31 March 2011

More of Port Gamble~ Part 2

Another place to shop while in Port Gamble~ The smallest boutique shop I've ever seen. "Second Spring" is the name of this one room of a shed/shop, full of lovingly hand knitted and sewn items. If you need to use the 'public facilities',that are located on your way out of town,on the left,this shop is right across. I believe sitting in the parking lot...? You'll want to shop BEFORE Melissa and I get there,cause we scooped up all the cutest stuff quick~ See Melissa in the window?

I think she's open Friday and Saturday's only... the paper bags she uses for your purchases are machine sewn together~ very cute~

30 March 2011

Call me crazy

I haven't been able to put the current edition of Knitting Traditions down.  I've had it for a week today and I think I could list the projects from cover to cover by heart if somebody dared me....

Knitting Traditions ~ Winter 2011

Did you ever have a Julie/Julia Moment?  This magazine is definitely mine.  I have an urge to finish up all my unfinished projects and make the entire issue my next Big Thing.  Amazing, amazing stuff.  And the stories that go with each project are beautifully written and so inspiring to me.

Have you seen it?  Does it make anyone else feel the same way?  Anybody want to join me? :)


27 March 2011

Men at Work

Thanks, Lowell and Sam, for helping us rebuild the driveway ~ you made the job much easier!  We appreciate you both!

26 March 2011

The Artful Ewe

Our trip yesterday turned out to be a huge success.  I decided to share our adventure in 2 separate posts since I think (and I'm sure all 4 of us are in agreement here) that The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble is worthy of so much praise that it would be a shame to lump the rest of our stops into the love fest that's about to follow!  Excuse me for gushing....

We dressed for the inclement weather that we woke up to early yesterday morning, but by the time we met in Edmonds to catch the ferry across Puget Sound to Kingston, the sun was shining and brilliant and we were all wishing we had worn something different.  The drive to Port Gamble is a quick one, about 10 minutes, and it is definitely one of those towns where if you blink you'd miss the entire thing.  I think their saving grace is that there's a sharp 90 degree turn that you have to slow way down for, which gives you time to notice this adorable single street of shops.  Here's where you'll find Heidi's store.

Of course, the cameras popped out as soon as I stopped the car.  I hope Kelli got some pictures that she wants to share.  There was so much to look at from the minute we opened the door and were greeted by sweet Gracie.

Resting after welcoming the Knitwits
Dozer would think he died and went to heaven if we could fix him up a bed such as Gracie's!  I think my jaw literally dropped open when I stepped inside Heidi's store.  If you can imagine the absolute perfect fibery shop, and then multiply it times 100, I'm not even sure that would measure up to what you find once your eyes adjust to the overwhelming amount of beauty everywhere you look.  Heidi said she was fairly wiped out on stock since she had just been to Madrona a few weeks back, so I can't even imagine what the place is like when it's full.  There were beautiful hand spun and hand dyed hanks of yarn along every wall, loose fiber for spinning piled here, there and everywhere, and works in progress with knitting needles still in them on display throughout.  All items for sale were displayed like works of art ~ I drifted through the shop for almost an hour just looking at everything ~ noticing something new each time I circled that I hadn't seen the time before.

Baaaa-sking in the sunlight

My favorite picture

Seeing how things were displayed and how Heidi makes use of every little nook and cranny in her cute shop gave me so much inspiration for my knitting attic and how I want it to feel when it's finished.  I hope my friends that come to sit and knit with me feel as welcome as we did in her shop and don't want to leave when it's time to go home.
We would all love to have stayed and hunkered down in the back of the shop in her comfy chairs, with the sunshine streaming in, and just sit and knit the rest of the day away.  We'll definitely be back again, and The Artful Ewe will probably be our first and last stop of the day, so we can plan to stay a bit longer.  Thanks, Heidi, for creating such a wonderful, inspiring space for fiber lovers to come and shop, visit and dream.  I can't wait to come back!  Oh, and thanks for spinning up the amazing Alpaca that I finally chose to bring home with me ~ I'll let you know what I decide to make with it!

Elemental Affects Natural Shetland Fingering

Handmade shawl pin & buttons and new lace needles
And thanks Kelli, Trudy and Sherry (in your amazing coat of many colors) for coming along ~ you make the adventures all the more fun!  Can't wait for our next excursion....where to, ladies?

24 March 2011


The older I get, the more appealing it sounds ~ a week of vacation just isn't enough anymore.

We've been working on the house all week so today was for fun.  Went and sat with our knitgroup and saw some of the retreat gals for the first time since October.  The drive to Mount Vernon was beautiful as always ~ it's nice to get in the car and actually be able to drive and not do the stop-and-go that is my everyday life.  Spent some time visiting with my #1 Homey for the first time in months, also (that would be YOU, Kelli!) ~ it was a great day and I actually got a bit of knitting done on my Bias Summer Scarf.

