Monday, June 30, 2008

House renovation progress, help with Dutch pattern?

We were at the other house this weekend (as we do every weekend until it's in move-in condition) and the attic project is almost finished. It's to be my new studio, with lots of storage space behind the knee walls and my own air conditioner/heater. Here's a few before-and-now photos:

It's just a little lighter and airier now, isn't it? Can't wait to get my wheels and fiber moved in there. The space in the last photo is where I'll be putting my antique loom once I get it out of storage, cleaned up and set up. There will be track lighting with both indoor and outdoor fixtures so I can work in the best light possible. I'm so excited to se this project nearing completion!

On another subject, does anyone speak both knitting and Dutch? I'm in dire need of someone to translate a book for me. While living in Noord Holland last autumn, I bought the latest Filati Mens Sweaters booklet from a friends shop in Hoorn. It's full of wonderful timeless-yet-sophisticated mens sweaters. We thought it would be no problem to have Filati send us the English version, but then we discovered once I returned home to the US that they were discontinuing the English version with this issue. In February I gave the book to my Pittsburgh Dutch friend who has translated 3 of the patterns. She emailed me yesterday that she will be too busy to complete the translation (about 6 more patterns if I remember correctly). Is there anyone who can finish the translation for me? The patterns themselves are only about 1/2 page long in the book, which comes to about one page as a Word document. Help.....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Busy busy week

Phew! I feel like I've finally jumped off the merry-go-round and caught my breath! Last week started with our 'summer camp' at the store. My student was a lovely 9-year-old young lady with whom I spend 3 days, teaching her about fiber and spinning. She left with several balls of her handspun which Grandma was planning to knit into a lap robe for her American Girl doll. Then there was the dental crown--ugh, nuff said. Two dinners out, one with in-laws who I love dearly and another just because there was a restaurant offering fresh Dungeness crab. Then another (adult) spinning class on Saturday. Somewhere in there I managed to make some stock for my store and get a little knitting and spinning done. My latest knit project is a pair of gloves

in my handspun variagated yarn which I made to honor our local sports team colors, black and gold. Okay, so maybe they're ugly to most folks but in Pittsburgh no one would batt an eye if I wore these--think Steelers, Penguins and Pirates all of whom have done well or are doing well this year. And I will resist taking a jab at that football team up north who like to bend the rules to win (you know who you are...).

Today's projects include:
1. Finishing up restocking my store so I can work on the new line of sock fiber
2. Getting some spinning done, because....
3. I must rest my right index finger. Seems I jammed it somewhere and now it bothers me every time I knit. Bummer.
4. Dropping the F-Bomb at every opportunity in understanding company. This project is in honor of a great visionary who passed away this morning, the undeniable George Carlin. I hope you packed all your stuff, George. We'll miss you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

And....we have a winner!

malegra said...
Would that be Nazareth, PA?And then I'd have to guess that you visited Kraemer Textiles?

Although her post was in last weeks column, malegra has given the correct answer. I was indeed in Nazareth, PA on an extremely hot Tuesday. It was already past 90 degrees at 9:30 in the morning when I visited Kraemer Textile Mill, and their air conditioning had been out for several days. But I still had to shop for yarn, of course.

The other valid guess would have been C.F. Martin Co, the guitar makers. My brother, the bluegrass guitarist and singer (and that was another hint) deserved a Martin t-shirt because..... well, because he's my brother. And Martin's air conditioning was also on the fritz!

So, I'm interested in knowing how you came up the both answers so quickly?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Contest!!! Well, a mini-contest, sort of....

I was out of town earlier in the week, visiting places and snapping pix. It occurred to me that it would be fun to see if others could guess where I'd been, keeping in mind what I do for a living.
So, here's a little contest to see if you can guess:

1) The name of the city I visited;

2) One or both of the places I visited while in that city.

Your one hint is the photo below. Be the first person to correctly name the city and you will earn $5 off any item in my Etsy store. If you can ALSO guess one of the places I visited in that city, you will earn an additional $5 off, for a total of $10 discount in my store. Remember, you must be the FIRST person to guess the city. And that same person must also name one of the places I visited to earn the additional discount. Contest is not open to any employees of Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh (they already know where I was) nor any of my immediate family (same reason, but then again my brothers don't knit--especially the bluegrass player--so they probably wouldn't enter anyway!)

I thought it would be a fun challenge for folks to research and stretch their brains. Enjoy, and have fun with this.....

Friday, June 6, 2008

Advice for the fiber vendors out there

Today I finished spinning a combed top that I bought at a fiber festival recently. While the yarn is very nice, I had to stop frequently to pick out the neps and noils in the fiber--took 3x longer to spin this 4 oz of fiber than it would have if it had been well-prepared. It was quite obvious that there was low-quality fiber mixed in with mostly-supurb stuff. And I paid top dollar for this fiber. To be fair to the vendor, I grabbed the sales slip to contact her and try to be helpful (after all, perhaps it was a new mill that she used, or she let a hired hand run the carder). But no, there was no name on the receipt and I had paid cash so can't track them through a credit card. So, here's the rant.

For cripes sake, folks, if you want to enter the fiber vendor business, don't pass off shoddy fiber as top-notch goods. I had to pick out grass, neps and noils created by short bits of fiber (some as short as 1/16") and bits of seeds. I threw away a good cup (compressed) of fiber, for which I paid top dollar. What if I'd been a new spinner? This purchase may have turned me away from the craft completely, just because some careless or greedy vendor wanted to make a buck. Have some respect for what you raise and sell, and have the dignity to put your company info in the bag somehow. Instead of being able to call this particular vendor and chat, I'm here venting in public. I will definitely avoid this vendor next year at that show, and advise my co-travelers to purchase at their own risk. Too bad this seller has left her public with no way to provide her with feedback (positive or negative) and thus, no way to improve her business. sigh.....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Down for the count

Somewhere on Saturday I picked up a head cold. I'm struggling just to sleep through the night. Late spring is a lousy time to have a cold, I can't smell the peonies and roses that are opening. And I'm struggling to keep up with my business as the head congestion makes everything seem to happen in slow-motion. Very short post today, as I need to head for the box of Sudafed right now.....