The problem with blogging while knitting for Christmas…

So I’m pretty sure that the people I might be knitting gifts for don’t actually read my blog, but one can’t be too careful. So that means that I can’t discuss what’s occupying my mind.

I decided at the outset to avoid politics, so that part of my brain consumed by the election will not appear here. That leaves family stuff, which for the most part is private (though I’ll never miss an opportunity to link to my daughter’s blog, Good Day Howard), and (mostly) what I’m knitting, or planning to knit, or worrying about knitting… And since from now to Christmas I probably won’t knit anything for myself (poor Kate!), that means I have, basically, nothing to talk about.

Unless I do this:

I’ve actually finished _______’s _______, except for weaving in the ends. I hate weaving in ends, but there are only ____, so I guess I’ll do that in the next couple of days.

Started ________’s _______, had some design issues and now need twice the amount of yarn that I bought and also, coincidentally, that is available on the face of the earth. Checked Ravelry to see if anyone has some in their stash that they want to trade or sell. Guess what? LOTS of people have it in their stash, and not ONE. SINGLE. ONE. wants to get rid of it. This yarn is SO pretty, people buy it just to keep it around and pet it. So yeah, I picked a great yarn. Go, ME!

________, somehow sensing that I’ve already purchased yarn for the _________, has suddenly completely changed ___ hair color. Not a little. A LOT. I’ve decided it’s going to be okay.

That’s about as specific as I can get.

In other news, that isn’t all that new, because it was a month ago, I got to take a day off from the Cafe and go to Lambtown! This fiber fair takes place in Dixon, CA, this time each year. Last year I only got to be there for under 2 hours, at the end of the day. Not much fun. This year, I was there from 10 a.m. to almost 3 p.m. – got to circle the main exhibit hall three times, and saw different things each time!

Got to see the “Sheep to Shawl” competition outside pretty much from beginning to end, though I don’t know which group “won” – seems to me getting to participate in such a great group effort would be enough of a win. Three teams, each consisting of one carder, 4 spinners, one plyer, one weaver = Three Beautiful Shawls. Love the name of one of the groups – “Weft to Our Own Devices” – Hahahaha!

“Weft to Our Own Devices” – hahahaha! They do beautiful work!

Bought one little new toy – a punch needle. Kind of a miniature rug needle, or giant Russian embroidery (igolochkoy) needle – great for stash-busting, using ends of skeins, and making a beautiful, strong fabric suitable for purses, seat cushions, coasters, and a really stunning, unique vest. Una Walker, of WoolyWalkers, was very helpful!

Punch Needle – I have yet to try mine, but this nice lady sat down and gave it a whirl. This is the back of the work.

The red vest is AMAZING – and all the rest of the stuff is pretty fantastic, too!

Got to play with a loom for a little while. I actually hope I’ve staved off my yearning for a loom for just a little while longer – really want to get to at least “proficient beginner” on my spinning wheel before I take on anything else (except aforementioned punch needle). Here’s a picture of the nice lady (Robyn) who let me weave a while on the loom in the photo. She’s from Meridian Jacobs, who apparently do, well, everything.

Fighting the urge to get a loom – not sure how much longer I can hold it off…! This is Robin from Meridian Jacobs.

Spoke to some spinners, but not in any detail. They always look so peaceful, I hate to interrupt their reverie. Plus, I feel guilty about that baby alpaca that’s been languishing on my wheel for so long. If you’re learning to spin, don’t start with baby alpaca fleece.

Ran into several fiber friends, including one of my idols, Joan McGowan-Michael, of White Lies Designs, in her booth. We hatched a plot for a knitting group, which I need to follow up on. Upon which I need to follow. Follow up upon which I need to… !!!!!   I gotta do something about it.

Knitting idol Joan McGowan-Michael and dear friends Leigh and Cecile. Knitting makes people happy!

Towards the end of the day, I finally stopped at the booth with the REALLY bright yarn – it actually took my friend Leigh to make me look and see how really great the Fishknits colors were. And the young man in the booth was a great salesman, standing there knitting the best pair of toe-up two-at-a-time self-striping socks and telling us about the yarns and some of their names. My favorite was the sock yarn in shades of pink, grey and black – “Baby’s Got a Dark Side.” They have an Etsy shop, be sure to check it out!

Leigh and the wonderful Billy from Fishknits! LOOK AT THOSE SOCKS!!!

