Monday, September 28, 2009

Planning a Knitting Party

This weekend was very exciting. A few weeks ago a conversation got going about some of us in the She-Knits Podcast group on Ravelry getting together live and in person. I casually mentioned the Minnesota Knitter's Guild Yarnover which take place in April. We're in the middle of the country - the list of teachers is GREAT - we have a ton of Yarn Shops for a yarn crawl the same weekend. I pretty much was bragging up Minnesota. Then something happened.

Some of the gang said they were going to come. Sometime during this weekend it became a very real thing and the party is on! I'm having some of them staying at my house. We're talking other things to do before and after the Yarnover. It's totally taken on a life of its own. YEA!

Now - here's the problem. I have 6 months to get the house into the shape that I think it should be for people to stay who will probably never see the house again and this will be their only opinions of my homemaking skills. I know - they'll all say, don't worry, it'll be fine. But - I was raised by an obsessive hostess/must do for everyone else kind of person. It's been drummed in my head to be the perfect hostess. This is the reason why I rarely have people over to the house - I live with my mess and a lot of cat fur hanging around the house (see last post).

Time to make a list. Paint the bathroom. Set up the loom. Clear the crap from around the studio. I can do this and still maintain my life and sanity because - unlike my Mother - when I fail to get everything I think should be done complete -I'll still have everyone here, I'll enjoy myself, and I'll make some self deprecating jokes about what a terrible housekeeper I am and that will be that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Here is hair, there is hair, everywhere is Bert Hair

Last summer we added a new member to the family when my cousin's daughter got married. It was a long awaited event because all of us really like the groom. They are the perfect couple. Well - they aren't the perfect couple anymore. Life happens but in this case - life happens in a wonderful way. The perfect couple is now a perfect family.

Layla joined the family this summer and we all got together Labor Day to meet and greet at her Aunt's house. She is 7 weeks in this picture. Our family always seems to do things in a big way. Layla is currently at the 98% in height and weight for her age. I'm guessing she'll graduate college on a basketball scholarship when she's 7 or 8 years old at this rate!
But she is beautiful, sweet and will be raised very well by her fantastic parents. Best of all her grandma is a knitter so between the two of us (mostly her grandma!) she will be covered in cozy knits while growing up!

Speaking of "covered in" I have a problem in my house that I try to ignore. Bert is not a big cat. He is only 9 lb. He is a short hair cat. But- he is a British Shorthair which means a very thick coat. Apparently that breed also means the thick coat regrows itself daily. I get tons more hair off Bert with short hair and only 9 lb then I do off Chief (a Ragdoll) with long hair and a big 18 lb. Go figure!

This morning I combed Bert's back. Straight back from his neck to his tail. Didn't comb the sides. Didn't comb the belly. Nothin' but back. Every stoke of the comb brought up more fur - lots more fur.

Here's a shot of the fur taken off Bert's back this morning. I'm sure I could have gotten more if I kept going.

It's no wonder I have a coating of fur on everything I own. I actually went shopping for pants the other day and ended up with cat fur on the pair I tried on in the dressing room where they had never even seen Bert. It's sad but I do love my little boy and a bit of fur isn't going to stop me from stritching his back whenever possible. But this doesn't answer why he is always laying around with his belly and feet in the air. He must be so hot with all that fur!

Being a knitting blog I should throw in some knitting. Here's a red cabled vest I've been working on. It's done but I haven't had the time to write up the instructions or block it. The picture is kind of bad on purpose - I don't want to give away all the details until the pattern is ready. It will be for larger sizes because there just aren't enough things that go over 48". If I can't find what I want - I'll make it and hopefully find time to write things up and share my designs with fellow biggies.
Today - off to hunt up yarn to finish a shawl I've been working on. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knitting thru time

About 1 month after I was adopted my cousin was born. We grew up very close to each other. Being only a few months apart in age and going to the same school and church we saw each other all the time. We ended up in the same group at school, saw each other at the family cabin over the summer, and saw each other at church. It’s just a good thing we really like each other!

Over the years we haven’t always seen eye to eye on things but we respect each other’s choices. A few months ago he totally surprised me by giving me a book. He had seen a review of a book written by a local person in the Sunday paper and knew I’d be interested in it. So, he went out, bought it and gave it to me. “Knitting the Threads of Time” by Nora Murphy.

