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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Retreating...Craft Retreat, that is.

I returned from the 2012 Winter Bear Cabin Inn retreat earlier today.
3 days of hanging out with friends, near constant crafting (knitting for me), and reallllly good meals provided by our hostess, Carol.
This is a link to the 2009 retreat. That link has quite a few pictures of that adventure.
This post does not have much for pictures. Well, not much for "during" pictures. I have some after pictures...but I'm getting way ahead of myself.

So...we had plans. Plans that went awry.
I was supposed to be co-pilot/navigator on the ride from Tucson to Show Low in the White Mountains. Unfortunately, early Thursday morning, a couple of hours before departure time, my friend called to say she was physically indisposed for an undetermined amount of time and she wouldn't be driving up that day and wasn't sure when/if she would be going to the retreat.

We discussed other car-pooling options, but those options were limited due to other life challenges.

The short version of those options/challenges: One car was full and a 2nd driver/friend may not go/might leave at a moments notice to be with a dear friend whose mother was in the hospital.
However, I left a message for the third group of crafters going to the retreat.

(Hindsight found that the car that was full - wasn't. Someone had to cancel out at the last minute. 
The friend that might leave at a moment's notice - didn't. 
And the friends I called didn't get the message until late in the day.
I think Fate felt I was supposed to take on this trip by myself.)

I didn't hear back from the folks for whom I'd left the message, so I plotted to drive myself. I updated (woke) the DH so he'd know what was up (and that no one had stolen the truck). He provided hugs, some useful lower-gear/over-drive advice for traversing the Salt River Canyon, and gave me a granola bar for a snack. {wry grin - I think the last time I drove the Salt River Canyon - I was in a stick-shift. Automatics are....not entirely automatic. I prefer a standard transmission.}

The drive was pleasant and uneventful. Converting from co-pilot to Pilot meant I was not going to be spending the drive knitting {sigh}. But I was accompanied by a few podcasts ("News from Lake Wobegon", "Sticks and String", and I tried out "Science Friday" (which is spiffy) ). I also listened to the soundtrack to a recent Arizona Theater Company production of "Daddy Long Legs"(It was a truly charming and lovely show. I wish I'd been able to see it twice!).

There were not a lot of people on the road.  And - unlike the other crafters (serious quilters all), I had not stopped at the various Quilt Stores on the way to Show Low so I was the first to arrive at the retreat. I got to spend a nice afternoon with Carol, who runs the retreat, and her sweet black Labrador, Maggie.

I can summarize my retreat with the following words (in no particular order of accomplishment):
Knitting, eating, reading whilst knitting ("Shadow Unit" on Kindle & a "Knit Wear" magazine), eating, refreshing my memory with Continental knitting videos on YouTube whilst pseudo-Continental knitting, eating, marveled at and admired the various quilt-related projects undertaken and completed by my fellow craft-campers, watched a Glee episode (yes, still knitting), checked on twitter & Ravelry a little, tracked down some patterns online, inherited Halloween fabric to make a quilt for charity, eating, participated in my first KnitChat on twitter Saturday AM (!), tummy-scritches for Maggie, admiring the mountain scenery, and um....more eating and knitting.

What did I knit? Alllll sorts of things. Mostly I moved forward on a variety of projects; but I did finish one. This is a smaller version of the "June is for Jag" scarf in Gentle Breeze Alpaca homespun-with-a-story. (Blocking is pending.)
Did you notice Nikoli "helping" with the photography?

These are the Works In Progress (WIPs) that I worked on during the retreat.
(See...the knitting pictures/updates I promised you several blogs ago. Hmmm - there are stories to go with most of these projects. Yep...fodder for another blog.)
The Birds Nest Shawl is nearing completion - I'm on the last pattern round!
This is what the pattern looks like when it's not all scrunched up. 
I did a welt every day on my Swirl Jacket.
Knotty But Nice hat for Rick at work.
Purlicue pattern by Cat Bordhi.
 I'm actually on the 2nd of this pair of socks
and this one is still heel-less. 
Tardis Socks for the Little Brother.
Lenore Socks for me are into the heel. 
This is the reason I was refreshing my Continental knit-knowledge.
I worked a little on this colorwork sock from a class at SS11.
I need to practice colorwork for the Tardis Socks. 

Princess Langwidere Cowl from "What Would Madame DeFarge Knit"
And these Mitt Envy Fingerless Mitts were finished before the retreat. However, I did get to deliver them to my would-have-been driver, who was well enough to come join us on Friday!

