Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl all year (mostly). Can I please have a spinning wheel under my tree?

In a nutshell, Yarn School Rocks. Unbelievably.

Bunnies, Goats and Alpacas, Oh My!

I've got fiber from some of the angora bunnies to spin later, a purse made from Chewbacca the goat's fibers and made my first yarn from two of the alpacas there. Yes, made my own freaking yarn. And it's heavenly. Absofuxxinglutley heavenly. (See Santa? no cursing! well, mostly) It will soon become a scarf that I may or may not ever take off.


After......(the big fluffy orange fiber amazingness is MINE, it's the one that looked a lot like poo in the crock pot)

I've still got 8 plastic wrapped beauties on my back porch that need rinsing and hanging out. Another dear yarn schooler is bringing even MORE of my fiber/yarn home that was too hot to take after the extra dye session. The yarn hanging with the shoes is a buttload of wool I spun in fat/thin singles to dye up to make one of my funky spiraling purses. It'll be neat to see how they turn out, if what I pictured in my head will become the project I intend.

The food? Fabulous. Absolutely fresh, healthy, yummy, unbelievable. The company? Also fabulous I learned so much from EVERYONE. I was actually so in awe of the whole spinning phenomenon that I hardly talked. Yes, me. I was walking around the corner when all the dyed fiber was hanging on the line. I overheard the following....

"who dyed the orange one?"
"who's Christine again?"
"the quiet one. from KC"
"Oh, yeah! Christine!"

Yeah. Probably the only time in my life that description would work.

I really, really, really, REALLY need a spinning wheel now. Really.

Yarn School. Just Do it.

Oh, and I totally have a fiber stash now. A pretty significant start on a fiber stash thanks to Yarn School! Another stash habit is born.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yarn Harlot! Bee Barf! And YARN SCHOOL!

I've got no pretty knitting pictures. I suck. I also have knit and frogged and knit again so much knitting since I last posted. Again, I suck.

Anyway, The Yarn Harlot is coming to KC and I get to go! WOO HOO! I missed her Wichita, KS appearance a while back and great shopping and pizza and roadtripping with knitters. Man, it doesn't get any better than that. OK, if there were beer, then THAT would be the ultimate day. (Not while on the road trip, I may knit while I drive, but I don't drink while driving.)

Call Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126. You get a book and two tickets for $16.99 or something like that. Quite a deal. Yarn Harlot will be speaking at the Unity Temple in KC, MO on Monday, Oct 13th at 7pm. And I'm gonna be there. How cool is that? Unbelievably.

OK, the beautiful yellow silky wool ribbed sweater? The one I knit and knit and frogged and frogged and knit more, then frogged more then knit away yet again? After completing the body and one sleeve I tried it on. Yes, I actually DID try this on in progress a few times. It fit. It fit perfectly. I got gauge. It was just the way it was supposed to be, but I forgot the cardinal sin of the sweater knitter. Pick out a sytle that actually looks good on you. I forgot what I looked like. I somehow saw myself as the cute models in the picture, not as the flat chested, slightly hippy woman that I am. I'm happy with how I look, I look fabulous in many styles of sweaters. This was not one of them. It was so horrid that I couldn't even take a picture. I took it off, set up my "yarn baller" as my husband calls it, and immediately turned it back into yarn.

The only thing I could think as I stood there looking in the mirror at this perfectly lovely sweater that looked perfectly horrid on me was "Bee Barf." It looked like 28,361 bees barfed up pollen bits all over me. But mostly in a drawing-the-eye-to-the-widest-part-of-the-hips way of pollen barfing. Horrid. Knitted Bee Barf.

What else? Oh I made the migraine blanket bigger and it's already getting lots of use from various children. How do they pick the funkiest, wildest blankets out of all that we have in the house? Ah well. It makes me happy that a bunch of scraps turned into something warm and used.

Also knit half a hat, frogged it and knit again on larger needles making adjustments as I go now and it's making up a lovely hat now. I am using a kit bought from Maggie's Farm I got at the Knitting in the Heartland vendor market last spring. It's called "Barn chore hat" or something like that. Pretty yarn, but the hand spun natural and the colored part were such different gauges that I needed to frog back and change stitch numbers. It's working up well now and has the softest alpaca knit up to fold under for a lining for the ears. It's supposed to be for Jeff, but I have a feeling I'll be wearing this one a lot this winter. Goal to self: WEAR HATS this winter. A knitter should wear hats. Even if she/he looks stupid in them. Guy knitters are so lucky. They always look good in knit hats.

I've also cast on for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Longies, from the September month of Knitters Alamanac, my favorite book of all time. I should be doing this two at one time on circs, that would make so much more sense and ensure that both legs actually match, but I just can't seem to do it that way. It irks me. I don't know why. I'm working away on two sets of dpns a little at a time back and forth. Cascade 220 in grey, or what I've knit half my wardrobe out of. So far, so good. That woman was a genius.

OH OH OH and the coundown to YARN SCHOOL has begun. TWO DAYS baby and I'm hitting the road. THURSDAY after work I'm heading to Harveyville, KS to Yarn School, where I get to learn to spin, SHOP for fiber and yarn, dye fiber and yarn, eat yummy healthy food and hang out with other yarnies just as crazy as I am! Nothing makes for a better day than hanging out with others just as fiber crazy as you are! I've been packed for a week now. Just keep changing what yarn I'm bringing along.

I promise to take lots of pics and try to remember what I learn. There's still a few last minute spots open, click away and come with me! I'd even drive (but I may or may not knit on the long, straight non-traffic filled highways, so take your chances.)

