Monday, 1/28/2008

A Land Flowing With Yarn And Honey

Knitting by Judy @ 7:43 AM

pretty, pretty
pretty, pretty

Last August, Maia came up to Portland for a bit of a yarn crawl. Somewhere during the day, I whined mentioned to her that I couldn’t find just the right honey-colored laceweight that I wanted for the Bee Fields Shawl by Anne Hanson. Sort of like this, I said, picking up one ball of super-bulky something or other, shading into this (picking up second ball). Not solid, but slightly variegated. Honey and golden bees. You know.

Maia, bless her soul, said that she would be happy to dye yarn for me. All I needed to do was to send the yarn to her. Little did she know that I would actually take her up on that.

There began the search for the perfect yarn. I had almost given up hope when at the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival I found a gorgeous undyed cashmere/silk blend by Hokulani Farms. Three skeins were dispatched to Maia.

Maia was pretty busy because she and Brooke had started Tactile Fiber Arts, purveyor of gorgeous, naturally-dyed yarn and fiber. So I had to wait awhile. But I forced myself to not email Maia every day asking is it done yet? waited patient (mostly), knowing that my yarn was in good hands and having other lace in progress anyway.

Last week I received a package in the mail. And, oh, it was so worth the wait!

See in the picture? Gorgeous, honey-colored yarn with just the perfect amount of shading into reddish-golds, and sometimes into slightly greenish golds. I can’t wait to have this on my needles! In the meantime, plans for this have changed to the Honeybee Stole, also by Anne Hanson, because I think I will wear a rectangular stole more than a triangular shawl. And I will want to wear this one. Lots.

The fingering-weight skein in the picture was a surprise from Maia. Isn’t that just beautiful? Coral and khaki and white. I am in heaven! And that’s just a tiny sample of Tactile Fiber Arts offerings. Their online store will be coming soon. Until then, you can keep up with announcements on their blog. And look for them in the markets at Madrona and Stitches West.

I’m really hoping to get to Madrona for part of one day, and I’m going to definitely stop by Tactile’s booth. Will I see you there, too?

Saturday, 1/26/2008

Awards

Knitting by Judy @ 1:05 PM
tags: , ,

I have been slammed this week — slammed I say — by meetings and teleconferences and discussions and training and study. And they have wanted me to get a bit of work in on the side. I tell you this, gentle reader, not so you will commiserate with me, although you may if you so desire. I tell you this as a poor excuse for why I am so far behind in telling you things that in ordinary circumstances I’d be shouting from the rooftops immediately. (Actually, I usually like my day job, even though it does not involve knitting.) Please hang with me while I catch up over the next few posts.

you-make-my-day-award.jpg

Last week Sharon, who blogs at Chickenlips Knitting and dyes amazing yarn as Stitchjones, gave me this You Make My Day Award. And that what I so love about the internet community — especially (as I’m sure you could guess) the knitters. When I’m just having one of those days, something like this pops up and brightens everything. I am so grateful.

By the way, Sharon’s new online shop is up and getting ready for business, so go over and check out the amazing things that she can do with color.

The official rules of this award are: Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.

There are so, so many people whose blogs I love that it’s very hard to limit myself to 10. Yes, yes, I know how I usually am about those rule things. But once I got going, half the blogs on the internet would be listed. So I will name only 10. Some of these writers may not even know I’m lurking around and reading. But each and every one makes me smile.

So, in no particular order:

Bogie at Knit Flix
Kat at As Kat Knits
Knitnana at Knitnana
Larissa at Stitch Marker
Helen at Knitting In The Shadows
The Mother of Chaos at Tales From The Den Of Chaos
Julie at Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History
HPNY Knits at When the going gets tough, the tough get knitting!
Shelly at Butternut Woolens
~Kristie at Guilty Pleasures

And the 11th, dear gentle reader, is You! To know you are reading this makes me smile. Big time.

Sunday, 1/20/2008

The Pearl Crawl — Yarn, That Is

Knitting by Judy @ 11:20 PM

jungle animals, moose, mice and kitties
jungle animals, moose, mice and kitties

On Saturday, a group of Seattle-area knitters rode the early train down to Portland for a little crawl through the Pearl District yarn shops. Bobbie helped to arrange for a few PDX Knit Bloggers to meet the train and welcome our fellow Northwest knitters to Stumptown. Since I had never been to two of the Pearl shops (what can I say – we have over 20 yarn shops and I just can’t make it to all of them all the time), I thought it would be really fun to join in.

But I wasn’t going to buy any yarn, because my stash is feeling sufficient right now. I especially wasn’t going to buy any sock yarn.

