geekin' on yarn, parenting, & whatever else comes up.

MDSW Archive



May 2017



MDSW: The Annual Pilgrimage

Written by , Posted in MDSW, stash enhancement, Updates

Why yes, I AM still here, so glad you stopped by!

My husband and I made the annual trek to MDSW the first weekend of May (also while celebrating 15 years of marriage, coincidentally), and I figure if there is no MDSW loot post, perhaps there truly is no more blog. I am not yet ready to say THAT, so allow me to share with you the spoils:

First, speckled yarn galore from Knitty & Color; the main skein is “Supernova” Hardcore Sock; the mini-skein set did not have colorways listed, but is also Hardcore Sock base:

I did a fly-by hello to Amy at Spunky Eclectic, and came away with two braids of wool top in “Hideaway”, as well as two wool/yak blend (the most soft, lovely things – Plum attempted to steal one as a cuddle friend, but I objected with extreme prejudice) braids in “Stegasaurus”:

I got a “Knitterati” tee from the folks at the publishing tent; not shown is the “UNITY” tee I picked up from Neighborhood Fiber, as well:

I grabbed two gradient DK sets from Neighborhood Fiber Company, in “Shades of Jade” and “Shades of Grey”:

Karida at Neighborhood Fiber threw in a project bag for me, and I also got the Ziggy Stardust/Bowie project bag at the publishing tent from whence came the “Knitterati” tee (that I wish I could remember the name of!!):

And finally, in a spectacular case of fangirl camnesia, I ran unexpectedly into Casey of Elegant Musings, whose blog I have been reading for probably more than a decade? I did not think to get a photo with her, though I DID get a hug, and she made a gift to me of this wee stitch marker:

It rained off and on all day, and was downright chilly, as well as muddy & squelchy – since this made the crowds almost bearable this year, and facilitated the wearing of handknits far better than the years when it is 90 degrees F in the shade, I will totally accept that. 🙂

Did you go? Or to a festival closer to you? What’d you get? Spill! 😉



May 2014



Plus la change…

Written by , Posted in Blog, Bloggy Blatherings, Fotoposts, Knitting, Legacy, MDSW

It is, roughly, the tenth anniversary of this blog.

Oh, Internets. So many ponderings, so few recent postings.

This past weekend, I attended the 2014 Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. This annual event is a marker of sorts for the calendar of my knitting life, and although I can’t attend every year, there is that mix of familiar & new each time I go that triggers a sort of fibery nostalgia.


Nana, knitting at speed & giving somebody epic side-eye

I grew up in a family of crafting women. Due to age gaps, I wasn’t able to become as close with my paternal grands as I ended up being with my maternal grands and great-grand, but both sides were knitters, stitchers, & needlewomen. My mother’s side in particular modelled the crafty life for me, from my great-grandmother (we called her Mom-Mom), who owned a yarn shop in Coatesville, PA called Celeste’s Yarns, through my Nana (Mom-Mom’s daughter) who organized knitting groups for the officer’s wives on base as they moved around the country for my grandfather’s Air Force work, to my own mother, who worked in yarn shops, wrote letters back & forth with her mother & grandmother discussing the finer points of cabled knitting, and who quilted, cross stitched, and did needlepoint like the women who came before her.


Nana, left; Mom-Mom, right. Mom-Mom seems to be wearing a hand-knitted sweater.

I lost my mother very early (she was 46) to fallout from dual auto-immune disorders, so I don’t have photos, as I wish I did, of her knitting, quilting, etc. Mama tried to teach me to knit a few times, but it never seemed to stick, though she did teach me to cross stitch, and tried to show me needlepoint. Mostly, I learned those needlearts by simply picking up projects & trying things, but my interest in crafting has definitely been a legacy I feel I inherited from the women who came before me.

I got married four months after my mother died. Just before she went into the hospital for the last time, she finished work on the final block of an album-style quilt she’d intended for my husband and me as a wedding gift. I’ve blogged about that quilt before (though it was on a previous iteration of the site & I’m afraid the photos have gone the way of the dodo; will take new ones soon) & it remains one of the more commented-on posts of this blog, I think because the idea of the legacy behind our crafts is one that resonates no matter what craft it is that any of us performs.

Lynn with baby Liz

Mama & me; Mama wearing amazing hand knit aran cardi

Mama died in February, we got married the first weekend in May, and I was pregnant with my daughter a year later. It was during my pregnancy that I asked my Nana to teach me how to knit, and so this Sheep & Wool time of year is a mental marker in a multitude of ways for me.

