Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Taos Wool Festival 2016 and So Much More !!!

Most of you that follow me regularly on Facebook and Instagram may know the forthcoming but I am sharing it here too as it allows me an opportunity to expand on some of these thoughts and events. 

Monday I shared with you all the current scarf project that I'm working on and I am so stinkin' excited about this scarf! First of all, I don't think there are enough unisex/men scarf patterns available. My goal was to develop something that was reversible (I hate non reversible patterned scarves with technically only one "good" side) and linear and textured and that's exactly what I've achieved with this pattern and I can't wait to get it finished, photographed and written up and onto Ravelry. I have been working on it now for a couple of weeks. Even through my last surgery. 

Those of you who follow me regularly know of the health issues I have that I have shared with you. I have Multicentric Castleman's Disease. This is a disease of the lymphatic system that causes lymph nodes in my body to become enlarged, painful and very angry. This diseases carries a 25-35% rate of progression to lymphoma so the lymph nodes have to be biopsied to make sure they are cancer free, or not, whatever the case may be. After 5 years of being symptom free, or in "remission" I woke up one Friday morning about 3 weeks ago with serious pain in my left groin area and I knew exactly what it was. It was that pain. I kept it to myself for several hours before saying anything to my Mom. Later in the afternoon I said something to her and my Aunt Betty and they both urged me to contact the NM Cancer Center (where my doctors are) right away. So I did. I was in their office the next day (a Saturday) and with the process started. Later in that next week I had an ultrasound done to confirm the enlarged lymph nodes. I was in surgery a week later. In the past I normally would go to the ER for this because they act much faster than the Cancer Center does. This was the first time I had followed the protocol the Cancer Center had asked me to follow when it happened again. And it will happen again. Its what happens with this disease. Surgery was quick and without any complications other than I never can seem to hold my O2 saturation levels post op and they always want to admit me and keep me overnight. This time I fought it. I just wanted to come home. I have sleep apnea and sleep with a bi-pap machine and I knew I would be fine. Its just the way anesthesia works in my system. While its still in my system it messes with my oxygen levels. As my doctor had left for the day another one came round to see me and talk to me about the situation. I explained that other than being a little groggy still from surgery I really was fine and I preferred to go home. After some talking to he agreed to let me go home. Where I was fine. Sleepy but otherwise fine. 

The bummer of all it was this... I had a scheduled Trunk Show at Mooncat Fibers in Taos, NM on that SAME DAY...Thursday the 29th of September. The Thursday leading into the Taos Wool Festival. A day that, if you took any classes at Taos, you were already in town and would be able to come and see my show. Designers and teachers like Franklin Habit and Galina Khmeleva were to be available as well. And I had to freaking miss it. It was like a bad dream. It was the biggest trunk show of my life so far and I couldn't be there. But in my place went my Mother, Frankie, and Giovanna to hang and take care of my show for me. Bless them. And the shops owners, Cathy and Martha, were so wonderful to help as well. Mom and Giovanna took lots of photos for me. Even checked in with me via text to let me know that the shop was packed and was standing room only really. I was so pleased. Franklin Habit stopped by but it was so packed and my Mother was talking to people that he popped in then popped out. Later the next evening though, he caught up to my Mom in the parking lot of the place where he was giving a presentation Friday Night. Giovanna took a picture of the two of them holding my magazine and then he signed it for me. I was so touched...



I was almost sick to my stomach that I couldn't be there for all the festivities. This was no doubt the biggest Taos trip ever and I had to f**king miss it. Ah well. Everyone agreed, myself included, that my biopsy had to be done immediately which just happened to be that very same day. At any rate, here are some of the pics from my trunk show at Mooncat Fibers...the BEST YARN SHOP in Taos, NM by far...


The ever lovely Ahza Moore came to support my work. She is awesome in her own right. She is an amazing knitter and teacher and is the co-author of the book "When Bad Things Happen To Good Knitters." If you don't have a copy of the book, I suggest you add it to your collection because its FABULOUS! 



My shawls hung randomly around the shop with people trying them on, putting them on Lucy (my dress form) etc. That's Giovanna to the right in the forefront of the frame. 


There are six of my shawls in this frame.


On the left is my Mother Kay, and on the right is Cathy Books, one of the owners of Mooncat Fibers. She is flipping through my pattern books. Many of my shawls were spread out on the table here for people to see, along with a stack of Knitters Magazine issue #K123 which has my design on the cover...


This is my shawl Ferryn which was a collaboration with Crave Yarn of Santa Fe in the colorway "High Tea With Elizabeth." This pattern can be purchased in my Ravelry shop singularly or as a part of my first eBook, Sexy Spines Vol.1


Here is a Crescent and Arch from the cover of Knitter's Magazine. This is the second one that I did as the original went to Knitter's for the magazine. The pattern can only be purchased through Knitter's themselves and here is the link. You can purchase either the physical copy or a digital download of it, whichever is easier for you. Here is another pic of the shawl from a previous trunk show where you can see the whole shawl a little better...


