Multiple Events (again)

This weekend there is a lot of great stuff going on in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). The fibery one is:

Knit-Out 2004 – Knit Happens
Sponsored by the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild
Sunday, October 3, 2004 – 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Ridgedale Shopping Center
12401 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka, MN

  • Fashion shows featuring hand knit items
  • FREE beginning knitting lessons
  • Children’s activity – finger knitting
  • Charitable projects
  • Knitting contest – fastest knitter
  • Doctor is in clinic – answer your knitting questions
  • Door prizes
  • Yarn shop displays
  • Learn about guilds, charity programs

Also for those interested in beads, gems and minerals:
Anoka County Gem and Mineral Club is having their show at Har Mar this weekend (10/2 and 10/3), and there is a huge wholesale only (tax id needed) show put on by G&LW Inc. at Ramada Inn Thunderbird, 2201 East 78th Street Bloomington, MN 55425-1228. Hours: 11 am-6 pm Sunday; 10 am – 3 pm Monday.

Whew! I will also be celebrating mine and my brother’s and sister-in-law’s and niece’s birthday at my folk’s house. We don’t share the same birthday, but they are close enought that my mom wants to make it easier on herself. Good thinking!

I do share the same birth month and day as my dear friend Mary. We call each other twin. Mary has her own twin daughters, and for a while we had them convinced that we were really twins. Then they grew up and got some sense *grin*.

Here is a pic of my twin. She is the one of the best things in my life:

Bead Retreat

The bead retreat was fab. The best so far. My usual group wasn’t there, but I had invited some of my friends from the the Bead Ladies group. Morgan, Sally and Carol came. We sat together and had a good time. Sally and I sang and did dialog from our favorite movies.

Carol and Morgan were just plain great to be with. We all share a love for astrology so there was a lot of astrology talk going on. There were some tense moments too – but it all worked out pretty well. We even slept together! Was that too much sharing?….perhaps your mind runs dirty.

Even though it was a bead retreat there was a lot of knitting and other needlework going on. I managed to finish the knitting part of the very harlot poncho, knit some on my market squares bag, and finished a bead bracelet and matching earrings.

I brought one of my goddess divination decks along. I invited people to pick a goddess after asking for a goddess to give you a blessing. I got Lakshmi, one of my favorites. I set up a mini altar. Morgan gifted me a bag with Nag Champa incense and soap and a lovely card, very appropriate for the altar. My metal board with mandala-like magnets in the background, and my offering to the goddess – fizzy water. I had also brought along my magic wand so that was a part of the altar too.

What happens on a bead retreat is we all haul our stuff to the retreat place and then basically fill every waking moment with either working on projects, visiting, or eating. Pretty sweet!

It is great because you get to see other people’s creations – get inspired or awestruck or both. Like this fabulous crocheted lace baby cap. I messed with the pic so that you could see the detail better. It is a sparkling white cap made out of crochet thread.

Another great thing about the retreat is that I get a chance to visit with friends I normally don’t see very often, like Robin who lives in Eau Claire, WI. Here she is working on a pillow project for her sister-in-law.

Whenever someone finishes a project they get gonged. Then they walk their finished project around to show off.

A lot of us didn’t get much sleep, so some of us took turns napping on one of the couches. Here is Sonia, multi-tasking by napping and modeling a great poncho she made:

I will share pics of my finished projects tomorrow.

Today is my birthday! I gotta hurry up and relax!



I haven’t had a yarn swift very long. Every time I used this thing – bad things happened: the swift would slowly lower and lose tension, tangling the yarn; the free end would wrap itself around the post in the middle; the yarn would just refuse to go on.

This morning I knew I had to get my projects together for the retreat. One of the projects I want to start, or at least bring along for a nice 3 day weekend away, is the shadow shawl. I realized I needed to wind some skeins into balls. Ugh. So I set the thing up. This is one weird looking gadget. First off, it comes crammed into a really trashy box and once you get it out of that box it never seems to want to go into it again. No instructions really, just some cheesy diagram. There are non-english words written on the box and diagram – perhaps they would be of help but I only read English and a little Spanish, so no go there. Sigh.

I decide to take a deep breath, think positive, stay calm and become one with the yarn swift. I set it up very carefully, making sure everything was really tightened up. I put the skein on very carefully and made sure it was nicely nestled into the metal sections. I cut the figure 8 knot that was holding the skein together and carefully unreeled one free end. Hook it onto my ball winder (which is a perfect angel). Here is the big moment.

