November So Far

It’s been awhile. Really, it’s been far too long.  I think about my blog often but the days never seem long enough to do everything I want to do.

Anyway…

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks.

I went to the Breaks Interstate Park with my mom.
Breaks Interstate Park 11/5

Breaks Interstate Park 11/5

Breaks Interstate Park 11/5

Breaks Interstate Park 11/5

I made a couple of commissioned baby things:

 

commissioned baby hat

 

commissioned baby sweater

 

I made a shawl for a sweet little lady that I’ve adopted as my grandma.

 

Mrs. Elliot's Shawl

 

And, I turned 30.

My Birthday Cake

Jacobs Creek

Jacobs Creek is where the soul of my inner child lives. I wish I could bottle the smell of the place. Lake water, pines, charcoal, and happiness.

There is a certain kind of tired that only comes from swimming… especially in open water.
Swim Area - Jacobs Creek

Campfire, just add marshmallows.
Camp Fire - Jacobs Creek

Jade colored water peeking through the trees.
Water peeking through - Jacobs Creek

I loved the sounds of nature.
Water beyond the trees - Jacobs Creek

I loved the escape from the world.
Moss and toes - Jacobs Creek

I didn’t want to leave.
Camp Site 11 - Jacobs Creek

I felt like my grown up soul had been renewed.
I can’t wait to go again.

A Likely Yarn on WCYB

Yesterday, a local reporter dropped by and did an interview with our owner and recorded a few clips around the shop and we were on the 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news. The clip includes interviews with another shop in Johnson City.

The link is here, but I don’t know how long the video will be available.

Here’s a screen shot of me from the video. I’m teaching a toe-up sock class.

Me On the news 1-18-11

Abingdon is a stop on the Craft Culture Summer Tour!

Photobucket

Dani of the Craft Culture podcast is on her Summer Tour. She is visiting five cities in the Eastern US Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Newark, NJ, Abingdon, VA and Greensboro, NC along with her home town of Anchorage, AK during the tour. She is traveling around to meet knitters and knitting groups to discover why, how, ins and outs of what we do.

Sunday evening I’ll be picking up Dani from the train station. (I’m so super excited to see Dani! Squeee!) Monday we’ll be visiting Thistle Cove Farm and Dreamland Alpacas and seeing the sights of Southwest Virginia.

Tuesday, July 20th, You’ll get the chance to meet Dani! She’ll be at A Likely Yarn from 3-8 conducting interviews with our area knitters & knitting groups. Come by and say Hello!

Wednesday WIP’s

Not much on the needles this week. A pair of plain vanilla socks made out of Intentions yarn in Courage. The Nightingale socks haven’t been touched since last week.

Plain Vanilla Courage

A few weeks ago I was asked to be a demonstrator at the local 4-H center. I was an avid 4-H’er so I checked my schedule and said a quick yes! Last night I gave four 15 minute demonstrations on drop spindling and a speech on where yarn comes from. I was pleasantly surpised that the kids were interested and asked really good questions. My biggest surprise was the interest the little boys took in spinning. I got a few really good kid comments that made me giggle. I had the kids name off animals they thought would be good for making yarn from their from and one little boy insisted that elephant hair would be great. At least one kid in each group asked if you could spin and make a sweater out of cotton candy because that is what the wool looks like. I had a wonderful time and I think the kids did too.

Virtual Studio Tour – Studios Magazine

Cloth Paper Scissors Studios Magazine Open Studio Virtual Tour

My studio is what is formerly known as a dinning room. It’s actually an addition that was built onto our house long before we ever moved in. Originally it was a porch that was closed in and another porch built on that was then closed in to make the closet. This means that in the winter it is very cold in the room. I have a large double door cabinet that I keep most of my supplies in (along with some kitchen equipment). I also have an awesome easel that doubles as a drafting table, a few small bookshelves under a built in counter top, and a large wooden box where I keep my yarn and fabric.

