Spinning Archives - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

A Crazy Month

So it’s been nearly a month since we got back from Ireland, and I keep meaning to blog about it, but the entire month as been gobbled up by the work / life monster. We have had a bit of fun along the way. Thursday night we FINALLY visited the fantastic High Line park, and yesterday we had our first beach day of the whole summer (now that summer’s almost over)

Back to Ireland . . . After we said goodbye to Dublin it was time to head into the West. We headed out on our wrong side of the road adventure, driving to Galway. David did a great job driving on the left. Here’s a snap out our window.

After dumping our bags at the B & B we decided to head off to Leenane to the Sheep and Wool Museum. It wasn’t long before we had our first, sheep in the middle of the road sighting. Sheep graze everywhere, so they are spray painted (my first clue that these animals are not being raised for fleece!)

At the museum we met the woman doing the spinning demos, who is a local sheep farmer. She told us that they only get 90 euros a fleece and it’s not even worth the expense of sheering. They raise sheep for meat and the great Irish tradition of spinning, dyeing and knitting is all but dead. When I asked her why she explained that in the mind of the Irish people, spinning and knitting reminds folks of hard times. It would not be something people do for pleasure.

Here’s a great little homemade contraption from reused bicycle parts, made for putting yarn on bobbins

In addition to all the wheels, they also had some great looms

Here I am with the little sheepys

Later that evening, we headed into Galway for a night time parade. It was the Arts Festival, and they have an annual parade to usher in Pan. It was really fun.

Days were really long, so this is what it looks like at 9:45 pm

It didn’t really get dark until after 10:00 pm

We loved Galway. It’s a great little town full of winding streets, great shops and adorable pubs

and, of course, great pub music. We went out three or four times in the evening to listen to music, but the night in galway was our favorite. It wasn’t a stage, just some musicians sitting at tables drinking beer and playing music.

The next day we drove to the Spiddal Craft Center. It was pretty small, but it had a nice little weaving store.

Although it rained a bit everyday, our first day of pouring rain came the day we went to the Aran Islands. We took a ferry to Inishmore and it was a rainy, dark day, but we drank hot chocolate and looked at some sweater shops.

By the time we arrived by bus, to the fort, the sun had come out and it was a beautiful day. Here I am standing on the huge cliff at the fort. . . no railings, just common sense stands between you and death!

Here’s a few of the wonderful thatched roof cottages on the island.

David loved the yellow and red of this building

The next day we left Connomera to head into the strange, rocky beautiful Burren.

On our way we saw what looked like a white waterfall coming down the hill. As we got closer we saw it was a sheep dog herding a flock of sheep down the hill. I caught the tail end of the group on video.

Here’s one of the many unmarked “broken bits” (as David and I called them) scattered all over Ireland.

Another roadside animal sighting.

I loved their little faces poking over the wall

The Burren looked like another planet. Somebody said, of the famous rocky land “enough rope to hang a man, but not enough ground to bury him in”

Here I am at the pretty impressive Cliffs of Moher

Next stop is the charming Villiage of Adare. Your first sight is Adare Castle, followed by a street full of adorable thatched roof cottages.

We had a wonderful dinner and a stroll down by the river, we woke up and headed down to the Dingle Penninsula. This area was one of our favorites on the whole trip.

A pub in Dingle Town (a name that kept making David chuckle)

The next few days in the Dingle Penninsula and the Ring of Kerry were filled with too many hundreds of beautiful pictures to post here. A few . . .

I only started to take pictures of the Guinness signs in the last few days of the trip. I wish I had started sooner. Ah well, here are just a few great ones

Here’s the Kilo of yarn I got in the Aran Islands for 47 euro!!!! It’s pretty scratchy, so I’ll make an outer garment with it.

With all that driving / flying I did get a lot of knitting done. I made some decent progress on my do over tank top

and I almost finished Rachel’s tank top

Here’s a close up showing how unbelievably different my tension is when I pick v.s. throwing. For the strip I was throwing one color and picking (knitting continental) with the other. I then switched every row. You can see that the tension difference make this weird, curvy stripe.

Here it is all finished on my goofy niece who refuses to not make faces when you take her picture (so I cut off her head . . . so there!)

