Mmm… lanolin

It may be wierd and freakish, but I love the smell of an unwashed fleece.  I love the fact that it came from a real, live creature somewhere and not an oil field, and that I’m participating in a tradition that is over 20,000 years old.  Call me sentimental, but it’s the truth.  And, knowing this, you can probably guess how I reacted today when I found this in my mail pile after work today:

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook

…[An unbelievable 400+ page guide to any and all animal-produced fibers coming from sheep, goats, camelids, and more!  I spent quite some time pouring over it before I remembered my duty as a blogger.]…

…PLUS the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook Sampler kit available through the Spinning Loft (my new favorite web store to stalk), including (but not limited to) 1 oz samples of Qiviut, Cashmere, Black Welsh, Clun Forest, Southdown, and soooo many more (19 in total).  Opening this box was such a refreshing change after the past two months of tech-centric madness:

Mmm.  Lanolin.  Of course, I can’t start in on these gems until I return from TNNA, where I shall be releasing some other gems:

(just in from the printer!)

Which, while lovely, don’t have much of a lanolin scent or woolly feel.  But they are so neat and shiny.

Even though I can’t play with my sampler kit now, at least I have something to look forward to after the show.  Maybe I should do a blog series about each fiber.  Would anyone be interested?  I could cover the process of cleaning it, carding or combing it, and then spinning it.  Thoughts?  Yay, nay?  Don’t care?

Lastly, in other news (before I collapse), I just created a page for my new line Rose City Knits on facebook:

As part of a collaborative effort between myself and my poor overworked coder to get the Rose City Knits website up and running before the Show (we’re getting close, honest!).  If you feel so inclined, I’d be ever so appreciative if you’d Like it – if only to get rid of the set-up message ;P

Tomorrow I get to pack and then I fly out Thursday morning at 6 am (not much looking forward to that!).  I’ve just cast on a new traveling sock (my Flocked Sock pattern, in fact*) that I might just geek out with and try and get as many people to hold as possible.  I’m going to be such an obvious rookie.  Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t come across as a total dork!

*What?  I want a pair for me.

Gawdawful tired.

It’s been a looong month since my last post.  I am just utterly and completely exhausted from my recent exploits.  Highlights (until a real post, maybe tomorrow):

  1. TPTB* went on vacation and I was left in charge of the store for three weeks.  Amazingly enough, it didn’t burn down, explode, or go out of business in that time.  I am, however, brutally exhausted from being ‘On’ and in charge(ish) for three weeks together.  Also, doing three peoples’ jobs at once didn’t help.
  2. I was interviewed on the radio/ a podcast, Knit Happens.  My coworkers actually listened to it live and didn’t mock me after.  I think I sounded like an idiot.
  3. Opus, Opus’s Mum, and I went on a road trip in search of fabric.  We found it.  Lots, in fact.  Did I take a picture?  Apparently not one that I can find…
  4. I had a spinning party with Opus and Co., during which we wound a skein that was 26 FEET in circumference.  Trust a weaver, a.k.a. Opus’ Mum, to figure out how to do something that crazy.
  5. Opus and I walked in Race for the Cure.  We also knit at the same time, proving we are not natural blonds.
  6. I taught Eva how to block a triangular lace shawl.
  7. I met a kitten named Mowgli.  Who I then took home.  (In my defense, it’s been a long month and it was a weak moment)
  8. Opus & Co. and I went to OFF&F, where we saw sheep, and goats, and a llama.

But there’s a lot more.  I’ll get to them later.  Until then, here’s some pretty for you:

I (heart) Fair Isle

Well, I think it’s pretty. It’s a Dale sweater for Tegan. Details later. Time for bed. With a kitten on my head.

*The Powers That Be.

shades of green

I can’t believe it’s Sunday already, but time seems to be moving faster and faster these days. Yesterday, I went with Opus on a little outing to Cartlon. To visit Woodland Woolworks. I’m slowly progressing on my Seraphim shawl, and desperately need blocking wires. Luckily, they had them in stock (no, I didn’t call ahead), so I can block the shawl when the time comes.

Which will hopefully be before Miriam Felton arrives for her upcoming lace workshops, since we’re hoping to set up a display of lace garments to show off her designs.

