Stitches West 2014: Adventures in Fleece

It was a few years ago when I had convinced myself that I wanted to adopt a fleece. I had gone through this whole phase of wanting to go from sheep to garment. This involved me bringing home a dirty fleece once. A really dirty fleece. So dirty that I gunked up my kids’ bathtub and then my husband instating a Renfroe household rule banning me from bringing dirty fleece into the house.


Bella on the scale.

But I can explain…


Walking the floor with two bags of fleece.

The household rule banning my possession of dirty fleece is common knowledge amongst my knitting group. But Courtney is a smart girl, and adept at getting around the rules. So months ago she told me she had an idea.


Courtney and David with Bella and Lucky.

Courtney did her homework and came up with the perfect plan for us to wash a fleece in the hotel bathroom. She knew exactly how to sell it to me… my husband couldn’t possibly get upset with me if I brought home clean fleece.


The bag of Bella fleece.

So David, Courtney and I went to Judy’s Novelty Wool booth and we split 2 fleeces, three ways. Now, Bella was already cleaned, so no problem there. She was greasier than David liked, but I don’t mind my fleeces slightly buttery. That lanolin is good for my skin. So half of the work was done and Bella was tossed aside. Lucky, however, was our dirty one. The three of us put down a shower curtain on the floor, dumped the fleece out, and started to sort pieces into “dirty” and “less dirty”.


Starting to sort the fleece.


Proud parents!


I actually took this picture by accident when trying to take some video.

We stuffed the fleece into lingerie bags to soak in the tub.


Lingerie bags are ready!


Soak #1 with plain water…


Check out that water! Here is where I let Courtney know she is making me nervous holding her phone over the tub.

We soaked the fleece for twenty minutes in plain hot water. Then we soaked in hot soapy water. Of course there were multiple soaks, but I passed out on one of the hotel beds sometime before 1 a.m. I hear that Court and David were up until 4 a.m. They let me sleep because I had to drive us home from Santa Clara and they knew I needed the rest. Of course, this means I don’t have any photographic evidence of David breaking one of the salad spinners that they used to dry the fleece when they were done. Sorry, I’m no journalist.


Courtney and Dawn.

Now, this isn’t the end of the story (or process). While I have Bella here at home, Lucky is still at Courtney’s house. Lucky was dry enough to bring home in the van, but she still needs some work. I am hoping to get together with Courtney sometime soon so we can finish work on her and get her ready to spin!

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I’m most definitely sleep deprived.

You really wouldn’t believe how much I cut out of this video.

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Guess what?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 | FO's, KAL, shawl, start to finish | No Comments


::whispers:: It’sssssssss donnnnnnnnne.

I think I was the first one done. I’m afraid to ask. I just finished it and didn’t announce it or anything…because I’m sure everyone in the KAL is annoyed with me. I’m just letting it sit for now in the pile of things to be blocked. Maybe I’ll let it stay there awhile.

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A vacation from Hermitville.

I decided to poke my head out and let you actually see my face.

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Keeping busy, kinda.

I’ve been wavering between levels of crazy busy and being a complete slug (but mostly on the slug end). I have had absolutely no desire to work on my safety scarf, which is kind of ridiculous because I could probably bang that thing out in no time if I tried.

It’s just that I have been wanting to work on other things…that is, when I feel like working on anything at all.

I’ve been pinning fabric in preparation for more sewing (that would be done by now if I weren’t afraid of sleeves), I’ve been learning some new kumihimo patterns, learning to tie heart knots, and even working on my Celestarium edging. All of this while consuming Seasons 1 and 2 of The Killing…in a record 3 days.





Orion has his belt!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 | blah blah blah, KAL, knitting, shawl, UFO's, WIP | No Comments


However, in this picture he is standing on his head.

I am almost done with the last chart! I am eager to see what this thing is going to look like. I am at that point where my cable isn’t long enough to spread it out and take a look at it fully, so that will have to wait until after I get that pesky edging done.

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Doing the math.

A friend of mine had posted this article to my facebook recently.

This got me thinking about math.

