Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 10:46 PM

tied up ?
tied up ?

This morning I journeyed from the lovely San Juan islands to Tacoma where the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat starts tomorrow.

This sign hung on my door in place of the more typical do not disturb type sign.

While it’s true that I brought some yarn with me. And, in fact, I just may have acquired some yarn between the time I left home and the time I arrived here. But… what exactly do they expect to happen in this room? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tomorrow I am taking a class from Nancy Bush: Baltic Braids and Babbles. It sounds really fun. And Nancy Bush is sort of one of my knitting heroes so I’m totally geeked out that I’m going to get to meet her. Hopefully I won’t embarrass myself too much,

I have seen the Yarn Harlot, but I was too busy swapping iPhone apps with her and with Blue Moon’s Depraved Dyer to kinnear her. I will keep trying.

Knitting by Judy @ 10:00 AM

Spirogyra
Spirogyra

When I saw Cindy knitting these, I knew I had to join in. This is Spirogyra from Knittyspin.

Yes, I do have two of them. When one is too cheap to buy good stuff challenged by the lack of good photography equipment, photography can be interesting. It’s not that easy to take a picture of your own hand. And, when one does not have a decent tripod – and I don’t, my shots are all hand-held – taking a picture of both your hands is pretty much impossible. Neither of the cats, alas, has learned to push the camera shutter button on command.

This particular yarn was chosen because it was just about the only thing in my stash that was the right weight. I was afraid that the combination of hand-dyed colors and the stitch pattern would not be a happy one. But I am pleased with the results. And they are wonderfully warm, cozy and soft. Tina asked me at the destashing if these were her Christmas present. I suggested she knit her own, since she has some yarn at her disposal. These are mine.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Silkie Socks That Rock (81% Superwash Merino, 19% Silk / 3.5oz, 360yds per skein); a portion of one skein of Count Cluckula
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Turbo 24″ circulars, US#3 (3.25 mm) and a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circulars, US#2 (3.00 mm)
  • Pattern: Spirogyra by Lynne Vogel
  • Modifications: none. Really.

Knitting by Judy @ 7:00 PM

inside the barn
inside the barn

Dear blog,

I haven’t meant to neglect you. Every day I think of things I’d really like to chat with you about, like the 2nd annual Blue Moon Fiber Arts destashing / barn sale. I’ve just been so busy, and when I remember I haven’t talked to you, it’s way late and I’m always afraid that you might be asleep. But I do want to tell you about the barn sale. I know I have a bit of yarn already, but sock yarn doesn’t count, right?

I went with a purpose. I had started a small project — finished object to show soon, and everything. And in going through my stash I found that I didn’t have hardly any yarn of the correct weight. You see, I usually knit socks on size US#0, or at the most US#1, at about 11 – 12 stitches/inch. So I like rather lightweight fingering for my socks. And this pattern called for a more DK-ish or heavier fingering weight. And, despite the size of my stash – not as large as some, true, but certainly holding its own – I was hard pressed to come up with any.

And, with her usual perfect timing, Blue Moon’s depraved dyer Tina destashed. It seemed like fate, don’t you agree?

OK. So I can justify anything when it comes to yarn. But look, gentle reader, look at that picture and tell me that you would not have been overcome by all of the loveliness that was there. And that’s not even all of it. There’s more behind my back, but my camera doesn’t take 360-degree views.

a few things came home
a few things came home

And I was pretty successful finding things to come home with me. Just a few things. Ahem.

Everything is either medium- or heavy-weight STR, except for one, lone skein of light-weight. A couple of things are Rare Gems and the rest are Mill Ends, so they are not marked with a colorway. But, you can tell what most of them are. The one in the very middle, for example, is a Mill End of The Cookie Next Door. I don’t mind buying mill ends at all as I have had wonderful luck with them in the past. They may not be perfect, but that doesn’t mean they’re not lovely.

