Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sing of Joy!

One of my goodies from Woodland Woolworks arrived today. Just in time for knitting night with the PDX Knitbloggers. I gave her a test run after doing some minor assembly and plenty of lubrication and she spins very nicely. I'll still do most of my work on the Louet but at least I can take Joy with me to knit night and to fiber festivals and on the plane to distant lands.

Sometimes when the evening falls I don't want to think too much while I'm doing some knitting. Blue Moon Fiber Arts put out a new colorway for the Doctors Without Borders during the Yarn Harlot's book signing. I like them -- helping people in need without politics. They're willing to go in where some agencies won't to help out the sick and injured. So I picked up a skein. I wasn't sure if I would like the colors but it's been nice mindless knitting and I'm liking the way that it's striping. They're not on BMFA's website yet but they will.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On a mission

A friend of mine who doesn't spin has a daughter who is interested in learning how to spin. When I told her I was making a trip to Woodland Woolworks she asked me to look for a handspindle and fiber for her. I came away with this spindle and 4 oz of Targhee. I think she will like this. I didn't get a tag for it but I know it's made by Sister Spinster and spins forever and ever and ever.... I came away with other things but I think I'll keep mum about those. Two items are on backorder and will be shipped directly to me.

For those of you who have been wondering how I'm doing on the Kauni sweater, I've been slowly working my way around. The fun part has been where to put the increases for this is a yoke sweater, not a raglan, so the increases needed to be placed evenly but not in the same places. To make sure I had, I placed markers at even distances and plotted the increase counts on my chart. This will help consolidate the pattern and increases without looking weird. They're dancing in the grass!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fifteen minutes of fame

Last night was the book signing at the Oregon Forestry Center for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's latest book, "Things I Learned From Knitting". The place was packed with Yarn Harlot fans so Jayme the Wonder Publicist and Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts deserve kudos for doing a fabulous job of arranging for a venue. There wasn't the frantic looking for spare chairs like at Powell's Books.

The PDX Knitbloggers planned for having folks save seats for those who could not leave early from work, so the group had a good place near the front to see and hear Stephanie talk. Of course if you're working on something a little complex it's mostly hearing. I took the Kauni sweater with me to work on so most of the time I was knitting and counting stitches so that the pattern wasn't messed up. Prizes were awarded to the Scavenger Hunt participants with a grand prize given to the winner who succeeded in getting 88 points worth of items. Stephanie was quite impressed. The pictures will eventually be on Flickr with the link on Stephanie's blog, so when her post is up you'll have to go check it out.

It ended up being a long evening for me as I waited until the line got short before going in. I didn't get home until nearly midnight. But Stephanie was very pleased to receive not only the DiCentra roving I purchased at the Aurora Fiber Faire but also a serenade from me that brought down the house. When 400 knitters stand up and applause your performance in the same venue as the Harlot one is a bit knocked over. And Tina gifted me with a skein of STR Heavyweight in Space Dust for my performance. Gawrsh! Thanks!

Here are a few pics from the event.

Update: Here's a video of the song: http://www.vimeo.com/931254/ . Enjoy!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cold Spring

The cold that has lingered here has crept into my bones this morning. A good time to curl up in a sweater and work on the NY Times crossword. My knee is cranky from the drive and spinning later on, so we'll keep it warm.

Ted and Barbara want to know what my haul is from the Fiber Faire. Along with the handspindle, niddy, nostie, and Dicentra fiber I took home the Columbia. The unwashed fiber was lovely to look at but not for me. I would have had it processed. But the Columbia will be mine to play with. I may try spinning from the lock. I have some spun singles waiting to be plied that I can play with on my new spindle.

The pot's boiling. Time for my morning tea.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild Fiber Faire

This Saturday was not only the first day of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts scavenger hunt in preparation for the arrival of the Yarn Harlot on Tuesday. It was also the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild's annual Fiber Faire. It was held at the Maplewood Grange Hall north of the historic town of Aurora and promised to have on hand all sorts of spinning fiber, yarns, tools, books, and other goodies for those who love fiber.

