This last week of my life is proof that time flies when you’re having fun.  I’ve been busy, but in the very best ways, and so many interesting things and people have happened.

Here’s a list of 10 things I did this week.

1. I got to see and work with my friends Debbi and Stephen, even though they live really far away.

2. Besides taking really bad selfies, we went on a hike.

3. Nancy Bush came to work at the retreat, and one evening over a glass of wine, Debbi asked her what was in a big box she’d brought.

The answer was amazing.

Almost a hundred hand knits from Estonia. Mittens, socks, shawls (oh the shawls.)  She’d brought them to sell at our little retreat marketplace, and Judith, Debbi, Stephen and I are not ashamed to tell you that we did a little Christmas shopping out of that stack before any of it even saw the market.

Nobody appreciates a hand knit like another knitter.  They were beautiful.

4. I taught lace to what was quite possibly the nicest group of knitters ever assembled. The retreat had a gorgeous vibe I think.  Supportive, engaged… We really made the world the way it would be if knitters were in charge.

(That’s a little ball of  Colrain Lace.  Webs sent it along for the students in my class to use, nice yarn!) 

5. At the marketplace I got to see a great new yarn company.  It was their third day of selling stuff.

Local Color Fiber Studio is on Bainbridge Island, where they gather their natural dye stuff and create beautiful yarn. Their yarn is from sustainable farms or "upcycled" sweaters. Mark my words, they’re going to go far. Lovely things. (Right now they only have a FB page, and a little yarn, but it’s all charming.)

6. The market in general really flipped me out. We had local vendors from the community (Finnriver Farm and Cidery, HansenCrafts, Jennie Watkins fleeces and roving, Taylored Fibers, Wild Sage Teas) and it was a fun opportunity to show off one of the reasons I like that area so much.  In the evening, the retreaters brought out their wares, and it was crazy to see all the amazing things that they made.  There were letterpress notepads, hand dyed yarns, stitch markers, bags… it was pretty impressive. I loved it, and I can’t wait to do it again.

7. I got an email from my mum (she’s travelling abroad) and she said her internet was  "a bummer" and "truly sucked."  I’m still laughing. Anybody else agree she’s totally got the hang of her ipad?

8. I knit a ton, but the thing I made is drying so you can’t see it till tomorrow.

9.  One of our amazing retreaters, Leslie, brought this amazing Charkha (she made it, btw.)
She very generously let us try it if we wanted to.  I wanted to. I’d forgotten how much fun they are to spin on.

10.  I took the ferry to Seattle, something I’ve never done before.

It was pretty neat, as was arriving home, as is being here.  More later. The ceiling fell in.*

*Technically the ceiling didn’t fall in, because that choice of words implies that it was the whole ceiling, and really it’s only a largish piece of the ceiling.  It was an accident related to the neighbours renovation, and they’re very nice people who are very sorry and are totally going to fix it, but I still have some things to do.

96 thoughts on “Blink

  1. Oh the knits. I’m swooning. I don’t blame you for doing some pre shopping once those Estonian knits were broken out.
    Hope your ceiling is fixed soon!
    (As an aside: I wonder who the woman holding the purple skein is, and what yarn and pattern she used to knit that gorgeous cardigan.)

  2. !!! your ceiling!!! here’s hoping it gets fixed quickly…
    those pictures were mesmerizing… looks like an amazing retreat! and YES, the Estonian knits!! gorgeous…

  3. In my fantasy life I get to travel to Bainbridge Island. I’d say that your life is my fantasy life, but I don’t think I could cope with all the travel you do. I think there’s a huge upwelling of local fibre stuff happening across North America. I definitely see it happening here in Eastern Ontario (I’m working on a design project in that area). So much exciting, unique stuff. And I agree with you that the Estonian mittens and socks are totally amazing. Wish I was on your Xmas list!

  4. The pair of gloves that the hand is touching in the 6th picture down are the identical twin sisters to the gloves I bought from Nancy several years ago when she and Judith were teaching a joint workshop here in Indiana. The best gloves I have ever had and I am so sad to say I wore them out. Mind you, I still have them and wear them (sort of mended) as a liner under new gloves now, because I can’t let them go. But, I have to say there must have been a psychic connection between the knitter and me because those gloves fit the best! Almost makes me glad winter is coming so I can wear them again, even if no one gets to see them anymore.

