Something New!

Hello sweet friends!

Well, I’ve been working on something new in the Blog-0-Sphere and would like to invite you to follow my new site:  www.whereshewandersblog.wordpress.com

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Where She Wanders… is this knittergirl’s journey in the discovery of yarniegoodness, creative souls and inspiring ways!  You can read all about what it’s all about on the new site!  You can also follow along on Instagram at whereshewanders.

With my primary focus now on the new site and offering ooooodles of  news about inspiring Creatives and their inspirational ways, my Stix n’ String blog will soon be retired.

I’m so grateful that you’ve visited Stix n’ String and do hope you’ll wander over to my new site www.whereshewandersblog.wordpress.com.  It’s going to be a lovely stroll to meeting so many amazing people!

x-x-x Forever grateful x-x-x

Barb

 

A Knittergirl’s Dream Come True…

Goodness, Lovelies! This little patch of cyber grass has gone neglected for a tad too long! I must admit, in glancing at the array of W2’s that have arrived in the mail since the new year, I looked back with a sort of giggle at just how topsy-turvey life became after our last time together! Thankfully, things have settled and all is well and good… the reward being some quiet time now to sit and visit with you for a bit! Won’t you join me under this majestic Oak, a favorite spot of mine where much pondering and stitching occurs… and if you’d like, I’ll share with you a bit of how the past several months have been spent… creatively.

Pondering Point

Pondering Point

Stepping backwards to sometime in 2013 when I had been introduced to the magically whimsical world of Dottie Angel http://www.dottieangel.blogspot.com and its highly imaginative creator, Tif Fussell, our virtual connection grew to an online friendship and sparked the idea of a little creative swap! At the same time, I had my nose pressed against the virtual glass window to watch, (along with a vast many other knittergirls/guys), the progress of Anna and Greg Dianich’s construction of Tolt Yarn and Wool http://www.toltyarnandwool – a soon-to-be brick n’ mortar they were building in the rural town of Carnation, WA. Seeing the pictures on Anna’s blog of her shop’s opening day that November, I knew without question that I had to get there…soon!

Paralleled with this Top-of-the-Wish List item was the ongoing communications between Tif and myself, her applying for and being hired spot-on to join Anna’s creative team of lovely Tolt-Tias, and my ever-growing pining to visit that woolfilled shop! With finances being…well…laughable at the time, I didn’t know how I would afford such a luxury… and I continued to peek in the virtual window of Tolt Yarn and Wool while casting wishes upon every star in the nighttime sky.

It was a Friday evening shortly after the holidays in the new year. Home from work and exhausted from the day and week, I set my tired self on the daybed – HarryKat to my left, knitting to my right, a TCM movie on the tele and my iPad within reach. I reached…. and dialed up Expedia. There it was, staring at me bigger than BIG – BUR to SEATAC – my dream trip written in departure and arrival times! With mandatory vacation coming up that July due to a company-wide summer recess, I prolonged my pondering no more, pressed the Purchase key and booked my ticket which immediately left me dizzy with glee from the adrenalin rush!! (…this often happens with shoe purchases, too… but not quite to the same extent…). I was going to Tolt Yarn and Wool! And not only that, but the lovely Tif was kindly helping me plan my adventure! Dream come true!

Adventure-ready!

Adventure-ready!

This was my first trip to the PNW… which, upon seeing THIS out the window while descending into SEATAC, I would quickly kick myself and ask ‘Why on earth did you wait so long!?!!’ …With Tif’s welcomed suggestions towards convenient lodging in the area, sights to see, and a highly recommended souvenir that would last a lifetime… here’s what happened…

The commute in...

The commute in…

mandatory stop en'route to Carnation

Must-see stop en’route to Carnation

Bunking in the barn loft on the Carnation Tree Farm

The barn loft on the Carnation Tree a Farm – my home for the week!

Thankful for my small town roots (having been raised in the Hudson Valley)…and having a fondness for driving through country roads… without taking too many wrong turns, aided by a GPS app that had lost its voice and the benefit of it being summertime (hence staying light out longer), I eventually arrived to the picturesque town of Carnation and settled into the rustic digs at the nearby barn loft which would be my home for the next week! It was well past the dinner hour, yet the light outside was still on my side… so I quickly unloaded my pack at the barn and (not yet realizing just how very close I was to the center of town) hopped back in my car rental and off to explore!

