Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Website problems

If you've been trying to order in the last couple days and are having trouble, it's because the USPS is having trouble with their software that gives the shipping quotes. Here's the latest info I have:

Webtools Interruptions: Updates

The Postal Service continues to experience intermittent system interruptions in our Webtools API’s.. We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing, especially at what is one of the busiest times of the year. We are hopeful that full service, across the country, will be restored as soon as possible. We thank you again for your patience.
We have taken every step to resolve the situation, and continue to work around the clock both internally and with our external partners.

We appreciate your business and your patience.

Yeah... no pressure USPS, but we'd all really like it to work! Me and every other business that's relying on the postal service for shipping - and it turns out, ordering as well, since you can't order if their software won't calculate shipping.

Please call if you have trouble with the website!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mittens - the new sock?

A while ago we decided we'd try our hand at knitting some mittens on Monday nights. I've been intrigued by the Selbuvotter mittens described in the book by Terri Shea, and mittens seem like such a warm and cozy little project. No heals to turn, so how hard could it be, right? One of our wonderful customers shared her Selbu mittens with us:
Aren't they lovely? Shari is an amazing inspiration!! I loved the pattern of the pink ones too, but I chose a blue color:I'm a few rows further along now, but I keep messing up and having to unknit. I've only worked on them here on Monday nights after work, maybe that's jinxing them! Maybe I should take them home to make some progress on them... I'm knitting mine out of O-Wool Classic 2 Ply, which is lovely stuff!
Karen decided to tackle some fingerless mitts - Winter Twilight (Ravelry link) from Interweave Knits magazine using Brown Sheep's Wildfoote sock yarn.
And Wanda! Wanda is making two pair for two of her daughters, starting with a Selbuvotter inspiration and charting her own:Aren't these cute? I'm completely in love with these. Here's the other pair she's making:
Tim heard we were making mittens, and he whipped these out in one evening. He wins! Sorry about the lousy picture...

I think mine are going to be another one of those Epic Projects - you know, "2 years in the making!", said in that big movie announcer voice. Before I got started while I was still dreaming of them and flipping through the book saying I want to make this one, and this one, and this one, and wandering around the show room looking at yarns saying these colors, and these colors, and wouldn't that combo be divine too? Yeah, well, these puppies are taking f o r e v e r and keep being difficult and needing to be unknit, and it's NOT a hard pattern! Maybe I just don't have Monday Night Mitten Mojo. Maybe Monday nights I need miles of easy stockinette. I do adore the concept and the patterns, and I would like to make a bunch of pairs. I definitely need more fingerless mitts for keeping my hands warm...

Hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall things

The Autumn Test

Your Autumn Test Results
You are a energetic, warm, optimistic person. You approach everything with a lot of enthusiasm.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find solitude to be the most comforting thing in the world. Being alone with your thoughts feels very peaceful.

Your ideal day is spontaneous and surprising. You like to play things by ear, and you always end up doing something interesting.

You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.

I have to say that the part about being afraid of change cracks me up. Let's see, I've lived in Arizona, Missouri, Maryland, Oregon, I gave up a perfectly good job and left the best friends anybody could have to come to Oregon to be closer to my parents and live in paradise without having a job lined up, or anything else.... I got another perfectly good job with a large corporation and then 8 years later took a severance package and risked it all to buy this business. Nope, change - it's way too scary, not gonna have any of that around. Yeah, good luck with that!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Little Help

Some time ago a good friend of mind saw a report on NBC about a lady that's doing a lot of good things in Afghanistan, including working with the Kabul School for the Blind providing knitting needles and yarn and whatnot - see the story here on NBC. My friend isn't a knitter, but she wanted to help, and hoped I'd get involved too. She sent some money for yarn, and I provided a couple of tubs of yarn from my personal stash as well, and we sent over a large box of yarn. I haven't heard yet that the yarn has arrived, or gotten any pictures from that side, but I'm still hopeful. I have no idea how long it takes to get from here to there via the APO system, and I know Rosemary has more than enough to do!

