Saturday, March 31, 2012

Triangular Shawl Math

Because its the weekend of the Final Four basketball games I found myself at home alone on this Saturday evening while my husband watches the Big Game at a friend's house. And so I thought to myself, what better to do with this quiet evening than to do some math? The truth is that we have had instructions for calculating where to make Gradiance transitions for rectangular and circular shawls for a long time but we didn't have instructions for triangular shawls yet. The delay was due to my fear of math. But tonight I made myself do it and you know what? It wasn't that bad after all! And in case you aren't convinced that my math is entirely trustworthy (I wouldn't blame you) I had my work checked over by my high school math teacher friend, Alli, and she gave me an A+.

You can read over the new Triangular Shawl math, as well as the math for rectangles and circles, here. I hope you'll let me know if you use any of these tutorials and if so if they made any sense. Its really hard to write out math in an understandable way, but I did my best!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Caffe Marco

This month's Sip n Stitch Club shipment contains coffee from a roaster named CaffeMarco located in Paris, KY. When I moved from NC to KY last spring I was so sad to leave all the great coffee roasters in the area but thankfully I found a new roaster to keep me caffeinated!

CaffeMarco is a one-man operation; Mark Newberry roasts and packs every batch by hand and then delivers them to the local co-op grocery store and farmers markets. With a background in wine making, Mark approaches coffee roasting with an eye- and palate- for quality flavor.

The CaffeMarco roastery and storefront is located in Paris, KY- one of the many small towns outside of Lexington. The drive out to Paris takes you past beautifully manicured Thoroughbred horse farms into a small country town. Downtown Paris shows signs of a long distant glamor that is just beginning to dust itself off and put on a fresh face to great modern visitors. Life in Paris runs at a slower pace with plenty of time to window shop at the antique shops along main street or sip from a cup of good coffee. You can see a few pictures of my visit to the Caffe here.

When I was working on the colorway for this month's yarn I was inspired by the warm, vibrant colors on the Caffe Marco website especially the photo of the stacked bowls. I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Good Shepherd Farm

If you signed up for the Fresh From the Farm Club this winter you'll be receiving your package this week! I won't spoil the surprise of the pattern or yarn for you but I will reveal that the extra goodie in this package is a bar of handmade soap from Good Shepherd Farm, located in central Kentucky. I had the pleasure of meeting Colleen at a workshop on lambing hosted by the University of Kentucky's agricultural school. They raise Friesian sheep for their milk which they make into a delicious semi-hard cheese. Unfortunately I can't include cheese in your club shipments, but I found out that they also use some of their sheep's milk in rich, creamy soaps. When the batch of soap I ordered for the club was ready to pick up a few weeks ago my mom (visiting for the weekend) and I drove out to the farm to pick up the soap and get a tour of the farm. We picked a great time for a visit-- it was one of the first warm, sunny days of early spring and they were in the middle of lambing season which means there were precious little lambs everywhere- from a day old to a few weeks old. In order for a dairy to be productive the ewes have to be bred and have lambs every year. The lambs are left with their moms for a week or so to get a healthy start in life but then they are taken away and put on milk replacer until they are ready to eat grain so that all the mothers' milk can be used for cheese and soap making. These "bottle babies" are very sweet and love people because, of course, they associate people with food. I wonder if they'll have any extra lambs that need to come live on the Unique Sheep farm this summer...

While visiting the farm we were lucky enough to be able to taste some of last season's cheese and it is delicious! I cannot wait until this season's cheese is available. Their cheese is so popular that they completely sold out of last season's cheese except for a bit that they held in reserve. This season's cheese still has to be aged before its ready to eat. They sell at the local (Lexington, KY) Farmer's Market but out-of-towners can also purchase it on their website.