Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Totally OFFF!

G'day all!

I must say I did go totally OFFF, thank heavens not like a raw prawn in the sun.

And can someone remind me that next time I go to a fiber festival that taking my spinning wheel would be a good idea?  At least if I drive my car there.  My wheel does fit into a suitcase very easily but lugging it around for a weekend is not so much fun.

The drive took a lot less time than I thought.  Portland is only 3.5 hours south of here and when I5 is running smoothly, it is a trouble free trip.  Portland itself is quite small - it does spread out sideways a bit but compared to what I'm used to (cities of 3-4 million people) it seems quite compact and the 4pm on a Friday traffic was laughable.  Maybe two miles of stop start traffic in two bursts and that was it.  It looked interesting and I want to go visit Portland itself properly.  We could catch the train there - it costs more than driving but it only takes 3.5 hours (same as driving!!!) and then we could just wander around on the MAX (light rail) and on foot.

I found my accommodation easily enough and would've found it quicker if I had not missed the sign on the turnoff (not helped by the enormous SUV in the way).  The accommodation was adequate to my needs.
I am not sure there were enough pillows or that five could fit in that bed easily.
 I had planned to go back into Portland and look around but it turned out that the train was only a commuter rail thing, not a normal line, and so only runs during peak hour (which they kindly refused to define).

OFFF was easy enough to find.  I followed the sign posts to Canby and then followed the Washingtonian and Californian plates to the festival grounds.


I may have bought a bit of fiber. And a bit of fabric, but I've not taken pictures of that.  The fiber festival did not have fabric, but the local quilt shop did, and so did an enormous warehouse of a shop called Fabric Depot, which is about 5 minutes off the 205 in Gresham/Portland.  OMG, I have never seen such a huge place pretty much entirely devoted to fabric.  Even then they did not have some of my favourite lines but I did just so happen to go in on the last day of their 30% off everything sale.  Oops!  Between 30% off and the lack of sales tax in Oregon (it's 9.25% in Seattle, not that I mind paying sales tax, it is just annoying that it isn't built into the price, mostly because sales tax varies from county to county....), well what was I meant to do?  Come home with nothing?  At least none of the yarn tempted me - even at 30% off, it was still about 20% more than I'd expect to pay for it.

Plus there was a Fred Meyer near my accommodation, a good one with lots of me-friendly food.  And some good specials on new pants (not undies, trousery things), very timely indeed as I went through my favourite pair last week.  After four years they called it quits on me.  I now have two new pairs of a very similar cut.

OK, I'll stop holding out on you.  In the interests of keeping me honest and not hoarding all of it, I've taken pics of all the fibre that is not at the processors.  Pics taken on the phone, though the good camera has come back and is supposedly fine.  Sigh.

BFL X CVM fleece, "Blue"

Corriedale fleece 1

Corriedale fleece 2, yearling.  Oops, there's a third corrie fleece too.

Rambouillet X Cheviot fleece, already washed!  4lb

New flicker and carders to play with fleece.  Old ones are in Oz.  sigh.

Already washed CVM fleece, Benny.

A wodge of undyed targhee blend roving

Wodges of undyed and dyed cormo top

Yummy merino/cashmere/silk top

Probably polwarth/silk blend.  I didn't buy much of this stuff.  Ahem.

Pretty colours!  Polwarth silk plus some merino.

I saw this stuff online last week and oh dear.  It followed me home!

Upside down but still pretty.  Mermaid colours.  mmmm.....

A local dyer's work.  There's yak in the one on the left.

Some of these were cheap cheap cheap!  And some polwarth may be involved, again.

Unusual choice for me but smooshy and bouncy :-)

cashmere and silk?  And optim?  mmm-mmm!

Bright, chirpy Targhee and friends.

Crispy, crunchy blended rambo.

Whatever it is, it is pretty.

It doesn't look so big when you don't get half of it in the picture....

Note that this is not all the fiber I bought - I got a few lovely fleeces at the carpark sale that went straight off to the processors.  I can't process much fiber here - I kept a bit but not a lot - so I am getting it washed and picked and turned into roving.  As the vendors liked to remind me, winter is long and wool is warm.  Winter is going to have to for blasted ever for me to spin all of this lot up 8-)  As for the knitting of it... sometimes the spun yarn is my goal.  Once I've got that, I don't know what do to with it!  I've been known to sell it through the local guild at home but when the top/roving costs $20, you don't get much return on the handspun yarn.