And, because I’m teaching a class on handspinning in November (the same time as Miriam’s visit, actually), I’ve been stocking up on handspun yarn for both display and teaching purposes:

chartreuse handspun

Above is 4oz of Blue-faced Leicester, dyed by Abstract Fiber in the color “Chartreuse”. I think it’s a sport weight (haven’t checked the yardage yet), and should be destined for something lovely… eventually.

I have so many designs in my head, it’s getting a little distracting.

Anyway.  Just looked at the clock – 10:30 pm!  Have to go to bed now, gotta go to work early tomorrow.  Before I climb into bed, here’s a photo of Laurelhurst Park I took this afternoon:

Laurelhurst tree

Cheers!

Just a little bad.

Barely at all, really.  I only went over my budget by $10.

Yesterday (and today, actually) was the 2008 Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival.  Every year I’ve been – this is my 4th? – it’s been larger than the last.  This year was no different.

Opus and I planned to meet up with Leslie around midday and drive down to Canby.  Before we got going, Opus and I grabbed coffee (& tea) at Peet’s.  Opus was working on a pair of socks that make my current WIPs look pitiful by comparison:

VOpus-socks

Well, not all of them. I CO Sarah Pope‘s Andamento Socks, the September Sock Club pattern at Peet’s and eventually noticed something was off…

CO-andamento

Sigh. I had grabbed the wrong size needles from the Sox Stix display. These 5’s were in the 2’s section. Yeah, I’m quick on the draw.

Just before meeting Leslie, we dashed over to Knit Purl and I got a set of 2’s. At least the cuff of the sock will be loose! I guess I’ll have to do the same with the other, so they’ll match. Otherwise, one’ll look funny.

Okay. One already looks funny. But at least they’ll look funny together. Anyway. I transferred the sock to the correct needles and we got on our way. Canby is pretty close to Portland, so we managed to get there right quick.

All around were tons of familiar faces. I was really evil and made several friends hold the traveling sock for… uh… posterity?

Maybe not. They didn’t argue this time (much), though. First were Kaaren and Dallas, friends from “No Mean Feet!” (Knit Purl’s sock knitting group), who we sat and chatted with for some time:

Kaaren-Dallas-sock

They were much more graceful about having a sock shoved at them than, say, Opus or Leslie – who wouldn’t hold the sock for a photo at all.

Next was Terrisa, former coworker, who we ran into at Carolina Homespun’s booth whilst looking for a spindle for Opus. She wasn’t too difficult, once I cornered her between a wall of lace yarn and baskets of spinning fiber:

Terrisa-sock

Mwahahaha. I was so glad to see her, but we didn’t get to kibitz much, as she was dragged off by her traveling companions. Maybe next time.

And, oh, did you catch that little slice of victory? Yes, indeedy, I finally brought Opus over to the Dark Side…

VOpus-spindling

Using the usual bribery: exquisite roving. Mmn mmn mmm. 70% Superfine Merino superwash/ 30% Alpaca. One of the strangest, yet most wonderful, blends I have ever found. Opus was staring longingly at it while I debated over color – the vendor had 4 solids, each $13 for ONE POUND of roving. I nearly fainted when she told me the price. Apparently a mill went out of business or something, and she bought up their wares.

Well. Opus waaanted some. Bad. I told her it would be perfect to learn to spin on (no lie) and she caved. One pound of yumminess followed her home. Along with a spindle and the beginnings of a true addiction. She started spinning lace-weight from the beginning and even the car trip back to Portland didn’t stop her.

Mwa. Ha. Ha.

Totally worth going over budget.  I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of the goodies, but I daresay we’ll be seeing them soon enough once they’re spun.

And, I’ve decided to be a bit more disciplined.  A blogging schedule might be just the thing to keep myself on track.  Whether I feel like it or not, whether I have pictures or not, there will be posts every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Though, the picture thing might become easier once I buy myself a new camera.  I’m dreadfully overdue (my stalwart Olympus is from 2004) and could use something a bit more conveniently-sized for carrying around.  But, that’s neither here nor there at the moment.

Until Wednesday, happy knitting!

91 hours.

That is how many hours I have worked in the past two weeks, not counting lunches or commuting time either. Oy. But, it’s been worth it. The store hasn’t suffered from N’s sudden leave-of-absence and inventory is more accurate than ever. Also, I managed to help Terrisa get the Knit Purl website up to date.