There’s also one skein of a gorgeous ribbon yarn called Streams. There’s no colorway on that, either, but you can see it’s lovely muted colors. Be sure to click on the pics to see the biggy versions.

And, if it looks like there are some colors that don’t usually show up in my stash, like gasp hot pink, well… I can only, once again, plead yarn fumes. I like some pinks, and pinks in combination with greens and browns. And the skein that’s white with pink, red, teal, blue and purple? What can I say, except it’s really hot.

Got yarn?
Got yarn?

Moo wanted to help me photograph my yarn. She has a different outlook than I do. I declined her generous offer.

Food |Furry Friends |Knitting by Judy @ 10:36 AM

OFFF-goers enjoying the day
OFFF-goers enjoying the day

Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival is the highlight of my fiber year. Fiber fanatics, fibery animals (really cute ones!), enough vendors to warm a fiberista’s heart, fleece judging, spinning contests, lamb BBQ (yes, I will pet my lamb and eat it, too). What more could you ask for?

The weather was perfect: sunny and upper 70’s (F). There was a hint of crispness in the breeze – just enough to remind us all that this is fall, after all, but not so much to make us forget why Oregonians live for September. (shhhh… it’s our state secret)

You can see that there were many people who agreed with me! On Saturday, there was a big crowd – larger than I ever remember. On Sunday it was a bit quieter, but there were still many people come to enjoy the day and the animals and all of the fibery goodness.

those crazy PDX Knit Bloggers
those crazy PDX Knit Bloggers

The PDX Knit Bloggers represented in style! We set up our tent under a handy tree on the main lawn. Several of us brought spinning wheels – not I, as I am not a spinner. We were prepared to demo and/or help with almost any fiber art that you can imagine. A lot of people stopped by to ask questions, look at the wheels, and find out what we were all about. A couple of us had a few things for sale, and Bobbie’s DH Tool Man brought some of the gorgeous shawl pins he’s been making. (confidential to Tool Man: open an Etsy shop!)

Not being a spinner, I wasn’t asked to demo many things. But I did teach Cindy how to use a nostepinne, and Monica (that’s the famous MonicaPDX) how to do Judy’s Magic Cast-On.

Notorious Sock Knitters represented
Notorious Sock Knitters represented

The Notorious Sock Knitters from the Blue Moon Rockin’ Sock Club were there in force to bring sock knitting to everyone. I sat over in the PDXKB tent and knit the socks currently on my needles, which I will be telling you about in a future blog post (I promise). The NSK look like they were having tons of fun, too.

aLittleRedHen modeling her Condom Amulet Hat
aLittleRedHen modeling her Condom Amulet Hat

aLittleRedHen introduced herself to us. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Condom Amulet pattern an project? It’s been quite popular on Ravelry? (Find it here on Ravelry and on its own site otherwise.) (And if you are not on Ravelry, why aren’t you?)

The goal of the Condom Amulet Project is to encourage knitters to use leftover yarn to knit condom amulets and spread the word that HIV/AIDS and STDs do not have an age boundary and women over 50 are as vulnerable as any other group.

Tina with Henri the barn boy
Tina with Kevin Henri the barn boy

Here is Tina with her new bunny Kevin Henri the barn boy. (When I met him, he was a Kevin, but I understand he is now a Henri. Stay tuned for further developments).

Tina was not the only one to go home with a new friend. Deb brought home four bunnies!

I think I’d like a couple of fuzzy bunnies to use for bed warmers during those cold winter nights. But Moo Cow and Captain Kidd might object.

shearing
shearing

I got to watch sheep shearing. I always find it fascinating how the sheep don’t move and the clippers just whiz everywhere and all of a sudden there’s a naked sheep and a pile of fleece.

fiber on the hoof
fiber on the hoof

Look at all that lovely fiber! I always want to give these guys a big hug, and then run my toes through their fleece.

