Saturday, May 31, 2008

On the Road Again

Well - I can't say "Just can't wait to get back on the road again", so let's just settle for I'm on the road. This week I'm in Sunny San Diego at the ASTD International conference. I'm excited about the conference and the opportunity for training. But it's a killer time at work, I'm not sure how much conference I will actually be able to attend - and I'm missing my family after being away 2 weeks ago.

One benefit of traveling frequently is getting a little taste of Local Yarn Shops in different places. This is my first time back to San Diego as a knitter, so I'm taking a few roadtrips during my stay. Today I stopped at Knitting in La Jolla recommended to my by my Seattle knitting field Marie. It was a nice little shop stuffed absolutely full of yarn. There was hardly an inch to turn around in. I frequently had to move out of the way when someone needed to pass. But they had THREE great finds there. The first was Curious Creek Fibers Meru, a Merino and Silk Laceweight yarn. This was the recommended yarn for Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl 7 and it was pretty on her site. But it was stunning in real life. The yarn is shimmery - it almost glimmers. Silk/wool blends are rarely not pretty, but this is just special. And the Semi-Solids are just lovely. I picked out an Orange and Plum blends. I'm using my hotel yarn winder - AKA an up-side down table - to wind the Plum now, I'm CO tonight so I have something to work on at the conference. I have an idea for a great portable project I can make progress on this week while listening to sessions.


I dont' know which color way is lovlier.


And there were several more that I had to pass over to settle on these two. I didn't see a colorway I didn't like, at that's rare!

Another find was Conjoined Creations Flat Feet. I have seen it in magazines, but wanted to see it in real life. The concept is the company machine knits the yarn and then "paints it" while knit. Then you unravel it as you knit the socks. It has a section in the middle you can cut if you want to make socks 2 at a time. Because it is painted as knitted instead of in a hand, each one is unique. Creative huh? I've been focusing on lace yarn versus sock yarn lately - but I could not resist......


I picked up two of them, this is just one of the pictures. I have few details here on my blog because it's all in >Ravelry under my username jc3smama. I just don't have the energy to duplicate it all on the blog. I figure if you really want to know you can look it up! I have the good/bad/ugly stash story for all to see. Well not *all* but I'm getting there.

Lastly - they had this huge display of little balls of yarn every color you could imagine. Solid and heathered. All lace-weight. I asked what that was all about, because it didn't really look knitting yarn. I wondered if it was a new needlepoint yarn or something. It is new - The company EPiC creates yarn for commerical knitting. But she is branching into a yarn that can be knit, sewn, used for needlepoint, and many other uses. The base yarn is lace weight - but you use it single, double, triple or quad based on the thickness you want for knitting. You can also mix the yarn in creative ways to get differnt effects. It's something to play with and I didn't have time. It looked fun - I picked up two balls to play with because she really didn't have yarn to "buy" - she let's her customers play with the colors they want and then order the number of balls they need. Since I was from out of town, she graciously let me take two of her colors so her customers won't be able to play with them.


Intersting concept, I wonder if it will catch on?

So - Knitting in La Jolla is a winner. I would go back if I came back to San Deigo, no doubt.

I also went by The Needlecraft Center. Funny - same name as a LYS in Davidson NC :) I wasn't so impressed, it was like the Davidson shop with Needlecraft and Knitting/Crochet. But the lace selection was tiny - only Malabrigo Lace (of which I have a more than enough) so I passed on it. I didn't see anything there I had not seen before.

Not a shop I would go back to.

Thankfully - there is about oh 15 or so more shops in the area. I will get to visit a few more in the week. Yipee - lunch breaks will be fun!

I also went to Seattle and visited my two favorite shops there - Weaving Works and Acorn Street Shop. I left a sizable portion of my wages in Seattle, let's just say.

I'm especially happy about my Greensleeves Spindle. She is the must be the most balanced spindle I have because she spins forever. There were cuter ones, but this one was the best performer of the ones I tested. They had wheels too, but I resisted.


I also picked up some fiber - Soy Silk and Soy Silk/Cashmere - that I think will be fun to spin. I picked up some Organic Cotton for Doreen - as well as a WPI tool for both of us.

Here is some Merino on my new spindle.


I learned to spin on a wheel!!! Shiori (who taught me to spin on a spindle) was teaching a class, so her husband Shane brought her wheel to the meet up and taught me to spin!!! I dont' know if I'm more impressed that he gave up an evening or that he knows how to spin. I'm so appreciative because I AM IN LOVE WITH SPINNING ON A WHEEL!!!!!! He taught me on a Schacht Matchless and so now I think I want a Schacht Ladybug - I'm a bit spoiled on some of the features.

