Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spinning Sunday at Stash LLC

Rejoice, Citizens of Corvallis! There's a new yarn shop in town, and it's lovely!

This afternoon, two of us made a pilgrimage to Corvallis to visit Stash LLC for their spinning afternoon. Having gone to grad school in Corvallis -- twice -- I was already familiar with the downtown area and quickly placed the address as a near-next-door-neighbor to a fantastic bead shop I used to frequent, one of those with the aroma of sandalwood and all the peace signs and ethnic items that makes you go, "Bead shop? Head shop? Think I'll stick with the bead cases, thanks."

Just walking in -- doesn't that feel lovely already? Polished wooden floors, samples on display, books -- and yarn! Lots of lovely yarn, and local spinning fiber too.

The spinners were already gathering, with a variety of wheels in evidence. In the back, some folks were having fun with the drum carders, making batts.

Patch came with her spindle:

Helen, who rode down with me, came armed with a spindle, too, as did I, since we didn't know how much space or seating there would be. Jakay came with her crochet:

While the spinning carried on, I trotted down the block to the head bead shop in search of at least 35 grams of beads, yes beads. I needed size 8 seed beads for some tencel yarn that I bought at the first Sock Summit, which will become an Entomology shawl, which is what I intended when I bought the yarn.

Evidence that I did come back with beads.

And I think they go with the yarn quiet nicely. Even if they do have the lingering sandalwood aroma of a... bead shop.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Night with the Harlot

Have y'all been following the Yarn Harlot's (a.k.a. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) book tour on her blog? Her last stop was last night in Portland at Powell's Books, and a whole flock of us from Salem went up to see her.

Now, for those of you who sometimes say, "Aw, I worked all day, I'm too tired to go to that thing tonight that tomorrow I'll probably wish I went to," listen up. Here's how my Fridays go this term: I teach two 2-hour back-to-back labs in the morning, followed by a noon meeting (which is where I scarf down lunch), followed by a 1-hour lecture, followed by a 2-hour lab. That's seven hours on my feet, a non-stop day with no breaks to sit by myself and decompress, and I'm an introvert so that's the definition of hell for me. So after all that, last night the lab got out a little early (thank Mendel). I jumped in the car, rocketed home, feed the cats, warmed up some stuff that I rummaged out of the fridge for dinner, and met my friend Katie with her little Ellie at the IKE Box where our knitting group meets. We bolted for Portland, got stuck in traffic so slow way south of Wilsonville that it looked like walking there would be a viable option, finally got out of slow traffic around the I-205 exit, and sailed into downtown Portland around 7:00 -- the talk was scheduled for 7:30. Katie was on the phone to Stephania (a.k.a. Three Fates Knitting) who was holding two seats for us. Thank Mendel again, there were parking spots open in a pay lot catty-corner from Powell's. We dashed in, claimed our seats, bought our books, found the ladies room, and sat down about 10 minutes before Stephanie Pearl-McPhee came on stage.

Then we laughed ourself silly for the next two hours.

I'm still grinning the next morning.

I got a blurry picture of Katie, Ellie, and Stephania:

Ellie was a little worried about the size of the crowd, but she settled in and was a pretty happy baby the whole time we were there.

The crowd was as big as the space that Powell's could provide:

I got one sorta-not-blurry photo of the Yarn Harlot giving her talk -- and yes, her Gwendolyn sweater was done! And she wore it! Jut not at that moment because with all those bodies packed into one space on the top floor, it was quite warm:

One of the perks of giving a young mom a ride is that moms with babies are among those who get to go to the front of the line at Stephanie's book signings. We both had spanking new copies of All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin, the newest book, in our hands. Katie gets her book signed, and I was next, but I didn't get a good shot of that.

Wow, a few weeks ago I saw Jane Goodall give a talk and got her autograph, too, though I don't have a picture of that either (they had one person doing all the picture-taking, and I don't see our picture posted in the pictures for that event). Jane Goodall AND the Yarn Harlot in the same month! I was equally thrilled to see both -- for different reasons, but thrilled all the same.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A couple of FOs

We're three weeks into fall term, and between teaching full time, trying to write a paper, and working on an outside contract, I tend to come home and mostly stare at my computer and vibrate in place in the evenings. I could be knitting but that would mean summoning the energy to get up and fetch a project, then find the brain space to remember how to knit.


I finally finished my Summit Socks, designed to celebrate our own Three Fates Yarns being chosen as a vendor at Sock Summit. This shot, besides showing how cozy hand knit wooly socks are, shows the colorway that I chose. I think something plainer would have suited the pattern better, but it was a Three Fates skein that I had so I cast on with it at the time.

Here you can see the three "summits" on the side:

And the three diamonds on the instep, as well as the star toe:

I also finished the first sample skein from an 8 lb variegated gray Romney fleece that I bought last spring. It's worsted-spun in the grease from unwashed locks, plied as a 3-ply, and then washed. It came out to about worsted to aran weight -- I'll need to knit a swatch to see what gauge I get.

It's destined to be a fall coat, once I spin up at least a pound of this fleece. That still leaves... wow, there's a lot of fleece in this fleece.

And now a completely unrelated cute kitty picture: our shy calico, Sprocket, cuddled up with the Princess Belle.

Guests in our house never see Sprocket, because she hides in some secret place that only she knows. For all I know, she has a secret tunnel under the floor. So here she is for all to admire her calico beauty.

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