Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Our week in Cape May is, alas, over. We had a terrific time, including some amazingly good weather (also some amazingly hot weather). Right now, I'm getting ready for a trunk show in my hometown:  I'll have all sorts of handdyed yarns and fibers this coming Saturday, August 4, from 12 to 4 pm, at the lovely Gosh Yarn It, in Kingston, PA. I'll also have my single preview copy of my new book, so if you promise that your hands are clean, you can get a sneak peek! I've been busily dyeing (I was very low on inventory and had to get back on track) and you can see all sorts of goodies, like these:

and a whole bunch of others I haven't photographed yet!

In the meantime, here are some photos I took while wandering around Cape May with my camera. It may not surprise you to hear that Victorian Cape May is considered a national historic landmark given its fine collection of Victorian architecture....

I love seeing all the details that go into making the houses so special, like a pane of glass or gingerbread trim:

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Enjoy these hazy days of summer!  And hey, do me a favor?  Will you click on this link,to help me possibly win some buckeroos at Stitches Midwest?  (Still some spots in some of my classes open......)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Alpaca Sur Mer

We are in the midst of our second vacation week. Ideally, we'd have spaced them out a bit more, but we had some scheduling conflicts, so there you go. Yesterday I took a little detour, and went to visit the Bay Springs Alpaca Farm in Cape May.

You might not necessarily expect to find an alpaca farm only ten minutes from the beach, but there it is.....past a bunch of new construction, and the road turns more rural. A quick left onto a rutted lane and you are there.  It's a small farm and very informal, which adds to its charm. There are big fenced-in yards for the alpaca, with boys on the right and girls on the left.

We saw alpaca in just about every color imaginable, including some multicolors. It was pretty hot for them, and they tended to stay near the sheds (one of the owners told us there were fans inside for them).

We stopped by the shop in the back of the owners' house, and I brought home this lovely skein of alpaca made with fiber from the flock. ("Mommy, why is the weird lady in the house next door taking a picture of yarn on her front porch?")

It's super soft and I love the natural alpaca color.

We even got to see a bunny nibbling on some of the plants in the yard.

On our way out, we stopped back at the alpaca field to say good-bye when all hell broke loose. The boy alpacas were fighting, and making this chirrupping noise at each other. Then they started chasing each other around the field, trying to nip each other.

There was spitting and galloping and all sorts of alpaca mayhem.

The owners said that the male alpacas had their really sharp biting teeth removed so they couldn't hurt each other, but if they kept it up, he would turn the hose on them. Which might have been their ultimate goal, since it was so hot out.

Thus endeth our visit to the sweet little alpaca farm. It's free and a quick stop, and well worth it for lovers of our fibery camelid friends.  In just a few minutes we were back and packing up for the beach, where we had a lovely afternoon building sand castles --

and in Boy Twin's case, building himself a sand Barcalounger, customized to fit his own self. (He added a hole with a sandmold and water in it for a drink holder/cooler, too.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heads up

Heads up for Black Bunny Fibers customers:  remember when I told you I was working on a website update? Things are moving along, and as part of the changes, I am now going to be selling my yarns and fibers via ArtFire. You can go here to see my ArtFire studio. Early reports are that it's easy and convenient to use. If you're on Facebook, please "like" the Black Bunny Fibers page. I'm going to be using it more and more to post photos of products, special offers and other information, and it also has a direct link to my ArtFire shop to make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. One thing I love about the new site is that I can show nice big photos, with multiple shots of the same item. Here are some of the new items I listed this week:

Pick up Line: Falkland SoftSilk

Exotic: Custom blend 100% wool

Blazer: Falkland Silksock

Punkin Pah: Plump Wool Nylon Sock

P.S. Registration for VK Live: Chicago is now open, and you can sign up for my classes (including 2 new selections -- Mitten Mojo, and an introduction to the law designed especially for knitters and designers). I'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The new Rowan Magazine is here!

Nothing gets me in the mood for fall like a new Rowan Magazine. After taking a look at the patterns in the just-released Fall/Winter Magazine (Number 52), I am even more ready for cooler weather. My wonderful friends at Rowan sent me a review copy of the brand-new magazine, and I am delighted to give you a look at the beauties inside.

I was excited when I saw the cover of Number 52: to me, the lovely model with the English rose complexion boded a wealth of classic British designs. Sure enough, the first story is titled "Hebridean," filmed on the grounds of a Scottish castle overlooking the firth, and featuring gorgeous stranded knits inspired by the north.