This isn’t a book about knitting as much as it is a book about our fiber history. Nora spent a winter knitting her first sweater for her youngest son and took that project to reflect on the beginning of textile creation and how it has changed through history. She works for a multi-cultural group writing grant requests and in the process has been introduced to many friends of many cultural backgrounds. One chapter may talk about the beginnings of weaving in the Americas while another talks about the embroidery of the Hmong. It’s an interesting look at our shared history and gave me good reading other many lunch breaks.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yarn events in my future

Around the country we have billions and billions of yarn gathering opportunities. Come fall everyone starts talking about Rhinebeck. recently was Stitches Midwest. Before that Sock Summit. Of course, there are also smaller gatherings - local knit groups, classes at your LYS and so much more.

Having all these choices really can be traumatic. I wanted to go to Stitches Midwest but decided I couldn't get enough time off to make the trip to Chicago worth it. Now I've got some friends from Ravelry trying to convince me to go to Rhinebeck. I really want to go, but finances in these current times are tight. Rhinebeck is a huge gathering and would be great to go. I know I'd have fun. I really want to meet up with my net-friends. Will the airfare fates be kind to me? Looks like I have some serious airfare hunting and thinking to do this weekend.

Another yarn gathering coming up this spring is the Minnesota Knitter's Guild's annual Yarnover. Every April this group of volunteer's gets teachers from around the country for a one day event. It's held at a local high school and includes a vendor area. The keynote speaker this year (April 2010) will be Cat Bordhi. Other instructors include: Beth Brown Reinsel, Carol Rhoades, Cookie A, Edie Eckman, Franklin Habit, Gayle Roehm, Ginger Luters, Jared Flood, (aka Brooklyn Tweed), Judy Pascale, Lily Chin, Lucy Neatby, Margaret Fisher, Romi Hill, Susanna Hansson, Meg Swanson and Amy Detjen. (list is from the Ravelry Yarnover 2010 group). Pretty impressive for a local gathering! If you join MKG for 2010 during the month of December you get first pick at classes. This is one event I will not miss and I'm hoping some of my net-friends will be able to come and enjoy it with me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

State Fair - final post

This will be the final State Fair post. Today we'll take a look at some of the other crafts. First up - beading. The "crown" was incredible.

There are many cabinets of sewing. This native garment caught my eye because of the beauty and the uniqueness.
One area that catches my eye is the Machine Knitting. For several years these people were my peeps and many my customers. It's fun to see what they are up to and who won what.

More machine knitting....

Machine knitting - this little guy was so cute.

On to crochet - some of the crochet is just plain cute

and some is very small, beautiful stitches. This was a huge piece but I wanted to get a closeup of the work.

We'll end with the cabinet of afghans. Every year there are a ton of crocheted afghans. They're all wonderful and show a lot of crafting time.

Hope the past several posts have given you a feel for our State Fair's Creative Activity building. I'm always impressed with the level of crafting that happens in our state (I know other state's have great crafters too but - I'm a Minnesotan and have to brag up my own state!)
After looking at all these items I only have one thing to say - I'm off to knit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I don't think so!

Someone declared this a day without cats on the internet. We have something to say about that!

Who do these people think they are? I will not look upon them! - Bert

They are mean people who do not know how wonderful we are. Cats rule! - Chief

Cat free day on the internet? I don't think so!
Back to our regular post tomorrow......

Monday, September 7, 2009

State Fair - part 3

Time to look at a few more crafts that are entered into the State Fair. I ended up taking a ton of pictures and decided rather than picking a few, I'd draw out the posts for several days because I really do believe we have a great state fair for crafts & arts and its fun to show off what all the great crafters in our state do.

Polymer cray - here's a major award winner. The owls are really cute. I just wish the pic showed a bit more detail.
Basket weaving - just a few samples.

Weaving & a few more baskets. We have a very active Weaver's Guild that meets in the same building as the Knitters Guild - The Textile Center.
Tatting is not a lost art. The little bonnet and doily under it were beautiful.

Hand spun yarn.
Wood work. The middle of the building has a "home" display where they like to set the larger crafts as if they were in an actual home. I would be very happy if my furniture looked like this!

More wood work. The clock (yes, its a clock) is absolutely amazing. I'm guessing its probably 4-5 feet tall at least. The clock is in the center set back a ways.
Hardanger. Back in the 80s. I used to do hardanger and after seeing some of the samples I have a feeling I'll be pulling out my supplies and making something this year.

Another part of the Creative Activities building is education. There's an area where fiber crafts share the display/teaching area. Each day a different group (or 2) is there to share with the public.
The day I was there was the Weaver's Guild. One section had a couple ladies set up with spinning wheels.

