Surprise Package!

One of the fun thing about being a designer/blogger is that every once-in-awhile yarn company’s will send a box of yarn and other goodies.  This is a great chance to review new products and swatch with new yarns to see if they will fit in with one of my designs.  I knew that Red Heart was sending me such a box, but had been so busy with work and family stuff it had slipped my mind.

So I was very pleasantly surprised today when the FedEx truck came and it was a box for me (instead of my beloved, who gets lots of boxes for work stuff).

Inside was this wonderful tote bag full of all kinds of fun stuff.

There are knitting stitch markers, chain for counting off stitches or rows, yarn cutter, knitting needles, crochet hooks, new issue of Crochet Today magazine, Susan Bates and Red Heart product catalogs and…..

Yarn!

More about all this fun stuff once I get caught up on some patterns.

Winter Again

We have been having a bit of a warm weather reprieve, but today it ended. I think I was in denial that it was going to get cold again.  I had really been enjoying the warmer days.

But this morning I woke up to colder temperatures and late this afternoon it started snowing. Really wishing I had finished my snuggly sweater I’ve been crocheting for myself.  So I will be curling up under an afghan this evening while I get a few more rows done.

Our local school district sent out an email notice to check about school closures and road conditions in the morning. Ya Think?!

Himself is clearing off the snow, and I am firing up the woodstove. Could be a very busy day tomorrow if the boys have a snow day from school.

If the power goes out it may mean the end of my every day blogging streak. Hopefully not though as today makes 25 days in a row.

Rhinebeck – On my Bucket List

This weekend is a lucky time for all my Northeastern stitchy friends. Many of them are going to the Mecca of Yarnieness: The New York Sheep & Wool Festival a.k.a. Rhineback.

Before I joined Ravelry I had never heard of Rhinebeck, but now it ranks up there with 1/2 carat diamond solitaire earrings on my wish list (and is more likely to happen).

Honestly, I don’t really know what happens at Rhinebeck or what all is available to do there. But I’ve heard stories that make me want to go exploring.

There have been words like Sheep, Alpaca, Hand-spun, Hand-dyed and Garlic Artichokes used. Someday I am going to Rhinebeck, I mean Garlic Artichokes people! Wow!

In the meantime, all my stitchy pals that have made it to Rhinebeck this year. Pet a sheep and/or alpaca, purchase some gorgeous hand dyed hand-spun and enjoy the Garlic Artichokes for me.

Frozen Beauty

Another very cold day up here on the mountain. Third day in a row that the temperature has been below 40F. Quite a lot below that last night and this morning. At 9 a.m. , when I was taking these photos, it was 25F.  Currently it is a balmy 28F. It will actually have to warm up a bit before we will get more snow.

This cold weather convinced me it was time to get the wood stove going again. So here is the first warming fire of the winter season (even if the calendar says it is still Fall).

Frost feathers on Pine Branches

If this is any indication, I’d better be prepared for some seriously cold temperatures this winter. I have been working with a lovely Alpaca yarn from my stash recently.  It is going to become a cozy set of Hat, Scarflette and Fingerless mitts. I like to wear the mitts over thin gloves, gives me warmth where I need it at the same time I have some dexterity with the exposed fingertips.

One of my favorite things to work on in the cold weather are afghans, especially ones with a simple stitch pattern that allow me to cozy up under the work-in-progress and happily stitch along whilst watching a show or movie.

Frost Feathers on Deck Fencing

What are your favorite cozy crochet items? Do you make hats, scarves or mittens for yourself? Or are you like me, so busy making gifts for others (or design pieces) that you never have any new crochet to wear for yourself?

What’s This?!

Look what was outside my house this morning when I woke up. Yup, that white stuff is snow.

Actually, by the time I took these photos it had begun to melt away where the sun had been on it the longest. But according to our local meteorologist (who actually works for NOAA and lives in our neighborhood) we got nearly 2 inches of snow and we may get another 2-4″ tomorrow.

Funny thing that happens up here on the mountain though, it is warmer today than it was yesterday.  That is typical for the snow season, it has to warm up to give us snow.  Prediction is that it is going to stay cold here for the next couple of days.

