Friday, June 20, 2008

More travel fun

Part of our trip east was for a big family event in New Jersey--the b'nai mitzvah (plural of bar mitzvah) of twins. When the party and hoopla ended, we really enjoyed retreating to the quiet of the Seiff vacation home in West Virginia. Here's the professor, waving from the porch with my parents.

On our (long) drive back to Kentucky, we stopped at Penn Alps in Grantsville, MD. My initial goal had been to buy a rolling pin for ravioli (it stamps out the shapes of the pasta, it's really cool) but the shop had run out of those beautiful handmade pins. (made by an artist in Frostburg, MD.) So, instead, we stopped by Stanton mill for some flour and we met the current miller, John Childers. Gosh, I was so glad we did. John is from Hazard, in rural eastern Kentucky and his family was one of the last in Kentucky to spin yarn and weave traditional coverlets. His family's work is in the Smithsonian, and his coverlets are featured in several museums. We walked over to his house and got the "private" tour. No photos, but wow, John spins on a great wheel and his yarn is impressively even and exquisite. He has a shed out back for his barn loom (string heddles are the only way, he says) and as he sent us on our way, he handed us two boxes of homemade peanut brittle for the road! He's planning a move back to Kentucky to open a new mill in the fall.

I promised an accounting of the yarns I bought at Pocket Meadow Farm, and here it is: two skeins of Panda Cotton, two skeins (blue and red) of Bamboozled yarn and two skeins (white and natural black) of Shetland 2000. It doesn't sound exotic, does it? None of those luscious short run local fiber blends or hand-dyes? Here's why. I am working up ideas for my next book, and I need to use yarns that are readily available. Sadly, if I rely on those precious small lots of handmade yarns, I will do my readers a disservice--they won't be able to buy "exactly" what I used in the design. Since many knitters like to use the exact same yarn and shade, I want that to actually be an option. I encourage innovation and yarn substitution, of course, but availability is an issue, too.

One last photo--isn't this Leicester Longwool from Pocket Meadow Farm just gorgeous? Today is the professor's birthday, and I know he'd want to celebrate it with a big up close and personal encounter like I had with this sheep! If you get a chance, wish the professor a happy birthday, ok?

Psst. He reads the blog. Leave a comment!


Blogger Nancy said...

Happy Birthday, Professor! May you have many fabulous photo shoots and butterflies to study.

June 20, 2008 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Professor! And wow on the coverlet maker and the vacation home. The pictures you did get to take are gorgeous.

June 20, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger ~ Phyllis ~ said...

Hi Joanne,
Sounds like you had a good trip.
Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your article in Spin-Off magazine

June 20, 2008 at 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, yes, a VERY happy birthday to the Professor, and I hope this year exceeds the last, and so on and so forth.

Great sheep. A good mascot.

June 20, 2008 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Belated happy birthday, Professor!

June 21, 2008 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Sarah Jean said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Professor! :)

That's very considerate of you about the yarn, too.

June 22, 2008 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Happy Belated Birthday Professor!

I think back to our meeting last year at Black Sheep with fond memories!

May your coming year be filled with enough quiet to rest and contemplate, enough fun to create joyous memories and more than enough love to buoy you through daily life.

June 23, 2008 at 1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for such wonderful birthday wishes!

The Professor

June 23, 2008 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Karen Johnson said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Professor! I'm behind in my blog reading, so I hope it was nice.

June 29, 2008 at 9:26 PM  

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