Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Blogiversary! Yarn Giveaway!

ETA: The winner is ALittleWeirdo! Camille we'll have to meet up so you can get your yarn! Email me so we can do that this week, or I can put it in the mail for you too.

PDXKnitterati is doing a giveaway due to her blogiversary and I thought why not? I checked and it will have been one year ago today that I started my blog her on blogger. I had one over on LiveJournal for the dog training but wasn't happy with its functionality.

She's giving away extra needle cases, I have a couple skeins of pretty pink alpaca to give away. Same deadline, leave a comment by April 5th and the random number generator could pick you!

Here's the yarn:

Monday, March 30, 2009

We have a location!

I have spent time in the last few months trying to find a location for this year's World Wide Knit in Public Day event for the westside. I had just about narrowed it down to renting one of the city parks for a shift (they rent them in two different shifts for the day). It would have been a $20 expense that could have been reimbursed by participants making a donation or with sponsors helping to defray the cost.

Tiggywinkleknits after a conversation emailed the suggestion of the Hillsboro Cultural Arts Center. They rent different parts of the building but we had interest in their lawn and terrace areas. I received the approval today to use their facility and they would like to be one of our sponsors - yea!

I'll recontact Jami at The Knitting Bee to again be a sponsor, the ladies at Kathy's Knit Korner and chat with RaNaye at All About Yarn as new sponsors. We'll also see about getting a poster made so that we can have their store names on the that as well.

I started work on the second Burnside Winter Twilight Mitt and I think I may have discovered why it was feeling so snug on me. I may have worked them on my US 0 dpns instead of the planned 1s. I don't think I made that mistake but we'll see. How did I find this out? I was looking for my 0s so I could finish the foot of my sock with them and couldn't find them until I looked on the mitt. Sigh.

I have been successful in working my first sock on two circulars thus far. As I mentioned I'm on the foot working towards the toe. I figure it still counts since I will have done the lions share on the circs before switching to dpns. I'm going to wait a couple weeks before I buy the size 0 dpns. I was enamored by any of the patterns in the two Cat B books Maxfun loaned though I did try the Columbine Peak sock but 72 sts is too big for me even on 1s. So I was looking through my Eclectic Sole by Janel Laidman, when I realized that her patterns were setup to be done either way. Went with her Simplicity sock pattern:
It shows that I had picked up the gusset stitches and working on the gusset in the photo with the circs.

The next sock I'll try with them will be a toe up and might see if I can be wild and fit two on at the same time. ;^) I'm looking at Widdershins as a candidate, any other suggestions?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Busy Week!

Monday and Friday have been 'learn the new job' days and apparently the 'busy' days at the shop. RaNaye had made the comment this morning when I came in that the rest of the week hadn't been busy after my Monday for a spring break week. Today was plenty busy! There was a partial shipment that *finally* arrived from Malabrigo so I was able to pet some of the new worsted colorways that I hadn't seen before. Yummy! Thankfully for my pocketbook the sock yarn didn't come today. ;^)

I've also come up with at least four people for an afternoon class (3-5pm) on Wednesdays with a possibility of two more in the class. I plan to use my class money as a 'wheel fund'. Shelia suggested on Wednesday that I might like the Louet Julia, it does look tempting. It says single, but looks double.....

Wednesday morning was spent spinning camel and I spun more Thursday night and still have more to spin. I'm enjoying the heck out of it but really looking forward to having this done.

I've spent time washing Anne's fleece and took the 1/4 left of Bobbie's Big Bertha fleece. Big Bertha is a black and grey fleece and also has a bit of dandruff, just not as obvious as in Anne's. I'm trying to get all fleece washed by this next Wednesday when it will be our turn with the drum carder. I let Duffy go next in line because I knew I wasn't going to be ready in time.

Picked up my two twenty-four inch US 1 needles today so that I can do the Cat Bordhi two circs sock knitting. Cindy has loaned me her two books on it, and it looks much easier than the 2 on 1 circular method. I need to start these early enough Saturday so that I can take them along to Brandon's "pre-reunion" get together.

