Feeling thankful, a week late…..

This week I made a prayer shawl for a family friend who is about to undergo a double mastectomy. I was happy to have yarn in my stash that would work and a pattern I knew would be perfect and quick to work up. But today as I was running errands I realized that more than anything I am grateful to my childhood best friend’s mother Gale, for teaching me how to knit. I vividly remember sitting in her living room by the wood stove as she taught us both to knit. Without her, I might not have developed my love of crafting and yarn. And I wouldn’t have been able to make this meaningful gift for my friend. So a little late to the party as usual, I am thankful today for that simple gift she gave me many years ago.

Teaching someone to knit or crochet is a gift you can give. So please spread the love, and teach someone, share your love of the craft. Knitting and crochet are fun, and science says its good for you.

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New England Fiber Festival

Last weekend we went to the New England Fiber Festival at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield Massachusetts.

It was a really nice show with, as you might expect, all New England vendors. So much great stuff all made right here in New England!

The highlight over all for me was looking at all the samples. I had fun seeing how they were constructed, what the fibers were, the color choices. It was inspiring.

Here is where I shopped;

North Light Fibers –  I liked their samples the most. They were drop dead beautiful.

Katrinkles – they have really neat tools and buttons made out of wood. I picked up some cute sheep stitch markers.

Olympia Farm – I follow them on instagram so I stopped by to say hello. Here I picked up a book, and marveled at the cable work on Yankee Knitter’s sweaters . The book was Drop Dead Easy Knits by Gale Zuker, Mary Lou Egan and Kristen Kapur. I can’t wait to try out some of the patterns.

 Romney Ridge  – I have to admit, their logo made me stop. Their yarns were beautiful and I picked up two skeins. Can’t wait to use it. Their website gives a great description of their yarns and what makes them special.

Here are some links: https://northlightfibers.com/

https://www.katrinkles.com/

http://www.olympiafarm.net/

https://www.romneyridgefarm.com/

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Why you should go to Rhinebeck when it’s not NYS Sheep and Wool #1

Come to the Hudson Valley of NY, come anytime. It’s beautiful and has a lot to offer. Full disclosure, I live 15 minutes for the DC Fairgrounds where the NYS Sheep and Wool festival is held. And I want to share why you should come visit.

I can’t fit it all in one post, so this is the first in a series of blog posts about why you should visit my neck of the woods any old time. This post is going to focus on the yarn shops.

Your first stop should be A.L. Stickle in the village of Rhinebeck. First of all this is a cool 5 and dime. They have everything, I mean it, everything. But in the back, there is The Knitting Garage, a beautiful collection of yarn and patterns. Plus a nice spot to sit and ponder a project or knit something up. This is a hidden gem for sure.

Next head north to The Warm Ewe. This little store in Chatham NY is a fun stop. A small shop with a big table for classes in the back, they have a lot of patterns written by the owners and always some great samples knit up for inspiration. The shop owners are always ready to lend their help.

And I suggest you visit White Barn Farm Sheep and Wool. Housed in a beautiful old barn, they have their own yarns produced right there from their flock of Cormo sheep. They also carry some other great local yarns.  A small shop, it’s still well worth a visit, plus they just added a café. This is as close to farm to garment as we can get without owning the sheep.

My next post will be about places to eat, then another will be about hikes and parks. Last, I will put together a post about how to put plan your visit.

Here are links to the websites for the shops mentioned here:

 https://theknittinggarage.com/

http://www.thewarmewe.com/

https://www.whitebarnsheepandwool.com

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Pocket Prayer Square

I like to make prayer shawls. It makes the meditative quality of knitting or crochet even stronger when I repeat my simple prayer as I go along. Don’t get me wrong I get distracted and start thinking about what groceries I need  – but it’s easy to get back on track. Years ago I started a prayer shawl ministry at my church. It is one of those wonderful things that continues on without much maintenance. But prayer shawls, depending on the pattern, can be a large project. When I want or need something quick to send off, I often make a little square that can fit in your pocket. This time of year it also seems more appropriate. And it’s a great way to use up bits of yarn.

I have only made a crochet version of a pocket prayer shawl. I found a few patterns on Ravelry and tweaked them. I liked the concept and texture of the ones I found but not the proportions. I thought I would share my little pattern with you. Make a few and send them off to anyone who might need a little extra care.

CH 13

Row 1 – Starting in the second chain form the hook, SC in each chain (11 SC total) CH1, turn

Row 2 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total) CH1, turn

Row 3 – SC5, PC1, SC5, CH1, turn

Row4 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total) CH1,  turn

Row 5-12 – Repeat rows 3 and 4 (4 times)

Row 13 – SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1,  CH1 turn

Row 14 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total)

Row 15 & 16 – Repeat row 3 & 4

Row 17 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total)

Row 18 – Without turning, HDC 3 in corner, HDC around, putting 3 HDC in each corner, slip stitch in the beginning HDC.

