Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ahhhh Almost Fall

Boy, the summer has been great. Interesting sights, visits, weather. But a sure sign that fall is nearing is the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan, MI. I had the great pleasure of going with some of my Black Sheep buddies for the weekend and a chance to enhance the stash. As a teacher, the mention of fall makes me feel a little tense. Sure, I am excited to get to the kids and the creative ventures of the art studio. But there is much to be said for having a choice about when and where the creativity is taking place. This past weekend, it was all about fiber and friends and that felt "just right."

I went with a different plan for shopping. First off, I need NOTHING. Next, I have so much that I am anxious to knit just waiting for me. Add the new stuff that I got while I was in Colorado and Wyoming, and I am almost uninterested in seeing new fiber. Almost.

Briar Rose is always a great temptation. I just got enough wonderful yarn from her to make the Retro Sweater, so I felt that I should put off the pleasure of more of this stash until next time. Wow. What control...I was feeling powerful!

Next stop, Rita's wonderful Yarn Hollow. Hmmm, the power was fading. I got some sock yarn. Yeah, I need about 200 pairs of socks and I better keep getting more yarn for when they all wear out. She had a lovely worsted blend of merino and silk that is in my favorite colorway, Chai, and I could not say no. 500 yards will make the Sassymetrical, I was advised by Ravelry's "Sweatershy" and it looked great on her project page, so it was a done deal. But what if I need more? What if I make something else? Should I get more? Oh man....The strength returned, I stuck with my one skein limit. Even when I went back and got MORE YARN from her! What control (but what if?????)

Back to Briar Rose for a couple of wonderful patterns, no yarn this time either, but ideas are brewing.

The shopping continued and our bags grew full and we grew tired. Onward to Margaritas and ribs, yum. It is so rewarding to have friends that support each other and have so much in common. Plus, the thrill of the hunt and the exciting purchases are a great way to start getting into the new season.

I got home and started entering the new members of my fiber collection on my stash page in Ravelry. What a surprise... the Chai that I was agonizing over having only 500 yards...guess what? I bought the EXACT SAME THING at the last fiber show, so I actually have 100 yards. I guess that I must have really loved it. I bought it twice, imagine that.

The sky is grey, it will probably rain today. Oh well, let it rain or even snow, I have my fiber and friends to keep me happy!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Coming Home and Getting My Act Together!

This has been both the most whirlwind summer while simultaneously being the most relaxing and exciting. I began June vacation with a two week trip to Spain with Smithsonian Tours. I am not usually the organized tour type, I like the planning and flexibility of doing what I want, when I want to do it. But my teaching partner and I agreed that this would be a good way to see Northern Spain and the Basque country and get the most out of the time we had available. The tour was an architectural and art based venture, both being my interests, so we went for it. The organized trip itself was not as long as we would like, so we added days to the beginning in Madrid and at the end in Barcelona. Great idea and it sure paid off. If you ever get the opportunity to tour this part of the country, do it! The food is out of this world and the variety of cities and sights will surely please anyone.

A mere 3 days back at home, and my sweet husband was ready with the camper and the kitty to begin our usual wild west days. We had an eventful trip, some good and some scary. Good was the book I bought that listed yarn shops state by state. It really helped when I was asked "which way should we go?" The answer always being, "in the direction of this shop!"

I scored sock yarns from a number of sources as my samples, got a new book for knitting toe up socks, found Addi sock needles and circulars "buy one and get one free" in Buena Vista, CO, and added a drop spindle and some roving just for the fun of it.

Having such a HUGE collection of yarn makes it easier to travel and ask for the local specialty or unusual fiber. Since we go west every year, I have noted the return visit possibilities and those that we passed while they were closed. If you are ever in Fort Collins, CO, please drop in and visit "My Sister Knits." It is a charming carriage house shop in the back yard of a wonderful house. Upstairs was a grand collection of sock yarns and a well stocked addition to the lovely store.

Tomasina, our traveling cat companion, enjoyed the trip, as usual. What was NOT usual is the way that the chipmunk caught her eye as we were closing the camper door at the TOP of a steep canyon in Yellowstone National Park. Before I could even register what happened, she flew out of the door, over the guard rail and down about 10 feet of loose gravel that ended with a sheer cliff drop off. She luckily stopped at a small grassy knob, looked up and came to her senses just before completely going over. I kept my cool long enough to alert my husband, grab her treats and start calmly talking to her. Meanwhile, my knight is shining armour hubby managed to scale the side of the wall going down a bit, coaxing her to come to him and the treat bag that he held. There went one of her nine lives, and I am sure a bit of my one and only life. We are so lucky to have her back!

Our camper gave us a little trouble this year, giving out at the top of the Colorado Monument. We needed to creep down the winding mountain side without side rails at about 5mph and into town to have a mechanic work on it for a few days. Scarrrrrryy!!!!!! We are, again, lucky and the thing was fixed many hours and dollars later without injury to its passengers.

A day home and I am getting the plans together with my friends to attend the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan this weekend, so a busy week of laundry and bill paying, phone calls and maybe a little knitting will help to acclimate me to the real life that I live when summer ends.