Time for Tacoma

This post is beyond overdue, what with Madrona having been from February 16 – 19, making this post almost exactly a month late.  Brava to me.  Well, what can I saw about Madrona that hasn’t already been said?

Madrona Fiber Arts Festival 2012

Probably not much, but I’m going to make the attempt nevertheless.  First, I’d love to mention how much I enjoyed visiting Tacoma.  For years, I’ve heard so many disparaging comments about Tacoma, and while I’m sure the city has it’s unsavory sections, most of what we saw was lovely, funky, and interesting.

Opus, her Mum, and I took the train up – an experience I cannot deny is infinitely preferrable to driving.  We were seated at a table and knit all the way there and all the way back (the trip is about 2.5 hrs from Portland), stopping to surf the web (free wifi!) and snack.  Tons of fun, and quite productive.  We then walked from the Amtrak station to the free streetcar line and were amused by the fact that the Tacoma streetcars are exactly the same as Portland streetcars.  Funny.  After a 5 minute ride, we hopped off and walked to the Hotel Murano.

Of course, the weather was frightful, so we were quite damp after five minutes outside.  But, it was worth it.  The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival is held at the Hotel Murano, clearly named for Murano island in Venice (home of the glassmakers), and was just filled to bursting with glass art.  I couldn’t help myself and snapped pictures.  We finally made our way to the marketplace and were super excited to see so many of our favorite indie dyers – and some friends!

I had to visit Maia of Tactile, whose booth was a lovely naturally-dyed oasis, and Susan of Abstract Fiber, who also had a gorgeous booth.  I was very, very good and only bought a very little yarn.  From Habu Textiles.  Now before you mock me (yes, many stores in Portland carry Habu), these were colors that aren’t carried locally.  I also bought some gorgeous roving from Woolgatherings.  Yum.  I don’t have a good photo of my goodies, though.

We had to leave a bit early (around 5pm) to catch the train back, but it was a fantastic day trip and so much fun.  We’re already talking about taking the train up in a month or so to visit the Tacoma Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Art Museum.  It would also just be great to tour the city and look at all the beautiful glass art on display.  Sounds like a fun daytrip or two, right?

So, it was tons of fun and I would love to be able to take classes next year – or maybe teach – and will have to plan ahead.  Hopefully this post wasn’t too boring :)  For more photos from the trip, see the “Tacoma” tag on my flickr account.  In the next post (which won’t be a month late), we have the awesome success of the 2012 Rose City Yarn Crawl to go over.  Cheers!

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.

Time flies.

Mostly when you’re busy.  It’s funny.  That little vacation I’ve been talking about for a month now?  I think I might need a vacation to recover from my vacation.  Man.

Let’s see.  Where we left off last time I was lamenting my own laziness.  In my defense, keeping up with an almost-4yr-old is tough.  Especially when she’s super-duper excited to be visiting her relatives and doesn’t want to sleep or sit down for five minutes together.  Seriously.  I made a movie.  In 15 minutes she didn’t sit down once.  I wish I had that kind of energy.

Anyway.  Remember that Ishbel I knit for T?  Well, it fit her perfectly and looked stinking adorable, but could I get her to hold still and pose?

A & T Visit (August 2010)-45

Oh, heck, no.  She thought it was the funniest darn thing in the world to squirm or even hide the shawl…

A & T Visit (August 2010)-49

Whenever Alexa or I tried to take a picture of her in it.  Little squirt.  I’ll get a photo… eventually.

Luckily, T didn’t decide to make a game out of photographing the little bolero I made for her.  Which her Momma dutifully brought up and dressed T in the morning we saw them off:

Tegan's bolero (still)

It fit perfectly.  Actually, it was still a little big, which is ideal.  And it was utterly adorable.  I might have to make another one when she outgrows this ‘un.  In pink.  Hah.

Unfortunately, I had to leave Portland while T and Alexa were still in town (it was unavoidable).  Opus and I had reserved a room in Newport over a month ago, and weeks before Alexa let me know they were visiting.  But I only missed out on two hours of family time.  They had to fly out a couple of hours after I left.

Anyway.  Opus and I met up around midday, after trying to convince T that a bagel was just as yummy as chocolate milk (not too successful there).  We hit  the road and I had to take some shots from the highway.

Hwy 47

It was just gorgeous.  I believe this was from Highway 47.  I really want to go back and do some hiking.  There were some really tempting National and State Forests that looked lovely.