The yarn I used for this second version was positively delicious to work with. It was a blend I had spent time looking for as I found it difficult to find. I had been wanting to work with baby alpaca, silk & cashmere. I found an Etsy shop out of Greece and bought her yarn but the color wasn't quite what I expected so I passed it onto my mothers stash. Then I discovered "Sapphires & Purls" who was selling this same blend in this wonderful colorway which, for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of. At any rate. You can find her shop here. I highly recommend shopping with her. Free shipping over $40.00 which isn't hard to do! AND, she currently is selling silk/camel for $18.00 PER SKEIN! I almost can't believe it. I am considering it myself. That and her Linsoft. A beautiful blend of baby alpaca, silk and linen. Its absolutely gorgeous!

One of the vendors we always visit when they come to Taos is Galina Khmeleva and her husband George of Skaska Designs. If you do not know who Galina is I high recommend you pick up one of her books and or DVDs to add to your collection. She is amazing. She has single handedly saved the art of Russian Orenburg Shawls so that they didn't just become part of the country's history. I think she walks on water. That aside, she's one of the nicest people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. If you have a chance to meet her or take a class from her, DO IT. You will not regret it. Mom went to see her and Galina knew that I wasn't able to make the Festival so she sent a Get Well gift home with my mother to give to me...that's how fabulous of a person she is. This is what she sent...



After coming back from Taos, Mom went straight into Spinzilla mode. She was trying to beat what she accomplished last year which was somewhere around 2,100 yards. She spun for a week straight and hit 2,088 yards. Here are pictures of what she spun...



Her spinning is amazing. She has really mastered 2 ply fingering weight yarn, so much so that I want to steal some of it and use it. This particular Spinzilla she worked on long draw drafting and spun for heavier weight yarn. She has a project in mind already for it and I absolutely cannot weight to see it unfold! The one day that Mom missed spinning for Spinzilla 2016 was Saturday. Saturday she was signed up for a class, sponsored by our Knitting Guild, with The Jane Thornley. I did not sign up for the class as I was not sure if I would be well enough to take the class after surgery. Jane, Mom and I have all been Facebook friends for some time now. When Jane heard that I had a trunk show in Taos and she missed it, I offered to bring my collection to her at the end of the class for her to see. She was so excited, I couldn't believe it! I ended up dropping Mom off for the class in  the early morning so that I would have the car to come back in the afternoon. When I dropped Mom off, I literally had rolled out of bed, threw my contacts in and we left. When we arrived at class, Mom got out of the car, and two friends of ours, Celeste and Debbie told me to hold on a second. A minute later Jane came running out to the car to meet me and shake my hand. She told me how happy she was to meet me and that she was so excited about seeing my collection later that afternoon. I promised her I would look much more presentable when I arrived in the afternoon. The whole moment was somewhat surreal for me. Jane Thornley? THE Jane Thornley was excited to meet me? I had to let that one sink in. The I got there later in the afternoon with my collection she was so excited to see me shawls. She had questions and was interested in what I was doing. Her husband took pictures of many of my shawls. She said that she admired that I knitted with such technique. She asked about blocking too. I explained how much I really loved blocking. To me blocking is, and has always been, that "tah-dah" moment of all of the hours of hard work that you put into your project. I like seeing that unfold before your eyes. People ask me to do their blocking for them. I actually have a stack of blocking I need to do now. Now that I am past my surgery I can start to get to them. (Ladies, all of you that have given me shawls to block, I promise you I will get to it!) Anyway, meeting Jane Thornley was amazing. She is so stunningly talented. I was honored when she asked me to stand with everyone for the photo at the end of the class...


Then of course there had to be selfies too!



It was a wonderful afternoon! A surreal moment for me. 

Albuquerque has also had another International Balloon Fiesta and thankfully, the weather held out for most of it. I love Balloon Fiesta! It doesn't matter how much time passes as I live here, the balloons never get old. Ever. After dropping Mom off in the morning for the Jane Thornley class, there was finally a mass ascension. While I was driving. So I took pictures. While I was driving...



The following pictures are courtesy of my friends Kat Coventry, Ariane and Robert Moran, and Kim Judge, and Giovanna Fregni...




The sweet little girl in the above picture is my Fairy Goddaughter. Isn't she a cutie?! She was old enough this year to be really mesmerized by the balloons this year!




And some pics I took from previous years...




And from my very first Balloon Fiesta...


