52 Project: 5/52

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Well, winter isn’t done with us yet! I’m quite pleased that it cooperated this time and snowed on picture day.  The white stuff started falling before daybreak this morning, and by the time I got to midtown everything was covered.  Unlike the last storm, this batch is wet and sticky, bad for commuting but so beautiful. Every iron railing, newspaper box and twig was coated with snow. It can make even a filthy city beautiful, if just for a few hours.

I left a little bit early to afford me some time to walk through my corner of the park and snap a few more pictures.

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I took my February picture of the glacial rock by the pond. Its so massive and black in the snow. Its beautiful. Very different from the fog pictures you can make out the bridge in the distance this morning.

20140203-091137.jpgThe snow was thickly coated on everything, its magical. And its still coming down. We’re supposed to get 5 to 8 inches by 5pm.  Perhaps if I’m feeling adventurous I’ll take another walk at lunch time.

20140203-091157.jpgSo on that note, I leave you and wish you a very happy and cozy Monday!  -Marie

A Birthday Giveaway!

We have a lot to celebrate around these parts, we are teetering on the brink of having 400 followers on our little piece of the internet and its thrilling!

We’re also in the depths of winter, or as I like to refer to it, Prime Knitting Season. A lot of people don’t care for January, as there are no glittering holidays to decorate for, or parties and holiday food to nibble on.  But January, to me anyway, means wintry beauty, finally being comfortable (I don’t do very well in the heat) cuddling up to my wool without it making me sweat, brisk outdoors and cozy indoors. January also means its my birthday! So since today is my birthday and since everyone is coming down off their holiday high, and in need of a pop of color in their life we’re giving away this beautiful Elka Mug from Anthropologie.

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Who wouldn’t love to curl up with a steamy cuppa on a cold January night? What a cheerful color to brighten even the wintriest of winter mornings.

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TO BE ENTERED IN THE GIVEAWAY:  simply click on the link in the sidebar to follow FlorrieMarie on WordPress and you have a chance to win! Once we reach 400 we will randomly choose one winner from all of our followers, so don’t worry if you’re already following, you’re in!!

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If you like, leave us a comment letting us know what you love about January!

Disclaimer: We simply love this mug from Anthropologie, they didn’t ask us to give it away or link to the website, and we weren’t paid to promote it. Its just super pretty and we wanted to share the love.

Postcards from Vogue Knitting Live Part II

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Our apologies for this post coming so late to you. Vogue Knitting Live was over two weeks ago, though that hardly seems possible.  Florrie has been chasing her tiny terrors around and I’ve been slogging away at the day job and we have both been knitting feverishly for impending deadlines.  So, here it is, better late than never.

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Florrie, Mary Jane and Marie

Our first class was Friday morning. Color work  with Mary Jane Mucklestone, who is nothing short of charming and nice, and funny, and TALENTED!  Man, this woman can knit.  She had a giant suitcase filled with color work swatches. I mean FILLED.  They were fascinating and even though this class didn’t have much actual knitting, I really learned a lot.  Now I’m not scared to wander down the fair isle path at all.

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We’re ready to do color work! Coffee is an important supply to have on hand.

I suspect that we will become color work junkies… its inevitable, I fear.

After our first class we had time to wander around the art gallery section of the convention.  There was everything from the weird to the wonderful. One of our favorites was the needle felted Gnome Chess Set by sisters Jennifer and Melissa VanSant. So cute and funny. I’ve always loved gnomes.They are such silly creatures.

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Another wonderful bit of woolly art was the hilarious crochet of Nicole Gastonbury. Super creative and so funny! Aren’t the expressions she creates just so spot on? Don’t even get me started on those giant french fries. The little plaid thermos was my favorite I think. I wanted to take him camping. burger

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Clara speaks!

Later that afternoon went to Clara Parkes lecture ‘Journey into the Great White Bale’.  Check out her blog for more on this crazy adventure.   Florrie had gotten me Clara’s book The Yarn Whisperer as a Christmas gift and Clara graciously signed my copy.  Its truly fascinating.

She was another one that is charming and funny and we didn’t want the lecture to end.  I knew it was going to be fun to meet knitting women that we have admired, but what I think was the most unexpected was how accessible they were.  Friendly and helpful and even handing out phone numbers and email addresses with promises to answer further questions.   After the lecture we asked Clara if she thought it was worth it to get into wool processing to produce yarns for hand knitting, fully expecting a lukewarm, maybe. What we got instead was a whole hearted YES!  Such enthusiasm is contagious and we left bolstered and more excited than ever.    She was pretty awesome.

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Clara shows us how different each of the yarns were.

Day two began bright and early with, you guessed it. Coffee.

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After fueling up on caffeine we headed down to the hotel to Rhonda Faginoli’s natural dying class. We used indigo, cochineal, madder root, and other botanicals to dye two skeins of wool each.  It was fun, the wool was sock weight and each skein was a decent size.  I would have preferred DK or Worsted, but it was till fun.  We started out painting with the dye using foam brushes to get a base color going.

