Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zone 3

Thank you for cheering about my new house! I think I needed a kick start in the enthusiasm department, and your comments really helped! (frequent updates from a sick relative and a friend in different hospitals can really get a person down) I will try to answer a bunch of questions from your comments here...

Mary mentioned our "old Durham house." You see, Mary and I shared a house in common. Prepare yourself, this is a weird one... Mary lived in a big yellow house, built in 1923 in Durham, North Carolina, on James Street. She sold it. We bought that house. We didn't know Mary, we knew very little about her, but we loved our house. Our first house as a married couple, it had a rose garden, a grape arbor, raspberry bushes, lots of flower bulbs...and eventually raised beds for gardening. (we put those in.) Eventually we moved away from that house, in 2002, and I joined the Association of Knitwear Designers and recognized Mary's name as one of the members. It couldn't be THAT Mary, could it? It was.

Long story short? Mary now lives in Northern Virginia (where I grew up, we seem to follow each other around geographically) and we share a lot in common when it comes to picking out a house. The professor and I like housing from the period of, say, 1912-1929--as did Mary. This house has a window seat, just like the house in Durham. Remember the window seat, Mary!?
Nancy asked:
Does it have a cottage garden? Kitchen garden? Herb garden?

Umm, no, we don't think so. Houses in downtown Winnipeg have weenie small yards. This house is on a corner, so there is a bit more yard. Also, and this is big one--Winnipeg is in USDA Hardiness Zone 3. Here's a map of hardiness zones...Winnipeg is just above North Dakota, if that helps. The short summary of that is that gardening is a very short lived enterprise outside. Here are some photos of the backyard. As best we can tell (and we were there in mid-May)--the yard has a forsythia...and it was flowering. We have no idea what other surprises are there for us.
Many yards in Winnipeg are just gravelled over or filled with a garage, so we feel lucky that there will be some grass, some chance for gardening (likely in raised beds or containers) and room for a garage just beyond that back fence. We'll be making sure the fencing is extra secure so Harry and Sally don't escape--the street is very busy. We hear there are community gardens available, but people were just beginning to work the soil in mid-May. It's that cold. (northern Vermont was ahead of Winnipeg in terms of gardening--I'd visited New England just the week before!)

Alison said: You GOT it!!! YAY!!
Well, yes, and I'm getting excited, but we are still dealing with mortgage issues, currency conversion, and the complication of getting a down payment from the U.S. to Canada in the small window of time allowed before the deal falls through. This has been a little complicated. The professor has also let me know that I should not go on any spending sprees while we're dealing with this transaction. (The Canadian dollar has gone up quite a bit compared to the U.S. dollar lately, so this costs more than it used to, say, a month ago.) When our house sells and we've dealt with the moving costs, etc. it will all be easier. We're working with the buyers for our house right now, so that should be ok...we hope!

Andrea says: Congrats on the house! And yay for breakfast pie too! See, I told you.

Andrea, thank you for the congrats--and she is right. Indeed, you told me, and I've almost finished that pie. It's pretty good stuff for coping with stress. Now I've just got to get this book proofing done, wish several people great healing and hope they get out of the hospital soon. Oh, and on Friday? I'm flying off to Durham to see our yellow house, Mary! Well, not exactly. I'm actually going to Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh to give a little talk and see my old guild friends, but I'm staying at a hotel near my old house. I'll be cruising by. I'll be eating at Guglhupf, one of my favorite bakeries. It'll be a 24 hour stay in a place that I think still feels a little like home.

