Thursday, January 15, 2015

the Starcroft yarn has popped up in NYC!

Here's the full view of the sheep shots from Nash Island that I put in the Starcroft Fiber Mill popup this week at lf8elevate
these three are all there as large , mounted, coated photographic prints, and as small lovely cards singly, and as a set with those below
I made a limited printing for the week but will re-stock and sell by mail, too.  If you are interested, send me a message at

Jani Estell herself, perhaps a little stunned,  just after we finished setting up the pop up shop on Monday. Instant yarn store!  It was magical how beautifully it fit in. I hope you have a chance to visit this week (Jan 13-18th).
POP UP ADDRESS: 80 east 7th street, NY NY between 1st and 2nd Aves. 
HOURS:  12-6   thru Sunday only  till 9 pm Thursday 1/16.
on Thursday 1/16 and Saturday 1/18 there are gatherings with Jani, Kay Gardiner (who masterminded this) and FOJ (Friends of Jani)  knitwear luminaries like Kirsten Kapur and Mary Jane Mucklestone and I hear Laura Nelkin will pop in the pop up too.

3 hours earlier, standing in a chilly drizzle in the middle of East 7th street, as Kirsten Kapur/Through the Loops, Jani and Yliana unloaded the woolpacked-to-the-gills car.  You know Kirsten has many talents, and it turns out one is making delicious cascading arrangements of yarn.Sooo tempting.
Here's Jani and her husband Grant, on Nash. Keep in mind they live in the woods, in a town of 400 or so, Down East (that's way north in regular geography) so this whole shop in NYC for a week is just...radical, I guess, is the best word to use.  I feel like you need to see a little more of Jani's "real life" to understand where the gorgeous handyed yarn she's brought down comes from.  I'm super lucky to have crossed paths and become friends over the last few years.  Helping out at the roundup and shearing on the island is a standout joyous top ten day of any year.

Jani commuting to work with the flock, by lobster boat, with Alfie Wakeman, the island owner. Cleat, the orphan sheep last year, rides along.

The view Jani is used to. Not quite lower Manhattan. Still, no parking.

 Tossing a just sheared fleece onto the skirting table . All of her yarn comes from the island sheep.
yeah. Couldn't resist ending with this one.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

island sheep yarn in nyc

Borrowing the artful history writing of Kay Gardiner, as it appeared on Instagram recently
 "True story. Once upon a time in the 1970s (approximately), two little girls named Kay and @galezucker were NOT allowed to start flocks of sheep. So they became Camp Fire Girls. Which was great, but not the same as having a flock of sheep on a lighthouse island off the coast of Maine. To repair this psychic injury, when they grew up Kay and Gale persuaded @janistarcroft to bring her Nash Island wool yarns to a jewel box of a shop on East 7th Street in NYC, @lf8elevate One week only starting January 13. 
Join us on January 15 from 6-9 and January 17 (Saturday) from 3-6 for knittin' and chattin' old skool."

 I can't add much except to say 
• the Starcroft yarn is very special, and never available in NY before.
• there'll be a flock of knitters you'd enjoy the company of at the shop, during the knit and chats on Thursday and Saturday
• Jani graciously invited me to share some of my printed photographs and limited edition postcards from visits with her Nash Island sheep--all sepia toned, including the one above--so that'll be in the shop, too
• This whole crazy adventure is Kay's brainstorm, and I never say no to riding shotgun when Kay's behind the wheel. Join us!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

with icing on top

I hope you had the sweetest of holiday seasons. It's been an unusually- even for me, who doesn't sit still easily-  bustling month.  My blogging habit evap-o-rated!

Above, a sneak peek* from yesterday's photo shoot in Portland, Maine for Swans Island yarns. Such lovely clients, such to-die-for designs, and oh yes, the donuts are awesome, too. So good we are swinging by the shop to get some before we leave town today.  If I am allowed one teeny tiny kvetch, the temperature is -8F degrees...and it wasn't too much warmer while we were shooting outside yesterday. Although it was above zero.  The warmth of squeezing in visits with friends Mary Jane Mucklestone and Samantha at A Gathering of Stitches made this work trip all the sweeter.

See you in NY next week, between January 13-18? ? I'll be at VK Live for funs  and am so excited to be helping Jani from Starcroft Fiber at her pop=up Nash Island yarn  in the City shop at lf8elevate at 80 east 7th street in NYC. If you'll be in town, come down! Jani's yarn and island wool, some knit and chats with designers you know and love, it is a charming, artful shop..  I'll have a limited edition set of Nash Island photographs mounted and cards just for the occasion. The special events  are on Thursday evening 6-9 (with Mary Jane Mucklestone there)  and Saturuday afternoon. 4-6 with Kay Gardiner knitting along .details tomorrow!
Stay warm, wherever you are!

* ok if you know me, you know how I can go on and on about how there's one main story per photo, and how wrong a photo shoot can go when you can't keep it straight. That, my friends, is definitely a photo about donuts.

