Friday, August 28, 2009

This week in yarnia

Howdy partners! It occurs to me that I should check in with you today and share some yarn-related highlights of late. Perhaps some non-yarn joy as well. I never know where these stream of consciousness posts will lead.

1. Yarn Acquisition:

the beautiful and I met our pal Alex the talented at Abundant Yarn to see what they had on hand, and to say goodbye. They are closing their brick and mortar shop but will carry on with their dyeing and online business. Their fun staff and fiber selections will be missed by many.

Rowan Felted Tweed
So, I fell into some Rowan. I picked up these four balls of Felted Tweed with intentions of colorwork mitts of some kind.

Rowan Scottish Tweed
And then came Scottish Tweed. I don't need any more yarn. But. Well. It's Vivian's fault. She picked out these lovely balls of yarn to make a fair isle hat. She was mentioning how tough it was to find the right pattern. So I HAD to get the same yarn and challenge myself to come up with a really great hat pattern, right?

It will be fun to see two stranded hats in the same yarn but of different designs. Kind of an experiment, I think.

2. Scottish Tweed, you say?

Perhaps this was a good omen, because I then found out I get to teach at the UK Knit Camp next year in Scotland! I am really excited about this, even though it is a whole year away.

3. The other exciting thing this week was receiving this package: (I forgot to include the pen in the pic, sorry)

Leethal Quick Knits Club - August 2009

The first installment of Leethal's Quick Knits Club! I know some of you are doing this club with me and I hope more will join me. Go on, sign up for next month - the deadline is September 1st. It's really really worth it! More of my enthusiasm for this club here.

4. One other wave of fantastic-ness washed through Portland this week. I will share it with you next week, because it involves a giveaway. That's right, I'll be giving away something pretty neat right here next week. Something currently unavailable and desirable. Are you going to come back and see what it is? I hope so!

5. Lantern Rouge:

Every now and again I share a poem, usually by Langston Hughes. How about one today? Do with it what you will. I have taken it to heart.

Gather out of star-dust
And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust
Not for sale.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sock Summit Aftermath, part 2

Okay, my last post regarding the Sock Summit was more of a collection of images and random thoughts. This will likely be no different. I'm sorry to anyone or thing I forget to mention. I just can't list everything that happened. Surprised? Of course not. Why?

Because the Sock Summit is a unicorn. You can't capture it. Yes, it's magic chases away evil. But it is also elusive and rare. Maybe you only get one sighting in your whole life.

OR, maybe it's because I taught three long classes, took two long classes, wandered the marketplace, attended dinners and panels, sat in the Lucy Booth (advice, 5 cents) partied, and made about a hundred new friends. In four days. I've had enough time to process it, but I still don't know if it was all just a dream.

Still with me? Great. I'd like to try to start with a quick review of the classes I took. The first one was Colorful Stitches with Tina Newton and Anna Zilboorg.

This picture is of the tote the teachers got, but if you look closely you'll see a tiny swatch tied to the top. This is what I made in that class.

Sock Summit Tote

Tina is the genius behind Blue Moon Fiber Arts, makers of the iconic sock yarn - Socks That Rock. Anna Zilboorg is a Turkish knitting expert. Both are color savants. Both are so much more than those tiny descriptions.

Anna Zilboorg told us that she never really saw color until she discovered something in the 1960's... "killer weed." Yes, it was as plain as that. She was Harvard educated and helped found the Humanities department at MIT, where she taught for a long while. She is elegant, funny, charming and classy. I want to be her when I grow up.

Tina created over 500 colorways at Blue Moon. She has a raven book coming out this fall that you will all want to own. She told an amazing story about ravens and how they inspired her to do a series of colors all playing on black. All beautiful, none of them flat.

I won't talk too much about what happened in class in case I step on proprietary-type toes. Those are giant cranky toes with nails that scratch (sorry, gross). I will say Anna Zilboorg teased me about breaking the rules. Which, ordinarily would be great. It would be so great that I would ask her to write it on my body in Sharpie as a badge of honor. But in this case, she was trying to liberate us from matching colors, and I just went ahead and coordinated colors anyway. I am the worst kind of rule breaker: The one who isn't free!