  5. makes me so happy (after checking every day for a week!) to see a new post from you…gorgeous gorgeous photos. I love when the BLOG notices things I didn’t and I have to scroll back up to look again. oooh yes, that IS a lovely sweater on the holder of the purple yarn and those gloves are amazing!! Thanks 🙂

  6. Oh, all the lovely knits (and thanks for the tip on a new yarn company, you enabler you). But yes, I think your mum has totally gotten it now.
    Which means you’ll never escape from her online. Unless that’s ok.

  7. I SO went home too early from the market on Saturday. Not feeling well I decided not to stay for the 7:30 gathering. I missed out on those Estonian hand knits. I’m really bummed.

  8. I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was at not getting to attend the retreat. Truly sad! Please have another where perhaps more people can attend? Did I mention how sad I am? Glad you have resurfaced.

  9. So glad you saw Seattle when it was showing off for you! Breath-taking site from the ferry. Your blog and books often have me laughing, and of course, knitting everywhere I go. Carla, Mercer Island, WA.

  10. Steph, thank you so so so much for a lovely time reuniting with my tribe. People can’t believe that my idea of a vacation includes 20 instructional hours, but that’s how I roll. I learned so much and felt so at home. Really terrific. Thanks again to you and Debbi and Stephen for making it APPEAR seamless! And I can honestly say that I knitted the hardest thing I ever knit in your class – I was literally sweating through chart 3 (the close work)! This retreat was really hard work and engaging my brain, but so so fantastic! Glad you had a great time too.

  11. It was a pretty wonderful time on this end of the retreat tribe, too. So easy to forget the rest of the world and just cozy up with our own little ommunity. For a few days, we had it all. Many thanks to you and Deb for making it happen. 🙂

  12. Welcome back – we missed you – but are so glad you had a wonderful time. I knew that you had lots going on and was thrilled to see the new posting. Oh, how I loved Nancy’s knits! I’m working so hard on Christmas stuff now that I’d love to be able to buy some of hers (maybe just for me)! Looking forward to hearing more – your blog just makes my day. Good luck with the ceiling!

  13. Soooo happy you posted – we were definitely in withdrawl mode! lol 😉 Glad to hear / see you had a wonderful time. Your mum is pretty funny with the iPad stuff.
    And what in the what now about the ceiling? Yes that’s right “what in the what now” – not a typo.
    Please fill us in asap – I know you’re busy and probably exhausted so as soon as you’re relaxedly able? 🙂 thanks!!!

  14. Gorgeous!
    I have a question though…. with your neighbors renovating. … have they found any of your fiber that the evil grey squirrel stole? Just curious 🙂

  15. Handknits from Estonia – oooohhhhh! I bet there was little or nothing for Nancy Bush to box up at the end of the weekend. And you get to give very special handknits that you don’t have to knit yourself!

  16. I cannot believe you’ve never taken the ferry to Seattle before!!! Gasp! It is such a beautiful ride. It was February when I went, and dreadfully cold, but I enjoyed every moment of standing out on the deck with the wind whipping my hair. So glad you’ve had a lovely retreat!

  17. I’ve fallen in love lately with the look of Estonian mittens and their complexity. Hubby and I were wondering if little Estonian children wear those kinds of mittens outside to play, or at recess. What if they lost one? Anyway, I’ve started making a pair based on some pictures I’ve looked at, with the intention of making them look authentic, and with my own motifs that I worked out on graph paper. Is that wrong? I’m glad you got to take the ferry to Seattle (I’ve done that). Sorry about the ceiling. Sounds as if you have pretty nice neighbours.

  18. I know how very busy you are, but if you get a chance would you please update your website section on where you are going to be appearing? I would love to attend the events you mention, but I never hear about them until the last minute or when you post pictures of them after the event. I could possible travel to something great, but also hope that some day there will be a wonderful knitting event somewhere near northeast Ohio/northwest PA. Thanks!

  19. The retreat was amazing… getting to meet everyone was amazing. I’m sorry for the folks who didn’t get to go (maybe next time?) as it truly was an experience. How often is it that you get to walk into a group of people and feel completely at ease because everyone there totally gets you? It’s like insta-bond through love of the same craft. Oh and the Estonian knits were totally as amazing as you think they would be… and staggeringly under priced in my opinion (especially the gloves and mittens). One of those shawls may have come home with me… the perfect memento for a wonderful trip.