Our garden has not been doing that great, but we have had a few good garden meals. We didn’t have much food in the fridge when we came home. Michelle (my friend who was house sitting), left some mozzarella in the fridge, so we picked some tiny carrots, some tomatoes, basil & zucchino and we had a nice garden dinner.

Now that the eggplants and peppers are coming in, we have some more to snack on, but it’s not been a great food crop year.

Now that I’ve caught up on blogging what happened in July, maybe I’ll get around to writing about Aug by October!

Missing WWKIP Day . . . AGAIN

Sunday was my favorite type of day, some work in the garden, picking some food . . .


(Artichokes coming along nicely)

and enjoying the roses.

David settled down to correct a giant pile of homework,

and I decided to do some spinning

I was inspired to get out the wheel in the garden because I knew Michele & Will were coming over for some spindle spinning and Tony night.

My joyful day was interrupted when I realized that my professional knitting life was to (once again) interfere with my personal knitting life. I had been SOOO looking forward to WWKIP day this Saturday. I just looked at the Calendar to realize . . . ahhhhhh . . . I’ll be in Ohio for TNNA. Why of why is the trade show for the needle arts on the same weekend as World Wide Knit in Public Day?? Big drag. Last year I also missed it, because I was taking a continuing ed, machine knitting class, at FIT.

I did finish Stew’s baby sweater. Turned out really cute.

In addition to the Flame Stitch Cardigan, I needed a mindless subway project. Enter Coachella, done in Cotton-Ease. I LOVE this yarn.

Sheep, Cherry Blossoms, Veggies & SPRING

Nothing says Spring like the Shearing of Sheep. Last weekend I enjoyed two of my favorite springtime Park Slope rituals. . . The Cherry Blossom Festival in Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Fleece Festival at the Prospect Park Zoo.

We started the rainy day at the BBG. Despite the rain, the blossoms were amazing.

My pal Micheal and I relaxing in the outdoor lounge

Next it was off to the zoo to the adorable little Fleece Fest. It’s really just sheep sheering with some music, but I love it anyway

In the land of knitting, I finished my Short & Chic Cardi, pretty happy with it

I was also inspired by the Knitting Surgeon class I just taught at the Studio, to revisit an old sweater. I was teaching how you can lengthen or shorten a knitted piece and I remembered the cotton boat neck sweater I had whose sleeves always bugged me. So I came home, cut, put it back on the needles and started fixing the sleeves. One down, one to go.

I also got back to some serious spinning. I did about 4 hours on the wheel, and I forgot how much I LOVE spinning. I really want to get through the roving I have so I can get my hands on the stuff I bought at Rhinebeck in October.

I also almost finished Stew’s baby sweater. I’m so loving the LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, and it’s turning out really cute. She better not turn out to be a boy!

Small Town Brooklyn

I really do love our Brooklyn weekends. After two of the hardest weeks I’ve ever had, this weekend was SOOOOO what I needed. The last two weeks have been back-brakingly hard (yarn is NOT light when packed by the hundreds in cases), so what I needed more then anything was to relax. Saturday it was blustery and wet, so we stayed home all day. I got on the spinning wheel in the morning, and didn’t stop spinning until my pal Nell came over. We then cracked out the wine, cheese and Paul Newman documentary we added to our Netflix cue the day he died.

I’m really happy with the yarn I spun. It’s my very first three ply yarn. One ply is the Cascade Magnum I started spinning when I got sick of knitting with it

The other ply is the Corredale roving I bought from Morro Fleece Works

And the third ply is a mix of them both. It resulted in a pretty dreamy mix

I took it up to the garden to dry in the sun

and here it is all skeined up . . . mmmm

I still have tons more to spin, so I should get a whole sweater’s worth out of it.

Much to my shock, although we’ve left it TOTALLY unattended, the garden doesn’t look half bad

Even more bizarre . . . veggies are still growing.

Last night David made our (probably) last meal made from our crop. Pasta w/ eggplant, peppers, tomato, basil, green beans. Every bit of it (except the pasta) grown in our own little Brooklyn roof top farm.

