Friday, June 29, 2007

Catch Up (or Ketsup, depending where you live)

Originally uploaded by kbshee

1. No news yet on Cody, although we know the tests are back but can't get a hold of our vet. He seems fine (more than fine, actually) so I'm looking on the bright side. More as we know. But whatever is wrong, we'll do what we can to take care of it. He's our Cody dog. He'll be OK. UPDATE: a low grade sarcoma on his leg, which means there is a low probability that it has spread. Hopefully we can remove it and call it a day. We'll learn more about surgical options next week.

2. Can I tell you how much I absolutely adore the Sailor Girl colorway from A Swell Yarn Shop ? I'm making socks in Skinny Duets and I've just seen that Pick Up sticks has the Duets in the same colorway. Love this so much.

3. While I'm itching to buy above yarn, I'm trying to be good, since I'm a bit overloaded on the Sock Yarn right now. The past week brought yarn from three sock clubs (Red Bird Knits, Pick Up Sticks, and STR) and I need to take some pictures today to make sure I know which pattern goes with which yarn (not that it's that important, but the patterns are beautiful and I want to make them all!).

4. And in case I don't belong to enough sock clubs, a certain Sock Club Obsessed Blogger Who Will Not Be Named suggested that I ought to join the Zen Yarn Garden Sock club, as well as mentioned that there was a Harry Potter Sock Club starting. Enabler! Enabler I say!

5. And don't forget Yarn Pirate. Although I can't blame the unnamed sock obsessed blogger for that one.

Originally uploaded by kbshee

6. I spun. Border Leicester in this fun candy cane color. I spun this woolen which I don't think I'm supposed to do since it is a long staple but I did it anyway. I'm pretty much a Rogue Spinner.

7. I took a mini-road trip to Mountain Shadow Ranch which is about 20 minutes from my house. Teresa raises sheep (and a llama, hi Sierra!) and sells Louet yarn and fiber from a barn next to her house. She's open Th-F-Sat from 12-4 and you can get directions from her website. Gorgeous fiber. Plus she let me touch some Vicuna. But only touch. It's $250 an ounce. That is not a typo.

8. Today the first clue for Mystery Stole 3 was posted. I will try to do this, although I thought it wouldn't be a pointy shawl and apparently it is. Oh well. Those MS3ers are a chatty I had almost 100 messages in my in box about the new clue (luckily they were organized into groups of 25). (Edited to add: another 50 messages came in. In an hour and a half).

9. We are finally, FINALLY, Doing Something with our front yard. Two years ago we covered the entire front yard (and we're talking maybe 300 square feet here, so it's not that big) with weed barrier and mulch to try to kill the morning glories that have invaded our yard and killed our grass. So now after living with what looks like a yard that was in a nuclear holocaust for a year we're prettying it up. It began with the planting of five quaking aspens and is now moving toward a garden in the middle. THe difference is amazing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Holding our Breath

I took our dog Cody (the red dog in the picture) to the Vet on Monday for his annual exam and a rabies shot. During the exam, our great vet Priscilla was checking his 'old dog' lumps and found a new one...a golf ball sized growth on his rear leg. She aspirated it and couldn't confirm it was a typical fatty lump, and sent it out to the pathologist. We're waiting to hear on the verdict.

It could be nothing, it could be something. I refuse to believe that we could lose both our doggles in one fell swoop. The world can't be that bad of a place. Can it?

More news as we hear. Please hold a good though for Cody.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Great Weekend!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I had a wonderful weekend (and I"m posting this at noon on Sunday, so I still have time left to enjoy it, although the weather is cool and a bit rainy so I think I'll be hunkered down with a book and knitting this afternoon).

