Monday, September 28, 2009

OFFF 2009

My friend Jen and I went to OFFF again this year! We had a great time!!

We left on Friday at 5 AM, which wasn't hard for either of us, as we are both early risers. We arrived in Canby at the fairgrounds shortly after 8 AM, including a couple of stops for bathroom breaks and coffee.

We signed in for our classes (I took a lace spinning class in the morning, and a sock spinning class in the afternoon, and Jen took a Navajo spindling class), and wandered around for 30 minutes before going to our respective classes.

Rejoining for lunch, we compared notes. Jen discovered she didn't really enjoy Navajo spindling, but was glad she took a class to confirm that suspicion. I picked up several tricks for lace spinning - mainly the tenet of "overspin, underply". My teacher, Sheila January, also showed us how to spin cobweb laceweight yarn - that is, yarn that, at 2 ply, would be about the grist of sewing thread. She told us how a teacher of hers spun yarn for Orenburg shawls, and gave her about 2 oz, if that, of ultrafine Merino locks, and told her it would be enough for a 6 foot diameter Orenburg shawl.

We also got to spin a variety of fibers for each class. For the lace class, Sheila gave us some superwash Merino, then followed that with silk brick, then a Merino / yak blend (70/30?), and finally we tried our hand at cobweb spinning using some BFL locks. I was pleased to learn it is possible, though it is a technique I do not see myself using, except as a means to keep myself sharp and able to spin a variety of yarns.

After lunch, I went back to Sheila's room for the sock class (turns out she taught both classes!), while Jen amused herself by wandering and knitting. In this class, the main thing I came away with was to spin firmly for sock yarn, and that nylon as a strengthener is unnecessary, because all it does is make a skeleton to make darning holes easier. Natural alternatives for nylon in sock yarn include silk, mohair, or considering not using a fine wool to spin the yarn in the first place. In fact, one of the samples was Wensleydale top, and it made a great, firm 2 ply yarn for me! Other samples we used were a Shetland top that was quite lovely, a BFL top, a pin-drafted CVM which was lovely, and a Merino / alpaca blend.

Some seedheads at sunset in a state park in Canby

What did I buy? 3 oz Jacob top, two different Shetland preparations (one 4 oz ball of top, and 8 oz of Shetland prepared in two batts), 7 oz of BFL (the same preparation I spun in class), a skein of BMFA Laci, a skein of BMFA Socks That Rock Midweight (a Rare Gems color that reminds me of an aquatic rainbow), and two skeins of BMFA BFL Sport in "Jabberwocky", an autumnal rainbow colorway that enchanted me (and, at 600+ yards each, two skeins will knit me a fine sweater).

I thought I would share some photos of Canby itself, rather than the yarn I bought. You can see all that on my Ravelry stash page.

Moonrise at the park

I hate to have noticed this, but the demographics of a fiber festival are fairly predictable - mostly women, and probably 90% of those women are overweight. I don't know why. Maybe that is why I subconsciously chose to wear my Crossfit shirt on Friday.

Jen and I at the river
A dahlia farm

OK, I suppose I should show a picture from the actual festival... excuse the lack of focus from the camera!

A fuzzy picture of a ...fuzzy ram

I can't wait for the 2010 class list and another trip with Jen! :)

I hope to post my sample pics up here soon...

Yarny Update

I got some stuff in the mail!

The September Rockin' Sock Club shipment! I was waffling whether or not to sign up again next year, and you know, Cat Bordhi's patterns reaffirm my love for this club.

Here's a skein of BMFA Laci I got at OFFF for $6.80 (Keep in mind this yarn retails for $50)!! I'm going to use it for another try at Hanami.

Here is a 2 ply skein I spun from a Shunklies Shetland top. I am extremely happy with their fiber prep; the Shetland spins like a dream. I think I got around 160-180 yd at around 2 oz.

Finally, here is my first Fair Isle FO! An Opus Spicatum hat. I used orange and green Cascade 220 for this... it turned out really well!

Next up: OFFF pictures!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kestrel Follow-Up

OK, so I rode the Kestrel, 48 cm.

It was HOT, let me tell you. HOT like...riding on a pat of butter. The bike was beautiful, all craftsmanship and carbon fiber and Ultegra components. For $1600 cash, no sales tax.

No, I didn't get it.

