Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OFFF

This past weekend my good friend Kelli and I took off to Canby, Oregon, for the annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. This was my first time, so I had no idea how big it is. It was huge! In addition to the Angora rabbits like the one above, we saw all kinds of goats, sheep, llamas, and alpacas. I could have spent the whole day just in the barns!
So many beautiful animals!

New twins!


Bright-eyed furries!


Sweet eyes.
And I have lots more pictures here.
The market was all over the place--some outside and more inside buildings. I was honestly blown away by it all--yarn, fiber, tools, knick-knacks. You name it! I got to visit briefly with my friend Joan in her booth and even saw Chrissy and Yvonne in theirs. We had some yummy food from Mehri's booth and I nabbed a good bit of great yarn. I'll have to show you that tomorrow. That's a whole other post.
More to come!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Brave New Knits, Take 2

In the little window of time every day between rolling out of bed to make coffee and then heading out the door for our daily walks, I usually sit with the requisite coffee and either check e-mails, blogs, Facebook, etc., on my iPhone or catch up on reading (real, tangible books, magazines, etc.). This week I read Brave New Knits from cover to cover. Julie Turjoman, the author, so kindly referred to my first post about the book as a review, but that would be like calling a PBJ a gourmet meal. Now I'm ready to give you a true assessment.

Here are just a few reasons why you should buy BNK:

1. It's beautiful. Thanks to Rodale, Jared Flood, all the contributing designers and yarn companies, and Julie Turjoman for assembling them all, this book is filled with gorgeous pictures of projects you will want make. I wish I could cast on the Lenina Cap and the Orchid Thief Shawlette right now--for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have the very yarn used right upstairs in my stash. (No, must focus on my own projects. Whew. Had to talk myself down.)

2. It's a great read. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I am a snobby reader. I had this annoying quality even before I became an English teacher. I just don't usually have the patience for reading bad writing. Sometimes I'll push myself if the subject matter is overwhelmingly enjoyable for me, but not often. Fortunately I did not have to push myself to read Julie's book. Julie's writing style is right up my alley--brimming with information given thoughfully and smoothly. As I used to teach my students, good writing has no obstacles that get in the way of your consummation of the information. It just flows. Julie also has a gift for turning an interview into a wonderful, generous piece of writing that's not only infused with the subject's personality, but that obviously treats the person with the utmost respect. Not once did I wince when I read her treatment of the results of our phone interview of last year. Of course, any interview becomes dated as soon as it's done, but Julie even made sure to go back and add updated information from each of us. I really appreciate that attention to detail.

3. In reading this book, not only do you get to benefit from the unique style and viewpoint of each designer, you get to know each one of them a little better. Before reading BNK, I only really knew two of the designers, but thanks to Julie, I feel like I know each of them a little better and that makes me appreciate more what they bring to their work. And what a range of personalities! I always find it amazing how this craft of hand knitting brings people of so many different backgrounds together. Well, it's just that worthy and just that intriguing and challenging. BNK certainly showcases that phenomenon.

4. This book is an affirmative statement that the internet is an effective way to bring folks together. No, there is still nothing like sitting with people in real time, getting acquainted the "old-fashioned way," but what a boon for us in this craft community to have blogs, Ravelry, Facebook, etc., to be able to expand that community in a way never before possible. BNK inspired me to pay more attention to my own blog and to keep investing my time in accessing all the incredible information out there at our fingertips. We are indeed fortunate.

Hey, Julie. You're really good at this type of journalistic endeavor. I'd love to read the results of your interviews with, let's say, Barbara G. Walker or Alice Starmore. Whatever Julie's plans for the future, I'm a follower. I can't wait to read more! Of course we can all read more on her blog until the next book or article comes out. Keep it up, Julie! And to the other 25 designers in BNK, I'm glad to know more about you! I hope we get a chance meet the "old-fashioned way" sometime.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fig Time

I love figs!
I've been seeing them around for a few weeks, but couldn't buy some. This weekend Fred bought me these lovelies.
So since I love figs, I was very happy when I found out that Gaelic for knitting is figheadh. Yes, even when I learned that it's pronounced fee-yug (saying the last sound way back down in your throat). I knew people would say Fig Head when they saw it. Well, non-Gaelic-speakers would. And that's most people, unfortunately, because Gaelic is just not spoken by enough of us! Ciamar a tha thu? Tha gu math, tapadh leat!

And then pig-headed as I am, I went and named my pattern line Figheadh. So now you know.

Back to figs...the fruit. I first came to be a fig head back when I was a little chick because my Nana had fig trees in her back yard and they were so yummy. Also, everyone I knew made fig preserves and they were soooo delicious with biscuits and butter.

Many long years passed before I got more fig preserves and they came to me from California, of all places. Sweet Julie has figs and makes delicious jams and preserves and marmalades (yes, there's a difference between each of those) and she shared! Sure, I could buy some at the store, but they are never as good as homemade.

Isn't it just about that way with everything?