Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Adoptiversary!

One year ago today Purl and Ashford came to live with me from the Washington County SPCA in Bartlesville. Since then, they have provided me with hours of entertainment and lots of snuggles (as long as its on their terms!).




Even Xena has learned to tolerate them.


June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month, so if you're thinking of adopting a new pet, visit your local shelter. There are lots of wonderful animals just waiting for someone to give them a good home!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hush-Hush Handspun Hootenanny, NYC and a Mishap

I recently signed up for a swap where I will spin 4 oz of fiber to send to someone, along with 4 oz of unspun fiber and other goodies. And I will receive a similar package. It sounded like fun, especially since my spinning skills have improved so much since my class and buying the new wheel. This is a questionnaire so my swap partner can get to know me. There's more info about my trip to NYC earlier this week and of course, a funny kitty story below.

1. How long have you been spinning? What skill level do you consider yourself?
I've been spinning a little over a year. I'd consider myself an advance beginner. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm pretty proud of the yarn I've been spinning.

2. What kinds of yarn do you create (singles/2-ply/3-ply/art yarn)?
I mainly create 2-ply yarn. I've played around with other techniques.

3. What do you spin with (spindle/wheel/both)?
I mainly spin on my wheel, but I just bought a beautiful spindle at the Estes Park Wool Market and I've had fun playing with it.

4. What are your favorite fibers to spin with? Anything you don't like?
I prefer softer wool. I also enjoy spinning superwash fiber. And I love merino/silk blends. They're like butter

5. Who are your favorite crack dealers fiber sources (etsy or otherwise)?
Hello Yarn, Poppy Flower Fibers, The Loopy Ewe, The Dyeing Arts

6. What kind of fiber do you want to try?
I'd like to try a sea cell/merino blend. I had an opportunity to try a small amount, and really enjoyed spinning it. I'd like to see how a skein of it would turn out. I really enjoy trying out new fibers.

7. Is there any techniques you would like to learn?
I would like to get better at Navajo plying. I've done it before but I need a lot more practice!

8. Do you dye fiber? If not, would you like to learn?
Yes. Just for fun.

9. Do you have fiber prep tools (and like to use them) or would you prefer ready to spin fiber?
I have hand carders that I do enjoy using, but I'd prefer ready to spin fiber because I just brought home 2 fleeces that I will be carding by hand all summer.

10. What do you do with your handspun? What projects have you completed?
I've been working on a couple of lace scarves with my handspun. I also have some earmarked to make socks, and I love the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern.

11. Are you in need of any spinning gadgets (WPI Gauge, threading hook, etc)?
A spinners control card. I also like unique threading hooks.

12. What colors "fall into your shopping basket"? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love bright colors, but I also enjoy working with more muted and neutral tones. I'm not a huge fan of yellow...I don't mind it as part of a colorway, but I don't want it to be the main color.

13. What is on your wheel/spindle right now?
I'm spinning some Merino/Silk from The Sanguine Gryphon


14. What other crafts/hobbies do you have?
Knitting and spinning are my main crafts. I dabble with others, but always come back to my favorites.

15. Other than crafts, what are you passionate about?
I do triathlon...I've done Ironman Wisconsin twice and several half Irons, and other distances. I love being active! I also am very involved in a professional organization. I also love my kitties. :)

16. Do you have an online wishlist?

17. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn and fiber...that's about it. I'd collect cats too, but that would push me over the edge to "Crazy Cat Lady" status. I'm already teetering on the edge.

18. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What magazine subscriptions do you have?
I really want the book Knitalong. There is a blanket pattern I'd love to make with my leftover sock yarn. I don't subscribe to any knitting or spinning magazines. The only magazine I get right now is Cottage Living.

19. When is your birthday?
Feb. 10

20. What book or movie character do you most resemble in personality?
Hmmm...let's say Trinity from The Matrix. Mostly just because I wish I could look as good as she did in those outfits. :)

21. What is the climate like where you live around this time (need to know for careful shipments of anything meltable)?
I live in Denver, so the climate is very dry and usually pretty pleasant. It can get very hot though.