While in Seattle - I picked up some Crystal Palac Panda Silk yarn - and started a Christmas Gift scarf. It's a cable and lace pattern that is easy but lovely - I will use it again. The yarn is soo soft - it feels like a cloud on your neck.


I also picked up Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace and started another gift scarf. This another new - and luxur


I'm done with the first and almost with the 2nd. Two more gifts out of the way. I think that's 4 scarves out of fingering or lace weight done for Christmas. Guess what my theme is this year? After all - it is my Year of Lace .

I'm casting off my Hemlock - during my brief stay at home I decided to wrap it up and cost off. I had only about 1/5th of it left when I had to leave, I'll finish it up when I get back. It is one fugly mess right now, so no inprogess pictures until it's blocked. I can tell, though, after it's blocked I will love it. It will be my home office lap blanket. The Cast Off is ackward and takes a long, long time. Had I thought about it for 1/2 a second, I would have done a crochet loop bind-off. Better believe that when I do another Hemlock, that is what I will be doing. The knitted version isn't worth the extra time IMHO.

So - I told Stacey that I would take pictures of the LYS I visited on the road. I had the best of intentions, my camera my car each time. This week I walked out of Knitting in La Jolla about 1/2 a block and turned to see the Pacific Ocean!!!! I so wish my camera wasn't an additional 3 blocks away.

Stacey - I will have to do better next shops I visit. I have my travel purse with me and my camera doesn't fit. I need to put it in a visible place so I don't leave the car without it.

That's enough typing for now - I want to CO tonight so I can have some mindless lace knitting at the conference tomorrow!

Excuse the spelling and grammar - I'm so tired and lazy right now. I'll have to run a spell-check later on and read it more closely!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My, how things have changed

I'm missing my knitting blogs as I am on a business trip, neck deep into business planning and in training. I got to visit two of my favorite Seattle knit shops: Weaving Works and Acorn Street Shop - and am too busy to even play with the yarn.

Whine, whine.

But I had to post this comment - as CNN drones on in the background while I'm working on slides this morning - the topic is of course the election. And a conversation with my daugther came back to me out of the blue.

Let me start by stating the obvious - my daughter is female and African-American: two traits which has previously ensured that she would never be President of the United States.

Her dream is to be President. I think I've blogged on that before.

One of her future platforms that she has discussed with me - I don't think she has discussed them all as this is a long standing topic with her. However, she has commented a lot on "bad people". And she wants a portable jail that can drop down on someone right before they do something bad. That way the police can come and stop them before something happens. A bit Sci-Fi - but I like how the girl thinks!

She also has strong feelings about the "news". Her presidency would focus on news that was decidedly more positive in nature.

She was a little miffed to find out that there may be a woman president before her, she wanted to be the first.

This weekend she asked me can someone run for President twice?

To my self I think - after watching this race I'm considering telling her I'm questioning why anyone would want to run for President once! But my better self prevails, and I put on my supportive parent hat. I explain the 8 year limitation of anyone to be president and discuss why, this history etc.

Janeen thought about it a moment - and I said more to herself than to me - I need to figure out when I want to be president then since I can only be president once!

We often discuss if we can get a bit of our children's energy how powerful that would be.

I think if we can just capture some of our children's dreams - and see the world through the possibilities of their eyes.

Dream on Janeen - plan your Presidency. No matter what the future holds - we will all benefit from you setting your sights so high.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mother's Day Surprise

Lookee what my dear hubby bought me for Mother's day. All thanks to a little birdie who told him this is what I wanted and hadn't got a chance to order yet!


I had been looking for the perfect blocking kit. And I almost ordered the Lace blocking kit from KnitPicks, but it seemed like it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. When I saw CoCoKnits kit - I knew it was the one.


You get 9 lovely blocks you can customize the blocking shape and steam block! with, a cotton cloth for steam blocking, T pins. Wow - I LOVE it.

OK Doreen, you will only see this on my blog once.

Sqweeee! I 'm not even sure I spelled it right.

My man is so sweet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's up?

So much to say - so little time. I've been trying to blog more this year - but with work, Jada, family, Ravelry, Knitting, etc - blogging is hard to do!

I was supposed to be on a stash Knitdown for 2008. That has gone just a tad bit to the wayside. It's so hard to resist the new yarns out there. And as I learn more about what I do and don't like - I find new yarns and sigh. I have found out how to destash on Ravelry, that allows me to at least get rid of some of the yarns I've fallen out of love with or no longer need.

Knitting! At Peace of Yarn, Cindy showed me an Evelyn Clark shawl in Noro Kureyon Sock. That was it - I had been waiting for a yarn to make a replacement Flower Basket Shawl. I didn't want to use Cascade 220 again. It made a lovely first shawl, just didn't want to cover the same ground again. I wanted something light but practical. Noro fit perfectly - and the colors were better than the first version. It knit up very quickly and I love how it turned out.


