Monthly Archives: April 2013

Thank you for the Birthday Wishes!

It was absolutely wonderful reading all of your birthday notes here and on Facebook, Ravelry and Twitter. Thank you so much for saying such kind things. It was the best birthday ever!

On Saturday, I invited a few friends over for dinner to celebrate my move and my birthday. It was a perfect charming night with exactly the right group of people. Here are some pics.






























Somehow, I managed to get no pictures of Amy or Tanya but they were there. It could’t have a birthday without either of them.

In other news, we got everyone moved and settled in to their new pastures just fine. (Pictures coming as soon as I get caught up.) Then I immediately got in the car, picked my mama up from the airport and drove to Texas. I’m here for about a month for some medical stuff, and to pick up my new car. My Saab was totaled last month when someone rear ended me in a freak accident. I was brokenhearted, because I loved that car and all 150,000 miles on it, but I immediately had to go to Chicago and then NYC and then I got sick, so I just haven’t had time to think about a replacement.

We got to Texas in record time but I am completely spent. It has been a busy couple of days. I will get back on track tomorrow, I hope.

Thanks again for making this my most memorable birthday ever!

P.S. I will explain about the pinata in a post later this week.


Yarn & Knitting Machine Goodies

It's time for a knitting update! The beaded project is off to the presses, and I'll post when it's published.  I'm so excited about it.  With a bit of time to work on my own personal projects, I learned how to manipulate stitches with the knitting machine.  Now I can increase and decrease.  Yep, and with a bit of time on Sunday afternoon, I managed to get the back/front of a sweater done!  And, I took notes so hopefully I can make another piece to match it along with some sleeves.

Did you recognize the yarn I used?  I used the other part of this skein of variegated Wollmeise in my latest design (see below). It looks so different!  Check out that variegation pattern (above) when the waist decreases started.  Such crazy color pooling!  It reminds me somewhat of DNA.  I am glad I'm making a teensy dent into my insane yarn stash.

And, with that, I started another swatch to practice some of my knitting machine skillz.

In hand-knitting this is a bit of progress I made on a KAL I started in (blush) October.  I'm getting there.  It's an in-between project that I haven't had much time to finish until now.

And, speaking of that sneaky yarn stash that keeps reaching toward SABLE, a few pretties managed their way into my life.  Firstly there's this cone of ITO with stainless steel in it.  Steel.  Hee hee!  It's going to be an experiment to attempt some hand-knit gloves with conductivity.  Steel will at least conduct heat, so I'm hoping it will work with smart phones.  I am still wary that the stainless steel will work, but heck, it's so pretty and shiny it's worth a try.

And then, there's the softest yarn in my stash so far.  This beautiful hank from the Mulberry Dyer was part of Prêt-À-Tricoter's Brit Knit Lace Club 2013, Kit #2.  It is the most beautiful yarn I've seen in a long time.

And with that, folks, I leave the month of April behind.  I'm sure looking forward to May.  It's a month full of giveaways and Me Made May!  But, more on that tomorrow...

Lilac Mosaic …

My creation

- by Joan -


Meanwhile, back in the garden…

IMG_0877 IMG_0868 IMG_0869 IMG_0872 IMG_0883 IMG_0887
With the sinus infection just about gone, it seems safe to get out in the garden again. The lily of the valley is coming up fast and the violets are blooming all over the yard. Over the weekend, I had Jason help me curtail the rampant lavender that is trying to take over the garden bed. We took 1-2 feet off of both sides, uncovering some of the flowers it was choking out. Much of what we removed had rooted so I’ve potted it up to give to friends. This is the grosso variety that makes long stemmed blooms perfect for lavender wands or cut flowers. It has a really nice scent as well and is my favorite among the ones that grow in my garden.

FO: Hattie Cowl!

As promised, I finished my Hattie Cowl on Wednesday and blocked it and had it dry for Thursday. There are a lot of things not quite right about it.

Hattie Cowl 1

It’s a bit trapezoidal. The stitch work isn’t perfectly even. I probably should have knit it at a slightly tighter gauge.

Hattie Cowl Full

But you know what? When I look at these photos, I don’t see the errors (except that maybe I should have turned it around since it looks upside down to me). I see a really pretty cowl that I knit and my awesome (and pretty) friend Rachel who I roped into modeling for me on her way into an interview and a lot of love.

Hattie Cowl 4

The good news is that the actual recipient loves it, too! And said that she thought it “may be [my] best piece yet!” So it’s definitely worth relooking at a finished object with a few days distance and with some kinder eyes. By the time I see it again in the fall/winter, I bet it will look perfect!

Vineyard Corners …









- by Joan -


Gorgeous Gift of a Day

Despite waking up with a headache Saturday morning I was determined to visit the Festival at Powhatan, only an hour and a half from Fredericksburg.

