Kansas City Plaza Art Fair Recap!

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The Kansas City Plaza Art Fair was incredible. The crowds are mind-boggling, I recall reading somewhere that the expected number of attendees were 300,000. I don’t know if I’m correct on that number but it felt like that many people once the sun went down on Friday and Saturday evening.

People visiting our booth, knitters/crocheters and those just drawn by the color, were definitely appreciative and very happy to see an indie dyer included in the fiber artist category. I felt quite honored to be part of this show.

Below are an assortment of photos from the weekend in Kansas City, and several of a new finished project that was on display. There was a second new finished project which I’ll post photos of in a day or so.

Click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view.

The new colorways of Lost City Silk yarns were a popular attraction!

This is a new modification on the Hindwing of the Monarch Shawl.
Notice how much lacier the lower section is. Details and an updated pattern to come soon.
Edited to add: The new modification to the Hindwing of the Monarch Shawl is now available!
Download Monarch Shawl version 1.5! 

Close up of the Monarch mod and beading. 
The wall of yarn (after a few customers have shopped). 
These guys visited the booth and were kind enough to pose. Colorful fellas, not very chatty though. 
We were open until 10pm both Friday and Saturday night. 

Stage lighting was important to show off the lace designs after sundown.

What’s up next for LCK? We’ll be at the Art on Main in Jenks, Oklahoma on Saturday October 8th, then off to War Eagle Fair in Hindsville, Arkansas the weekend of October 13-16. More to come about the November and December schedule.

Winfield bound!

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Congratulations to Kay from Norman, OK! She’s the lucky winner in our naming contest who suggested Manique as the name for our new dress form.

We’re leaving today for the Walnut Valley Festival – commonly referred to as Winfield. Because stock can change dramatically during the festival season I’m removing all of the paypal buttons in the online shops until the festival season ends. If you’d like to purchase yarn, please send an email from THIS PAGE with the fiber type and colorway. I’ll check the availability and send you a paypal invoice.

If you’re not familiar with Winfield, it’s a large international guitar festival held each September in Winfield, Kansas. Official competitions include not just guitar but banjo, dulcimer and fiddle too. Thousands of people will show up to camp, play music, and have a good time. Check out some of the videos on YouTube for WInfield! The other thing about Winfield is there a lot – and I mean a lot – of people wearing tie dye! I’ve got mine ready!

I’m reknitting several patterns for display in the Lost City Knits booth for the festival season and having a heck of a good time doing so. Yesterday I finished another Monarch, this one in lace llama. I bumped up the needle size to get more openness and a larger shawl. Using the larger version (available as part of the most recent download) I also modified the Fringe Chart a bit. As you may remember on the last Monarch I knit only row one of the Fringe Chart and bound off on the back side. I liked that so much I did the same thing this time! The edging points are pointier and the Fringe looks much more butterfly-like to me. If you’re knitting Monarch – I recommend this modification!

I’m also knitting another Maaema, this one in the Wool Tussah Silk Fingering, bumping up the needle size to an 8US this time and adding beads on row 2 and row 7 of the set – up on each end. Fun!

There are four projects in my knitting bag for Winfield. I just never know what I’ll want to work on between music sets and customer rushes.

How many projects do you take with you when traveling? One big project or several smaller ones?

Salsa Fest 2011

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For those of you curious about Salsa Fest. Let me start by saying it was 99 degrees Fahrenheit at 9pm. Yes, the sweet season when peppers begin to turn red. How’s that for putting forward a positive attitude during a heat wave?

Below are a few of the chihuahua race participants. Some participants sported costumes, some were going casual in their everyday attire and one poor dog was dyed or spray painted green. My bet is the winner was the green dog who may have been trying to escape from its owner.

If a festival is good, there needs to be some hooping. Just my opinion….

One of the salsa recipe contestants was also a Luchadore! Here’s El Castigador (the Punisher) whose pepper of choice is the ghost pepper, reputedly the hottest pepper in the world. One of the rules was that the salsa contestants had to use at least one local ingredient and El Castigador shows several items bought at the Cherry Street Farmers Market that were used in his recipe.

Here’s another salsa contestant. No Luchadore mask, just a smiling face.

And of course one of the best reasons to attend Salsa Fest – the salsa dancing!

…………..

A weekend in the city – knitting, cycling, and fine dining.

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When you live, as we do, sixty miles from a real city (In this case Tulsa, although I’m certain many people would not consider Tulsa a real city although I beg to disagree) weekends off the farm can be jam-packed full of activities. One perk of living so far from town is the amount of car knitting a passenger can enjoy. I consider myself pretty lucky when Chris drives.

