Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pluckyfluff, Pluckyfluff, Pluckyfluff

May I say first that it's as hard to type that many times in a row as it can be to say it.   :0)

August is just around the corner and Taos Camp Pluckyfluff is now barely eight weeks away.  For those of you who are signed up, or a fan of Lexi's, you understand how our excitement is starting to boil already.  It's like a fantasy come true that Lexi's actually coming to Taos...and shhhhhhhhhh....don't tell...but I heard a rumor that Jenny Neutron StarLibrary0318
, of her own spinning fame, may join Lexi as her teacher's assistant.  It can't get ANY better than that!!!!  (Here's a sneak peak of Jenny, captured when we were honored with her visit last spring.)

For those of you who don't know about Lexi, please see her website, Pluckyfluff.   Jenny Neutron Star's website is linked at the bottom.  I love them both.  I actually met Jenny (via cyberspace) before I met Lexi.  She offers her own twist on the spinning revolution (all puns intended).  She is just one happy smile after another and I hope we get lucky enough to have her with us this fall.

NOW...on to the fall...we have a few openings in our two Pluckyfluff classes because folks who have (regretfully) had to cancel.  These classes are two days long, one before the Taos Wool Festival and the second is just afterward.  The dates are:

Weds & Thurs, Oct. 3 & 4
Mon & Tues, Oct. 8 & 9

All the specifics about the class, supplies, and recommendations for lodging in the Arroyo Seco area are listed on our website.   If you or anyone you know is interested, please call us immediately to register, because as we did when we first opened the class, we'll take registrations on first come, first serve basis, and a waiting list will be kept in the same fashion.

To be in Taos in the fall to attend this class AND the Taos Wool Festival is just about as close to spinner's heaven as you will get...please join us if you can.  ---Martie

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Penny Lane

Once upon a time, a local woman came in to shop for her mother, who loves our shop but lives in Maryland.  I remember one of her first visits...wherein she was complaining that the LAST thing her mom needed was more yarn.  She spent her mom's $100 and went home.

The next week she appeared again.  She was buying almost the same yarns.  What happened?  She had taken the yarns home and decided to try knitting them herself.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Roll forward to last fall and guess who we hired?  Yep...Bennie.  What happened next is still blowing my mind.

I introduced her to my Rio Grande spinning wheel and within a week she not only owned one, but was spinning away like a madwoman.  She got it instantly...and her "new life" was off to a roaring start.  She has now moved on to North Carolina and is happily spinning her heart out so she can sell her yarns this coming fall at Stitches East in Baltimore.  Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Penny Lane!

This past week, our friend Teresa came in and showed us her stash of shawls Library0007
she has knitted since her last visit some months ago.  One of them was knit of all handspun, using snowball yarn from Bennie/Penny and some of my Jewels  of Taos yarn...again, something better seen in person.  Bennie's yarn has occasional pearls spun in, along with crystals.  What looks white in the photo is really white with white Angelina and hints of the same turquoises and roses we see in our Taos sunsets.  Teresa, who is beautiful, demurred from please meet Bob, her husband, and Halston, her grandson. Halston, by the way, is learning to knit and showed me his first scarf, with such perfect edges I did a double-take. With those edges, I am thinking I should put him to work on my loom, next...---Martie

Monday, July 23, 2007

Progress Report

In one of my recent posts, I declared that my goal was to finish the Anice shawl by the end of July.  Oh is now the 23rd and I am at least four entire knitting days away from my goal.  A knitting day, for me, involves: 

  1. morning coffee, check e-mails, cruise my favorite blogs

  2. more coffee, check e-mails again, in case something new came in

  3. move to rocking chair to knit

  4. knit for 10 minutes and go to the bathroom (why do I never remember to do this first?)

  5. back to chair, knit, watch it lunch time yet?

  6. knit some more

  7. yay!  it's lunch, check e-mails again, read another blog, feel guilty I'm not knitting

  8. back to rocker, knit some more

  9. stop to make dinner around 5:00 p.m.

OK.  You have the basic idea.  Somewhere in there some rows actually do get done, and now that I'm knitting more than I'm taking out, these days should bring more results. Now I just have to find the days.

I was up at 3:00 a.m. one morning last week and by 4:30 (after doing procedures 1 & 2 until I was awake enough), I managed to settle in and get quite a lot done before the rest of the family started moving about.  It was so inspiring that I vowed to make this a habit, but haven't managed another early start since.  There's something about the quiet of the early morning hours...the sounds of the birds, the dog, cats, and someone who shall remain nameless's an odd little symphony.  I am relaxed in a way that  I'm not when I try to knit at night.  That morning, I was thinking about the term "knitty gritty"...and I don't mean the television program...but rather the old expression we've all used forever.  Does anyone truly know where it came from?  I'd like to know.  I decided for me, it means that when I knit, I grit my teeth...not a good thing, but an involuntary action nonetheless.  So much for knitting to relax.  (Does this mean I'll end up with that rare condition, knitter's teeth?)

