Things to do if you are in the Pacific NW in April

The annual Tulip festival team takes place in the Mt. Vernon/La Connor area(located about an hour north of Seattle with no traffic). It is beautiful a great place to go with family and take pictures(I’m a sucker for good photography).

La Connor is a fun little town and there are little shops and restaurants in the downtown area which are fun to look through… In Mt. Vernon(which is a bigger city) has a nice little yarn show called Wild Fibers. I have visited this in the past during the Puget Sound’s yarn crawl.Its a special shop and has some offerings that I don’t see in a lot of the other local yarn shops (which is saying a lot because there are a bunch of them around western Washington)

Okay, so  back to the Skagit Tulip Festival, it is a month long festival and there are fields of daffodils and tulips to go see. The daffodils always bloom first and earlier in the month and are randomly planted in fields. They are beautiful it is looking like a sea of yellow, after they finish blooming the tulips come throughout the month.  If you like Tulips you will have to do to either Tuliptown or Roozengaarde. These are two places that offer the ability to walk through the tulip fields and take photos and look at the many varieties of tulips.

Weekend plans

Tulips from Mt. Vernon Tulip festival

My fun weekend plans…. okay isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun Saturday night but I spend Saturday sorting through my “downstairs” stash.  I really can’t believe how long it took to expatriate my spinning fiber from my yarn. If I am going to be honest it is not like I am surprised that it took so long or there was that much fiber, but more that it was fun.

So while it is not glamorous it felt really good to have this off the “todo”list.  Maybe I need bigger goals but this one felt good.

DFW Fiber Fest and Thing for String

Its been a little over a week since I has the opportunity to attend the DFW Fiber Fest. It was a total coincendence that I happened to be in town and I only got to attend for a couple of hours but it was wonderful. I took some pictures of a few things that I wanted to be sure to share with you and remember.

A beautiful new base by Magpie Fibers that was “new to me”
A local mill using texas wool and spun in Texas
Another new to me yarn. I had a delightful time talking to the vendor about fades and I picked up a couple of minis. I am still thinking of the colorway “Tandoori” but I just didn’t need another full skein of speckled yarn.
Beautifull self striping yarn from Amy Lee at Canon Hand Dyes
Ross Farms.. definitely a find, all the way from PA, they are a vendor that also sells at Rhinebeck and focuses on heritage breed sheep.
A beautiful sample from in the Canon Hand Dyes booth
Fiber art pieces littered throughout the lobby…
It was fun looking at the fiber art. Finding them was like finding Easter eggs

This festival has been around for a few years but the primary reason I went was to say hello and meet an Instagram friend @Thing4string who spins and dyes yarn. Her stuff in my opinion is in the top three of the handspun I have encountered in real life. I first stumbled upon it through my friend @symonangel had made some socks with her handspun and I was amazed because Micki aka @thing4string  spun seilfstiping yarn with evenly placed stripes ( this is not the norm and I have only seen this once but, the fact it could still occur blow my mind as a hand spinner) So while it may make it harder to buy her yarn I want to share with you all where you can procure her yarn http://athingforstring.bigcartel.com because it is so awesome.    

A close up of the Micki’s handspun in a sock she knit. She has granted me permission to use this photo.

 

 

 

Introvert much?

Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

I know Edinburgh Yarn Fest was last month and I didn’t get to go but lately, I have been obsessed with watching footage of people’s experience on YouTube. It looks amazing, this year Fiber Festivals are not really in the cards(  oddly enough it is a coincidence that I will be able to pop in at the Dallas Fort Worth Fiber Festival which crazily enough coincides with my daughter’s spring break and a visit to my in-laws). I don’t get out much, at least beyond my comfort zone. It could be because I am raising a kid, or getting sucked into a new crossword puzzle or watching more things on YouTube.

I know as knitters, crocheters, and spinners most of us are introverts; we sit at home, connect with Ravelry,  or meet with local knitting groups. I rememeber a few years ago I was better at getting online and connect through forums on Ravelry, it was something I really enjoyed doing.

I don’t know what has happened if I have already found my “tribe” and just connect with them when we are able to connect or if I just have gotten busy but one thing I have noticed that that amount of time that I have spent “peopling” in pretty limited.

The stress level these last 12 months has been high and I don’t deny that I have been pouring myself into solitary activities…. so maybe next year I will make it a goal to “people” just a little bit more.

Spring break

 

Cherry blossoms are blooming in my yard.

Spring has sprung and, if you have been looking at  Instagram lately there are some really spectacular places that have been visited for Spring break. It has been fantastic seeing new places. I have seen pictures from California, Hawaii, to Japan.

I have also been in touch with my friends on what they are taking on their trips. I am getting ready to leave for a small trip this weekend and I am starting to think about what to pack. It’s not a really big trip but just like every other knitter I have a fantasy of getting a massive amount on a current WIP or bringing a bunch of projects done and having the illusion that you will have so much free time to knit on whatever project you want. The struggle is real.. and I can’t decide what to bring.

