the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Stash Enhancing

Carole threw down the gaunlet that we should all increase our stash - how fun! And while I am not as much of a frenzied yarn buyer as some others in blog-land, I have been having some fun buying yarns!
This first batch is the yarn I purchased to use in the classes I will be taking at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in 2 weeks. The classes are all about socks and gloves - and I am greatly looking forward to learning from the best - Nancy Bush and Charlene Schurch ! Yahoo!

The second batch is some sock yarn (no big surprise) I have yet to try. Aren't the colors yummy?

Life here on the farm has continued to be wonderful. While the goats tend to hide in the barns when it rains, the shetland sheep are all about exploring! All the critters just love being back on their own private 'mountain' and daily climb to the top of the hill to bleat their morning hello's. (all the while hoping for another spot of grain from Dad, no doubt!) The rain continues to inundate us here - with an occasional sun break to hint at the soon coming spring. It will only be a couple more months, and I'll be writing about all the new sheep babies we are expecting :-)

I wonder how many of my fellow blogging friends have the same dilemma that I do.... that is: However do I read all of them ?! It is a delightful, yet daunting challenge to stay in touch with so many sweet knitters. And I must say, that after I come home from work, I look forward to checking in on their blogs. The internet has connected our knitting community in a way that is astounding. From Knitters without Borders, to the Knitting Olympics (which now has over 1800 participants) we inspire each other to greater heights of creativity. I would like to tell all of you that I enjoy each and every reply to my blog - and wish that I could answer all of you.. yet the limitation of blogger is that I do not receive your email addresses.... so thank you from my heart for reading and commenting. You are appreciated!

A couple of weeks ago, I got tagged by Amanda for one of those fun meme's. So here goes:

4 jobs you have had in your life
* Mental Health Therapist (currently)
* Bookstore Manager
* Art Gallery Manager
* Full time Mom

4 movies you could watch over and over
* Kate and Leopold
* American President
* Ever After
* Michael

4 places you have lived
* Tiburon, California
* Orlando, Florida
* Norfolk, Virginia
* Amsterdam, Holland

4 TV shows you love to watch
* hmmm, this is a hard one, 'cause I really don't watch tv hardly ever - so the answer is none really

4 places you've been on vacation
* Jamaica
* Hawaii
* Finger Lakes, upstate New York
* Bahamas

4 websites you visit daily
* again another hard one, as I do not get on the internet daily but I do hop on every few days to check out blogs of friends and Knitter's Review :-)

4 of my favorite foods
* Chocolate (all kinds)
* Pasta (all kinds)
* Thai
* Sushi

4 places you would rather be right now
* Jamaica
* anywhere that I can sit and just knit without interruptions :-)

I know that is only two, but I figure that this second one counts for at least 20

4 bloggers that you are tagging
* Miriam - Kungfuknitting
* Kim - Kim Knits and sometimes not

* Lanea - Crazy Lanea
* Jane - Not Plain Jane

Now this last picture is for Becky - who issued the challenge for us all to show off our favorite non-hand-knit socks.... these little beauties are almost ready for the recycle bin - I have enjoyed them thoroughly.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

California Here I come....

know what this is?..............Tah Dah! ... a three day ticket to Stitches West !!
Yesterday, I was feeling the rainy-day blahs here in SW Washington - and I said to my sweetheart, 'you know - I'd like to grab a knitting buddy and go to Stitches' - His response... "Go for it!"... and so I did! (aren't I lucky top have such a great cheering section here at home?!)
I quickly dashed off an email to a dear friend in Miami and asked if she'd like to meet up in San Jose - the answer came this morning when I woke - YES ! Well - bust my britches, grin ear to ear and giggle til there's no tomorrow!
Tickets are purchased... hotel reservations are booked.. tomorrow I'll go and make the airline reservations.
Oh... I'm a happy girl, doin' the little happy dance all around my house!

Now here's another one for you.... know what this is?? Hmmmmmm, a heel maybe??? Cannot show the whole completed leg (yet) as it needs to remain a bit of a teaser for my Bloomin' Feet secret- sock- swap- pal..... but thought you'd enjoy a peek. I am feeling like strutting a bit about this one - since I added some stitches to the pattern, and had to re-do the heel a bit as well. Thanks to Knitters Review Forums, and the help of a few knitting pals, it was solved in a matter of hours. Onward ho!

And as a parting wave from Washington State, here is yet another photo if Mount Rainier (as seen from our deck.) We awoke to this amazing sky earlier this month in the wee hours of the morning. We are so fortunate to live amid such beauty.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Crocus' sproutin' and it's Bloomin Feet !

