Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year's End

In spite of a few ups and downs, these projects managed to be completed this year:

Now on to the New Year, and to many new projects, starting with the Thousand Branches Kimono, as well as continuing with a slew of WIPs.

Wishing everyone a Healthy, Happy, Peaceful New Year! 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all. 
We always have things to be thankful for, but this year I'm especially grateful that my wrist is healing, (though I still don't have full range of motion or all my strength back, but it's coming) and that I am back to knitting and crochet full time. I really missed it while I was incapacitated; what a bummer that was. But now I'm back to business as usual, and enjoying it as much as, if not more than ever. So much so, that my project ideas are growing faster than I can keep up with them.

I've started working on my Wrap Me Up Shawl again, squares for the 2009 CAL/BAM Afghan, (I only need 1 more before I can start putting it together. I'm really anxious to see how it will come out, and how it will look on my presently naked Family Room couch), and have begun work on Vested Interests, my version of Jane Thornley's newest design: Small Investment. This one will be a pretty quick knit, and I'm looking forward to wearing it soon, as I love vests. It will be nice to wear one I've made instead of bought (I have a bunch from thrift stores, as well as some designer ones, none of them knit or crochet)

I'm also grateful to have found a great knitting community, both online (Ravelry in general, and Jane Thornley's group and the 2009 CAL/BAM bunch in particular) and off: Tucson Yarn Co., Kathy Withers, and some other knitters at Knit Nights (also known as Stitch 'n Bitch)

And, this afternoon, when we have our Thanksgiving Dinner (probably al fresco as we have almost since we first came out to Tucson) I'll think of all these things, and the wonderful Arizona weather, as well.  I hope you all have much to be thankful for, too, and enjoy this great day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm Back

Well, it's been a long time since my last post, but I've been busy with Physical Therapy for my wrist, and working obsessively on my Road To Taos Wrap; which I have finally finished. The orthopedist had said that knitting and crochet would be good exercise for the wrist; so I interpreted that literally, and feverishly worked on my wrap, and the squares for the 2009 CAL/BAM Afghan. The wrap is looking pretty good; I'm just not sure if I like the long tails. So I photographed it with the tails hanging loose, and with them knotted. Let me know what YOU think.
Front View, with tails untied

Front View, with tails tied

Now that I've finished, I'm ready for my next project (not to mention other projects waiting to be done) which is another Jane Thornley design: the Pasha's Investment, a scarf/vest. I love vests, and have a few other vest ideas in the works, but this came along all ready to go. It's an ingenious idea, turning a scarf into a vest, and I have the perfect yarns for it. It's a quick knit, and if I have a chance, I may make up a few as gifts, as I did last year with Schaefer Yarns Feather & Fan short scarf.

I recently read a post on Techknitter's blog that says it all about why we knit. I could never put so eloquently how the act of knitting (or crochet, for that matter) makes one feel. I've been thinking about it quite a bit lately; and now that I can knit and crochet again, I realize how true these thoughts are.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Surprise

Well, apparently I did make some progress after all. When I bound off the top of the wrap, planning to then add short rows around the piece to lengthen and widen it, I crocheted rather than knit it off. I used a slightly smaller hook, and the result was that it pulled the whole edge in somewhat, so the tails now hang to my knees instead of to the floor. This also added some fullness to the width. So I think that I can pick up stitches from where I bound off, and continue on for a while, using some of those yarns I never got to. This should bring it all closer to the original shape that I wanted.

Here is a view of the modified shape so far, compared to the original longer version, which can be seen in the previous post, or on my project page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making Progress?

Well, it's been 4 days since the cast came off, and it really has made a big difference. The brace is almost like the cast, in that it's a bit uncomfortable and quite restricting; but after knitting for a while without it, (which is a breeze, compared to with it) putting it back on does seem to relax the wrist and arm a bit.

I'm getting some work done on the Road to Taos Wrap, but it seems that for every few inches finished, there are a few rows that have to be frogged. I had to redo 2 1/2 rows (190 stitches each) because somewhere in those rows I lost a bunch of stitches. It was a furry, eyelash kind of yarn, and it was hard to find where I had gone wrong, so I had to rip back to where that yarn started, and begin all over again.

Since I started this post, a lot has happened. I got a lot done on the Wrap, and
last night decided to check how it was doing, size-wise. Disaster! I seem to have increased too much too fast, and it's now as wide as it should be when finished, but no where near long enough down the back. My first thought was that I'd have to frog whole sections, and redo them without increasing so much. But that seems such a waste of time, and work. So I think what I'll do is add a section at the bottom of the back, before putting an edging around the whole piece.

