Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Today's funny typo was spotted while perusing the Vermont Country Store. Picture a pigtailed girl holding an enormous brown bucket of dark lumpy pretzels. Below the image, you read:

True Traditional Pretzel Taste Delivered Right to Your Front Doo

Monday, February 24, 2003

The Spa Knit & Spin took place in Portland this weekend. It began as a casual impromptu gathering of fiber folks and ended up being quite an event. What follows is just my small take on the event.
Julie, the fearless booth fillyMy KR Boutique made its first true maiden voyage in the fiber festival seas. I was aided by the enthusiastic and fearless Julie (shown at left), whom I fondly referred to throughout the day as my booth babe. She brought her red KR Signature Canvas Tote, which I kept hauling out to show people. ("And this is what it looks like six months later..." I'd say, and then Julie would add "See how it holds not one but two water bottles!")

Julie and I were visited by blogstress Melissa, whom I'd never met before in person. What a delight! She came and sat with us for a while, listening to our tote bag routine perhaps one time too many before departing with a smile and a promise to do lunch in Portland soon. Then Shannon, aka Bitter Girl, paid us an impromptu visit as well, before running off in search of Addi Turbos. Aaah, the life of a knitter.
I finally got to meet Linda Diak, of Grafton Fibers, in person. She'd opted out of displaying at the show and was, instead, attending as a mere mortal. And what a wonderful mere mortal she is! Some people exude warmth and brightness, and Linda is one of those people.

Julie was gracious enough to hold down the fort so I could make repeated forays into the other rooms of the hotel (almost always returning for my checkbook). Spinners and wheels packed every corner.
You couldn't swing a wet hank of yarn without hitting another cluster of happy spinners at their wheels, in hallways, the entryway, you name it. If there'd been a chair in the ladies room, I'm sure they would've congregated there too.
During one jaunt I found Jonathan Bosworth spinning away on one of his charkhas. After I indulged in yet another of his Midi spindles, he let me take his Journey Wheel out for a spin (pardon the pun). I've never been fond of these wheels, only for aesthetic purposes, but I must say it is an extremely smooth and well-crafted device. (Uh-oh, this can only mean one thing... time for another penny jar on top of the fridge.)

Hatchtown displayI shared a smaller banquet room with five other vendors, including two of my very favorite fiber folks in the world, Jim and Pam Child of Hatchtown Farm (display pictured at left -- Pam is the one in the pink top).

In my humble and completely unbiased opinion (yeah, right), Jim turns some of the most beautiful and perfectly balanced spindles on the planet.
He and Pam live on a beautiful farm just outside of Damariscotta, where they raise Coopworth sheep and otherwise have a dandy time of things. I visited their farm a few years ago just as they were putting the finishing touches on Pam's studio, a spinner's dream space with vaulted ceilings and enormous windows looking out over the rolling pasture. Aaaah, heaven. I resisted buying even more of their fiber (at least this time) but did acquire another Amelia spindle and a beautiful little orifice hook for my wheel.

It was just beginning to storm as I loaded things into the car, so I was forced to skip the author's roundtable and haul booty back to Blue Hill as fast as possible. My three-hour drive turned into five very tense hours behind the wheel, with one stop at McDonald's to get an M&M McFlurry -- an ironic order considering the circumstances.

Monday, February 17, 2003

The thermometer is hovering near zero tonight as I write this. A huge storm is dumping 18 inches of snow on Boston, and I'm hoping beyond hope that it reaches me before morning so I can stay here an extra day.

I'm a bit frustrated and angry this evening. It has to do with my discovering an article published elsewhere that is clearly based on a KR piece. How did I discover it? From someone praising it and linking to it from the KR forums. I'm sorry to be a downer, but after all, this is Clara's window. And sometimes the view ain't all that pretty.

BUT, my petty complaints are insignificant compared to some news I just received from Interweave: Melanie Falick is leaving Interweave Knits after four years as its editor to pursue a book publishing career in New York City. While her loyal readers lament her impending departure, scads of aspiring editors are clamoring for her place. No, I'm not among them - there's no way I'm leaving Maine, no matter how good the offer (and no, there was no offer). But it'll be very interesting to see who wins. If you happen to care whatsoever.

It seemed weird to me that her book Knitting for Baby (coauthored with Kristin Nicholas) wasn't published by Interweave Press. You'd think they would have worked out a deal, especially since Melanie brought them such fame and fortune with her earlier Knitting in America and essentially made Interweave Knits what it is today. Who prompted the departure? What were the real conditions? And will Melanie be able to bring my own book one step closer to fruition? Questions questions.

