Tag Archives: slater mill

What is the Italian Word for “Dog”?

In these tough economic times, everyone is searching for a bargain, knitters included. At last night’s meeting of the Slater Mill Knitting and Crochet Guild meeting I do believe I found one.

The smart ladies (and man – Hi John!) of the Guild devised a wonderful way for us to raise money and share some fiber goodness and yarn love. At each meeting members donate skeins of yarn to the “Buck a Ball” table. Other members peruse the table and can find new yarn delights for merely $1. All the money goes to the Guild. Such a deal!

These “Buck a Ball” donations are special.

You know these yarns. That one skein of colorful sock yarn that you just had to buy because it was on on sale and how on earth could you pass up such a deal?! Who cares if it’s not enough for a pair – you’ll find a use for it. Or how about the freebie ball of lime green fuzzy eyelash yarn with orange speckles that came in a gift bag you were so excited to receive, but upon closer inspection you realize it is  not enough, not the right color, too scratchy, too slippery, too glittery…You know these yarns. Think the Island of Misfit Toys, only yarn.

So what wonderful fibers did I uncover from the Buck a Ball table? Look at these lovlies! (Click for big)

I was especially coveting the mohair on the left. Despite my recent frustrations with Swallowtail, I am still determined to make a floaty, ephemeral lace stole and this forest green lace-weight looked like just the right yarn for the job. The Regia sock yarn on the right was a no-brainer. They don’t call me KnitSox for nothin’ you know. And yes, I realize it is only one ball and not enough for a pair of socks. Be quiet. I know. It was only a buck – you expect me to pass it up?

Tonight, because I am a Ravelry geek, I had to immediately photograph my new yarns and log them into my stash.  As I was lining up the artistic shot in the viewfinder, I looked closely at the label on the hunter green mohair beauties.

yarn_mohair2

It appears that there are two puppies on this label. An Irish Setter and a Poodle. Now I don’t speak Italian, but I’m wondering if “seta” is the Italian word for dog.

I know there are talented people who spin yarn from dog hair, but honestly, I’ve never understood that particular hobby.

I spend endless hours of my life combating the persistent fuzziness of the Max hairs that cover every surface of my home and my clothing. Jeff and I are sometimes lucky enough to travel to far-off lands and we always laugh at the amount of copper-colored Beagle/Boxer hairs we deposit at various stopping points along the way. Max barely leaves the family room, but his hair has covered most of North America, the Caribbean, and parts of western Europe.

Did I just get an amazing deal on two balls of Italian dog hair?? Please say it isn’t so.

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Slater Mill Yarn Dyeing Workshop

If you a knitter, weaver, spinner, fiber-addict, and you haven’t visited the new Slater Mill Community Guild Studio, what are you waiting for?? Tucked away in lovely little Pawtucket, Rhode Island on the banks of the Blackstone River is a fantasy land of yarn and fiber related goodness.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the day at the second ever Slater Mill Yarn Dyeing Workshop. We were a small class, only four us and Jan Doyle, our teacher, which meant we had plenty of elbow room. Each of us started the day with three buckets of dye at our stations. Red. Yellow. Blue. From that simple beginning we created a dizzying collection of vibrant and subtle colors.

The top row are my yarns, starting with some brightly colored silk/wool sock yarn.  Can you tell I’m sick of winter? From that, I created some lighter toned wool/nylon blend sock yarns, sort of my tribute to Noro, and finally, with only the remains of my original pots of blue and red, and a few drops of yellow from a neighbor, are my two worsted weight wools in shades of lavender, light blue and green.

The first two in the second row are Angela’s. She began with a vibrant mix of blue and orange and by the end of the day had a pile of glimmering autumn colored skeins. Absolutely gorgeuous! I only have one shot of Cheryl’s collection, ranging from bright pinks and purples to more toned down blues and greens.  All were fantastic. The bottom row is Ruth’s beautiful and calm seafoam green, and her lovely petunia pink.  She was a bit worried about the pinks, thinking it looked like a pile of sausages, but she is very wrong. The pinks are graduated throughout from very pale, to much darker. I can’t wait to see the finished sweater. I wish I had more photos. Every yarn was spectacular.

Thank you to everyone involved. First, to my husband Jeff for understanding when I told him I was spending Valentine’s Day with my other love. Meaning yarn of course.

Second thanks to Ruth Sunn, Director of Slater Mill Community Guild Studio for organizing such a fabulous day of fun, laughter and most of all creativity.

Last, and certainly not least, a very big thank you to Jan Doyle, fiber artist and ever-patient teacher, who revealed the mystery of color theory, explained the difference between shade and hue, tint and value, shared her experiences on choosing the best types of dyes, and most kindly rinsed all of our steaming creations straight from the microwave with her amazing asbestos hands!

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Combination Knitting

Wow! My head is spinning. The Combination Knitting class with Annie Modesitt was mind-bending. I’ve been knitting forever and truly didn’t think I could learn anything new about knits and purls, but in less than two hours I was a convert. I will never knit or purl the same way again.

