Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post hurricane -- knitters standing by

Image captured from WindMap (, October 30, 2012

I'm still agog at the destruction wrought by the Frankenstorm, a.k.a. Hurricane Sandy. I've been collecting images for teaching purposes, especially satellite images and images of wind patterns, to go with my ecology unit, but of course once one looks close, the human toll is evident. Naturally, being the generous people that they are, knitters are among the first to say, "What can WE do?"

First of all, give generously to relief organizations such as the Red Cross, who are among the first responders. Cash is the best donation when the need is great. Some groups take donations of material things, too, but only if they have the volunteers to sort the donations, and a percentage of what they get is unusable. Find out what is needed before donating.

Second, take a stroll over to the Chez Lysa blog, where Lysa has assembled a list of crafts for a cause. A number of manufacturers, indie yarnies, and designers are donating part of their profits toward hurricane relief.

Check Ravelry. Many designers there are donating proceeds of their patterns toward relief efforts.

Among those, please include my own Bridges of Marion County scarf pattern. I'll have another up soon, but proceeds from the sale of Bridges in November, December, and January will go to the Red Cross for Sandy relief.

Take care, New York, New Jersey, and all other areas hit by the storm.

"Is it over?"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival 2012

I've been on a bit of a summer break, but now that fiber season officially ended with Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, it's time to do a little catch-up.

We couldn't have asked for a better day to be at the fairgrounds in Canby. The weather was in the 70s, the skies were clear, and the fairgrounds were packed with vendors.

Not to mention the animal barns! As always, lots of bunnies, sheep, alpacas, llamas, and goats.

Some pretty Border Leicesters gave us the stink-eye:

Lovely merino on the hoof! Give me some scissors and let me set my wheel down -- these babies are ready to spin!

The famous blue faces of the Blue-faced Leicesters:

And such pretty locks on the Angora goats! Mohair on the hoof!

But if you really want to turn my crank, let me comb out these pretty little cashmere goats. Their neighbors, the pygora goats, were just as lovely, but wouldn't hold still for a good picture:

What really makes OFFF, though, is going with friends. We set up on the lawn with our wheels and our knitting and spent the afternoon just enjoying ourselves. Katie spent some quality time with her Roadbug:

Nanci got an impromptu lesson on spinning with a Turkish spindle, and came away with a new spindle and fiber:

Nanci and I met up with Betsy who was tending a friend's booth:

Patch and her mother joined us with little Gwen, who insisted on doing more shopping, seeing animals, and came away with a giant chocolate muffin:

After organizing and posting my stash on Ravelry, including my spinning fiber, I decided I needed to slow down on my buying and swapping. If I knit at my usual rate, it will be at least three years before I can truthfully say, "I don't have much yarn and I need some more." And that's not counting the two fleeces I'm working on. Consequently I put myself on a yarn diet. Mind you, "diet" in a nutritional sense means "eat moderately" not "stop eating altogether," so a sensible yarn diet allows for a little moderate buying now and then. Being rather "full" of yarn does make all the lovely things a little less "must have NAO!" My loot was a beautiful silver and enamel scarf slide from Gita Maria, a third hank of purple yak/merino fiber from Abstract Fiber to go with two others that I have, which should give me enough to make a vest, and a fat skein of Twisted yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Y'see, there were these felted chicken slippers on display at the Blue Moon booth, designed by Mary Scott Huff, and Nanci and I couldn't resist (Nanci especially couldn't resist since she keeps chickens in her backyard). The real selling point? The little "chicken slipper bits" packets sitting right next to the slippers. I'm sure dozens of knitters thought like we did, "Oh, hey, here are the little bits of red and yellow yarn you need for the slippers, right here, no buying whole extra skeins!" Alas, I don't see the pattern on Ravelry yet to link to. When I find it I'll post it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Knittin' the Rails 2012

It's that time of the year again -- not only fiber festival season, but time for a Portland yarn crawl! To make this a green crawl, we hopped aboard the Amtrak to ride northward. Just a small herd of knitters this year, but quite determined in spite of threatening skies. Not a problem, I brought an umbrella and sunscreen -- therefore it didn't rain and we didn't get hot sun, either. It worked!

Here come the train at the Salem station, bringing knitters from Albany to join us:

The Salem contingent awaits their chance to board. It was a crowded train on the way up, but once we all got seated, we were underway.

Mary Scott Huff, author of Teach Yourself VISUALLY Color Knitting, met us at Union Station in Portland, wearing the gorgeous stranded colorwork and felted jacket that she gives instructions for in her book.

First stop, Dubin Bay in the Pearl District, where they always lay out the red carpet for us, or at least a selection of goodies and a discount for yarn crawls. The selection of yarns is lovely, and just for the record, they ship to anywhere in the world that the mail service goes.

A lovely knitting nook with a wide window, as well as a television with sports playing, presumably for non-knitting companions. Today it was decked out with a lovely display of goodies.

From Dublin Bay we went on to Pearl Fiber Arts (formerly Urban Fiber Arts, but apparently someone else went and trademarked the name, alas).

Inside, another tempting array of yarn, including yarn from local growers, dyers, and spinners. The store is preparing to move a few storefronts down, so it's looking an little more sparse than it has in the past, but there was still plenty to tempt.

