Thursday

Pinchknitter Yarns~ Stanwood, Washington

by Phoebe
What a great circle of knitters I found at Pinchknitter Yarns in Stanwood, Washington!  Can you see a new Phoebe or two being knit in this photo?

I never cease to be impressed by the beauty and inspiration offered at independent yarn shops!

Here you see Ingrid, a talented young knitter, working on double-pointed needles.  Of course, there's nothing like a bit of chocolate to keep your knitting company...

And knitting in the presence of friends is just one of life's special treats.

Ingrid brought to me to beautiful Camano Island to play at a neat park...

Here I am with Ingrid and Fisher.  What a nice young lady and gentleman they are!

Caroline and Ella also played with me at the park, too- what sweet young ladies!

I have heard of a bicycle built for two, but this swing is something new to me!

Thank you for all of the fun- the knitting, the treats, the time at the park, did I mention the treats?  I enjoyed my first visit to the Pacific Northwest immensely~ Happy Knitting, Pinchknitter!

As for me... I am off for a relaxing vacation in... ukulele land!  Stay tuned for pics!

Wednesday

Thistledown Yarn Shoppe~ Suttons Bay, Michigan

by Phoebe
What a nice visit to Thistledown Yarn Shoppe!  I was part of a trunk show at this lovely yarn shop in northwest Michigan.  Thistledown is a very quaint shop in a beautiful part of the country.  How could you not be inspired to knit while you are here?  Maybe you don't know this about me, but I have a thing for buttons, so I loved looking over all of the neat ones here.

They treated me very well here and made sure I had a chance to meet some nice soft animal friends, too.  I just love the colors of the beautiful hand painted yarn!

Speaking about being treated well... how about a visit next door to the beauty parlor for a manicure?

And just a little color touch up also... what a splurge!

Thanks for hosting me, Thistledown Yarn Shoppe.  Have a great summer, and happy knitting!

Tuesday

Postcard from Lillian Mouse~ Yellowstone!

Greetings from Yellowstone National Park!  Here I am by a thermal feature- can you see how hot the water is?  In the background is Yellowstone Lake. 

This thermal feature is called the Dragon's Mouth Spring.  It is fascinating to hear the rumbling sounds from within as the steam is released into the hidden caverns.

This bench at the visitor's center has a bison woven right into the fabric!


"Where the Painted Buffalo Roam" is a public artwork project dedicated to revitalizing the community of West Yellowstone through public artwork created by Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and Minnesota artists.  There are 26 cows and ten calves on display.  Here I am at "Shoreline Silhouettes" by Joe Halko.

We had some time to explore the shops in town, too.  We found this neat shop called Smith & Chandler.  See how the huckleberry syrups and jams are a perfect match for my huckleberry jacket?  I can't wait to try to huckleberry brownie mix!

  Of course the trip would not be complete without finding a shop that sells yarn... Send It Home is a neat shop that will ship your vacation treasures home for you.  But more importantly, they carry knitting and quilting supplies!  Look closely to read the sign I am holding- "I knit therefore I am."  I didn't know Descartes was a knitter! 

Of course this is a nice and cozy place to be... I think I'll settle in for a bit with this colorful shelf of yarn....

Friday

Post Office Love

by Joanna
Every copy of Phoebe's Sweater passes through the hands of the author (me) or the illustrator (my husband) at some point.  Books go out to yarn shops, reviewers, book distributors, friends, family, individual customers, and Amazon... but they all start off here at our home studios.  Some are carried by Fed Ex or UPS, some are dropped off in person, some go out in boxes of yarn, some are picked up at the front porch by our awesome mail carrier John, and some go by buggy to our neighborhood post office.  Today I had a couple of special book orders to ship, and had a lovely walk with our youngest to the post office.  I have been cherishing our walks together of late, as I know it will not be long before he is too big for the buggy.  I wonder what the neighborhood will think of me when I push a childless pram full of boxes to the post office?  The nice thing about being a writer/artist couple is that you can get away with stuff like that.

To make this the perfect trip to the post office, there was a package waiting from me!  Here you see the stunning fabric that I received... I had to tear it open right there in the lobby.  I can't tell you yet what I am going to do with it, but I can tell you it will be a part of our next book, Freddie's Blanket.  Did I happen to mention that I was excited about this?  Just checking.

Wednesday

Slate Falls Press "Corporate Headquarters"

by Joanna
This sign was secreted into our van as we were packing for our return trip to Colorado.  My father-in-law, a gifted pinstriper and sign writer, saved an old slate roof shingle from Slate Falls Mill, pictured here,
and artfully painted our logo onto it.  Somehow, the timing of the surprise gift was perfect- as I was just home from my first TNNA and a wonderful string of book signings on the east coast (my old stomping grounds.)  Something about this sign solidified what had been brewing for weeks- that this is real: we really wrote this book, and published it ourselves, and we love it- and people have discovered it, and love it, too.  And little girls are asking their mommies to read Phoebe's Sweater to them at bedtime, and are falling asleep clutching their little hand knit dolls that I wrote the patterns for, and knitters are enjoying the patterns and sharing their photos... 
To every single one of you who has emailed me, written letters and notes, and expressed on the phone and in person that you like what we are doing- I thank you deeply.  This experience is literally our dream come true.

So, did you look closely at the sign...
and see that my father-in-law also has a sense of humor?  Corporate Headquarters?  He knows very well that I am a work-from-home mother of three, and that I write and knit and design in between naptimes and snacktimes, during dance classes and park days.  He know that Eric works full time as a graphic designer and illustrates at night when the kids are sleeping, and that our corporate headquarters is our home, and we fit our creative life in around our family life and love it that way. 

