Monthly Archives: February 2014

Resurrecting Sherlock

Seasons 1 and 2 of the BBC Sherlock are genius, but Season 3 is...lazy. Can it be fixed? My latest.

Daily Prompt: Surreal …


To find out why I think this is surreal please CLICK HERE

- by Joan -


When I tell people what I do, so many people tell me that they would kill for my job. It’s true that it’s a pretty amazing job and that I get to do some pretty amazing things. Be on the field when Susie throws out the first pitch, have a blast during photo shoots, knit with amazing yarns, visit the animals, mess around dyeing yarn. It’s a pretty crazy amazing experience. But there’s a ton of hard work involved and a lot of it isn’t fun work. Countless emails, naming colorways (which seems like it will be fun until your mind goes completely blank and you want to poke yourself in the eye with knitting needles while you think of things that are gray and still appealing (No mom, “Pepe’s meat stuffing” is not a good name for a colorway. It is a gray food though…. I guess.)), trying to think of something fresh and new to put on the blog, spreadsheets, data entry, fighting with shipping programs, feeling like I’m drowning in yarn. It’s all fun and games until you have enough yarn that you look like you belong on an episode of hoarders, since it’s all stored in cardboard boxes.

My job can be very lonely. Working from home is hard for someone that thrives off of new information and likes to bounce ideas off of people. The amount of work on my plate is often overwhelming and all of it feels alarmingly pressing. Not all of it can get done most weeks, and I’m constantly trying to get the most important thing done while other things are pushed a little further down the to do list. Susan and I both put our hearts and soul into our work, and when a customer, shareholder or friend of the farm is upset about something, even if it’s something completely outside our control, it can be heartbreaking and soul-crushing. I feel like I bare my soul an awful lot with this job through yarn, patterns, and ideas. I’m a people-pleaser and I am fully committed to my work and feel a part of it.

This job is rough on me, mentally and emotionally, if not physically. (I feel myself gaining weight every day I sit in my office chair instead of bounding around a theatre performing countless physical tasks!) I’ve been seeking help to deal with all of these feelings that I have and striving for a work-life balance, which is one of the reasons I took this job in the first place. But I don’t know how to deal with free time. Knitting constantly reminds me of work and it’s hard to let go when I have a tangible reminder of what I’m trying to take a break from. In the theatre, I worked 6 days and the 7th day I just melted onto the couch to recharge my batteries before I jumped into another week. So having weekends is hard for me to deal with and I’m still figuring out what to do with them.

But this weekend, I do have plans. When I went to Rhinebeck last October, I came back with a new pep in my step and a reminder of why I do this job and what I love about it and my love for yarn and color and knitters. So when my friend Julie suggested and I join her and our friend Krysta at SPA this weekend, I jumped in feet first.

What is SPA? Well it’s a weekend retreat put on by New England Textile Arts. It’s in Freeport, Maine. This is my first year going, but it basically sounds like a party of knitters spread across three hotels in the area. There is no registration fee, no classes. Just a large group of people getting together to knit in lobbies, conference rooms, and I’m sure individual rooms! If you want to learn something and see someone else doing the thing you want to learn, you sidle up to them and ask. If you want to share your knowledge you shout it out. I read about one person who bought silk hankies (not the kind you blow your nose with) and wanted to knit with them rather than spin them into yarn and then knit with them. But they didn’t know how. They shouted out, “Hey, anyone know how to knit with hankies?” Two people on their way out stopped, came back, and shared their knowledge. There are three massage therapists available so you can pamper your body and venders are there so you can grab some yarn or fiber and pamper your soul. The only scheduled event is a fashion show Saturday evening that anyone is invited to participate in. SPA is about what you make of it and being an active participate is encouraged.

I’m so looking forward to hanging out with people and relaxing and enjoying myself and the art side of the fiber arts. Of letting go, laughing, and recharging my soul so that on Monday I can come back with renewed vigor and excitement about yarn. I’ve been told that people hang out in their pajamas, so Wednesday night I went out to buy a new pair. I’ve had the same pair of pjs for the past 13 years, so I thought I could splurge on a new set. I’m really excited about knitting in my pjs. I am hoping that this turns out to be true, because otherwise I’m going to look like a crazy person in my ice skating pjs.

NETA has an active yahoo group where they post all information, but there’s also a blog and a Ravelry group. If you’re in the Maine area, I hope you come by and say hello! And if you see someone wearing these pajamas:


stop by and say hello! I will have my JMF work hat OFF though, so I’m happy to talk about anything else. (Okay, I could be induced to talk about our new yarn lines because they’re pretty amazing.)