Looking all yellow-orange and mod-like, kind of a like a trippy carousel, I am very tempted to really just crank on this thing. Doesn’t it look that way? And look at the box – it says "Reeling Machine". It sounds like it was made for speed! But I decide to hang on to the calm and start winding – sloooooowly……

I reach the end without a hitch! Perfection! Could I do it again? Yes!!!!

I guess the trick is making sure all the knobs are tight and going very slow. I have achieved yarn swift zen.

Back at you on Monday.

Why is it…?

I am wondering why it is that so many great events happen on the same date? This weekend I am going away for the Upper Midwest Bead Society’s bead retreat. Which is a very good thing. A long weekend of just beading or doing what I want to do. All for the very good price of $80. You just can’t beat that with a stick. I am very happy. But now this a.m. I received an email notice that the folks at Needlework Unlimited are getting a major shipment of Koigu in on Friday at 10:00 a.m. I really really really want to make the Charlotte Shawl. Nobody in town (up till Friday) has had a good selection so I have resorted to dinking around with photo swatches to determine what 5 colors I want to purchase.

Okay so now to add insult to injury, there is also this cool festival that is going on this weekend too. This is one I am really sick about because it would be so great to get away with WT and go to The Warrens Cranberry Fest. I heard from one of the vendors at the WI fiber thang that this event is fabulous. Dang, dang, dang.

I guess I could always schedule this cranberry fest for next year. And check with Needlework Unlimited next week to see if there is any Koigu left – perhaps buy some stuff to get me started. They also mentioned in their email that they will be selling Koigu by the gram. What they do is sell the bits of leftovers from projects. Interesting.

So what I need to do is start getting together my projects that will come along with me to the retreat. Even though this is a beaders thang, and I am a beader, I will be taking along my spinning wheel and some knitting projects too. I always have a hard time deciding which beads to bring so all of them will be coming along. Add to that the wheel and the fiber and the patterns and books and needles=many many trips back and forth to the car and then getting all that stuff into the work area. Oh, and clothes and bedding, and my camera too. Bead retreat exercise drills!

I realized I never shared a pic of the WI fest booty. Here it is:

And while I am at it, here are some pics of my finished landscape shawls.

More about this shawl. I remember telling you that I had modified the scarf shaping (included in the pattern) and used that on the shawl so that I would get it to wrap along the shoulders morel, ala Faroese shawls. Here is a close-up of the shaping.

I sharpened the image so that you can see that if you look along the stitch line, I have made the shaping sharply decrease along each YO line. This little bit of extra at the ends really makes a big difference. When I have the shawl on you wouldn’t notice the bending effect of the pattern. It just stays put on the shoulders and looks nice.

Also, the blue landscape shawl is different from the original pattern in that I just used garter and seed stitch.

What is wrong with people?

I get emails letting me know whenever somebody comments. I don’t know whether to be glad or enraged. My blog is getting read, but by someone who is spamming me…. leaving comments about how good my blog is, but in truth they are just posting because they want to leave a link to an online gambling website. This person must get a kickback for clicks. So now I have to spend time weeding them out.

Today is a free day for me. No clients or students. Chaachi is coming over to just hang out, and my brother Mark is coming over to drop off some more eBay work, and I guess his current auctions are coming to a close today, and I have a bunch of work to do on the database and website for the astrology group I belong to…Wait, did I say I have a free day?

These pretty much don’t exist for me. I guess there is no rest for the wicked. I just wish I had more time to do the wicked stuff so this karma would seem more fair.

Don’t feel to bad for me, I am obviously not working right now, and I plan to kick back later and do some knitting on the poncho. I decided to go down a few needles sizes, otherwise the drapiness of the yarn was making it too sleezy looking – not a good thing for a pre-teen.

WI Fiber Fest – Day 2 part 2

Here is the last of the WI fiber fest schtuff. After finishing up at the county fair site, we still had a half day to spend. Went tripping into Madison for said pizza, and then what to do? We were too tired to take in a movie so we decided to just head back "home" to find the Dairy Shrine. I also wanted to get a few pics of that cute cottage plopped down in the cemetary. Here it is along with 2 pics of a fabulous celtic type cross memorial:

On the way to finding the Shrine, we ran across this cab and thought it was just hysterically funny. If you don’t – I guess I understand…

Then finally the Shrine. It was closed, so I will not be able to share with you the spiritual experience, but at least I got a pic of the outside. Read that it is next to the Hoard Museum. From your knitting and other fibery experiences you might think this is the place where the mother of all yarn stash is being housed, but no. . I think Hoard is a founder’s name. I like my version better.

