Author Archive

Hai! :-)

Long time no see. You’re still here? Amazing!

I’m still here too. Mostly.

Let’s see if I can recap the last several months.

Bassoon camp? Awesome as always! Can’t wait until next year. Hopefully that will be possible. We’ll see.

SOS? Wonderful! Fairly quiet and I didn’t get a single sock done. LOL. That’s how it goes sometimes.

Where have I been? Well… when we got back from bassoon camp this crazy thing happened.

Studio window!

I ended up buying the yoga studio I was working at because the previous owner decided to move away and close. I had two weeks notice. You can imagine the scrambling. It all worked out though and things have been good. It’s funny, every time I tried to say no to this something happened to make it easier and I could nearly feel the hand of god on my back pushing me forward. It’s been a wild ride for sure. A lot of things happened all at once and it was so overwhelming at times I really didn’t know if I was still going to be breathing on the other side. July 1st Forever Yoga was officially born.

June 30th we brought this home:

New Subaru!! I'm still in shock.

I still can’t believe it sometimes. It’s a 2012 Subaru Imprezza Sport with the winter package (read: my butt is gonna be toasty this winter!). You wouldn’t believe what it was like to try to find the options we wanted and the color we wanted. The negotiations were crazy but somehow it all fell together and with some very generous help from both sets of parents I have a safe ride for my nearly 50 mile almost daily commute. Her name is Kitt since I kinda freaked out when she started talking to me the first time I started setting up the bluetooth features. ;-) And believe it or not in just under 4 months she’s nearly got 10,000 miles on her. Thank bob she’s a Subaru. I see many good years in our future.

June 29th I walked into the animal shelter for my volunteer shift and to make a long story short – we ended up with a new family member:

Bunny in a bag anyone?!

Her name is Purl. We think. We’re still working on figuring out her name after all these months if you can believe it. I brought her home to foster because I thought she was a baby angora and the shelter was really not well equipped to deal with that kind of exotic animal. Yeah, foster. So much for that! We adopted her on Aug. 10th. She is TINY compared to Stitches. She weighed 1.5 lbs. at last weigh in, compared to Stitches 12 lbs. at her best. Purl is tiny and feisty and has quite an attitude some days. We’re still trying to figure each other out.

Sleepy bunny is sleepy!

No idea if she’s really angora or not. We’ve been calling her Fauxgora for awhile now but she sure is fluffy and shedding lately. We’ll never know I guess. She’s definitely cute but those blue eyes have an evil streak in them some days…

Yeah, so that was just one weekend. You can understand now why I haven’t been blogging much, yes? I’ve barely knit since the studio happened. I nearly didn’t go to Rhinebeck at all this year but managed to stop by for part of the day on Saturday because I was in the area anyway to see the Dalai Lama. Like I said, wild ride.

I’ve not done much dyeing lately either. The show at Squam was wonderful and then the stuff hit the fan with the studio so there’s been very little time or energy. I’m hoping to find my way back to it on some level soon. I’m teaching 16+ hours per week right now plus being webmaster, accountant, custodian, promotions agent and well… you get the idea.

What happens to this blog going forward? I’m not sure. It will still be here for awhile. Turning it into something else seems impossible given the title. I think that’s a decision for another day right now.

In the meantime, thank you for reading. This blog has allowed me the pleasure of meeting and interacting with some wonderful people over the years and I really value everything it has made possible in my life. You can still find me on Ravelry and twitter as social media seems to be the easiest way to communicate these days. I’m sure I’ll probably pop in here from time to time with some knitting or spinning. My house is still too full of fiber not to. ;-)

Comments 9 Comments »

(Before I begin with this announcement I just want to thank everyone that has contacted me with your condolences about Stitches. I wasn’t able to get back to all of you but please know that your kind words made a world of difference and I appreciate them *very* much.)

SOS 2012!

I’m happy to announce the return of the Summer of Socks for 2012! If you aren’t familiar with this knitalong, our basic goal is to band together and support each other to knit socks during the summer months. Socks make such a great project for this time of year! No heavy hot sweater on your lap, totally portable and a great way to explore new yarns, patterns and techniques while you sit by the pool or spend hours in a car or plane going to or from your summer travel destination!

