Have (knitting) needles will travel

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.


One of the best things to happen in 10 years of blogging is connecting with other like-minded people. I discovered a small (& growing) group of people blogging about knitting 10 years ago. Knitting initially drew us together, of course, but as time has passed and life happened, some of those people are blogging about other things (instead of or in addition to knitting), they're occupied by caring for their families or busy at work, they aren't blogging at all, or maybe they're more often found on less time-intensive social media such as Twitter or Facebook or Instagram -- more or less (like, I'm on Twitter, but I'm hardly ever on Twitter). Some people have dropped out altogether over the years and, sadly, some have passed.

And blogging has exploded... there's a whole galaxy of blogs out there beyond the knit-blog system. There are new and interesting blogs on all kinds of subjects to discover all the time.

I've often felt that the curse of the internet is that we are able to make connections with all these people that we'd love to maybe sit down and have coffee & knit with... except that they live 1000 miles away, in another country, or over an ocean! It's only natural that there would be a desire to connect one-on-one with some of those like-minded people and I have been fortunate to do so, with knitters both near and far.

I like to think that I'd be a Quitter by now, no matter what, but I know that I'm 9 years Quit right now because of Ann & Cara. I'd never met them -- they hadn't met each other yet -- we barely even knew what each other looked like when Ann & I decided to quit smoking together in March of 2005! I think most people were still in the "shy" stages of blogging back then.

My recollection is that a few weeks in, Ann & I briefly mentioned taking a celebratory trip where we would actually meet each other -- maybe half-way, like someplace in Ohio -- and maybe after a year.



Lo, my husband had an opportunity to participate in a New York show just three months after the Quit and I jumped at the chance to go along! New York 2005. It was only my second time visiting in NYC, and one of the best little get-aways ever! I met Cara, Ann, Katy, Nancy, Cassie, and others. 


We stayed at The Benjamin and I had fun making choice from the pillow menu!


We shopped for buttons and at yarn stores galore; knit at the library; ate bagels, NY pizza, and burgers in the park; had so much fun making virtual friends real.


If that wasn't enough, I found myself in NY again in the Autumn of 2005 (and 2006 & 2007) to visit Ann & Cara and go to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck!


Sheep & Wool Festivals merit a post of their own (coming up), but here's a teaser photo -- Peggy, Cara & Ann at The Fold's booth, Rhinebeck 2005.



In September 2006, I helped Dixie at Yellow Dog Knitting spread the word that Stephanie would be spending A Sunday in Eau Claire on a book tour stop.


It was a fun day and I met face-to-face with even more knit-blog friends from Wisconsin & Minnesota.


One of the many highlights of that day was meeting Joyce Williams again. I'd taken a class about a year and a half earlier that she'd given with Lizbeth Upitis. I just loved her spirit! I love this KNIT POWER photo of Joyce, Dixie & I wearing our knitting rings!


In December 2006, after seeing an amazing Elizabeth Zimmermann exhibit in Madison, I waxed poetic about how wonderful Wisconsin is... for knitters.


1st meet up with Angie - 2007


A few undocumented meet-ups before and since this photo - 2012


 Knitting (looks like a Parcheesi square) in Luck with Kathy - May 2010

I've met/met up with numerous knit-bloggers around the state -- Madison & surrounding area, Marshfield, Luck, and locally -- both on purpose and accidentally (Bobbi - as our daughters began college at the same school!), and of course knitting almost weekly with my local knitting groups! I've visited blog friends/campers at Knitting Camp, and at the Knit-In.


March 2008. After about a year delay, I hitched a ride with Katie and finally made it to Minneapolis for a visit with Deb! I also met (for the first time or again) Kathy, Chris, Brenda, CursingMama, and Renee; visited a couple of wonderful yarn shops and, really, just had the most wonderful time.


An exhibit at MoMA that Katie wanted to see was the spark that led to another fun trip in August 2008 with Maddy, too! We visited with Cara in NJ, Ann in NY, drove out to Montauk, and also were able to meet up with Terry & her family, Katy, and Claire.


A mutual interest in both knitting and photography, not to mention some other similarities in our lives, led to a most enjoyable trip to Berkeley and the San Francisco area to visit Celia in October 2010.

