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!

One week later

What have I been doing this week? Mostly battling the monster that is the Knit Purl website. I have, finally, managed to fix all the code AND standardize the Habu Textiles Kits page. Of course, doing so, I discovered duplicates of many of the kits – and left them there until we can figure out which ones are correct. I also helped Terrisa take photos of all the new yarns lines we’ve gotten in and a bunch of other stuff.

Mostly, it’s been a long week. So, Saturday, I met up with Opus at a cafe down the street from Twisted and we spent a long time being lazy and indulgent at both the cafe and LYS. Before we dragged ourselves off of their couch, I snapped a photo of the yarn I’d bought and some of our WIPs:

socks-n-stuff
(Above: my Casbah socks in “Vintage”, Blue Moon Silkie in “Blue Brick Wall”, and Opus’ now-dubbed ‘Carmen Miranda’ shawl made with Kauni-EQ)

From there we crossed the river and hopped, skipped, and jumped around The Pearl. I even found some more guilt-free, fair trade, mind-blowing chocolate. Eventually, though I had to turn around and go to work for the Dreaded Inventory.Why it’s so dreaded, I really don’t know. Having done it the old-fashioned way with clipboards and books of inventory sheets, having 3 scan guns and a computerized system makes it totally manageable in my mind.

Anyway. We (Opus decided to volunteer to help) arrived and were greeted by this:

Only, you know, in black and white and in The Oregonian. My coworkers had found the photos taken last week, whilst St M was visiting. I knew it’d happen (sigh). Oh course, the photo is completely out of context. I was laughing because M threw the Boa on, shrieked, and nearly fell over it was so heavy. I think it also bonked her on the head, too. It was funny as hell (I’m a bad friend, I know). But I wasn’t laughing at the Boa itself. Ohwell :)

Back to Inventory. We had decided to just do the Habu and Malabrigo earlier in the week, expecting them to be some of the worst. They really weren’t. With 2 extra volunteers (8 total), we got through the two in less than half the time we’d scheduled. Which left us a lot of time to reorganize the yarn and munch on pizza.

Again, it was nothing on doing inventory on the Knit Shop or at the Museum.

But now I have to go and battle That Sweater pattern for the 3rd time in 2 days. It’s going to be the death of me.

Yaaaay! More bad cellphone pix!

Just what you always wanted, eh? Hehehe.

I met with Opus this morning(ish), even though the chocolate crawl had been postponed, and we actually (for once!!!) got stuff done. Everyone should be so proud of me, I did everything on my list:

  • Got a new laptop/ work bag: check!

We magically managed to hit Franklin Covey during a sale, and I grabbed a messenger bag that appealed to my taste and Opus’ opinions on thriftyness. It also has more pockets than a Navy Seal’s trousers, I swear.

  • Sat and knit for hours on end: check!

We went over to Twisted. As much as I love me my Knit/ Purl (employment, Habu, ShiBuiKnits, what’s not to love?), Twisted has a lounging area. With a big, smooshy, sofa. Seriously. And they don’t mind if you park and knit for, oh, SIX hours on their couch. Opus even made a cookie run between rounds:

Opus-sock

Her mum’s Christmas present #2. The other reason we crossed the river? The sock yarn. They have completely different stock than us. And look what followed me hooome…

smooshy

SMOOSHY! My deep and abiding love of The Smooshy cannot be denied. Nor can cool books on socks. Not pictured? My kick@ss new Zephyr Style sock stitch markers, which I couldn’t leave without.

We hung out with the girls (and quite a few familiar knit-bloggers) and caught up. Then Opus and I were bad and got fish ‘n chips next door.

So, WIP update? Project #3 is almost done, I’m so close to finishing it I might cry. I have 12 rounds until the final shoulder decreases (another 10 rounds, give or take, I think) and then onto the saddles and collar. I should be able to get it done (well and with some style) by my new deadline of December 21st. My next challenge is finding somewhere to block it.

Opus suggested I sleep on the floor.

I told her to bugger off. There are some things even I won’t do.