We spent yesterday morning kayaking at Fern Ridge Lake, which was very nice...I wish I was a bird watcher because that has to be bird watcher paradise. We saw several herons and (we think) a flock of pelicans (flock of pelicans? What is the collective. for a group of pelicans?? Edited to add: it's either a Pod or a Scoop of Pelicans. Now you know.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Then back to the Black Sheep Gathering where we looked at the sheepies and the goats (above is a goat, these are sheep, duh). (Black sheep. Get it?) We also went to the Alpaca Show which was really poorly attended. In fact, I thought the market was pretty sparsely attended for a SAturday afternoon. Anyway. Maybe the big knitting boom is really over! Or maybe everyone was in classes. Who know?

We enjoyed seeing the sheeps and the goats (did we miss the bunnies?). We ran into our friend Zanne with her twins and chatted with them a bit.

Nothing else was purchased. I know, I can't believe it either.

jmm, I worship ye
Originally uploaded by kbshee
This morning I took a class from the marvelous Judtih McKenzie McCuin. The title of the class was three wild downs but I think we ended up spinning five different fibers, and some of the fibers we spun in a couple different blends. HEre is what we spun:

-bison...really beautiful stuff for spinning.
-yak: so cool. This is theoretically the least expensive exotic fiber that you can get now...blended with silk it theoretically makes great socks. I still think it is something like $5 an ounce but I'll check into it and let you know.
-qiviut: there's a shortage of quiviut now because the only North American qiviut processor died and now all qiviut goes to Peru for processing (qiviut is the down of the Musk Ox). But someone from the Portland Zoo brought some down for us to sping.
-cashmere. Enough said.


Originally uploaded by kbshee
Linus! The chinchilla. Apparently there's a huge movement to move chincillas (chinchillae?) from being a pelt animal to being a fiber animal.

Spinning chinchilla was was blended with some silk noil so it was a bit on the nubby side. We spent most of the class doing long draw, which I'm very comfortable with...but others in the class weren't. I think when I spin the red and white fiber I got yesterday I'll do it with the long draw. I also want to get some Yak to make some yak sock yarn. But sock yarn should be worsted. See what I learned?.

Friday, June 22, 2007

What Was I thinking?

Originally uploaded by kbshee
That is, that I wouldn't find anything to buy at BSG?

I sort of figured it out. In previous years, my BSG shopping has been a mix of rovings and of yarn specials...that is, deals on yarn at some of the booths.

But this year, I realized that the very best part of the BSG is that dozens of small yarn creators: hand painters, spinners, sheep and rabbit raisers, are there. Buying at BSG allows you to support West Coast (and primarily NorthWest) fiber producers. So I did my duty.So, at the top: red and white bump from Dayspring Farm in Corvallis, OR. I bought a bump of this same stuff last year, and now I have enough to spin into a sweater. Yay!

In the middle: angora combed top from Butternut Woolens in Gaston, Oregon . I've never spun angora. This was a bit pricey but I'd use it in a hat or something. Or a moebius. The colorway is Yellowstone.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
IAnd on the bottom: superwash merino roving from Claus and Teyani at Crown Mountain Farms . Colorway: Hard Day's Night. They always have a lot of tempting stuff in their booth, and are always to upbeat!

I had a great visit with Michael and Sheila Ernst who had their beautiful glass needles, buttons, orifice hooks and beads for sale. THose glass circs are awesome! I wish I had a pic of Sheila who had on an, um, interesting head piece.

My buddy Jodie was competing in the Sheep to Shawl. She's second from the right, wearing some great socks (orenburg? Is that the pattern? Beautiful). They were having a few little bumps in the Sheep to Shawl Road but hopefully they overcame that and rocked the contest!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
It is almost impossible to get a photo of a weaver doing her weaving thang. This is Sarah (aka Fyberduck behind the loom of Jodie's sheep to shawl team. I am sorry to say I didn't get a picture of the fiber fiend who was carding their fleece...there are six people on the team: one carder, one weaver, and four spinners. They need to make a shawl in five hours! Amazing.

And finally, I bought some sock yarn. Yes, yes I did.At the top is some wool/nylon from Bel Tine Farms (no web site that I know of). Beautiful colors in their yarn, solid with just a hint of non-solid ness. And a good price too ($4.55 for 250 yards).