22. Tell us one weird fact about yourself!
I have been to the Iowa State Fair every year since I was born except for one.

favorite painting/picture(link):
I love the old French advertising posters. Steinlein's Chat Noir is my favorite.

Candy: Dark Chocolate, Smarties (both the sugary ones from the U.S. and the yummy chocolate ones you can get everywhere but the U.S.

Food: Chocolate Chip cookies!

Drink: Cherry Coke

Movie(s): Indiana Jones, The Shawshank Redemption

TV Show(s): 24, The Office

Book(s): Gone with the Wind, anything by David Sedaris, anything by Jon Krakauer

So that's it for the questionaire.

This week I was in New York City for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) International Conference. Not only was it a great conference where I got some great ideas for programs I can implement at work, I also got to spend time with friends I have met from all over the world since I've been involved with the organization. We had a night out at the Rainbow Room, which is at the top of Rockafeller Plaza (30 Rock) and had an incredible view of the city. I didn't think to get my camera out until it got too dark to take photos of the view, but I got a great photo of my friends from the Colorado Chapter.


Unfortunately, I couldn't stay out too late because the next morning I was presenting at a round table session on Change Communications with my colleague Stacy at 7:15...a.m. Ugh. Other than it being early, it went very well, especially since this was my first time presenting to my peers. I have a new respect for people who make presenting seem effortless. This is what the room looked like before we started.


It was pretty full...we had more than 100 people attend. I hope they learned something new from us.

I couldn't go to NYC without getting outside of the hotel. One of the highlights was dinner out with some girlfriends at Tao, an amazing Asian fusion restaurant. We ordered the Giant Fortune Cookie for dessert...YUM! It was filled with dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate mousse. Did I already say YUM!?!


After dinner we rolled ourselves out the door and hurried over to Broadway to see Rent. It was an incredible show and a fun night out with friends. My only regret is that I didn't make it to a yarn shop while I was there, especially since Karen, who I met at the Spring Fling had put together a list of yarn shops for me and even offered to go with me. I need to go back soon!

I returned home yesterday and the kitties were happy to see me. They even kept a journal of their adventures while I was gone. It sounds like they had a good time with the petsitter. Tonight, I decided I needed to keep working on getting the fleece clean so my house doesn't smell like sheep when my family comes to visit next week. I was working on the grey fleece.


I was using my patented two bathtub cleaning process which involves me running back and forth between my two bathrooms and very close kitty supervision. As I left one bathroom, I noticed Purl taking great interest in the wool soaking in the tub. I made a comment to her not to fall in the tub. As I was checking on the wool in the other tub, I heard a thud and the sound of water splashing. Apparently Purl didn't listen to my warning. I ran into my bedroom to find a wet kitty. Fortunately, I had a camera nearby. There's nothing funnier, um, I mean sadder than a kitty who has fallen in a bathtub.


She was lucky she fell in during the 2nd soak so the water wasn't filthy. She would have gotten another bath if that had happened.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In the event of a wool apocalypse...

Don't worry. I have things covered. This weekend was a great opportunity to add to the fiber stash. Saturday morning I drove up to Estes Park for the Estes Park Wool Market, which is a fiber lovers dream. They had more than 50 vendors (most of them from Colorado and surrounding states) along with lots of fiber-bearing animals to look at.

I found a couple of things that needed to come home with me.


There's two skeins of 100% silk roving at the top, a skein of the softest Alpaca yarn ever that was produced at a local mill, three bundles of superwash merino and one bundle of merino/tencel roving from Bonkers in Lawrence, Kan., and a walnut Magpie drop spindle. Isn't it pretty? The gold pin on the whorl is because it needed a little more weight in that area to be balanced.


And this is fur plucked from angora bunnies named Lilli and Black Jack.


And in two separate moments of insanity, I decided that I needed to prepare and spin my own fleece. I ended up with a gorgeous silver grey fleece...6.5 pounds of a corridale cross fiber.


Then I stumbled upon a screaming deal on a 2 pound merino/corridale fleece. The fiber is really soft and will be a dream to spin. The catch. It is absolutely filthy because the sheep hadn't been coated.