Each year we try to do something different and interesting for a theme or focus for the knitalong. As always, the only thing required to participate is to knit socks! You are NOT required to do any of the other fun patterns or activities we have planned, but it might make things a little more fun if you do! :-)

This year we will focus on supporting the immense community of indie dyers and designers that make sock yarn and sock patterns! These people are very familiar to most of us but there are always new people to discover. These are the people that constantly inspire us with their new ideas so who better to support?!

The knitalong will begin on June 21st and end on September 21st. Here is what will be featured for each of the three months.

June 21-July 21: CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!

For the first month the choices are completely up to you! Choose a pattern and yarn from one of your favorite indie creators and make sure to share your progress with the rest of us in the SOS’12 Ravelry Group!


July 21-August 21: ZARZUELA’S FIBERS & SLEEPY EYES KNITS!

This year as a special bonus for SOS participants I have teamed up with Gina House of Sleepy Eyes Knits to provide you with an amazing pattern/yarn combination for the second month of SOS! Gina has come up with a brand new design, Lotus Heart Socks, featuring my Chromatic yarn!

Lotus Heart Sock

About the pattern: Gina has made the pattern available as of TODAY for those of you that would like to get it right away. You can download it from Gina’s website or from her Ravelry shop RIGHT NOW. For those of you that like to take your patterns with you on your iPhone, the pattern will also be available on Gina’s Sleepyeyes App on iTunes (click on the “Purchase Patterns” link in the app) in about a week.

Gina has also been kind enough to put this pattern on SALE for the incredibly low price of $3.00 now through August 21st just for the Summer of Socks!

Here’s a bit more info about the pattern that Gina has provided:
Yarn: 1 skein Zarzuela Fibers Chromatic Sock in “Light Juniper” or “Anahata” (see below for more information on getting your yarn)
Needle size: US 1.5/2.5 mm (either dpns, Magic Loop, 2 circs)
Style: Cuff Down, regular gusset, lace pattern
Gauge: 8.5 sts and 12 rows = 1 inch
Option: Large, easy to read lace charts AND written instructions, as well as tips on how to personalize the sock to your shape/size foot.
Sizes: Women’s small/medium and medium/large
Pattern Difficulty: Intermediate/advanced

While you’re getting your Lotus Heart Socks pattern be sure to check out the SleepyHeads Ravelry Group and to follow Gina on twitter and “Like” her page on Facebook too!

About the yarn: Chromatic is a 100% superwash BFL sock weight yarn featuring a solid twist and a range of colorways. We are providing you with 4 different yarn options for this pattern. As you can see in the photo above, this sock looks great in a variegated yarn as well as a semi-solid. The variegated in the photo is my Anahata colorway in my Chakra line of colorways and the semi-solid is called Light Juniper which is based on the lightest color in the Anahata colorway. You may choose any of the Chakra colorways OR their coordinating semi-solid for your project (just in case green just isn’t your color ;-) ).

I’ll begin accepting pre-orders for yarn in my etsy shop starting June 11th. For this special event, one skein of Chromatic will be $20 instead of the usual $22. As another option, you may also choose my new Symphonic base, an 80/10/10 Superwash merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend. The pre-order discount for this base will be $22 instead of the usual $24 and will be available in the Chakra colorways OR their coordinating semi-solid as well. Quantities will be LIMITED for this pre-order so make sure you tune in to my etsy shop on June 11th to snag yours!

Gina and I hope you’ll love this combination as much as we have loved putting it together for you and are so very much looking forward to seeing your projects!

August 21-September 21: GROUP FAVORITE!

For the final month of SOS we’ll use the democratic process and vote for a favorite!! On June 21st a thread will be posted in the Ravelry group where you can nominate your favorite indie sock design (it would be awesome if it was designed with an indie yarn in mind but that isn’t required). That thread will close on July 21st. The mods and I will tally up the top 5 nominations and create a poll for voting. Voting will be open from approximately July 28 – August 4. The winner of the voting will be featured for the final month of SOS! If you are an indie designer yourself, please feel free to nominate your own pattern as long as you are an SOS member. This will be a great opportunity for all of us to see some new designs and remember some old favorites so I really hope many of you will participate in the process.

