Saturday, December 29, 2012

New designs

Ive been working on a couple of designs recently and Im really excited about them!  They will be my first published designs.  The first is a one skein infinity scarf in Shalimar Breathless Sonoma.  Shannon and Laura are test knitting it now and the release date is early to mid January.  It's called Frost in Bloom.  It's a quick knit and perfect to make for yourself or to give as a gift.  Our photo shoot will be coming up soon, this is just a sneak peek!

The second is a Greecian inspired sock,  Nikomedes.  The lacework in the cuff reminds me of the apex of the Parthenon.  The lace ribbing continuing down the leg and onto the foot are reflections of it's still standing but slowly fading columns.

Im looking for a test knitter for Nikomedes.  If you are interested please leave a comment here on my blog, or contact me on Ravelry: SpinningLara
Shown here in Zoe Sock Driftwood.
Im also really excited that I finally finished the Spectra scarf!  All those short rows took a while to do, but I love the result:
And Arctuim in all her blocking glory:
Don't forget to leave your grievances in the comments section in the Christmas/Festivus post for a chance to win some of my handspun yarn and a pattern for Jelly Beans Mitt's!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
A Peaceful and Joyful New Year!

Happy Festivus!
Leave your grievances in the comments section.  I'll be drawing a name by random generator on January 5 to win this handspun by me yarn and a pattern to make these cute Jelly Beans Mitt's:
I'll start: Thank you to who shall not be named, for the nut encrusted cookies of death you brought to my house yesterday.  Thank you for telling my husband to take them to work and eat them there and not to worry if he kisses me later because nut allergies don't exist.  I'll remember that next time I'm stabbing myself with an epipen and calling 911.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fun Times!

December has flown by faster than I ever could have thought possible.  Every day this month has been hectic and it seems I get further and further behind.  Normally, Im done with the Christmas cards and shopping around Thanksgiving.  To be honest, I still have a few cards to send out, nothing is wrapped and I totally forgot to get the dog and bunny kids anything.  A trip to Petsmart tomorrow will fix that, but Im wondering who the heck is going to clean the house before the in laws come on Sunday?  Volunteers?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  That's ok because Im  hoping to distract everyone with cookies and presents.  If the Christmas tree lights are on it should totally distract from the dog hair on the furniture.  At least that's the game plan for now.

In any case we have really had a fun month.  Last weekend we met Kristi and Paul in Yorktown for a fun photo shoot and a trip to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.  We had such a great time looking at the lights of Christmas Town, going on the bumper cars and drinking hot cocoa.  It really was lovely.

It was freezing on Sunday when we did the shoot for the Adiri sweaters.  The guys kept their coats and slofocks on and got busy with the cameras.  It's amazing how quickly a shoot can get done when the promise of the Yorktown Pub is the reward for finishing!

Here we are in our Adiri's
And the guys in their slofocks
If you have a chance, check out the new Indulge Me! Club that we are offering at Shalimar.  It's got four great designers and lot's of yummy yarns! Im so excited to be part of the club!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Andy and I really enjoy decorating for Christmas each year.  We try to change things up a bit from year to year to keep it completely crazy interesting.  A couple of years ago we decided that putting up a huge tree each year was too much work so we opted for what is supposed to be an entryway tree and using it on our coffee table.  It's a really cute fir tree and came in a nice little pot.  After rearranging the furniture after the new floor was done, putting the tree on the coffee table would completely block the tv.  Not that I would mind a little break from the tv, but I really do like to watch certain movies this time of year:  Christmas Vacation, Four Christmases, Christmas with the Kranks, Home Alone, Surviving Christmas, Love Actually and my all time favorite, The Holiday. 

So this year we decided to put our tree on the bar counter by the new cabinet.  Not only did it add some height to the tree, but it's a great focal point.  The two tree's on the right are new additions this year.

Because I love anything sparkley (Can we say Magpie?) we added these most awesome and very silver tree's to the stairwell.

The little Christmas village on the mantle complete with blue lights
We even decorated the Ghastlies.  The little girl with the hammer is my favorite.
I try to make at least one new decoration each year.  This button tree was a really quick and fun project.  The base is a styrofoam cone purchased at a craft shop. I then put the buttons on with straight pins and small bead.  The bead will stop the pin from going completely through the button hole. 

