Sunday, May 15, 2016

Clinch River Spring Antique Festival

Twice a year the little town of Clinton closes off a couple of roads and holds their antique festival.  We have gone two times and enjoyed meandering through the shops and booths, looking at the junk – oh, I mean “antiques”.  Really, what makes something an antique?  Most of the time we were saying “Oh, I had one of these” – I guess that means I’m an antique.

There aren’t any critters and I didn’t see fiber but the sun was shining and there was a breeze so that went a long way in making up for the deficits.  My husband enjoyed checking out the classic cars (maybe I’m not an antique – I’m a classic!).

I found a rusty spring.  I hear you laughing.  What do I need a rusty spring for?  Well, there are some patterns in punch needle projects (see, you knew I’d get fiber in here somehow) that are for bunnies or kitty cats.  You make it like a little pillow and attach it to the top of the spring.  I’ve seen them in magazines and had no clue as to where I could find one.  Lo and behold there they were – and for $2.  A bargain for sure.

For the most part though, things were overpriced.  I went looking for some old clay pots and actually found some gorgeous ones but rarely was the price less than $100.

Once our skin was a little sunburned and our calves were screaming from walking up the hill, we decided it was time to head home.  Along the way the urge for ice cream took over (don’t you just hate when that happens?).  Thank goodness for smart phones.  It led us The Chunky Monkey in Norris.

It is just a tiny place off the main road to Andersonville.  We were not the only ones who had the ice cream urge.  The place was packed, the picnic tables were full and unfortunately the workers were less than organized.  But it was delicious Mayfield ice cream.  I also saw (and smelled) the burgers and fries from their grill – perhaps next time.

All in all, a good road trip with the hubby.

Until the next one – stay warped,


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yarn Retreat

What do you call it when 19 women get together at a resort state park to knit, crochet, weave, and spin?  A yarn retreat!  That is what happened last weekend in Pineville, Kentucky at the Pine Mountain Resort Lodge.

This is an absolutely gorgeous State Park about 30 minutes north of Tazewell, Tennessee.  As you can see the dogwoods, red buds and azaleas were all in bloom.

The resort had a large dining hall (and they served delicious food) that is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows so you can see the mountains and watch the birds while you eat.  There was a cozy living room complete with a fireplace and checkerboard, a porch with rocking chairs, hiking trails and a large meeting room for groups. There is also a basketball court and a miniature golf course. During the summer they have a pool and a zip line.

On day two we caravaned  to Mountain Hollow Farm (our host) in Tazewell to shop at the store.

It was fun to walk the farm - especially on such a beautiful day.  

BUT the best part was the critters - and lots of them. Beth has ducks, sheep, bunnies, dogs, cats, guinea hens, two llamas, a horse and ....... GOATS.  It was time to harvest the angora fibers from the goats so I was able to get a hands-on experience.

Still - the best was yet to come......BABIES !!!!!

If only my bag had been large enough.  Another retreat is planned for August (I think I'll be bringing a crate).

Till I hit the road again - stay warped,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Spinnery

A few weeks back I ventured through the mountains to check out the Spinnery with some weaver friends.  This lovely store is off the main road from all of the craziness that is in downtown Gatlinburg.  It is different from our usual knitting/crocheting yarn stores in that it has an additional focus on spinning and weaving.

As usual our arrival injected quite a bit of fun (aka noise and confusion) into the atmosphere.  Hey, we just can't contain our excitement.  "Look at this", "Wow, I want this", "Oh, this is pretty", "Feel this" (fiber people HAVE to touch things).

There was a rigid heddle class going on so (of course) we had to check it out and talk to the teacher (and the students and the customers and the shop workers - you get the idea).  The project interested two of us -now the hunt was on to find exactly what type of yarn they used.  This was not an easy feat because we kept getting sidetracked.  As you can see there was no shortage of things to grab our attention.

We all came home with packages.  I got right to the warping board and the Beka to see if I could recreate what the class was doing.  I think this will turn out beautifully.

It was another good road trip complete with mountains, friends and fiber.

Till the next one - stay warped, 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Mega Trip

Oh my, what a day we had this past Wednesday. You know I like a good road trip but this was a mega trip!

We started in Norris by loading the truck with 5 people and eventually met up with 2 more at our first destination.  An hour and a half drive on a beautiful spring day is always OK with me. This one though also had good company, laughs, many stories and even some "oldies but goodies" singing.

Our first stop was Muddy Pond.  This is a little Mennonite community near Monterrey.  We followed the GPS directions and bypassed the first sign, opting to obey "Penelope".  There was a bit of excitement as we wound around the skinny, gravel road but sometimes these off the beaten path adventures produce little gems as this one did.  We drove by farms that had goats, horses, sheep and even a large bird that we never did figure out what kind it was.

