My little girl's a star!

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Oh man, how cute is this?

Have your people call my people

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For a vacation week, I've seen a lot of 5AMs, and not the kind that involve hissing at the sun as it rises while you pray to the porcelain god. Nope. this vacation involved a day at the office, and several early call times for Knitty Gritty. It was all good fun and I got to meet some people I'd long hoped to meet and reunite with people I'd met before. First and foremost on the meeting people roster, was the one and only Stitch McYarnpants. I contributed a couple of kitschy patterns to her book, but this is the first time we had actually met in person. If you follow her blog, you probably know that she gnaws her nails like they are carrot sticks, so a manicure was in her immediate future.

She channeled her inner hand model and posed amongst the granny squares of Macy's. After spending the day browsing books, eating food and, having our cuticles bashed about, we headed back to our respective lodging and rested up for a long day at the studio.

My first Knitty Gritty duty was as knitster for Lily Chin. I'd taken Lily's class at Stitches West but this was my first chance to really talk to her and get to know her as a person. She's got a great enthusiasm and energy.

The other Knisters and I posed for a picture with her spectacular boots, but it appears to have come out a touch blurry. I would be the blob on the left holding the green, Lily shaped blob.

To the right of the lily blob is Eevone and Renaissance (forgive me if I spelled your names wrong), my knitsters in crime. We made needle cases using a method Lily developed for producing true crochet stitches with knitting needles. If you want to know more, you'll just have to wait until seasons 7&8 are released.

The same day I got to meet the Glampyre herself, Ms. Stefanie Japel. I even got a peek at the new book, and it looks great.

As Stefanie was shooting her episode, Debbie and I were prepping and rehearsing for our episode the next day.

Ours is a Kitchmas episode, so step one is trimming the fun fur tree. These won't be a project on the show but will be available as a pattern eventually. Nag Stitchy if you want more information since it's her friend's invention.

I'm not saying that the entire cast an crew liked the tree more than anything we did, but I'm pretty sure the cast and crew liked the tree more than anything we did. Having arrived at the set at 7AM, I didn't get out of there until almost 6, so I missed the opportunity to do dinner with folks who had shot episodes recently. It was worth it though, since I was up again at 5:30 AM to get back to set by 8AM.

I'm not sure why I insist on getting to set early every time, but as can be expected, having done so, the earlier episode experienced a plethora of technical difficulties and our shoot kept getting pushed later and later. If I had been late, that show would have wrapped up early and everyone would have been waiting for me. This is just the way of my life.

This left Debbie and me plenty of time to distract the crew. Stefanie, a producer who has been on the show for the last three years, had been pushing to get us beer can themed episode, to no avail. So instead, Debbie brought her samples in and we did our own shoot.

Classy!

Finally it was time for our episode. Deb was act 1 and half of act 2. I took the other half of act 2 and all of act 3.

That's Deb's tissue box turtleneck.

And rehearsing with Vickie.

And here I am with our Knitsters, of the San Diego Craft Mafia

Of course, no kitschy set would be complete without a creepy clown.

After that, we met up with Jen of DomiKNITrix who shoots an episode on Monday. As a blogger, I should have photographic evidence of this, but I do not. You'll have to check her's and Deb's site for proof that I am not liar. We had dinner and chatted until we were sure the waitstaff would kick us out. I've been a huge fan of her work for years and I was so excited when I saw her book the other day.

Well, I'm completely exhausted and in need of a vacation but wouldn't take the week back for 20 lbs of cashmere fiber.

PDX again

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So I didn't get to go to San Francisco this weekend. It's sad, but Leo and I were not going to let the weekend go to waste. On Friday, we met up with the bi-weekly Restaurant Roulette group to try an Ethiopian restaurant named Queen of Sheba. The food was delicious, the atmosphere; not so much. But, if you forgo any drinks, you can eat for about $10 a person and be pretty full. It's communal finger food, so bring someone whose cooties you don't mind getting or already have.

After a long week of working, Leo and I didn't make it out after dinner. We headed home and hit the sack. I've started a new book *sigh,* it is wonderful. If you are one of the 3 people who hasn't read it yet, pick it up. I'm supplementing this with some nonfiction, or a reasonable facsimile. With topics like String Theory and Quantum Mechanics, we move into the realm of scientific philosophy, which may or may not be classified as nonfiction. Feel free to let loose with your own thoughts on the topic.

On Saturday, we hit our favorite little hippy bar for some live music, good munchies and a pint.

Someone offered to take our picture for us and told me to do something silly.
So I did.

But lest you think I'm a face licking freak, I do have proof of my better behavior, or as itty bitty Marnie would have said "I am being ha(i)ve!"

But let me tell you, for all the excitement of coming home to see the ones I love, I'm embarrassed to admit how exceedingly excited I was to get this.