And the last bit of family news is that the beautiful camper is gone. My valentine's day present camper. The camper that had a TOILET in it plus screened windows, kitchen and slide out area so you could actually hang out indoors while in the outdoors? My way to handle the family camping trips? Yeah. We sold it. Damn. Damn, Damn, Damn. We were offered three times what we paid for it. And found a wonderful speed boat. A good boat, great shape, big hull which means nice traveling instead of beating us to a pulp like the speed boat we borrowed last summer. An open front, so the kids can all hang out all over the thing. Our family will get much use from it and we'll all enjoy it but it still sucks. Now when we go camping I'm back to bug level with no toilet. Freaking bugs. I should just cover myself in honey to better draw them to me to eat me. Anyway, I'm being a good mother, so we'll have much more days like this.....

Ah well, what do I care? I'm going to YARN SCHOOL!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The prodigal sock returns!

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OH how I missed you! That sock, the one on the right? With the extra thick brown stripes? He's come home to me! I have to admit that you really DO love the one that left even more than the one that was trusty, loyal and stayed in the sock drawer where he belonged. See those thick brown lines? I always liked the other one better as I thought those looked a bit like poo.

ANYWAY, last Friday was a nice cool, almost cold day. I broke out the wool socks. YEAH! Thought my wollemeise sockenwolle would be just the thing for the first wearing of the season. As we had a busy evening of lots of places to go, I also was lugging the big ass Migraine Blanket around in a tote bag. I had picked up another skein of Schaefer Elaine yarn at Knit Wit's a while back and thought I'd like to make the blanket big enough to actually USE. As we walked around an outdoor carnival, the sun came out. It got a bit warm. I'd have been ok, except the wool socks on my feet were bringing my heat level up to 10 degrees below bursting right into flames. Actual flames. That's why I knit so many alpaca and wool sleeveless sweaters. My body can't take the whole wool immersion thing unless it's seriously cold. Apparently 65 degrees isn't cold enough. Socks went into the bottom of the tote bag.

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Through the night I yanked and stuffed that big ass blanket in and out of the tote bag. Yes, you guessed it, the next morning when I got home, only one pretty wollmeise sock was in the bottom of the bag. OH the horror. I don't mind losing a regular sock, but this one was knit on my honeymoon on a sailboat in the Sea of the Bahamas. It was WOLLMEISE for God's sake. Why couldn't I have lost an opal sock? Or a Lorna's Laces one? (not that I don't love both of those yarns, but seriously? WOLLMEISE?) Damn.

Well, let me just say that people look at you really REALLY strangely when you show up asking if their lost and found happens to have a sock that looks almost exactly like THIS ONE RIGHT HERE but with thicker brown stripes. Yes, next time I will absolutely use the phone. The school where my youngest step son goes is a bit, um, stuck up and pretentious and rich. And they just don't appreciate the gravity of good wool socks being lost out on their soccer field. But then, apparently neither do gas station attendants and snotty high school girls that work at volleyball arenas.

Jeff came back from getting his van detailed yesterday and Guess What!?! My little lost sock was stuck way up underneath one of the seats! YEAH! Now the happy pair are right where they belong. All is right with the world. Or at least with my sock drawer.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I think I'll change my name...

So, I originally named this blog the Knitting Virgin because I was so amazed that once you understood the one stitch, ONE STITCH of knitting (purl is the back side of knit, so to me it's different sides of the same thing), you could do ANYTHING. Manipulating yarn and sticks. Simplicity. Beauty. All that crap. Well, I have made a lot of amazing things, some very early on before I heard that beginners won't supposed to do anything but garter stitch scarves, and all that crap. If I found a pattern that had something in it I didn't know how to do, I'd either find a knitter to help or go on Knitting Help's Website or find a book and just do it. Anything was possible. I made some amazingly beautiful things. I made some amazingly horrid things. It was all creative, so I loved it.

Lately, I've found that I'm seriously screwing up even the most basic of items in quite spectacular ways. Ways that make my dear knitting friends shake their heads and ask me "What the HELL were you thinking?" "How did you POSSIBLY do that?" and otherwise just laugh. It's ok, I laugh too. I mean, how many knitters can make a strange appendage on a ciruclar shawl? You knit AROUND a circle in stockinette. KNITTING. No strange purling or anything funky. I don't know how I do it, but I just do it.

SO, this last weeked we had a serious road trip. A six hour each way road trip. You know the theory of three steps forward and one step back? Yeah. Well, at the beginning of the six hours for some UNGODLY reason, I decide to follow the part that says "FOR SIZE LARGE ONLY" and it's written in LARGE BOLD LETTERS on the pattern as well on the sweater front of Slinky Ribs by Wendy Barnard. She wrote it in bold loud type. I was not knitting size large. Ah well. So I then proceed to knit around 4 hours or so and am halfway through the ribbing charts and something's not quite right. Hmmmmmmm could it be that I added 2 inches on the BACK ONLY and it's seriously fuxxed up? Yup. Guess what I did on the trip back? REKNIT the damn thing and then some. Got home and then found that I'd dropped a stitch FOUR INCHES back. And it's on the front. So, knowing how to fix almost anything, I picked that stitch right back up to where it was supposed to be, only it stuck out like a bulletproof ridge. On the front. See? It actually looks worse than the picture.

So, more frogging. Now I'm actually on the last few rows of the body. Going to knit those damn sleeves, neck edging, buttons and wear it. I do love the sweater and the silky wool in its sunflowery color, but I think I've knit the entire thing at least 3 times now. Getting ready to get them the hell off the needles. That's my weekend goal. Get this off the damn needles!

My other goal? Not to have to change this blog from the Knitting Virgin to the Freaking Knitiot, although I'm sure some already has that name.

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