It feels like we only just got home from the last show when it’s time for the next one! Pittsburgh Indie Knit & Spin is next Saturday and you don’t want to miss it. This is only its second year, but my friend Cosy has put together a fantastic line-up of dyers and fiber artists (and more!). Check out who’s coming:
These are some seriously talented makers and, for me, I am honoured to be amongst them. But, for you, it means a wonderful selection of yarn and fiber (and soap and books…), all of it handmade, all of indie. Do come!
Also, this will be our last show this year, so if you’ve been wanting to smoosh the SpaceCadet’s yarns in person, don’t miss it!
Oh, and apropos of nothing at all, there’s this: I was using my camera the other day and realised there were a bunch of pictures that I hadn’t downloaded of the house we rented for our weekend at Rhinebeck. And I liked some of them so much, I just wanted to share them with you…
You can see why it was so much fun, can’t you? Oh, what a weekend!
First it rained. It was the kind of rain where you discover that the highest setting on the wipers is frighteningly inadequate, where cars slide off the road, where you wonder if you’re going to get there at all.
And then it cleared, and we suddenly saw how incredibly beautiful autumn in the Hudson Valley really is.
The old farmhouse we rented turned out to be wonderful. It had a lovely pond, and beautiful period features. And big soft comfortable beds
But there was no time to go to bed — there was work to be done — and we headed straight to the Duchess County Fairgrounds to get the Melissa Jean booth set up. It was a lot of hard work but, by the end, I think it looked fantastic, don’t you?
And then it was two amazing, whirlwind days of yarn and buttons and so many lovely customers and some super-cool fiberista friends… We were so busy, I forgot to take pictures of almost everyone (ooops!).
And then, before I even knew it’d begun, it was all over! The booth was taken down and the car all packed up, and we started on the long looong journey back.
And when we finally arrived home after 9 hours of driving, I made myself a well-deserved cup of tea, and looked back at the weekend with a crazy rush of emotion. It was an amazing weekend, and I felt so excited and so happy.
…And ohhhh sooooo tired!
(With huge thanks to Melissa Jean for featuring SpaceCadet yarn, and to Natalie and Kristen for making everything go so smoothly.)
Lots of yarns went back into the shop yesterday. Lots more will go in today and over the weekend, including some fantastic one-of-a-kind colourways that you won’t want to miss. Click here to keep your eyes open for them!
And I am panicking a little. The trouble with a show that’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done is that I’ve got absolutely no idea how much yarn we’ll need. So a few weeks ago I decided to start dyeing and just not stop. And that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since.
One week! And there is so. much. to. do. And I don’t know if I have enough yarn! So I gotta get back into the studio but, before I do… here quick, come take a look…
Coming to Rhinebeck? Come visit us at the Melissa Jean Designs booth. Hope to see you there!
If you ask me what day it is, I don’t know. If you ask me what time it is, I’ll be no help to you. And if you ask me which way is up, I might end up pointing in any direction. Rhinebeck is only two weeks away and, though life keeps trying to derail the whole thing, I am keeping my nose to the grindstone and powering through.
And you know I love it but… well, if you’re not made of either yarn or dye, I probably have no idea what to do with you right now!
But just before I run back into the studio (run, SpaceCadet, run!), I just want to quickly share with you a sneak peek at the Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs. It’s debuting at Rhinebeck, but I got to see one of the sample being knitted up and snapped some pictures for you guys.
In a way, it’s a simple tee. But the beautiful cable work gives it stretch and shaping that takes that tee to whole ‘nother level. It is just stunning.
The yarn in these photos is SpaceCadet Lyra, an incredibly sproingy sport weight yarn in 100% superwash merino. What? You didn’t know “sproingy” was a word? There is no other way to describe it! When you squish it between your fingers, it just goes sproing right back into shape!
The Dublin Tee will be available at the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck, so please do stop by and see it… see us… see the sproing! And if you can’t make it to the festival, it will be available through the Melissa Jean website after its debut.
Don’t those pictures make you want to cast on right now?!? Yeah, me too. And you know what? As soon as I’ve got all this dyeing done and the festival is over, that is exactly what I’m going to do!
When I realised what I’d done, I’m certain my heart stopped for a moment. I was on a bus — stuck on a bus for an hour — and I’d forgotten my knitting. And I know no one else around me understood what I was going through. They were all staring at their phones, filling their minds with texts and tweets and pixels and nothingness, while I sat and tried to keep my hands from twitching. No one else on that bus understood, but I know you do.
