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Lately I have been trying to find ways to sustain myself, and naturally the first place I want to turn is yarn. To me, yarn is comfort and community, solace and strength, entertainment and engine. So, my friend Mary Heather and I came up with the idea of the #yarnlovechallenge – a yarn-related daily photo challenge. We want to bring beauty into the world right now, and continue to connect with our fellow yarn lovers.

The challenge will take place during February – each day take a picture based on the prompt and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #yarnlovechallenge. You don’t have to have yarn in every picture, but it’s definitely the theme of the challenge so we hope to see lots of it! Here’s the schedule.

I hope you’ll join us when you need a boost, and invite your friends who might need one, too. You can find us on Instagram – as @oharethey, @maryheatherb, and @yarnlovechallenge. If you’re not on Instagram and still want to participate, you can join us in our Ravelry group, too.

Rhinebeck Recap 2016

This was a Rhinebeck of miracles. I lost 10% of my lung in a surgery two weeks earlier, but I was medically cleared and felt up to the trip. Our rental house that we have stayed at for 6 years was double booked and we managed to find other accommodations for 16 people on Friday afternoon. It felt amazing that we all managed to be together for a moment, stepping away from the stresses of everyday life.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is my ritual of getting up early to walk our property alone. It’s a quiet moment to savor the chill in the air and the leaves on the trees. I was lucky enough to gaze across a misty pond to watch a family of deer scamper across a frost-covered field.

And another picture of the terrain, because I think that during the third weekend in October few places in the world are as beautiful as the Hudson Valley.

My time at the festival was mostly spent catching up with friends. For a long time I felt like a hanger-on of my coworkers friends, but this year it was clear that I have earned my own relationships with this community. It was a gift to be part of so many hugs with whispers of, “I am so glad you are here. I am so happy to see you.”

I did not spend very much time shopping but clearly I was efficient. The top row has my new copies of Comfort and Joy by Melynda Bernardi (gorgeous Christmas stocking patterns!) and the Winter 2016 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. Next to those is an incredible skein of Rifton from Jill Draper Makes Stuff, a skein of Chamelon Sock from Indigodragonfly, and a skein of 3 ply sport weight cashmere from Springtide Farms. I plan to turn the cashmere into a cowl for my mother-in-law, and am still plotting what to do with the other yarn. The middle row has my gift for my daughter – a picture book called Brave Little Finn. My husband got his annual present from Chester T Basil. A little bit more yarn made it home with me – 2 skeins of Rifton Mono from Jill Draper Makes Stuff to coordinate with the megaskein of Rifton, and a skein of Ewe & Me Merinos 2 ply bulky. I got a skein of the bulky yarn last year for a pair of Cadeautjes and this year’s skein is to make a pair for my daughter. The bottom row has a beautiful paper card I got from my house swap partner, Sarah, the little pink heart from Melissa Jean is a necklace and the other half of my gorgeous present. The necklace is on my new handwoven dishtowel. I have wanted one for years and finally went for it! I also got myself a panflute. I attend a Music Together class with my daughter and the theme this semester is flute, so I plan to attend with my own instrument to jam on. Finally, my riches from the book tent – a signed copy of Yarnitecture by Jillian Moreno, and a copy of On the Loom by Maryanne Moodie. You’ll definitely hear more about those books in future months of crafty reads.

And that’s a wrap on Rhinebeck 2016. It was such a restorative weekend, even though I came home physically exhausted. Before I left I made this pie chart of what I was excited about for the festival, and I think it’s an accurate reflection of my trip.

Office/Studio Tour

Office/Studio Tour

I moved into my house when I was 30 weeks pregnant, during the hottest summer on record in my city. It was miserable, and then I too was busy being pregnant or sleep deprived for the next two years to have any energy leftover for decorating. Since then I have been slowly going room by room updating the furnishings and decor to fit us perfectly. My office does triple duty, also housing the family craft supplies and serving as our guest room. I went all-in with a knitting theme, and today I’m going to give you a little tour.

First up is my desk. I love how gigantic it is – it’s where I set up my sewing machine, spread out notes, work alongside my daughter. It’s also an electric sit-stand desk – I can push those little buttons to raise and lower it. Behind it is my favorite part of the entire office, my stockinette wall. I bought this stencil from The Stencil Studio and my husband and I were able to knock it out in an evening.