Before we left the farm we’d made our lists of stops and things to do. After a few errands we had dinner Friday night with my folks and Hillarey at one of our regular spots, Bros. Houligan. A fine place for steak, shrimp, chicken and some of the best green beans around. Conversation continued out into the street as we all stood around beside our cars.

Since it was still daylight when we all finally got in our cars Chris and I headed for the Blue Dome District to catch the Friday night criterium of the Tulsa Tough. This is maybe the sixth year for the bicycle races that have become one of the highlights of the year for cycling enthusiasts in our area. Even though Chris nor I would ever consider bicycling in such events ourselves (we lean towards the more leisurely ride or distance touring) we thoroughly enjoy it as a spectator sport.

 Tulsa Tough 2011
Tulsa Tough 2011

We arrived in time to see some of the elite men and women compete. It’s hard to take a photo of the cyclists as they whiz past you, but then it’s also hard to focus on them with the naked eye as well. They are flying around corners usually in large groups and it’s about all I can do to hold my breath as they pass.

Tulsa Tough 2011
Tulsa Tough 2011

Even the cyclists competing next find a spot to watch the races and cheer on their team mates.

Tulsa Tough 2011

As the top level men were racing thunder and lightening began. With only a few laps remaining I convinced Chris it was time to head to the car before the storm began in earnest. The last laps included some harrowing crashes we learned later. The tires are skinny and hydroplaning happens quickly on a bicycle. We adjourned for the evening, anticipating an early wake up for market.

Tulsa Tough 2011

Shortly after 5am we were setting up our tent at the farmers market on Cherry Street. The weather was beautiful and people came out to enjoy the sunshine. After market we’d made plans to go to the Maxwell Library for an hour or two for Knitting in Public and Yarn Bombing. It was good fun (despite the fact that I completely forgot to take any photos!). Even with a small crowd there were enough knitted items created to yarnbomb the library! Several young library patrons (under the age of ten) were kept busy adorning benches, scanners and anything else the head librarian thought needed brightening up.

Saturday evening we attended the Lavender Farm Table Dinner at Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy. Our friends Lisa and Linda are amazing farmers. Lisa is a former chef and restauranteur from Seattle who became so interested in fresh local foods that her entire life changed. Each year we supply her with a bit of our Munstead lavender harvest and in her hands the sweet little buds and leaves are transformed into one of the finest meals you can hope to enjoy. With primarily local foods, which is either procured at our Cherry Street Farmers Market or grown at Living Kitchen, as many as thirty two people gather to enjoy seven courses on the screened in porch of a log cabin located on a 400 acre farm on old Route 66.

You’ll have to forgive me, I took only a few photos of the Lavender Farm Table Dinner. I was too busy enjoying the evening! But please, visit Lisa’s blog and the Living Kitchen website for further details about Living Kitchen.

Living Kitchen
Living Kitchen

Lavender Feast at Living Kitchen

During the wee hours of Sunday heavy rain fell on downtown Tulsa. One of the first things we did after waking was check to see if the Tulsa Tough races were continuing. The rain had passed and no more was expected – the races were on!

We walked down 15th Street to Riverside Drive and spent the day walking the course and watching the races from various locations. We could smell burning brake pads as the riders took corners. We tried to spot strategic moves made on long straightaways. We breathed heavily in sympathy just watching riders climb Cry Baby Hill, where the partying crowds cheered them on, ran alongside offering encouragement, or simply sprayed the riders down with a fine mist from hoses.

Tulsa Tough 2011
Tulsa Tough 2011

On the ride back to the farm in the van after the long weekend I couldn’t help thinking about Tulsa, my hometown, and how to some it may seem a bit too small to be called a city. But yet it does behave in a good many ways like a thriving city. It has a busy farmers market with over sixty local food vendors, it can host a KIP and a yarnbombing to share the love of fiber with the community, and it can pull a big crowd for a sport as unusual (compared to football say…) as bicycle racing.

…………

SWAK Knit Out 2011

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Last weekend was another great SWAK Knit Out weekend. I don’t know how Keely does it every year – there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the planning and executing of such an event. When I arrived late on Thursday to set up for the LCK Trunk Show that was beginning the following morning two of the three teachers had yet to arrive. Fiona Ellis made it from Toronto to Oklahoma without much mishap. Franklin Habit later arrived from Chicago without much trouble but Jane Thornley and her husband had a dickens of a time getting to Guthrie, OK from Nova Scotia. Problems on each end of the flight resulted in Jane and the Hairy-Legged-Swift (as she calls her devoted spouse) riding a bus from Tulsa, OK during a thunderstorm to Guthrie and arriving at 4am.