I also have some Dundee yarn from Abstract Fiber to turn into a sample of my choice. I've been hunting for patterns that aren't sock yarn to use. Leaning towards a shawlette, but have a couple of hats that are tempting too.

Late Monday and all day on Tuesday were spent on this, Burnside Winter Twilight Mitts:
It's made out of Abstract Fiber Supersock Burnside Bridge and Knit Picks Essential Black. Need to get the second one done so I can put them away for gift giving. It's a little snug on my hand and a little longer in the wrist area than I like but overall an easy pattern. The sides are mirrored so both gloves are identical.

Upcoming fun things - April 3-5 is the Gem Faire as Washington County Fairgrounds. $5 for a weekend pass and it will get you in free to the next one at the Convention Center in July. May 1-3 in the Faire In the Grove at a new location - McMennamin's Grand Lodge. If you're interested in a Mother's Day Tea, the Scholls Grange is having "Fine Feathers and Fabulous Friends on May 16th, tickets sold in advance only. Let me know if you'd like contact info for this event. (The Scholls Grange Women also have a plant sale the first weekend in April if you'd like to take a drive in the country.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I don't believe I did that!

Have I mentioned I'm not really big on pink? Sure I have a pink tye dye t-shirt that I'll wear on spring/summery days every so often, but for the most part girly pink is not in my wardrobe. Raspberry, yes. Pink, no. So the Circling the Band socks were bugging me. I can't remember how I stumbled across it but I ran across Knitty's article on dyeing with Kool-Aid.

It's all Knitty's fault. Showing me the colors that could happen if I played with what I had in my drawer. It got me to thinking and before I knew it I was pouring two packets of Tropical Punch and two packets of Black Cherry together and looking at the deep red they made and then the socks were in the bowl and I was set.

It took all the grey/white/pink and turned them a dark red and reddened the black. I think I can live with that. Sharon forgive me! I promise the pair for my sister will stay the original I'm With the Band colors.

So I kind of felt like I killed Sharon's dyeing masterpiece so here's Murder in the Band:

Circling the Band will live on in the project page and in my Flickr folder.

Back to spinning the camel and most likely starting gloves, though I should start a pair of socks with that book......

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Circling the Band Socks & more stash?

I should have started earlier in the evening last night and the toe would have been done yesterday, instead it was done this morning and all photographed with daylight instead of flash and lots of overhead lights. Not sure if that helped. ;^)

Circling the Band Socks:

They feel yummy and I like how snug they fit around my foot. I think decreasing a needle size really is the way to go, especially if you're just knitting the foot. These will be fun to wear this spring.

I started working Fridays and two Mondays out of the month at All About Yarn in Tigard. I went in last Friday to show her my work and at the end of it she asked when I could start. I went in on Monday and worked a couple of hours learning the store and getting some training from Lianne. Pay is above minimum wage and there's a 20% discount on regularly marked items. The trick will be not to spend the salary on yarn! I spotted the Noro Cash Iroha in the discount bin and loved the rich burgundy color and the feel and so looked up on Ravelry that someone made a Foliage hat with it. That's in my queue, so it was looking really tempting. Then I spotted that there was a burgundy Frog Tree Alpaca Sport also in there with the Noro and I immediately thought - use this for the ribbing and definitely have enough to make a Foliage hat. Yes, both came home with me but I'm going to be 'good' in the future and make sure that new yarn doesn't come home with me every shift. ;^) I'm justifying this purchase with the fact that April is 'hats' month on the make ahead group and I have several hats in my queue I intended for gifts. That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Because of work I now have to teach myself how to knit socks two at one time - ala one needle and magic loop or two needles at one time. There are people who want a class or currently doing a class that make socks this way. Hopefully I don't find this too difficult or fiddly so I'm willing to teach others. ;^) There's also another project I've been tasked with but I don't want to spill the beans until things are more firm.

The cranes were blogged at Knit-Purl, unfortunately they also wanted my picture!

ETA: I really didn't mean to do it, truly. She reduced the price though and I started thinking 'little girl' something - cardi, dress, girly. #42 is mine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Same yarn, different looks

As mentioned I'm trying out the Circle Socks pattern, check previous post for link. It's a nice fast knit with cool results. I'll probably try this sock again with different yarn, one with wider more even color repeats. I also did a different heel and that showed up in a pooling factor. It will be interesting to see how the second sock pools at the gusset point.

