Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Retreat and Treats

A couple weekends ago, I had the good fortune to attend another Recrochetions Retreat organized by designer and teacher Laurinda Reddig. I think I enjoy fiber retreats even more than the big shows and conferences. The latter are a lot of fun between meeting up with old friends, shopping in the marketplace and taking classes, but they can be overwhelming. I confess to being a bit of an introvert so a quiet weekend with a smaller group appeals to me. 

This is just the niche that Laurinda's retreats fill.  They're held at Quinn Mountain, a cozy little venue with a couple of B&B rooms and a small building that used to be a wedding chapel. There are usually a dozen or so participants. At each retreat, Laurinda teaches a technique or presents a new design. There are always options, and she's there to help newer crocheters learn new skills. 

The latest was the Fall Shawl retreat, and we worked on the Wanderin' and Wonderin' Shawl. This pattern can be worked in 3 sizes - a skinny scarf, a wider scarf, and a shawl. Here's the sample of the shawl that was on display.

The first "treat" at this retreat was the yarn provided as part of the cost of the event which was wound as a...cake! (You knew it had to be.) It's Renai by Fierce Fibers, a 100% merino single in fingering weight.  I can't tell you how lovely this yarn is. The colors are just vibrant, and it's so soft. The sample above used the Solar Flare colorway. It's a gradient shading from coppery gold to scarlet. The photo doesn't do that red justice. 

There were several colorways to choose some. It was hard to pick, but I went with Fig which shades from bright green to wine. Green and purple. Who'd have thought I'd EVER go with that. It's only my favorite color combination. Here's the beginning of my shawl. It's worked on the bias, and the stitch pattern forms a pretty starburst. You can see that best in the red shawl above which has been blocked. Treat #2 was the yellow bag in the photo. The goodie bag! All fiber events have a goodie bag. This one came stocked with a variety of treasures like fiberwash samples and chocolates. It's also the perfect size bag for a single cake project like this shawl.

I mentioned blocking. Cecillie, one of Laurinda's friends and helpers gave a great blocking demonstration. Blocking is a must for lace stitches to really strut their stuff. The sample she's blocking in the photo is the Nymphaea shawl, and she's wearing the Decadent Bliss shawl. When I wear my version of Decadent Bliss, it never fails to draw compliments from crocheters and knitters and Muggles alike.

There was plenty of time to relax and chat over the weekend, and the best place to do that was in front of the pellet stove in the building where we met. Laurinda even brought several afghans that were samples made for her Reversible Color Crochet book. It would have been easy to wrap up in one of those and take a nap in a comfy chair.

Among the other treats provided were breakfast, lunch and snacks. I don't do a lot of food photos so I didn't think to take any of the yummy muffins, shortbread, and pumpkin pie or the sandwiches, soups and fruit. I did manage to get one of this cake before it was devoured. Believe me, in it's uncut state, it was a beauty and soooo good. 

The grounds at Quinn Mountain offer plenty of room to walk off some of that food. There are trails and gardens and even a labyrinth. If you have time for a longer stay, there are lots of hiking trails in the surrounding national forest. 

It's also fun to spend some time in the cute little town of Camas, WA. There you'll find lots of restaurants, small shops, and the historic Camas Hotel which is one of the other lodging options. Don't miss Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars. I picked up some blackberry flavored balsamic vinegar that makes salads so much more fun to eat.

The next retreat is the Spring Wonder retreat scheduled for April 13-15, 2018 when Laurinda will be teaching how to crochet rugs with strips of fabric and other materials and, get this, how to add electrical elements to your crochet projects. Can't wait to see that's all about!

Thanks for stopping buy!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ode to October

Hello, friends! I hope you've been enjoying autumn like I have. It's my favorite time of year. I just love the cooler temperatures and the fall foliage. We've had glorious weather this month, and I've been enjoying it because the autumn rains are due in a couple days. Colorful leaves are everywhere including in my front yard.

A walk in Minto-Brown Park on the Willamette River was a great way to relax the other day.

This lovely maple is in Pringle Park behind the hospital. I find meditating on this beauty more therapeutic than anything they might do to me in the hospital.

Now that we've had some eye candy, let's get on to crochet. 


Ok, I'll admit it. I'm addicted to CALs aka crochet alongs. It's so much fun to see everyone's projects and cheer each other on. I might have gotten a little too eager this fall because I've been doing a bunch of CALs. All of them have been organized by various Ravelry groups. 

