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.

Food |Furry Friends |Knitting |On The Road by Judy @ 8:54 AM

Arlene and friends
Arlene and friends

I’m home again, and last night I slept in my own bed with my cats around me. I brought home wonderful memories, a bit of yarn and probably 10 lbs from Richard’s amazing meals.

The Island Retreat was held at the States Inn & Ranch, a wonderful B&B and working ranch in the heart of San Juan Island. The accommodations there are cozy and homey and Richard, Angel (who was, unfortunately, away from the ranch during my visit) and all the staff do their best to make everyone feel welcome. Usually the ranch only serves breakfast (slow-cooking oatmeal, homemade granola, fresh fruit, eggs from the ranch’s chickens, fresh-squeezed orange juice, I could go on and on), but since the retreat had taken over the entire ranch, Richard agreed to feed us three times a day. And did he feed us! I’m glad that we had the afternoons off to get a little exercise, or I probably would have had to roll home.

This was one of the most relaxing vacations I can ever remember having – including previous knitting ones. Cat planned material for us to learn every day. But if you were interested in working on something else or brought a project with you to work on, that was OK, too.

Mornings were spent gathered in the Inn great room, learning and sharing. After a sumptuous lunch each day, afternoons were free time until dinner. The Inn was close to town and to many of the attractions. Quite a few were within walking distance, and the exercise, as I mentioned, was welcomed.

In the picture, Arlene is making friends with some of the ranch inhabitants. All of the ranch alpacas are rescues that were given to the ranch. Like all of the animals there, they are friendly (especially if you come bearing carrots) and love to great visitors.

Cat modeling
Cat modeling

There was always time during the retreat to follow interests or whims. The sweater Cat is modeling was bought in an Amsterdam thrift store 10 years ago by one of the retreat participants. Cat and I spent a really fun afternoon trying to deconstruct how it was made. The pattern may be made available in the future if it turns out we were right – or even close. It has been named the Altered States Inn Sweater.

Dinner was another sumptuous meal. Cat gave away prizes each day. On the last day a prize was given to the person who could name all of the meals we’d had, in order, backwards. So maybe that gives you a clue about how amazing the meals actually were. All ingredients, where possible, were locally grown — if not on the ranch, at least on the island — fresh and homemade. Many of the recipes are prize-winning. Everything was amazing.

After dinner we gathered in the great room again. Cat would briefly discuss what we’d learned in the morning, and then there was time for questions and talk and knitting. Until everyone wandered to their rooms and fell into bed. I slept like a log every night.

Island Retreaters party with Dolores
Island Retreaters party with Dolores

I shared the Southwestern Suite with two lovely knitters – Flipper and her daughter Kristy. It was a wonderful space. We shared a common area with a small table and two sofas and windows that looked out over the ranch. Flipper and Kristy were in one bedroom and I was in the other. My room was a charming, under the eaves room with a window looking out over the hills and the alpaca paddock.

The Retreat had a surprise visit from Fibertarian Party presidential candidate Dolores VanHoofen. I will spare you from the list of the depraved debaucheries that took place during her visit. Yarn was involved. And maybe a little wine. And maybe a little Bailey’s. And a bit of campaigning. But, although it’s difficult to tell in this picture, Dolores seems to be sporting an Obama button. What can be the meaning of this?

I was sad to leave yesterday morning. But, bright and early, Simone and I left to catch the ferry. Of course Richart provided a sack breakfast, to stave off any hunger pangs.

I arrived home to find the cats alive and glad to see me, and the coffee pot still dead. As #1 Son pointed out, it’s a good thing it wasn’t the other way around.

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

Furry Friends |Knitting |On The Road by Judy @ 9:51 PM

view from my room
view from my room

I am home! And I am very glad to be here.

Friday Harbor was, as always, gorgeous. This first picture is the view from my room in The Lodge at Lakedale Resort. I was on the ground floor and only had to open the door and walk out to be right on the shore. The room was cute and cozy. There was a fireplace with an electronic starter which was appreciated just before bed and first thing in the morning to take the chill off. The rest of the time I didn’t really need it. For one thing, I was rarely in my room. But, as you can see, there are vastly worse places to spend 4+ days.