Next to my desk I keep typical productivity tools – a calendar, a whiteboard – along side some inspiring art and my color blending study I shared with you earlier this year. My cork board is custom – I stapled some canvas fabric over some pieces of cork to get something pretty for a display that’s easy to change out.

Last year when I was going through my first round of cancer treatment, my wonderful friend and coworker Mary Heather sent me those tiny pills you see on my cork board, each one filled with a different little message for me. I like to keep them just behind me while I work, letting that positive energy quite literally back me up every day.

These cubes contain my favorite treasures for display. Some of these displays are unchanged since I put up the cubes and some change monthly. I think we all have long-time sources of pride and current obsessions and I love that this set up allows me to highlight both.

I keep my crafty library over here, as well as mementos from special trips. The beautiful wooden bowl is from Fringe Supply Co and holds some yarn I can’t stand to tuck away in my closet. And the crocheted cacti? My sister made those for me!

You get a glimpse of our “guest bed” – a pull out couch next to the most useful thing in my office. This storage unit contains my sewing notions up top, craft supplies my daughter is allowed to use unsupervised at the bottom where she can reach them, and in the middle are my projects in-process. When the drawers are full I can’t start any new projects. It’s nice to have a place to leave WIPs of all kinds that allows me to follow my heart a little bit and explore different things, but not get lost in the chaos of half-finished ideas. The closet to the right isn’t pretty inside, but houses just about every medium you could imagine if you want to make something.

Finally, a few more pretty things to look at while I work. That dropcloth sampler was my first embroidery project and it’s great to have it hanging up making my office feel cozy.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed a little peek into where I spend most of my days. It’s always going to be a work in progress, which I think is pretty perfect for a crafty studio. I love the current iteration and look forward to seeing it continue to fill with hand made creations. Do you have any of your favorite projects displayed in special places in your home? Tell me about it below!

Sunday Six

Here’s what I’ve been into and up to recently:

  1. Seamwork is a digital magazine from Colette. Every month they produce a beautiful magazine filled with interviews, articles, and two quick patterns. You can download the PDFs for free with an account and I have been tearing through them. I don’t feel like a very knowledgeable sewist and this is really furthering my education into fabric types, garment construction, and sewing technique.
  2. The Martian – My husband and I were able to go on a rare date and caught this in an actual theater. It is a truly beautiful film – the visuals are quite literally beautiful and the story is so well-paced and told. We both cried, though we left with different ideas of whether we’d ever go to space (I’m a heck no! whereas he’d do it in a heartbeat.)
  3. Hamilton – I finally got on board the train and listened to the soundtrack and I totally get what all the fuss is about. I’m no history buff and this music does such a great job of making these characters feel relatable rather than like old, dead white dudes. And it’s funny and smart and moving. I predict I will be listening to this nonstop for months (and continue trying to get my historian husband to give it a listen!)
  4. Planning on paper. My colleagues and I watched Inkwell Press sell an amazing number of planners on Friday and while I prefer a digital system (Evernote + Busycal + BusyTodo) for my personal life, I have found that it doesn’t support my work life as well. So I was inspired to grab a notebook and make my plan for next week on paper. I’m really excited about it and hope it is as productive as it is fun.
  5. Periscope – I had to be talked into this by Mary-Heather, but I’m glad she did because I am really digging it. A whole bunch of us did WIP Wednesday videos to talk about our projects and it had a fun community feel to it. And as a proud mama sometimes it’s fun to share my playtime with my daughter.
  6. Surgery preparations. I am having major surgery on Friday and am deep in planning mode. Lists of people to notify and things I need to bring and things I want to bring and procedures for me and our helpers and everything have all been captured. The worst part is that I have to drink these gross nutrient drinks to prepare my body. I quickly learned that they need some sort of additive – chocolate, grenadine, honey, and peanut butter have all helped cut down on the sweetness. Tomorrow I plan to try fruit and maybe oreos for my after-dinner one.


How fitting that last Sunday I was here writing about beginnings and today I want to talk about endings. I am naturally drawn to the excitement of new plans and intentions. But I also feel a strong obligation to see those plans through. I don’t have many UFOs or half-read books; I slog through to the end nearly without exception.

And today I want to celebrate those slogs. I finished two books – one I started in July and the other in September. I also plied a yarn I started in August. I don’t mind that it took so long – I am pleased that I am closing these chapters and moving on.

