A place for me to share photos, trips and projects with my friends, mostly about knitting,kayaking, and quilting.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Harlot Good Time in Nashville

Wow! What else to say - words are totally inadequate to describe this woman. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is even funnier in person than she is in writing. And yet she's so real you can imagine having her for a neighbor (what luck for any knitter, huh?) If you haven't read her books, I recommend all three for their humor, humanity, and insight into the "knitting lifestyle." If she's appearing at a book or yarn store near you, GO SEE HER. You won't be sorry - even if you don't knit. (I'm so honored - Stephanie is introducing her traveling sock to my honorable first pair, now retired.)

I went to Nashville yesterday and indulged in a small yarn crawl before Stephanie's appearance at Threaded Bliss. It was nice to actually fondle Koigu, cashmere, Mountain Colors. Fondling the Euro Flax linen wasn't exactly great, but at least I could find it. I won't say what I'm going to do with the linen, you'll just have to wait and see. But this photo of a blogger in the wild might give you a hint. It's the lovely Ann from Mason-Dixon Knitting, who graciously brought Stephanie to her speaking engagement. Ann is in the company of Rupert, the friendly shop dog.

I had a wonderful lunch next door to Threaded Bliss at The Wild Iris, then settled into the super friendly, comfy and well lighted shop to knit for the duration of the afternoon (I went early to Nashville in order to miss the worst of the afternoon traffic - I don't do traffic well these days.)

I met David, who works in the shop and is just so knowledgeable and helpful. As the early arrivals began to assemble, one of their number spontaneously whipped out his guitar to entertain us, since "I'm not sitting here knitting, so I might as well make some music." Craig Summers - a nice guy who makes music and knits his own sweaters. And the other local customers - ladies with whom I'd enjoy sharing knitting time if only I lived nearby.

My traffic avoidance strategies were for naught on the drive home. I-40 ramped down to one lane in my direction and I was able to creep along for about half an hour. But no matter, The Yarn Harlot and the entire day were worth it!
I got this much knitted on a Koigu sock while waiting for and listening to Stephanie. She signed my book. Threaded Bliss gave us each these nifty ruler/needle gauge tools. What a good time in Nashville!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Good Day!

It's bright and sunny! The rose breasted grosbeaks have finally arrived for their annual visit (I was beginning to think they were going to pass on my hospitality this year). I've started the armhole steeks on my Mara vest! And I'm going to Nashville to see The Yarn Harlot! I got up early and sorted the decrease confusion on the vest that I left when I went to bed. I have coffee and I've been knitting. Couldn't ask for a better day. AND, I'm over the disappointment funk about not getting into knitting camp.

Let's see, what else. Oh, I was despairing about not being able to reserve a good campsite for the paddling outing in July, only to find when I phoned that I reserved the site last year. Thank goodness for that foresight.

I'm going early to Nashville. Ostensibly to avoid afternoon traffic. Really to check out Angel Hair Yarn and shop at Threaded Bliss in Brentwood before Stephanie (the Harlot) arrives.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dealing with the Big "D"

Years ago I learned that I have a problem dealing with disappointment. My week started out with a letter telling me I'm not going to knitting camp this year. A disappointment with a big "D"! See, I've wanted to go for years, but the first timer's camp is always the same week as my paddling club's annual summer outing, and that's a very important event for me. Finally, this year, I sucked it up and decided to apply for camp, making the mental and emotional adjustments necessary for missing the paddling outing. Then the big let down, and now another mental/emotional adjustment. According to the letter, if I apply properly next year, I'm guaranteed a slot in camp. I'll have to see how the year plays out....

Dealing with disappointment involves several steps for me, and I've learned that I have to go through them and there are no short cuts. The process is well along..... and

I engaged in a littel retail therapy and ordered a Philosopher's Wool "Color Your Own" kit using their Ocean Spray colorway. The sweater will be so heavy that I might get to use it once a year (because I live in Tennessee and it just doesn't get that cold here!). But since I'm a process knitter, and this process is a bit different, I'm going to do it. I promised myself this would be a "techniques" year for me with the knitting needles. Camp or no camp.

