Monday, June 18, 2012

A Warm Welcome

Thank heaven for fiberholics!  For LYSs and Ravelry!  Moving across country (again) can be a bit discombobulatory even under the best of circumstances--which circumstances I am under, more or less.  Luckily, knitters and crocheters and other fiber fanatics are among the nicest, most welcoming people in the world, and thanks to Ravelry, I had already been in touch with some of them before I even got here.

I've been in my new, soon-to-feel-like-home for a little over a week, and I've already been to a World Wide Knit in Public get-together sponsored by the LYS in Ventura, Anacapa Fine Yarns (  In fact, this was the day after I arrived.

Knit first, house-hunt later.  First things first.

I had never even been to the shop, but so what?  Met some lovely fellow knitters and crocheters at the mall, then went to knit night at the shop on Thursday, and met more lovely, welcoming fiber-people.

Comfortingly enough, it happened to be on the same night as my regular knit night back in Nashville, and though I missed my Southern knitsibs, I had fun getting to know the California contingent.

Of course, I took time to browse.  The store is something like the SoCal cousin of my favorite yarn shop in the world, Monarch Knitting & Quilts in Pacific Grove, CA.  (

(I am only slightly biased because I used to work there; it really is a great store.)  Anyway, Anacapa is very Monarch-y; they score high on the friendliness factor, and they have a wide variety of yarns with a wide range of prices, so, something for everyone.  There is even the requisite wall of Encore!  Perfect for charity projects.

And then of course, Anacapa was having a sale that weekend, to celebrate eight years in business.  

Of course I had to go.  (Only non-yarnaholics would question this decision.  You know who you are.)

I gave myself an arbitrary budget and stayed well below it, amazingly enough.  But just in case I needed to rationalize the purchase, I did find the perfect yarn I needed for another project I'm designing.

Now all I have to do is finish doing the math, write out the directions, cast on, knit it, cast off, block it, take a picture, type it all up, create a PDF, put the pattern up for sale on etsy, and donate the blanket to charity.  I'm almost done!

I won a raffle prize too!  An organizer pouch and a kacha-kacha row counter, i.e., one of the good ones.  I had just been thinking I needed another of those, since I always have at least eight projects going at once.

Meanwhile, even the sea foam at the beach has been acting like lace.

Ocean air and fiber.  Great combination.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Journey of 2000 Miles

I just drove 2121 miles to get here:

It was tiring, but worth it!  And those last 80 miles or so in L.A. traffic were, predictably, a bear and a half.  A grizzly, in fact.  (State animal is a grizzly bear, for those of you who don't know.)

Angel On My Shoulder

My second night of the journey, I spent in Shamrock, Texas.  Woke early and took this photo of the sunrise from my hotel window.  I didn't realize until after I took the shot that the lamplight reflected an angel image.

Most of my travel pics were taken from hotel parking lots and rest areas.  This was not a sightseeing trip.  I've done that a number times, and while I've seen amazing sights, this trip was about getting from Point Q to Point Mugu, as it were, as quickly as possible, so I could start looking for a new place to live in the imperfect paradise that is California.

Lone Star Sky
I have many more photos, but the internet in this hotel is a bit slow, so I'll just add a photo of one of the half dozen or so knitting and crocheting projects I brought with me.  The first things we yarnaholics pack (and unpack) are our knitting projects, right?  We have our priorities!  Since this is a long trip, AND I had to plan for the trip back to Tennessee to pack the rest of my Stuff, and therefore I would need something portable for airplane flights, much project planning occurred.

Driving out here meant I could bring a lot of yarn.  Hooray!  Since crocheting takes more yarn than knitting, I usually travel with a knitting project or two.  This time I could indulge in both.  Well, I brought my travel wheel as well, and fiber.  Because heaven knows, it could be days before I find a place to buy fiber! And there's a local spinning guild, and I want to go, with wheel in tow.

Anyway, this future blanket has been 'on the hook' for some months.  It gets back-burnered and rekindled regularly.  The colors remind me a little of the ocean and California in general, so as I have worked on it, I have been California dreamin', and it's a perfect project for this trip.

The fact that it's a log cabin pattern is comforting, too, as I search for a place to live.  Traditionally, I think a yellow center of the square is meant to be the light in the window of home.  (A red center would represent the hearth.)

New home, here I come!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fear of Plying

A few months ago, I bought a big honkin’ hunk o’ fiber.  Well, several, actually, but this was 10.3 ounces of gorgeousness.  I had to have every bit the vendor had on hand.  It was a lovely combination of streaks of blue, dark blue, black, and white merino and tussah silk.  It was called “Bay Breeze.”  Perfect for little ol’ (temporarily) landlocked me!

I started spinning it on my brand new Trindle.  The Trindle is a great drop spindle, with super-smooth spin-action, and I was really happy I forked over the dough for it.  I was so proud of how thin I was able to spin my new fiber on it, too.
I had a question about the Trindle (now I’ve forgotten the question, let alone the answer), so I went back to the lady who sold it to me.  She commented on how thick my yarn-to-be was.  I tried not to take offense.  I realized she did not know how thin it relatively was.  Other than that, she answered whatever my question was, and all was well.
I filled up the Trindle once, I filled it twice, and in between I wound the results onto a nostepinne so I could make center-pull balls and ply them together later.  
Then I got the Victoria wheel.  For some reason, I was automatically able to spin a finer thread on my sweet little wheel, and it was coming out all lacey and denim-y (den-yummy!) and delightful.  Well, maybe not lacey, but fingering-y.

So what did I do?  I not only spun all the remaining Bay Breeze on the Victoria, but then I unspun and respun all the many yards and yards of fiber I had spun on the Trindle, so it would all be the same weight.  Have you ever tried to untwist your fiber?  Is this even wise?  I did it anyway.  This took many hours.  My thumbs hurt.
And then I still needed to ply.
I had bobbin upon bobbin of Bay Breeze future-fingering-weight, and I began to ply it onto the bigger wheel, and I kept plying and plying and it never seemed to make a dent in the amount of plying I would need to do, and I looked at those big, fat bobbins and thought, “This is going to take me the rest of my life.”
I did take breaks from time to time, but I kept eyeing the plying to come.  I didn’t have fear of plying, per se, but rather, fear of never getting to spin anything else.
But the result?  882 yards of pure “worth it!”

Now begins the hunt for the perfect pattern!