Rosemary Stasek's organization is called A Little Help, and I'd like to use this as an ongoing project for one of the ways that we give back. If you'd like in on this, drop me a line and we'll see what we can do together.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Naturally Fun Fiber Holiday Show

We're joining the fun at the Naturally Fun Fiber Holiday show this Saturday at the mall in Albany Oregon. Come see what fiber artists in our area have been up to! We'll be there doing some demonstrating and helping people make their own fiber art.

Have you received your fall knitting catalog? They're out there! Followed quickly by the next Wool Rag, which went to the post office on Friday.... now we're starting on the next spinning & weaving catalog, which should be in mail boxes in early January. Since this catalog only comes out once a year, it's something of a balancing act for when to publish it. A lot of the manufacturers put out their new price lists right around the beginning of the year, and we really hate to print the catalog and have the prices be wrong immediately. It's frustrating for everybody! ("what do you mean the price went up? I just got your catalog!") We do know, we do feel your pain. I go around kicking walls when I get a new price sheet right after the printer has taken the catalog to the post office.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Alternate title - more weeks & weeks. Sheesh.

This week we're scrambling around packing up for Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, which is this weekend in Canby. It's a great show, you should all come! We'll be on the porch, just like last year. If you want us to bring something specific, just let us know!

We're also VERY close to having the catalog ready for the printer. We're just editing for last minute stuff, so any day now....

Monday Night Mittens are progressing with some ripping back and small amounts of gnashing of teeth. Wanda's are looking great! TIM is done, even though he won't stay and knit with us. Show off. I'll post pictures next time, when I have some...

I also have some socks to show, but not today. Really I'm just popping in to wave and pretend like I'm still around, even though clearly I'm not.

Hopefully my next post won't have a title with anything to do with weeks passing by silently....


Friday, August 22, 2008

Weeks & weeks

I hate it when weeks and weeks go by, silently. We're working away on the Wool Rag, which should go to the printer next week; and on the fall knit catalog, which should follow in a couple weeks. Then the next Wool Rag, then the spinning & weaving catalog, followed by another Wool Rag.... it's that time of year that starts feeling rather relentless.

New yarns are arriving almost daily, which is very fun. I like going and seeing what Dwayne, our UPS driver brings. He looks like a younger Kaffe Fassett, which is appropriate, don't you think?

We're going to start a Monday night knit night here, so come on over! We're going to be doing MITTENS - although anybody can knit whatever they like! I want to try something from Selbuvotter
Two color knitting! I've done a little, but want to do more. I simply adore fair isle, and want to do some of that soon. I keep ogling all the yarns and dreaming up color combinations. The possibilities are endless. I can see this getting like sock knitting, and having stacks of mittens soon. Fun! We're going to start the 1st Monday after Labor Day - so Sept 8th, from 5 till 7pm, and open to suggestions too. Join us!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Wanda's Tour de Fleece report

My challenge was to find time, no matter how short, to spin everyday. I really enjoy spinning but you'd never know it based on my "output" in the last year. So, when Diane emailed me about the Tour De Fleece challenge I jumped on it. Initially, I planned on prepping/spinning this long-neglected fleece, that was solar dyed. My neighbors, being the polite sort, never even asked what the long black container parked (for days!) on my front lawn held.

The fleece took a lot of time to prep and the end result were lovely little fiber "buns" which would've been fine if my goal was to "comb more". So, it was set aside and I turned to other neglected in-progress spinning. I finished spinning & plied a mystery batt on my "meeting" wheel. Poor thing, it hadn't seen action for months! My spindle got a lot of use during the challenge and I put it to work on a wildly colored batt I picked up at this year's BSG. Being able to spindle during waits (kids, errands) and long car trips sometimes was the only way I got any spinning in on a day. Now, it has a home in my purse:)

So, though I don't have miles/pounds of handspun to show at the end of the TDF, participating in it has revived my "spinning life". The challenge is finished but thru it I discovered new ways to keep on spinning. Count me in for TDF 2009!