  20. It was the lovelies of retreats, my stomach muscles still hurt from laughing. Thank you all for sharing so much of yourselves. I would like to point out my face in the above Marketplace picture is saying “Ooohhh, Bison!”
    Much love.
    Hope your ceiling is fixed speedily.

  21. Oh! It was amazing, and I feel so privileged to have been able to be there. The place,Teachers , classes, food,food,food , market and friends(old and new). What marvelous time! Thank you Steph,Debbie, Stephen and all the rest who made it happen!

  22. Gorgeous knits, gorgeous yarns, and gorgeous weather for the ferry ride! I’m jealous.
    I hope the ceiling repairs go smoothly. As I have had some similar disasters, take a tip: Be sure the repairmen not only throw plastic dropcloths over everything that can’t be moved out of the room(s) and that doors leading to other parts of the house are closed. Also make sure they tape plastic dropcloths over those closed doors (and the kitchen cupboards, if that’s the room affected). Otherwise, you could have plaster (or joint compound) dust all over the house — and even in closed drawers and cupboards.
    P.S.: They’ll have to paint the new ceiling. You may find that this inspires you to paint the walls, too.

  23. A charkha! I was so excited to see that! I live in India at the moment and there is a man who spins on a charkha every day week at the tiny organic farmers market. They are so cool! I’m definitely bringing one home with me when I leave India.

  24. Sorry about the ceiling 🙁 Glad to hear that it seems like it can be resolved. Thank you so much for sharing pictures: the box of handknits (I just can’t even fathom), the lace shawl (my goodness), and all that yum-o-licious yarn!!!!

  25. Leslie made the charka? Seriously? She’s amazing. I feel so fortunate to have been at the retreat and have shared in all that knowledge, skill, and the knitterly vibes that were everywhere. Thanks, everyone. Nina

  26. Seriously, you got to meet Nancy Bush?! Lucky! What a beautiful shawl! I want that pattern, I need that pattern.
    I was gonna tease you and say okay, tomorrow is today so show us the ‘thing’ you were drying, but you’re probably very busy with your ceiling. Sorry to hear that. And wow, they’re still renovating?
    Love the pictures! Looks like it was a lovely hike.
    That Charkha looks amazing. I’ve never heard of it. I love it, looks so much easier to handle than a spinning wheel. I need to look this up. Does Leslie sell them?
    I really must, must start saving up for a retreat.

  27. I am so envious!! All I can say is I hope you’ll do the lace weekend again… complete with marketplace! It looks absolutely wonderful.

  28. Meredith said: (As an aside: I wonder who the woman holding the purple skein is, and what yarn and pattern she used to knit that gorgeous cardigan.)
    It looks like Agata to me; and I want to know what yarn, too!

  29. I feel for you with regard to the ceiling. Hubby just returned from the attic claiming, (all those reading please roll eyes now), “They are going to have to dismantle the whole house to find this leak.” The ceiling in the laundry room is coming down in small chunks.
    My saving grace is that I have a friend in the construction business, who can steer me in the correct direction/workman. 🙁
    Happy Holidays, eh?

  30. you went to Seattle? You brave soul! Every time I hear the Seattle news on TV I say to my husband: ” Remind me never to go to Seattle.” Between the murders. accidents and bad weather there never seems to be anything good happening there.(according to the news channel) 😉
    Nice to hear you had fun with your friends.

  31. The shawl took my breath away – what siimply beautiful hard work. Very glad the lace-world had an invigorating time. Best of luck with the neighbor’s reno issues.

  32. The ceiling fell in?!?!? WTH?!?!?! No. We do not come home to “The ceiling fell in.” That is just wrong.
    Also, the pic of the feet and the massive leaf needs to be a colorway. I LOVE it!

  33. How can you not love Seattle…It’s just grey enough on most days in the winter to make you want to hibernate, make soup and knit. And when it’s not overcast…no words can describe it. Oh, I know one… Perfection. Oh, and eek, the ceiling – so sorry!

  34. So, is the FO the totally gorgeous Dr. Who scarf Sam is wearing in your tweet?
    Tenth doctor, or is there an eleventh doctor scarf pattern already?