It feels good to clear away the weight of these unfinished projects and replace them with pride at sticking it out. Today is about the ritual of updating Goodreads and Ravelry with my thoughts and figures. Updating my catalogs of work done. And then after a good pat on the back, moving on to the next project.

advent calendar

I am a planner. I love the process of pondering and perusing and practicing. I’ve heard that research shows it increases anticipation of an event, and I believe it given how excited I am to cast on for my next project.

Two years ago I saw a picture of this project in my LYS newsletter. It is amazing, no? And immediately I knew I needed to make an advent calendar of fair isle socks. It took me nearly a year to find and purchase the perfect yarn. At Rhinbeck last year my first stop was the Fiber Optic booth so I could get these beauties. And for this past year I have been charting my favorite fair isle motifs, fitting them to the same dimensions and finding my favorite order.

Finally, I am ready to start knitting! I am sincerely hoping to be able to hang and use this on December 1. It’s a busy month so I don’t know if I’ll make it. I’ll be posting my progress here, on Instagram and on my Ravelry project page. I hope you enjoy following along!

Rhinebeck Recap

Phew! I have been home nearly a week, but it has taken that long for me to find a few minutes to sit down and talk about how wonderful Rhinebeck was this year. I was so in need of restoration and I got it.

Saturday was such a blur that I didn’t take any photos at the festival. It felt really crowded that day – more than usual – so in the morning we took our time visiting with friends and didn’t do too much shopping. In the afternoon there was a lovely Ravelry meetup and time to squeeze into the barns. Then I went back to our rented house to meet up with my family who had driven down to visit.

That’s my grandmother and I together, perusing my new copy of The Modern Natural Dyer. My grandmother taught me to knit, and she is an accomplished rug hooker. She teaches classes in her home and at retreats as well as dyeing and selling wool and her own books on dyeing. It was really wonderful to be able to share with her my experience as a maker.

Sunday morning I was thrilled to wake up to a frost and couldn’t resist a walk around our place.

I grew up in upstate NY and those moments I felt so at home. Everything had the right smell and sound and look to it. It filled up all my reservoirs that have gotten low.

I, uh, also failed to really take many photos at the festival on Sunday. I did catch a video of some of the snow, though!

And a single good photo of the merriment at the house. I know not everyone is lucky enough to like their coworkers, but mine are my best friends and it’s such a treat to be able to spend a weekend together.

Finally, I did manage to get in some shopping. This is the best I have ever felt about Rhinebeck purchases – I am so pleased with each item and cannot wait to use them all.

The top row has my yarn. I lost my mind in the Foxhill Farms booth – I came home with 2 skeins of their DK cormo/silk to make a Snowshoe and 4 skeins of their DK Moorit to make a Jean. I also treated myself a a skein of 2-ply bulk merino from Ewe & Me Merinos which I have earmarked for a set of Cadeautje.

The middle row has my books. I am so pleased to have a signed copy of The Modern Natural Dyer. This book is just gorgeous and I look forward to reading it. I grabbed a copy of The Knitter’s Book of Socks because I am on a quest to find my perfect sock. I also got Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style which is a great book about creating a handmade wardrobe of pieces you can wear together and includes sewing patterns for several basic wardrobe items. I hope to work out of it a ton in 2016. And fun fact: I love the author’s last name, Jansdotter, because I am a Jan’s daughter – that’s my Dad’s name,

The bottom row is all my little treasures. I got myself a little Christmas tree candle for my holiday shelf. The gnome was supposed to be for my daughter, but she handed it back to me and told me she didn’t want it, so I think he’s going to live next to my tree. The last three are from our house swap – on Friday night in our house we draw names and buy our partner a gift at the festival, which we exchange on Sunday night. By coincidence, Laura and I drew each other – you can check out what I got her in her Rhinebeck blog post. I am so excited about my silver buttons, adorable wee pouch and odds n ends spinning fiber from Into The Whirled. I’m pretty sure I’m going to use that fiber in my Cadeautjes to make some special Rhinebeck slippers.

And that’s it. I am sad it is a full year until I am back at Rhinebeck. I am working hard at finding ways of bringing that Rhinebeck spirit into my everyday life – making more time for making beautiful things and finding inspiration.