And I will tell you why: if I wipe out on a full carbon fiber frame, and the frame cracks, there is virtually no recourse for being able to fix the frame. You can't weld carbon fiber. You can't bend it back into shape. It's a fabric that has been made stiff by epoxy. You are Up A Creek with a Very Expensive, Useless Paddle. Furthermore, I really want a triple chain ring up front. This means you get one more multiple of gears (for example: if you had an 18 speed bike, with two rings up front and 8 in the back, and you add one more ring up front, you'd now have a 27 speed bike). I really want that extra ring, because I am lazy and somewhat timid and don't want to fall down on some big hill because the gearing was too high.

I tried to head over to a local bike shop to ride some steel bikes after my Kestrel experience, but they were OUT of my size. Dang!

The good news is that the 2010 bike models are filtering into shops, so they may be more motivated to move 2009 model bikes out...

PS, I also sold my bike today! I had a Cannondale Adventure 400 hybrid that I sold for $200. I hope the wife of the guy I sold it to enjoys it! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009


I'm going to Kirkland tomorrow to try out some Kestrel bikes I saw on Craigslist.

I'm amazed at the component set on these suckers!

Daniel's Visit Here!

I had a wonderful week with Daniel, and am sorry to see him go this morning. However, I know Christmas is only a few months away, and considering it's been over 6 months since I saw him last, I can do that standing on my head! (However, these next few months, he will not be nearly as available to converse on Skype as before...)

Here's some photographic evidence that we spent time together. It also happened that my sister, Rosanne, and brother in law, Paul, were here visiting at the same time!


We went to the ice caves...

An ice cave. I guess it's two, technically, separated by a thin wall.

Here we are, still on the trail. It was a great mix of summer flora and getting blasted by winds coming off the ice caves.

... and we ate Korean BBQ with Kris, Randy, & Mark...

The exhaust vent was a clumsy centerpiece to the table.

... we took Rosanne and Paul up the water tower at Volunteer Park...

Except this is us at the water tower. Not Them.

... and we also took them to see the Fremont Troll...

I take everyone to see the Troll. I wonder when Daniel will get sick of it. :)

... here are Rosy & Paul walking ahead of us at Volunteer Park...

Gorgeous Day!

... here we are in a dahlia garden at Volunteer park...

This Garden Brought to you by the Seattle Dahlia Society.
That cracked Rosanne up; that there was a society devoted to dahlias.
Guess she's never seen Orchid Societies.

'Twas a beautiful week, and the only sad part was taking Daniel to the airport late this morning. I can't wait to see him again!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I had a Skype-date with Daniel set for Saturday at 11 AM.

At 10:30 AM, I received a call on my home phone, which turned out to be Daniel.

"Oh, would you like me to sign onto Skype now?"

"Nah, I think I'll just come over."


Holy Mother of Pearl!!!!!!!!

us at the Ballard locks, watching salmon jump

I get him until this Friday afternoon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spinning About

I have been doing a lot of spinning lately, mostly to clear out my stash before I go to Oregon Flock & Fiber at the end of the month. By the way, has anyone else heard if they got accepted into classes at OFFF? My friend Jen and I have yet to hear...

...Mohair clouds, spun around a wool core...

...Carded wool, mohair, sparkle "Art Batt",
corespun around a wool core and wrapped with a silver Lurex singles...

...and these carded batts, which blend BFL, mohair locks, Angelina,
SoySilk, and other sparkle...

...Turned into this two-ply yarn, approx. 82 yards, fingering / DK weight.


All this spinning has caused me to make judicious use of my broom and dustpan.

Yesterday and today have been overcast with periods of heavy rain. Hopefully tomorrow will clear up; intermittently I see blue sky through the clouds, so there's hope! I am very excited to have Labor Day off, since it's one of very few holidays we get in the middle of the year. Whee!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Introducing "Nibbling Seattle"

I decided to start my own food blog. I'm calling it "Nibbling Seattle".

I want to focus on local foods that I eat (no grains, etc.) and fun recipes. Notice I didn't say "easy" recipes. I feel confident in my kitchen skills, so I don't freak out when recipes say they are complicated. In fact, I appreciate them more, because the flavor profiles are usually more complex.

You want to know what I ate for dinner tonight? About 2 oz of hard cow's milk cheese (akin to a Parmesano), an organic medium sized tomato from today's CSA box, and a small organic cucumber from my friend Melinda's garden (picked Saturday), both sprinkled with sea salt and pepper, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. For dessert, a square (probably 1/4 oz) of 65% dark Vosges Calindia chocolate bar. And a glass of iced water.