February 15, 2010

Madrona 2010

Fair Isle Yoke Design with Janine Bajus

Nature's Palette with Jill Laski

The Pleasures of Spinning a Fleece: Down Breeds

Our booth

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February 14, 2010


Madrona was great as always. I have photos from all of my classes and will try to get them up soon. My left wrist has been sore for the last few days. I thought it was from working on big, heavy Girasole. Today it got extremely painful and my lower arm started to swell quite a bit. I have been icing it and taking Ibuprofen to deal with the pain and swelling. I think this may kill any chance of competing in Ravelympics for me which is too bad.

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February 10, 2010

Madrona Fiber Arts

Hi all. I'm in Tacoma at the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. I may not have a chance to do a Thursday this week so I hope you'll forgive me.

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February 18, 2009


I didn't spend as much time knitting on my cardigan as Madrona as I had planned because I was seduced away by my spinning wheel. After Janel's class on Friday I didn't want to stop spinning. Ever. I spent all of Friday and Saturday night spinning my pink merino from OFFF. I'm this close to finishing the singles. The body of the sweater is just a few rows away from finsihed. Then there are is a lot of ribbing, bands and finishing to do. A lot.

I didn't get to take Judith MacKenzie McCuin's spinning class on fat yarns but it looked like so much fine I made my own when I got home.

This is just over a pound of New Zealand wool I got as a gift many years ago from Jeanne. It took no time at all to spin it all up and ply it. I have a jumbo flyer on my Ashford Traditional. I don't think it would have been as easy or fun without it. I'm going to try fulling it just for kicks.

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Madrona Photos

The Fiber Gallery's Booth

The lovely Sarah Anderson in her stunningly amazing handspun, beaded, self-designed cardigan

Samples from Janel Laidman's Spinning a Painted Skein class

Aran Sweaters from the Top Down sample (front). Please ignore the enormously hideous bobbles

Aran Sweaters from the Top Down sample (back).

Lucy Neatby's class sample. Note side-opening pocket and X on front.

And R on back!


February 15, 2009

And Back Again

I'm home from Madrona. I went on Wednesday to set up the Fiber Gallery booth in the market. On Thursday I worked the booth. I thought I would hate it. I thought I would feel trapped in the market while there was a party going on in the other room. Instead it was wonderful. I saw everyone because everyone goes through the market. On Friday I took an all-day spinning class with Janel Laidman. I learned a bit and it was a pleasure to spend the day spinning the beautiful BFL from Chameleon Colorworks. On Saturday I took an all-day "Aran Sweaters from the Top-Down" class with Beth Brown-Reinsel. I finally feel inspired to knit Celtic Dreams after buying the pattern a year ago. I bought enough Black Water Abbey in Grey Sea(?) for it. Beth is a great teacher. She is skillful and knowledgeable with a very easy way about her. Today I took a half-day class with Lucy Neatby called "Double Knitting for the Addicted". Lucy is an outstanding teacher. I took her buttonhole class in June at TNNA and would absolutely take classes from her again. I learned a lot in her classes. Today in three hours we learned how to make a vertical pocket using double knitting as well as how to knit a double-faced fabric with completely different designs on each side. It's fiddly and tedious but very cool. I can't say that I'll be doing a ton of double knitting in the future but I feel much more comfortable with it now.

The best part of Madrona is seeing everyone. Every time I looked up or turned a corner I saw someone I know. It's a very happy place.

I took a shockingly poor number of photos (like four). I'll post something later to prove at least that I was there.


March 1, 2008

A Moment in the Sun

The sun it out! And I'm home! I can finally take some pictures!

This is my Tulip Cardigan. The pattern is from Dream in Color and the yarn is some of my handspun from class samples from Madrona last year.

My progress on the Noro shawl. I got the pattern written up and we had our first class today. I have two weeks until the next class to get it done.

I got this skein of Rare Gems Socks That Rock at Madrona. I was trying to pick a Raven colorway and couldn't decide. They were all so dark I couldn't picture knitting with them. This one of a kind skein caught my eye instead.

These indigo-dyed skeins of sock yarn are from Butternut Woolens. Incredibly pretty, rich color.

A hand-painted skein from Heidi at The Artful Ewe. So my colors.

A pile of beautiful spinning fiber from Judith's classes. This is yak/merino and Shetland.

And now it's raining. With hail??

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February 26, 2008

If You Give a Knitter a...

I'm a scattered mess right now. I don't have any clean clothes. I can't focus. My younger son loves all the Laura Numeroff books about giving animals one thing and they get distracted and want something else and so on and so on. Last night I got up to get something from my office. I don't remember what because when I got there I saw some handspun and remembered that I wanted to knit the Tulips cardigan with it. I grabbed it and started winding the yarn. I cast on for the sweater and then saw some other yarn that I wanted to wind. So I stopped wound the second skein of yarn and started knitting with that. Two new projects started in a span of two minutes. It's all so silly because I'm so close to finishing my gloves.


