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Madrona, yes I know it’s a month late!

So finally I am getting to post about Madrona.  It was absolutely lovely.  I was lucky to stay in Hotel Murano and look here is my key card, very pretty.
Hotel key card for Hotel MuranoFaye and I took the train to Tacoma and back.  Going there was a bit of an adventure since we got stuck in Everett for over 1 1/2 hours due to a possible mudslide then were loaded on buses for the rest of the trip.  Their plan was in Seattle travellers going to Portland were going to be bused, but all other passengers were going to continue on the train till Oregon where the slide was.  Sadly, it wasn’t the case.  I got a lot of knitting time in, but on the bus I ended up frogging all that I had knit!  The way home was uneventful and relaxing though.  I did end up at the train station way too early!  Oops next time I should double-check what time my train leaves because the Tacoma station is in the middle of nowhere.  I did end up working on my Tea Leaves Cardi and finished to the edging from an inch or so from the armholes.  Yay.  I haven’t worked on it since then though, boo.

It was such a wonderful sight to see knitters, weavers, spinners and crocheters everywhere.  Oh all the beautiful FO’s that were seen all over the hotel and surrounding area.  It was a fibre crafters wet dream!

Even if you don’t get any classes if you live in the area the marketplace and just crafting around the hotel common areas meeting new people is worth the trip.  The marketplace.  Well it was fantastic and overwhelming.  It is not everyday you turn around to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee fondling yarn in the Habu booth, there was much more knitterati and spinnerati to be seen, but alas my eyes suck.  I only noticed Stephanie because she was fondling stuff in my favourite booth!  Jasmine over at the Abstract Fibers booth has these great origami flat bags that I resisted buying then smacked myself for not grabbing the bag that had labs all over it.  I did end up buying one or two off their website and I will take pictures when they come.  I got fibre because I am planning to learn how to spin on my Bosworth spindle, I bought the lovely so I should really learn how to play with it!  I tried not to fall to hard at the BMFA booth and the one that had all the beautiful tencel yarn (sorry can’t recall the name!)  Here is a picture of my Madrona stash enhancement pile.  I didn’t fall down too hard and my credit card and His Tallest thanks me.

My classes were fun, educational and at times overwhelming frustrating.  The fine finishing class I took was in the Bite restaurant gallery and the lighting was horrible for me.  I have purchased myself a knit lite and will be prepared next year!  Jean Wong was delightful and very patient as well as her assistant (I’m sorry I am so bad with names).  Even with one assistant missing I learned quite a lot.  Like I need a lot of good lighting to do an invisible cast off.  I can do Japanese short rows in my sleep and in crappy light.  I was starting to feel really incompetent due to the light and slowness of my invisible cast offs till the short rows swatch took me only a minute or so.  My only complaint was the lighting, but I will come prepared next year!

My class with Franklin on photographing your fibre was an eye-opener.  It helped me not to be afraid of my new camera.  I went from a easy point and shot Canon to a Canon MegaZoom, so all my photos were on automatic.  Now I am playing with the aperture and ISO on manual and it’s so much fun.  He also taught us that a good photographer can take great pictures even with a cell phone camera.  I plan on playing with my camera a heck of a lot more now because practice will help me become more comfortable with my new camera.  I did startle him when I came into the room with my sunglasses and Faye, a blind girl in a photography class — oh boy what did he get himself into.  Thankfully, I noticed the confused look on his face and sat down and started playing on my iPad and knitting.  I could feel the relief emanate from where he was standing.  Yep you can teach a legally blind girl with a small window of functional vision how to get true colour in your photos!  Faye had a interesting time in this class too.  I introduced her to some of my classmates and Franklin and we got our picture taken.  I managed to keep my squeeing fangirl internalized when Franklin Habit asked me if he could blog about his reaction to Faye and I in his class and take our picture.  It was hard!  See here we are.  Also his talk at the banquet was hilarious and educational.  Thanks for being so awesome Franklin!

I also took Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting with Mawata class.  I thought being a non-animal fibre knitter who mostly knits with silk that I had silk and its properties all sorted out.  I was so wrong.  Knitting with Mawata is so much different then spun silk and so much fun.  You have to be careful that you don’t get paper cuts from the silk, seriously strong stuff!  She had her Sock Summit BFF, the depraved dyer herself Tina Newton to help her out.  We learned how silk hankies are made and got to open a cocoon (thank the passenger the silk worm while taking him/her out) then spread the cocoon onto a canvas with nails on it, which is one layer of a hanky.  I also got to try on this mitten. Stephanie did not let them out of her sight nor let the two mittens meet unless they were in her hands.  Good thing I would have stolen them, they were the perfect fit for my small hands!  I have ordered from mawata from a few stores on etsy and plan to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves.  I do need sharper needles though.  I thought my Knitpicks Harmony needles would be sharp enough, but they were not.  I think next I’ll give my Addi Lace clicks a try.

