25 February 2007

Reporting Back

Well, I'm back from Stitches West and it was wonderful to see everyone! I'm afraid I am sans pictures for two reasons: 1) no cameras allowed in the hall, and 2) my husband wanted the camera to take pictures of his new toy. Check it out on his blog! Festool USA sent him a spiffy new wood joinery toy to try and write about. He was so excited!

So, no pics. *sigh*

Let's see what I can remember in the blur, though! Upon arriving Friday, I stopped by the Full Thread Ahead booth and gave Hollis an infusion of more shawl pins. I was able to meet her husband, kids and parents there. They all gave me a friendly welcome, but I have to say that her father particularly stole my heart! Then over to see Nathania at the Purlescence booth. She was ravishing as ever! I had forgotten to put one of the pins in her box when I shipped them off (oops), but at least I remembered to bring it down. :) She and her partners had had a special Sharks colorway dyed. It was awesome! And Nathania's partner, the ebullient Chloe, was wearing one of my skull pins. It was fun to see it as an ornament - not used on a shawl. They both looked a little dazed, but oh so happy to be in their element! Next door, the famous Cookie A. had her gorgeous socks out, but was nowhere to be found, so I merely looked, drooled and reminded myself that I don't really like knitting socks anyway, so I really didn't need to increase my sock yarn stash. *g* Then off to say hi to Cheryl Oberle, who is honestly one of the kindest, loveliest people I have ever met, besides being incredibly talented. Really, if you ever get a chance to meet her, grab it! I just adore her.

On to Toots LeBlanc, where I met Michelle in person. She is an amazing knitter! I later was able to meet her business partner/brother Carl, and her sister. They are just the kindest and nicest people you could imagine. I was looking at her angora blend yarn and joking about #1 Son's 4H rabbit project - I wanted him to get an angora bunny, but he wanted a different breed. She then said to tell him that if he did an angora rabbit, she would buy the fur (fleece?) from him. How completely cool is that?! So now he is just walking on air, he is so excited to be embarking on his own little business.

Next, it was on to say hello to Annie and Lisa in the Interweave booth. Lisa was knitting an amazing stranded project with gorgeous bright colors. Yum! They both couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming. I stopped by Lisa Souza's booth to say hello and then over to Sheila Ernst, where I got to meet her husband, Michael. How cool is that? Who should be passing by at that point, but Alison! She gave me a big hug and then I got to see the proof copy of her new book! It looks great and I can't wait to see it in print! And of course, I finally got to see Holly again. It's been a year, and even though we talk on the phone and by email, it's not the same as experiencing her wry wit in person. She is just the absolute best. Really. You don't meet people like her every day! And she designs cool felted bags, too. :)

After that I was off to see Ann Rubin of afghans for Afghans. She is an amazing whir of activity. I can't believe anyone can have so much energy! I had the privilege of being her roommate Friday night. She is just one of the most fascinating people I think I have ever met: someone who understands the inequities in the world and sees all the ugliness, but goes out day after day to try and make a difference. She doesn't seem to tire or get discouraged. I don't know how she does it; I have enormous respect for her. And she was the Knitter of the Year! Go Ann! :)

Saturday, I spent the morning trying to see everything I had missed. I stopped by to say hello to Marilyn at Black Water Abbey. She designed a gorgeous felted bag for afghans for Afghans and was selling the kits. It is a work of art! She was almost out of the celtic pins I designed for her. Then I had to stop by the Lacy Knitters Guild booth to see if Eugen Beugler (of Frost Flowers and Leaves fame) was in residence, and he was there! I am a huge fan, so of course I had to gush all over the poor man. He showed me two new scarf designs of his that will be coming out soon. His work is so elegant!
Next up, I found tons of gorgeous laceweight yarn at the Yarn Place booth. Wow! She doesn't even have half of it up on her site. Along the length of the double size booth, there was a dowel hung with hanks of every color of laceweight yarn imaginable. *drool* She had a 50/50 merino/tencel blend that shimmered in the most vibrant, beautiful clear colors you can imagine. I wanted one of each, but I exercised great restraint after guilty thoughts of my giant laceweight stash! :/ Then I met up with blogless (and wonderful) Joy and Nathania for a little while before going over to the afghans for Afghans booth to do my shift. Alison came by while I was there and gave me a gift! A lovely ruby red lace scarf, hand knit from a strand of Zephyr and a strand of Alison's own hand dye. I was touched and honored! And it's a perfect color for me. Thank you so much Alison! After I got off, I said goodbyes all around and took off for home. It was a very dark, very very wet drive, but I made it all in one piece in time to say goodnight to the kids. Boy, did I miss my family!