Starting in September, was the September Shawlalong CAL in The Cozy Cottage Crochet Podcast group. As you might notice from the name, the group is for followers of The Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast, a video podcast found on YouTube. In fact, all of the CALs I've joined recently are associated with podcasts. Podcasts, whether audio or video, are another of my addictions. I've provided links to them here, but haven't included descriptions because I'll be doing that soon in a post dedicated to podcasts. As you might surmise, all of them involve crochet. For the September Shawlalong, participants could make a shawl, scarf or cowl. Basically, anything that can be worn around the neck. I made a shawl I'm calling Autumn Cascade. The pattern is Flurry of Foliage by 10 Hours Or Less. I've wanted to crochet this since the pattern first came out. I love leaf motifs, and these are quite realistic with their post stitch ribs. I was going to use 3 colors as called for in the pattern but couldn't decide amongst these five.

So, I used all the colors! The pattern is written as a stole and is more or less rectangular but with pointed ends. I modified the shape to make it a trapezoid which also made it a slightly larger shawl.

The Cozy Cottage Crochet group also joined the Crochet Luna Podcast group to sponsor the Super Simple Tunisian CAL this month. Crochet Luna is another video podcast found on YouTube. Claudia (Crochet Luna) and Hannah (The Cozy Cottage Crochet) each chose 2 Tunisian crochet dishcloth patterns. The idea was for people to learn Tunisian with these small projects. I already know how to do Tunisian crochet, but one of the patterns was very intriguing so I decided to make at least that one. It's circular and looks like a pinwheel! The pattern is theTunisian Shaker Dishcloth by Staci Perry. There's a video tutorial on the Very Pink blog.  Staci threw in a couple knitting skills by starting with a provisional cast-on (a crocheted chain done on waste yarn) and seaming the first to the last section with Kitchener stitch.

For a similar pattern without the knitting techniques see the Radioactive Scrubs pattern by Kim Guzman.

At the last minute, I decided to also make the Tunisian Cross Stitch dishcloth from Brittany of BHooked Crochet. And yes, Brittany also has a podcast. This dischcloth is made with the Tunisian purl stitch and, as the name suggests, a crossed stitch. The latter was a new stitch for me.

CAL #3 is the Back To School Sweater CAL sponsored by The Crochet Circle podcast. This one started in mid-September and runs until November 18 so you still have time to join in! Come on! You know you want too! :-) You can make any sweater you want. For many people this is the first crocheted garment they've made, and judging by the comments in the chatter thread, it's been a great learning experience. I'm making the Kolika sweater by Doris Chan. Here's my progress so far. The pattern comes with a DVD featuring Doris teaching techniques in custom fitting a sweater. I'm making this one in a recycled cotton yarn so it will be a nice transitional sweater when something warmer isn't needed. 

Which brings me to CAL #4. This one is actually a craft along since the project can be crocheted or knitted. It's called the FIFO (First In First Out) craft along and is sponsored by the Skein Enable podcast. The idea is to make a pattern you've had your eye on for a long time and/or use yarn that's been in your stash for a long time. And guess what! I'm doing a double dip because the Kolika sweater qualifies! I've wanted to make it since it came out in 2013. I bought the yarn in 2014. Not my oldest yarn or pattern, but it's not the latest shiny object to catch my eye either. Thankfully, the rules on the craft along are loose enough that I can sneak this one in.  I have a number of other patterns that have been in my queue for years so I'll probably do a second project for this "along." It encourages me to work from stash which I really must do.

But wait! There's more! Yes, one more craft along. This is the Single Shot craft along in the Two Ewes Fiber Adventures group. Of course, there's a podcast that can be found right here. I told you I was addicted. A single shot of a fine whiskey or other libation is quick and satisfying. The projects in this craft along are too. Small projects providing a kick of satisfaction. When this craft along was announced, I knew immediately what I must make. A Pumpkitten! The pattern is by Elena Pichugina and was perfect for October not to mention just plain cute.

I'll leave you with that, my friends! I hope you all are having a fun Halloween tonight.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Images of Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival 2017

Another Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival has passed into history. Here are a few of the sights.



This year's featured breed was the Pygora goat. The Pygora breed was developed here in Oregon by crossing Angora and Pygmy goats. According to Goatworld.com, Pygoras produce 3 types of fleece. Type A is similar to Angora, Type C is like Cashmere, and Type B is blend of the other two. Pygoras come in several different colors a number of which were on display at OFFF.