But, for fun, I thought I would share a few photos of our "corporate headquarters" here at Slate Falls Press...
everything starts with an idea


and some materials


the outdoors for inspiration

a place to write

a place to knit

a little duty

and always, the life and creativity of our children

Thank you for letting me share a little view of our life here at Slate Falls Press. 
It's official- I am hanging out our shingle!  ~Joanna

Tuesday

The Yarn Angel Knitting Shop and the "Purse Angel" at the Yarn Factory

On our road trip last month from Colorado to TNNA then to New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, we stopped at the Brown Sheep Yarn Factory in Nebraska.  We were able to drop off some copies of Phoebe's Sweater, pick up some yarn and color cards, and generally chat over our excitement about the upcoming show.  Tracy in the office said she had received an email that I just had to see; it was from a shop in Queensbury, New York, called The Yarn Angel.  They had already sold out of their first order of Phoebe's Sweater, and had reordered the book.  A teacher from the shop brought Phoebe and the book into her granddaughter's school for a special story time, and Lindy, who works at the shop, knit up this beautiful sweater and doll set from the patterns in the book:
Thank you, Jodie, Lindy and all of the knitters and readers at The Yarn Angel who gave our first book such a great reception!  It was just the perfect thing to see on our way to my first TNNA!

We left the yarn factory by mid-morning and drove all of the way across Nebraska, heading for our hotel in Des Moines, Iowa.  By late afternoon we had travelled five hours from the yarn factory, and were still three hours from our hotel, when I realized that I had forgotten my purse... back at the factory.  We were looking at a 10 hour road trip to go back for my purse, which contained our camera, our cash, and both of our credit cards (long story, that one.)  We were also looking at driving our family of five for a total of 13 more hours to arrive at our hotel for the evening at 4:00 in the morning.  Gulp.  (I was also wondering if the yarn company was thinking twice about inviting me to TNNA in the first place.)  Thanks to a few quick phone calls, a rarely-used debit card in my husband's wallet, hotels in Iowa and Ohio who did not require my ID to check in, and a very gracious Peggy at the yarn factory, we were able to continue east on our journey.  Two days later, while setting up on the floor at TNNA, I met up with the "purse angel" from Brown Sheep (who packed the purse in her airline luggage), and was reunited with my purse and my sense of belonging.  Fortunately, that was the only mishap on the journey and I was glad to get it over with right at the beginning of the trip!

Friday

In which the yarn for the next book arrives. And I head out of state.

by Phoebe
Today this lovely box of yarn arrived in the mail.  It is called Serendipity Tweed and is made of 60% cotton and 40% wool.  Isn't it pretty?  This collection of yarn is for the new set of knitting patterns Mother is working on for the next book from Slate Falls Press.  Freddie's Blanket will be about a little boy and his family, and will introduce a whole new series of animal characters.  That is all I can say for now... but we will keep you posted as we go! 

As for me, I am heading out to some new places... while I am away I will have some vacation photos from a guest poster, my mouse friend Lillian, as well as a post or two from my mom, Joanna.  Wish me well, and we will see you soon!

Thursday

Mama Said Sew

by Phoebe
I spent a lovely First Night in Ft. Collins at Mama Said Sew, an awesome sewing and crafting shop.  (This was back in June, before TNNA and the big road trip... somehow this post got lost in the midst of all of the travelling!)

They carry beautiful fabric from designers like Amy Butler and Heather Bailey, as well as beautiful sewing notions and craft books.

Our most enthusiastic reader was this awesome elementary school teacher who can't wait until fall when she can read Phoebe's Sweater to her students.

Another sweet family enjoyed a spontaneous reading of Phoebe's Sweater right there in the shop.

Thank you Mama Said Sew, we will be back soon for more fabric and fun!

Monday

Treat Bag of Yarnie Goodness

by Phoebe
At some point in your knitting life, your friends realize you knit a lot, maybe too much, and generally stop knitting for you.  According to Mother, this is a sad business.  Well, the next best thing to having someone knit for you in having someone give you yarn, right?  On her recent trip to TNNA and such, Mother was very fortunate to receive gifts of yarn from friends, old and new, and feels very blessed by both!  Let's see what came home in this treat bag of yarn...

A new dear friend who we met at TNNA and caught up with in New York City gave her this lovely yarn as a thank you for a little favor.  It is cashmere and mohair and very very very soft and pretty!

We met the nice folks from this company at TNNA... and they gave her this beautiful yarn, which, if you have been reading along, you know is now this scarf. 

This yarn was a gift from Knitty City, and is it ever so soft!  Mother had been eyeing this sweater since she saw Cecily wearing it at TNNA and was thrilled to have the perfect yarn to knit it up!  It is currently about halfway done, what a great pattern!

Mother met one of her favorite fabric and pattern designers at TNNA (this was very exciting for her!) and was offered the chance to work up some designs with her brand new yarn- how could she say no?  I think she has something special up her sleeve for this yarn... but you will have to wait and see what it is.  Father is working on it, too... shhh!

We had a wonderful weekend at the show with this company, (of course!) and Mother is having fun swatching and playing with some of their yarn for some new ideas for future knitting picture books!

Of course you must have noticed this beautiful handspun... made by my New York hostess (did you read about my first trip to NY this winter?)  Liz is a seamstress, a knitter, a designer, a milliner, and a spinner.  Brimming with talent and creativity!  Mother is not sure what to make out of this yarn.  Any ideas out there?

So... deep inside this bag anywhere, did you happen to see a skein or two of time?  Because Mother is going to need it to get through all of these many yards of fiber!