I've washed about half of it so far and I'm afraid my bathtub will never be the same, but it's cleaning up fairly well. I think a good portion of the fiber will be usable.

Aside from the shopping, the highlight of the wool market is the animals.

There were alpacas...


I loved this haircut. I thought she looked like a chow chow.


And there were goats...


And vicunas...


And there were also llama and sheep and bunnies, but I didn't get any photos of here is another alpaca photo. These boys were all for sale. I don't think they'd enjoy living on a balcony, so I didn't bring one home with me.


Ashford doesn't think we need an alpaca either.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Denver Adventure

Yesterday Mary and I both had the day free, so we decided to do some exploring in downtown Denver. I took the light rail from the south side of town and Mary took the bus from Boulder and we met up at Union Station.

Our first stop was the Denver Capitol Hill People's Fair, which is an annual festival in Civic Center Park. There were a ton of booths to check out from arts and crafts vendors and community groups along with entertainment. We got there just as it was opening so it was easy to walk around and see everything.

We then walked down Broadway to find a craft shop Mary had seen before that was nearby. It was called Fancy Tiger, and it was a small shop, but they had a lovely selection of yarn and fabric and a variety of craft supplies. They have free DIY nights and it seems like it would be a fun place to spend an evening. During our walk back we stopped in a really cute pet supply shop. They had a kittens available for adoption and there were several who almost had to come home from me. My favorites were the five six-week old kittens that had just been weaned. They were so tiny and cute. I was smitten with a little calico who felt the need to hiss at her admirers. Absolutely adorable.

Our next stop was the La Piazza dell’Arte. It was being held in Larimer Square, which is an area that has a great mix of restaurants and shops. They also have a wonderful gelato shop. Even though we hadn't had lunch yet, we couldn't pass that by. I ordered the small scoop in a waffle cone which included a scoop of chocolate chocolate chip and a scoop of chocolate mint. Yum! I don't even want to know what the large looks like. I'm glad we were doing a lot of walking.

The festival was really neat. Businesses purchase a square on the street and then the artists create these incredible drawings using chalk and pastels. Some are originals and others are based on famous works of art. All were really impressive.




We left the festival and hopped on the light rail back to my part of town. We stopped by a knitting shop that is right down the street from my house called Knitty Cat. They were celebrating their 5 year anniversary with a sale. I picked up some Noro sock yarn and Collinette Jitterbug.



I guess Boulder is lacking in good fabric stores, so after we left Knitty Cat we went to the Great American Quilt Factory where Mary found a few fabrics for a quilt she's planning on making.

We finished off our day by picking up some Chinese food, trimmed the kitties claws (Mary will have scars to remember that by...Xena is not a fan of getting her claws trimmed) and then we went to see a movie.

In knitting news, I've made some progress on the handspun scarf.


And I've been spinning some merino/silk. It's going to be gorgeous, but so far I haven't really enjoyed spinning the fiber. I have a lot left to spin, so I hope it gets better.


Even though Purl got to stay at home yesterday, she still was exhausted.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Windows are Open

Because the air conditioner doesn't seem to work. I broke down last night and decided that I needed to turn it on. It was on for about 5 hours and the temperature in my house went up about 5 degrees. Not the result I had hoped for. Sigh. The joys of a new home. Fortunately it's all under warranty and should be fixed in the next day or so. At least the kitties are enjoying the fresh air.


Let's focus on how cute Miss Ashford is as she looks out the window and not on the fact that she's violating one of the house rules and standing on the kitchen counter. She was protecting our house from the little dog that was wandering around in the alley behind the house so I let it slide. (See the flower to the right of her? That was laying on my dash when I got back into my car after getting my oil changed. The guys at the Grease Monkey near my house really take care of their customers!)

I finished spinning my the Perchance to Knit superwash merino wool. The colorway is Rainbow Black and it's about 950 yards of laceweight. I think this needs to become a scarf. There are a couple of projects that need to be finished before I start anything new though.


Much to Xena's chagrin, the lack of air conditioning doesn't keep Ashford from needing to snuggle.