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


I started this day completely unaware that my friends and family in San Diego county were in the path of wildfires.071021fire
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

Sunday, October 21, 2007


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
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
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
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 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'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'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 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. 

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