Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Susan Rocks the Socks

Thanks to Susan Anderson for blogging about my new Regia Colorations sock yarn. You can read about it here. Here is a photo of Susan's sock in progress from her Instagram feed.

Here is one of her finished socks on a sock blocker. 

The color is 3311Midnight Sky. There are six colors of Colorations - all with a blip of natural making up a "faux Fair Isle." Very fun knitting.  See this post for some backstory and all the colors. I also have a sock yarn line called Garden Effects from Regia. Check it out here.

Regia Sock Yarns are carried in many LYS so make sure you check with your local store if you are lucky enough to have one. You can find it on-line at Websters and at Webs.

Susan is one of the most amazing knitters I know. She has stacks of handknit socks, sweaters and knitting books that she has authored. And beyond that, she is one of the kindest people on the planet. Thank you Susan!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday - Sunday

It is a beautiful day here at the farm. The photo above was taken earlier in the week when the weather was rather drizzly and gray. Today, the leaves are falling off the trees. 

We are off to a special Farmers Market to benefit the Kestrel Land Trust in Hadley. Before I leave, I wanted to alert you all of 3 great reviews for my book Colorful Stitchery. Some of them have a chance to win a copy of your own.

The first is by Embroidery Artist Rebecca Ringquist. You'll find it (and her wonderful work) here! See a trailer about Rebecca who teaches embroidery on Creativebug here. Rebecca has a new embroidery book coming out soon which I can't wait to see. Thanks Rebecca!

The second review is by Kati of The Blue Chair. Here's your chance to enter to win your own copy on her blog here. Thanks Kati!

The third is by Kristen of The Bobby Pin Bandit blog. Kristen even stitched up two of my projects in between her work on her PHD dissertation. Yikes! Thanks Kristen. Check out her beautiful stitching here

It makes me feel so good that Colorful Stitchery is out there in a new format and reaching the whole new group of new stitchers. Embroidery is definitely on the up-trend and I'm happy to be sharing my knowledge and work with all who want to learn. I thank you all for reading and for your support. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Catching Up + Entrelac 2 by Rosemary Drysdale Giveaway

Did you ever have one of those weeks when you got absolutely nothing done? It has unfortunately happened to me this week and last. Julia has been out of school with a nasty cold/strep/cough for 8 days. As much as I try to keep up with projects I have going on, I had to concentrate on taking her to the doc, talking w/ the doc and school, making her tea, getting to the pharmacy.... She is getting better now and has gone back to school - even with a hacking, no longer contagious cough. I have a list a mile long that needs to be done and then the list of what I want to get done. On the list is a pop-in to my (recently neglected) blog. 

The ewe flock grazing a hill on a gray day
The colors have been stunning here in western New England. The weather has been gray and cloudy and perfect for taking photos.

A newly harvested cornfield
I've been sharing some photos on Instagram and Facebook but thought those of you (like you Mom!) who don't do those things - and I know there are many of you - might like to see those photos here. New England really shines in the fall. I do love playing with the Instagram filters. It is so much fun to take an Iphone photo and turn it into a piece of digital art - all in a matter of a couple minutes.

Stunning color all around
This is our woodpile for the upcoming winter. We have a wood/oil combination furnace and this will hopefully get us through the winter. I look at that pile and think about all the toting, dragging, tossing, and shoving I am going to do this winter. Will help me exercise some which is a very good thing.

Our woodpile for heating our house this winter!
Today I have a have a photo review of a fantastic new knitting book by Rosemary Drysdale. Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting has just been published by Sixth and Spring Books. It is a follow-up to Rosemary's first very popular entrelac book called simply "Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting."  

Rosemary is a longtime veteran of the needlework industry. I first met her when she was authoring stitchery books. More recently she has been mostly involved in writing about knitting. Some of us like to switch between subjects and crafts (like me and Rosemary)!

This book - with its striking rainbow-hued cover - blew me away. It is packed with all kinds of ways to knit entrelac. I really never thought about adding cables to entrelac - but Rosemary did!

It is packed with many, many stitches - sort of like a Stitch Dictionary for Entrelac. This is one of those books that will remain in your library for years. I love these holes - this stitch screams scarf, doesn't it?

There are lots of ideas for garter stitch in entrelac - including these striped variations.

And for all you "in the round" knitters - here Rosemary teaches how to make circular pieces of entrelac. Gorgeous. You can see how clearly the techniques are explained and how the instructions are written by the next two photos.

This version of entrelac produces diamonds. Really nice. I do love those seed stitch squares alternating with stockinette.

Entrelac 2 also includes many patterns for projects. Isn't this sweater stunning?

These entrelac scarves are very doable and would look great this coming winter.

Would you like to win a copy of Entrelac 2 by Rosemary Drysdale donated by the fine folks at Sixth and Spring Books. Here's what you do... 

Answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post...... 

