Knitting by Judy @ 8:00 AM

OK. I’m not really that bad at spelling, although daily I make small sacrifices to the word processing gods to thank them for the gift of spell checking. It’s just that I’m up to the K in my sort of self-imposed alphabet themed post title thingy, which I haven’t done for a long time. So work with me here, OK?

one fiber, two results
one fiber, two results

It all started because Kathleen and Bobbie both bought the same roving at OFFF and had Sharon of Stitchjones dye it in the same colorway.

Kathleen and Bobbie thought it would be fun to both spin the same roving and then knit it and then compare to see what they both came up with. So, for several week, the Wednesday night Sip-N-Stitch crew were treated to little peeks that were carefully hidden so that Neither Kathleen nor Bobbie would see what the other was doing. Strangely enough, they both picked the same triangular shawl pattern to knit. Great minds think alike, and all that.

Last Wednesday was the great unveiling where we all got to see the finished objects side by side. Kathleen went for a stripey sort of look, and Bobbie went for a more heathered appearance. But aren’t they both lovely? You can find out all of the nitty-gritty that I don’t know because I’m not a spinner over at Bobbie’s place.

No, I’m not going to start spinning. Don’t ask.

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.


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.


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!


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


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 @ 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.

Knitting |Rockin' Sock Club by Judy @ 1:53 PM

Salish Sea Socks
Salish Sea Socks

I have finished the Salish Sea Socks. This pattern was part of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club. I don’t know when, or if, it will be made available to the general sock-knitting public.

I had a lot of fun with this pattern and only wish that I hadn’t gotten distracted (oooh… shiny…) and let them languish for so long.

As is her wont, Cat has come up with a brilliant pattern. I really love the way that the gusset increases are hidden inside the wavy pattern on the foot. And the traveling garter-stitch rib on the ankle was a fun knit. I actually behaved myself and followed Cat’s instructions – with one change. I modified the heel turn to use the math from the smallest size given in the pattern. I paired that with the gusset increases that were called for by my actual size. Et voilà – a sock that fits my skinny heel. I still sort of prefer my own heel turn to Cat’s, but this worked pretty well and I’m always glad to learn new techniques to add to my repertoire.

Today the sun is shining, but I have the feeling that the cold has not completely loosened its grasp on the Northwest. I will probably get to wear these a time or two before it’s time to close up the sock drawer for the summer.

By the way, if you haven’t there recently, go over to the Blue Moon welcome page. I don’t know how long it will be up there, but right now the picture shows the PDX Knit Bloggers at the Yarn Harlot event. And there’s Flat Judy right in front. 😀

The Knitters Without Borders colorway is now available on the Blue Moon site. $3 from each skein purchased goes directly to Doctors Without Borders.

The pictures of this colorway in the skein do not do it justice. I’ve already cast on toes, and I’ll have a pic soon. Until then, go over to FiberQat’s blog to see how wonderful it looks on her needles. Then go buy some. You know you want to.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock Medium (100% superwash merino / 5.5oz, 380yds per skein); one skein of Bella Coola with a goodly bit left over
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circulars, US#2
  • Pattern: Salish Sea Socks by Cat Bordhi – one of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club offerings
  • Modifications: I followed the pattern pretty much as written. The only change was to use the heel width from the smallest size with the heel height from the size I was knitting otherwise. I tweaked the number of wing stitches accordingly.

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

Seriously, that’s what it felt like to leave Alexandria, VA, and come home. Not that I didn’t enjoy my stay! And this is in no way a comment on Alexandria, which I know from previous visits is a lovely place. But all I saw of the fair city was the inside of a hotel – and it was a hotel that didn’t seem to be around anywhere else, although there was a nice park for walks. But I didn’t take any pictures. And I can’t believe that you will be disappointed by that, gentle reader. Are you really interested in seeing a several hundred glassy-eyed people sitting in a conference room? It’s not nearly as much fun as, say, seeing several hundred knitters waiting for The Yarn Harlot.

I missed Stephanie’s visit to Portland. Sort of. If you look at the pictures taken by the famous MonicaPDX, Duffy, Cindy, Bobbie, Heidi, and Sharon, it appears that I not only managed to attend, but had a pretty good view as well. There is even evidence of my picture being taken with Stephanie (amongst the crowd of PDX Knit Bloggers). And I hear through the blogo-rumor-mill that my backside was signed by the Harlot. How many knitters can say that? I hope to show proof if it is ever forthcoming.

Do go over and check out this video of Duffy’s serenade (It’s My Traveling Sock), courtesy of Akimbo.

Going over to Virginia on Monday, I was wedged between two men, neither of whom spoke English, but both of whom snored loudly. The trip home Thursday was much nicer. My seating companions were a young mother and her delightful son. Like all 5-year-old boys, he possessed boundless exuberance and curiosity paired with the attention span of a gnat. Being an experienced traveler, he told me tales of the ginormous plane he had been on before that had TV screens right in the backs of the seats, (not like our smaller version that had the drop-down variety). He was very interested in my knitting and asked lots of questions about why I’d want to knit socks, and generally kept me entertained through the whole long, long flight.

Oh yeah…. socks. I don’t have any pictures of those, either. I didn’t have the entire pattern with me – just copies of parts of it – and so was faking my way through one of Cat Bordhi’s ingenious sockitectures. On the plane I turned the heels. When I got home, I realized they were too short. Which is in no way the fault of the pattern – it’s just that I didn’t have the pattern and so of course I decided I knew what I was doing. Yeah. I should know better than to try and second-guess Cat. I have frogged the heels out and will be making the feet a bit longer – I only needed 3/4 inch or so, but it was enough for them to be uncomfortable. The good news was that I used the small version of the pattern for the heels, rather than the medium I’ve been using for the rest of the foot, and the result is that the heels actually fit my feet. Yea! I don’t think I’ll entirely give up my usual heel for this one, as nice as it is, but I’m glad to know how to modify it so that I can use it if I want to. It’s good to have a repertoire of sock parts available to put together willy-nilly depending on vagaries of color and stitch pattern and whatnot. I will have pictures soon.

To my WP friends: I am aware of WP 2.5.1. I’m looking into it. Stay tuned.

by Judy @ 8:34 AM

Wings Of The Raven
Wings Of The Raven

A fellow retreater snapped these pictures of Wings Of A Raven for me when the sun came out on San Juan Island. (Thank you, again, fellow retreater!)

I love this first picture because it almost shows how the colors shift in the light. See how it looks black across my back, but the left wing has flashes of blue on it?

And my hair is almost behaving itself, miracle of miracles! But I could use a little tan on my arms, it appears.

The second shot of the sun streaming through the lace shows off the feather pattern nicely, I think.

Every place I have worn this shawl I’ve gotten lots of compliments. People just want to touch it and pet it and I do, too. Of all of the objects I’ve knit, I have to admit this is one of my favorite. And I’m going to wear it a lot. Because black, you know, goes with everything. It’s the new black, or something like that.

Wings Of The Raven
Wings Of The Raven

On the way home, I stopped in Tacoma for the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. I wasn’t signed up for any classes. But I’d heard that there might be yarn involved. And Tina petted Wings Of A Raven and agreed that it was a perfect pattern for that yarn, which was very of cool.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Silk Thread (100% silk / 3.5oz, 1250 yds per skein); Two skeins of Thraven — yarn was held doubled while knitting. I had tons left over and maybe could have done this with one skein.
  • Needles: Knit Picks Options, US#4
  • Pattern: Wings Of A Dream by Melanie Gibbons. This is the symmetrical, two-wings version of Swan Lake. Pattern was knit as written without modification.
  • Techniques used: beaded lace

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