Friday, December 21, 2007

What I did with December

Well gosh.  It seems like just last week I posted, and now here it is, three weeks later.  I haven't gone into hibernation...I promise. 



One of the coolest things I've done since I wrote last was knit the Feather 'n Fan Organic WrapFnf1
by Jane Thornley.  Talk about fun!  I met Jane through her group on Ravelry and knew I was in hog heaven when I saw this design.  You can purchase it and download it from her website in just a couple of minutes...and then prepare to have a blast. Fnf1det3
I raided my ample stash for yarns for my first one.  Actually, I plan to do the capelet version next, and I think it may be a stash project, also.   What's really cool about it is that there really isn't a wrong move to make while knitting it.  Turns out I mis-read her instructions, and was increasing at a horrendous rate when I shouldn't have been, so I started decreasing wildly and it all turned out just fine.  If you're on Ravelry, check out the Jane Thornley group and have a blast.



The clearance sale is on, and for those of you who haven't checked it out yet, just pop over to the Sale page of our website and you can download a list of what's still available.  We've been feeling like Santa's Elves, packing huge boxes and mailing these yarns off to all corners of the world (seriously...we had an order from Australia!). 



While the rest of the nation suffered tremendously from it, the snow storms that came through hereFromkitchendec11
Throughicedec11
on December 8 & 11 left us with a fantastic amount of snow for the opening of ski season, just up the road.  I am, as many of you know, little better than a 6 year old when it comes to snow.  I stayed home and raced around with the camera like I'd never seen any before.  I'll share some of those with you here.



Then, when reality hit and I had to go back to work on the 12th, I took this photo while driving to work,Snowydrivetowork
Snowoverrez
to show you my commute.  After years of spawning my way up or down Interstate 5 in SoCal, this morning drive is always a reminder of how fortunate I am. Snowmtnsunset
The last photos were taken at sunset, as I was raiding our local pizza parlor for take out dinner.  Enjoy!  ---Martie



Saturday, December 1, 2007

The week in review

Great news this week...our web store design is finished and I am compiling a list of what I want to offer there when we open it early this new year.  At the top of my list are spinning & felting fibers, hand spun and Malabrigo yarns. 



So...with this in mind, I'm now spending as much time as I can spare spinning new yarns.  Tcdetail2
Turqcopperonladder
This week's haul included what may be one of my all time favorites, and I've named it Turquoise and Copper.  There are four skeins, and they are soft and squishy and begging me to keep them.  What to do?  Sell, keep...sell, keep...hmmmmm....I guess I have another month or so to decide!



When those four skeins came off the wheel, the next to be spun accidentally ended up being perfect companion yarns...I have named them Copper Curls.  I have tried to adjust the color to show you more accurately what they look like, and hope it gives you the same feel I had when I named them.  These are also in the stash for the new web store.  Boy...I just realized something...we'll have to have a grand opening when it goes live...and I should probably think up a contest to offer some of our treasures for prizes!Coppercurlsonladdercopy
Ccdetail3



Yesterday Monte and I managed to inventory a lot of the yarn back stock we didn't bring over to the new shop.  Please read my page posting on this, about the big sale coming.  You won't want to miss out!



We came home last night, under a storm warning for a warm storm front that was supposed to bring us up to 10" of snow above 7,500 ft.  Our home is just around 7,800 feet, and here's a picture Bobasgordo
Nosnowthisam
of what I saw outside the kitchen window this morning.  I should name this photo "Bob's World", because he spends many hours each day, surveying the forest and watching for invader animals like birds, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and the occasional coyote.  Oh...and last, but not least, a photo of Bob, watching his world.



I hope you all have a safe and fun weekend! ---Martie



Monday, November 26, 2007

Lost in Cyberspace

Oh dear.  I have too many eggs to sit on these days (figuratively, please).  I mentioned to you that I was invited to join Ravelry and now I am a woman possessed.  Someone please send me suggestions on how to budget on-line time...it is taking a toll on my "free" time.  I should be ashamed to admit I'm so weak...but for those of you who already belong, surely you can sympathize.  If you can't, then please forgive me and try to understand.  Think on-line knitting and crocheting candy store...or worse. 