The class itself went much too fast. There were only about 10 of us, sitting around a table, knitting and learning together. Annie is an incredible teacher. She has very firm rules about who talks when, and asking questions. I imagine she would be a very good middle school teacher. She certainly kept us adults in line. (At one point someone’s cell phone rang and I was just a teensy bit afraid,)

But despite her discipline, or more probably because of it, her lessons about knitting with passion, keeping the stitches happy, and her belief that we knitters are much smarter than we or the businesses that sell to us are willing to believe, were truly inspiring.

Thanks to Berrocco Yarns for the very, very generous gift bags. Not just a little skein of yarn, but THREE skeins. And not just yarns, but CHOCOLATE. What a treat!

No pictures of the class as I was too busy knitting and purling and being inspired, but here is the outside of Slater Mill on a lovely, misty November morning.

I am so excited for tomorrow’s lace knitting class that I’m afraid I will get no sleep tonight. It’s worse than waiting for Santa.

I didn’t see any ghosts, but at one point there was a very loud crash, and we all looked over to see that Annie’s bag of books and knitted samples, which was sitting on a chair on the far end of the room, had fallen to the floor. I have to admit, the chairs were a bit slippery, but I’m telling everyone it was ghost.

Yes, it was most definitely a ghost.

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Friday Night at Slater Mill

Just returned from the first of three events at Slater Mill’s Knitting Weekend, and had to do a quick entry to say what a knitter’s dream it has been so far. Last night was the book signing and Q&A with Annie Modesitt and Nora Gaughan.

Apologies for the dark photo of the mill, but I was sitting in my car, having arrived early, and took the photo without a flash. Thinking about it now, the flash probably would have not helped out at all. And during the evening I learned that the mill just might be haunted, so this spooky photo may be perfect after all.

Back to the book signing / reception / Q&A session. If you EVER have the opportunity to meet one or both of these lovely ladies in person, DO IT. Annie and Nora are so funny. What a joy to listen to how they both came to be shining stars of the knitting world, to hear them laugh and poke fun at each other with such friendly ease. And what a thrill to learn a tip or two or three from Annie.

Thanks to Ruth, Janice and Chandler for pulling it all together. Fantastic job! The Slater Mill Community Guild room is stunning, with it’s beautiful wood floors (on which Samuel Slater did not stand, but stunning nonetheless), the dark beams, and the lovely old windows looking out onto the roaring Blackstone River.

In addition to Annie and Nora, I met Suzanne, who is starting her own knitting / fiber therapy group in Johnston, RI. I also met Guido of It’s a Purl, Man. Be sure to check out his guild in Boston, Common Cod Fiber Guild, which on November 14 will be host to Susan Gibbs of Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm, the world’s first yarn CSA.

[Sidenote – taken from Guido’s blog- Susan Gibbs of Martha’s Vineyard fiber farm is in need of your clicks. Amazingly, she is in the lead for a technology grant from Intel which is based on votes. You don’t have to register, all you have to do is click on the “I like it” button at this site.]

It is with great great expectation that I prepare for the the rest of the weekend. Saturday morning I’ll be learning Combination Knitting, and Sunday morning Lace Knitting. Both with Annie.

And I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for ghosts.

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Sunday Gratitude Links

Oprah recommends keeping a gratitude journal. Here’s a quick list of what I’m grateful for today.

  1. Meeting my lovely in-law’s for breakfast at IHOP
  2. Realizing that IHOP now serves Nutella Crepes
  3. Entering the Nutella sweepstakes. Fingers crossed!
  4. Attending the 2nd annual Spin/Weave/Knit/Quilt Celebration at Slater Mill
  5. Registering for not one, but two classes with the amazing Ms. Annie Modesitt
  6. Sipping tea, while listening to Cast-On, my favorite podcast
  7. Finishing a few more rows of my version of Smile (Ravelry link)
  8. Wearing my gear and preparing to watch the game

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Sunday, Perfect Sunday

Sunday is the one day of the week when you can kick back, relax and enjoy the people and things you love the most. Today was a great Sunday.

After a tasty breakfast of french toast at IHOP with Jeff’s parents, we headed home to meet up with some friends who were coming by to take away our old treadmill. As with most treadmills, it sat unused for long stretches of time, cluttering up the guest room and taking up valuable space that could be better devoted to a beloved hobby, in my case knitting. Of course, I could have used it for this, but instead we gave it to people who will actually use it to exercise. Or so they say.
After waving goodbye to the treadmill, I drove a few miles to Slater Mill, where I had the pleasure of meeting some new Ravelry friends in person. What a blast. I saw knitters, spinners, weavers, dyers, felters, quilters, and basketweavers. If you are local, please make time to visit the mill, which will (hopefully) soon be home to a new Fiber Arts Center. I’ll share more details as they arrive.
And then, of course, I headed home to watch the boys complete the sweep. What a perfect Sunday.

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