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Sometimes the creative process takes you in a different direction and on a different timeline. We are past the busy autumn festival schedule. While it seems crazy, my body actually began to bother me. I had so much fun! How could I be hurting myself? But at some point, my body started to say, "Um, hey, could we maybe take a break? Rest a little? Sleep in our own bed for a whole month?" I'm not accustomed to making such accommodations. This has been a good reminder that right now we are entering the restful time of the year. The harvest is over. Yes, we are coming into the holiday season. But at the same time, the holidays should be joyful, not exhausting. Cuddly Hubby and I spent a delightful Thanksgiving holiday weekend together at home. We played games with friends. We saw a movie in a movie theater. (Yes, with popcorn and a Slurpie. Sadly, Pepsi not Coca-Cola. Zero-world problem.) I am looking forward to spending the whole end-of-year hol
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East Coast Wool Trifecta

For me, 2022 has been the "return to normal" year. Mensa gatherings — yes! Science fictions conventions — sign me up! Wool festivals — I am there! This year I was especially fortunate. I was able to attend the three major east coast wool festivals — Maryland Sheep and Wool (MD), New York State Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck), and Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF). If you live close to one of these festivals, then attending is a short drive, the price of admission, and whatever you spend on shopping and possibly food. (If you need to keep costs down, you can bring your own brown bag lunch, trail rations, or the like,) If you do not live close, then attending can involve long drives or flying, possibly a car rental, and likely overnight accommodations. This can eat into your stash budget, converting precious dollars into things other than fleeces, yarn, dye stock, textile equipment, spectacular handmade clothing, workshop fees, and the like. Since a single trip to one of these i

Everything's Bigger in Texas

Last weekend was my first trip to Texas. It was a privilege to teach at the Dallas Fort-Worth Fiber Festival . If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know I love fiber festivals, even when I'm not teaching at them. Festival. Go! See! It has been a few years since we had STITCHES South or Georgia FiberFest, although we do have Georgia Mountain Needle Arts Festival. There are still several festivals in North Carolina, including Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (coming up in October), Carolina Fiber Fest (March), and Blue Ridge Fiber Fest (June) as well as retreats such as Kanuga Knitting and Quilting (January) and Unwind (April). If you live in Georgia but don't want to drive to a festival, I suggest you fly to Texas. Here's why. The board that organizes DFW FiberFest is fantastic! They are friendly, generous, competent, enthusiastic, and completely committed to the goal of advancing the fiber arts. They take care of their vendors

Let the Expert Do It

I'm very much a do-it-myself sort of person. If I know how to do something, it can be hard for me to pay someone else to do it. I recently had a very pleasant experience where I let someone else do something. It turned out excellent! Over the past couple years, I acquired a set of Prym double-pointed needles . I like them. They are 8 inches long, which makes them fantastic for swatching, experimenting, and demonstrating. They also don't fit in standard needle cases. I searched the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival last year. There was one vendor in particular who had nice cases, but didn't yet have anything to fit Prym. Eventually, I purchased some fabric at the local JoAnn's in California, Maryland, just up the road from Lexington Park. For a small big box store — and this really was a cramped JoAnn's — they had a fantastic selection of quilt fabrics. I am guessing quilting is a popular hobby in southern Maryland? I figured at some point I would make a fabric roll

Beginner versus Intermediate

What's the difference between a beginning knitter and an intermediate or advanced knitter? One of the big differences is: intermediate and advanced knitters don't follow the pattern. I know that doesn't make sense. Wouldn't it make more sense to say intermediate and advanced knitters are better at following the pattern? It would, but that isn't necessarily the case. Let me share an example. booties — even the bind offs are mirrored I recently made a pair of baby booties. These are the "Lace and Bobble Bootees" from Debbie Bliss Cotton Knits for All Seasons (North Pomfret, Vermont: Traflagar Square Publishing 2002, pp. 46-7). Here is how I changed the pattern. There's no schematic or construction diagram. And there's only one picture of the booties. I sat down with practice yarn and worked the first dozen rows of the pattern. There's some working back and forth and increasing. From that and reading ahead, I was able to understand how the boo

NGKG Toe-Up Sock Knit Along, part 3

The last part of the sock knit along involves working happily up the leg and then binding off. Two at a time is not difficult. I don't even teach it as a separate class. Rather, I do teach it as part of my knitting in the round class. If you are using the two circular needles method, then one needle goes in the first half of both socks and the other needle goes in the second half of both socks. If you are doing magic loop, then thread first half of the first sock, all of the second sock, and the second half of the first sock. It is that half—whole—other half threading that I think messes people up. While I prefer magic loop, two circulars is very useful and possibly more versatile. You can work very small circumference with both techniques. However, you can also work very large circumferences with the two circulars method by making it three or four or more. I could, theoretically, knit a house cozy simply by having many, many circular needles. Knowing which method you like for work

NGKG Toe-Up Sock Knit Along, part 2

If you are doing the sock knit along, hopefully you finished the toe and foot of your sock and are ready for the heel turn. I'm using a short row or hourglass heel. You can work this using whatever short row method you like. I'm using twin stitches, sometimes called shadow wraps or dopplegänger stitches. I haven't had time to run a proper short-row sock experiment. There are several parameters: Do I use clean up rows between the top and bottom of the hourglass or not? Which type of short rows do I use — wrap & turn, Japanese, German, or twin? Plus, I think there might be a couple different ways to work wrap & turn — one way throws the wraps to the private side of the work and the other leaves them as a decorative line. That looks like at least 10 different heel turns. For the moment, I think I will continue to work on the socks. By the way, I spent 2 months swatching for pattern. I cast on Monday and turned the heel Thursday. This is a good reminder to me that I am