Just to pop in now to let you know I've not completely stopped all things creative...I knitted this shawl Iroshawl
this past week for something fun and easy.  It's the Malabrigo shawl pattern again, but this time I used Noro's Iro yarn (Color 18, I think...and no, unfortunately, we don't have it anymore).  It is to donate to a friend's shawl ministry here in Taos.  I love it so much, I may knit another with what I left in my stash...



Monday, November 19, 2007

The new Harmony guides

For those of us who have long been fans of the Harmony guides,Lace_eyelets
Knit_purl
they've just been republished by Interweave Press (edited by Erica Knight).  They are beautifully done.  Many kudos to Interweave and Erika Knight for doing such a great job with these good old reference books.  These are in the shop, just in time for a great holiday present for your favorite knitter (maybe you). 
They're a nice size and would fit handily into your knitting bag...and something I would rarely say about a reference book...they're pretty, too...very pleasing to the eyes.  I'm planning on stashing one of each for the pile on my nightstand.Cablesarans_3



Seems that this incredibly beautiful weather we've been having is going to change, just in time for Thanksgiving Day.  Snow is predicted for Weds and Weds night, so we're hoping for a snowy day to sit in front of the wood stove and reflect on all we have to be grateful for.  Among the many things I'm grateful for:



  • A great family and home


  • Our good health


  • Great pets


  • Great friends


  • A fun business and all the many friends it has brought into my life


  • That I can now fit into jeans one size smaller


  • That I can stick turkey pot pies into the oven on Thursday, open a can of cranberry sauce, and spend the rest of my day spinning and knitting.


A friend from the shop sent me this fun holiday greeting.  I don't know who to credit for this, and I hope it's OK to use it, because I sure think it's fun.  I share it now with you:Newturke



May your stuffing be tasty;
May your turkey plump;
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!






Friday, November 16, 2007

Ravelry

Woo hoo!  We received our invitation to RavelryRavelrybetalogo2
this week.  I only applied about two weeks ago, and we were #43,XXX something on the list (no kidding)...so I am heartened by the speed with which our invitation arrived.



So what is it?  For those of you who haven't been keeping up, it's THE place for knitters and crocheters to unite, from all over the world, to share about their work.  It is data base that goes so deep I hestitate to make you think I totally understand all the possibilities...just let me say here that it's now all I want to do (well mostly...it's like a magnet).



I have fallen down the rabbit hole and am loving it.  Check it out if you haven't.  If you're already a member, drop me a note...we are listed as TaosSunflower.  In a few weeks, I'm going to start a group so we can all keep in closer touch on our projects.  Let the party begin!  ---Martie



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cat days of fall

Ok, so this is a lousy play on dog days of.....whatever, but I couldn't resist it.  This incredibly warm and sunny weather we're having has us all wishing we could just hang out outdoors.  I would like to point out that if the rest of us are working our hind ends off indoors, at least the kittens of Taos Sunflower know how to live.  Misstinker
I happened to be on my way outdoors to photograph a WIP today when I spotted little Miss Tinker, draped over her bro, B.C. (stands for Baby Chester).  By the time I got the camera out and got in closer, B.C., who lives in fear of me grabbing him for the dreaded trip to the vet, took off like the wind.  Little Tinker patiently sat and posed for me.  She is about as big as a minute.  I don't know if she was always going to be small, or if having her spayed so young did it...but she's absolutely adorable and the apple of our eyes.  ----Martie



Saturday, November 10, 2007

We're back...

and even better than before, we think. Viewfrombookshelf
During our two weeks of being closed, we've moved the shop into the end of our building, to the room we (mistakenly) used for back stock for so long...not considering that it has all the windows and natural light. Viewfromfibers
For those of you who remember how hard it was to see colors in the "old" shop...you'll be happy at this first big change.  Next, I pared down the height of all the shelving, so it's nice and open and, well...clean feeling.  Know how some yarn stores make you feel like you're smothering (happily or otherwise) in shelves?  We took care of that!