But, kicking Emm out of his bed isn’t beyond me…

Final note? The cuffs, and pattern, of the cash-socks are done. Now all I need to do is slave away on my January Mystery Sock pattern (for the SKA) tomorrow, and I’ll be on schedule. Well, mostly.

mmm… pink

Today was a long day, but it made up for it by being very quick and resulting in gorgeous yarn. Knit/Purl is doing a limited series of naturally dyed sock yarns (100% superwash fingering weight, really), which are being dyed locally at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks. I’ve been lusting after them since D first showed me the samples two weeks ago. The line finally went on the shelves tonight. Instead of grabbing two skeins for two different sets of socks, a rare insight hit me. I just bought the pattern for Seraphim, by Miriam Felton, and didn’t have yarn for it.

Ahh, I love my staff discount:

yarn4seraphim

The yarn is so pretty. Unfortunately, I won’t get to play with it until Jan 15 (pout) because of all the commissioned work I have to turn in… (sigh). But, hey, I have it and it’s in the stash and it’s MINE. And I might just have enough yarn left over (385 yards per skein!) to make a pair of socks, anyway.

After snagging the object(s) of my desire, I took a shot of tonight’s Sip’n’Stitch, for which we ran out of seats (again):

sip'n'stitch

This is becoming an interesting trend. I plan on lobbying for a lounge area. I am determined to find a way to fit it into the floorplan.  We need a couch, darnit.

Other stuff? The chocolate crawl/ unBirthday Party has been tentatively rescheduled for Sunday, so Terrisa can come. And, to explain to my confused readers, a chocolate crawl is like a pub crawl – except we’ll be hitting chocolateries and patisseries like, oh, Pix. I vividly remember my last visit to Pix. I had the Amelie. It’s actually hard not to drool at the recollection.

Also, MORE good news. D, trying to encourage me to take on more hours, mentioned today that if I work 30 hours +/ per week I get health insurance. Well, that’s definitely good news. Now all I have to do is NOT spend my paycheck in one place… And find time to design and knit for, you know, everyone.

Ooh! my laptop is due to arrive on Monday. I need to get a bag for it (and my new dayplanner, courtesy of Leslie -who, incidentally, spent a half hour planning the next two months of my schedule for me, bless her). Maybe that’s what I’ll do on Saturday…

But, right now, it’s time for bed. ‘Night.

That was interesting

Yesterday was insane. On top of the PBS film crew showing up to film the store (etc), we got several LARGE shipments in:

  • one from Kauni (10 lbs worth of yarn!)
  • Circs from Clover
  • SP’s and DPNS from Crystal Palace

And one very special, very small, shipment of sock yarn…

Socks-to-be

The solid orange is/ will be ShiBuiKnit’s newest yarn – 75/25 merino/cashmere sock yarn. The multi is ShiBuiKnits Sock in “Autumn”. I’ve been given the task of making a pair of socks with them and wearing them for a couple of weeks, then presenting a small report on the durability of the new yarn compared to the regular Sock.

Oh, the things we do for work.

The film crew showed up at 3:30 and immediately took over the shop:

PBS film crew

Please pardon the blurry, camera-phone, shot. In my rush to get around yesterday morning, I forgot to grab my digicam and then to eat something real (adding to the shaky-hands factor). But it all worked out. Opus and I escaped downstairs, where I labeled the new needles that had come in – so they could be sold to the droves of knitters who had shown up.

Eventually, I kidnapped Opus, Terrisa and Kat, just because we were all a bit frazzled. As we left, Opus made me take a picture of the window display Terrisa had been slaving over for the past few days:

Knit/ Purl window display

The we went and got tea. Well, Opus actually had tea and crumpets. I have to go back there just to try that.  And now I have to help mum.  After that: Project #3 countdown starts.

May I present the Emperor Fabulous?

The peacock (who keeps coming back because my parents can’t resist feeding it) has a name now. Emm and I jokingly decided to call him “Emperor Fabulous” when the ‘rents called from Eugene the day after my, uh, shock. Somehow, the name has stuck. Like tar.

