Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 1, minivan survival

We made it to Scottsbluff, NE today. It was our biggest driving day, about 10 hrs in the minivan with 4 kids, husband and a lot of yarn. I knit my fingers off, had a few naps and except for the last hour of the trip (which was OVERLOAD and I would've thrown any one or all 4 of the kids out the window....) it was a really calm, fun, awesome start to the super vacation across America.

No knitting photos, I'm hoping to finish the citron tomorrow. I've got about 4 rows left on the ruffle. You know, I love the LOOK of the ruffle on the shawlette. I do. I'm just not loving the bajillion stitches of the ruffle. I am not. I'm forcing myself to finish it before picking up any other yarn or I'd never finish it. It's good sanity-saving knitting.

Scottsbluff is amazing. We got there in time to head up to the top on the last shuttle of the day, then hiked ALL the trails around & over & down. A few highlights...

We stayed on SOME of the trails....but you know we're on vacation with OUTDOORSMAN who is physically unable to stay on a trail. We did see a rattlesnake as well, but weren't able to get to it for a close-up (darn). We ended up hiking down just as the sun was getting ready to set. Fabulous. And did I say almost NO HUMIDITY? freaking awesome. Left 95 degrees and 90% humidity in KC, thank you very much.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Road trip...just think of the knitting time!

OK, is it wrong that I'm just as excited about all the knitting time as I am about our destination? Yellowstone, baby. Leaving at crack-oh-dawn in the morning. I'm thinking the knit time won't start until after nap time has ended.

First, the new pattern's official PEOPLE photos are all complete. No one fell in the mud, no city police officers were needed. I decided to keep a few of the artsy shots in the pattern and it's a nice mix of ways to show off the cool scarf!

The Handspun Luau Scarf! Just think of wrapping this around your neck in the cold drab days of winter. You'll suddenly feel like you're on a Hawaiian beach ready for the Luau party! Super speedy knit and easy too. It looks fabulously complicated due to the faggoting, but is actually a ONE ROW pattern!

The yarn was purchased from Cool Climates Etsy Shop and was amazing to work with. She's got great style and makes a lovely yarn that's fashionable to boot. One skein worked up into a scarf that will keep my daughter warm all winter long.

Ok, enough of the hard sell. Sorry about that. :) Pattern's only $3 and is also lots of fun with a basic bulky handspun yarn also. The dark purple version was spun up by tjstein, or as I call her, she-who-blogs-not-enough. The yarn is sparkly and thick and sproingy. 100 yards will make you a nice long scarf!

SO on to the most important part of the trip preparations...what YARN to pack! (Yes, I packed underwear. Thank you to the reminder emails from my dear friends--Yarn School Comando Style isn't gonna have the same problem in Yellowstone.)

Packed and ready to go....
Almost completed Citron out of RED!ORANGE! hand dyed alpaca/mohair. I'm just about ready for the big ruffle at the end.

Purple mohair serenity sweater. I'm almost up to the arm holes! Light and fluffy like perfectly whipped cream. except hairy. and purple. purplymohairy.

The YELLOW sweater for YELLOWSTONE. Almost ready to do the sleeves & neckline of the slinky ribs out of silky wool. It's kind of meh for me, but am hoping it turns out well. Usually silky wool isn't too impressive in its still-knitting state. I think it has amazing drape ON the body, so we'll see.

Jeff's 2nd pair of uber long uber GRAY socks. Damnit. If I ever make it to the feet, I get to knit them with this cool Dream In Color Smooshy orangish brick red. I just got to make it that far.....

Swatching yarn, 700 yards of heavenly cormo sockyarn hand dyed in my favoritest orange. Going to design me a shawlette. If I don't go insane with all the stitch patterns of every book and website floating around in my brain. (Photo of the hand dyed orangeness on the Commando Yarn School link above).

There may be a skein of bright blue mohair in there also. I don't know. I was wandering about petting it and now can't find it. I'll let you know.

***remember, our house is FULL while we're away with my burly man-cousin, lover of small firearms.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Officer Friendly...protecting the world from temporary wooly accessorizing

Note to self...Bring STEP LADDER and a LOOKOUT next time I try to use local statues for knitting photo props!

A friend pointed out that some of my handspun artsy-fartsy designs could look great using some of the local artwork as photo props. She mentioned this very statue. I remembered the statue. I went off with camera, scarves, white paper plate (to set the white balance for the perfect shot) and found my statue. Only thing is it's standing on a pedastal about 4.5 feet off the ground. In the middle of a muddy flower garden. On a busy street. And a free outdoor concert was going on half a block away. I lugged a box that was in the back of the truck over and was climbing on it, actually got one foot and an elbow above the edge, grabbed onto his ankle and heard "Just WHAT do you think you're DOING up there?" I lost my grip and FELL on my arse in the mud.

