Monday, June 21, 2010

Magical Monday

Hi, folks! This last weekend was Black Sheep Gathering at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene, OR and it was awesome! So many cool things happened that I'm not sure where to start. Let's see, Black Sheep Gathering Bingo, a way to meet new folks from Ravelry. I was both a player and a card, so I printed out my card, gathered some stitch markers I had made last year to give to folks on my card, along with some stickers, and headed out to meet folks. As I was strolling around, checking out the booths to see what I might want to buy and looking for folks playing, I met a young woman who was on my card. I told her she was on my card and she looked at my pin with my name written on it and about fell over! She said, "You're Bluedragon!" "Yes, that's me and you're on my card." I set my bag down to get out a stitch marker to give to her and she told me my Starmore knitting was awesome. It was like she had met a star, she was so excited to meet me. I've never had that reaction before so I was a little nonplussed as to how to react, except to thank her. Wow, I have a fan!

The Ravelry Meetup was at 4 pm and there were some wonderful door prizes donated by members. I think there were at least 20 prizes and folks had a wonderful time cheering and clapping the winners of the prizes while spinning, knitting, or just visiting with each other. 

I bought a skein of gold Socks That Rock in lightweight, to go with the special STR SS09 yarn I got with the pattern  at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. DH and I were looking for a pair of sock blockers so I can put my CookieA Mystery Socks on them to enter them in the Oregon State Fair. Would you believe the usual vendors didn't bring any? We stopped at Blue Moon Fiber Arts again after the Fleece Sale and DH asked one of the clerks, who asked the owner and she disappeared for a moment and came back with a beautiful pair of wood blockers with the trademark crescent moon and star cutout. She even autographed them for me! They're going to hang on the wall of my den so I can admire them, in safety. I also picked up two skeins of mill end yarn- one a lightweight and one a Rare Gem medium weight. They will either be socks or small shawls, later in the year.

I chatted with Joan Schrouder for a bit, then saw JC Briar while she was on a break from her class teaching. We stopped at the Spindlewood booth to visit with Connie and Steve, admiring their beautiful spindles. There was so much fibery goodness we actually went around the booths twice, just to try to take more of it in. We took a break for lunch about noon and then cruised over to the Fleece Sale to see how it was going. It wasn't open yet, so we got in line to wait. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Tina, from Blue Moon, was standing right there in front of us! This is the same person who, along with Stephanie Pearl McPhee and a small army of volunteers, put on Sock Summit 09. And I was standing next to her, casually chatting about fleeces and wool and spinning and such. I pointed out to her that I was wearing socks made from her yarns and she bent down to pull up my pant leg to check out the yarns I had used, while I told her they were my favorite pair of socks and I only wore them on special occasions. 

We didn't buy any fleeces, because we still have several at home and, while DH is good about spinning them for me to knit with, I don't want to push my luck with him, lol. After the Fleece Sale, we stopped at the car to pick up our wheels and headed over to the Spinning Circle inside the main building. Since it had been sprinkling off and on, we didn't want to sit under the tarp outside to spin. This past week I had plied the three bobbins from my Hitchhiker with the Border Leicester onto a bobbin on the Louet, as I want a 3-ply yarn and only have three bobbins for my Hitchhiker. It's so nice having the Louet with its 8 ounce bobbins. The yarn will be used for an Aran cardigan later this year or next year. The fleece is 8-1/2 pounds, so it will take me a while to spin it up, in between knitting, teaching, and designing. 

I started spinning up the Dicentra Pellenor roving I need to finish my Dream Coat with and it was so nice, I just zoned out with my spinning. Later this week I'm hoping to get some more spinning time in on it. Folks came over to admire the roving and ask where I had gotten it, then dashed over to Lisa's booth to get some for themselves. Laurie and her kids from the Salem Area Ravelers group stopped by and I showed her the STR skeins I had bought. She wanted some so I took her to the booth and showed her the sale yarns, including one I wish I had seen earlier. She ended up buying three skeins, for socks for her and the kids. I love enabling!

After the Meetup, DH and I headed outside and sat in the dining area to spin for a while as we waited for the potluck to start. The wind made it chilly so after about half an hour I put my wheel up and knit on DH's Father's Day socks. Tonight I'm hoping to get about a third of the way done on the foot of the second sock. The potluck started at 6:30 and, as usual, everything was great. We ended up stuffed with lots of good food. On the way home, I knit some more on the socks as we talked over our day. Ah, bliss, a DH who spins and understands fiber obsessions!

Now let's see about photos!
This is my Dream Coat, the one I'm spinning the roving to finish the cuffs and front bands on.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Soppy Sunday Update

Morning, everyone! Life has been pretty busy lately and then I got bronchitis caused by allergies weakening my immune system. I'm on the mend and back to work, but now on two new allergy meds, which have stopped my sneezing and sniffling very well. But I was able to get a lot of knitting done ( in between naps, lol!) while I was on bed rest on the couch. I finished my CookieA May/June 2010 Mystery Socks in Fliederberent Wollmeise sock yarn (yummy!).

