Sunday, May 31, 2009

The end of May

Saturday when I tried to pick up some knitting I had found that all of the fiendish purling on the Bonsai Swing Top and the Borscht Greenjeans showed up in the base of my left forefinger - the one that does all the purl work for me. One of the pain causers:

I was worried about the socks though so I worked through my pain to do a few more rows of the Herringbone Rib sock pattern. Then decided it really wasn't working for the yarn. Here's how far I got:

So I looked in Ravelry for a men's sock pattern that would be interesting without putting me to sleep. Then I went to Knitty and did the same. I ended up going with one published through Knitty - Thuja, after all it was also knit for a dad. ;-) With about an hours worth of knitting I was able to get it to this point:

Saturday morning one of the first things I did (after making coffee!) was to ply the ounce of Spinner's Hill Corriedale-Fin-Ramboillet in grey that I had waiting. It then rested again and today I took it off the bobbin, gave it a nice hot soak and then let it air dry outside around the back of a chair. It ended up being about 128 yards somewhere between a lace and fingering weight. Pretty too!

I wandered around the back yard for a few minutes and took a few pictures:
Violas - love them!
Mystery flowers, can you tell me what they are?
This was just a small portion of what was left behind! Some garden snake is sporting some new skin.

I had forgotten to share some fiber I got from Shelia's trip to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. They are from Spinner's Hill - yup, same dyer as the grey above:
Corriedale-Finn-Rambouillet-Silk ~7.5 ozs, Teal
Corriedale-Finn-Rambouillet-Silk-Mohair ~7.9 ozs, Black Cherry

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Finished Things & Other Stuff

As mentioned previously I finished up the cormo I had been spinning. This was an OFFF purchase last fall. I got it because it was ridiculously inexpensive for the amount of fiber given. Well the reason why is that it had lots of 'stuff' in it. Strands of some kind of dark vegetation and little bits of black seed like stuff. I tried picking them all out as best as I could while spinning but some did make it into the yarn. There were also lots of little nubs that I tried to pick out but a large number of them also made it in. This makes this a very organic yarn! Still very soft and sproingy though.

I also finished up the Wisteria Shur'tugal socks! Yea! Shibuiknits sock is a very soft cushy yarn and knits up lovely. Unfortunately the Wisteria line is being discontinued. This really is an electric purple but pretty nonetheless. One sock oddly, appears to be slightly smaller than the other but when lined up with the different areas are the same. Fit the same way so I'm not stressing.

Sock Summit news is that I did get the classes that I had hoped to get. It was an interesting process full of challenges to a knitter's patience but I persevered and was successful on my first attempts. I'm going to do a couple of 1 hour classes on Thursday - Chrissy's Toe Up Bind Offs and Merike's Darn It! I work on Friday so nothing that day. Then I'm there Saturday morning for Janel's Spinning a Painted Sock. I'm going to have some superwash merino hand dyed for the class too. Then I'll enjoy the Luminary Panel on Sunday. There's also a Ravelry meet-up in the works for Saturday after the classes. I'll be saving up money for some goodies in the marketplace too.

I had contemplated going down to Black Sheep but have decided to stay home and spin. There's also Tour de Fleece coming up in July that I can tie in with the Summer of Spinning going on. All this spinning should deplete the fiber supply just in time for OFFF. ;-) I've got some of the Knit Blogger ladies thinking we'll pay the vendor fees so that we can sell various items while we're there. I have various fiber related items I'm contemplating making for sale.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Works in Progress - of various kinds

I didn't take a picture of the Cormo I spun up. I still need to get it off of the niddy-noddy, then wash/dry it. Something for another day. ;-)

I worked on my second Wisteria Shur'tugal sock this weekend and made progress and frogged and am making progress again. What's up? I had started the sock, gotten the ribbing done and started the first pattern repeat and put the sock down. Picked it back up after a week or so and couldn't get a row to work out for me. Tried going back and just found it easier to frog and start over. Made HUGE amounts of progress after that. I think that was Friday night. Worked on the sock more on Saturday and it wasn't until that night that the problem cropped up again. I had the leg of the sock done, heel flap and turn done. It was the gusset decreases.