Aside from the project photos, there are no pictures of the retreat quilts or crafters.

I did try to take pictures of the night-time view from the window in my bedroom. Pine trees black against the dark blue sky with stars shining through the branches and in the surrounding sky.
Unfortunately, that is not a picture I could wrangle from my spiffy little camera.
But I did get a picture of the same view with the dawn back-lighting the tree silhouettes:

The drive back home was not quite as "fun" as the ride up. I suspect it mostly relates to the lack of months of anticipation that accompanied the "going" trip. And there were more cars on the road (cars more interested in rushing past the speed limit than myself). But I had another round of Podcast-listening ("Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me") to keep me laughing all the way down the mountain.

My return home yielded some strong evidence that the DH and cat-critters had missed me some:
Yep, the DH had gotten me flowers and left me a very sweet note.   
Gryphon also greeted me and evidence of the cat's contribution to the gift was obvious.
(Did you notice the tattered rose leaves?) ;-)

I enjoyed the retreat and look forward to the next one, but I'm very glad to be home.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tucson Quilt Show Apologies

Quickie post/confession.

On Sunday, I had tweeted out 6 pictures from the Tucson Quilters Guild 34th Annual Quilt Show and had indicated I would post more here on the subject. Alas, it was inappropriate for me to have tweeted those pictures or to post on this blog any of the quilt pictures I took.

The tweets have been deleted and you see before you an honest, but colorless blog post. 

Here's the deal.
When I went to the Quilt Show on Friday, I did ask if I could take pictures and the kind hostesses readily answered "Yes".
However, I forgot to ask if I could post them on the blog/the Internet. (Yep, key plot point there...and I usually do ask about the blog option. {sigh})

On Sunday, whilst reviewing the Quilt Show outing with a favored friend (who had been unable to attend the quilt show with me), I made mention of my colorful tweets of the morning. My friend asked if the Quilt Guild would be alright with that sharing. Even as I answered that I'd asked about pictures being OK, I realized I hadn't asked about blogging or tweeting said pictures. (Thank you, Linda, for asking!!)

I checked the Quilt Show program and the Show Etiquette noted folks were welcome to take photographs for "personal use only, unless otherwise specified...".
Hmmmm. That didn't sound like a "go for it" endorsement to brighten up the blog with spiffy quilt pictures.  So I e-mailed my questions to a couple of the Tucson Quilter's Guild contacts Sunday night.

Monday morning I received a very nice response AND an even nicer phone call from one of the Quilt Show Directors. (Yes, I'd fessed up and fully disclosed myself in the e-mail.)

The lack of pictures in this blog tells the tale and also indicates my support and personal feelings that we do need to protect the ideas and patterns of our fellow crafters.

The Quilt Show Director indicated they would consider modifying the photograph etiquette in the Program to clearly state that photographs should not be posted on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.
I think that is a grand idea.

So...please take my word for it, the quilts were spectacular (some photos are available on the Guild's website) and inspired me to go look a little longingly at my fabric stash. I'm more of a basic quilter and have mostly made baby blankets. A very little quilting from my stash was covered in this blog post.

Having been pointedly reminded of my fabric stash, I didn't buy much at the Quilt Show beyond two spiffy patterns from the Quilt for a Cause group. I was impressed with their patterns, their premise, and with the charming and lively Jain Barrett, who explained what their group was about and who had also  designed one of the patterns I purchased ("Desert House"). (I also purchased "Scraphunters's Star2 by Evelyn George and Dorothy Lee.")

Thusly, this confession-blog serves as a reminder that we should always ask if we can share pictures on the Internet and offers even more proof that I can be a ditz on occasion.

Yes, I am very chagrined that I inappropriately tweeted quilt pics.
The good news is, I have VERY few Twitter followers (11) and, near as I can tell, the pictures were not re-tweeted.  (Saved by anonymity!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More KiniaCat on the Internet

I seem to have expanded my Internet "Footprint".

Inspired to Read more by the Internet
I was Introduced to the Goodreads website by an invite from Heather Ordover, my Tri-Fold Knitters Bowl teacher who is also an author, the mastermind of the Craftlit Podcast and of Crafting a Life Originals.

I went to peek at Goodreads, became rather smitten with the prospect of something like a "Raverly" for books, and created an account - as KiniaCat. (I try to be consistent with my alter-ego names and limit my AKAs.)