Other cool things: the Habu booth was fascinating as ever; Catherine Lowe's designs - clean lines, beautiful colors, and amazing finishing details; incredible vibrantly colored curly locks of wool at La Lana; all the samples from Victorian Lace Today at the XRX booth - superb, I want to knit them all; and who could get past the Brooks Farm booth without drooling over all their gorgeous gorgeous colors!? I'm sure I'll think of more later, but for the time being, my brain is full! It was a great time. :)

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21 February 2007


Well, I got my second installment of pins off to Nathania at Purlescence today! And she will have them in booth #734 at Stitches West. Woooo! I'll be at the show on Friday and Saturday! I can't wait to get my fix, both people I haven't seen for a year and all that yarn and fiber. *drool* If you're there on Saturday, I'll be in the Afghans for Afghans booth from 1:30 to 4:30. Drop by and say hello! I didn't think I'd be able to make it to Stitches this year, since my life has been so topsy turvy, but things seem to have a way of working out for the best. I just need to remember to trust in that!

Hollis at Full Thread Ahead will also have some of my goodies in her enormous booth (#s 717, 719, 816 & 818!). I talked with her and she's got it almost all set up - can't wait to see. :)
Marilyn at Black Water Abbey, booths 417 & 419 will have my special Celtic pins, which are only available from her. And stop by and visit my friends at Toots LeBlanc! I'll finally meet them in person on Friday!

It's raining here, and I'm listening to the frogs in the backyard. I know I'm a dork, but I love that we have frogs in the backyard. Last year we had tadpoles in our little "water feature" (you can't really call it a pond, it's more like a wishing well).

Well, I'm off to watch episodes of Star Trek TNG, something that I know Del will understand. :) So I'll leave you with a little eye candy. Stop by the Purlescence booth to see them in person!

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19 February 2007


We interupt this knitting blog to bring you pictures of the 2nd stage of the Tour of California bike race. It was soooooo cooooool!!! Here is where I admit that I am glued to the TV every summer to watch the Tour de France. I love watching the peloton and all the people cheering alongside the roads as the racers travel through France. Well, this is the second year that Santa Rosa has been a stop in the Tour of California, and my family and I have gone both years and stood at the finish line to watch the cyclists whoosh by on their three laps through the city. It is an amazing experience to see the same racers that cycle through Europe riding through local streets! I love it. So here's a short recap:

#1 son on Dad's shoulders getting the best view of the finish line.

The first of three laps around Santa Rosa.

The back end of The Big Pile-Up in which half of the peloton was caught or went down. My husband saw the whole thing happen, but, alas, I am vertically challenged, so only saw half of it. I was holding the camera up over everyone's heads to get the pictures!

The finish! It was awesome.

Maybe this week I'll block my shawl.... :)

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15 February 2007

True Confessions

When one recovers the Will To Knit, it is time to check out the old UFOs. So, with much trepidation, I begin the cover-up cataloging.

First in seniority is the Corner to Corner Shawl by Eugen Beugler (my hero) from Best of Knitters Shawls and Scarves. It is my second one, knit with Handpainted Yarn. I love the color, but it's just not me. I knit my first one from Euroflax laceweight linen, which I *love*, and even the man himself didn't recognize it when I met him at Stitches West last year! (He liked it too). I've turned the corner at the end, but I haven't been able to force myself into finishing it.

Next is my elder son's hoodie:

It's made just like his Dad's, but when I started knitting it last year, the season ended before I could finish it. I decided to pick it up for this past fall, because, as any parent knows, kids grow more when you buy them (or make them) new clothes, and I knew he would outgrow it by the end of the summer. But by the time fall came around, I was so incredibly busy with pin orders that I had no time to knit. Now, after the holidays, when I have a bit more time, there's not much cold weather left here. *sigh* But it's knit from the top down, and he does only seem to grow up and not out. (whew) I modified it from a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern (#244) and used a figure 8 cast-on to start the hood and knit down. The pattern has you start at the neck edge, but I'm really anal picky, so I didn't want to be half a stitch off on the edging. See how cool the cast-on looks?

