Monthly Archives: January 2018

Ups and Downs Of The Vineyard…

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The eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard is called Down-Island and the western half is called Up-Island. Why you ask? To confuse you, that’s why. Not really, at least not on purpose. There is a very logical reason and here it is according to the MV website.

” Up-Island is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Down-Island is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). The two terms come from the rich seagoing tradition of Martha’s Vineyard, which once sent its whaling ships circuling the globe heading “up” in nautical terms takes you “west” because it’s further from zero degrees of longitude in Greenwich, England, home of the Prime Meridian.”

Well then, according to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard we have this explanation. “When a ship sails in an easterly direction, it is decreasing or running “down” the degrees of longitude toward zero at Greenwich, England. A westbound vessel, on the other hand, is running “up” its longitude. Thus the Down-Island town are those on the eastern and northeastern end of the Island. The Up-Island communities are at the western end. A ship moving through Vineyard Sound sails “up” to New York and “down” east to Maine.” Ah ha.

OK, I’m still confused but I do know how to get from Down-Island to Up-Island and not get lost… it’s an Island, how lost could one get anyway.

Got all that… me neither 🙂

But that’s not the only confusion about the Vineyard … she had an identity crisis at one time involving Massachusetts and New York.

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Martha! Martin! New York! Massachusetts! How many aliases and states have claimed this 100 sq mile island? The Wampanoags named it Noepe and that stuck until Bartholomew Gosnold came along in 1602.

No one seems to know who the Martin was whose name was once attached to the Vineyard… so let’s move ahead to Martha whose identity is still shrouded in myth. Was she one of Gosnold’s daughters, or his mother, or the name of an English royal. Whoever she was her name stuck and in my opinion has a nicer ring to it then Martin’s Vineyard.

According to the book “The History of Martha’s Vineyard” by Arthur R. Railton, in 1664 Charles II gave NY, NJ and the islands to the east to his brother, the Duke of York. In 1670 Thomas Mayhew, Jr and his grandson Matthew of Massachusetts traveled to NY to ask Gov Lovelace which colony his Island was under… New York or Massachusetts. Gov Lovelace made Thomas Mayhew “Governor for Life” of Martha’s Vineyard and gave him the authority to collect rents from all who lived within its bounds. Voila, Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts. History lesson over. 🙂

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Spring Cleaning 2018


It’s that time of the year when I go on my decluttering rampage! Here’s what I have for sale this time around. US/APO shipping only, shipping included for the books / DVD.

I have also come to the realization that I am never, ever going to spin. Check out the fiber pics here. I also have 2 large bags of pin-drafted merino. Make an offer for all or any of it. You pay actual cost of shipping.

If you’d like to purchase anything, please email me!

Knit Picks Collection
If you purchase any of these, I’ll include a copy of the Mittens! booklet (or) the Aran Lace DVD.

The Wild West Collection Vol 2: Cables $19.99 (list 22.95) (I’ll gift you the PDF on Ravelry as well if you purchase one of these at this time). Only 2 left.

Mittens! booklet $9.99 (list 14.95) I’ll gift you the PDF on Ravelry as well if you purchase one of these, too, at this time! Guys, this is cheaper than the PDF, and you’ll get both hardcopy & and the PDF. I need to clear these out!

Aran Lace DVD $10  plus Ravelry code for one of my Aran Lace cowl patterns if you purchase it at this time (Artemisia Cowl, Achillea Cowl, Coast Oak Cowl, or Applejack Cowl). These have to go too!

I still have one copy of Hitch left on Amazon. If you purchase it from me (look for me (Stephannie Tallent) as the seller, or a line in the description stating “Please message me if you’d like your copy signed. Thanks!”), I’ll gift the PDF to you on Ravelry as well. (I’m sorry, if you purchase the book(s) from someone else, or in the past, I can’t honor this.) I can easily squeeze in any of the books or the Aran Lace DVD in with this, with no additional cost in shipping.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme…

The prompt: use your camera to discover the endless variety that one thing can contain. It can be a single photo featuring some visual play on repetition and variation. You could opt for a series of shots showing the same place, person, or object in slightly different light (literally or figuratively, as the case may be).


Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, knows that the Bandstand in Ocean Park in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard is one of my favorite places, and one that I have taken many, many pictures of.  I had no trouble this week coming up with a theme for variation.  I hope you enjoy.



Pattern Release: Agate Beach Hat

Meet Agate Beach!

This brim up, textured hat lets the soft, luxurious yarn — Due Capre from Mrs Crosby —  really shine. Although I worked it in a semi-solid, you could work this in a speckled or handpainted colorway as well.

The textured pattern reminds me of small rocks and pebbles transitioning to sand on the beach.

The hat is worked in the round from the bottom up. Work an optional tubular cast on, directions included, or your preferred stretchy cast on.

Unisex S (M, L), to fit head circumference: 20 (22, 24)“ / 51 (56, 61) cm

Finished Measurements
Brim circumference: 17½ (20¼, 21¾)“ / 44.5 (51.5, 55) cm
Head circumference: 19 (21¾, 23¼)” / 48 (55.5, 59) cm
Height including brim: 8 (8½, 8¾)“ / 20.5 (21.5, 22) cm

Mrs Crosby Due Capre, 85% Cashmere / 15% Kid Mohair (140 yds / 128 m per 50 g), 2 skeins, 151 (180, 197) yds / 139 (165, 181) m. Shown in size Small in Submarine.