Eventually, though, we made it to Newport.  After a couple of stops along the way (one of which involved the extensive purchase of new weaving equipment, but that’s for another day).  I was really excited to see that our hotel of choice, the Elizabeth Street Inn, did, in fact, have a magnificent view:

The View

Clearly a beach walk was absolutely essential.  The sock certainly enjoyed it…

The Sock visits Newport

Though I’ll admit to being a lot less tough than Opus and having to wrap up with a scarf and sweater. I can’t believe she spent the whole trip in t-shirts.  It gives me chills just thinking about it.  Anyway.  Beach.  Walk.  Wind.

Windy beach
Lots of wind.  It was quite picturesque and, well, bracing.  Unfortunately, my camera’s battery decided to fail as soon as we got down to the sandy shore and I had to resort to using my Crackberry camera; which, frankly, sucks.

Eventually my hands and nose froze and we had to give in and go back to the hotel.  After that we somehow managed to get lost in scenic downtown Newport.  Yes.  Newport (the town with a population of under 10,000).  Fell free to mock, I did.  We did (finally!) find food and our way back.

Thus fueled, I holed up in the room and spent three and a half hours working on last Friday’s eCard – while Opus watched (get this) Monsters vs. Aliens and then four episodes of On The Road with Austin and Santino.  That was an odd night.

The next morning we made our way to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where the sock got to see Swampland.  It really liked the anacondas.

The Sock at Swampland
After watching the sea otters eat raw fish (yum) and petting some sea cucumbers, we started the return trip home.  Mostly because  Opus had to go to NorthWest MogFest yesterday (family thing).  Fuuun.  In lieu of driving all over Sheridan, Oregon in an all-terrain vehicle (so boring, I know), I spent all of yesterday knitting away on a Shibui project that’s Top Secret.  Sooo… here’s some photos of Westmoreland Park, instead of my progress!

Sunsent at Westmoreland

Duckies!

Plus… duckies!

And that brings things up to date.  Think I’m gonna knit some more now.  Or go to bed.  How did it get to be 11pm?  Time flies, I guess.

Lazy blogger.

Actually, more like tired blogger. Keeping up with an almost-4yr-old is hard. Especially when we have a water park, ice cream, cows, horsies, picking fruits and vegetables, swimming at the beach, and heaven only can recount whatelse within the same 24 hours. So, in lieu of an actual post with a central theme and words that are strung together in a sensible fashion, I bring you 50 pictures.

A & T Visit (August 2010)-34

Going to the beach with Opus tomorrow. I’m very sad that I’m leaving before the girls, though, but it’s kind of unavoidable at this point. Oh, well. Mum and Dad can see them off in style. Check back for an update from the coast!

So… yeah.

It’s 1:40am on a Thursday morning and the only reason I’m sitting here typing is because I was stupid enough to take an Excedrin at 4pm today.  Well, yesterday.

Counting sheep definitely doesn’t work because then I start to wonder if they’re Wensleydale or Romney or Bluefaced Leicester and get all hung up on what kind of fleeces they should have and whether or not their polled and… it just goes downhill from there.

I’m surprisingly verbose after 1am.  Imagine that.  Must be all the caffeine overwhelming my system.

If you caught my tweet earlier today, you’ll know that I (briefly) jumped up and down with joy over the fact that Shibui Socks is officially in print.  I am so glad (and pleased with myself) to announce that.  Especially since having to respond to inquiries with the equivalent of “I don’t know – soon?” is a little disheartening.  But I survived the gauntlet (albeit a small one, only ten nine* patterns) and am still of sound enough mind and body to be pleased as punch.

So, I worked until 9pm tonight, writing and coding a Newsletter for Shibui that will formally introduce the booklets to the world at large.  Progress was made, but by 9pm I was ready to give in and go home.  Before I did (and while I was waiting for my ride), I introduced the traveling sock to the booklet.

And so they meet

The traveling sock wasn’t impressed.

Oh, well. I tried.

As I was sitting there (contemplating the feasibility of knitting for 1.5 minutes), I decided to share a super-cool little gadget I found at Utrecht.

Super-cool gadget

That’s not really a gadget. It’s a pencil case (I think). The best part is that all the little compartments are adjustable. Actually, no. The BEST part is that I got it for $2.95 and it was made in America.  Oh, and it keeps my notions organized (also a plus).

Seriously. I’m thinking of naming it.  Possibly ‘Frank’.

By the way, it (Frank?) got along fine with the booklet.

Then, just before my chariot arrived, I decided to let all y’all in on a little secret (but you can’t tell anyone!). Even though I am ardently and devotedly working on the Shibui Heichi booklet, I have been dreaming of other projects (and designs), and even made a little swatch in anticipation of the day when my last Heichi pattern has been submitted. Behold:

Secret Swatch

A Super Secret Swatch (yes, another one), knit with Madelinetosh Lace in “Graphite” on US 6 (4mm) needles. It is d e l i c i o u s. People go nuts when they see and touch it. I can’t wait to get succumb this particular Siren.