Among the many highlights of that trip was dinner and a Parcheesi mash up (mine still in pieces) with Janine (pattern info here), Rachael and Lala, and more!

I was able to meet up with Celia again in November 2012 when I traveled to San Francisco to meet Rusty for a long birthday weekend.



In September 2011, I flew out to Salt Lake City for the Rocky Mountain Knitters' Retreat at Alta. But, of course, the real reason the opportunity to spend time with Margene (we'd previously met at Rhinebeck) and visit Silver Lake. I also met Cheryl at the retreat, and a chance meeting with Mim later!

Those are most of the highlights -- I'm sure I've missed something! I've not been spending a ton of time nor exhaustively researching any of these topics... it's all been by the seat of my pants, just the way I've always blogged! (I have learned that I could make better use of Categories in my blog posts. Heh.)

Anyway, it's  unlikely I'd have met most, if not all, of these people had I not started blogging 10 years ago, much less traveled to meet with them, knit with them, laugh and drink and take pictures and make merry with them!! The $21K I've saved by not buying cigarettes over the past 9 years has certainly helped to fund some of this travel... it's all connected. It's all pretty wonderful. And I am definitely looking forward to more.

* * * * *


There's plenty more to come... Two to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value -- only 2 more days to enter. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale -- sale extended through midnight (MT) TODAY.




Wrap it up already!

ClryChctrtOn Saturday, DH and I spent five hours at MoMA -- and that was pretty much flying through, no dilly-dallying.  I would have loved the Cezanne and Pissarro show, but it was members only that day.  We did enjoy Friedlander's work.  I have a soft spot for Op Art and Pop Art, and I especially enjoyed the design collection.  We took a break and had a snack on the third floor patio where, naturally, the chocolate tart is served with flair.

When I first met DH, the thought of his favorite lunchtime sandwich accompaniment left me aghast -- who in their right mind eats Cream of Celery soup as SOUP??  The feeling was mutual, however, but with Cream of Mushroom as one of my favorites.  Apparently, DH is quite influential in the soup department at our house, as all three grrs count Cream of Celery soup as a favorite, but shudder at the thought of Cream of Mushroom.  Anyway, this is the only soup can I photographed, for obvious reasons.

Swtr1_1Swtr2What I really wanted to capture in these photographs was the sweater -- it's cabled and quite nice -- but I got so much more and I really like them.  I don't know which church is reflected in the windows, and don't even know which store it was!

ChryHere are the porcelain, bunches-of-cherries buttons from Tender Buttons for my fruit sweater.  Aren't they perfect?  The current placement of buttons is not quite right, so there's this alignment problem with the checkerboard -- I'm going to fix that!

NodupeWhen the grrs were in the room on Thursday, I'd shown them the buttons and the sweater -- they were all pretty impressed with my sister's work.  Katy said, with admiration, "That's not duplicate stitch!"  And when I repeated that statement to my sister, with proper reverence, it meant absolutely nothing to her -- she has no clue what duplicate stitch even is!  This was one of her first color projects.  Lauren and I were hard-pressed to find an end sticking out -- and this is slippery, mercerized cotton.  Anyway, my sister isn't really knitting much these days because of carpal tunnel and other physical issues, but it was fun to share and make her head big!

BlsmSeveral weeks ago, I bought the Noro Cash Iroha that I needed for Williamsro when my LYS had a sale.  I bought a little more than I needed (I bought all they had of that color) because I might want a little more length.  The Noro Blossom has been much harder to find -- apparently, it's not carried by very many shops, especially not the ones we went to in NYC because I looked at every single one!  If they did have it, they only had a few skeins.  So, at our very last shop stop on Friday, The Point, I was elated to find four skeins in the same color/dye lot and after consulting with my fellow knitters, we decided that it would work.  I think I'll be making a statement, but it might work.  I wound 'em into balls last night and will see...  Oh yeah, I was so excited to find more than two hanks of this yarn that it completely slipped my mind that I needed FIVE.  Duh.

I had my other purchases out last night, too.  Some of it is PRIZE YARN!  I think that'll make a nice holiday post, don't you?  I won't have fireworks, but I'll have yarn!  Have a great holiday weekend -- see you on the Fourth!