The rain continues here in soggy-ville, yet yesterday we actually saw about 4 hours of actual sunshine!! After doing the little happy dance through my garden, I noticed the beginnings of the crocus' popping up through the soil... don't ya just love it!

The official start of the Bloomin Feet swap began last sunday.

I began "swatching" a day or two early - which is a good thing since I ended up test-driving about 6 different patterns before settling on Conwy from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush (thank you Nancy, for amazingly clear patterns!)

This is such a fun pattern, and I'm loving the way the colors tilt and whirl around the sock in a diagonal direction - it reminds me of the blossoms blowing in the wind we have so often on the hill where we live.
This little beauty is being knit on size 0 needles out of a superwash merino, handyed by Dicentra Designs. The colorway is Kingsfoil.... and I must sheepishly admit that I often need to wear my bifocals while working this pattern (drat) :-) It's begun quickly - and so far moving right along!

On the other knitting fronts life dragged a bit.. remember back around the end of november, when I proudly posted a sweater I knit from my hand dyed pencil roving?? hmmm, errrr, well, it sat and languished incomplete until I found the energy (or was that courage) to rip out all the seams. I just didn't like the way it was falling here and there - and so it sat and sat - moving from one chair to another, until finally today I could stand it no more!
I ripped and pulled gently at first - finally resorting to getting out my scissors. It seems (pun intended) that I had really done an excel-len-ti-mento job of seaming this baby - and hiding all the ends. (drat again) Yet, not to be deterred, I was indeed able to get the little monster (I mean beauty) apart! Ever so carefully, I re-sewed all the seams (I dislike this part the most) and this time used a mattress stitch that laid completely flat ! YAHOO !
I played around with the pattern on this one a bit, and also put the buttons on asymetrically - wha-cha think?

All attempts at digital photography of me actually wearing this sweet completion have been safely deleted from your vision! (as well as from my video-files :-)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dream Sweater continues !

Digital cameras.. I'm still in my learning curve. Just got one, and have been playing with it. The photos are so different than my trusty old Nikon 35mm - but I'm learning! Good fun.

So - here's the continuation of my dream sweater.... The shopping was done, the gifts were wrapped, the hand knitted gifts were complete.. now it was my turn ! I spent the week after Christmas spinning up all of the 28 ounces I ordered of the Peacock Plume. For those of you who have just tuned in to this blog, it is a delicious 50/50 blend of bombyx silk and merino hand dyed by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks.
Next I plyed it all together, and have been patiently washing and drying each finished skein.
Finally... two skeins were dry and I began knitting!!. I chose Cinixia from I've knit about 8 inches of the sweater, and am going to begin a sleeve.

This is a fun pattern thus far, seamless (yeah!) and the sleeves are knit in rather than sewn in at the end. When I read ahead in the pattern my head begins to spin, so needless-to-say, I slowed myself down, and am looking at only one part at a time. I remind myself that its much more fun to knit this way, rather than peeking ahead :-)
The sweater is knit in a twisted stockingette stitch - it produces a square slanted stitch, that is going to have a bias twist and give a unique drape to the front of the sweater. Here's the close up of what I began with - pretty eh?!
So far so good - can't wait for more yarn to dry!!

Speaking of dry, its still raining here (with a few short sun breaks, thankfully) - only 6 more days until a 53 year old record is broken for the number of continuous days of rain. We are fortunate to be high and dry on a rocky hill. Goats and sheep are jumping all around - loving their "mountain"

Thanks to all who have asked about my youngest daughter - she is rapidly improving and hopes to get back to school for half days beginning monday.

I'm off to knit now - Bloomin' Feet is calling my name. I have chosen the yarn- (my secret pal gave me great colors to choose from) Isn't this colorway a beauty?!
Now begins the fun - the delightful process of selecting the purr-fect pattern... I truly enjoy this part of the process, especially when we have been given the favorite flowers of our Secret pal. I'm trying to incorporate this into my choice. I began with Schurch's new book, Sensational knitted socks - ah so clever.. I picked out a pattern (a toe up sock, which of course I have never done), and thought to myself, I can do this TOP DOWN, it looks so simple! Hah! foiled again ! The pattern didn't work this way.. got a blob instead of a cool design. Back to the drawing board!
I've ripped out about 6 choices thus far, yet, intrepid fiberwizard that I am, I keep knitting.. The current pattern on the needles has great potential! More to come soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A River Runs Through it

It's been an eventful few days around here.
The pasture where our goats and sheep have been staying is now no more.

If you look closely at this first photo, you can see the river is now very close to the barn.
We evacuated our animals back to our property on the hill yesterday - after we received yet another call that they were opening the flood gates on the dam up river.
In the past two days, the river has risen 10+feet. this is ALOT! (It's a very big river called the Nisqually River) Although it does not show very well in this photo, the river is really racing along - with large trees and stumps flying by. This photo of the river shows how it looked this morning (there used to be ten foot high banks here.) The water is still rising as I type.