I had enrolled in Jane’s Yarnscaping class that took place at 2pm on Friday and it was hard to tell that she’d only had a few hours of sleep. The inspirational Yarnscaping class included Jane passing around her first yarnscaping journal so we could all see and understand how she had begun to create her own designs from museum visits, flowers, and paintings. Before long we all had a chance to use our sketch books and colored pencils to begin something unique and seemingly unstructured. I say seemingly because while Jane’s style grows organically it does help to have some understanding of garment construction and have a few known stitches in your repertoire.

Friday night Franklin Habit presented an excellent presentation on knitting in history with detailed accounts of translating famous works like Jane Gaugain’s Knitter’s Assistant and Weldon’s Practical Knitter into something a modern knitter can understand. While Franklin is obviously brilliant, his wicked humor kept us laughing all evening.

My Saturday class line-up included Fiona Ellis’s Morphing Cables. Fiona is not only sweet and funny but has a glorious style with cables as is evident in her book Inspired Cable Knits. She’s also addicted to icord and uses it as a design tool. Since it’s been a few years since I’ve done any cabling I am very glad I enrolled in Fiona’s class. Now I have a better understanding of how to take a simple cable and create something as elaborate as a celtic knot in a cabled garment.

After a leisurely lunch I headed back into class this time with Franklin to gain a little more experience with Lace Edgings: Before, During and After. If you’re into lace – this can be a very important class to take. What I discovered was that I’m completely capable of adding a lace edging to the outside of a finished shawl. I don’t know why I’ve shied away from this for several years. It’s not nearly as scary as say…steeking.

With another evening shindig that included a fashion show of numerous knitted patterns from books we’ve all drooled over I finally had time to hang with my good friend Cathy who’d driven to Guthrie to “yarn sit” with the trunk show while I was in class. Cathy and I have done Knit Out together numerous times in the past and it’s just not a Knit Out if I don’t get time to unwind over a bottle of wine with Cathy!

You may be wondering where are all the photos that go along with such an adventure? For some reason I was having so much fun that I never pulled out my camera until Sunday during Franklin’s Photographing Your Fiber class. Generally when you see nice photos on my blog they’re the work of Christopher. Mine are ummm… somewhat more amateurish. I have a sweet little point and shoot Nikon Coolpix. It’s not unwieldy, it fits in my purse, and yet is still a good bit beyond my ken. Apature? White Balance? Depth of Field? (well I do kind of understand that one without much explanation) Shutter Speed? Lighting is different colors? It’s enough to make my head spin, but Franklin has a way of making all this important information much easier to understand. While I still have a long way to go I’m now more comfortable with experimenting and not getting frustrated with the results of my photography.

Everyone was asked to bring a finished project or two with them so finally I pulled out my trusty little digital camera. (Which by the way, is more sophisticated than the cameras used by Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams! Why knew?)

I took a few standard photos of my newest Monarch Shawl (Llama Bamboo Sport colorway Red Dirt Roads). The lighting is pretty decent in this first one but for some reason I’m still getting my angles wrong and catching things like the baseboards in the photo, or cutting the tips of the shawl out of the photo. All of the following are my unedited photos.

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

My camera has several fun settings that for the first time I played with – like black & white and sepia.

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

You all know me well enough by now to know I like to get outside and have some fun, so I took the Monarch out onto the sidewalk and draped her over a broken cement plant holder. Not as fun as I’d hoped.

Monarch Shawl

Then I spied some great wrought iron chairs and pulled one out of the shade and into the light. The wind began to lift the edges and for some reason I forgot about trying to get a good shot of the shawl pattern overall and spent my efforts trying to time the clicking of the shutter button to catch when the wind would pick up the edge of the shawl and give a nice shadow on the sidewalk. It’s trickier than it sounds considering I don’t have (or haven’t found) a continuous option on my camera. You know what I mean right – that rapid fire clicking of the paparazzi snapping thirty photos in as many seconds?

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

I’m still catching things like the yellow sewer grate in my photos and missing the very edge of the shawl as the wind whips it around but I’m more confident than I was last week. It’ll take some time before the information I learned in Franklin’s photography class becomes second nature but I’m learning!

SWAK Tote Bag

To commemorate the weekend – Franklin drew Dolores on my new knitting project bag!

Signed by Franklin Habit!

………….

What a weekend!

