Play time, part 2

Ok, so I’m not that mean.  I won’t keep you waiting too long.  Because really?  No one should have to wait for this.

DSC_2813 copyI mean it’s practically electric.  Totally cannot get enough (and I’m usually fairly immune to the charms of blue, but somehow this totally does it for me).

But the thing I find really interesting is how differently each base took the color.  From left to right that’s Matrika, Zenith, Apex, Meridian, and Corona, all from Seven Sisters Arts.  Just as a reminder, they looked like this undyed.

DSC_2044jpg copyAnd ok, maybe you’d expect the Apex (the gray one in the middle to come out different).  But the others surprised me.  The Matrika and the Zenith came out the lightest (I think maybe because of the way the silk in the Matrika and the BFL in the Zenith reflect the light).  Then the Meridian and the Corona are super saturated (my guess is that it’s the superwash merino…I wonder if whatever they do to make it superwash makes it drink up the dye a bit better).  And of course Apex was gray to start with and so it kept that lovely mellow feeling (don’t tell the others but it might just be my favorite).

It was awesome to see how they behaved (and to see everything that goes into dyeing the yarn), and I’m already scheming about what I’m going to make with them.  The Zenith and the Corona are vying with each other to see who gets on the needles first, and I suspect you’ll be seeing more of all of them around here over the next little while!

Play time, part 1

My job is awesome.  I mean yes, sometimes I spend too much time with boxes and labels and tape.  But I also get invited to go visit with fabulous dyers and play with their yarn.  And really, that makes up for an awful lot of time spent packing boxes!

While we were up in Maine, Karen of Seven Sisters Arts asked if I’d like to come over and play.  You know I love her yarn (I used it most recently in Pelagic, and before she opened Seven Sisters Arts, she was half of String Theory, and I’ve used a ridiculous amount of their yarn).  So after checking once or twice to be sure she really meant it, I gleefully said yes bopped right on over.

When I got there, I found a pile of yarn (starting at the bottom left and working across to the top right that’s Matrika, Zenith, Apex, Meridian, and Corona).

DSC_2044jpg copyAnd a top secret notebook full of recipes and colors and truly inspiring bits of fluff.

DSC_2046 copyWe talked color for a bit then got to work (if by work you understand that I mean I said ‘oooooooh, pretty’ a lot while Karen did clever things with dye and hot water and yarn).  It went a little something like this (humming the Jaws theme song now is optional but encouraged).

DSC_2062 copyAnd this.

DSC_2072 copyThen this.

DSC_2075 copyAnd a bit later, this.

DSC_2082 copyOh and a bit later still, this (hint, dyeing yarn takes a long time…keep that in mind next time you look at all those beautiful skeins your favorite dyer offers).

DSC_2089 copyThen?  Then came the completely unbearable drying period before we could see what we’d done.  Which I will now shamelessly replicate by waiting a day or two to show off the final result.  Because I’m terribly terribly mean, that’s why.

Beasties

So while I did not quite manage to make it to Rhinebeck, I somehow did manage to meet a few furry beasties.  Funny how that happens!

DSC_1370 copyWe swung by the Good Karma Farm, and they just happened to have a few lovely critters to visit with.  They also had what promises to be a much faster way to make socks (they do classes if you want to see for yourself, someday I’m going to have to give it a try).

DSC_1353 copyAnd some impressive machines doing noisy, twirly, yarn-making things.

DSC_1350 copyWhich in turn meant they had yarn…some of which may just perhaps have followed me home!

DSC_1546 copyBut I have to say, the critters tried their best to steal the show.  All around adorable and generally quite happy to come say hi.

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DSC_1361 copyNext time you’re in the area, you should totally swing by.  Give fluffy here a scritch hello for me!

Knitting with lobster boat

I got up early one morning to sneak down to the water and take some pictures of knitting as the sun came up.  The lobster boats kept me company.

DSC_1540 copyYou’ll see more of these pictures Tuesday when this comes out, but those focus more on the knitting (and so, alas, omit the boat).  I thought I’d sneak this one in while I had the chance.

