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.

in search of ‘the hat’

i have long been

in search of ‘the hat’.

it has streamlined ribbing,

fast decreases that allow the top to lie nearly flat

while at the same time puckering, intentionally, just a bit.

the stitches are small,

the yarn fine, but even more importantly it is airy and light.

the closest i’ve ever come

is a machine made, store bought one

and that is so not what i had in mind.

a while back i got two skeins of berroco folio

with the intention

of making a hat like billy gibbons’.

this dk weight yarn is soft and weighs next to nothing.

i thought this would give just the right drape to the faux dreads.

in reality, the viscose in the mix makes it almost slippery

which makes manipulating the ‘dread’ stitch pattern a chore

and no matter how cool something looks, i don’t want it to be a chore to make.

so, this week i revisited (been doing a lot of that lately)

the untouched beginnings

of my billy gibbons hat and rolled the lovely

folio back up into a new ball of ‘ready to become’.IMG_2299

decided somewhere in the midst of the rolling, that perhaps this was ‘the yarn’

to make ‘the hat’ with.

a few hours of pleasant knitting later

 and i am 2/3rds of the way to the firm possibility of ‘the hat’.

feeling so excited about it,

that last night when it got too dark to continue the actual knitting,

i wrote out the decreases

this, my friends is just not the way that i usually do things.

my definitions of hat ‘decreases’ are the things that you put lifelines in for

because you wing them as you go

so as to avoid having to write

the actual math out first

(i’m a bad designer, i know, but not this time).

so, if all goes smoothly after the kiddos go to bed,

i should know by midnight if this is ‘the hat’ or if i’ve not quite found ‘it’ yet.

itching to knit a bit more to find out…

‘wing’ taken from 19:4 of exodus.


i finally did it.

everything got rearranged

so i could have the time and good compnay to get to my first fiber festival,

of any kind,


i took pics but,

since naomi and habak (new camera and laptop) are still not speaking,

it will be a day or two until i sort through and glean the best ones

to tell the story of my visit.

for now, i can say that i was surprised to find

next to displays full of skeins of lovely alpaca yarn

the actual farm raised alpacas.

my surprise was at how unexpectedly cool that is.IMG_7396shadthis mama and her cria (baby alpaca)

were comfortably hanging out.

i felt shy about taking their pic while the little one was nursing,

but look at how securely he (or she?) stands,

stretching to full height with

mama close by.

love it.

‘habak’ taken from 1:5 of habakkuk.