Today’s post is a gallery of finished projects. I took a whole plastic tub of projects with me on the Yarn Slut weekend and actually did finish some of them. The gold ribbon for the oldest object goes to the Tricoter scarf. I was in Seattle last September for business and went to the shop, mostly to say I’d been there. [As an aside, I much prefer Weaving Works in Seattle, but Tricoter is a beautiful shop.] Because I had to have something from this shop, I bought yarn for a scarf for which I paid the equivalent of the gross national product of a small African country (Trendsetter Dune, Berroco Plume and some hand dyed silk ribbon). Now it is finished…

I also finished one of Bev Galeskas’ Garden Party Hats. This is the hat for the 4-year-old of my co-worker…

It was a little fiddly, the flower on the front is make up of 3 pieces and then stitched together and to the hat. I normally don’t do fiddly, but it was so cute I didn’t mind too much. I have to say that I probably won’t make this hat again (after the white version for the baby).

And finally, even though I didn’t officially finish these on the trip, they were finished on Monday. Steve’s socks…

I wasn’t crazy about this colorway as I was knitting, however the lovely browns really came together to make a nice pair of socks. Have I mentioned that I love this yarn??

Jillian just dared me to knit a Starmore. Can you believe it? She knows how many other projects I have in the wings – and she threw down the gauntlet anyway. I have to say, I’ve been on the Starmore website and I’m limited by the upper sizes on some of the sweaters. I must admit to loving Glen Albyn. For the price of the kit, do I get the pattern too or do I have to buy a book? Not a problem for me, I just want to know in advance. Damn you Jillian!

So, on Saturday, we were up early (too early to go shopping). What did we do? Yup, knit. Our only cross to bear this weekend was that the hotel had the most vile coffee imaginable. When we checked the yellow pages, there was only one listing for Starbucks (on Wealthy street!) and it wasn’t anywhere near our planned stops. Fortunately, on our way to the first yarn shop, Jillian spotted a Starbucks and screeched across 3 lanes of traffic for us to get our fix. Mmmmmm, we were ready to play.

Our first stop was Stitches (where the sales clerks wore matching polo shirts with the name of the store stitched on). Mostly needlework stuff (embroidery and counted cross stitch), but there was a little yarn. Of course we were obligated and I came out with a skein of Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece to finish the Garden Party Hats I’m working on.

Then it was off to Threadbender. Wow! Very nice woman in the shop (I don’t think I ever got her name – but she was great!). They had a HUGE selection of everything from the recycled sari yarn to Opal sock yarn. By the time we got to this shop, we were so overwhelmed at colors and textures that it was time to stop (and besides, we were hungry). Jillian talked me into buying enough Blue Sky Alpaca to make myself some gloves in colors I never would have picked out. I think what she said was, “Those are not the colors I would pick. There’s nothing subtle about my color choices.” It’s good to have a friend that makes you stretch. I also bought some Australian Merino for socks. One more thing about Threadbender, they are sandwiched between 2 shops on the right is Skinny’s (?) and on the left is…

So here’s the picture of my haul for the whole weekend:

And here’s my friend Jillian in her cool pink fibery yarn from Woven Arts…

And one more parting shot:

First things first, I had a FABULOUS time over my fiber weekend. It is a rare and wonderful thing to find a friend easy enough to travel with and Jillian is such a friend. She was so easy to travel with, I didn’t even experience my usual “can’t sleep in a hotel” problem. I slept like a stone for 2 nights in a row!

We hit 7 shops in 2 days and bought something at each shop (that was our only rule). Some shops are better than others, but they all had something to recommend them. Here’s the synopsis for Friday:

Stitch in Time in Howell, was our first stop. This place is stuffed with wonderful yarn. I was overwhelmed and we’d barely started. I bought 2 skeins of Mountain Colors for my last 2 pairs of fellow socks. The ladies there were extremely nice and chatted with us for a long time.

Next stop was the Spinning Loft. Betty is living my idea of the perfect fiber life. She has about 35 shetland sheep on her farm and a huge room full of fiber and wheels. I walked in and fell in love with a Scottish Castle wheel. It’s made by Kenneth Lennox and I had dreams of it all weekend. One more addition to the “I want” list. I signed up for the Navajo weaving workshop she’s sponsoring next month. Three days with a Navajo woman – and the loom is included in the price of the workshop!

