Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.

Sheep, Potential Alien Encounters, and Woad

Dear Kay,
Let’s discuss this New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.
I’ve never been to Rhinebeck before, so I’m really excited.
Here is a list of who will be appearing at the Festival’s Meet the Authors event, Sunday, Oct. 21, 11:30-2:30 pm in something called Tent City. It’ll be like a Boy Scout Jamboree! I can’t wait to meet all the authors who are going to be appearing. Kristin Nocholas will be there! Do you think she’s related to Kristin Nicholas?
Apparently Tent City is located in Area 41, which if you ask me sounds a lot like Area 51, which as we all know is where the government tests new supersecret bombers and probably keeps aliens. Nobody much knows what goes on in there. But there could be aliens.
I looked up the Sheep Festival’s Area 41 on Google Maps. See?
Verrrrrry mysterious. See that whited-out part? That’s Area 41. Nobody knows what goes on in Area 41. I think we have a lot to worry about.
Everybody, we hope you’ll come by to say hello. We’ll be signing books, rubberstamping books, you name it. We’ll have the Suitcase of Luv with us if you’d like to see projects from our book in real actual life. And some surprises.
Woad Is Me
Here’s my car knitting of recent days–I have had a terrible time getting much recreational knitting done, seeing as how we’ve been futzing around with the new book manuscript to a headbanging degree. Ironique, eh?
I can hardly WAIT to show everybody this new book. I am ridiculously excited about it. I’m sorry it’s taking so long.
Meanwhile, in quieter waters, this little scarf began when Cristina lobbed me a ball of sockweight wool she dyed herself with woad. All I knew about woad was that it turns this yarn a brilliant yellow. When I checked here, I learned more about woad than I’d known my whole life.
[ETA: Many thanks to you Mel Gibson fans out there who have pointed out that woad was used to paint warriors’ faces BLUE not YELLOW. Woad is a blue dye. I just remembered that Cristina’s tag said “Dyed with weld” not WOAD. And WELD is the ticket! Weld is the yellowiest yellow there is! Sorry for my limp memory.]
I mixed the woady wool with Koigu, in an also-brilliant shade of green. And I freehanded a pattern based on a sweater I saw one day this summer. It’s a curly thing, but maybe it’ll behave if I give it a stern blocking. Or not.
Finishing Up a Perfect Sweater
And I wanted to be done with this project two weeks ago. One sleeve shy of a Perfect Sweater.
Cascade 220 is such a great workhorse yarn. It does what you ask it to do without complaining, whining, or misbehaving.
It’s tidy and responds well to discipline.
If we have another kid, I’m naming him Cascade 220 Shayne. I think Cara should name her baby Cascade 220.
PS Those sheep are the noble residents of Martha’s Vineyard. I met them this summer.

Tags: , , ,



  1. Now wait a minute. . . does woad yield a yellow dye, or a blue dye?

  2. I thought Celts dyed themselves blue with woad. You are leading us astway with dis woad, I think.

  3. I am pretty ridiculously excited about your new book too!
    But I kinda sorta don’t think Cara’s gonna want to name her baby after Cascade 220. STR, maybe..j/k..

  4. Oooh, goody! Can’t wait to meet you in person.

  5. Cascade 220 Conomos? Sounds good to me. I mean, it’s not like we’ve thought of anything better.
    I can’t wait to Rhinebeck with you. Although I’m a little scared to have MY Ann and KAY’S Ann in the same room together. Maybe that’s the secret behind Area 41.

  6. You’re going to love Rhinebeck! It’s awesome.
    On an unrelated note, I went to see Ann Patchett do a reading and signing of her new book Run last night here in Philly. (Read the new book, it’s fabulous!) Thought of you, Ann from Tennessee.

  7. Well, I for one am just tickled pink that y’all are going to be at Rhinebeck and I am going to be at Rhinebeck and finally we’ll have a chance to meet. In person and in real life, even.

  8. Ha. Cascade 220 Shayne. Love it. YOu do make me laugh. Can’t wait to see/hear about the book!

  9. I’m all about poetic license, Ann. “Woad is me” sounds so much better than “Weld am I.”

  10. Perhaps, rather than naming our children after yarn, we should name yarn after our children.
    “In honor of Melissa’s A+ in math class, we shall now refer to Rowan Kidsilk Haze as Melissa.”

  11. I am knitting with Cascade 220 myself (the hand painted stuff in black and dark red) and I, too, was recently waxing ecstatic on its behavioral properties. It’s just so nice to knit with yarn that just lets you knit–no futzing around with temperamental extraneous strands, lumps, bumps or other issues. And you get nice, even, well behaved stitches.
    Maybe I’ll name my next dog Cascade 220, in hopes that the good behavior properties, loyalty and steadfastness pass on to it.

  12. I liked your post. Many funny points- but I can’t recall what I liked best. I’m waiting for the ativan to wear off from my dentist appointment this morning.Woad is blue but the yarn looked green to me. But what ever. I like the green. Do I make sense? Wish I could go to the woolie festivities. amy

  13. posts like these make me think I need to rent a car and be up there for at least one day of this fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Well Ann, if you ever continue on the mysterious Area 41 kick and need a place to stay, I live near Wright-Patterson AFB. It’s the home of the fabled “Hangar 18.” Be glad to have ya!