Eventually. Still have to finish the back of one sample and then knit the front of said sample.  Translation: I have to knit a sample.  Bah.

It’s 2:10am now and I’m finally getting drowsy.  I think I’m going to try and go back to bed.  Tomorrow (today) is looking to be a looong day.  Wish me luck.  And, yes, I know I’m weird at 2am.

*Due to space constraints we had to cut one of the patterns.  So sad.

Man, oh man.

Am I sick of swatching.  It seems like my life has been an endless series of small knit squares (and rectangles) for the past week…

Swatches

Swatches for a new Shibui booklet (with their new upcoming yarn, Heichi, a 100% silk tweed – yumm), swatches for a new line of yarns we’re going to be carrying, and swatches for swatches for swatches.  Or so it feels like.  I’ve also been working on some Top Secret projects, but can’t share them.  Lame, I know.

I can, however, share the Sock and Leverge (and new KnitPod):

Traveling Sock and Leverage

The Leverage crew have taken over our neighborhood (at work, downtown) again.  Is this the third or fourth time?  I really can’t keep track.  And as fascinating as it is to see them hustling about with giant spotlights and extras and all sorts of gadgets, it’s a pain in the tuckus.  It’d be nice to have our street back again.  Or, you know, one or two parking places.

Eh.  They’ll move on to their next location soon enough.  If they haven’t already.  This photo was from Friday.

In regards to work (aside from drowning in it), I’m developing my own version of Chaos theory:

Chaos breeds

And using my desk as the experiment.  A Nobel Prize is just around the corner.  I can feel it.

It sounds feasible, right?

Anyway.  You can see that I was proofing the upcoming Shibui Luxury booklet, which is gaining hearts all over ravelry.  Especially this cute little hat:

Elizabeth

Tessa (the model) rocked the heck outta that.  Of course, it is an awesome design.  Love the texture detail.  The hat is the most popular pattern in the booklet, which sorta makes sense to me… but my favorite is actually Eustacia:

Eustacia

It’s very, as we’ve been saying at work, ‘French Lieutenant’s Woman’.  I really want one.  Without the mohair, ’cause I just love things that give me hives.  Maybe with Suri alpaca, so I’d get the same halo… or with baby alpaca.  Hm.  Tempt-ing.

My bright spot on the horizon (amidst this endless sea of swatches*) is the imminent release of Shibui Socks.  I find it kind of hilarious (and a little disheartening) that the most popular pattern from the booklet on ravelry…

Brooklyn.  The rewrite of The Button-Up Socks, a Shibui pattern I wrote over three years ago.  We (Shibui and I) decided to include it in the booklet because sales were so low.  Hah.  Knitters are so funny.

Oh, well.  Maybe it just needed to be yellow.

It’s 10:30pm and I need to fold some more laundry.  Mom’s watching another episode of Criminal Minds, one of the worst FBI shows I’ve seen.  As likeable as the characters are, it’s just so inaccurate it makes me cringe.

At least I have my knitting.  Even if it is another d@mn swatch.

*How’s that for mixing my metaphors?

Dazed and bemused

I’m turning 25 on Tuesday and have no idea how to take this fact. The past two months have been a blur, since I spent four weekends in a row down with the flu (or various similar viri). Gah, it just doesn’t feel like it should be December in two days. Where the heck did November go?

I do have some snippets of the month to recall. I vaguely remember my sister sending me two photos on November 12th, mostly because it was during a weekly Sip ‘n’ Stitch and I ended up passing my crackberry around for everyone to see my sister’s feet and a pair of handknit socks on Miyajima, also known as the “Shrine Island”:

socks-island

socks-pagoda

I’m actually jealous of the socks. They get to travel to better places that I do. Silly, I know.  Though I have to say that I absolutely love my sister for taking photos of her feet in public.

On that same night (busy Thursday, eh?), we experienced the biggest sock yarn tangle ever in the store. Alas, it was my yarn.

Biggest cat's cradle ever

It took four knitters three hours to detangle the mess and actually get it into some semblance of a ball. I still haven’t knit anything with said yarn, since I’m almost afraid of it. What will it become? Will it be good or bad?  What pair of socks could ultimately be worth that much effort?

And now, of course, I have an unnatural wariness of Madelinetosh Sock because of this trauma.

Then, on the 23rd, I went to Deschutes Brewery with Opus and Marjorie. Great porter there, it must be said. But, then, I like beer I can chew.

