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travel ready

let me tell you a little story

from vacation with the cousins last month

that involves maine, and yarn, and math, and della q…ready?

after putting a pile of dirty clothes and the right number of quarters

into one of the big washers at the local laundromat,

i drove up the road a bit to

‘stone soup artisans’ on main street in saco.

this is a collaborative of maine artisans who all take turns manning the register

and being in the shop to fill the hours it’s open.

inside is photography,

jewelry made from beach rocks,

carved wood, pottery, sea glass, baby gifts,

and one basket filled with beautiful handspun yarns.

this is the wall hanging that is right behind the cash register:IMG_5664+

so true! when i asked the woman behind the counter if i might take a picture

(she obviously said ‘yes’), i noticed that she was

knitting a little baby sweater.

we started chatting

and it turned out that the lovely handspun yarn i had chosen to buy

was her yarn. she raised the sheep. she raised the alpacas. she spun it herself.IMG_5199sq

having lingered to talk to her about life at ‘ewe & i farm’ a little,

i was even more excited to get

back to the cottage and

cast on.

except, i had vacation brain. you know.

now i had the yarn, i knew i wanted a big squishy ribbed hat for me,

and my brain was refusing to do the arithmetiic.

so i did what anyone on vacation with my family would do,

i walked into the next room and asked my dad and my uncle jim to do the math for me.IMG_4985sq

they were a bit baffled by the parameters of what i wanted,

but they did the math anyway. thanks guys!

now all i needed was needles.

the exactly right needles.

normally on vacation i would not have had them with me.

normally i would have grabbed whatever was needed,

for the specific yarns i was packing,

and brought no more.

but, just before vacation my tri-fold circular needle case from della q had arrived.

i was so excited that i packed it up with my favorite needles

(from indian lake artisans) nestled inside.

i don’t have nearly enough of the lovely hexagonal needles to fill the case,

but now i can see clearly where the gaps in my collection are…

and i did have the exactly right 16″ 10.5 circulars that this new handspun needed.IMG_4980-1sq

i can’t really say strongly enough how convenient i find this case.

it packed well, it traveled well,

and it meant that i got to cast on asap

which every knitter knows always feels like such a good thing.

when the temps drop significantly below the upper 80’s,

i’ll get a pic of the hat in action for you.

for now, and in case you were wondering, let me say

that i did remember, with my new yarn snugly under my arm,

to pick up my laundry on the way back to the cottage,

but only because i had to drive right by the laundromat

and, i may have had to do a bit of a u-turn as well.

i did, never-the-less, remember the laundry.

‘travel’ taken from 13:21 of exodus.

note: now for just a little of the nitty-gritty.

i was given this circular needle case to review, but

i loved it so much that i went back and bought the matching dpn case asap.

and you know me,

a free case isn’t ever going to make me say that i like what i don’t.

i’m much too stubborn and pigheaded for things like that.

mondays with mrs. crosby: eight

friday.

already?

the truth is, that

i realized fleetingly that it was wednesday

when my mum called to check if we needed anything at the store.

that’s bad, right?

and then in the blink of an eye it’s actually dinnertime on friday night.

still mostly feels like mostly monday morning to me.

in my

defense,

it’s school vacation week.

as long as we all got dressed, brushed our teeth,

and ate three square meals a day, that’s really been enough this week.

my mamahood life…

all this to say that i posted my

‘mondays with mrs. crosby’ photo to facebook,

instagram, twitter, and then completely

(and immediately) forgot to post to the blog.

so, i’m claiming

‘school vacation brain’

and moving quickly on, okay?

it’s been a week for clinging a bit to all things calming.

 we’ve had bitter cold, rain, snow, 50 mile an hour winds,

and then today it’s sunny and nearly 55 degrees.

that adds up to kids who are climbing

up the walls

and me knitting stockinette stitch with a deeply contented look on my face.

don’t get me wrong, we’ve made marshmallow men,

hand drawn cards for papa’s birthday,

strung fruit loops onto yarn scraps,

built newly improved telescopes and planes from legos,

used toothpicks and gummy bears to create really sweet jewelry,vacay week collageand the kids did their own face painting.

that was just one day of the five days this week.

i have navigated focusing their enthusiasm

in positive directions as both referee and cheerleader.

i’m guessing you can begin to see why

i might be longing for more stockinette stitch speed right about now.

mrs. crosby’s hat box in new leaf was ever so happy to oblige.IMG_2770

add the patterning details of leilani arts indigo fabric

and indian lake artisan’s hexagonal needles into the mix?

now i’m happy as a pig in mud

which is just what

my kids will look like playing in the yard tomorrow

if the weather doesn’t chill up a bit.

oh well, more rhythm of the stockinette for me.

all good.

‘climbing’ taken from 4:3 of nehemiah.