Two minutes later… there IT was!
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The town was peaceful and quiet (despite my hyperventilating while standing on the sidewalk, my nose now pressed against the real window of TY&W… The warm summer air smelled sweet and the surrounding landscape of mountains and trees with the Tolt River running through it took my breath away… Okay, somebody PLEASE PINCH ME!! This trip was already showing signs of being a very very good choice!

Lunch at Pike’s Public Market back in the city had been enjoyed several hours earlier (with the added treat of visiting with a co-worker from many years ago!). Since there was a little kitchen back in the barn loft, I decided to pop into the grocery store conveniently located a hop-skip-and-a-jump between the barn and shop of yarniegoodness (not to mention just about anything else you might need: a gas station, pizzaria, Chinese restaurant, STARBUCKS, post office, laundromat, hardware store, motorcycle shop, TATTOO PARLOUR, a few more nice restaurants and shops, a church, a senior’s center, the farmers market, and a lovely park!)… to pick up a few necessary items (which means I had ice cream for dinner!)… before the short trip back to the barn where I settled in for my first night of what was the start to a wonderful week ahead.

The Loft

The Loft

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Mood Lighting

Mood Lighting

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For the next several days, I became a permanent fixture at Tolt Yarn and Wool, where, in addition to the overwhelming inventory of the most wonderful and thoughtful selection of yarniegoodness, books, notions et’al, I had the pleasure of sharing in the company of so many of the loyal customers and the lovely team of Tolt-tias Anna has assembled: Veronika (founder of Yarn on the House aka YOTH http://www.yarnonthehouse.blogspot.com), Clare (discovering a mutual friend between us, someone I’ve known since Kindergarten! Small world!), Rachel, Tif, the lovely-Lisa, Paula, Beth and Hope – an amazingly creative and kind group of women!! And as well, sitting and knitting with two of TY&W’s devoted knittergirls – Lyndsay and Tammy, who I wanted to pack up and bring home with me!

(L-R): Lisa, me, Anna, Tif

(L-R): Lisa, me, Anna, Tif

Tif's pattern pick for my cast-on... Ingredients included some YOTH!

Tif’s pattern pick for my cast-on… Ingredients included some YOTH!

Twirling Petals Twirl to bring home with me...

Twirling Petals Twirl to bring home with me…

One of the WIPS I brought along...

One of the WIPS I brought along…

At the end of the day...

At the end of the day…

In between stitches, I explored some nearby sites… The Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls… Went treasure hunting up the road in Duvall and Monroe… Joined Carnation’s citizens in celebrating the Fourth of July… And, taking Tif’s suggestion to heart, picked up a little permanent souvenir! We also had our little crafty swap – a frock she sewed for me, a shawl I knit for her!

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

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July 4th in Carnation

July 4th in Carnation

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go where the peace is...

My souvenir… go where the peace is…

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Dottie Angel Frock from Tif

Dottie Angel Frock for me from Tif…

Simple Lines Shawl for Tif

Simple Lines Shawl for Tif from me…

And on my last morning there, stopping into the shop before driving to the airport, I was so very touched by Anna coming in on her day off to share hugs and goodbyes until next time! And then, the surprise of Kathy Cadigan http://www.kathycadigan.com, who I follow on IG and who is a very close friend of Anna’s, arriving – camera in hand – and suggesting we take some photos of me around the shop! Truly, you can’t imagine how much this thoughtfulness meant to my heart. Oh, what a very, very special place this is! And what a very, very wonderful time I had there! Needless to say, my next visit is already booked!

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A very happy Knittergirl!

A very happy Knittergirl!

Tolt Loot

Tolt Loot

Ready for work!

Ready for work!

I'll be back soon!

I’ll be back soon!

As always, Lovelies… thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit this space. I do hope this little glimpse into a place and its people that have grown near n’dear to me is one you’ve enjoyed!