We opened the doors yesterday morning, waiting to hear what our customers had to say.  The first person in the door Firsthappycustomer
(I apologize for not asking your name!) was aghast at how great it feels, and had so many compliments I wished I'd had a bouquet of flowers to give her...I wanted to smother her with hugs, I was so happy that SHE was so happy.  We know we have lots of you who love our shop (thank you thank you thank you) and any kind of change always harbors the possibility of making someone unhappy.  Here's a photo of her, along with Linda and Joan at the counter.



Before we could turn around twice, a group of visitors from Colorado came in and were having such fun, Morehappyvisitors
I decided to play paparazzi again. Here they are (notice the model in the Nancy Shawl?):



I've also included some photos from different places in the shop, so if you can't get here for a while, you can see some of what we've been up to.Viewfromcounter
Notice all the natural light, fighting with my camera but blessing the shop.



To those of you who made the trip to visit us while we were closed, I apologize again for not being able to let you in...there really wasn't any point...there were yarns in bags strewn everywhere.



To the local woman who came to see us, found us closed, and got nasty with me about me not considering her time was worth something...well...if you're even reading this, which I doubt...I hope you can find happiness shopping in another yarn shop somewhere else.  ---Martie





Friday, November 2, 2007

Happiness

When I started the coffee about an hour ago, I was thinking about how nice it is to be happy (well, most of the time...I'm human, too).  I started thinking about all the great reasons I have to be happy, and then started cruising my photo collection for a few illustrations.  Oprah has talked, for years, about keeping a daily gratitude journal.  Even if it's only one sentence, you take a minute or two each day to write down one thing from your day you're grateful for.  I always think this is a fabulous idea, but for some strange reason, have never been comfortable with journaling...my journal, of sorts, has been a life long stream of handwritten letters to friends...something I've missed terribly since e-mails became so pervasive and everyone's in such a hurry.



You probably remember the three kittens I fostered last spring...Yoda Man, Shermie Jr. and Leo. Shermiejnibbling_2
Shermiejrstretching


Yoda now lives with Sunflower Joan.  Earlier this week, I ran into my dear friend Lesie, who adopted Shermie J and Leo. She reports they are having a great life, living as indoor cats with her other cats and dogs.  It turned out that over time, Shermie J started exhibiting signs of a neurological disorder, and now walks funny, sometimes falls over for no reason, and can only jump up a short distance.  HOWEVER...she reports that he has a heart as big as all outdoors and is just flooded with love...often times riding around on her shoulders, draped around her neck, completely relaxed.  Here are some snapshots of Shermie J during his evening forays under my shawl.  While I loved them all, for some reason, he was the one that captured my heart.  I shall be ever grateful that someone I know and love gave him such a good home.



The holidays are just around the corner, and I've just learned my son and his family will be joining us in Taos for Christmas.  This is a treat on many counts...and now I need to find snow attire for my grandson, who will be two on Dec. 23.  I'm thinking he and I need one of those big snow saucers to go goof around in...and another year soon, he can start ski school.  For my gratitude photo, here's a shot of him at his four week weigh in...he was almost premieTanner4weeks
...and weighed just enough to be able to go home right away (on Christmas day, to be exact).  I had never seen a baby so small before.



My last shot is from my dear friend Elise. Elisessunflower
She sent this at least a year ago, and I've been saving it for just the right occasion.  I love the simplicity of the single flower, the birdhouse in the background, and the endlessly blue sky we New Mexicans enjoy so many days of the year.  It is beautiful...love in its simplest form.  To me it represents the many good friendships and wonderful people having Taos Sunflower has brought to me.



I hope you have a great day and take some time to be happy about all that you have.---Martie 





Monday, October 29, 2007

Discriminating taste

I got this from Terri Ranck last week. Cooper
She had a couple of days to herself, and decided to haul out her stash of handspun yarns to play with.  She turned around in time to see her dog, Cooper, sneaking up onto the couch.  I say this girl has good taste!



No word on whether Cooper also designs...



