The time I unintentionally knit myself giant labia.

I consider myself a pretty good knitter at this point. Maybe not expert but certainly knowledgeable and ready to try anything.

This post is about how even great knitters make mistakes sometimes.

I decided a while ago that I wanted to knit something during the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi, just as I have during previous Winter Olympics.  I actually selected a few projects, but this particular one involved a skein of gorgeous yarn with cashmere in it, from Cephalopod Yarns, Bugga in the colorway Flamboyant Cuttlefish.

I picked a pattern which was originally written for a thicker yarn, so I wanted to add something to this skein to make the cowl a bit wider and I found a red in the same yarn base. Away I went.   I finished late last night and this morning artfully draped the project on a hanger to shoot photos in the morning light.

Pretty right?

Um wait a minute. Let’s look at this again:

SHIT. Maybe no one will notice?

YEAH YEAH that’s it, better.

Man there’s nothing like warm labia on your neck. Nothing.

Oooops.

Things I never thought I’d do.

Live outside of town, in a state when I can pull over on my commute home and take pictures of fiber animals at sunset.

There are BABIES!

Spectacular.

Every year I wait for that one magical fall week when the whole world is beautiful and everywhere there’s color. This week is that spectacular week and I’ve been so taken aback by the beauty around me that I’ve had to stop on the way to work several times this week just to try and capture a little bit of this fabulous view.  The photos don’t do it justice – some things aren’t meant to be captured, but I love trying anyway.

Unexpected.

I never expected to end up where I am in life. To be clear, I never had a real clear vision of what the future would hold, but every few years my life has taken twists and turns that I never saw coming.

I thought I would live and die in Los Angeles. I never thought I would move back to the Midwest after college.

I thought I wanted an MBA and yet I learned I’d rather run things behind the scenes than right up front.

I did tons of musical theatre in high school and sang in vocal groups in high school and college. Today the thought of getting up in front of people and performing makes the bottom drop out of my stomach.

I never thought I’d find so much fulfillment in crafting and making beautiful things, learning new knitting and spinning techniques, or in selling things that I made with my own two hands.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m starting to understand that life is a series of wholly unexpected events and I’m just trying to find the beauty in them.

Like after torrential rains, our creek babbles and I can hear frogs in it late at night. How did I get to live here?

Or after an unexpected day of snow in early May, a week later the yard is full of flowers and dandelions:

Presidents and Nipples

Apparently there is a shop for everything.

I give you Presidents with boob faces.

A little Adams with boob jowls?

Tippecanoe and Tyler’s boobs too?

A must for every art collection, non?

Yarn School

I decided that this year, for my 35th birthday, I was going to take a slightly spendy vacation and do something I’d been hearing about from all my yarny friends: attend Yarn School in Harveyville, Kansas.

Basically this was a big slumber party for knitters and spinners out at the old schoolhouse in Harveyville complete with sheep, chickens, visits to an alpaca farm, dyeing fiber, wheel spinning, carding batts, eating delicious food, staying up late spinning and knitting, and shopping. Did I miss anything? I don’t think so!

I headed out to Harveyville on Thursday afternoon and we all gathered in the gym in a big circle for a reception and spinning.

Friday it was down to business. In the morning I played with the drum carders and learned how to hand card fiber.

Then it was off to lunch at Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow.  The Alpacas were fun and friendly and the soup that owner Ed Howe made was delicious and perfect for the cold, rainy day.  A little discussion about the animals, some lunch and shopping underway we were ready to head back. First we made a brief detour at Jepson Studios Pottery where Mr. Jepson is retiring! There’s nothing like the threat of scarcity to induce shopping. I got a beautiful yarn bowl and a serving platter.

Then it was back to the school for dye lab. We spent approximately 4 hours learning how to dye in crock pots and by painting fiber taught by none other than Adrian of Hello Yarn!  I dyed one pound of Falkland in the crock pot hoping for enough for a sweater. I wanted teals, violets, grays and a burgundy. I don’t think I quite got there, but I’m still happy with what I got:

Then I tried my hand at painting the fiber. I wanted VIBRANT emerald and pops of fuchsia. I don’t think I used enough citric acid to set the dyes so it didn’t come out as intensely as I wanted, but I do like this one. I call it Lily Pad. It’s on Portuguese Merino so when spun it should be lofty and poofy.

Dyeing takes a long time and a lot of concentration. At this point I was out of creative ideas so I decided to try my hand at a gradient in a colorway I wouldn’t normally choose. I picked Chestnut and mixed up a fairly dark solution. My plan was to layer the fiber in a dish and repeatedly pour half the dye mixture on the fiber, refill with water, and repeat, gradually diluting the dye.  I think it came out ok.

At this point, even though I had a little fiber left over, I decided to stop dyeing because I was out of inspiration. Little did I know that this would be a lucky decision.

Saturday was for spinning. We got demonstrations of several techniques and just enjoyed hanging out. Mid-afternoon some of the other attendees announced that they had recently been to a natural dyeing workshop and had a vat of indigo dye if anyone was interested. Remember that unused fiber? I was interested!  Indigo dyeing was interesting because its actually the oxidation that causes the color. So you dip your fiber in a vat of greenish liquid and as you squeeze the excess liquid out of the fiber, the color oxidizes into a dark blue.

I tried my hand at it and I love the blue denim color I got:

The rest of Saturday and Sunday were spinning and chatting and eating yummy food. Then it was time to pack up the car and head home. I wasn’t ready to go back to the real world.

I also managed to not take a single photo of myself or people at Yarn School. I’m borrowing a few photos from a friend. These were my roommates Corrie and Sherry:

And one of me spinning:

Line Dancing.

I’ve never really gone line dancing, but this isn’t what I had in mind either.

Video generously sent to me by my dad.

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