Around the corner in the next section was a lady set up with a 4 heddle loom working on what I think was place mats.
This got me missing my loom and yup! I think I'll have to get the loom set up this year and do a bit of weaving. I've got a 4 heddle loom and all the accessories that go with it. Somewhere around the house are fair ribbons from back in the day when I wove and entered a few things.

The 3rd area was the American Sewing Guild.
Continuing in my "I used to do that" mode - I haven't opened up my sewing machine for a year and have a few quilts close to done. Sounds like I need to start a list of fiber goals for the next year between now and the next State Fair.

Tomorrow I'll post a few more craft pics but thought I'd leave today's post with a few fun places. Right outside the entrance to the Creative Activities building is - SPAMVILLE. Yup - if you can't make it to the Spam museum in southern Minnesota you can visit a smaller version of it right at the fair.

After leaving the building I headed over to the Horticulture building for my annual honey sunflower seed ice cream fix. Just around the corner from the ice cream is my favorite place at the fair. A nice quiet area where you can get away from the crowds for a moment to enjoy this special treat in peace and quiet.

If you take a look over the bushes you can see the hustle and bustle of the fair is going on just a few feet away but - this spot had shade and peace. Just what you need to survive the millions of people that visit the fair.

Tomorrow - crochet, beading and machine knitting.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

State Fair - part 2 - knitting

The Creative Activity building at the Minnesota State Fair holds the hard work of many people for a few weeks in summer. Our state fair runs for the last 12 days before and including Labor Day. People from all over the state bring their best work in fiber crafts, wood crafts, collections, baking, and many other areas to be judges and enjoyed.

This post includes many of the knitting items. There are SO many items brought in it is impossible to include them all but I wanted to include as many as possible in this post to celebrate the creativity of the knitters around our state.

If you live in the Twin Cities area the Knitters Guild holds their meeting Sept 15th at 7:00-9:00pm. This meeting will be a celebration of all the members who entered items in the fair. They will bring them for a show and tell. Guests are welcome and I plan to be there if work allows. I'm very excited to see many of these knit items without a piece of glass between them and me!

Sorry, some of the pics have major glass glare. When you first walk into the building the winning items are in the first display. That means they also get the bright light hitting their glass. Teh sweaters are beautiful but I couldn't control the glare.

There was a special Bohus event at the Swedish Museum this year so they included a Bohus display at the fair. The fair isn't only about looking at pretty things its also about educating people.

Here's a pic of one of the many display cabinets. Row upon row of garments, mittens, hats, afghans... it boggles the mind!

Congratulations to all the knitters who made wonderful items and entered them - and a special congrats to all the winners.
Next post will be pictures of some of the other crafts entered into the fair. Until then - enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

State Fair - part 1

We had a little accident in the house last night. I turned off the light in the den to go to the bedroom. I never bother to turn on other lights cause I've lived in the house forever (it's the same one I grew up in). I know the house and don't need lights, the den is actually the bedroom across the hall from mine. Straight shot, don't need lights. Except -

I have 2 cats. They hang out on the floor like most cats do. Last night as I was walking to the bedroom I took a step and the carpet cried out in pain. I had stepped on Chief's tail and when he jumped out of the way a big chuck of his tail stayed under my foot.
Poor baby! I felt terrible but Chief, being a wise kitty, knew I didn't mean to hurt him and within 2 minutes he was back with me purring away like nothing ever happened. This morning when I saw the big hunk of fur on the carpet I felt bad all over again and he scored some special kitty treats.

State Fair Preview

I went to the State Fair today. I'll be posting many pictures of the knitting and other crafts but I took so many I need to get them in the computer and sized up for the blog. That's gonna take some time!

To amuse you until I get them ready here's a few pics of crop art. Last year I didn't get over to the crop art area so haven't posted any for a few years.

For anyone who doesn't know what crop art is - people take all sorts of seeds and glue them to a backing to create pictures. Some of the pics are very easy to tell they are seeds, some are insanely well done and without getting up close and personal you would never guess they were seeds.

This year had a few topical items...

Obama in seeds

Frank Sinatra -not totally current but so well done I had to grab a pic

Farrah remembered
I didn't see any Michael Jackson seed pic. Maybe there was one but I didn't find it.

Before I close here's quick view of the crafter's mecca - The Creative Activities building.
This building holds the hopes and dreams of many crafters and a LOT of hard work and talent.
Some of the items are serious works of art.
Some of them are - well - pretty silly but really fun to look at.

I give you the crocheted..... first place winning...........

Turkey Hat.
Welcome to Minnesota. We take ourselves very seriously!
Next post will be some of the knitting. There's a lot and its all beautiful!