Since I overslept had so much to do on Saturday morning, I missed the 2:30 ferry. So by the time I arrived in Friday Harbor, it was dark. If you’ve ever been way out in the country away from city lights, then you know, gentle reader, just how dark dark can be. I don’t see all that well at night, so the drive out to Lakedale was… exciting, shall we say? The turn off for Lakedale leads you on an adventure down a 1 lane road over a 1 lane bridge. In the dark. There were signs pointing past the cabins to the lodge, but I couldn’t find a place to park my car. So I parked in front and went inside. And there I found an envelop with my name on it and a set of keys inside. I asked one of the Lodge hosts where to park. Right up on top there, he said, pointed up a wall of rocks to a higher area where I could see a car parked. Just go up that driveway over there, he added. I peered into the darkness, but no driveway could I see. Right up there by that truck, he explained. OK, I replied. I got in my car and carefully backed up until I was near where he had told me the driveway was. Acting totally on faith, I drove up what looked, in the blackness, to be either a wall or a bog. It was a driveway. Whew.

After parking I stumbled around the grounds in the dark, trying to find anyone that I knew. I was rescued by Cat (she seems to rescue me quite often, come to think of it), who took me in to the light and warmth and company and wonderful food.

Wings Of The Raven
Wings Of The Raven

The weather was pretty decent. There was rain. And one night there was quite a wind storm. But we did have some gloriously sunny, faux-spring warmth. A fellow retreater snapped these pictures of Wings Of A Raven for me when the sun came out. (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.

I am not at liberty to tell you about the Visionary Retreat. I can only say that it was an amazingly diverse group of people with an amazingly diverse array of projects / interests, and the energy was, well… amazing. I felt both energized and drained, if that is possible. Although I slept like a log every night, by Thursday morning I was really, really, really tired.

Getting up early enough to be in town by 7:00 for the 8:05 ferry was trying. Thank goodness there’s a little coffee place right next to the ferry dock where decent coffee and breakfast sandwiches can be procured by hungry and sleepy travelers.

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 there was yarn. Lots of yarn. Walls and aisles and racks and booths of yarn.

I bought no yarn. None.

I hear your gasps of surprise out there, gentle reader. But it is true. I fondled and petted and stroked all of the yarn. But none came home with me.

I stayed away from the Koigu.

I said hello to Teresa, who did not laugh this time at my lack of sock yarn. I waved at Lucy Neatby, who was in a vast hurry to get somewhere. I spoke to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and managed, this time, not to be a total dork (only partially). And Tina petted Wings Of A Raven and agreed that it was a perfect pattern for that yarn, which was sort of cool.

But, best of all, I got to see the two people I really, really wanted to see. So, in order of actual seeing:

Shelly, from Butternut Woolens, was there with some of her yummy hand-dyed yarn and roving. Gentle reader, if you have a chance, you must see her indigo dyed sock yarn. Gorgeous! Like all of her yarns. Shelly and I had a wonderful chat. I felt sort of bad monopolizing her when there might be paying customers. But it was so fun to talk to her. Shelly is one of the few people I know who understand exactly what I mean when I say things like Island Park and Arco and continental divide, and who isn’t all that surprised that I ended up canoing in a snowstorm one August when I was a kid.

After bidding a fond farewell, I headed over to Tactile Fiber Arts’ booth, where I got to meet Brooke. And then, leaving the marketplace madness behind, Maya and I chatted over a cuppa coffee. Maya, as you will remember, gentle reader, dyed the yummy honey-colored yarn that I am using for the Honeybee Stole. So nice to tell her in person how much I love it! Maya and Brooke are dying wonderful fibers with natural, long-lasting dyes. If you have a chance to see their work, don’t miss them!

Madrona haul
Madrona haul

I didn’t escape from the marketplace entirely unscathed. I purchased a lovely new nostepinde from Asciano.

A pair of silver sheep earrings were acquired from JKF, Inc. And how could I resist the matching necklace that has as a pendant a bell with a sheep clapper?

I had planned to stay late and maybe have dinner with Maya and Brooke. But I was so, so tired I was afraid I might not make it home if I drove after dark. So I left pretty early and headed south. And, of course, arrived in Portland just in time for rush hour. Go figure.

Captain Kidd and Moo Cow were just fine, and glad to see me. #1 Son checked in on them during my absence, so I knew they’d be alright. This morning I picked Phoebe up from the vet where she had a radioactive iodine treatment. She is none the worse for wear, and hopefully will now be cured of her problems and back to normal. She will take a little extra care over the next few weeks, though, until she ceases to radiate. Or, rather, her litter will need extra care. It must be flushed for the next three weeks. And she will not be allowed to sleep with me for awhile. 🙁 (It sort of reminds me of one line from Elephant Parts: My house glows with almost no help.)