Prizes!

We’ll be offering a prize to a randomly chosen participant again this year thanks to the generosity of several wonderful indie artists! To be eligible for prizes you must do the following:
- You must be a member of the SOS Ravelry group BEFORE June 21st, 2012
- You must post a picture of a finished pair of socks in the completed socks thread for EACH month of the knitalong (minimum of three pairs total)
- In order for a pair of socks to count toward prize eligibility they should be in some sort of adult size. Baby/toddler/single socks will not count. (There is no knitting police and there is no SOS police. If you are an adult with really small feet we’re not going to come after you with a ruler. Use your heads here people and remember that honesty is the best policy! :-) )

This year the prizes will include:
- From Zarzuela’s Fibers: A hand dyed skein of sock yarn in the base and colorway of your choice!

Swadhistana on Symphonic

- From Gina House: Winner’s choice of her Dreamscape book (in hard copy or digital) or another of her paid patterns!

Dreamscape

- From Stitched by JessaLu: A gift certificate for $25 toward the purchase of a bag from her artfire shop!

- From Heather Zoppetti designs: 1 set of stitch markers from her etsy shop AND 1 coupon code worth $5 off on anything in her Ravelry Shop!

Thank you so much to each of these generous artists! Please show them your thanks by supporting them and spreading the word about their great products!

That’s it!! I think it’s going to be another fabulous summer of sock knitting, don’t you? Please join us on Ravelry for up to date information and discussion. If you have any questions or concerns, please drop me a private note on Ravelry or send me an email. Looking forward to a great summer of sock knitting with y’all!! :-)

Comments 7 Comments »

Dear Stitches,

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since we spent our last few hours together. It’s so different here and your Daddy and I have been so sad. I guess I knew somewhere in my heart that afternoon that when you didn’t eat your pumpkin seeds and you looked like you were trying so hard to breathe that we probably weren’t going to bring you home when your Daddy said it was time to take you to the vet, but I just didn’t want to believe it.

You were such a brave little girl. It’s been just over a year since I found your third tumor. I really wish we could have asked you if you wanted surgery again but we’re just too dumb to understand more than the basics of Bunny. I wish we spoke your language better. But we just couldn’t see putting you through that for a third time with the chance that it could come back AGAIN. And after we talked to the vet here in February I sometimes wonder if we should have even done the first two. You suffered so much in your short little life. It seems to unfair. And yet you were always so brave and upbeat. The last year we had been expecting the end so many times and you just kept on going. I guess I thought that maybe it didn’t have to end, but of course it does, for everyone.

I’m sorry we weren’t with you when you left but I hope you know that it was the best we could do to minimize your suffering. The vet said after the gas when he tried to give you that last injection the first vein he tried blew up. I’m so glad you didn’t have to feel that but I’m so sorry they wouldn’t let us be with you as you fell asleep. I hope you understand we tried to do the best for you. I really didn’t think you’d like those electric clippers.

We were so worried about leaving you alone last weekend. I hope you know we weren’t trying to rush you, but as best we could tell it was time. When your Daddy cleaned out your cage this week he found very small poops and since you had been gradually eating less and less and had refused your favorite treat we thought that was our cue. We asked the vet but he said giving you more pain killers or starting to use narcotic ones would slow down your GI tract even more. We knew it was just a matter of time.

I found the receipt from your last visit to the vet in February the other day. It was on the 28th. When the vet weighed you last week you’d lost 1/2 a pound since then. When we account for the amazing fiber you were still growing and the tumor, I’m willing to bet it was closer to a whole pound. You’d lost over a 10th of your body weight in the last 6 weeks or so. No matter how many treats we gave you, your body just couldn’t keep up.