Next is some hand painted from a lovely woman named Lori lawon who owns Capistrano Fiber Arts studio. Her yarn is a bit like koigu only a bit lighter (which doesn't make a lot of sense, sorry). She doesn't have a website either but will work with you via email to send you photos of color choices etc if you have colors in mind. I don't want to post her email for the world to see, but if you want her contact info let me know.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Next, this beautiful superwash from Wildberry Yarns. Gorgeous! It reminds me a bit of the cp 'circus' colorway which of course is one of my favorites.

And then last but certainly not ever least...two skeins of silkie from BMFA. the burgundies, in the Backstabber colorway, will go with the leftovers from last time's sock yarn to do some stripes or fair isle or something. The blue is just gorgeous, the colorway is "in the navy", and I love this yarn possibly more than anything else I bought this year.

AND, I have yet to go to the Alpaca show!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Tomorrow is the Black Sheep Gathering, and I can't think of a single thing for my shopping list.

I have enough STR (really, can there be enough? Oh, yes, I do believe so). If they have their new silkie yarn in a solid colorway I might get that.

I guess the thing is: I'm more into solids than anything else these days. And solids (for me) are not *that* fun to spin (and the BSG is a big spinning thang).

I am taking a class with the incredible Judith McKenzie McCuin, and I might even be enough of a dork to take her book with me to get her to sign it. It is a class on spinning three exotic fibers: can't really recall what they are but it should be fun. And I should do a bit of spinning to get warmed up, I think!

So, what do you think I'll come home with?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by kbshee
I've always been a bit afraid of Rowan patterns. The small needles. The gauges. The intricate colorwork (or in Rowanspeak, colourwork). The beautiful models in pastoral english settings. The fact that many patterns are one size fits all as long as you are Twiggy.

But. Friends. I'm facing my Rowanophobia! I decided that, for better or for worse, sweaters knit with DK or smaller yarn look better on me. And Rowan has some gorgeous non-colourwork patterns that are interesting and look wearable. Specifically, Ive dogeared several patterns in "The Best of Rowan" that I bought at Interweave's hurt book sale a year or two ago. And I"m doing the Short Raglan Sweater by Amanda Griffiths that's toward the back of the book.

With some caveats: I didn't do the 'doughnuts' that decorate the bottom of the sweater ,instead added some ribbing to match the sleeves. There are cables around the raglan that are really pretty. So far, so good.

The yarn is Cotton Fleece Dusty blue seconds that I bought a few weeks back, which seems to be working pretty well.

AND. This weekend is the Black Sheep Gathering. Yay! I plan to go over there Friday morning for shopping, and to see Jodie who is doing the Sheep to Shawl and Sheila and Michael Ernst and to pick up (hopefully) some glass circs for socks as a treat for myself. Cause honestly, I need No More Yarn.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Stick Some Forks in Some Stuff

rabbit ridge socks
Originally uploaded by kbshee
...cause they're done.

Yes! The spring term is finally over! It was a bit of a rough one...spring terms are always full of visitors and end-of-year stuff going on, plus I was sick, Shasta was sick, my brother was injured, and I had that conference to run. But it is over! And everything is happier. Graduation was nice, the honors event was fun, and now I have a week off before I start my 4-week summer class. Which should be pretty low key, I would hope. We'll see.

Also done: these socks using yarn I bought last summer when we were in Alaska. They're for Tim...they're knit with worsted so they're pretty thick, in the EarthSomething colorway from Rabbit Ridge Dyeworks in Alaska. Very soft yarn. Very handsome, imho.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Also done are the horcrux socks...the socks with the Harry Potter lightning bols on the leg. I loved knitting these socks, and I love the Crystal palace panda cotton. It is a bit splitty, but the KNitpicks options needles take care of the splittiness just fine. I need to block these...the socks use a 3/2 ribbing except for the lightning bolt part, so that part tends to poof out a bit. I like these so much I may submit them to the Lane County Fair this year. We'll see how they block.