I know that will work, but it's a shame because I still have some yarns I wanted to use at the top (which would be the part that hangs down the front). I guess I'll have to save them for another project.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cast is Off!

The cast came off yesterday, as planned. At first I was a little concerned, as it didn't look all that good to my untrained eye. But the Xrays showed that the bones are healing as expected, and should only need a couple of weeks more. The Doctor gave me a brace, but I only have to use it "as needed" and NOT when knitting or crocheting, which he said are good exercise. And without the restrictions of the cast or brace, I can knit without discomfort for longer periods. Hooray! He also suggested going for PT, which I know will help me get back to normal.

Besides working on my Taos project, I've started to catch up on my squares for the 2009 BAM/CAL project; I have between 4 and 6 squares to do for September and October. That should keep me pretty busy.

But the Taos wrap is still top priority; I really want to finish this. I am totally obsessing over it, partly because of all the lost time, and partly because one tends to obsess over Jane's designs. You just want to keep going until you finish. As soon as I make a little more headway I'll post a new progress picture.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tomorrow's the Day!

Well, tomorrow's the day they take off the cast, and I hopefully switch to just a brace. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will really be back in business then.

In the meantime, I've gotten some more work done on my Road to Taos Wrap (also known as Sunset over a Mountain in the Desert). It's coming along pretty well, I think. I've been having trouble trying to get a picture with the true colors, but it's looking very much like my inspiration painting. You'll just have to trust me on that.
I'll report back after my visit to the Orthopedist tomorrow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Knitting Again

Hooray! I finally am able to do some knitting in earnest. After 2 weeks of discomfort, I called the Ortho's office, and it was decided that the cast was probably too tight, and yesterday I went in to have it replaced. But the cast tech said it made no sense to put on a new cast when it's coming off next Tuesday. so he sliced it down the 2 sides to relieve the pressure, and best of all, cut away the part that was digging into the inner base of the thumb. The minute he did that, I knew it was going to be OK.

When I got home, I immediately tried both crochet and knitting, and I could do both. Granted, there is still a little discomfort, but nothing like the pain I was feeling before. There, I've actually said the word: PAIN. I didn't want to acknowledge the fact that it actually hurt, because I usually have a very high threshold of pain, and it bothered me that this hurt as much as it did. That usually means that whatever is hurting is pretty bad.

But the main thing is that I got about 4" of my Taos project done. I actually had gotten more done, but had to frog 6 rows of garter stitch, because the color wasn't right. I probably overdid it a bit, so I'll have to pace myself from now on.

Today I went to Tucson Yarn Company, my LYS of choice here in Tucson, and found some more yarns to possibly use in the Road to Taos Wrap, and started playing around with them. I'm trying not to do too much knitting at one time, so as not to aggravate the wrist; so I'm spending part of my time sorting out the yarns I have, and deciding which ones to use in what order. Not that those decisions are set in stone, but it helps to eliminate or add yarns until the mix looks good.

I've also done some crochet as well; I am so far behind on my squares for the 2009 BAM/CAL. I put in a little time on the September bonus square; but that's all I have so far. There are still the 2 regular September squares, the 2 October squares, and a bonus one for October, too. I'll have to see how many squares I really still need for the Afghan. I may skip some of these if I don't need them.

That's it for now. I'll be back when there's more news.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Home At Last

Since I've been home, almost 3 weeks (where does the time go?) things have been anything but normal. Until today, I haven't driven at all, and haven't been much out of the house for that matter. I got to see a local Orthopedist 2 weeks ago today. He took off the cast, did some new Xrays, and concurred with the Dr. in Los Alamos that the scaphoid was probably not broken. He then put on a new cast (a better Purple than the 1st one, and waterproof to boot)

I asked if I could knit, and drive, and he said yes to both. But the reality is, that while it's OK to do both, I'm not really physically able to knit, or crochet. Every few days I would try to work on my project from the Jane Thornley workshop in Taos, but it would be so uncomfortable that I couldn't get very far, and, in fact, usually had to frog what I had done. So I wasn't making any progress, just doing the same parts over and over. I had been putting it out of sight, thinking that would keep me from being tempted; but I would keep thinking about it, and go seek it out to try again. After taking one last stab last night, and still being very uncomfortable this morning, I had to admit defeat. It will have to wait a while before I try again. This is as far as I've gotten.

