“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Chance Encounter

Dear Kay,
We were up in Monteagle for the Memorial Day weekend, airing out the shack and studying to see if we had any mice subletting from us over the winter. I don’t think we did. But the mice, they are not the sort to hang out on the sofa. They could be . . . down . . . there . . . somewhere.
I weeded the weed bed a while, until I got it down to ivy, daylilies, and a tolerable level of sassafras volunteers. After three hot hours of chopping and yanking, it still looked terrible, but a managed kind of terrible.
Look who greeted me when I came into the kitchen–I mean, sitting right there like he was waiting for me:
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The bluebirds are back. With a vengeance. See the grass sticking out of the holes? They’re working on two bluebird condos this year, where last year there was only one. I sat down, right then, and watched them hauling in grass for half an hour. I had heard that bluebirds return to the same nests year after year, but last year was their first visit, and I worried that they hadn’t had a good time. You know–bad sheets, not enough breakfast, no minibar.
While I watched, I checked the cottage answering machine. Amid the usual motley batch of loan consolidators and cable TV solicitors, there was a message from Lynne Vogel.
YIKES! It was one of those creepy coincidence moments. I’ve never met Lynne Vogel, but a few weeks ago I bought her Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, because I had heard that she lived near Monteagle. I thought this was really cool–a knitting fiend right down the road–and In the back of my mind I figured I’d track her down this summer. But here she was, right there in my answering machine. She was calling to tell me about a craft fair where she was going to be selling her handspun and hand-dyed yarns–three weeks ago.
Handspun. I missed some handspun? I called her back to tell her how sorry I was to have missed the craft fair. We got to talking, and before you know it, Lynne shows up with this:
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She works with four spinners who turn her hand-dyed roving into yarn. Merino and bamboo, merino and tencel, bluefaced Leicester.
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I got a full lesson in spinning and dyeing. This really got me: the same fiber, spun by two different women:
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Very cool. I am fascinated by these yarns which bear the mark of the spinner so clearly.
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It was all delicious, and I got into a fair amount of trouble. And we had a great time on a Sunday afternoon.
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Lynne has a new book coming out in August, The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters: A Knit-to-Fit Workshop. It sounds like it was a heroic piece of figuring, and I’m eager to see it.
And if you’re in Eugene, Oregon, and headed to the Black Sheep Gathering on June 22-24 (and why wouldn’t you?), she’ll be selling her yarns there. Here’s her website.
Serendipity. So great.
Love,
Ann

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Holy cow, FIrst of all…. BEAUTIFUL yarn, second I can’t believe that photo of the same fiber spun by different people, that is truly amazing, and while the spinning bug has been nipping at me for a while, I didn’t bow to it because I had NO IDEA you could get individualized results like that, I just kind of thought spinning was, well, spinning….
    Wow.

  2. Wow – who woulda thunk that different people spinning the same roving would come out so … well … different. But both are beautiful!
    So you got into trouble huh – just how much of that did you come home with?? Have fun and let us know what you are going to make :D

  3. Mmmm! I wish I were in her neighbourhood so I could buy some!

  4. I hope we can count on some in-depth bluebird nesting coverage this summer!

  5. It was like the Avon Lady dropped by….with handspun instead of miniature lipsticks. How very down home!
    Da boids is back! xoxo Kay

  6. Oooo…
    I want some.
    Coveting again.
    Gorgeous.

  7. I will be in Eugene! I will be at Black Sheep! Wowzers I’m a lucky girl, I will get to pet Lynne’s yarn!!

  8. To hell with tangerine colored lipsticks and questionable perfume…if Avon sold handspun yarn, I would be in a perpetual state of yarn intoxication. She could stop by my place any time!

  9. I bet the other condo unit was being occupied by one of the children from last year. My guess is they loved their stay so much they decided to stay and live with mom and dad. Looking forward to more pics.
    Love the yarn. I’m going to a fiber fest near here this weekend. Hope I find some as attractive as those.

  10. I’m so bummed… I LIVE in Eugene, but my SIL neglected to consult with be before scheduling her wedding… it’s in Carlsbad NM on the 23rd. Oh well, maybe next year!

  11. I think all of us would be hard pressed not to get into trouble with that much beautiful handspun yarn surrounding us.
    Love how different the same roving can look spun up by different people.