- Wanda

Friday, July 25, 2008

To Spin is to Win!

I did a bit more spinning on Wednesday, but for some reason I wasn't getting enough twist into my cashmere, and it started drifting apart, so I walked away rather than get frustrated. I tried a couple times, but sometimes it's better for me if I just set it aside for the day. When I first started spinning I used that as a tool, and I think it still serves me well. This is supposed to be fun, this is a hobby I love, but when things are conspiring against me and it's getting frustrating and nothing seems to help, I can walk away before I hate it and never come back to it. I don't want to approach spinning as something I have to conquer, or sidle up to in trepidation, or whatever - I just want to do it and enjoy it. If today it's not working that way, tomorrow it will be fine. So I walked away.

In the endurance (horse) world, the Tevis Cup ride (a grueling 100 mile in one day ride with incredible changes in altitude) has a saying that to finish is to win. I've never ridden in the Tevis, but I like that saying, and attitude. I think for the Tour de Fleece, to spin is to win!

Here's to all the winners who are spinning today, and every day!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Another one!

This guy, in spite of sticking his tongue out for the camera, is actually a rather charming fellow. He's about 2 weeks old now, and pretty full of himself! He and his 1/2 sister (same dad) were let out together yesterday for the 1st time and they had a good time racing around together. His mom would occasionally intervene though and make nasty faces at the filly, telling her not to try to corrupt her perfect son! HA!

On the spinning front, I'm not making a lot of progress on my big pile of cashmere fluff. I can say that the Tour de Fleece has encouraged me to spin more than I would have in this period, but I wouldn't say it's a lot! My goal was pretty wide open ("spin as much as possible"), but I still may have to pass on taking a yellow button. We'll see, there's still time!

Wanda is participating too, and she hopes to get her story written up and pictures too - she's working on a fleece she has.

Saturday we had a fun group of spinners from NwRSA here for the day spinning - I was very jealous, getting to spend the day spinning and chatting with friends! And shortly after they left I did the V-8 move and said Dang! Why didn't I take any pictures?? Bad blogger.

We're laboring away on the fall knitting catalog, picking patterns, arranging pages, deciding what fits and what doesn't fit. Tim is a master of layout, and can get a lot of information on a page! He must be really good at Tetris - getting odd shapes to work together.

I think it would be pretty amazing to see the full life cycle for yarns, etc. I get to see the new lines in late spring/early summer that are going to appear for the fall, but they had to be developed and colors picked and getting the spinning just right, and patterns developed and knit and re-knit with the yarns. I wonder how long the process really takes? What are they working on now? Fall of 2009, or later?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tour de Fleece!

I read about this recently and thought it sounded like a great idea! For the full story, go to the Tour de Fleece headquarters, but basically it's a self-imposed challenge for spinning for the duration of the Tour de France. So, starting today spinners everywhere are starting their challenges! My challenge is to work on some Cashmere that's been a part of my personal history for quite a long time.

Many years ago, before I moved to Oregon, I had this passion for all things fibery (that much hasn't changed!), and I thought maybe I'd be interested in raising fiber goats. I'd had sheep as a child (Southdowns - 4-H project with my brother), and while I like sheep, I didn't much like the idea of what you need to do with tails of lambs. So goats sounded like they had potential. With a very good friend, I visited 2 goat breeders here in Oregon - one Angora goats, and one was Cashmere. I don't remember the name of the Cashmere breeder, but I know she lived somewhere pretty close to here because I remember going through the town where Woodland Woolworks was at the time - Yamhill, and wishing there was time to stop. Funny old world, isn't it? Anyway, Cheryl and I bought a couple of ounces of Cashmere each with the plan being that I would spin the fiber for both of us, and she would knit us some fabulous scarves. I THINK there's about 8 ounces total, but I can't find my scale.

