Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seattle-Day 3-Dye Another Day

Low tide at Dumas Bay (Puget Sound)

My feet in water from the Pacific
Dipping the fiber in the pot of indigo dye

Separating the fiber to ensure oxidation

all the things used for natural dyeing (the cloth was dyed with mud)

(Yes the title is a play on words from the song by Madonna.)  The weather in Seattle was much as I expected:  rain, fog, a little dreary, but not all day long.  There were some bright spots and day 3 turned out to be one of them.  We had the least rain on Saturday.  I had no classes that morning so was able to get some much needed rest, knitting, and picture taking done.  After lunch that day we endured horrendous traffic to get to our field trip.  The trip was to Earthhues, a natural dyeing studio.  I spent an enjoyable but long ride in the truck with Geoff, Joe, and Stephen.  I am used to being in a completely different state when I spend an hour in a vehicle, or at least in another major city.  The hour spent in the truck was well worth it.  We were introduced to all the natural things that they use to dye fabrics, yarns, and other medium without using any chemicals.  The colors were brilliant and I wanted some of everything, but we were there to indigo dye.  I had my LYS, Southern Purls outside of Ahoskie, NC, order some lace weight dyeable yarn before I left for Seattle.  What I received was the softest baby alpaca in a natural color from Plymouth Yarns Dye for Me.  I have not begun to work it up yet but it dyed the most gorgeous color very close to Carolina blue, appropriate don't you think.  It was a long afternoon but well worth the trip.  Kathy, our "cruise director," was very gracious and kind, answering all of our questions and helped us prepare our fiber, dip it in the dye, rinse it when we were done, and told us about things in the shop.  I did get some more of their dyed yarn.  They had mini hanks of yarn dyed in various colors and ranging in length from 10-20 yards.  I chose 5 hanks in various colors and fibers to practice some new knitting stitch patterns and create scarves for my daughter's American Girl dolls.  We returned for dinner and voting on the Best in Show hand knitted items we shared on Friday Night.  Kevin won with his wonderfully created Wrap based on The Little Prince.  We were then treated to a pajama party with a short film, featuring WonderMike, on the Knitting Community and Yarn Bombing, Young Frankenstein and Hairspray to finish.  I finally went to bed after midnight having worked on my orange hat to near completion.  As I write this I am missing my new friends on the West Coast and want to knit with you some more.  I have been inspired to design and am working on my first real pattern at the moment.  Wish me luck as I am going to submit it this weekend.  Day 4 and the Journey home coming soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seattle-Day 2- More Knitting

Me-Knitting my hat

the needle room

Orange yarn, my favorite
the doors to yarn heaven--Skacel

So, I think that I forgot to tell you that on Wednesday when I left, I was so very worried about my knitting needles getting through security.  Well my knee replacement set off the sensor and they ran all my stuff through the machine twice I think while I was getting the pat down.  Knitting and needles made it through safely.  On to day 2.   Breakfast was French Toast, bagels, bacon, sausage, cereal, and the list goes on.  My first class that morning was Photographing your Fiber with the very knowledgeable Franklin Habit (whom I have been waiting to meet since I saw his picture in an Addi Turbo needle ad).  I learned a great deal from him and was able to take some of the best pictures ever after his class.  Immediately following his class I took Nigel's sock class.  He taught us the yarnover increase, which I need to practice because I ended up with some holes.  I think I will be able to figure it out and use it on some socks in the future.  We had a quick lunch then were off to "Yarn and Needle Heaven," the Skacel office and warehouse.  We took a tour of the facility, warehouse, offices, needle room, and were able to see samples of yarns knitted and crocheted.  It was fantastic.  I think we scared the UPS delivery guy, he just had a look on his face like, "do you need me to call someone for help?"  They assured him it was alright and we went into the warehouse to shop.  Yarn bags were flying everywhere.  Several people shared bags.  I could have bought more yarn, but opted for the ultimate Addi Turbo Click interchangeable needle set.  We then went back to Dumas Bay and had dinner before a wonderful party.  Karin Skacel invited us over to her house for dessert and drinks.  I had the most wonderful gourmet cupcakes and a "blueberry tea" which was warm and had liquor in it (must look up the recipe for that one).  We all had a great time at her beautiful house overlooking the water.  Then it was back to Dumas Bay for more knitting and sharing.  Two more days to come.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seattle- West Coast Men's Fall Knitting Retreat- Day 1

wild blackberries on the side of the street

Shoppes of Bainbridge

Streets of Bainbridge Island

Another view of the Grounds at Dumas Bay.  This could be seen from the window of our conference room.