I know this blog has been terribly dormant, and I’m not sure what the future holds here. I don’t knit as often as I used to, and in fact my urges to write about my knitting have been lessened, and my need to document more of day-to-day life has been consumed with the more ephemeral social media like Instagram & Twitter. But I’m not willing to just give up, yet. I don’t even know if I have any readers left here anymore, but if you’re here, thank you for being with me for the last ten-ish years of my knitting & crafting & life journeys.  There’s no community like the crafting community, and I am grateful to have been and continue to be a part of it.





May 2012



Sheeps and Wools!

Written by , Posted in Blog, MDSW

Twice annual posts surrounding wool festivals. I know. Let us not speak of it again.

Tomorrow is Maryland Sheep and Wool festival! Which is fab.

Today, however, is my 10th wedding anniversary, which I posted about over on LizSquared. Do go check it out, won’t you? I shall report back post-sheeps-and-wools. Pinky swear.




June 2008



Moonlight in Shadows

Written by , Posted in kitties, MDSW, Spinning

I spent the majority of last weekend doing a whole lot of…not much. Which was exactly what I needed after at least a month of being overbooked. I’ve had a run of really cool stuff to do, but it was all back-to-back activity, and my Myers-Briggs Introverted self was only too pleased to spend the weekend without agenda.

I did manage, however, in the midst of planned inactivity, to spin up some yarn by request. My dance teacher and friend, Asharah, likes to have shadowy colors, and she has asked for a pair of handspun, handknit arm warmers/fingerless mitts to wear when she dances. I found the fiber while at Maryland Sheep and Wool, at the booth for The Drafting Zone. (I don’t know if they have a website, but their phone number is 301-464-5738.)

The producers of this fiber call it “Pewter”, but to me, it looked like moonlight dappling in shadow, so that’s what it’s become in my head — and it was clear to me that Asharah would like the colors. For myself, I loved that it has 30% silk and 70% merino.

Yarn-in-progress — roving in the foreground, bobbin of singles in the mid-ground. (el-cheapo basket that looks like an arse in the background.)

I am completely in love with the sheen of silk. While this fiber shed EVERYWHERE as I was pre-drafting and spinning, while spinning it slid through my hands like…well, silk. 🙂 And when I was done plying, I had approximately 180 yards of wool/silk blend yarn, roughly sportweight.

If this turns out, post-swatching, to not be enough, I have another 4 ounces of the same fiber to spin up. My hope, though, is that this will be enough for the short fingerless mitts she wants, so that I can use the remaining 4 ounces to make her some thick-and-thin yarn that she can use on a belt or some other belly-dance type accoutrement. 😉

More images of this same yarn are over on Flickr; but for now, I leave you with my favourite model, Brutus, who is debating whether he will allow me to dump out some more of my stash and submit his image to StuffOnMyCat.com. (I’m betting…not.)



May 2008



Lizard Ridge and Silk Caps

Written by , Posted in Lizard Ridge, MDSW, New Projects, Spinning, stash enhancement

And also the beginning of block trois.

I have got to get better about documenting what I’m doing — I think I may have knit the first block on size 9 needles instead of 8s, which is what these are — I had to dip into a new ball to complete the last three rows of the six repeats of the second block, there, and am hoping that won’t be a trend for the rest of the blanket. I had a bunch left over from the first ball, but it may just be differences in yardage from skein to skein.


Also, I’m way behind on my projected/intended two-blocks-per-month to be done in a year (theoretically), so I need to catch up. 2 down, 3rd begun, 7 to go before the end of May. My trip to CA should give me the knitting time I need for the catching up, though. The question remains whether my fortitude to knit only on Lizard Ridge will last the trip. 🙂

I am so loving the color changes, though. I’m wondering how some of the subtler colorways will knit up, and whether I’ll want to do some mega-contrasty alternating skeins or not.

I spent last evening’s stolen spinning time playing with a bright yellow dyed silk cap, given to me Saturday at MDSW by Robin Russo at The Spinning Studio. (Where the drool-inducing inlaid Vermont spinning wheels lived, and don’t think I didn’t have a moment where I wanted to drop everything I was carrying and beg them to let me take home the mother of pearl one…)


Robin was perfectly lovely to me, when I asked how one prepares a silk cap for spinning — I’ve never spun with 100% silk before, and when I asked, she said, hand me that yellow cap out of the bin and I’ll show you. She promptly DID show me, and then gave me the yellow cap as a gift, saying that it doesn’t sell well as a color. (Admittedly I’d just purchased that stack of caps from her in blues and greens, but still. I was very touched.)