So, my challenge for the Tour de Fleece will be to spin as much Cashmere as possible. And Cheryl, I think as penance for taking so darn long to get brave enough to spin this lovely fiber, I should either knit it or weave it into scarves for both of us... That may be a challenge for another day though. First step, get spinning!!

I'm trying to talk a couple of other people here into joining in the fun, so there may be more to report.

It's whatever kind of challenge you make it - perfect! To spin is to win!

Happy spinning to you,


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What happened to June?

Good grief! No wonder I'm being chastised for not blogging lately. I thought those last 2 entries were in June, but noooo, they're from May! I lost a month, oh dear.

Well, Black Sheep Gathering, of course, eats up a lot of June, what with ordering for it, packing for it, loading the trailer, being there, unloading and then figuring out what we have after all is said and done. While packing the trailer I thought a picture of the STUFFED TO THE ROOF trailer would make good blog fodder, but of course it didn't happen. Maybe for OFFF I'll remember! Oh, and a pic of the booth might be nice too.

Black Sheep was, as always, a lot of fun. It was a little hot on Friday but we tried not to whine too much, knowing it was still nearly 20 degrees cooler than it was my first year as a vendor there (talk about your trial by fire - a gazillion degrees and I had the worst cold I've had in YEARS, ugh). There were many fabulous and wonderful things to see and touch and dream about, and friends to catch up with and hug, and things to learn and teach. Ahhhh, and soon it will be time for OFFF, and more of the same! Life is good.

I do have some pictures of some dyeing I did recently. We have this new cool Seacell/Silk blend yarn and I wanted to see how well it dyes. I'm not the least bit scientific - measuring is not my forte, repeatable will never be on the agenda. I greatly admire all those dyers who can make a consistent product! I dyed with both Landscapes, and with Procion - and used heat with the Procion, rather than doing the maybe more expected cold batch/soda ash routine. I would like to know how that works on this yarn too, but there wasn't enough time really that day. I dyed with my sweetie's daughter A, who enjoyed it too I think, though the gloves were not a good fit! A is 9, and has small hands.

Anyway, I like to dye using a couple of spaghetti jars with different colors of dye in them, inside my dye pot with water, acting as a double boiler. I drape the skein of yarn across and into the jars, and move it around a bit to get all of it dyed, and maybe mix some colors together.

Below is the yarn getting rinsed - I didn't have much dye wash out (I didn't use much dye either for one skein of yarn, maybe something on the order of a 1/4 teaspoon of each color). Looks like I didn't get quite as much coverage between colors as I might have liked, but I think it will be fine.

And here are the 2 completed skeins - Procion on the left, and Landscapes on the right. The silk gives it a nice luster! Interestingly, the Seacell when wet does indeed give a bit of a whiff of the sea! It goes away when it's dry, but it's definitely there when wet. I was surprised!

I'm going to knit a lacey scarf for A with the Procion version - feather and fan, should be fun.

One of the perks of Black Sheep is that all of us that work the booth hang out together in the evenings - go have dinner at Thai and Indian places (YUM!), and then knit and gab usually entirely too late into the night. I talked Anita into teaching me to knit the "other" way - picking, rather than the throwing I've always done (self taught). So I'm trying really hard to continue that and make it be the way I knit, cause it certainly looks like it's a lot faster. My poor unsuspecting skein of Seacell/Silk was my guinea pig (I had this crazy idea I could learn the technique while knitting the scarf, but GOSH my tension looked horrible!)... so I can also report that the yarn stands up fine to being knit and frogged and reknit. Really - learning a new technique should be done with a nice worsted weight wool instead of a slippery lace weight. Character building. You'll notice there is no picture of the scarf in progress. It's not! Yet anyway.... but it will be.