I saw the other doctor (my oncologist at NM Cancer Center had been out for a month herself) at the Cancer Center to follow up and get the pathology report for my surgery. They didn't have the final report but they did have the preliminary report back which was negative. This is a good thing. My LDH levels (pre-cursors for cancer) are also normal so they feel this is likely benign. The problem remains that my blood chemistry is a mess. My white cell count is very high and since this last incident with my lymph nodes, my WBC is climbing. It went from 16.1 to 17.6 to 17.8. Its the highest its been in a while. my platelets are over 650. This is a problem. I have always had high WBC and platelets and its never really been investigated. High platelets is a disease in itself...Thrombocytosis. And it is treated with chemo. I received a call this morning from my oncologist office and even though she is completely booked for the month of November, she wants to see me rather quickly. I have an appt for November 2nd. I haven't had a bone marrow biopsy in 5 years and I have a feeling that she will want to repeat that and try to get to the bottom of it. I may require treatment with chemo, I won't know for a while. Either way, it is what it is. 

Its really no surprise to me. The lymph node I had removed a week and a half ago was my 4th surgery for my Multicentric Castleman's Disease and the 4th surgery I've had this year. 20th surgery overall; believe me, I'm used to it shit not going my way. But there's always knitting and designing and folks, I cannot begin to tell you how sane that keeps my world. No matter what happens, knitting is a constant in my life which does not change. All of my family, friends and connections I have made in the knitting world I am so very thankful for. Y'all get it. Because I can no longer work a traditional job, it has allowed me to pursue my dreams full time. My next design projects are laid out. Next up will be teaching. I have been wanting to do it for a while now. I just need to put it all on paper and work it out. Then I need to get over my fear of public speaking and dealing with a room full of people I don't know. I'm nervous as hell when its a room full of people I DO know, let alone people I don't know. But that's all secondary because teaching is what I really want to do. 

Whatever you have going on in your life...Knitting, Crochet, Weaving, Dyeing, whatever fiber thing it is that you do...that is your constant. Hold onto it and the friends and connections that you have made. We are all here for each other. Let us not forget that. Until next time folks...KNIT ON!

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's October Already ??

Hello Everyone! I truly hope that you have all been doing well and looking forward to the fall season just as much as I have. Its getting serious out there...Dad just turned off the swamp cooler for the season. I feel like I have so many things I want to share since my last post. I'm looking back at pictures to remind me about the things I want to share with you all! I'm just gonna go in order of how my pictures are in my MacBook.

My friend, the ever talented Katrina King of Ft. Collins CO, sent me this picture on Facebook one afternoon and I was so excited to see it out in the wild!


Mine is the cover of Knitter's Magazine and she has a pattern in Vintage Crochet. Katrina is so talented. Not only is she an extremely good knitter with several publications to her name, she is a wonderful crocheter as well. This pattern of hers is true testament to her talent. Check it out...


Just look at that beauty!! I've said it before and I'll say it again Katrina, its absolutely stunning. You are so very talented. I am so happy for all that you have accomplished in your career and I'm looking forward to all that's coming in the future!!! 

I have many goals I want to achieve and shortly, one of them is teaching. I have been toying around with the idea of teaching for quite some time now. But I have to really fight my nervousness in front of people that will truly be something I have to overcome. Believe it or not folks, I'm rather an introvert. When talking about my knitting it does seem a bit easier because its stuff I know very well. But to discuss it around strangers and people I don't know is difficult for me. I am going to bite the bullet and put a class together and start teaching though. I really think that teaching is where its at. My first class will be on knitting top-down crescent shaped shawls with knitted on borders. With the trunk shows that I have done, I have realized how many people are afraid of the increases in a top down shawl or the knitted on border and have expressed interest if there was a class available. So. That's my in. I just need to put it together. I'll keep kicking myself in the ass to get it done. 

At the end of August, I had the privilege of judging the Hand Knitting and the Machine Knitting Divisions at the New Mexico State Fair. Since my other partner who normally judges with was not available this year, my Mom clerked for me. She was fabulous. It took us 2 days and 10 1/2 hours to judge all the entries this years. There were more entries this year than last year and this is wonderful thing! The more the better I say! The more we are able to show off all the talent that is right here in the central New Mexico area the better. Certainly for the Powers That Be at the Fair who have been wanting to do away with the Creative Arts Division all together!! Here are some pics of us judging at the fair! 




Everything you see lying around in stacks were all the items we judged. There were 98 items in total. I judge the item and them write comments for every single one of them on the back on the entry card attached to the item. I probably take longer than other judges because I tend to write longer comments. Go figure. Once all the items were judged, some of the ladies from our Guild came to arrange them all nicely in the cases you see behind Mom. There were also cases across from Mom that you cannot see in this picture. They did such an amazing job with the arranging but unfortunately I didn't get any photographs of them all arranged. Trust me, it was BEAUTIFUL. They always do such a nice job. 

