Rhinebeck Recap

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The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) came and went this last weekend. In the world of a knitter, it is a HUGE deal.  We look forward to and save up for it all year.  Tons of vendors with tons of yarn and tons of roving and tons of whatever a knitter could want or need and tons of things a knitter doesn’t know they want or need.  Paul and I were there at 8:30.  Gates open at 9:00.   I like to be very prepared and early so that we don’t have to wait on this:


Or this:


…which formed as we waited somewhere near the front.  It would kill me to be way back there and watch all the people going in and getting all the things and then there would be none left. (I know, I’m nuts.  Seriously? ALL the things are going to get taken before I get there?? I have said it before:  Paul is a very patient husband.)

It was pretty chilly when we first arrived but then it warmed up nicely and it was the perfect fall day.  We browsed the festival and ate our usual treats.  I got fried artichokes and Paul got a pretzel and we got kettle corn.  We saw some sheep:


We people watched:


(That is well-known knitwear designer Stephen West.  Wearing knitted pants.)

And took a selfie:


And I took a picture of Paul in his most awesome vest with the hand sewn zipper and ribbon:


He likes it and wants another.  But blue.  And with pockets.  We bargained that it would have buttons and not a zipper this time, though.

We did all the shopping:


Project bag and stitch markers from The Spinning Room; dryer ball, felted coasters, felted aromatherapy ball, and roving from Weston Hill Farm; and two skeins of Atlantic yarn in the limited edition Blue Moon color from North Light Fibers which is on Block Island.  Notice the blue-not-purple theme going on? (What is wrong with me?)

Then, when we were all done, it was lunchtime, and I went to get my newest favorite:


But… the line.  It was long:


(It goes out of my picture to the right.)  See aforementioned comment about the entry line.  I just don’t have the patience.  So we walked around the town of Rhinebeck and found:


Great panini’s!

In the car I knitted a little Spice Pumpkin:



A fun and beautiful day!


DAYS to spare

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You know how you put off something because it feels like the most GINORMOUS task in the world and it feels like it will take FOREVER and be HARD?  That is completely how this sewing of the ribbon to Paul’s zipper felt.  But do you know how also lots of times those ginormous tasks don’t seem so terrible once you get started?  That is completely how the sewing of the ribbon to Paul’s zipper went.





Now, I didn’t say I did the best job in the whole world, just that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Each side of the ribbon (there were 4) took me about a half-hour each (not HOURS and DAYS and YEARS…).  Not too bad!  You can see that there is some (*ahem* a lot of) puckering but when Paul tried it on, it looked fine.  (You don’t get to see a picture of him in it until we take one at Rhinebeck, which was deadline day.)  I’m not really aspiring to get great at sewing in zippers, though.  The next time, I will pay my friend Janell who is an excellent seamstress, to do it for me!  This one, though, I wanted to be able to say I did the whole vest myself just for Paul.

And seriously, last week when I had 8 days to go, I was absolutely certain it would be down to the wire.  And after that day, three more days went by before I actually got to work on it.  I had no idea I’d have three days to spare!

Because in the mean time, I taught three knitting classes over the weekend.  I missed getting a picture from the final session of the Silverleaf class, but everyone was doing really well and will have some really nice shawls!

The Felted Clogs (slippers) class was also off to a great start:


(Yes, those will be slippers. Stay tuned for a picture after the second class in two weeks.)

And the Sleeping Owl Tea Cosy (yes, it is spelled “Cosy” and not “Cozy”) class also went really well:


So cute!

In other knitting news, I made the first of two Maine Morning Mitts for a fingerless mitts class I will have in November:


These are SO comfortable.  The 2X1 ribbing just hugs your hand and feels so nice.

Then, my knitting friend Sue tagged me on Facebook to show me the Rough Waters pattern and for some reason I just had to make it, thinking it would also make a great class, possibly in December:

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That was one of those I-can’t-believe-you-showed-me-that-because-now-I-have-to-make-it-and-really-have-so-many-other-things-to-knit kind of things.  But, it was a quick knit apparently, because I was done in about three days.

Ok, that’s it for now.  Except to say it’s really fall now and I’m dying to make some apple crisp.  Or apple something.  Enjoy a changing-leaves picture from our yard:




T minus 8 Days

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Popping in quickly to tell you this:

Remember this?


Paul’s really cool vest that I knitted.  AND steeked.  AND put a zipper in.  AND started to put the finishing cover-up ribbon on.  AND then ran out of steam…. And then, back in late March he said, “Don’t worry about it now.  The weather is getting warmer so I won’t be able to wear it until next fall anyway.  Have it ready for Rhinebeck.”

