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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Florida and How I Met Barbara Walker

My next stop after Rhinebeck was southwest Florida to visit with my Grandmother. It was so warm and relaxing, I didn't really want to come home! And yes, if you must know, there was knitting happening by the pool.

Sunset on the Gulf

The visit seemed so short, but I manage to pack in a decent amount of activities plus have time to relax. On the first day, we took a trip up to the Marie Selby Gardens. I am a big fan of orchids, and it certainly did not disappoint.


On the way back, I wanted to do a little yarn shop exploring and I found a wonderful shop called A Good Yarn. Susan, Amy and Crew were so welcoming it was definitely my LYS away from home - so much so that I ended up coming back for knit night on Thursday and stopped in one final time on Friday before heading home. They have only been open for 6 weeks and the selection was wonderful: Madelintosh, Schaefer, Rowan, Malabrigo......I could go on and on! I didn't come back with any yarn (darn deadline projects), but I did manage to pick up Wenlan Chia's new book Twinkle Sews and a pretty cheap project bag.

And here's where the story gets very interesting - and don't mind my fan girl gushing. When visiting A Good Yarn, I had found out that I had just missed.....ready for this......Barbara Walker! Yes, The Treasury of Knitting Patterns Barbara Walker! I couldn't believe it! How could I have been so close to meeting one of the knitting greats and it got away from me? As we were talking about it, my Grandmother realized that this must be the same woman that her neighbor knows and had told her about a year or two before, she just could never remember her name.

When we returned home, a few phone calls were made and sure enough, her neighbor did know Barbara and just like that, I had a meeting set up to meet her on Friday at her home. I can't even pretend that I was cool, calm and collected when I heard the news. I was jumping up and down, twittering the news, smiling from ear to ear. I know you guys understand!

Barbara Walker and I

On Friday, I met Barbara Walker and got to see a small portion of her doll collection, actual knitted pieces from some of her books, pictures of her published designs, and sweaters she had knitted for herself, family and friends. She has knit so many beautiful sweaters over the years and many were sparkly. I was in such a state of sensory overload, I wish I had asked more questions, but we briefly talked about magazines not giving credit to the designers in the past and how the pay scale hasn't really changed much. She also talked about how she has created some 1,000 original stitches never seen before.

Barbara Walker and I

Next, she showed me a book shelf filled with books she's written, books that she wrote that have been translated into other languages, and books she has contributed to. Besides her knitting books, she has also written several feminist books. I also got to see her tarot and I Ching decks which she had done the artwork for and her extensive mineral collection. Barbara Walker is quite the amazing woman and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to have a short visit with her.

Barbara Walker and I

So I celebrated my birthday, saw some great sunsets, ate good food and met Barbara Walker. I don't know how I'll ever top this one!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Rhinebeck Recap

I know it's a little late, but you can never have too much Rhinebeck talk, right? Just got back from Florida and finally have a little time to catch up with things!

I didn't really have much of a plan this year, just wanted to have fun and hopefully purchase some great stuff. However, when I heard that Clara Parks was signing copies of her new book, The Knitters Book of Wool, I knew Spirit Trail Fiberworks would be my first stop. I really enjoyed Clara's first book, and I knew this one would not disappoint. In fact, I haven't even had a chance to peek inside yet - must set aside some time asap!

Clara Parks!!

Before going over to meet Clara, we arrived at the festival just in time for the lunchtime Ravelry meetup and to meet Bob. Ysolda whipped this up just a few days before. So amazing! I was also so surprised to see Maritza at the meetup too. We've missed her so much at our weekly LIC knitting group and it was so nice to get to chat for a few minutes.


My only yarn purchase of the day came from Alicia Adams Alpaca. I got 3 gorgeous balls of a suri alpaca/merino blend in a heather grey color - my color of the moment apparently.

suri alpaca and merino blend

I also scored a cool new tea mug hand thrown and hand painted by Jennie Lanners. She had some very cute mugs with sheep wearing socks and things, but the leafy one called to me. Maybe I'll pick up a sheep one next year.