Apparently it's a crime against man (or against statues) to go climbing about and arranging scarves on local art inside city limits. EVEN if it's HANDSPUN. Go figure. It too closely resembles vandalism, or at least that's what Officer Friendly said last night. I tried to explain that it was actually a case of "temporary accessorizing" but he wasn't amused. Also not going for the idea that if he just gave me a little boost I could have the perfect shot. As we were discussing the situation, this car drove by and a man hollered "LET HER GO, MAN!"

I ask you, how great would that statue look sporting a luau themed handspun art yarn scarf? AMAZINGLY GREAT, but that's apparently an adventure for another day. Also, his right hand is open just enough that I could totally hang a knitting bag from there, or a project on the needles...

Not to be discouraged, I headed out around the suburbs and found there's not a lot to offer in the way of statues. I think I'm going to have to stick with using real, live models. But, since I was on a mission from Handspun, here's my results of the evening...

Kansas City is the city of fountains and there's a ton of statues & fountains down at the plaza, but they also have a larger cop-to-person ratio. :) I thought I'd just mosey around the 'burbs and see what I could come up with.

Actual pattern with actual PEOPLE photos coming soon. It's an easy stitch pattern, but creates this very textured cool faggoting that shows off handspun to an advantage, letting the yarn shine through.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The world is a better place with mohair in it.

I couldn't wait. Cast on at 11pm last night while watching the 2nd season of the Dick Van Dyke Show. Knit a bit more this morning before leaving for work, and over lunch...who needs to eat? That's mohair knitting time, people! Eat when you're at work! I should've known. Out of all the sockyarns I've knit (and there's quite a few on that list), my very very favoritest one of all is Mountain Colors Bearfoot. Which has MOHAIR in it.

The red Citron on the needles? MOHAIR and alpaca.

The purple loveliness above? Kidsilk Haze MOHAIR held double knitting up Serenity Sweater. Boy, even having to pick up dropped stitches through the garter stitch hem part couldn't get me down. I love the hairy stuff!

Now I'm drawn to cast on for a new design using some unbelievably blue heavenly hairy mohair I got for my birthday last year into a cowl/hood/scarf thingy. How do I not have a photo? Dangit. Now once I pick it up to take pictures, you KNOW I gotta cast on for something, right?

I've got to get myself away from the hairy. I'm going on a TEN DAY trip in a minivan with FOUR kids and the husband (he-who-cannot-stay-on-a-path) into the wild outdoors of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana soon. It's gonna be HOT and wildernessy and last time I checked, there's not an affordable portable air conditioner to keep me able to swath myself in mohair across the country. Is there? Does anyone know of something? I could totally rock myself out hiking around Yellowstone in my very own air conditioned bubble. Man, I wish ticks & mosquitos were blocked by mohair. Wouldn't that rock? I wonder...

We have my burly man-cousin set up to stay at the house and he's well armed (as are the old men contingent that spend most of their days & nights sitting in various driveways watching the world go by) so no one come break in for the stash. Plus I'm gonna pack most of it with me to save what remains of my sanity. Didn't Elizabeth Zimmermann say that on family vacations one should bring lace to keep from killing your family? It was something like that. I do still have some laceweight deep teal mohair/alpaca yarn too.....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The yarn fumes were particularly potent last night...

Oh momma...It wasn't my fault. It was the yarn crack. Seriously. How do resist it? FABULOUS yarn and people wanting to make deals? Really freaking GOOD deals? I remember something like this....

"Do you think you could use something like this" wafting the yarn beneath my nose...

"Oh, no, definitely not. It's pretty though...and not."

"What if it was only $10?" more wafting of the yarn, yarn fumes rising...

"Most certainly not. I'm here to UNLOAD yarn on others, not increase my stash. No, thank you. It's lovely, but just not for me."

yarn is put in my hands, quite unfair, really

"What about if it were only $5? It really looks like your colors"


Then it just gets not pretty. There is flashing of cash. Yarn flies from tables, crammed without ceremony into tote bags that were EMPTY a short time ago. I can't be held responsible.

I will state, for the record, that I did come home with more money than I spent and unloaded a LOT of TreasureGoddess hand dyed laceweight and misc stash bits. I just, well, went home with more yarn than I came with. **Most of the photos are only 1-2 skeins, but an awful lot of those (plus photos not shared) came home in groups of 6-10 skeins each...

Here's just a's too long a photo post if I showed it all...
The Sunflower Knitters Guild has some mighty fine meetings and knitters with exceptional taste. I thank you all for my new treasures.

Can't you smell it? mmmmmmmmmmm new stash yarns. Fabulous.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Are you a Phat Fiber Junkie? Well, why the heck not?!?