My newest of newly learned skills? Tech editing. While I may suck at editing myself*, it turns out I’m not too bad at editing other people. This can be duly proven by the fact that I went through Terrisa’s Baby Court Jester pattern with a fine-tooth comb and didn’t pull my hair out :) Go, look, it’s SO DARN CUTE it kills me. Especially since I spun the yarn for her.

Since today was Pay Day, I decided to reward myself and got one of these and one of these. I’m gonna spin the first and ply it with the second. Should be fun. If I get it fine enough, I should have around 400 yards. What should I make? That’s the question.

I swear I’ll finish Monday’s post. But, to do that, I need to take some photos. And since I leave before it’s light out and get home after dark, most nights, that’s proving difficult. But I swear I’ll make the effort. Maybe Terrisa will help me…

*Ha! “Suck” doesn’t describe my inadequacy accurately. It turns out that W, the ShibuiKnits tech editor had to spend 11 hours(!) on my last BIG pattern.

Completely pointless yarn p0rn

If you read the other blog I sometimes write for, you can just skip this post. I couldn’t help it. The yarn is soooo pretty. Which I take absolutely NO credit for. The exquisiteness of this yarn is entirely do to the dyers at Fleece Artist:

Fleece Artist BFL handspun

I mean (sigh), really. The moment I saw the roving on display I knew I had to have it. I spun 100 g in one night and knit with it over the course of the next two evenings.

And now I want more. Heaven help me. But, good news, my make-it-up-as-I-go pattern actually worked :)

Pictures tomorrow, I promise. The FO is blocking at the moment and shouldn’t be disturbed during such a stressful point in its development.

Fruit salad

After spending yesterday catching up on the laundry and cleaning (I even ironed my work shirts!), I decided to be lazy on my last day off for a while.  So what did I do all day? I indulged myself and sat on my tuckis in front of my wheel for 2 – 3 hours and produced this:

fruit salad

100 g of Merino yarn that I love muchly. I have absolutely no specs for you, sorry. I’m fairly certain it’s a DK weight since it looked like it. But since the skein is blocking, I don’t have WPI or yardage. I think I’ll make a hat with it, to entice the warm weather back (it’s like bringing an umbrella to prevent rain).

On the subject of handspun, I still have these beauties, which I finally wound this afternoon. I want to make something with them. Two somethings, really. Suggestions would be great, since I’m completely hopeless. The green is getting 4 SPI on US 9 and the purple-pink will probably get 5 SPI on US 7.

And that is everything.  So sleepy.  The Robitussin is making me fuzzy.

aaarg

The WordPress ate two blog posts yesterday, and then I finally gave up. But here’s the gist of what I was trying to write (in between bouts of tearing my hair out)…

SSE from OF&FF, including:

the-haul

  • 2 skeins of handpainted sock yarn
  • 2 oz “Periwinkle” handpainted UF merino and matching bombyx silk
  • 4 oz handpainted superwash merino
  • 2 oz “Rose” handpainted UF merino & 2 oz “Passionfruit” handpainted merino to match

Other stuff? Being running around like mad, wishing I wasn’t so stupid. I need to CO the revised knee-high spocks today, do like 5 loads of laundry, turn in my application for a job (in person) downtown, finish Clara, and G-d only knows what else.

And, just to add one more thing to the list:
sockin' it to Maggie

I really want to do this. As a sock-knitting loony, I might as well use my powers for good, right? Now all I need is to find time (and a pattern, a pattern would be good) to knit another pair of socks.

another learning experience

Despite my late night, somehow I was roused out of bed bright and early this morning to carpool to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival. Leslie, Teresa and I jetted over to pick up Opus, who I had nagged into coming with us (she needs to get out more often). Of course, my motives may not have been entirely altruistic, maybe, since Opus is a champion loom-threader and I’m, well, not. Bless her heart. She actually stayed with me (once we got to Canby) while Leslie and Teresa found food for us and threaded the loom whilst I carded the wool for our weft:

P1010010

I managed to thoroughly confuse her, apparently, because the way I was taught to thread a loom is “backwards and upside-down”, or something. Right.