Road To Taos Wrap, initial progress
I didn't know about the driving, because until today I didn't try. My DH has done the driving whenever I needed to go anywhere. Which wasn't often: the above mentioned Dr.'s appointment, to the Synagogue for Yom Kippur, and out for dinner to celebrate my Birthday. But today, for the first time, I drove. I've always been a mostly one-handed driver anyway, so it wasn't too bad. Harry, the DH, came with, in case I ran into any problems. I didn't really, but got tired after most of the errands, so he drove to the last one and then home.

I'm due to see the Orthopedist again next Tuesday. He's supposed to remove the cast, and if all goes well, replace it with a brace. I assume that it will be less restricting, and hopefully I'll be back in business. In the meantime, I'm using my knitting/crochet time learning to use my birthday present: a much needed new laptop.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

After the Fall: the next step

On Monday, after arriving at my friend, Donna's house, I saw an orthopedist in Los Alamos, who looked at my Xrays, removed the splint, and after probing around a bit, said that he didn't think the scaphoid was broken. This was good news, as it meant I could probably use the thumb much earlier than expected. He then put me in a short, lightweight, Purple cast, and said I should see a local orthopedist when I got home; Friday or Monday would be fine.

Heidi, my daughter, arrived mid-afternoon, and we spent the rest of the day settling in and visiting with Donna and Wilbur. On Tuesday we started out on our way home. Heidi didn't want to drive the whole 8 hours in one day, so we decided to stop off at the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, NM , and then stay overnight in Truth or Consequences. The wildlife was almost non-existent at the refuge, but the scenery was beautiful, although a bit overcast.

On Wednesday, we started the last part of our journey, and stopped at Rockhound State Park, outside of Deming, NM. Unlike most of our other stops in NM, it was quite hot there, and I couldn't stay out in the heat very long; so after a while we took off. Heidi did find some very nice rocks, however, and I got some smaller stones inside the Visitor's Center. We then had our lunch at a scenic Rest Stop, (we had shopped for provisions before leaving Santa Fe) and continued on home, arriving around 7pm. I don't know when I've been happier to get home from a trip.

Friday, September 25, 2009

After the Fall

When I fell, it was in full sight of many people, some of whom came running. They were all very solicitous, wouldn't let me get up right away, and checked to see what might be injured. When they saw that my wrist and lower arm were already quite swollen and turning black and blue, it was immediately decided that I needed to go to the ER. They got some ice, propped up my arm, and sent me on my merry way, accompanied by Carrie and Sheri, the organizers of the workshop. They were a great support team, taking care of me and all the little details, like finding my ID and insurance cards, and getting me checked in, and out. All while sitting in the ER waiting room with no dinner but a couple of candy bars.

The outcome, after much probing around and a slew of Xrays, was that I had fractured 3 bones in my wrist. One of these was the scaphoid, at the base of the thumb, which is harder to heal than the others, and requires total immobilization. So they put me in a splint (I was still too swollen for a cast) from my upper arm all the way down and encasing the thumb completely. It wasn't very well done, IMHO, but it did the job; it kept my thumb immobile, as instructed.

The rest of the time in Taos was, shall I say, bittersweet. I felt like the 1-Armed Paperhanger, unable to do so many things for myself. Everyone was so helpful and solicitous; helping me at the buffet, carrying things, opening doors, etc. You get the picture. Jane and her wonderful husband, John, took me along on a couple of excursions and to dinner. But the fact remained that I couldn't knit; could only watch the others knitting, take notes when Jane was explaining her methods, and sit there arranging and rearranging my yarns, looking for just the right mix of colors and textures to use on MY Road to Taos Feather & Fan Wrap, whenever I could finally start working on it. Of course that mix changed daily, some times more than once, as I'd see other possibilities.

The other problem was: How would I get back home? Luckily, 4 of the women were driving to Albuquerque to fly home, and one of them offered to drive me (and my car) to my friend's house outside of Santa Fe, and then join her friends to go the rest of the way. And my daughter was flying into Albuquerque to join me at my friend's and drive us back home to Tucson.

Coming soon: the "Adventure" continues

False Prophecies and Misadventures

The evening before leaving on my trip to Santa Fe and Taos, we had dinner with friends at a Chinese Restaurant. When the Fortune Cookies came, I really perked up, because mine said: "Your new adventure will bring you happiness". I figured that this referred to the Jane Thornley Workshop/Retreat to which I was headed. I certainly expected it would be an adventure. Little did I know what kind of adventure it would be.

I arrived in Santa Fe Tuesday evening, September 8th; and spent an uneventful night in a nice motel. Wednesday, I visited my friend at her gallery and we had lunch together before I visited 2 of the great LYSs in town. As usual, I couldn't resist the gorgeous yarns, and bought quite a bit at both shops; some of it to possibly use in the workshop.