New York, New York!

PlwsHave you heard about the pillow menu?  The link is actually to the catalog and one of these days, I'm going to order one (or two) up!  We stayed at The Benjamin at 50th & Lexington.  It was, perhaps, a bit extravagant, but it was so very nice -- and how often do I get to New York?  Exactly!  On our first night, I ordered two down pillows (one for DH and one for me -- good ol' basic pillow), an upper body pillow (I couldn't wait to try that one), and a gelly neckroll pillow.  The second night, a buckwheat, satin beauty, and a magnetic therapy contributed to this pile o' pillows that made me giggle every time we entered the room!  For the record, my favorites were the upper body, buckwheat (surprisingly!), and gelly neckroll.

Also, for the record (there are people interested in this, trust me), there was no top sheet.  There was a comforter in a duvet cover!  How do you like that?

I could have gone hog wild at The Benjamin -- I averted my eyes from the room service menu, the spa delights, the honor bar (with the $5 package of microwave popcorn and $4 Terra Chips) -- but I was content to wallow in the pillows!

Test1Test2I had to snap these shoe pics for Kt!  I don't remember the maker of these shoes -- they're Italian, Testa- or Testo-something.  I didn't go into a single major store.  The window shopping was a lot of fun, though.  Brooks Brothers is not quite DH's style -- especially the yellow pants.

51stPrkAfter an Everything Bagel at Ess-a-Bagel (and a stop at the hotel to get everything out of my teeth and make an attempt to thwart everything breath), we took the subway to Ground Zero, Battery Park, Wall Street and spent a few hours with all the other tourists.  We watched the Staten Island Ferry and snapped pics of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island -- it was noon-ish, I think, and they were already announcing that they'd sold out of ferry tickets for the day.  51st Street is for you, Elizabeth!  I thought of you every time I rode the subway -- the mosaics were so cool!  I wish I would have photographed more of them.

Pnt_2Nyexch_1Cara picked me up about mid-afternoon and I ran an errand with her -- in Manhattan -- in her car!  She hardly swore at all.  I've lately been working on my traffic zen, and this was great!  I was really quite humored by the dance.  Then, it was off to Purl where we ran into Cassie, Cari, Jackie, Iris, and Aison.  They had just come from The Point, which is where we were headed next.  I was a total midwest geek and gave them all the mini Sharpie and cheesehead eraser and the book to sign -- and most of them didn't know me from Koigu.  They might have a wee recollection now.  I took no pictures there, but I did buy yarn.

At The Point (above left), we met up with Colleen, Anne, and Cassie.  There may have been other bloggers there.  I liked the shop and the atmosphere, enjoyed the company quite a bit, as well as my iced coffee -- and I found much-sought-after yarn there!  More on all that tomorrow.

Cara dropped me off at the Andrew Kreps Gallery where DH was participating in an event and that marked the end of the knitblogger/yarn portion of my NYC trip.  Boohoohoo.  And I mean that.  I keep wondering when I'll be able to rub elbows (or whatever) with y'all again!!!

Wipe your hands and whip out the knitting


When we finished our very fine lunch in the park, we wiped our hands and replaced our napkins with knitting.  Did you see Cassie's very fine Birch yesterday?  We saw it up close and personal, still on the needles -- do you see it through the mess?  DH was studying the subway map, intent on his route...


I think these two were taken in the same general area -- the fountain, for sure, is near City Hall.  And who'd have guessed there'd be sheep (and other animals) in the middle of the city!  Isn't he cute?  Thanks for snapping that fountain pic, Lauren!


Here's one of Lauren -- walking, talking, and knitting!


This is the hallway at Seaport Yarn -- it's the same hall, shot from either end.  There's another small hall with a great collection of books and a little more yarn, and at least three offices filled with yarn -- all amidst the other offices that are mostly not filled with yarn!  I was definitely on overload here and that's too bad because they had lots of stuff and darn good prices.


And then, as you've no doubt already read elsewhere, it was off to The Yarn Connection to meet Kathleen!  I'd been so sure, and I know Katy was, too, that the only way I'd meet her was if she came to Knitting Camp in Wisconsin.  She'd not had the best of days, but she was great company and it was so fun to hang out at the library and knit!