He’s getting spoiled, too. 2 granola bars, a handful of oats, and 2 handfuls of sunflower seeds in one day. My parents are suckers for anything that looks hungry. Oy. They’re actually talking about building him his own feeder.

Anyway. The yarn p0rn I promised… Silk Puff in Ivory:

ShiBuiKnits Silk Puff

And, (this is so amusing) Nature’s Palette in…

Nature's Pallette - Mallard
Mallard.

I swear I didn’t know that was the colourway until I got home. I just really liked how gold and green and teal it was. This might be a bad sign. If I start decorating in yellow in green please arrange an intervention or shoot me or something.

Other news? The Knitting G-ds forgave me last night, as I slept. How kind and generous They are. Because I managed to (thank goodness!) finish today:

  • the second part of Project #1
  • complete the ‘medium’ item for the Discworld swap and make progress on the other items I’ve been plotting
  • organize my WIPs, including Projects #2 & #3
  • re-edit a couple of patterns (woot!) AND send one set to the tech editor

The Muses are also sweet as well. I’ve had several ideas pop into my head in the past 24 hours. Sometimes I really wish I didn’t have to sleep. Or, like Penny suggested, buy more time when it’s needed.  Another set of arms would also be good.  Then I could knit and blog at the same time.  Knit and eat.  Knit and (urg) clean.  Knit and knit, actually.  Oooh… knit and knit.  How fun would that be?

Oh, well. It’ll all get done eventually.

closing in

Wish I was here:

Capri

But I’m not. It’s a bit chilly and crisp in Portland right now. I’m not quite to the “brr” point, but that may be coming. I broke out a panta, woolly wrap, and campanula mitts tonight.  I even wore that short sweater-like garment I knit that ShiBuiKnits wants to buy the pattern for.  I have no idea how to refer to it without getting into trouble, so I’m just going to change the subject.

Yarn.  (that got your attention, didn’t it?)  Lots of it.  I’m trading Teresa 6 skeins of my handspun yarn for very luscious yarn I can’t justify buying right now – Silk Puff (I have plans), 3 skeins of Nature’s Palette for Scheherezade’s Slippers, and… well… more sock yarn that I haven’t chosen yet.  But I will.   I love bartering ^_^  I’ll post some yarn p0rn tomorrow, when I have sunlight and the IQ to work a camera*.

I’m also so nearly finished with Project #1.  I just need to reknit the button band, because I cannot count this evening.  It says in the pattern I wrote to PU & K a certain # of stitches.  I PU & K that # – 3.  Sooo… when I got to the buttonholes, they didn’t look quite right.  Oops.

To make up for this, I ripped it back, tried again and had to count the sts over 6 times.  I lost track after 6.  See?  I am not meant to finish this project tonight.

So I got out yarn and started planning my last/ ‘medium’ item for the Discworld Swap.  I’m not even going to swatch, because the Knitting G-ds are angry with me (can’t figure out why), so I guess it’s time to play on ravelry or something.  Or maybe I should just go to bed…

*No, I did not indulge in champagne tonight, I knew I was in trouble before I got to the Sip’n’Knit. 

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.

lagging

My sleep cycle is all wonky after the Harry Potter release party. It’s only been a week, so hopefully it’ll stabilize soon. In the meantime, I’m surviving off of catnaps.

On Friday, Mum and I went to Forest Park, the largest park in any city in the US. Over 5000 acres of greenery, paths, and an Audubon sanctuary. We took the Wildwood path, which curves along a very steep drop (above a 100 ft straight down), but the sock wasn’t too scared:


The dog was tenacious and general pain in the tuckus. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky he didn’t try to follow a bird off the trail, down the slope. The area is famous for it’s few remaining old growth Douglas Firs – some, I’m told, are up to 8 ft in diameter. The largest we saw was about 6 ft. But, the undergrowth (secondary) was full of maidenhair ferns, Solomon’s seal, and teeny-tiny wild flowers. I really do love the PNW, just for places like this:


Growing up in an area that had been lived on, and tamed by humans, for thousands of years (the Cherokee and Iroquois were settled, remember?) meant that I never saw a tree 100’s of feet high until moving to Oregon. Seeing hundreds of them for the first time (in 2002), blocking out the sun and dizzyingly tall, was an experience I’ll never forget. Even now, thousands of acres of wild forest, old and secondary growth, is awe-inspiring to someone raised on concrete and manicured lawns.

