Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Doesn't everyone plan vacation around yarn shops?

Or is that just me? We got the oddest look from the Canadian customs officer...

But first, we have to back up a bit to the domestic vacation. AKA a weekend in Oregon. I went to Black Sheep Gathering for the first time this year. I highly recommend it. I had such fun. I took three classes with Judith MacKenzie McCuin. I love taking classes from Judith but I learned something about taking classes this time as well as learning from the classes. I learned that I need assimilation time. When I took classes while at home, I had time in the evenings to practice what I had learned and review it mentally. But when I was in a hotel with family that wanted mommy time I didn't get to play and review. So next time, one class per day max.

I had lots of fun at BSG in the shopping arena too. I bought fiber every second time I went by the Tactile Fiber Arts booth I think (and I went by a lot). I also bought two fleeces. Both second prize winners in their classes.

A lovely slightly variegated grey Romney.

And a gorgeous black Wensleydale.

I needed to buy fleeces about as much as I dunno, a polar bear needs to buy snow? But they are sooooo pretty. Of course, now I have to wash fleece. And not so much in the time to do it department but that is a story for a different post. The Romney is from Fox Hollow Farm and Fiber right there in Eugene Oregon, and the Wensleydale is from Black Pines Sheep in Colorado.

I learned how to make the kind of sock yarn Judith likes (and why she likes it) and that I can indeed spin finer than I think I can. I learned how to spin really really fine too. And then I came home and had barely a week at home before we went off on another vacation and lots of stuff to do before we could go. So I didn't get a chance to spin (or even finish putting my wheel back together properly after its dismantling to get it into the car - GASP!!!) for weeks. I must remember next time to also allow two full weeks of limited obligations at home so I can practice what I have learned.

Our second vacation was a real actual week long one to visit my SIL in New York State. We flew into Rochester and since we were there it only made sense to take the child and hubby to see Niagara Falls.
That blue head on the left might be the FoUI.

And once you're at Niagara Falls, you might as well go to Canada. And once you're in Canada you might as well go to Toronto, and once you're in Toronto there's a yarnaholic's tonne of yarn shops. (I feel like a mouse with a pancake.) Sadly I had to pick only one but I picked a good one. Lettuce Knit is in the coolest neighborhood! Possibly many cities have multiple neighborhoods like that but I'm from the suburban sprawl of California and we don't have anything that vibrant around here. I was probably too effusive in my praise because the offspring felt compelled to announce that we were not moving to Canada.

When we were going into Canada the customs officer got rather an odd expression on his face when my DH answered the "why are you coming to Canada" question with "to buy yarn". I can see why he'd be suspicious of us, we already answered the "how long" question with "a few hours" which has gotta make people wonder. Although as near as we could tell hundreds (maybe thousands) of Canadians were going to America for the day. We found that a bit puzzling particularly since it was Canada Day. Which would have been a great excuse for why we were visiting, if we had known before we got to the customs officer.

The best part of that whole excursion to Canada? I got some yarn I've been just missing getting other places for over a year. 2 skeins of Dream In Color Fatty in Beach Fog.

Now if only I could remember why I wanted them...

In New York we did quite a few touristy things. We went to Corning to the Glass Museum and make our own blown glass ornaments. I find that whole thing alarmingly cool. Alarmingly because I need a new hobby (particularly one that requires large expensive things like kilns) like that aforementioned polar bear needs more snow. But it was a lot of fun and look at the pretties:

Mine is the blue and purple stripy one, my DH made the blue and yellow one.

And then on our way to arrange to take an evening boat ride around one of the lakes, we went to the neatest yarn shop. Finger Lakes Fibers is a great shop. Lots of interesting yarns. Lots of local yarns. Seats for the non yarnies. And they carry Brooklyn Handspun (which I had yet to succeed at getting a skein of) and they had one that called my name.
Soft Spun Plus in Hydrangea

I think I will succumb to temptation and use this to make the Hydrangea socks in The Eclectic Sole. Finger Lakes Fibers does a local fiber tour which includes a visit to Schaefer but I missed it by a week. They are also doing one to Ireland which is kinda tempting except I think I am going to be busy even if it weren't already too late.