Tinking for my Fair Isle vest (this time) is done, and I'm back in forward mode. No closer to steeks than the last time I talked about it. Which means close, but not tonight.

At least I got to paddle on Monday - super day on one of our favorite local runs.

Just for fun, here are pictures of David and me paddling in the Grand Canyon in fall 2004. Nothing quite like that here, but that's fine. I'm really a big water weenie - it takes a lot of mental energy for me to run the Colorado. It's me in the red helmet in Lava Falls. David in the dark helmet in Granite.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Visiting the Frogs

Looks like no steeks this weekend! I've knit the last three rounds on my vest with the wrong background color, so I'll be frogging that instead. I just didn't engage my brain when I sat down to knit this evening. And tomorrow we'll be paddling, and possibly Monday, too. (We got lots of rain the last couple of days, and we want to take advantage of it.)

But I did get some other things done today. I decided to abandon the last Baby Surprise. I've made two, and lost my incentive to finish the third one. They were fun to see how the strange shape turns into a jacket, but I don't need to make any more. So I dumped the partial one and will make a charity scarf from the remainder of the acrylic yarn I was using. Or maybe a sweater for granddaughter #2 at some point. So I'm free of one more UFO!! I figured if The Yarn Harlot could abandon a Baby Surprise, so can I. (That reminds me - I'm going to see her next Thursday in Nashville - I'm really excited about that!)

I also experimented this morning with techniques for making flying geese units, settled on the one I used before, and started cutting the squares for my "Spring Migration" wall hanging. It's a design as I go project. I found that I can only rotary cut for so long. More squares another day.

Soooo, for something to see, I decided to show you David's latest quilts for the granddaughters. I think they're stunning, and he had fun making them. He really is getting good at making quilt tops, and he's certainly more prolific than I am! Gillian has her own twin bed now, so needs a special cover from Grandpa. Annabelle is still a baby, so needs a baby sized quilt.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Signs of Spring

There are several signs of spring here on the Plateau. Here are a few - the dwarf "Mountain Iris" and our pink dogwoods that are finally making pink!

And here are my friends Nancy and Karol paddling Clear Creek.

We've finally had a little rain, so today I can sow the rest of my wildflower seeds. We're hoping to get them established between the road and the fence and cut down on mowing there.

No knitting progress to report, though I did frog the multi-directional scarf and start over - making it 4" wide instead of 5". I only have two skeins of the yarn and it wasn't going to be anywhere near long enough at 5" wide.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Colors Are All Here - Moving Forward

We spent Easter weekend camping and kayaking with our paddling group from Chattanooga, but since we got home early this afternoon, I'm moving forward on my Mara vest again. I've finally completed at least one repeat of all the pattern bands. I'm reasonably pleased with the colors.

I found that, while my stitch gauge matches my swatch, my row gauge doesn't. I planned my pattern band placement for 9 rows per inch, and I'm getting closer to 7.75 rows per inch. I'll measure and figure again tomorrow just to make sure. But I'm not ripping. I'll just have to come up with plan B.

Several of you have asked about Sadie. Her surgery went well, and she's recovering nicely. She is confined to her own room with a baby gate when D isn't at home, in order to minimize her movement. But so far, so good.

I thought I'd show how my "baby", BC, can contort herself when she's sleeping. I know cats can get into strange positions and it's not unusual. But BC really does strike some odd poses now and then.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Other K

Mostly my blog is about knitting. But it's spring on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, and that often means rain and water in the rivers. When that happens, my lifestyle gets altered a bit. I haven't been knitting much, but I've been kayaking a lot. We get company - friends who drop in to paddle with us (due to our standing invitation of "just come on up when there's water"). So this is what I do when I'm not knitting much.

I have managed to knit a "swatch cap" according to the instructions in EZ's Knitting Workshop. I'm using Bartlett's Rangely wool and #9 needles. Just messing around. I'll make notes about this one and maybe change some things and do another one. This and the multidirectional scarf are about all I can do when I'm boating most days and have company at the house.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Weekend with D

I spent a delightful weekend with my friend D, who lives in the mountain area of western North Carolina. We had 2 goals: spend Saturday on a yarn shop hop to discover what's available in her area; spend the rest of the time for D to learn seed stitch. I am happy we accomplished both, and added yarnovers to boot! D has crocheted for a long time, but began knitting when I taught her the basics at Christmas. Sooooo, it was time to explore, in more ways than one!