Circling the Band:

Closeup of the 'circles', it's surprisingly difficult to take good closeups of your own leg/foot wearing a sock. ;^)

Check the previous post for what the Band Stoppin Boot Socks looks like if you haven't seen/don't remember what they like.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Band Stoppin Boot Socks

They're done! Using Stitchjones superwash sock yarn in the colorway "I'm With The Band" and using Stitchjones "Traffic Stoppin Boot Socks" pattern I came up with "Band Stoppin Boot Socks". They'll be a gift for my sister Jennifer for Christmas. (March is 'make a pair' month.)

At 450 yards and only using 53 grams of it, I have plenty for another pair of socks. I've already cast them on too! The pattern is Circle Socks by Anne Campbell. I'm going to use the leftover pink from the Booby Socks on the cuffs, heels and toes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cranes & yarn

I finally finished sewing up the cranes for the KnitNotWar 1000 crane project. Found that they folded better when still damp and stayed in place with a couple of straight pins. I then used some sewing thread to keep the folds where they were supposed to be. Just fussy and a few minutes of work but I procrastinated doing them. I had the incentive to get them finished up because of the Portland Spinnerati meeting downtown, just blocks from Knit-Purl and a spring sale there. Here they are:

Sandy said this brought their count up to 38 cranes - they were hoping for 300 by the end of the month. They only take about an hour to knit, have any scrap feltable yarn in your stash?

I picked up a second cone of some Habu Soft Merino Lace - 10% off. I had one already and planned to carry it with some of the Habu Bamboo Lace and make a shawl, possibly that Adamas Shawl.

In other stash acquisition I helped out KnitFemme with her destash by having some come live in my stash. I got some sport weight brown that I think will make a nice pair of socks for my BIL. There's also five skeins of cotton and enough I believe to make my mother a Hey Teach.

More spinning of the camel was accomplished this morning at Spinnerati, but it looks much like the previously posted stuff so nothing new there until it too is a complete single. I took pictures of Tammy's and Bobbie's wheels while we were there so that I can add them to the other Westside Spinners wheel pics to make a logo for the group. You don't need to see those though. ;^)

The rest of the weekend will involve more sock knitting, watching movies and a dinner over at the MIL's Sunday. Hope yours is just as lovely!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spinning, shearing, spring

One of the things I hadn't reported earlier was the home shearing that was done. I had decided that we were close enough to 'spring' that the dogs could go back to their non-winter coats. So trimming Norbert back into a more Scottie cut and Nessa into a modified Schnauzer cut. Nessa ended up a little shorter than planned but is looking good, well she's showing that we both need to get our butts out on the walking plan. ;^)


Norbert showing he doesn't like getting photographed with a tongue flick, but if you didn't know that you'd think he's dissing the camera:


If you've ever looked for a ball that you're dogs will love, look for a Cuz ball. They have feet and look odd but they have a tough rubber exterior and squeak.

I finished up on Wednesday spinning the first four ounce single of camel. It's deliciously soft and I've already started the second four ounces. There's more spinning on Saturday with the Portland Spinnerati at the Central Library. The camel:

In other shearing news I've been working the white alpaca and have 3.5 ounces. I'm going for a little more than one more ounce so that I can possibly ply it together with the apricot. Not fully decided on that plan of action though.

I've found out that my Icelandic fleece has something called 'scurf' - the dandruff that some may have noticed on the fleece. I've washed some of it and it cleans well and I think that a little work with the cat flicker and I can get it out and still let the fleece be usable. That's the hope anyway.

The bit of spring, my crocuses when they are shivering from the snow:

Couldn't resist taking pictures of the camel with them. ;^)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sheep Shearing Video

I mentioned I took three videos, this is of the 'dalmatian' sheep:

ETA: Another video, slightly longer, friskier ewe!

The shearing experience continues

So I came home with two bags of fleeces, one more than the other. What the heck comes next?

