Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A knit in for Lily

This past Sunday, a group of loving friends came together at the shop to honor their friend, Lily Kincade.  Lily, a long time resident and important part of administration at the Taos Ski Valley, passed away in March, after undergoing treatments all winter for a brain tumor.  Library0001

I didn't have the good fortune to claim to be her friend, although she (often accompanied by her adoring husband, Dick) was one of our local customers.  Only after her passing did I learn that she was an accomplished quilter and beadworker...among many other hobbies.  It makes me realize how much there is to know about each of us that so often goes unknown in the course of everyday business interactions.

Lily's good friend, Wendy, Library0005
decided Lily's stash shouldn't just end up in someone's closet...so she brought all these yarns in and everyone who came to celebrate Lily took some to knit into scarves or hats.  When finished, these will be donated to the local hospice in Lily's memory.  It was so joyful for me to have them all happily knitting out on our porch.  Library0006
Lily would have been proud.  Dick came by and I told him it is the mark of a true, great, friend to have so many people rally in her memory.  We should all be so lucky!

I've included some photos to share the smiles.  ---Martie

Friday, May 25, 2007

Who's your Teddy?

I don't know how you grew up, but my parents, who were old enough to be my grandparents and still recovering from The Great Depression, didn't have money or interest in fostering my desires for things like stuffed animals.  I waited until I was in  my 30s to start my own collection, and my favorites are the lambs I've collected over the years from Starbucks, each dressed in different holiday attire.  Color me sentimental; I love them all.

Ever elusive has been the well-loved and worn Teddy bear.  You just can't buy one with that much love and wear and tear in it.  However...this last week...I came close, in the form of a sweater.

Rooting around my office at work, I discovered a Rowan sweater coat I had knitted a couple of years ago, using Super Chunky Cashmerino.  A blend of 55% wool, 33% microfibre, and 12% cashmere, this yarn is the bulkiest of Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino line.  My sweater, while a size large for me, weighed so much that if I had planned to wear it regularly, it would have probably become a bath robe.  I was pondering it sadly when Monte suggested I take it home and full it.  Ta da!!!  (Who says two heads aren't better than one?)

Three full cycles through my washer and one trip through my clothes dryer later, my prize was completed.  I created, without even planning it...that Teddy bear I always wanted, only I get to wear this one.  The microfibre content was enough to keep the stitches from melding together, and while the sweater is quite a bit smaller and more manageable, the cashmere (or some part of it) ending up all over everywhere...the inside of my washer, the dryer, and all points in between.  The sweater has a rather shaggy appearance now.  It took me a while to stop laughing and decide that I could love this sweater...I mean, Teddy...and hopefully, remember not to try fulling this combination of fibers again.  ---Martie

PS Sorry there's no picture...you'd have to see it in person.

Monday, May 21, 2007

When trouble comes to town

Last weekend, my friend Bobbie, accompanied by her quilting buddy, Bonnie, came to Taos.  You may recall me mentioning Bobbie in previous posts...she's the one who makes me buy fabric and sewing machines.  If you don't have anyone to blame for your collecting habits, I offer her as your excuse, too.  It started out when we worked together in San Diego years ago, and despite the 14 years and 1,000 miles between us, I still rely on this to help assuage my guilt when I find myself whipping out that Visa card.  You need to know here that along with yarns, fleeces, spinning wheels, and books...I also have a hefty collection of fat quarters (this will mean something to quilters) despite the fact that I don't quilt.  (My other excuse:  if you don't buy these things and support your independent merchants, one day, they'll go out of business and you'll be REALLY sorry.)

After playing tourists around town and my successfully avoiding Bobbie's attempts to entice me into buying some Irish linen for dish towels, I hauled them up to my place for a day of dyeing rovings.  Lastroll13
They're not spinners, and these will most likely be used for needle felting.  Watching them dye these was lots of fun.  They haven't seen the finished products yet, because they were still in the dye pot when they left town.  I'll share them here with you. Lastroll26
Bonnie in the foreground, Bobbie in the back...now I ask you...does this look like the face of trouble?  --Martie

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Signs of spring

Much has happened since my last posting.  The best:  the Sunflowers and I went to Colorado on spring retreat for four nights.  It is a truly special event for us in many ways...best being that we actually get to be together, other than a day at work or at a staff meeting, and just relax.  Lots of time is always spent on planning knitting projects (of course), and this retreat was no exception.

My primary project was a shawl using Malabrigo Merino (worsted weight).  It is still on the blocking board but a picture will manifest soon.  It was the perfect relaxation tool.  Knit from corner to corner, colors are changed at random, and the final icing on the cake is a very frilly ruffle...it is a shawl meant to cover your shoulders only.  So here's the scene on retreat:  I cast on the first stitches, girding myself for battle...you know, the one where you try to control the colors, plotting who goes first, next, etc...and Monte offers that if I was really free, I'd just let my hand select colors from my knitting basket without looking, a la Kaffe Fassett.  Well, I'm here to tell you, if you have a control streak, this is not as easy as it sounds.  Regular groans emanated from my mouth as yet another odd color combination was formed by this technique, and I was sure I was creating something only my cats would consider using (so much for relaxing).  You know the ending...it turned out fabulous, I love it, but guess what?  I have enough of all those colors leftover, I'm going to make my "controlled" shawl, and compare the two (she just can't let it go).

My return from Easter break brought the news that one of our beloved dogs was sporting a rather large lump on his leg.  Several consultations, many pain pills, and four weeks later found us having him put down this past week.  I am loathe to offer news like this, but it explains (in no small part) my absence here and will help you understand my double joy at what spring has brought us.

These little guys came into our lives two weeks ago.  They are, from left to right:  Yoda, Leo and Shermie Jr.  Shermie Sr. is a feral cat we've been feeding and loving and we suspect he's at least partially responsible for this crew.  They've brought us all pure joy...going to work each day, so their many aunties can help feed them, and for me, bottle feeding at night, when I wanted to fall apart over Behr's impending passing but wouldn't let him see my pain.  I am pleased to announce that two of them have already found great homes as pampered indoor cats, and the feline rescue lady assures me orange tabbies are at a premium in Taos and will be most popular.  I don't need to tell you the temptation of keeping one, but alas, with three cats and (now) one dog, I have vowed to practice herd management.Library0158_2

I'll leave you with some last shots of Connie and Joan, hard at work....Martie


And P.S.:  Rumor has it that Joan is taking this little guy home.  She has aptly named him "Yoda-Man", because he looks like Yoda while taking his bottle...his little ears flatten sideways and start cranking!