So while the rest of you have Autumn right now, we have sped right into Winter here at the Graves house. Of course this is not that unusual for us, which is why I find it easier to design cold weather crochet projects.  Nearly 9 months of every year is pretty chilly up here.

The really good news? I love cold weather. I was already thinking about Christmas the other day, but it is even more on my mind now. Who knows, I might have all my Christmas gift giving wrapped and cards ready to send before December rolls around. Ha!

Books at my Fingertips

Well, while I am being busy playing working at the Knit & Crochet Show in Reno, I thought I would share this photo I took before leaving on my trip.

This is the shelf full of books just to the left of my computer desk/work area in our house.  These are not my only books in my library, crochet or otherwise, but they are the ones that I am currently either referring or fascinated by that I need them handy.  Of course, I may have more to add to there before this trip is over.

By the way, the book spine you can’t read well is Edie Eckman’s “Around the Corner” edgings book. Lurve that book!

What are your favorite crochet books, that you use the most?

Happy May Day!

Yikes! I just about missed it this year.

When I was a little girl we would make little paper baskets and fill them with flowers, then place them on neighbor’s doors. We would knock then hide…not really sure why or where we got the idea. It was lots of fun to brighten someone’s day with some pretty flowers though.

So here are some pretty flowers for my readers. Lilacs are my very favorite flowers, for me they are the scent of May.  I took these shots at the Denver Zoo recently, the white lilacs were really wonderful smelling.

The month is already shaping up to be a busy one here.  It’s the last month of school for my boys and I have sold a bunch of projects that are due this month and next month.   

If I can grab a bit of time in the next few weeks I hope to create another fun little flower pattern before the end of the month. I will try not to neglect the blog too badly, but if I’m absent you’ll know where I’m off to.

Hope May is a month of renewal and happiness for all of you.

Finding Inspiration

One of the groups I belong to is the International Freeform Crochet Guild. Each year the group poses a challenge to its membership. The object being to create a freeform fiberart piece within the parameters of the challenge.

This year it is to create an interpretive piece inspired by a favorite artist or artwork.  Some of my guild friends are choosing to interpret music, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they create.

Last year I was too busy to participate in the challenge, but I am really hoping to participate this year.  When I first heard of this year’s challenge my mind went immediately to 2 of my favorite inspiring artists from the late 1800s early 1900s.  Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald. 

I had known about Charles Rennie Mackintosh before I found this book written by Alan Crawford for the World of Art series by the publishers Thames and Hudson Inc.  But the images of artwork created by his wife Margaret intrigued me even more.

Mackintosh was a Glasgow Architect with such buildings as the Glasgow School of Art and Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms to his credit.  He and Margaret collaborated on a number of projects and I’ve always loved the melding of Art Nouveau and Art Deco I see in many of the images of their work.

This painting by Margaret has appealed to me for a very long time, so it is my inspiration for this challenge. 

The photos of our challenge pieces are due to the organizer between April 2 & 15.  So hopefully the online exhibit will be up only a few weeks after that. In the meantime you can take a look at previous year’s challenges at the International Freeform Crochet Guild site.

Record Breaking Snowfall

For those of you that don’t know, my family and I live at approximately 8500 feet above sea-level on a mountain in the Colorado Rockies.  We can get some serious snow, especially in the spring-time.  This is one of many reasons my crochet design inspirations tend to be toward items to keep one warm. Like cozy afghans, warm hats, scarfs and mittens.  My all time favorites are fluffy shawls that can double as scarves or snuggly ponchos (cause they stay put when you are chasing small boys).

According to our neighbor, who is a meterologist at NOAA in Boulder, we have broken some records with this recent winter storm.  This is the most snowfall we have had in February since 1991, and February is only started.  The sun has come out now and it seems the flakes have stopped falling.

One of the beautiful things about Colorado is how we get sunshine even in the midst of winter. I always find fresh snow to be beautiful, but it is even more so with sunlight sparkling off it.  It all inspires me to take some artistic photographs of our yard and views.