Washing them. I put back some of the nasty bits of the alpaca that PJ was loading me with but as you can tell from the previous posts pics, she did get some snuck in. I did a quick trip to the Dollar Tree for some mesh laundry bags - $1 three 12x15 inch bags. I then had to clean out the buckets that had been used with the pond fish and sitting out on the back patio all winter. Then since Duffy had shown the amazing results of the apparently clean but really not OFFF alpaca I decided mine should be washed too. This is the pretty apricot colored stuff I had gotten in case you didn't see it back in September:

I loaded up three bags with the apricot stuff and then took some of the worst nasty bits stuff of the white and then put them in the two buckets with some Palmolive (its what they had at the Dollar Tree) and hot water and let them soak over night. Oh my! The apricot water was just as brown as the nasty bits water. So I ran lukewarm water over the apricot stuff and then filled up the bucket with more hot water and detergent and let it soak again overnight. The white stuff took a little bit more work before it got its second soak. PJ had mentioned something about burrs and the alpacas. I found what she was talking about - there were burrs in the nasty bits besides the usual cause of the nasty. There was also a lot more grass and grass seeds and hay in their as well. I picked and washed, picked and washed and had the fleece come out looking much better. Still a little bit of darker areas where the nasty bits had been but looking like something that could actually be used now.

I rinsed out the second really dirty buckets today and got the water to run cleanly through them. I'm cheating with the drying process - I'm using the drying rack in my dryer and have the white fleece in the mesh bags going through a cycle. Then I'll run the apricot through. I figured the white if there was a problem since it was the 'nasty bits' stuff could be a better write off if something happened than anything else. Plus I don't have drying racks to setup to try to dry them any other way efficiently.

I used the cat flicker brushes that I had to try and get the 'blobs' back into a spinning shape. This also allowed me to get more of the vm still left in. So here's the progression, the middle row of the collage shows the same pic twice (Picassa does that if you don't have enough to make the collage) showing the nasty bits prewashing. The top and bottom rows show pics of the nasty bits after they have been washed and coming from the dryer and then the combed 'fluff'.

ETA: While working more with the white alpaca cleaned nasty bit bags I'm finding a lot of dead flea bodies in the mix. I've but those bags into a separate bag and on hold to decide it I really want to put the effort into picking out the bodies and the vm still in there.

I finished sock #1 of the "Band Stoppin' Boot Sock". I did a short row heel and a star toe as deviations from Sharon's "Traffic Stoppin' Boot Sock" pattern. I'm planning on giving the socks to my sister Jennifer I think.

This morning there was snow on the ground and I got a few pics of it with the previously posted crocuses (they were just poking through the ground):

The Cascade Lizard Ridge Blanket is shown on Cascade Yarns 220 patterns page! (Scroll to the bottom!)

First sheep shearing experience

Saturday morning I headed over to Camas Washington and Greener Pastures Farm for some Icelandic sheep shearing.

I had made contact with Ronda a few weeks ago and learned that they would be shearing on the 7th and she was selling the fleeces for $10 each. She also shared that one of the ewes mother's was an OFFF winner and a gorgeous black - sold!

Shelia picked me up on her way into town and we headed over to Kathleen's to make use of her mom-van. We then headed into Portland to pick-up Duffy to make our vanload complete.

We arrived at Greener Pastures to find that Bobbie & Toolman as well as Sari & her daughter Simi had arrived along with Pam. Toomlan was acting as Bobbie's cameraman for the event. He doesn't mind a bunch of women though! We did have a bit of a wait while we waited for Ronda's husband Jon and Eddie the Australian Shearer to arrive.

We went out and took a look at the rams that Ronda has - some Soay and Icelandic and her new breed Cascade Farms then went in to look at the girls to be sheared. I have a collage of the photos: Top row - ewes in pen, rams, toothy ewe; Middle row - Annie (black ewe), Annie & friends, Annie being sheared; Bottom row - Annie being sheared some more and the haul.