I then got on the road to Taos, at least I thought it was the way to Taos. After driving for great distances, at pretty high speeds, I came to the realization that I was not heading to Taos. I would have stopped and asked if there was a way to get where I was going from where I was, but there weren't many places to go off the road and stop, and it was raining pretty heavily most of the time, so I turned around and went back to Santa Fe. This cost me a couple of hours at least.

Once I found the right road, I figured I could still make it to the Retreat in time for the evening get acquainted event, but I ended up taking another wrong turn (or, rather, not taking a turn I should have). To add to the problem, once I got partway there, my cell phone wouldn't work and I couldn't even make contact with the people at the retreat. By the time I finally arrived there, it was after 10pm, and too late to meet up with any of the other participants. So I settled in my room for the night, and hoped that the next day would be better.

After breakfast (great food and companionship) we moved into the Log Cabin and began the workshop. Jane is a great teacher, as I knew she would be, and we began working on our projects. It was interesting to see everyone's different approaches; the theme was (loosely) The Road to Taos, or the colors of the Southwest and New Mexico. During this time I got to show off my Paua Shell/Watergarden Shrug and my Little Fishies Scarf.

After lunch, more good food and conversation, most of us went to scout out the LYSs, supposedly all within easy walking distance. It was quite warm, even hot, that day, and some of us really felt it. After visiting 2 shops, and buying quite a bit of yarn, I decided to head back to the lodge. Jane and I walked back, and I joined some of the others in the log cabin to work on our projects.

I decided to go up to my room for something, and on my return it happened, I tripped on the uneven flagstone and fell. HARD!

To Be Continued

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Finished!

ThePaua Shell/Watergarden Shrug is finished! Most of the ends are woven in, the seams are joined, and an edging has been added. There are still a few loose ends inside one of the sleeves, but I’ll take care of them.

It turned out beautifully. I love the colors, the yarns, and the stitch patterns. I had a few problems here and there, when a color, or yarn, or stitch didn’t work out as planned, and did a little more frogging than I was happy with, but, all in all, an enjoyable project. And now I'm ready to attack the Feather n Fan project when I get to Taos for the Workshop/Retreat.

So tomorrow I'll head off to New Mexico . I'm already packed and can actually get to bed at a reasonable hour. I may even be able to get up and on my way early enough to get to Santa Fe before dark. On Wednesday I'll check out the LYSs before driving to Taos. I can't remember when I've been ready for a trip this early! I keep thinking that I must be forgetting something. Oh, well, time will tell.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Heading to New Mexico

There are only 2 more days till I head to Santa Fe and Taos. As usual, there is still too much to do. But, also as usual, the important stuff will get done. And what doesn't, can be done without, or done later. I am getting excited about this trip, especially the Workshop/Retreat with Jane Thornley in Taos. For one thing, I've never been to Taos, but have always wanted to go there. And I know the workshop will really be an experience to remember. I've been putting off doing a JT Feather n Fan project, because it seems a little daunting; but being able to actually do it with Jane there to help is very reassuring.

I've finished the Paua Shell/Watergarden Shrug, at least all the knitting. Now I have to weave in all the ends, and there are a LOT; not one of my favorite pastimes as I may have said before. But I will do it, and sew the seams, and put on an edging. I do intend to have this done to show off at the workshop. And when it's done, I'll post some pictures and show it off here, too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watergarden Shrug with Paua Shell Colors

The colors in these Paua Shells became the inspiration for my new project:
Jane Thornley's Watergarden Shrug"

I began working on this shortly after finishing the Little Fishies scarf. I say "finishing" laughingly, as I still haven't woven in the ends and added beads and embellishments, but I hope to add them before I get to Taos for the Jane Thornley Workshop/Retreat. I also hope to have this shrug done so I can show it and the scarf at the workshop. I have 1 sleeve and 3/4 of the back done, so this is certainly doable.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Little Fishies

I've finished my Little Fishies Beaded Panel Scarf, sans beads.They will be added at some future date, after I get a chance to make some new fish and shell beads. But for now, I'm happy with it.