Oh, and there’s a free table, so I might have some yarn going on that. I might sneak in a few JMF samples, like your friendly neighborhood drug yarn dealer. You know, “First one’s free”? I’ll be back next week with pictures to share with you from my trip and next week, March’s colorway inspiration, and the next yarn line will be released. Do you sense a theme here?

For now, It’s just a few hours until I get in the car and head up. Please do something kind for yourself this weekend to recharge – whatever that might be.

Getting Too Ambitious

It’s almost March.  March means St. Patrick’s Day.  It means my wedding anniversary.  It means it’s almost spring.

We’ve already started digging out our books about Irish folklore for school, and searching out just the right shade of green polish for our toenails.  My iTunes playlist has been updated with plenty of Irish artists (John Cunningham is a favorite).

We’re starting to think about watching Darby O’Gill And The Little People.

We’re craving the look of green grass and the sound of new lambs bleating and sproinging around in the fields.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

March is a month of contradiction.  It heralds the vernal equinox but it also usually is the month of our biggest snows. Actual spring is still a ways off.  Even though my spring seed list is complete it is too early to start them just yet.

For now we must content ourselves with mostly indoor projects and finish those things we can before we move on to the outdoor ones.  And in doing so, it’s been difficult not to be overly ambitious.  After all, I have had some wonderful things lined up for quite awhile awaiting my time.


These two fabrics just scream “early spring” for me.  They’ve been sitting on a shelf for several years now, patiently waiting to become a quilt.  I’m hoping I can start some cutting on it today.


And then there’s this incredible llama-themed fabric Susan bought me last year for my birthday.  I am just as smitten with it today as I was when I first saw it (look at the llamas!  And the knitting needles with balls of yarn!!!), and I can’t wait for the perfect quilt project for it.


Let’s not forget this adorable British-themed fabric I have been collecting in small bits here and there over the last year.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pour myself a cup of tea and look through one of my British Country Living magazines.

See?  Fairly overwhelmed with sewing possibilities!

But what about knitting?  I have about a million and one projects lined up to go on the needles, but for now I am thrilled to be moving along nicely with my Shepherd Sweater:


I’ve reached that magical point in knitting it where I can begin to split out for the sleeves and the front.


The most miraculous part? I am not even remotely bored with this yet.  I don’t know if it’s the yarn, the pattern or the combination of both, but this is still thoroughly enjoyable knitting.  I can see myself casting on another one as soon as this one is complete.  No, I am not even kidding. Maybe I can use some of my cream-colored Aran weight yarn?  Or the teal blue one?

Either way I need more hours in my day.  And more months before spring, apparently.

Tagged: Homeschooling, Seasons, Sewing


btt button

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


btt button

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Introducing: The Viroqua Collection – Moonshine

Well, despite our talk of Zooey and cravings for summer last week, we’ve still got plenty of snow on the ground. I’ll keep holding out hope for springtime, though. And maybe I’ll work on something out of Moonshine. It’s a great transitional weather yarn and now is the perfect time to knit something. Flarkin’s Blackberry cardigan is terribly tempting with all those delicious cables, but Moonshine’s glowing colors also lends itself well to simpler patterns. The sweater you want to grab every day, the perfected cropped top to cover up your sleeves over a sundress, or the pillow that brightens up even these gloomy not-spring-yet days.

And I’ve been absorbed in Moonshine the past couple of weeks, so it’s no wonder that when deciding which yarn to introduce this week that I was instantly pulled to tell you about Moonshine!

The Yarn

Moonshine is a 40% Wool, 40% Alpaca, 20% Silk single-spun yarn and it is just a dream to knit with. You’ll love the depth of color and subtle variation the differing blend lends Moonshine.

Moonshine is back in 8 solid colorways…


…and a line of 10 variegated colorways – Moonshine Trios, which features three different colors in each hank.

Moonshine Trios

Our sample knitters were enthusiastic with their praise of the yarn:

[Moonshine] was super soft and pretty to knit with. I would knit with it again.

The new colors are stunning.


The yarn is soft, drapey, and shiny!

Yarn was very nice to work with. So, so soft but still substantial and the color is just beautiful.

Yarn is fantastic, I like the feel of it on my fingers/needles.

It feels soft and sturdy at the same time. I really love this yarn!

The Designer

edie hero

Pamela Wynne Butler is an internationally-recognized designer of handknitting and crochet patterns, known for her whimsical children’s knits and her fashion-forward designs for women of all shapes and sizes. Her work has appeared in knitting and crochet magazines, books, and websites, including Crochet Today, Knitty, Knitalong, and Knitting it Old School. Above, Pam is modeling Edie trompe l’oeil pullover, which she designed for us in Herriot.