This little goat was snoozing.

And this guy thought the hay was sweeter in the pen next door.

But this is OFFF, and there's work to be done. Time for the judging.  Some of the goats were more cooperative than others.

There were, of course, other animals. I had to stop by and see the alpacas. This fella's kerchief said he was for sale. Sadly, zoning rules prevented me from installing him in my back yard.

I got to the llama barn in time for some of the judging. This one was patiently waiting his turn. I just love his color pattern.

Fiber Arts Competitions


Over in the main pavilion the fiber arts competition entries were on display. Here are the top winners in the crochet competition. Fabulous work.

I love this winner from the felting competition. A pile of puppies!


Juneko Martinson of the Alpaca Bonbon Fiber Art Studio was on hand demonstrating her incredible needle felting. The white pig in the foreground of the photo has knitting needles and a tiny ball of yarn. Yes, I know. We need one with a crochet hook!

Here are some more of Juneko's creatures.

Always In Stitches Crochet Guild Display

We in the local chapter of the Crochet Guild of America always have a display. We're Always In Stitches, and would love to have any crocheters within striking distance of the Portland area come join us. We meet on the second Saturday of the month in the Tigard Grange from 1 to 3 pm. Check out our websiteRavelry group or Facebook page.

Designer Laurinda Reddig of ReCrochetions lent us this gorgeous dress she created for her sister's wedding.  


Animals and competitions and displays are nice, but then there are the vendors. Oh, yeah. There were many wonderful vendors. Here's Boss Kitty in front of her booth selling hand dyed yarn. Love the cat ears!

I also loved her sale section. Where I got two skeins of sock yarn at half price because the color didn't come out matching the designated colorway. Not a problem for me. It's lovely just as it is.

Fierce Fibers is another of my favorite local dyers. She displayed these lovely shawls created in her yarn. 

The gray and red shawl in the photo above is Decadent Bliss by Laurinda Reddig. Here's my version of that shawl crocheted in Fierce Fibers lace weight in the Staycation colorway.

Fierce Fibers also sells hand dyed roving. Note the special qualities of her products as stated in the sign below.

I made a purchase at one other booth which I unfortunately didn't photograph. Raya of Blissful Knits had a sale section that I couldn't resist. I tried, but I spotted one skein that just called to me. I put it back and decided that I'd buy it if it was still there when I returned later. It was! (Not that I put it back at the bottom of the sale basket and covered it with other skeins or anything. No, no. Not me.) This was the last skein of this yarn in this colorway. It's her 80% merino/20% nylon sock yarn. I just love the colors. You can't really see it in the photo, but there are gorgeous shades of amber and red.  

That's it for my weekend at OFFF 2017. Has anybody else had any fiber festival adventures lately?

Monday, August 21, 2017

I'm back!

Hello, my friends! Sorry to be MIA for so long, but life intervened. I've freed up some time now and will be posting more regularly. So what have I been up to in the meantime?

Chain Link Conference 2017

In July I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 Chain Link Conference. That's the annual conference of the Crochet Guild of America.  If you ever have the chance to go, do it, do it, do it! It's the most fun a crocheter can ask for. There are wonderful classes, a great yarn market, and the camaraderie of fellow crocheters. This year it was in Chicago. Here are some photos of the fun.

Some of the beautiful entries in the design competition 


See the CGOA web page for the list of winners and a slide show.


Interesting crochet and crocheters

The Queen Bee of Crochet complete with flowers, birds and insects

An ingenious head mounted yarn swift

Kathryn White and I show off our banquet attire. Both her jacket and my shawl are Kathryn's designs.

You've got to see the back. Kathryn's fabulous jacket won grand prize last year.


The fashion show 


I didn't get any photos of the show because I was otherwise occupied (i.e. I was drafted into modeling), but the couple below lead off the show. In my photo, they hadn't changed into their show outfits. See if you can pick them out in the CGOA slide show.

Lots of social crocheting


There's more than one use for a yarn bowl.

Toasting with "red coffee" (Hint: Think another red beverage.)


The marketplace!

A beautiful wall of yarn from Stunning String Studio

A book signing by Laurinda Reddig

Yumiko Alexander and her lovely DanDoh Designs booth

Mugs with attitude from Pawley Studios


And best of all, friends.


I'm already excited about next year's conference especially because it's in my own back yard - Portland, OR! I hope you all can come.