women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The News from Lake Leelanau

WARNING: Long picture heavy post!

Good news: I had a great vacation
Bad news: I can't fit three weeks into one post

Good news: I have lots of pictures
Bad news: I can't decide which to show you first

Good news (I hope): I'm back
Bad news: I wish I weren't (sigh!)

Good news: Enjoyed the fruits of family
Bad news: Had to say goodbye to family (for now)

Good news: Had great weather in northern Michigan
Bad news: Came back to discover Indy is in the middle of a record breaking heat wave - 90 to 100 degrees every day last week and this week

Good news: Arrived home well-rested
Bad news: Picked up a nasty hitchhiker along the way (cold virus)

Good news: The carpenters who were supposed to be here July 1st are finally here working on the exterior of the house
Bad news: The carpenters are here (noisy little buggers!)

Good news: Discovered a great LYS (and great people to go along with it)
Bad news: On a yarn diet (Dadburn it!)

Good news: Galley proofs of the book are done and back to the printer (you haven't lived until you've spent two vacation days minutely examining a 190 pg. book you lived with on a daily basis for over three years for errors)
Bad news: Did I mention the errors? Lots of errors? At least one on a page errors?

Good news: Had a legitimate reason to buy yarn
Bad news: Had a legitimate reason to buy yarn

Good news: Finally started my Cherry Country Stole
Bad news: Have to start again


Enough of this.

You want pictures? I got 'em right here.

You want news?Well, stay tuned.

You want yarn pron? Keep reading.

You want juicy secrets about Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan?

Sorry. You're on the wrong website (Thank God!)

So here is the cottage in Leland, Michigan

And here is the sign by the front door

Don't speak German? Want a translation?

Funny Farm (I think that says it all, don't you?)

And here is the lovely woodsy, up north cabin-y interior of Chez Funny Farm
See how clean it is? It's not hard when there is only one main room.

And here are two great people at the great LYS

That's Lynne on the left and Kathy on the right. They are part of a wonderful group of knitters I joined at Threadbear in Lansing on my way up to the lake. We had a lovely time chatting and knitting and the store was amazing. Gets four stars. The people get five.

So. About that Cherry Country Stole...

Remember this?

Well, the yarn finally arrived the Saturday before I was to leave on Tuesday.

I promptly swatched and wasn't happy. What looked like cherry and dark red on my monitor was instead...

pink and black.

Too much variegation in the color; not what I had in mind (sigh!)

At all (bigger sigh!)

Back to the drawing board (or computer screen as the case may be)

I found a skein of Briar Rose Angel Face that looked to be the colors I was looking for, but it turned out the gauge was too fine for the heft of the pattern. (The cherries in the middle section need a certain solidity to them in order to look right.) I emailed Chris and cancelled the order.

I have an idea. I have a pattern. I don't have any suitable yarn. Woe is me. (Biggest sigh!)

But wait! Chris (another Michigan knitter and fiber artist. I tell ya, they're comin' out of the woods up there, folks. Should be knitter crossings all over the state instead of deer crossings. I'm just sayin'...) emails me asking if another skein of Grandma's Blessing would work. Turns out she has a show in Leland in October and would like to unveil my pattern at that event.

My first pattern...


For SALE, people! OMG!

So I spent all of Monday morning putting the pattern together on my computer (using three applications no less. How do you like them apples, you thermostat, you!?!)

Thursday a bit of native Michigander fibery loveliness arrived c/o my father. I managed to hold off for two days while I proofed galleys, but by lunchtime Saturday I was looking at this:

Primarily deep red, with a fair amount of hunter green and brown.

Started into the project but decided about 60 rows in to change things a bit. I just wasn't happy with the ends of the stole.

I had originally intended to add the beech leaf border at the end of the piece, a la Victorian Lace Today, bending it around the corners and surrounding the cherry and blossoming branch patterns on all four sides. But the more I pondered, the more murky the waters got with doubt. Was the beech leaf border going to still look like a beech leaf as I rounded the corners? Or would it look like a hot mess? And how would I feel about frogging the entire center portion if it did?

The yarn was more substantial than I had envisioned, being a sportweight, and it felt like the shawl needed a bit more solidity to it.

So back I went to my Barbara Walkers in search of enlightenment. (Took them along just in case - clever girl!)

Found a horizontal shell border that was similar in feel to the vertical beech leaf edging, and a double X pattern that had the same angular texture as the blossoming branch.

More math. More knitting. More frogging. More coffee. More cursing. More fiddling and fudging. More obsession. Less sleep.

One week later I was looking at this:

Cherry Country II - the sequel

Want a closer look?

Sure you do.

On the 28th I hied myself to the other side of Grand Traverse Bay and parked my chariot at the Fiber Festival in Charlevoix, to show Chris what I had done so far...

Good news: She loved it
Bad news: I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish it and the color was still not quite what I had in mind.
Good news: Chris is custom dying me two huge skeins of yarn just for this project
Bad news: I have to start over.
Good news: I love working this pattern so much I really don't mind
Bad news: Three whoppin' skeins of yarn jumped in my tote bag while my back was turned
Good news: New creations with Briar Rose might lead to more saleable patterns. More saleable patterns might lead to increased income (at least that's what I told my husband.)

This is 1500 yards of Legend, between sport and DK weight:

Here's the flip side, showing the variegation range:

Here is 1650 yards of 4th of July, DK:

And here is a yarn so new it doesn't have a name yet - merino and
tencel blend:

Lovely sheen, DK weight.

And that's the news from Lake Leelanau, where the men are chasing a little white ball around a field with holes in it and cursing, the women are happily ensconced on the porch, knitting and reading away, and the children are washing their own breakfast dishes if they know what's good for them.

P.S. Don't forget to register your guess as to the number of emails I had waiting for me upon my return. Sock yarn awaits the closest guesser.


Opal said...

Congratulations on the upcoming sale of your first pattern! Wooohoo! I'm looking forward to seeing it in all its glory. :-)

Donna Lee said...

A pattern for sale. Yay you! How exciting is that. I'm glad you had a good vacation. The funny farm looks like a lovely spot for some r&r.

Bells said...

gorgeous location! If you had to work on vacation, you were in a beautiful spot for it.

That yarn is very black and pink isn't it? Not my choice, either.

And that is very, very cool that you have a pattern for sale, or will have. That's a big first!

Denise said...

What a delightful cabin and setting - and a wonderful LYS discovery too! Bummer about having to proofread on holidays, especially when you're at that 'if I see this blasted thing one more time I'm going to choke' stage.

The lace shawl is looking wonderful, and worth all that work, and unravelling, and figuring out. Very exciting to have a pattern for sale coming up!

Ann said...

Wow - it must be hard deciding on the pattern but so far the shawl looks great!

La Cabeza Grande said...

Ah, the creative process is rough but it seems you've got plenty of support around you, so it's all good my dear!

Bucolic goodness abounds at Lake Leelanau, where "the children are washing their own breakfast dishes if they know what's good for them."

Anonymous said...

Okay - I may have to head for Leland to be the first customer to purchase yarn and pattern. I LOVE the colorway!! And, the pattern looks amazing!! You are genius!! ;-) I had so much fun in Lansing. You will have to come back next year and stay later with us!!