It also impresses (and amuses) the hell outta me that women pioneers settled Oregon wearing corsets and skirts (don’t tell me they didn’t, cuz they did). I often wonder at the foolishness of it all.

But, anyway, that’s enough musing. I know all y’all come for the knitting content.

Today, after sitting through a series excruciatingly off-key Torah readings (oy), meeting some of the local Reconstructionist Shul (I miss East Coast Conservative services so much), and escaping narrowly from a rowdy Bar Mitzvah crowd – I dragged the folks to Lint. If you haven’t heard by now that Lint is closing, you probably don’t live in the PDX area and don’t care.

But, as I do, and the Shul was 5 blocks away, we made a stop. This post definitely qualifies for SSE. 10 balls of Rowan 4-Ply Cotton:

9 in Aegean, for the body of a lace pullover, and 1 in Bluebell for accents.
Can you tell I already have the pattern designed?

Aaand, the last 2 balls of Panda Cotton in white:


For a pair of spocks with antique, enameled black buttons. I cannot wait to finish them. I just have to finish little D’s pair (one nearly done!), and then I can CO my own.

Other than that? I put the spencer-bolero-thing back on the needles, because Opus wants a copy of the pattern – but I have to finish knitting the SBT before I can write a pattern for it. I’m 16 rows away from finishing Clue 2 on the Mystery Stole, and am nearly to the heels on Baudelaire.

And that’s about everything. I hope this post was better than the last few… And, thank you everyone for your congrats! This is so exciting.

playing catch-up, pt 2

Someone was nudging me, so I surfaced from the depths of sleep to see an-Emmos-shaped entity standing over me, radiating anxiety.

“It’s 10:15,” she informed me, as I peered at her without my glasses, wondering what was going on. The information settled. I swore loudly and with some proficiency, threw my blankets off and rolled off the air mattress.

We were due at Knit/Purl at 10:30, to meet Opus.

Somehow, less than 10 minutes later, we were in Emmos’ car, driving like lunatics. It must be mentioned that my mother aided us in this timely departure – by tracking items down for us, throwing sweaters (hers) at us, and even venturing out to the car in her PJ’s to find the Portland Metro map for me. Mum definitely earned her Jewish Mother status yesterday.

Three slightly belated knitters arrived at our destination to find Opus knitting on the corner. We called to her, circled the block several times, and finally found parking 2 blocks away.

“I should have realised this,” she called to us as we rushed over, “but since it’s Sunday, they don’t open until 12.”

Oops. Okay. Time to reassess. St M and Opus both needed to visit an ATM. We three needed breakfast. So we set off, first hitting The Pearl Bakery (dangerous, wonderful place to visit), then Anthropologie (it was on the way to WaMu, I swear!), and finally WaMu.

It was 11:20. We still had 40 minutes to kill. “Are there any knit shops nearby you wanted to hit, before we go back to Knit/Purl?” Opus asked. Indeed, there was. Knit Knot Studio. We headed over and were sidetracked by Cargo. 13th St in the Alphabet District is a dangerous place to go for your wallet, lemme tell you.

We arrived at Glisan, wandered around perplexed and discovered that Knit Knot wasn’t open on Sundays. Blast. “Let’s call the rest of those stores on your list, before we go to them,” Emmos suggested. My cell was produced and St M got the job of calling and getting hours for all the stores we’d chosen. Our choices were narrowed to Knit/ Purl, Lint, The Yarn Garden, and Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks. We also decided to try and hit L’Occitaine at some point during the day (before we crossed the river).

We arrived back at Knit/Purl soon after calling the stores on the list, and the girls were suitably impressed. Knit/Purl is quite easily my favourite knit shop ever. They carry high-end yarns that are hard to find, have their own yarn & pattern line, and always have great customer service.

