Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sock Summit!

Sock Summit 2011 was great! I got to meet some good friends from among the wonderful people at the Knit Picks Knitting Community.

The event was held at the Oregon Convention Center in downtown Portland. (Where else would they hold a sock-knitting convention but in a building adorned with knitting needles?)

There were some wonderful classes. Here I am with Mary Scott Huff, who taught "Kilt By Association," a class in how to make kilt socks. 

Mary is a lot of fun, and we got to drool over some sexy men in kilts during her slide presentation. (I didn't notice if the two men in the class were drooling, but the rest of us were.) Mary is also the designer of The Bees Knees cardigan I'm making for Daphne.

I also took a great class with Clara Parkes about things we can do to ensure that our socks are strong enough and elastic enough to last. And I had a class with Merike Saarniit in darning socks. Those classes were great, too.

The Marketplace was an interesting place. I dropped a few bucks in a booth that had poodle stitch markers. How could I resist? Then I found this booth:

I dropped a serious bundle here—more than $50, which is serious for me—on spinning fiber from some distinct breeds I've been wanting to try: Cormo, Shetland, Blue-Faced Leicester and Romney. I looked for some CVM (California Variegated Mutant, a multicolored variety of Romeldale sheep) but didn't see any there. I got some leads on where to buy the fiber, though.

The Marketplace was also a great place to meet people. I got to meet Carin, "The Knit" from the Knit Wits Podcast. Here she is with fellow Knit Wits Podcast Ravelry group members Twinsetellen and Twinsetjan.

There were a bunch of other podcasters there, too, and I got a line on some other knitting podcasts to listen to.

There was a speed-knitting contest:

Yes, that was the "Yarn Harlot," Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, announcing the winner!

About the same time, there was a fleece-to-foot competition (starting with the sheep, preparing and spinning the fiber and knitting the sock as a team). This team had its own cheerleader sporting a pompom made from yarn.

The fiber came from from some California Varigated Mutant/Merino cross sheep.

I had some fun with friends Angelkarhu and KnitWhich from the Knitting Community. Here's KnitWhich at her spinning class:

The kids and I ran into Carin again on Sunday in the Marketplace. We got a photo together:

Other celebrity sightings besides those already mentioned was the famous Cat Bordhi (she, of knitting socks on two circular needles), the sock and mitten specialist Anna Zilboorg and Benjamin Levisay of XRX Publications.

The kids and I had some family fun together during my visit. On Wednesday DDIL2 and I went to the Carmina Burana singalong put on by The Portland Symphonic choir. There were more than 200 participants. A good thing, since I sometimes make mistakes.

I had the score and had been practicing the words, which are in Medieval Latin, Middle High German and some Medieval French. Very tricky! The music is also challenging. Challenging, but fun!

Thursday evening we went to the knitting group at Twisted , a yarn shop in Portland. It was a fun evening, and I found some spinning fiber to buy and one or two other things with no shipping or tax. Someone had yarn-bombed the tree outside of the shop.

DS2 and a friend of his joined us for dinner afterwards.

Saturday we went out to breakfast and then went to the farmer's market in Beaverton.

Saturday night, DDIL2’s parents and a couple of friends of theirs came to dinner.

They are very fun people, and laughs were had by all. Sunday after the festivities at Sock Summit, the three of us went hiking in Forest Park. What a beautiful area! It was green, gently sloping and following a stream much of the way. There was a beautiful stone cottage partway up the trail.

At the top, there was a fantastic view of Portland.

I will be in Portland a couple more days. I plan to visit the local quilt shop before I leave, and maybe relax, knit, spin and rest up from all the excitement. Should be easy to do with the kids back at work!

What's on my needles: The Bees Knees cardigan for Daphne, doing the sleeves now, and the second Bavarian Twisted Stitch sock.
What's on my wheel: Poor Stanzi got left at home this trip! She has some lovely fiber awaiting her, though!
What's on my spindles: Only the supported spindle came on this trip. More merino spun up. I didn't find a bowl to use to spin it on but had some fun using it.
What's on my iPad: Same as last week, but more podcasts to load for the trip home!
What's my app of the week: PDX Bus, which includes trip plans on the MAX, my new local best friend!
What's in my wine glass: Campo Viejo Rioja Reservation 2005. Really nice!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, not even my MacBook, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, July 25, 2011

High Fiber—More Oregon Visit

Flashback to July 6th:

New DDIL, Alexa, and I got to visit Crafts Americana's office in Vancouver. Crafts Americana is home to Knit Picks and Connecting Threads and host to the Knitting Community and Quilt With Us. In the photo above are (from left) Jenny, Kerin, Alisha, me, Alexa and Alison.

Alison met us in the lobby and gave us the grand tour of the company. The ground floor entrance area was manned by the great people of Customer Service. We got to see how they have access to products and product information when people call with questions. We got to see where the designers hang out and got a sneak preview of some new products.

One nice surprise was a box of goodies, which I will be displaying as I work with them, such as this nice assortment of yarns for Mitts of Steal:

There are some great men's and unisex colors, which we need, all in Swish Worsted, and some Comfy Worsted, perfect in pink for ladies and open-minded men allergic to wool.

Another nice surprise was a couple of skeins of a new sock yarn. I couldn't wait to get started using it, with Sock Summit coming up. I CO a pair of socks adapted from the Bavarian Twisted Stitch socks in Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles.

I was also presented with some yummy spinning fiber. I immediately dropped another spinning plan I had so I could give it a try and am liking it a lot. This was timely, coming during Tour de Fleece, a spinning activity to go along with the bicycle race "Tour de France." I'll post photos of my projects after the products come out.