Haul

So last time I showed off (just a bit) of the pretty from the trip to Maine.  But I know you guys are here more for yarn than for general travel festivities.  And don’t worry, there was yarn.  No really I checked.  There was.

4 copyFirst up, a bit of Malabrigo.  And no, it’s not local to Maine, but I strongly prefer to buy Malabrigo in person, and these four were too lovely to pass up!

1 copyAnd when in Maine, you’re pretty much contractually obligated to get a bit of Seven Sisters Arts.

3 copyThat contract?  It totally covers String Theory too.

2 copyAnd new to me (and firmly in the ‘ooooooh, speckles, pretty’) is On the Round.  I have a feeling there will be more of this later.

Influence

So a little while ago, a friend said something along the lines of ‘have you seen this yarn?’  I allowed as how I had not and took a look.  It was indeed lovely.

Then I happened to notice that the yarn company happened to be vending at the Maine Fiber Frolic and asked, in a causal sort of way, why I hadn’t had the foresight to arrange to be in Maine that weekend.  A few minutes later, it was brought to my attention that air fare was shockingly reasonable.  As was lodging.  A few hours later, the trip was booked.

And so we found ourselves in Maine.

Now I confess, I did not lug the camera off to the fiber frolic.  It’s heavy, and I wanted my hands free for yarn (besides, there are only so many pictures of goats and sheep and bunnies you really need to see).  But I did catch a bit of water.

coastAnd a few flowers too.

lupinAnd even a wee little heart rock.

heartAnd yes, there was much yarn to be had.  Don’t worry, that’s coming next time!

Acquisitions

We’ve been away for a bit.  We were up in Maine.  (Yes, again. No, I’m not at all sorry. Yes, we are actually considering just moving there and saving everyone quite a lot of driving time.)  Rather than bore you with the details (water, oh so many rocks, sea treasures, cocktails, pumpkin fest, beer week), I thought I’d be all noble and restrained and mostly just flash some yarn.  Because no one actually wants to hear about anyone else’s vacation.  It’s almost as boring as hearing about someone else’s dream.  Yarn on the other hand, everyone wants to know about yarn!

maine yarnOur trips to Maine have usually meant I pick up piles and piles of String Theory.  But this year, when I went to check their site, I saw the physical store was no longer open (don’t worry, you can still order through their website).  But then I learned that Karen Grover, one of the two folks who used to run String Theory, had started her own company, Seven Sisters Arts, and it was in the former String Theory location.

Let’s just say this was an exciting discovery and led to much squee-ing.  Shortly after that came much yarn buying.  The colors are every bit as gorgeous as you’ve come to expect from String Theory, with lots of fun new bases.  And gradients…oh goodness me the gradients.  Let’s just say they’re officially on my list of Yarn I Must Play With Soon.

We also stopped by One Lupine in Bangor and snagged a skein of yarn with the same name as the area we stay in (The Boy and I are opening discussions regarding a fingering weight hat for him, and this seemed like a lovely place to start).  And of course you can’t go to Maine without getting a bit of Quince, so I grabbed two skeins in a lovely chartreuse that I swear is a neutral and goes with everything.  I suspect I’ll have some socks in much that shade some where down the line.

There was actually a bit of knitting and quite a bit of taking pictures of knitting, too.  But that will have to wait till next time.  For now, I’ll content myself with subjecting you to just one lone vacation picture, which really is all it’s fair to inflict upon anyone.

Sea Treasures

Conflict

What I want to do is tell you all about our trip and the lovely things we did while we were gone.  What I should do is tell you all about the new book that’s going up for preorder on Friday.  So let’s strike a compromise.  I’ll share three pictures from the trip (because three pictures of someone else’s vacation is all anyone should be asked to tolerate), and then we’ll talk about the book tomorrow.  Sound fair?

We spent an unreasonable amount of time watching the sky do this.

sunsetWe spent even more time climbing all over these rocks (the ones at the front were right by where we were staying, and we clambered allllllll the way down to the farthest trees).

rocksAnd we collected great heaping piles of treasures.  They have me pondering an art project in the style of Jonathan Fuller.  We’ll see if that comes to fruition, and if it does, I promise you’ll hear all about it.

sea glassSo there, that’s a reasonable amount of vacation to share and hopefully not bore you to tears.  And next up will be helpful info about the book and its upcoming release (hint, there are goody bags for the first folks who buy it).