Spring has sprung

Spring is officially here in Seattle, and it is beautiful around here. Daylight Savings has made it easier to be out later and get to enjoy nature. I have been doing a lot of yard work to prepare the garden for Spring and Summer. It has been very meditative to work in the garden, I will admit that digging in the dirt is not my favorite but getting to put new plants in the ground and shape and trim the hedges has been rewarding.

I admit I haven’t spent as much time on my knitting lately, I am not sure if it is the beautiful weather or the fact that my current project feels like a slog. I have to be honest I am too stubborn and too far along on the hat to frog it or put it aside.

This time next week I hope to have a new hat off the needles to share…. and hopefully I will be casting on for my next project.

Cables and such…

Recently one of my “work in progress photos” got “regrammed” on Instagram by Brooklyn Tweed. To say that I “geeked” out would be an understatement.  Most people know that BrooklynTweed’s aesthetics is beautiful, their work is always a must look at when they publish a new collection. A couple of years ago I began to get into photography so having a company that takes exceptional knitwear photos take not of one of my pictures meant a lot.

The item I am knitting is Ilia by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed. This pattern is all cables and all the time.

Last year when Michele Wang visited Tolt Yarn and Wool last year to promote her new Capsule Collection for Brooklyn Tweed I went nuts because everything in the collection was so good. I knew that I had to knit the sweater on the cover,  Ilia. Okay, I might have given myself a pep talk to knit this pattern because it requires 4400 yards of fingering weight yarn to knit it (in my size), this would be a stretch for me, but I thought I would give it a whirl and cast on. I am giving myself permission to knit this up as a longterm project.

I realize that this pretty wordy and goes in a bunch of directions but I promise you that there is a purpose. I saw the comments  on the regrammed photo and thought I would answer some general knowledge about cables in case these are “new to you” techniques:

  1. Stitch Markers: I  do like a good stitch marker, but when cables are traveling or moving over stitches within a row I don’t use them If I did use them me reverence point would keep changing, and I would keep having to move the stitch marker.
  2. Memorizing the Pattern: There are a couple of tricks here, the biggest one is to realize that you only actually need to memorize half the pattern. Most of the cable patterns I have seen have you knit the knits and purl the purls on the wrong side row after you make cables. Simply put if it is a 30-row pattern you only have to remember 15 rows or the right side of the fabric that you are working.
  3. Memorizing the Pattern: I do like to occasionally look at the pattern but a lot of this occurs during the 1st repeat of the cable motif. I tend to look closely at the first cable motif so I can turn my knitted fabric into my reference chart for what I am knitting, that way I can read which way to cross the cables and when the cables need to be knit
  4. Marking the spot: If you happen to have a pattern that has traveling cables it can be really easy to figure out where you left off if you put the project down for a couple of months…. the trick here is counting how many stitches a cable has moved from a particular place on the cable chart.

So I know these tricks are;t mindblowing me but they do help me get through a pattern with cables.

 

 

A tiny amount of spring cleaning

That yarn chicken is an ugly bird,  but it is motivating. So…. I thought I would have a finished hat to post until I realized that I did not have enough yarn to finish it. While it was the tiniest bit sad, I did manage to finally get rid of the yarn, in addition, this weekend I finished 2 ounces that were on my spinning wheel, tried to spin up some fiber ( bought at the Madron Fiber Festival) which din;t go well and after a fair amoung of looking at my queue I wound up some cashmere to knit up a shawlette by Andrea Mowery.

This is some good stuff

The written word is a tricky thing. Context and tone can be difficult to convey when typing a post.. so I need to stress this I have found a newly appreciated way for watching people go to a yarn convention (I cannot call it a knitting convention because when I go, very little knitting actually gets accomplished).

In past years when I have been watching the Instagram feed and living vicariously through others texting friends, I have missed out on the gloriousness of finding a quiet full-service bar with a good menu and enjoying a glass of a nice wine with some sides of pasta.

I hope this doesn’t sound depressing, but let’s talk about all of the positives here:

  1. There is not the loud noise of being in an acoustic box and hear 400-500 people have multiple conversations
  2. There is no pushing or bumping
    You are not weighed down toting a large bag around all day and multiple purchases.
  3. There is wine
  4. Your family is not around and there is no one asking anything from you…. In fact, the bartender is asking what he or she can do for you.
  5. No achy feet, you are sitting.
  6. There is good food, no hotel food or cafe food.
  7. No rush or waiting to get a table.
  8. There are no people… this sounds callous but if you recognize yourself for what you are an introvert this is actually a good thing. This means that you won’t feel drained by the end of the day or for the couple of hours that you are out at a restaurant.
  9. The retreat is clean and there is no clutter. When watching Instagram at home it can be distracting to see the Legos on the floor or an unmade bed….. let’s face it it is also less painful if there are no legos to step on.
  10. Knitting time… I love seeing friends but there does seem to be the familiar exercise when you go home are greeted by your spouse and see the “ I have had the kid all weekend. Tag your it” and then get the question” Did you have a good time knitting” when you are secretly thinking “What time knitting? I went out with friends and bought yarn, I have had no time to knit”

Sure, going to these fiber festivals and yarn conventions is great place to see your friends and hang out, but I think this year I have figured out a way to maximize my enjoyment if I don’t go to one #illhaveanotherglass