Stitches West

Let’s Talk Crafty Christmas…Part 2

Friday, March 7th, 2014 | crochet, FO's, Holiday, scarf, stash busting, Tunisian, yarn | No Comments

Angelique’s present this year was a challenge for me, but I learned a lot. It is my very first Tunisian crochet project (well, completed project anyway).

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This was an interesting experiment.

The pattern is Ziggurat, designed by my friend Alexis.

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It’s mostly tunisian mesh with a section of striping.

The colors scream “Angelique”…and this will look great with that new shawl pin she bought at Stitches West.

This was actually a great beginner tunisian crochet pattern, although I really wish there were more online resources for Tunisian crochet in general. It seemed like finding tutorials for different stitches was difficult for me. Maybe at some point I might have to spring for a stitch/pattern book or something. I haven’t yet because it feels like all of the tunisian projects I see pictures of on the internet would be popular for an age range much higher than mine. This pattern, however, had a more modern feel to it.

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Working those bobbins…

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 | blah blah blah, fiber, handspun, spinning, WIP, yarn, yarn snobbery | No Comments

Now that I’m home from Stitches West and will very soon be in possession of more fleece, I figured it was as good a time as any to start trying to spin down my fiber stash. Here are some of my pretties…

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Spinning some Laufeyson Merino from Octarine Fibers

Of course they aren’t quite done yet. I plan on plying them.

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I can’t wait to see what this looks like plied.

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Started a new bobbin with fiber from my friend, Adrienne.

Over the weekend I worked on chain plying some Red Fish Fiber too!

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Here I’m using my mouth to splice my yarn together mid-ply.

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Plied!

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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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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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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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