Today was sunny and georg, so we headed over to the Fort Greene Halloween Festival. Brooklyn often feels like a small town to me, and anytime we go to these park festivals, I feel like this could just as easily be the town fair in Stars Hallow (Gilmore Girls anyone???).

We got there right at noon in time for the Dog costume show – The Great PUPkin! Here’s a few cuties:

Goldie Locks & the Wolf that ate Grandma:

Lego Helicopter (runner up)
Peter Pan
Laverne (of & Shirley)

Peas & Carrots (Third Prize)

More food . . . Sundae

yet more food . . . Lobster Dog
Dancing Queen

Sweet 16 (she really was 16, and it took a LONG time for the old gal to walk around the ring)



The stubborn Caterpillar (second prize)

Then there were many political dogs. Our first place winner was Joe the Plumber tries to fix the Fort Green Dog fountain (an inside dog owner joke). What pushed him over the top, was the fountain was rigged up to shoot water . . . very cute

Lipstick on a Pig

Revenge on Sara Palin

Continuing with the same theme. Here’s Palin & McCain (note the devil tail & horns) guns a blazing w/ a moose & polar bear. Here she “shoots” both dogs

The golden parachute

And my personal favorite, a truly Brooklyn entry . . . Marty “Barkowitz” and Bruce Ratner. For those of you not from Brooklyn, click here

After they took a turn around the ring, someone in the crowd shouted “roll over for emminent domain”, and the dog promtly rolled over . . . genius!

We ended with a late afternoon walk in Prospect Park, and then back home for some knitting. Tomorrow it’s back to hauling furniture & boxes around (sigh)

So Many Boxes . . .

It’s been ages since I’ve had a moment to blog. I’m up to my (&^% in boxes getting the Studio ready to open. I have managed to get sick for about a week in the middle of it all (yeah). The sucky part was missing the Yarn Harlot when she spoke at B & N in Park Slope. Michelle (who is cool lady working in the Studio with me) even saved me a seat, and I was WAY too sick to go. On a brighter yarny note, I did get a lot of knitting done in my sick bed.

This cotton bam boo top is taking me forever. Plus I no longer get any knitting time on the subway since I’m back to rush hour riding (which means standing . . . boo).

Amongst working sun up to sun down David and I did manage to squeeze in two great weekends. Two weeks ago David and I did our Brooklyn open house thing. I wrote about our Saturday at the cemetery, and then Sunday we did a whole other round. First we stopped at the Montauk club. It’s right down the street from our house, but I’ve never seen the inside. It’s both opulent and oddly run down at the same time. Kind of hard to describe.

On our way to Fort Greene we passed Urban Glass, who was also doing an open house. It’s a really big glass blowing place that has a gallery and they give classes and rent their space to artists. I love that places like this still exist in Brooklyn.

Next we went to the fab new(ish) Brooklyn Flea Market. It was a perfect fall day and the flea market was great. We spent the rest of the day walking around Fort Greene. I must admit, we don’t spend much time there. It’s really cool. The neighborhood has changed so much, and it’s filled with great restaurants and shops. We will definitely be going back for the Halloween festival next week. I’ve always wanted to see the dog costume contest!

After another back breaking week at work setting up the store, I was hanging on to the light at the end of the tunnel . . . RHINEBECK!!!!!!!!! We headed out late on Friday night and got into our B & B around 10:00 pm. We didn’t get to see the amazing grounds until we looked out our window the next morning to see this:

We were staying in a spa / B & B on a ton of land, called Buttermilk Spa. Just like last year, it was bright blue sky and perfect color. . . only difference, about 20 degrees colder then last year.

Our first glimpse of the fair grounds was an explosion of red

We started by visiting the little darlings that give us the fiber we love. Here’s a little cutie getting shorn.

We decided after such a killer week that we would take it easy this weekend. I did a little shopping, ran into some pals, watched some Canine Frisbee toss, ate some cheese, and then we headed back to the B & B in the afternoon to go to the spa and walk around the grounds.

My first day’s booty was a pound of this stunning Corriedale roving

After the spa we walked around the grounds which were swell

They also have their own little herd of sheep and alpaca.

SOOO cute.