I wish I had snapped a picture of all of the knitters milling around the station when the train came, but user error messed my pics up. Charisa, who had spearheaded the yarn crawl, had name tags for all of us that entitled us to discounts at several of the stores, and a handout with a map and such and gave everyone last minute instructions. A very nice Amtrak employee asked me if I needed any directions or maps and what time would be all be back? He looked a little confused when I told him that I live here, but smiled and said that I thought the visitors had it all in hand.

The groups split up so that we didn’t overwhelm the shops by hitting them all at once. I needed to find a free place to park my car for the day, and several of the PDX Knitters joined me in the search. Our first stop was Dublin Bay, where I finally got to meet Chrissy. On a little rack towards the back of the store, I found these really cute little buttons. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them. But they’re so cute, I just had to have them. And they’re not yarn.

If you’re reading this through a feedreader, go on over to the blog and pop up the picture so you can see how cute the buttons are. I’ll wait right here.

a friendly gesture to cold dancers
a friendly gesture to cold dancers

As I turned from the button rack I saw a knitter clutching Zen Yarn Garden skeins. I had already ignored the siren call of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden, although I did pet a lot of yarn. All the yarn, I think.

The colors of the Zen Yarn Garden were so pretty.

From Dublin Bay a few of us walked down to Knit Knot Studio. Along the way we came across these poor, cold statues dancing on the sidewalk. Hand knits were offered as a temporary warm-up. They looked so cold.

Knit Knot Studio is a tiny but cute little yarn shop that’s packed full of really yummy things like naturally dyed silk and handspun cashmere.

Look what I found someone said, holding a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock.

I love Noro colors, but not necessarily Noro yarns. I have two sweaters knit with Noro, and both times I became annoyed at having to pick twigs and such from the fiber. And what’s with the knots? For what we pay for that yarn, can’t we have one continuous strand? Especially since the strand after the knot always starts with some totally random color, leaving the poor knitter to decide whether to ruin the flow of the stripes in the finished object, or buy more yarn in the hope of matching. I’d felt some of the new sock yarn, and it seems so stiff and scratchy. Not fun to knit with. I just didn’t have much desire to knit with Noro sock yarn, and had said so.

But the colors were so pretty.

post-crawl knitting
post-crawl knitting

From Knit Knot Studio we hopped on the streetcar, which conveniently stops right in front of Knit Purl.

At Knit Purl, a skein of JitterBug leaped off the display and into my arms and demanded to be taken home. The color was so pretty.

Then I saw a really lovely colorway of Lorna’s Laces that I had never seen before.

Teresa came over to say hello and laugh at my sock scarf.

I’m not buying any sock yarn I told her, as I grabbed some Schaeffer Anne off the wall. The colors were so pretty.

Teresa started laughing hysterically, as did others who heard me. Are you going to completely change your personality? Teresa asked. Judy without sock yarn? hahahahaha

Ahem…

sock yarn?  What sock yarn?
sock yarn? What sock yarn?

L-to-R, top: Zen Yarn Garden in Cafe Au Lait and Creamsicle, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Pioneer, Colinette JitterBug in Morello Mash
L-to-R, bottom: Noro Kureyon Sock (the yarn I said I’d never buy) in S184, Schaeffer Anne in Toni Morrison. hmmmmm do you see some strong themes with these colorways?

Well… the buttons aren’t sock yarn.

After At Knit Purl, I decided that maybe I’d done enough damage for the days. Leaving the Seattle knitters to their fate (I believe a spin through Powell’s Books was in their near future), we headed over to Starbuck’s for a cuppa and a slice of pumpkin bread.

In the picture, you can see that we whipped the knitting out again while comparing hauls.

On the chair, you can see The Wings Of A Dream in a glob by my purse. I had just messed up by forgetting a whole row with beads. But all was fixed. I have finished the first wing and started on the second wing. I’m still hoping to complete it in the next couple of weeks. We shall see.

I had a great time on the crawl, despite the damage to my pocket book. It was great fun getting to meet all of our northern knit-buds. I hope they crawl down this way again!

Friday, 1/18/2008

Notes From The Garden

tags: , , ,

chilly bloom
chilly bloom

Thank you to all of you who wished me a long and happy relationship with my new love, the DVR. Honestly, I don’t know how I lived without it before. I have about a gazillion shows already recorded, and it keeps recording more, so catching up is going to be interesting. But I will persevere.

I don’t have any new knitting content, so I’m distracting you with pictures from the garden.

I planted the camellia the first year that I lived here. It’s supposed to be in bloom at Christmas. The first few years it was widely off the mark, blooming any time from March-ish through September-ish. The last several years, though, it’s finally settled down and gotten close to the mark. This bloom was a bud on Christmas, and didn’t actually pop until just after New Year’s, but I appreciate its attempt at making Christmas a little brighter.