Monday, October 22, 2007

Fires

I started this day completely unaware that my friends and family in San Diego county were in the path of wildfires.071021fire
071022big_dulzura
After my husband called mid-morning to tell me, I managed to spend the rest of the day either on the phone or gleaning what I could from CNN and the San Diego websites offering up to the minute news. 



My first phone call was to my sheep and goat rancher friend in Ramona...who, despite orders for the entire community to evacuate, stayed on to fight the fire.  With her husband and son, they managed to save their home and animals in what she described as the worst night of her life.  This is one very strong and brave woman, and I am in awe of her.



What is happening out there is unthinkable.  I feel so helpless, and to those of you affected by these fire storms, please know my thoughts are with you for safety.  I cannot imagine what you must be going through.  ---Martie

(photos courtesy of www.signonsandiego.com)



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Durango

Monte and I took a vacation this past week, off in search of that illusive commodity, peace and quiet.  We thought five days sounded like a month, until we actually got there and five days ended up feeling more like five hours. 



We headed out last Monday with a truck full of projects.  Along the way, we saw some sheep Tptasheep
that hadn't been brought down from the mountains yet (if you look carefully, you can see their guard dogs who were watching me as I shot photos).  As if this wasn't awesome enough, about an hour later we came upon a cattle roundup.  Chromoroundup
The two lane road was backed up with enormous trucks waiting for their cargo.  I stopped long enough to get this photo, and wish I could have also captured the sound of the cowboys coaxing the cattle into the chutes.  I grew up as a tomboy in the city, just positive I was delivered to the wrong family and should have been living on a ranch.  This many years later, I still feel the same way.



The rest of the week was spent in the historic downtown of Durango, Colorado.  We got to visit our friend Kara, who owns Yarn, a fabulous shop you must visit if you're in the area.  I love shopping in someone else's yarn shop, to buy things we don't carry or I've never seen before.  Icing on the cake from Kara's shop:  a bumper sticker that reads "make gloves, not war".  So cool.



Here's a photo of the Rochester Hotel,Rochesterinfall
taken from our living room window.  It is the "sister" hotel to the Leland House B&B, where we like to stay.  I highly recommend both if you're looking for lodging in the Durango area.  It's so wonderful to stay somewhere where you can walk to shops and restaurants without touching the car all week...very different from Taos.



Today is our first snow here at the house. 1stsnowonaspens
Firstsnowonpoppies
I took these photos earlier this afternoon, before the ground was completely covered, as it is now.  It has been blowing hard and feels like I'm in one of those snow globes...this is bliss...and I am now headed off to knit for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  I hope this finds you all well and enjoying fall, wherever you are!  ---Martie



Monday, October 15, 2007

Snug Buggy Success

Last year, I received a message from Celeste Nossiter, a member of the Dropped Stitch Knitters Guild in Albuquerque.
She and some other guild members had taken an idea, gleaned from
projects around the country, and were doing a fund raising project
called Snug Buggy.  Proceeds would benefit the S.A.F.E. House in
Albuquerque, which is New Mexico's largest shelter and service provider
for survivors of domestic violence, serving more than 1,600 men, women
and children each year.



The plan: participants were asked to create a 5-6" square that must be made in some shade of purple.  It could be knitted, tatted, crocheted, sewn, embroidered, quilted, or
created by any other means of fiber art or craft.  These pieces would
then be assembled by the guild to form a cover for a VW bug,Snugbuggyatdealer
which was displayed at the Albquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta in May 2007 (the
volkswagen was generously loaned by a local dealership for the
duration of the show).



I had the pleasure of seeing Celeste last weekend, and asked how this project turned out.  It was a huge success,Snugbuggyatpark
and she generously shared these photos with me, as well as some comments they received from contributors.  I'll include it below.