Punta Yarns ~ Merisock Handpainted

And tomorrow, we're bombing the house for the moth invasion that I'm afraid has started (I killed 2 yesterday ~ the nasty, nasty buggers), and the gang that went to Portland on the yarn train is heading over to the Olympic Peninsula for the day to visit some yarn shops that we've never been to.  It will be a great day if we only have 1/2 the fun we had in Portland!

23 March 2011


 We spent about an hour watching what we thought were 2 separate events this morning.  There were huge plumes of dark black smoke just outside this photo that appeared to be from a large fire on Whidbey Island.  We were more interested in this ferry that was circling in the water, as well as the Coast Guard helicopter you can see at the top of the picture.  There was also a smaller Coast Guard boat that I couldn't catch at the same time as the ferry and chopper.  We see many shipping boats and an occasional naval vessel pass by, but since we never see a ferry, we assumed this was some sort of safety drill but come to find out the smoke and all this excitement were all tied together and it wasn't a drill at all.

You can read the story about the man who was saved, uninjured, from his burning boat that eventually sank here.

21 March 2011

A day for play...

Yesterday we spent the day goofing before we spend our upcoming vacation week doing major home improvement things.  It was a great idea and I feel refreshed and ready to paint and install and unpack and organize....hopefully there will be some new photos of the attic by the end of the week that show major progress.  Until then, here are some pics from yesterday to tide you over!  ~ Melissa

a better photo of the Mondo Vest

brrr ~ it is NOT springlike quite yet!

Giddy-up, nephew ~ so sweet!

Time well spent playing with my nephew ~ my boots are big boots to fill!

18 March 2011

Congrats, Tesia!

So, I'm sitting at work this week and a patient walks in with this amazing bright green sweater on.  You can imagine how the conversation went:

Me:  Did you make your sweater?
Patient: Yes.  Did you make your sweater?
Me:  Yes. (I was debuting my finished Mondo Cable Vest ~ I LOVE THIS KNIT!)

My Mondo Vest

Me:  Your sweater is so cute ~ what pattern is it?
And then she says.....

it's her very first published pattern.  She had submitted it to Three Irish Girls and they liked it and now it's available on their website.  It's called Green Is the New Black and I've seen it in person ~ it is a beatiful knit!  I'm so happy for her.  She's 'Tesia' on Ravelry if you want to find her.

She was also nice enough to offer her help if and when the time comes for me to try and get something in print.  I'm in the dark about sizing and how the whole process works and she gave me a link to a website for some info.  I may take you up on your offer somewhere down the road, Tesia!  Thanks for being so generous.

I'm sure getting to know a lot of really nice, and really talented people lately.  Life is good!

16 March 2011


Isn't ours wonderful.  There aren't words big enough to describe the earthquake, tsunami and loss of life in Japan, but if you need something to give you hope when the images from the news won't leave your head, let me help. 

With times as tight as they are here and the economy in a snail's pace recovery, the local community is reaching deeper into their already empty pockets to give what they can today to the Red Cross, thanks to a disaster relief drive organized by Fisher Communications and KOMO 4.  They made it so easy, with many different ways to give ~ donation drop stations, call in phone centers, and online options through many sites.  I stopped at Uwajimaya in Bellevue today where they had one of their donation sites located, and at 10:00 this morning Elisa Jaffe from KOMO 4 news (at least I think it was her ~ people look so different in person!) told me that they had already collected $36,000 at the phone center alone.  By the time I got home this evening, the tally was over $180,000 and from the sounds of it, much of what was donated had yet to be counted, and there were still a few hours left of today's fundraiser.

This is what one community, in one day, on short notice can do when called upon.  For that I feel hope for the first time this week that things will be okay.  Do what you can.  It will make a difference and you'll have the added benefit of knowing that you did a good, good thing.  ~ Melissa

15 March 2011

My Latest Creation~

My newest Fish Tale scarf. The pattern is so close to being ready. I'm going to have my mom try knitting it. It's a super fast knit up.
As you can see I'm excited for spring, this reminds me of boating, which we are planning to do the first week in April, for Spring Break. I got my capri's and Keds ready. I'll be needing a warmer coat then this~

14 March 2011

Getting to know Haapsalu

Cast-on for the first of many projects from this incredible book today.  You can check out what I'm doing here.  Thanks for the book, Trudy ;)  ~ Melissa

13 March 2011

Kathleen Taylor's Tips and Tricks

Yesterday was Kathleen Taylor's class 'Little Tips and Cheater Tricks for Knitting' (that's unaware me, top photo, way in the back corner, in the red shirt ~ when did this photo get snapped?!) at Great Yarns in Everett.  The 2 hours flew by and we learned so many valuable things that only years of experience can provide.  I couldn't wait to come home and pull out some projects, both finished and unfinished, and put some of these great ideas to use.  We learned how to hand-wind a center pull ball (love this tip ~ I've always balled my own yarn up until about a year ago when my husband got me a swift and ball winder but I never knew how to get a center pull going!), spit splicing (thankfully after the demonstration Kathi was nice enough NOT to pass the example around for us to touch ~ yuck!), an amazing embroidery trick to correct an errant cable when you don't want to rip out an entire garment to fix the mistake, adding beads to your knitting with wire (I think I'll stick with the crochet hook method but only because it's the way I was taught and it works for me), and 'knitting back backwards'.  The last one took me a few minutes to wrap my brain around but once you get it, it's the coolest thing.

