Birthday Loot

My husband has never been good at surprises. He usually gets a good one in every 4-5 years. He got me this year. I was convinced he hadn’t bought anything for my birthday and prepared to hold it over his head for a good long time. {Come on, it was a BIG birthday!} Apparently, he conspired with my mother, to buy this:

It’s a Russian lacquer box. The soda cap is in there for scale (okay, that was a mistake, but it does provide scale!). Several years ago, my mother, sister, and I went on a Baltic Sea cruise and discovered these little gems. They are the most exquisite pieces. The masters paint with a single hair from a squirrel tail. It’s a perfect gift – and the best part was he surprised me!

Here’s what I bought for myself. It’s a Kundert handspindle.

A friend of mine was spinning on one at the last spinner’s guild meeting I went to. (Her’s has the checkerboard pattern on it.) I ordered it on a Monday and had it by the following Monday. Spins like a dream – I love it when my tools are this gorgeous.

And how’s this for potential?

A woman who took the Lynne Vogel workshop with me decided to do a huge order and several of us went in on a bunch of dyes. I have an amazing amount of dyes in every color of the rainbow. If I could just squeeze out a weekend, I may get to this before spring!

My mother entered the 21st century and bought a bunch of books from my Amazon wishlist and my sister made me a kick-ass coconut cake. It was a good day.

Back the bus up

A knitted rabbit…a dead knitted rabbit…with its entrails leaking all over the mountain…that you’re supposed to climb…and be happy about this giant dead rabbit. Please forgive the ellipses, I’m gobsmacked. Just because you can…

It’s in the new Knitnet, down at the bottom of the page.

Don’t Hate Me Because I Have Beautiful Fabric

Can I just say that when I saw this fabric online and in catalogs, I thought, “Ewww, could that be any uglier?!?” In person, it’s gorgeous. The colors have a depth that just doesn’t come across in a flat photo. I told Brandon what I thought when I saw the pictures and he looked a little shocked, but agreed with me that they’re so much more pretty in person.

More of the paperweight fabric with some glorious flowery stuff. I would have walked past this, not being a flowery kind of girl. The woman in front of me at the cutting table had it and when it was all spread out, it sang to me. To be honest, I would have bought more of every fabric the woman in front of me had, but I did go with a budget. She got a yard of everything (at $8-9/yard!!).

And because I’m a ho for the orange, I had to have both of these. I love stripes. It’s the symmetry. The oranges just glow. {As an aside here, does anyone else remember H.R. Puffinstuff and Witchiepoo who sang the song “Oranges, Poranges” – I think of her dancing around every time I think of orange.}

More stripes. Kaffe has 2 different stripes, the wider and the narrower (I’m sure there’s a more ‘marketing’ type name, but for the life of me, I can’t remember it). I loved them all. I’m telling you, it was a very tough choice.

So, now I have a fabric stash that is the equivalent of single balls of yarn. I can’t wait to finish school, so I can put all this time I’ve been studying to really good use.

American Sewing Expo Loot

I can’t remember now if I promised to show what I bought at the American Sewing Expo market or not. Anyway, here they are, and prepare to have your socks knocked off. The market wasn’t as big as some show markets I’ve been to, but it was overwhelming in its own way. I’m a very beginning quilter, so almost everything I saw was new and I quickly went into over-stimulated after the first aisle.

Is this fun, or what? The woman had a very small booth, but it was chock full of really cool primitive-type fabric. She even had mud-cloth, but I couldn’t figure out what I would use it for, so I didn’t buy any. I love the tie-dye effect and all the ‘happy people’.

This is a silk blend fabric. The amazing thing about this fabric is that the warp and weft are 2 different colors. You can’t tell in the photo, but the fabric switches from one to the other when you move the swatch. The depth in these is so amazing. I think they’d make nice, sturdy pillow covers – but I don’t want anyone putting his head on them!

At the same booth as the above silk swatches was this gorgeous stuff. It’s Japanese indigo dying – it also looks ikat to me (and maybe it is, I didn’t think to ask). They actually had yardage of this, but it was well over $30/yard and it’s only about 21 inches wide. I was so tempted to buy yardage, but had absolutely no idea what to do with it, so contented myself with fondling it instead. I was checking out with the silk and saw they had little “try-me” packs of it for $10. I rummaged through the basket and each packet was more beautiful than the last. Since I couldn’t decide which one to buy, I literally closed my eyes and just stuck my hand in.

Homework calls, give me another day or 2 and I’ll post the grand-daddy of all fabric designers’ swatches.

Brandon Mably is God

Last Friday I took a day off from work and school and just knit. This was the result:
Okay, so I didn’t just knit, I took a class with Brandon Mably. This is Kaffe Fassett’s Persian Poppies pattern.

Jillian saw that The American Sewing Expo was coming to a town near us and twisted my arm into signing up for the one and only knitting class that was being offered. Then her husband was called out of town. There really wasn’t anyone else that I wanted to spend an entire day sitting next to, so I went on my own.

Brandon was warm and funny and referred to everyone as his friend. As in “Oh, my friend over at that table has the most gorgeous color to add to your ball. Come with me, my friend, and we’ll get you some.” All in a wonderful British accent. He was constantly complimenting people on what they were knitting and encouraging them to step off their personal color paths and “be outrageous, my friend.”

We also had a guest lecturer, none other than Kaffe Fassett. He spoke about using color and experimenting before we started knitting. Then he encouraged us to listen to “our” Brandon and “do what he tells you to do.”

The market was overwhelming. Since I’m just starting to quilt, a lot of the stuff was beyond me. I did manage to pick up some gorgeous fabrics and the newest Kaffe book Quilt Road. When I came back from market, Brandon wanted to see what was in the bag. When I pulled out the book, he grabbed it and showed me his gorgeous quilt based on the umbrellas in My Fair Lady. Both Kaffe and Brandon signed it for me.

It was exhausting and I spent a lot of the day mentally elbowing J, but well worth going.