Thursday, October 19, 2017

"My Knitters"

Hey's almost RHINEBECK weekend! Oh happy days!

I go away twice a year to fiber festivals, in October for the New York Sheep & Wool Festival and in May for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. Both weekends are highlights of my year because not only do I get to oooh and ahhh over yarn, animals and fiber, I get to spend it with friends and family.

If you have been lucky enough to go to Rhinebeck, then you know how amazing it is. It is two full days of happy knitters walking around smiling, shopping, eating, meeting up with new and old friends, the podcast meet up on the hill, the sweaters, the shawls, the hats, the knitting stalking, the leaping llama contest, the leaves, the donuts, the weird pan flute band with the grumpy looking drummer, the author book signings, falafel lines for miles, crisp morning air, bumping into the "famous knitters", rubbing elbows with designers....and most importantly spending time with my knitters.

Can I brag to you about "my knitters"? Let me tell you a little bit about "my knitters"....

About four years ago, I decided that I was comfortable enough with my knitting that I could start teaching others to knit. I was working from home at the time and my schedule allowed for more time for lessons so I put myself out there and opened up some beginning knitting classes.

This woman I had never met emailed me. She was recently on leave from her job to care for her daughter with special needs. She had been wanting to learn how to knit and now that she wasn't at work full time, she had time to learn. After a few back and forth emails, we found a date that worked for her. This is how I met Robin. Robin has become a close friend, confidant and an extremely accomplished knitter! She can knit ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! And now she dyes her own yarn and sews project bags. She's Robin from Robin's Roost

There was another woman that had visited our farm many times. We instantly fell in love with the amazing woman that we now call "Purple Debbie". Debbie is one of the strongest, kind hearted, inspiring people I have ever met. Debbie has MS and although she has a daily battle on her hands, you would never know it because of her spirit and determination. She smiles through the obstacles and she thought she might want to learn how to knit. And boy oh boy did she learn how to knit!!!!!
She's never without needles and yarn these days. She has knitted so many hats that she can't keep track. A Guernsey wrap you want? Sure...she'll make you one. Knitting has given Debbie so much more than a hobby. It has helped her dexterity in her hands (according to her doctors). Of all the people I have taught to knit, she is the most special to me. Knitting has brought her so much joy and I love seeing her soar. She's a wonderful person and I'm so thankful to have her joining us this year!!!!!! This is her first ever girls getaway! I hope we make it a good one! She has a wonderful blog too...follow her! She shares her adventures with her husband Chuck and you'll love it. I promise.

And then there's this lady named Joan. Joan is my knitting buddy and feels like family to me.
She stopped by the farm one day a few years ago...hung out with us. We talked and laughed and the connection was instant. She had done a bit of knitting but was looking to learn more, so she signed up for every class I taught. Literally. Every class. At a certain point I swear she was just handing me money so we could spend time together. At a certain point I refused to take her money and we started learning things together. She and I learned how to knit socks together, trying out new kinds of heels. We love the same kind of knitting so we knit sweaters together. We'll both make the same pattern at the same time and call or text each other if we have questions. If she's reading this right now she will say we don't knit at the same time. We START at the same time. I'm a quick knitter and she loves to remind me to slow down so she can catch up. Joan makes me laugh, teaches me about life and motherhood. She's more like an adopted aunt. I'm so fortunate to have her in my life and to spend time with her this weekend will be fabulous. And her husband makes some amazing wine which she spoils me you know, there's that too. We have grand plans of doing a video podcast someday. We just need to find the time!

A woman that wanted to learn fair isle signed up for my class and once again, I met this fun, smart, artistic woman that is now a part of our knitting circle. Laura teaches at one of the local specialty high schools and at times I'm super jealous of her job! I don't get to see Laura much so this weekend is extra special to spend it with her. She made us laugh so hard last year when she took a ride up to the festival with my sister. They had never met each other, but we're all knitting people so she figured she was safe to take a ride from a stranger! Her kids were a little skeptical but hey it all worked out! And she's back in with us for another year!!! Laura also has a podcast, Knit, Read, Pray that you can check out on her website,

Seashore Sharon is a fixture in the knitting community and we are lucky to have her all the time!!!!
She also signed up for my lessons but let's be honest...she could have taught the classes herself. Her company is always a pleasure. She is beyond generous, always has great projects on the needles and loves her knitting retreats. If you are anyone in the knitting world, you know Seashore Sharon!

