Stitches

Belated 2014 Tour de Fleece Roundup

Oh look! Another seriously belated post. Go figure!

But hey, I’m one step closer to clearing all those drafts out!

Here is what I completed this year for Tour de Fleece. I wasn’t spinning with a team or anything, so it really is NBD…but I thought maybe someone out there might wanna see what I had spun up.

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My completed skeins.

That’s pretty much all of it (well, minus a skein I had spun pre- tour and plied during the tour).

Pictured above is 2 skeins of Creatively Dyed (that I purchased at Stitches West a few years back) 20 milk protein/ 20 seacell/ 60 wool, try 3-ply, 729 yards total and 1 skein of wool/silk/abunchofotherstuff, 2 ply (ply only), 95 yards.

Also, just for fun, I figured I would show off a skein of non-tour yarn. Below is the yarn I spun for Courtney for her birthday. I called it Autumn Candy Corn and it is 80 Merino/ 20 Silk from Bee Mice Elf Fiber (purchased at CogKNITive Fiber Retreat last year), 2 ply, 390 yards.

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Autumn Candy Corn!

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L.A. Yarn Crawl 2014?

Not really…

I had said previously here on the blog that I wasn’t intending to take part in this years Yarn Crawl. I had a whole lot of reasons for this, not at least was that I really need to spin down my fiber stash.

Of course, Courtney was holding out some major hope that I would change my mind at the last minute and give in to the yarn fumes. I compromised a little. Due to a series of fortunate events, star aligning and the like, I was able to get out of work an hour early on Friday. I knew this was going to happen early enough to tip off Courtney, so during the time we would usually be converging on one of our usual places for our regular Friday Night Stitch and Bitch, we were sitting in my van in traffic chatting about Pokemon and heading toward Long Beach.

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They had a Candy Land type theme this year….so this is our lollypop selfie!

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I love their candy wreath.

We met up with Angelique at Alamitos Bay Yarn Company and pretty much stayed until they closed. It is one of my favorite stores and I really love the ladies that work there. They are so friendly and eager to help people out. They have a great yarn selection and have some really lovely looking pattern samples. If you can’t get something there, they will help you figure out where to get what you are looking for…

I had more reasons than that to have this be the store I hit. We had met this lovely lady named Pat Spencer at Stitches West this year, and I ended up buying one of her shawl pins. At the time we had met her, she had told us that she really didn’t have an online presence yet, but that she sold her pins at this cute little yarn store that she was sure we probably hadn’t heard of. When she mentioned that it was Alamitos Bay, we squealed with delight and told her how much we love the place. We knew they would have pins available at yarn crawl, and Courtney and I were hunting for some.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see Laura of Dizzy Blonde Studios there too! Of course, each one of us left with a skein of her Salt Water Taffy yarn!

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My yarn and pins and patterns…

But that isn’t where the madness ends.

There was a woman there with this beautiful carpet bag…the only one in the store…and I happened to fall in love with it. Now, the weird thing, I was just on the website for this particular brand of bag earlier in the week finding links for an artist I know on Twitter who was looking for bags with good pockets. I had told her she should look into knitting bags. Heck, I have a ton of knitting bags, but I use them mostly as purses because the pockets are so plentiful. I had sent her links to two other sites (Namaste and Jordana Paige) because of their purse-like styles. I hadn’t given a second thought to Off Hand Designs, because I have never owned one, and never seen the newer bags in person.

Oh wow. I had never thought I would have to fight the urge to knock down a perfectly innocent, nice lady and take her bag from her. Of course it was the only one in the store. Of course I wanted it.

Later on, Courtney had pulled up the Off Hand Designs website and we found what we thought was the bag. Had I just looked at the picture online, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about getting it, but now that I had seen what it looked like in person, I just had to have it. I called Alamitos Bay Yarn Company first thing on Saturday morning to ask about that lovely lady who bought the bag (turns out her name is June) and confirm what type of bag it was. I ended up ordering it. It’s a limited edition of 16.

So the moral of the story? I can just as easily blow what might be my entire budget for yarn crawl in less than 24 hours by going to just one yarn store. This might be an all new personal best for me. My husband jokes that he is so thankful I don’t have expensive taste.

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Stitches West 2014: Day 3

Day Three was, by far, the most relaxing day…but that is what happens when you get a message from a guy in a kilt.

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A Pirate Unicorn at Spincycle Yarns.

I mostly roamed around on Sunday and didn’t spend too much money. There were a couple of purchases that I squeaked in right before the big raffle at 1pm. Just a little bit of fiber though…

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Finally! I found Dr. Gemma at the Alpen Glow booth!

