also an issue. Did I forget to mention this?

Memory is also an issue. Did I forget to mention this?

Mentally, I’m much clearer, but the pain has really cranked up a notch (or two) which is probably a mixture of the cold, the fact I’m not cycling as much as I was (although I AM cycling at the local rec center!) and my body hating me for taking away that wonderful pain drug.

Pain steals energy, and I have so little to throw around. Any energy I’ve had lately has gone entirely into yarn dyeing / biz stuff, editing my Bolero book (out in Summer, 2015!) and Thanksgiving prep & recovery.

But now I have a sweet spot of a few weeks before the next holiday, so I’m anticipating blogging a lot more. And I’m trying to reason with that Voice Of Judgement in my brain, trying to tell it to back off (but not ignoring it completely, there’s a good bit of truth there, too!)

COMING UP!

I have three terrific books to review, with giveaways for each of them! Stay tuned, I’ll be doing the first review starting this Friday for a wonderful new book by Lara Neel. Books by Kate Atherley and Wendy Johnson are also on deck (did I mention giveaways?)  Stay tuned!

And thanks for hanging in there with me. I hate to think of my blog as a ‘low priority’, I enjoy writing it (and hear from you) so much!

I’ve learned with an exhaustion issue like Fibromyalgia, I need to use discretion when delegating energy. And not beat myself up too much.

Brioche Winner!

0ly8d0nZNG1meuMegKlhD91lsWsRXpMn4s0Ms4dMmR8The winner of Mercedes Tarasovich Clark’s book, Brioche Chic, is Ellen P.

Congratulations, Ellen! I hope you enjoy the book and knit MANY beautiful things from it! If you would care to email me with anything you make from the book, I’d love to post it here in the future!

Autumn Biking & Voting

Bike path along the Mississippi

Bike path along the Mississippi

I got more cycling in this week than I have in a long time, it’s because of the beautiful warm Fall we’re having here in MN (warm being 50’s, which is just about PERFECT for biking!)

Last week I hopped on my bike to scoot over to Minneapolis to see President Clinton and Senator Franken speak at a Get Out The Vote rally, and I made it in 25 minutes (a record for me!)

Politics Alert

The former President & our current Senator

The former President & our current Senator

It’s no secret that I’m a big ol’ lefty, so if that bothers you, you might want to skip the next section!

Voting is sacred to me. I believe in Democracy the way some folks believe in organized religion.

To my mind Democracy is the driving force behind the greatest positive changes the world has seen in terms of how humans relate to each other. Democracy allows us to participate in, and take responsibility for, the governing of our lives. It’s not always perfect, nothing created by humans could be, but it’s the best thing going.

Anything that tries to prevent citizens from voting is anathema to me, which is why the many voter supression laws that have been proposed make me so angry. We should make election day a HOLIDAY and strive for 100% voter turnout.

2014-10-11 14.57.49So get out there and be PART of this 200 year old experiment in allowing human beings to police OURSELVES. I honestly get shivers when I go in to vote, even when I’m not happy with the array of candidates.

This time, however, I’m VERY happy with the candidates I have in front of me in Minneapolis. The positive change our state’s seen since the election of Mark Dayton as Governor is astounding (we were on SUCH a downward spiral with Pawlenty, the same spiral we see Wisconsin in right now, which makes me very sad for them!)

Stealth Knitting

Stealth Knitting

Seeing money invested in infrastructure and education is the best way to see our government invest in the future, which Gov Dayton has championed since his election.

Voting for Al Franken is an easy call for me. He’s been such an excellent Senator, reaching across the aisle on many issues but retaining the populist, progressive stances that make him a hero to many Minnesotans. With him and Amy Klobuchar leading our state in DC, we’re on a VERY good path!

Cycling Season

More 'secret' knitting

More ‘secret’ knitting

I rode home more slowly from the rally, taking photos along the way.

I got in a short ride yesterday, doing some stealth knitting and enjoying the beautiful October sky and falling leaves.

Geeze, how I love the fall!

Brioche Bonanza!

0ly8d0nZNG1meuMegKlhD91lsWsRXpMn4s0Ms4dMmR8I have played around with brioche in my knitting life, and I will admit that in the past I have not been the biggest fan of this intriguing way of creating a rich, deep fabric with yarn and needles.

Perhaps it’s because I’m gluten free?

I’d read articles by Nancy Marchant, which were fascinating, but never really grabbed me the way that Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark’s new book, Brioche Chic, has sparked my imagination.

Clear

Beautiful cowl for first time Brioche knitters.

Beautiful cowl for first time Brioche knitters.