The Collection

The Viroqua Collection epitomizes Pamela Wynne’s easy-to-wear style. Patterns range from the Minty shrug which uses just two balls of yarn to a matching pillow and blanket that features Moonshine Trios rainbow colors with delightful gems like the scooped-neck Heathers and the boat-necked Bailey with striped sleeves. The collection is named after Viroqua, Wisconsin, where Pam and her friends spent a weekend at a knitting retreat at an idyllic flower and goat farm. Each of the patterns is named after the friend it most suited.

Moonshine 1-2

Bailey boatneck pullover | Heathers pullover

Moonshine 3-4

Loren waistcoat | Minty short-sleeved cropped cardigan

Moonshine 5-6

Sammy scarf & Rex cowl | Smith blanket

Moonshine 7-8Specs v-neck mini-sweater | Whistler pillow

To see more information about the patterns please take a peak at our look book.

Where to Get It

You can find the patterns and yarn at retailers across the US by visiting our distributor Knitting Fever and using their store locator for a store near you. Those in Canada can visit our Canadian distributor Diamond Yarn. The patterns are sold as leaflets with as many pictures as we could cram in the limited space, schematics and charts (where applicable), as well as written directions.

We have a number of our older collection of Moonshine patterns available as digital downloads in our shop.

Giveaway Details

Whistler hero

We’re so excited about our new patterns and yarn colors, that I thought we’d put together a little kit for you. We’re giving away the yarn to make the Whistler pillow. Two hanks of Moonshine in color #25 Iced Coffee and 8 colors of Moonshine Trio. To enter, please go to Ravelry and favorite or queue at least one of the Moonshine Viroqua patterns, then come back here and leave a comment telling us which one your favorite is. If you post about this on facebook, tweet the contest link, or pin a pattern, you can comment again for an additional entry. Entries open through Tuesday the 4th with the winner announced on Wednesday the 5th here on the blog.


If you’re not into pillows, you could make a number of the cowls or a really funky scrap scarf or with just #25 Iced Coffee you could make Minty in the smallest size!

Thank You

We wouldn’t be able to produce these patterns and yarn lines without the tireless efforts of those who support us.

Our models: Rachel Policare, Emily Karasz, Alexis Di Gregorio, and yours truly
Our photography support crew: Tanya Brooks, Cris Ferguson, Amy Karasz and family, Lisa Richey
Jen Fariello for allowing us to use her studio during the polar vortex 2014
Our one-of-a-kind tech editor: Alison Green
Pattern Leaflets Graphic Designer: Jonas Estevan
Look Book Graphic Designer: Michelle Lukezic
The staff at our yarn distributor Knitting Fever Inc
Our patient and detail-oriented sample knitters: Mona Montraix, Patrice Safarik, Lisa Stockebrand, Sarah Lebel Van Vugt, Marie Godin, Alanna Fotherby, Cris Ferguson, Jennifer Cox, Marika Cowan, Julie Sprague

Whistler detail

And a final thank you to YOU! By purchasing these patterns and yarn from your local yarn store, you’re “voting with your wallet.” We want to continue to bring you high quality luxury yarn and by purchasing our yarn you’re letting us know what you want us to make! So thank you for knitting with Juniper Moon Farm yarn! Keep up the good work!

Telephone Pole Farm …

Chester, New Jersey

This is where AT&T used to test different woods for telephone poles.  I believe it’s now part of a park !!   Used to tell kids this is where the poles were grown :)





Shadows on the snow


- by Joan -

Yarned by You: Olympic Edition

This week’s Yarned by You honors the dedicated knitters who worked throughout the games supporting their athletes while knitting their fingers off. Here’s what was finished during the Olympic games and was entered in the Ravellenic Games, interspersed with what the Olympics was like in my household. As always, click on the pictures to learn more about the projects featured.

tigersharkknits' entwined

For most of the world, the Olympics are done. The torch was snuffed out on Sunday and with it hopes and dreams were fulfilled or dashed and there were many tears shed. In my house, however, the Olympics are still going strong. What you say? How can the Olympics continue? Well, my husband is an Olympic junkie. I’m fortunately not a football or golf widow, but the Olympics take over our TV during the games.

vandi's Owl Duet Mitts III

Every single scrap of Olympics coverage is either watched live or recorded – not just the events, but the all the news and the Today show and anything else that might have Olympic info. I’m grateful that we don’t have a fancy cable package with all the variations of NBC so there’s only one channel to keep up with, but it still left my husband with over 130 hours of recorded television at the end of the games.