Started August 1st, finished August 12th, 2009. Record time, for me.
Little Fishies Beaded Panel Scarf sans beads

As my first Jane Thornley project, it gave me a chance to get my feet wet, and I learned a lot in the process. From my notes:
Finally starting a Jane Thornley project!
OK, I did it. I cast on Saturday, 8/1/09, and am officially doing this KAL. I’ve learned a lot in the last 24 hours: Read the pattern through (not just the materials list) before you start selecting yarns. It gives you a better understanding of how your yarns and colors will work together, and which stitch patterns will be used with which yarns. When I started the front panel, I realized that my ribbon was very wide, and my tape was very narrow, and some adjustments had to be made to make them look right together. (Waiting to go look for yarn to replace 1 or the other was NOT an option :D) Besides the disparity in width, the thinness of my tape caused the size of the panel to be way too small. So I turned the k2/p2 ribbing into k3/p2 ribbing; this made the k3 tape stand up better against the p2 ribbon, and added a little to the size of the piece. I also had to add more stitches to the cast-on. Then I used 2 strands of the plain yarn, and added an extra couple of rows of garter stitch to make it taller. It still isn’t 7”x4”, more like 6 1/2”x3”, but it works for me. I think 4” high would be a little too much on my neck.

Then came the bubble type yarn. This has got to be the biggest pain of any yarn I've ever worked with. I used Crystal Palace Yarns Popcorn, which apparently is interchangeable with Prism Yarns Bubbles.

As you can see from the picture, the yarn is little bobbles separated by a thin thread. If you knit just the thread, the bobbles go floating around haphazardly, and you have a real mess. So I used some of my main yarn with it, which helped some, but still was not perfect. Then I tried sewing it on after knitting a section, but that was a different kind of pain. Finally, I looked up the sites of the 2 yarns for some insight. Crystal Palace had none to offer, but Prism suggested using #11 needles. Aha! Using #11 needles combined with my idea of adding some more substantial yarn along with it did the trick. The bubbles/bobbles in the later sections (or vignettes, as Jane calls them) of the scarf are much neater, and were easier to do than the earlier ones. Not so easy that I'm ready to tackle them again, mind you. Although I do have an idea or two for more Little Fishies scarves, just without "Bubbles"

Next up: Jane Thornley's Watergarden Shrug
It's just over 2 weeks till I head up to Taos for the Jane Thornley Workshop/Retreat, and I hope to get a jumpstart on using her techniques. This project, added to Little Fishies, should do just that.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Finishing Ravelry's WIPs WrestleMania

July was a busy month, and August looks to be the same. I just haven't been able to sit down and write, so I think I'll have to do this post in bits and pieces.

For starters, I finished the Sandra Kimono Jacket (more on that later) and made progress on the Wrap Me Up Shawl. I also did both Auqust squares for the 2009 Crochet 12" BAM/CAL: Lovely in Pink & Grey, and Bright & Cheery. Added to the other WIPs I had finished earlier in the month, I was happy with my results for WrestleMania. It motivated me to get things done. I may have to periodically set aside a month to work on finishing projects.

The Kimono Jacket still needed a lot of work, and took up quite a bit of time and effort. While I was blocking it, I discovered that in some sections, the variegated yarn striped, but in others, it pooled. I was not a Happy Camper, but it was obviously too late to do anything about it. Frogging it, and starting over, was NOT an option. Other than that, it turned out well, but too big for me. It seems that I inadvertently was using a larger
needle than planned. Luckily, I had already considered giving it to my daughter, and this clinched the deal.

Immediately on August 1st, I cast on a new project: the Little Fishies Beaded Panel Scarf, my first Jane Thornley KAL. More on this in my next post.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's July; WIPs WrestleMania Month

This month, July, is WIPs WrestleMania on Ravelry. For the uninitiated, WIPs are Works in Progress, and those of us engaged in WrestleMania all try to finish off as many WIPs (also known as UFOs, or Unfinished Objects) as we possibly can by the end of the month.

I started off the month hoping to finish up these wips:

Kathy’s Moebius

A moebius wrap crocheted with some of Kathy Withers’ beautiful handspun yarn. I had actually finished the body of the wrap, but it still needed some embellishment. I made a few scrumbles, mostly flower shapes, but had to redo a spiral/curlicue, and attach them all (artfully, of course) to the wrap. This was my oldest wip; I had bought the yarn in March, 2007, and started working on it some time that summer. And it also was the piece with the least amount of work left to be done, so I was able to polish it off quickly, although I didn't actually get it done till 10:15pm, July 6th, after Eva's Shawl.