Okay, enough of the vacation. Last night I finished up my 2nd Landscape Shawl – my variation on the theme. Today is coffee and beads/knitting day and I will be taking along a new project. The poncho from Yarn Harlot’s blog. This is one seriously funny, well written and just all around entertaining blog – check it out!

Day Two of the Fest = last Saturday

I forgot to mention yesterday how beautiful and peaceful Fort Atkinson is. The detour took us through a lot of farmland and it seemed like there wouldn’t be a place for a Best Western Courtyard anywhere… just how much farther do we have to go? Then all of the sudden the town appeared, seemingly plopped down into the green expanse. As we drove into town, we saw a cute little cottage inside the town’s cemetery, and made a mental note to stop back for some pics.

We also saw a lot of signs pointing out directions for places one should check out, like the Fireside Theatre, which was right next to our digs. That made finding the hotel easier (in theory) but we still managed to get a little turned around. Back on track, we noticed the signs for the Dairy Shrine?!? Whaaaa???? I imagined that they meant Dairy Shriner and told Chaachi all about how he would look in his fez and a "Got Milk?" milk mustache.

So Saturday morning we went downstairs for the continental breakfast. Lots of people around. People that look like they are into things fibery. For me that means women that tend to be on the larger size (like me) or those kind of hippy/frumpy (like me) wearing sensible shoes or birks (like me) with long hair (not like me anymore). Makeup optional. Friendly and kind. All good things. There were a lot of those types there. I struck up a conversation with a gal that had a very beautiful art bead strung on a silver chain. We decided that the fella that made her bead was the same artist as one of my most precious art beads. I have to get mine on a chain because hers looked really nice that way.

Anyway, after having juice and some coffee cake we headed out for the County Store section of the fest. I had an appointment to try out one of the Babe’s Spinning Wheels. Here is a pic of Nels leading the group, I am the on on the far right.

He was a good teacher. I picked up some spinning techniques. The wheel isn’t really that bad – kind of uncomfortable because of the height of the pedal, but it spun just fine.

After that it was time to head for the 2nd building. This one wasn’t just full of fibery stuff. Okay, so kind of because some of it was about sheep farming. The rest of the good stuff was, well, good! I decided that today (Saturday) was the day to buy fiber.

I remembered that there was some cotton from Spindles & Skeins that looked interesting and was a good price – got that. Also some yummy Alpaca from Rich-Nes Alpacas got that. Then wandered around and found big buckets of Alpaca from Blue Hills Alpacas. Super yummy stuff. Of course my favorite was the cria type (an Alpaca’s first coat) = more expensive. I decided on 10 oz. and was getting ready to pay. Chaachi stepped in and said "birthday present!" Thanks!!! Now I wish I had taken more *hehehe*. This fiber is really dark brown from Ellie and Nancy (the owner) showed me some beautiful yarn spun from Ellie’s 2nd coat. Very shiny and almost black. I can hardly wait to spin this, but I will wait a while until my technique is better. I would love to spin this fine for a shawl.

We saw some finished items, some machine knit from Alpaca, like these great ruanas. Chaachi likes capes and ponchos and I guess now ruanas too because she tried this one on and really liked it. She didn’t buy one so I guess that is a hint for me to make her one.

The next item in the agenda was to try out some fancy wheels. So I did! This one from Winsome Timbers is Fiona – 22" Lennox Castle Spinning Wheel.

It was spun smooth as silk and the tall wheel is very relaxing and hypnotic. Next I tried the Jensen wheels from Apple Hollow Farm

Very nice. I like the darker wood too – more furniture-like and kind of screams EXPENSIVE doesn’t it?

These 3 are definitely on my dream list. Of course, I would need more room=larger house too, but this is a dream, right?

Back to reality. I wanted to check out the herding dogs, so that is what I did.

Also, the quilts:

So everything accomplished it was time to go hunt out the illusive in MN but almost everywhere in WI, Rocky Rococo’s Pizza. More about day 2 tomorrow.

Back from the Fest!