I have always loved books; a love I inherited from my parents and that is shared with my siblings and friends. Reading is my original hobby. Although Knitting is now the primary addiction interest, I still love to read (sometimes while knitting!) and generally have several books underway at the same time.

But, I have to confess, I think logging what I'm reading is actually inspiring me to read more.
(It might appeal to my list-making/check-it-done mentality.
Or maybe it just gives me some "evidence"of my book-reading accomplishments?)

Inspired to Tweet. 
(I know, I never thought I'd go there either.)

When I traveled to Portland for Sock Summit 2011 (yep, more SS11 blogs are pending), I got to meet Natalie, NatKnit of the "I am addicted" blog, the "Cloudy with a Chance of Fiber" podcast, AND...she puts out a daily internet magazine: NatKnit Daily. I am agog at what this woman accomplishes - she definitely has more than a Footprint on the Internet! AND there's more...one of the things that made me think about going to look at Twitter...she hosts weekly KnitChat on Twitter. That caught my ear. It's a weekly forum on Twitter where folks "tweet"/discuss knitterly stuff (there's also a CrochetChat and a SpinChat!).

I was tempted by her Twitter adventures and put "Check out Twitter" on my Internet to-do list.
I also began to notice most of my favored Podcasters were on Twitter: The Knitmore Girls, David Reidy of the Sticks and String, the Knit Wits, and favored blogger, The Yarn Harlot has been tweeting for a while. The list of tweeting Knitterati goes on...

Yep, I finally went to look at Twitter and I created an account as... {surprise} @KiniaCat.
(Note - I'm only "real-time" tweeting when I have access to wi-fi so most of my Tweets are tardy comments.)

My original intention had been to lurk and I found alllll sorts of other spiffy people to "follow" on Twitter: the Dalai Lama, Heather Ordover, Tina Newton, Cindy from Sock Summit (Yeah!), NatKnit's Natalie, Cast On's Brenda Dane, Stephen Colbert, Cat Bordhi, Robin McKinley, Franklin Habit, Simon's Cat, Dolores Van Hoofen...the list is long and varied. Pretty much a good chunk of the people I admire, knitterly or not, are on Twitter.
(I have to say, I find the ironic contrast of following both the Dalai Lama and Dolores Van Hoofen rather delightful!)

Again, my original intent had been to lurk. And then...one of those knitterly people I so admire... "Followed" me back on Twitter. (I'm pretty sure out of sheer politeness.)

Suddenly, I felt like I was required to tweet something clever and interesting.
And my mind was a blank! I literally looked around the dining room trying to think of something interesting to say.
Nothing useful came to mind beyond "Need to refill the cat bowls" and "I really should get my sewing machine off the dining room table".

There was nothing in my mind that seemed remotely interesting. And even as I knew that they'd followed me as a kind, polite, response to my following them, the personal expectation that I needed to somehow perform/reward that following was nearly overwhelming.

So...what were my first Tweets?
You guessed it, the Cats provided (and continue to provide) cheap twitter entertainment:
"Treating cats to small lunch meat bits. CooPurr's lands on his head. He shakes head furiously. Gryphon licks lunchmeat off cabinet door."
and later...
"BTW...Gryphon has been revisiting the cabinet door this evening to make sure there is no more meat stuck to it..."

Oddly enough, I now have a few more followers beyond that first "courtesy" follow. Some are friends from SS09. And some are spiffy new-to-me knitterly types. I don't know how they found me, but I follow them back gladly when I perceive their fiber orientation and clever minds.
However, there are also...spam-y types that appear suddenly to follow me, but they seem to go away in a day or so if I don't follow them back.

I am finding that I'm getting exposed to more worldly news and fibre-articles as the folks I'm interested in tweet about topics in which they're interested. I retweet the things I'd like to remember, things with which I wholeheartedly agree, and also the things that make me laugh out loud.

So. I'm Tweeting. (still can't quite believe I went there.).  And...I like it.
But I still have a great deal to learn about Twitter and Goodreads. My cluelessness is seriously evident.

Will there be more "KiniaCat" on the Internet? I don't know.
There are some seriously clever things being created here.
However, I have realized I am spending a bit more time on the internet. Possibly more than I should.

We'll see what happens next.
It could very well be that there is already more than enough "KiniaCat" on the Internet.

(Oh, but there is this one other website folks keep mentioning that looks amazing: Pinterest.
It reminds me of "Inspiration Boards")  ;-)