I have now officially knitted up to the center of the shawl.  I am excited, and I am now loving working on it vs. fearing and dreading it...and even more...I am dreaming of my next lace shawl.  I think I have the bug!  ---Martie

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monster Markers

A brief note to tell you all that Kay from ABQ was right on target when she suggested I use larger stitch markers in Anice.  After circling Anice's knitting bag for two days, last night I sat down to give it another go.  As I came to them, I replaced the smaller, colored plastic markers with those huge black rubber ring markers, and combined with her advice on also counting back on the purl rows...voila!  I actually managed an hour's worth of rows without having to spend time digging around for dropped or gobbled stitches (or worse).  Thank you, Kay!

Now I'm off to work to check our notions department...I believe we stopped carrying those enormous markers because they weren't pretty and no one was buying in the rough, to be sure. ---Martie

Friday, July 13, 2007

From the road

Only in California would I not be surprised to look out my window and see a seahorse floating by.

Truly.  One with a big grin, and a string hanging from his behind.  I ran for my camera to document this, but by the time I returned, he was happily sailing east, a block away.

Another balloon gone wrong.

Today's my last day here on the coast.  I am leaving soon to meet my best friend from high school.  We haven't seen each other in twenty years, and in truth, have about 40 years to catch up on.  This is all very exciting!

Kay...thanks for reminding me to mark which row I put the lifeline in.  I would probably have thought I could remember this info, and as you so gently pointed out, I wouldn't.  This is what I've done with my Denise needles in the past...rob the needles off a project and then SWEAR I'll remember what size goes on which UFO later...oh sure.  I have been joking for years about hanging an audio recorder around my neck for just such things...perhaps the time is getting closer.

A couple of quick things to share on lace knitting.  While searching the other day, I found these two blogs I want to share with you:  Lacefreak and Missalicefaye.  I may have mentioned these before, but these are the official links.  Drool on.

I am leaving this spectacular weather to head home tomorrow...a good weekend to all of you!---Martie

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lace musings

I spent about 6 hours yesterday working on the Anice shawl.  One more day like that and I'll be half way finished.  It is really pretty and magical.

I have very cleverly (or so I thought) added more tools to my repertoire in an attempt to have my knitted rows completed exceed my knitted rows removed.  They are:  little yellow sticky notes to isolate the 10 stitch grid I'm working on and a pink stitch marker at either side of each set of 10 stitches for said grid.  The stickies are a real hit, they make it so easy to see the pattern, except their sticky leaves them fairly soon.  I'm using lots and when you're not looking, the exhausted stickies seem to fly all over the floor and under my rocker (this may be a sticky death ritual).  The pink markers, which I thought were particularly brilliant (she said, humbly) have a trick they play, and it took me a few rows to catch on:  they somehow move themselves in the night, so the next day, I may have 11 stitches between one set and 9 between the others, or worse, even 8.  After spending too much time tearing out several rows and counting and re-counting my stitches, I have concluded this is just something I have no control over, resulting from the types of stitches in each block.  Boy, and Monte said this would be easy (I'm not going to let her live that one down).

However...try as I may for perfection, this is still trying, and every few rows I have found a dropped stitch hanging on for dear life with its fuzzy neighbor.  I have a question for those of you who are seasoned lace knitters:  is this just part of the learning curve and it will, truly, get more comfortable?  Or is this because I'm using mohair, and it's harder to see stitches?  Is it better to start on smooth yarns?  How have you found success?  And a last aside here...those who know me know how I love my rock and roll...I am listening to New Age music while knitting so as not to be distracted (right there on my list with elevator music).

I am signing off now to go pack...I am headed out of town for a brief 4 days.  I will write from the road and share some photos of that other world.  Until then...have a great week...and again, I'd love to hear all your suggestions or thoughts on this business of lace knitting!  ---Martie

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Feeling pink

I've found some time for spinning and it seems it was time for pinks.  I never know, when I go upstairs to spin, what will jump out at me.  Yesterday I started to card some other colors, and a few scraps of pinks, turquoise, and greenLibrary0011
spoke to me from my scrap basket.  I made two skeins with lots of texture as a result.  As I headed out to photograph them to show you, I realized today's skein(s) looked nice with one of my handpainted here they are.

Then Mr. Sunflower wanted a photo of our dog, Meika, so she could have equal time with Bob.  I heard him telling her I like Bob better. Img_0871
I love my dogs but always remember the saying...cats rule and dogs drool.  If this offends you, I apologize right here and now. 

Yesterday we had a visit from Kara's parents.  They had never visited Taos before, and wanted to come meet those of us Kara worked with during her time here, as well as, see what Kara loved so much about Taos.  We had a very sweet visit.Library0015
  I took this photo of them as they were leaving...Larry, Jackie, and Kara's niece, Maci...who is now embarking on her own knitting career.  I know Kara would be very proud of her!

Last, but not least...a progress report of the visual sort on the wedding shawl.  Library0013
I spent most of the day Thursday warming my rocker and working on it.  I have a system that seems to be working, and my plan is to have this finished by the end of July.  The pressure is on...especially after reading Karen's blog about how she knitted her sister's lace shawl in under a month, while working full time and raising four children! 

Off to work on it now...Martie