Saturday, May 27

Pagosa Springs Fiber Festival Pics: Shetland Sheep

These are Shetland Sheep, only about 2' tall. Their owners, of the Pinion Woods Ranch, actually talked to us about this cute primitive breed. They're smarter than the larger, more domesticated sheep.

Pagosa Springs Fiber Festival Pics: Sheep

When we got there, there were sheep in 2 different pens... somehow I got the first set of sheep with no eyes.

Pagosa Springs Fiber Festival Pics: Alpacas

Alpacas Rock.

Crazy-ass Pizza Hut

So, we're in Pagosa Springs for the Fiber Festival, and after a long day, we decided to go to Pizza Hut.

We're greeted by a girl saying "I hope you didn't want any breadsticks." Not the usual greeting, I'm sure. We sit down, and then she reminds us that the Pepsi machine is on the fritz, and "we don't have any kind of breadsticks at all".

So, we order garlic bread instead of breadsticks, and wait with our drinks. Our waitress brings us a medium box. For the large pizza we ordered that isn't at the table.

She delivered the box to the other table (who ordered it) and then came back 5 minutes later and told us there was no garlic bread, but they had one last order of cheesy bread.

So we ate the cheesy bread when it came. And we ate the pizza when it came, too. When we were ready to leave, she brought us another pizza. Because we had ordered a large, and they had brought us a medium. Then she had to bring us a box. In the meantime, my brother ran out of soda, and asked for more. He brought back napkins.

It was a crazy-ass pizza hut night.

Tuesday, May 23

Project Spectrum: May: Green!

I'd show you the FIRST bowl I made, but the cats like to sit on it too much, and I can't get them to move long enough, even though it's too small for them... and the 2nd one I tried was too big, but they love that one, too. So here are the 2 baskets that they didn't get to sit on or in (this technique is addictive, let me tell you!)

One of them is for my 'pocket stuff' -- my badge, my keys, etc. when I get home. The other... I'm not sure. Both were made from Manos del Uruguay, although the olive one had more of those cool thick-and-thin bits before felting. I'm thinking I want to make one with size 8 needles to give it some excellent texture, but enough strength without felting. I still have about 42-46 grams of each 100g hank of manos, too. I'm plotting more baskets, maybe one with contrasting i-cord edging...

I've got another cat bed on the needles, 10.5's this time, and only 190 stitches MCO (so 380 stitches total). Noro Kureyon on the top, grey cascade 220 for the bed part. Hopefully this will be the Goldilocks bed -- the "just right" one. :)

This weekend, I'll be headed to the Pagosa Springs Fiber Festival with my husband and my brother, who's in town. It'll be fun, I'm sure.

Secret Pal 8

Yay! My first package came today! I had an awful day at work, and checked the mail on a whim (because Ben usually does that) and voila!

Ok, so I went a little nuts with the smudge tool in Photoshop Elements. But as nice as it is unopened, let's see what's inside!

Pastaza! More Pastaza! Good 'n Plenty's, a CUUUUUTE handmade card, and a felted bag pattern. MMmm... felted bag. I feel like my mother who only makes garter-stitch scarves, but I loves me some felted bags! [edited to add] I hoped y'all would overlook and not covet my noro. Mine! Mine! #134, iirc. :D

So, here's one close-up of the stitch markers and the cute handmade card:

And here's one of the card itself (which I thought worthy of a close-up, as it's gorgeous). And dragonflies! My ibook's name is dragonfly, so this is rather awesome. :)

Thank you, secret pal! You made my Monday!

Tuesday, May 16

Yarn and Philosophy

There are those who love Noro (Kureyon specifically), and those who don't. I think a lot of it has to do with the way that the knitter looks at life. I think that Noro yarns can be seen as a metaphor for life, as we create fabric from a single thread.

There are some who say that everything should be like "Karaoke", the SWTC yarn (50% wool, 50% soy silk) with its regular repeats, its evenness, its predictability.

This is why I love kureyon, and how I relate it to life:

Kureyon is unexpected. The colors in the ball that you see aren't all the colors in the yarn. It's the unexpected flash of red on brown or deep green that is interesting. It's the random-seeming color repeats that give a project sparkle and shine. It's the unexpected that makes life interesting.

Kureyon is uneven. The thick-and-thin spots add texture to the resulting knitted fabric in a way that is never expected, but always seems appropriate. Sometimes life is easy, sometimes it's hard. Looking back, it's all the differences between the times you had to eat ramen, beans, and rice and the times you could afford a nice filet that make you appreciate whatever your current condition is.

Kureyon is scratchy. Well, until it's been washed. Change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. But after you've made a change, and lived with it for a while, it 'softens'. It grows on you. Time heals all wounds, they say. Time also softens the scratchiness of the wool.

Kureyon has straw in it. Yes, and you pick out the big pieces and leave the little bits that don't matter. The straw is the little irritations that we put up with every day. Traffic, work, bills. You take care of the things you can take care of, and you live with the things you have no control over.

