Vogue Knitting Live SF Recap

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What a weekend, I barely know where to start.  There’s so much to tell you about…classes, shopping, fashion shows…and lots of yarn!  Let’s start with the fun stuff…here’s my shopping.

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I went over budget but I knew that was going to happen.  I say unrealistic things like ‘I’m not going to buy yarn.’  Obviously, no one believes that.  Not even me.  I did leave my credit card at home on days 2 & 3 though, that helped.  The vendors were quick to be helpful, telling me about apple pay and other banking apps they’re equipped to deal with.  Nice try, vendors.  Nice try.

My shopping started at Neighborhood Fiber Co.  They were the end of their row, a perfect crossroads to find friends.  Perhaps, for me, the best part of the event was it’s small, even intimate size.  It was so easy to run into fiber friends.  Having worked in local yarn shops, I know a lot of knitters.  There were lots of people to stop and chat with! So, I stood next to the Neighborhood Fiber Co booth, eyeing their display shawls and chatting it up.

I happened to say ‘if they had a kit for that shawl and it was in my hands, what are the chances I’d put it down?’  A helpful friend said ‘oh, you mean like this’ and the rest is history.  I’m not sure what exactly I’ll knit with the yarn.  It’s a kit for Joji’s Fading Point shawl and the display model is Joji’s Starting Point shawl.  I like triangles more than rectangles but also, how many triangles (asymmetric or otherwise!) does one person need?

With that in mind, my next purchases were for sweaters.  Franklin Habit’s class definitely gave me the finishing touches I was looking for.  A nice woolly cardigan with a zipper is now in the queue.  I picked up a 7 skeins of Swans Island sport weight from the ‘All American’ collection.  100% American grown, spun and dyed, NON-SUPERWASH Rambouillet…It’s perfect!  I’m going to pair it with the Mountain Meadow Cody, I got in Flagstaff.  It’s very similar in it’s 100% American grown, spun, dyed origins.  They should pair beautifully.

I’ve got a range of colors and no clue how they’ll become a sweater.  The next part of my process is making a pile.  When I’m asked ‘what are you going to do with that yarn?’, which is frequent at these events, my answer is ‘put it in a pile’.  It’s funny, in the moment, but it’s also the truth.  I buy single skeins in large quantities.  Figuring out how they all fit together, is the fun part.  First thing I did when I got home last night was put them in a pile.  (Also referred to as ‘playing Barbies’.)

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Here’s a couple piles!  The best piles ever!  A gorgeous squishy real wool cardigan with a zipper…yes, please!!

And then, that green pile…oh yeah!  I’ve been collecting green fingering weight yarns all year.  This pile is just beginning.  There’s going to be lots of arranging and rearranging.  Whatever happens, it’s going to be good.  I might be saying the words ‘Westknits Marled Mania Cardigan’ but I don’t think I mean that just yet.  I’d consider the short version, in one color family…I’m waiting to see some real world examples pop up.  Given my current queue, I should have no problem filling that wait time up with other knits.

And cross stitches.  When the cash for big yarn projects was depleted I still had a few dollars left for beads!  The bead booth is so fun!  And beads are so tiny.  No space issues when you hoard beads.  Those three on the left came home with me.  They’ve got an interesting bias cut that could make for interesting leaf, scale or feather textures.  We’ll see what happens.

And then, there’s all the stuff I didn’t buy.  Sadly, I can’t cram everything from every yarn shop into my small apartment.  I didn’t buy most the stuff.  I showed restraint and only brought home pictures of all these beauties…

Overall, I was happy with the marketplace.  Anyone expecting Stitches West level of shopping was in for a disappointment.  There was one small ballroom full of vendors.  I’ve not been to VKL in New York but apparently, it’s four times larger than this was.  There were complaints.

The interesting thing for me was the dominance of our local shops.  Many local shops had booths and many (most?) attendees were local.  This did not feel like an event full of people who traveled great distances.  It felt like a local event with a few out of towners.  That’s not what I was expecting.  It also felt undersold.  It wasn’t crowded.  The economics of it all is certainly questionable.  I hope the vendors made a bit of money.  The tentative plans for 2020 include another VKL SF.  I think they need to change things up a bit, if it’s going to work.

More about the complaints tomorrow!  I got a lot out of my class but not everyone did.  Franklin is an excellent teacher.  He was so well organized and together.  My class was a well oiled machine.  Unfortunately, I heard more bad class stories than good.