We hit 5 yarn shops from Black Mountain to Brevard. I found my Alchemy at Wilde & Wooly Yarn Shop in Black Mountain. They invited me to wind my skeins using the ball winder and swifts set up on an old wooden ironing board that had me weeping for my mother's old one (the one I broke). I introduced D to the magic of winding yarn and having nifty center pull balls. We found mind boggling color displays at Purls Knitting Emporium on College Street in Asheville. We were blown away by the sheer visual exuberance of this shop. The Earth Guild in Asheville has something for every type of fiber enthusiast, and it was here the D found her own ball winder and swift! I found some lovely Misti Cotton/Silk. Charlotte's Fibers, Inc. in Brevard was a well stocked, friendly shop. Light and airy, with sumptuous yarns - hard to resist. So I didn't - some Silk Garden Lite that I've been anxious to try, as well as some Sirdar Duet for a denim blue summer top.

Here's the piece de resistance of our day, Yarn Paradise in the Biltmore Village shopping area (that's D in front with their sign). Absolutely the most fabulous yarn shop I've ever set foot in (mind you, I haven't been everywhere). It's a house, see? And look in the upstairs windows! The place is full of yarn! Room upon room. And it's not stuffed in - it's displayed in visually alluring ways along with beautiful projects and samples. They had everything (OK, I didn't see Shetland 2-ply jumper weight, but then, I didn't ask about it, being fairly swimming in the stuff right now). And the owner was right there whenever we had questions. And, and......

And here's the haul - hers and mine (mostly mine). Which included a Twisted Sisters book called Double Trouble and yarn to make Desdemona. More on that when work actually commences. Not before Mara and the gansey, though!

As for the knitting lessons. It turns out D was doing the seed stitch correctly (having figured it out from the book), but it didn't look like the scarf I gave her. It turns out she'd been using a #13 needle on worsted weight. When she tried it with a #9, it looked fine! D has been knitting scarves and using big needles for the lacey look. She's now discovered how magically things can change when you change the needle size. Oh, she's in for such wonderful adventures - I can't wait to hear all about them, and even share some! And she added yarnovers to her repertoire, too. Things are going to get interesting. I'll tell you about her crochet scarves and love affair with pretty ribbon yarn soon.

We have concluded that fiber lovers in the NC mountains have amazing options available. If you live there, enjoy! And if you plan a vacation in the area, save some time to check out the yarn.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sadie Best Dog Ever

Sadie is a Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix. She's so smart she amazes me. But my point isn't to try to prove how intelligent she is, just trust me. She's also affectionate, loyal, obedient. All the things a best dog ever should be. But she's more - she's also a nurturing and caring individual, and that, in my mind, puts her a cut above the rest.

Sadie was adopted by my friend D from a situation in which she was sadly ignored, her potential unrecognized. D, being the superb critter mom that she is, has brought out the best in her canine friend. And that best includes Sadie's willingness to help others of her fellow critters. When D later adopted Lucas from a Doberman rescue group, it was Sadie who helped teach Lucas not only manners, but that life with D was not a threat. She helped train and calm him. And when a waif of a kitten made its appearance near their home, it was Sadie who adopted the needy child and convinced D that it was worthy of her love and attention. Sadie is a most remarkable dog, indeed.

But Sadie has a problem. A torn tendon in her left rear leg, most likely the result of a too eager chase of the tennis ball at some point (her favorite game). Despite that, she's a lucky dog. Because D is willing to provide the surgery necessary to fix Sadie's leg. And then to rearrange her life and schedule to provide Sadie with the necessary care for eight longs weeks of recovery. Sadie and D will begin their 8-week journey on Thursday. Please send them your positive thoughts.

I visited D and the critter children over the weekend. And I'll tell you more about our yarn shop hop and knitting adventures next time. But I discovered the multidirectional scarf pattern, and also found some fabulous yarn with which to try it. See.....?

The yarn is Alchemy's Synchonicity. It's pricey, but an oh so lovely blend of silk and wool.