That's enough for today this is already awful long.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Like a Bad Penny

I just keep coming back. I've been up to a lot since last posting. Most of it not bloggable until now. Besides, vacationing and knitting for others and panicking about possible moves has taken up so much time lately that by the time I remember I need to do a blog post, it's so late I really need to get sleep more than I need to post a blog entry. Particularly since blog entries created when I am that tired tend to be pretty undecipherable.

I shall split the events since my last post up into several entries so as to not have too long of a post here. Now the question is, chronological or not? Eh, linear time is usually a good thing so chronological it is. Catch up time:

My first not-bloggable knitting was shown all wrapped up last post. I participated in the Loopy Ewe Swap 2 on Ravelry. I had never done a swap before and I was interested to try. I was assigned a very sweet lady to knit for, Marissa (HPMomma on Ravelry), and as I always do when starting a project, agonized for ages over yarn and pattern choice. The fact that it was going to someone I didn't know well just made me dither more.

In the end I knit socks for her:
Pattern: WendyKnits' Alana Socks bought at The Loopy Ewe
Yarn: Creatively Dyed's Luxury Sock yarn in Campfire Embers (that might be the Loopy Ewe's name rather than Creatively Dyed's) bought at The Loopy Ewe

It took forever to find the right pattern for this yarn. It's so beautifully dyed that large areas of plain stockinette really show it off best. So I felt bad that I had knit so plain a sock but the yarn really glows in it. The photo I have of the socks does not do this yarn justice. This was my first hemmed cuff sock too so I learned a new trick from this swap as well. That's always fun.

And boy did I get spoiled (and I should have posted about this right away when it arrived but I had a bad month for having time for blogging there for a while) by Beth (Plexippa on Ravelry), my upstream partner!
So much goodness in that box! And see the little Loopys on the box side? So cute! I'm stunned by how perfectly she got everything I love. I mean, gift cards for coffee and ice cream? Perfect! The fan lollypop also perfect (although I ended up having to give it to my daughter - something I did mentally kicking and screaming I might add). And the other goodies were also so exactly what I'd have grabbed gleefully for myself if I had known they existed. Soak labels for hand knits (doh! I just realized I should have used one of those for a later project facepalm), and Green Tea scented Knitter's Hand Repair Soap (which my hands could use repairing and it's the loveliest scent but I've only just convinced myself I'm allowed to use it LOL) and the loveliest leaf bead stitch markers. Not to mention that gorgeous bump of Tempted Roving (Yummy! It's next on the big wheel) in my favorite colors and at 80/20 merino silk so lovely feeling! And the best for last, the most amazing mitts!

Look closer at those gorgeous mitts she knitted for me!

Anne Hanson's (Knitspot) Orchid Lace Mitts! A pattern I have been planning to knit for myself for ages. Knit in The Sanguine Gryphon's Eidos in Euthydemus (purple is like totally my favorite color like evah!) and a fantastic fit besides! I have been a big fan of both Anne's patterns and The Sanguine Gryphon's colors and yarns for a long time so I was overjoyed. Really I go all squee (and I'm really not a squee-er under normal circs) every time I see these mitts. I've had them sitting out so I can see them and pet them ever since they arrived. I finally had to put them away this week since we have a guest so I had to vacate my studio/office. They are so lovely and elegant I am going to have to lose some weight and buy a sexy little black dress to wear with these next fall when the FoUI and I go out on dinner dates.

More soon. There's still Black Sheep Gathering, more stealth knitting that doesn't need to be stealthy anymore, vacation that may yet lead to yet another new hobby, a new spinning wheel and more maybe moving madness to come. I said it was a busy last few weeks...