Thursday, February 28, 2008

Road Trip to Dorr Mill

Barb and I hit the road yesterday for a supply buying trip to Dorr Mill Store, the Holy Grail of rug hooking. Dorr is nestled in the little town of Guild (pronounced guy-uld), New Hampshire. It was about a 500 mile round-trip drive for me, covering no less than five states, but it was worth it to be able to touch and see all the woolly stuff Dorr has to offer.

We had a snow storm earlier this week here on Long Island, but it warmed up and rained and the snow melted. New England, however, was a wintry wonderland. The farther north we went, the snowier it got. Vermont was coated in sugary frosting. It was really lovely.

As always, we enjoyed our visit with Terry Dorr, who showed us some really great new wools -- including his Primitive Natural, a buttery-colored, textured wool that Barb is anxious to get into the dye pot. I found just the right poison for my mermaid rug, which I designed several years ago in a dye-and-design class with Dick LaBarge and George Kahnle. And we got our regular requisition of primitive linen and natural wool. (I'll post some pics of the wool tomorrow -- some of it is already in the washing machine. . . )

If you can't spare the time to visit Dorr in person (or the money for the gas -- what was I thinking?), you can visit them online at their newly updated website here. You can order through their website now -- an improvement Terry pointed out to us yesterday. (I always enjoy talking to Terry. He takes time to chat, and is full of good ideas for small rug hooking businesses.)

So now I have to knuckle down and get some new patterns onto linen for the 48th Annual Fairfield-Grace Rug Show in Fairfield, CT, on March 29. I have a lot of work to do . . .

Monday, February 25, 2008

I've Been Tagged Again . . .

Jean of Bluejean Primitives tagged me, asking me to list 5 things that are weird about about myself. I, of course, promptly replied that there's nothing weird at all about me, but decided to play along anyway.

So here you go:

1. No matter how tired I am or how late it is, I cannot fall asleep unless I read for a little while.

2. Although I am a great speller, I am a terrible typist but I can't be bothered to use spellcheck.

3. Although I believe cars are just tools to get us from one place to another, I have a very visceral reaction to PT Cruisers. I HATE them.

4. I don't care how big the fingerless glove craze is, I think they they are stupid. Your fingers are what get cold the fastest -- why wouldn't you cover them?

5. Last, but certainly not least, even though Jean picks on me mercilessly, I am still very fond of her. Go figure.

As for tagging other people -- if you read this, consider yourself tagged and post 5 weird things about you on your blogged and say I told you to do it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sock Progress!

I have made some progress on my sock this week. I did something screwy the week before last (or thought I did)so Christine took my sock to the sock doctor - a friend of hers with loads of sock knitting experience. Turns out I did things just right. So I am in the last stretch. I'll soon be dealing with the toe, then I'll start again and try to knit a matching mate to this sock.

Can someone please tell me what I was thinking when I posted that photo of the Valentine candy? What a hideous picture! My apologies to Ann and Paula -- the table really looked lovely and my picture does not!

Friday, February 22, 2008


We are in the middle of what will probably be the only real snow storm we get this year. It is lovely - so soft and quiet. I think we are up to 5 inches (a lot for us here on the eastern end of Long Island), more than was expected. Poor Cairo is up to his armpits, but he loves running around in it.

I always loved snow days when Clara was little -- hot cocoa, arts & crafts, cozy blankets on the couch in front of The Brave Little Toaster (our favorite kids movie). So today I'm going to treat myself to a snow day. Pete is off skiing in the Sierras with his brother Clem, who lives in Nevada, and Clara is away at school, so I can do anything I want! And I want to hook my little heart out today while watching a good movie.

Enjoy your day! I plan to!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Sentimental Lunar Eclipse

When my daughter was little, heading to sleep-away camp and worried about being homesick, I would tell her to look at the moon. She could be certain I would be looking at it, too, and she would know her connection to home was unbroken.

Last night, on my way in from the studio, I stopped to admire the lunar eclipse and was reminded of those long-ago days. So I called Clara and told her to go look at the moon. Pete came outside, too, with the binoculars, and proceeded to tell me that in ancient times people thought eclipses were an omen of bad things to come. (He's listening to a series of Great College Courses on tape and loves to share what he learns.) So we had a nice family moment, even though Clara is 300 miles away, happily ensconced in her dorm room, and not homesick at all. Ah, the magic of cell phones and celestial events!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Lovely Valentine's Day . . .

Pete left for a ski trip midday on Thursday so I thought I'd be alone on Valentine's night, but my friends Ann and Paula invited me out to dinner. We went to the Seafood Barge, perched on Peconic Bay and had a wonderful dinner. Before we sat down, both Ann and Paula strew all sorts of hearts across the table. It was so thoughtful and so festive! We had a great evening -- lots of laughs and a delicious bowl of blood orange sorbet to finish with. Thank you Paula and Ann for a wonderful night!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here is a woolly red heart from me to you! (This is a pin I made from the Standing Wool Rug method. I'm selling them on etsy.)

Hope your sweety brings you chocolate. Mine did!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another Giveaway! PieCake Primitives

Sweet Lorraine at PieCake Primitives has reached the 100th entry on her blog! To participate in her giveaway, visit her here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Scarf is Finished . . .

Clara called yesterday to say that Saratoga Springs was a winter wonderland -- the snow was piling up and didn't look like it was going to stop any time soon. So she needs her scarf! I finished it a couple of days ago, and will be sending it off tomorrow along with some Valentine treats.