I now have 8 days to finish the finishing…..


Wish me luck.

All the Fall Things

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We are doing all the fall things around here…

1) Wearing wool socks:


2) Decorating the yard with mums, cornstalks and the wagon-wheel-find from the Madison/Bouckville Antiques Fair:


(Can you still see the well post?)

3) Making yummy gingerbread scones (King Arthur Flour mix = SO. SO. GOOD!):


4) Making lasagna when my mom/sous-chef visited:

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5) Watching the leaves turn from the view from my office:

6) Buying yummy fall treats:


(Those pumpkin spice English muffins are not as good as I wanted them to be.  I know a lot of people think the pumpkin spice thing is annoying but I am a total sucker for all the pumpkin spice things.)

7) Teaching a class for a cozy shawl/scarf (Silverleaf) while eating cookies:


8) And, of course, the knitting.

I finished the Retreat Cowl, and scheduled a class for November:

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Finished the No-Purl Ribbed Scarf and scheduled a class for November too:


Felted slippers class is coming up this weekend and there are still openings if you want to join…. they are so. So. SO comfy!

What fall things have YOU been doing?

Where we last were…

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I think we had gotten back from our Vermont trip, right?  Here is what you missed (in case you were wondering…):

First and foremost, the doodlebugs started all-day, every day kindergarten and they don’t need me anymore. **SNIFF**  I took care of them half a week for FIVE years and I can’t believe how grown up they are.  I will miss them on Tuesdays and Thursdays but I’m so happy that they are loving school and since we are related, I’ll still get to see them pretty often!  Along with some Reeses peanut butter cups and a comfy blanket with pictures of them on it, they gave me a wonderful thank you card:

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There was also Labor Day which meant the Buick/Olds/Pontiac Challenge (which Paul WON – winner winner chicken dinner!) and Musclepalooza and a busy racing weekend.  I had to get this picture of my pit crew buddy Ray behind me in the staging lanes:


He didn’t look too thrilled.

And sometimes there is this:


My job was to hurry up and get the gas container because if Paul won that round, he would need more.  He did!

The following weekend we went to Cape Cod for our almost-yearly after-the-crowds-leave trip.  I’ll tell you what… it was still crowded.  Here is what was good about the weekend:


A yummy meal at Arnold’s.(Yes we got SALAD with our fried-everything-else.)


A beautiful sunset in Rock Harbor.



A visit to a yarn shop I hadn’t been to before in Chatham called A Great Yarn.  Such a great little shop (that was also a bookstore!).  I was flattered when she told me I was too young to remember what their button holder was. (I’M NOT!)  The blue yarn in the above photo was dyed especially with the town of Chatham in mind.  And the purple yarn is Koigu KPPPM which I love.  And it’s purple.

The rest of the weekend everything else seemed to not be going our way.  On the way to the Cape, we stopped at the Brimfield antique show and it was so humid, we left there sopping wet.  The bathroom in our hotel room was malfunctioning in several ways the first night, with no other room for us to move to.  There were tiny ants all over our table at the breakfast place we like to go to.  We specifically went to Cape Cod because we love to sit on the beach and listen to the waves, but it was so windy we couldn’t even walk and the sand was blowing in our faces.  The rest of the time it was horribly humid.  Then on the way home, at a rest stop, I slammed my thumb in the trunk of the car, getting it stuck and necessitating me banging on the trunk to get Paul to push the button to open it up.

Several days of not knitting later…

I was able to rally when we went to Maryland for the last race of the season.  In the car, I was able to work on the baby sweater I was supposed to finish several days earlier (see aforementioned trunk incident):


And then I finished it, blocked it and sewed buttons on it in the hotel room:


So I could give it to the recipient (sort of).


That’s Denny and Renee talking to Paul and Rob – the sweater was for their grandbaby! (The discussion here is around why Paul’s slick – the back racing tire – was flat and would the plug hold the next time he went down the track.  It did.)

Returning home from Maryland, there was a frenzy of rescheduling cancelled knitting lessons (see aforementioned trunk incident), frantically knitting samples for upcoming classes since I lost some days:

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…and now figuring out how to work in the commissioned seaming and blocking projects I have waiting for me that got even further delayed (see aforementioned trunk incident).

Whew – good thing I have a little extra time now that the doodlebugs are in school!