But the good thing is that we are all home and healthy and happy. And tomorrow I’m having lunch with #1 Son and we’ll have a chance to catch up, too.

Knitting by Judy @ 8:49 AM

I’m not finishing my packing — that’s what I’m not doing.

I should be finishing up my packing and getting out the door because I should have left 10 minutes ago. So instead I’m writing a short note sans pictures.

I’m on my way to Cat Bordhi’s Visionary Retreat up in Friday Harbor. It’s a long drive. There are a limited number of ferries. I did, however, plan a little slack time into the day, so I should be OK. If I miss the ferry I’m aiming for, there are at least 3 more.

I’ve spent the morning oversleeping making sure I had the right projects to take with me, and the samples I wanted to bring and the items I need to show.

The Clown Barf socks have been started over with a whirlpool toe and a different stitch count. They’re not quite so clown-barf-ish, although they do still resemble bright tropical fish that all swam into each other … really hard as ~Kristie noted in the comments.

I’m taking other sock yarn also. Just in case I can’t take the retina-searing any more.

I need to make sure that Moo Cow and Captain Kidd have plenty of food to last until I return. #1 Son will look in on them from time to time, and they will be OK. Phoebe is safely delivered to the vet. The very nice technician has promised to take very good care of her and sneak a little catnip in her cage now and then.

I’m very excited and feeling really scattered. Eek! 😯

I will return next week with pictures and report from Madrona. Keep the home fires burning! 😀

Knitting by Judy @ 8:00 AM

raven progress
raven progress

Today’s is going to be one of those sort of disjointed, rambling posts. I’m still slammed at work, but I think it’s starting to calm down a little bit. Of course, that doesn’t mean that life in general is slowing down. I used to have such a nice mundane, rather boring existence. What happened?

At any rate, here is a picture of the progress on Wings Of A Dream. (I should probably be calling this Wings Of A Raven, eh?) This picture almost shows how the colors look in the sun. Almost. It’s amazingly hard to capture the Thraven colorway in silk. The color shifts with the light and as the object moves.

I’m beginning to have hope that I might actually finish on time. I’m also fairly convinced now that I will have enough yarn. In fact, I think I’m going to have plenty left. I’m actually further along than the picture shows. I took this picture on Saturday, and I’ve been knitting on it every chance I’ve had since. I’m just about to start the very last chart! And the rows are getting longer and longer. I know that I’m only adding two stitches each row. But it sure seems like I went from knitting tiny little short rows to big, long, many-stitched rows between one row and the next. The good news is that after knitting one whole wing and most of another, the knitting has become fairly mindless and can be done anywhere.

It needs to be off the needles and blocked by a week from Friday because I want desperately to take it north with me. Gentle reader, I have been invited this year to Cat Bordhi’s annual Visionary Retreat, where I will be exploring the possibilities of writing a book. There. I said I very scary thing out loud. Exploring only at this point, because I want to be sure in my heart of hearts that anything I give birth to will be worthy and not die a-bornin’. I am both frightened and exhilarated. Sort of like riding a roller coaster. Except then I’m mostly just frightened. (Not a roller coaster fan.) The visionary retreat will give me a chance to bounce my ideas off some very, very wonderful participants. So we shall see.

Captain Kidd
Captain Kidd

Usually Moo Cow is hanging around when I’m taking yarn pics, but last week it was Captain Kidd who joined me. He’s incredibly photogenic, so I snapped this close-up. I have no idea why he seems to have grown a solid black whisker amongst the white ones on his eyebrow. I don’t think he has another black hair anywhere.

There’s good new about the third kitty, Phoebe. Her kidneys are OK (yea!) and she has been cleared for the procedure that will solve her thyroid problem. She will be paying a visit to the specialist while I’m away from home and will be ready to come home about the time I do — perfect timing on something for a change. She has almost forgiven me shoving a pill down her throat twice a day, and last night even slept with me.

In other cool news, check out a new addition on the techniques page. The Judy’s Magic Cast-On instructions have been translated into Icelandic by Elín Einarsdóttir (thank you, Elín!) Her translation is posted with her permission.

And, finally, #1 Son will be back next Wednesday, lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. I miss him very much and can’t wait to see him again. Of course, I will leave shortly after for points north. We are becoming ships that pass in the night. I guess that’s what happens when your kids grow up.



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