Category Archives: Festing

Shepherd’s Harvest anyone?

Thanks for all the kind words about the baby bolero!

Although it’s nowhere near the scale of MDS&W or any of the big fiber festivals, this weekend we’re having our own area fiber festival, Shepherd’s Harvest (and Llama Magic). I’m going Saturday with Charlene and possibly Jeanne. I know Kerry’s going to be out there Saturday, Renee on Sunday, and Kate’s not sure when yet. Anyone else?!

I’m taking one class on Saturday morning, Dyeing Patterned Sock Yarn (there are still openings as of 7:30 am, May 11). I was mightily tempted by Beginning Needle Felting (you make a little felted copy of your pet – how cute would a tiny felted Chaos be?!), but it’s Sunday afternoon and I have family obligations. Other fun things include a rabbit agility demonstration, herding demonstrations, sheep to shawl competition (5 hours to go from fiber on the hoof to finished product), and a bunny to bonnet demonstration.

If anyone’s interested in getting together to chat and knit or spin, there’s a Spin In in Building B. I’ll be lurking around the Spin In area by 1:15 pm, knitting on either my Black Lagoon lace socks or my funkadelic Meilenweit Cotton socks (not yet featured here). I’ll have my sturdy grey Mountainsmith zip-top tote with me.

Hope to see you there!


Neenah redux

At last! 🙂

My first class was Rainbow Dyeing in the Microwave with Merike Saarniit. We learned how to do one shot dyeing with acid dyes. This yarn

became a bit more colorful, with the help of Country Classic colors Spring Violet and Raven.*

I was sufficiently inspired that I went down to the vendor room and picked up some yarn for Jeanne and I to try acid dyeing. After we get dyes someday, of course.

My second class was Exotic Stitches for More than One Color with Anna Zilboorg. I used some variegated purple and black to create this multi-stitch pattern swatch:

Detected any color theme here yet?! I also took Twisted Traveling Stitches with Anna Zilboorg, but I don’t have any pictures from it. I had a migraine and my stitches, while twisted, went on very short and somewhat erratic journeys…

On Friday night, I was sitting and knitting in the hospitality room at the hotel and someone called out, “Is Chris of Stumbling Over Chaos here?” Um, maybe… And that’s how I met Blogless Carla, pictured here with the amazing door prize she won. Those are five Alice Starmore books, kids… Note the look of shock on her face.

I met Blogless Jodee…

and Blogless Lydia, all three of whom will be at the Taos Wool Festival this fall, so hopefully we’ll meet up again there. Carla and Jodee are already rather (in)famous.

I also met knitblogger Amy Lu of Some Call Them Sticks and String… I Call Them Sanity – check out her nifty necklace!

I took advantage of our weekend-long discount at Yarns By Design to purchase a few things… (I know, you are so not surprised.) From the left, two skeins of Blue Sky Organic Cotton (one destined to be the baby bolero from One Skein), a hank of Helen’s Lace in Black Purl, Opal Zebra, and Trekking 108 (inspired by Cyn’s gorgeous socks).

*I dyed two other mini-skeins with Evergreen (plus a dash of Buttercup) and Raven. However, I don’t have very good pictures of them… You might remember that Chaos is fascinated with mini skeins.

“Hmph. These are not as cuddly cute as that STR mini skein that I know you hide from me.”
“Mmmmm… but they are awfully cushy…”

Hitting the road next week

A while ago, I mentioned that I’m going to the Midwest Master’s in Neenah, Wisconsin. I just realized that I’ll be hitting the road for that a week from tomorrow! Woo-hoo!! It’s been way too long since I took a road trip or took any knitting classes.

I’m taking three classes – two from Anna Zilboorg and one from Merike Saarniit. I’ve taken a weekend seminar from Anna before and met Merike at that. I picked classes that sound interesting and that should also challenge me:

Exotic Stitches for More Than One Color – Anna Zilboorg (3 hours)
“Multi-colored knitting need not be stranded; many fascinating patterns are developed with one color at a time and a few simple techniques.”

  • The multi-colored knitting I’ve done has been mostly self-patterning sock yarn and the occasional strawberry hat for a baby, so this is definitely a departure for me!

Twisted Travelling Stitches – Anna Zilboorg (6 Hours)
“Austrian twisted travelling stitches create patterns in high relief that resemble woodcarvings. They are easy to do with a few special techniques and a little practice.”

  • Again, I’ve done a limited amount of textured knitting. I have a Door County Cable Sweater on the needles… but two years ago I hit a point in the pattern that confused the heck out of me and haven’t picked up the sweater since.

Rainbow Dyeing in the Microwave – Merike Saarniit (3 hours)
“Experiment with making your own hand-painted yarns or rovings in an efficient, no-mess, no felting or fulling, low water use method!”

  • Gosh, does this sound like the perfect lead in for Dye-O-Rama or what?!

If anyone’s going to be at Neenah or is along the route between Minneapolis and Neenah and is interested in getting together to knit, let me know!

“I wonder if I can sucker extra food out of the catsitter… Mmmm… food.”

In which I verify the physical existence of three knitbloggers

Yesterday, Jeanne and I journeyed west from Minneapolis to the 318 Cafe in Excelsior, Minnesota. There we met up with knitbloggers Amy, Deb, and Lisa D for coffee, lunch, knitting, and lots of laughter. Deb’s putting together a local knitblogger networking event in April – stay tuned for more details.