Where's the yarn?  Why buy yarn when I so enjoy spinning my own?  And I may have a fair stash already.  I was starting to run out of fiber - only about another ten lots to spin - the horror!

Best mystery bag evah!

OK, I did buy this much yarn.  $26 for two skeins of Blue Moon?
Pricey.  $1175.
The wood, padauk, in that e-spinner was very very very pretty but umm not that pretty.  However, buying it in Oregon probably would've been a good idea if I were to buy one as it would save over a hundred bucks of sales tax....

I have a love/hate relationship with sales tax.  I'm not seeing it paying for much in the way of roads in Washington and I dunno if it is helping much with the fire brigade or the cops or the schools.  Oregon doesn't have it and I'm wondering what they use to pay for the roads with cos the roads in Oregon were a thousand times better than the rough, potholed, lifting concrete monstrosities here (it reminded me of driving in New South Wales and Victoria at home.  You knew when you had left Victoria because you started wondering if you had four flat tyres the roads were so crap).  I know they have income tax on wages in Oregon (but not here in Washington state) and Oregonians complain about how much property taxes are but they do that all through the States as far as I can tell.

Anyway, it was a good, if expensive trip :-)  I have lots of pretties to play with and turn into even more lovely stuff (I hope!).  For once I didn't just buy 100g/4oz of each, some I bought two of!  Hooray!  That means I can knit more than a pair of mittens and a hat or a small shawl.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed something in the background.  It is for a later post - I haven't talked about the fiber animals or the duck herding yet.  Plus I have a whine about some very sulky thread.  And my biggest ever quilt is back from the quilter and awaiting binding...


Friday, September 21, 2012

I am going OFFF!

G'day all!

Rather excited.  After I've unpacked the dishwasher, done the vacuuming and taken the rubbish out, I am going OFFF!

Yes, I'm driving down to the Orgeon Fleece and Fiber Festival.  It should be good!  Portland is only about four hours away and OFFF is not much further, so it is all excitement :-)

I also have a quilt to show off but I work in the afternoons usually and the mornings have been foggy/smoggy/smoky and not at all good for picture taking.

See you next week, when I will probably have lots of pics and maybe some new, ahem, stash...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Interesting, to me at least

G'day all!

Today I trundled down to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in South Lake Union for my two year checkup.

I like this bridge.  Not sure why.
In Oz, I get to do scans and bloodtests before I go, here, it's the other way around.

The oncologist I saw was quite impressed with the chemo I had - FEC (fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) is not commonly used in the States, presumably because of its side effects, but I tolerated it a whole lot better than I did the taxotere.  She was mighty impressed with the dose of that too - I think I got the highest dose they are game to give people.  I was so glad to get off taxotere - at the time I thought I was doing pretty well though in hindsight....  I am too trusting and the oncologist I saw was very encouraging, but jeez I had some issues.  Anyway, if it really was such a high dose, no wonder I felt, no I was hammered by it.  Two years on, I am pretty good - the most annoying things I've noticed are some of my nails are still wonky (multilayered, tending to split/break easily).  I'm not sure that I'm firing on all cylinders mentally either but eh.  I'm still here!

Most of these pleasure craft cost upwards of half a million dollars.
I have to wait for results of the bloods and have a mammo next week but my physical checkup was fine.  I appear to be in rude good health.

That is the sneaky thing about cancer.  Apart from being a ball of stress and having a chest infection from a vicious virus doing the rounds in California when we were packing up there and coming home, I seemed to be in good health.  I was the slimmest and fittest I had been in a while, I was eating good food, exercising (packing is *excellent* exercise), yadda yadda yadda but the blasted thing was galloping.  It grew a centimetre (almost half an inch) in a month from when it was first detected to when I got into the health system.

A million buck view that you don't want to see
I have to say the view from the waiting room in the breast oncology area is excellent, even if it is one that really you don't want to have to join the BC club to see.  It is a lovely view of Lake Union and a little of Queen Anne and Fremont.  I particularly like the two cottonwoods/poplars/similar just to the left of centre that are growing on either side of a road.  It looks like they have been trimmed to keep them apart.