Also there is this awesome deli across from the convention centre.  It is divine and has the best raspberry lemonade (with real raspberries) ever!  I plan on going there everyday during Madrona next year except Sunday, because sadly they are closed on Sundays.  They get super busy and crowded, but it is so worth the wait.  Lauren and I found this lovely restaurant called Indochine and the food as well as drinks where lovely.  Faye was very happy to have a little den between our chairs to curl up on my jacket.  I also tried Two Kois Japanese Restaurant and it was okay.  It’s not their fault I live in Vancouver, the home of awesome and cheap sushi.  I was taken back by the lack of diversity on the menu, but then again I am from Vancouver lol.  It was good and I will go back, the bento box was huge.  Next time I will make sure to only get a few rolls.  Here is the last of my food adventures at Madrona that I wanted to share with you, my experiences at Bite (Hotel Murano’s restaurant).  The servers were wonderful at checking food for me to help me avoid my allergies and my epi-pen.  I had a delicious lunch there on Sunday and breakfast on Monday.  Here’s a picture of my tasty breakfast on Monday.
Tofu scramble @ Bite

I wish I took more pictures, but I was too busy soaking up everything.  This was my first time at Madrona and I am definitely going back next year!


all apologizes

I’ve been dealing with some stuff as well as taking forever to recover from the cold of DOOM (think of Invader Zim saying this.)

Sad news is I’ve made the decision to retire my guide dog Maylee due to her allergies.  I’ve been struggling with this decision since she was diagnoised with allergies, we are dealing with it by allergy shots and anti-histamines and it has gotten better; however not enough that it will not affect her when she is working.  I have put a lot of things in my life on hold hoping that it will get better enough to be able to pick them up again and I realized that it’s time to face the fact that this may never happen if we continue to be a working team.  I’m heartbroken, but I’m also relieved that I’ve finally made a choice.  In the long run, it’s a good decision for the both of us, there is a possiblity that Maylee can be a guide dog for a person in a low pollen area or be a canine companion or even a happy retired spoiled pet.  I will miss her emmensely and it will take some time to get over having to give her up especially since she is my first guide, but I know that no matter where she ends up she will be loved and happy.  I’ve applied for a retrain class to get a new guide and I just need to go through the interview sessions again, as well as some more paperwork.  I will continue to work with Maylee till I go to class, so it’s not goodbye yet.

Now for the good news!  I got a wonderful cocoa swap package from Monica She had to hide the fact that she was spoiling me and I’m sure that was hard especially since we see each other at knitting meetups.  I recall joking with her at one that I saw her little tease closeup picture and that I was going to comment on her post that it looks like she was making a mini-maylee.  Well guess what I was correct!!  Thanks Monica, Mini-Maylee will give me comfort when I no longer have Maylee to hug.  😦  Maylee loves her mini-me as well.  Here are some pictures of her and Mini-me.

Maylee with Mini-Maylee

Maylee with Mini-Maylee

Monica spoiled me rotten with yummy coconut chai breakfast cakes that she made herself, they were delicious!  Some camino dark cocoa mix that is lactose free, oh so tasty, I used some in some comfort brownies today and it was heaven.  Some yummy yarn Tatamy Tweed and Maizy.  Lol, now I know why you were complaining about a lot of the yarn we talk about at knitting meetup is hard to find in the Lower Mainland, see the internets are a good thing most of my yarn is purchased online.  An awesome sheep mug (that she teased me with the last knitting meetup I saw her at!), beautiful stitchmarkers that she made herself, cute tissues, super cute stationary paper, an adorable rubber duckie in a tux, bottle of hazelnut flavouring from Starbucks (thanks Monica you knew I wanted to try some at home!), lovely smelling lavendar soap (not to strong!  perfect) and crystalized ginger.  Also she included a sock pattern, the recipe for the tasty breakfast cakes and vegan whipped cream!  Plus she sent some goodies for Mini-me and His Tallest, some Hersey’s milk chocolate (sadly His Tallest can’t have lactose either so Mini-me happily ate it all, to save him for the milk ingredients, of course) and a “OMG IT’S SO ME AND CUTE” is what Mini-me said when she saw the pretty purple watch Monica sent for her. She loves it and says lots of thanks, hugs and squees. Thank you so much Monica you are an awesome spoiler and friend.  I apologize for the lateness of this post.

Belated Thank you to my Secret Pal Pam!!

