Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh Eff Eff Eff (eff eff eff eff ff ff ff ff f f f f f ....)

Warning: This one is picture heavy, so if you have a slow connection, go out and get yourself something good to drink. Maybe a snack. Take out the trash. Walk the dog. Kiss your hunnybunny. Then come back.

The Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival roared to life on Friday and Saturday it was full of people, much more than I've seen in previous years. The PDX Knitbloggers set up camp under a lovely tree for folks to sit and do fibery stuff and also helping folks in answering questions. The day was nice and sunny without being overly hot. The sun beating on the shoulders while I sat spinning was particularly delicious.

This year I had a limited budget set aside for a few things. I went with a list of things and found what I wanted.

A diz out of maple.

An orifice hook with maple burl for my Louet wheel.

Two fleeces: three pounds of a Lincoln/Blue Face/Montadale cross and twelve ounces of a first cut from a honey colored cria. Mmmmmm!

There were lots of animals to look at. I saw a number of sheep and goats, but was too smitten by the cria fleece to take pictures of the alpacas. My bad.

I watched sheep dogs doing their stuff with ducks. The brown one was a young border dog, 2 years old, who was still learning the trade. The black and white one is an older border collie who was quite good considering he was working with 4 recalcitrant ducks who were more interested in just being left alone than herded around a course with gates, a tunnel, and a coop.

This lovely bunny was purchased by one of the Knitbloggers, Deb . She's probably going to be named Liesl as she's a German Angora. When she wasn't being held (and for a bunny she was very calm being held by all these strangers) she sat calmly in her cage in the shade.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Turns out there was a reason why I was so tired to the point where I couldn't even sit and knit. I picked up a virus that ended up giving me a bit of a chest cold. So the promise of posting on Thursday didn't pan out -- I was being a good kid and resting. Not even knitting. Thank goodness I had my set of Ken Burns' "Baseball" from when it was originally broadcast. I didn't have to deal with awful daytime TV.

So, TKGA's Knit and Crochet show. I was very happy with the classes and the vendors were very tempting. But I was a little disappointed in what we got in our goody bags. Granted there were a lot of people, but giving out what looks like leftovers from cheap yarn overproduction doesn't win over the knitters who like to work with good yarn. I think I'll be overdyeing the neon yellow kitchen cotton yarn and the sock yarn will probably go towards making distaffs for OFFF. I guess the 14 inch Light Up needles are also a slow seller because they were giving away boatloads of them.

Okay, enough snark. I did come away from the convention with good information and learned two techniques from two very good teachers. My Saturday class was in Austrian twisted stitches (aka Bavarian twisted stitches). Candace Eisner Strick was the instructor and guided us with a gentle but firm hand. She was pleased with the students catching on to the method so quickly and had a great time. It helped that one student who had taken a class from her the day before brought Candace Moonstruck chocolate. Candace was terribly jetlagged and in need of support, especially after telling us that Cat Bordhi in a fey mood took the banana out of her suitcase while Candace was waiting for the hotel elevator. Those darn sock knitters! I was a bad blogger that day though, forgetting my camera, so you can't see the incredible socks that an Austrian woman Candace met in her travels in Europe knit for her out of crochet cotton. At lunch, I and Sarah (a fellow classmate who recognized me from Yarn Harlot this spring) met up with Bobbie and we hit House of Louie for dim sum. I was definitely in need of nourishment so we didn't waste time. The carts kept coming and coming. You don't walk away hungry from House of Louie.

Sunday's class was Faroese Shawls with Joan Schrouder. I had taken her Orenburg Shawl class and loved her teaching, so I was looking forward to hearing her lessons on doing Faroese shawls. That type of shawl has shoulder shaping and a center panel in the back so that it doesn't slide off so readily as basic triangle shawls tend to do.

Judy, Cindy, Michelle and I were there from the Knitbloggers, Michelle sitting next to me with lovely balls of alpaca laceweight to play with. I had Cascade 220 so that I could see the shaping stitches in my sample. It was a full class of folks with different levels of skills, so those of us who were catching on easily were busy helping out those who were struggling. Joan took it all in stride and by the end of the class we had sample shawls to show.

Mine fit one of my sheep at the office perfectly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm here

You probably came by earlier to see if I had posted something from TKGA. I have something, including the few pictures I took (I was a real slacker in that department), but by the time I got home on Sunday from two full days of convention I was beat. Monday was allergy shot day and Tuesday was recovery day. Tonight is knit night. Tomorrow . . . . I'll try to get something up tomorrow. Friday I'll be stationed in front of a copier printing up music. Saturday morning I plan on doing some recovery slumber to get recharged for chorus.

In the meantime, go to Ray's Knitivity website and buy some yarn. He can use the business after Hurricane Ike.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ray, I'm thinking of you

Ray is a friend from the GLBT Knit list who rode out Hurricane Katrina in a rented house in New Orleans. After Katrina, he decided to pursue a desire to be a fiber businessman and started dyeing up yarns. Knitivity has been doing well enough that he was able to move to Houston to be closer to his children.

Now Hurricane Ike is barreling down for Galveston and Houston, Texas. Ray, who lives in a mobile home, has left his house to stay with his daughter to ride out Ike. He has his dyeing recipes and important papers, but his stock and tools of the trade are left behind. Hopefully when he returns his house will be okay and he'll be able to return to business.