Such is life on this quiet, hopefully soon-to-be-snowy February evening. There's a fire going and leftover pot roast heating in the oven, and Casey is in dire need of attention, so off I go. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Progress on Studio continues, albeit more slowly than I'd like. You still can't pick up on the angular stripes very well, but trust me, they're there.

Meanwhile, I'm swimming sparkly yarns for the February glitter series. I've never been a glittery yarn person, myself, so this has been an interesting study. I only wonder how these yarns will fare after the scarf craze subsides.
Studio continues

Monday, February 10, 2003

Casey's blissful moment in the sunImagine a big batch of freshly dyed silk roving laid out on the floor, illuminated by the bright afternoon sun. Casey quickly found this sunny silky spot, curled up on top of the fibers, and fell sound asleep.

So I indulge the little fella. What can I say.

Friday, February 7, 2003

I just had the most amazing experience. You know how, when you visit, you get shown a bunch of "featured recommendations" based on the items you've looked at lately? For obvious reasons, my recommendations tend to be knitting related.

Today -- in response to a reader's husband who was desperately searching for a specific learn-to-knit CD -- I pulled up ol' What do you think appeared at the very tip top of the page, above even Harry Potter and Andrea Bocelli?

Vivian Hoxbro's book, Domino Knitting, and the following:

Knitter's Review
"It's a deceptively simple technique with stunning visual results. "

The irony is that, although I've finally made it into the pantheon of Amazon's editorial recommendations, this quote had nothing to do with Domino Knits. I was referring to Hoxbro's earlier "shadow knitting" technique involving colorplay in garter stitch patterns.

But I shan't let this little oversight ruin my moment of glory. Today, tomorrow, WAL MART!!!! Bwooo-haaa haaaa haaaaa.......

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Just a quick note about a funny typo in the recent L.L. Bean catalog. They note the location where each big picture was shot, and there's one image of a happy family (note sarcastic tone) playing croquet on a big beautiful grassy lawn in front of an old inn.

But the catalog identifies it as the hotel's crochet lawn. Does L.L. Bean have a rogue fiberholic in its marketing department?

Monday, February 3, 2003

The mojo saga continues. A recap: I got laid off on Monday. Friday evening my brother went out for dinner with his girlfriend and her father. They intended to console her about losing her job. Instead, it turned out that both my brother AND her father also had been laid off that very day. Agreed, much worse things could have happened (she knocks on wood) but still, this is pretty uncanny.
somewhere in here there's a sweaterIn happier news, Studio has begun! Not only has it begun, but I'm having a hard time putting it down. I haven't had this much fun since I discovered self-patterning sock yarns a la Regia and Opal.

The pattern is almost entirely garter stitch, which has the potential to be mind-numbingly dull. But this isn't your standard knit-a-rectangle-and-call-it-a-scarf garter stitch work. It involves endless increasing, decreasing, geometric zigzags and color changes. And as with the self-patterning sock yarns, I find myself constantly saying, "OK, just one more repeat and then I'll put this down and go to sleep." (Six repeats later she's still knitting away.)

My brain is hooked as I try to figure out how in the world all these lines and triangles translate into the actual finished sweater. The irony is that I seriously doubt this sweater will look good on me when it's done. But I'm so eager to follow Hanne Falkenberg's process that I really don't care if I look like a weebil wearing the thing.

Have you ever done this, pick a project for the the project's sake rather than solely for the finished results? C'mon, reassure me I'm not alone...

Saturday, February 1, 2003

There is some weird mojo going around right now.

I found out my brother's girlfriend (of the everyone-thinks-they're-already-married-because-they've-been-together-so-long variety) just got laid off from her high-tech job in Boston. She'd survived years with this company, endured its accounting scandals, bankruptcy, and sale. A recent merger is what finally did her in. Her last day was yesterday.

So my brother called me yesterday afternoon and I made some jokes about not being able to find her a "I'm sorry you got laid off from your high-tech job" card at the local Rite-Aid. And he nervously said, "Well, um, you might want to try and find another one for me." He'd just been laid off from his job.

It's so odd that I can only laugh and shake my head and eagerly await the thaw so I can start living off the land. (Only in my simple-living utopia there'd still be high-speed Internet access, bubble bath, and really good coffee. Alas.)