Monday, December 08, 2014

FO monster monday

Finished just in time for the cold weather:  Monster Cowl . Started last winter, tucked away when I hadn't finished by spring. I love this chevron stitch, it's gently hypnotic to knit. I was chugging on merrily, when I noticed the pattern suggested stopping to kitchener it at 45", warning of blocking growth. ooops! I was closing in on 50". No worries. I love the size.
Excuse the, ummm, styling, or lack thereof. It was an impromptu photoshoot. Want some details? 
pattern: Monster Cowl by Julia Allen.
yarn: Shepherds Wool from Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in Michigan
needles: US 9
finished size: after blocking, about 54" in length around, and 7.5" wide
notes: so obviously, one edge is going to be nice and neat and the other, the side where you change colors,  is going to have the yarn carried up along it.  I'll fess up to sometimes forgetting to properly wrap the working yarn around the one lying fallow for that row. 
(oh man. I just fell down this grammar rabbit hole and I am still not sure if I used the past tense of lie correctly or if maybe it should have been laying). 
Where was I? 
Oh yeah, my less-than-neat edge. Before blocking, it was messy enough to considering covering with icord all around,  or maybe a row of crochet. Afterwards, it settled in A-OK. Don't you love well behaved yarn?
This was so satisfying to knit that I may cast on for one as a gift for someone I like who admired it repeatedly in that kind of way. I've already cast on for a coordinating hat. Those skeins are generous at 250 yards each.  Not the Monster Hat- that would be too matchy for me --but using the rest of the yarn held double for a bulky hat.
What are you knitting this fine frosty morning? 
(and if it's not frosty where you are? well......)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

not so random

stones on Nash Island in Maine , with Trig, a hat pattern by Mary Lou Egan
This started as a Random Stuff post, blabbing about work, what I've been making and knitting and I'm traveling this weekend and what I'm teaching, and what I'll knit on the train and bus, and oh, you know, the weather and how I want to knit all the hats. And CRAFT FRIDAY .....
But it's never really random, just like there aren't really coincidences. Enough time or enough thought always reveals the connection.
Example: I've been putting together presentations. I was listening to a webinar about vision-based portfolios. Love the concept. I trained and worked as a photojournalist. Man oh man do I adore a narrative, so I tend to default to one as I present images.  It is so hard to edit my own work.  I tried letting my brain go loose-y goose-y and guess what? Seemingly random images went together.
This pairing is dyed fiber at a farm in 2006, and on the right, my own Decibella Cowl pattern. 
I'll probably demo making these photo pairings, and how to embellish them further,  and of course,  collages with many more images and graphics, even circular images, when I teach the Making Collages with PicMonkey  Interweave webinar on Monday, 11/24/14  at 1pm eastern live. Join me, please?  Or get it recorded to listen to on-demand. I am telling you, the above show restraint, you can go CRAZY with the tools on that free software.  I think we'll start all buttoned down and simple like this,  and then just continue on and on with loads of options.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

iphone photo love

I am amazed how much I use my phonecam, when I am not officially on a job. It's so freeing.  If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't , why not? oh comeon.  I'm galezucker) you'd maybe have seen these two images this week.  With a couple of phone apps, I can make photoediting/processing changes that, not so long ago, took hours of photoshop.  I am not exaggerating here.
Also not so long ago, a knitter jokingly said "You know, you should  teach a  phonecam Photo for Knitters class because I am too lazy to use my real camera" and we all laughed.  At the time, the cameras weren't so good, the controls weren't there. But now? Absolutely.  Is it the same as shooting with a DSLR ? Nope. But can you make images you'll love,  that capture your life and your craft and your world? And can enliven your FB and fill your Ravelry projects page ? Oh yes.

Which is why I am thrilled to be teach SmartPhone Masterpieces at The YarnSpot in Wheaton/ Silver Spring Maryland next weekend.  Saturday morning, November 22, 10:30-1:30. I am also thrilled that Sivia Harding is teaching there too next weekend, so I get to meet her. Join us! It's going to be fun. I guarantee you'll learn some new tricks.
Isn't the world a grand and colorful place? You probably won't be surprised to learn my standard reply to the question "what's the best camera? "  is : the one you have on you.

Friday, November 07, 2014

FOUND on Friday: a perfect plan AND a fine idea

(Actually they are both fine ideas and perfect plans.)

A PERFECT PLAN  Behold my purchases from Rhinebeck,  as reported. Up by Bobo's paws,  Paintbox Gradients set from Fiber Optic.  When I taught at SSK the summer before last, I had the perq of shopping the marketplace early. A perq so wasted on me. There I stood, stumped by the beautiful gradients at Fiber Optics. What would I knit? What colors did I want? Bright and cheerful ? Subtle and earthy? Darn that talented dyer Kimber for her artfulness! The chocolate brown to light aqua transition totally spoke to me - but I guess it was mumbling. Took me till a couple of weeks ago, when I learned she was vending at Rhinebeck, to hear it clearly.  I only had to decide on yarn base.  Kashmir yarn with its 10% cashmere was it.
To offset my squirminess of owning a special yarn without a special plan, I sought a skein of natural to go with it, something with a halo. I had no pattern but a twinkle of a shawl idea.  Icelandics are feeling near to my heart this season, I've been working with Lars Rains on his  Modern Lopi collection.  When I bumped into Lars Himself at the Frelsi Farm Icelandics booth, I knew I had my 2nd yarn:  a  skein of fingering weight singles, in natural Bark.
Yesterday Kirsten Kapur released her Abingdon shawl pattern. The missing piece fell in place. A perfect plan for my  pairing. I can hardly wait to cast on.*

A FINE IDEA: I'll start blabbing about this now!  Beverly Army Williams is leading the charge for  CRAFT FRIDAY: a CraftActivist handmade alternative to the consumer-crass-ugly-day-after-Thanksgiving-glop that overlays the holiday weekend. First step: read her post and join the Pinterest Craft Friday page .  Second step: post about it yourself.  Spread the word. Plan a party. Third step: make a list of what you want to make that day.
More to come.

* the first commenter below will be my 5000th comment on this blog. 5000!  That seems so...I don't know, worthy of recognition! I love that you come by to read this, and taking the time to comment is icing on the cake. Very wonderful icing. I means seriously, you have no idea how great it is to hear from you. I'm going to gift the first commenter a copy of Kirsten's Abingdon shawl pattern, so you can knit one, too.