  12. They key to attracting repeat visitors, I’ve always heard, is premium cable and a nice turndown service.
    That yarn is making my fingers twitch in a good way.

  13. Hey, that shack looks pretty darned nice. Love the bluebirds, we have a bird house for ours this year too and it’s great.
    Love the handspun yarn. Now I wish I was spinning something light and springy instead of my darker winter colors. I think that gives me official permission to attend the next nearest fiber festival. Thank you.

  14. It seems you were well rewarded for hacking the weeds. All I get after hours of hacking weeds, is a limp pile of weeds and no where to put them.
    The porch decorated in handspun is beautiful. I have one skien of BFL in my stash now and I wonder why it hasn’t been more widely discovered yet, it is so soft and lovely!

  15. Hey Ann, Glad you connected up! Our Chattanooga Yarn Works is getting ready to heave into action. I’ll put you on our e-mail list, if that’s alright?

  16. Hey Ann, Glad you connected up! Our Chattanooga Yarn Works is getting ready to heave into action. I’ll put you on our e-mail list, if that’s alright?

  17. Handspun House Calls? What a lucky woman! Looks like it’s going to be a great summer — how could it not be with such neighbors?!

  18. I just bought the book & love it! I started the nina shawl with cotton plus yarn & had a few questions. The bottom of my knitting is rolling up, is this normal. Do I block this since it is a cotton & acrylic yarn.
    Thank you for your help
    Sue

  19. Sorry, I didn’t let you know my website, it’s smithsue@optonline.net
    Thank you

  20. And I have a college roommate who grew up in Eugene, okay, that WAS a long time ago, but what better excuse for a visit to the folks!!!

  21. I am looking forward to watching the bluebirds again this year.

  22. I am looking forward to watching the bluebirds again this year.

  23. Darn it! I’ll be in Oregon the week before, and can’t justify staying another 3 days… Love that handspun – my fingers are itching to get back to spinning, but I’ve got several projects that have deadlines first.

  24. OMG! I am soooo jealous. I’m positively green! I want a lounge room covered in handspun! I loved the sock book I hope the Twisted Sisters’ sweaters are the same bursts of quirky colour. Sounds like an absolutely perfect day.

  25. Ladies, I just want you to know what an adventure this household is having with your book… at first, I’m ashamed to admit, I scoffed at the projects, thinking myself an ‘Olympic Knitter’. Me? Knit cheap cotton? Chopped-up shirts? Bah. Not so, now. I am looking at every textile in this house with the keen eyes of a hawk, the blood-scent of a hound, the ‘I-can-wait-you-out’ patience of a turkey vulture. My children will be naked before summer’s end… ladies… what have you wrought? Cami

  26. Hi,
    I do live in oregon and I LOVE The Black Sheep Gathering! and usually in another building they have a gathering of people with Alpacas!!
    I missed it last year, but am going for 2 days this year! There is so much to see that it is hard to cover in 1 day
    The year before last a woman was clearing out her wool shed and I got a really great deal on some roving! I just finally got it all dyed up late last year! (took me 1 1/2 yrs to use it all up)
    If you can at all make it, you will really love it. I thnk that they have places to camp available, or to park your rv!
    Teresa

  27. Hi,
    I do live in oregon and I LOVE The Black Sheep Gathering! and usually in another building they have a gathering of people with Alpacas!!
    I missed it last year, but am going for 2 days this year! There is so much to see that it is hard to cover in 1 day
    The year before last a woman was clearing out her wool shed and I got a really great deal on some roving! I just finally got it all dyed up late last year! (took me 1 1/2 yrs to use it all up)
    If you can at all make it, you will really love it. I thnk that they have places to camp available, or to park your rv!
    Teresa

  28. The handspun is simply beautiful!
    I’m new at spinning and am so curious as to how the hanks of yarn came out so differently. Was it the spinning technique? The tension used? Both are just gorgeous.

  29. Spinning. Ain’t it cool? For all who love knitting (and I guess weaving, for that matter), spinning takes you to a whole ‘nother intimate level. I’m guessing, but that second skein looks like it was “set” a little more than the other. It might have even been fulled. There’s no end to the techniques you can use to make things turn out differently.