I uh, found another pair of sock needles at home and started another sock too. Not that there's been any progress on the socks OR green sweater written about in May... But I've finished my 2nd Jaywalker sock, and I'm about done with the Balance tee shirt I knit, except the neck thing has to be changed. I do adore starting things.

Happy 4th of July!!


Friday, May 30, 2008

She's here!

This has nothing to do with knitting, or spinning, or weaving, or dyeing, or really any sort of fiber. Too bad!

This lovely filly was born a couple weeks ago, and she's a dandy! Saying a newborn is cute is redundant, but true. Here she is, about a day old - already contemplating hay. What IS this stuff that mom chews on all the time?

And this is about a day later, out for a romp in the arena, getting mom her exercise as well.

She likes to jump things, but I didn't catch any good photos of that. She's a Davenport Arabian, and if you'd like to know more about this bloodline, this is a good starting point - . Homer Davenport, who imported the ancestors of these horses in 1906, was born in Silverton Oregon!

Hurray for babies!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ancient History

I talked about this sweater a few months ago (and said "ask me again in two months". Ahem. No progress.) I started this sweater in 1994, and I'm up to the sleeves! It'll be a nice sweater someday. But heck, it's not like I can wear it this summer, so finishing it up over the summer should be perfect, right? The yarn is Heilo from Dale of Norway.

I like doing both sleeves at the same time. Makes the going slower, sort of - but when you're done, you've got both sleeves and they MATCH without having to make notes and measure a bazillion times. Just like the attraction of doing 2 socks at the same time. Not that I've tried that yet, but I like the idea.

I definitely have a ways to go on the sleeves, plus they're - what's it called? saddle shoulders? where they come up the arm and across the shoulders and end at the neckline. I like the cables and stuff. Must work on this sweater....

Meanwhile there's a few more socks that have been started because, well, I could. The first one is Lacewing from Fly Designs in color Desiderata. It's a dream to work with! I also have some in Halogen, with thoughts of combining the leftovers from both colors in a scarf... It may be a while, having not cast on the Halogen socks yet!

And then these ones below are in the merino/tencel blend that I dyed - boy howdy did it take the dye nicely, or what? I started out doing a pattern from Favourite Socks, but the colors were competing too much so I switched to regular old Helen's Favorite Sock from Fiber Trends. This would have been a really handy one to do both socks at once, since now I have to remember just where I left off from one pattern and switched to the other! Ah well.

What are you knitting these days?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Also considered

I thought I'd show some of the other pictures we took in our search for a likely front-page-of-the-website picture... We all brought in some handknit socks and tried to think of ways to show them off to best advantage.

First, posing with the sheep. (does he look like a sheep?)

Then a chorus line:

Then another view:

Or maybe without feet in them...

Or maybe a closeup??

Alright. We need some nature in here. Where are some flowers?

Wowee, those are bright! What about socks in trees?? A nice touch of silliness, maybe.

And then we got the one we thought was just the ticket!

So there you go, Diary of a Homepage Picture.

Happy weekend! Happy Mother's Day! Give your mom a hug, I wish mine were here so I could, I miss her each and every day. I love you mom!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We've launched!!!

The new website is LIVE! I think it looks fantastic, and sure hope that you do too. There's still a ton of work to do on it, but it's got a lot more stuff on it, and more information and photos will be added daily. It's been a long road to get here, but I think you'll agree it was all worth it. Everything in all our catalogs, and all the stuff that didn't even make the catalogs is on the site now.

Go check out the beautiful Mickey Mouse daffodils on the front page, proudly posing with handknit socks. The daffodils are in Karen's back yard. We had fun going around Carlton looking for likely photo opportunities for our socks.

More to come!


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Weighty matters

We're coming down to the wire! We're set to launch our brand new website (same address - in under 2 weeks (gasp!) and we're feverishly trying to get as much done as possible. Getting everything done is not possible, of course. I think the nature of a website is to be "under construction", because as everyone knows - things change. New items are brought in, things get discontinued, things change price, more information becomes available....