Loot

I went to Rhinebeck and didn’t buy yarn.  I know this sounds a bit odd, but I get rather frazzled when I find myself somewhere crowded.  I bailed out after less than three hours.  I wanted very badly to be elsewhere, so we left.  Luckily, we were up in Maine after Rhinebeck, and Maine seems to be exceptionally well supplied with yarn stores.  I visited quite a few of them.

quinceOf course we went into Portland, which means of course we went to KnitWit, which means of course I bought yarn from Quince & Co.  Rather a lot of yarn actually.  That’s six skeins of Tern (three in Dusk and three in Back Bay) and three skeins of Chickadee in Kumlien’s Gull.  I’m not quite sure what might become of them (this will be a theme, I don’t tend to buy yarn with a project in mind), but I think they’ll all turn into something grand.

string theoryAnd as usual, we stopped by String Theory, and I had my yearly indulgence of impressive proportions.  My ongoing obsession with their bases and colors is well documented, and this should be a surprise to absolutely no one.  Along the back are Merino DK in Alexandrite, Caledonia, and Earthquake.  In the front is Blue Faced Sport in Skerry and Caper Aran in Canyon.  I got two skeins of each because I love them all dearly and don’t want to run out.  I’m just going to emphasize that if you have the chance to try this yarn, you really really should.  They can do no wrong.

maine yarnAnd of course we visited a few other spots as we wandered around.  We stopped in at Over The Rainbow Yarns in Rockland (when we were in town to visit out very favorite restaurant in all the world, Primo – if you are even sort of close by you owe it to yourself to go).  I grabbed a few skeins of The Fibre Company’s Road to China Light in Moonstone.  And we also popped into Halcyon Yarn in Bath (I told you Maine was swimming in yarn stores).  There I found something new, a mink yarn by Lotus called Mimi.  I’ve not knit with mink before (though the promotional material assured me this was animal-friendly mink, harvested by brushing the critters, rather than by anything less savory).  I’m going to have to do some reading to see what folks do with it, but it’s so soft I had to give it a try.

That seems like rather a lot of yarn when taken all together – quite possibly enough to make up for not getting any at Rhinebeck!  How about you guys, were any of you at Rhinebeck?  Did you manage to fight your way through the crowds enough to buy some yarn?  I saw lots of folks with bags, so I’m guessing somebody bought some!

Field Trip, Yarn Store

Alrighty, last of the trip yarn.  I promised we were just about done, and this should wrap it up.  So, I told you we visited String Theory, and I told you we visited Swans Island.  Those were the two big, intentional yarn stops.  But sometimes it happens that, while you’re going about your business on non-yarn related excursions, you come across a yarn store on the way.  That happened twice.

Gray Yarn from my trip to MaineOnce was Over the Rainbow Yarn in Rockland Maine. (Rockland is also home of Primo, our very favorite restaurant ever.  If you’re ever anywhere near there you simply must go.  We might just have gone three times over the course of the week we were in Maine…)  At Over the Rainbow, I snagged a skein of Bunny Blend, a slightly slubby 40/60 angora merino blend.  I think I see another pair of slippers in my future, and this may well be involved.  Our other yarn store diversion was KnitWit in Portland.   Two skeins of Marie by Dirty Water Dye Works leapt into my arms.  These things happen, it’s best not to fight it.

Pewter Shank Buttons from KnitWitBut somehow, yarn wasn’t all that followed me home from KnitWit.  I may also have indulged in a bit of button acquisition.  Quite a bit, come to think of it.  But really, it’s hard to find large, matching sets of really good buttons, and they’re awfully easy to pack home.  I hardly had a choice in the matter.  And yes, for those of you thinking of last year, I did fall prey to a similar button urge last year too.  Some of the ones from last year are slated to show up on a cape in the very near future.  A red, woolly cape that I’m sure will make a few appearances here once I get it underway.