Next up on September 1st, I got another tattoo! Something that I had really been wanting for some time now. Its an antique pocket watch with 2 large chrysanthemums that are red/orange in color. Same colors as my yarn tattoo, obviously to stand outing match my hair. I know, I know. Who does that, right? Gets their tattoos to match their hair? Well, I do. I will be a red head until I die. At any rate, I went back and saw my buddy Orlando at Shades of Grey here in Albuquerque for the work. He is nothing less than amazing. He's such an amazing artist. Truly. And tattoos aren't all he does. His drawing and artwork of almost every medium is spectacular. He is always posting new drawings on Facebook for his fan club to see. He has also started a screen printing business wherein he screen prints his artwork onto t-shirts and kids clothing. Simply amazing. Here are the pics of the tattoo in progress...


This is all the black work done, and I am taking the pics in a mirror so everything is backwards...keep that in mind... The tattoo is on the outside of my right arm. I am keeping knitting tattoos, for the moment, all on one side. My next one will be another knitting tattoo. Or than mandalas I want. I haven't decided yet. LOL...tattoos are like that...






And the final pic showing the clock in the right direction...this one was taken by Orlando...


The only thing left to go on this is the chain. Now that it has healed, I am just waiting on my artist to squeeze me in somewhere when he can take care of it. I am in absolute love this. Then again, I feel that way about all my tattoos. They are all very personal to me in one way or another.

Mom took a very nice portrait of me for a friend of mine which has turned into the new picture that will be begin to appear on my patterns from here on out. I really like it. She's a good photographer, she made me look really good...


I'm wearing the most appropriate shirt too! Do more knitting as That's what makes us all happy, right?

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may already know about the rest of this but I'm going to share it anyway! I started a new pattern project. Its a scarf for a friend of mine who specifically asked for some of my knitting after seeing my work and what I did for Knitter' Magazine.  I was honored really, and he's a really good friend. It gave me the opportunity to design something I hadn't really done before...a nice textured man/unisex scarf. I picked a reversible knit purl pattern (I hate scarves with only one "good" side) and went to town. He told me what color of yarn he wanted and I went threw my stash and came up with this...


He really liked these colors, so do I...that why I have them, because they are like a denim blue. It will go with all kinds of things. Its Dream In Color Everlasting Sock in the color way Rain Cloud. So I swatched and started out a few times before I got exactly what I wanted. When I did, I went at it.




As of last night here's where it's at. I didn't think I would need the second skein but I think I am going to break into it to make sure its big enough. I don't have much left of the skein I'm working on. This scarf will definitely need a block too...but not too much because I don't want to lost the texture to it. But I absolutely love this. Its a wonderful simple little pattern that is east to memorize and keeps you on your toes. Its not boring by any stretch of the means.


This is the sole project I've been working on since I started it, I'm trying to get it done fast and  get the pattern out. I also have another shawl pattern I have in progress that I'm sure when I'll finish but its in progress...it'll be my last crescent shaped shawl for a while.





The yarn is really delicious. Its MJ Yarns Simple Sock (Corridale and Nylon) in the color way "Mice and Men" and I love it. It is squishibly soft and I love working with it. The colorway is accurate in pic #2 above. Very bronzy, gold and tan. Its just lovely.

The reason this is my last crescent shaped shawl for a while is because my next project is an eBook of 3 rectangular lace shawls. One in true lace weight, the other two are collaborations with Skein Yarn of Australia, and MJ Yarns of Colorado. These are yarns I love to work with and both Kristin of Skein and Jonathan of MJ Yarns support very much what I do. I'm very fortunate to have cultivated these relationships with such wonderful people. I am hoping to have the eBook out by the end of next spring. That's my goal anyway. Here is a pic of the Lace weight Malabrigo Silkpaca yarn in the colorway Zarzamora...


The Skein Yarn and MJ Yarns shawls will both be fingering weight shawls. Jonathan at MJ still has to dye my yarn for me, he'll ship it to me when its done and I'll share it when I have it. Skein Yarn has sent theirs. I chose the colorway Graphite and they sent it in their Merino Cashmere. It will be positively luscious!


To feel this is to feel what clouds must feel like. So light and airy. I just love it!

In the next couple of days I will blog more, there has been so much that has happened. The Taos Wool Festival came and went, I had a trunk show there (without me present) because of my health. Again. I will share that with you. And Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta has come and gone as well and I will share some fantastic photographs that some of my friends have taken. I got some far way pics but the close ups were all taken by friends who were on the grounds. And...I got a chance to meet the most talented and lovely JANE THORNLEY!!! I'll tell you all about that too!

I hope you all are doing well and getting into some fall knitting! It's starting to get chilly here in Albuquerque so we're dressing just a little warmer, wearing those shawls, and making thangs!  I apologize for my lack of posts but perhaps tomorrow it will make more sense. Again, if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram you may already know all about it. Look for the next post by Wednesday this week. I love you all dearly. Until the next time...Knit On!