Rhinebeck is Imminent!

It’s here, it’s here! Rhinebeck weekend is here! If you’re in the Kingston area tonight (Friday 10/16), be sure to check out the IndieUntangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show occurring in the Best Western Plus, 503 Washington Ave. from 5pm – 9pm. I created a limited edition Rhinebeck! scent available in both sheep-shaped goat milk soap and lotion bars just for this event.

Rhinebeck is Imminent! | Woolen Diversions

Rhinebeck! soap by Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

I tried to capture the essence of a great fall festival in this scent. It’s autumnal and fruity, with notes of fig, apple, cinnamon, fallen leaves, and mahogany. There are less than a dozen of each, so grab them at the show while you can (any leftover from the festival will be listed in the shop next week).

Rhinebeck is Imminent! | Woolen Diversions

Kelp-y Kelpie shawl

My new Rhinebeck goal is progressing at a steady pace. Thank you for all your kind words on my last post, I appreciate the solidarity and encouragement! I’m one stripe further along than the photo shows, which means I have one final stripe, a garter stitch border, and a top edging to finish before tonight so that it can block and have it ready to hit the road with me tomorrow. We have a lot of driving to do today for Nana’s funeral, so I’m still hopeful that I will finish in time, but it is certainly down to the wire.

If you’re heading up to the festival this weekend, I hope I get a chance to see you there, and if not, I promise to take pictures!

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Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Pumpkin Spice

It’s that time of year again, folks! I think autumn must be one of a knitter’s favorite seasons, the renewed crisp in the air and the need for woollen goodness can really inspire yarn-y creativity. I’m not ashamed to say that I look forward to fall and all of its spice-filled goodness, and while I’ll surely miss the sun-drenched days of summer, I’m thrilled to bring my Pumpkin Spice lotion bar back for the season.

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Pumpkin Spice | Woolen Diversions

Pumpkin Spice lotion bar

Why I love it: The Pumpkin Spice fragrance is warm and comforting, with layers of cinnamon and nutmeg spices over a sweet, fresh, pumpkin base. Confession time: I used my Pumpkin Spice sample size bar year-round. It lived at my desk in my office and I just finished the final bits of it last month. This fragrance brings me joy at any time of the year!

What it pairs well with: It’s the first of the autumn scents that I’ve reintroduced so the others aren’t out yet, but typically I include Pumpkin Spice in a sample set with Frosted Cranberry (tart, sweet, juicy) and Apple Butter (sweet, spicy, autumnal). If you wanted to maximize cinnamon goodness, I’d recommend Cinnamon Chai, and if you wanted to pair it with another baked sweet scent, I’d recommend Lemon Cake. Keep an eye out for some Pumpkin Spice-scented soap in the future, too!

Don’t forget, Sweet Sheep will be vending at the Squam Art Fair tomorrow, Sat. Sept. 19th, 7:30 – 10 pm in Holderness, NH. Hope to see you there!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About that Waist

If you remember from my Five Things Friday post, I was doing just a wee bit of agonizing over how to handle the waist decreases on my Grimm Green Stout sweater. The main issue was that I was knitting at a larger stitch count for the hips, wanted to decrease a few inches for the waist, and then increase back out a smaller amount than I had decreased for the bust. In simple stockinette this would be fine, but the stitch pattern is an alternating rib/cable pattern  with strong vertical lines, so if I didn’t return to the same stitch count for the bust, the pattern would be thrown off for the rest of the sweater.

THE HORROR!

But I’m happy to report that I finagled a solution that will look just fine. Observe!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Mmmmmmm, cable-y ribbing!

Each pattern repeat consists of 12 rows, 6 rows that read “cable column, rib column” and then 6 more that read “rib column, cable column” that alternate across the garment. (Make sense? Explaining this in words feels weird.) The pattern is written so that you decrease 4 stitches on Row 1 and Row 6 of the repeat, for a reduction of 1.6 inches in the finished fabric width-wise occurring over 2 inches of length. My stitch gauge is a little tighter than the pattern calls for and I wanted less fabric at the waist so I decreased 4 stitches on Rows 1, 5, and 9, and 2 stitches on row 11 for a total reduction of 2.6 inches over 2 inches of length. I had planned to decrease a full 16 stitches instead of 14, but I realized that I liked how the ribbing worked out at this stitch count.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Breaking the pattern, but making it work.