It's a 64 stitch sock. The goal is to get back to those 64 stitches while working the gusset. I actually remember getting to the point where I had 16 stitches of the sole on each of the needles and thinking it was time to switch to the smaller needles (working the sock on two circulars) but for some reason another part of my brain said no. It told me that I should have 8 stitches on each needle. So on I went. Then just a little bit further for the foot and then start the toe decreases. Well by this time its bed time so I put it down. That's what saved me. Rather than staying up and finishing the sock I put it down.

Sunday I get up and after plying the cormo pick up the sock to finally finish it all up. I'm looking at this rather skinny foot area and thinking it odd that I should compare it to the other sock but decide to do the decreases anyway. It was looking at the number of stitches that I 'should have' to the number that I 'did have' that stopped me. So instead of having a finished sock on Sunday, I spent the afternoon frogging back to that magical point that I clearly remembered.

I worked on it some more Monday night after work and this is where I am at now. Just about 12 rows before starting the toe work (there's prep before starting the decreases):

While at work on Monday I started the Herringbone Ribbed Sock that's in the Knitted Socks with Handpainted Yarn book. I got it as a free download from Knitting Daily. Mine are Dad's Sockin Herringbone Sox because the yarn is Plymouth's Sockin' Sox. I think they'll make a nice birthday/father's day gift. Just the ribbing started until I can finish up that other sock:

I also worked on a shop project the Bonsai Swing Top from the Mother-Daughter Knits book. The Berroco Bonsai is interesting to work with. It's a bamboo with a nylon wrap. Pointy needles are not something to use with this yarn! The Addi-Turbos are currently working but my hands hurt after a couple of hours so it won't fly off the needles I think. It should be pretty when done:
This is actually a sideways view of the project, it's worked sideways on the skirt of the top with short row shaping. It will be interesting to work the pattern!

I'm still just a few rows away from moving the arms off to holders while the body is worked on the Borscht Greenjeans cardigan for myself. I can't work at it while at work since its not shop yarn (same as the other two projects I'm working on) and really Monday was the only day I've had time for knitting there anyway. It's a nice uncomplicated knit so far I just need to find the time to work on it.

I took advantage of the nice weather today to take photos of other works in progress around our backyard - all the fruits in progress. Two apple trees, two cherry trees, the Asian pear, peach tree, blueberries, strawberries, grapes and tomatoes. There's other veggies started but I didn't photograph them. Here's the collage of them:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alpaca Shearing

This morning was an extra early morning were I was out of the house shortly after 8:30am. I'm *not* a morning person so this was amazing for me. Cindy helped out with a Dutch Brothers Mocha. I just had to wait for it to cool enough to drink. ;-)

I picked up Cindy and Bobbie and we headed over to Islay Hill Alpaca Ranch where the llama shearing was already in progress. I have photos of of the llamas and alpacas here.

I did do a few videos. One I decide just wasn't showing much so didn't put up. The first one is the longest and the one I learned that alpacas spit. You can see me getting spit at and then further spitting. We all learned quickly to move if one of the alpacas started giving you the gimlet eye proceeding the spitting. It was like it was our fault they were having this indignity done to them.

This is the longer one:

Shorter one:

Towards the end we were taking the samples and labeling bags for the blankets and second cuts, sweeping and raking and encouraging the alpacas out of the barn after they were done. Yea, you would think after all the complaining they would be 'so out of there' but some had to be guided out. Then with the boys they would come back to check out the next one being done.

I was ready to be done by the time they were all done. My migraine medication had worn off and heat was starting to add to things. Cindy also needed to be home to do some transcription work.

Shelia brought home my Lendrum this evening after helping Morgaine break down her stuff from TKGA. Brandon put it together and Bobbie explained things to me, but my head bobbled things a bit so it was a slow start. I did start getting things going but will practice more in the morning with a head hopefully not pounding.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I met up with Tiggywinkleknits and rode in on the MAX to TKGA at the Double Tree by Lloyd Center. We arrived around 11:30am. By 12:00pm I was the owner of a double treadle Lendrum spinning wheel after stopping in the Carolina Homespun booth. ;-)