I also made these cute little tree's from vintage spools, ribbon and tree's found at the craft store and dollar store.  The blue ornament with the white deer was my Dad's.  It's one of the only things I have that was his and I treasure it.  It has a special place on the tree each year.
If you look hard, there is a pink tree in the back right of the photo.  It has pink lights and it's my favorite.  I kind of snuck it into the living room this year.  It's usually hidden in our bedroom. 
Well, my Adiri sweater is soaking and it's time to block it.  I'll have finished pictures in my next post, here is one of the body.  It's in Shalimar Haven in the Mandarin colorway.  I absolutely love and can't wait to wear it!  I have this crazy notion about getting some leggings to wear with it.  I know Im well over the age where this is acceptable, but I just don't care!  They are cute and Kristen Stewart looked adorable in them in the latest Twilight movie.
One last Holiday thing.  This is from Lion Brand Studio's shop in NYC.  It's the most beautiful Holiday window display Ive ever seen.  Everything it knitted, even the swans.  You can read more about it and how they created it on their blog.


Monday, November 26, 2012


To say that November is a busy month for us is an understatement.  My birthday was earlier this month and Andy took the day off to spend with me.  We went out for a wonderful lunch and then went to a few shops to look at Christmas decorations and pick up a few things for the kitchen.  You know you are getting older when kitchen accessories are what does it for you! 

Since I have severe food allergies it's nearly impossible to get a cake or baked goods from a bakery or grocery store.  I decided that I really wanted chocolate cupcakes with butter cream frosting.  Every time Ive attempted to make cupcakes they are a complete failure.  This time I managed to have success and they were quite good.  The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Then of course, we had Thanksgiving.  Rob and Shannon came over and hung out for the day.  They worked on refinishing a chest and then came in and helped with dinner.  For the past few years we have had our Thanksgiving on Monday since Andy has the week off.  We then get to have turkey all week long and not have to worry with cooking. 

Earlier this year I won a book naming contest on Veryl Ann Graces blog.  I was so excited that she chose the title that I had come up with!  Last week a signed copy of Murder Comes Unraveled arrived in our mail box.  I loved the first book in this series, Murder Spins a Tale, and the second one is equally as good!  When I opened the book, I was so surprised to see that Veryl had mentioned me in the dedication.  I am so honored and was quite speechless!  Thank you so much Veryl.  Not only do I get to read another wonderful book written by you, but I will have this very special copy too!

Ive also had knitting time and am now up to 198 Hexipuffs!  Ive recently coerced Beth into making them as well.  I can't wait to see her's.  She's such a prolific knitter, I bet her quilt will be done in no time!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Knitting Keeps The Crazy Away

When Andy and I first got married I had a hard time adjusting to our new home.  Andy and I decided before we got married that I would sell my house and farm and move in with him.  Andy's house was close to where we were both working and it seemed like the logical thing to do.  Little did I know that the people who I thought were my friends decided that forty five minutes would be too far to drive to visit or even meet half way for coffee.  I wound up leaving my job to be a stay at home wife.  Andy was working a lot and our neighborhood isn't exactly Wisteria Lane.  No welcome wagon or anything like that. 

Needless to say I had a lot of spare time on my hands.  Someone suggested that I take up knitting.  It's like the new yoga she said.  It seemed like a good idea and had I learned knitting basics from my maternal Grandmother when I was about sixteen.  I figured this would be an inexpensive (did you fall out of your chair laughing?) hobby and I could make a few Christmas gifts. 

I headed off to the local knitting shop, Suzanne's.  Suzanne greated me warmly and set me up with a book, needles and yarn and off I went.  That yarn turned into a very artistic poncho.  It was supposed to be a scarf, but I had no idea about gauge and was knitting like a maniac. Don't let her website fool you - Suzanne is one of the best knitters Ive ever met.

Seven years later I still knit like a maniac.  Knitting and yarn are everywhere in our house.  I have spare knitting in the car just in case I get stuck waiting somewhere.  The hexipuff project bag is in my purse and right now there is a scarf in progress on the coffee table.  The feel of needles in my hands and they yarn gliding through them has brought me constant comfort.  The challenge of a difficult pattern is like figuring out a puzzle. 

Im working on the Spectra scarf by Stephen West.  It's a fun pattern and really shows off transitional yarns well.  This one is in Breathless Ore and my handspun from Rivers Edge Fiber Arts roving in Popsicle Stick.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Seven years ago today,  I married my best friend.
Happy Anniversary Andy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last month Kristi told me that she had been working with her mill to improve Zoe Sock.  Since it's one of my favorite yarns, I wasn't sure how it could be better than it already was.  When she offered to send me some to knit up a sweater, of course I jumped at the chance!  I searched through Ravelrys massive data base of patterns and decided on Miriam.  It looked like a straight forward pattern and I loved the fit on the model. 

When the Zoe in Driftwood arrived I was so excited I wound it and cast on.  Miriam proved to be a quick and uncomplicated knit.  The new Zoe is so soft and lofty and worked perfectly for Miriam. 