Bought some of that yarn, and some other yarn,…

Shaggy Bear Farms, in Scio, OR – more stock on the farm than people in the town. Sounds like my kind of place…

and a beautiful pattern (Little Sparrow Shawl, from Kira K Designs) for which I will now need to buy more yarn, and then there was some more yarn… Oh, and I got some yarn. You know, each skein doesn’t really weigh very much, but by the end of the day, my big ol’ knitting bag with the incendiary political statement on it was REALLY HEAVY. I really need to learn how to tell myself “No.” Someday.

Lambtown celebrates everything about sheep – sadly, this includes how darn tasty they can be. I kinda hate to admit it, but I LOVE to eat lamb. Vegans, close your eyes. Herewith, a photo of a pretty tasty lamb kabob. Poor little lamb… yum.

So yummy…

Knitting Idols

Listing “idols” can get you in trouble – not only with readers, but with yourself. Let’s just say that today, these are my top three idols in the world of Knitting, for a number of reasons.

First, the immortal and beloved Elizabeth Zimmermann, the Mother of Modern Knitting, the Goddess who came up with the Baby Surprise Jacket and the Pi Shawl, who made knitting logical and enjoyable, a veritable Julia Child of Knitting. I am in awe of her vision, her contributions to knitting, fiber, and publishing, and her empowerment of knitters, all while apparently retaining a wonderful humility. “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” – EZ

Second, Joan McGowan-Michael, author of Knitting Lingerie Style and contributor to My Grandmother’s Knitting, owner of White Lies Designs. Joan has done what we all want to do, and then some – she knits for a living! What could be better! She designs, she teaches, she is published – and she’s a real live person who I actually know, who comes to our Cafe with her lovely family. Her designs are lovely – feminine, flattering, scrumptious things. Okay, I’ll probably never knit myself a bra and panties (because honey, the world just isn’t ready for that), but Joan made me realize that if I want to, I can. Those, and lacy camisoles, and bed jackets, and all tailored to fit me. She understands the female body (used to design for Fredericks of Hollywood, no less), and she also understands that not all knitters look like fashion models. Go figure (ha ha). So she teaches classes in how to fit your knitting to you. Yay, Joanie!

And last, because she deserves the emphasis, I am in complete awe of the Yarn Harlot. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, big-K Knitter, blogger, author, philanthropist, and kick-ass bicyclist. She’s kept me up late at night laughing at her spot-on depictions of the knitter’s life. Her comic timing, in print no less, is impeccable. I have rationed her books, not allowing myself to buy all of them at once (the last will arrive sometime this week – joy tinged with anxiety). The Blog is like going to a knitting group and having wine and laughs and empathy with oh, hundreds of people all over the world. I even love her Tweets. I was disappointed when I found she isn’t actually on Facebook – yet – but kind of glad because really, how many hours can she have available for that?

Recently Steph (may I call her Steph? I feel like I may) completed a 600k bike ride (Americans, that’s about 372 miles) from Toronto to Montreal (Friends for Life Bike Rally) – to raise money to help people living with Aids/HIV. She and her team did a phenomenal job of raising donations, and Steph kept the Blog involved all through her training, falling, worrying, figuring out how to take knitting on the bike, the ride itself, and after… The Blog responded by donating beyond all expectations, and Steph raised over $52,000, her team totaling over $162,000. Wow. She also started Knitters Without Borders, which raises money for Doctors Without Borders. Knitters Without Borders has raised $1,102,556 to date, since it was started in response to the tsunami disaster in December of 2004. Wow.

She makes knitting seem not only cool, which it is, but normal, which some people might try to tell you it’s not. She validates my feeling that really, all I want to do is knit, and why is all this other stuff getting in the way – but by doing so, she makes me realize that yeah, I guess the other stuff needs to get done, too. Let’s just not go overboard with the dusting, okay?

AND – she put the greatest little sock “pattern” (instructions, really, that I can memorize and use forever) in her book, Knitting Rules. And here is my little sock:

“Little blue sock, little blue sock,…”

My little blue sock, for which there is apparently not enough yarn in this ball… Oops. Which means there’s probably not enough in the other ball for the other sock. So last night, I decided that I will make the toes a different color. I wonder if that isn’t why some socks have different colored toes, anyway… Regardless, this pair of blue/charcoal socks will have purple/charcoal toes, because they’re my socks, and as the Yarn Harlot says, “There are no knitting police”!