  15. I’m so jealous! I would love to go to Rhinebeck and see all my favorite knitting mavens. Cascade 220 is also fab for felting. Have a great time in Rhinebeck.

  16. When I die can I come back as a sheep on Martha’s Vineyard?

  17. When I die can I come back as a sheep on Martha’s Vineyard?

  18. When I die can I come back as a sheep on Martha’s Vineyard?

  19. Wow, this post just had everything. Sheep, books, knitting, Martha’s Vineyard . . . Lordy, that list of authors sounds fabulously tempting. I can’t believe it’s on SUNDAY. I won’t be there on Sunday! Darn!

  20. It will be my first-ever Rhinebeck, too, and I just noticed this morning how much closer it suddenly looks on my calendar! Yay!
    I hope to meet you both, but honestly – it’s a little intimidating! If you see a 51-year-old woman who looks like a 5-year-old twisting one toe in the dirt while getting up the nerve to come over to the group of cool kids in the playground…well, that will be me.

  21. You know what else is terribly odd? The sock looks rather mysteriously like a knitted zucchini. I think it is an experiment your hatching——— flooding the world with produce of another fiber variety!

  22. My Mom and I will be there, too. We missed you, Ann, in the Southampton this summer!

  23. ok, let me get this straight. not only is rhinebeck on my birthday weekend, and not only do i have to work on my birthday (think they’d notice if i called out sick?), but you will be there and i will not? somehow, the injustice of it all may kill me…lol

  24. There was an article in Spinoff several years ago about woad, with something pictured there (was it an afghan?) that had been knitted up in all kinds of shades of soft yellow, green, pink, and blue, all dyed from woad. It’s an extremely versatile dyestuff–and an extremely invasive weed in the wrong ecosystems. It’s illegal to plant in at least one Western state, I remember.
    Mind you, this is all coming from my memorybanks and therefore thoroughly subject to correction.

  25. new book. new book. new book!!!!

  26. I’m a recent convert to the Mason-Dixon Fanclub… laughed my way through the first book yesterday, and I am super-excited to hear about the next! Keep up the fine work ladies… knitting should always be fun and exciting!

  27. “Cascade 200” has a nice ring to it, and why not? So many people insist on choosing “unique” names, even ones that I suspect were made up (Magestica, anyone? That appeared in our local paper in the baby announcements…). Though people not in the know may assume the parents chose it because Cascade dishwashing detergent gets their dishes clean and leaves no water spots…

  28. Perhaps area 41 is merely snowy white with all the sheep that are there? And if you are going to do Rhinebeck, is there any chance you might do Maryland Sheep and Wool in May? I’m sure I still wouldn’t get to see you through the mobs of adoring fans. Perhaps if I brought a ladder to stand on?
    And I am anxiously awaiting the second M-D book. Lord knows, the first one got me into all sorts of trouble.

  29. Awwww, crap…I don’t think we can stay long enough on Sunday to see you guys. We have to rush up the highway to get Little Miss Resentful-I’m-Missing-Rhinebeck-And-The-Haunted-Tunnel kid on our way home. Where are you guys staying? We’re at the Poughkeepsie Blogger Bonanza Hotel…if you’re there with the whack of knitters and spinners that totally freaked out the staff by completely overtaking the lobby, we’ll see you there!

  30. Am loving the woad and toad colored scarf. Am serious loving anything in that sort of green range lately, I wonder if bright olive/toad/granny smith could be the new black ?

  31. I envy you – no spinning festivals or things involving wool here in Tasmania – BTW Woad has Bright yellow flowers, but dyes a blue (sometimes a bit muddy) Love the jumper – great colour!

  32. I’ve played with woad a lot over the years, and it can also give you lovely greens and pinks and such, depending on how you treat it and what you do with mordants.
    Though wikipedia is wrong about its use as a body paint–it works quite well. I use it all the time in living history demos, and it’s a styptic, antiseptic, and topical antisthetic.

  33. Ah, Cascade 220. If you were stranded on a desert island, what yarn would you want to have with you?? My Cascade 220 sweater also was very well behaved and lovely. Until I washed it in my machine, which has a very very delicate hand wash cycle, and I forgot to turn the dial to handwash. Unfortunately, Cascade 220 doesn’t read minds or ignore the swishing of warm water. Fortunately, my mother is very petite and cold in the winter. She loves the felted red pullover!! It fits her perfectly, even down to the arms.

  34. I love that Cascade 220! It’s one of my favorites, and when I get back to the States next summer I can’t wait to buy a whole lot of it. LOL
    I *heart* that sweater.

  35. I gave my youngest two “middle names,” and my sister recently followed suit with her two sons… I like it! How does “Cascade 220 Fixation (keeping it all in the family) Conomos” grab ya? I think it’s worth a run-by. We can brainstorm some more next week!
    ; )
    Yeah! I’ll be there, too!!

  36. Forget about naming a kid Cascade…I’m going to replace my kids with Cascade 220.

  37. I’m looking for a pattern to make a felted handbag out of Cascade yarn. Is one available on this site?

  38. See you at Rhinebeck! You’re on my Blogger bingo card!!


A bit of news from us, every now and again.

(Your email is safe with us.)