If Excelsior sounds somehow familiar to you, it might be from the Betsy Devonshire mysteries by Monica Ferris. While Betsy’s store Crewel World is entirely fictional, Excelsior does have a really cool yarn store – Coldwater Collaborative. (I posted some pictures from Coldwater Collaborative about two months ago.) The cozy 318 Cafe is handily located across the street from Coldwater Collaborative. And Deb works at Coldwater, so Jeanne and I got to see the mystical and fabulous storage area “next door.” Let’s just say if you stop by the store and don’t see a color you want, you should definitely ask about it.

From left to right: Jeanne, me, Amy, Deb, and LisaD

And LisaD brought me these super cute little stitchmarkers. Thanks, LisaD – that was so sweet!

“You’re not getting off that easy – I know you had tuna for lunch while you were out. And did you think to bring home a kitty bag?! Hmph.”

Fall Fiber Festival anyone?

As you might’ve read on Scout’s blog, she and I are working on an early October meetup in New Mexico. New Mexico is one of my favorite places – I spend an amazing amount of time gawking at the sky. I love Sante Fe and Taos and am looking forward to getting to know Albuquerque better, with help from the Scout and hopefully some of the other knitters in the area.

But we’d love to lure some other bloggers out, too. Let us tempt you with the Taos Wool Festival (October 7th and 8th, with workshops before and after) and the Albuquerque International Balloon Festiva (early mornings, October 6th through 15th).

The area has so many other cool things, I’ll just include a few.

Petroglyph National Monument, at the west edge of Albuquerque – I took the picture below in the spring of 2003. Seeing such ancient human artifacts was powerfully moving.

Bandelier National Monument isn’t that far away, either. Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a bit of jaunt, but it’s on my list of places to see. The High Road to Taos from Sante Fe is a spectacular drive that takes you through some lovely and fascinating communities like Chimayo (most famous as the “Lourdes of America”).

In addition to the Wool Festival, the area has some fun yarn shops, such as Taos Sunflower, Weaving Southwest, La Lana Wools, Needle’s Eye, and Village Wools (where Scout works!). I also stopped at several cool spinning/dyeing/weaving studios in Chimayo and along the High Road. And if you’re willing to go a bit further out, Tierra Wools in Los Ojos is fascinating.

Georgia O’Keefe lived in the area for years, and I highly recommend a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Sante Fe. She lived on the Ghost Ranch and in Abiquiu – and it looks like the Abiquiu Studio Tour might coincide with the Balloon Festiva and Wool Festival. I went to a knitting retreat at the Abiquiu Inn in the spring of 2003 – here’s a picture of me taken in that area:

I’m sure Scout and I will be posting more about this as it develops. Please leave a comment if you’re interested in participating in our very loosely organized knitting “festival”!

Needless to say, the Cat Chaotic was a bit upset upon hearing I might be gone for a week or two this fall…

“What??? Did you clear this with me?! I don’t think so, missy. Your place is right here, keeping me entertained and fed.”
Edit: SRM has returned! I have no idea where he’s been for the past six weeks. Chaos just brought a sparkly mouse for me to throw and I threw it once before I realized that it was red and had no ears or nose… Chaos is very happy! He is a blissful SRM fetching feline machine right now.

In which I don’t spin

These are the people I spent my afternoon with:

If you’re astute, you’ll notice that they have spinning stuff. You might be thinking, “Chris, you don’t spin. Why did you spend your afternoon with some obviously lunatic spinners?”

A good question. Yesterday I realized that June of Two Sheep lives in Minnesota, only an hour south of Minneapolis. I mentioned in her comments where I lived, and June invited me to a monthly gathering of spinners at Creative Fibers, which is only about 10 minutes from my home. I wanted to meet an actual blogger who I hadn’t already known before I started blogging, so I headed over to Creative Fibers, Olympic knitting in hand.

Here’s June, prepping some cotton for spinning – check out the gorgeous sweater she’s wearing:

I spent an enjoyable afternoon listening to incomprehensible fiber talk, admiring lovely yarn being spun, laughing a great deal, and getting quite a bit done on my Olympic sweater (a very few more details on my sweater progress over at the Team Midwest blog).

Update: It turns out that I met a second blogger yesterday: Kerry of Furballs!

Chaos continues to be fascinated with my decoupage forms… Moments after this picture was taken, Boobzilla was knocked to the floor and much wrestling ensued. So much for redirecting his attentions

“Mom, I think they make this stuff out of catnip!”

Thanks for all the fabulous captions, which have provided many smiles and giggles these past few days. Remember, even if you couldn’t think of a funny caption before, you have until 6 pm CST on Monday!

There was baleful glaring last night…

But only from the Malevolent Bugman… Jeanne swears it’s something I bring out in him. She also swears that he’s warming up to me. Hmm.

“You will submit to my will, puny human. Go get me some Kitty Kaviar and be quick about it.”

First we got comfy in our sweats and readied our cameras.

“Chris, if you post this picture on your blog, I might have to kill you.”

We loaded up on wine and snacks.

I was settled in with a cat on my lap – truly, all the comforts of home.

“Don’t be honored by my presence – it’s because you’re sitting in my chair.”

We watched about three minutes of the opening ceremonies, found ourselves wondering WTF, and switched to Shrek 2, The Princess Bride, and Pitch Black. We did manage to switch back right in time to see the torch lighting extravaganze.

“Let me know when they’re going to light the torch.”

And at the end of the night (around 2 a.m.), we both had respectable progress to show.