Now I need to knit for 2 inches straight before increasing back out for the bust. My plan is to keep the stitches in a *p1, k1, p1* pattern around the waist decrease markers as they are now, and then only increase 4 more stitches (2 more purl stitches around each marker) for the bust, adding back 0.75 inch of fabric. So in this version of the sweater, my stitch count will fluctuate from 244 stitches (for the 46″ pattern size) in the hips, down to 230 stitches in the waist, up to 234 stitches (which corresponds to the 44″ pattern size) in the bust.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Comparing to a store-bought sweater.

These measurements, once added to the 2.5″ that will result from the collar/buttonband, should give me a garment that allows for about 2″ of positive ease in the hips, 2.5″ in the waist, and 1″ in the bust. Should is the operative word there. The patterns is written for 5″ of ease, but I think my adjustments will be more flattering for my body shape. When I compare my knitting to a store-bought sweater of a similar style, the size looks good and the waist seems to land where I think it should, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out in the end. And if anybody looks closely enough under my arms to notice the changes I’ve made in the pattern… well, I’ll just have to smack them for inappropriate personal space invasion anyway.

Squam art fair vendors

Come to Squam this Saturday!

I’m super excited that THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th from 7:30pm – 10pm Sweet Sheep will be vending at the Squam Art Fair in Holderness, NH. Please come and say hello! I’ve heard so much about Squam from other knitter’s blogs that it has obtained ‘magical crafty fairyland’ status in my mind, I can’t wait to see it for myself.

RI Fiber Festival 2015

The RI Wool & Fiber Festival was a great time, despite some chilly, drizzly weather earlier in the day. There was a nice selection of vendors, a (too) yummy bake sale table, and cute sheep being shorn. Not to mention the Ladies of the Rolling Pin (actually not sure what they’re called, but they dance around with sifters, rolling pins, and a giant cupcake… and I’ve seen this more than once, so I know it isn’t a hallucination!).

We had a great time vending and met some lovely artisans. I kept my purchases to a minimum but after sitting next to them all day, I could not resist taking home a few ounces of colorful mohair locks and a gorgeous, handwoven scarf from the Yarn Crafters booth.

After an incredibly long workweek, the early start, and the busy day, the Fiasco and I collapsed on the couch around 6pm and fell promptly to sleep. I woke up just long enough to transfer to the bed around 11pm and slept full through to the next day! It was rather glorious. Vending is hard work!

Despite all the running around, I did finally have time to take product photos for the newest Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe lotion bar scent: Chamomile Bergamot. This is a bright, clean, elegant scent with gentle floral and citrus notes. It’s part of the new Tea Time gift/sample set that also includes the refined, smoky Black Tea and herbal, fresh Green Tea scents. I hope you check them out!

WIPWed #78: Cables and Lace

Even though my entire weekend was filled to the brim with knitting-related events at Slater Mill’s Knitting Weekend, I feel like I’ve hardly accomplished any knitting this week! Here are the results of my weekend knitting:

Woolen Diversions

Swatches from classes. Ignore how unappealing and unblocked they are.

The top swatch is a mini version of a Shetland-style lace shawl that we worked on during Gudrun Johnston’s Shetland lace class. I have not finished knitting on the border because my needles fell out so I decided I’d gone far enough. Besides, I’ve already knit a couple of shawls that employ a Shetland-style construction: my Aestlight shawl (designed by Gudrun) and my Rock Island shawl (designed by Jared Flood). Both involve garter stitch bodies, lace borders, and edgings knit perpendicularly to the body. It’s a fun way to make a shawl, I recommend giving it a shot! Gudrun has a new Hap shawl class up on Craftsy, too, which I bet is great (check her blog for details).

The bottom swatches show a couple of the textured cables that we talked about in Thea Colman’s Playing with Cables class. This class was super interesting as it had a roundtable discussion / workshop feel to it. She essentially explained her creative process, demonstrated how to start coming up with designs featuring cables, and how to manipulate cables in subtle ways to make them do interesting things. It was really great to get to know Thea a little bit and hear about her process. Plus, now that I’ve seen so many of her designs in person, I’m itching to knit them all.

WIPWed #78: Cables and Lace | Woolen Diversions

VG Zaftig, colorway Kiss of Cabernet. Click for project page.