Got any other questions for me? I'll try to keep answering them. The next few weeks will be busy but I'll try to keep you updated!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

*The stars*

Last night, the stars were aligned properly, and our bid was --considered-- for this house. Then it was countered, and well, it worked out. We have a Winnipeg. It's amazing to consider, in this time of recession, that while we were the only bid, we still are paying $15,000 over the asking price. A crazy seller's market. (apparently, everyone is still moving to Winnipeg. Who knew?) Last night I was sort of grouchy about how it worked out, but today, I feel happy because we have a home to move to. Good. (moving estimates? check. House to go to? check....) I love the details and woodwork in this house. There's a second story study with built-in bookshelves. Perfect for a professor! Perfect for a writer!
There's also a big beautiful living room with more built-in bookshelves. The house was built in 1912. It's in a good neighborhood, but on a busy corner. (I stole these photos from a listing online. My furniture is not white!) No house is perfect, but right now--it's good.
Meanwhile, after we put in the offer, I knitted a lot and tried to stay calm about it all. I'm having a rough time with "calm" about now--just have too many balls in the air at once...and I'm terrible at juggling more than, say 3 at a time! Everyone has their limits.
The proofs continue, and if you remember, this is how I felt the last time I proofread a book too. I had just as hard a time with Fiber Gathering...only I didn't have quite so much going on.
To help myself to cope, I roasted two chickens last night and baked a peach/blackberry pie. Cooking calms me down. The fruit came from the freezer so the pie was a little bit runny. Hey, I have to empty that freezer out, right? So, I ate a hunk of chicken for dinner...and then I ate pie. For dessert. Then for breakfast, too. I'm considering more, actually, as a snack...It's good pie.
Sadly, the farmer is still in the hospital. My grandmother is in another hospital. I've got a lot "on my plate" right now in the worrying department. So, I took a break from proofreading this afternoon (face it, I've been procrastinating a ton this time and the deadline is coming up!) and checked out my horoscope, I read this sort of thing recreationally. Here's what it said:

May 29, 2009
Capricorn (12/22-1/19)
If you are in the middle of negotiating any business deals right now, it's not going to be an easy day. You'll encounter lots of back and forth and lots of small print. Others may be too demanding in terms of a timeline, so you'll have to push back on deadlines as hard as you can. The best part of your day will be later in the afternoon, when you see a light at the end of the tunnel and can spend some time with a person who always puts a smile on your face.
Doing business? (check.)
back and forth and lots of small print? (buying a house? proofreading?--check.)
deadlines? (moving? book deadlines? check.)
The professor flies home this evening. (light at the end of the tunnel? Check.)
Hmm. The stars must be aligned...I'm waiting for the smiling part. I need a smile about now!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


You might recognize this farm from Fiber Gathering.
Yesterday, the horse really wasn't feeling well. The farmer handed me her feed: I fed her the oats with medicine in them.

The sheep were ready for shearing.

Gerald came to shear them.

Courtney helped pack down the wool that the shearer took home.

I was encouraged to take fleeces. "Oh, but I'm moving to Canada!" I said. Fleeces came home with me anyhow. White Romney....

Black/sunburnt tipped Romney/Border Leicester cross wool

Gray Romney

By the time I got home, I'd come back to my senses and realized I wouldn't have time to wash these before moving. I skirted them and packaged them up. The post office was busy on a Tuesday after Memorial Day! A little less than 40lbs later, I had no more raw fleeces. They were on the sheep Tuesday morning, and in the mail Tuesday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the farmer also wasn't feeling well. I just got back from visiting him in the hospital...he left the farm to go to the doctor just after I went home. What normally would have been a wonderful time on the farm is now bittersweet. If you liked that chapter of a farm on sheep shearing day in my book, remember the man in the red suspenders? Please send a few healing thoughts in his direction. (and thanks in advance...)
PS: I love every single comment you've written lately! I'm so sorry that I'm too overwhelmed to write back to every one just now. The first moving estimate was today--tomorrow? two more. Just keeping my head above water over here.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

TN Fiber Festival

This festival was my THIRD in May. I was so tired after getting home from Winnipeg that I was concerned about making it to the festival in one piece. It was so worth the effort!

This festival, in Dixon, Tennessee, is a small one. It's about three years old, and it grows every year. I had a great time teaching there last year, and as Beth, the organizer is so competent! She and her husband Steve own Three Creeks Farm. They saw a need for a fiber festival in our area, and gosh, they're doing their best to fill the need!

