Getting a Little Crazy

Silly Andee

This photo was taken by my son a few months back, but it is an accurate depiction of what this past week has been like.

Been playing catch-up on pattern writing and proposal writing for new designs and classes. Hopefully will have some fun stuff to share with you later this week.

If I wasn’t crazy enough I realized this past week that Christmas is only 6 months away, as well as all the August, September, October and November birthdays in my large family.  There are quite a few folks on the Crochet Worthy list in those months, so I am going to have to hop to it.

Have you started planning for your gift-giving crafting yet? Now is the time, otherwise you are going to be staying up into the wee hours in November and December with me.

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Happy Anniversary

Most of the time I’m talking about yarn or silly mountain adventures. But tonight I am reflecting on the hidden part of being a designer.

Designing is in its nature a fairly solitary occupation. Especially when you live on a mountain over 45 minutes from any yarn store. Online communities have certainly helped with finding like-minded yarnie folks to bond with. But having someone in your life that helps keep all the pieces together with kids, home and career is a true gift.

Our Wedding Day Protrait
Our Wedding Day Portrait

Fortunately I have been very blessed in my choice of a life partner. 17 years ago we said “I do” to each other in a ceremony on a mountainside with friends and family. It was a day of laughter, tears and tenderness. It has been 17 years of discovery and growth together and I hope we have many more to come.

He has never been discouraging about my passion for yarn, hooks and creating. Sometimes he has no idea what I’m talking about when I am excited about a new yarn or stitch pattern, he still smiles at my happiness. Being that he is a geek like myself, he really appreciates my rhapsodies on geometries and design math. He even remains calm when I tell him we need to go to Kansas to visit my Dad for Father’s Day, with less than a week to plan the trip.

Anniversary Present

Fittingly, my gift from him this year, was 3 DVDs. One being Season 7 of the Big Bang Theory. Yay! The other 2 movies are also ones I have been wanting to see. Further confirmation that he “gets” me. He surprised me with this gift this morning.

We are in Kansas visiting family. Our anniversary celebration has consisted of playing at a city pool with my niece, her little ones and our boys for hours this afternoon. Then a lovely dinner at the Outback Steakhouse with our boys and my Dad. Father’s Day will be spent with my Dad and will include grilling burgers and sausages on the new bar-b-q that my brother Cy and I bought for him.

Plymouth Yarns

Of course, a blog post on here would not be right without a lovely box of yarn. These goodies came last week from Plymouth Yarn. I am having designing raptures and have already started swatching with the Linaza (lovely mix of Alpaca, Linen and Tencel).

Hope you all are enjoying your summer. We are certainly getting a reminder of what a hot summer can be like by visiting Kansas in June. The boys and I all are a little pink from our afternoon in the sun. But we are enjoying our little taste of Hot & Humid, since we will be headed back to our mountain Monday.

Having Fun at the Wool Market

Welcome sign in Vendor Barn entryway

This weekend was the Estes Park Wool Market, and this time I took my family with me.

Saturday, my friend Brenda was meeting us there with her husband and grown son.  Every time I go to the wool market and see all the fiber bearing animals, I keep trying to think of a way of having some of these critters at home. But I grew up on a farm and I know just how much work is involved.

Llamas - 3 amigos

One of our first stops was to watch the Sheepdog demonstration. Then we went to see the Llamas in their barn. The boys were delighted to meet 3 yearlings and their owner, Sandy of Lockwood Dreamstar, told them that llamas like to touch noses with you.

Llamas - Nose to Nose

The light was a bit low, so my photos were somewhat blurred.

llamas - Boys with black llama

This handsome fella was so soft. Sandy was very kind and educational about llamas and the boys were thrilled to get to pet a llama.

Sheep Shearing Demo

After our visit with the llamas we went to watch a sheep shearing demonstration. It was hard to hear the folks that were giving the demo because their sheep were being very noisy. It was lots of fun though to see how gently and quickly the shearer worked. At the end, the amount of fleece that came off each sheep was impressive. Most impressive was when the shearer told us that he could shear as many as 170 sheep in a day, and he had done as many as 262 on one of his busiest days.

Then we headed to the Paco-Vicuna, Alpaca and Rabbit barn. There we got to see how an alpaca fleece is sorted out in preparation for spinning into yarn. Brenda caught up with us in this barn, but the boys still wanted to see the bunnies. Brenda and her family left us to our exploring and I arranged to meet her a little later at the Vendor Barn (where the yarn and lovely hand-dyed fibers live).

Shanas Bunnies

I stopped to visit with a lady that had 4 beautiful French Angora rabbits, she had examples of their fiber that she had brushed off them during the day. The boys were exploring further and they fell in love with a little French Angora bunny that was for sale. He was a lovely butterscotch color, and though I was tempted as well, I knew better. When I said “no” it was clear that we had waited too long to feed the boys their lunch, both of them were in tears and very upset.

After the bunny incident I sent all my men off to have lunch and go to the little amusement center across town; go-carts, miniature golf and a gigantic slide that you ride down on rugs. I headed to the Vendor Barn to meet up with Brenda. I tried to be good and resist purchasing any yarn. But there were some beautiful hand-dyed hanks that I couldn’t say no to. I have very little resistance when it comes to yarn.