Woven Art in East Lansing is in a really cool space. It’s up above the street and deals only with handpainted yarn. We both wanted to just sit and knit in the sun on their fluffy chairs. We oohed and aahed over the great colors and Jillian bought a pillbox hat (sorry, it’s actually a cake of yarn, but looked more like a hat to me). Mara pointed us to Crunchy’s burgers and even though it gave me indigestion all afternoon – that was the best burger I’ve ever eaten!! I’m trying to figure out how to get back there just for the burger.

The biggest surprise of the whole trip was The Little Red Schoolhouse Yarn Shop. We pulled up and the signs all said “antiques.” We looked at each other and took a deep breath. It’s one of those places where you can rent a booth and sell your crafty stuff. Jillian asked right away if there was a booth that sold yarn. Right up the center aisle was an oasis. This little booth has Jamieson’s, Peace Fleece, Mountain Colors, and tons more yarn. We were thrilled and very impressed at the selection to be had in such a small space.

We backtracked a little and ended up at Yarn for Ewe in Okemos. Tiny little shop, but they had Hanne Falkenberg kits, Rowan, and a whole wall of Philosopher’s Wool yarn. You could come in and put your own kit together (it was a little picked over, but I understand that when you’re hooked on Philosopher’s you come in when the new shipment comes in and buy it all). I felt very welcomed in this shop and think I could sit and knit quite contentedly here. The woman behind the counter knew everyone’s name as they came in the store. We also got really good directions from a customer in the shop to get back to the highway – nice people!

We stopped at a little coffee place and we were on our way to Grand Rapids.

I took a lot of pictures, but can’t download them until I get over to our other office. I promise I’ll have them up before the end of the week. Tomorrow: Saturday’s adventures!

Okay, Jillian has shamed me into upping my list of works in progress to take with me. I have at least 3 projects currently on the needles. They are:

Kandinski Kimono

Mountain Colors Vest (okay, not still on the needles, but languishing for want of finishing)

Garden Party Hat

I will bring all of these (as well as 2 pairs of Mountain Colors socks) and attempt to finish the majority of them. Technically, I have finished the vest (once), but wasn’t happy with the crochet edging. I’ll attempt it again this weekend. It’s a good thing the weather plans on being yucky – we’ll be warm and cozy in our yarn delirium.

I must also say that orthopods are sadists. Now, I’m making a generalization here, but I’ve known a few and all the ones I know are sadists. I had my 4 month follow up with the guy who repaired my rotator cuff tear. Last month, he threatened me with “manipulation under anesthesia.” I was terrified and worked very hard to get as much range of motion as I could before I had to go back. [I’ll admit to making rowing motions in the car on the way to the appointment and stretches in the office waiting for him to show up.]

He took me through my paces and seemed surprised at my progress. I told him that he made me work very hard. That made him smile and he said, “Well, it paid off. You’re making excellent progress.”

So, I’m cleared (and encouraged) for all activities. I’m actually considering doing the Danskin Triathlon again this year. Is 7 weeks enough time to prepare? I’ve done nothing since early February (even walking made my shoulder hurt!).

I started packing for the fiber weekend last night. It’s important to get just the right mix of projects. I think we’ll be knitting a good bit of the time. (Even Jillian and I will have to sit and rest after a fiber frenzy.) I’ve packed yarn for 2 pairs of socks in Mountain Colors (my son helped me roll them into balls last night). I think I’ll have something to do to keep me busy as well as not too much to do so that I can play with my purchases.

Here’s my list (so far):

2 more skeins of Mountain Colors (for Steve and Mark)

silk brick

No really, that’s all! I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by what I find. The last time Jillian and I had a real frenzy was back in 1996 at the Estes Park Wool market. I had gone down to spend a week and we travelled far and wide sampling the fiber from several places. My favorite is still Lambspun in Fort Collins, Colorado. I have dreams about going into that place. It’s a little adobe building with a coffee bar (although Jillian just told me that they’ve expanded – probably not so little anymore). I also remember a nice little place in Boulder – help me out with the name – Skeins….? Tiniest little shop, but they had all kinds of yarn for knitting and weaving.

I took a picture at Estes Park of a mini-van filled to bursting with fiber and wheels and decided that some day that would be me. I had to buy another suitcase to ship all of my purchases home. What fun!! I think I still have some of that stuff (unspun) but lovely to look at. We’re gonna have a great time this weekend…2 more days!