This year, I'd signed up to teach two classes and to do an after dinner presentation about Fiber Gathering. To our surprise, neither of the classes had enough students in them to go--so I just came down for the presentation, spent the night, and came back home the next day. Even though I was sorry the classes had to be cancelled, it was much easier for me and more relaxing this time to enjoy the festival, give my talk, and skip the 6 hours of teaching.

Dixon is about 100 miles from my house in Kentucky. On a regular day, it's maybe an hour and 45 minute drive. On Memorial Day weekend? I thoroughly enjoyed the back roads to avoid the highway traffic, and it took about 2 and a half hours. It was a pastoral trip...gorgeous scenery and a good audiobook made it go by in a flash.

There were very interesting class options and some amazing vendors at this new festival, including Coloratura Yarns. Bjorn, the amazing indie dyer who creates these masterpieces of color, is from Germany and was first a weaver, taught by a weaver from Bauhaus weaving school. His skill is impressive. It took all my self-control not to invest heavily in their yarns. I got one skein of sock yarn. I get the feeling I might be buying more later. You know, after I move, I'm going to need some warm clothes, right?!

When it came time for me to give my talk, I was amazed to see the room was completely full. There were about 40 people there, and we had a grand time. I got to sign lots of books and give several friends big hugs. Definitely a fun trip.

On Saturday morning, I returned early to visit with the sheep at the festival. There was a shearer scheduled for Saturday, plus several farmers were hoping to sell lambs. I went crazy with the sheep photos. The bottom image is a Shetland lamb, the top one is an Icelandic ram, I think? (the Shetland and Icelandic rams shared a stall, so it's one or the other.) Look at those horns!

I was home on Saturday in time for lunch with the professor. I'd hoped for a relaxing few days together...but relaxing doesn't seem to be in our vocabulary lately! We discovered, also on Saturday, that the professor would have to head back to Winnipeg right away to continue the house's really a seller's market up there. The house we're most interested in is now being shown, and he has volunteered to continue working on this. We need a house, and now's the time frame for finding one! I'm so tired out from travel that it was all I could do to print out his boarding pass and feed him lunch before he rushed out the door today. He's off to Minneapolis, where he'll stay with a good friend of ours. Then he'll continue north by car.

The dogs and I are enjoying a quiet day at home, doing laundry, but I've also got my work cut out for me this week. The proofs for Knit Green: 20 Projects and Ideas for Sustainability --BOOK NUMBER TWO-- have arrived!! I'll be spending the next week or so concentrating hard on making the very last edits on this. I'm excited about this topic, and I'm hoping the knitting world will be too! The book will be out by the end of September, I hear. Just in time for me to start talking about Winnipeg. :)

I hope you're having a more restful weekend than we've had!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finding home

After a crazy trip home, including a marathon sprint through the O'Hare airport in Chicago to make our connection, we're back in Kentucky. Due to a problem with our first flight out of Winnipeg, we got to go through customs and security twice! (oh joys...) Our luggage arrived home significantly after we did. It didn't matter to us at all--we decided that it was far easier to fall into bed after nearly 12 hours of travelling than to stay up unpacking dirty laundry.

In our minds, by the way, this trip home qualified as an adventure because both we and our belongings got home safely. If we'd been stuck overnight someplace, or lost something? That's a travelling disaster, or if not a tragedy, definitely not usually an adventure. I try not to complain about adventures...travelling is always easier with good humor--like anything else, there are unexpected challenges. The customs story will likely be funny after I've rested up and had a couple of good meals and a glass of wine or two. :)

I've wrested the camera back from the professor. In between the real estate photos, I found some interesting things to share.

One night, we went out for sushi at a chain in Winnipeg called "Sushi Train." If you sit at the sushi bar, you get your orders delivered on the flat bed behind this cool train that goes around the restaurant! We're absolutely certain our three year old nephew, a huge fan of trains and sushi, needs to eat here when his family visits us. We can't wait!