‘mondays with mrs. crosby’ is an ongoing series of posts

(to be posted on mondays, of course),

detailing a current collaboration between mrs. crosby yarns

and me. stay tuned.

schooled

we all remember,

the #2 pencils, in classic school bus yellow, right?

i still buy my kids new packs for school each fall.

the thing is, that when you write with them

you don’t feel the edges

of the hexagonal shape, you only feel

the control you have of the overall pencil.

now, i’d tried square knitting needles.

a friend liked them and raved about the control she felt over the stitches

when using them.

i used them for a bit,

but they always felt ‘square’ in my hands.

i could feel the four edges against my fingers as i worked with them.

never could really get used to that feeling.

the extra control i felt of the stitches using them was so great,

that i was sad to lose it when i went back to regular round needles,

but, the squareness through me.

then this past january

i met pam and her husband in their booth at vklive.

the company name intrigued me (indian lake artisans)IMG_0441sat

and they had needles and yarn out to test, so i knit a little.

i expected to feel the edges, just like with the square needles,

but i truly didn’t.

i giddily tried some yo’s and ssk’s.

sure enough, the control was there in spades.

i walked around the exhibit floor a bit more and came back

just to be sure that my wanting them to be wonderful

wasn’t coloring my vision of their reality.

2nd, and 3rd time around

(i am so not an impulse buyer),

they felt just as nice in my hands and i had all that extra grip, too.

i bought a pair of size 10’s on the spot

and used them, and my yarnit,

to knit a little hat in cey chateau over the course of the weekend.

sometimes it all just comes together.

these needles feel to me like finding an old friend in a stranger.

that’s rare, i know,

but when it happens, it’s gold!

if you want to buy yourself a pair

to see that what i’m talking about is true,

use the code ‘talitha’ (all lowercast letters) at checkout

on the indian lake artisans website and they’ve agreed to give us all free shipping.

i’ll be placing my order by the end of the week…

‘vision’ taken from 20:8 of job.

touchy feely

i’m still in ‘pondering’ mode,

still trying to find the words to explain just why

the indian lake artistans needles

have struck such a chord with and in me.

you know how sometimes, something fades away,

but so slowly, that you don’t realize it’s gone

until you get a glimpse of when it was still around

and then the ‘missing it’ is sort of fierce?

i feel like that (if it makes any sense at all).

i took this quick shot today and posted it over on instagram.

IMG_0345urbsee how the warm tones of the wool and the wood

make the foreground of the photo look all cozy and welcoming?

while at the very same time, all the ‘other stuff’

(in this case, the things waiting to be taken care of on the kitchen island)

sort of fade into the background?

that’s how i feel knitting with these maple needles in hand.

it’s like i’m in the foreground of the photo and the ‘stuff’ has just faded away.

now don’t get me wrong, i’ll knit with almost anything.

(i’ve used pencils and bobby pins for cable needles in a pinch)

and i always enjoy it,

but there’s some other layer to the process.

it’s a layer i had when i first started knitting,

and it got lost in all the ‘stuff’.

then somehow with these handcrafted wooden needles in my hands,

it’s not lost anymore.

that’s what i couldn’t find clear words to say yesterday.

i’m not sure that i’ve succeeded at being any clearer than mud

about it here today, but there it is.

now, i hope you enjoy your knitting tonight as much as

i know i’m going to enjoy mine.

‘feelings’ taken from 29:11 of proverbs.

savoring

as if knitting with

the ‘kelp’ worsted from nice & knit

isn’t amazing enough, i bought a tin of their

‘lifesaver’ stitch markers. they’re the ones i was talking about

back over here.

in their generosity,

katie and kara, threw in an extra tin of markers

so i could give it away to one of you.IMG_0493crop

yeah!  how i love to know that one of you will be extra happy

to win such a sweet treat.

to enter to win, go and check out all the

rich, vibrant colors that the gals have dyed up,

then leave a comment below

telling me which color you’d most want to

have with you

if you were stuck on a desert island

and you could only have one colorway (oh horror!).

ready? go!

(you have until tuesday at noon,

eastern standard time,

to leave your

choice.

i’ll pick a winner by rng

and announce it here that same day, by 5pm).

can’t wait to read what color and why…’

‘island’ taken from 27:25-27 of acts.

in this moment

IMG_9022urbi’ve been doing a little 2 steps forward, 3 steps back

with this new cabled design.

fresh ideas are often like that for me, never a straight line

of forward motion from beginning to end.

it’s a good thing that

it’s the process of the knitting i love.

if i only had my sights on the reward of reaching the goal,

and wasn’t able to enjoy the tangental paths that take me there

i’d be miserable doing what i do.

helps immensely

to be surrounded by yarn and needles

that i really like working with.

in this case, it’s rowan’s cocoon and the new handcrafted

hexagonal needles from indian lake artisans.

now, tonight i’ll move a few more

steps forward, and see if they stick or not.

‘paths’ taken from 3:17 of proverbs.