Woohoo! Paul’s socks are done. I had indeed overknit by about 2 inches. So I ripped back this morning before I woke up the kids and was weaving in the ends by the time they had breakfast finished. Here they are…

They look darker in the picture than they really are. And, because I promised Paul immortality on my blog, here is one foot in a sock…

Next up – Tony and Martin’s socks. Eat your heart out Mark.

3 days to the fibery weekend!

Our fibery lunch was fabulous. We got slightly lost, but made up for it (I love cell phones). The shop is smaller than I remember it, but well stocked with lots of yarn. The one problem I had was that there seemed to be no organization – or at least I couldn’t figure it out. They did have the Debby Ware kits that I wrote of last week. I didn’t buy one, but bought some Brown Sheep yarn (in pink and cream) to make Bev Galaskas’ Garden Party Hat (because I already had the pattern). I figure that I can make 2 coordinating hats and big and little sisters can wear.

I abandoned Paul’s sock this weekend in favor of the little hats. Big sister’s hat is almost complete – just have to do the fiddly bits (complete and attach a knitted flower).

Don’t fret Paul, I did take your second sock to my daughter’s dance recital yesterday. [As an aside, I love watching my kid dance, but loath having to sit through another hour and 15 minutes of watching everyone else’s kids dance.] I had to stop knitting before the recital was done as I looked down at the foot and realized that I overshot the spot for toe decreases by about 2 inches! Oh well, I’d rather ravel a little than be a few rows short. Paul should have his socks in a day or 2.

Count down is 4 days for the fibery weekend…

Having a fibery 1/2 day today. I’m taking this afternoon off to travel to a yarn shop I haven’t been to in about 5 years. Jillian and I are traveling to the Village Yarn Shoppe in Plymouth to get a head start on our fibery weekend (which of course is next weekend – but who’s going to quibble?).

I just found out that a remote location co-worker is going to have her second baby in June. She’s remote because she works at the hospital and my office is downtown. I didn’t even know she was pregnant and felt stupid when I received the shower invitation! Anyway, she knows she’s having a girl, so I’m planning on doing one of those adorable hat kits (I can’t remember the name right now) but they come in little plastic bags and use Brown Sheep’s cotton fleece yarn. They look like little knitted birthday cakes to me. I did one in bright colors for a boy and I’m looking forward to doing a girly one. Michelle has a 4-year-old daughter as well. It might be time to dig out one of those old Quanah kits and make a little girl purse.

Too many plans and not enough time to execute them. I need to have another stretch of insomnia.

The reports of my being 1/2 done on my next pair of Mountain Color socks are greatly exaggerated. Here’s the sock

Unfortunately, it’s about an inch too short. Oh well, who said “You can’t be a knitter if you can’t be a ripper?” The sock came to work with me today to torture a fellow who may or may not be getting a pair of socks. At our annual Christmas party, the gift exchange was set up so that if you liked a gift that someone else got before you, you could just take it. This fellow took my beautiful silver reindeer (at the request of his wife, who said, “I want that.”). It’s the first time I’ve engaged in revenge knitting – I kind of like it.

And just because we got a new scanner at work yesterday. Here’s the first scan I did. This is my daughter’s hand about 2 years ago. She recently came to work with me and said, “Mama, who gave you that handprint?” When I reminded her it was her hand, she slapped her forehead and said, “I’m so silly!” Cracked me up.

Nothing knitty this past weekend. I went to a scrapbooking convention nearby (the Mega Meet). It was a lot of fun – but no fellow knitters. I am amazed by all the creativity exhibited by people who “aren’t creative at all.” I can’t figure out if these people are fishing for compliments or if they really believe it when they say this.

I’ve been working on my Mountain Colors socks and have 1/2 of the next pair done. I think the color I’m using is Larkspur. These are for Paul…

It’s really lovely and I can’t say enough good things about this yarn. I could knit quite happily for a very long time with this stuff. I also have a hank of Flathead Cherry. These are for Martin…

Jillian’s quickly planning a blow-out fiber weekend. She called and left a message on my voice mail that said we could visit as many as 17 shops! Alas, there are some shops not open on Sunday so we’re down to 10 – oh well, that leaves us 70 shops to visit on another weekend.