So I started one. My original plan for this wine-red yarn was a Filemot shawl, but after I started it and messed up the stitch count in the first repeat a few times, the project quickly lost its charm. I also didn’t like the way the yarn felt in all of the twisted stitches. Instead, I cast on Thea’s Tonic Water cowl and am loving it. The lace is simple to work but complex enough to be interesting, and the yarn is creating a beautiful fabric. I’m excited to add the accent color, which will be the pale purple colorway used in my Lucy Hat. (Color coordination makes me stupidly happy, can you tell?) It’s kind of funny that the first Thea pattern I chose to knit involves no cabling at all. However, as the Fiasco noted, the lace in the pattern is essentially cable-shaped (twisting around itself), so there’s that. All in all, I’m psyched about this project. My quarterly goals are intended to fill gaps in wardrobe and/or to use up specific yarns, so swapping out a shawl for a cowl pattern is still playing by the rules in my book. (Also check out my new stitchmarker’s! They’re from Lisa’s new Etsy shop, The Knitting Artist.)

WIPWed #78: Cables and Lace | Woolen Diversions

Instagram bobbin shot.

As for spinning, I’ve been working my way through the final few ounces of the same Falkland wool that I used for my ply experiment. I had 17 oz to begin with, and have just about 5 oz left. All that white wool is starting to feel a little endless, and I’m itching to get some color on the bobbins, but I’m persevering!

I almost forgot to show you my Knitting Weekend loot! I received two skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca (a Rhode Island company!) as a welcome gift, purchased some cute buttons and a hook gauge from a fellow Rhode Island spinner and knitter who runs the Katrinkles Etsy shop, some fun speckly yarn from Julie Asselin that I gave away in a gift swap to a very yarn-worthy friend, a lovely blue-green gradient from Play At Life Fiber Arts, and (last but not least) two gorgeous, undyed skeins of Cormo/Alpaca/Silk DK weight yarn from Foxfire Fiber & Designs. I’ve got ideas brewing for all of these new additions, but I’m really trying to stick to my goals… Sigh. Discipline is the worst!

What have you been working on this week?

IS #85: Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill

Just a quick post today as I was up quite late last night and ungodly early this morning, but I can’t wait to spread the word. There’s only one thing that can get me out of the house prior to 7am on a Saturday morning and that’s the prospect of sitting in a historic mill, surrounded by enthusiastic knitters, learning from talented teachers, with copious yarn fondling to follow.

IS #85: Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill | Woolen Diversions

Trad Arts Studio at Slater Mill!

Last night was the opening reception for the 2015 Knitting Weekend hosted at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The reception involved wine and snacks, a combined trunk show featuring designs by Thea Colman, Amy Christoffers, Ellen Mason, and Gudrun Johnston, and a wonderfully inspiring talk about Elizabeth Zimmerman and how feminism and domestic arts intertwine in Adrienne Martini‘s life (the author of Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously). Adrienne was a really entertaining and engaging speaker, if you ever have a chance to hear her speak, you should! You should also, obviously, check out the book. I read it some time ago but remember really enjoying it.

There were samples galore to admire. I fell particularly hard for a gorgeous grey lace cowl with a unique yellow garter stripe. As you know, I’m working on a cowl design myself, and I spent lots of time trying to work out how best to hide the join. In Thea Colman’s Tonic Water cowl, she simultaneously hides and highlights the join with a pop of colorful garter stitch. Genius! I suspect that cowl will hit my needles sooner than later.

IS #85: Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill | Woolen Diversions

Weekend Knitting e-book samples.

Best of all, some of the designers teaching this weekend paired up with some local New England yarn vendors to create a collection of really gorgeous patterns that are being sold as an e-book, the sales of which will go to support the restoration and preservation of the mill. Weekend Knitting from Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill features five accessory patterns: a cabled beanie (Sylvanus Brown Hat by Thea Colman), a rustic shawl (Wilkinson Scarf by Amy Christoffers), some cabled mitts (Bridgetruss Mitts by Alicia Plummer), a nifty hooded cowl (Blackstone River Cowl by Ellen Mason), and a simple-yet-stylish infinity scarf (Slater Mill Cowl by Bristol Ivy). The photo above doesn’t do these knits justice, be sure to check out the pattern pages, and if you like them, know that your purchase will go to support the place that is responsible for housing very active knitting and spinning guilds, as well as a variety of traditional arts programming. If I move away from Rhode Island, I think I’ll miss the mill (and the guilds) most of all.