You can also see that despite having our almost record run of dry weather broken on Monday, things have cleared up quite a bit, except now there are wildfires burning on the other side of the Cascades and smoking things up a LOT.  I couldn't see either the Cascades or the Olympics today and the city (downtown) was pretty hazy and it is what a mile away in that shot.  Still, I am not complaining about having some sun!

Downtown Seattle from Lake Union

In other news, or not, I really should pull my finger out and get the binding of a new (old) quilt sewn down so I can show it off.  I've been slack and distracted.  I did have a little issue with the quilting where I did not pay a whole lot of attention to the excess batting.


A cloud?
But with a little effort and careful snipping and pulling, it's now fixed.  I only have about another foor and a half metres of binding to sew down.  I have heard of and done this thing called sewing the binding down with the machine but let's just say there is a reason why I like free motion/squiggle quilting so much and that is that it doesn't matter that I can't sew a dead straight seam to save myself.  I can't do very fussy quilts because of that, even when I use a 1/4" foot on the machine.  People tell me they can't quilt because they can't sew straight seams.  Well if I can create something that is passable, anyone can if they can point a sewing machine at material.  Maybe it will never win a prize but it doesn't have to.  It is also very freeing if you have perfectionist tendencies - you learn to get over insisting things are perfect all the time if you ever want to finish or stop ripping things out....  Even then, my stitch ripper is my best friend.  LOL


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

another 8th anniversary

G'day all!

I must trouble you again for congratulations on making it to eight years of something.

Today it is eight years of marriage.

A miracle.

Us at Mt St Helens for Nathan's birthday

I would share pics of us over the years, but last week I upgraded the operating system on my laptop and umm, well I busted it and it is Too Hard to get them off the server.  My almost five year old laptop is now a fancy shaped brick.  Actually, it was not my fault that:
a) Canonical (creators of Ubuntu) left a typo in one of the files or commands, which means that python (programming language) busted, which then meant that my new version of Ubuntu has problems, and
b) Acer and linux have issues about the handling of the fan driver, which combined with the busted python means my laptop gets stuck at the point where the fan stuff happens and goes around and around in a never ending loop until it overheats and shuts down.

It is handy that I have a work laptop which is currently functional and I hope it remains so but I have very little of my own stuff on it because:
a) the laptop isn't mine, and
b) if I put my stuff on it, I fill up the hard disk with pictures alone, and I really need to keep work stuff on this laptop.  Apparently 500 gig of disk space is no longer enough.

My sysadmin has been busy on other matters and cannot come to the phone or fix my computer right now.  His product was shown off last Thursday by the Big Boss, and very very soon now the new Kindle Fires will be hitting the hot sweaty paws of the consumers, who will hopefully find the photo app to be interesting and useful.  It certainly is pretty.

So eight years of marriage.  I can't say wedded bliss because sometimes it hasn't been.  It has been blasted hard yakka some days.  Other times it has been easy.  It has been interesting though.  We've certainly weathered a few storms.  We've seen some amazing stuff and been to some lovely, and not so lovely, places.  I guess that reflects the nature of marriage too.  I blush to admit that I don't exactly remember what I vowed eight years ago but I think I've stuck to it - it's a bit hard to tell really when I can't remember what I said.  All I remember is that I did not vow by God, because that would've been a false vow, like I had taken my vows with my fingers crossed behind my back.

Now if I get off my butt, or at least get it out from under my butt where it is currently residing, I have to sew down a quilt binding and then I will have another quilt finished!  I started it ages ago, as is my wont, and last week found it and a couple of others quilt tops that I remembered making but did not remember finishing, for good reason as it turned out.  I hadn't finished them.  Given how shaky things were when I was on chemo and for a while thereafter, I'm surprised I remember making them at all...  My biggest and bestest quilt is currently at the quilter as it is just too big for me to cope with, so it will be done soon too, and whilst it seems I left the binding for it at home, I've found the remaining scraps of fabric from the quilt top itself, so I should be able to cobble something together from them.

I didn't share my most recent knitting triumph either, did I?  One of Nathan's cousins had a baby boy recently and I made him a layette.  Given how pretty and lacy the layette is, a girl might be more appropriate but eh.  Baby boys have no fashion sense anyway.