We had a nice anniversary yesterday....Tim gave me a necklace he had made with a stone we bought together during one of our journeys, and I gave him a diamond stud to replace the one that disappeared somewhere a while ago. We took Cody and headed up the McKenzie river with the kayaks to a beautiful lake called Suttle Lake. It is a longish narrow lake, and there is plenty of room for fishing boats, kayaks, personal water crafts, and rafts. Cody met a new dog friend named Bella, and tried to teach her how to fetch in the water. She was a little skittish, but gave it her all. It did us good to see another dog that was rescued and now is in a loving family. I wanted to kidnap (dognap?) her and take her with us, but decided she might be pretty content where she was.

suttle lake
Originally uploaded by kbshee
It was a bit chillier than we expected, so this picture of me features me in my summer hat and a fleece jacket. It was also a bit windier than we've experienced in the gentle confines of the Canoe Canal, so it was a bit of a harder paddle in a couple of ways. It was good experience, though, as we plan to go to Canada this summer to paddle in some ocean bays and it probably won't be gentle waves there!

I have a couple plans for this week, mainly knitting related, and we'll hopefully get a quick paddle or two in also. I also need to finish up my book which is due to the publisher on 7/1. It is almost there.

Thanks again for your kind words during the past tough week. My brother is doing well...the treatment at the hospital seems to be working very well, and the last step...a skin graft...will probably be in a week or so. More importantly, we've had some great talks and hoepfully this will continue. So every dark cloud does have some type of lining there. Who knew?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Icy Blue Tank

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I finished the Icy Blue Tank from the newest issue of Creative Knitting. I'm usually not very interested in this magazine but I really liked this tank (and it's not really a tank, come to think of it, maybe it's called the Icy Blue Shell). It has dragon scales down the front and also under the arms (hence the odd picture).

It's hard to photograph though.

The only problem with this knit was that it was too barely hit my waist when it was done. So I picked up stitches and knit some ribbing around the button. If I do it again(which I might) I'll add four inches or so to the bottom.

It is almost the end of a busy week: honors reception this evening and graduation at 9 am tomorrow. Sunday is not only Father's day (but since we don't have kids that's not much ofa thing) but it is also our anniversary: number 12. We plan a day out with the kayaks and Cody (and we might even try to get Cody in the kayak with me).

It is almost the end of a very hard week, as you know. To make things harder, my brother (he of the toes) is back in the hospital hooked up to some type of vacuum thing that is to make his foot heal more quickly. We've been talking (and laughing) a lot, which is great. We also sent him a nintendog since he can't do anything but be in bed and that might just drive him crazy. So please hold a good thought for Bart for a day or two. Hopefully he is on his way out of the woods but I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thanks to All

Thank you for all your wonderful thoughts and comments about our Shasta. It has now been two days, and we still miss her so. It is getting easier, though, although I still tear up at the oddest times when a great memory of our girl comes crashing back.

Knitbloggers (and other bloggers) are just the best, but you guys know that. I haven't met most of you, but I know you all understand what I'm going through. Whether you're in Chicago, or Florida, or England, I feel so thankful that you're close by. And I so appreciate the nice words from people who I really don't know but who reached out during this dark time. I can't tell you how much this effort means to me. Thank you so much.

And to those of you who I met via the blog and who I have met in person...thank you for your good wishes and your support and for lending me your Eugene family to be here for me. I picked up the phone Tuesday morning to hear the supportive voice of Bonnie's MIL Cecilia wanting to make sure I was OK. That was really something. Thanks so much Bonnie.

And Steve found a beautiful picture of our girl and put it on his blog. Shasta and Gauss (Steve and Jen's dog) had an interesting relationship, basically, anything that was Gauss' was also Shasta's (in Shasta's opinion). She was a bit Tony Soprano-like in that way. Gauss, who outweighted her by about 20 pounds or so, always let her have her way. Thanks Gauss.

I had to make a quick trip up to Portland yesterday for a meeting, and today another quick trip to make a presentation to the Association of Alternative Newspapers. I didn't drive yesterday, so got four hours of car knitting done (yeah, quick trip to Portland is sort of a misnomer).