I made three videos of the shearing process but only put the smallest one up at YouTube for your viewing pleasure. It started near the beginning of the shearing when I realized it was the ewe that Ronda said had 'spots' and reminded her of a dalmatian:

Once one of the sheep were sheared we started picking off the veggie stuff, very little really, the nasty bits and giving it a shake to get off the second cuts. Someone would then get a chance, if they hadn't already of claiming the fleece as theirs. It would then be rolled up and bagged with the ewe's info card inside along with the claimee's name. There were 14 ewes sheared, we went home with all but 3 fleeces.

A neighbor where the shearing had started that morning, PJ Landis came down with a couple of alpaca fleeces and a few shetlands. Shelia went home with a shetland lamb fleece and I picked up $5 worth of a white-cream fleece. PJ was helping with the loading of the bag and I got a little bit more of the 'nasty bits' than I would have liked in my bag, but for the amount I got I'm not going to complain. The fleeces:

Friday, March 6, 2009

The fun just keeps rolling along....

I had a nice long chat with Ronda at Cascade Farms in Camas. She has some Icelandic sheep that are going to be sheared on Saturday and we're going to come help out and pick the fleece that we'd like to buy. We have a group that are coming from the Hillsboro area and others from the rest of Portland to take advantage of getting to see the fleece on the sheep and the great price she's selling them.

Tuesday night was the book signing for Kim Harrison's White Witch, Black Curse. Kim and her publishers have been having fun using titles that have kind of a Clint Eastwood theme going. There were also a lot of people that had bought her pre-tour t-shirt for the book and so that was a nice surprise for her. Brandon's noticed that a lot of women who write urban fantasy also have colored their hair red or are natural redheads. Interesting note. ;^)

While there I cast on a sock, but didn't ask her to hold it because it was only a couple rows long by then. I'd actually cast it on twice during the reading and Q&A time. I tried it with 60 sts and that looked too small so went with the suggest 72 sts. It seems too big while working it but seems to be working out and I have enough of a cuff that I can always turn it over. So the yarn is Stitchjones in the colorway "I'm With The Band" and I am doing her "Traffic Stoppin' Boot Sock" pattern so I'm calling the socks "Band Stoppin' Boot Socks":

Wednesday was a small spinning group with just Tiggywinkleknits and Shelia there with me at Starbucks. It was kind of nice but would have been great if the others had been able to make it. We were able to do some brainstorming of locations for WWKiP day. The problem is finding a location that doesn't require the Certificate of Insurance, still is fairly public but also has sources of food/restrooms as well as parking. We came up with a few more ideas and are working those.

Wednesday night there was the trip over to Haggen's for the PDX-Knit-Bloggers group. I took along the sock and made more progress there. The colors are spiraling around. There was also some coordination of carpooling for the Saturday event. Cool handspuns to fondle and some FOs to oohhh and aaah over - a great evening!

Thursday I ended up not doing the Insomnia knitting since my head felt like it might want to come down with a cold. I instead was standing at the scanner and working pages through the computer. I did get out to the Aloha Grange and met up with Lavendarknits for the grange meeting. Fun bunch of people! We were there to ask permission to use the grange for the Wednesday Westside Spinners. So that we could get it without paying the $100 for 4 hour rental fee, Tammy and I became grange members. So we found a new home for the group!

The great part of using the grange is that we are able to have other area members with small children be able to come out and spin because they will be comfortable letting their kids play while we spin there. We can also bring in a coffee pot and make our own coffee! Since we're also meeting during lunch hour we can bring in food too. We just have to clean up the area that we'll be using.

The other fun note is that the grange secretary is a Tiggywinkleknits blog reader. One of the posts had mentioned our search for a permanent home and she was thinking that the grange would be a great place for it and there we were asking that same day. Great minds think alike. ;^) She'd also like to learn how to spin so will try to drop in during work some day.

Here's hoping that today's sunshine will carry over into tomorrow for the sheep shearing!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cranes, baby socks, tv shows and books

I finished up knitting all the cranes I intend to knit on Monday for the knitnotwar project sponsored by Knit-Purl. Here's the pile pre-felting:

99% of them are done out of the leftover Cascade 220 from the Cascade Lizard Ridge blanket. One and a bit were done out of some leftover Malabrigo. Now I just need to sew the little buggers up so they resemble cranes. I hope to drop them off this Wednesday at Knit-Purl. Sewing must commence soon for this to happen!