P.S. I also couldn’t resist getting the last two skeins of Periwinkle Sheep Elderberry during the grand re-opening week at The Spinning Room because not only is it my favorite purple in the world, I got several more chances to enter the raffle (which I didn’t win):


P.P.S More information on the yarn and patterns up there the next time.

Toad in a Hole

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I’ll explain the title of this post in a bit. But first, I have to tell you that my eldest nephew, Nicholas, went to college this week at Columbia.  I am so excited for him because he going to the college he really wanted to go to and I just can’t believe he is old enough to go to college.  Here is a picture that was texted to me of his room:


The BLANKET!!  The blanket I knit for him!!  HOORAY!!

Meanwhile, Paul and I took an overnight trip to Vermont.  We try to go every year but haven’t been in a few.

We have our favorite stops to make, including:


White Cottage Snack Bar for their awesome onion rings (and ice cream).


King Arthur Flour in Norwich for, well, everything above and not enough.   I love that place and will someday go take one of their classes.


A cruise by our old house to sneak a peek at how it looks.  It looked pretty good but Paul says the flowering crabapple trees need trimming.  And they have a sort of horrendous looking “garden” in the back.  That huge tree in front has started changing colors.


We loved our view of the mountains. (those trees are blocking it)


While checking out our house, we made a stop at Farm-Way which is an excellent farm supply, clothing, outdoor stuff and housewares store.  They have a huge Vera Bradley section and I got a lightweight bathrobe and matching mechanical pencils!  SCORE!

We went to dinner at an English pub and brew house where we had a good beer and I had Toad in a Hole for dinner. What a name right???  That’s why I had to put it as the blog title.  So yummy.  A grown up pig-in-a-blanket:  a sausage, onions, cheese and chutney wrapped in puff pastry.  (I was so into it, I forgot a picture…) Paul had Shepherd’s Pie which he said had too many mashed potatoes and then we heard the waitress telling someone they were out of Shepherd’s Pie so we think he got the end of the batch and they had to make up for it by adding extra potatoes.  But, dessert made up for it:


Apple crisp for him and tea and biscuits (Lorna Doones) for me.

It was a nice, quick trip away.

Oh, but the knitting!  In the car ride on the way up, I wanted to finish a project I started a long time ago:


The Blue Jager Cowl from the Baby & Me Knits book by local designer, Celeste Young.  I was cruising along until:


Ran out of yarn 5 rows from the end.  I had what I thought was all the yarn I bought for the project and couldn’t understand why I would have bought less yardage than it called for.  Luckily when we got home, I found the other ball (whew!) and finished it up:


When the yarn ran out, I decided to work on this:


I forget what it is called because I forgot to put it in Ravelry but it is a scarf/wrap thing that I saw at the Cashmere Goat yarn shop in Maine last year (or the year before?) and had to make it.  It is soooooo incredibly soft and I love it.  Since it is just stockinette, I bring it out for long car rides so I don’t have to look while I’m knitting and get car sick.

At the hotel, I worked on my Stormcloud Mitts:


Here’s the thing with those.  In this picture, it looks pretty good.  In daylight, I don’t like it at all.  The colors just don’t seem to look good to me – it looks much more strikingly striped – and the beads get lost.  I had switched to this yarn because my other yarn…


(this one) seemed to be too dark and I was having trouble seeing my stitches while working a new-to-me stitch, and it was a little fuzzy/splitty.  But really, it turned out I just didn’t know how to work the pattern.    Now I do, and I think I might switch back. I hate it when I get SO excited about a project and then it doesn’t do what I want it to. It will all work out, I’m sure.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime I’m dying to get back to my Amulet Shawl from the Shawl Society which got put on hold while I worked on class projects:


Finally for today, a shot of yesterday’s garden harvest:


That is just ONE day!  We have already had tons of beans and grape tomatoes and zucchini and peppers.  This is the first corn picking and some of them were duds (either picked too soon or they got rotten and we didn’t pick them in time).  Tonight I am freezing tomatoes, zucchini and beans.  It really is so exciting to grow your own food.  Aside from the new setup cost, we spent less than $15 on plants and seeds.  Amazing.

A Few Things

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It’s been REALLY HOT around here these days.  And HUMID.  I don’t do well with that.  I’m a terrible wimp in the heat and humidity and more importantly– the things it does to my HAIR.  Horrendous.  Baseball hats and barrettes with a million bobby pins are my friends.

So, what did I do the other day?  I had to take Paul’s ’69 Buick GS for an inspection so, smart-wimp-in-the-heat that I am, decided to do my errands in it while I was out.