Some adorable little souvenir spinning wheels:

And some equally adorable knobbly-kneed little felted sheep:

We left Pearl Fiber Arts with 10% off coupons for The Tea Zone, where we had a delicious lunch, including the best grilled cheese panini (with tomatoes and avocado) that I've had in a very long time. I also left with some lovely tea.

After lunch we went to Powell's Books, a vast city of new and used books, where I didn't get a picture, but we made a thorough inspection of the knitting books and came back with a few. After that, we  took the bus across the river and straight to the wonders of Twisted. Let's start with the wondrous wall of sock yarn, featuring local dyers.

They've got some lovely spinning supplies, including these Schacht spinning wheels -- a Ladybug and a Sidekick.

We had a little time to sit and knit while we waited for our bus. Then it was off to the station to catch the train back home.

My haul was modest, but I came back with some choice bits. From left and moving clockwise, I picked up a foam needle felting pad, a skein of pure silk yarn from Blue Moon Fiber arts, a little needle felting kit for making a little elephant, a couple of ounces of Soothing Comfort herbal tea from Tea zone, a skein of hand-dyed worsted merino/bamboo blend from Alexandra's Crafts, a skein of Shepherd Worsted from Lorna's Laces, a bottle of Eucalan lavender, a bit of blue elastic thread, two skeins of turquoise blue Fibranatura Flax linen yarn, and two books from Powell's: 75 Birds, Butterflies & Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet and 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet, both by Lesley Stanfield.

Blue may not be my usual color, but my mother-in-law's hair is thinning and she's feeling embarrassed about her scalp showing through, so I'm making her a few hats, one for summer and two for winter. The summer hat will need the elastic thread, which is why I picked it up.

Tra, la, and I did it all except the books with cash I'd been setting aside for yarn.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sheep to Shawl 2012

It's that time of year again -- fiber festival season! Some of us went down to the Willamette Heritage Center, a.k.a. the Mission Mill museum, site of the historic Kay Woolen mill and many historic houses, for the annual Sheep to Shawl festival. I didn't get it all in pictures, but captured some of it.

Inside the historic mill itself are the equipment, which was all powered by water power from the mill race that runs under the mill, that once turned raw fleece into finished blankets and wool fabric. These are the spinning machines, all in a row down one side of the mill, with rolls of fine roving to the right.

The carding machines took the cleaned fleece and turned it into carded wool, and to fine roving:

The loom is still fired up now and then to demonstrate how the mechanisms worked. There's white woolen cloth on it that the machine wove:

The old punch clock, where workers punched in all up until the 1960s when the mill finally closed.

The forge, where expert machinists made and fixed parts for the machines.

Outdoors, we met these lovely cashmere goats.

Llamas always look like they're way too cool for this kind of thing.

A teeny yarn bombing -- a mere yarn firecracker -- the sheep statue sported a red scarf.

Though in color, the sheep statue wasn't too far from these Shetlands. The baby boy had a lovely black-and-white face.

I forgot to ask what breed these were, but their long, crimpy locks looked lovely for spinning.

These alpaca youngsters had their first haircut:

The best part was meeting up with friends and knitting the afternoon away. Helen and Andrea at the cafe:

Andrea, Nanci, and her beekeeping friend admire the yarns and animals.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Taking a stand against the war on women's rights

Today, across the nation, people gathered at rallies to support a resistance to the political attacks on women and women's rights -- health care, equal pay, voting rights, and more -- organized by Here at Oregon's capital city, folks gathered on the Capitol steps to make their voices heard. I got about two inches of sock knitted in the few hours I was there.

The crowd was small, in the hundreds, but enthusiastic:

I found a nice seat in the shade with my sign (thanks to Marty Davis for the picture posted on the local site's Facebook page). I had my knitting with me, too, not visible in this pic.

 Here's what I wrote on the back:

 There were signs with pointed messages, like these:

And this, which pretty much sums up the feelings of the folks gathered there:

And these:

The Raging Grannies from Portland came and sang hilarious protest songs. Anyone remember protest songs? What ever happened to protest songs?

Dancers from a mission that rescues young women from street life were there:

More raging grannies, these from Corvallis:

More signs:

And more:

State Troopers were on hand for riot control... well... not so much. We're pretty civilized around here.

This slogan is carved into the front of the Capitol building, right behind where the rally was taking place. I wonder how many of the legislators who make laws in this building abide by this?

It doesn't end there, of course. I'm appalled that we're re-fighting the battles for voting rights and equal rights for women. I'm appalled that anyone thinks there's no need for feminism, "because women can vote and have jobs," as one online critic of feminism whined. I'm appalled that no one from the media, even the local newspaper located just a few blocks away, was visibly present in spite of press releases that went out.

I'm heartened by all the women of all ages who showed up, particularly young women, when five years ago or so I was hearing young women in college, on the brink of a career, saying, "Oh, I'm not a feminist," in a tone that suggested it was a dirty word, that "feminist" means angry, ugly, bra-burning, man-hating creatures instead of rational beings who believe that women should have equal pay for those careers that these young women were going into and equal opportunities, such as going to college in the first place. I'm heartened that the apathy I saw during the Iraq war is changing to, "We've got to do something about this."

We just need to say it louder.

blogger templates | Make Money Online