I attempted last night to take the leftovers from Madi's Tulips Cardi and make a pair of toddler socks for her. Do toddlers have blobs for feet? That's what I ended up with for the sock and I'm not really too sure about it being a 'real' sock:
Not when I look at Michele's example of a baby sock over here.

I watched the show and thought it wasn't that bad, so it was really cool to read that Leverage is going to start filming here in Portland this summer.

Tonight I'm going to the book signing at Powell's for Kim Harrison's new book - White Witch, Black Curse. In order to not have a repeat of last year's experience or last month's with Patricia Briggs, I called Science Fiction Book Club's customer service people and asked about the shipping of my book. I'd had it in with other books and it was the last one to be shipped (same order as the PB book). PB's took six days for it to ship and that would be pushing the likelihood of my receiving Kim's on time. The customer service guy and I had a breakdown in communication I guess. I wanted something faster than the slow method but not 'expedited' that I received. Yup, he shipped my book out so fast that the cover was spinning, no not really but it was 2nd day shipping. I now will have paid the same amount as cover price plus the slow shipping for the book, so no savings like I was trying for with buying through them. I was able to get all 500 pages read (finished late last night) so that's really wild. I'll have last year's book with me so will be caught up with having them all signed though.

It's going around.....

Sharon is spreading the blogger love and has awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award:

Here are the rules for the nominees:
1. Copy the award to your site. (done)
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award. (done)
3. Nominate 8 other bloggers. (see below - done)
4. Link to those on your blog. (see below - done)
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated. (off to go do that!)

Not in any particular order:
1. Michele - she knits and designs and is inspiring!
2. Carissa - she also knits, designs but has gotten bitten by the dyeing bug and has her own etsy shop where you can buy her yarns and rovings. Currently using a drop spindle but 'kreatively' came up with a way to buy a spinning wheel by selling alpaca fleeces.
3. Elizabeth - also spins and knits and inspires me with sweater knitting in the south. ;^)
4. Julia - wanted a spinning wheel, so talked her father into making an awesome wheel and shared the process with us. She also has so really cool designs that I'm looking forward to trying out. I'm also grateful she keeps translating her blog from German so I can continue drooling over her stuff.
5. Desi - knits, but she also does needlework and quilting. She's tempting me to pull out my fabric stash and whip up a few inspired quilts but I'll just continue to be awed by the cross stitch because I 'don't have the patience' to do that anymore.
6. Lili - I know she knits, she's said so. She's also 'kreativ' because she writes books and shares the writing process with those who may be struggling to get started. While the DH would love it if I got started with a book, I'm just inspired to read what Lili shares about the process. I also think she's the author most likely to have one of her characters in a kick-ass move kill a vampire with a wooden knitting needle and then be upset because the stabbing also broke the needle.
7. Diane - she spins, she knits, she designs, she teaches, and she shares them all with us. She also encourages others to explore their own abilities.
8. Ree - last but not least. She cooks - and then shares the recipes and the step by step instructions for them. She's made grown men groan from the results of those recipes. Not only does she take amazing food photos but shares her photography techniques so that we can also learn how to take better pictures. She's a whole lot more, but you should go check out her site.

It was tough choosing only 8 fellow bloggers to nominate!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Madi's Tulips Cardi

My very first human sweater is complete! I used the Tulips baby cardigan kit from The Knitting Bee with the accompanying pattern. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy. Very pretty colors and the yarn is smooshy. Very easy pattern to follow with satisfying results. I was kind of nervous because some of the little balls seemed to have less than others and so I had odd amounts of leftovers.

My leftovers:

Since baby Madi is currently about six months old, I need to get it up to her ASAP! She should get a few months wear out of it before the weather really warms up.

The sweater:

I'll probably end up knitting another baby sweater before I actually make one for myself. I am leaning towards making a 'Hey Teach!' as my first personal sweater or Spring Fling.

Now to finish knitting up those cranes, so they can be felted and sewn up for Wednesday night.