After going through over 25 houses, I can guarantee we saw a fair cross section of the historic houses of downtown Winnipeg. We even put in a bid for an enormous and beautiful home...but since it's a seller's market in Winnipeg, our offer was seen as too low and "upsetting" and we said ...oh well. We couldn't afford to pay more, and it was truly bigger than we need. We did manage to take a lot of photos of the house, and here's one that I will likely think on for a long time. The staircases? I'm a sucker for a beautiful staircase--I'm just sayin'.

Alot of upscale houses in Winnipeg on our river front property. Having a river view is a big deal, apparently. Now, Winnipeg is located where two rivers meet, so there's a lot of river to see. Also, if you remember the recent spring floods in North Dakota?...that river, the Red River, flows north. Yes, north...and Winnipeg has Duff's Ditch. This enormous public works program diverts lots of water and keeps the city from flooding during the spring snow melt. Even so, people invest enormous amounts of time and money to cope with river bank erosion to protect their river front property. Here's what the backyard looked like at one house we visited... and apparently, most of the time? The backyard is several yards longer than it was when we visited. Note the tree on the left, still standing but now in the flood plain of the river.

We decided maybe riverfront property wasn't necessary for us.
While looking all over for a place to live, we drove past a house that was on the market last year. I nearly jumped out of my seatbelt--it was for sale again! This house, built in 1912, struck me as as so beautiful that I was ready to buy it a year ago when we tried to decide about this job, but before the Canadian gov't approved the move. The real estate agent tried and tried to get us inside again this year so we could see it one more time. No luck. It is on the market, but apparently not available to be shown to potential buyers. (go figure.) We're still working on that...the professor may be going back to Winnipeg soon to see it again. Here's a shot of the outside.
Inside? Craftsman details, all hard wood, built in bookshelves, a second story study with fireplace, 3 floors with well restored bathrooms, complete with a clawfoot tub...and a corner lot big enough to put in a two car garage and with enough room for dogs to play. (Winnipeg yards are very small.)

I meant to tell you jokes here, and be amusing. Honestly, I'm so tired as to be incapable of spelling in my first language (English) so I'm afraid funny will wait til another time. For now, imagine the professor and me plowing people down as we raced from Concourse C to Terminal 3 in under 20 minutes. Before going on this trip, I'd been afraid I wasn't getting enough exercise. After reviewing these statistics:
25 houses---with 2 or 3 stories...approximately 60 sets of stairs. Every house had a basement. Revise that to 85 sets of stairs, up and down. One day of walking to government offices to do paperwork downtown--about 1.5 miles. One hotel room on the 2nd floor (occasional sets of stairs) and a lightning fast chase through O'Hare airport? Likely enough exercise for this trip. I'm spending a lot of time on the couch with the dogs today.
Oh, and tomorrow? I drive off about two hours to the Tennessee Fiber Festival to teach and do a book talk. It's been nice being home. :)
Good stuff? We're safely home, got lots of bureaucratic details done...and have a line on a house.
Bad stuff? We're theoretically moving in July, and we are still working on the house thing...good things come to those who wait?

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

border hopping

I wish I had photos for this post...but the professor has borrowed my camera (it's pocket sized...if you have big pockets) and I haven't gotten it back. He's shot photos of every single house we've seen with the real estate agent (over 20, I'd guess?) and he's not done yet!

Today we took a break from the house hunting marathon. We drove down to the North Dakota/Manitoba border, about 70 miles away in Emerson, Manitoba and Pembina, North Dakota to get our work permits squared away. On Tuesday we'll try to pursue a social insurance number and other bureaucratic endeavors. These details are important and practical because the next time we come north, we're likely (we hope) to be Winnipeg home owners, toting two dogs, two cars, and a long list of things to come in the moving van.