I have finished the Icy Blue Tank and started on my first rowan pattern. Interesting. More tomorrow, I promise.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Good Bye, Sweet Girl

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Seven years ago, on a Good Friday, we went to Greenhill Animal Shelter to see about finding a friend for Cody. Our thought was to get a young adult pup...about two years old...who would be post puppy stage but still young enough to train.

The few young adults were not good fits for us (a bit hyper, those dogs) and we were about to give up when the Shelter manager, Tom, said "you wouldn't think about an older dog, would you?". We said we might.

He introduced us to Renee Louise, who had come in with another dog who was completely shellshocked. Renee Louise, though, seemed ready to go home. She was brownish black, already turning white, and was docile. We learned she had never been in a home, had likely eaten from a bag of food thrown in the back yard, and that she came into the shelter covered in tick and flea bites. She was around six...maybe a bit older, no one really knew. She had lived rough for however long she had lived.

And so it was time to change that.

Cody met her, and gave a big wag that she could come home. We knew we couldn't call her Renee Louise, and Tim named her Shasta. And so Shasta she became, and Shasta she lived, until about 9:45 this morning, when we put her gently into the long sleep.

She was filled with love for us. She loved Cody and her cousin Gus. Other dogs were merely tolerable, if not her sworn enemies. She raised our cat Stella from her kittenhood, to the point where now Stella occasionally 'barks' along with Cody. She was the patient petting dog for neighborhood children.

She wasn't a perfect dog...she got car sick (even on quick trips around town), she could have her unpleasant moods, and she loved a good poop snack. But she would give up her life for us, and guarded us tiredlessly. She was brave, she was loyal, and she was loving. What else could one ask for in a pup?

She was never sick, or never let on that she felt bad. It wasn't in her job description. So when she stopped eating about three weeks ago we were a bit worried, but thought she would bounce back. She didn't. A tumor, probably lymphoma, in her chest cavity caused even sitting up to be an endurance test. She just wore down, and gave up the fight. And while we weren't ready for her to go, we knew it was time.

We love you Shasta. We'll always love you and we'll never forget you. You have a bit of our hearts with you. Good Bye, sweet girl.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Look! A Picture!

one horcrux
Originally uploaded by kbshee
Can you see the lightning bolts on the sock?
On the cuff?
It's a horcrux sock, from the Six Sock Knitalong, that I'm knitting in honor of re-reading HP5+6 and the anticipation of 7. It needs blocking (obviously) but I really had fun knitting this sock (and I"m having fun knitting #2 also). It's done in Panda Cotton in the Blueberries and Grapes colorway. I really like Panda's something like half bamboo, and it is a bit splitty but with the KP options needles it works fine.

I bought more of this in the circus colorway when Woodland Woolworks had a 20% off sale.

I also almost finished the icey blue tank, just need to seam shoulders and then do the neckline, and that is done. I had a nice afternoon (rainy) yesterday, sitting with Shasta and reading and knitting. I read the new book by Nicole Mones, "The Last Chinese Chef" which was very good. I really like her books: she also wrote "Lost in Translation" and a book about chinese pottery which was also good (was it called "A Cup of Light"?).

I started Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal Vegitable Miracle" last night...very interesting...and certainly is pointing me toward shopping much more often at the Farmer's market this summer.

I have a lot of yarn in the stash to do a sweater, which might be next on the list. We'll see.

Shasta is still with us...the prednisone gives her a good appetite and she seems a bit happier than she has been...we haven't had the 'mama I don't feel well' look for a day or so.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thanks...and Virtual Vacation Swap Questtionnaire

Thanks for your kind words about Shasta...she's on Prednisone which is helping her appetite, and she seems to feel a bit better than she did a few days ago. We'll try to keep her comfortable and relatively content for her last days with us. We took her to the canoe canal to play fetch yesterday, and she went in the water a few times, then sat with me in the shade to watch Cody and Tim play fetch. I think she had a good time.