Until the next time… may you inspire and be inspired in each and every day!

xo just B ox

Stix and String

Stix and String

…from a piece of string…

You know that feeling… Your turning the pages of a fabulous pattern book, living vicariously in the picturesque locations that serve as settings for the ‘Oh, I want to make THAT!  And look at THIS ONE!  I want to make IT, too!’ designs from our master-makers… Brooklyn Tweed, Rowan, Quince & Co, Loop (…the list goes on and on…)… You’re biting your lip as you recall that promise you made to yourself… You know – the one about finishing the current WIP that’s on your needles BEFORE making another purchase of yarniegoodness and casting on something new… (I must inquire: Do you really know any knittergirl-or-guy who has EVER been able to keep such a ridiculous and unrealistic level of discipline?  I, for one, have not met her/him yet!).  You earmark page after page of potential cast-ons and maybe even kick up your heels doing the Knittergirl Jig in anticipation of adding another new project to your already-crowded project bag… And if you’re like me, you keep that little pattern book close at hand…getting to know all the knitting n’ purling goodness it holds inside a bit better every time you open its cover!  A new-found friend of sorts!

Well, in just describing a pretty typical day in this knittergirl’s life, I will share with you – dear readers (as I sit amongst a stash so large it sports a capital ‘S’ followed by a capital ‘TASH’! …and am surrounded by MANY WIPs (let’s just leave it at ‘many’, since ‘fessing up to the actual double-digit number that runs in line with my age would cause an embarrassing blush to my cheeks!) which patiently await their turn for some TLC – that in recent weeks I’ve had 4… F.O.U.R. …major WIPs that were competing for my attention.  Adoring each project with my knitterloving heart and eager to see them whole, I somehow arrived to a place of acceptance and realized that if I could just ditch the knittergirl A.D.D. and stitch a bit on each of these WIPs every day, there would be a rather nice collection of happy fashion accessories meeting at the Finish Line!  Total WIN!!

That promise I made myself paid off!  And within days of each other, 3 of the 4 projects are complete and #4 is stitching up at a nice clip!  Now, don’t misunderstand… I’ve already got my radar up on three new patterns and am quietly contemplating the ingredients!  On any given weekend you are sure to find me visiting my favorite LYS doing what I love to do… and our supporting these businesses is critical to their continued success and knittergirl happiness!  But I’m learning how to better pace the process of ‘making’, and in doing so, am finding that the process of this wonderful craft has become even more enjoyable than it already is (if that’s possible?)!  The end-results  are making me all warm and fuzzy with delight!

Prairie Shawl #1

#1 – Prairie Shawl

Prairie Shawl #2

#2 – Prairie Shawl

Simple Lines Shawl

#3 – Simple Lines Shawl

Simple Lines Shawl

Simple Lines Shawl

Simple Lines Shawl

Simple Lines Shawl

#4 Sandycove

#4 – Sandycove (a WIP)

So, when you find yourself casting a glance away from your current cast-on to admire and consider starting something new… might I suggest this:  Be still… go ahead and earmark that page and keep that pattern book nearby… even support your LYS by purchasing the ingredients!  but then, take a moment to dial up the memory of when you first fell in love with that pattern for the WIP in your hands right now and remember how excited you were to start it!  I will bet you a Trader Joes Dark Chocolate n’ Caramel n’ Sea Salt Bar that if you stick with it to the bind-off-end, starting the next GREAT project is going to feel even more rewarding!

I’ll bet’cha!!

Happy Knitting!

xox just B. xox

a mixed bag of… yarniegoodness!

Hello Lovelies!

Boy it’s HOT here in Surf City!!  We’re baking at record-braking-triple-digit temperatures… high winds… and drought conditions!  Not a good equation for this neck of the woods!  Even the rattlesnakes are getting more sociable as they slither from the hills into yards searching for some cool relief.  YIKES!!  Watch where you step!!

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Meanwhile… I’m surrounded by… WOOL!!  With several projects on the needles – all in various stages of progress – a day is not complete without a bit of TLC paid to each one.

The Straight Lines Shaw (pattern by Maanel and available as a free download on Ravelry.com) is a commissioned ‘swap’ I’m working on for my lovely virtual friend and maker-extraordinaire, Tif (aka Dottie Angel www.dottieangel.blogspot.com).

