Movin’ On

Hey everyone. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve moved my blog to http://www.knittingknewbie.com. Yep, my very own little slice of the interwebs! All of the old content has come with me, and I’m getting a little better about updating.

Please update your bookmarks (if you have them), and stop by to say hello!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, I am thankful that my lovely mother-in-law is hosting Thanksgiving. I really enjoy having it at our house, but she just does it better. I am also thankful that, for reasons I still haven’t figured out, I’m already done with all the cooking/baking that I need to do for tomorrow evening’s feast.

First up:

Baking the sweet potatoes so I can make…

Twice Baked Sweet Potato Poppers (but in casserole form – too inconvenient to make conventionally for so many people)

Next, may I present to you

A little bit of both of my homes. Cranberries courtesy of Wisconsin, orange courtesy of California.

Nearly there…

Mmmm, cranberry sauce!

My final contributions are 7-Layer Salad (the bacon for which is already cooked; I’ll assemble it in the morning) and a Cranberry Salsa that Alex has agreed to construct. I plan on eating nothing all day tomorrow in preparation for the great feast in the evening, so if any of the Cordero clan is reading this, be warned!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, especially all of our family members whom we won’t get to see in person (Sami, did I get the whom right? I struggled with this one…).We love you all!

Oh baby, it’s hot outside!

This year we here in southern California have been particularly fortunate where our weather is concerned. During the winter and spring, we got rain – not too much, not none at all, but enough to make our lawns green and flowers bloom. And May, June, July, and even the first part of August came with warm days and cool, comfortable nights.

But we all (at least the people in my house) knew deep down what was coming.

Four years ago at this time I was pregnant with Max. He was working toward being two weeks late, and as the temperature crept toward its apex, I got more and more anxious to meet him. What I didn’t realize at the time was that having him during the worst heat of the year would have an immediate, positive effect on my comfort it would mean that, for the next 18 years (ok, at least the next 10 or so) I would be holding a birthday party during…yep, you guessed it…the worst heat of the year.

Yesterday, we celebrated Max’s 4th year of hanging out with us. And, true to form, the temperature hit 100 degrees, after climbing steadily all week from last Saturday’s high of 80-ish. We were joined by our entire California family in addition to some friends and people we don’t see very often (William, on leave from the Marines, and Sara (a friend from Clever Knits) and her sons Bennet and Jude).

We rented a Bounce Castle – the best birthday party investment EVER – and Max and his guests (including some of the adults) bounced until they were sweaty and red in the face, then came out to have a drink and went right back in. For the six hours we had it, it may have been empty for about 20 minutes.

Besides the bounce castle, the other request Max had for his party was a piñata. We’d arranged to have the party at Kit Carson Park, which has a very specific rule regarding piñatas – they must NOT be hung from the trees. So although Aunt Crissy procured both the piñata and the candy, we still had to come up with a safe way to suspend it so the kids could whack the heck out of it. My lovely husband came up with a solution – stringing it between two 10 foot 2 x 4s, and having the posts held by, and I quote, “two big guys.” For the most part this worked perfectly, the only exception being when my brother-in-law Brett nearly got pulled over. Luckily for Brett this was one of the few moments not captured on video (oh, and he recovered valiantly with no injury done to him, the child whose turn it was, nor the piñata itself).

I made Max’s birtday cake (he requested a tank cake), but because we were at a park, without ample refrigeration, by the time we cut it, it was totally melty and falling apart. Although it looked pretty icky, it still tasted good.

So tomorrow, Max will officially be four. He’s turning out to be quite an entertaining little person, and we all love him to bits. He’s a perfect little brother, generous with both his demands and hugs; an admirable big brother, playing with Penny more and more as she becomes more interactive; and a wonderful son, never hesitating to tell us how much we love to do whatever it is he wants to do. He’s funny and charming and I don’t know how we got along without him.

Post Sock Summit Post

There are times when I read a blog and the person says, “I was so exhausted after ____, I couldn’t even write.” My reaction to this has usually been, “What a wuss! What a copout! LAME!” How can you not have the time or energy to type out a post after – hell, even during! – an exciting event?

Well, now I know.

