Madrona

A view from Hotel Murano

For the last three years I migrate down to the Hotel Murano in Tacoma Washington to attend Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. It was the 1st year I signed up for a class and I was really excited. It was a total fluke I got in but I had put my name on the waitlist and was able to get in to Catherine Lowe’s “The WOW Factor class”  I was really excited because the level of detail she has in her sample garments is amazing.

Catherine is extremely detail oriented, and while that level of detail may not be for everyone, I was excited to better learn things that contribute increasing the quality and look of a hand knitted garment. I learned a lot. It was pretty jam packed and it was a day long class and kept my mind engaged, which made for a long day.

The marketplace was nice as always and I picked up a fair amount of spinning fiber. This event features a lot more spinning fiber, weaving and other fiber arts. It was really great toes people bring their beautiful wheels to the hotel and spin in public…… Not sure when my new fiber will get spun up but is sure was pretty.

My favorite thing about the festival has to be the people and getting together with friends…. While I had thought I would bring my knitting I ended up working on my granny stripe blanket… I had a moment to measure it and the width of each row is 92 inches (WOAH!). I think it will be really nice when it done, right now it is the width of a belt.

Oh and cool things in the marketplace? These were a few of my favorites:

  • Carolina Handspun’s booth had the spinner’s version of a mini yarn sampler. With a sample of 4 colors of fiber.
  • Tuft Woolen’s lotion bars/body balm… This has to be the best one on the market that I have seen. It absorbs quickly and there is no  lotion residue left on your hands when you apply it to your hands… The other thing I like is that it is small.. The small size  makes it easy to add to your project bag and not take up a lot of space or add weight.
  • Abundant Earth’s booth was really nice and while they don’t sell retail, the owner did mention that their place of business on Whidbey Island is available for tours and you can buy yarn if you stop by.
  • CORMO! CORMO! CORMO! I tried to empty and grab every 2 ounce package of the roving that was available ion Sincere Sheep’s booth.

 

 

In for the long haul

Just looking at Instagram gets me into trouble. I see lots of project people make and “oooh” and “ahhh” throughout the day. I actually have pretty good restraint on casting on new projects I usually just put them in my “Favorites” in Ravelry or add it to my “Queue” so when I noticed people starting to post pictures of granny square stripe blankets I got a little worried…. they were really cute, but how many lap blankets does one person really need…

Fast forward to last week when I saw this beautiful Shabby Chic themed version and all sense of  self control literally went out the window…. I decided to make mine bigger because well I want something bigger to snuggle in. I chained 452 and have gone through a couple of false starts.  While I understood the structure of the granny square I need to reacclimatize myself to how I would do a the stripped granny blanket. The first row is long… If you are doing it and actually creating a foundation row, you will essentially be working all of the crochet stitches 3 times ( chain them, single crochet and3 time double crochet into each row).

I have no illusions that this is going to bw a quick project, in fact I am giving myself  permission for this to take at least 3 years…. I mean these rows are really long.

In the meantime if you have any interest I am sharing a link for a good tutorial. While I did look at Attic24’s link for the pattern, it just didn’t sink in for me.\ http://easycrochetpattern.blogspot.com/2012/10/crochet-granny-stripe-afghan-tutorial.html

 

Winter was here and left..

 

My neighborhood looked like a postcard for a few hours

Earlier this week a snowstorm hit Seattle. It was kind of the perfect snow day because it was the monday following the Super Bowl and an excellent reason to stay all day in a pair of flannel pajamas. While I was working from home I managed to snap a few pictures.

Spring is just around the corner…

I probably should take down my outdoor holiday decorations but I just love them so much…

Ummm… I guess I have to be accountable

Ummm…yeah it is bigger than 2 kind sized pillows

While I have been  dodging an “news” or “current events” I have had a noticeable uptick in the amount of energy, which has been really nice and I was able to crank up some music the other day during my commute to work and sing along to Coldplay. I can’t lie while have been blissfully unaware everything going on outside of my house and work environment… I had a good re-entry in to reality when I got a delivery of fiber (cough… cough.. 2 packages)…

In between Netflix and knitting I had the sudden realization that this would be the first of many packages coming to the house (Ooops!) The parade of packages will be beginning next week when my Eileen Fisher sweaters arrive… I think I am relatively good for a while… the rest were custom were orders… I should be able to knit or sing down fiber before more arrives… Here is what coming…

 

  1. 5 skeins from Gregoria Fibers
  2. 8 skeins of Woolenboon
  3. 20 skeins of the Plucky Knitter
  4. 4 skeins from La Bien Aimee

I think that is about it…. umm. I am being honest.. I don’t think there is anything out there other than my fiber club subscription nest month. LOL

Things I have decided…..

There is a lot of things going on in the world and my personal live things have just been busy….. I have been doing a lot of retail therapy……. sounds like fun but I recognize what it is and I need to put and end to the “crazy” so I have decided to:

  1. Stop watching the news( my fingers seem to have an “add to cart” reflex everytime I do)
  2. Focus on my test knit…. I have miles of stockinette that needs to get done.
  3. Do my homework for Madrona ( I am a slacker)
  4. STOP BUYING CRAP….
  5. Try to blog more….. I feel that I should be more expressive..

Sweater weather?