Rasta fiber
Rasta fiber

Every year I find someone who looks like they’re wearing dreads. Here’s the 2008 rasta-fiber shot.

babies
babies

And here is the obligatory babies that are so cute you could just die from it shot. Awwwww… they were seriously cute.

my favorite baby with his mom
my favorite baby with his mom

This was my favorite baby, though. Look how his ears and nose are all speckled and he has that big white spot on his forehead. Isn’t that just too cute? Jennifer from Tucson (who I believe may be, sadly, blogless) and I were ooo-ing and awww-ing over him, so his mom was nice enough to bring him out and let us pet him. What a sweetie!

alpaca
alpaca

Fuzzy alpacas. I always make #1 Son’s gloves from alpaca — it’s so warm and soft.

llamas
llamas

Isn’t this the most gorgeous llama you’ve ever seen? I can’t believe how white it was. There were some other pretty darn good looking llama there, too. The llamas all shared the second barn, so it took me awhile to find them.

hello there
hello there

Some animals wanted to get up close and personal with visitors. This one was very friendly and curious about me and my camera and just what the heck was I doing, anyway?

I love making new friends.

swag from OFFF
swag from OFFF

When shopping, I looked mostly for items that I can’t get any other way. I was particularly on the lookout for unusual or pretty locally-made nostepinnes, because I’ve decided a girl just can’t have too many. I didn’t want to buy very much yarn, and I mostly restrained myself, except for a few carefully chosen exceptions. The only impulse buys were a sock monkey kit from Blue Moon (yes, I finally caved), and a magnetic tapestry needle holder made from Carob from Crown Mountain Farms, because I can’t pass Klaus’ booth without buying something. I didn’t get a picture of the latter.

My swag:
On the right is the Blue Moon Sock Monkey kit.
Top to bottom on the left: Blue Moon Silkie Socks That Rock in Knitters Without Borders. (Not available on their web site.)
A Blue Moon STR Light Rare Gems. It’s in PI green-and-blue, and threw itself off the rack at me, demanding to be brought home. What was I to do? (Like all Rare Gems, this is available only at shows.)
Tactile Fiber Arts Superwash Merino/Tencel in Golden Olive. I love Brooke & Maia and all their natural dyed, fibery goodness. I could order from their web site, but in person I get to chat and squoosh fiber.
Three nostepinnes: the top one is cherry and purpleheart and was made by Carl Herndon. It’s shorter and narrower than my others and is suitable for laceweight or lighter fingering weight yarns. The other two were made by B J Verts. The middle one is myrtlewood and the bottom one is walnut. Note the carved ring around the base of the walnut handle. What’s this for? I asked, thinking I might learn some new nostepinne secret. The answer: It rattles so everyone knows you’re working. Of course I had to have it, don’t you agree? Because I bought two nostepinnes from B J Vert, I received his cookbook — Buttered-Side Down, A Cookbook For The Emancipated Male as a gift. I don’t really qualify as an emancipated male, but I do like cookbooks. I haven’t made any of the recipes yet, but they look tasty.
Below the nosties are four stone buttons from Jason Jakubos of Rock And Wool. They don’t have an online or Etsy shop yet, but from the number of people I heard ask them to set one up as soon as possible, I’m guessing it won’t be long!

If there’s any chance you can join us next year, please do! Bring your wheel or your sticks and just sit a spell and chat. Or watch the animals. Or shop ’til you drop. It’s all good.

Knitting by Judy @ 8:06 AM

Monkeys Without Borders
Monkeys Without Borders

I have not been idle. I finished the Monkeys Without Borders socks last Thursday. (Sorry, but I really can’t think of these with any other name.) I wore them last Friday. They fit quite nicely, thank you very much. 🙂

I know that you folks back east are having a heat wave. Here in Portland: not so much. Yesterday it was almost 70 with sunshine. But today we’ll be lucky if it makes 60 and it’s definitely not sunny. It’s still wool sock weather here. It’s been Rose Festival season, and that means rain and cold. Since it’s Rose Festival, though, I though it only right to pose these socks with roses. The only one I had in bloom when these pictures were taken was Eyepaint, and it’s the perfect color.