Sock Summit was a whirlwind of knitting and learning, and meeting new knitters and old knitters. I didn’t do 90% of the things I wanted to do (watch the Fastest Sock Knitter contest, get my picture taken with a bunch of famous knitters, take photos for my Sock Summit Alphabet project, go to the book signings) but I did attend four great classes, and I learned a new skill (twined or two ended knitting), and I knit on cables without a pattern (which was surprisingly intimidating at first, then rather refreshing).

I stood in line for the Marketplace with knitters from Oregon, Alaska, Washington DC, and Arkansas. We compared projects, techniques, and the classes we’d taken and were going to take over then next few days. I met a woman from Ohio who’d travelled all the way to Portland with her daughter – an agoraphobic – so she (the daughter) could attend the convention and try to get some hard to find yarn (I’m guessing GothSock). I hope she made it to her classes, and that she got some loot from the marketplace, even though the GothSock yarn booth was CRAZY!

I was impressed by how nice everyone was. Everyone, that is, except for the grouchy woman in the Sanguine Gryphon line who wouldn’t move to let me through. She was, happily, the exception, and significantly less lovely than the yarn she was buying.

Anyway, here is my experience at Sock Summit, in pictures…

The sign outside the OCC

A Dragon Boat floats overhead

Franklin Habit, sporting a Utilikilt

Playing with different lighting techniques after Franklin’s class

Aunt Letty’s mitten takes a turn in the light tent

Standing in line, waiting for the marketplace to open

People waiting to purchase Signature needles (I already had mine, so I just giggled as I passed)

The Opening Night reception (Tina and Stephanie are the two little heads WAY up in front, behind the podium)

Yarns for the Twined (or Two Ended) knitting class, taught by Nancy Bush Herself (she is pure charm)

After six hours of alternately knitting and swearing, here is my sock

All the knitters, preparing either to watch or participate in the Flash Mob
(click picture to see YouTube video)

I’m already wondering what SS13 will look like…

OMG

Good morning from Sock Summit!!

I can’t believe I’m here. I took the MAX with another knitter, from Vancouver Island, and we got here by about 7:35 – well before the crowds. We only had to wait a few minutes to register, after which I headed over to the coffee cart and promptly spilled coffee all over my registration stuff.

Lucy Neatby, with her brightly colored hair (I was so smitten that I can’t remember what color it was…blue, I think)
Franklin Habit, looking quite elfish in a utilikilt
Stephanie (Herself), sitting at the Information booth.

I have another half hour before my first class, “Photographing your Fiber” with Franklin Habit, so I’m off to take some pictures to go with this post.

Lovely, I Think…

…although not what I expected at all when I saw this…

…turn into this…

Baby Alpaca, dyed and spun by me, but I forgot to count how many yards…

…but still a lovely bit of yarn. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the techniques I learned from watching Rita Buchanan’s How I Spin yielded yet another well made skein of yarn.

It’s obvious, however, that I need to work on my dying techniques. I tried making brown again, and still ended up with…well, not brown. I started with brown dye, which last time yielded a weird yellow-y color. This time I added some black to the brown, and some red and green too (which should have made – yup, you guessed it – brown). And the ends of my wool are, in fact, brown. But the rest of it absorbed the dye at different rates so I have some that’s just red, and some that’s just green. The only solution may be to get some acid dyes and sacrifice my slow cooker to the greater woolly good so I can get at least a little closer to the color I intended.

Magical

When I spin, as when I knit, I feel a little bit like a magician. I take one thing, and by using some basic tools, some imagination, and a very tiny bit of skill, I make them into something else. And even though I know that anyone who creates is doing the same sort of magic that I am, only with a bit more skill and finesse, I still feel special.

Yesterday, I embarked on a new project (don’t ask about the ones I’ve shown you started, but not completed. They’ll get done eventually). I’m making mittens for my aunt, and I wanted to spin the yarn myself. After watching that Rita Buchanan video, I finally felt like I was ready to make some usable yarn. And so I got out the baby alpaca top that I’d been saving for these mittens, and pulled off four 5′ lengths of both the white and the brown, and dyed them. The white became blue-green, and the brown became pink/purple.

This used to be white…

…and this used to be brown…

Late this morning, all of the top was finally dry and I started spinning. I decided to do the pink one first, because I was totally unimpressed by the way the colors turned out, and I wanted plenty of time to re-dye this batch or start over from scratch if it ended up being completely horrible.

But so far, it looks like the magic has extended itself to include making colors look better too.

Half spun, half unspun