Have you ever worked entrelac? What did you make? Or would you like to learn? 

AS ALWAYS, PLEASE LEAVE AN EASY WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU. No easy way, I pass onto the next person after the Random # Generator gives me a winning number. Email address, blogger ID, or Ravelry name (although if you never check your Rav mail, don't bother to leave that name!)

Contest ends Monday October 20th at 11:59 p.m. Contest open to US residents only. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sheep Run + English Eccentric by Ros Byam Shaw + Giveaway

First off, a little from our day here. The leaves are changing and it looks to be a beautiful fall. Here is a little video of the ewe flock moving up the road to their next grazing field. Not very exciting but pretty none the less. Can you hear the leaves?

If I were close to Idaho, I would go to The Trailing of the Sheep Festival. Check it out here. For me, I'll just have to watch ours. Now onto my subject of the day.

Yesterday I wrote about paint entrepreneur and artist Annie Sloan. Today I want to introduce you all to Ros Byam Shaw and her series of books on English interiors published by Ryland, Peters and Small. Ros is also a past Features Editor at my favorite mag World of Interiors. You can read an interview with her here on the the Ryland, Peters and Small website. 

When I was researching and looking for inspiration when writing the upcoming Crafting a Colorful Home (Roost January 2015), I discovered two of Ros's books - Perfect English Cottage and Perfect English Farmhouse. Both were photographed by Jan Baldwin. I purchased them and spent time reading the different profiles of the owners of the homes and how they decorated their spaces. Each book featured about 20 different homes with stunning photography. I love a good house book and these helped me keep interested in writing about my home where my family and I have lived for 16 years. 

Just this spring, Ros had another book published called English Eccentric. It is even better (IMHO) than the two mentioned above. It is colorful and full of stories of families building their own style homes throughout the UK. I keep going back to it again and again to look at all the little details on the pages. I savored every page by reading a chapter at a time vs. going through the entire thing at once. Gorgeous. 

Below is the home of Antoni Burakowski - half of the fashion label Antoni & Alison. Love the colors in the kitchen. That striped cupboard is to die for. I know that most of these photographed homes might not be for most of you but there are bits that you can take away for inspiration.

This is the home of Fanny Ward - stylist and collector.

This is the home of Adam and Charlotte Calkin. Adam is a decorative painter and you can see more of his work here. Fabulous. Every inch of this home says "creativity."

What makes these homes special is the owners go out on a limb and decorate as they want to. Trust me - none of these homes are what realtors would suggest for resale. Most realtors want white, beige, and lack of character. YUCK. None of these places seem to be done by decorators per se although many of the owners are in some kind of creative business. Check out the links I have included to learn more about the talented homeowners. 

This is the home of Jewelry Designer Solange Azagury-Partridge. This home is full of fabulous color and pattern. It was difficult to pick one image to use. 

For Ros, this book had to be a blast to write. For Jan Baldwin, what a fantastic job on the photography. 

This is the home of Peter Hinwood who was an actor in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and is now an antique dealer. His home is also featured on the cover. I just love those turquoise walls and all the Islamic tiles. And that crazy striped chair and the cat pillow.

More gorgeous color from Peter Hinwood's home. That green wall. Fabulous!

This is Annabel Lewis's home. She owns the ribbon shop V. V. Rouleaux. Fabulous store - fabulous home.

This is the home of Liddie Holt Harrison. Liddie is a model - you may recognize her if you are an longtime knitter - she was on the cover of Rowan Magazine #04. Liddie's home is quite eccentric - full of all kinds of taxidermy and antiquities. She is a shop owner and antique dealer now.

I've got great news for all of you. One of my lucky readers will win their very own copy of English Eccentric supplied by publisher Ryland Peters and Small. Here's how you enter. 

Answer the following question in the comments section. Deadline is Monday October 13th at 11:59 p.m. 

What is your favorite space in your home and why? OR What would you like to change about your living space? OR any other random thought about home and color!
AS ALWAYS, PLEASE LEAVE AN EASY WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU. No easy way, I pass onto the next person after the Random # Generator gives me a winning number. Email address, blogger ID, or Ravelry name (although if you never check your Rav mail, don't bother to leave that name!)

Colorful Stitchery Giveaway

The fabulous women over on the &Stitches blog have posted a review of Colorful Stitchery here. Hop on over to &Stitches for a chance to win a copy donated by Roost Books

Here's one of my favorite designs from Colorful Stitchery - Cafe Dish Towels embroidered with simple motifs with cotton embroidery floss. A little old-fashioned but very useful. A very nice gift for anyone you might be making a present for! 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Annie Sloan, Martha Stewart, Barb Blair + Paint

I love my home, the collections I have in it, and all the DIY stuff I do to it. Adding things, fixing things, changing things - it is all fun. Ever since my first dorm room at the University of Delaware, I've been interested in making a nice space to live in.