Now, math and I have never been friends. Ask my mother, who is my go to person for calculating the amount of money I am spending on sale items at the Gap…or my husband, who will always calculate the amount of money we should be leaving for tip…they will tell you that math has never been my bestie. My husband loves to remind me about the time he asked (a very sleepy) me how much a nickel and three pennies add up to and I answered “seven cents”. When it comes to numbers, I go blank.

How did I get into knitting then?

Knitting involves a lot of math…and not just the simple stuff either. Yeah, you have to count your stitches sometimes, but sometimes you have to do stuff like calculating the amount of repeats of a stitch pattern you need for the border of a Pi shawl. Yes, that’s “pi” as in 3.14…blahblahblah.

Courtney had mentioned to me last week that one row of Chart F of the Celestarium pattern took her exactly 1 period of hockey to complete (for those you of non-hockey fans, that’s 20 minutes).
So, I decided to time myself and do the math.

I used my trusty stopwatch to time my knitting speed on row 108 of Chart F of the Celestarium chart. It took me exactly 18:33.6.

So, the math looks a little like this…

Row 108 = 18:33.6 (I rounded up to 20 minutes for the purpose of this exercise)

Chart F contains 55 rows. 55 rows x 20 minutes = 1,100 minutes

1,100 minutes / 60 (1 hour) = 18.3333333 hours to complete Chart F

I don’t know if I should be happy or annoyed that I now have that information…but now I can do this:

As of right now, I am about to begin row 116. I have 41 rows left in Chart F.

(41 rows x 20 minutes) / 60 = 13.6666667 hours left to knit in Chart F.

Crap, that seems like a really long time. I guess I can safely say that I probably won’t have that chart done today.

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Taking time off.

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 | blah blah blah, crafts, KAL, shawl, UFO's, WIP | No Comments


Sorry about that, I needed to take a little time off.

I am sure that many of you have probably been there. You are working on something you think is super great…and you feel like you are doing everything the right way…and you are positive that all the stars have aligned so you can create your project. Then something happens and you realize that maybe that thing you have been working hard to create is all wrong. Maybe you need to start over. Or maybe, just maybe, you need to completely change direction.

I’ve decided to change direction.

While I am trying not to over think the whole designing thing, I’m distracting myself with actual knitting. I’ve been hard at work on my Celestarium and I am really enjoying it despite it being time consuming (more on that in my next post). It’s helping take the sting off of the disappointment I’ve experienced over the last week. I find joy in placing my stars. I am really enjoying adding beads to my knitting. I don’t know why I don’t do this more often…maybe I should.

The distraction is good.


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Third time’s the charm!

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 | blah blah blah, Friday Night Knitting, KAL, shawl, UFO's, WIP | No Comments


“I really should put down the knitting and blog something.”

Yup, this is what I keep telling myself, but honestly…I’ve been on a roll.

I have been working hard on my Celestarium. As of this writing, I’m at least through Cassiopeia. It’s not the only thing I have been knitting though. I have started Stephen West’s Safety Scarf as my mindless knitting, because the Celestarium is not proper Friday Night Knitting. Too much counting and math. That’s not easy when you are chatting and watching playoff hockey!

Now my “Celestial Ruin” is on it’s third incarnation. I had to frog it twice. The first time was for my crime against the KAL and the second was earlier this week when I realized that last Friday night I had placed my stitch markers in the wrong place and was exactly one stitch off. Yup…I let ‘er rip!

Right now I seem to be back on track and I am excited to be working on it!

Of course, my other crafting has slowed down a bit, but only because my parents are in town. I had to move the ironing board and sewing machine to make room for an air mattress. I’ll be back to it soon!

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KAL shaming

Ok people, remember this?

Well, I was pretty much going to get away without anyone noticing. Until someone slipped Friday night…that “someone” being me.

I really have no idea what I was thinking. I was all cocky about people not reading my blog (I mean, who the hell brags about THAT?)

Now, Angelique had known what it was I had done. Not because she had read the blog, but because I had gone to a mixer in Hollywood with her and needed something to talk about in between my threats to take a dip in the pool at the hotel.

So I let it slip…and I explained that I haven’t touched it since…and that I had no plans to touch it until everyone had reached the place I stopped…and then there was some yelling. The whole event was photographed and caught on video…and posted to the Interweb so I could properly be shamed for my crime against the KAL.


Photo by Ashley.

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