The next class was Engineering New Stitches with Cat Bordhi. Cat Bordhi is one of the most original thinkers I've ever run across. She is best known for knitting moebius type garments or inventing several new sock architectures known as sockitectures. She too, is so much more that that.

My brain is still processing all of the information shared in that class. I feel like I can now write my own stitch dictionary. I can combine stitches in new ways. In short, I can do anything. This is probably the best feeling humans get to have.

Barbara Walker's Socks

And now, as promised, I present to you Barbara Walker's socks. She knit them, she wore them. She sold them for $5. They now hang over my front door as a good luck charm. But you know what's crazy? (No, you haven't heard the "crazy" part yet) These were knit flat and them seamed up the front. React as you will.

Sanguine Gryphon Bugga

The marketplace was bonkers. I was overwhelmed the entire time I was in there. I managed to pick up a few things and actually took a couple of pictures. This is not the entirety of what came home with me but I don't want to get a reputation.

The first yarn up there is Bugga from Sanguine Gryphon in the color Rainbow Scarab. I was lucky enough to sit next to Gryphon in Cat Bordhi's class and she is so cute and fun and interesting. Of course her yarn is too. With 20% cashmere content, this yarn is not going to become socks. It will be something about the neck.

The Usual

The Usual. Nothing usual about it. I love this yarn and the colors are great. The one on the left was a gift from my friend Nancy and I actually started crying when she gave it to me. It was a combination of her generosity, the beauty of the yarn, the fact that I hadn't eaten more than a handful of trail mix in 18 hours, and some other things. But mostly her generosity.

I'm so lucky to live in Portland, with so many amazing and talented friends. The place where the first Sock Summit happened. The place of unicorns.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sock Summit Aftermath, part 1

I'm likely to ramble on a bit about the Sock Summit here and there and everywhere for the rest of my days. I'll just start now with some random thoughts and images. Part 2 will come soon.

Sock Summit

Yes, it was a convention center full of yarn. There are that many of us.

Sock Summit

Amy knitty playing the ukelele at the opening reception. She told me I had bright eyes and also complimented me on my pattern frankensocks. I just kept giggling and nodding and screaming like a banshee (that last part was just on the inside).

Sock Summit

I also got to take part in the breaking of a world record as defined by Guinness: The most number of knitters gathered together to knit at the same time. We did it for 15 minutes and used straight needles.

I was lucky enough to sit right behind Barbara Walker, but was too shy to talk to her directly, of course.

Sock Summit

Here is Lee of the Leethal blog, attending the Luminary panel in the handknit ski mask she made. If you click here, you can see silly pictures of ME DANCING at the Ravelry party. I was not drunk, but so sleep deprived that my criteria for good decision making was severely compromised.

So, yeah, some random highlights. In our next installment, I'll tell you more about the classes, the marketplace, and the story of how I came to own a pair of Barbara flipping Walker's very own personal handknit socks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saddle Mountain

I am recovering from the beautiful chaos of the Sock Summit. Really, stories will come soon. But for now I'll answer I question I got a lot.

This is where I earned my sunburn:

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain


Monday, August 03, 2009

Quick Knits Club!

I'm lucky enough to live and breathe and craft in the Republic of Portland. We have a quality of life here and plenty of inspirational creative folk rockin' us left and right.

One of my favorite crafters here is my pal Lee. If you've read my blog before, you already know this. I mention it every other week or so. Anyway, she's hit on a brilliant idea and I want to make sure everyone knows about it:

Quick Knits Club!

Frankly, it's too hot to have a sweater on your lap right now. Seriously, people. I'm signing up and I want you to join me. Let's play with hand dyed hand made recycled yarns and things!

The details:

It's a monthly club, and you can join for as many or few months as you'd like.

Each month’s package will include:

* a 15 yard mini-skein of recycled hand-dyed yarn
* a 10 yard mini-skein of spun recycled yarn
* quick knit pattern exclusive to the club
* any crafty bits called for in the pattern (e.g. buttons)
* extra mystery leethal goodies and/or bits of crafty fun

Jump on this right now, because Wednesday is the last day you can sign up for the very first month.

Go ahead, I'll wait here while you sign up. Tell her Star sent you. Wink.

Our mayor declares this sock knitting week!

I am not joking.