So after Ike goes through, please go to his website and check on it. He'll be in remote contact to update it with how he is through a friend. Take a look at his wares and make a purchase. You'll be helping out a good man.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm easily influenced by things other people do. If I see someone doing something that is fascinating to me, I want to know how to do it. I'm drawn like a moth to a porch light. If I see it's something I know I can do, I'll start doing it.

It was that way with knitting. Mom needed something that was creative while she sat in front of the TV with Dad. He wanted her company, but didn't like her reading though she could keep track of what was on. Her primary hobby, rosemaling and tole painting, was done in the basement. So she took up knitting, cranking out scarves for grandkids and cabled afghans for us kids. The plain knitting didn't attract me, but the cables that she created fascinated me. I wanted to learn how to do that. I had done macrame, so a handcraft like knitting didn't seem hard. Mom tried to teach me how to knit Continental, but I couldn't get the hang of it. I still wanted to learn, so we went to Super Yarn Mart and I got my first knitting book, a Leisure Arts pamphlet called "Learn To Knit". I picked up throwing the yarn more readily and soon I was cranking out scarves. A friend in college knitted so I did some knitting then, but once out of college, I lost interest and turned to quilting when I joined my friend in her quilting group.

In 2002, I was feeling lost. Friends who crafted with me had parted ways and I didn't know what to do with my free time. Then one day at lunch a lunch buddy brought in her crochet and was working on a hat. The hat pattern looked really easy to do, so I got a copy and tried it out in kitchen cotton. I struggled with the crochet (I'd done straight rows but not regular increases), so I switched to knitting, digging out my knitting needles I had put away years ago. I found patterns on the Internet and joined an email list. Their knitting inspired me to try different things: hats, socks, mittens, a sweater. I discovered the joy of working with wool instead of acrylic.

Next month it will be six years since I've picked up the needles again. When I think that I have reached saturation point, I run across someone who simply amazes me with what they've done. Today it was Jared of BrooklynTweed. I clocked in late today because I was sucked into his blog this morning. I was thinking of doing the Adult Surprise sweater with the FFMR, but now I'm thinking of the Adult Tomten jacket. Or a mitered square jacket. I even considered the Einstein coat men's style. So many options, so much inspiration.

So keep showing the pretty things. They feed my creative soul.

Kauni Sweater progress

I bound off the first sleeve yesterday, hurray! I thought I would do the second sleeve, but then I thought, "If I do the second sleeve, then I have all that body to do and that will be daunting." So I picked up the stitches for the body and have started knitting on that. Doing that then the second sleeve will make the sleeve knitting a piece of cake. I figure it will take me at the least all of the rest of September to do the body, considering that this coming weekend I'll be knitting on other things at TKGA and the next weekend is chorus. I'll get in some knitting time at OFFF if nothing else to keep me from trying to spend the money I don't have.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A productive week

Month end week is usually stressful, so anything that can help relieve it is always welcome. The Kauni sweater fulfilled that role very nicely and I made good progress on the right sleeve. I'm one repeat of the pattern and a cuff away from finishing that, which at the rate I'm going will be at the end of the week.

Saturday I paid a visit to my old LYS Unraveled Yarns. Polly was there covering for Lisa, who was on vacation. Some Ravellers from Vancouver came in to sit and chat and Ilsa with her beautiful beadwork stopped by as well. I managed to leave with only one skein of yarn and a lace shawl pattern. There were many things that were tempting. Trust me.

One thing that came up in the conversations was Sarah Palin. Apparently there is a forum on Ravelry called "Sarah Palin Must Be Stopped". Now I know there is a lot of venom out there, but this to me is so over the top. I personally don't like what she stands for, but I'm not going to jump into the pile in Ravelry. The same thing was done to Hillary Clinton in the conservative forums. No thanks.

The day wound down to some spinning time. I was far behind on my listening to episodes of Cast On so I turned that on while I was working on Louie. Before I knew it it was nearly midnight and I had a skein of plied yarn and another hundred yards or so of singles on another bobbin. Happy camper!

Fiber Events this September

The TKGA/CGOA convention will be coming to Portland next weekend. I'll be taking a couple of day long classes then: Austrian twisted stitch knitting and Faroese shawl construction. Candace Eisner Strick of Merging Colors and Strickwear is teaching the Austrian stitch class and Joan Schrouder's teaching the Faroese. It will be interesting to see what I come out with at the end of the weekend. I won't be able to indulge in the market that will be at the convention, but hopefully I'll find something I can take home as a souvenir.

At the end of September is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) in Canby. I'll be there with my buds from the PDX Knitbloggers and the GLBT Knit List. On hand will be my Baynes wheel and a bunch of wrist distaffs from leftover sock yarn for sale. If you're looking for a spinning wheel and are in the Portland area, contact me at fiberqat at gmail dot com. She's a good wheel but finances require she find a new home.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mistaken identity

I think the McCain team is trying to win over the Monty Python fan base to their side. Why else would they pick someone named Palin who is from the mighty forests of Alaska with her best girls by her side.... Yeah, I know. Cheap joke. But I can't help it. Every time I hear "Palin" on the radio I immediately think of Michael Palin, veteran Pythoner and travelogue purveyor. So they picked someone from way up in Alaska to take the seat of second banana. I'd be curious to know how they managed to narrow down the running mate race to a governor who has yet to finish her first term. I just hope the Republican women get together and do a major makeover.