No air conditioning.  No power windows.  No power brakes.  Standard transmission. E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y  slow traffic behind a dump truck on the way up The Hill making the trip home twice as long.  Never mind the fact that Paul keeps this car so clean and well-dusted (which on any other day is a great thing) that my purse kept sliding off the seat and things were flying out of it everywhere.  You can imagine my mood.

On another note, I took some pictures of my Miss Winkle on the mannequin and I just love it even more:

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These really show the color well and it really is my most favorite purple in the world.  Really.

And lastly, I made these:


Blueberry Crumb Bars from Smitten Kitchen. Go make them.  Now.  And then enjoy them this weekend!

Medals and Ribbons

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I finished all my Oympics knitting projects before the end of the games!  Hooray!  If you remember, my last project to start and finish was the Miss Winkle:

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DONE!  I’ll show you a picture on the mannequin when it is dry.  This will be a class at The Spinning Room on Saturday, October 22!

However, my finishing on time was pretty much down to the wire.  I was having such a hard time finding knitting time.  An hour here, an hour there and I felt like I was never going to get it done.  We even went to the Madison-Bouckville Antique Fair which included a total of 3 1/2 hours in the car — prime knitting time, right?  WRONG!  I had a horrible night’s sleep the night before so I slept on the car ride.  THEN, my friend Jana distracted me by sending me a link to these Stormcloud Mitts.  At which time I had to abandon my Olympics knitting and go upstairs to figure out what yarn I could use to make them and look for beads.


I’m casting on for these tonight.

Needless to say, I finished despite the hurdles.  Ha!  See what I did there? I was watching track and field and the hurdles events.  I would say I got a gold medal for finishing what I set out to do.

Then there was the Altamont Fair and the annual Spinning Bee.  As usual, fun was had by all.  There were 6 spinners competing and I finished in a three-way tie (which is crazypants to have three people spin the exact same length of yarn) for third with 124 yards spun in 30 minutes!  The winner, Kurt, spun 278 yards.  WOW.

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So, I got a ribbon for that.

Then, there were my judged entries to the Wool Nook that got fourth, sixth and seventh places.  Hooray!


No offense to my competitors but I must tell you that my dad saw my purple shawl in the display case and felt it should have placed higher.  He is in no way biased and is totally a professional knitting judge, so he would know. ; )

OOH!  We got to see the Budweiser Clydesdale horses and boy were they beautiful…

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The Olympics (and other stuff)

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One of my favorite times of every four years – the summer Olympics.  Paul and I both love watching them so we are parked in front of the tv by 8pm every night (which actually is no different from any other night).  We only have basic, basic, basic, cable so we actually miss out on things like table tennis and trampoline and I’m pretty sad about that.  But otherwise, we can’t tear ourselves away (except during the zillion commercials).

The other great thing about the Olympics is the knitting challenge that comes along with it.  Pick a project (or projects) that you think would be a challenge to finish between the lighting of the torch and the end of the closing ceremonies.  And thanks to my Aunt Kathy who reminded me to get things in order before the opening ceremonies, I came up with a plan.  I wanted to start and/or finish knitting the three projects I have left for upcoming classes in the fall.

So far, since the Olympics have started, I have started and finished the Tamarugo hat:


Boy did that one knit up fast.  This class will be Saturday, September 24 at 12:30!

Then, I finished my Silverleaf shawl:


…which will look much better once it is blocked.  I’ll show it to you then, too.  So, click on the link up there to see what it will really look like. This was a great pattern and I just think it is so pretty.  This class will be Saturdays, September 24 and October 8 at 10:30!

Then, last night I started Miss Winkle:


So interesting how it is constructed.  And I love, Love, LOVE this color of the Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II (Elderberry).  I need to get more to make something else.  It’s probably the best purple ever.  And now I have 9 days to finish it.  This class will be Saturday, October 22 at 10:30!

(And for anyone wondering, I’m scheduling another session of the Wheaten wrap for Sunday, September 25 at 11:30am)  Here is a picture of mine:


The Spinning Room will be re-opening next Tuesday, August 16 but in the meantime, if you are interested in any of these classes, you can send an email to info@spinningroom.net and let them know.

In the meantime (and while knitting), Paul and I took a day trip to Old Forge, NY.  We went to Old Forge Hardware and poked around for a while.  You could spend a lot of time (and cash) in there.  So many things there that you didn’t know you needed!

How about a whole aisle of cookie cutters and cookie jars?


Or, more choices of butter dishes than you ever knew existed?


And some yarn!  I think there was a little less than the last time we are there, so I fear it may be dwindling…  But I bought a skein of sock yarn which I forgot to take a picture of.