All went smoothly! The border agents on both sides were efficient and kind. We were even wished a "Congratulations!" and "Welcome to Canada!" when we were done with our paperwork. The relief the professor felt (he's been anxious about this) was palpable. It's one thing to be offered a job. It's another to have bureaucratic permission from the government to actually live in the same country as the job...

We did observe a person having a bit of difficulty crossing the border. Apparently he'd once been convicted of snowmobiling while drunk, and while his hunting buddies waited for him, he and his 4-wheeler had to either go home and give up on the trip north or pay a fine of a couple hundred dollars. It's been years since I'd thought about this sort of thing...but gosh, yet another reason not to be stupid and do something illegal that you'll regret..much, much later. I used to mention this to my students when I taught high school and college...but, aside from privacy issues, I wished I could have shown a recording of this to the nearest available rebellious teenagers! (Reason #37 to Avoid Committing Crimes: It could be mortifying years later when trying to cross the border!)

The other thing that's happened is exhaustion. I'm so very tired that I even managed to screw up turning the heel on my very simple sock knitting project. I always travel with a mindless knitting project, and I've made perhaps 2 dozen pair of these socks..and designed several for publication as well. When crying seemed like the best solution to fixing the problem, the professor gently suggested I give up on knitting a couple of evenings ago and try again later. He was right. This morning in the car, I ripped it all out, turned the heel without incident, and knit half the foot on our journey. Sometimes, one's energies are just spent. Turns out househunting, crossing borders, and meeting lots of new people has really worn me out.

Meanwhile, this city is just as friendly, diverse and smart as the last time we visited...we've eaten Japanese, British, Vietnamese, Greek and Indian food in the last few days...and the temperature has warmed up, too--no more snow flurries!

So, ever face a basic knitting problem with such exhaustion that it seemed insurmountable?! How about house hunting? Does it exhaust everyone, or just me? Are you just reading this stuff cause you're curious--or are you moving to Winnipeg too?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

alpaca hat

Well, I finally managed to upload photos of the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool festival
...and it turns out I took even fewer photos than I'd thought! (And? They are all alpacas! That includes the photos of my uncle, who I saw last Saturday. He posed with a camelid of some kind--llama or alpaca--for his family portraits!)

I caught a really funny pushmi-pullyu image (remember the Dr. Dolittle books by Hugh Lofting?) of what is really two alpacas hanging out close to each other.

There were also these lovely gray and white alpacas, before they'd been shorn.

All this reminds me of a story, now years old, that became this design, the I'll Pack a Hat. (Click the link to see the brief version of the story.) We've arrived in Winnipeg...and we had a very quiet afternoon/evening to recover from the journey. Leaving home at 4:30 AM and travelling until 1:30 can be tough on the body! It was 0 C(32F) when we arrived--and I was so relieved that I'd insisted on packing my wool peacoat AND a knitted hat, scarf and mittens. In Kentucky, it was over 70F yesterday. Our roses and honeysuckle are blooming in May. Even so, in Winnipeg, I definitely wore my coat when we walked a couple of blocks to an Indian Restaurant for dinner! There's an unusual (for May) cold snap happening here.
Tomorrow, we head off to search for houses with a fabulous real estate agent...and everyone's been so friendly to us! That includes lovely emails from Winnipeggers who knit and spin who want to welcome us ...home. What a sweet way to begin our househunting visit.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009


You'd be amazed how little knitting and spinning happen when one is travelling alone for 2 weeks and thousands of miles. I realized that most of my travel knitting is done in cars when someone else is driving, or on planes (when I'm not too exhausted to consider it.) Plus, although I caught a very few photos at New Hampshire Sheep and Wool festival, there aren't a lot of pictures to show off. Mostly, I was doing a lecture, a book signing and a three hour class. No time at all to linger, shop, or catch great photos.