I am ashamed to say I got so caught up in my own whirlwind of work and projects that I failed to contribute to this one...but admire those who did, and am again reminded how many hands make light work.  We have so much power when get together to make something happen!  ---Martie

Snug Buggy stories

On of the most fun and unexpected parts of creating the Snug Buggy was the personal stories that accompanied the squares. We received over 450 squares from 172 fiber artists in 10 states and some of them included comments. The best are:

While vacationing in NM a woman heard about the project late but took the idea back to Las Vegas Nevada where she teaches high school. She sent in 8 quilted squares made by her mentally and physically handicapped students hoping we would still accept them. You bet we did!

Another woman wrote a short note thanking us for getting her back into embroidery, something she hadn’t done for some time.

One woman who heard about it at Village Wools sent in a square she made and one each from her two sons – for one of them it was his first knitted item.

Several people just sent checks in support of the project – some people had a friend make the square and they paid for the donation.

One woman started on tatted lace headlight and tail light covers the day she heard about the project – they took over a year to make.

A rug hooking group all got together and made hooked rug ladybugs in different colors, and then decided the VW needed a license plate, so they hooked a “Snug Bug” license plate in the state colors of red and yellow.

We received squares that were knitted, crocheted, quilted, felted, appliqu├ęd, woven, rug hooked, several kinds of lace making, painted fabric and silkscreened. They were made by children, adults, beginners, experts and everything in between.


The best story of all is how we received the matching grant.  A knitter in the local Guild knew someone who has a foundation that makes small contributions to local non-profits supporting peace and justice, especially for children. This project was right up their alley. Turns out that Don and Nancy Tubesing of Placitas, publishers of the award-winning picture book, Old Turtle, were thrilled to support this effort through the Pfeifer-Hamilton Legacy Fund. We have raised a total of about $4400 for SAFE House. The Snug Buggy will eventually be used to keep their very special Old Turtle VW Bug warm in the winter.



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pluckyfluff in Taos

The Taos Wool Festival is always my favorite event
of the year...but I must admit that this year, it got totally eclipsed by the awesomeness of having Lexi Boeger bring her Camp Pluckyfluff to Taos Sunflower.  I went to the festival for only about an hour, anxious to get back to the shop to get ready for opening...and I was in such a hurry, I forgot to take photos.  For a great photo journey of this year's festival, see Holly's art journal.



I was lucky enough to sit in on day #1 of the first class, and it was too much fun to be legal.  Lexi is the best teacherLexmagicwheel2
...and as classmates go, we were the best combination I've ever experienced in a class...totally neat people, lots of laughter, no one hogging air space.  I want to thank each of you for sharing your class with me...Judy, Anne-Marie, Linda, Lorraine, Meaghan, Lexi (of course!) and my very special friend, Holly.  You all just made my week.



Here are some random photos...



Lexi, at the Ashford Country Spinner, making her magic;Annemariespinning
Annemariesmohairy
Anne-Marie, spinning her yellow mohairy yarn;Meaghanbatt_2
Meaghan showing off her first carded batt;
Holly deep in concentration getting her wheel ready for the day ahead.Hollyeqq
  My apologies to the rest of you...I took lots of photos that day, but they all came out far too dark for even photoshop to salvage. 



Last, but certainly not least, here are the graduating classes.Pluckyfluffgrads2
  Pluckyfluffgrad1
Camp #1 on the left, Camp #2 on the right.  Both camps were wonderful, and I thank you all for coming from so far to attend.  Please keep in touch with us (sign up for our e-mail list, if you haven't already) and wait for news on what Lexi and I might cook up for this time next year...



Wahoooooo!  Spin on.....---Martie



Monday, October 8, 2007

Wow...what a week

I am headed to the shop soon to clear the way for the next Pluckyfluff class...and decided to post a few verbal snapshots of last week first.



The party started on Tuesday, when Lexi showed up to start arranging all the spinning fibers for the next day's class...it was SO awesome to have her here in Taos and have her energy flying all over our shop.  About an hour later, HollyEQQ  arrived, fresh from a long trip from Florida.  Hallelujah!  We only "met" on line about two months ago, and now here we are, face to face in little old Arroyo Seco.  Too cool!  Trying to be the best possible hostess, I dragged the poor girl up to the ski valley for dinner and sat and talked her ears off while she was probably wishing she could crawl under the table and get away from me...remember, she had just gone from sea level to 9,200 ft. in one day...and if you haven't done that lately, it can be pretty brutal.