If you live nearby, you should head on down to the mill to check out the free vendor market. The classes are full, but the market is open Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm and will feature lots of local artisans. It’s also a good time to take a tour of the mill, its history is quite fascinating. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some cool stuff to go learn.Yay, knitting weekend!

Have you taken any good classes recently? Are you involved with your local arts community somehow? What’s been inspiring you lately? Let us know in the comments!

Inspiration Saturday at Woolen Diversions

 

 

Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show

While I’m filled with an epic sadness that I will not be at Rhinebeck (my friends keep insisting on planning their weddings in October!) I’m super excited that a sample of my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe products will be there.

Woolen DiversionsIf you’re lucky enough to be going this year, check out the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show tonight from 5 pm – 7 pm at The Garden Plaza Hotel in Kingston, NY. A whole slew of awesome vendors will be there and I hear there will be giveaway prizes, as well. Get your Rhinebeck splurging started early with the likes of Canon Hand Dyes, June Pryce Fiber Arts, That Clever Clementine, Skeinny Dipping, and Knitspot’s Bare Naked Wools (to name just a few).

Woolen DiversionsI’ve sent up a selection of 10 different lotion bar fragrances (including autumn scents like Frosted Cranberry), 5 lip balm flavors, and 3 different gift sets (the All Natural set that Hunter reviewed, Fall Favorites, and Coffeehouse Specials). I hope some of you can stop by and sniff/sample in person!

And one last thing: I finally got around to setting up an e-newsletter for Sweet Sheep. If you sign up, you’ll receive a coupon code for my shop as a thank you (sometime next week)!

I’m bummed that I won’t be there to say hello and enjoy the festival, but I can’t be too sad that I’m heading off to California to celebrate the marriage of some dear friends! (Even though I can barely fit it in my carry-on, my new camera is packed and ready to take epic photographs of redwood trees, wooohooooo! I am ridiculously excited to see some big trees. BIG TREES!!!)

Have an excellent weekend, wherever you’re spending it. 🙂

Back in the Saddle

It feels like it has been quite some time since I’ve made any lotion bars, what with June and July being consumed by the wedding and honeymoon. However, it’s about to be All Sweet Sheep, All The Time around here and I got the ball rolling this past weekend whipping up a few batches of scents that had sold out.

Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe Coconut Lime Lotion Bar

Coconut Lime – get it while it’s hot!

I spent much of Sunday brainstorming new scents to develop for a fall lineup. I’ve decided to split the year up into three scent seasons: January – April (late winter and spring), May – August (spring and summer), and September – December (fall and winter). This means that I’ll soon be phasing out some of my more summery scents (keep an eye out for sale info soon). And I’m starting to get super excited about cooking up batches of lotion bars with names like Apple Butter, Autumn Fig, and Gingersnap (to name a few).

Vending on August 17th in Swansea, MA.

Vending on August 17th in Swansea, MA.

We have not one, but TWO vending opportunities this month. The first is this Sunday, August 17th, from 10 am – 4 pm at Venus de Milo in Swansea, MA. This craft fair is a fundraising benefit to help a young woman go on a mission trip. (If you wish, you can donate directly to her cause here.) I hear that kiddos will also have a chance to get their photos taken with Queen Elsa from Frozen, so that’s pretty awesome.

Coventry Regional Farmer's Market

Logo snipped from their webpage.

Our second vending opportunity will be the following week during the Honeybee Hullaballoo at the famous Coventry Farmer’s Market. This event runs from 11 am – 2 pm on Sunday, August 24th in Coventry, CT. The Fiasco and I used to live right down the road from this market and we dearly miss it, so we’re super excited to be vending there! Please do come by and visit Sweet Sheep in the wild, we’d love the chance to meet you and help you find just the right lotion bar fragrance.

What’s your favorite autumn or winter fragrance? What scent gives you that cozy, cooler weather, holidays-on-the-horizon feeling?

Too Busy For Inspiration

It’s a sad, sad week when I’ve been too busy working, battling a cold, and running around willy-nilly to give my weeky Inspiration Saturday post its proper due. Even when I know I have a busy weekend, I try to plan my post ahead of time. No luck this week, however. This morning I’m off to vend my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe products at the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market in Bristol, Rhode Island. (If you’re local, come say hi! Open 9 am – 1 pm.) Then the Fiasco and I need to visit our wedding reception hall to have a chat about details and then I’ll probably fall into bed, weary of body and hoarse of throat, for probably the rest of the weekend. (Fun times, eh?)

