Food |Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 1:40 PM

new on the needles
new on the needles

It’s that time of the year again. Time to look back. Time to gaze forward in anticipation. Let’s look ahead, first, and welcome 2008.

I did not remain sock monogamous to Lenore. I cast on the toes of the Salish Sea Socks, the December Rockin’ Sock Club pattern. The colorway is called Bella Coola / Nuxalk. It’s a Cat Bordhi pattern. The colors are my blog colors, and Cat gave me a nice little shout-out in the pattern notes. So what was I to do but cast them on?

But, I hear you ask gentle reader, what is that other unfinished strip of stripy cabled goodness sharing the picture with the Salish toes?

Son Of Stitch n Bitch

That was something I was hoping would be the last finished object of 2007. Didn’t make it. It will be the first finished object of 2008, though. I will tell you more later. For now, I will only say that the pattern comes from this book, and as soon as I saw it I knew that I had to knit it. When Tangle had the right yarn, the deal was sealed.

More later.

Also looking ahead: #1 Son left yesterday for a 5-week trip to Brazil. Yeah. South America. I was not allowed to go to the airport, because Moms are so lame at airports and stuff, you know. But he called me from the airport to let me know he was there. And he called me again to let me know they were ready to board. And he called me again to let me know that their flight to Chicago had been delayed. And he called again to let me know that they had landed, finally, in Chicago but missed the connection to Sao Paulo, and now had to stand in a really long line. And then he sent a text message to say that they had tickets on a flight leaving today. And then he sent a text message to say Happy New Year and that he was at a party with Chicago friends. I have not heard yet today. He has promised to call occasionally and maybe send an email now and again. Five weeks is a long time. Brazil is very far away.

In other non-knitting news, my old lady cat, Phoebe, has been diagnosed as hyperthyroid, thus explaining her weight loss and erratically needy behavior that was so odd in a crotchety cat that mostly just wants to be left alone — except at night, when a great deal of lovin’ is appreciated at bedtime. The good news is that it’s a condition that is, actually, curable in a fairly easy way. The bad news is that the condition may be masking chronic renal failure, which is not curable. So Phoebe is on medication to bring her thyroid levels down to normal so her kidneys can be evaluated. In all of her 15 years, Phoebe has never been sick or required medication of any kind. Since she tends to hold a grudge, I was not looking forward to shoving a pill down her throat offering her medication twice a day. But my vet carries this wonderful invention called Pill Pockets. Slip the pill inside the formed treat and smoosh the end closed, and the designated pet chomps it down. Phoebe loves them. So the only issue is keeping Kidd distracted while Phoebe eats her treat. Moo doesn’t count here, because she doesn’t like treats of any kind. She only eats cat food and yarn.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Now, looking back in farewell to 2007:

In January, I decided to buy yarn. And I kept that promise all through the year. So much so that I think in 2008 I will be a bit more restrained. Blue Moon suffered through their well-publicized bank problems. And my sock class was canceled because of snow.

February saw the Snake River Socks released into the wild, unfortunately, it turned out, with several errors. #1 Son borrowed my vacuum. My brain turned up missing in action as I tried to figure out the right number of stitches to go around a sock leg.

The first Rockin’ Sock Club shipment came in March. I resolved to knit socks only with my classes (resolution soon broken). My socks were lost and then found and, it turned out (via contest), may have been running a little underground resistance movement against sock abuse.

April opened with the Magical Moebius Festival in Newport. Knitting and food and yarn and food and Cat Bordhi and food and whales, and I knit a giant moebius (unintentionally) that 11 people fit into. And it was too far to drive 10 miles to my house, but not too far to drive to Eugene or Seattle.

In May I had the plane trip from hell. While I was in Miami, #1 Son called from Toronto to ask if I could move his car in Portland (it was towed). We lost Grandpa Barney. And I learned that I still remember how to execute a perfect slightly imperfect pratfall.

June found me proving my extreme dorkiness whilst meeting The Yarn Harlot. PDX Knit Bloggers were born (can’t believe it’s only been since June). The Clapotis That Never Ends… finally ended.

In July I visited Boston yarn shops (and my cousins). The PDX Knit Bloggers had their first meet-up at Knit Purl. #1 Son reached v1.9. I was both sorted into Ravenclaw and Simpsonized.

New Pathways for Sock Knitter: Book One

August started with a heelish experience. Sockapalooza 4 finished and I was spoiled nicely. Maia arrived for a PDX Yarn Crawl — on my birthday! I still owe the Bo Diddley sock pattern to several people. A gorgeous new Cat Bordhi book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One, was published. My name is on page 22. And I was kept suitably humble by my first autograph requestor who said, I have no idea who you are but apparently you’re famous, so please sign my book.