On to knitting things...and yes, I have been knitting. I've finished two socks: they don't match, but they're finished. One is the horcrux sock from the six sock's a great sock! And I made it while rereading the last two Harry Potter books, which was also fun.

I'm participating in the Virtual Vacation Swap since it seems like sort of a fun and different thing...and I haven't done a swap for a while. Here are my answeres to the questionnaire:

1. If you could visit any state in the US, which would it be and why?
Hawaii...because I've never been there, and it looks so beautiful.

2. If you could visit any country in the world, other than your own, which would it be and why?
England...I've always been a bit of an anglophile.

3. Have you ever driven across several states/providence/countries?
Nine years ago, my husband and I drove our dog and three cats 2500 miles from Knoxville, Tennesee to Portland, Oregon. In a u haul. Hauling a pickup truck. In August. Can you say 'trip from hell?"

4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it?
Costa Rica was about the most exotic vacation I've ever been on. I went to the British Virgin Islands and that was somewhat exotic too.

5. What was your favorite "travel" vacation? Why?
Travelling through Europe while in college, staying in hostels, doing all the college students in Europe stuff.

6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain.
We had plans one summer to drive down the Oregon coast. We started in Astoria (North edge of Oregon) and only made it down to Pacific City (about 150 miles south of there, maybe) and fell in love with the litle town and spent the rest of our vacation there. We ended up buying some property there a few years later.

7. Are you a museum visitor, beach comer or an amusement seeker?

8. What's your favorite type of yarn?
I really love all sock yarn.

9. What's your least favorite type of yarn?
Novelty yarn.

10. What items do you like to knit/crochet?
Socks, and I love to felt.

11. What do you pack, knit/crochet wise when you go on vacation?
Socks, usually!

12. What other crafts do you do/would like to do other than Knit/Crochet?
I'm a knitter pure and simple.

13. Are you allergic to anything? (Yarn wise or treat wise)

14. What is your favorite color? Least Favorite?
Favorite: blues and reds. Least: green, yellow, orange.

15. Sweet or Savory (Treat not personality)?

16. Anything else we are forgetting to ask that you think your partner desperately needs to know?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Brief Update

Thanks for your kind words about Shasta. She's at the vet this morning being examined again, and having an abdominal xray. No one is quite sure what is wrong. Hopefully we'll know more today.

Update: she has a tumor in her lung. :-(

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bad Blogger (me)

I've not been a good blogger lately, my apologies, and hear are my reasons:
1. Seasonal allergies have given me watery eyes that I can barely open in any type of light. Benadryl helps a wee bit, claritin not at all. Any other suggestions welcome.
2.Shasta (dog) is unwell; she's been off her food for about two weeks and vet tests have been basically inconclusive. We've tried pepcid and a few anti inflamatories but nothing seems to be working. The first set of blood tests showed some 'grey' area pancreatic results, and she just had another round of blood tests, so we're hoping that tells us a bit more.
3. Last week of classes. Nough said. Although both my classes this term have been pretty fun, so I'm almost sad that they're done (note almost).

More soon.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Random Thoughts on Returning Home

1. High school graduation tends to be one giant cliche wrapped in a metaphor sandwhich.

2. Renting a car in Phoenix is a bizarre experience: you can pick out any car that is parked in the aisle of cars at your price level. I don't know why this seems so bizarre to me, but it does, and I can't stop telling people about it.

3. I have bad Airplane Bathroom Karma. One a flight a few weeks ago the bathroom had a toilet but no sink (hand sanitizer only. But still eewwww). Last night the bathroom was broken, so no drinks for me. If that is my worst travel karma, I'll keep it!

4. Arizona, as a state, is incredibly beautiful. And incredibly dry. And there is dust everywhere.

5. Flagstaff High, with a population of Anglos, Hispanics, and Navajo, is probably more diverse than U of Oregon.

6. A little bit of Native American art and jewelry goes a long way. A long long way.

7. If you see a sign for the World's Largest Kokopelli, just keep driving. Trust me on this.