And then there's Paige :) The girl that makes me laugh and inspires me. Her snort is the best. Her laugh is contagious. She is the owner of Frame & Fiber, a local framing shop/knitting/fabric store in Point Pleasant. She's generous, thoughtful and creative. We go back a long time but not until the last two years or so have we become close friends. I credit knitting for tightening up this friendship! We seem to enjoy similar knits, colors, yarns, food, wine...all the important things in life! She went to Maryland last year with my sister and my mom and I and we had a blast.  Paige will be helping out at Needles Up on Friday so if you see her say hi! You'll be a better person for knowing her.

My sister Andee is able to join us again this year. She's an every-other year joiner for Maryland so it's always fun to have her along for this weekend. Andee can knit faster than any human I know. Seriously. She knits are warp speed and she's probably designing it at the same time. Her brain works way better than mine with math and knitting and numbers. I can follow a pattern. She can design it. Andee has a knack for striking up conversations with all kinds of people and getting the best pictures to document her adventures. Hoping she brings the good camera along to get some shots of the weekend. Andee also has a blog and is known as AndeeKF on Ravelry. She is also a guest blogger for Amano yarn. Check her out!!!! She's brilliant!

My cousin Maryanne is also part of our group! Maryanne is someone I aspire to be like. Not only is she funny, smart, well traveled and interesting, she's young at heart. I am so lucky to have a huge extended cousin crew to spend time with and celebrate New Years together. Her knitting skills are superb and she's always fun to be with. I remember last year she took a seat on the bench at the top of the Rhinebeck hill during the podcast meet up. She was cracking up at how we all acted like screaming fan girls at a boy band concert. A few years ago we took Mary Jane Mucklestone's fair isle mitt class together at Vogue Live. She's always up for an adventure. Can't wait to spend a whole weekend together!

Our last housemate is not a knitter, but she's a sister of a knitter so that counts right?!
Judy is Joan's sister and I had the pleasure of meeting her last year when she joined us for our Rhinebeck weekend. She sat back and smiled at all of us while we went on and on about our yarn, the people we saw and met. She is traveling down from Maine to join us again!

Wishing so much that my mom and sister Liz could join us but my mom and dad are headed to an alpaca show for the weekend and Liz is staying home to take care of the farm.
We'll update you on how the show animals do!!! Let's hope for some ribbons and banners!

I was going through some older pictures the other day and came across these....
This was the first lesson that Debbie and Robin ever took with me. Who knew that this day would lead us to today. I am soooooo thankful for these women and the joy they bring to my life.
And to think, it's all because of a ball of yarn, knitting needles and friendship.

Wishing everyone that is attending Rhinebeck a safe trip with lots of laughter, yarn and memories. I'll be at Needles Up on Friday so if you see me say hi! And an exciting little known fact....I'm the designer of the Elizabeth Zimmerman enamel pin that Amy Beth (AKA the Fat Squirrel) is selling! Woohoo! See you all on the hill too! Have fun! 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Playing Catch Up

I've been a slacker blogger lately!!! Yikes!
So thought I would play a quick game of catch up.
I finished up both Rhinebeck sweaters. LOVE my Super Soul Cardigan and I've been wearing it a lot.
Also knitted up a few preemie hats for Little Lungs.
The kids have been super busy around the farm on the weekends, playing hard while the coop is open.

We are open on the farm every Saturday and Sunday 11-4 so we've been busy bees!
Lots of visitors every weekend, the store is stocked, knitting is in full-force and the baby alpacas are adorable!

Links to my sweaters:

Happy knitting everyone!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Reality Check!