So I got a package from my secret pal and I’ve been meaning to post a public thank you for a while.  I’m so sorry that it’s taken me so long, but thank you Pam everything is lovely.  I’d brag on and on about the wonderful package that she sent me with loads of awesome yarn plus a beautiful print of a black lab, pretty buttons, cookie cutters including a teapot shaped one! and more but it would be better for me to just show you the pictures.  I’d go into more details but I’m sick with a horrible cold, it’s so bad in fact I can’t knit, due to the fact that I have to blow my nose every minute or so.  Meh!  I hope that this cold clears up soon because I have lots of knitting to work on and some pretty new yarn to try out.  Thank you Pam and I promise it won’t take me a long time to post about the last package you said was on it’s way.  To my downstream pal, you know who you are your package and the lovely Koigu is being delayed due to this cold from H-E-doublehockeysticks has got me bed or at least house-ridden.

I almost forgot those wonderful cards are made Pam with her own photography, so gorgeous!  Also the candles smell divine, but I can’t be in the same room with them meh I really hope my other allergies get better before the seasonal allergies start!  Thanks Pam for the great package and for being a fantastic secret pal and good luck with your schoolwork.

Friday Yarn Pr0n and NaKniSweMo progress update

1. Lorna’s Laces Limited Edition Amy Friendly Yarn — Amy’s Vintage Office close up, 2. Lorna’s Laces Limited Edition Amy Friendly Yarn — Amy’s Vintage Office close up, 3. SweetGeorgia Silk Taffy in Midnight Show, 4. SweetGeorgia Yarn Spun Silk 20/2 Graceful

So I found out SweetGeorgia Yarns has silk (Thank you Felicia!!), so I broke my vow of not buying new yarn and got some lace weight and dk silk from her in such yummy purples that I’m going to have to fight my darlin’ daughter, Mini-me to make sure they stay mine.  Also bought before the ban on buying more yarn is some of Lorna Laces Limited Edition Amy Friendly yarn in Amy’s Vintage Office.  Oh I love this yarn and want to make something special with it.  So after a falldown in yarn buying I am petting some gorgeous silk and trying to tell myself that I’m not going to need any more yarn for a long time.  Lol, let’s see how long this lasts!

Rogue WIP

Rogue WIP

So it’s the seventh day of NaKniSweMo and I have finished the back and half of the front of Rogue.  Sadly I noticed that my kangaroo pocket is slightly on crooked, but hey what can one do when they are trying to do tricky knitting things with limited vision.  So I’m going to continue on and be proud of my accomplishment, and think of it as an accidental design feature 😉  I’m really enjoying knitting Rogue, Jenna Wilson, the designer, has written a clear and easy to follow pattern.  This sweater is knitting up really fast for me.  I’m thinking I might be able to start the CPH once I’m done Rogue and try for two sweaters in a month.  I doubt that will happen, but hey I can try!  The weather here has been dreadful, for the last week it’s mostly been a downpouring, which is normal Lower Mainland fall/winter weather.  It will be nice to have a nice cozy sweater to keep the cool chill off.  For all those participating in NaKniSweMo, knit on and thanks to those who are cheering for us on the sidelines.

Stitch markers aren’t just pretty knitting jewelry

Tuscany lace shawl progress so farI’ve been working on Tuscany that will be gifted to my Great Grandmother for her birthday in July. It’s going well and I’m about half-way done. While working on this project I realized that stitch markers are one of the notions that you never can have too many of. For example, I’m six repeats into the lace chart and so far I’ve used 14 stitch markers. I have 5 more repeats of the lace chart to complete and that adds another 10 stitch markers for a grand total of 24 stitch markers! Now you see what I mean about never having enough stitch markers? This is just on of my WIPS. I’m also have a clapotis in hibernation till I finish Tuscany and that takes a lot of stitch markers too!

Here’s a close up on some of the markers I am currently using for Tuscany.

The two markers on the outside are cute dog pewter charm stitch markers with Swarovski crystals made by Knitwit Momma. I love her markers and she has a lot of different themes to choose from. The sun marker I received in my HSKS 3 package from Neila along with the cutest Ravenclaw stitch markers with yarn and needle charms (not shown here).

stitch marker container (cute pill box) and black lab markers from etsy's weeonesSee before I started adding to my stitch marker collection I tried using other things like mini-hair elastics, paper clips and such. They didn’t work for me as well as I hoped. Mainly the problem I had was the elastics sticking to my needles and the paper clips catching and snagging on my knitting. After a lot of frustration and frogging I started to seek out cute accessories for my knitting to mark my place instead of these failed experiments. I found lately my favourite place to purchase markers is Etsy. These little black lab markers were purchased at weeone’s etsy store. She makes the cutest animals and such out of polymer clay. Check out her etsy store