This is the first pair of Monkey’s that I’ve knit – I know, I was a little slow to hop on the Monkey bandwagon. I loved wearing them on Friday, and I can see these becoming one of my favorite pairs (thus the heel stitch on the bottom of the heel).

I love the way that this colorway knit up in the Monkey pattern. The white stripe is very subtle, until it gets up to the cuff where it becomes wider and more bold. Of course, there’s a sploosh of white during the heel turn. On one sock the sploosh is under the heel, and on the other it’s on top of the instep.

MWB heel
MWB heel

I don’t mind that STR pools around the instep. I could have knit these with a short-row heel if it had really bothered me.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock Light (100% superwash merino / 4.5oz, 360yds per skein); one skein of Knitters Without Borders
  • Needles: a pair of Knit Picks Harmony circulars, US#0 (2.0 mm)
  • Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
  • Modifications:
    • Knit toe-up, two at a time, using Judy’s Magic Cast-On.
    • Heel stitch under heel and on heel flap.

As soon as these socks were finished, I immediately cast on a new pair of socks with Stitchjones yarn in Andes Mint. You can get your own over at her Etsy shop.

I’m not sure what the new pair of socks are going to look like yet, but I’m not worried. The yarn will tell me what it wants to be.

Knitting by Judy @ 10:00 AM

Lantern Moon swag
Lantern Moon swag

Friday evening, Twisted, one of our wonderful local yarn shops, hosted a Lantern Moon trunk show. Lantern Moon is also a local Portland company. It’s just amazing how blessed we are here as fiber-ists. (Do I love my city? Oh yes, I do!)

Lantern Moon sources their wonderful products mostly from southeast Asia. They believe in being economically and environmentally responsible. They pay fair wages and help to provide training and safe working conditions while encouraging local artisans to continue the centuries-old hand crafts that are quickly disappearing. At Twisted, the Lantern Moon folks showed a very interesting slide show of their trips to Vietnam and some of the artists (I can call them nothing less) who create the beautiful products that Lantern Moon sells.

Twisted had a full range of Lantern Moon products available, and it was all on sale. So I think I showed admirable restraint.

From right to left… A set of US #0 Sock Sticks in ebony. Yes, I do use these every now and then. Really.

A silk needle cover for the two sets of Lantern Moon straight needles that I now have. (Before Friday I had one pair. Now I have two. You do the math.)

Two silk scarves – one that was hand batiked with this delightful picture of women carrying baskets, and a twisted scarf from Cambodia.

silk scarves
silk scarves

Then, when I had already gathered up my swag and paid for it, I happened to wander by Twisted’s wall of sock yarn (an entire wall of sock yarn, gentle reader), and spotted this skein of STR in the legendary colorway Calico which is not available on their website, and which I knew actually existed and wasn’t only mythical because I’ve seen Cindy knitting with it. Yeah. It came home with me. (There’s one left, Portland knitters!)

In this picture, I’ve untwisted the beautiful Cambodian scarf.

Yes, it really is those shades of green and dark berry, shifting together as the fabric moves. I have no idea how the weaver gets that effect. But it’s so cool and beautiful.

And please pop up the pick and biggy-size it so you can see the batik scarf. Look closely at what the women are carrying in their baskets. Balls of yarn. Is that not the coolest thing? Lantern Moon had this design exclusively made for them. There was one (ONE!) hiding under some other lovely silk scarves in a big basket, and yours truly snagged it. And that was followed by other knitters searching in vain for another one. But I wasn’t giving mine up! 😉

In local news, I will be teaching a couple of sock classes this summer at All About Yarn. This is a four-week, toes-up, two-at-a-time class. If you are interested, please contact the shop.



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