I came back Sunday night but this is my first chance at collecting my thoughts and getting my photos together. Today was a teaching day, which is really nice but there was definitely a part of me longing to head for the computer so that I could get everything together to show you.

Okay, so on Friday Chaachi and I set out for Fort Atkinson/Jefferson, WI. We had a pretty good drive up until we were close, then there was a major detour that seemed very odd. If one traveled along East the detour was different than if you traveled West. I never quite figured it out… I was just grateful the detour took us to where we wanted to go.

Anyway, we found our hotel in Fort Atkinson. The place seemed pretty packed with cars and I figured it was for the Fiber Fest. Chaachi and I checked into our room, rested a bit (driving is hard work!), then headed out for the fair in Jefferson. Experienced another part of the detour. But not too bad.

I was immediately impressed with the fair digs. It looks like the County Fair is a big deal, because the buildings are huge and new. A beautiful layout and nice landscaping too! There were 2 ginormous structures devoted to what they called the Country Store. Here is a pic to show you how big these babies are:

Just seeing that was very exciting, but thinking 2 whole buildings of fibery goodness – oh my! I headed for the nearest one. Here are 2 pics of one of the aisles:

the guy in the kilt is Adam Mielke of Mielke’s Farm

I had a list of items to get, and purchased all of my "have to" items in that one building. Chaachi talked me into saving the 2nd building for the next day. I thought that was a good idea. Anticipation!

We headed into town to get dinner, and then just hang out at the motel. I got a chance to play around with the purchases:

  • a mini niddy noddy
  • a metal tahkli spindle
  • a cute ceramic bowl for the spindle
  • 3 back issues of Spin Off
  • the current issue (Fall 2004) of Spin Off
  • a gadget that helps spinners determine the wpi /weight of their fiber.

More about day two tomorrow.

Off to Fiber Fest

Tomorrow (Friday) at about 10:00 ish I will be leaving for a 3-day weekend to the Wisconsin SpinIn which is together with the sheep folks’ festival this year. It is in Jefferson County Fair Park, in Jefferson, WI. I have a list of shtuff I want to get… a few little things like the ruler/gadget that you use to check wpi, perhaps a tahkli or other small spindle, a mini niddy noddy (for skeining up samples). I am bringing a list of back issues I would like to find for knitting and spinning magazines just in case too. I also have a list of projects, mostly shawls, with the types of yarn and yardage needed.

I hope there are some wheels to try out. I know the guy that makes the Babe wheels will be there to demo. I am curious enough about them to try them out. I am still trying to figure out if I really want a more portable wheel. My Ashford Traditional isn’t a major hassle to carry around, but it isn’t the easiest either. If I get another wheel, will it be jealous?

My sister Chaachi is coming along. I am hoping that there will be enough for her to do. She isn’t into this kind of stuff, but she does like hanging out and really digs Llamas. We used to travel quite a bit – long weekends here and there. I think it will just be nice to kick back and take it easy. It is easier to do that when you aren’t at home. Being away from the phone (I call it the tool of the devil, and I am not 100% kidding either) and being away from the computer is a good thing once in a while.

I am taking 2 knitting projects – finishing off my 2nd Landscape shawl, and starting up that poncho for Marissa. Have you checked out my list of links to poncho patterns yet?

I promise to show off my purchases when I get back. Until then, I leave you with a pic of a huge morning glory bloom from my raised weed/garden bed:

Another Gathering

Last night was a gathering of the Northern Lights Handspinners Guild at the Richardson Nature Center. I guess the 40 members take turns hosting a spinning gathering. There seems to be one a week. So far this is the only one I have been able to attend.

Here are some pics from the gathering

At the meeting: Robbie, not a spinner and working on a braided hat; my wheel – nice huh?; Diane who I met from the class; Pauline, my spinning teacher knitting; Heather, a spinner since 10 years of age! Elizabeth, knitting her handspun and hand dyed;

Later Renee joined us. She is new to MN as is Heather (kind of). Both they and Diane and I joined the guild for the great deal of $3. That money gets us an email newsletter with information on upcoming meetings, a chance to get into spinning retreat, notifications of sales, etc.

I probably won’t be able to make many of the meetings. That is okay because I also get together with Kerry and sometimes Diane anyway.

The group was nice. Any chance to get together and do some spinning is okay by me.

Now it’s time to get ready for my coffee and beading/knitting/whatever meeting that happens each Wednesday. I have a wonderful life!