Thursday, October 6, 2011

Summer revisited: Fiber, friends, frivolity

Yes,  I have been AWOL for, I guess, three months steeped in the joy of a glorious summer in Northern Michigan enjoying old friends and making special new ones.  Before I left Dallas in May, I connected on the internet with some special women on a Michigan spinners group on Ravelry, an on-line community of fiber nuts.
I trooped over to meet them the first Weds. night I was in town at Knit Night at the Dutch Oven, a yarn shop that is adjacent to a bakery.  That was all it took.  Meta and I hit it off as we confessed our spinning addiction and it's necessity for a fleet of wheels.  Dot was one of the first contact and is a steady, lovely, talented person.

Here are Meta and I in her studio getting ready to get wild with some artsy batts.  That place is amazing; customized dye kitchen and large work surfaces for carding, blocking and painting fiber.

Sandy was at Dutch Oven very soon after that first night.  She spins, knits and keeps us laughing.  Heck, she invited Meta and I to stay in her condo down in Holland, MI, when we attended the Michigan Fiber Festival.  She had met us maybe twice!!! That was a blast.
 I saw the Mimi Shawl by at Cynthia Too's shop in Petoskey.  I felt like it would be perfect for some of my hand spun yarn.  One of my summer goals was to use up quantities of my mounding hand spun yarns.  Here it is on the blocking boards.  It's soft and cozy when not stretched and pinned to death.

 The lace pattern kept my attention for sure.
 Does it look like hawk-wings-in-aqua here?
 Then I got tripped up on Madeline Tosh yarns that Cynthia started adding to her shop. 
Meta brought her finished Stephen West Spectra scarf and I HAD  to do one.
Here is the start of mine.  I am almost done with it now and have a second one planned.

I have knit prolifically this summer and done some spinning.  More posts on that and on a Knit-A-Long I am doing with a group from Cynthia Too.
I have goodies for the shop in the way of luscious Leceister Long Wool lamb locks and Wensleydale lamb locks that I have found from a local Northern Michigan farm.  Look for that in late October, I hope.
I think I'm glad to be back to the blog.  So much to share.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Up North Floral Abundance

Part of the summer glory up in Northern Michigan includes amazing, bright flowers.  The grand porch above wraps around a rambling manse on Beach Drive.  There are about nine of these boxes adorning it.
 Ok, this is not a box, but a garden that I gravitate toward every year.  Great perennials mixed with annuals to enjoy all summer
 Even the storage shed up at Three Pines Gallery in Cross Village gets it's own dash of color.   I love the gate leaning on the side.
 A big yellow house on Beach Drive sports four of these patriot boxes.  Love to have wine here with my friend and watch the boats on the bay.
 In Harbor Springs, one of the galleries has these geraniums with all the trailing white blossoms.

 My favorite knit shop anywhere, anywhere, Cynthia Too/Two in Petoskey has all of this floral glory out in front just drawing you into Cynthia's shop.  She has tempting yarn and unbelieveably cute gift ideas all over the shop.  I go here twice a month for Open Knit day.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Harbor Skies

Thursday night Harbor Springs hosted a Gallery Walk that included ten or twelve art galleries serving up great art, blown glass and sculpture.  But, to me the great art was upstaged by the cloud patterns that night  accented by the quaint architecture of Main Street.
How can you not love the festive evening with a stage set such as this?
Or this?  Oh, and did I mention it was a perfectly delightful 75 degrees as we strolled with streets with our glasses of Chardonnay?
Blissful evening.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dyein' in the Woods

New Michigan fiber friend, Meta, invited me up to her studio at her home in the woods near Carp Lake.  What an adventure!  Her driveway winds through tall, tall pines and then opens up into a magical clearing with her home, gardens, her husband's shop and her to-die-for studio. ( I resisted the obvious pun there.)  It's a precious house, really, with a porch, little garden with sunflowers sprouting up and then a big room with big windows and everything a dyer, spinner, carder a fiber freak could want.  Gasp!  I loved it.  These  coiled rovings were just artfully placed about.

Meta is super organized and precise. Her color book has all her dye formulas with fiber swatches.  Makes my seat-of-pants method look beyond sloppy.  I only occasionally mix my own colors.  I just buy more dyes.  Her colors are all custom mixed, lovely and subtle.

I brought Bombex and Tussah silk to dye to use in my art batts.  I got to select colors from the formula book.  That was hard!  I couldn't decide.  Then Meta carefully did some caluculations in metric measures and mixed the dyes which where then put in squeeze bottles ( she has a million).

We snaked the wet silk out on a length of plastic wrap.  I then donned plastic gloves and began squeezing dye onto the fiber and tamping color through the silk with my finger.

Love the results!
After we got my fiber in the dye pots, we rinsed her Romney curls "casseroles".  Yum.  I got to take some of this dreamy stuff home.

And, best of all, I got invited back!  Next time we are going to do casseroles of charcoal grey Wensleydale locks from Spring Trail Fiber Works.  They are in the mail.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's not to love?

 Each morning Trinket and I stroll along Beach Drive on our walk.  We are watching all the preparations for a full summer:  docks are being put in, flower boxes filled, porches scrubbed and styled with gobs of wicker.

 Later on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I ride my bike into the Harbor Springs Farmers Market.  This time I snagged these gorgeous lupine and peonies for a bouquet in the condo, along with fresh eggs, lettuces, broccoli and gourmet vanilla extract.  I think the base for it is vodka!    The vender grows the beans and then ages the vanilla.

