2014

Giving Thanks…

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 | blah blah blah, Holiday | No Comments

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I hope you are all spending it with the ones you love.

As for me, I am thankful for so many things. I figured I would take a moment to share them with you.

I am thankful for my family. For my parents who embraced my strangeness throughout the years. For my husband who puts up with my constant evolving and leaves his comfort zone so I can explore things out of mine. For my kids, who are weird and wonderful in so many ways.

I am thankful for the friends I have met throughout the years. My sisters in fiber arts and my sisters in podcasting for all of the opportunities they have given me to try new things and meet new people. For all of the creative people I have met on Ravelry, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter…who cheer me on without ever having met me. I’m thankful for the folks that take the time to read my blog.

I am thankful that I have a job that I enjoy. It’s one that puts me in daily contact with friendly, supportive people who encourage my professional and personal pursuits.

Lastly, I am thankful for the long holiday weekend and the time I will have to work on making Christmas gifts!

Have a happy holiday!

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CogKNITive Fiber Retreat 2014

I’m sorry readers.

I have been MIA for quite a while. Things have been pretty exciting here… and I have been pulled in all sorts of directions. Hopefully in the next handful of blog posts I might be able to touch upon some of the things I have been working on… or maybe this will be a boatload of pic spam. I dunno. I am just just rollin’ with it.

Last month, I went to the CogKNITive Fiber Retreat to spend the weekend with Doctor Gemma and all of my other fibery friends. There was good food…good company…and I nearly got kicked out of the hotel. Yeah, it was an exciting weekend!

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I spent Friday working on finishing my Kraken Cowl.

I can’t remember if I had mentioned it here before but (*nerd alert*) I modded the Kraken Cowl Pattern chart to adjust the eyes to make it more anatomically correct.

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I finished it!

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Ladies by the pool…

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Listening to Doctor Gemma give the morning announcements.

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Jamie and Tally at their booth in the vendor room.

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Lunchtime tagging.

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Most of the stuff I ended up buying.

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Watching a fellow spinner spin luxury fibers on a charkha.

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Learning how to work with cotton.

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Stephie Jo showing me her awesome spindle!

It was definitely a memorable weekend, despite the craziness! I look forward to going again next year!

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Tour de Fleece, Days 2 and 3

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 | fiber, handspun, spinning, stash busting, weaving, yarn | No Comments

I started off Tour de Fleece with a bang, getting quite a lot done. I knew I couldn’t keep up that pace though. Maybe I was overachieving to prepare for the dip in productivity during the work week?

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Tour de Fleece, Day 2 progress.

Not bad progress for day two of the tour. Day three was a different story. Monday I got all of 5 minutes of spinning in. It was a crazy day…and with the kids and our parents coming out to Los Angeles, this week might be light on spinning time.

I’ve been trying to get other projects done too though. I decided I want to try weaving and needle felting things I love. I had a friend that was in need of a good luck charm…so I made this.

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An attempt at a black hole.

I should have taken this picture next to something else for size reference. It was tough, because it is small (I think maybe it had a 4 inch diameter). I did the weaving first, then I needle felted on top of it. I think my friend liked it. After making it, I thought of a couple of improvements I could make. I am planning on taking another shot at it, but in a bigger size.

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Tour de Fleece 2014 – Day 1

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Some itty bitty crafting.

Ok, so my participation in Tour de Fleece this year is a little half-assed. I know I have serious stash to spin down, and honestly, the Tour is a good reason to do it.

For those of you unaware, Tour de Fleece is an event that spinners participate in on Ravelry during the Tour de France. There are actual rules for it, most based on what your team affiliation is. Different groups have different rules. I’m not a fan of rules, so we can call this Team KnitHitsTheFan, party of 1.

I waited until late afternoon to start my spinning. I spent the morning straightening up my project corner so I would be ready for that art project I am waiting to start (my twine is in the mail). I found some unassembled hearts, so I seamed and stuffed them. I also did a little bit of weaving. That’s that round thing in the picture above. Trust me, it’ll look better once I get more stuff on it.

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First Day Tour projects.

Since the holiday was on a Friday, I moved knit night to Saturday. It was a good reason to get together and start the Tour off right. Court brought her supported spindle to spin on, and I rocked Lucy all evening.

I guess my first day wasn’t too shabby. I thread plied 176 yards of wool single that I had sitting on a bobbin from about a week ago. I also busted through 4 ounces of 20% Milk protein/20% Seacell/60% Wool that I got from Creatively Dyed a few years back. I have three 4 ounce braids, so I am planning on spinning them all, then plying all three together.

I hope to come up with a plan of attack for my fiber, but I know how ADD I am. I’ll just end up pulling things out of the stash willy-nilly and and if I get bored spinning a color, I’ll switch to another. That is pretty much how I operate.

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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: 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.

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Bella on the scale.

But I can explain…

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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Starting to sort the fleece.

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Proud parents!

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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.

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Lingerie bags are ready!

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Soak #1 with plain water…

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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.

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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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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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Celebrating Christmas…pageant style.

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | crafts, FO's, Holiday, Miscellaneous | No Comments

Welcome to the Christmas Pageant!

If you are someone who knows me, or has been a reader of my blog for awhile, you probably know that I celebrate my Birthday pageant style. Well, it looks like I am celebrating Christmas pageant style too! Essentially, Christmas is just going to bleed into my birthday this year.

This mostly has to do with the fact that my knit group has postponed Crafty Christmas until we go to Stitches West, which is the weekend after my birthday. Now, this is totally fine for me, but I imagine it might be annoying to some of them as it is creating a knitting nightmare…a knitted gift bottle neck of epic proportions. I know this because I talk to Courtney, who every year is the most ambitious of us.

So, since we are in a spoiler free zone, you only get to see completed projects that have been gifted or are non-gift items. It doesn’t give me much to choose from as far as photo posting. Be prepared for another month of small random craft projects….no really….

For now, enjoy the Christmas Whisps I gifted them last year. They even decorated them for the holiday season!

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David’s had blinking lights!

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Ashley’s…

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…And Courtney’s…complete with stitch markers.

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