Bonkers Yarn

This lovely yarn from Bonkers Hand-Dyed Yarn inspired me with it’s color. Don’t be surprised if my hair ends up some of these colors, I’m going to be taking this hank into my next appointment with my stylist and see what she comes up with. Traci the owner/artist always has a wonderful variety of yarns and fibers in her booth. You can visit her website at www.tracibunkers.com to see many of her wonderful products and artwork.

Galinas DVD

I saw a number of vendors there that I know. I was really excited to see Galina Khmeleva as I have been wanting to purchase her Orenburg Knitting DVD ever since I took her knitting class at the Knit & Crochet Show last summer. We had a lovely chat and I purchased the treasured DVD. You can also download her class on the Interweave website.

Jeny Originals Booth

Brenda and I stopped to explore the gorgeous colors of yarns at Jeny Originals, Yarns & Handwovens. Turns out she also has a shop in Laramie, Wyoming (one of my favorite towns) so the next time I am up there to visit I definitely need to stop by. One thing I really enjoyed is that the tags on her hanks are the her husband’s photos that she takes inspiration from for her colors.

Jeny Originals Yarn

I couldn’t resist these 2 hanks and I think they will become something very lovely. The multiple colored one is seacell/silk and incredibly soft, the other is 100% silk and seems to glow.

Lambspun Ladies

I said a quick hello to my friends at the Lambspun booth. I had a giggle because this is the 25th anniversary of the Estes Park Wool Market and Lambspun was one of 5 vendors that have been there every year. So they had a banner in their booth that said “25 year Survivor”. As I walked around the floor with Brenda we spotted the other 4 booths. If you have never gotten a chance to stop in to visit the Lampspun shop in Ft. Collins you really need to treat yourself. I think of it as the Ali Baba den of yarn.

My Sheep Shirt 1

Diana White from Wyoming Equality Fiber Works had some great artwork. I had to have this T-shirt that says “My Sheep Shirt” on it in letters formed by sheep. When I showed my family my purchases that evening both boys wanted their own sheep shirts so I began to think about going back to the Wool Market on Sunday.

SeaColors Yarn

My last yarn purchase of the day was at the SeaColors booth. This booth was full of wonderful soft squashy yarn in delicious muted colors. I purchased 2 hanks in a lovely rose-coral mixture. I’m thinking a nice transitional piece for spring-time. The softness and loft of this yarn will definitely lend itself to crocheted cables. You can learn more about Nanne and her farm and yarn at www.getwool.com.

skein earrings

My last stop of the day was a visit to my friends Ron and Theresa at the Buffalo Wool Company. I was resisting purchasing yarn there, since I have a couple skeins I’m working up a design for spring in already. But I had to have a pair of these adorable earrings that are tiny hanks of Buffalo Gold yarn on silver findings. The deal was sealed when I found a pair in magenta.

I had definitely done my bit for retail therapy and felt very virtuous since I had resisted purchasing a bag at one booth. The bags were beautifully constructed and colorful, my 2 weaknesses. They were priced reasonably for the quality, but I talked myself out of it. Next year if they are at the market again I may not be able to resist.

Sunday, my oldest son wanted to go back to the market to explore the Vendor Barn. He and I headed over to Estes Park after lunch. Once we got there we went over to the building where the “Sheep to Shawl” competition was happening. Across the way was the Children’s Tent and he wanted to try learning to spin with a drop spindle. He made about 5 feet of thick/thin yarn and had a good time. It was fun for me to have a review of spinning with the drop spindle too.

As we were heading back toward the Vendor Barn he wanted to say “hi” to the 3 young llamas again. We stop by for a little bit, but only 2 of them were in their stall, the 3rd one must have been in the arena being shown. We headed back down the path and decided to visit the bunnies again.

Alpaca/Angora yarn for a hat
Alpaca/Angora yarn for a hat

This time we talked to the same woman with the 4 rabbits I had met on Saturday. We asked lots of questions about having rabbits and the care they needed. We stopped at a table that was selling some angora blend yarns and my son picked out a hank of alpaca/angora that I promised to make a hat from for him. The color is nearly black, so it will be a definite labor of love.

Boys Sheep Shirts

Finally we made it to the Vendor Barn and headed over to Diana’s booth again. We picked out shirts for both boys. The white one with the bright colors is for my oldest son and the light gray one with purple is for my youngest.

We wandered around the vendor floor then. My son was attracted to the artwork and fascinated by the various drum carders. One nice woman at a booth demonstrated to him how they work.

Carl and Eileen of Bijou Basin

When we found ourselves at Carl and Eileen’s Bijou Basin booth they weren’t busy so we got to visit for awhile. Carl regaled us with stories about their Yak herd and their dogs. My son was completely enthralled and I was petting the yarn.