Here’s a little list of my favourite stores to get stitch markers on etsy

  • zero -She makes elegant markers out of freshwater pearls and semi precious gems. Beautiful markers and great prices!
  • weeones (mentioned above)
  • crimson orchidI just found this mother/daughter owned store and ordered a few of their markers and row counters to try out. They make all types of markers including removable markers (great for crochet projects), droplets (I think they will be nice for lace knitting) and alphabet ones for those knitting Kat Borhi’s New Pathways socks.
  • Kishcrafts I haven’t ordered from her yet but I’ve been drooling over her cupcakes and sweet treats. Also for those who don’t like treats there are these cute veggies! Super cute food markers made out of polymer clay
  • Scarymerry After checking out her store on a regular basis for a while I finally made an order for a few of her polymer clay creations. I finally couldn’t resist owning a set of sushi stitch markers! Scarymerry makes a wide selection of fabulous markers that it’s hard to choose which ones to order. She makes the inner geek and child in me squee with excitement, from Mr. Potatohead, Pacman, chocolate, sushi and so much more that even if you aren’t going to buy stitchmarkers you should drop by her etsy store just to see all that she carries it’s so entertaining (not to mention hard to resist snatching everything into your shopping cart!)
  • Sunneshine She has some great Harry Potter pewter charm, crystal and bead markers in house colours that I love. If you aren’t into HP there are still lots of markers to choose from like these Maneki Nekos, frogs, yarn balls, knitted scarves and so much more! Fast shipping and gorgeous markers.

So now you know some of my favourite etsy shops to purchase stitch markers, do you have any that I didn’t list. Come on help me out by posting yours in the comments and be a good little enabler I know you want too!

Who hit fast forward on February?

I can’t believe it’s March already. I’ve been absent from here due to many things. I got hit by that flu, then a really bad hangover after celebrating with friends last week (they bought a house in Vancouver) followed by dose of evil gastroenteritis. Man, I still feel like crap!

Red and Gold cotton lycra handknit sock almost finished with two balls yarn sitting on the floor During this time there was a lot of frogging, less knitting. I’m working on my HSS3 pal’s socks. I’m knitting for a Gryffindor again. Here’s a look at the first sock, which I have completed. I’m working on the cuff of the second sock and I hope to have them finished soon.

I finished all the stuff for my Dishcloth swap downstream pal LeAnn.
She emailed me via Rav to let me know she liked her package. Very sweet lady and this is something I made to put in her package.

I also received my package from the wonderful Mia and it was super fanastic thanks so much! As you can see she spoiled me rotten. I can’t wait to try the sock yarn and make some pretty stitchmarkers with the beads. I also love the soap it’s rosemary & mint! I’m still trying to figure out what I want to spend the iTunes gift card on, an audiobook maybe? Oh and the needles are so pretty — rosewood! See the cute red ladybug, it is a tape measure, now I won’t have a problem finding my tape measure because red is a bright colour that is easy for me to see (very high contrast!). The dishcloth is super cute as well it’s says love. I apologize that this post and public thank you is a late as well! Once again thank you Mia you rock!

I found my sock mojo and update on the holey lace disaster now with pictures

secret of the stole ii clue 1 disaster!So I finally have a picture of the lace disaster that I blogged about a little while back.  I haven’t finished clue 1 yet, I frogged it yet again due to me not properly installing the lifeline.  Note: do not put in a lifeline on really small lace thread projects really late at night especially when you suffer from low vision and eye strain, it is NOT pretty.  I just picked it up again yesterday night and the first 6 rows of the easy knitting, now that I’m rested it’s time to put in that lifeline.  I am not giving up on this, I’m going to conquer this soysilk thread and pattern.

I finished a sock and now I need to cast on the second.  I used Yarn Harlot’s simple sock pattern and the yarn is panda cotton in Seascape.  Also I have fixed and turned the heel on the Green Monkey sock, it’s been a UFO for longer than I thought.  I was starting to think I lost my sock mojo, but it came back and soon I’ll have two pairs of sock done!

Sadly due to the missing camera battery charger I have no camera!  *whine, sob, sniff*  Broke down and ordered a new one after the battery completely died on me.  It should be here in 4 to 7 days business days *sniff*  that is way too long without a camera for me.  I should go see if I can get my old camera to work again till the charger comes.

I also got a package from the so far as I know blogless Wednesday (however she is on Raverly, but I’m too lazy to link sorry) who is my Loopy Ewe Swap partner.  She sent some great stuff and there is one more package coming with the finished knitted object.  Due to some techinical difficulties the knitted object is not done, I’m patient plus that means more packages to squee like a little japanese fangirl.  This first package had a pretty bamboo box with some Numi tea in it (it now holds stitchmarkers!), beautiful yarn cake of Schafer Yarns Andrea in Dian Fossey (sooooo beautiful), three bars of dark chocolate (there are only two left now :-D)  and last, but not least the first volume of the manga Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova.  Thanks Wednesday I’m already hooked to Dramacon and badly need to go pick up the next three!  Also have been reading Svet’s online comics, love them!  I took a picture of the package with the last juice left in my battery – so if I find my card reader there will be pictures very soon!