Eva’s Shawl, Modified

This was my next easiest project to finish; I already had about 5 or 6 repeats done. I did a couple more repeats, then added a deep ruffle, and finished it July 6th, 12:15am. (I do some of my best work in the wee hours of the morning.) ☺

Sandra Kimono Jacket
This is the project I’m working on now. I’m finished with the back, left side, and 4/5 of the right front. I work on it daily, trying to finish at least 1 block (24 rows) on whatever piece I’m doing. I still have both sleeves to go; then I can put it together, and another wip will be history,

Wrap Me Up Shawl

I doubt that this will be done this month. There’s still too much work to do on it, and not enough time after I finish the Kimono Jacket. It’s not Top Priority anyway; it’s a little too heavy to wear in Tucson this time of year.

Sideways Vest
I had originally planned to do this before the Kimono Jacket, but when I took it out to work on, I realized that I was not happy with the yarns I was using. I played around with substitutions for some and finally decided it needs to be started from scratch with new yarns and a new plan. But I decided not to take the time to frog it now while I have other projects that hopefully can get done for WIPs WrestleMania.
Loopy Shawl/Throw
I thought this would be simple to finish; just Garter Stitch till it was long enough. But this was another project that just didn’t look right. I kept this in the car to work on whenever I had to wait anywhere, and apparen
tly had not really looked at it for a while. The variegated yarn didn’t look very good going across the piece, and I decided to do it lengthwise instead. So I frogged it and rewound the yarn. I’ll get to it another time.

Actually, for the purpose of WrestleMania, frogging it counts as a finished project!

And, possibly,
Undulating Waves Scarf
But this is a lace scarf, with an 18 row pattern repeat, and I had no idea which row of the pattern I was on. In the process of figuring it out, I discovered a few mistakes and decided to frog it and start over. Which also counts as a finished project.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Santa Fe: SOFA and Tour of LYSs

I've been back from Santa Fe for over a week, but I haven't had a chance to post my thoughts till now.

The main reason for my trip was to attend the 1st SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art) in the Southwest. This art expo has been in Chicago for about 20 years, and New York (not sure how long). I've been attending the Chicago event for the last 16 or 18 years, and when we decided to move to Tucson permanently, I planned on going back to Chicago for it every year. But when I found out it was going to be in Santa Fe in June, I decided to test it out. This was a location I could drive to, and I could kill 2 or 3 birds with one stone: do SOFA, see a friend who lives there, and check out the LYSs, of which there are 5, 1 more than in Tucson.

Touring the LYSs turned out to be interesting and exciting, as well as frustrating. Santa Fe is an easy city in which to get lost. Even though I went on Mappoint and Mapquest to get directions, often the directions didn't account for the fact that some streets had more than 1 location in town, and often you couldn't seem to get from 1 to the other. I wasted a lot of time trying to find some of the shops, until the last day, when I discovered that the map of Art Galleries I had picked up pretty much covered the areas where the yarn shops were as well.

At any rate, here's my assessment of the shops:

I went to this one first because it is hosting a Jane Thornley workshop Labor Day weekend, and I assumed, rightly, that there would be a lot of yarns suitable for freerange knitting. I found it to be a cosy, friendly shop, with some really gorgeous yarns. I initially thought I was just checking out the shops for future reference, but based on previous posts, I'm sure you know that I couldn't resist adding to my stash.

I will definitely go back on any future trip/s.


This one I almost didn't find. I kept walking around looking for the address, but when I came to where the address should have been, no Tutto. Until I got smart and asked another shopkeeper. It turns out that the shop is on the 2nd level, but there was nothing to indicate that fact.

I found Tutto to be adequate, but not particularly inspiring. The 2 people there offered help, but I didn't really require any, and I left without purchasing anything.

Needle's Eye
This is one of 2 shops on the same sort of circular road. It wasn't hard to find, but had other problems: parking meters. Actually, most of the places I went, including SOFA, had metered parking, and I often didn't have enough change. In this case, after spending some time there, I realized my meter was running out. There was a lot across the street (actually closer than where I was parked) so I went to move my car, only to find that the lot charged a flat fee (more than it was worth for the amount of time I could stay) so I ended up not returning to the shop. I was running out of time, and still had 2 more shops to see. This was my last day, and I didn't want to go without at least checking out all of the shops. I have no doubt that, had I returned, I would have purchased some yarn here.

The shop was neatly laid out, but with a lot of different areas, so next time I would allow more time to explore. There will be a next time; more on that later.

Miriam's Well/Santa Fe School of Weaving

This is another great shop, full of many different yarns, and gorgeous samples designed and made by the owner, who, unfortunately was out of town. But the young man who was watching the shop was very helpful (to the point of actually guiding me to the shop by cell phone when I couldn't tell if the dirt road across the street would take me where I wanted to go.) He is a weaving student (possibly apprentice?) of Miriam's.