Allure Fiber Wash

I didn’t purchase any yarn from them this time, but I did get a couple bottles of their new fine fiber and fabric wash “Allure”.  A small bottle of the Woodland Mist scent, and a large bottle of the Fragrance Free. I’m really looking forward to trying this wash product. Unlike some scented products this one did not make me sneeze, and the fragrance free may be the first I’ve encountered that truly had no scent at all.

Theresa and Ron of Buffalo Wool Co.

Our last stop of the day was to visit Ron and Theresa at Buffalo Wool Company. I had forgotten to get a photo of them when I had stopped by the day before. We tried to get a photo of the 3 of us, but our photographer was a little short being he is only 12.

After all the fun with Ron and Theresa we headed out the door to drive home. The smell of the cinnamon roasted almonds was a big temptation though, so we got a little packet of those to share on the drive. On the drive home my son told me this had been an “Epic” day. I think I got some mom points and he is looking forward to next year’s Wool Market. Must run in the family.

The date for next year’s Wool Market is June 11th and 12th, so you might want to plan a visit to Estes Park to come play with fiber and have fun with friends. Estes Park is a beautiful place to visit and adding fiber and yarn to the visit makes it even better.

 

 

Back from the Summer TNNA Show

Here we are again, silence from me for a couple of weeks while I got ready for the TNNA Summer Trade Show. Now I am back and delighted with my meetings I had at TNNA and all the new yarns and other fun goodies that I saw there. I arrived in Columbus late afternoon on Friday and took a taxi with friends to our hotels adjacent to the Convention Center. That evening was the Fashion Show and the Designer Dinner. Sunrise Shawl back view sm My Sunrise Shawl made in Elemental Affects “Civility” was the 12th item in the Fashion Show. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photo of it at the show, my phone battery had died and the camera I borrowed from a friend at the event wasn’t up to the lighting challenges. So the photo taken on my dress dummy before I shipped the sample is all I have for the moment. The pattern for this design will be available June 20th (note: due to some family stuff the original release date of June 15th has been moved out). After the Fashion Show it was back to the opposite side of the Convention Center to the Crowne Plaza hotel to join many of my designing colleagues and other yarn industry folks for the Marly Bird Designer Dinner. Again  not much in the way of photos since my phone was still dead. The dinner was interesting though I was sitting at a table with a bunch of folks I hadn’t met before. I did see a lot of my friends in the room and caught a quick moment to chat with some of them. Some were only at the TNNA show for that evening, so I was glad for a chance to see them. Extra Goodies from MBDD During the evening there were a couple fun give-a-ways, I ended up with the little goodies above. I got the yellow clips for having a crochet hook on me, surprising right? Me having a crochet hook (I see you chuckling). MB Designer Dinner Goody Bag After dinner we were all presented with our official Goody Bags. Look at all the fun stuff that was in there! I was really glad the dinner was in the same hotel I was staying at. All I had to do was take the elevator to my floor and collapse into bed. I was wiped out. Saturday morning I was moving a bit slowly, but made it to the show floor only 15 minutes after they had opened the doors.  I cruised around the floor checking out the new products and new yarns. Eventually I met up with my friend Tamara (Mooglyblog.com) and we continue to explore the booths. Clover Amour Hooks We made a stop at one of my very favorite vendors, Clover Tools. As you all know, I love their crochet hooks. I introduced Tamara to them and they showed us their newest addition to their Amour line of hooks, 12mm and 15mm sizes. I’m really looking forward to playing with these more. The rest of Saturday slipped by in a bit of a blur. That evening I had dinner with my friend Mary Beth Temple and then called it a night pretty early. Willow Yarns Sunday morning I met up with Tamara and Jessie (JessieatHome.com) at the Willow Yarns designer brunch. All of us were given a fun messenger bag with balls of yarn and sample skeins. I did a quick dash back to my hotel room then I was off to a meeting. Later that day I caught up with Tamara and Jessie again, as well as Charles Voth and Mary Beth. I stopped by the Brown Sheep booth to chat with Peggy and her family. We were planning for my trip to Nebraska this September when I will be one of the teachers at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair. If you are in the area come join us for lots of fibery fun. That evening Tamara, Jessie and our friend Becky went out to dinner, then joined the big group of designers in the Hyatt lounge. It was after 11 p.m. when I got back to my room and realized I still needed to get all my stuff packed up for checking out the next morning. Yikes! Monday went by in a whirl between checking out of the hotel and then making a last trip around the floor. I picked up some yarn from a few of the vendors and said my good-byes to as many of my friends as I could. Then back to the hotel to get my luggage and rearrange things for my flight home. I had a few adventures getting back to Colorado, delays for flights and delays for luggage, but eventually I made it back (unlike a few of my East Coast friends who got stranded overnight in Columbus and Chicago). It’s been a week of recovery and reconnecting with my family since then. My boys are out of school for the summer break, so everyday feels a bit like a Saturday I’m going to have a lot of wonderful things to share with you this summer, so be sure to stop by regularly. Next weekend is the Estes Park Wool Market and I’ll be heading out again in 6 weeks for the Knit & Crochet Show in San Diego. So if you are going to be at either of those events be sure to look for me and say “Hi”.