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Here, fishy fishy! And please help!

We have sock dare winners! We have two winners, in fact, both of whom knit this awesome Carassius pattern into a pair of special socks.

Take a look at these:


Love the scales!


Look at the little beads for the fish eyes! Adorable! Yay, Bethany!!

And I love the beads on these:


So cute.



Yay, Crystal!

Since both Bethany and Crystal sent in their pictures on the same day, they'll both receive a prize. I hope you'll enjoy the best prize, though: an awesome pair of socks!


Have you peeked at our project gallery recently?



We are having so much fun around the studio looking at all of these amazing pictures! So please contribute yours, if for no other reason than you want to entertain us. We love them. (Thank you Trisha and Jennifer for the pictures!)

Link to Flickr Group. Come and see!

Also, if you live in the Washington, DC area and you want to come to my Knitting With Hand Dyed Yarn class on February 21st, there are still a couple of spots available. The class is being held in Silver Spring, MD, at The Yarn Spot yarn shop. You can contact them directly at 301-933-9550, or at, to sign up.

I am hard at work on the curriculum, and will have lots of examples and tips for you.

Here's where I need your help:

What sorts of things would you like to see covered in a class like this? Any questions you'd like to have answered? Topics I could better elucidate for you? Any feedback is welcome, I want to make sure I'm giving my students what they want!

Thank you for your help! I know the students will thank you, too!

Yarn that no long exists

This was supposed to be about colorways that were so bad they deserved to be declared extinct.  Someday when I have an archivist -- coughcoughnever -- they'll all be on display somewhere as "Three Irish Girls: the Ugly Period."

But while I researching this post (can you believe I have to research my own hard drives for yarn pictures? I've been working on this for over an hour, that's how many I have.), I came across this:


This is me with my three day old middle baby, B.  B. is not her real name, she earned the name B. when my oldest child would talk to my belly. He couldn't say the word baby, and called the impending arrival "B." The name stuck, and we still call her B. as a nickname today. 

3IG was also in its infancy during this time period. Miss B. was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen when she was born, and she must have believed the same of me, because she was very attached to me from the age of 10 seconds to the age of three years.  She still loves mama, but no longer requires me to hold her 22 hours each day.

B. was adorable. And when I say adorable, I mean



This is what she did all day long. Grinned hugely at me. Batted her long eyelashes. Talked baby talk. Played with yarn.


Grew a little bit of auburn hair. Decided her eyes needed to turn from baby grey to coppery brown.  Grinned. Ate. Stayed awake if you tried to set her down. Slept if you held her. Grew kissable cheeks. Smiled. Cooed. Grinned.

When she would let me set her down, I did things like this:


Which was not nearly as cute as this:



Dear Future Archivist,

I am sorry that you will be forced to go through every 3IG picture in existence. I'm sorry my hard drives are so full. I'm sorry the yarn was so...unattractive.




Dear Readers,

I'm sorry that I'm boring you with kid pictures and burning holes in your retinas with fugly yarn.




Way back in the day, I wound all of my yarn into center pull balls. My husband helped, trooper that he was. Doing this required me to put the dry yarn on a swift, and then sit, straddle-legged against the coffee table where the winder was housed. When a skein of yarn had a tangle, this process could take over an hour per skein. Your arms and shoulders would be ready to fall off at the end of the day.

I had to have them surgically reattached several times.

I had special bands made to fit around the circumference of the yarn ball.


I remember working on this order in my kitchen -- it was my first large order --  late at night after the kids had gone to bed.  I remember finishing all of this and realizing I had no place to put it all to be counted and packed into a box. So I took a clean quilt and laid it over my couch and gently put my the fruit of my blood, sweat, and tears on top of the quilt.


Just looking at this makes me feel two things: grateful and sore.

Grateful that the people who bought my yarn way back when saw through pictures like this:


to help get me where I am today, and sore because I vividly remember the backbreaking physical labor that went into that order.

Speaking of backbreaking physical labor, take a gander at our winter extravaganza, the likes of which Washington, DC has never seen.

I believe my car is under here somewhere. We got another 10" (25+ cms) of snow after this picture was taken.


These hedges used to be 8-9 feet (2.4-2.7 meters) tall. Now they're so heavy laden they're only about three feet off the ground.


We got another ten inches after that picture was taken.

We have the most amazing oak trees in our backyard. My brother in law calls them Fairy Tale Oaks. They provide a leafy canopy over our back deck, and millions of acorns for deer and squirrels. (Do deer eat acorns? Deer sure love my yard.) I would estimate that these oaks are at least fifty feet tall (15+ meters).


All told, we got about 30" (76 cms) of snow in the same number of hours.  The storm system has finally moved out, but it will take days for the region to even have a semblance of normalcy again. Crews are out plowing single lanes down the main streets, and they've publicly announced that they won't be able to even start the side streets for at least 36 more hours.  I'm not sure when I'll have access to the studio again -- our building faces a large, sloping parking lot that will need to be plowed, and then we'll have to go down and shovel out the entry way. We may be able to get in on Monday, depending on how quickly the parking lot is cleared. And that's assuming we have power. 18,000 people in my county don't have power.