Brioche can be a complex subject, and Mercedes breaks down the process of creating lovely one and two-colored brioche in simple, easier to comprehend bits.

The book itself is bright, light and cheerful – which would make it a terrific gift for a knitter on your list who is ready to move into a new technique – with very clear illustrations, many charts (love that!) and excellent photography of the garments and details.

The book is also available as an ebook, which I love because it allows the knitter to make the text large and the charts even larger as I knit!

 Fun

I'm in love with Lattice!

I’m in love with Lattice!

I loved the patterns in this book!

Ostensibly a technique book, it’s really a book of amazing patterns that just happen to be worked using the brioche technique.

I especially loved the accessories sprinkled through the book, although I may be giving the Lattice Edged Cardigan a go (I’m DIGGING that lapels/collar simple shaping!)

Intriguing

I'll be making this for Gerry!

I’ll be making this for Gerry!

The use of 2 colors to show off the beauty of brioche might actually make this possibly-daunting technique more accessible to the average knitter than they might think!

In much the same way as when working double knitting, two colors makes the technique pop!

I feel the same could be true of brioche. This seems especially notable in the deceptively simple Colorblock Pullover.

Yarns

Gorgeous use of 2/C Brioche

Gorgeous use of 2/C Brioche

Mercedes has done a wonderful job of marrying lovely, well-matched yarns to the projects.

(I especially loved the O-Wool (Flame Cable Scarf & Hat), and the Fancy Tiger Heirloom Yarn (Star-Crown Beret)

With a background as a shop owner AND a yarn dyer, Mercedes is well placed to fit the best yarn with the appropriate pattern, and it shows here!

The Down Side

Rich, deep and textural! Brioche at it's best!

Rich, deep and textural! Brioche at it’s best!

Having said that I love this book – and I do – I don’t think the charts are as helpful as they might be (and I’m a chart LOVER!)

I felt a bit intimidated by the charts, which is a very unusual feeling for me.

However, I’m not sure there IS a way to make Brioche Charts less formidable.

Perhaps that will be Mercedes next book…
Simple Charted Brioche!

Giveaway

I’d like to give a copy of this book to a happy reader, simply tell me if you’ve ever tried Brioche, and if so, how did it go for you…?

Leave your comments in the section below, anyone who comments is eligible (even if you’ve never worked Brioche, leave THAT as your comment!)

I’ll be determining the winner this coming Saturday, and will announce it on the Blog on Monday.  So comment away – and good luck!

A BETTER New Normal!

I’m writing this, and I’m a little bit terrified.

We’re moving into the next step of ModeKnit Yarn, which is scary, but also crazy exciting. We’re growing, orders are coming in faster and faster, and we’ve been asked to supply yarn for some pretty amazing editorial pieces.

2014-09-28 20.49.05BTW, anyone catch my scarf in Downton Abbey Knits?
I am VERY proud of it, I think it one of my best small pieces!

 

We’re on the cusp of hiring our first person, although we’re not certain how quickly we’ll be able to do it, or for how many hours per week we’ll need them. Just facing this as a necessity in the near future is both daunting, and very exciting.

Our plan has always been slow and steady growth, which I believe we’re accomplishing. Next step, slowly and intelligently (?!) bringing on wholesale accounts (that’s our 2105 goal!)

This weekend a friend of Andy’s, the young woman who was in charge of their 52-day Arctic expedition and a fiber enthusiast, came by to help me dye and learn the ropes.  We worked REALLY well together, she’s at that, “looking for some part time work” phase of her life, so we’re hoping we can make this happen on both ends!

It feels SO ODD to befriend someone who is your daughter’s friend, good, but also just a bit surreal.

NEW CAR

Since our home invasion / car theft (it sounds SO much more dramatic than it was when put that way!) we’ve been car less.  I try to get around on bike, and we’ve rented cars here and there over the past month, but for the most part we’ve been walking and taking the bus.

2014-09-29 12.21.32As of yesterday, we are CAR LESS NO MORE!

We purchased what has long been our dream car! A VW Jetta Sportwagon, and we’re over the moon!

When we decided to become a one car family 3 years ago and sell both cars (relying on mass transit and biking for many of our errands, using the car for big shopping trips, etc.) we looked at a 2012 Jetta, but at $22K it was out of our range, so we settled for a Hyundai Elantra (not a bad car, nice for us) and at $16K it was a good economic fit.

2014-09-29 12.23.16At Enterprise Car Sales we test drove a few cars in the $10-13K range, then as we were walking around we noticed a 2013 RED Jetta that had JUST been brought onto the lot. I compelled Gerry to take it for a drive, we BOTH loved it, but we couldn’t  bring ourselves to say yes.