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I’m not going to lie, there were quite a few nervous faces at this stage in the dying game. The base colors were bright and frankly a bit alarming. But we soldiered on until we were ready for the final stage, the dip dye.

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The final dip.

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Not so scary after all!

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Drying in the window.

After drying and winding the wool. The color has mellowed a bit after drying, as color is going to do. But the blend is very pretty.

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Indigo and Cochineal

Florrie wanted her red wool to go even darker, so she kept it damp until she got home and over dyed it with beets to bring out the red. The before picture is on top, the bottom is after.

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Isn’t that lovely? She may do a post about the process in the near future. I want to read that!

We had a few hours to kill before the next and last class of the day, so we wandered through the Marketplace. I had to laugh because Florrie didn’t make it 100 feet into the first room before finding this gorgeous gem of a skein from the Sanguine Gryphon.

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I KNOW!! I can’t even stand how pretty this is. The marketplace was packed, as usual, but we squeezed our way through.  I ran into a friend of mine, Helga and chatted for a bit. I think I may have even seen my down the block neighbor, random!

Florrie also scored big time with this bag of Koigu skeinettes.

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Ahhhhhh! that’s a bag full of KPPPM magic.

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All that for $20!  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy one too. Love love love.

Our last class of the day was Sweater Design with Leslye Solomon of Woolstock Yarn shop in Baltimore.  I realized that we were so into our graph paper that we didn’t snap any pictures!  Leslye was funny and quirky and we really enjoyed her class. I felt like it really could have been a two segment 6 hour class, but we were happy with what we learned. We bought this very clever graph paper that she designed specifically for sweater design.  Its very cool! Keep an eye out for sweater design from Florrie and Marie!

Whew!  What a great weekend! Vogue Knitting Live is a bit pricey, and we were worried that it wouldn’t live up to our expectations, but it was so much fun. I want to take even more classes next year.  You should see if there’s one happening near you!

52 Project : 3/52

20140120-084620.jpgAnother grey Manhattan morning over here. Mind you, I’m not complaining, I find sunshine a bit boring. I love all kinds of gloomy weather. Rain, yes. Snow, YES! Fog, love it. Overcast mornings? My favorite.

It is relatively warm here though, don’t let the cloud cover and the black, bare trees fool you.  Its was 40 degrees F when I got off the train today which is pretty balmy for New York in January. The word ‘storm’ has been heard flitting about from person to person though. We have a winter storm warning for tomorrow evening. The perfect setting for some knitting, I think.  What’s your favorite knitting weather?

Here & There: VKL Prep

We only have three more sleeps till Vogue Knitting Live NYC, as Florrie would say. lol We don’t have a lot of homework to do before we start. Really just making yarn cakes of the wool we bought for the color work class.

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Down here in the city I am still running to and fro with meeting prep and lunch deliveries. While I’m downtown today I’m going to go to Purl Soho (believe me it was dangerously close when I worked out of the downtown store) to see about getting a last minute ball winder. Of course mine broke this week!   I need to rustle up some colored pencils for color work sketching.  I’m excited about the natural dye class, too.  I can’t wait!

-Marie

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Up here in the woods I’ve been doodling a little in preperation for the colour work class we’re taking. Tomorrow I’ll pack my bags and gather my supplies before heading to the Big Apple Thursday. I feel like a school girl getting ready for the first day. Pencils, check. Needles, check. Apron, Check. In a reverse of the norm I’ll be Marie’s house guest for a few nights, leaving the little ones at home with Dad.

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Planning and Plotting

20140104-113811.jpg     This weekend I (Miss Procrastination) am working hard on a new collection of patterns. I had planned on releasing them at the end of this month, but after sitting down this morning and planning out the remaining work I have to do, I’m not as brash and certain as I originally thought. I suppose if you are saddled with the procrastination gene, its a bonus if you also have the brash self-confidence gene to back it up.  Its my “I can do it!” side that makes me think that, yes, just maybe, I can! So far this morning, to procrastinate, I have taken down my Christmas tree, packed away the decorations and tidied and vacuumed the dining room and living room… oh, and written this blog post.  Like a champ!

I have already written several of the patterns, and I just need to re-knit, chat with my test knitters and make sure the finished projects are ready for photos. But a couple of the patterns are still just sketches, notes and swatches.  Its officially Crunch Time!  So after I make some eggs and coffee for my at-home brunch I will have my nose to the grindstone and knitting like a madwoman to keep my deadline.  Do you think I can do it? Wish me luck! -Marie

PS – In case you were wondering…  the wool in the picture is Cascade 220 (aqua) and The Periwinkle Sheep (pinky-purple) Merino DK and yes, its going to knit into something wonderful! 🙂