I had on order through Woodland Woolworks the single treadle. The Louet I have on loan is a single treadle, I've tried Bobbie's single treadle Lendrum, so that's what I was going to go with. Then I read how Kathleen had tried the double treadle there at the show and thought I should try it out. Well I found out I can treadle just fine and that if my left knee that has been bothering me acts up I can always treadle with just one and have it still work. I did have to just go with the regular flier that it comes with and the fast flier. Getting the plying head would have just thrown my budget way out. I can always borrow Bobbie's if I need that much space. Shelia (as well as Kathleen and Sara) was working for Morgaine and she volunteered to bring it home for me so that I didn't have to try lugging it on MAX in the bulky cardboard box. Shelia will drop it off at my house Sunday afternoon. Gives me time to let Brandon know about the purchase. LOL

Morgaine let me pick out some fiber to go along with it, so I scooped up all of her merino/silk in blue/purple and the lone BFL also in a blue/purple:

Also from the booth I picked up an ebony tool made my Lacis. It has a crochet hook on one end and a needle point on the other so you can use it as a cable needle. In the same photo is a shawl pin I picked up as a sample of ones that I'd like to try making and selling. I'm not sure what the red wood is, but Brandon will tell me when he sees it later.

The last purchase from Morgaine was a shuttle for Judy. It will be a birthday present this summer. It's made out of Lyptus and very pretty.

Bobbie and I both came home with some saturated black mulberry silk silver from Klaus at Crown Mountain Farms. He's going to be very busy over the next few months and almost living out of his suitcase.

We were tempted at many of the other booths but using restraint in buying things. Mine because of how much I had already spent on my wheel! There's Black Sheep in June that I'd really like to go see and then Sock Summit in August and OFFF the end of September so lots of fiber/yarn spending opportunities.

Sunday its up bright and early (UGH!) and we're off to Islay Hill Alpaca Ranch to watch the shearing. There is the opportunity for more fiber to come home, we'll see how good I can be! I'm going to try to do some videos of the shearing too for sharing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Buddy Bears

When I was interviewed by RaNaye for All About Yarn I had to bring in samples of things I knitted so I went around the house and found them and brought them in. These did include a couple of teddy bear sweaters and hats.

Once I started working RaNaye asked if I would head up trying to get the Toys n Joy Makers to let us make sweaters for their teddy bears. Lots of phone calls and in the meantime I heard about the Washington County Sheriff's Buddy Bear Program. Took a bit of work to get a good contact but finally found one. They thought it would be great if we would make clothing for the Buddy Bears.

The Buddy Bears are ones that are carried in the sheriff's cars to be given to a child in distress at the scene of a call.

We had delivered to the store a couple of bags of bears. We've started knitting sweaters and what not for the bears on Tuesdays and Fridays. I picked out a little bear that was in an unusual pose to dress with a hat and scarf:

The Toys n Joy Makers did get back to us, and I need to follow up again with them. Instead of doing clothes for their bears they've asked us to do clothes for their dolls.

If you'd like to knit up clothes for either, come join us on Tuesdays and Fridays through the summer 1-4pm. You can also just send or drop off the clothes to the store and we'll pick a bear or doll for them to go on.

Alpaca Yarn, Tips & Tricks and a WIP

I finished up the baby alpaca yarn last week and have it all skeined up. It's here for viewing. I was able to get 379 yards of lace weight yarn. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but I'll enjoy working with it when I do.

Linda at Guitner Road farm with her Navajo-Churros shared some of Mesa's locks after I mentioned how pretty she looked. Linda did share that if I wanted to get some locally there's a farmer in Newberg. Small world as the farmer is also a neighbor of Shelia's and she had proposed a field trip there to see the Navajo-Churros. So now have two sources of a new fleece, these being heritage sheep and cool to work with. Mesa's washed locks:

This last weekend after the monthly Portland Spinnerati meeting I had lunch with Duffy at Jake's (yummy crab and shrimp melt sandwiches!) and then the Tips & Tricks class at Knit-Purl.

Judy Wilcox was the teacher and the class was intended for advanced beginners. The two other people in the class really were beginners. I learned a few new things though! I learned how to do a purl long tail cast on that will be handy in the future for ribbing. How to do a no-step decrease - commonly found in sweaters and armholes and how to do a garter stitch seam. I have pictures of the last two:

This Saturday I'm going to ride down on MAX with Tiggywinkleknits to TKGA. I am working on my second Shur'tugal sock but didn't think it would be good for the train ride since it kind of takes some concentration to do the pattern. I have wanted to start a sweater for myself and so decided to use that destash yarn I got from Susan and decided to do Mr. Greenjeans.
Doesn't look like much yet, but we'll see after the weekend!