OK, it has come to my attention that there are fiber junkies and yarn junkies out there who know absolutely nothing of Phat Fiber Boxes! HOLY CRAPAMOLY PEOPLE, these things ROCK! Getting a phat fiber sampler box in the mail is like Christmas morning when you were 12 yrs old and got the new bike under the tree but EVEN BETTER! 'Cause it's YARN and FIBER!

Click the Phat Fiber logo box for official info and how to get your hands on some of this fiber/yarn crack.

The official story is on the site, but the nut-shell version is can get a box of samples of hand dyed yarns, handspun yarns, hand dyed fibers, crazy batts, clouds, stitch markers, patterns, HEAVEN IN A BOX PEOPLE! It's a great way to sample etsy yarns & fibers & misc since most of those goods aren't sitting in the LYS waiting for you to browse through.

Jessie (the founder) has the July preview videos up on the blog right now. Her husband Marcus is a riot. This month's theme is Seawead and Scallywags and it rocks. Lots of pirate themed goodies in there. I've created a pattern for a lacy wrist cuff or headband made from a little bit of dk silk, milk fiber or bamboo to help give an idea of what to knit up from a little spun sample. My pattern is shown in the video #4 near the end. Here's a teaser of a couple of shots... I hope to have it up on ravelry soon too. A fun way to knit up some shimmery lace in just a few hours.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One step closer to a true hillbilly

Silly me. I thought once Mother Nature and I made friends, a weekend at the lake would be relaxing. Guess who pissed off the Tooth Fairy this time? I publicly apologize for telling my step-son to take his tooth that earned him $1 at our house to his mom's house to get his 10 cents over there as well. (The Tooth Fairy is a bit of a tightwad over there.) Apparently this is not approved behavior and I promise to never ever do it again. I crossed the fairy line and I've paid the price.

We've had a few interactions with this bitch fairy before....youngest step-son had his permanent front tooth knocked out of place and up his gumline and we spent most of the 4th of July in an ozarks hospital. It wasn't pretty. My son had his permanent front tooth snapped off into another kid's head during a freak running-about-playing-kickball incident last year. Also not pretty.

The newest incident was yours truly. Still HAVE my permanent front teeth, but they're loose. After dinner at the lake last weekend, I looked up as I pulled the chain from a light on the ceiling fan in the kitchen (20 foot high ceiling). BAM! CRASH! SHATTER SHATTER SHATTER TINKLE TINKLE TINKLE muffled cursing-sobbing-freaking out etc.

Holy crapamoly, they made things better in the 1960's. They made them to LAST. They made glass globes a 1/2 inch thick of HEAVY FREAKING GLASS. In a nutshell, it smashed me in the front teeth, knocked my four front teeth loosy goosy, it shattered after hitting the ground, SO glad it didn't shatter on my face (cause it was 1/2 inch THICK I guess). SO, 6 days later, I've only got ONE loose front tooth and none of them have turned black, so we think they're gonna be fine. They actually feel bruised now and I get a jolt when anything touches them, but it's healing as well as can be hoped. As much as my son thinks it'd be cool for mom to be able to spit through her teeth with her mouth shut, I'm thinking this ended for the best.

I have to say WOO HOO for my mother in law and husband. Husband kept all children at bay, cleaned the mess (more glass bits than you can imagine). Mother in law got me a frozen margarita in those pouches to hold OUTSIDE my mouth as an ice pack and one to put INSIDE my mouth as well. Yup, she rocks.

Why yes, that IS a crap ton of acrylic yarn on my carpet up on that opening photo. And yes, it is mine. And no, not nearly all of my acrylic stash either, that's just the most recent acquisition. Husband came home from a garage sale with bags and bags of yarn for me. I have to say, he did pretty well. Most of it is lion brand and there was very little that was hot pink and fur-like. Some has been donated, some crocheted, the pink hairy stuff was given to my teenaged daughter who proclaimed it was the coolest stuff she'd ever seen. I even gave it to her without shuddering noticably. I can't help it. I'm a true yarn snob with a secret love of crocheted acrylic granny squares. I draw the line at fun fur. It is neither fun, nor fur and gives me the heebie jeebies.

There was some non-hillbilly lake knitting...this beautiful hot orange/red hairy loveliness I dyed up. 50% mohair 50% alpaca. Heavenly hairy just-heavier-than-laceweight-too-light-for-fingering BRIGHT yarn is on its way to becoming Citron. Now it just looks like a blob, but it's got potential.

**Did anyone notice the plastic bag with the Studio's (LYS) flower symbol on it in the photo of acrylic yarn? I saw that first thing and got ALL KINDS of excited, thinking the husband brought me home GOOD YARN, but some heartless knitter out there emptied it of the good stuff and filled it with red heart. That's just cruel.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

In which Mother Nature said, "BITE ME" and I did.