One of the samples (actually many) was of a ruffled scarf unlike any I'd seen before, and I found a variegated 95% wool/5% silk yarn to try one, and the pattern, which is free if you buy the yarn. I also bought 2 colorways of Fiesta Yarns La Boheme.

Another shop to which I will definitely return.

Looking Glass Yarn & Gifts

This was my last stop. Another shop with all kinds of glorious, and some very unusual yarns. The first that I noticed was Habu textiles silk stainless. This is a very fine silk yarn with a core of stainless steel. Last fall, Lion Brand Yarns introduced a yarn (wool, I think) with stainless steel, but I've never seen it in stores; I guess it's only available online. And this yarn, with silk, was even more intriguing. So, of course, I bought some.

I also got some Kraemer Sterling silk & silver; actually only 20% silk and 2%silver, with 63% superwash merino and 15% nylon. The yarn has little shots of silver throughout. I'm anxious to see how it makes up. The theme of my purchases on this trip, and especially at this shop, seems to be Silk.
This is another shop I'll return to. Actually, I will return to all the shops except Tutto; I didn't find anything exceptional there.

As far as returning to these shops goes, I will be taking a Jane Thornley workshop in Taos this coming September. Since Taos is just enough farther from here than Santa Fe, I will most likely stop in Santa Fe on my way there (and probably on my way back as well) and stay at least overnight. So I'll get another chance to shop there. Not to mention shopping in Taos. That will be another tour of LYSs to write about.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obsessions/Addictions Part 2

I have been going through my stash and have come to the conclusion that no matter how much yarn I have (and how varied it is) it's never enough. Whatever new project I start, I don't have all of the right yarn, or yarns needed for it.

For instance, I thought that much of the yarn I purchased at the Tucson Yarn Company's Moving on up Sale (all of the green beauties shown in my last post) would be perfect to use when I go to Jane Thornley's workshop in Taos in September. The project hasn't been announced yet, but most likely these yarns would work. But I know that when I get to Taos, I'll want to scour the shops there to see what special treats there are to add to it all. Especially because so far I don't have a variegated or lead yarn to tie it all together.

But now Jane has announced a KAL based on the patterns and ideas in her new Summer Free Range Knitting Guide, including the Leaflings Shrug/Wrap, which is just crying out for Green. So I may use all or some of my greenery on that, instead of waiting to try one of Jane's ideas when I get to Taos. Then I'll have to start all over with new yarns for that project. :)

Which leads me to believe that it's folly to just buy/collect yarn because I like or love it, or because it's on sale, unless there is already a project to use it for. Because then it just sits there, looking enticing and feeling yummy, and accumulates with all the other beautiful yarn. But does that mean I'm going to stop buying yarn for which I have no immediate use?


Friday, May 22, 2009


It seems that my addictive/obsessive personality reaches into many, if not all, aspects of my life. I used to think that only books fell into that category; I couldn’t be trusted in a bookstore. Then, when I started working with glass, I saw it manifested again; with glass, tools, videos, and more books. Now that I’ve returned to fibercrafts, after a long hiatus, it is worse than ever. Not just yarn, needles and hooks, but books, magazines, and patterns, not to mention classes and workshops. Which is why I’m so proud of myself for resisting (mostly) the Siren Call of Tucson Yarn Company’s Moving On Up Sale.

I was able to confine myself to 1 (ONE) visit, and 1 (ONE) basket of yarn during the weeklong sale. The staff kept saying, “You need another basket. I’ll get you one.” But I would say, “No, if this gets full, I’ll have to either stop, or take out some yarn if I want to add more.” And I pretty much stuck to my guns. I only bought yarn that fit in one basket. Of course, the basket was more or less overflowing, but I was able to keep it all intact.

And I was able to stick to a plan of sorts, so I didn’t just grab everything that looked good. Instead of picking up everything Purple, as I often do, I did a selection of Greens with a little bit of darker Blues, and when I got home, I found some ribbon and eyelash/fun fur from my stash that I can add to possibly use for a Jane Thornley Feather and Fan Organic Wrap or other Free-Range/Free-Form project. I’m hoping to do a workshop with Jane this Fall, and I may save all this yarn for that project.

Next, I found some narrow tapelike 100% Organic Cotton in a Navy Jeans color and in a Denim color which really is more of a Gray. I’ve been wanting to try some of this for a while; it falls under the category of lighter weight yarns for the weather here in Tucson.

I’ve also been wanting to play around with some Noro sock yarn, fits the lighter weight (and thinner) category, and they had some Kureyon in my kind of colors.

