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 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

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let the party begin!

This week has been picking up speed each day and I can now officially say that the 2007 Wool Festival season is upon us.  Friends we see only once a year are in town and it's really fun to see their smiling faces and catch up a bit.  Posting here will be sketchy the next couple of weeks, and I apologize ahead of time.  I'm hoping to catch some photos of Camp Pluckyfluff and get them posted ASAP...but that might be about it until the festival is behind us and we have recovered.

The wedding last Sunday was the best I've ever attended.  Not just because it was our kid...but because it was FUN.  I have only been to a few weddings (I tend to avoid things like that) and they've always been very sappy and serious.  The bride and groom had written a good deal of the service, as had their friend who performed the ceremony, and it was great fun...lots of humor and laughter throughout.  The shawl was gorgeous on the bride, who wore a sort of 40s movie star glamorous sleeveless, backless satin gown...and as fate would have it, it was raining in Santa Fe that day so I think the shawl was even helpful for warmth.  I didn't take a camera, but if I get a photo of her in the shawl, I'll post it here.

This morning I stopped on my way to work to take a photo to post.  Puebloruin
It is of an adobe ruin on the pueblo land just down the road from the shop.  Taos Mountain is in the background.  There are barely any fall colors so far, very strange but possibly because we had such a long, hot summer?  I'm not sure.  This is usually a time full of golden aspens and red Virginia creeper vines.  I'm sorry for those who are visiting to miss the fall colors.

Tonight I blew my Weight WatchersAlsrun
points on a farewell dinner for my friend Liz, who is moving back to CA this weekend.  We celebrated her new plan with dinner at Tim's Stray Dog Cantina, up in the village of Taos Ski valley.  Tsvsteeple
I snapped a couple of photos to share with those of you who've never been here.  Again, the colors are barely starting, so it's not spectacular yet...just a glimpse of what goes on 8 miles up the road from our shop.

For those of you in the area, or planning to be in our area day after tomorrow (9/29), don't forget to come by and meet Ann Budd, who'll be having a book signing in the shop from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. (Saturday).  She's a sweetheart and you'll be glad you did!   ---Martie

Friday, September 21, 2007

Signs of fall

The only project on my needles right now is a triangle shawl.  I am using a cold water bundle from Great Adirondack (eight different skeins of semi-novelty yarns, dyed in coordinating colors).  I had brought it home last winter to knit into a sweater, but it quickly became one of those great ideas gone wrong.  I found it in a bag last week and decided to tear it apart and give it another go...and now I'm having fun.  I am getting really good at absolving myself of guilt about unfinished projects; tearing them up is often more fun than it was to start them.  Life is too short for unhappy knitting projects!

Two signs of fall, and I'm beyond joy: Trainpic
I noticed a small clump of yellow up on the mountain above us on my way home last night and this morning, I could see my breath in the air when I let the dog out.  Hallelujah!  It reminded me of our trip on the Cumbres and Toltec Railway last fall, just before Wool Festival.  I dug up a couple of photos to get the fall color thing going for those of you who live where it might come later (or not at all).  If you're in the area during summer or fall, I encourage you all to take this train ride.  It is awesome...and the train is always in danger of being packed away forever because of low state every dollar we spend with them matters.

I'm off to work now, and then tomorrow to Santa Fe for the wedding weekend.  I'll be back here next week.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  ---Martie

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spring cleaning in September

Big day at the shop today...the windows got washed.  This is huge, for those of you who haven't visited us.  Huge because we have many large windows and huge because I refuse to wash any window, least of all at work. 

That was the icing on the cake.  The cake part was more about getting ready for Wool Festival, and in the process of straightening out stuff in the back room, I found a stash of shop samples I've marked for sale...scarves, mostly, and a few bags (one of which was knit from Rowan's magazine last year, with the tribal stuff in it).  Anyhow, it felt so good.  I admit I saved all the really warm stuff for this year's donation to the homeless shelter in Santa Fe; it has become an annual tradition for us to participate, and this year will be no exception. 

While we were marking sale items and setting aside donation items, Joan and I got to talking about why it is the two of us always feel guilty about not knitting enough donations each year for different groups to distribute...and mirroring that to those who don't ever even have it cross their minds to knit for donations.  We ended up deciding that those folks are missing out on a big secret:  how good it feels to make something nice for someone less fortunate.  ---Martie

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stash fun

As you could guess, we're madly getting ready for our Taos Wool Festival visitors in a few weeks.  This is THE most fun time of our's like cleaning the house and preparing for a big party and then waiting for the guests to come....and hope they have a great time.  So far, so good.

We're doing something new this fall...we're taking lots of great yarns and mixing them up in different color ways and textures and putting them into big bags called Magical Madness kits.  We've managed around 35 bags and the first day we put a few of them out, two were snatched up within the first hour.  We've taken the guess work out of putting things together for that perfect creative project.  Kits range in cost according to what's in them...yardage varies from bag to bag...from approximately 1200 yds to 1700 yds, enough for a shawl, sweater, or throw...or or or...use alone or add your own yarns.  The yarns in the kits (all top quality, including things like Dune and Rockstar) are all sale priced from -25% to -40%, so these are a real deal.