After we left Enterprise, we visited several VW places in the Twin Cities, and the looks on the faces of the salesmen when we described the car (low mileage, 2013) told us everything we needed to know; the car was an amazing deal at $14K.

Ginger & Gerry, both relieved about the car.

Ginger & Gerry, both relieved about the car.

So we did the math and worked out that with the settlement from our insurance, our car payments would be almost the same (within a few cents) of what we’d been paying for the Hyundai.

So, lucky us!, the car was still available and Monday was spent driving from dealership to insurance company to bank to dealership, then home with our new car.

The fact that this was a car we WANTED so my several years ago, and now HAVE (except a year newer) feels as if it’s a bit of payback for dealing with the whole theft thing. The stress was nuts, anyone who’s had a break in knows that, so this feels like a bit of a reward.

Gerry’s off driving the car now. I’m so happy for him (he’s LOVED VW’s forever, he sighs when one goes by…) and happy for us. It’s a great car, we just have to be careful about speeding tickets!

The cheesy shot our saleswoman took when we bought the car, but it's fun, too!

The cheesy shot our saleswoman took when we bought the car, but it’s fun, too!

 

Resting & ReCharging

4630409504_a6daaf6159_oOne thing about me that drives my husband nuts (one thing?) is how I tend to see every day things as a ‘sign’ of better things to come.

Usually I’m joking, sometimes I’m not, but when we were first married in 1993 I would often say something like, “See, that’s a SIGN that everything’s going to be fine!” and he’d just roll his eyes (looking for all the world like a 15-year old ME reacting to my mom.)

It’s been six weeks today since the arrival of Shingles in my life. I’ve been in such a fog (pain induced? pain MED induced? just generalized Annie-Confusion?) that some days it feels as though I’ve had Shingles for a week, some days it feels as though I’ve had it since the day I was born.

I’m taking the past two exceptional weekends of teaching as a sign that things are looking up,  and no one can convince me otherwise!

Current Car Crochet Project

Current Car Crochet Project

This past weekend my business partner, Kathleen Pascuzzi, and I had a booth at the North Country FIber Fair where I taught four classes and had a generally wonderful time! There are SO many little  shows like this around the country, which I see as an indication of the vitality of the fiber industry, but this was one of the sweetest.

I might feel that way because I have seldom taught classes feeling SO much in pain, and receiving such a boost from my students!

When I add to that the previous weekend in the Dallas area teaching for the Dallas Hand Knitting Guild and the Hand Knitters Guild of North Central Texas, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of love I’ve been shown this month!

TEXAS

One Hardworking Texas Class

One VERY Hardworking Texas Class

I have mixed feelings about Texas. I had a job there I absolutely hated and a boss who seemed gleeful every time he could make my life a bit harder (in all fairness, he was originally from Ohio)

But it’s also the place where my brother met his soul mate, where he lived and then passed away, and it’s where my mother also lived at the end of her life and where she died.

Having a loved one die in a place will always attach a lot of strong emotions to that location.

Mostly, though, I have a very hard time with heat.

But I got very lucky; not only was the Lone Star State going through a bit of a cool snap, but the host yarn shop for my classes, The Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie, TX, was one of the coolest shops I’ve every visited (in both senses of the word – yay!)

A Hardworking TX Class at The Knitting Fairy

A Hardworking TX Class at The Knitting Fairy

Alissa, the owner of The Knitting Fairy, was incredibly welcoming and loving to everyone who came for classes, and made me feel as though I was visiting family. I’ve seldom felt so loved, so cared for, as I did when Alissa took charge of my comfort while I was in her shop. THANK YOU ALISSA!

It’s also quite obvious how well loved she is by her customers, which is as it should be!

Little known fact: Sprinklers in TX are pro choice!

Pro choice TX Sprinkler

After two days of classes for the Hand Knitters Guild, I was kidnapped on Saturday evening by Ron & Theresa Miskin of Buffalo Wool and taken out for some AMAZING chili, some drinking and some Outlander.

Beautiful Gift From The Dallas Knit Guild!

Beautiful Gift From The Dallas Knit Guild!

We visited with Lise from Knitting Rose Yarns (review of a Knitting Rose/Buffalo Wool yarn to come later this month) at her beautiful home, and I’m afraid I broke my main rule of teaching; NEVER GO OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE A CLASS.