While it is not a spectacular scarf, it is much more attractive in real life than in this photo. I used a chunky baby alpaca (Misti Alpaca, I think it was) and knit it in a simple seed stitch, using both colors at once on size 17 needles. Hey, it's what she wanted. And while it may not be so delicious to look at in this picture, it is sheer delight to have wrapped around your neck.

So now I can get back to the socks and the tax stuff, which I have been avoiding.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


It is Super Tuesday -- primaries are going on all across the country. If there is one in your state, please get out and vote! Like they say -- if you don't vote, you can't complain!

susanbmade & lavender trifles

Here is the perfect gift for Valentine's Day:

This lovely silk and hand-embroidered lavender sachet was made by my friend Susan Borger, a fiber fanatic. She makes amazing things from chenille, knits like crazy, and creates these lavender sachets using vintage buttons, unusual ribbons and creative embroidery stitches.

Susan recently started a blog and an etsy shop, so her beautiful and meticulously made creations are available worldwide now! You can visit her blog here and her etsy shop here.

Susan shares a spot with Barb and me at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival each October (October 18th & 19th this year!). We are also Kaffee Klatch buddies -- we meet for coffee several times a month to discuss fiber and our families. (Susan lives on the shore of the Peconic River with her husband Dennis and their 2 children -- Archie the dachshund and Louie the chocolate lab mix.)

That reminds me -- one of my rug hooking UFOs is Susan's Christmas present . . . from Christmas 2006 -- isn't that shameful? It is a small hooked portrait of her dogs . . . Perhaps that should be the next UFO I finish . . .

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Some Stops in Saratoga Springs

Clara and I did a little shopping during my brief visit to Saratoga Springs. (If you know my daughter, this comes as no surprise.) Our first stop was Saratoga Needle Arts, to buy some soft, bulky yarn for me to knit into a scarf to protect Clara's graceful neck from the brutal cold of northern New York.

It's a great little corner shop on Broadway, right in the heart of the shopping district. I noticed a stack of old ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists) newsletters right off, and knew I'd find a fellow hooker there. Sure enough, the owner hooks rugs, too, and had a magnificent hooked self-portrait hanging in the store.

The yarn selection was terrific -- I coveted the beautiful sock yarn, but stuck to the stuff for scarves, seeing as I haven't finished my first pair of socks yet, and I have a couple of kinds of Koigu (a hand-painted sock yarn from Canada) lined up for pairs two and three.

Here's the yarn Clara picked out -- neutrals, so the scarf will go with all her coats, and as soft as can be. It's baby alpaca -- really amazing to touch.

So, if you're knitter and you are in Saratoga, this is a great place to visit. They are very nice and very helpful, and give a 10% discount to Skidmore students! They also have a variety of classes, too. Click on their name in the first paragraph -- that will take you to their website.

Clara and I both love Indian food, especially when it is cold outside, so we went to Karavelli Indian Restaurant. I can't remember what street it's on, but it is right downtown, just a block or two from Broadway. I loved the atmosphere -- the walls are the color of turmeric and tandoori, and the food is really good. Clara had a lamb curry and I had chicken tikka. We had the biggest poori I've ever seen, piping hot and puffed full of air. It was yummy, especially with a little mango chutney tucked inside. Needless to say, Clara had lots of leftovers to take back to her dorm.

And I have to mention Putnam Market, which is pictured in the previous blog entry about Saratoga. It is Clara's favorite gourmet take-out store. They sell an amazing variety of fine cheeses. Clara loves Majorero, a cured goats milk cheese. She also loves their Hickory Smoked Chicken Salad and just about everything else they sell. (Why do I bother to pay for her to eat in the Skidmore Dining Hall?) I refused to look at the pastry counter and the hand-made chocolates . . . but we had terrific sandwiches before I left for home yesterday.

Okay -- it is past my bedtime . . . more on Saratoga the next time I'm up there. 'Night.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Blogging on the Road . . . the Laptop Case's First Trip

I took an impromptu trip up to Saratoga Springs yesterday to visit my daughter at college. I had a great drive up (which is good, because it is a 5 1/2 hour drive). The day was brilliant -- pure sunshine and blue, blue skies. I love to drive and enjoyed my Volvo's comfortable seats (with fanny warmers!) as well as the fabulous view of Manhattan from the Throgs Neck Bridge and the bluffs of the Hudson River above and below the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The Catskill Mountains rise up to the west just north of New York City, and farther up, above Albany, you can see the beginning of the Adirondacks. Pete and I spent a lot of time there on Tupper Lake in our younger days. Pete's cousins have an old cabin there, built by their grandfather -- no heat, minimal electric, an outhouse and you can only get to it by boat. It is a beautiful place, but I don't do rustic well anymore.

I'm staying at the Saratoga Hotel and Conference Center. We stay here everytime we come for parents' weekend. I love staying in good hotels. I love the anonimity of them -- bed and breakfasts make me crazy. (I don't want to talk to anyone over my morning coffee.) I've got wi-fi, a down comforter and pillows, and room service if I need it. I can walk all over Saratoga's great little downtown.

I love the clean look of the room -- no polyester frou frou floral bedspreads -- and so much space. I feel like I'm on vacation. (See my laptop case on the bed?)

The main street -- Broadway -- that leads up to Skidmore College is lined with beautiful Victorian homes. I would love to see inside them. (I took these pics back in October -- that's why the grass is green, instead of being covered by snow.)

Okay -- I am off to fill my daughter's gas tank and refrigerator before I head for home. The weathermen are predicting a rain and ice storm up here, so I will have to get on the road soon.

Happy February, Everyone!