The trip is already a success with me since it had the critter factor but we continue along and arrive at the Muddy Pond General Store.  The first floor of the shop was filled with jams, flours, spices, soup mixes, butter, cheese and meats.  The second floor was for all of the  crafts - quilts, wooden chairs, doll cradles, baskets etc. 

Next door is a leather shop.  I had to go in just to smell it. There was a young girl working on a belt and the walls were covered with all sorts of leather goods including saddlebags and hats.

 Our next stop was lunch.  We asked some fellow shoppers if they knew of a local place we could try out.  They directed us to the Pour House in Crossville. 

This was a wonderful recommendation.  It is small but very unique. It shares it's space with a small dress/tea shop.  The restaurant part has rustic wooden tables and a chalkboard to show the specials of the day.  The "pour" part of it's name comes from the local beer and wine they offer.  Lunch options ranged from paninis to blts to hamburgers.  

Since we were in Crossville we couldn't leave without stopping by Little Blessings quilt store - especially since a few members of the group had never been there.

Now that could have been the end of our road trip since we not only had the critter factor but the fiber factor too!  But no, there's more.

An alternate route back to Oak Ridge ran us right along the road Loose Threads is on.  Woo Hoo ! Two quilt stores in one trip.   

It certainly was a mega trip - lots of fun and new things to explore.  

Stay warped,

Sunday, March 27, 2016

On the road again....

Local road trips are the perfect activity during a stay-at-home vacation week.  I gathered the girlfriends yesterday and showed them three spots that were in Blount County. Two of our stops will be covered in another blog but for this one I want to highlight the new yarn store in Maryville - the Hook and Needle.

Kristy opened the shop last November.  It is located behind Sullivan's and has a great parking lot across the street.

It is a small shop but is decorated adorably and packed with all sorts of fiber goodies.  The main emphasis is on knitting and crocheting but weavers can easily find something that would work nicely on a rigid heddle or table loom.  This was proven as fact since all of walked out with a bag of inspiration.

There is a cute and comfy sitting area along with a table in the back that is used for classes.  An old phone booth provides a unique spot to highlight the gorgeous yarn.

As with most small towns a couple of us ran into people we knew.  The atmosphere was one of smiles and excitement.  This is one road trip that will have to be repeated - and soon!

Until the next adventure - stay warped,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Alpaca Show

When most couples get together they say one of two things - either "we are so much alike" or "we are complete opposites".  My husband and I are the latter.  Fortunately there are a few things we enjoy together.....movies, books and (as I call them) critters.

A couple of weeks ago Sevierville was hosting the Southern Select Alpaca Show.  Not only was this a great critter event but it was free !

Do not confuse these darlings with llamas.  Totally different critter.  These guys are originally from South America - many in Peru.  They are sweet and gentle. (I have met a few llamas and they are a lot snobbier plus they spit).

Some are fluffy - others have fur that looks like string.  We met one owner who answered all of our questions and  gave us a kind of Alpaca 101 course.

They communicate through humming.  They don't like the top of their heads scratched instead you should rub their necks.  They are pack animals so you really shouldn't have just one.  It doesn't take much land to have a small herd either - a few acres is fine.  And they love cool windy weather.  All of the stalls had fans and usually the alpacas were right in front of them.

Of course they also turn their fur into gorgeously soft (and expensive) yarn.

This was a different sort of road trip - one with the hubby instead of the girl friends.  However it was a beautiful drive through the mountains, a fun morning learning about a new critter and of course there was still the connection to yarn!

Until I hit the road again - stay warped,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Pattern Hutch

I love it when a simple road trip turns into a new discovery.  It's even better when that discovery is accompanied by laughs, sunshine, good friends and shopping.  All of these things were present during a recent trip to Pigeon Forge.  Now if you are a local I'm sure you had visions of congested traffic, scores of tourists, noise and lights as you read the words Pigeon Forge.  However, this discovery is thankfully off the beaten path and down a country road where the sounds of the city are forgotten.

As we approached The Pattern Hutch we saw the iconic symbol of relaxation - rocking chairs on the porch.  The front door was open to let in the beautiful day and I could already see the abundance of creative possibilities waiting for us inside.

If you ever want an inspiration this is definitely where you should go. Embroidery, punch needle,    felting, doll clothes, aprons, pillows - I even think I saw some woodworking patterns in the back. Fabric, wool, thread and tons of these ideas already made up and on display so you can see what it will look like when finished.  I should really say what it should look like when finished because I am in the middle of my first needle punch project and it sure isn't looking like the finished examples - ha ha! 


Be prepared to be tempted.  Three out of the four people with me actually made their purchases and then found an additional purchase before we made it out the door.  (Yes, I was one of the three.)  I'm not sure if Cindy, owner and proprietor, was happier to see us arrive or leave - it was quite the event.

Cindy would love to give classes if you have a small group that would like to tackle something together.  She also encouraged us to come by and hang out....those rocking chairs look like a great place to enjoy the sun and some embroidery. 

Till the next time I hit the road - stay warped,