Luckily, St M and Jodie showed up to distract us (and actually spin the weft I was carding). Here’s St M with Lennie, working on the blue half of the weft:

P1010011

And here’s Jodie, spinning away, the brave woman who volunteered to spin the wool I carded:

P1010012

Very quickly, we had enough yarn to weave with (and Opus finished warping in that time). They were too quick for me, I didn’t get to finish carding the green weft. Tricky people. In a rush this morning, I had picked the lime green locks and the turquoise roving. I had thought they would work well with the yarn Opus’ Mum gave us for the warp, but wouldn’t be too overpowering together:

P1010015

They did look great and we got many compliments, but I didn’t take into account (as I was frantically grabbing handfuls of wool) that weaving with two shuttles would severely slow me down. And St M down, who was my relief weaver. By the end of the show, at around 5 pm, the shawl was only 2/3 – 3/4 finished. Oops.

A mistake made with the best intentions and I’ve definitely learned from it. So now I’ll have to finish the shawl at home (I don’t have to give Opus the loom back until Thursday), and then mail it to the winner of the raffle. The shawl was raffled off to benefit the OF&FF’s Youth Spinners program.

So, yeah, more homework. I got myself some bribes during the day, to keep myself trucking on the ShiBuiKnits patterns, other knitting patterns, knitted gifts, etc. Here’s a teaser for tomorrow:

P1010013

The wall o’ sock yarn at one of the booths. This booth was dangerous. Goodness gracious. It also didn’t help that they had fabulous hand-dyed sock yarn for $16 a skein. Oy. Yes, I got sock yarn. Only 2 skeins, though. And, um, a hank of superwash wool to spin into yarn for socks…

Right. I’m not obsessed or anything. Anyway, I’ll post yarn p0rn pix tomorrow. Until, look at TheBon’s pretty-pretty OFF&F 2007 slideshow. She took much better pix than I did.

progress, progress, progress

Thank you, everyone, for your well-wishes. I do feel much better today. Thank goodness, too, because if today had been like yesterday I would have jumped off of the Morrison Bridge. Oy.

Anyway, much progress has been made in: cleaning (boring), knitting (interesting), and formating the blog (eh). Several loads of laundry and a clean kitchen made me feel less guilty about fiddling with the blog today. If you go to the designs by fyberduck page, it’ll direct you to choose from gratis and carus patterns (free and… well, not-so-free). From there you can click on a project’s thumbnail and read a synopsis with a link to the PDF pattern.

Well, in the gratis section. I haven’t finished editing the Spocks pattern for Knit/ Purl yet, so it’s not linked (just listed). Some of the other patterns I’m planning on selling will be listed when I get them done.

If I ever get them done. (sigh)

First I’m working on all those free patterns I’ve promised that are still only half-finished.

Other news? Knitting. Right. This is a knitting blog (well, mostly), so readers might want to see some knitting progress, right? Here’s Iro as it basks in the sunlight, endlessly pleased that it’s not in the “abandoned projects” basket anymore:

Iro-wip

Iro is an afghan that would be extremely ridiculous to knit, had I not stumbled onto the GREATEST Noro sale ever – 75% off. So, I grabbed 7 skeins of Noro’s Iro a 50/50 wool/ silk blend and planned on making either a really sumptuous shawl or afghan. The afghan won out somehow. I’m making up the pattern as I go, which isn’t the most comforting thought in the world – so I try not to think about it ^_^

And, ooooh, here’s Miss Lizzy’s Spencer blocking:

blocking-spencer

I finished the sleeve last night, and the picot edging. And since Emm is out of town, I’ve commandeered his bed. He’ll never know. Mwahaha. I’ve also promised to block Mum’s shawl on his bed this week.

Oh, I just remembered – reading news. I’m reading Knit Fast, Die Young. It’s not the best novel in the history of literature, but it’s definitely a step-up from the knitting mystery crap I’ve found thus far. Just thought I’d mention it. I’ve also been flipping through A Shropshire Lad and… oh, bugger, what was that other book? I’ve actually forgotten.

Clearly, it couldn’t have been too interesting, right?

Moving on. The Sinister Spinsters have been invited to demonstrate a Sheep-to-Shawl at this year’s Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival. How cool is that? I’m hoping all of the BSG team can make it. I’ll need to step up my nagging, so I can get answers from everyone :) What’s really cool about it (other than showing off), is that the shawl we’ll make will be auctioned off to benefit one of the OFFF’s charity projects.

And, finally, one last bit of good news: as of today Sock Knitters Anonymous has 33 pairs of finished socks for August’s Sockdown Challenge. W00T! I am so glad I that I am not the only insane one on ravelry. And August isn’t even over yet. It would be so cool if we managed 50.

I want to go spin now.  A bien tôt.