Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gratuitous Black Sheep Stash

The Black Sheep Gathering was awesome. And not just for the shopping: I am not a sheep farmer, and actually don't plan to be. But my friend is, and with her in mind, I started the weekend out with a Sheep Shearing class. It was kinda like cutting DBF's hair, only different:
This is the poor sheep before and after we got ahold of her (we drew no blood, thankfully!). The class covered shearers and clippers, some emergency vet care, blade care, and techniques for handleing the sheep, along with practice on our very patient model here. I went on and bought the Blue Moon yarn and some of the hand spindles the first day. Then I went in search of what I always search for on the mainland: Ethnic Food One Can't Find in Hawai'i! (That day I had Middle Eastern for lunch and Greek and Indian for dinner)
Saturday brought the excellent class of beginning spinning, which I have no photos of since I was trying to actually spin something. Ditto with Sunday's excellent follow-up class: Wheels and Plyers. Basically all three of these classes were way beyond my range. However, we have no mentors here on this island. So I figure I absorbed as much as I could, took photos and video and notes, and spent money on good equipment, and hopefully I have enough theory to practice on for the rest of the year! Knitty-Knoddy (Isn't it pretty?) and- could that be?- Is that a new wooden SWIFT in the corner of that photo?
Note the 2-color swatch. On Sunday I also took a class on color knitting techniques. This was my "skate" class: I figured that I knew most of it and could relax my brain a little after all the new knowledge I had gleaned. Indeed: I took the class specifically for some intarsia help (I have never done intarsia to my liking) and specifically the right-hand woven-in fair-isle stitch on the purl-side (got that?). I got both of these missing pieces, and a little practice in holding 2 yarn colors in one hand (both the right and the left). I decided I still love 2 handed woven-in Fair Isle best.
And of course: Some family-members of mine may maintain that I really went to Oregon for nothing more than the copious amounts of cheap blueberries. They might not be totally wrong. And just when you thought I couldn't possibly spend more money than this:
Stay tuned for the arrival of the Spinning Wheel! Shipped UPS!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Love the Rockin' Sock Club!

There I was, alone and yarnless on my fiber-deserted island, clinging to the internet for love, when I started to hear rumors on other fiber blogs about this beautiful stuff called Blue Moon Sock Yarn. People were writing confessions about sniffing it, fondling it, knitting beautiful things out of it just for the sensual pleasure, going mad in the shops and taking piles of it home and rolling around in it...
What was this addicting stuff? I wondered. I found the sock club by surfing their site and signed up immediately: I had to get in on it, no matter what "it" turned out to be. Yarn sniffing-fondling-knitting-rolling in it? I was in! Then came the silly banking issue, the blog with it's many vocal members, and finally, the first shipment!

I sniffed. I fondled. DBF wound it into one huge ball, which I then separated into two equal portions. We remarked how pretty it was. I read all the notes and the posts on the Sock Club blog and I read the pattern several times.

I did not knit it.

Then came April. I felt guilt for not knitting the February kit. This guilt did not stop me from fondling, smelling, rolling (into balls, and also a little in it... SILK!). But I didn't knit it either. I vowed to finish the February kit before beginning the April.

I did not start April.

However, I did start February! Yes, it was June (maybe even late May?) and I was knitting the Monsoon socks. In the meantime, I read the blogs and was envious when knitters all went to Sock Camp. I read about all the technical problems (there was more than just the bank: Apparently there were shipping problems, blog problems, email problems, etc.) and I read the very polite notes from Tina and the crew about how everyone should try to be a bit nicer on the sock club blog, and how they were fixing problems as fast as they could. I didn't think too much about these silly complaints. Maybe because I know that there will always be someone complaining about something on the internet. Maybe because in Hawaii we have so many shipping and supply issues that I have ceased to expect perfection and haste. I thought the yarn and pattern-related complaints were just crazy because- well- have you rolled in the stuff?!?! So I shrugged it all off.

Then the big news:


(It is so silly how we have knitting celebrities, isn't it?)

Tina was at the Blue Moon booth at the Black Sheep Gathering. I was telling her that I loved the sock club when she went ahead and introduced herself. Then she asked who I was and where I was from, and seemed to even remember me! (There must not be too many of us in Hawaii?) She then hesitantly asked if I have had any problems, and if I had received the June shipment yet. (When I left for Oregon I hadn't, but when I got back it was here waiting for me.) I reported no problems and I think I get the shipments around the same time as California club members.
I then handed her my credit card and brought home my own stash.

But I have been thinking about it ever since. See, I was a bit star-struck and tongue-tied at the time. I wish I had been more clear with my praise. I really love the club: I look forward to each shipment, love the yarn and patterns, appreciate the beautiful dyeing, and love that there is a whole community of people out there that are as delighted and surprised by it all as I am! I fear the crew at Blue Moon (like many of us) perhaps get fixated on the very few negative squeaky wheels out there, when there is a mountain of people out there gushing (like this) ridiculously about rolling in and snorting the yarn.

This is just another love letter to Blue Moon. One of many, I hope. Check out the June Shipment! (Er...Which I haven't yet begun to knit...)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

DBF Gift

DBF went somewhere cold (Mainland, Lots of knitters and wool shops and the like!) and brought me back a present!
Austermann Step Superwash wool and nylon. The yarn has Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil in it: I'm not sure if it just makes it smell nice or if it makes your skin smooth too? I think it's self-striping, too! What an awesome man who buys me sock yarn!