I had more fun with Judy’s Magic Cast-On in September. I also learned that it’s a good thing to pay attention when one is turning cables. At OFFF I met a Rasta sheep and fell off my yarn diet. Hard.

October started with a very interesting computer rebuild. (lovin’ the new computer now, though) I attended the first ever Floating Knitting Retreat with Cat Bordhi and Lucy Neatby and had a wonderful time. I obtained my first ever MP3 player (knitting videos on my iPod!). We planted a tree for Barney and the Ravens landed.

In November, Tina destashed and knitters everywhere helped out. The rose arch finally gave up the ghost. I made a swift from Tinker Toys. I was thankful for finally finishing The Great Green Glob. Not so thankful when it turned out there was a dropped stitch requiring major post-blocking surgery.

I was sick for a lot of December. But I knit a scarf for #1 Son and started The Wings Of A Dream in Blue Moon Silk Thread. I pondered the future of knitting. I made carrot soup instead of carrot pudding. And I was given the gift of snow on Christmas.

Objects Finished In 2007:

9 pairs of adult-sized socks
2 pairs of baby-sized socks
2 iPod Nano socks
2 moebii of the right size
1 moebius bowl
2 baby sweaters
1 Clapotis
1 lace shawl
1 scarf
1 hat

22 finished objects total

In the queue for 2008 or currently on the needles:

4 lace shawls / wraps
2 sweaters
1 blanket
1 bag
1 hat
1 scarf
2 pairs of socks on the needles
a gazillion pairs of socks rattling around in my brain

Chances of finishing this list by 12/31/2008? We shall see.

Knitting by Judy @ 9:08 AM

PDX Knit Bloggers in their natural habitat
PDX Knit Bloggers in their natural habitat

This is a picture-heavy post. I’ve put two groups into slideshows — a few pictures from the fair are in this one, and all of the animal shots are in one at the bottom. Click on the pictures to pop them up. The slideshow controls well be available in the biggy-size. Sorry to those of you who read me in a feedreader, but this probably only works in person on the PI site.

Ah….. Oregon Flock And Fiber Festival. I love this gathering. It’s not as big as Black Sheep or some of the other fiber festivals. But it’s big enough to keep a fiber addict happy for a long time. There are tons of stuff to see and animals to pet and fiber to stroke and yarn to drool over. And did I mention soap? Or hand-blown glass knitting needles? Or books? And if you are of the carnivorous persuasion, lamb sandwiches and shish kabobs and stew. There are two large building just crammed full of booths, with the overflow in the large open area between the main buildings and the barn. Fiber judging and a finished-objects gallery are upstairs. I didn’t even get that far. I was overwhelmed by yarn fumes.

It is the overwhelmingness of the fiber fumes that I blame for falling OFFF my strict intentions for buying. I had brought only a very carefully chosen amount of cash with me, and I was on a mission. I was searching for laceweight handspun in a silk blend. And I wanted to check out a couple of the new STR colorways. And I needed to see and probably acquire Butternut Woolens Supersock in Shelly’s new colorways. And of course I wanted to see all of my blogging and fiber friends.

yarn pr0n
yarn pr0n

That was the plan. I did pretty well. Sort of. OK… I only had to whip out my credit card once because I only went a little (ahem) over budget. And maybe I had to buy a basket to take my booty home in. But, really, I think I showed admirable restraint. So here, gentle reader, is the yarn pr0n portion of our tale:

on table: natural white cashmere/silk blend from Hokulani Farms in Bend

basket, front row, l-r: 2 skeins of Butternut Woolens Supersock in Shelly’s new colorways, one skein of Monarch Fly Dyed sport weight, two skeins of Abundant Yarns & Dyeworks plant dyed Trekking – Dirty Oxblood (actually a gorgeous berry/gray mix) and Dark Seafoam

basket, back row, l-r: all from Blue Moon — Seduction in Pirates Booty, Silkie STR in Count Cluckula, STR lightweight in Gingerbread Dude, a Rare Gems and Pirates Booty (yes, liked it so much I got two)

Yesterday I bought a new bin to keep it all in. I know, I know… but really, I’m saving for retirement!

kidnapped canopener
Mr. Pink visits OFFF

I had a wonderful, wonderful time. Monica rode down with me and was nice enough to agree to my little Canby Ferry jaunt that is sort of traditional with me when I go to OFFF. We arrived at about 8:30, to find the PDX Knitbloggers had already staked out a table. Bobbie brought our sign and placed it in a prominent location. All day people kept trying to figure out who we were and what we were doing, and were we a booth or something? Several people ventured over to ask about blogging. Many MOO cards were handed out and much fun was had.