So, now I have 3 projects pulled out that I want to fix and finish with my new skills:
  1. Cabled Piper Purse - I got 1/3 done and put this simple project down since the bobbles were so tedious but now that I know how to 'knit back backwards' bobbles are actually quick and fun so I'm definitely going to finish this up now.
  2. My Ingeborg - if you look at the pictures, this vest was great right after I finished it but after one wearing, the yarn on the lower 1/2 is heavy enough that it pulled away from the solid color yarn and there is a gaping sloppy seam that I now know how to stabilize on the inside with a quick single crochet.  I'll be able to wear this again!
  3. Hot for Teach - the button band on the sweater has plagued me since I made it ~ my button holes are loose (I've already put bigger buttons on it to make up for this problem) and the button placket ribbing has no structure and I learned yesterday how to tighten a loose ribbing that doesn't need elasticity.  I can use this trick on the button band and the button holes themselves so I can finally get more use out of this really cute sweater, also!
I'm glad Lois from the guild told me about the class or I may have missed it!  And of course, afterwards I had to do a little loitering in the shop and I lucked out and found some lace yarn to make curtains for my knitting attic.
Baruffa Cashwool Decatito
It's Italian 100% extra fine merino laceweight ~ I'll double strand it (the darker color is Cocoa and the lighter color is Latte ~ mmmm, coffee!).  I think I'll come up with my own pattern for this project ~ time to go pull out my lace books and do a little dreaming ;)

ETA:  The spit splicing came in handy ~ I wound my yarn tonight and four, yes FOUR snaps, all spit spliced back together, good as new!  Thanks, Kathi!

09 March 2011

Oh, the blather....

I love that word.  We had Kathleen Taylor, author of Fearless Fair Isle Knitting and self-described blatherer (the word even sounds blathery!) speak at our guild meeting last night.  She was wonderful, although after having been through the public speaking experiment a few months back, I will always say that anyone that can get up in front of a group of strangers and speak for an hour without the slightest of a swoon will always be wonderful in my book.  She shared her story of how she became who she is and how she is still evolving into the next phase of her knitting journey.  She talked a bit about her new book that I mentioned above and although most of the sample knits that are in the book are out on a trunk show, she was wearing the hands-down masterpiece ~ this beautiful Fair Isle piece (or stranded if you so choose to arguably call her work) that she designed and knitted herself ~ you'll have to click on the link to see it since I cannot find a single picture of it to download and share ~ Dragon Ride Shawl.  That's her wearing it ~ isn't it amazing!?  I have said before that one of the things I dislike about stranded knitting is the look of the carries on the backside ~ I know, I know, you don't see them but I know they're there and they bother me.  They just look plain messy and unfinished, but I discovered last night that it's not the carries I don't like, it's my carries!!  The backside of this shawl was like artwork ~ I definitely need lots more practice and some technique tips. 

Which is why I signed up this morning for the 'Tips and Tricks' class she's teaching at Great Yarns this Saturday.  I haven't taken a class for awhile so it will be fun and I'm sure I can learn a thing or two...or ten from her.  Plus, there's a wine and cheese reception afterwards so what could be more fun than spending the day in my local LYS, surrounded by yarn, and wine, and cheese and amazing people?  Sounds like a great way to waste away a stormy Pacific NW day.

I am getting some knitting done and I reached the halfway point on my Mondo Cable Vest last night.

  I'm getting better at talking and knitting at the same time, a skill I completely lacked until very recently.  Which reminds me, I sat and chatted with a fellow guild member last night for quite awhile and after a bit she said that I reminded her of a girl that had come to speak a few months back and that I looked so much like her that I could be her twin ~ we had quite a laugh when I told her that WAS me!  She said 'you're the shy girl?! ~ I don't believe it!'.  Kelli, that story is for you ~ the turtle has her itty bitty shy head poked so far out of the shell these days people don't even recognize me (the baseball cap could have had something to do with the confusion, though!).  I'm sure enjoying the guild and my new friends and all the encouragement and getting to see so many talented people sharing what they love with each other.  It is such a creative and supportive environment to be in.  I highly, highly recommend everyone that isn't part of a local knitting group check out what's available in your area and get involved.  I always leave so inspired and anticipating the next get together!

02 March 2011

Cover Girl

Look, Kel ~
You're anonymously famous (or famously anonymous!) ~ my Spring 2011 WEBS catalog was in today's mail...

I guess since you're older you get to do everything first ~ now I know how my little sister always felt ;) ... gosh, Kelli, I want to be just like you when I grow up!