I was able to pull it together for my Sunday Classes (just barely) but still feel guilty for not doing all I could to be 100% for my students. It was some damned good chili, though…

I felt so loved at my two gigs, and was BLOWN AWAY when I was given a lovely gift by the Dallas Guild just before I left, one of those wonderful yarn carousels which will be INCREDIBLY USEFUL as I re-ball odd FLOW skeins.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE IN TEXAS!

SOUTH DAKOTA

ROAD TRIP to SD!

ROAD TRIP to SD!

I joked one morning at breakfast while we were at Watertown, SD that every item on the menu was shaped like a president.

I ordered the FDR oatmeal, it looked like a dime!

But that was before I realized that we were staying at a hotel with a top notch chef in the restaurant!*

Our whole impression of Watertown was affected a bit by the extensive highway work that was going on outside of our hotel

When you’re driving a SUV with a Uhaul, it’s hard to get around all those traffic cones!

Selfie with Festival in Barn

Selfie with Festival in Barn

Road construction

is a necessary evil, though, and perhaps better roads will bring more folks to what was an extraordinary little fiber show, the North Country Fiber Fair.

There weren’t a lot of vendors, but the ones there were exceptional! Excellent yarns, gifts, baskets, buttons, ceramics, LOTS of spinning fibers and tools – just a wonderful variety of great small businesses!

It was if they’d distilled a larger fiber show and brought the best to South Dakota!

My classes were in a lovely, air conditioned room (they’ve got Rhinebeck beat by a mile, there!) and my students – well – it’s hard to praise them enough.

Charted Entrelac Class Swatches, AMAZING Work!

Charted Entrelac Class Swatches, AMAZING Work!

They were a confident, easy going bunch of friendly, wonderful students who took in everything I taught (and begged for more!)

The sheer openness and transparency of the folks in my classes was refreshing – like a stiff prairie breeze!

The drive out and back was a straight, 4-hour shot. Kathleen was magnificent as our driver-in-chief and head-booth-maven.

My job was to tell her where to turn.
We had exactly 3 turns in each way.

We did surprisingly well in sales for a show that wasn’t huge, which is another reason to love the NCFF!

*Minerva‘s, in Watertown, SD, is a restaurant you should visit if you’re in the area.  I will admit that we were NOT expecting such amazing food. Our last night there we had a pork chop dish that will be on the menu for their Octoberfest celebration in, uh, October. If you’re in the area, you need to get yourself over there for a meal!

But aren't we all just ANIMALS?

But aren’t we ALL just animals?

Mini Vacations

I take my vacations where I get them, and sometimes they’re as short as 15 minutes.

KFairy_location

The Knitting Fairy is in HERE somewhere…

Right now I’m enjoying a mini evening vacation, here in Arlington, Texas, where I’ve been brought in to teach 4 classes for the Knitting Guild of North Central Texas and two classes for the Dallas Knitting Guild.

Happily, all 6 classes will be happening at the same location, a LOVELY yarn shop called The Knitting Fairy  I stopped in for a brief visit to meet the owner, Alissa, and look at her great selection of yarns! Her space is excellent, but I can see where it might be hard to find…

Duckie

Shall the Duck be Mother?

She had some lovely stuff, and when I got to my hotel room I looked up her website and was enchanted by many of her patterns, especially this adorable Duck Tea Cozy (Hmmm, who do I know who drinks a lot of tea… Moi?)

The Arlington/Dallas area is experiencing a bit of a cool down after a hot spell, and there’s supposed to be rain over the next few days. That sounds JUST FINE to this Minnesota Mama who is experiencing a skin condition that doesn’t react well to heat!

TPEarls1

Beautiful yarn, lovely tag!

Another indy dyer named Jennifer Thompson who owns Theodora’s Pearls was setting up her trunk show at The Knitting Fairy as I arrived, and everyone was drooling over her lovely yarns! Her yarn tags are pretty sweet, too!

But back to my vacation; I just took a luxurious bath, now I’m enjoying a cup of tea and some gluten free cookies in my beautiful room (okay, it looks like every other hotel room, but I don’t have to clean it and that enhances it’s beauty a thousand fold…)

Modesock_ComClinic_CrochetI flew First Class (the $90 upgrade was only $2 more than paying for my baggage AND a seat with enough legroom for my long pegs, a no brainer!) and enjoyed every second of it, from the way the baggage guy sat up a little straighter when he saw my boarding pass, to the PRIORITY fast lane I got to go through at the TSA to the first-on-the-plane boarding and free drinks.

I had a whiskey, I poured it into my Pumpkin Chai Latte from Caribou Coffee, yum!

And now I will continue on my current project, a crochet diddy worked up in ModeSock in Community Clinic.  The crochet in this colorway has an especially “shabby chic” look about it, doesn’t it?