Mother Nature and I have a long, long history. One of her sending hordes of creatures to BITE ME (ticks) or FRIGHTEN ME (many, many ticks...remember the moving freckles? no? The Tale of What Killed Country Christine) or generally BLOW ME OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH and scorpions in my knitting bag and big arse spiders. Let's just say it's never boring when I head out to the great outdoors.

Well, this time apparently the tables were turned! See the lovely cilantro? From my very own herb garden. See the lovely spring roll? Created by my husband with cilantro from my very own herb garden a couple weeks ago. I ate at least 4 of these babies and they were exceptionally yummy. Well, when a dear friend had stopped by, since I'm of a generous nature, I snipped some herbs and offered her a bouquet of fresh cilantro. She noticed these little grey bumps on it. I looked closer, saw that those bumps had EYES and ANTENNAE looking things on their heads. Yup. baby slugs. Lots and lots and LOTS of baby slugs. COVERING the herbs. She promptly dropped herbs onto the ground, said "no thanks" to the herbs, she went home and I went on inside.

I asked the husband, "Honey, you DID wash off the herbs really well, right?" He said, "Oh yeah. I know how freaky you are about dirt and things, so they were unbelievably clean." *I relaxed and sighed* I told him about the baby slugs. He pointed out that he'd not only washed the herbs, but chopped them up with a rather large kitchen knife. I went ahead and ate yet ONE MORE spring roll. About half an hour later, we're cleaning up the mess and I go to put the lid on the little container of chopped cilantro and guess what's sitting there, right on top, LOOKING AT ME????? Yup. A slug. Bigger than the little grey baby bumps, this one had to be a pre-teen at least. I'd love to say I took a photo of it, but in reality, I screamed, had a major fit of the heebie-jeebie-shakes (not nearly as cool as the hippie-hippie-shakes in the song) and threw it AND the container it was in, into the trash and had another super heebie-jeebie-shake (ewwww I just had one now remembering ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK).

I have to say it even mildly grossed out OUTDOORSMAN the husband. Not enough to make him freak out spectacularly like I did, but he decided to not eat any more spring rolls. We tried to tell ourselves we just had more protein in them, but then we decided that slugs probably don't have protein anyway, just phlem. *shakes yet again* ICK! You know, the ONE TIME he doesn't WHIRRRRRRR up his cooking in the food processor....

Well, since this episode, I've managed to go outdoors and not be majorly molested by the forces of nature. Twice! I've camped in western kansas for 4 days and gone to the lake twice! *knocks on wood* I'm thinking the Mother and I may have finally reached a truce. Let's hope so.

On the latest outdoors adventure, I knitted. A lot. And have no freaking PHOTO to share as I left my KNITTING BAG at the LYS today after work. CRAP! I knit almost an entire Citron shawlette out of some beautatious deep red/orange alpaca/mohair laceweight I dyed up a few weeks ago. It's fabulous. And I've got no way to give you an artsy shot of the shawl in process. Ah well. Here's what it looked like BEFORE Friday....Guess I'll just have to go to the yarn shop tomorrow. (I know, terrible, isn't it?)

Friday, July 02, 2010

bikini spinning, not as hot as you'd think

You know when a normal non-fibery person hears that, they imagine a cute, young scantilly clad thing riding a bike with a strategically placed droplet upon her fiber people know the truth. It's a 42 yr old with thunder thighs, feet pumping on a spinning wheel, covered in green & purple wool fluff and sweating like a hog wearing the swimsuit because it's 98 degrees with 85% humidity at the lake of the ozarks. Oh yeah. That's how I spent most of last weekend and I have to say, it rocked. I was actually covered in green wool bits and purple SILK fluff. I spun up a POUND of my silk roving I'd dyed a while back into dk weight singles yarn to kit up with my new Hippie Kerchief/Shawlette pattern!

Oh yeah...I've got actual PATTERNS out now. :) And an e-book collection! WOO HOO! I'll begin the obnoxious self promotion soon. Oh, and I've got some great mother nature vs TreasureGoddess stories, a few CYG tales and Survival tips for Knitters in the Wild!

I finished up the month of May wearing my handknits. It's amazing how much my wardrobe has expanded! I have the same stuff, just now I WEAR a lot of it. It was probably one of the best things I've done. I'll do it again when the weather gets colder.

Sorry to disappear there for a while, so much going on that I couldn't keep up! Life's good, family, friends, knitting and all. I missed you, blogland. I'm back. And here's a quick look at my new ebook...Knitted Treasures for Handspun Yarn. A collection of lots of ideas for knitting with little bits of handspun. :) Click the photo below to go see the individual patterns. I'd love to hear what you think.

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