Simple Lines Shawl By Maanel

Simple Lines Shawl
By Maanel

Simple Lines Shawl Cast on in Tosh Merino Light - Isadora

Simple Lines Shawl
Cast on in Tosh Merino Light – Isadora

I’d not been aware of the pretty shawl pattern until she suggested it, and must tell you, it is quite a simple piece to knit (hence the pattern name!), with the result being quite nice!  Tif chose Madeline Tosh’s Tosh Merino Light, a fingering weight merino wool, in the Isadora color way.  The yarn has a soft feel and will be very cozy n’ warm – perfect for the PNW climate at the Mossy Shed!  Although it called for 2 skeins, as I reached the lace border last night, my knittergirl instinct is telling me that there isn’t quite enough yarn left to complete the piece, so an additional skein has been ordered up!

And then… there is the Prairie Shawl!  One completed and one on the way!  This pattern is by JuJu Vail and Susan Cropper – owners of Loop knit shop in London, England – and published in their wonderful pattern book ‘juju’s loops’.  I knit the first shawl with DyeForYarn’s fingering merino/silk in the Antique Doll color way (the same yarn/color as shown in the published pattern).

Prairie Shawl Knit with DyeForYarn merino/silk in Antique Doll

Prairie Shawl
Knit with DyeForYarn merino/silk in Antique Doll

so… for the second one I’m now knitting, I’ve chosen Zen Yarn Garden’s Serenity 20, using the OOAK color way for the main color and Yellow Opal for the lace border.  It’s bright n’ cheery and I’m absolutely loving the result!!  This is a beautiful yarn – soft to the touch and with a very nice drape!

Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20

Zen Yarn Garden
Serenity 20

Prairie Shawl Cast On

Prairie Shawl
Cast On

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Of course, Brooklyn Tweed always has a presence in my knitting bag, as well!  The most recent appearance is the Sandycove Stole.  This is a pattern designed by Kieran Foley (www.knitlab.wordpress.com) for Brooklyn Tweed and includes a delicate lace border on all sides of the rectangular shape.  Just enough design to keep a knittergirl interested, while allowing the process to move along at a good pace without too many hiccups to tink!

Sandycove Shawl Pattern by Kieran Foley for Brooklyn Tweed

Sandycove Shawl
Pattern by Kieran Foley for Brooklyn Tweed

Sandycove Cast On

Sandycove
Cast On

I’m a lover of BT’s LOFT and chose to knit this piece in the same color as used in the published pattern.  If you’ve knit with Loft before, you will appreciate the delicate, organic, sturdy structure of the yarn and how nicely the finished piece softens up once blocked.  This will surely be a perfect accessory for the cool evenings here in Surf City (albeit once the heatwave moves out!)…

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Wishing you each a day spiced with a dash of creativity… and of course, a bit of chocolate!

Happy Knitting!

xox just b xox

 

 

 

 

Where creativity lives…

It has long been a habit of mine to spend a bit of time in each day focusing on creativity… Be it my true love of knitting and all things stitched, picture snapping, putting pen to paper, or curling up with my Kindle, the time spent in the company of any one of these loves so often leads to welcomed inspiration!

blue

blue

Where I create varies…

Some days I sit in a nearby park and stitch away while dads are on the ball field teaching sons to pitch and catch, and moms are pushing their little ones on the swings. Sometimes I seek out a quiet spot under the shady branches of a majestic oak tree, entertained by the pleasant distraction of horses grazing nearby and the drilling music of red-headed woodpeckers very busy at being red-headed woodpeckers!

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There are days when I hop in the Kiwi Fun Bus and venture off to a favorite LYS, (that’s knitter’s lingo for Local Yarn Shop), happy to be surrounded by all the yarniegoodness and to share with other like-minded makers. And then there are days – such as this one – when I am content to stay put right here in the comfort of my own humble abode.

In every setting there are gifts of inspiration… Some stand right up and wave in my face, while others speak with the softest voice. It might be visual… spoken words… music that touches a chord (pun intended!)… a scent carried in the air (think freshly cut grass here!)… or how the light casts shadows through the trees. These are a few of the things that cause me to pause and appreciate what a moment offers.  These are the moments that inspire and lead me to create and share.

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As you make your way through each day, what inspires you?  What causes you to pause in a given moment and look a bit deeper?

xox just b xox