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And found Loretta too!

I was excited about wearing my Celestarium, because I had purchased a brand new shawl pin for it. It’s pretty cool, because it’s a spiral. You can sorta see it in the picture above. It’s orangey gold and it looks great with the gray yarn. I bought it because it reminded me of a little spiral galaxy.

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Uh oh.

Then something crazy happened. We found ourselves back at Judy’s looking through her fleece samples. The three of us put a hold on four fleeces (our top three and one alternate) for next year. Oh my… I had better start spinning down my stash!!

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Next year is going to be nuts.

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My Celestarium.

A friend of mine had mentioned that she was scouring my blog for pics of my Celestarium, but couldn’t find any. Honestly, the pictures I had posted of this shawl were really kind of awful. I took the opportunity to have someone snap a photo of it for me, just to repost.

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The Haul (minus fleece).

This is what I ended up coming home with. That felt birdhouse was a gift for my mom. Everything else is mine, all mine! It really doesn’t look like a lot, but I spent quite a chunk of my budget on buttons.

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Stitches West 2014: Day 2

Saturday morning started off with David spoiling us with Psycho Donuts! We needed all that sugar to get through a full day on the Stitches floor!

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A sugar coma waiting to happen…

I have to say, I don’t feel like I did much in the way of shopping for myself on Saturday. I mostly concentrated on trying to spend other people’s money. Can you say “Enabler”? That’s is me when it comes to spinning wheels.

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The wheels at the Purlescence booth.

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A gossip wheel at Clemes and Clemes.

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Ang test driving a wheel.

I even tried out a few myself. No, I don’t need another right now. I barely have space for the two I have.

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Trying out a metal wheel from National Custom Spinning Works.

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Spinning!

About an hour before the floor closed, I felt the need to take a break. That backpack was heavy and I wanted to start winding the yarn for my new project. I didn’t spend very long in the hotel bar though, we had supplies to buy…people to meet…fleece to wash…

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Hand winding my Cephalopod Yarn.

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Stitches West 2014: Day 1

Oh my goodness! I have so many pictures to share with you! My weekend was so full of excitement, I’m still recovering…

I left bright and early Friday morning with my knitters for the long drive up to Santa Clara. We made a few stops, but we got to the hotel in time to meet our friends for lunch!

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We found David and MG hanging out in the lobby of the hotel!

After lunch we headed straight to Stitches so we could hit the floor and start checking it out. David tried to lead us in being methodical about traversing the floor, especially since Angelique was a first-timer. It can be incredibly overwhelming because there is just so much to see and do.

For a hot second, I thought this might be the year that I spring for a skein of Qiviut. Um…nope.

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Someday…

We had made it through a few aisles when we reached the Cephalopod Yarns booth. I tried to show some restraint, but I found the perfect yarn for my next project and there was very little of it left. While I was deciding whether to buy it or not, I got some bummer news from home…that is when I decided to go all out and start my shopping spree. Hooray for retail therapy! I picked up four skeins for my project, then I headed to the button booth for some well deserved decompression time. I bought a few fistfuls of vintage buttons. I had purchased everything on my wish list… and I had only been there a few hours.

After my spending spree, Courtney, David and I found ourselves at the booth where the fleeces live. That’s where exciting things happened.

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Judy’s Novelty Wool…where the fiber fumes made us crazy.

We can chat more about this later…

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This deserves it’s own blog post…trust me.

Then we finished off the night enjoying our Dhoom Pizza at Tasty Indian. Indian Pizza…it’s now a tradition.

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Dhoom Pizza, thanks to Dave!

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Stitches West 2013, The Haul

I almost forgot to post a picture of the haul from Stitches this year! This picture represents *most* of what we purchased during our weekend.

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The Haul.

And a few other pics of our weekend, just because.

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Dr. Gemma interviewing folks for her podcast.

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The wheels at the Carolina Homespun Booth.

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I showed restraint. I am no longer allowed to bring dirty fleece into the house after that last incident. But…look! It has my name!

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Court and I…with some cheese.

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Getting things done!

I have been a busy girl! Between looking for “real work” and doing…”freelance” work, I haven’t had too much time to do my own thing.

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I finished my sample knit for Miss Babs and it is packaged and ready to be shipped. I was really happy with the finished dimensions. I have been toying with the idea of taking that yarn I bought for weaving and use it to make another one of these Merging Ripples Shawls. Apparently, I can’t have just one.