US 4 / 3.5 mm or size needed to obtain gauge for stockinette stitch in the round
US 3 / 3.25 mm or one size smaller than size for body of hat for ribbing
US 2.5 / 3 mm or one size smaller than size for ribbing for tubular cast on
Your choice of DPNs or circular needles for knitting in the round.

22 sts and 32 rounds over 4” / 10 cm in Stockinette Stitch

(4) stitch markers, (1) unique for beginning of round; yarn needle

working in the round
option of tubular cast on (directions given) or regular cast on

Finding Some Hygge

Once in awhile you get a perfect day. One where the weather gives you a little bit of the magic you were looking for (in the form of snow), and you don’t have to be anywhere but right where you want to be.


We finally got a respectable snow fall this week. The schools closed down, the driveway became impassable, and we were treated to a quiet and cozy winter day at home filled with baking, cuddling with pets, and knitting.


This rooster ( aptly named Snowball) stood at the backdoor just like this all day, alternating with leg he’d tuck up into his feathers. We tried moving him to dry, non-snowy spots, but it seemed like he was enjoying spying on us too much and kept coming back.



I love seeing sheep in the snow.





After morning chores I made a loaf of cinnamon bread.  Oona hung out by the fire to wait for it to be ready and to snuggle.



I also started working on my next big knitting project: The Shepherd Sweater by the amazing Pam Wynne.


Spending the day watching the snow by the fire, with cinnamon bread in the oven, knitting, with a small glass of lovely scotch: exactly what I needed. Any chance I can get one of these every week until spring?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence…

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For a few years now my daughter and I have been visiting cemeteries where our ancestors and family are buried.  We have found cemeteries to be beautiful, peaceful places … monuments become works of art and epitaphs become poetic homage to those who have passed.  We have visited beautifully manicured and well cared for cemeteries, the one above was not one of those though.   Although this cemetery in Goshen, New York, the resting place of several ancestors, is over grown and sadly neglected there is a silent beauty to it.

Planning for 2018


2018 is wide open. I have some yarn left from summer TNNA that I need to do up a design with, a couple designs in process, a third party design that’s coming along (and a third party design, the Sionann Cardi, that already came out the first week of January) and a little bit of designer stash yarn that was given to me with no specific plans that I’d like to use, but other than that, it’s open.

Writing it all out like that makes it sound NOT very open, but truly, it is! That means I have room to plan at least one collection for this year (and maybe get started on another).

Here’s some details on the designs that are in the works right now:

  • Simple but pretty beanie to show off the yarn in Mrs Crosby Duo Capre (testing already completed)
  • Gradient shawl with Knitcircus yarn: just at the swatching stage
  • Simple stranded fingerless mitts using one of my favorite geometric stitch patterns from Alterknit in Koigu (sample in progress)
  • Over-the-top crescent shawl in Elemental Affects Cormo (pic above, sample knit by Patty). Also planned is a stole version, and maybe a fingering weight version.

I’ll be starting testing for the Koigu mitts and the Cormo crescent soon — keep an eye on the Ravelry group.

I’ve been brainstorming two collections. The first is Beachwalk, with designs inspired, by, um, the California coast. No huge surprise there! Tentatively the collection will include a textured pullover, a cardi, a hat, fingerless mitts, and a shawl or stole.

The second collection, that I’ll be working on closer to the end of the year, is based around one of my favorite National Parks, Yosemite. I’ll be going to Yosemite in March for a veterinary continuing education program, so will be getting some good inspiration photos. That particular collection will be cables all the way, and will include a cardi, a vest, a shawl, full mitts, and a hat.



I’m beyond thrilled to introduce the newest addition to my little flock. He is a Rambouillet/BFL/Finn cross, and his name is Granola (he came with the name, and it’s adorable, so hes keeping it). He was born last spring, and he is an intact male. Meaning, of course, that once he’s feeling it, he can breed my ewes. And let me tell you, I for one assumed he’d be a bit young still to attempt any romance, but within an hour of being here, he was already making sexy faces and advances on Willoughby. She is super not interested, but Lyra and Carina won’t leave him alone.





This post is Lyra approved!

2018 Show Schedule

It has been coooooold outside. Even though I have some heat in the clay studio it is still chilly working out there.  So I have been getting in a lot of spinning.

Meanwhile I have worked out my show schedule for 2018.  (See the updated list to the right.)

After some hard consideration I have decided to skip Powhatan Festival of Fiber (April) this year.  It is a wonderful show every year, very well organized and a great size.  I do well there and have so many loyal customers.  But I have decided the one day shows requiring my own tent, set up, selling and breaking down all in that one day (plus the travel down/up I95) have just gotten too hard on this potter's body!  

I am doing the one day Sophia Street Throwdown show in June.  But that is literally less then a mile from my house!  It was a new event last year, made up entirely of potters.  Such a fun show...and allows me to make with abandon and decorate with any images I desire.  (Not just sheep!)  I hope some of my followers will make it to town to attend.  More on that as we get closer.

The biggest news in my studio, I ordered myself a pug mill! This tool is one I dare say every potter would love to add to their studio, but it is pricey.  It is thanks to all of you that I could take the leap and order one.  Clay needs to be wedged before using, and while I don't wedge out of the bag before throwing, I have many small buckets of clay around my studio (awful trip hazards!) waiting to be recycled into usable throwing clay once again.  Wedging, which works all the gaps and air out of the clay, is hard on the wrists and back and since I want to do this for as long as I can, I finally made the decision to buy one!  My new baby will be here in a couple of weeks.  I will take pictures!

And here is another random picture to round out this post!

(Weaving project with my handspun yarn.)

....and a belated Happy New Year to all of you!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered…