WIPWed #122: Enjoying the Process

After my previous post bemoaning my strained relationship with time, I’m doing my best to enjoy this current time… which is mostly being spent growing a baby. The third trimester has been surprisingly pleasant so far. Other than a bit of insomnia and the aches and pains that go along with an ever-growing belly, I’ve felt pretty high energy and optimistic lately. I think it helps that we’re getting close: less than 8 weeks to go. (LESS THAN 8 WEEKS?!?!?!) It also helps that I have a very active kid. I like feeling his kicks, it’s a reminder that this whole thing is happening for a reason. Sometimes it’s super distracting, especially now that I can watch my belly move from the outside. And it definitely helps that I’ve had two baby showers in the past two weeks – celebrating a thing always makes it more fun, am I right?

Last weekend was the shower thrown by my mother-in-law and her sisters. I really lucked out in the in-law department, they’re such a fun, welcoming, warm group of people, and they’re always laughing. There were silly games, a diaper cake, aloe plants as favors for everyone, lots of gifts, and a string of adorable onesies, some of which had been worn by the Fiasco and all three of his brothers! My MIL is the best at hanging on to things and passing them down, it’s super impressive. I’ve spent much of the week since doing more baby laundry and organizing the nursery. This kid already has all the equipment he’ll need, a toy box full of stuffed animals, and a basket full of books! Spoiled rotten, I tell you.

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Slooooooooooooooow shawl progress.

Since all my other knits need some attention at the moment, the only thing I’ve been working on lately is my Beholden shawl. It’s growing slowly, but I’m savoring the process because the camel/silk yarn I’m using is straight-up delicious. My needles are doing an annoying thing where they partially unscrew every few rows, but other than that I’m loving this knit. I do need to make a decision soon about when to switch to the edging pattern. I’ve modified the pattern to be slightly wider (increasing 2 extra stitches every other WS row) so I’m wandering into unknown territory yardage-wise. It would be a shame to run out of yarn as it’s from the UK and would be difficult to get my hands on more of it.

Spinning has not been happening lately, but I am planning to go to my spinner’s guild meeting this weekend and I’m hoping I can finish the yarn I’ve been working on since f*&%#ing October. We’ll see…

I’m sort of in between books right now but just finished reading Mink River by Brian Doyle and it was both fascinating and fabulous. The style was unlike anything I’ve read in quite a while: stories about multiple main characters pieced out in little vignettes interspersed with sections of sensory-rich prose poetry. It was both fantasy and realistic fiction, and it had some great naturalist touches. In short: I really liked it.

Hope you’re having wonderful weeks! Now that the sun’s been out on the regular I’m hoping I can get a decent FO picture of the shawl I finished WEEKS AGO to show you all soon. Linking up with Yarnalong.

 

WIPWed #121: Slow and Steady

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement regarding pregnancy on my last post. It’s so great to hear others’ thoughts and have some of my own experiences confirmed. While some days are really hard, the whole thing is still inspiring and fascinating. It’s definitely a mixed bag. Today I had an ultrasound so I got a peek at the little dude’s profile and perfectly-formed toes. He’s already in the head-down position so I’m hoping he stays that way for the next 8 weeks!

As for other works-in-progress, the main one I’m currently knitting is my Beholden shawl. I’m still in the plain stockinette phase, but it’s growing, and the yarn is so incredibly luxurious that I don’t mind all the repetitive knits and purls.

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence. Click for project page.

I finished my Rotted Days shawl last week but have yet to take official, modeled ‘FO’ photos. However, you can get a peek of it blocking on my Instagram feed as I’ve posted it for today’s #craftyblisschallenge prompt.

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Louet merino/silk fiber. Click for handspun page.

I had hoped to finish this spin (and another one!) by the end of April, but I am forced to admit that is not going to happen. Somehow, we’re only 3 days away from the end of the month already, and I’m out of town this weekend! I really don’t understand the flow of time anymore. I need to set myself some sort of sit-down-at-the-wheel schedule but I have just not figured out what works best for me. When do you find time to spin? Morning? Evening? All day long? Weekends only?

As for reading, I’m currently working through ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth‘ and it’s a refreshing change from all the doom and gloom and dire consequences in most baby books. Ina May is apparently the mother-of-all-midwives in the U.S. and the book is about her experiences birthing hundreds of babies naturally, without medical intervention, on what essentially sounds like a hippie commune in Tennessee. Because of the 70’s-ness of it all, I wasn’t sure I would get a lot out of the book, but the birth stories are really helpful to read and Ina May’s guidelines are actually backed by science and align well with what I was taught in my Bradley Method birth class. Worth a read, especially if you’re nearing labor and want to get ta sense of what it might be like without pain meds, Pitocin, or surgery.

Linking up with Yarnalong this week!

Five Things Friday

It’s Friday! And I’m celebrating with a list of random things I’d like to blab about.

1- Despite my best efforts at focusing on one WIP, knitting time was minimal this week and my Rotted Days shawl is still not done. However, I am loving the final purple wedge and am still excited to wrap this one up soon.

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So very purple!

2- I’m digging this new cookbook by Andi Mitchell, Eating in the Middle. She wrote an excellent book called It Was Me All Along about her struggles with weight loss and disordered eating that really resonated with me. This cookbook focuses on ‘mostly wholesome’ meals for when you are not actively dieting or indulging, just eating at a healthy maintenance level. The buttermilk dipping sauce and chicken fingers were delicious, as were the morning glory muffins, and the chia seed breakfast pudding I just devoured.  I highly recommend both her books, and her blog if you’re interested in healthful eating or weight loss mindset.

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Om nom nom.

3- I gave myself my 200th lovenox (blood thinner) injection of this pregnancy. Only about 140ish more to go before Hatchling arrives! I will spare you the photos of my black-and-blue belly but some of the bruises are really spectacular, color-wise. Thankfully, they don’t usually hurt, they’re just a bit of a nuisance.

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Emptied box #1!

4- I came across this On the Spice Market shawl using Miss Babs gradient sets and I’m totally in love. I don’t have time for a new shawl right now, and even if I did, so many of Melanie Berg’s shawls have a similar trendy/stripey vibe that I’d have a hard time actually choosing which one to knit, but this one would be near the top of my list, perhaps even in those colors. So pretty!

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Photo copyright Melanie Berg.

5- I’ve updated Sweet Sheep with some out of stock lip balms, including Spearmint and Toasted Coconut. I know Toasted Coconut has been unavailable for a while as I’ve had several requests from customers who are very big fans of it to restock! So it’s there now, just in time to take your lips on a tropical vacation this spring.

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Toasted Coconut lip balm… more om nom nom.

What random things are floating around on your mind this Friday? Have a lovely weekend!

GRYC Good Times

Despite not getting to do much shopping because I was working like a madwoman to make some last-minute lotion bars, the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl was a really good time.

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Sweet Sheep vending at Mount Hope Farm

I really, truly, puffy-heart love the fiber community in and around this little state of ours. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone is so welcoming and friendly and caring, it’s so lovely to see familiar faces at these kinds of events. And people make such beautiful things!

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Ceramic sheep bowl from Rising Sun Earthworks

This adorable sheep bowl will now be part of my show display, I simple couldn’t resist taking her home from Rising Sun Earthworks.

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Hand-embroidered sheep pouch from Dancing Threads RI

I also couldn’t resist this sweet little sheep pouch from Dancing Threads RI. Apparently, all of my must-haves were sheep-themed, and none of them were yarn. And no, I don’t know how I resisted because there were plenty of pretty skeins there. There were also baby goats.

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Baby goats!

I wish I had captured some better photos, they were the sweetest things. Now didn’t that make Monday just a bit brighter?

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My knitting focus this week

I am going to take a short break from my regular “WIP Wednesday” posts as I’ve felt a bit hemmed-in by them, and have found myself really only posting once a week due to the timing. I think I’d prefer to post once earlier and once later in the week, so the WIPWed post is getting cut for a while. We’ll see how it goes. I do, however, still want to chat about my knitting. This week’s focus is my Rotted Days shawl. I finished the previous wedge with just that tiny ball of my handspun left, so I’m now working the very exciting FINAL WEDGE in solid purple. It’s hard to tell, but I think this shawl will end up a decent size, and I’m glad I didn’t get caught short with my handspun, especially since I was totally winging the yardage. This has been on the needles since last May, but with a little luck and a few cram sessions I think I can finish it this week!

Hope your weekends were full of happiness, sheep-y things, and baby goats (or something else wonderful along those lines).

WIPWed #119: Beholden

The choosing of One’s Next Knitting Project can be so fraught with difficulty. It’s never quite as straightforward as it seems it should be, and often involves as much intuition and gut feeling as rational decision-making. I do my best to be sensible but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Last week I discussed the three options I was considering for my next ‘luxurious’ cast on. I then narrowed it down to which skein of yarn I wanted to work with the most, but changed my mind about what pattern I wanted to knit. I even put up a poll on Ravelry to help me decide between the new pattern options:

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So many shawls, so little time.

Then I went ahead and ignored the overwhelming vote and cast on whatever the hell I felt like, regardless.

Beholden:

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence, click for project page.

I ended up choosing Holden (designed by Mindy Wilkes) for my Kettle Yarn Co. skein of 50% camel/ 50% silk loveliness. While I do really love the Antarktis shawl, I think it’s perfectly suited for high-contrast variegated yarns, and since I have so many of those in stash, I didn’t want to ‘waste’ this more subtle yarn on a pattern suited for variegation when I could use it in something more nuanced. I’ve admired Holden for a long time, but worried that it would be too small for me in the single skein size (I like my shawls big). So I modified the pattern ever so slightly by adding 2 extra stitches on every other wrong side row. This should change the shape from a typical triangle to a slightly elongated triangle, but not all the way to a crescent-shaped triangle. We’ll have to just see how it goes!

Rotted Days:

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Handspun BFL and a mystery singles yarn, click for project page.

While I was deciding on my shawl conundrum, I decided to pick up one of my *ahem* seven *ahem* shawls already in progress and give it a little love. The garter stitch short rows on my Dotted Rays (designed by Stephen West) shawl are getting ever longer, but I’m nearing the end of my second skein of handspun which means I might be in my final wedge. I’m thinking of adding an extra slice of purple at the end just to tie it all together.

That’s all that’s happened knitting-wise this week, it was quite a busy one. As for reading, I’m just about done with A Prayer for Owen Meany, which means I’ll need to decide on my next book soon. Thank goodness that decision-making process is not usually as intricate as a knitting-related one… Linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #118: Looking Outwards

I’m realizing that the level of energy I have lately for social media-type activities has been much reduced. To get a bit existential about it, I feel a bit like I’m looking inwards while this kid inside me grows. It reminds me of the time leading up to finals week during college, when I’d be living in my own head and mentally preparing myself for Big Things To Come, both simultaneously anxious for the time to get here already and slightly concerned about how it all will go down.

Also, I just nap a lot. My Saturday was basically as follows:

  • I’M HUUUUUUUNGRY!
  • eat breakfast
  • watch one tv show
  • eat snack
  • cry over how huge I look in all my clothes (it happens)
  • develop heartburn
  • spend 3 hours at spinner’s guild
  • I’M HUUUUUUUNGRY!
  • eat dinner
  • take a 3 hour nap
  • develop heartburn
  • go to bed

Oh, but it’s such a JOYFUL TIME! *eye roll* I am very much looking forward to the end result, but in the meantime, I’m anxious for it to be over. The only fun part has been feeling the little guy move around, and that’s only when he’s not kicking me directly in the cervix (that’ll get your attention, let me tell you). That said, I am trying to both be patient with myself and my body’s needs, and make a more concerted effort to do the things that bring me joy. Crafting, blogging, etc. bring me joy and I will just need to come up with a better way to time those activities when I’m not so damn tired.

Anyhow, since my last post TWO WEEKS AGO, I finished a few hats, which I will show you this Friday. Therefore, I currently only have two active knitting WIPs to chat about.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

These socks are coming along at a snail’s pace, mostly because I haven’t really been working on them. I do a row here or there when I need some travel knitting but that time was mostly consumed by the hats I finished. Hopefully I’ll make some real progress on these this week.

Sherbet Baby:

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Play At Life Fiber Arts Boundless DK in Pastels, click for project page.

The baby sweater was moving along at a good clip until I hit the border, because I lost part of my yarn swift when I moved in December and was procrastinating winding the next color I needed by hand. I did eventually, and then soon after found the missing part, so yay! However, now I’m procrastinating picking up edge stitches. Finishing techniques are fiddly and not my favorite for easy TV knitting.