It will bloom for quite awhile now. I really love looking out my kitchen window on a cold and gloomy January day, and seeing flowers. It makes me smile every time!

a little too early
a little too early

But this is just crazy!

This tiny little green shoots belong to daylilies. It’s going to be several months before they bloom. This is January. It’s been colder than normal here. This week these poor little things have had their heads chilled by freezing fog and then blanketed by snow. They’re not brave, they are foolhardy.

I’ve told them to go back to sleep, but they are not listening to me. Perhaps they think they are safe because they are being watched over by Todd The Weather God (named by #1 Son), who is lurking in the background. But I’m not sure that Todd provides much in the way of shelter. Or perhaps they are looking forward to the February faux spring.

We shall see what the real spring brings.

Tomorrow a group of Seattle knitters are invading Portland and several of the PDX Knit Bloggers are joining in the fun. So if you’re down in the Pearl and see a bevy of knitters marching purposefully down the street, you might want to clear the way. Just remember that we’re after yarn, we have pointy sticks, and we know how to use them.

Wednesday, 1/16/2008

‘H’ is for Hallelujah!

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 8:29 AM
tags: , ,

I have DVR. I have never had one before.

Last Friday, I disconnected my old cable box and went over to my cable company’s customer service department, where I was met by a big sign that suggested Take A Number. My number was 001. I sat down amongst a bevy of other folks who were waiting for their number to be called.

Now serving 183 at counter 6! blared the loudspeaker.

I hoped that the numbers started over at 199, because there were only 16 people ahead of me. If the numbers didn’t start over until 999, I was in for a long, long, long wait.

But I could knit while I waited. I opened my purse to get the current socks-on-the-needles out. There was no knitting in my purse.

I banged my head against the cable box a few times. Even if I only had to wait through 16 people, it was going to seem like a long, long wait.

It was just under an hour before I heard Now serving 001 at counter 7!

Because I’d called first, the nice person at counter 7 knew exactly what I wanted. He scanned in my old box, looked at my photo ID, and handed me the new box. Total time of transaction: Approximately 2 minutes.

I recorded about 12 shows the first night.

Then I set the thing up to record more shows every night. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gotten used to having this thing. Before, if I missed a show it was just too bad. Not that there’s much on to watch right now anyway. But there are, I found out, several shows that are only on during the day that I can record now and watch later. Like Knitty Gritty and History Detectives. I have a nice long list of shows that I’ve recorded now.

How do I get caught up?

Monday, 1/14/2008

Pacific Northwest Shawl Pictures

Knitting by Judy @ 8:30 AM
tags: , ,

Pacific Northwest Shawl
Pacific Northwest Shawl

There was a brief moment of sun yesterday, and it was at the right angle to reach my yard, so I ran out and snapped some pictures of the Pacific Northwest Shawl.

Sorry it took so long to get these, but light in Portland in the winter is an uncommon phenomenon. And my house is on the north side of a mountain. The top of the mountain is at just the right height to block the sun for most of the cold months. Very early morning and late afternoon are about the only times I might get light. If it’s not raining. The front yard gets a little sun, where it’s not in the shadow of the house. My yard in the winter is a cold, gloomy, damp and gray place.

I’m from a part of the country where gloom is not normal. In southeastern Idaho, rain in the summer was unusual. It snowed in the winter. But it was usually bright and sunny after the snow passed. Sometimes there would be cloudy days. But in the winter, even when cloudy it’s bright because the sky is white and the snow is white and there’s a lot of light (although not much in the way of shadows, effectively killing depth perception). The first winter I lived in Portland, it was so dark and drab. I got used to seeing the world in black and white and gray. When the sun came out in the spring, I couldn’t believe what a bright thing color was! I’d never had anything to contrast it with before. I’ve never taken it for granted again.

up close and personal
up close and personal

But I digress.

Here’s a closeup of the Pacific Northwest Shawl.

Taking these fence shots was actually fairly interesting, as the day was breezy. The PNWS weighs almost nothing. It contains less than 2 oz. of yarn (maybe 50 grams). It’s held against the fence mostly by the wind — I’m not kidding here. There’s nothing holding it up. The top edge is resting against the ends of the lattice uprights. But that’s it.

The breezes had a fun time rippling it and playing with the edges. I had to wait for brief breeze intermissions to take pictures that might (hopefully) be in focus.

If you are reading in a feed reader, do go over to the blog so you can pop up the pictures and see the bigger version. I really don’t think the smaller size shows off the lace to best advantage.

No, I’m not going to indicate the area that had to be mended because of the stitches that dropped during blocking. If you can’t see it… well, that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?



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Follow The Leader shawl

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Lenore

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Fatigues henley sweater

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