Warnings had been posted the day before that there was the possibility of snow, and there was some snow down in Salem early in the morning, but I saw none up in the banana belt where I live. It was unseasonably cold so the Sirdal was put to use. Gray skies blanketed the horizon with showers coming down in spots. None of the Knitbloggers could come so it was me and NPR the drive down from Portland.

When I arrived at the grange, I was pleased to see that they were busy and that fiberholics like me weren't undeterred by the weather. That's what plastic bags are for, aren't they? Upon entering I found myself wandering the tables looking at rovings, batts, yarns, and small tools. A few had spinning wheels for sale. At the back on the stage were boxes of skirted raw fleeces. This gave one the opportunity to see the fiber right off the animal and compare the different fibers.

To my delight I found that the maker of Sister Spinster handspindles was a vendor. I had read on one of the spinning shops that Lynne Marie Hoyt was no longer making spindles but that's not entirely true. She will be opening an Etsy shop soon instead of selling her spindles wholesale. She will also be at the fiber shows, including OFFF, so if you are interested in spindles I highly recommend looking for hers. I walked away with a purpleheart plying spindle I just could not pass up.

Boxes of raw fleece

Leicester Longwool

Border Leicester

Another Border Leicester. I was fascinated how this was curlier than the other

A Coopworth/Border Leicester cross. Curls, curls, curls!

A maple/black walnut niddynoddy for sample skeins and a maple nostepinne, both made by Carl Herndon.

Dyed Blue Faced Leicester in the colorway Rohan from Dicentra Designs. It was hard to choose as they had many many nummy colors, including some in great big balls.

Twelve ounces of picked and washed Columbia moorit.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bits and pieces

For those of you who are interested in what my Kauni sweater will look like, take a look at Wendy Johnson's Lismore sweater. See why I fell in love with this yarn?

The Yarn Harlot is coming to Portland the 22nd and the PDX Knitbloggers plan to have a presence there. They were born from the Harlot's visit last year so there are several in the group who want to make the event a celebratory one. So if you see a bunch of crazy women wearing pins, that'll be us, though I won't be waving a pompom. Blue Moon Fiber Arts is having a scavenger hunt like the one done in Toronto. I don't know how many of the group will be doing the hunt -- I won't have time to do it -- but it does give a good slice of Portland for Stephanie to view. I may just do a few pics while I'm out and about for the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild's annual Fiber Faire. If nothing else, my traveling sock will have breakfast at the Hollywood Burger Bar.

My projects lately have been working on the Raspberry Frappe fiber and knitting up face cloths for a gift basket we'll be auctioning off at Confluence Chorus's annual Cabaret on April 26th. We got a warm weekend of sunshine that gave everyone a boost. It was nice on Friday evening after a busy week to pull out the Louet and spin until dusk.

Friday, April 11, 2008

So ya wanna see my Kauni?

It's just the beginning, the neckline on down. Popular request demanded I post something. For now. I can tell ya though with so many stitches on small needles it's not going to be a quick knit.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Faerie spun

I received a very special treat tonight. And no it's not someone's pocket lint or a dust rhino.

It's a tiny tuft of qiviut blended with silk.

It's not enough to do anything with but I'm so warm blooded that qiviut would be way too warm for me. It's just enough to have a little bit to feel. Fairies would spin this stuff, it's so incredibly soft. Imagine the smoothest silkiest hand lotion you have ever had. This is smoother than that. Now I understand why this goes for $80 an ounce.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


As I was getting ready to post my weekly entry, I happened to look up. This is my view from my desk. Sometimes when I'm here I see my neighbors doing their things ranging from washing dishes at the sink to the eldest son practicing his guitar. Some days there's nothing showing but I hear the beating of drums or a sax playing. There's always some music and while sometimes it's a little off, there are times when it's very good. Some neighbors would complain, but I'd rather hear music than people shouting at each other. Or nothing at all. I've only had to call them once to turn it down, only because it was getting late and Dan was still playing quite loudly. But it's fun to share the love of music. I'm sure they hear me practicing my music or making my rehearsal tapes and I have my ugly notes.