After a little fresh salad dinner, I sometimes find myself on Pat's porch with a lovely glass of syrah and little bits of brownies made from Barefoot Contessa recipe.  Chocolate and red wine.  What's not to love? Bliss!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Batt-y Spinning

Last week we had some chilly, rainy days that were perfect for setting up my Louet carder on the kitchen counter.  I shipped it up here along with a wild assortment of fibers for carding crazy artsy batts.  Well six batts later, it was time to start spinning.
Each summer I get reacquainted with my trusty Ashford Tradional wheel with it's single treadle.  I thought I would miss double treadling since my Dallas wheels are all outfitted as double, but years of spinning my grand Rio Grande wheel stands me in good stead with the Traddy.  I put on the jumbo flyer and began spinning two purple-ish artsy batts.  What fun!
 Now I am waiting for some shimmery Sulky rayon thread I ordered from a little shop on Etsy to ply this whimsically  crazy yarn.
I'm hoping that thread shows up at my door this morning.  I will have two big skeins of purple/pink/ you-name-it art yarn!
P.S. Oh, and can you see my shiny new cup holder on my wheel?  I love FBN Plastics on Etsy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three Pines Studio for Knit-in Public Day

Where did you KIP on Saturday?  I got to knit in the gorgeous environment at Three Pines Studio in Cross Village, just 20 miles from my condo here in Harbor Springs.  Gene, Joann and Linda set us up in the studio of this gorgeous gallery. 

Dot, decked out in handknits of sweater, vest, fair isle socks and wrist warmers, spun away on a two-ply yarn she plans to use in a fair isle bag.  Jeez, she actually spins for a specific project. Such a foreign concept to me.

Meta brought her electric Hanson spinning and was spinning lace weight coral loveliness from rovings she had blended with angora, silk, and merino, I think.  She quietly brought out a basket of her hand spuns.  Wow!
Her little coils in these add texture and magic.

The little colored bits in this one are silk noil.  I love the boucle' look of it.

I just love this photo with the spotlight on the skein. 

Doesn't this lace shawl blow you away?  Karen, the lace guru designed and knit this number.  I am going to take a class from her later in June to see if I can overcome my resistance to charts, tiny yarns and having to THINK when I knit.  Don't look for this kind of work from me though.  I like the phrase, "simple" chart.

For me, an inspiring, friendly afternoon up here in the north woods just confirmed how fiber friends are a source of artistic inspiration and companionship wherever you find them.  Ravelry rocks!  I found Dot and Meta there and the rest is history.  And, I get to head up to Three Pines Studio each Tuesday afternoon this summer to knit on the porch.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kicking back Up North

Yes, Up North, is the way Michiganders refer to northern Michigan.  I am almost feeling guilty to be enjoying the cool, even breezy cold, weather here as Dallasites suffer with 100 degree heat already in early June.  I think the summer there could be a b@3%h.  I love wearing sweaters and light weight jackets.  Wish I had brought more flats and not so many sandals.  Oops, am I rubbing it in?
So much to do here.  Friday night we cruised around the sidewalk party in Petoskey.  I got to visit the precious Cynthia2 knit shop.  They have knitting gatherings on certain Saturdays this summer that I want to frequent.

Also got to visit Fustini's in person.  I have been ordering specialty olive oils and vinegars  online for them.  In the store you get to taste all the products.  Fabulous.  They are temporarily discontinuing Porcini Mushroom Oil so I selected Lemon instead to companion with my fave vinegar, Lavender.
Yummy choices to add to my big full meal salads.
The Harbor Springs farmers market should be starting soon, so uber fresh lettuce and tomatoes will be just a bike ride away.  I'm telling you, this is Camp-for-Grownups.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shop News: FREE SHIPPING until who knows when...

Yes, Because I love you guys, I am  doing FREE SHIPPING in the shop on all domestic and Canadian orders.  AND if you are a repeat customer, let me know and I will have an extra discount for you.  We LOVE our repeat customers!
I have  brought all my rovings, spinning-with-locks kits and drum carded art batts to my summer digs so I can keep Cordova Studios up and running while I am "summering" away up here by Lake Michigan. 

Also have my carder and spinning wheel here, so will be adding new stuff soon.  Look for more funky art batts loaded with goodies, and art yarns of all types.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Queueing up Projects for the summer

As I prepare for departure to my summer digs, I have fight this great fear of not having enough projects with me to knit.  God forbid!  I know, I know, I could buy something, but this year I am promising myself to use my handspun and knit up lovelies from this.  It's a bit of a trick to have the right yardage for the right project as I can't just go "buy" an extra skein or two.  With the help of my Wednesday spinning buddies I have lined up three more possibilities from Ravelry.  Beth, the forever librarian was a huge help on this.
I have some bulky handspun in apple greens, taupe and rust tones that I think this "Faraway, So Close" shawl will work with.  It's on #10 needles or so and has interesting patterns and waves in it.
Faraway, so Close

BFL hand spun plied with apple green merino
 Then for some sport weight to fingering weight hand spun I think I will do this charming Pamuya shawl:
BFL Handspun plied with aqua merino
Another choice would be for a rectangular shawl, this Fleece shawl should truly challenge my lace knitting skills.  I will be texting my mentors a lot on this one.
 This one is done by elsbethr on ravelry.  I think it is stunning.  Still deciding on the yarn for this one.
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