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I also used my needles to pry in a little time to finish a hat. I stayed up late this past weekend to work on my Varia. I knit it completely out of leftover yarn. I used the leftover Cephalopod Bugga! yarn from my Merging Ripples Shawl and some Anzula Cricket from the Hermione Hearts Ron hat.

I know things are happening with my own things too…even if I am not seeing them. I still have patterns out to testers and I am waiting to get this last wave of feedback before tweaking things and then, hopefully, releasing something! I am chomping at the bit to get stuff moving! I need to keep reminding myself to be patient!

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The “butt” of jokes…

There is a long running thing in my family that when my mother comes to visit, she and I will eventually get into an argument about my butt.

It started when the kids were smaller. My mother, being the type of Grandma that likes to take mass quantities of photos of her grandchildren…and is also a scrapbooker…would follow them around, snapping pics left and right. Of course, with Facebook being a thing that my mom is into, those pictures would all end up on the Internet.

See, she tried capturing the kids’ at eye level…taking pictures of them walking along side me…FROM BEHIND. Yup. Facebook peppered with pictures of my kids’ adorable little heads…ruined by my ass.

Of course, when I would bring it up and ask her not to post them, she would snap back about how terribly vain I am (which is not a word I think anyone else on the planet might ever use to describe me, and funny coming from the woman to couldn’t leave the house without lipstick on…even if she was going to the dentist).

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This is sure to upset her.

Here is picture of me from behind taken by Courtney. I am posting it of my own free will.

This is a sweater that I tried on at the Carolina Homespun booth by designer Sandra McIver from her book “knit, Swirl!”. I walked past her a million times while on the Stitches West floor and every time I had made a comment about how these sweaters looked nice on every single person trying them on, despite body shape. I thought about giving these sweaters a go…and Courtney was kind enough to stop me and make sure I actually tried them on.

This picture actually got me to buy the book. I’ll have to make one soon, or at least before the next time my mom comes to town.

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Silent Movie Time?

Let me explain.

At Stitches West I took all kinds of video…imagine my surprise when I got home and all of that video had no audio. I couldn’t figure out what happened. I joked that I should edit it together and we could throw in some audio all MST3K style…Courtney said I should try and see if I could make it black and white and play some funny music behind it.

So this morning I sat here editing it, in complete silence. I went into my resources to see if I could find some funny music to throw behind it and, somehow…and I have no idea how it happened, I seem to have been able to retrieve the audio (but only for the edited clip).

I have a reputation of having some sort of mutant superpower that effects electronics.

Well, here it is! Video of me opening one of my birthday gifts from my knit group!

I also got some fun things from my friend Ash!

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Tardis Needle Gauge and a felted steak!

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The “L” Word

I thought I had a plan. I sat here, days before Stitches West, flipping through Ravelry patterns in my queue and making a list of things I wanted to make and what supplies I needed. I had a whittled it down to a short list of yarn weights and yardages. I was so very organized and ready for just about anything until…

I believe we were on the convention center floor when it happened. Courtney looked at me, and in a tone that clearly conveyed she was unsure that what she was about to say was a good idea, she said “I think I want to get a loom.”

My brain exploded and started leaking out of my ears.

That was all she had to say. I completely went into that “state”…the state I was in my very first year of Stitches when one of my friends from the AV suggested I get a dirty fleece. That story is still told to this day…of me walking out of the showroom, eyes like saucers, talking so fast that no one could understand me. I had gone off the rails.

It was happening again. Saucer eyed…Courtney could tell that Stacy went “bye-bye”.

I think there might have been nodding…and telling her what an amazing idea it was…and that she should definitely get one…AND I MUST HAVE ONE TOO. Yup. It was all over for me.

Then I had apparently mentioned it to David…and he went off the rails too.

Saturday morning it all went down. After David (who had a vendor badge) went ahead of us for some recon on the Slipped Stitch Studios TARDIS project bags, and I had successfully acquired one of those bags and won a smaller project bag at their booth, we made a bee line to Purlescence. David got there before us and was already on the floor practicing on the display loom. We sat and watched, and then all three of us pulled the trigger.

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Now, I had done a little bit of Internet research the night before…and figured out what came in the loom and tried to figure out what type of reed I needed to weave fingering weight yarn. Of course, we are a hive brain and I know I wasn’t the only one that had this idea. When we asked the awesome folks at Purlescence to hold the looms for us to pick up later, I asked for a 12 dent reed.

They held it for me, but it was the only one they had. Luckily, there were other booths that had them too, because I felt like an asshole blurting out the 12 dent reed request as they were putting the looms aside for us, and I know that Court and I both have enough fingering weight yarn to choke a small third world country.

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