Ravelry Downloads Go Up

For the knitters and crocheters out there: Ravelry! You love it, you know you do. Great place to search patterns, show off your yarn stash, even meet other local fiber nuts. I’ve been a Raveler for years, but I FINALLY got wise and set up a designer page. This lets me consolidate all my patterns in one spot and make them available for easy download. I’m so glad I did. Let me introduce Kendra Ann designs:

Not a Raveler? Not an issue. Pattern pages are reachable without signing in. 
Hooray!
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Possum Yarn

As previously mentioned, our great trip to New Zealand led me to a new yarn discovery.

There is a beastie known as the common brushtail possum. It is a native of Australia but made its way to New Zealand thanks to European Settlers who hoped to use it as a food and fiber source. This did not turn out to be a good idea. Today there are literally millions of possums destroying natural New Zealand habitat and acting as a vector for bovine tuberculosis, thus threatening both the ecosystem and agriculture.

However, Kiwis are nothing if not resourceful. If Australia gives you brushtail possums, make… yarn! Folks now make a living collecting possums and selling their pelts. Incidentally, Wikipedia tells us that possum is a delicacy in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia, where they are known as “Kiwi Bear”. Who knew.

But on to the yarn. New Zealand is of course famous for sheep and their wool. The possum fur is very fine and light, a little like angora but shorter. When mixed with wool the result is a light, very warm yarn with just a hint of natural heathering.

I wanted one of every color. In every weight. Husband pointed out we only had limited suitcase room. I ended up with the following:

I had the vague notion of making myself a hat… but then the fiddlehead mittens I was making on commission inspired me. The pattern was so Kiwi… so my possum yarn is now getting knit into mittens. The yarn is slightly more rough than pure merino wool, but I love the wispy look to the colors. The black pattern is knit with Cascade 220 wool. I also brought home some grey in a slightly lighter weight. I am sad to admit that the baby sweater still on the needles is no longer likely to fit E. We’ll have to find another recipient…

A Knitty Opportunity – and Cyclo-cross

Nice sunny day = watching cyclo-cross, taking lots of product shots like the one to the left, and visiting the yarn store (only a little bit, I promise).

The cats have been a just a bit put out since our cyclo-cross friends brought their Austrailian Cattle Dog puppy to visit. Our shyer cat Caramel hides upstairs (under the bed or in the bathtub… whichever is available), while Tricksy simply stares down the puppy and steals her food. Classic Tricksy. Cyclo-cross, in case you were wondering, is a very cool combo of road biking, mountain biking and obstacle course. Watch the following for a little taste, complete with overly epic music:

The Cattle Dog puppy also REALLY likes wool (socks, yarn skeins, yarn projects…. basically our whole HOUSE) which segues nicely into the actually title of the post.

There is a more than vibrant (buzzing? frenetic?) knitting presence on the web, and I thought I would share just three items of interest.

Item the 1st: Ravelry.com! Most of my knitting, crocheting, or fiber arts readers probably know about this site already, but for those of you who dont – go over there and get your knit on! There are patterns, forums, help sessions, a trading post, and lots of fiber, yarn and inspiration in the way of FOs. My username is KnittyVet (just like on Etsy) – feel free to look me up and say hi! Here is one of my FOs posted on Ravelry:
Item the 2nd: KnitPicks.com is great online one stop fiber arts shopping. This is a known fact. Right now they are also running a contest on their Stash blog to win 20 balls of yarn and a free pattern. The contest is promoting a new feature allowing crafters to buy one pattern at a time from popular books – definitely a savings if you are like me and usually end up buying the whole book to get at one particular pattern. You have until Nov. 10th to enter the contest – simply leave a comment on the Stash Blog!

Item the 3rd: Tomorrow I am planning on attending the Fiber Festival of New England in Springfield, MA… If you are anywhere in the area it sounds like quite the good time – Moo Dog Knits from over at moodogpress.com says there are over 200 vendors – and sheep! Yay!

I think this post contains my first embedded video… Does that mean I can graduate blogger pre-school?

6 Days to the first Craft Show!

That is right – in 6 days I’m taking the leap from online sales to local, in person, table-top selling! I’m so excited!

I’ve always had some of the necessary ingredients for being an entrepreneurial crafter… I have 1) had a steady stream of creative projects flowing since earlier than I can remember, and 2) attempted to make sales. Not always successfully. I remember one ill-advised roadside stand I set up when I was 7 or 8 to sell the shed exoskeletons of cicadas… I believe they were going for 1 cent each, but for some reason the only person who bought one was my 4 year old sister.

But now we’re actually making it official- tax reg. and all. And insects (at least for now!) are not part of the inventory. So, without further ado:

Cabin Fever Crafters Show
First Congregational Church
Saturday March 6, 2010 9am – 2pm
43 Silver St, Greenfield, MA 01376

I know a few other great vendors who will be attending, so come and join us if you are in the area!

In the meantime there is a lot to do. I’m knitting as fast as I am able (later shows this summer will focus on my artwork instead), making labels and working on setting up an attractive table. This show is a small one which will be ideal for my first attempt…. what fun!

One more day… news and … book reviews!

That’s right, one day left to enter the cozy contest- go to THIS LINK to see the easy rules and win. International entrants are welcome and don’t worry, even if your favorite cozy has temporarily sold out, I think we can make a new one for you :o)

For those of you who would rather knit your own heart cozy we can now accommodate – check here! (this one counts in the contest too!)

Cozy shipping for any ordered between noon Friday 2/5/10 and Sunday 2/7/10 will be shipped Monday.

Reviews! We seem to have been ignoring the geekery posts promised, so I thought I’d talk about some recent (post-holiday) reading.

1. City of Thieves by David Benioff:
This quick read takes place in World War II ravaged Leningrad (or Piter according to natives of the city), loosely in the form of a flashback. The characters are vibrant, alive, and living through the terrible hardship of a city under siege. Told through the eyes of a boy just reaching adulthood it is a gripping and suspenseful novel, full of close escapes and close not-escapes… I thought that the ending was a bit predictable but it was still an amazing tale, more so because the author really did his homework and the bleak Russian landscape comes alive.

2. The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling:
Ok, here is the real geekery. Set firmly in the Steampunk provenance, this novel combines Victorian sensibility, vast calculating engines relying on gears, dinosaurs (most notably the doomed Brontosaurus), smog, and a feeling of overwhelming foreboding. Poets are turned scientists and it is very much a London of “what if”. There are several main characters, but the story arc tends to use them and then leave them for dead (quite literally in a few cases) so it is a little hard to become too invested in the story. As a piece of hard steampunk and a bit of a mind bender this book is great… for more satisfying reading I may look elsewhere.

All right- have a GREAT start to your weekend, and go enter the contest if you haven’t already done so!