The moment it was done blocking, I grabbed it and headed out the door.  I hijacked Andy on his lunch and we went to a local park to take some pictures. 

Ok, I am skipping in this last picture.  It was a beautiful day and the sweater fit perfectly.  What else can make a knitter so happy?  Well the fact that I have another full skein left over for matching socks doesn't hurt!  Now, just need to pick a pattern.....

PS Shalimar Yarns is giving away a skein of the new Zoe on their Shalimar Yarns Facebook page!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lot's of fun things going here!  Today Ann McCauley is teaching at our knit group.  This will be my second class with her and Im really excited about it!  Last year I took a seaming and finishing workshop and I can't even describe how much better my seaming is now.  The class is being sponsored by The Friends of the Forest Library (FOFL) and is free to all participants. The FOFL does many wonderful things for the community and this is just one of them!

A little over four years ago I started a knitting group at the Forest Library.   We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month.  It's been a great experience and Ive met a lot of wonderful people.  Ive been trying to find someone to take over being the group leader and liaison between the group and the library, but haven't had any luck.  Between working and everything we have going on in our lives Im just unable to continue running the group.  Im hoping that someone steps up to the task before the end of the year or the group will have to disband.  We have over thirty members of the group and usually have around ten people at our meetings.  I know everyone has commitments and other things going on in their lives but it's really time for someone else to have a turn at this.  One person asked why the group can't just meet without a liaison and why the group needed a leader at all.  The library receives grants and funding based on the number of people who attend events there.  There needs to be designated leader/liaison to report back to the librarian on the number of people in our group and to be a contact person for people who are interested in joining.  We also send an email out to remind the members of our meetings.  If you are interested in helping with the group or being the liaison, please leave a comment on here on my blog.

And now onto some knitting fun:

The Mermaids Tail Cowl is finished and I love it!

Handspun SW Merino Roving from Shalimar Yarns in Zombies Treat
Ive been working on the Miriam cardi in Shalimar Zoe Sock, colorway Driftwood.  Not only do I love knitting with this springy yarn, the colorway is really fantastic!  Im such a sucker for gray.  If I thought I could get away with it I think most of my knitting and wardrobe would be in shades of gray paired with white t-shirts. 
Ive already attached the sleeves and am on the raglan decreases.  It's a bit dark in the house for pictures this morning so Im using one from earlier this week.
Ive been a bit of a busy beaver and finished spinning 4oz of Hat Trick in Popsicle Stick from Rivers Edge Fiber Arts.  It's going to be paired with Breathless in Ore to make a Spectra by Stephen West. 
I really should have been painting the new shelves that Andy built for the dining room, but slacked off with spinning instead.  Good thing he is an understanding guy.  Oh wait, we did go fishing for most of the day on Sunday....




Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I spin quite a bit, in fact this year I think my yardage is around 7,000 yards.  No kidding and no exaggeration.  A friend of ours  has a llama farm and I do the majority of their spinning.  It's a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.  The downside is that after I get the spinning done for them Im usually too tired of spinning to do any for myself.

 Kristi being the temptress that she is, had given me some of her fantastic super wash merino that she dyed in Zombies Treat the day that I kissed the sheep and caught the plague.  It spun up so nice and lovely, being very soft and light, and just a big knitting tease.  I let it sit on the coffee table for a couple of days so it could be admired by everyone one that came by. 

Today I just couldn't stand having that unknit handspun here a moment longer!  Before I even picked out a pattern, I wound it.  It sat there with me while I searched patterns on Ravelry.  I knew it wanted to be a cowl.  Something with some texture that would show off the colors of the yarn.  I finally came across the Mermaids Tail Cowl.  There was a moment of shear panic when I couldn't find the right needles and then realised that I was looking in the wrong slot in the circular organizer.  Before I knew it, I had cast on and the yarn was flying though my fingers.  Only one pattern repeat left and it will be done.  I think there is more than enough yarn to make another cowl, and possibly some matching mitt's.

Not the best picture, but I was so excited about it I just had to post!

Is anyone else counting down the days until The Walking Dead returns?  We can't wait!  Bring on the Zombies!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sheep Plague

You would think that now that the kitchen is so close to being completed that I would have more time to do fun things like post on the blog.  While I have been having a bit more fun, I seem to have caught the sheep plague.  Ok, so that may (or may not) be the correct name for it.  But when you go to a fiber festival, hang out with some sheep, one of which just sticks her cute nose out there and you kiss it and a couple of days later you start sounding like a cross dressing frog, it really should be called the sheep plague.  I actually had to miss knit group this week because of it.  So seriously, no matter how cute they are, don't kiss a sheep!