New Book Shelf

This is my main worktable. It was given to me by two very dear friends when they were moving into a new home and no longer wanted this table. The glass top makes a perfect work surface since I can clean anything off of it easily.

Work Table

Here, I’m making book cloth, which has to be pasted down to a glass surface to dry. I used the top and bottom of the glass. When I removed the book cloth, it was super easy to clean.

Making Bookcloth

My bookshelf makes my life easier. I needed one for along time and finally bought one this summer.  On top, I keep my ribbons and post card collection.   The top shelf is where I keep my inspiration and favorite things.  Next shelf down is things in progress, then a shelf of buttons and easy to reach towels.  The next to last shelf is my knitting books and art books.  On the bottom I keep my dye pot and my hand spun yarns.

Book Shelf

Shelf of my favorite things:
A Few Of My Favorite Things

In Progress Shelf:
In progress books & scraps box

I like to work assembly line style when I’m producing blank journals.

Breaking down paper for text blocks:
Paper & Bone Folders

Text Blocks:
Text Blocks

Covers In Progress:
Covers In Progress

Books waiting to be bound:
15 books in progress

All bound up:
30 of 34 books bound this week

I don’t own a book press so I have a makeshift one. I have lots of heavy books, Masonite boards, and a large can of pineapple juice.
Book, Book Press

This is a glimpse of my very large bookbinding tool box. This is just the top tray.
Bookbinding Tool Box

My studio extends outside this one room and on into the rest of the house when I need more space. I do most of my knitting, crocheting & spinning in the den so I can use my computer & watch TV. I use the living room as a sewing room since it has our dinning table in it. I use my kitchen to dye wool and make felt and my porch doubles as a drying rack on sunny warm days (on rainy days, the shower rod in the bathroom is used for drying).

Hand dyed wool drying

I have some furry help in all this mess too. Zoe, my black kitty, is the reason that my shop is called “The Crafty Kitten”. He loves to sit beside me no matter what I’m doing and just watch.
Zoe, my crafty kitty

Piggy usually sneaks in when I’m not looking to check my work.
"I'm helping, I promise"

Snuggies has been known to fall asleep on my feet if I stand in one place too long (usually when I’m breaking down paper for text blocks).
Snuggies

Then there is Raisin, who isn’t allowed in the studio alone because she will eat all the kitty’s food. She likes to sleep by my feet or in my lap too.
Raisin enjoying some time in my studio

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little virtual tour of my studio. Feel free to check out my online shop (which is a little empty at the moment) The Crafty Kitten.

Me working on a book

Virginia Highlands Festival Wrap-Up

Hooboy! Am I ever glad to be home! July 31-August 4 I spent my days at the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, VA. I woke every morning at 6:15, was out the door by 7:30, and at the festival by 8:30-8:45. The festival ran into the early evening and I would most of the time be home by 8:00. It was wonderful even with the commute, early hours, and very little sleep.

This is what my table looked like Tuesday afternoon (I kept forgetting my camera) and yes, that pole is right in the middle of my booth space and my table was pushed up against it. It didn’t seem to hinder any of the customers though so I didn’t mind it so much.

Virginia Highlands Festival Booth

Virginia Highlands Festival Booth

Virginia Highlands Festival Booth, with the pole

Friday was very rainy, probably some of the hardest rain I’ve been caught out side for luckily I was prepared for it. Saturday was the Celtic festival (yes that means men in kilts and no matter what I try I can’t convince my hubby to wear one) anyway… the Celtic festival meant that the craft portion of the festival would run until 7:30 instead of 6:00. It was sunny and there were a ton of people there so I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home. Sunday started out rainy but turned out to be quite lovely. Monday was sunny and crowded. Tuesday threatened rain but never did anything but it was terribly slow all afternoon.