Astegal the master and commander cap and cowl

Now, a lot will be fast forwarded – mostly old news stories and commercials, but there is still a lot of Olympics happening. From my office I keep hearing snippets coming from the TV in the other room and getting confused – hearing news segments talking about Valentine’s day or Shirley Temple dying leaves me wondering why I’m hearing old news. And if I have to hear “Get Lucky” sung by that Russian choir one more time or hear about the bobsledder crash through his bathroom door I’m going to lose my mind.

vandie Gene's Aran Scarf

Yesterday, I heard the first piece of non-Olympics TV in two weeks. It was a great relief to hear. I’ve been very patient; only once inquiring when the Olympics were going to be over. I have watched some events with my husband – some figure skating, bobsled, super G, ski-athalon, but I didn’t do any knitting while watching the Olympics, unlike these amazing knitters.

corinnarilke's travel shawl

I did do some knitting on my Sabine sweater while holed up in the bedroom either listening to an audiobook or watching Netflix. Netflix has completely changed my Olympic experience. I used to watch a lot more of Olympics and do more knitting. But I also used to work outside the home, so I wasn’t surrounded by it and was excited to watch the events. So I felt completely free to watch whatever I wanted on Netflix, particularly something I didn’t think my husband would want to watch. Cue cheesy romantic movie that has the ending spelled out before the first scene is over.

kristinkay26's Monrovia Cowl

But on Sunday, the closing ceremony aired and so on Monday night we had a quiet evening and played Othello. We had both missed spending time with each other and it was a great way to reconnect and to have the TV off for for awhile.

bkroll's Harrogate

So even though there are 130 hours of the Olympics left, it’s not quite ALL-Olympics-all-the-time anymore. We can take breaks to watch our usual shows and do other things. Though our marathon watching does seem epic, it is nothing to what the athletes have been through. I bet there are some knitters out there that would have loved the extra time to finish their knits.

glamboozle's colvert

To all the knitters that did finish, congratulations on the fine work! To those who didn’t finish, there are many athletes in your shoes, so take pride in your attempt! One two more years until the Summer Olympics! Is it too early to start planning projects?

FO: Mitered Detail Cardigan

Success!  At least one of last week's WIPs is complete!
Originally meant for the Ravellenics (Ravelry Olympics-watching related activities), the "Mitered Detail Cardigan" project really pushed me to learn how to better use my knitting machine.  Originally, this yarn was going to be Mary Anarella's lovely "Simplicity" cardigan, but as my belly kept growing, I thought, "that look's just not going to work on me." So, I set about designing this cardigan while keeping "Simplicity" as a visual inspiration, but sharpening it up a bit for pregnancy and after-pregnancy use.  Here's the result...

The front diagonal details were done using short rows.  So fast!

Back diagonal details done by transferring stitches.  Not so fast.

The folded over border was knit in two halves on the machine and then stitched together at the back of the neck.  

That turning purl row, which is so simple to do by hand, was kind of a nightmare to do by KM (knitting machine).  See, I didn't know that there was a difference between stitch transfer tools and garter bars.  There is a difference.  A big difference.  These large transfer tools are simply giant combs that hold stitches and help you move them over, and they have a tiny hole like a small transfer tool.  

Garter bars on the other hand, allow you to, not just move the stitches, but also flip them over and efficiently create a garter stitch.  I did the first side's turning row by hand-manipulating each stitch individually with a tappet tool.  It took me over an hour.  I did the other side by attempting to use the transfer tool as a garter bar, and failed.  I ended up holding the transfer comb horizontally directly under the hooks of the machine and individually lifting the back of each stitch onto its respective hook.  Faster than tappet tool, but not very much fun.  ((insert hysterical laughter here))

The back mitered square detail was not done with short rows which were fast and lovely by KM.  Each of those centered double decreases was done using the stitch transfer combs I mentioned previously.  All the stitches on each side were moved over by one toward the center where they met in the middle.  It took me 3 hours to do each side.  My friends at the local SnB laughed at me and said it would have been faster by hand.  True.  But, I learned how to use my machine with confidence!  That was worth it, right?  How else was I going to learn other than by challenging myself to do ridiculous things under an unrealistic artificial deadline?  What's that you say?  Was that reasonable advice you just gave me? Pshaw.  Reason-schmeason.

Project Title: Mitered Detail Cardigan
Designer: Me  (using Simplicity by Mary Anarella & 128-14 Jacket in ”Fabel” by DROPS design as inspiration)
Yarn: Wollmeise Lace in "Nobody's Perfect - Spice Market"
Amount Used: 281g of 300g skein
Machine Tension Settings: T6.75 for main knitting, T6 for edging
Main Gauge: 26 sts x 40 rows = 4"
Border Gauge: @T6, 24 sts x 50 rows = 4" (blocked to emphasize horizontal stretch)