So here's what happened while we were doing these that surprised us all...we fell in love with the kits and wanted to buy them ourselves!  Even though we've been around these yarns, we had never seen them put together with the others in this way, and it blew our minds what we'd been around and hadn't seen (like hiding in plain sight).  And here's where I'm going with all of this...Monte made a suggestion that I think was just outstanding...that we should go home and make kits from our own stashes.  Yay!  First opportunity I have, I'll be upstairs tearing up the stash and making kits.  That way, the next time I have the urge to knit something sort of free form and fun, I can just pick up a bag and go, instead of agonizing over what to do next.  Isn't that cool?  Would love to hear if any of you do anything like this or have suggestions for what you do to use up gobs of fun stash...---Martie

Monday, September 10, 2007

Staff photo

Not that you've all been waiting for this, but I just got copies of the staff photos taken by Megan Bowers, the photographer for Taos News.  07staffphoto
The photo we've been using was miserably out of date, so I rustled up as many of us as I could (MIA:  Linda, who was out of town) and swallowed my pride and posed for those darn things.

Once again that old truth raised its ugly head:  photos don't lie.  Somewhere over the last two years, I've been happily munching away and not paying attention to how much weight I was gaining (again).  Imagine my horror to get a disc of photos wherein some of them (the close ups), I bear a strong resemblance to Jack Nicholson (in his current state).  I will add here that I have probably gained and lost an entire family over my life time (possibly some cousins, too), so this is not a new occurrence.  Despite what my doctor tells me, I am convinced I have the metabolism of a rock.

I am not posting this for any comments to make me feel better.  I am posting this because I've been encouraged, by several of the blog readers, to fess up and discuss that I've taken the drastic measure of joining Weight Watchers on line.  Rejoining, actually...I am a long lapsed lifetime member, from back in the days when you had to count every carrot and keep a scale in the kitchen. 

The particular blog friend who really urged me to post this has just joined as well.  She thinks people will be glad to know that misery has company (or however you choose to look at it).  I am not convinced this all belongs on this blog, but decided since Oprah has bravely done this in front of gazillions of people (many times), I can bite the bullet and talk about it to.  Maybe I'll inspire you, if you've been thinking about this and haven't done anything.

Interestingly enough, about a week ago, Joseph The Star Watcher (our local astrologer who's on the radio every day) noted that Uranus (or something) had gone into Virgo, and would cause people to become aware of their bodies and health and most likely start new diets.  While I had him by two days, I took solace in knowing that I had intuitively  beaten him (or Uranus) to the punch.  :0)

So now instead of eating so much, I use my points tracker on line and figure out how to eat breakfast and lunch so that I can have enough points to eat a semi-normal dinner.  I am plugging along.  I am inspired.  I am determined.  I am hungry.  ----Martie

P.S.  For those of you we've not met yet, we are, from left to right, Monte, Connie, Joan and yours truly.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Quilt scarf

My knitting time this last week has been spent working on a scarf Miteredscarf
inspired a pattern from the fabulous new Interweave publication, folk STYLE, by Mags Kandis. Folkstyle
This entire volume is one of those that calls me to do multiple projects, but with little free time right now, I started the "Modern Quilt Wrap". 

Not content to just pick a selection of mohair in great colors and follow the instructions (heaven forbid), I opted for a selection of yarns with aQuiltscarf
heavier weight and different textures:  Fibre Company's Terra in two different colors, one color of Malabrigo Merino Worsted, and an assortment of luscious boucles with ribbons and other goodies by Be Sweet.  About two blocks into my knitting, I realized my choice of yarns would cause this wrap to be heavier than I'd want at that width, so I changed directions and turned it into a scarf.

By block #3, I gave up following the pattern in the book and just started changing colors whenever I felt like it, and boy, has this been acting out after the structure of the lace shawl knitting.  I highly recommend this book and the wrap...whether you choose to follow the directions or use it as inspiration, as I did, for your own project. 

Have a good weekend!  ---Martie

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Malabrigo madness

Long ago, after my corporate years, I took a part time job at a yarn shop near my home in San Diego. There I promptly fell in love with Manos del Uruguay, the absolutely wonderful handspun yarns from the women's cooperative in...well, you guessed it.  My passionate affair with Manos lasted for many years, through thick and thin (pun intended). Then, a few years ago at a trade show, I discovered Malabrigo.  I quickly forsook the Manos in inventory and have never really looked back, because when it comes to a tactile experience, Malabrigo Worsted, at 100% Merino wool, has the feel you'd like next to your skin.

If you've visited the shop, you'll already know how we feel about these yarns...evidenced by one great wall covered with bundles and bundles of just about any color you could think of.  It is, frankly, hard to resist the urge to stock more and more of it.  The addition of their lace yarns has really upped the ante on where they're going with their great business...and I will add here that doing business with them is a pleasure, and they are always the first stop and biggest purchase we make at the trade shows each year.

A few weeks ago, my friend Margaret was lucky enough to visit the Malabrigo factory in Montevideo.  There she was hosted by the owners and treated like a celebrity visitor,Tobiasantonio
really.  That's just who they are...a class act.  I am wrapped in envy that she was able to do this on my behalf.  Here's a photo Margaret took of Tobias (right) and his brother in law, Antonio.

Having waxed eloquent too much on this, now I'll show you the little Malabrigo shawl
I knitted last spring on our staff retreat.  It was fun to knit, with one caveat:  Monte challenged me to NOT select the color sequences, but rather, pick them blindly from a basket next to my chair.  Interestingly enough, this pushed my boundaries (Martie the control freak) and when certain colors came up, I'd squeal because I was sure it would look horrid in the finished project.  When all was said and done, what I love about it best is the combinations of colors.  Score:  Monte 1/Martie 0.

It has been in the shop all summer and has been the inspiration for many more of these shawls.  This past week, our sweet friend Amanda brought us hers to share.  I love it equally and had a hard time giving it back to her.  Mine is on the left and hers is on the right.  Enjoy!  ---Martie

P.S.  I had enough leftover yarns to make a second is waiting for winter...and I'll choose the sequences of colors and see how I like it compared to the original.