I hope you know we tried our very best to do right by you. We tried so hard to get you better sweetie but that damn cancer just wouldn’t go away! We tried to make you as comfortable as we could. But you were breathing so hard in that last week, even when you were just sitting with me in the hallway. You were so brave sweetie. So brave. And I’m so sorry I didn’t spend more time with you in that last week. If I’d only known…

We love you so much. And your legacy is going to go on for a very long time. We gave some of your things to a shelter that has homeless bunnies. I hope they enjoy your food and some of your toys and maybe even like pumpkin seeds as much as you did. I hope they find a Mommy & Daddy that will love them and spoil them as much as we loved and spoiled you. And of course, I have all your beautiful fiber. So much I don’t even know how I’ll use it all. But it doesn’t matter right now. I have your first haircut spun up in a nice little skein I can keep forever and since I knew your last haircut was going to be your last haircut ever since it made you so uncomfortable to do it I put it in a special box and labeled it. I don’t think I’ll ever open that box.

It’s so quiet and empty here without you. When they brought us your body after you had left it I could feel the emptiness of it all the way to my core. Even when we weren’t at home this weekend I could feel how empty it was here. We miss you so much sweetie. We miss your nomming sounds and your bunny flops. We miss you just being here with us.

Thank you for everything you taught us. We were so clueless when we brought you home and you taught us so much. So much about how to be a bunny mom & dad, so much about love, so much about life. Thank you for everything you taught us. I hope you know that we tried our best. We really did. And we loved you more than I can even imagine sometimes. I don’t know if there will be another bunny in our future, but if there is we’ll be so much more well prepared thanks to you.

I’m sure Simba met you when you passed. Tell her we love her and miss her too.

Stitches coming home

Mama and bunbun

J holding stitches when she came home

Me & stitches

Goodbye my sweet baby girl. Your time here was far too short but will be treasured forever.

Rest in peace.

Love,

Your mama

Stitches
Stitches
2.7.08-4.20.12

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… because I’ve been making all of this happen.

Booth preview!

Booth preview!

With a little help from the local retail genious (otherwise known as my husband)! I think he did a fine job with the new setup, don’t you?

See you at Clermont this weekend?

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On March 21st I was sitting on the beach worried about getting a sunburn:

March umbrella

This week there’s talk of snow! I also had an interesting drive to the yoga studio on Wednesday that threw every possible form of precipitation at me in the course of the 1st 9 miles. And then the sun came out. O.o Gotta love New England!

Speaking of summer, would you believe that I finally finished a pair of socks I started *last* summer? The day after Christmas!

Medallion Lace Socks

Medallion Lace Socks

Pattern: Medallion Lace Socks
Yarn: Zarzuela’s Fibers Chromatic in Navy
Needles: US 2.5
Knit: 7.29.2011-12.26.2011

This pattern was the first selected pattern for SOS last year and my delay in finishing them is by no means a commentary on the pattern. It was lovely to knit in fact but obviously life got in my way a bit. I remember at the time there were many complaints about how the pattern puckered when it was knit, but as you can see a gentle blocking took care of that.

Medallion Lace Socks

The astute among you may also notice that my mind was apparently not with me when I picked these up after a long hiatus to try and finish them.

Medallion Lace Socks

Uh. Yeah. Oopsie! You will also notice that I’m calling it a design element of my own creation and letting the socks live. ;-)

The yarn is my own hand dyed Chromatic Sock which is a 100% superwash BFL with a nice hard twist. It really makes a great sock yarn but as you can see in this Ravelry search there are other good uses for it too. :-) I’m hoping to do a shawlette with my Vishuddha colorway sometime soon.

In shop news there’s only a short time left to get in on my next three month round of the Fiber Club! The first three months have been a blast so far for me and my customers and I’m looking forward to the next three months. :-)

If you want to see my work in person I’ve also got two shows coming up. On April 21st (with a rain date of the 22nd) I’ll be at The Chancellor’s Sheep & Wool Showcase in Germantown, NY and on June 9th I’ll be at the Squam Spring Art Fair in NH. I love meeting customers in person so if you’re nearby to any of these events please come out and say hello!

I hope to have a few more knitting projects to share next time but it seems like my knitting pace is pretty slow these days. I’m grateful though because I’m teaching 4 classes at the studio and starting to find some private students as well and I couldn’t be happier with the work I’m doing. It’s really nice when the universe seems to listen when you ask for what you need. :-)

See you next time!

Comments 4 Comments »

… I guess I’d better use this thing! LOL!