For starters, take a look at Marie Wallin's Harris, combining Celtic intarsia motifs with a striped background;

Julie Frank riffs on a plaid-like pattern in the Kirkwall Wrap:

and my bestie Martin Storey opts for intricate overall motifs in Tiree.

At the top of my list is the luscious Bute sweater, women's version, by Lisa Richardson, with a delightful muted palette mixing Colourspun and Felted Tweed.  Wow.

I think I would skip the elbow pads, which are shown in some of the other photos, because it would kill me to sew something over that gorgeous stitchwork.

Bute is rivaled only by Kintyre, by Marie Wallin, in whichWool Cotton, Kidsilk Haze and Pure Wool DK create this beautiful meshing of multiple motifs, with simple lines,

and Orkney, also by Wallin, with traditional motifs in a brighter set of colours.

Okay, I also really love Uist, a cardigan with textured sleeves and colorwork body, by Jennie Atkinson,

and the Tobermory vest, by Marie Wallin. Hurrah for stranded knitting!

There are some other men's garments in this story, too, like Martin Storey's Mull, another riff on plaid, knit in Rowan Fine Tweed (left, below), and Brandon Mably's fabulous vest Skye (on the right):

The second story is called "North Sea," inspired by the Scottish coast and traditional fishermen's knits. That minx Josh Bennett is back, saucily mixing traditional stitch patterns in the wonderful Fastnet:

The gorgeous Sarah Hatton gives him a run for his money in the terrific guy sweater department with Plymouth, knit in Pure Wool Aran:

Men will also want to check out Martin Storey's cabled Fisher

and cardigan Viking;

Marie Wallin's Lundy, knit in the scrumptious Cocoon, comes in a men's and women's version (women's version is left, below) and Lisa Richardson uses the favorite Creative Focus Worsted in the clever colorshifting Fitzroy (right):

Ladies, do not be worried, there are plenty of cabled and textured goodies for you, too, like the cover sweater, by Ruth Green (right below), as well as Wallin's Shannon, knit in Kid Classic (which is a wonderful yarn that I think people sometimes overlook simply because it isn't brand-new):

Sarah Hatton's Utsire, also knit in Kid Classic (I might keep going on that one, in order to cover my belly button with a longer length, but I am way older than sweet Sarah);

and Amanda Crawford's Dover, which would knit up in a jiffy given its cut-out front neckline.

By the way, the gorgeous background for this photo shoot was Fife, Scotland.

Last, the Essentials feature is back, showing "key shapes and textures on trend," helping people figure out which designs and styles are the must-have looks for the fall season. This is a fun feature, as the sweaters are shown in a less styled manner, and several of them aim for a more trend-conscious look, rather than a classic style.  You'll find a chunky fisherman's rib tunic:

Ruby, designed by Marie Wallin

a highly-textured turtleneck pullover (left, below); a long mesh sweater with central cable panel (in purple on the right);

Ebbe, by Marie Wallin (L); Fala by Martin Storey (R)

a charming bobbular cardigan;

Beatrix, by Sarah Hatton

an Eileen-Fisheresque "weave texture sweater," and a tank or vest with an interesting colorwork/textured stitch pattern, among others.

Addison, by Amanda Crawford (L); Igy, by Lisa Richardson (R)

As usual, the articles are interesting, particularly the one on Kaffe Fassett's jubilee celebration, which also contains a special Jubilee Throw and sweater, designed by him:

Which brings me to an important reminder:  you'll want to pay attention to the downloads that are available on the Rowan website (you'll need to register). The two Kaffe Fassett patterns, above, are only offered via online PDF download, but several other lovely garments are also offered exclusively on the Knit Rowan website, like this crossover cardigan by Sarah Dallas.

Back to the Magazine:  you'll also find an interview with artist Shauna Richardson, and her cultural Lionheart project in crochet; an article on "heritage knitting," i.e., fair isle, aran and gansey knits; an interview with new Rowan designer Ruth Green; a feature on wool, part of a new series highlighting facts about fibers used to make knitting yarns; a preview of the book Kaffe Quilts Again (coming this fall); and background information on the castle where some of the garments were photographed.

Rowan 52 officially went on sale July 15th and should be arriving at a yarn shop near you soon.  (For my Philadelphia friends, Loop Yarn will have Rowan 52 along with other new fall goodies from Rowan in early August.)