  35. Oh, oh, oh! I had the great pleasure of being in Estonia briefly with a friend years back. We were in Tallinn, which is a gem of cities, incredibly beautiful and incredibly unique. It was spring, and had been so warm when we were in Lithuania (another Baltic country) that we had been wearing sundresses on Easter, but in Tallinn we were COLD (Estonia is further north, and there was a cold snap). We went to the market in the old city of Tallinn, and bought the most beautiful mittens for ourselves. They are absolutely gorgeous, still my favorite mittens of all. I’m not sure how we chose mittens, because there were so many beautiful ones there!
    Beware, though… there was an Egyptian guy in that market who speaks reasonable English but gives very questionable directions: “it is not far, you can go there directly” was followed by the two of us on an afternoon of walking and buses that led to… nowhere. When my friend returned to Estonia a few years later with her mother, that Egyptian guy was still there in the market, and her mother approached him to ask for directions! (“No, mom, no! please come! we’ve done that before!”) I’d love to see an episode of Amazing Race where some team runs into that fellow…

  36. Wow! That all sounds wonderful! How do folks learn about these retreats that you offer? I think that my mom would like to attend someday. Also, I’m planning to give her at least one of your books for Christmas because it will be her second winter as a widow and I figure that she can use some easy access humor. Can you recommend a good starting one, or the funniest? Thanks!

  37. Picked up a processed fleece at Taylored Farms yesterday. Linda helped me with my Ashford traditional spinning wheel and in exchange I introduced her to reading blogs. Of course Yarn Harlot was the first one I made a favorite on her computer AND pointed out that you hot linked them in this post. They were impressed!

  38. You weren’t kidding the pictures of the shawls! What a wonderful retreat. I love your comment about this is what the world would be like if knitters were in charge. I’m a knitter and in my family of three I’m in charge so I guess this is my perfect world. Welcome back

  39. Am I the only one hearing in “I’d forgotten how much fun they are to spin on” that the result will be “Ah, yes, this is exactly what I needed in that corner of my living room– a spinning wheel which will always be out, decorative, and the next notch up on my fibre obsession.” Possibly even rationalized thus and thus: “I’ve been wanting to improve my cotton-spinning skills.”
    Fess up, Harlot: Where’s your new charkha?

  40. And welcome once again to the Pacific Northwest! We are so happy to have you visit our area. I hope you will consider it your “second home”. I wasn’t at the workshop but it sounds so wonderful.
    Hubby & I were lucky enough to stop in Estonia on a cruise two years ago. We did a day trip to Haapsalu and I came home with three shawls, two as gifts to my knitting mentors. We fell in love with the area & the people. We were there on the anniversary of their Singing Revolution. It captured our hearts & we will be going back.

  41. I might have been feeling a bit of envy (and nostalgia) over all of the beautiful yarn and handknits (my word, those Estonian shawls!!1!), but with that last photo of the ferry approaching the Seattle waterfront, it all turned into one big wave of nostalgia. One of my best college friends used to live on Bainbridge Island, and I’d take the ferry across to visit with him when I was in town. It was always such a wonderful and comforting time, the conversation and the walk to and from his house or to the waterfront. Oh, to be able to do that again, just once.
    Sorry to hear about your ceiling collapse, may it be fixed as quickly as humanly possible.

  42. Oh my gosh, what a big, beautiful leaf–I second the comment that it should be a colorway. And the mittens and shawls–gorgeous! Thanks for the post, so sorry about your ceiling.

  43. Murphy says – Of course the ceiling would fall in when you’re away.
    As long as no one was hurt, it’s only stuff and fixable.

  44. I’m so addicted to reading your stuff that it just occurred to me you need an app. You could call it “GOT HARLOT?
    ” ! 🙂 THANKS for so much for your inspiration and laughter. You are a gift to so many people.

  45. So sorry to hear about your ceiling. Ours fell in last year due to a tiny little pipe developing a tiny turned huge leak. It was a plaster ceiling and took out furniture with it when it came down. Hopefully yours will be done by the holidays.

  46. @Danielle – I don’t know what sort of sorcery you worked to figure that out, but I’m pretty sure that’s the right pattern. Thank you to you and @Important details! for the help.
    (Huge apologies to Stephanie for hijacking her comments section for this. A knittah’s gotta knit, though)

  47. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

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