Class with Lexi was the best.  I'll post my own photos on that tomorrow or Wed., if they came out OK, and in the meantime, Holly has some on her live journal which pretty much sum it up.



On Friday, Robin Page came to hang out with us for the day.  What a sweetheart!!  I had a hard time saying good bye to her at the end of the day on Saturday...she's a perfect fit for Taos Sunflower and it felt like she had been "one of us" for ages.  Her demo on Friday turned into a room full of loads of laughter, questions, and *the* most wonderful assortment of hand spun and hand dyed yarns.  I captured a stash of her limited edition, two-ply worsted hand spun and will share the results another day.  You should see her treadle that Ashford Country Spinner...yeow-zah!  That bobbin was flying.  I have decided I am going to add one of these wheels to my collection in an attempt to make this part of my (almost non-existent) exercise program.  I'll let you know if I can figure out how to make this an aerobic exercise...hummm.....



Saturday morning we flew through the park in record time, grabbing the things we'd been plotting for months...dyed mohair locks being #1 on the list...then we raced back to Seco to be prepared for the weekend.  It was wonderful...smooth and never too crowded at one time, so everyone could leisurely browse.



The most fun?  Seeing familiar faces from previous years and meeting new friends.  I want to say I was very touched by those of you who sought me out to tell me how much you enjoy reading our blog...it's always hard to know who's really out there, and what you all like to hear about.  Please don't be shy about sending comments, so I'll know you're out there and what you're enjoying...you're the reasons I'm having all this fun, so don't be bashful!  ---Martie



PS  Best quote of the weekend came late yesterday...Lexi and her family came out to Seco to bring fibers for today's class...and as they entered the village, her 3 or 4 year old daughter, Pixel, said..."oh this is the place that only has one horse!"  Out of the mouths of babes.......      :0)



Monday, October 1, 2007

Super Sunday at the Sunflower

This past Sunday, we were thrilled to host well known (and loved) Interweave Press author and editor, Ann Budd.  Annsigning
Ann and her knitting buddies like to visit Taos each year, and this year she suggested a book signing (thank you, Ann).  As it turns out, there were five new titles published this year that she either wrote, co-wrote, or edited.  Wow!  This, from a  woman with a growing family and a full time job, to boot.  I told her I'd like to follow her around and see how she accomplishes so much.Annmartie



What a great afternoon...to sit and knit and chat with such fun and interesting women.  I can count the times I've sat down and knitted in the shop on fewer than ten fingers in five years.  This was a treat, more because of the company, and I came home realizing how much I miss having that aspect of knitting in my life...hard to pull off with a six day (plus) a week schedule.  Let this be a reminder to all of us that this is one of the richest parts of what we do, and we should work hard to find time to knit with friends...I know I'm going to make it a priority this coming winter. 
Annfriends1

Thank you (from left to right) Susan, Jane, Darcy, Judy, Ann, Carmen and Stephanie for brightening my day and reminding me how important good friends are.  You're all the best.  ---Martie



Sunday, September 30, 2007

Under the rainbow

As we were leaving work yesterday afternoon, I looked up and saw the faintest sign Rainbowovershop
of a rainbow growing over Arroyo Seco.  I caught this photo of it as it was building over the shop.  The dark sky over the wagon Secodarkbeforerainbow
barely shows the faintest signs of it...and then within seconds, it was so vivid it almost seemed like a special effect in a movie.  I ran around the village wildly, shooting photos, until it disappeared as quickly as it appeared.  I wanted to share a few of them with you...life doesn't get much better.Rainbowovercow



Today, as I was downloading the photos for this posting, I had the feeling I was being watched.  Boblarry
I turned around and found my assistants, Bob and Larry.  Bob spends many hours on the window sill watching the birds who are harvesting the sunflower seeds outside his window.  He says to tell you that he doesn't think life gets much better, either.   ---Martie