After that we sat by the lake and ate lunch.  It was a beautiful day (in the shade).

The last thing I will leave you with is a garden update.  Here was the garden at my last post (7/29/16):


And here it is today:


Look at the CORN!  We are terribly excited about having homegrown corn.  I did some shake-pollinating (I made that term up) which means I shook the stalks so the little pollen bits come off the top of the stalks and fall all over the leaves and into the nooks and crannies where the corn will come out.  And I also did a little hand-pollinating (I did NOT make that term up) which means taking the bits off by hand and placing them on the silky bits of corn that are popping out.  Beans are growing like crazy and I’ve already frozen a couple batches.  Zucchini is going bananas (is that a mixed metaphor?) and I’m starting to get just tired enough of it to make a zucchini bread later today.

Pretty soon, I’m off to put some entries into the Altamont Fair which starts August 16.  Then on the 20th I’ll be participating in the Spinning Bee there.  Fun times ahead.  I’ll keep you posted.

“Rabbit Proof”

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The garden has absolutely exploded in the past two weeks.


Here is what it looked like on July 18:


I can’t see my pepper plants anymore.  Poor planning.  From last night until this afternoon, I watched a zucchini grow an inch and a half.  Crazypants.  I harvested one yellow cherry tomato last night which Paul and I split.  It was yummy.   No other tomatoes ready yet.  But pretty soon, we will have cherry tomatoes, zucchini and beans coming out our ears, then bigger tomatoes and hopefully corn.  And Paul says, “Clearly, we need to expand next year.”

If you’ll recall, I only got two pea plants to come in because “peas are fussy.”  The other day, when Paul came home from work, I was talking to him about my day, yammering on, blah, blah, blah and I realized he did not seem to be listening anymore (with all my very important blah, blah, blah-ing, I have no idea why something might distract him…).  He was staring out the dining room door.  Then he suddenly leapt out the door and into the backyard yelling, “There’s a rabbit in there!” WhaaaaaT?????

Here is what used to be one of my two pea plants:


All the flowers and the two little tiny growing peas nibbled off by A RABBIT!!!!!  In our FENCED IN garden.  Which has  RABBIT PROOF FENCING.  Rabbit proof, my a$$.  We chased him around with the gate open and him trying to leap through the rabbit proof portion and not getting out, from the inside (oh the irony).  He finally found his way out the gate.  The next evening we saw who we assume was the same rabbit sitting out there looking at the fence and we chased him away.  I could just see the thought bubble over his head, “Hmmm.  Now which part did I jump through….?”

Ok, that rabbit has gotten enough blog time.  On to some knitting….

My Shawl Society Amulet has sadly been put on the back burner and very soon there will be another pattern coming out and I’ll feel woefully behind.  But, I had to move on to knitting projects for fall classes.  While we were at Washington Park seeing Chicago, I started knitting the Sultana Cabled Hat:


I got this far:


And now I am ripping it out.  I love the hat and think it is so pretty. This was going to be a cool pattern to teach too, because it has a cable that needs two cable needles. Fun!  BUT.  My hands started hurting when I was knitting it.  Maybe it’s all the knitting I’ve been doing anyway and this put me over the edge but the small circular needle and the cables requiring some tight knitting just made them hurt.  In fact, I had to stop knitting for a few days to let my hands/arms rest.  Horrors!!!  I didn’t know what to do with myself, especially in front of the tv.

So, I think I will do a different hat with a pretty slip-stich pattern instead: Tamarugo

Then, I taught the What Alice Found class last Saturday:


And showed everyone the pictures of the superhero masks I made for the doodlebugs.  They all agreed that would also make a great class, especially to have before Halloween.  So, I knit the class sample for that:


Then I started the Frida Baby Cardigan in my new favorite Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Tonals:


And then I got all excited about finding this Silverleaf pattern and had to start that, too:


In doodlebug news, we painted al fresco the other day:


They love that they get to wear Uncle Paul’s old car t-shirts as their smocks.

That was before it got REALLY, REALLY hot and I found this super funny cartoon on Facebook:


I laughed so hard.

And finally, tomorrow is Deirdre’s last day of running The Spinning Room yarn shop!  We will miss her as an owner but will be lucky enough to still see her at knit-ins.  And I was lucky enough to have her want me to come back and teach classes after I sold the shop to her and I am thankful to her for that.  She was great to work for and did a great job with the shop.  I made her a cake:


And after a two-week shutdown, The Spinning Room will open again on August 16 with six new owners!