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Portland Yarn Heaven and a Goat Moves In

May 20

This weekend in Portland was Yarn Heaven. I attended the TKGA Knit & Crochet Show, taking some great classes and checking out the wares in the shopping area. It’s like a mini Stitches event. The market is smaller, but I got to see some wonderful locally produced yarns. The classes are smaller too, which gave me a chance to learn more.

tkga-portland

I met up with my friend Alana, who you probably know as Nevernotknitting. We did a major Yarn Crawl, spanning a 24-hour period of fiber bliss. Happily, yarn stores in Portland stay open late. So on Thursday night we hit Dublin Bay, which was a beautiful store featuring lots of my favorite Rowan yarns.  Sadly, I didn’t get a photo inside the store. A blogger without a camera is, well, a space cadet I guess.

Next came one of my all-time favorite places on the planet – Knit Purl.

knit-purl-door

We stayed until closing at 9pm, hoping they’d just lock us in and let us browse and knit until they re-opened the next morning.

We saw so much yarn on Friday that I swear by the end of the day if someone had waved free cashmere in front of me, I would have missed it.

Here we are at the first stop, Twisted. Alana’s natural sense of style has her perfectly color coordinated with the sign.

twisted-1

The next store deserves a posting of its own, which I promise to get to another time. Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks is incredible – a large store with a deli in it (yarn AND food? oh my!), and its own line of hand dyed yarns. This “Socks Without Borders” afghan will be auctioned off at the Sock Summit to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

abundant-yarn-1

My trip home was… eventful. I adore taking Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Portland to my home in California. I get a sleeping compartment and for 24 hours I have my own little world of knitting, gorgeous scenery, and no distractions. This time, however, there was a freight train derailment ahead of us. Apparently when cars fall off the tracks, it puts a kink in the rails. They must have worked like mad to pick up the freight cars and put in new rails. I would loved to have watched that whole operation! Still, we were 11 hours late getting home.

And then when I did get home I found this guy who had decided to claim our terrace as his new residence. He ran away from home and walked a long way to find to find the area’s biggest pushovers.

goat1

I have to go buy alfalfa now…

196, But Who’s Counting?

January 25

196 mitered squares and 26 balls of Boku later, and the Make It Mitered Afghan is finally done!

All I can say is, I’m really glad I wove in all those ends as I went along. Let’s see, 196 squares times 2 ends each, plus 2 ends each ball of yarn, plus a couple for the crochet edge and we’re talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 ends. That’s enough to make a grown woman cry. All that weaving went much faster once my friend taught me how to knit the ends in. (Check out my Tips & Techniques page for a YouTube link for this).

Ok, I’m making this project sound all tedious, but it really wasn’t. I loved working on it, especially while my husband watched baseball. (You may remember, it was going to be the Major League Afghan, now it’ll have to be the Super Bowl Blankie). I took my time – about a year. That way, I picked it up when I felt like it. By about oh, square 53 or so,  I had the pattern down, so it was relaxing.

The crochet edge provided yet another learning experience. I ripped it out a couple of times before discovering that the hook needed to be a couple of sizes smaller that the knitting needles (US7) I used.

Jimmy D immediately laid claim to the afghan. “Mine. Just try taking it away from me. Remember what I did to the vet? You could be next, lady.”

Ah, the Vicious Attack Cat mellows out…

Many thanks to hubbie Steve for his help with the photos. If you want to make this project, the pattern is from Creative Knitting, November 2007.

Running with Newts

January 1

I met this little guy one day when I was out for a long run. When we finally get rain here, the California Newts come out. Newts are related to salamanders. They make their slow trek across roads, which results in unhappy endings when cars come along. When I spot them on the little roads where I live, I always stop and move them out of harm’s way.

When I go out for a long jog, I take my fuel belt which holds not only water bottles, but also my little Canon Elph camera. The fact that I stop to take pictures – even in competitive trail events – shows you how seriously I take my running. Anyway, I was ready when I came upon this newt on the road and needing rescuing.

I use the term “running” loosely when applying it to myself. I’m slow, overweight, and uncoordinated. So it’s really more like waddling. I was born with a crooked leg, which braces never totally straightened out.  

This newt cracks me up because this is pretty much my running style too. If he wore running shoes and was a bit chubbier we’d be twins! I think I was even grimacing the same way he is, since I found him at the top of a steep hill on about mile 6. I’d guess my pace and his aren’t so far off either. Maybe we share the same personal records!

The best part about running is seeing nature and the creatures.

posted under Critters, Running | 4 Comments »

Vicious Attack Cat

November 6

Looking at our cat Jimmy D, you’d never guess he can intimidate an entire animal clinic’s full of grown humans. His sweet countenance is matched by a placid nature. But only at home.

I recently had to drop the cat off at the vet’s. I usually make an appointment and am with him every minute. It couldn’t be helped this time. As much as I hated to do it, he had to be dropped off and left. Due to prior experience, his carrying cage comes with bright orange stickers that say “WILL BITE”. Not might bite, could bite, or is thinking about biting. Will Bite. I suppose they’re busy printing up additional stickers for him that say “WILL SCRATCH”, “WILL FOAM AT THE MOUTH” and “WILL HISS AND GROWL ALL DAY”.

All I can say is, you know its bad when a room full of technicians and vets, who work on wild and feral cats quite frequently, refuse to even remove ours from his cage. They examined him as best they could by peering through his carrier door and deducing his weight. When they called for me to go get him, they sounded as if they really wanted peace restored to their animal kingdom. Good thing his health is good overall.

posted under Critters | 5 Comments »

Wool on Four Feet

October 22

The shepherd has brought his flock to nearby fields, as he does every year at this time. I wanted to ask him whether these sheep made wool, thinking I’d be meeting my next yarn stash early. But he doesn’t speak English. I’m going to pretend these sheep will have long and happy lives donating their coats to a future knitting project.

By now everything is very dry and the herd kicks up a lot of dust.

The babies have been born over the past week. I thought babies were born in the spring; shows you what I know! The moms and babies are separated out from the rest of the herd and kept in a large pen.

Snack time

Snack time

The herding dogs are amazing. The shepherd uses a whole symphony of whistles which send the dogs off to move the sheep around.

The shepherding dogs know they’re special. The shepherd lives in a small trailer (which I didn’t photograph in order to respect his privacy). The mamas and babies live near the trailer and are guarded by two other scruffy-looking dogs. They bark like crazy when anyone comes within sight, which works great to scare away coyotes, bobcats and me. Later in the day I saw the herding dogs sitting very primly at attention near the trailer. The guard dogs were going berserk because I was within sight of “their” ewes and babies. I had to laugh – the herding dogs had their backs turned to the guard dogs as if to say that they were way too cool for such undisciplined mutts.

posted under Critters | 3 Comments »
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