With our new website launch, we're going to do delivery charges a little differently. We want to do ACTUAL shipping charges. That means that we need to know what everything weighs.
E v e r y t h i n g .... There are approximately 16,000 individual items in inventory. Well - should say SKUs, because some SKUs have multiples in inventory (10 balls of yarn X, color Y). So we're weighing things and entering them. We're getting images of them. We're writing up descriptions of them. It's a rather big job. Back to the shipping charges - you'll get the opportunity to see what it would cost to send your package via Priority mail, or UPS, and decide which way works best for you. It will be based on the weight of the things you order, rather than some other seemingly random method of assigning a delivery charge. If you buy a lightweight but expensive item, it won't cost as much to ship as it would a heavy cheap item. We're hoping that people will like this. I wish we could send stuff for free, but it does cost money to ship stuff, plain and simple. We will continue to offer the free shipping for orders over $300 (except floor looms, which are sent by freight company..... fuel surcharges have tripled in the last 6 months...)

AND we just finished up the spring knit catalog. It is at the printer, hurray!! Typically it's about 2 weeks from printer to mailbox, so look for it soon! Right about the same time the new website launches! egads.

AND I somehow got talked into being the vendor coordinator for Black Sheep Gathering (it seemed like a good idea at the time - I mean, I DO want to give back to the Black Sheep community!) and I'm trying to get all that stuff worked out and sent out and managed.

So if the blog seems a little neglected, maybe you'll understand.

Oh, and I have a mare due to foal in the next couple weeks...

Timing is everything! :)

Happy spring!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Ta-da! My first 100k on this car! This one came faster than the first one on my last car. This car is a 2004 model. Kinda scary. I put 350k on my last car, guess I like to hang on to them. I had that car for 17 years! and probably would have kept right on going if I hadn't hit a deer... it didn't kill the car outright (tho it did the deer, alas), but it definitely was a lot less happy after that. So here's hoping there are no deer out there with this car's name on them!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Choosing between inspiration and perspiration

I have a dirty little secret. I have this sweater that I started when I moved to this state back in 1994 (gasp!).... The first yarn I bought in Oregon! The body is done, and I've started the sleeves. I like to work both sleeves at once, that way they'll match and both be done when I'm done - sort of like the appeal of working two socks at once on circular needles. They'll both match without having to measure 40 hundred times, and when you're done, you're done. I haven't tried the 2 socks on circulars yet, but it definitely appeals.

Ever since Madrona I've been mentally casting about for the Perfect Project, something worthy of the knowledge poured into my ears, maybe something I could parade about in next year at Madrona. But this little voice keeps nagging at me to finish up that poor lonely green sweater. Maybe THAT'S what I should parade around in next year. Except of course it lacks the allure of the new. What is it with us - or at least me - that makes us (me) want to just keep casting on new and exciting projects? I cast on another pair of socks because I only had 2 other pairs on the needles.

I'll have to get pictures of the Poor Lonely Green Sweater. It started with the best of intentions, like all projects. Then I moved again, and it got stuffed into a piece of furniture that I couldn't get to (literally - I had furniture and boxes stuffed to over 6 feet in height in a "spare" bedroom with no walkways at all while I lived in a temporary place for nearly a year - the cats ADORED this room because it afforded them much amusement, not the least being that once they were in there, there was no way I could get them out. Vet appointment? Gosh, that's a shame, I was taking a nap 4 boxes back...)... then I worked on it some more, then who knows what sort of angst possessed me to abandon my knitting for years at a time. The lure of the loom? Then I knitted on it some more while spending a lot of time with my dad when my mom died. Then the sweater was at dad's house, but he was coming over to mine to visit. And now.... well, maybe now it's time to buckle down and knit. The sleeves are easy! One simple cable up the center, how hard could it be?