Life is trucking on. Since my last post I’ve had a birthday, added 2 more yoga classes to my teaching schedule, lost one and we’ve changed our minds about our future car buying at least three times. There’s nothing quite like making a decision about something only to get an email the VERY next morning that turns that decision on its head! The universe has an interesting sense of humor sometimes so we take a deep breath and roll with it as best we can.

So since you probably came here for fiber related stuff, and all my current knitting is not ready for public consumption, here’s a better-late-than-never showing of the Christmas knitting I did.

My “boss” at the yoga studio is a Hello Kitty fanatic so I dyed up a special “Hi Kitty” colorway for her on superwash merino:

Superwash merino - Hi kitty!

Spun it up:

Hi kitty spun up!

And knit a quick cowl:

Hi kitty done!!

She’s a fan of scarves and neck coverings of various types so it was well received.

Next up was a hat for my grandpa:

Hat for grandpa

It was a last second thought as we had other gifts for him. The strokes he had required draining through surgery to open up his skull in multiple places so I thought a nice soft and warm hat would be welcome to protect him while he was healing. Sadly, he never got to open any of his gifts but this one went in the casket with him.

I also decided to make a hat for my Dad. He likes to be outdoors quite a bit, even in the colder months, so I wanted something heavy and warm that would protect his ears well with an extra layer. Both of these hats loosely followed this pattern and this one was made from leftover handspun from this sweater.

This time it's a handspun hat for my Dad.

Long time readers may remember that the yarn for that sweater was three ply and the sweater itself weighs about a million pounds so you won’t be surprised to know the hat was definitely heavy and warm. Also a little on the big side but not unwearable at least. I swear I need all my family members to send me measurements for anything that can be covered in knitting…

After finally finishing the socks that were supposed to be a present for Christmas 2011 for my Mom (oye!) I decided on something totally different for her.

Mom's mitts are done!!

These mitts were knit without a pattern and without yarn! I used a technique that I believe the Yarn Harlot made popular recently but only really finally became clear to me when I saw it on the Round the Twist video podcast. Silk hankies (or bells in my case) are separated and drafted into “yarn” without spinning first and knit up into mitts or mittens or probably just about anything else you can imagine. It was fun and interesting and something that I really enjoyed and I hope to do again in the future. I’d encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t done so yet. It’s quite fun!

The final Christmas project was for HWJF and was a complete case of momentary insanity. I saw this pattern posted by someone else on plurk, added it to my wishlist on Ravelry and was literally gifted with it in less than 24 hours. I thought that could only be a sign that HWJF MUST have one and so I set to work knitting it up while he wasn’t home in less than three days. It was impossible to wash and block it without him seeing it so I gave it to him first and blocked it afterward. The miracle of the season was that it actually fit just about perfectly and he loved it!

Bunnies are done!!

I still haven’t managed to get a picture of him wearing it himself. At some point I’m going to make another one in the reverse of the colors so I can have one because we are giant dorks like that. :-)

So that was Christmas. I have a few other projects to share since then so just maybe I’ll get back here to post before another month goes by. ;-) For now I leave you with bunny cuteness:

I'll do anything for SEEDS!!

Comments 5 Comments »

I’ve thought about coming back to the blog off and on for some time now but I just couldn’t seem to find it in me to put something above my last post. I guess I just needed time.

Life marches on of course and I’ve been doing my best to march along with it. I’ve been teaching yoga and doing a little bit of dyeing (mostly for the fiber club) and quite a bit of crocheting. Yes I said crocheting! If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time you might remember that I used to do quite a bit of it back in the day. I’ve gotten away from it for quite some time but I’ve been inspired to get back to it by the thoughtful people at Heartmade Blessings.

I was a member of the group back in my early days of grad school and the early days of this blog but knitting became more interesting and natural fibers called my name and I got away from it. Before I did my Mom joined and she’s been a regular member ever since. When my grandfather became ill she requested a ‘ghan for him. Unfortunately he didn’t live long enough to see it and the group instead gave it to my aunt and made 2 more ghans, one for my Dad and one for his other sister. I made a square for each of them but that just didn’t seem to be enough so I made a goal of making enough squares to “make up” for each of the afghans given to my family and one more since I ended up requesting one for a friend’s son (you know who you are).

28 more squares for HMB!