That's right, it's a WooLee Winder, in the flesh...er...timber.

There was a slow start with my new toy. You see, the WooLee Winder works by way of a pair of gears; one on the bobbin and the other on the flyer. The two must engage in order to wind the yarn onto the bobbin. The whorls I have for El Matchador, appear to be hand machined and while they fit just fine for the purposes of general spinning, they leave a bit of a gap between the bobbin and whorl that causes the gears to barely touch and producing a noticable off balance load onto the bobbin. It's also distractingly loud. This is not a fault with the WooLee Winder. The gap was present on my old flyer as well. It looks a little something like this:


You can actually see my first attempt at filling the void, as well. It’s your standard issue rubber band. OK, but not great.

After a few nearly near catastrophic attempts to make the whorl opening wide enough to properly fit the flyer, I decided it was best I come at this from another angle. I'm not sure how many of you have read my two part series on stitch markers (if you are suffering from insomnia, this may be just the ticket!) but I've found yet another use for some of my most favorite stitch markers.

With three of my black rubber stitch markers, the whole system works like a dream. I have to apply a lot more tension with the break to get the bobbin to take up any yarn, but it sure beats trying to re-machine my whorls with a screwdriver and hammer. SHHHH! I know it was a bad idea, just be glad I’m not showing a broken whorl in this post.


I've been spinning some of my beautiful silk/merino blend that I picked up at Stitches West. The overall color is a soft sage green but spun very fine, the other colors really shine through.

The overall effect is still a soft green but more neutralized, with flecks of red and yellow glimmering through. It's hard to get a really great picture of the yarn that shows the color, but it's lovely indeed.

I haven't had a lot of luck working with these types of vertical color blends in the past, it always seemed like the color changed too abruptly and never looked quite right. But I think I've found a technique that normalizes the results a bit. Basically I use a fairly wide strip of roving, maybe 1/2 or 1/3 the total diameter of the roving as it comes. Then, I work the fibers into yarn by splaying them slightly and allowing the drafting zone to move right to left across the unspun roving. Does that make any sense? Perhaps I'll need to enlist my sweet Leo to help me take pictures when I'm back in Portland.

I think I'll still see some color variance from length to length of the yarn, but less so than if I had worked the fiber as I normally do — from a pencil sized diameter of roving — which would have given far more variance from section to section.

Ok, this is about as rambling and disjointed as any post I've made in recent history, so I'll sign off for now.

I only lived there for 5 years

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I'm back to pester you guys for more free advice. Yes, I lived in LA for 5 years, but even though I did get some manicures last year when I was doing Knitty Gritty, it was a bit hit or miss. The first manicure was great, the second left something to be desired. Anyway, I'm not a manicure getting kind of girl, but I'll be getting another one for my upcoming episodes of KG and would love some recommendations in the Burbank area. If you know of any reliable places in the Valley that you can recommend, I'd love to hear. Just leave me a comment below.

Thanks!

Is that like "I" as in "Eyeliner"?

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Well, my mom has hurt her back and won't be able to make it to our yarn crawl in San Francisco. I hope you will all send healthy happy back thoughts her way because anyone who has thrown out their back knows that this is absolutely no fun at all. Luckily, I know my mom will be back on the west coast as soon as she's in full working order again. This is not a trip for which any arm twisting is necessary so I'm just glad she's taking care of herself and resting up.

I'm scrambling now to get all the various details worked out and may stay in OC for an additional day. If this is anything like my scramble to switch hotels on Monday, it should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Having called the travel site's help line, I had the distinct pleasure of being transfered 4 times to a total of 5 reps, and on each occasion I was asked to repeat my 16 digit locater number, consisting of a random assortment of letters and numbers.

Having subsisted on a bag of airline pretzels and some decaf tea over the course of my 12 hour day, I was perhaps lacking in my usual charm. On round three I ran through my locater number twice, trying to communicate it clearly. As my rep repeated it back to me, she ran through the familiar "That's 'A' like 'apple', 'R' like 'Robert'" and on it went, When she got to "'Y' like 'Wyoming'" I actually didn't know how to answer. She was not American, so there was always the risk that she was confusing her letters, since, surely their company supports a fair number of customers in Wyoming, but I trusted that the logic, while perhaps a little faulty, was probably on track. An hour later, I was unpacked and in my room.

And while I'm nitpicking other people's use of the English language, might I show you this gem of fragmented sentence fabulocity?

It reads, "La Quinta. Spanish for 'Got you covered."
Why do we have a period instead of a comma after "La Quinta"? Maybe a lack of sleep makes me overly persnickety.

It's all fine, though, because I had a huge, delicious sushi dinner with my brother last night.

In my world, there's no such thing as too much spicy tuna.

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