In retrospect, this reflection is funny. One publisher thought that I could pay for all the Fiber Gathering book travelling and research by teaching at each festival. That didn't work out, of course, because I would have had to plan those classes with the festivals months/years in advance! Beyond that, though, when I wrote Fiber Gathering, I (and my trusty professor/photographer) had to be out and about at each festival nearly every day it was held, all a few instances, we were there only 2 days out of 3, but gosh, teaching on this trip made me see how little else I was good for when I finished 5 hours of activities!

Plus, that terrible stomach bug kept me mostly under the weather. I did, however, feel well enough to wander out of the dooryard to see my best friend's family's pond. Her dad has stocked it with trout. They feed the trout every day, and feeding the fish is a fun daily event! They offered me the honor, and as I fed the fish, they all gathered by the dock. This, apparently, was rather unusual and thrilling. We could see these huge, fabulously beautiful fish in the clear shallow water. Both my best friend and her mom wondered if they might use the food as bait and touch or catch the fish as the Native Americans used to.

Tippy, their German Shorthair Pointer, also got in on the action. It was pretty funny to watch! I was not yet up to getting in on the action, so I just captured it with the camera instead. :)

I'll try to post some New Hampshire photos soon. In the meanwhile... my Fishtail scarf has now been published in Yarn Forward Magazine, Issue 14 ! It's a great issue, and I'm proud to be a part of it. If you're interested in a warm yet "holey" scarf but without the fish reference, another similiar option is my Two Point Scarf, available for download here. ... And now, back to my regularly scheduled date with the laundry....

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

one's own bed

This is a view of my best friend's parents' home in Sutton, Vermont. Each of those terraces is a part of their gardens. To the left of the house (not pictured) is the apple orchard. It's not usual for me to skip posting for a whole week. However, this teaching/booksigning/book talk trip really knocked the stuffing out of me! I'm home now in Kentucky, after a flight from New England (Monday) and a 723 mile drive (today). I have one day home before we hit the road again to go check out houses in Winnipeg.... Cause we're moving to Winnipeg this summer and need someplace to live!

I've figured out that in May, I'll only be home in my own house for about one week. That said, I had the pleasure of staying in my parents' house and my best friend's house in Vermont. These houses were as close to home as somebody else's house can get. That was a good thing, too, because my charming nephews (3 and 7 months) bestowed upon me not one but two bad viruses while I was travelling... (no swine flu here, just two garden variety preschooler bugs) I've mostly recovered but if you have to be totally sick away from home, it's nice feeling comfortable and not self-conscious. I was also the lucky houseguest at a very kind friend's beautiful home in New Hampshire. All in all, I think I can say, ummm, I'm getting around.

Nothing, however, is as good as being welcomed home by two dogs and a husband who clearly missed me. The house looks well-kept, the lawn's been mowed, my bedsheets are clean and I cannot wait to hop in them! More soon as I recover from this long journey and head off to Canada for the next one!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More Maryland Sheep&Wool

Have I mentioned how very wet it was at the festival on Sunday? It poured all day. Only the most ardent festival goers were there, and even so, it was a crowd. One thing I've noticed, after attending so many festivals, is how comfortable I am with the "back of the house." I hung out in the sheep barns for a while, talked to the farmers, snuck into an out of the way bathroom, met two girls from farm families who brought their 11 day old ram lamb with them (to the bathroom) and then headed out again. The backside of a festival looks a lot like this. Miles of pick-up trucks, RVs, and tents. Farm trucks, with trailers and manure. From the "front side of things" where the customers are, it's a sea of women shoppers with a very few men. Back in the barns, in the show rings and behind the scenes, you can see that the festival is not just about females! Three young men were having a serious conversation in the rain...and all of them were at the festival's back of house.

This year I was pleased to see some breeds that I appreciate being celebrated. There was a large display about Texel sheep--a breed that is good for meat, cheese and lovely medium fleeces with nice crimp and long staple length. (great for spinning from the lock)

I also saw that the very lustrous, mohair-like Teeswater sheep have made it east! Teeswater, in my opinion is as close to mohair as any sheep wool can get--it's a fascinating wool that I thoroughly enjoy spinning. There have been some West coast breeding programs with AI that I saw back in 2007, (and I'm sure it's been going on for a while) but it was nice to see these Teeswater rams at Maryland!