February 25, 2008

Most of February in One Post

Madrona was great.

I took a handcoverings class with Nancy Bush and Judith MacKenzie McCuin. We made gloves from Shetland then spun a yarn to match.

We spun bison then got to knit a pair of mitts with Buffalo Gals Bison/Merino. My pair is done but I haven't had a chance to get a good photo.

Last September I blamed my lack of a decent photo of Stephanie on her height. This year she stood on a freaking chair and I still couldn't get a decent shot. Time for a new camera.

(She's trying to show everyone how she holds knits so quickly.)
She was wearing her Kauni.

So was Ruth Sorensen, Naomi, Melinda, Shelly, Karen and Ellen. I asked to take a group photo and everyone handed me their cameras. I managed to take about ten pictures without dropping anyone's camera.
I took Janine Bajus's Color in Fair Isle class. Her are my yarns to swatch and my inspiration photo.

Okay, I'll do my vacation in another post.

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June 27, 2007

Photo Request

Attention all Madrona 2007 attendees.
I am looking for a photo of the booth from Madrona that had the huge tower of red top. I know I saw many photos on blogs right after Madrona. I was speaking with the owner at BSG and mentioned it. She asked me to send her links to any photos. Just leave me a comment or send me an email. Thanks.

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February 4, 2007

More on Madrona

This sheet of paper shows what we did in the morning session of Jill Laski's fiber blending class. We focused on color. As you may or may not be able to see in the photo there is a sample of a four-color monochromatic, analogous, complimentary and split complimentary blend as well as a multi blend (one color from all twelve spokes of the color wheel). Each sample was run through the carder once then twice, keeping a sample of each. I also spun up a tiny sample of each one. This was a great explanation of basic color theory for me. I pushed myself to pick colors I don't like to see if I could find ways to use them in blends that were appealing. So far no luck with that.

These are the samples from Color Progression in Plying. We were instructed to pick a three colors of combed merino top. Judith encouraged us to use at least one color we were a little scared of. I started with the taupe-sage, then added chocolate brown and finally picked the scary bright green. We spun it all as singles. Then we did a color progression in a 3-ply yarn. Three plies of the first color, then two of the first color with one of the second, etc. In this case the color I liked the most as a single, the taupe-sage, was horrid in the blends. The other colors just made it look dead. Judith suggested I go back and pick new colors to go with it until I find the ones that make it "sing." I selected colors but didn't have enough time in class to spin and ply it all. This class also reaffirmed my belief that 3-ply yarn rule. They look so round and relatively perfect compared to a 2-ply. Mental note: Make more 3-ply yarns.

My last class was Three Wild Downs. We learned lots about buffalo, yak and cashmere. We got many samples. The card shows (counterclockwise from the top right) 30/70 cashmere/merino blend, buffalo, black yak, grey yak, depigmented yak, a second depigmented yak, cashmere, baby Mongolian camel, a second cashmere and a third cashmere from China which was the highest quality of them all. Now can someone explain to me why I've been too scared to spin this, this or this but when Judith just hands me $30 of fiber I spun it up and didn't worry about the results?

All of my friends have been warned at this point that all of my sentences will start with the phrase, "Judith says..." for at least a few more weeks.

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February 3, 2007

Out of the Dye Pot

(I finally was able to upgrade to the new Blogger. Hope it doesn't suck.)

As I stepped out on to the porch to get some photos in natural light it started to rain so the lighting changed quite a bit from my first photo to my last.

First up are the dyeing disaster skeins. They've gone from pukey peach to screaming orangey-pink. Not really all that great of an improvement. They are also seriously underplied. I need to run them back through the wheel for a little more twist.

My friend Jill gave me a partial skein of Rowan Polar on Thursday night. It was a yellowy lentil green.

Now it's a vivid jungle green.

This is one of my class skeins. The colors were kind of weak. I juiced them up a bit and also added some black for low-lights. It doesn't look as much like the Polar skein in real life. The Polar is very vivid while this skein is more mellow.

This skein was also done in class. I had finished dyeing all my skeins and was just chatting with a friend while she was finishing up. We had a big bucket where we dumped all our brush rinse water and odds and ends of dye. The bucket usually was filled with brown, sludgy water. When I peered into the bucket on her table it was the most gorgeous rich mauve. My favorite color. I got a skein of yarn and put it in a baggie. Then I dumped in all the garbage water. I squished it around and dumped out the excess. Since the dye was very watered down I added a little more magenta and cyan. The resulting skein was very pretty but pale. I put it in the dye pot yesterday and poured mauve and maroon dyes over it. After it came out of the dyepot I laid it out on plastic wrap and drizzled some magenta highlights over it. I'm very happy with the results.

The best lessons I've learned so far are use a lot more dye than I think I need and that I can't get complex colors in one pass. I need to dye, hand paint, overdye and keep working a skein until I get a color I like. There are a few other skeins left that still need to be tweaked until they are acceptable.

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