Ask me again in 2 months....


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Madrona report

Wow that was wonderful! I think it's pretty much impossible not to have a really good time at any fiber/knit/spin/weave fest of any sort, so saying I went to one and had a good time is sort of repeating myself. How could I not??

There were classes Thurs through Sunday, and vendors to see and a constant parade of spectacular hand knits (I think I got whiplash), and a lengthy list of Knitterati (see the list of teachers for this year). I didn't have a class on Thursday, so I got to poke about in vendo-land at leisure and catch up with some folks I don't see very often, or hadn't yet met but needed to. Then I went to the Museum of Glass (in another life, I'm going to learn to do glass, woweeee) for the afternoon.

All of these pics are from the glass bridge, which is an overpass over a busy freeway and you look up and see all of these amazing works of art. These are looking straight up. There was more, much much more.

This charming fellow was in this wall of amazing vase-type pieces also before you get into the museum. I'm really amazed at how much glass art they've put out there to share with the world all the time, for free. You could spend days studying these and looking at them in different lights. What also struck me was that there is a freeway and a freight (train) yard right below all this glass. The amount of vibration that this bridge is subject to boggles the mind. I don't know how they cushioned it so well, but I'm sure glad they did!

Inside the museum they have a huge furnace and many people working on pieces, demonstrating how it's done. Fascinating to watch! Plus of course various exhibits and the museum gift shop, also filled with color and shape and inspiration. I highly recommend a trip!

And I got to knit and knit and knit, and watch the scenery from our 18th floor (!) hotel room. I've never really lived in a city, so it's definitely a case of the country cousin coming to town. (I suppose college in Tucson does count as a city, but really - it's the Old Pueblo! it's not a City, is it??) We had really fabulous weather, which meant that we got some gorgeous sunrises!

Mt. Rainier in all its glory!

And then the classes! I took a sideways sweaters class with Margaret Radcliffe, lace knitting with Evelyn Clark, and intarsia with Lucy Neatby. They were all great classes, and I learned a lot - not the least of which being that I am a very slow knitter and need to find a better way to knit. I didn't keep up with the rest of the class ("It's not a race".... okay, but I don't want to be last either! I miss out if I can't keep up). I'm self-taught, like many people, and what I learned from the little pamphlet from the Coronet store when I was in single digits for age was a good start, but it can be improved upon!

I'll leave this post with a couple of pics of Lucy Neatby's works - the lady knows how to play with color! I love it, I love it, I love it!!

Madrona 2009, here we come!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Well phooey

So there I was, innocently minding my own business, blogging away.... got finished, clicked preview, yup, looked good. Clicked "back" and it was GONE! nooooooooooooo!! Apparently that's a bad idea. Apparently you should click "hide preview" instead. And all that nice saving that blogger does while you blog? Sort of useless apparently, if you click back... Let that be a lesson! That was Saturday. I hadn't the heart or the energy to attempt it again that night. Of course it was an exceptionally clever entry, full of witty turns of phrase. Gone, lost forever. Sigh.

Tim, our wonder web and catalog guy, knit some hats! He was kind enough to share with me, and then I took some really rather horrible pictures, and didn't have the foresight to look at them before the hats left the building. Another lost and gone forever opportunity. I'll share one picture anyway, because, well, I can. It's a great hat! Too bad you can't see that. There were 2 hats, made with the same yarn (Big Wool from Rowan, in a brown shade). Tim said something about one of them being more feminine than the other. They're both the same yarn, and same shade. I looked at the hat, looked at Tim, looked at the hat, looked at Tim and said in my most articulate manner "huh?" He made one of the hats in a seed stitch, and felt that the extra texture made it more feminine. What do you think? Is seed stitch more feminine that stockinette?