Onwards and Outwards:

I’m feeling the urge to cast on something complicated, lightweight, and lacy. I feel like I want to use up some really beautiful yarn, like a yak/silk blend. I think I need a little luxury right now but I’m having a hard time deciding what I want to knit. Here are the three things I am coveting most at the moment:

That purple piece of gorgeousness is the Belmont stole, designed by Tanis Lavallee. I would knit it in 1000 yards of Rewya Fibers Bloom 50% yak / 50% silk yarn that my husband gave me as a gift when we got married. My concern is that it might take me years to actually complete…

This simple little asymmetrical shawlette (Antarktis by Janina Kallio) jumped its way up my queue recently when I was reminded about it by the lovely one that Knitting Sarah is making. That striking skein of Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence was a reward to myself for finishing the journal publication that resulted from my master’s thesis, and it’s been waiting in my stash for THREE YEARS because I haven’t been able to decide on a pattern special enough for it. I’ve considered the Sundance Scarf and the Shallows cowl, but neither felt exactly right. I’m not sure this is the right one, either, but it would likely get a lot of wear and be a decently quick knit.

Finally, I’ve admired this Ginkgo Shawl, designed by yellowcosmo, for some time now. (Come, admire all the ginkgo things!) I have two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks That Rock slated for it, in Single Cell Dating Pool and What’saabi. Every time spring approaches I am reminded that I want to make this shawl, and this year is no different. Maybe I actually will?

Which would you knit? Linking up with Yarnalong. This week I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and boy, that John Irving is still successfully messing with my head. He’s a crazy good story-teller.

WIPWed #109: On the Move (sort of)

SO MANY THINGS are happening at Chez Woolen Diversions and one of those things is moving. UGH. We’re only moving a few towns over (to a nicer place with lower rent… whoa!) but it’s still a gigantic, major pain. So I’ve been keeping the knitting super simple lately. I’ve even sorted through all the yarn and WIPs and separated out anything I think I might need over the next month in case the rest of the stash gets buried under moving boxes. Like these:

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Can you spot Darwin?

Onto less disheartening things, like knitting!

Berrylicious Socks:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These socks are chugging along. I’m near the toe on one, mid-foot on the other. Not much else to see here…

Rotted Days:

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Handspun and a singles yarn I bought at a festival. Click for project page.

A combination of a long car ride and seeing everybody working on their Stephen West MKAL projects all over instagram (#thedoodler), is what inspired me to pick up my Dotted Rays shawl again. Now that I’ve got the hang of the short rows and don’t have to refer to the written-out-line-by-line pattern much anymore, I’m enjoying this garter stitch knit. I think it’ll be lovely once it’s done, and I’m still enamored of my yarn combination. Great use for handspun! I’m really liking the look of all those Doodler shawls, too, so I’ll probably cast one on someday. I’m staunchly anti-mystery-knit-along, though, so I’ll be waiting until I see everybody else’s finished products before I commit. Also, can we take a second to boggle over the fact that there are already 2,955 projects for that pattern?! At $6 a pop, and assuming that each shawl was a separate sale, Mr. West made over $17,700 in about a week or so. I think I’d faint with joy if I ever saw that much money flooding in instantaneously. Good for him.

Sweet Sheep news:

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Sweet Sheep goat milk soap in Chamomile Bergamot

I’ve been hard at work filling some wholesale orders and re-stocking the shop. I’ve added Chamomile Bergamot sheep-shaped goat milk soap, as well as a few sold-out lotion bar scents, such as Cinnamon Chai, Winter Gardenia, Orange Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon Cake (to name a few). I was supposed to vend this weekend at the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market, but unfortunately, I pulled a muscle in my back that is currently spasming like crazy and has had me flat-on-my-back and out of work for a couple of days, so I’m taking the weekend to recover. (Back spasms hurt like whoa guys.) But, Rhode Islanders take solace: you can now check out Sweet Sheep lotion bars and soaps in person at The Mermaid’s Purl, a great little yarn shop in Wickford! Woohoo!

As for reading, I’m working on The Long War, the second book in a series co-written by Terry Pratchett (one of my epic literary loves) and Stephen Baxter. It’s about humans developing the ability to sort of ‘step’ sideways into millions upon millions of similar-but-different Earths. It’s a super cool concept and I love the (completely fantastical, obviously) idea that there are Earths out there that haven’t been ravaged by us, or that experienced different climactic events, or were not hit by asteroids and still have dinosaurs, or for some reason are populated entirely by butterflies. As an ecologist, it’s a fascinating thought experiment.

Anyways, linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday, and now  I’m off to rest this back. Oy.

FOFri #43: Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl

I am finally getting around to posting FO pics for this project, begun at the beginning of 2014.

FOFri #43: Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl

Gotta love the bikes in the background… Click for project page.