Little Feet!

I've noticed at work that Sharon's toddler sock kits weren't selling and thought that part of the reason might be because people weren't seeing what they looked like. So I volunteered to Sharon that I'd knit up samples of them.

Each sock kit comes with two patterns. There's enough yarn in each to make up both patterns. There are kits for boys and girls so you can knit up for your favorite toddler(s).

Here's the finished samples:

You can get these cute kits at All About Yarn in Tigard, or through Sharon's website - Stitchjones. They are in the Liger and Happily Ever After colorways.

Japanese Gardens

Mother's day we picked up Judy, Brandon's mom and headed over to the Japanese Gardens above the Test Gardens. I had tried to use one of the library's Cultural Passes but found out that they open the library late on Sundays - noon. We headed out at 10am. I think we got there at a good time as there were more people arriving around noon when we were leaving.

It was also a nice day to go, not raining, and light cloud cover. Fair skinned people consider these conditions the right kind, others may prefer more sunshine. ;-)

I'm not going to post all the photos that Brandon took here. If you'd like to check them out, you can view them over on my Picasa Web Album here there was a Bonsai exhibit that we went through. Very lovely from the little bit I saw. I was chased out by the flowering wisteria scents and a desire not to be sneezing and wheezing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still recovering.....

I woke up Monday still a bit sore and lethargic from all of the physical labor in the backyard on Sunday. My knees feel bruised without any of the actual colors of a bruise. There's also the sore muscles that take a few minutes to limber up again after sitting for awhile.

I undid the ends for the Bows sock and redid the foot and toe so its the proper length. I have photos just not off the camera yet. I also started up the boy sock with the Liger yarn. I just have the ribbing done and haven't decided what pattern yet.

Taking the baby alpaca single off the bobbin was a challenge. While using the ball winder I had it pop off of the winder twice. The second time it wasn't going back on. So I had to start it all over again. I finally got that done and then took a couple of hours Monday night plying that while watching some saved shows after dinner. It's off resting and then I'll take it off and soak it, dry it and call it yarn.

I want to work and finish up the second Shur'tugal sock but I also would like to get the shop sample socks done for Friday when I go into work. I also have that other shop sample that I need to work on. While getting paid in fiber is nice, it really impacts the knitting that I'm trying to get done too! ;-)

I had bought a nice beige cotton yarn that I thought about sending down to my mother along with a pattern for Mother's day. I've since figured out that I have enough of it to make her a February Lady Sweater and since it will be longer/heavier I can do it and save it for holiday giving. Instead I'll send her the other yarn I had picked up for her and the Hey Teach cardigan pattern. That way I can help encourage her knitting. ;-)

I had gotten from Linda samples of Mesa's locks a couple weeks ago. Mesa is a Navajo-Churro that Linda raises on her farm in Pennsylvania. I showed them off to some of the spinning ladies last Wednesday. I think that they are similar to Icelandic in that you can separate out the tog and thel portion of the locks. Not a lot of lanolin to remove and I had planned to wash them yesterday afternoon but couldn't remember what 'safe place' I had put the envelope (it was in a stack of stuff on my desk - duh!). There is some possible interest in buying a fleece and going from there but Shelia had mentioned that there are a couple of farms near here on Bald Peak that have Icelandic and Navajo-Churro that we could do a field trip to visit.

Quieter week than last for me work wise. Just working on Friday and class on Wednesday. Some chance to get a lot of knitting done along with the spinning on Wednesday. Spinnerati is on Saturday but I had signed up for an afternoon tips and tricks class at Knit/Purl so don't want to be gone all day. I may change my mind and figure out something to do for an hour and a half. I could just knit in the store after spinning. Mother's day I have one of the Cultural Passes from the library to go see the Japanese Gardens. We're going to take Judy, Brandon's mom along with us to enjoy the visit with a lunch afterward.

The following weekend is TKGA and Tiggywinkleknits has invited me to go down with her for a few hours. We'll meet up with Kathleen after her class. Sunday also has a proposed excursion that is fiber related but those details are sketchy right now. We don't have anything currently planned for Memorial day weekend, but its early yet.

Busy Weekend!

There was a sample sale at work on Friday and Brandon scored and found a wooden folding rocking chair for only $10. Other than the arms being just a smidge low for me, it fits great! I can sit in it and watch the fish in the pond.