Next, I finished my niece's Annemor #13 mittens, for the May KAL on the Selbuvotter group on Ravelry, using Dale Heilo in Antique Rose and Burgundy. They came out a little large for her small hands, so after I washed them, I tossed them into the dryer with a thick terry towel and felted them a bit. 

And I also finished DH's handspun orange socks, using some commercially dyed roving that he spun up into a two-ply sport weight yarn. He wants to enter them into the Oregon State Fair this August. With the color changes and the handspun yarn, I used a simple K2 P2 ribbing pattern for his socks.

This week I've started three pairs of socks - two for KALs on Ravelry and one because the yarn has been calling to me since I bought it at the Aurora Fiber Sale in April. First is the SolidSocks May/June 2010 Mystery Sock pattern using a skein of StitchJones sock yarn in Saffron, a bright orange color as orange is the color for June in the group.

The second pair is for the Sock Knitters Anonymous monthly KAL and the designer this month is Stephanie van der Linden. I'm using Three Fates Yarns bfl Platinum sock yarn in custom dyed charcoal color and Steffi's Escher Cube 'pattern'. I write 'pattern' because it's only one sheet with the chart and some notes in German, which I neither read nor speak, so I have no idea what the words say. 

The third pair is the fun one for this month! I'm using Dicentra 100% wool sock yarn in the Pelennor colorway, the one I used the most of for my Dream Cost. I have one last hank of roving to spin for the Dream Coat and then I can finish knitting the sleeves and the front bands. When I went to the Aurora Fiber Sale, I was looking at some sale sock yarn when a friend from my local Rav group drifted by and casually mentioned that Dicentra was selling sock yarns! I dropped what I was looking at (not all that interested in the colorways she had in stock anyway but I was hoping to support a local vendor) and made my way over to Lisa's booth. I found one skein of the Pelennor colorway, even with diligent digging through both bins thoroughly. Of course, I snapped it up and hung on to it until I could pay for it. With the short color repeats, I wanted to find a sock pattern that would show it off and not muddy it by just knitting around in circles. I did a search on Ravelry for entrelac sock patterns and Kathleen Power Johnson's pattern from Knitter's magazine came up. I have that issue in my collection and had marked it to knit when I got the magazine, but time had put it on a back burner. I'm on the second round of rectangles and am pondering whether I need to go down to a size 0 needle as the sock looks a bit big, even though I'm intentionally trying to knit tightly. I'm going to finish this second round of rectangles and then examine the fit to see how it works with the diagonal knitting of the panels. Several years ago I knit the entrelac socks from 'Socks, Socks, Socks' and the leg came out very large, but I was new to knitting socks and it was my first time doing entrelac. Now I have about two hundred pairs of socks under my knitting belt and I understand a lot more how the fabric moves so I know better how to knit it to get the result I want. 

I stopped by our newest yarn shop here in Salem yesterday, Tangled Purls, to see how she set it up and to get a skein of yarn for the Monthly Mystery Project I'm doing for her shop. Vivian, her Mom Elsa, and her employee Sharon were all there, waiting on customers and greeting friends. Vivian explained to Sharon that I will be designing a project each month and we will set it up in a kit with extra goodies so the kit price is always $25.00. I will be in the shop the first Saturday of each month (except July when they are closed for the holiday) to help folks with their projects and to encourage knitters and crocheters. 

And finally, last night and this morning I've been working on my Allover cardigan again. I set it aside to get some socks done the last couple of months and have been hankering to get back to working on it again. I'm on the third time through the chart now, and subbing in some leftover yarns to use up odds and ends when possible, so the body colors are varying a bit as I work my way up. The sleeves will be done identically, as I don't want that much variation, lol!

So this is an update of my knitting so far this year. I need to add some completed projects to my list here and I'll do that in a bit. I'm back to work from being off with the bronchitis but still dealing with my allergies. Doc said the level of allergens in my environment had gotten to the point where it overwhelmed my immune system, despite the supplements I'm taking, the lifestyle changes I've made, and everything I've been doing. Now I need to figure out when to take the new meds and when I don't need them, on a daily basis. So far today I've taken the Claritin pill but haven't used the Flonase spray and I've only sneezed once, right after I got up. I can second what my Mom told me a while back - getting older is not for sissies!

My test knitter's Mom passed away last Monday night after battling colon cancer, and she will be able to work with me on my Summer KAL in a few more weeks, after she resolves a few issues and does some healing. She and her son, along with Hospice, were caring for her Mom in her Mom's house, so there is that issue to deal with. I put the KAL on hold while this was going on, to give her the time and space to deal with it without worrying about delaying the KAL. The death of a family member is a major event in a person's life and needs to be given the respect and space it deserves. We deal with death in different ways - having been widowed in 2001 I learned a great deal about it and learn more every day. It's a journey in our lives, not a destination that we reach, close the door, and go on to something else. We carry all the deaths we experience with us for the rest of our lives, and our concept of those deaths changes as we move through life. 

So I think of EZ and her wonderful sentiment, "Knit on, with confidence, through all crises!"