I’m a huge fan of Jared Flood’s Brooklyn Tweed designs, and this Kelpie Shawl was no exception. As soon as a I saw it, I wanted to knit it, and I knew I wanted to use the BT Loft yarn called for (in Sweatshirt). I agonized over color choices for the contrasting stripes, but in the end decided to use a gradient set I had just received as a gift (Black Trillium Fibre Pebble Sock in Pease). The shawl is constructed in a Shetland style, with the center garter stitch triangle knit first and YO holes along the edges picked up to knit the border afterwards.

Because this is a BT pattern and they love their finishing, there’s also a bit of picking up stitches and adding a garter stitch border to the top of the shawl once complete. This is fiddly but not difficult (although it did prevent me from finishing in time for Rhinebeck). The pattern is well-written and easy to follow. My shawl stalled out for so many months because I used the wrong color to pick up the 180+ edge stitches the first time (I used a contrast color when you were supposed to continue with the main color) and just severely procrastinated ripping out and starting again. The only complaint I have about the pattern is that all that garter stitch in the edging is made by PURLING EVERY STITCH instead of knitting. WTF, Jared? Whatever possessed you to think that was a good idea? By the time I realized what was happening, I was too far in. If I make this again, I’ll throw in a plain knit row somewhere to get on a ‘knit every row’ pattern for the garter stitch ridges.

FOFri #43: Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl | Woolen Diversions

Blocking took all my pins!

The yarn is… different. It is very high on the fluff and squish factor, and very low on the drape and smooth factor, because it is a woolen-spun yarn. Woolen yarns are spun with fibers going every-which-way so that they trap more air and provide more warmth. This also makes them slightly less strong and slightly more prone to pilling than worsted-spun yarns, where the fibers are aligned in the same direction. The Loft is very elastic and has lots of bounce, so the finished garment sort of perches around my neck, rather than drapes. And to be honest, purling hundreds of stitches of this fuzzy yarn with point needles was a tad torturous. It makes a shawl I associate with words like “workhorse” and “cozy” rather than “elegant” and “dressy”. The triangular shawl shape makes it a tad less easy to wear kerchief-style than if it were crescent-shaped due to the shorter wingspan, but it’s still a generous enough size to wrap around my large frame.

All told, I’m glad I knit with Loft, I love the gradient in the stripes, and I’m happily working away on a coordinating hat, so I’m sure this shawl will get a lot of use. Have you knit with a woolen spun yarn before? How did you like the results?

WIPWed #106: Cheater Post

I have been trying since Rhinebeck to get caught up on life and I just… haven’t, yet. We had family visiting last weekend and we’re working on looking for a new apartment to move into so time has been short. Therefore, this post will be full of snapshots I’ve already posted to Instagram, rather than proper FO or WIP photos. My apologies for the lack of content, I hope to catch up soon!

Kelp-y Kelpie:

WIPWed 106: Cheate Post | Woolen Diversions

Finished shawl! Click for project page.

I finished my Kelpie shawl (designed by Jared Flood) about 3 days after Rhinebeck. So much for Rhinebeck knitting goals! I should’ve known that a Brooklyn Tweed pattern would have fussy finishing instructions that I couldn’t rush through. Hopefully I’ll get some modeled shots soon and be able to give a few more thoughts on the finished item then.

Norby & Pease:

WIPWed #106: Cheater Post | Woolen Diversions

Matching hat! Click for project page.

Using the same yarn as in the Kelpie shawl, BT Loft and Black Trillium Fibres gradient Pebble Sock, I began a coordinating hat. The pattern is Norby by Gudrun Johnston and I’m actually nearly to the crown decreases already. When I’m done I should still have lots of yarn left over, so I’m contemplating some matching mitts, as well.

That’s really all I’ve been working on lately… not a yard has been spun, and not a stitch worked on anything but the hat, although I have plenty of ideas racing through my brain. It’s handknit season, and I truly want to be wearing all the thingz. I better get moving!

WIPWed #106: Cheater Post | Woolen Diversions

COUPON TIME!

I was finally able to update the shop with the Sweet Sheep stock that came back from the IndieUntangled #rhinebecktrunkshow2015, so if you were waiting for some lotion bar scents, they might be back up now. However, every single one of my sheep-shaped soaps sold out, which was a bit of a surprise! Good to know how much knitters love them, I’ll work on stocking more soon. 🙂 And due to some kind of mixup, the coupon codes I sent up for the goodie bags never got distributed, which is a bummer for the first 100 trunk show customers but a benefit to you, since I decided to offer the 20% off discount to everyone! Just enter the code INDIELUV20 at checkout on any order through November 15th to receive the discount.

Happy Wednesday! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

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!