Have Ewe Any Wool?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I hope you enjoy these photos. I happened to catch a black cat lounging on my neighbor's stoop and just HAD to try to capture the photo. I had to stay across the street though, as I had my doggie with me and didn't want to "spook" the cat! Luckily, it was getting dusk, so my flash went off....thus capturing the yellow eyes. I think the "glowing eyes" just made the picture!

Then, while at the wine store, I found a very intriguing, and quite aptly named Cabernet Sauvignon - "Vampire", from Vampire Vineyards. How cool is that? (Be sure to click on the cat photo to get the full effect of the "glowing eyes"!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shenandoah Valley Fall Fiber Festival

This past weekend was also the Shenandoah Valley Fall Fiber Festival in Berryville, VA. I wasn't able go until Sunday, but I'm glad! Saturday's weather was terrible! Lots of wind and rain. Sunday was sunny and bright - perfect for a ride through the countryside to the festival! The drive to Berryville always provides wonderful rural scenery. In the morning, there was even a little bit of fog nestled down in the valleys. (Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them for a closer view of the mountains and the fog.)

I belong to the Blue Ridge Spinners and Weaver's Guild, so I helped out with the booth for a while and then went off to do some shopping of my own. Amazingly, I did a LOT of damage to my checkbook in a very short time! And to think I didn't go to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival....in order to save money! LOL!

Our booth was chock full of all kinds of woven and spun goodies. All of our members had gorgeous items for sale. I managed to find the perfect scarf, some wonderful fingertip towels woven by Marilyn and some hand woven placements made by Keith.

The ride home was beautiful! It was a bright and sunny day in the mid-60's. The trees are starting to turn, but just don't seem as vibrant as they have in the past. It may be due to the fact that we haven't had much rain this month. We had rain on Saturday, but it had been 23 days since we'd had any measurable rain!

In spite of the lack of rain, the pumpkin harvest appears to have done quite well this year. We definitely grow them big here in Virginia!

Monday, October 27, 2008


The Sons of Norway annual Lutefiske dinner was held this past Saturday. After going to the Maggie Jackson Fashion show on Friday night, I rushed home to bake 8 dozen Norwegian Almond cookies to bring to the dinner. Mmmmm....cookies!

There were lots of smiling faces filling up their plates at the buffet line. DH decided NOT to partake in any of the Lutefiske goodness....hmmmm....I wonder why? He's going straight for the Swedish meatballs!

DH's plate wasn't very full - no Lutefiske, no rutabagas, and no cabbage. He's missing out on half the fun! Of course, I had plenty of everything on my plate....I was a little "piggie". Once again, the Lutefiske was extra tasty, so I even had seconds! Karen D. was the chef and did a fabulous job! Baking cookies was a small effort compared to the major effort that she put forth!

I can honestly say that no one went home hungry! These folks had a very productive "fishing trip" - they left the dinner with several pounds of Lutefiske for the holidays!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Fashion Show....

The Maggie Jackson fashion show at Nature's Yarns was WONDERFUL! No cameras though - it would interfere with the official photographer's photos...and could momentarily blind the models! You'll just have to trust me - the fashion show and the models were fabulous!

I did manage to get a couple of shots of the staff that was working the show. Tiffany is modeling one of Maggie's wraps. Isn't it gorgeous? Lynn is relaxing a bit after a busy afternoon of preparation.

As a result of the fashion show, I purchased several more of Maggie's books - unbelievable! When I had originally looked at the books, I thought, "Oh, I could never wear that." BUT...during the fashion show, we got to see people of all shapes and sizes modeling her designs. They ALL looked fantastic! After the fashion show, we all got to try on garments. I was surprised at how good each item looked on so many different people! I think we're all "Maggie Groupies" now!

My parting photo is one of Georgia. Little girls always love to play "Dress-up". Georgia was DEFINITELY in her element with the fabulous rack of garments we had to "play in"!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Magnificent Maggie Jackson!

Wow! Sometimes, life is just amazing! They always say, "Expect the unexpected", but most times, I really don't take those words to heart. However, I was given an absolutely wonderful opportunity last Wednesday. I'm still pinching myself - I still can't believe that such a fabulous opportunity landed on my doorstep!

I had the honor and the pleasure of meeting Maggie Jackson last Wednesday while she was in town for a fashion show and workshops at Nature's Yarns. Yes, this is THE Maggie Jackson of award winning knitting designs and the author of "Maggie's Ireland" as well numerous other knitting design books. She had some unexpected schedule changes and was available to visit a couple of knitting groups during her visit.

My friend Brenda P. (an aspiring designer herself) and I picked Maggie up and took her our to dinner at Sorrento Grill (my favorite kebab place!). We had a fabulous time...but Maggie barely got to eat! We made her talk too much, so she had to take most of her meal "to go". (By the way, the sweater that Brenda is wearing is her own design - isn't it gorgeous!)

Then it was off to the Purls of Distinction Knitting Guild meeting with Maggie! I had alerted the membership that I had a very special guest for the meeting and everyone was thrilled to meet her. It was such a fabulous surprise to have Maggie visit!

Maggie also brought several of her designs with her to our meeting, so we were even able to have an impromptu fashion show! We all "oohed" and "aahed" over her designs - and were amazed at how good they looked on everyone! Maggie definitely has a fabulous flair for fashions that will flatter everyone! While showing her fashions, she regaled us with numerous stories and knitting anecdotes. A good time was definitely had by all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall is Here!