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready for Madrona! I'm so excited I can't stand myself. My buddy Anita and I leave tomorrow for four full days of knitter madness! I'm going to be completely star struck with all the big names that will be everywhere, and will attempt photos (but given the spectacular proof seen above, that may be more of a threat than a promise... if you see me pointing a camera, you might want to duck). My poor sweetie has been very sick and I'm been avoiding him (can I say "like the plague"?) cause I really really really want to be fully functional. Here's hoping!

Happy trails to you! And I'm just going to publish with no preview.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow place like home

It snowed last night in my little corner of the world. There isn't any snow here at work in Carlton, or for most of my commute, but at home in a funny little quirk of micro-climate, I got dumped on. My little car dragged bottom down the whole hill and squirreled around a fair bit, but got me to work safe and sound.

It's pretty, isn't it? I used to really hate the snow, but I guess I'm coming to terms with it (about time). It'll probably be all gone when I go home. Course, if it doesn't melt at all, I'll be walking the last 1/2 mile 'cuz down hill is one thing, but up is way different! My vet couldn't make it up the hill this morning in 4 wheel drive (it's a steep hill and really wet snow), so I know my little car wouldn't do it either. The vet visit could wait, so it will.

Meanwhile, a here are a couple of snow cats:

Is it my imagination or has this month been the longest January on record?

Stay warm!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


It's pretty chilly around here, as I know it is in many places. We leave the big roll-up door in the warehouse open while we're here, and the breeze was such yesterday that if someone opened the front door, the doors in the shipping area would be blown open. Is that a venturi effect? Your basic wind tunnel through the whole place. brrrr! It's sunny and gorgeous out with blue skies, which are pretty unusual during winter, but nippy. A good time to be knitting.

We're frantically working on info for the website, which we hope to have go live in a couple more weeks. If only we could clone ourselves and get a lot more done!

We should be working on the spring knitting catalog, but it's sitting on the back burner for the website. It's that cloning thing, and that irritating mere 8 hours a day for work (well - 8 hours for everybody else around here! I try not to add up my hours, it gets frightening). All things in time, right?

Just last week I noticed that it's no longer pitch dark at 5 pm. And this weekend I noticed the daffodils starting to poke through the ground. Spring is coming, spring is coming! Such a tease...

Friday, January 18, 2008

First toe up sock

I'm pretty new to knitting socks, and trying to round out my learning by trying various different techniques. I've done a few pair cuff down, so it was time to try toe-up. Seems perfect for those sock yarns that you buy 2 of to make a pair, like Panda Wool and Panda Cotton and Panda Silk and Lorna's Laces and ..... well, you get the idea. You take a ball of yarn, start at the toe and knit until done. Perfect! (like those old cook books "bake at medium heat until done").

I turned to Wendy's generic toe up pattern (thank you Wendy!!) with feather and fan for the top, and used the undyed panda bamboo/wool yarn we've got that I dyed a while back using Procion dyes. (I needed to do an experiment - do you dye a yarn thats bamboo and wool (plant and protein) using a dye for plant or for protein (Landscapes)? The answer is they both work great!)

And a close up of the feather and fan:

I'm pretty pleased with them! Well, "it" and a half, I'm up to the heal on the 2nd one. I think I like the heal flaps and gussets type socks better, but looking at all my store boughts of course, that's not what they use! I never considered the making of socks before, other than the difference between regular socks and those icky tube socks. THAT would be a quick knit, but yuck!

Somewhere out there in cyber land I saw something about toe up with gussets, so I may have to hunt that up. But no hurry, there are too many on the needles now. There's just no end to the inspiration and experimentation. Gotta love it!

On a side note, if anyone tried calling yesterday morning and were perplexed by no answer, it was because we couldn't get in! The ~one month old lock mechanism on the door decided to fall apart and keep us all locked out while Charlie feverishly tried to get it to cooperate. He was successful (thank you Charlie!), but no thanks to Schlage and the lousy lock they made. HEH. So, new knob, new lock, new keys and away we go. It's always something!

Happy weekend!