My orange peel shaped ribbing…

I looked in my closet the other day and had realized all of my warm knitwear was either in the laundry pile or at the dry cleaners (yeah, I know what some of you might say, but depending on the item I have most of my items dry cleaned… different stores for different folk people, and I just don’t have the time and I am okay with it). I couldn’t believe that I was low on knitwear. I actually began knitting to make hand knits for my daughter but one of the amazing things about being a knitter is being able to have sweaters that fit… The issue that really got me excited for hand knitting was being able to adjust the sleeve length (I typically shorten by at least 2 inches from the pattern) and I have loved being able to throw something on where I don’t have to roll sleeves back.

I am on the third of the three cast ons that I did on New Year’s day, which is a sweater. This one will be slower because it is a sweater. I haven’t been knitting sweaters that frequently and to be honest adjusting my  mindset to reading a sweater pattern was a bit of a change…. but with Brooklyn Tweed publishing the Michele Wang’s  Capsule collection I am having a change of heart on picking up the needles for a sweater. The collection is simply gorgeous and it has me seriously considering that I need to turn my focus to making a few of these beautiful patterns.

My only hesitation on the one I want to knit is that it is 4400 yards of fingering weight yarn…. the commitment to make this sweater is longer than some people’s marriages.

 

 

 

Off the grid kind of.

All I can do lately when I have a free moment is knit I want to knit “one more row” and do nothing else. It could be the mindless knit that I have on my needles or that I have kind of “unplugged of late. I am still pretty active on Instagram,  but have found myself focused on being more present in the moment( IRL) and less about watching the threads on Ravelry   or texting friends.  It really is amazing what one can get  done when they take away some of the distractions. We are in middle of  January and I am taking stock of all of the things that I want to do.

It is easy to get overwhelmed, I confess the only thing I am trying to do is look to my immediate surroundings and not get distracted.  The last few years I was buying a lot of yarn and and now that I have kind of gotten out of the “accumulating” mentality and it is nice to be making the things. It feels really healing to be just focused on working with fiber and learning more about the fiber arts. I am making a lot of headway on my ” Hollows”  by Mandrines and am getting ready to make my Shepard and Shearer Hoody by Kate Davies. It has been a while since I have made a sweater and if you know me you know I can’t just make one without modifying the pattern.

It is a well recognized fact that the measurements from the American Craft Council  do not fit most most body types many designers use… I would say that it took a three years for this to sink in, and to be be honest I am still not that comfortable making modifications but like with anything it is something that gets easier and better with time…. so if I am a little more quiet than usual you will know what I am up to, even if I am not chatting about it.

 

Kinda.. sorta.. had to.

I have been knitting more than I have been spinning lately, maybe be it is the whole knitting with cashmere that is getting my needles going… or procrastinating on another sweater.  The cashmere and the procrasintating feel soooo good. I have been  trying to tune everything else out lately…. just enjoying  knitting and making when I want to.

It was a little bit of a surprise that my daughter asked me to make her a pair  of mittens last night my heart melted and I said yes. I mean I kinda sorta had to..  She was really cute to ask…   The normal script goes something like this:

Daughter: Momma?

Me: Yes?

Daughter: What are are you knitting?

Me: I am knitting a _____.

Daughter: For me?

It was a real thrill to have her ask and I now scouting out patterns… When I told her I need to find a pattern she said.. ” You mean on the bulletin board on your computer?” I scratched my head at that one and realized she was talking about the “pattern library” in Ravelry. At this point I don’t think my daughter has any choice of not being a future knitter…. or at least someone who enjoys hand knits.

Generating positivity

It is only 7 days in to 2017 and I would say that it is not off to a great start. I won’t go into it but rather than keep on with the trend from 2016  I thought I would try to make lemonades out of lemonade. So… when I went a little nuts on a recent order of Republic of Wool the other day this afforded me the perfect opportunity to do something that might start off the year on a good foot or at least make it a little better for myself and other knitters. I am giving away a skein of the Twist Sock in the Freckleface colorway on Instagram. I will be picking a random winner next week on Friday, January the 13th… The catch… the only thing that you need to do is leave a comment on the Instagram post about what you do to stay positive or what you plan to to to be positive in 2017.

There have been some really fantastic ideas and it injects a little more hope in to my everyday and I hope that other people read them to and it gives them a little some ideas of coping when things are crappy. I  have been thrilled to see how many people do something on a daily basis to make their day a little better or have a tool to shut down the negativitiy.

On a personal note. I haven’t responded to everyone’s Instagram posts because I am trying to keep it easy to count the entry  for the drawing, but I am really touched by your kind words and suggestions.

 

 

Happy New Year

It has been a tough year and I think many people are looking to put 2016 firmly behind them and look to what is new on the horizon. I find myself not as focused as last year with my crafting goals as last yea  and I am going to give myself a break. I think I will may still keep up with some of the challenges I really enjoyed this year like “Mad Hatter March” and “Christmas in July” but I think I am going to try to have a go with the flow approach this year with a major goal being my trip to Scotland and making some hand knits for that trip.

Madrona is also  around the corner and I signed up for 1 class, and I am excited to hang out and just knit and spin, I am making plans to do give myself less goals this year and not be so driven by my goals but rather enjoy more of the process( it will be interested to see if this will actually happen:).

I want to love what I knit and spin but also love using it. I feel really good about my last finished object my Exploration Station by Stephen West  in Viola Fingering yarn.