Picture this : 17 baby goats, 8 Mama goats, thirteen sheep and 6 other goats.... all running around frantically trying to 'escape' from the arms of their rescuing shepherd..... think an entire day of transport... in the hard pouring rain. My dear shepherd husband finally collapsed last night around dark. All the baby goats and all the rest are safely back on our hill now.. phew!
He drove down several times during the night to check on all of them - everyone is fine ! :-)

The baby goats think that they have gone to heaven!! They are jumping around the big pasture they are now in - kicking up their heels in the tall grass (we didn't get a chance to mow the resting pastures before the emergency move)
Our little shetland sheep are praying for a 'dry' day so that Dad can come and mow the pasture for them!

All in all, we are fortunate to live on a wonderful big hill, about 400 feet above sea level.
The rain is now at 28 days, and is predicted to continue for another ten days.
Our street is also home to a sweet little creek, which has now flooded, and half the road is closed. I went out and bought supplies, as it looks like we may be housebound tomorrow if this continues.
Plenty of yarn, a ton of fiber... and a couple of pounds of coffee.. and the critters are all safe... I'm going do just fine :-)

Friday, January 6, 2006

Teddy Bears Wanting Homes

A few weeks ago, these wonderful bears arrived- all the way from China.. Now they are not just ordinary old teddy bears.... no sir-ree..... they are quite unique.
Made from SoyBeans (yup, you read that right!) these incredibly soft cute bears, have no petroleum products used in making them, no off-gassing, no toxic wastes created..

I couldn't wait to get some, and to add them to our website. Bears for kids, that are made from this renewable resource (soy), are non-toxic and earth friendly is right up our alley!

Now, the secret is out.. both my Mom and I love Teddy Bears (although I admit she has a much larger collection than I do!) We gave her a tofu-bear for Christmas, and dressed her up in a cute little pink tutu (the clothing for teddy bears at the Bear Mill fits these bears)

Now that things are settling down again, I'll get back to my knitting - I joined a sock exchange group called Bloomin'Feet. I will be knitting a pair of socks for my Secret Sock Pal - Fun!
what to knit, what to knit...what yarn to use?? ahhhh, now that's my kind of dilemma.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

quick update about my girl

Thank you to all who have sent good thoughts and prayers..
Kate is improving (I am sure due to the power of positive thoughts)
and it is possible she might be released from the hospital as soon as Friday.
more soon.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Sometimes life throws us a curve ball

This entry is not about knitting - it's about the miracles of family.
I am fortunate enough to have two wonderful daughters. Erin just turned 22 years old - Here she is with one of her cats, Alicia (who is known for jumping up on your shoulders to give you a cheek smooch!)

Erin is a fabulously successful artist (watch for her upcoming website in 2006!) and she recently finished a rigorous 3 year training program as a stylist for one of the top salons in the country, Gary Manuel Salon. Her beauty, independence and success never cease to amaze me.

My youngest daughter, Kate is another miracle child. Pictured here last summer, she has now turned 15 years old and is a freshman in highschool. She maintains a 4.0 average at an advanced technical high school in Atlanta and she has plans to attend M.I.T. in a few years. (and I have absolutely no doubt she'll do it!)
A couple of years ago, Kate asked to go and live with her Dad and StepMom. Her Dad and I had divorced when she was very little, and she wanted to get to know this great guy (yes, he truly is that) With an aching heart, yet full of understanding for her desire, I let her go. We talk often and she is blooming with success and joy.
There can be nothing better than seeing one's children succeed.

The curve ball that life has thrown is that Kate has Childhood Crohn's Disease. For those who don't know what this is, it is an illness where the colon closes down with scar-like tissue causing deep pain and limited digestion. While this is normally an illness that rears its ugly head in middle age, Kate has had trouble since birth.
At this moment, she is in a hospital, having had surgery 5 days ago to remove some of her colon. She is being very brave, yet having a pretty bad time of it. She's not yet able to eat and digest anything, and between fevers over 102 and tubes down into her stomach she continues to fight to heal from this surgery. The surgeon had to remove quite a bit of her colon - yet feels he got all of the obstructions. Last night showed small improvements - no vomitting, and a little cooler temperature. Kate is only allowed ice chips right now and said that she is dreaming of a big glass of water.
And so the miracle of family... Mine is spread across this country: California, Michigan, Florida, and Germany. My ex-husband (Dad of my beautiful daughters) and his wife are in Georgia, with their family in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and New York. So many prayers and loving thoughts from across this continent and Europe.
I ask for yours to join them.
thank you.