Saturday was a full day! We got over to the Tualatin Valley Gardener's Plant Sale shortly after 10am and the only thing we could find to haul plants around in was a large wheelbarrow. We immediately put in the pretty little Japanese Maple for the pond in it and then proceeded around the different areas. We had tomato plants (Roma and a yellow variety), three kinds of veggie starts (green, yellow zucchini and a yellow round one I haven't seen before) and some herbs (dill and thyme), with four kinds of hot peppers (two kinds of jalapeno, Anaheim and some other I can't find the label for), and last but not least a handful of Walla Walla onions. While we were there we ran into Trtlgrl and her DH also doing some plant shopping.

It wasn't all about the veggies though. I also found some pretty violas, a couple of Bleeding Heart plants (always loved them and reminded of them after seeing Michele's) and a pretty Columbine to add to the ones we have. I found a couple of late bearing blueberry plants. Got home and realized I had one of the ones that I bought, it just didn't do well last year - oh well! I now should be able to have blueberries through the summer to nibble on. Brandon was also very happy to find a Ginko tree start, he's always wanted one of them, and now has one. Just to keep all plants together, on the way home we stopped and found a nice sized Apricot tree that is hardy for the pacific northwest. Here's the photo collage of everything plant:

We brought the plants home and then headed out to Faire in the Grove at the Grand Lodge. It was much larger than the previous years that we've attended. Since they had the space to setup they used it all. The other change was having it over three days. Not sure if that helped them since it was also earlier in the year from previous and of course there was rain. The vendors had to camp on site to protect their wares. Lots of lovely wares to be found too! I came home with a coffee mug in a soft purple with a delicate lady dragon etched into the side with the usual saying of 'Here there be dragons!'. She also had some pretty Celtic knot buttons and I found three of the same color/design. They had a leather vendor that was selling belts fit to your size and a very good price. Since Brandon had been saying he needed a new one some time was spent there letting him get one customized. He also found out that the then current one had a very nice buckle on it, so instead of it just being tossed its being kept for possible future belt use on new leather.

The place next door also had some shirts and the one we found for Brandon had an oddity so they knocked $5 off. He's happy now that he has a shirt and I'm happy I don't have to sew the pleats (not a lot but enough). Brandon insisted I get some hand jewelry in the form of a bracelet/ring. It's in stainless steel and crystal beads. We thought the giant of a man selling the Celtic knot hair and shawl pins had some nice handmade stuff so I came home with two types of hair pieces - small and large. We were about three-quarters of the way through when we ran into Trtgrl and DH again about the time that Brandon's co-worker/D&D player Brent showed up. We all decided that food would be a good idea so headed in to the Grand Lodge for some lunch.

Once our blood sugars had been restored to proper levels we headed back out to finish our wanderings. While inside the rain had decided to be a little more persistent. Rachel liked my hair pieces and so we directed her off towards where they could be found. I wanted to head towards the basketman. I let Brandon and Brent do some of their own wandering while I headed back in for some cash to buy my basket - awesome deal for $20! It was interesting to see that the vendor also did woodworking and was selling the same tool that I had just read about in the Piecework magazine for doing a 'square knot braid' or Lucet braid.

I walked out and ran into Tiggywinkleknits and Toolman walking around and while chatting with them had Trtlgrl and DH come back from getting the hair pieces - she'd found a cool shawl pin that he had. Brandon and Brent caught back up with me and we all continued around the various booths. Since we were doing another loop and the candlemaker was no longer busy I was able to pick up some wonderful smelling beeswax candles.

Not too long after we all headed home. Except that we didn't go directly home. First there was the stop at Home Depot to pick up a new electric lawn mower. It was even marked down a bit off of the price shown so even better! We drove through the parking lots to the nursery next door and found that they had a nice sized Apricot tree that we had to figure out how to get into the Outback with the lawn mower box. It ended up in the back seat. Then finally home again! Our Faire stuff minus Brandon's shirt (its a pretty forest green) and belt:

I worked a few more rows of the Arrows sock sample for the shop and headed to bed early. Sunday was a slow start going until we got outside and I got started on some long needed weeding in the backyard along with planting everything from Saturday. Brandon had to shuffle a few plants around in different areas but we had everything in the ground before it really started to rain. After cleaning up and dinner we spent the rest of the evening watching shows and I finished up the Arrows sock.