La Purisima

We headed up over the hill in to the Santa Ynez Valley the other weekend. Sadly, no wine tasting (though I prefer Paso Robles for that anyway). Our destination was the La Purisima Mission for some mild re-enactment of the “days of yore.”

They were supposed to have sheep shearing! Unfortunately, according to the docent at the Visitor Center, they couldn’t find the sheep. Uh…

At any rate, we did get a chance to feel some un-treated wool and even to try some carding. That was hard work!

And then we went inside the cool adobe buildings to see a giant loom and spinning wheel.


Definitely worth a trip to the past!

On the way out, of course I had to stop in La Tienda. I may not be much of a shopper, but it’s like “pouring one out” for my mother.


Yarn Pop!

A bit over a year ago, I won some Yarn Pop Bags on a Facebook giveaway they held. I’d admired these bags for awhile. Made in the USA, they have some really nice features, like a light interior so you can see into the bag, big zippers that don’t get kinked, and really fun fabrics. I was thrilled to receive my bags (they no longer have the blue design on mine).


So when they put a call out on Instagram  to see if anyone would like to do  a fun video or two showcasing what we use the bags for, I thought, “Cool! A bit of cross promotion and I get to see if videos are a place I want to be.”

Here are some of the unedited videos. I’ll put the final edit that Yarn Pop made in another post.

A little dye

I knit my friend’s mother a Starshower scowl/cowlette from Hilary Smith Callis, and while the color was not up my alley, the shape of it is amazing.


But I’ve seen some really gorgeous multi-color ones. Almost like gradients (BTW – did you see that Knitpicks has some new gradient sock yarn?). And I loved them. And I want my own. So I bought some mini-skeins at the Fiber Frolic, grabbed some Wilton Dye, and heated up the pot in my kitchen. The colors aren’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy and am looking forward to them drying so I can knit another scowl.

Griffin Dyeworks -Fiber Frolic Fun

On a sunny Saturday in March I dragged my friend Courtney down from San Luis Obispo to a Fiber Frolic in Sherman Oaks (that’s LA). IMG_20170318_092701.jpgsingle_griffen-final-r-aCourtney’s not even a fiber person exactly, what she is is up for arts & crafts! The event was hosted by Griffin Dyeworks, and I originally heard about it from Annie of the Petite Weaver Podcast.

Spoiler alert, you want to go to one of these!


We got to the site about 30 minutes early, just enough to check-in and wander the few vendor tables that were available with products. IMG_20170318_100034

One of the first things I did was say hi to Annie. She started to introduce herself and I butted in with “I know! I watch your podcast!” She was super duper sweet. She was teaching a bead class, so Courtney and I headed out to our main event – basket weaving!


We were delerious with happiness over these tiny little baskets. That first pic is teacher Melise Gerber  & the other lady is our polymer button teacher Becky. The basket weaving wasn’t hard, but I’m glad we did it in a class so we had someone to check in with and to reassure us that things were on track. And all the baskets came out slightly different, which was pretty cool.


Know how I know these are my people? I wasn’t the first one in line for lunch. I was third.


We had lunch with Amy, who has a beautiful dyeing notebook. She’s also got a fabulous garden at home to grow her own dyes. Coolest people.

Then it was off to bead making. We used pasta rollers to get the dough worked up nice and smooth, and then to help combine the colors. Learned some cool tricks for things like polka dots, lines, and even using eyeshadow to make the buttons glittery!

And I ended the day with a Basic Needle Felting (ouch) class with Hillary from The Fiber Ranch. I only got one tiny little poke, not even blood, but those little barbs make for quite the sting. Oh, and because I really wanted a black nose, my “sheep,” as Hillary pointed out, looks like a wolf in sheep’s closing. I totally want to make more of these.

On Gift Giving

I love giving gifts. I like ferreting out just the right thing for the recipient. It’s a challenge. My philosophy used to simply be “Get them something they want but would never get for themselves.”

But I’m having to refine that idea. For my husband, I pick out what I want to get him. Then I email him the picture but don’t buy it. And that’s the end.

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That’s some funny beer I wouldn’t buy him.

For my best friend, I’d been using the afore mentioned technique, but I am now going to alter it per her preferences and buy strictly off her wish list.


My sister likes well thought out themed gifts from her interests (Harry Potter, fantasy, etc.). And for my father I tend to look for consumable stuff that won’t clutter his life.

Man, it’s tough being a good gift giver.

podcast roundup

I love podcasts. I love having someone discussing yarn and knitting and other crafts while I’m sitting and working on a project. But I’ve learned that there are things I do and don’t like when I listen to a podcast, which makes me picky, and has turned me off some rather well known podcasters.

Specifics I like:

  • two person podcasts (like Knitmore Girls! audio) Having another actual person to bounce around with can make the podcast more interesting.
  • A cute theme and some un-craft related stuff at the end (Actually Knitting audio discusses food & running, while Purl Bug video talks about her life in general)
  • A seriously outgoing personality (Keena of the She’s Crafty video podcast is in your face, loud, and unabashed)
  • Highly amusing (Fat Squirrel Speaks  video cracks herself up and invites you to crack up. She admits some of her stuff is ridiculous,tells you not to judge, then admits she doesn’t care if you judge).
  • Be knowledgeable about what you speak but know that others are experts too! (Andy from Andre Sue Knits  video is AMAZING)

A few things that make me turn off a podcast:

  • Flippantly dismissing problems others have because the podcaster has never faced that problem. Yes, this happened on a well known podcast and makes it really hard for me to watch her anymore.
  • Excuses. I get reasons. I understand podcasters don’t get paid. But sounding whiney throughout the podcast has me hitting pause and unsubscribe.
  • Not knowing anything. This is kind of particular to me. I know several podcasts are about learning and the knitting journey. And while I think it’s exciting when a podcaster and I can learn something new together, for me, a total newbie has to have some seriously compelling topics.
  • Go on forever. Seriously. I listen to and muck through a lot of podcasts. I often don’t see why they need to be more than 20 minutes. a 90 minute podcast?! I don’t listen to people I love talk for that long at me. (Cultivate & Create does a FANTASTIC job of sticking to about 20 minutes audio)

And a few others that I’m watching/listening to:

  • Stringing it Together video This is a new one to me. I’m not 100% sold but i’m giving it a few more trys.
  • Petite Weaver video Annie is a prolific knitter, tries new things, and intersperses her podcasting with how-to videos.
  • Susan B. Anderson video Not regular, but c’mon, it’s Susan B. Anderson! She of the sweaters, the toys, and c’mon, it’s Susan B. Anderson!
  • Down Cellar Studios audio Jen knits, crochets, designs, and hosts some long running KALs
  • Stitch Addiction video Super mellow, gorgeous yarn
  • Brass Needles audio Irregular right now but sci fi & knitting, thank you.

I’ve thought about starting my own podcast. But I’m not sure I could manage the regularity, the wit, or even the interesting topics that I myself crave in podcasts. Do you have a podcast? Care to share?