Opus is holding the 7-8″ KnitPod prototype out here:

Travelling 8" KnitPod @ Deschutes Brewery

Which is working awesomely, by the way. I love it. The wip being contained turned into this mitt:

Crappy picture

My new Nemo Mitts, named thusly because I suck at naming things. I’m actually looking for test knitters for the pattern, if anyone’s interested.  Just email me at fyberduck(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll send you a rough copy.

But that’s about everything I have.  There was a finished sweater in there somewhere, but I don’t have a photo or a date.  Bad blogger, I know.  I think I finished it while on a Robitussin/ DayQuil cocktail, so it’s not entirely my fault that that’s all a fog.

I’ll try and be better next month.

Honest.

OMG, I ate a cow.

Okay, not so much.  Had Phở for dinner. I remember reading that Vietnamese cooks use almost the entire cow to make the fantastic beef broth. And, y’know, after eating a large bowl of the stuff… I almost feel like I just ate a cow.

Kinda want to act like a lion on the Savannah now, and go lay down under a tree for a couple of days.

Can’t do that though, cause I got stuff to do tonight.*

Let’s see, let’s see… the most important of the stuff. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for your birthday wishes and kind words this past week. This has been one of the better birthdays of the past 5 years, and I really appreciate your affection.

Coolest (un)birthday gift? My own KnitPurlzi!

DSC00488

Squee!!!**

Opus’ Dad made it for me (technically). We’ve commissioned several (beautifully) hand-turned knitting accessories to carry exclusively at the store.  He brought in the DPN case prototype for me to have and pet and use and abuse on my birthday.  How awesome was that?  He totally wins major brownie points for that.

For those of your with inquiring minds, it is based off of the Knitzi, but we’re going crazy with the exotic woods and hand-turning (once we get the design hammered out, so to speak).  The case is Black Walnut and the cap is spalted (I think) Maple.  Just awesome.  When I pulled it out to show it off at “No Mean Feet!”, I had to watch it closely.

IS.  MINE.

I also have to go and draw the Sockdown: October! prizes in a mo’ (big “thank you” to Debi for reminding me), but I thought I might mention that I did submit my Absinthe Socks for publication (friends can see really bad pictures here), just finished another pattern for the store and am working on another sock pattern that should be fun.  So, really, I wasn’t lying in my last post.  Ha!

In not-my-design knitting, we have a nearly-finished Skif on hand and a fully finished Ana Bandana.  Gotta make me another one of those.

But right now, I have to go and draw those prizes.  Otherwise I’ll have 5,000+ annoyed sock knitters after me…

* Not to mention I live in a temperate rainforest and it’s really wet on the ground right now, ick.
** Yes, I totally used three exclamation points. Report me to Terry Pratchett, if you dare.

wet and wild

Gawd, I’m tired. This was going to be a nice, long post. But now it’s going to get shortened a bit. I spent the day working on the latest Newsletter (and the upcoming Holidays one), so coherency isn’t my strong suit right now.

Anyway. On Wednesday, Opus and I met up and started off towards the coast. We were warned (sort of) that there was going to be inclement weather and decided that it shouldn’t be a problem. Yeah. I was panicking slightly when we cross bridge after bridge along US 26 and US 101 that were just a foot (maybe less!) from being washed out. Freaky and not at all settling.

The long-standing wip silk pullover helped a lot:
silk-on-the-road

I knit and knit and knit as Opus drove and probably got 5″ done. Which is also a bit freaky when one considers the gauge.

We finally arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and were delighted by Oddwater. It was really cool how the exhibit also displayed some fantastic locally-blown and sculpted glass art within the tanks.

Opus showed some eels her traveling sock:

eels-socks

Which actually lured them out of their glass vase for a bit.

And, while this photo didn’t come out, I love the psychedelic quality of the composition:

psychadelic

The Sea Horse tank, which also had some wicked Starfish.

In another hall we had fun petting sting rays:

petting-stingrays

Which were surprising slimy to the touch. Really weird. Though the Sea Anemone in another tank was even weirder – it’s tentacles were sticky and it’s sides a cross between velvety and slimy. I didn’t even try the Sea Cucumber, though Opus did. Urk. It looked like a giant slug.

Anyway. I tried to get a picture from the Passages of the Deep exhibit, but it was impossible. We dashed across the Aquarium in pelting rain, but it was worth it. Opus hadn’t seen it yet. The walkways in the building/ exhibit are giant transparent tubes that pass through enormous tanks, so you can watch the fish and eels and sharks swim above, below, and around you. It’s one of my favorite parts of the Aquarium.

In any case, the Manta Rays are my favorite species in the tanks, so I made a sad attempt to photograph one above my head:

blurry-manta

Well, I tried. Here’s a much better photo.

Ack, it’s past my normal bedtime.  I am tiiired.  Was going to write some more, but it’ll have to be done later.  Night night.