In the meantime, I'm drinking tea and coffee and hot chocolate and yes, mom, I'm drinking water and eating apples. I'm knitting and watching movies and sorting my way through the 400 images I took for my first Carpe Yarnem stocking.

And that's all the disjointed news that's fit to print this evening.  Snow. Babies. Yarn. Coffee. Sounds all right to me.

Miss Minnesota

There she is.


Throughout my tenure in Washington, DC, people have called me Miss Minnesota. While I sported no tiara or evening gown, I was an ambassador of sorts. People on the East Coast believe Minnesota is a vast arctic tundra navigated only by dog teams and explorers wearing blimp-sized parkas.

"Does anyone actually live in Minnesota?" my students would ask. "What is there to do? Sit in the house? Stare at the wall?"

I grew up in the 32nd state, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. (Let's make that 11,842 lakes over 10 acres in size.) "Yes, in fact, more than five million people live in Minnesota," I would answer my students. Then I would tell them about the Mall of America, the world's largest mall, complete with amusement park, aquarium, and more stores than you can visit in a weekend of shopping. I would remind them of the professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey teams headquartered there. Minnesota morphed into Mecca, the land of never ending Super Bowl Sundays and vast food courts of burgers and fries.

Yes, Minnesota has some good shopping. And some good health care (Mayo Clinic, anyone?). And just a teeny tiny bit of fishing in the 11,842 lakes. And maybe, possibly, some hiking or hunting or canoeing in the more than two million acres of forest.

Minnesota is also home to Duluth.


Situated at the tip of Lake Superior, which is the largest freshwater lake in the world by some measures.


Duluth takes its name from a French fur trader who first explored the area in the 1600s, and in the 1800s was one of the most bustling cities in the United States. It was, and still is, home to the world's largest inland port, and the westernmost point of the Atlantic shipping route.

My hometown is also home to the world's largest freshwater sandbar, which at over six miles long, is wide enough for a road down the middle with houses and beaches on either side.


You may recognize the Aerial Lift Bridge, one of only two bridges ever built like it in the world (the other was dismantled in the 1930s). The Lift Bridge was built in 1905, and has been in continuous operation since then. It connects residents of the sand bar, called Park Point, with the mainland, and it also raises up to let boats and ships from all over the world into Duluth's harbor to pick up iron ore and grain.


If you're from Duluth, you would recognize this boat as a "thousand footer," a boat that traverses the Great Lakes and measures over 1,000 feet in length. Thousand footers have a unique shape, and the public library there is built to mimic the same shape, with the U-shaped bow and the raised stern.


In the summer, the bridge raises and lowers 20-30 times a day, and in the winter once the shipping season has ended, hardly at all.

Duluth was once home to the largest population of millionaires per capita of any city in the United States, the shipping, mining, railroad, and timber industries having made wealthy men of smart investors. The city is sprinkled liberally with majestic century-old homes, many of them quarried red stone and brick. The most recognizable is the estate that once belonged to Chester and Clara Congdon, known as Glensheen.


This is but a small portion of their mansion found on the shores of Lake Superior. I volunteered here as a docent in college, and it was here that I came to take my sunrise pictures a few days ago.


In Minnesota,  all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

The Mississippi River begins in Minnesota, and is the dividing line between the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Minnesota is home to the largest community of Finnish people outside of Finland, and was initially settled almost entirely by Scandinavian immigrants. This Scandinavian heritage is still seen in the culture of the state, particularly the northern regions like Duluth, where the local meteorologists are named things like Sven, and a regular column in the newspaper is titled, Eh?

I could go on here, people. And I probably will on another day. Gosh darn it if I didn't really earn the nickname Miss Minnesota. I don't know why my brain stores this kind of information, but it does, and if something doesn't stop me, I could ramble for hours. I can make a Minnesota connection out of just about anything. Pick a topic, any topic, and I will find a connection.

Try me, if you're up for it. I will answer you in the comments.

I really must stop for now, I can feel the engines revving, and once they're warmed up, they're hard to shut down. Better to just turn off the ignition now and come back tomorrow evening, when I'll have some old school yarn pics for you!


Clues about the secret mission. If you are astute and well traveled you might be able to figure out the clues.



Steam rising.



Yes. Ice can steam. You've seen it here first.


Even two minutes completely changes the color of the sunrise.

I should also like to point out that it was two degrees below zero when I stood outside, bravely mittenless, to take these pictures.  That's-19 Celsius for you non-imperialists.


I've practically given it away now.

Ready for the best clue?



Away on a secret mission…

Out of town and on a secret mission that will directly benefit you! Back on Wednesday night...
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