You can't see it at all! I love little details like this. :)

Onward (and I'm not even going to go through the two pairs of socks, knit on US 0s, for my husband with size 13 feet, or the sweater I need to rip out completely).

Next is Rockstar:

I love this pattern, but I am sick of knitting this particular lace pattern. It is the same one used in Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy Shawl. I've knitted two of those and have another one unfinished. They're gorgeous, but I need some variety here! This reminds me of the time I knit five green sweaters in a row. Yes. Five. Not including this one, that is. So there are two strikes against it. :P

And speaking of the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, I figured I'd punish myself with some black mohair:

See Rockstar. What was I thinking?!?!?!?!?

Next is Sharon Miller's Bird's Eye shawl, a free pattern in a lace stitch that looks easy, but is not.

Now, I'm all for going the other way these days: looks impressive, is easy to knit. But this is proving too much right now for my limited brain cells. Concentration is difficult when kids are calling and work needs to be done, ya know?

It's really pretty, though, no?

Next we have the Orange Sweater:

It is from a stunningly minimal Linea Rossa pattern, and I, of course, couldn't help myself. I decided to mess with the pattern and knit it in the round so I could watch TV while knitting all the stockinette. I can only do stockinette without looking, although I'm starting to be able to do reverse stockinette too. And I hate sewing seams after I've finished knitting, so I am planning on top down sleeves.

And then we have the true embarrassment.

This miserable pile of alpaca lace is actually a stunning shawl in disguise. It is the Estonian Garden Shawl by Evelyn Clark for Fiber Trends. It's been finished for (mumble mumble) months and I haven't blocked it! I am hanging my head in shame.

Next up: which lucky UFO will be finished first? Tune in next time!

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13 February 2007


They went, they cooked, they kicked bootaaaaay!!!! Check out the culinary rock stars here! My friends Susan and Jeff rocked the house. I can't wait for the full report. Susan promised me one later today!

In other news: I have regained the Will to Knit! Yes, once more I feel complete. There will be Knitting Content again. :)


09 February 2007

Cool Times!

Today I was privileged to see Terri's finished book cover. It is sooooo cool! She did an amazing job and I cannot wait to see her finished book. I am so excited for her. :)

And I got a call from my friend Susan, aka Chicken Mama, who is in New York with her husband Jeff, the chef/owner of Zin Restaurant in Healdsburg. He was invited to cook at the James Beard House. How amazing is that? They'll be cooking dinner Saturday night and I can't wait to hear how it turns out! The menu sounds incredible. All I can say is that Zin is definitely the best place to eat up here, so if you come to wine country, stop by. He makes everything from scratch, even his own ketchup! Yummy.

They've been taking the tour of the town and she, of course, like any proper fiber addict, stopped by Purl Soho and fondled yarn. Susan said she was talking about how she wished her friend Rosemary could see the store and how "Rosemary even knits with wire and had a pattern in Knitty." And how cool is it that the person in the shop remembered Venezia and loved it?! I will spare you all the gushing about the internet bringing everyone closer together, but it does! What a great community we have!

Anyway, I wanted to ask all of you to spare a moment and think good culinary thoughts for Susan and Jeff. This is like playing Carnegie Hall! Go Zin! Woooooooooo! :)


08 February 2007

Another silly (but really fun!) quiz

In lieu of actual content, here's a tarot card quiz I swiped from Nathania. :)

You scored as VIII - Strength. Strength is not just physical strength, it also means emotional and spiritual strength. It is the Strength to do what you know is right in the face of opposition. Strength to defy convention and authority. Stength does not have to be used directly. It can be inner strength that supports one in the face of attacks on what they hold dear. The person of Strength remains true to their beliefs. In a Tarot reading, this card can indicate overcoming of obstacles and refusal to be beaten down. If badly aspected this card can indicate loss of faith, failure of Will.

VIII - Strength


II - The High Priestess


XI: Justice


III - The Empress


I - Magician


XIII: Death


IV - The Emperor


0 - The Fool


X - Wheel of Fortune


VI: The Lovers


XVI: The Tower


XV: The Devil


XIX: The Sun


Which Major Arcana Tarot Card Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com


01 February 2007

February is...

National Heart Month!

Read about it here. Did you know that more women die of heart disease and stroke than breast cancer? Way more women. It's a sobering statistic....