I’ve got lot of pics from class to share but enough talking, it’s yarn:30 in the crafternoon.  I must knit!  There is a 3-color cashmere cowl calling my name!

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Stash Enhancement

After a period of losing local yarn shops, San Francisco got a new shop over the long weekend!  Woo!  Firebird Yarns…right on Haight Street…a great location for tourists and locals, alike.   I can’t wait to see how things develop there.  I hope the shop continues to grow and sticks around for long time.

It hit a lot of current trends…indie dyers, gradient yarns, mini skeins, speckles galore!  All things I like.  The indie variety was impressive…Loft Twenty Two, Houndstooth Fiber Arts, Hula Hut Yarn, Mad Science Yarns (great color names here–tesla coil, genetically modified berries, perfect mad science names!).

And now, here’s my plea to those indie dyers…please, please, please expand your offerings beyond superwash.  There is a market for non-superwash yarns, especially considering how many of those superwash yarns are labeled ‘hand wash cold, lay flat to dry’.  That’s not how superwash works.

With that in mind, the shop did have one special yarn, non-superwash, sheep raised in Texas, milled out in the Sacramento Valley.  It’s a great color too, so I had to buy a skein.  It’s a bulky single ply with a bit of thick and thin happening.  No idea what I’ll do with it, but I’m sure it’ll be good!  It’s a nice soft yarn!

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Of course, I can’t resist a good speckle so I picked up a skein of Hula Hut Yarn too.

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I’ve got a good collection of green yarns now, this could be my next cast on!  Perhaps at the end of the week, after my job interview.  I’ve got 48 hours left to prepare…so it’s all work until then!  I’d say ‘wish me luck’ but this is definitely the type of situation where you make your own luck.  I’m feeling good about my presentation but I’ve still got lots of fine tuning to do.  What I really need is two days of distraction free focus.  (that might be where the luck comes in!)  I’ll keep you posted!  :)


 

Happy Friday!

Look Familiar?  Not much has changed.  Things have been meandering along this week.  I tried to generate some excitement last week but it didn’t work.

The baby sweater I cast on is sitting untouched in the corner.  I’m not sure the stripes I chose are a good idea, maybe I should just stick with the color blocking?  I still haven’t cast on a Local Yarn Shawl.  My colors aren’t quite right.  I need to dive a bit deeper into the stash.  Just a lot of meh going on.

May the Fourth inspired me to pull R2-D2 out of his corner.  And while, he’s gotten lots of love this week, it’s not entirely obvious, thanks to the effect of white stitches on a very pale blue background.  It doesn’t help that cross stitch makes knitting seem fast and efficient when done by hand.

Even my beloved Dotted Rays is stuck in a pit of ennui (<-that’s how bad it is, it’s turned French?!?).  Progress is being made, and it’s going to be awesome.  I’m ready for it to be done though.  It’s grown to very cumbersome, shlanket proportions.

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It WILL be done soon and I’m going to love wearing it.  Even that ‘purple’ stripe that is totally skewing pink is going to be great.  The whole thing is terrific.  Terrific is not exciting though.

And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, that moment when vacuuming seemed like a better idea than crafting…the mailman showed up!  Phew!  It was a close call.  The mailman arrived just in time.  He brought me a package from my Mom, a sort of reverse Mother’s Day package!  It’s an especially good one…

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Not one but TWO skeins of Magical Tundra Qiviut!  For those not in the know about this stuff, it’s the epitome of luxury fiber.  An incredibly soft, incredibly warm, incredibly lofty fiber from the arctic musk ox!  I always visit the musk ox booth at Stitches to pet the skeins but I’ve never brought any home with me.  This is Excitement (<- capital E!)

And, it turns out, fancy musk ox yarn, isn’t even the most exciting part of this package. Mom also sent 1000 yards of her own hand dyed amazingness!

Yes, FriYAY can officially commence now.  I love all of these colors!  I can’t wait to wind and swatch all afternoon!  Turns out I wasn’t meandering or bored all week.  I was just waiting for the right moment to get excited!  Patience is, indeed, a virtue. Wooooooo!

Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve all got excitement on your needles too!

 

 

 

Stitches West 2018

Before I get into Stitches, I’ve got one last Olympic photo left on my desktop.

Behold…the Clipboard of Power!

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I laughed so hard when I saw that.  Also, I want one!  Clipboards definitely give you super powers.  This one must be very special.  I bet they needed specific training before being allowed to handle it.  Yup, I definitely want one.

