Thanks to Julia for posting about this.

I really can't tell you how excited I am for the release of this book. I have a pattern in here but I'm not just excited about my own piece. There are some phenomenal pieces from Julia, Mary Heather, Edna Hart and, of course, the author, Kat.

It was a truly extraordinary experience working with Kat. While I can't say I've had too many bad experiences designing for other people, working with someone who is an experienced designer, in this capacity, is liberating. She knows how to give just enough encouragement and direction to keep you on track but leaves you plenty of room to flex your creatively, and she is unfailingly supportive.

Since I was living in LA at the time, I was able to see many of the original proposed designs and I'm eager to see their final incarnations. The items I have seen are instant classics and should appeal to wide range of skill levels and taste.

The photograph? There's only one word for it, "beautiful."

It looks like I have to wait until November to get my grubby hands on a copy. If you are interested in pre-ordering, all the info is available here.

Konichiwa Crochet

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I'm almost always a guest, never a host. Our home is small and lacking in furniture and it's not just anyone I'd subject to a single small (very small) bathroom shared between three adults. But when Julia said she'd be in town for work, I vacuumed up the dog hair and gave the tub an extra scrub. We had us a guest in town!

Recently, Julia has decided to learn crochet in earnest and her enthusiasm is infectious. On a recommendation we found our way to a huge Japanese market replete with...wait for it...a Japanese BOOK STORE. Great googily moogily! Their selection of crochet books was small but packed full of goodness.

There may have also been some shopping at a couple LYSs and the opportunity to meet a really great blogger and designer. Have yarn, will craft, and there was no dearth of that. In the 3 days that Julia and I spent together, not a single solitary picture was taken until the third and final day. Luckily for you, it was the most photogenic day of the lot.

Early that day, we packed the car up for a trip to Horsetail falls. If you read my non-crafty posts, you may remember our last visit, not too long ago.

The day was perfect for hiking. It was a little cool, but not so much as to require substantial outerwear. The sun was out but shaded by some light and poofy clouds. Didn't we agree they were Stradivarius clouds or were they igneous, Julia?

Leo was doggy wrangler for the day. It's no small feat to keep two dogs from intertwining on leash especially when one of them is just a pup. They were each other's yin and yang. Panda would duck every time someone would try to pet her. She wanted nothing more than solitude from everyone she didn't know. Thea, on the other hand, wanted to jump all over every person and dog we passed (and there were many people celebrating Mother's day by hiking on these beautiful trails). Between these two extremes was our handsome hero, dragging one girl ahead and holding another back. Me thinks we have some more training to do.

On the drive home, I crocheted from my new Japanese crochet book. This little wonder is chock full of sweet motifs. While the book is all in Japanese, everything is charted which makes them delightful to use. The yarn? My lovely peachy Merino/viscose handspun, from Chameleon Colorworks. The viscose gives a subtle sheen and the brilliant dyeing gives depth to the simple colorway. When you see the yarn, it's clear the spinning is average, at best, but the fiber was so beautiful to start with that I can't help but be proud of the final product.

Blocked, the finished pieces look like snowflakes.
What am I going to do with them? Perhaps a doggy babushka.

Perhaps not.
I have more — what's the word — sane ideas. I don't have enough yardage to do a whole garment in this yarn (unless I want to go particularly scantily clad) but it could be paired with another handspun or store bought yarn in some creative way. All that is still in deliberation.

After our long hike and short ride home, I took a marathon nap and then arose with ample time to join Julia at Lake Park for a photo shoot. I'll leave those pictures for her to post. Instead, check out the fresh batch of ducky goodness from the same outing.

They can give me avian flu, any old day. I just want to scoop them up and snuggle them.

And now, Julia is back at home with all her fur balls. And all that's left is the now deflated air mattress where she was set up. Thea payed homage to Miss Tuna in Julia's absence. I think that's Thea's way of saying she was glad to meet her.

It was a great weekend and I hope there will be more like it soon. And someday, we'll own a house with more than one bathroom and a proper spare bedroom. I'm dreamin' big, baby.

More shameless doggy photos

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What can I say? I love my girls. I haven't really been knitting much because of all the puppy distraction so, my distraction is your distraction.

The girls during training time:

Sit. Stay. Good!

Ms. Thea making faces at the camera.

Could those ears be any bigger?

Thea's favorite spot while I'm working.

What could possible go wrong?

A trip with Stacy and Mary

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Or, a long winded discussion of some swatches

In my post, yesterday, I mentioned having a quick trip out of town. Since the trip was both short and stressful, I didn't take along Lily, which requires a certain amount of concentration. Instead, I decided to take along some swatching. There are times when there is nothing more satisfying than the joys of mindless swatching to keep the fingers and brain occupied. It was just what I needed.

For my swatching pleasure I brought along two items that were new to me. First was a Mary Thomas book of knitting patterns that I picked up at the Blacksheep Knittery sale, at Kat's suggestion. While the Barbara Walker books will always be my most comprehensive collection, they also represent the most ubiquitous stitch pattern selections and it can be refreshing and inspiring to try others.

For yarn, I brought a couple skeins of Tahki Stacy Charles' Dream.

This is a really unusual yarn and I feel like Tahki doesn't quite know what to do with it. Click that ball band to read the label. It recommends a US #8 needle for a yarn that I would classify as a very light sock weight. Of course, if you read the whole label, you'll see that it recommends doubling it.

It took just over a week

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I've been bracing myself for a month or two of unrest in the home. It's been manageable, with Thea being more than happy to persist at harassing her sister and Panda being even more than happy to tell her to shove it where the sun don't shine. Panda has occasionally agreed to allow the little one to sit near her and has moments where she forgets herself and plays with Thea for a few minutes, but for the most part, it's been mostly the cold shoulder.

Then I went out of town for a couple days, for some personal business. I came home, and something clicked, suddenly, the girls were playing...together...with each other even. I don't know if it was the excitement of having me come home or if about a week was all they needed. Either way, it's a beautiful thing to see them happy together.

To celebrate, we took the little fur balls to Frog Lake up in the Mt Hood region.


Border Collies + Snow = Good old fashion fun

See all the pictures of the trip to the lake here and see all the pictures of Panda and Thea playing, by clicking here.

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