There were some other nice little surprises in the box, including other sock yarn and some lace-weight yarn. I will review these as I use them.

Alexa and I also got to see the offices, the space where they do photo shoots, prop storage for photo shoots and where they check the catalog and website photos for color. A real treat was to get a peek at the room they use for the podcasts and where they do the videos for the website.

We got a peek at some new CT batiks, of interest to me because DGD1 has requested a quilt in red and eggplant for her new college apartment.

We had a great time visiting, and I really appreciate the time Alison and the others took to show us around and want to thank Jenny for setting it up. I hope to have more photos of some of them next week, after Sock Summit is over.

My contribution to cuteness this week is Rocky and Sunny, sporting their new summer haircuts. They have been out in the backyard jungle a lot already, but they still look pretty good, I think.

I leave Tuesday to go back to the Portland area for Sock Summit. I will be staying with the newlyweds, and plan to do some hiking with them, and Alexa and I will be participating in the Carmina Burana singalong, which should be fun!

What's on my needles: The sock, shown in the photo, and the Bees' Knees cardigan for Daphne. I'm doing the sleeves together, as in the instructions, after toying with the idea of doing them one at a time to avoid the steek. The sleeves are striped, so the steek helps avoid having a jog at the beginning of the round. I'm working them on two circular needles with steek sts between the two sleeves. Interesting technique.
What's on my wheel: The new fiber from KP. I finished the Wasatch Mountain Dusk fiber I dyed with Koolaid, so I couldn't wait to start with the new stuff.
What's in my hoop: The languishing applique quilt.
What's on my spindles: Same as last week, but I have been making progress with all three.
What's on my iPad: Still Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel from Audible, and I'm caught up on The Knit Picks Podcast and The Knit Wits Podcast.
What's my app of the week: How My Dog, which is a story for kids where you insert photos of the dog and the child. I haven't used it yet, but it looks pretty good, and someone on Ravelry recommended it.
What's in my wine glass: Sebeka Shiraz 2006. Nice!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, not even my MacBook, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

High Fiber--Sisters, Spinning and Swimming


Today you will get to read more about our vacation in Oregon, including the quilt show at Sisters on July 9th.


This was my favorite, but there were a number of quilts that were close to beating this one out! On top of that, some of the ladies from Gees Bend were there, signing their book and occasionally breaking into song. Here are some of them in front of The Stitchin' Post, the quilt (and yarn) shop that sponsors the show.



The quilt show was a girls' bonding experience with my new DDIL, who is a knitter, but not a quilter. She enjoyed the quilts, though, and was impressed with the variety.

These two little girls proved that life doesn't have to hand you lemons before you could make "Lemon aid." I think they were giving away more photos than selling their product, though.



Haven't had enough? You can see all the photos I took at the quilt show here.


For you spinners, the Tour de Fleece started shortly after we left on our trip. Stanzi, my beloved Kromski Sonata spinning wheel went along. Together we completed 88 gms. of Stroll spinning fiber from Knit Picks.


It was some I had dyed recently using food coloring. Here's what my finished yarn looked like. My three-ply was 150 yds and 15 WPI, so close to the fingering weight I was aiming for.



Remember the little supported spindle I picked up at a friend's garage sale? I'm still looking for a good support for it, but a plate works fine, and I'm getting a very fine singles from it. I can even use it as a drop spindle once some twist has built up. This is some of the 100% merino I had left over from the Pacapoo I blended before Christmas.



Last week I mentioned my trip to the Beaverton Fresenius dialysis clinic to help Eevi Emminger, founder of Mitts of Steal, deliver fingerless mitts to patients. The pair I had just finished was snatched up by this patient, hot off the needles, and a hot colorway, too. This is the only photo I have of these mitts. I used Lorna's Laces sport weight superwash yarn.



Another knitting project, Daphne's Bees' Knees cardigan from Mary Scott Huff's The New Stranded Colorwork, is coming along. I'm using Knit Picks Stroll tonal and bare, and some old Knit Picks Essential from my stash. Since this photo was taken, I have finished the body and am ready to start on the sleeves, but I got sidetracked with some socks to work on during my trip to Portland for Sock Summit next week.



The pups go to the groomer tomorrow, thank Heaven! They are quite scraggly from all the fun while camping, as you can see from this photo taken at Suttle Lake, near Sisters.


For cuteness this week, though, I offer up this photo of the newlyweds in front of their new vacation home:


Yes, we went with them on their honeymoon. (Actually, they are planning a "Minimoon" to Crater Lake later on. This was sort of a dry run for setting up the tent.) They have no air mattresses, so they borrowed the seat cushions from our dining area in the trailer. Very comfy!

What's on my needles: A sock using an angora yarn I'll tell you about later.

What's on my wheel: Stanzi is presently empty, but awaiting a very special fiber for an unknown project.

What's in my hoop: Same old thing. I need to get a grip!

What's on my spindles: Same as last week. Ashford Mulberry on my Golding, the Louet Corriedale on my KP Turkish drop spindle and the merino I talked about above on my little support spindle.

What's on my iPad: From the Nook app, I'm reading Scandal on Rincon Hill: A Sarah Woolson Mystery by Shirley Tallman. From Audible, I'm still listening to The Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel.

What's my app of the week: Must be the photo app that came with my iPad. We just got the professional photos from the wedding taken by our niece, Amanda Howse Photography, and oh, my! (She lives in the Seattle area, but is willing to travel.

What's in my wine glass: Il Valore Marchese De Petri Sangiovese 2009. Tasty!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad and its big brother, the MacBook. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.