List #1 for the Clipboard of Power…all the yarns I want to buy next year.

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Neighborhood Fiber Co for starters.  I was drawn back to their booth so many times.  Surprisingly, I bought nothing there??

Hedgehog Fibers…nope, didn’t bring any home?!  A Verb for Keeping Warm…it was gorgeous, didn’t buy any though.  I passed up the Shibui booth entirely.  I never visited the Yarn Over Truck.  YOTH…not this year.  Sincere Sheep, such a shame to miss.

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Frankly, once I gave myself permission to buy whatever I wanted, it’s amazing that this is all I came home with:

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So where DID I shop?

First stop:  Miss Babs

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That’s five skeins of Yowza caked up at the top of the photo.  It’s the yarn that set my color palette for the weekend and for year one of nephew knitting.  I hit the teal-purple-grey with a pop of chartreuse color scheme pretty hard this year.  If I’m going to do all this baby knitting, I may as well like it.

Those five skeins are going to become the ultimate Rebecca Danger layette set — a monster blanket and a monster sweater, both with pockets for monster friends.  There will be a whole gaggle of monster friends and whatever else I can squeeze out of those 2800 yards.  That’s 1.6 miles of yarn.  It sounds like a lot.  I’m not convinced though.  Good thing I kept shopping…

Next, KnitPicks.  I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with them.  Love the product, hate the shipping issues.  Being able to buy their yarns in person, even if it’s only at special events, is awesome!

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I got a couple hanks of the new worsted weight yarn, Provincial Tweed.  It’s got baby sweater potential.  I love tweed for it’s ability to hide pills.  I’m guessing it will hide spit up pretty well too?!

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And of course, fan favorite, self-striping sock yarn, Felici.  I don’t even knit socks but show special $3.50/ball…how do you resist that?  Blaming this one on the impending baby as well…thinking a Baby Vertebrae and a set of little baby leg warmers.  Chubby baby legs wrapped in yarn are pretty adorable.  Once the idea was planted, there was no ignoring it.

Still, though, I wasn’t done.  Zombie Yarns was definitely calling my name.  I can’t wait to knit this.  I got the ‘Playful Monster’ yarn pack to make the ‘Playful Monster Hoodie’.  I’m not sure it’s monster enough though.  I may have to put some monster ears on it to jazz it up a little more.  (and also knit it in my size!)

 

Never fear though, I did by some yarn for myself.  I know you were probably concerned about that.  I think I’ve finally collected enough speckles for a speckle fade cardi!!

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A couple finds from the Western Sky Knits sale bin (the two on the left)!  $15 speckles! Yes Please!  In the middle, a gorgeous purple speckle from Hooker’s Corner called Wisterious.  Love it!  On the right, another purple speckle, this one from Arucania.

I think getting out the rest of the collection for a full fade inspection will really be the motivation I need to cast on a fingering weight sweater.

And finally, there’s the first yarn to make it onto needles.  It’s Valley Yarns, Goshen – a cotton/tencel/silk blend.  A July baby needs a cotton blanket!

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A bit of a swatch and off I went…

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I’m just happy it’s not a hat!  :)  I’m making good progress.  Fingers crossed I can resist the urge to cast on more new yarn.  It’s time to finish my current sweater WIP.  A little focus goes a long way!


 

Knittus Interruptus

I made it all the way to January 31st before I broke down and bought yarn.  Despite my ardent claims, we all knew it was going to happen.  I really did mean it though.  I thought I’d make it into February before I came up with an excuse.  And, I do think I’ve got a good excuse…

 

This is the Striped Asymmetry wrap.  I was supposed to have the exact right yarn for this project.  Woolfolk Tynd, the yarn the pattern calls for.

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Turns out, I didn’t.  And, I’m so far off, I can’t even call this a yarn chicken fail.  The stripe pattern needs to continue on, consuming the grey tail up top, as the stripes continue.  That’s still a lot of tail stitches to use up.   I must’ve misread the pattern.  Losing the pattern page with those details on it probably didn’t help.

So you can see where this is going.  I bought this yarn back in September at the Knitterly, in Petaluma.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to call and see if they still had it.  And sure enough, they had a dye lot match!  My lucky day!

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How could I not buy that?  It’s the rest of the pile I probably didn’t need…

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Neon green acrylic…going to be part of the bike project I’m working on.  I didn’t need the yardage but the project is missing some green pops.  It’s sort of justified.  Also, only $6.