At this point, I'm not a big spender at festivals. I figured I'd buy just a very few things, some spinning wheel oil, a hook for my Canadian Production Wheel, that kind of thing. I surprised myself. First, I bought a handmade wallet for the professor (he loves tri-fold wallets) and a belt. It seemed practical, I've been needing a belt! Then, on Sunday, in the rain and cold, I started thinking. Winnipeg will be cold. The professor is going to need a warm hat for those -40 days...and moments later, the trooper's hat (with ear flaps) from Shepherds Flock. My feet were already cold, so shearling slippers also hopped off the shelf and into my bag.
While waiting to meet up with my mom, I bumped into the Old Mill yarns booth. I'm not sure what came over me, but I think I fell in love instantly with the color palette of their Domy Heather yarns. It's a fingering weight yarn, 495 yards in a skein for $9 a piece. The hand is firm and crisp and the heathery color was so appealing that I started serious shopping. I'd meant to buy some contrast yarns to match green Danish yarns the professor bought for me in Arhus, Denmark several years ago. Suddenly, I was buying a whole 'nother fair-isle's worth of yarn. These things happen. :)

When we got back to the car after my book signing, I could no longer feel my feet, so off came the muddy shoes and handknit socks. I drove the hour and a half home to my parents' house in those slippers! On the way, my mother "played" with her own purchases, and she whipped something out of her bag. Apparently when my mom visited with The Barefoot Spinner (a friend of hers) and shopped, a present came home for me! Two skeins of her beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn--more fingering weight--were gifted to me from The Barefoot Spinner! You can bet I'll be knitting more Mary Jane Socks soon. In case you were wondering, all the patterns in Fiber Gathering that don't have a designer's name at the top? Those are my designs. In fact, that's even my foot in the book photo!

Despite the cold and wet, it was a fun day. I'm paying for all this socializing and damp weather now with a case of the sniffles and a quiet day in my parents' guest room. Hopefully it will disappear by tomorrow, when I'm catching a flight up to New England.
Thanks for all your positive comments about the Due North mittens! The pattern is now available for sale HERE. Hope you enjoyed the armchair traveling to Maryland in this with a cup of hot tea and you'll be so glad you didn't experience the very damp real thing!

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Monday, May 04, 2009

firsts...and new horizons

Wow, it's been a whirlwind trip so far! My first official book talk happened on Thursday night, and it was fabulous. Forty or so folks showed up and it was a sweet mix of people. Some were the mothers of elementary and religious school classmates, friends of my mom's and even--my pediatrician! Others were complete strangers who felt welcomed by our inclusive invitations. Knitters and non-knitters alike felt welcome, and I was absolutely joyful about that one. (that is part of my goal in creating an inclusive fiber arts book) I was even honored to see Shirley Waxman, a well known fiber artist who does exquisite work, in the crowd. I got a lot of hugs and kisses, heard updates about childhood friends, and had a great time.

Then it was off to Nature's Yarns on Friday--another marathon of visiting, knitting, and signing of books, this time at a really super yarn shop.

Saturday morning I got up early and went out to Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. I did informal signings (rush into a friend's booth, sign the books, and get out of the way!) so that the crowds could shop. The weather was cool, damp, but not rainy on Saturday. Good weather for a festival...and I took lots of time to visit my friends-- the shepherds and the sheep.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm celebrating another first. On Friday, in the late afternoon, we FINALLY heard that we've received official notification of my husband's new endowed professorship in Winnipeg. In preparation for our big move, I've designed these mittens as a celebration. They are called... Due North. I hope to make them available for sale soon. (#3 needles, 6 sts to the inch, and the sample mittens were knit in Green Mountain Spinnery's luscious wool/mohair blend, Green Mountain Green.)

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