Leafy mug

After the festival, Colette, Gwen, Sonia and I were off to the Ravelry party and to meet up with the rest of the Astoria crew. I was worried that it would be a little chilly, but all was well. I didn't even have to break into the toe or hand warmers.

Ravelry crew
The Ravelry Crew

Kimberly and I rock our Bliss shawlettes

This Rhinebeck trip was definitely the best ever! I got to meet so many wonderful knitters and relax with friends. I can't wait til next year!

And last but not least, I leave you with a dose of cuteness.


Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well, I'm off to sunny southwest Florida for a little vacation! Rhinebeck was really, really great, but won't be able to give the full report until next week when I return. Thanks to everyone that saw me and said hello! I really enjoyed meeting you all!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yarny Goodness

Finally got a chance to update my stash on Ravelry with some recent yarn purchases. I've been collecting special yarns for something that I have up my sleeve ;)

Lacey Lamb in Heather Grey

O-wool Classic 2ply in Sage (this picture does not do the color justice!)

Ultra Alpaca Light in Heather Teal

Greenwood Hill Farm DK (wanted to pick up a local yarn when I was in MA)

Fleece Artist Woolie silk 3 ply in Salt Spray for my next neoknits pattern

Malabrigo Lace in Sealing Wax

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crafternoons at NYPL

Being lucky enough to be in the city this weekend, today I went to a Crafternoon being held at the New York Public Library. Every month they focus on a different craft, get a few speakers together, pull some library books, and everyone comes to make things. This month was a knitting crafternoon and the special guests were Sabrina Gschwandtner, author of Knitknit, and Teva Durham, knit designer and author of Loop-d-loop.

It was interesting to hear both designers talk about how knitting can be an artform, not just a hobby or just making a sweater. As one designer in the Knitknit book said, "it's a stream of concience." It was also fun to hear about Teva's yarn line and a little bit about how it was developed.

Annie Modesitt was also going to be there today, but sadly she couldn't make it. It would have been very interesting to chat with her a little bit about what is going on with Vogue and how to make things a little better for designers everywhere.

And speaking of Vogue, Annie updated her blog with a little clarification and mentioned at the end that Vogue wished for her to call and discuss the issue. It makes me so happy that they are finally ready to talk (hopefully about a solution). I'll be very curious how it turns out and let's hope for the best!

There was also a raffle to raise a little money for the library and I won a few balls of Teva's Loop-d-loop yarn:




Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Soho, You Make Me Sad

Way back in February, I wrote this post in reaction to Annie Modesitt's blog post on valuing our work as designers. I had made a personal decision not to submit to Soho publishing anymore for a few reasons, but had hoped that a dialogue would at least be started.

Fast forward 8 months, and I see this post on Annie's blog today. I was a little sad to hear confirmation that a dialogue hadn't been started between Soho and the designer community. Even if alienating designers is not their intention, silence sometimes speaks for you.

I suppose there is always new talent and in the scheme of things, me deciding not to submit to Soho publications certainly isn't hurting them any. Maybe speaking out is more annoying than anything, but here's hoping to a fair deal for all designers in the future.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sweater Weather is here in NYC

It's October and I can hardly believe it! What I also can't believe is we immediately went straight to fall as soon as it hit the first. Actually, it feels almost like we went straight from spring to fall - didn't have much of a summer this year. Shouldn't complain though, cooler summers mean you can still wear cardigans :)

And with the first glimpse of fall comes the craziness of trying to put together a fall collection and preparing for important meetings with customers. All I can say is....what a week! TGIF!

When I arrived home today, there was a little package waiting outside my door and when I opened it up, I was able to forget it all. Waiting for me was a nice present from Lantern Moon.

Inside the box were a set of size 5 rosewood needles, a straight needle cover, size 6 ebony circular needles, and a wee little crochet hook used to pick up dropped stitches. (How cute! and how handy!) I can't wait to cast on with these needles. Knitting with ebony and rosewood is like knitting with cashmere - there's just nothing quite like it.