This is why I say, embrace the Noro. Life's not always predictable. Life comes as it does, and if you get too uptight about the changes, the unpredictability, the uncomfortable times, the little irritations, then what's life for, anyway?


I decided to take the bicycle on a tour of the neighborhood last night, and got my helmet on, velcro'ed my pants leg shut, and rode around for a while as the sun set. I was going to go once more "around the block" when I hit a patch of sand, braked a little harder than I should have, and flew through the air sideways onto the pavement. My knees hit first, ripping my jeans, then my hands, then my (gasp) head. Nothing reinforces the concept of "you need to wear your helmet" than the pavement coming toward your head at 9.8 m/s^2.

I'm mostly scraped up, but I put a bandage on my worst scraped bits, put new pants on, and went out to dinner last night. I ache this morning. My right foot got twisted somehow, and my knee aches.

BUT... yesterday I finished the applied I-cord edging for the Big Kureyon cat bed, knit the first 4 plain rows, and the increase rows. It's chugging right along, just like I want it to. :)

Sunday, May 14

Project Spectrum & Other Knitting Content

My green for this month is already done. I started on Friday, after I spent a total of 64 cents on 3 skeins of Cascade 220 and a 60" long Addi 10.5 needle (eeew, addis). Yes, you heard right. I had filled my Llama Store "Rockstar" card, and had a $40 credit, and found the 64 cents in the bottom of my purse to pay for the 'overage'.

I just don't have a picture yet. It was felted yesterday, and I believe it's too small for the cat I was knitting it for... it's a felted mobius bowl/cat bed thingy from A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting. The "large bowl"/"small cat bed" one. Without fringe. I used a total of 1.5 balls of Cascade 220 (in a beautiful heathered green). I may have enough yarn left over to knit another, if I'm lucky.

It's probably because I don't "control" the felting process. I throw the object into the washer with 2 pairs of jeans (now I will call them my felting jeans, because both are unwearable as-is -- Ben's pair has the pocket almost torn off, and my pair got eaten by my bicycle). I love the fabric that comes from the felting (or more properly "fulling") process, but I don't have the patience to try to make something come out perfectly. I felted this last project while planting flowers in the front of the house. If it's not big enough to put a cat in, so what? I enjoyed making the mobius band (with the exception of the miles of applied i-cord, although the final effect of the felted applied i-cord is AWESOME). I'm guessing I now have a cute bowl I can throw my ipod, badge, etc. into, but that will only be confirmed if said cat doesn't try to curl up in the felted greenness.

I started the 2nd mobius cat bed ("rose red", with 200 sts in the Mobius Cast-On) last night with a skein of Big Kureyon and size 13 Crystal Palace bamboo circs (55" long). I ordered them both from One Fine Yarn, and was rather pleased with their service.

I also bought 4 skeins of Kureyon, and I'm going to pair them with grey (which I bought yesterday with the "appreciation gift" my knit group gave to me for allowing them to make a mess of my house during Dye Day (I love my knit group, and they didn't have to do that, really)) to make another of the large cat beds, if I'm pleased with how this one turns out.

I like the mobius cast-on. I like knitting mobius bands. We'll see how well the kureyon color shifts work on it, I guess.

Dye day fallout

Phoebe and her fabulous yarn, (photo taken on Dye Day)

Ellen's yarn

TOK's yarn -- all 8 skeins!

MJ's Yarn:

I'm so proud of everyone's "first dye" results. It was a long, very productive day, though. I even had some time to teach MJ short row toes (and heels)... and look at her progress! (Yes, the multi colored is "my yarn", no the purple isn't... it's MJ's koolaid experiment.}

Project Spectrum: April: Orange and Yellow

Yes, I know it's May. Mid-May. I've been in a funk about knitting lately (which I believe stems from the socks I'm knitting (although gorgeous) because I HATE RIBBING).

So here's my Orange entry:

From the FiberTrends pattern featured today on You Knit What. I can't help it, I thought it was adorable. Mine looks more like a fuzzy basketball, but Ben likes it, and says it works well as a pillow (and is darned cute).

Monday, May 8

Dye Day at my house!

Saturday, I hosted my Knit Group's first ever Dye Day. Here's what I learned:

10 things I learned on Dye Day

1. No food until 10:30 am, helping dyers, makes Christy something something.

Oddly enough, I was up at 6a on Saturday, made muffins, washed, peeled and cut kiwi, and washed & halved strawberries. I didn't have any coffee. I didn't have anything to eat until after we had started dyeing. Bad idea. Low blood sugar makes me FUN to be around. ie, "I love my sofa. It's such a a good sofa." Not so much fun to BE at the time. I definitely need a good breakfast before embarking on that kind of thing next time.

2. My crock pot doesn't hold enough chili for 11 people.

10 yes, 11 no. I was told there were 10 of us, and dished out chili for 10. When there was one bowl, and 2 knitters left... I was, well, less than fully gruntled with myself. ;)
More food next time.

3. 6 screaming women WILL FIT in the downstairs bathroom (dye studio).

Yes, we had 6 screaming women in my downstairs bathroom. It was during the time when they were unwrapping and rinsing skeins.