There is definitely a bit of a nip in the air now! I believe that fall is FINALLY here! I was amazed at the trees in my neighborhood. Overnight, many changed colors and became very vibrant. Others, just "dumped" all their leave with no burst of colors.

The chill has definitely spurred me to make some more progress on my "Irish Hiking Scarf". I'm nearly to the point where I was when I "had" to put it in time out - midway through the 3rd skein of yarn! Wahoo! The only problem is that the project has been in and out of various knitting bags so often that one of the 4 skeins is missing! Oh no! I know it's around here somewhere, but it will be nearly impossible to find in my stash! (I've already checked with the LYS to see if there was another skein so I could take the easy way out, but alas...it's a different dye lot! ARGH!!!! Now I DEFINITELY have to dive through my stash looking for the "lonely skein!))

As I mentioned in a previous post, I made a lot of progress on my latest socks while riding the Metro this past week. And I continued my progress through the heel at last Friday's Sons of Norway meeting while listening to an absolutely fascinating discussion about the Norwegian explorer and statesman, Freidjeg Nansen. The presenter, Lily, is absolutely fascinating to listen to - she's very animated and knowledgeable...and has a fabulous sense of humor. If I had history instructors like her, I would have LOVED history classes instead of dreading them!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Take the Time to Stop and Smell the Roses.....

This post is dedicated to roses....both natural and "knitty".

On Thursday's dog walk, I brought my camera so I could capture some shots of the fall colors that seem to have sprung up overnight. However, instead, I became fascinated with the late blooming roses and other flowers I "met" along the way. I think this will be the last week for roses...they're looking a bit haggard and frost is predicted for this weekend. My dog's interest in "smelling the roses" inspired the title of this post. We should all follow her example and "take the time to stop and smell the roses."

So much for the natural roses...on to the "knitty" roses.

I have a fabulous new project bag. It's a custom made bag from KIP Bag designed by Ruddawg. Who thought you could get both skulls and roses on the same fabric! The bag is cleverly designed too with many interior pockets. I just LOVE it!

There is still another project bag that I need as well - I have yet to get one of Crazy Lanea's project bags. These too are very ingenious and unique - perfect for socks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knitting Progress

I've been pretty busy on the knitting front. I've finished the bed socks for my mom. They're sooo soft! I know she'll just love them! The color is fabulous too - nice and bright to contrast with the dull grey of winter in the midwest. (I know...they're not done in this picture, but you get the idea, right?)

Unfortunately, I've somehow lost one of my colonial rosewood double-points - either at "Needles in the Haymarket" (another lovely LYS near me) or at the assisted living center when I visited my DH's grandma. I had taken the socks out to "show" them at both places...starting with 5 needles, but by the end of the day, I only had 4

Speaking of "Needles in the Haymarket", they have me checking out a new craft - new to me anyway. It's Punchneedle embroidery. There are some really cute designs...and the best thing is that the projects are small and compact.....and take up much less room than some of my other projects. My first project will probably be a sheep - it's a 2" by 2 1/4" project. However, with everything else that I need to do, and all of my UFO's, I'm not sure when I'll be able to "carve out some time" to explore this technique!

OK....back to my knitting progress. I just finished another feather and fan scarf - this time out of yellow-orange Haiku (60% Mohair/40% Silk). The yarn was actually given to me by Catherine...and it's the left-overs from the gorgeous shawl she made. (FYI - her shawl is on the cover of the book, Victorian Lace Today.) The scarf is light and airy and has an ethereal quality.

The walnuts that Elizabeth had given me several weeks ago are still drying out (it takes a while). They're no longer green and are a bit less moldy looking. Instead, they're a rather ugly looking crinkly dark brown. I haven't had any time to do any dyeing anyway, so the delay is not really bothersome at all. Believe it or not, I STILL haven't found the time to felt the "Skull Bag" or the purple and blue tote out of "Felt-it!".

I've also started working on a very cute cardigan jacket using Ulteppegarn. I love the deep charcoal color. The pattern actually calls for a much heavier yarn, but I prefer a lighter weight sweater that's not quite as bulky. I've finished the back and part of the left front. At this point, progress is slow as I do increases and/or decreases on both sides at different rates! Definitely not mindless knitting as I approach the edges!

I have started yet another pair of socks - easy socks....suitable for knitting on the Metro. Of course, I'm using my trusty pattern, "Hellen's Favorite Socks" 3x1 rib pattern. The yarn I'm using is Opal in the "Rendez-vous" colorway. I managed to knit quite a bit on the metro this week and have now completed the cuff of the first sock!

I've also taken the "Irish Hiking Scarf" out of "time out" and have frogged 3/4 of what I'd knit. This poor project has been in time out for SEVERAL months! I'd missed the proper border stitches in several places...and it was VERY obvious, so I KNEW the only thing to do was to tear it out and re-do it. I couldn't bear to do it at the time. Grrr! Anyhow, it's taken several months for the "pain to dull", and I'm finally ready to work on it again!

This little "Bluebird of Happiness" seemed to be enjoying the petunias on my front stoop. There had been two of them originally...both standing in my flower pot...but one flew away before I could go get my camera. Isn't he gorgeous? (And yes, it is a "he" - males have the flamboyant plumage to attract a mate whereas the female is rather plain in order to blend in with her surroundings so she can safely incubate eggs and care for her nestlings.)