I loved having a place to go back to and stash my stuff where I knew it would be safe and watched. And then take a turn watching while I resting my feet and chatted. Barbara spun on her really cute little wheel, and Duffy demoed a tiny little drop spindle that spun forever and ever. And there was much other spinning going on. Which made it tough to resist that particular lure. But if I started spinning I know what would happen — next thing you know I’d have a farm with sheep and goats and bunnies.

Duffy was also there to meet up with Mr. Pink, the Kidnapped Canopener, who is going to visit her for awhile. 😉

I was wonderful to meet everyone. I tried to get around to see all of the people I know, but I’m sure I missed a few. I got a wonderful hug from Shelly, who I’ve been hoping to meet for a couple of years. You must go to her website and see her lovely new colorways in subtle grays. Gorgeous.

rasta sheep
rasta sheep

Although the weatherman had threatened us with rain, the day was perfect: warm in the sun, cool in the shade, no rain. I’ve been to OFFF in the rain, and this was much, much nicer.

And the animals… Camels and yaks and llamas and alpacas and sheep and goats and bunnies. And probably some other that I forgot. If it makes fiber on the hoof, it was mostly likely represented somewhere in the barn.

I especially liked this little sheep wearing dreds. And several of the babies who really wanted to go home with me. But, really, the cats would have been quite surprised, I think. And my yard is so small.

I will resist the spinning virus. I will.

Monica and Bobbie rode home with me. We took the ferry again.

I arrived home yarn-dazed and fiber-high and happy.

Knitting by Judy @ 7:51 PM

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

The yarn crawl last Saturday was such a blast! If you have never done this in your city, you should organize something similar. We went to five LYS, a cafe (OK, that was in one of the LYS) and a patisserie — all in 7 hours. Whew. Sara did an awesome job of both organizing and herding us around from place to place to make sure we got everywhere we were supposed to be going. Maia was here from out of town, and it was so cool to get to meet her!

We all gathered at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks. Because almost everyone was a blogger, there was a lot of picture taking going on. Here Cindy and Rodger are engaged in a shoot-out.

There was a bit of yarn shopping that happened at AY&D. And, since they also have a cafe, some lunch happened as well.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

Our next stop was PIX Patisserie for a little dessert. Because it was, like my birthday, and while I don’t really celebrate that any more, still some dessert is called for, dontcha know.

I know that this is a rather glum looking crowd, for some reason. Except for Chrispy.

Chrispy and Cindy braved my taxi-driving skills and drove around with me. Have I mentioned that I’m sometimes easily distracted? I don’t think we had to go around the block more than twice because I got interested in the conversation and forgot to turn.

But I’m really a safe driver. Mostly. Really.

So I don’t think it’s my driving that has caused the glumness. I think it’s because we’re waiting for our dessert to be served. It was well worth the wait.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

Here are a few of the dessert choices. I couldn’t decide between two different goodies, so Maia and I split them.

I can’t begin to tell you how good this stuff was. OMG

And, to make it just a perfect place, I looked up in the rafters and there was a sock monkey, swinging from a fake vine. 🙂

From there we headed up to Yarn Garden. They were a bit low on sock yarn, so I didn’t aquire any new things there. But I did have a great time petting the cashmere and silk.

I don’t seem to have taken any pictures there, either. I think I was overcome by yarn fumes.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

The next stop was Twisted. They have a whole wall of sock yarn there, and much of it is from indie dyers.

I managed to do a bit of stash enhancing at Twisted. Or non-stash-enhancing, since sock yarn doesn’t count. All of us petted the yarn and admired the lace scarf (a pattern for their lace class) and fondled the yarn some more, and then waited patiently to make our purchases, while fondling the yarn.

From Twisted we drove across the river to Knit Purl. Usually finding parking is a challenge there — although well worth the challenge! But I found a place right in front of the door. I like to think of it as a little b-day prezzy from the gods of parking. I don’t expect it to ever happen again.

The nice ladies at Knit Purl were waiting for us with cookies and iced tea. They have a wall of Koigu at Knit Purl. Just in case you didn’t catch that, it’s a wall of Koigu. I madly snapped pictures at Knit Purl, but none of them turned out.

I really, really want a new camera. But because I have other discretionary expenses that I’ve already committed to, I have resolved to learn to take better pictures with the camera I have. Sometimes that works better than other times. Ah well.

yarn crawl
yarn crawl

Our last stop was Farmhouse Knit Shop. Despite driving by there on a fairly regular basis, I had never actually stopped in. It’s a really cute little shop.