Had a little reality check from my littlest guy this week....

Chase had a bad dream and climbed into bed with us. 
In the morning, he told me about his dream.

"A mean guy came into the house and was trying to take me.
I was yelling for you, but you just stayed on the couch knitting."

It's 100% possible that I've been knitting too much on my Rhinebeck sweaters!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Yarn Along - Sunset Highway

My Sunset Highway sweater is complete so I thought I would share it today.
About a month ago, I realized I was short on yarn for my Rhinebeck Sweater #1 (Super Soul Cardigan by MaryJane Mucklestone) so what do I decide to do while waiting for the yarn to be delivered? Well, cast on a new one....of course.

I had admired the Sunset Highway sweater and I thought it would be perfect. I love knitting color work and I'm a fan of wearing yoked sweaters. So I dove into my stash and I had everything I needed! I'm typically a project based buyer, but I always splurge on things that I just have to have when at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival every May. I picked up a bunch of yarn at the Backyard Fiberworks booth and I thought it would make a perfect Sunset Highway. 

Now...let's talk quickly about my taste in knitting. I don't like to have what a lot of other knitters are knitting or wearing. Call me weird, but I like to be a little different. So when I casted on this sweater, I didn't know anyone making it. Maybe I was in LaLa Land...I don't know but it seemed like as soon as I started I saw this EVERYWHERE!!!!! Kits are being made and sold through yarn stores, it's all over instagram I won't be the only knitter with this on at Rhinebeck. It will be fun to see all the color combos and how people put their own spin on the pattern. 

Some notes on my sweater: 
My gauge was off so my math minded sister, Andee, was kind enough to help math-dummy me and help me adjust my needle size. I knitted the large size with size US 3 for the color work and US 4 for the body. The dark gray yarn is cormo and it had a tighter gauge than the sock merino yarn. 

I haven't blocked this yet, so the photo is my unblocked version. 

For those of you who have been to Rhinebeck, or first timers, here's a fun blog post from Fringe Supply that sums it up pretty well! Check it out.

Happy Knitting!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NJ Sheep & Wool Festival Part 2

So if you read yesterday's post, I shared some photos from the NJ Sheep & Wool Festival. 
Here are a few more that I downloaded from my camera.

The first sheep's was right at the entrance with his owner. His name was Moose and he was having some stomach issues that day (that's the Pepto Bismal on his face!) But how cute is he in that hat!?

On the way home from the festival we took a quick walk around the Golden Nugget Flea Market in Lambertville. We used to visit the flea market often we we lived in PA. It had a lot of really cool finds. I would have stayed longer but a certain Pittsburgh Steeler fan insisted on getting home to watch the first game of the season!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

NJ Sheep & Wool Festival

What a fun morning!! Two of my kids and my oldest's girlfriend took the ride with me to the NJ Sheep & Wool Festival this past Sunday. I had been there years ago and haven't been able to get there in a while. So it was nice to have the chance to visit. The festival has grown leaps and bounds since I had been there last. I heard there were 17 new vendors this year. It is like a tiny version of Rhinebeck. I got through the whole thing in 2 hours. 

I had fun visiting my friends at the Chelsea Yarns booth. It's always a thrill to see my graphic design out in the wild :) Christina did an awesome job with her color-ways. Gorgeous!!! And the Big Kahuna! Lol!! How great is that giant skein!?

I have been wanting to do rug hooking of years now. A group of "hookers" were gathered around in one barn and I stopped and chatted for a while. They introduced me to the women from Green Mountain Hooked Rugs. I really enjoyed talking to her and she showed me everything I would need to get started. The wool colors she had were so pretty. She will be in Rhinebeck, so that's when I'm going to get a starter project. I'm really excited about it!

I came home with a few goodies....
2 handmade mugs by The Rogue Artisans
Skein of sock yarn by Bitsy Knits and a KNIT bumper sticker
Leather and wood feather shawl pin (I don't remember who I bought that from!)

I loved the sheep and the whole vibe of the day. It was a beautiful fall day.