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Polka-dots!

To make up for the lack of my usual pattern-and-yarn-inspired ramblings, I’ll leave you with a photo of my brand new stunner of spindle. This is another beauty made by the talented Joshua Lynch from TexasJeans on Etsy. I’ve been enamored with this polka-dot style inlay since I first saw it and finally inquired about a custom order. He said he probably wouldn’t get to it until June. Because I got impatient, I went ahead and purchased one of his Russian spindles to hold me over, figuring I could justify buying two spindles if they were a month apart… turns out, I ended up with two new spindles in one week! While I’ve had to dodge some (probably well-deserved) glares from the Fiasco, it’s so pretty that I just don’t feel very bad at all about my sudden-onset spindle gluttony.

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Experimenting with some Louet merino/silk fiber.

Details: The whorl is made with birdseye maple, and inlaid with purpleheart, redheart, and osage orange. A pretty purplish dymondwood was used for the shaft. I love whatever waxes Joshua uses to finish his spindles, they are so incredibly smooth and silky-feeling. The whorl is just over 2.5″ wide and the whole things weighs 1.24 oz (37 g). It’s a nice mid-weight top whorl with a pretty, balanced spin. I plan to do a little experiment with the fiber shown, spinning about 0.5 oz on each of my spindles and comparing how spindle style/weight/etc affect the finished yarns (but more on that later).

That’s all I can manage at the moment. I hope you have an enjoyable Saturday!

First Show Success!

Yesterday was Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe’s first time vending at a festival, and it went really well! It started off less-than-promising… with a scant 4 hours of sleep, the Fiasco and I were up at the crack-o’-dawn, loading the car in a torential downpour. But then! The skies cleared, the booth set up smoothly, and the customers were lovely.

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I felt like a ‘TA – DAAA!!!’ was in order.

I took a ridiculous amount of pleasure in arranging our table. Everything was in its place, each with its own little sign (that kept flopping over in the wind), everything was color-coordinated… so fun. We received a lot of great feedback on the booth, as well, which was so nice to hear what with being newbies and all.

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My awesome Fiasco.

The Fiasco and I made a really great team. Even though he’s generally had an aversion to lotion his entire life, he was demonstrating how to use a lotion bar like a pro. (And, it turns out, these bars are ‘not that bad’ as far as lotion goes. Ha!) I don’t know how people run a booth on their own, we definitely needed both of us there, and this wasn’t even a very big festival.

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My view for much of the day.

I couldn’t believe how quickly the day flew by. One minute we were setting up, the next we were kind of sitting-around-waiting for people to arrive, and then all of a sudden it was 5pm and we were packing up. It was kind of incredible. I barely had a chance to walk around and see the festival for myself.

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Shearing happened.

I missed all the shearing, only saw the evidence that it had happened, and heard the claps and cheers whenever a sheep was finished.

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Stinky cows.

I didn’t see this pair much since they were directly behind our booth but OH BOY did I smell them. Depending on which way the wind was blowing, it was sometimes difficult to sell the delicate floral fragrance of Sea Moss (for example) when all one could smell was Eau de Manure.

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Festival loot!

I did manage to scurry out and quickly snag a little festival loot. I would’ve liked to shop around some more and visit other booths, but there’s always next time and I love the the items I came home with. The bag is a lovely cotton/linen creation by Honey Bee Handmade. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any sort of website for the maker. That gorgeous skein of purple yarn was dyed by Elizabeth Brown of Bay Ridge Dye Works. It’s a pretty, superwash Merino fingering-weight that will make a great scarf or shawl. It’s also really cool that a portion of each sale gets donated to a charity. For this skein, it was the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. And finally, that lovely braid of Merino/silk is Faerie Circle from June Pryce Fiber Arts. June Pryce is a team of sisters, Cheryl and Jenn, who dye gorgeous yarn and fibers and make lovely bags and stitch markers. They’re also super sweet and partially responsible for us doing this show to begin with! (Thanks for all your encouragement!)

All told, it was such a fun and exciting day, that I was in bed asleep by 8pm. Today the Fiasco and I will do a little relaxing and gallivanting before returning home to clean up the house, which looks like it’s been hit with a vengeful, crafty tornado. Later…