Fun with collage (clockwise from top left):  Cara, Katy, Ann, me, and Lauren in the center.


Lauren had to run and catch her train, and the rest of us went out for pizza at John's Pizzeria.  Yes, I'm one of those who eats pizza with a fork -- usually.  Just not so crazy about sticky fingers.  But I picked it up and folded it and, mmmmm, it was awfully good pizza.  The grrs brought me back to the hotel where we visited with DH for a bit (he was home early!) and threw all the pillows off the bed so there was room for us and a photo op.

Whew.  End of Day 1 in NYC.  Non-stop fun and excitement, I'll tell ya!  Tune in tomorrow for more shops, more yarn, more bloggers!

Back in the land of cheese

I had a wonderful time in NYC!  I can't thank Cara enough for all her planning, help, patience, and schlepping.  She's a wonderful person and terrific to hang out with, and I'm so thankful!

DH & I left late Wednesday afternoon, set to arrive NY at 7:30, and then were stuck in Chicago for three hours because of a storm in NY and resulting gridlock at LaGuardia.  They let us off the plane for a while, which was good, but it was still a long wait.

I became less miffed about the delay when we flew over Cleveland at dusk and I saw Jacobs Field aglow as the Indians played the Red Sox (and lost) -- what a cool thing to see from the air.  Then, as we flew further east and it got darker and darker, we could see lingering lightning in the distance as well as ever more lights on the ground, and that was cool, too.  But it really got good when the moon started to rise -- a big, full moon, rising over the Atlantic, peeking out between a few little clouds as we approached New York City.  Could it get any better?  Why, yes, it can!  Our plane basically flew a circle around Manhattan (and my seat was on the right side of the plane!) -- the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the million other buildings and Times Square, all illuminated and breathtaking -- and any lingering angst I felt over the delay at O'Hare was totally gone and I was almost thankful instead.  Go figure -- I like the bright lights, I guess!


On Thursday morning, Cara, Jen, and Lauren picked me up at the hotel and we hoofed it up Lexington to Tender Buttons.  I knew we'd be going there, so I brought two sweaters-in-need with me:  a blue cotton sweater that I finished over a year ago and the fruit sweater that my sister knit for me ages ago.  I found some nice, matte blue buttons for the first, and the most perfect, porcelain buttons in the shape of cherry clusters for the second!  The store was wonderful, but it was good to have a focus.  Jen found buttons for a baby sweater, and Cara founds some to match her cabled cardigan swatch, and -- Lauren, did you buy buttons?

After the button shopping, we went to School Products where Cassie, Nancy and Ann were already visiting and shopping.  I got to look my Cold Turkey Quit Buddy in the eye -- and give her a big hug, too.  It sure was great to meet her!  Cara is right, Ann's gotta let loose on the blog a bit more.  I love her blog, but I love her more!  I was so happy, too, that Cassie was able to get away -- that was a nice surprise!  The store was not very big, but I was already overwhelmed -- bright lights, big city, zillions of buttons, imaginary friends come to life -- though I did manage to walk away with four hanks of a wool/cotton in a nice, soft green (with Mack, "son of the learned ruler," in mind).

Jen had to leave us after School Products -- but not before choosing a mini Sharpie with which to leave a memory in my book (a Knitters Without Borders book from Cafe Press).  For her trouble, she received a Cheesehead eraser, as did all bloggers who wrote in my book (until I ran out, that is).  Personally, I can't think "blogger meet-up" without thinking of The Bookish Girl and Sharpies... can you?

Then it was on to Habu Textiles and all I could do was feel stuff.  Truly amazing.  The picture is in a very narrow room -- more like a hallway, really -- and you see Cassie's bag and Lauren's arm.  I think they both found something -- or, if Cassie didn't, she was a great enabler!  Color, texture, quantity -- I think my eyes glazed over while we were there.

And then it was time for lunch!  DH had been off doing his own thing and we met him for burgers at the Shake Shack at Madison Square Park.  Yum.  It was a bit of a wait, but it was fun, and the weather couldn't have been better!

Okay, that's all I have time for today.  Landed back in the real world with a thud yesterday afternoon and it's made a big mess on my desk!  Tune in tomorrow for more NY adventures.