I will have to do a few more as gift scarves - quick and pretty.

I wanted to do another Evelyn Clark pattern after this one, and started her Angel Lace Shawl with JaggerSpun Zephyr. But wasn't feeling the lace-weight love. I have several L on the needles, and they can get tiring for me after a while with the slipperness and small needles. So I frogged it and started it again on Kauni. Ah yes - it's scratch but soft. I can feel the lanolin in the wool. I think a good Soak will soften it up. I'm excited to see how the slower color progression of Kauni works out. I've been dying to use my Kauni but didn't want to launch into Fair Isle right now. I'm saving that for later on during summer vacation and longer knitting times.

Speaking of vacation and knitting - we took a quick trip to Myrtle Beach. Colin had a conference to attend, and I didn't want to have the kids at home so we went down with him. My sister and her husband tagged along to. We stayed with my friend Rita - AKA Trouble - over Mother's Day weekend. Everyone who knows me knows of my knitting obsession, and Rita found a new knit shop for me in Myrtle Beach!!!! Every time I'm at the beach - I'm disappointed because the two that are there were not close to where I have stayed. This new one is in a perfect location and very cute. I love some of the yarns she had too!


And the owner - Phyllis - is really nice. Willing to help with anything. I will definitely make a return trip!


I picked up Lyndon Hill - a lovely Cotton/Silk fingering weight yarn. I also picked up some Cotton Bamboo she had on clearance. But she had so many other new yarns I hadn't seen - a lovely Linen/Silk Blend. Yummmm! And the Cotton you see in the photo that the owner is in is a lovely - kettle dyed, thick/thin cotton. So soft. If I knew of a project for either of these yarns, I would have picked them up. But I didn't have any projects for them in mind at the time. Oh - I also saw Cascade's new sock yarn. It was also nice - good solid sock yarn (tight twist it seemed to me) in a variety of colors. I can made 100 pairs of socks with the sock yarn I already have - so I passed it buy - but it's in the back of my mind if I need a good solid color sock yarn that is not already in my stash.

Rita also introduced me to my new favorite Summer Sweet spot. Rita's! Not my friend Rita's - but they share a name. They have Italian ice and Custard. And they create this drink that blends the two.


With the creamy custard, and the flavor filled Italian ice. Yummmmm! I do not want to know how many calories are in this. Igorance is bliss.

On the way back I swatched a bit of the Lyndon Hill - I had one ball of the Watermelon color that was on clearance.

I love the lace it produces! It has the structure of cotton - but the silk gives it a softness and steps up the luxury of the finished fabric.


I got back to several online yarn purchases. A nice treat! One I have to talk a bit about is the new Knit Picks Lace packs. I picked up two - the blue/green and rose/pink. I think Knit Picks lace is one of the best buys on yarn around. Generous yardage @ 440 a hank. For prices ranging from $1.99 to $4.99. And lovely colors - much better than their other yarn lines in my humble opinion. There are some creative ideas out there to use the various yarns together in the packs. I'd like to think of something like that to do. But even if I just get 5 gift scarves out of each lot - I think it's still a great buy and a lot of knitting fun.

Well - that's all for now. I'm heading to Seattle next week. It's been great to have a traveling break - but I'm looking forward to seeing the Eastside Knitters again and having my required trip to Weaving Works. With the frequent shopper cards Shiori gifted me - this trip promises to be more fun than usual! I'll have to snap a couple of pictures of the shop - so all the non-Seattle readers will know what to look for when you are in Seattle. :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Photo day

Today was just a pretty day for photos - I wanted to capture a few of my caplet - but we got a few more. So - this blog is just an update of photos we took after church.

Noro caplet 2

Oh - I had to come back and edit this blog entry to draw attention to my Romi shawl pin. The perfect fit for this caplet.



Spring is finally here. For good.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Teacher's pet

I voted this week - have you?

Why not? Do you want to wait to stand in long lines next week?

Of course not - vote now!

You may never have another chance to influence a primary again as a NC voter!

WIP update - I seem to be determined to distract myself each week from my existing WIPs with a all consumming project.

This week's purchase of Noro Kureyon sock & a little inspiration from The Peace of Yarn has sparked me to replace my lost Flower Basket scarf that I loved. But I think I will love this one even more.


I'm now convinced that Kureyon sock is much better as a lace yarn than a sock yarn. I have visions for my other sock balls!

And lastly - men!!!!

Guess what my husband did to make me take this picture:


After 14 years, I have not grown used to his tooting. It will still get on my nerves when we are in wheelchairs next to each other.

He will kill me if he ever checks out my blog. But I told him I was going to get him back for letting it loose in my office.