PC – popcorn stitch, SC – single crochet, HDC – half double crochet, CH – chain

Popcorn stitch: Make 3 DC in the same stitch, take the hook out of the loop of the last double crochet and insert in the top of the first DC. Hook the loop you dropped and draw it through the stitch. Pull tight and then CH1

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Where I knit & crochet

The other day I was crocheting in the car. It was my lunch hour, I had run a few errands but had a few minutes lefts, just enough time to complete one row. As I was crocheting I got to thinking about all the places I have knit or crocheted. Crafting has helped me though some long waits at ERs etc., I could stand it because I was accomplishing something. I wouldn’t go as far as the “knitting is my yoga” I keep seeing on Instagram, but keeping my hands busy certainly helps me calm my mind. Anyway, here is the list I came up with;

-Car (road trips)

-Softball games (outside/inside)

-Karate Tournaments (hotels, convention centers, gyms, even a roller rink – yup a roller rink)

-Hotel rooms

-The County Fair

-Meetings (Work, church, 4H, you name it)

-On a deck over looking the ocean (never on the beach….)

-The ER (thank goodness for knitting, kept me from losing it while waiting)

-Doctor’s offices (Again, not good at waiting quietly)

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New Project?

Tomorrow I will be in the car for four hours. Worried that my current WIP’s might be finished before we arrive, I was thinking all day about what I wanted to make next. I have two projects in the works right now. A hat that was supposed to be in a silent auction last Sunday. (I had something else I could give them…) And a shrug that I making for my sister in law. One knit and one crochet so I can switch it up. Also one takes a little more concentration as it is two color and follows a chart.

So I looked at my stash, thought about patterns I’d seen recently, and decided to try the poncho pattern that Sewrella recently posted. I have some nice knitpicks shine sport that I was given and it should be a good warm weather layer.

Problem is, now I have no desire to finish my two WIP’s. I just want to start this poncho! I will probably bring the hat at least and try and work on it a bit – but I have a feeling the poncho will get the most attention.

Oh well – I finish everything eventually. Life is too short to be bored with your crafting!

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Savage Hart Farm

It has been a while since I have used a natural fiber. With baby projects etc. my recent go to has been mostly acrylic and some wool from major suppliers/manufacturers. I had forgotten how nice it is to knit with natural wool. I was given two skeins of yarn from Savage Hart Farm and a pattern to go with them. This all natural Corriedale & Cormo blend from Vermont(http://savagehartfarm.com/) had such a nice feel while knitting up. It was a pleasure to work with.

The pattern that came with the yarn was a for cowl from designer Carrie McGowan. Here is the link to the pattern on Ravelry, https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pollard. It was a nice pattern with a cable and some bobbles to give some interest and make it fun to knit.

I don’t think I would seek this yarn out, there are lots of local yarn dyers and farms near me, but if I saw it somewhere I would definitely pick it up. And I will keep an eye out for other patterns by Carrie. This was a fun, well written pattern that I may return to using a different yarn.

Check out my Instagram, FoodFamilyFiberFarming for some photos.

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Yarnthing Podcast Review

I started listening to The Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird a while ago and I really like it. Marly has a great, bubbly personality and it really shines in the podcast. She interviews people from the industry, both established and up and coming. It’s a fun way to find out about people, books and resources for knitting and crochet. It is thanks to Marly that I own Dimensional Tuck Knitting, a favorite book of mine. And she gives away prizes! There is always much discussion and descriptions of how to enter and comments on her webpage about the process. Personally, I have not found it hard to do.

Her recent guests include, Sarah Delaney and Jeff Cox.

She just changed the format, so now it is posted on YouTube. I prefer listening to watching. But you can turn it on and just listen. And I am probably in the minority on that.

My only criticism is that sometimes the sound quality is poor and there are technical glitches. But it is a free podcast, so really what I am whining about?

I suggest you check it out. https://www.youtube.com/user/MarlyBird

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Valentine’s Day

So, as usual I think of these things probably a little too late, but I am  making handmade gifts for a few people for Valentine’s Day. Making handmade gifts when time is short can be tricky.

One of my favorite patterns comes from http://moogly.com. It is the Cross Your Heart Treat Bag. (http://www.mooglyblog.com/?s=cross+your+heart+treat+bag) I have made these for Valentine’s Day, Easter and even made some to hold jars of our own honey for a hostess gift at Thanksgiving. I have never added the nice embellishments Tamara does, they are cute with just a ribbon on the top.

This year I am making gifts using a pattern from http://melodys-makings.com/. The pattern is free is you sign up for her newsletter, but it is also available on Ravelry. I like this pattern because it is available in knit and crochet. I can’t say more than that – I’ll give away the surprise!

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Not going to Vogue knitting live? Me either…

Over the past few days I have been seeing posts on Instagram from bloggers and crafters in NYC getting ready for Vogue knitting live. The pictures of Stephen & Penelope’s booth make my hands itch with longing. I want to touch all that yarn!

But I am not going. I will, but not this year. And there a lot of other crafters that can’t either. Maybe we don’t have the money, maybe we don’t have the time, maybe we have small children.

So I have been thinking about other ways that I can learn, get ideas, re-charge my creativity. Local yarn stores are always great, but the schedule never seemed to work for me. There are lots of great crafting groups, for me again the times they met didn’t work. Enter the internet. There are a lot of resources out there. One of my favorites is Craftsy. Yes, you have to pay for the classes. But they are often on sale and you get to keep them forever. I love that I can do the class at anytime. Middle of the night, early morning, whenever. I also like that I can always go back and re-watch any of it.

A few pointers. Choose carefully, it’s better if you know the instructor. Every one of them has a style and a manner of speaking, it’s best to know what they are like. Do some research on them, find out their level of experience. Read the reviews, wait for a sale.

I haven’t loved every class I have taken, but I learned something from every one, and I have some nice knits as a result.

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