20 twelve inch granny squares for HMB

14 squares for HMB done! 2 not pictured.

So I’ve been making granny squares like a possessed person and thanks to the help of some friends on Plurk I have more than reached my goal of 48 squares. And I intend to keep going. Making these squares has been soothing to me in a way that stockinette knitting usually is for me. And the idea that they may bring comfort to someone else, even if the yarn I have to use is not my favorite, is something I feel is very much worth my time and energy at the moment.

If you have some Red Heart type acrylic yarn in your stash that you don’t want any more, let me know. I can put it to good use.

And so I’m moving forward. One step at a time, one day at a time. So is Stitches. So is her tumor. I fear we may not have much longer with her but we made sure to celebrate her birthday with a big cake on the 7th. If 8+ min. of bunny munching good time sounds like fun to you, you can watch the video here.

Maybe next time I’ll show you all the things I made for Christmas gifts.

Comments 6 Comments »

...just be yourselves, ...just be yourselves

My grandfather left his body just before 7pm on December 25th after a thankfully short illness.

He was a sweet and gentle man and the memory of his 92 years on this earth will be cherished by his family. His children were with him when he passed and he allowed me the gift of a chance to say goodbye the day before. I’m so grateful for having had that opportunity with my last grandparent.

Thank you for being at my wedding Grandpa. I’m sure going to miss your smile and your light. I’ll just have to keep you in my heart until I see you again.

Comments 16 Comments »

As a married woman a torrid love affair seems out of the question these days but knitting is an interesting mistress. That hat in the last post? Totally lit my flame when it came to knitting again. I suddenly found myself wanting to cast on EVERYTHING and not just for me but for anyone and everyone I know!

Which also led to wanting to buy ALL THE YARN for just about anything and everything. Since THAT is completely out of the question with the current budget at Casa de Zarzuela I decided to go shopping in my own stash and do a bit of reorganizing (didn’t hurt that there was also an impending visit from Mom & Dad!). In the midst of that reorganizing I found a bag full of cream colored Patons Classic wool that I apparently bought in Princeton in 2006 at the bargain basement price of $3.77/skein! At the time I believe I had an aran sweater in mind but I’ve also had thoughts of knitting a Hemlock Ring blanket with it for quite some time.

So I cast on as soon as I finished the hat.

Hemlock ring start

And I couldn’t put the thing down.

Hemlock ring continues

In less than a week? Finito! And I did the whole chart too.

Hemlock ring blocking

(It even forced me to go out and finally buy a blocking solution that did not require stripping a bed. I still miss the extra bed though.)

Who will be the owner of this? Well… I can’t tell you since they haven’t unwrapped it yet. ;-)

For now I’m going to cast on for the next project…

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Do you ever find yourself knitting away and not really loving it? I’ve really been in a bit of a slump this year knit-wise. There of course have been some mighty big distractions in my life (hello major move and new career choices!) but I really hadn’t found myself in love with my knitting lately.

Then this came along.

Habitat pattern

I recently took a trip to Harrisville Designs only because we passed signs for it on the way to the Pumpkin Festival or I never would have known it was so close! We ended up out in that area again for a work event for HWJF recently so I took a little detour. I’ll tell you more about some of the reasoning behind that trip in another post, but while I was there I picked up this skein of Shelter

Shelter in Embers

and the pattern above. Lately I’ve only been interested in knitting things that are fairly simple, don’t take much time and produce a quick result. The cables in this hat might not necessarily be in keeping with these thoughts but it’s only a hat so how bad could it be?

Habitat

It wasn’t bad at all. It was down right inspiring!

I forgot how much I love cables. I forgot how awesome it can be to look at a chart and see where the twists and turns will take you only to have them show up in the thing sitting in your lap. Cables in knitting are an amazing journey that I love to travel. This hat reminded me of this.

Habitat

I just love the way the decreases came together at the top!

I made it for HWJF (as might be obvious by the color choice) and finished it in 3 days. This wasn’t the simplest of knits so the timeline tells you how much I couldn’t put this down.

New hat in use for the Christmas parade!

He wore it to the Christmas parade we had in town the other day.

Always working!!

In fact, I think I need to make a second one for myself. But this project lit a fire under me for many other things…

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