It's that time of year, when we here in the northern hemisphere move back into our interior spaces. What are you going to do to change up your space? Have you planned anything? With all the spiders moving into all the nooks and crannies around here, it must be a cozy place to be. It's a job keeping after the webs for sure.

Do you know Annie Sloan? She is an author of over 20 decorating books and lives in England. She also has a line of paint called Chalk Paint which she developed over 20 years ago. Annie has a background in the fine arts. Her books focus on interior decoration and paint finishes -- one of my favorites of hers is called Colour in Decoration co-written with Kate Gwynn. It is a book which I refer to over and over again when I want to get some inspiration. Published in 1990, it has stood the test of time. The photos on this post are from Colour in Decoration.


Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint and her other products including wax and lacquers are now being distributed in the US and you can find retailers here. I have not tried them but perhaps one of you has. Would love to hear about your experience. There was an interview with Annie on the Design*Sponge website this week. You can read more about Annie Sloan here

I got an interesting email a few weeks ago. Martha Stewart has announced a new furniture paint called Vintage Decor Paint produced by Plaid and available at Michael's. You can watch a video and demo here. It is a matte finish which I am not wild over. Matte paints don't wear well - especially here at our farm. It looks to me like Martha's people took Annie's concept and are now bringing it mainstream at Michael's.

There's a young furniture/home dec author who has come across my radar. She is Barb Blair who wrote the book Furniture Makeovers published by Chronicle last fall. Barb also sells some beautiful re-finished vintage furniture. You can read all about her here


And of course, there is my old favorite, now sadly deceased - British author Jocasta Innes. Jocasta is who taught me to do decorative painting through her books. You can find many of her books on Alibris here. I love the way Jocasta writes - common sense-ically - like you were in her kitchen having a chat. 

So what about you? Have you tried Chalk Paint of any kind? Do you have any painting projects planned for the winter months? Do you have any favorite painting/home decor authors you turn to again and again for inspiration?

The photos in the post above came from the pages of (oop) Colour in Decoration.  It is available used on Amazon or on Alibris.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Every Week is Wool Week Here at the Farm

You all probably know this but in the Shetland Isles in the UK, they are celebrating Shetland Wool Week. I think it is a great concept to help promote the island wool industry - including woolen mills, farmers, and everyone who sells and believes in WOOL. You can read more about it here.You can follow along on their Facebook page too. My friends Gudrun Johnston and Mary Jane Mucklestone are leading a tour there this very week. You can follow their trip on Instagram by clicking their names above. 

Last week, on one of the first gray, fall feeling days, I went with The Farmer to check on the ewe flock. They are grazing about a mile from our farmhouse along with three rams in some pretty rough terrain. Most of the ewes should be bred by now and will start to lamb in late December, January and February. Here are some photos of the day. The leaves were just beginning to turn. Ness and Kate were with us and if you look closely, you will see them in the photos.

Hope you all are having a good week. Cannot believe it is Wednesday evening already!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Hydrangea, Sunflowers, More Inspired Projects, Kate's First Big Sheep Job

It's that time of year in New England where you see fluffy hydrangea blossoms all over the place - in people's yards, outside manicured storefronts, and in cemeteries. I have a few different varieties in my landscape - like the one below. 

Hydrangeas are pretty irresistible - because of the long bloom time and the way they turn from white to light pink, then to a darker rosy brown. And they are super easy to grow - I like that. They also look great with sunflowers like in this arrangement in a maple syrup bucket.


Once in a while a reader will send me a photo of something they made which I inspired. I love getting those photos. Joanne from Shelburne sent me this photo of a wreath she made using the patterns and idea from my 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet and Felt. I think it would be nice to come home to such a decoration. Great job Joanne. This would be a fast gift to make up for the holidays and a little different than the regular knitted gift, right?  (Joanne's son happens to be the musician Seth Glier - have you heard of him? Cool.)  

Here's a little more sunflower inspiration. These are from my newly re-released book Colorful Stitchery. Embroidery napkins with a simple sunflower motif. I used regular old cotton floss and stitched on purchased napkins from Crate and Barrel. You could easily make the napkins too. 

You can order a signed copy of Colorful Stitchery or 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet and Felt in my webshop here. Or if you are on a budget, here's the link to the big boys in the sky. I, of course, really appreciate the support you all give me when you can purchase directly from me. 

The sun has come out after a very dreary rainy day yesterday. Here is a kooky Hyperlapse video I took this morning while I was helping move the sheep. The video shows Kate working on her own for the first time - doing a really big job. It went pretty well considering! I know many of you come here for the sheep and lately the blog has been all about sunflowers and stitching. A Hyperlapse video is some kind of Instagram phone app. First try for me. It condenses several minutes into seconds. It kind of makes me sea-sick to watch it but it is also kind of funny too. Go Kate! I was so proud of her.