Sara is fondling the Blue Moon. That entire display case is all Blue Moon of all different kinds. Just in case you didn’t catch that, the entire display case is Blue Moon.

And that’s not all of the Blue Moon, because the sock yarn is back in another room.

I showed what I consider to be a great deal of restraint. I did not get anything at Farmhouse. But they should expect I will be back.

birthday swag
birthday swag

The day ended with dinner at a Thai place with Maia and Roger. And fine company they were!

Chrispy and Cindy, bless them, both brought me a little b-day rememberance. Although I really felt I should be giving them something instead, for having put up with my driving the entire day.

I had a very, very wonderful day!

Top row L-to-R: From Twisted: Ashabee’s Fiber Oasis, Cheeta and Eclipse, Knitted Wit in Eat Your Veggies; from Knit Purl: Koikgu KPPPM in P117 and 116
Bottom row, L-to-R: From Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks: Araucania Ranco in 310 and 306 (love these descriptive colorways); a prezzy from Cindy: a cool little notepad from her blog and Shibui Sock in 3601
Right side: gift from Chrispy: Silk scarf, indigo dyed by herself! She also gave me a little hand-made soap that is not in the picture.

Food |Knitting |On The Road |Sockapaloooza by Judy @ 9:04 AM

You will note from the Sidebar Of Shame that the Sockapalooza Java Leaf socks are completely, 100% finished. I really love these socks, but I was ready to have them off my needles. Because so much other lovely sock yarn has been coming my way lately. And it’s been calling to me.

Calling loudest was the Koigu I picked up last Sunday at the PDX Knit Bloggers meet-up. Although it was safely stored away in it’s designated stash bin, I could hear it banging against the sides trying to get out, and I could hear a faint voice crying I know what I want to be so let me out and I’ll show you! I know how yarn can be. It… prevaricates, shall we say? OK. Sometimes it downright lies. But I, a trusting and naive soul, am ever ready to be led astray by a pretty face and an insistence that it knows what’s best.

I swatched the Koigu. It lied. But I’m swatching some more because it is lovely and I want to knit with it. It sucked me in, all right.

Pics of the Java Leaf socks tomorrow, when it should be cool enough to go outside and take some. And I’ll report on the Kiogu swatching progress also. But first… (drum roll please)… Boston.

Nahant beach
Nahant beach

This beach lies just across the street from my cousins’ home. I’m not kidding. Directly across the street. This is the view that they get up to every morning and go to bed to every night. There are much worse things to look at, I’m thinking.

That is my muggle cousin Margaret, strolling along the beach and picking up a few of the shells that are literally strewn about everywhere. I walked on this beach every day. It was wonderful!

But yarn called.

Thanks to everyone who sent suggestions of places to visit. I only had one afternoon in the city, and since we rode the T (that’s what Bostonians call their subway), I tried to pick out the ones that were closest to T stops. So that was a little limiting. I would have loved to have made it out to Webs. Maybe next time.

Windsor Buttons
Windsor Buttons

First up, Windsor Buttons.

I wish I could show you a picture of the inside of this shop, but all of the ones I took were totally craptastic and would in no way represent how fun this store actually is. They have an entire wall of button. Can you imagine? A whole wall.

And the other side of the store is all yarn. Lots of yarn. More yarn than it at first appears. I kept turning corners and finding yarn stuck away in a little nook or cranny that I didn’t expect.

I tried valiantly to limit my purchases to only yarn that I can’t get easily at home. At Windsor I mostly succeeded.

But I did point out the Seasilk to Margaret.

Me, stroking a hank of Seasilk or two: Look at this suff. Can you believe it’s made of silk and kelp?

Margaret, from a distance: No! Really? It’s pretty.

Me, holding out a skein: You really need to feel this, to see how lovely it is.

Margaret, touching the tip of one finger briefly to yarn: Yes. Very nice.

Woman Behind Windsor Counter: Don’t you love Seasilk! It smells so good! So… sea-like.

Me: Oh, yes!

Margaret: Eh?

It’s OK. She’s a muggle, but willing to venture into unknown territory.

Woolcot Yarn
Woolcot Yarn

The other shop I visited was Woolcott and Company.

I had a wonderful time browsing amongst all the yarn here. This picture is craptastic, also, but it’s unfortunately the best I took.

Do you see that pink lace shawl hanging over the counter in the back? That is one of the most gorgeous pieces of lacework I’ve ever seen. I really, really, really wanted that pattern. But Sean said that he is absolutely unable to keep it in stock, because everybody else wants it, too. It just walks out the door. And he had sold the last copy he had only that morning.