Price is my justification for the other two skeins as well.  YOTH Little Brother, from the clearance section.  It was 70% off, only $8/skein.  It’s a little fuzzy from being kicked around but that’s what cashmere does.  At $8/skein, it’s irresistible.  I had to buy it.  HAD TO.

Plus, look at all this yarn I didn’t buy…

I resisted a lot!  I have no regrets!  NONE!  Not only that, I’m glad about it!  It was a beautiful day to be traipsing across the bridge!

I stopped for bridge pics coming and going and I even managed a little trip to the beach and some knitting time.

Nope, not one single complaint about it.

I really mean it this time though…I’m not buying any yarn for the next three weeks.  Then it’s Stitches.  Of course I’ll buy yarn at Stitches.  I’ve got a justification for that too (details to follow).  Maybe a more reasonable goal is to only buy yarn once a month??  I think I could do that?!

Maybe.


 

WIP Wednesday – A New Sweater

Before I show you my new sweater project, let’s take a moment to bask in the glory of this amazing yarn!

This is a DK weight, 100% baby llama yarn my Mom dyed and sent me for Christmas.  I absolutely love it!  Mom used an ice dying technique that I don’t think is common among yarn dyers but seeing the results, it should be!

You prep your yarn as normal and then pack it in ice.  You sprinkle dye powder on top of the ice.  As it melts, the dye is solubilized and trickles down to the fiber below.  The result is all kinds of unexpected fun!  The chartreusey green dye broke into it’s base components giving an amazing array of gold and yellow tones while still maintaining much of it’s greenness.

I love it.  So much complexity from one dye and some ice.  I can’t wait to use it.  It’s 220 yards.  I’m thinking cowl.  We’ll see.  Maybe even some sort of lace leaf motif.  Just as spring starts springing, I usually have a fit that only this color can calm.  It’s gonna be good.

In the meantime, this is my palate…

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Thank you Noro!  This is the Noro Rainbow Roll, a 100% wool pencil roving.  It’s surprisingly soft for a Noro yarn.  It’s certainly softer than the yarn I’m pairing it with, Plutolopi, an unspun Icelandic yarn.

I’m pretending they’re the same gauge, even though they aren’t.  The lopi is distinctly thinner.  I think it works though.  I like the swatch.  I’m going with it.

The plan was generic top-down, raglan cardigan.  The gauge worked out perfectly for Vivido, though.  My two favorite cardigans are this pattern.  One of them is well past it’s expiration date.  I keep repairing it but it really should be retired.  So, in the spirit of if-it-ain’t-broke, my new sweater is another Vivido.

It’s going well, but the plan has definitely changed already.  My original intention was a striped cardigan.  As I work these stripes though, they’re a little busy.  I’m not sure I need that all over my body.

The new plan is striped yoke, solid brown body.  That’s a totally fair compromise.  Plus, I wouldn’t mind having some of this Noro left over.  It really is soft.  I’m feeling the urge to stash more!  (it’s only $11 at Webs right now!?!?)

(and Noro is prone to discontinue this.  It’s definitely a specialty item.)

(I’m gonna try really hard to resist.)

(I should probably use this pile first!)

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(I think I’ve talked myself off the ledge.  For now.)

 

Weekend Stash Enhancement

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I visited another new bay area yarn shop this weekend, The Black Squirrel in Berkeley.  It’s a nice, bright, open space with an amazing yarn wall.  They have a small, trendy selection of yarn.

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It’s kind of amazing that I only came home with three skeins.  I don’t usually do trends but speckle yarn is one trend I am on board with!

There were maybe 3 or 4 different indie dyers represented on the wall.  I went with Spun Right Round, a dyer from Rochester, NY.  This is the sock base, an 80/20 superwash wool/nylon blend.  In colors Caterpillar and Idle Gossip.

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For a quick minute, I thought, I should do one of those faded sweaters.  I think I’ve come to my senses since then.  I’ve got too many WIPs for that but just in case I decide to do a fade of some kind, my third color is the perfect neutral for a fade, Newsprint.

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White with black speckles…an instant classic!

I’m not casting the yarn on yet but I did have time for another little project I picked up.

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A christmas ornament cross-stitch kit.

They worked up quick and turned out super cute.

 

Pre-Thanksgiving isn’t too early for a Christmas tree, is it?

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And, I managed to make progress, this weekend, on the Bill Murray Sweater too.  Good progress I think.  I’ll share some details and photos for WIP Wednesday!   Hopefully it’ll look like something by then!