The last yarn I got was one I would have passed up, but they had a sample of it knitted up, and while it works up a little on the bulky side, it’s very soft and not really heavy at all. I got it in 2 colorways, including a muted purplish tone, so I did do some of my signature color.

I've managed to store all the yarns, and now I just have to finish up a few projects before I get to tackle some of the new stash.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Just a few lines to bring to a close the saga of the car that crashed into our house. To make a LONG story as short as possible, most of the repair work on the house was completed on time, and after many attempts to finish the whole episode, the buyer finally signed all the documents at the last minute on April 28th, which was the scheduled closing. But it was so late in the day that the sale could not be registered, nor could they release the funds. By the time it was all accomplished, it was 4 o'clock on the 29th before we received the check. But now it's done, and we no longer have to concern ourselves with the matter. So I can write CLOSED and go on with all my creative pursuits.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life is What Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans

Excerpts from a message to family and friends back in Illinois:

Friday, April 3rd
Well, it’s official, I’m an Arizonan now, and so is Harry. In the past couple of days, we’ve gotten Arizona Driver’s Licenses and License Plates, transferred our car titles, and registered to vote. Since the sale on the Skokie house closed 6 weeks ago, we don’t even own any property in Illinois anymore.

We’ve sold our original house here in Tucson, too; at least we have a contract on it,and a closing date of April 28th.

Sunday night, April 5th
I started writing this on Friday; put it aside till I would have more time. Little did I know that I would have a lot more to write about.

At 12:45 Saturday afternoon, we got a call from our former next door neighbor at the old house, sounding very upset, to say the least. It took a bit till she calmed down and I could understand what she was saying: a car had plowed through the front yard of our not quite sold house, and smashed into the corner of it. On it’s way, it went up on the curb and through some of the shrubs at 2 houses across the street, and almost ran down one of our neighbors. Luckily, she had stopped to pick up some litter, and the car missed her. But she was pretty shook up.
The car miraculously drove between 2 trees up our front lawn, plowed through the Ocatillo and a small Cholla before it hit the corner of the house.

Saturday afternoon, April 11th
I’ve been busy preparing for Pesach, not very well; the accident at the other house kind of threw a screw in the works. This year we weren’t having any guests for Seder, so at least I didn’t have to worry about anyone but Heidi and us. The Seders went OK under the circumstances, so now I have a chance to try and finish this.

Harry has been busy working his magic to get things going over at the other house. He’s managed to get the ball rolling and everyone involved is pretty sure that the work can be finished in time for the closing, which we were afraid would have to be postponed. We’ve already got whatever permits are necessary, and they’re supposed to start work on Monday.

Monday, April 13th
They have actually started working on the house, and seem very organized and competent. There are a number of different crews involved: electrical, construction, you name it.

Thursday, April 23rd
The work is pretty much done, and I went in and signed all the papers today; and the buyers were to do the same later. The walk-through is scheduled for 11am Sunday morning, and if all goes well, Tuesday it will all be done! And we can go on with our life.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

When I first started this blog, I thought I was just going to use it for fiber related things. But I think I will also occasionally go on about my glasswork as well. I still have not been able to do any torchwork, as I don't have a studio as yet, but if we don't get to set one up soon, I'm going to have to find someplace to rent torch time.

I'm really chomping at the bit to get behind my torch; I have a lot of ideas waiting. I think beadmaking will not be foremost on my mind. I still want to try some small sculptures and vessels, and as an adjunct to my fiber work, Shawl Pins and the like.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I've been involved in Arts and Crafts all my life. I began knitting and crochet when I was about 7 or 8, and continued until about 15 years ago. I graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and worked in the Chicago Fashion Industry until I stayed home to raise my daughter and son. While they were young, I taught Macrame, Knitting, and Crochet at a local community center, as well as selling my creations at Craft Fairs. I also taught Exercise, Weight Control and Nutrition, and Belly Dancing at the same community center. I also demonstrated Housewares for a number of years.

About 18 years ago I started designing glass bead jewelry, which led to creating my own glass beads, since I was never able to find the beads I envisioned in my head to use in my jewelry. To go along with the beadmaking, I took some metalsmithing classes, and have incorporated metal and wirework with my beads. While spending our winters in Tucson, I was unable to continue my glass work. So, looking for another outlet for my creativity, I returned to Knitting and Crochet, having become hooked (pun intended) on all the beautiful new yarns available. I am hoping to return to glasswork soon, but will never again stop fibercrafts.
This is a Work in Progress. Please check back again.