When I was asked if I needed anything, I immediately inquired into the possibility of a special order from Habu Textiles. I explained that, after several failed attempts, I still hadn’t managed to get cobweb yarn for the Wedding Ring Shawl. I had seen on Habu’s website that they carried a gorgeous silk yarn that fit the shawl’s requirements perfectly. But, several months ago, I had been quite disappointed to find that Habu has a minimum order amount of $1000. Eep.

In the end, it took two ladies, the Habu sample book, and a blood oath from me to place an order for degummed Tassar Silk Organizine. I paid a deposit for half of the estimated price, sighed over now-empty bank account (no more yarn for me!), and went to help the girls with their purchases.

As Emmos was paying for her yarns (Shibui sock!), I caught this shot of the group:


From there we drove to Lint. I must admit that I have a mixed review for this store. In the past I’ve had much better customer service than we received yesterday. There’s no arguing that Lint is a great store to visit for knitting accessories and basic yarns like Rowan, Debbie Bliss, and Brown Sheep. But the girls were clearly turned off by the fact that the woman staffing was not impressed with us, nor willing to help us with our inquiries. We left a bit disappointed.

“They’re usually much better,” Opus said as we left, “it’s probably because it’s a Sunday…”

Next was L’Occitaine because the girls (Opus excluded) had been coveting my tinted Shea Butter – for lips and cheeks. After spending too much money there (I was good, I swear), we grabbed lunch. Mmmm… tempura.

We then crossed the river to hit The Yarn Garden, my now 2nd favourite knit store in Portland. Their selection of yarns is impressive, they join onto a cafe, have some fabulous sock yarns and pretty decent customer service. I ended up buying a set of Brittany US 1.5 DPNs, signing up for a rewards card (the girls helped me fill it) and contenting myself to coming back when I had money. St M did much better, as they were having a sale on Noro and found a cashmere blend to die for. Emmos bought several balls of sock yarn (are we seeing a trend here?).

By this point we were completely exhausted and still had a yarn store left. We also had less than an hour to find it. I was not the best navigator and we managed to be superbly lost. By some manner of grace, we ended up at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks 10 minutes before closing.

I have a fairly good review for them. They had a huge selection of Lorna’s Laces – yarns and roving (!) – and also carried other spinning fiber. Again, since I was po’r, I only bought a set of DPN’s (KA US 0’s). But, St M got several hanks of handdyed superwash roving. They, like The Yarn Garden, had a cafe attached. I’ve definitely bookmarked them to visit again when I have money. The fact that they had some naturally dyed roving was also impressive. I wouldn’t visit them for my daily yarn needs (too far away, hard to find, and the selection wasn’t as varied as I’d like), but their roving is more than enough to tempt me.

From there we headed back north, dropped Opus off at a Met station – me promising to meet up with her at Knit/Purl’s weekly knit night. We three headed back home, completely and utterly exhausted.

As Mum made dinner for us (before the girls had to drive back to Eugene), I snapped this shot of the weekend’s haul:


From BSG, in order of purchase:

  • A Spindlewood Co. square mini spindle, weighing in at 5/8 oz (been wanting one of these for a looooong while)
  • Women’s M sock blockers by Fiber Trends
  • Cherry Tree Hill supersock (on sale!) in Peacock and 1 oz of Crosspatch Creations fiber
  • 4 oz of the softest wool top, grown in Oregon – a Cormo x Targhee x Merino mix.
  • Simply gorgeous sock yarn that was handdyed in Oregon (nope, can’t remember the booth, but I’ll post the info on the band when I use it)
  • And, la creme de la cremeHeirloom Knitting and Prehistoric Textiles. Both of which I have been trying to obtain for… too long.

Yesterday:

  • L’Occitaine verbena/ citrus shampoo
  • Brittany birch 5″ US 1.5 DPNs
  • KA 5″ US 0 DPNs

And that is everything. Last night, after the girls left, I fell into bed before 7 pm and slept thru ’til this morning. I have a doctor’s appt in Eugene at 10 am, so now I have to get ready for that. Oooh, fun, more driving. I have a feeling that I’m never going to want to see inside a car ever again, very very soon.