The grounds at Dumas Bay

View of  Seattle from Ferry
Another view from the Ferry
So I arrived in Seattle the day before the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat (MFKR) began.  It was a very long day as I had a 2.5 hour drive to the Airport, then about 7 hours on the plane.  I had a great deal of time to knit that day.  I knit in the truck with my dad driving to the airport, while I waited for the first leg of the flight, during the 2 hour layover in Charlotte, and on the 5 hour flight to Seattle.  I was so tired when I got to Seattle that I had to decline an invitation for dinner and company from some of the other men who were attending.  I got a great night's sleep and a little exercise the next morning.  Kerry picked me up from the hotel and we got breakfast before we picked up Kurt at the airport.  Then we all went to Bainbridge Island for a couple of hours.  Churchmouse was the most awesome yarn shop I have had the opportunity in which to shop in several years.  I got some beaded silk yarn (for my lovely wife), cotton bamboo for a baby hat, and knitting needles that I needed for my own hat project.  Kurt got a bite to eat at an organic food store and then we headed off to All Points Yarn.  We visited with Morgan for about an hour then headed to Dumas Bay Retreat Center for a weekend of fun.  Dinner was great and then I had Spinning Class with Michael (not stationary biking).  It was great to learn the in's and out's of making my own yarn.  I brought back about  8 ounces of wool top to practice spinning.   After I spun I went downstairs to check out my swag bag.  It was a drawstring backpack from Skacel that was loaded with yarn,  a men's pattern book from Noro yarns, the brand new "Entre to Entrelac" book from XRX, inc. (who sponsored the scholarship my wife won for me), and a notebook full of patterns by up and coming designers I have admired for quite some time.  And I forgot, after dinner we had a raffle and I won a huge hank of lace weight alpaca from Briar Rose.  It is in dark natural masculine colors.  What a great evening.  I sat up and knit with several of the guys while another class was going on.  Then it was off to bed.  More to come on day 2 tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Technology Doesn't Like Me

This has been a bad week for me with technology.  First my cell phone music player stopped working.  Fortunately, after a recharge of the battery, it suddenly started working again.  It has to hold out until March when my contract is up.  Must have been one of those weird tech glitches.  Just recently someone hacked into my hotmail account and started sending e-mails about some meds.  I, of course, could not get anyone at MSN to contact me so I had to get a new e-mail address.  I have to hold on to the other one until I get back from Seattle for plane tickets, info, and the like.  Went with gmail since that is related to this blogspot site.  Hoping that the problem does not follow me to my new address.  I manually input all my addresses in on a different computer, just in case it was in my laptop.  (Doubtful since it is an Apple.)
I went through a bunch of steps to stop the emails and it hasn't happened since yesterday afternoon.  Hoping it is fixed.

Now on to the good stuff.  The shawl I knitted, just because I had the yarn, had a sizable ball of yarn left over.  The model, my daughter, has requested her own size shawl out of this yarn so I am currently knitting this up for her.  I will post pics when it is finished.  I finished an afghan for a friend who had her son 2 weeks early.  It is a diagonal pattern and should be very warm in garter stitch.  I also knit up the swatch for Wendy Johnson's Shetland Shawl KAL.  I am including both pics.  I hope to get a lot of knitting done this weekend as I will be vacationing in Williamsburg, VA with my in-laws.  Maybe I will have more pics to share next week.  Enjoy the Holiday.  I will be starting to get ready for the West Coast Men's Fall Knitting Retreat next week when I get back from the short vacation.