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Rare is the weekend that we fit in two events, but we managed to do just that last weekend. Saturday we went to Cherrry Street Farmer’s Market as usual. Despite the calender reading the middle of May, it felt more like March. When we arrived at market around 5am for setup, here was an odd mix of farmers in coats and hats and bare armed in t-shirts. Because we’d been without internet and don’t have a TV we’d missed the forecast change before we left the farm Friday afternoon. We were among those underdressed for the forty-something degree temperature. In fact, my sister’s partner, Amos, was kind enough to leave his sweatshirt with me before heading home with their veggies.  (Thanks Amos!)

Despite it being cold there are always a few shoppers hardcore enough to come to market in any weather. Thankfully we have a great collection of vendors as well who supply about anything the local-vore wants!

Here are some photographs I snapped while doing my shopping.

Care to dance a little jig?

Two of Tulsa’s well known potters, Kevin & Joe discuss clay or something equally messy.

Spices anyone?

Since there was an Irish band playing I assume this is one of the wee folk!

Laura carries on her heritage by weaving intricate Cherokee baskets.

Bet this guy looks great in a kilt!

Sunday was the second annual Tulsa Spring Fiber Fest. Last year we missed this event due to a conflict with Norman May Fair. I’m so glad we were able to attend this year! It was great to see the amazing fiber artists with everything from jewelry (only a few non-fiber related artists are accepted), handspun yarn and roving, raw fleeces, and of course, more yarn! I didn’t get a chance to wander around with the camera – although Chris took a few quick photos of our booth before things got busy.

There are several different philosophies when you’re at a fiber event like the Spring Fiber Fest. Some people hold with the walk around – see everything – then buy. I’ve decided that it’s too easy to miss out on something special – especially if it’s a one-of-a-kind item. I spotted a gorgeous skein of handspun at the Sasser Farms booth early in the day. I told myself – sell something then you can shop  – and walked away. Wrong tactic! By the time I got back to the booth that special skein was gone! I did manage to scoop up several other skeins from Lisa Sasser, only one of which I can show you (the other is a gift).

I also picked up two new sets of stitch markers from Somer Knits which are already in my knitting bag! Check out her etsy site and see some of the fun stuff she makes.

Our friend Briana of Bifftastica did get some great photos – so I recommend you check out her blog!

What’s up next? This coming weekend is SWAK Knit Out!!! (I try hard not to say KNIT OUT!!! without screaming wildly and flailing my arms about. It’s hard though, but it tends to frighten the non-knitters who don’t understand how exciting and inspiring this event can be.) Classes with Fiona Ellis, Jane Thornley and Franklin Habit and a Lost City Knits Trunk Show!

Norman May Fair

The weather in Oklahoma can be unpredictable and an outdoor festival in May can hold some surprises. This past weekend’s three day May Fair was both a challenge and a joy. Friday was incredibly windy with gusts around 70mph. Sunday was a complete wash out due to heavy thunderstorms. Saturday though the weather was beautiful and we had a good crowd show up at the park in downtown Norman, OK. It’s always fun to meet and talk to the knitters at festivals.

One of the knitters even took some photos of the yarn in our booth for her 365 in 2011 photos project. How cool is that? If you’re not familiar with the project the website is here – and there is a group on Ravelry as well.

Repurposed Book/Journal from Hillarey

In addition to the festival, I enjoy the Norman event because the Norman Public Library holds their Used Book Sale this weekend each year. Usually I peruse and just purchase what strikes my fancy, but this year I was looking for some interesting books to repurpose as journals. So far I’ve only done a bit of bookbinding in this manner, but I’m pleased with the finished journal although I see some room for improvement. The process is described in detail here and it’s easy enough once you have the tools on hand. I found three small books that I’ll turn into journals in the coming months.

The first time I’d seen repurposing of old books into journals was when our daughter Hillarey gave Christopher and me each one for Christmas a year ago. I instantly loved the size, the cover and the idea of recycling an old book with possibly torn and tattered pages into something useful. What I hadn’t realized until I began using the journal was how warm it felt, the blank pages weren’t blazing white but a little aged and inviting. Some journalers are inhibited by the blank pages of a new journal, that wasn’t a factor at all in this journal.