After a wonderful dinner, great sleep, great breakfast it was back to the fair grounds. Our pal Francesca was meeting us. She was on hiatus from the Spamalot tour, and we’ve been trying to go to Rhinebeck together for three years, and we finally made it!

We started again by visiting the animals. Why can’t I have a farm???

David was trying to take a picture of this cutie alpaca, but right as he snapped, the alpaca stuck his nose right in the camera. It’s my new favorite picture

Francesca went through her budget in the first 10 minutes or so . . . mostly at Brooks Farm. I picked up another pound of Merino roving

Here we are saying goodbye to our wonderful weekend, clutching our treasures

Monday it was back to unpacking boxes and counting balls of yarn.

Life’s ups and horrible downs

Life can be a crazy up and down affair. Sunday was one of my best day in ages, then Monday I got some devastatingly sad news about a friend, Tuesday I felt like crap all day, and today after some, shall we say, return of breakfast, I stayed home sick from work. After a nap and a shower I’m feeling a little better. Tomorrow is another day.

Getting back to Sunday. . . I finished my brother’s freakishly large scarf (just in time for summer). This will keep him warm on the South Pole!

I also finished spinning up & plying my second skein of handspun. Here it is drying up on the deck

And posing in the sun amongst the plants on the roof deck.

On the other side of the skein you can see a few hugely fluffy, chunky bits. Ah well

Speaking of the deck . . . two weeks ago we planted our veggies in our amazing Earth Boxes! Check out two weeks of growth:

Broccoli two weeks ago 

Broccoli now!

Zucchini, Peppers & Herbs two weeks ago

and now (huge plant in the middle is the Zucchini)

The lilacs are blooming and the Iris’ are coming in:

Soon it was time to head over to Prospect Park for a little knitting outside with the Prospect Park Knitting Group. It was a perfect day. On the way I passed my favorite garden in spring time. There is a house whose yarn is filled end to end with tulips. Gorgeous!

My Feather & Fan Cardigan is to the miles of stockinette section . . . perfect for a knitting group. You can talk and not screw it up!

After a few dreamy hours knitting in the park I came home and decided to dust off the pasta maker. I haven’t made pasta from scratch in over a year. I made a lovely basil fettucini and David came home and whipped up a fantastic spinach pesto. It was a perfect day.

I guess the perfect days wouldn’t seem quite so perfect without the crappy days. I’ve had three kind of not so great days. I’m ready for my next good one.

Leaving on a jet plane (part two)

I’m back in San Fran. I just finished my first day back in the theatre. It was sad to leave Brooklyn. I finished Melissa’s sweaters in the nick of time. Here they are in small, medium and large. The large still has water marks on it from blocking:

She looked adorable in it! My first successful commission . . . even though I charged her basically $2.00 an hour. Live and learn!

My last day in Brooklyn was spent at the Wool Festival at the Brooklyn Zoo. It’s mostly for kids, but of course when you say wool, the Park Slope Knitting group comes a running.

The day began with the animals, the founder of our fiber feast, the woolly animals that make our hearts go pitter patter.

There were the oh so fuzzy Costwolds just dying for a hair cut.

The sheep and goats were all good friends.

The always evil looking Jacob sheep:

Then it was time to step outside and enjoy the beautiful Alpacas.

Ooh so soft and yummy . . .

The kids really seemed to enjoy the animals . . . and they weren’t looking at them as potential sweaters.

Next it was time for fun with roving. The nice folks at the Brooklyn General had set up a big ole table in the monkey house and filled it with roving and spindles. Our little knitting group descended upon the roving like a pack of hungry wolves (or appropriately enough, crazed monkeys). We started digging in and spinning away:

There was also a spinning wheel. Alexandra jumped right in to give it a whirl and then start teaching. Here’s a little spinning video:


If you notice the last thing Alexandra says on the video is “you’re next Patty”. Unfortunately I never got a chance to jump on the wheel, because I got a call from my pal who was having a crappy time at work.Yet I managed to do a little spinning while sympathetically listing to my pal.

Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for. The sheering of the sheep.

“what the hell is happening”

Going . . .

Going . . .


The day ended up on the roof enjoying the last of the sunshine in our garden before it was time to go.
Goodbye Brooklyn. . .

Until we meet again