No, I don’t remember the name of the pattern. But I want it. Badly.

Remember… This was a pink object, and I was ga-ga over it. Yeah. It was that good.

I didn’t do as well at Woolcott in sticking to my resolve to buy only yarns not available locally. But… I was pretty good.

The picture is not so good because I realized as I was snapping it that it was getting late and Sean was trying to close, and, having made my purchaes, he probably would be OK with me actually leaving. 🙄 Although, to be fair, Sean was very nice and offered to take a picture of me in the shop. Not with my hair like this, I replied without even thinking. Sean giggled and thanked me for coming in.

Boston yarn pr0n
Boston yarn pr0n

And here is the obligatory yarn pr0n.

On the left, both from Windsor Buttons: Claudia in Navy Olive; and Schaefer Anne in a colorway that’s olive, gold, rust and berry.

To the right, all from Woolcott: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Tamarack (yes, I know I can get this at home, but it was so pretty and it talked to me, and we’ve already established that I have no resistance); Schaefer Anne in muted greens; and Woolcott & Co. silk/cashmere cobweb-weight that I think will probably be like knitting with clouds. I have 1326m of the last (about 1450 yds) and I’m looking for just the right project.

Video not available

Finally, I can’t resist sharing the Nahant fireworks with you. The fireworks are held every year on the beach that’s directly across from my cousins’ home. So naturally they invite friends over and gather on their porch to watch.

The menu included guacamole (my contribution), lobster rolls (yum), a wonderful broccoli salad, Ceasar salad, fruit salad and canolis (to counteract all of the healthy stuff).

The film was shot with my little camera — the same one that takes all of the pictures I show here — and represents less than 1/4 of the actual fireworks show. I would have had more, but I was so captivated by the display that I didn’t think to turn the camera on most of the time. I think it does pretty well on film of the good-enough-for-youtube variety. You can hear the crowd down on the beach, and cheers and comments from my fellow porch-sitters. At one point you will hear yours truly, in one of my more brilliant utterances, exclaim, “oh! oh!” to apparently nothing.

Knitting by Judy @ 7:06 AM

“official” PDX Knit Bloggers sign
“official” PDX KBs sign

I will post about Boston and the fun stuff I did there later — when / if I finally get organized. But first I want to tell you about the wonderful time I had yesterday at the first PDX Knit Bloggers meet-up.

The PDX Knit Bloggers group was born when several of us were blown away by the number of people who had their hand raised when The Yarn Harlot asked how many people in the Portland area blogged. There’s a bunch of us. So of course, being both bloggers and knitters, a little gathering was necessary!

The official sign was provided by Bobbie’s husband Tool Man. I love it!

PDX Knit Bloggers
PDX Knit Bloggers

Be sure to click on this picture to see the biggy-size version. I stitched it together from several pictures, so some of the angles of tables and such might look a little wonky. But it gives you an idea of how many people where there. This represents about 1/2 of the bloggers that have joined the PDX Knit Bloggers list.

Knit Purl provided us with a space, iced tea, ice water, and door prizes. And… well… cookies and brownies where there also and I did try a couple. 😆 It was sooooo cool to see everyone and the lovely projects they are working on. I laughed and laughed and chatted and commiserated and celebrated and had a wonderful time.

Kathy, who is much more organized than this intrepid reporter (I didn’t even managed to remember to bring paper and pencil) kept a list of the attendees, so I’ve stolen this from her (thanks, Kathy!):

a bit of yarny stuff
a bit of yarny stuff

Did I mention there were door prizes? People with stickers under their chairs were treated to a little surprise. Mine was the Shibui Merino Alpaca in Bark that you see in the upper right of this picture.

In the upper left of the picture is hand-dyed superwash sock yarn from Fearless Fiber’s Etsy shop in colorway Marrakesh. This is wonderful, sprongy, 100% merino yarn that has been rainbow-dyed in a gorgeous and subtle combination of different greens with touches of mustard and bronze. The picture doesn’t begin to show how lovely this yarn is in person. Go, now, over to Fearless Fibers and check out Deb’s lovely yarns and patterns. Yum!

In the bottom row… Well, Knit Purl is a yarn shop. L-R: Colinette Jitterbug in Jay, Shibui Sock in Stone, Koigu KPPPM in P342 – a mostly gray/brown with flecks and short runs of bright orange/green/yellow/red/blue, and finally Artyarns Ultramarino in 139 (don’t you love colorways named with numbers?) – I had to have this because the colors are exactly the PI blog blues and greens, and how perfect is that?

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