4. Ben doesn't mind being the only man in a sea of estrogen.

My husband is a saint. 'Nuff said. Ok, no, not 'nuff said. He enjoyed himself as much as any man in a sea of women does. He even helped un-knot some of the knitpicks skeins. He helped entertain the crazies while I was attempting to teach "blogless MJ" to dye.

5. A visit to the "stock room" where we keep all of our stuff to sell makes
people oooh and aah.

Especially the silk. The flannel got ooh's and aah's when I pointed out that it was the same yardage as the regular cotton (and is 2x as thick). Anne decided she needed the cocobolo spindle. I took one down from its resting place and spun with it the rest of the day. They spin like a DREAM. this one spins FOR-EVER.

6. 16 oz of Kona Superwash will eat dye, and take much more than you ever

Anne brought TWO 8-oz skeins of Kona Superwash. It took 3 8-oz bottles of dye. And then some. She had to flip and RE-apply dye to the back of her skeins.

7. Christy's guest room sleeps 2. We can't adopt everyone.

When we were done, there was a lot of "You're going to adopt me, right?" (Heck, while we were WORKING, there was a lot of "You're going to adopt me, right?!")

8. Knitpicks skeins are all kinds of messed up.

Chery had a skein that reversed directions all the time. Kathy had a skein that tied itself into a knot. Ben cut it in 3 places, and we ended up giving Kathy the last tangled piece to
do with as she pleased.

9. Sometimes, a "bloody mess" turns out to be a "happy accident".

Ellen's dyeing took a LOT of dye (half of which got cleaned up before it even hit the dye pot), and felted a little, but it ended up being beautiful, nonetheless.

10. It takes at least a day to recover from having that many people yelling your name.

Every time I sat down, "Christy!" was heard from the downstairs dyers. Usually needing pink dye mixed.

Lisa took pictures, before she ran off to her spinning class. Linda seemed to have the most fun watching everyone and giggling. Leisel spent most of her morning wrapping and re-skeining yarn, which gave her a result that was pretty, but rather time-consuming.

Next time, it's been suggested that we do a swap, so that people can branch out a bit from their color comfort zones. Sock yarn, dyed to swap. Mmmm... sock yarn.

I'll definitely have more food next time, and mix up much more dye. Gallons of pink.
Maybe have people come over earlier than 8:30am, even. More dye stations, definitely.

It'll be a month or three before then, though. I'll just keep plugging along until then, dyeing mostly on Fridays (Friday is Dye-day! are my usual posts to the group), inviting whoever wants to come over and play with color.

Wednesday, May 3

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock is my favorite yarn right now. For felting, I like Cascade Pastaza, Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride (and LPB). Please, no microfiber *Splitty, splitty, splitty* and no 100% cotton *hurts my hands*.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a silk-covered box. It was a gift from my sister-in-law. Actually it was WRAPPING for a gift that my sister-in-law gave to my husband. It's approximately the shape for fireplace matches (weird, but it works well, and I don't lose it).

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

A little over a year. I'd consider myself an intermediate knitter. I've tackled cables, entrelac, fair isle, and felting.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

This Amazon wish list.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Unscented. I wash my clothes in unscented detergent and try not to introduce many extra scents into our house, because my husband has asthma.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I have a sweet tooth, and love Good'n'Plentys. And of course, chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I spin. I dye (yarn, fabric). I sew. I quilt. I make stained glass (copper foil and leaded). I turn spindles.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

"Alternative". Top 40. Kinda. People like: Barenaked Ladies, Robbie Williams, Gorillaz, Everclear, Jason Mraz. I can play MP3's.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I can't stand pink. Especially baby-pink. I like bright, happy colors. Deep jewel tones like raspberry, emerald, and sapphire. Earthy woodsy colors like olive, brown, and deep orange.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married, 2 cats, 1 small dog (shiba inu).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves, hats sometimes, mittens never, ponchos never.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I don't have a favorite right now. I want to knit lace soon, but haven't had the inclination.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Socks. For me and the husband.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes. I appreciate the hard work and thought someone has put into making something.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circulars and DPN's. I love bamboo and wood. I own a Needlemaster, but I still like bamboo

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

1 ball winder, 1 skein winder, 2 swifts.

17. How did you learn to knit?

Books, the Internet.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

April of last year, when I started knitting. I started knitting a sweater, but it's sitting there in the basket because it's too small and I can't stand to try to finish it. It's mellowing, waiting for me to frog it and rewind the wool.

19. What is your favorite holiday?

I don't really have a favorite holiday. I try to appreciate every day.

20. Is there anything that you collect?

Not really. We (husband and I) collect Chevron Cars, but we've got all of them so far. :)
I have a nice yarn stash, and a nice quilting fabric stash, but those don't usually fall under the guise of "collecting".

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I have subscriptions to Spin Off and Interweave Knits. I'd like to have a reference-type book with lots of stitch patterns in it, though.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I'm always learning new techniques. Lace is on my list, as is moebius knitting.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes. I'd have to find the measurements I made for my last socks. I have relatively large feet (size 9 US).

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)