Here’s a look at the first journal I’ve built. I used white stationary that we’d mistakenly bought at the office supply store. The inside cover is from wrapping paper that covered a gift that Hillarey had given me, and the ribbon page marker was the bow on a gift. I’ve tied a little Venus of Willendorf stitch marker on the bottom of the ribbon. I’ve added a couple of little pockets for jotting notes as well. Sometimes they’re handy for writing book titles down or prompts for later journal entries. I like an elastic band to hold the book together especially once I start stuffing things in it or stuffing it in my purse or daypack. The buttons on the elastic cord are from a tin of old buttons that belonged to Christopher’s grandmother. I’ve added the little frog bead for whimsy and inspiration. The book was a collection of poetry used in Canadian schools and I’ve kept a few pages and bound one of the poems, Poe’s The Raven, about midway in the journal. It was always one of my favorite poems. The cover was a solid salmon color with the publishing company’s logo in the center. It just happens that I have a gold paint pen in my desk drawer, doodling has begun in the corner.

My first bookbinding journal attempt
Inside cover of journal

After closing up our booth on Saturday we walked over a few blocks to where the Norman Music Festival was going on. The music was loud and the people seemed to be having a good time. We managed to find our friend Chef Teri Fermo and her mobile catering vehicle, Jezabel.

Chef Teri!
Jezebel


 

I had other goals on the trip as well. I wanted to finish a test knit of a new pattern which will be released later this month (photos coming soon), and a second little Maaema Scarf. I used one skein of the Merino Angora in colorway Autumnal. The small skein of 220 yards yielded a sweet little scarf that is just the right size if you’re wanting something to wrap around your neck and wear with a brooch. I have a great silver brooch that Hillarey made me several years ago that will work well I think. The finished scarf measures 36 inches long. When it’s dry I’ll post a photo of the scarf with the brooch. I can say that it feels fabulous against the neck!!

Maaema in yellow

Interesting…. It wasn’t until I was adding this photo that I saw that I have an error in the finished scarf! See it midway where the blue and green foam pads meet? Hmm go figure. I think I can live with it. :;grin::
The weather in Oklahoma can be unpredictable and an outdoor festival in May can hold some surprises. This past weekend’s three day May Fair was both a challenge and a joy. Friday was incredibly windy with gusts around 70mph. Sunday was a complete wash out due to heavy thunderstorms. Saturday though the weather was beautiful and we had a good crowd show up at the park in downtown Norman, OK. It’s always fun to meet and talk to the knitters at festivals. One of the knitters even took some photos of the yarn in our booth for her 365 in 2011 photos project. How cool is that? If you’re not familiar with the project the website is here – and there is a group on Ravelry as well. In addition to the festival, I enjoy the Norman event because the Norman Public Library holds their Used Book Sale this weekend each year. Usually I peruse and just purchase what strikes my fancy, but this year I was looking for some interesting books to repurpose as journals. So far I’ve only done a bit of bookbinding in this manner, but I’m pleased with the finished journal although I see some room for improvement. The process is described in detail here and it’s easy enough once you have the tools on hand. I found three small books that I’ll turn into journals in the coming months.The first time I’d seen repurposing of old books into journals was when our daughter Hillarey gave Christopher and I each one for Christmas a year ago. I instantly loved the size, the cover and the idea of recycling an old book with possibly torn and tattered pages into something useful. What I hadn’t realized until I began using the journal was how warm it felt, the blank pages weren’t blazing white but a little aged and inviting. Some journalers are inhibited by the blank pages of a new journal, that wasn’t a factor at all in this journal. Here’s a look at the first journal I’ve built. I used white stationary that we’d mistakenly bought at the office supply store. The inside cover is from wrapping paper that covered a gift that Hillarey had given me, and the ribbon page marker was the bow on a gift. I’ve tied a little Venus of Willendorf stitch marker on the bottom of the ribbon. I’ve added a couple of little pockets for jotting notes as well. Sometimes they’re handy for writing book titles down or prompts for later journal entries. I like an elastic band to hold the book together especially once I start stuffing things in it or stuffing it in my purse or daypack. The buttons on the elastic cord are from a tin of old buttons that belonged to Christopher’s grandmother. I’ve added the little frog bead for whimsy and inspiration. The book was a collection of poetry used in Canadian schools and I’ve kept a few pages and bound one of the poems, Poe’s The Raven, about midway in the journal. It was always one of my favorite poems.
I had other goals on the trip as well. I wanted to finish a test knit of a new pattern which will be released later this month, and a second little Maaema Scarf. I used one skein of the Merino Angora in colorway Autumnal. The small skein of 220 yards yielded a sweet little scarf that is just the right size if you’re wanting something to wrap around your neck and wear with a brooch. I have a great silver brooch that Hillarey made me several years ago that will work well I think. When it’s dry I’ll post a photo of the scarf with the brooch. I can say that it feels fabulous against the neck!!var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();