I met wonderful people, both customers & vendors, and really enjoyed every minute I was there. What I saw a lot of from people who didn’t stop at my table but would kind of drift by; They would look, read my sign, get a funny confused look on their face and then walk away. Occasionally, one of the confused people would actually stop and ask what bookbinding was. So many people had never heard of bookbinding or didn’t understand what it is. Next year I’m going to try to have signs made up that explain a little about the process of making the books.

I ended up selling almost half of my inventory and came home with some wonderful items that I received from people who wanted to barter with me. It really touched my little heart that other vendors would want to give me their items in exchange for one of mine because they liked my work.

My goal is to have some of my items listed in the shop by August 15 and slowly try to get everything listed by the end of the month. In the meantime, I’m also working on a new line of books that meshes my fiber habit with my book passion. The line will be launched at a gallery show in mid September and will be available online sometime in October. *fingers crossed* So be on the look out for the shop updates. As for now, I’m returning to the regular schedule of blog post and knitting up a storm.

Meeting Miss Violet

*Squeeeee*

Ok, Here’s the story. I’ll try to not squee too much.

While I was teaching a class on How The Other Half Knits today at A Likely Yarn, I offered help to customer passing by the table. A very familiar voice responded to me. That voice was, of course, the lovely Miss Violet of the Lime & Violet podcast. I tried very hard to not get all Squee-y Fangirly.  I was keeping my composure the best I could until I heard Karen, who was running the register, squeeing. Then my excitement could no longer be contained… I Squeed. For real. (I think this may be the most I’ve ever used the word Squee.)

Miss Violet, Me & Karen

Miss Violet is awesome. She was a good sport about our excitement. Photos were taken and all was good. I even got to see a huge bag of Intentions yarn in person. They are all drool worthy. There is one called Courage that is mainly gorgeous red tones with gray that I really really want.

So, how did Miss Violet happen to wonder into our shop in Southwestern Virginia when, if you listen to the podcast, we all know she’s living in Iowa? Well, she is currently traveling The Crooked Road while writing a book & developing patterns inspired by her experience here.  It’s called the Mountain Sole Project and there will be accompanying yarn from Dizzy Blonde Studios.  I cannot wait for the book & yarn!

EDIT:  You can read Elli”s version of the tale here at the Mountain Sole Project blog.

Oh My God, Alpacas…

… Are freaking adorable!!!

Today was the grand re-opening at A Likely Yarn. We had a bunch of wonderful customers, two classes, door prizes, a giant sock monkey, and ALPACAS!

Dreamland Alpacas came to show two of their beautiful baby girls, Jasmine (brown) and Arcadia (cream). Jasmine was a bit nervous all day but Arcadia was so sweet! I love alpaca kisses!! Arcadia gave me bunches of kisses 😀 I’m planning on visiting the farm soon.

Jasmine & Arcadia

Jasmine & Arcadia

Me & Arcadia

Me & Arcadia

Jasmine

Arcadia

When I showed my hubby the photos, he said that I looked completely happy with them, and well, I was.

If you’re in the Abindon, VA area tomorrow, Dreamland Alpacas will be back with two of their little boys and there will be more Grand Re-opening celebrations.

WWKIP Day & other stuff

I had the day off from the shop today so me & hubby planned a date day. It started with a yummy home cooked breakfast. We took a nice drive to Abingdon to the Farmer’s Market where I did my WWKIP bit. I missed out on buying bread but my parents happened to be there.

WWKIP

We then went to see The Hangover which was hilarious. There’s a video game/comic book store in the same building so I stopped in. Jeremy Massie, who writes The DeadBeat comic, was there to do a book signing so I was able to meet him and get a signed copy of the graphic novel. How cool is that!? I also picked up some back issues of Fables & Hack/Slash. I love that their back issues are only a dollar.

We had a nice lunch, browsed another video game store, Best Buy, and Books-A-Million. We headed home with an ice cream stop at Dairy Queen. I really had a wonderful time with my hubby today.