I pulled out my phone and tried to join in the tiny-screen distraction but… urghhhh… it felt pointless, a sorry substitution. I stuffed the phone back in my handbag and turned to stare out the window instead, past the streaks of rain obscuring the view, and realised with a start that the bus was about to drive past a local yarn shop. Right past it — no slowing, no stopping, no sympathy. And as the shop came into view and then passed away again, I fell a pull right from my guts. There were needles and yarn in there! That’s all I needed — just two sticks and some string — and the next hour could be filled with that that physical satisfaction of beautiful yarn moving through my fingers, the righteousness of softly clicking needles.
But instead… ughhhhh. I turned away from the window, pulled out my phone again — what else was I to do? — and tweeted out my despair to people who would get it. And you did.
And there, on that bus in the rain, with twitchy fingers and that horrid sensation of empty uselessness, I suddenly felt warmed by the cyber-support of my kin and kind, the sympathy of virtual companions when those around me showed none.
Why did I forget my knitting?!? Because I have been working my socks off getting ready for Rhinebeck — and apparently turning my brain into mush the in process! (What else could possibly explain allowing myself to get into a pickle like that?) I asked a friend, how much yarn do I think I’ll need to have ready? And her sobering reply: “More than you ever thought possible“.
And so I’ve been dyeing from sun up to sun down — oh, and wellllll beyond sundown too . Thick yarns, thin yarns, laceweight and bulky. Cashmere, sparkles, linen, and silk. There are yarns hanging from every possible space waiting to be tied, waiting to be tagged, waiting to be twisted (and my fingers ache already in anticipation of all that twisting!).
But for all the effort it’s taking to do all this dyeing, I am loving it. There is a real bliss that comes from from dyeing at speed, when you don’t have time to overthink it — you don’t have time to think at all — and you just do it. You dye from instinct, putting colours together with honesty and spontaneity. For all the hours I’m putting in, I am so enjoying this! I don’t know, when all is said and done, if I’ll have enough for Rhinebeck, but it won’t be for lack of trying. Or lack of passion.
When I got home, I barely stopped to take off my jacket — I needed a fiber fix and I needed it fast. There was my knitting, lying forlorn in its bag near the door, but to start on it would have meant counting rows and checking the chart. No time! Instead I pulled a chair up to my Lendrum, make two quick adjustments, and set the wheel into its hypnotic rhythm. Letting fiber slip through my fingers, that gentle whir and the smell of the wool, I felt my insides gently decompress.
After a few minutes, I let the wheel slow, and then stop. And then I went into the kitchen to put on the kettle, everything right in my world again.
Last weekend was Rhinebeck, otherwise known as the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and one of the best and most exciting fiber festivals in the country. Or… so I’d been told. I’d never been to it before, but this year the stars aligned and I got my chance!
Rhinebeck was everything I hoped for. Sheep, alpaca, llamas, kangaroos (seriously!), fair food, fine food, wine, spinning wheels, spindles, fiber, and yarn yarn yarnyarnyarn. At the Ravelry meet-up (above), I got the chance to meet Laura Nelkin, a designer I’ve featured here before and whose work I’ve admired a long time. I also ran into the delightful Ariane of Falling Stitches, my friend Julia of Knitterly Things, my friend Gwen of GwenErin Natural Fibers, and Ravelry’s own Mary-Heather and Sarah (wearing a fast-asleep Carlton).
But never mind all that, because I discovered two people whose products I loved so much that I really thought you’d want to meet them!
First is Melissa Tompkins-Stahl, whom I liked right from the moment I met her but — more importantly for you — who also makes absolutely lovely ceramic buttons. Seriously, they are like candy for knitters. My friend Kristen introduced us and pointed out how beautifully the colours of Melissa’s buttons and colours of SpaceCadet yarns go together. Kristen put several buttons against a cowl she’d spun with SpaceCadet fiber and she was right. Melissa and I clearly share a colour connection, and if you’re ever looking for buttons for a project you’ve made with SpaceCadet yarn, it’s worth looking at her website…
And the other person is Leah LaFera of Ulster Soaps. I knew I needed to check out Leah’s stall even before I saw it — the smell of her soaps was tugging at me! And when I got there and met Leah, I knew I wanted to tell you about her. I’ve always wanted to try soapmaking (don’t you?), so I asked her a whole bunch of questions, and she answered them all so enthusiastically. It’s clear she loves what she does! I chose some soaps: Peppermint Delight, Lavender Dream, and Lemon Poppy Seed (nom nom nom!) and I knew I wanted to share them (and her!) with you too.
And of course, there was all that yarn — so much fun to look at it, to smoosh it, to pet it! And it inspired me to do a shop update…