If you remember my friend at Woven Gems offered to display a small selection (that survived the last couple of firings) in her tent.

About 11:15, I was just minutes from pulling into the parking area and she called me with a request for more mugs!


I could not believe how beautiful the weather was.  The final number for the day was about 1,000.  And this is the first year for this Festival!

Waiting for the next herding exhibition...

Woven Gem's busy tent! 

A small display of my work.  I am so thankful for Diane's offer.  And a very good day for both of us!

One of my favorite fiber dyers...located right in Front Royal VA.

The central barn with the few animals.

Cashmere goats.  

This felted change purse ALMOST came home with me.  She also made beautiful felted and embellished bracelets.

Kathleen Oliver of Sweet Tree Hill Farm.

Churro.  (I think!)

I had never seen a "kick spindle" before!  I love this. The ability to spin on a spindle in a continuous way.  No stopping to wind on.  Still very portable and not as expensive as a traditional spinning wheel.

Alpaca from Hermes Alpaca.

From reading the posts on the PFoF Ravelry thread the festival was very successful!  I'm so glad I was able to support a new event, even in such a small way.

Next weekend?  Maryland Sheep and Wool!

I'll be meeting up with Ravelry friends coming down from New England.  I am so excited to meet them in real life!

And as soon as that electrician comes to fix the breakers in the studio I will have my hands back in clay.  It's been FAR too long.

Happy Birthday, Dear Friend

In case you didn’t know it, today is Susie’s birthday. Right now she’s in the car and rolling to her next temporary destination with the Virginia farm empty of all creatures, great and small. I can only imagine that she’s probably feeling dirty and tired and a bit sad to say goodbye to the house and farm she’s called home for four years.


So how about some birthday wishes to cheer her up and cheer her along her journey? I’ll start.

Dear Susie,

Happy birthday, friend.  I know that what you’ve left behind


will leave you sad. Not just the Virginia farm and countryside, but the friends



Emily and Lydia 2

Jack and Emily

and memories.

Shearing day 2

Suzy and Sierra

Shearing Lunch

But this birthday it’s time for new beginnings and new adventures. You have another year to find another place to call home, and to start building more memories and finding more happiness.

Happy Charley

There will be more shearings, and more photoshoots, and more shares to dye and ship.



The outdoor dye studio.

Shipping Shares

So happy birthday. I hope you stop for a treat.


And I hope that you look back on this day in one year, in four years, as the start of a grand adventure!

With Love,


Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival

On Saturday, Krysta was kind enough to pick me up and drive down to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool festival. I felt unusually tired and rundown all day so I didn’t take a single photo but we had a lovely time nevertheless. The small festivals are always my favorite. I brought home some qiviut roving and corriedale sock yarn for me and a needle felting kit that will be a gift. Thanks Krysta!

Zombies, Run!

While I have always endeavored to become a runner, I have never really accomplished this goal. I tried just running around my neighborhood. I tried running with headphones. I have tried to do couch to 5K and never finished it. I have walked and walked and walked because I didn’t feel like running (and I do enjoy myself a good long walk). I have even gone out and done sprints, but I have never ever just gone out for a nice jog. Because frankly, running just sucks. I don’t like it, and I don’t have fun while I do it. It feels like a chore to me, at least when I am walking I have time to admire the weather and the scenery. When I am running, I spend too much time concentrating on running and I start scrunching up my shoulders and furrowing my eyebrows and then before you know it I’m out of breath and have a headache.

Enter the Zombies, Run! app.

I heard about it on NPR a couple of months ago, and then some folks were talking about it in a Ravelry forum. It’s an app that motivates you to run because you pretend zombies are chasing you. Or, at least that’s the basic description I took away from the brief NPR story. What I learned in the Ravelry thread is that there is a story that you listen to while you run.


I am in.

I am a sucker for a story. Part of the reason I don’t have a regular TV is that now it takes work to watch something. If I had cable and TV with easy access, I would be endlessly distracted by even the most mindless of programs with the feeblest of story-lines. It’s horrible. Even if it’s bad, I have to know what happens! I had to download Zombies, Run! just to see if this app could be the answer to all my running dreams.

I started with the 5K training app to ease myself back into running. I exercised fairly regularly all winter, but it’s been ages since I have run with any consistency. I have only finished the workouts for the first week, but I have to tell you, I am hooked. So worth the money.

I can’t wait to get to start the second week’s worth of workouts tomorrow. <–Who is this person? Really. That’s me.

I’ve a few weeks left on the 5k training before I move up to the full app, so I will let you know how that one goes when the time comes. For now, I definitely plan on sticking with this app because it’s exciting and very well done.

P.S. Does anybody know how the regular app works as far as running with a partner? Brock and have been doing the training together so far, we just start the app at the same time, but does the full app give you random missions? or do they come in order?