I have had a bit of extra time to spin this week.  This is super wash merino from Shalimar Yarns in Zombies Treat.  Ive been bugging Kristi to do some zombie and Walking Dead colorways and I love what she dyed! 

This roving was so easy to spin, I swear it practically spun itself!  It came out at 350 yards, 4.10 oz.  I love it! 

Check out all the other pretty colors that Kristi dyed.  I had a really hard time choosing just one.  Im wearing Zombie's Treat to keep warm.  It was freezing in the barn at Shenandoah!

Monday, September 17, 2012

There is a light at the end of the tunnel

I didn't think to write down the day when we started the kitchen makeover.  I really should have, because seriously it feels like it's been nine hundred and ten years that we have been working on it.  I'm pretty sure it was right after the Derecho that wiped out our power for almost a week.  So that would be early July.  Which really isn't that long ago when looking at the big picture.  When you are living in a kitchen that is a bit of a mess with half your dishes in the spare room and the other half missing in action, it's a bit of a challenge. 

We so close to being finished that I can taste it, or is that dinner that I'm dreaming of?  The only things left to do are minor in comparison to what we have done: painting the trim around the kitchen and dining room windows, changing the lower wall color in the dining and great rooms (the current color clashes with the new cabinet color), painting that trim,  constructing three shelves to go above the sideboard in the dining room and building a new pantry which will need paint as well. 

One thing that has been great is that Andy and I have taken a few weekends off here and there to regroup. This past weekend we went with friends to a wine festival on Saturday and spent most of the day fishing on Sunday.  We have a romantic four day weekend coming up which we are really looking forward to.  Biking by the beach, great food on the water, and hopefully not a lot of tourists.  I'm really looking forward to eating out.  I hear most restaurants don't keep their dishes in the spare room...

Andy built the cabinet above the island from scratch to match what we had.  I love how it turned out and it gives us a lot of extra storage space.
We have picked out a new light fixture for the dining room and will hopefully have it up soon.  This is what it currently looks like.  We took the leaves out of our table to make the room seem larger.  The sideboard is a new addition purchased at a discount furniture store.  It's the perfect size for our small room.
The pantry on the right is going to move into the spare room to store yarn and fiber.  There will be three shelves above the sideboard.  The new pantry will look very similar to the cabinets with wainscoting and crown molding.  It's going to be about a foot taller and possibly wider.  I'm hoping for some slide out shelves, but we will see what transpires there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Earlier this year Anne Hanson asked me to do a test knit for a kimono style sweater.  Sight unseen, with only a hint of what it was going to look like, of course I agreed!  After all, Anne's patterns are fantastic and very well written.  Hints of what it would look like would pop up on her blog from time to time.  Little snippets of knitted fabric, hints about the shaping, and photo's of the yarn kept me on pins and needles!  Last month an email from Anne came and it was time to begin. 
It took me just a little over a month to complete my caissa and I really enjoyed every minute of the pattern.  It's straight forward, easy to follow and like all of Anne's sweater patterns, fit's perfectly. 
We have had a couple of cool nights here and Ive already had a chance to wear it.
It's the perfect sweater for wearing with jeans and a light shirt in the fall.  And this winter it will layer nicely over a long sleeve shirt.  Ive checked to see that it's light enough to fit under my coat which will make it perfect for car trips. 
The pattern should be coming out soon.  Keep an eye on Anne's blog for the details. 
If you would like to meet Anne and have a great learning experience, she will be at the Shalimar Yarns Studio on Friday September 21 for the Knitspot Finishing Series.  More information and the link to sign up is here.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day

Our Labor Day weekend was very relaxing and enjoyable.  We went to Dish for dinner with Shannon and Rob and then walked around downtown. Taking pictures of each other and having a great time.
Andy really spoiled me all weekend by taking me out to lunch Sunday and Monday.  I really enjoy cooking, but it's so nice to have a break.
It rained for part of the weekend which means prime knitting time!  I made some real progress on my Cassia test knit that Im doing for Anne.  It's a fantastic and straight forward pattern which makes it perfect for tv watching or knitting when company is over.  I did a quick dry fit last night to check the sleeve length and I absolutely love how the sweater fits and looks!  Pictures to come soon! 
I did manage to squeeze in a few hexipuffs.  The grand total as of yesterday is 164.  Still a long way to go, but they seem to fly off the needles.  Each one takes about 20 - 30 minutes.  The Fair Isle ones take about 45.
Ive also discovered a new favorite wine.  No, not all of them!!  It's Flip Flop Moscato.
It's light, slightly sweet and even Andy who is not a fan of Moscato seems to like it.