I got to thinking about everyday views. What do you see when you look out a window where you live? If you didn't see it, would you miss it? If you took a picture of it, what would you think about when you looked at it somewhere else?

One time I was goofing around with my parents' Instamatic and took pictures of the neighborhood from my bedroom windows. I still have them. I think of the early mornings when I'd look out to see if it was snowing. I think of the one morning after an ice storm where there was so much ice that the power overloads were blowing up transformers and lighting up the sky. My bedroom window faced east so I could see the moon rise. There was a sunroom off of the living room and its roof was outside my bedroom, so when the rain was falling I could hear the water hitting the tar paper and running down the downspout.

Monday I'm seeing another orthopedic surgeon for a consultation on my knees. We've been having weird spring weather these days with very cold nights for the season (in the 30's Fahrenheit). It's been hard some mornings to figure whether the ache is from the cold or the previous day's activities. I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say and hopefully I can convince him that a knee replacement, either partial or total, would be more beneficial now than later.

One of the things I have to bring to the appointment is a copy of the pictures they took of my knees, both the X-rays and the bone scan. Instead of films in a big envelope, I received a CD. Curious person that I am and entitled to know what's going on, I popped it into my computer and took a look. The software was easy to figure out and the pictures fascinating. I'm not a trained radiologist, but the size of the white spots on my knees from the scan looked ominous. See doc? See? See? Those aren't going to go away, even if you shave the scar tissue away. I want to do water exercise again. I want to ride a bicycle. I want to walk with my friends in fiber festivals. Gimme new knees!

This morning after breakfast I sat down with my taxes and after finishing realized I also needed to take the car in to have its registration renewed. That jaunt took me by IKEA. While the idea of finding a parking place in their lot and wandering around their showrooms seemed daunting, I figured it was an opportunity to get in some exercise combined with some fun. I was blessed with a parking spot close to the door (thank you Asphalta, goddess of parking!), snagged a yellow bag, and rode the escalator to the showroom floor.

Naturally it was a late Saturday morning so it was fairly crowded, but not hard to get around in. It was my first trip there, so there was the element of curiosity. I had heard of their scenarios (a living situation in 275 square feet). I tested chairs. I examined storage wall bins. I felt towels.

I came away with furry pads for the cats, a set of plastic dishes for taking to chorus retreats, a laundry hamper, and a wicker chair for the front porch, all but the chair and the hamper fitting in one of their huge blue reusable bags (I should have gotten two of those, come to think of it). I was there for only an hour but I could see spending a day in there. I also could see how easy it was to get lost, forever wandering the aisles past products with strange Swedish names like Torgven and Jurgen. My mind wandered to the story I had heard of the man who spent two weeks living in an IKEA while his house was uninhabitable. I could imagine him sleeping in a Malm bed with Bibbi Snurr sheets and Gosa Blasa pillows, waking to a Skarp alarm clock and padding across the Balk flooring samples.

Fibery stuff

StitchJones came to Wednesday night knit with her goody bag of yarns and roving she's been dyeing. The sight of the roving was too much to bear. I came home with this, dubbed Raspberry Cremosa:

Picture courtesy of StitchJones.com

I got home too late to play with it, but Thursday evening after a nap I took a bit and played with it on the Louet. It wanted to be spun fine. The sample was a good practice piece for fine spinning with a different wool (she didn't know which wool it was) so my yarn balance wasn't very good (underspun singles, overplied). But I did get a yarn.

And I was able to knit it up on Friday after having set the twist. This was done on size 3.75 mms. The color is off because by the time I got a pic I had to take it indoors, but you get the idea.

Makes me want to snuggle in my Bibbi Snurr.