So in practice I spun up the yellow cap last night, all except the last layer, which I pre-drafted and is sitting at home waiting for me as I type. I initially was thinking disparate small skeins of silk laceweight, but now I am wondering if I will spin it all up as one skein with long color blocks. 🙂 There is only the one yellow cap, and then I have two each of the green and the two blue colorways, so I must ponder. Anybody want to weigh in with suggestions?



June 2007



Haul ‘O Wool

Written by , Posted in MDSW

So I am relatively certain that I typed up a post, at some point before I left for California, to show you the stuff I got at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year.

Okay, so what it apparently was, going back through, is that I did TYPE a post, but I didn’t give you any pictures, due to the Great Router Debacle of 2007. (By the way, we have a new router but The Sainted Husband (TSH) hasn’t installed it yet; he has done what he refers to as "a work-around". I don’t care what this means, ominous as it may sound, so long as I can post stuff, which I can, and therefore it matters not.)

The place where I ramble about the show in text is here. The only thing that I think has changed since I made that post is that, while I was HUGELY a-squee over finding the old-style walnut Brittany needles that I’ve wanted forever in every size, practically — the thing of it is, I don’t knit with straight needles. Almost ever. In fact, the only time I knit on straight needles on purpose is when my circs are otherwise occupied or because I just want to use the pretty needles. And I already had one pair in a scarf-knitting size, so do I NEED this set from size 3 through 10.5? I don’t. So you may see those pop up as a set on eBay, in order that I might finance my hoped-for trip to Rhinebeck this fall for my birthday. I’d said when I bought them that I wasn’t going to sell them, but the bald truth of it is, I can’t stand for them to just sit here in my house looking pretty when somebody else would actually use them and treat them like the heirlooms they ought to be.

Right, enough rambling. Onward to the photos!

Behold, I give you: Cormo. (okay, I don’t give it to you, because it’s MINEALLMINE, said the grouchy ladybug. Do you want to FIGHT me for them? No, I don’t insist. Wow. Toddler Mom, party of one, n’est ce pas?)


I got three bumps of that vineyard-esque, Bacchanalia colorway, and one of what can only be described as Flying Purple People Eater:



I’ve already spun up the Bacchanalia stuff in part, and it is as soft and fluffy as it looks in the bump. I also got an entire Cormo fleece while I was at MDSW (what can I say, I was weak!), and I am sort of surprised at the way this fiber spins/looks in the bump, versus how long the fiber is in the fleece. The bumped roving is very neppy, and when I tried to pre-draft it, it was very finicky.  The fleece I purchased had very long staple and fine crimp. It may just be that I don’t know enough about fiber yet to know what to expect between fleece and prepped roving, but it was a surprise. (not a bad one, just a surprise.)

So all the Cormo I have in my hands at the moment has the perfect feel, but not so much prep. I’m hoping when the fleece comes back from processing, it will be a bit more smooth. But then, I may be expecting Merino properties from a sheep fiber that isn’t the same.

I purchased another fleece from Walks Far Acres, a black ewe’s yearling first shear that I am hoping will come back just as dark a black as the ewe’s name — Raven. It’s Navajo Churro, same as the fleece I bought from the same farm in 2006, so I know it will be a little bit hairy once spun, but still sproingy. Should blend nicely with some of the other fibers I have in my wee stash.

Meanwhile, in other news:


That is wool/bombyx silk top from I-can’t-remember. I might have sat down with this fiber and Clotho the very afternoon I got back from S&W. Maybe.


(I later tried to do some navajo plying with a bit of this fiber that failed utterly; we’re now heading towards trying a two-ply, which TSH has requested become a Jayne Hat. I am still deciding if I love him that much. :))

As well as the walnut Brittany stack-‘o-needles, I also got some spinning tools from Woodchuck:


That would be an olive-wood diz in the foreground; ebony WPI tool next; the handle of an olive wood threader for the diz, and a beech? birch? wpi tool in a different style. (The ebony WPI tool will probably live in my traveling bag for spindle spinning, and the other will live hanging from Clotho someplace. I really ought to have one of those wee baskets in which to hold such things…maybe at next year’s S&W?)

Really, I came home pretty light on fiber, what with my two fleeces still being out for processing. 🙂 When they get here, and once I recover from the wool fumes long enough to do so, I will post of the floofy piles of happiness.