Monday, September 29, 2008

Tis the Season!

In honor of my favorite fall month, my penchant for all fiber processes and of course my inability to employ any willpower where our favorite fuzzy strings are concerned, I purchased and began this little needlepoint diddy on Saturday and finished it on Sunday...

I think he's adorable in spite of my terrible needlepoint technique. Although, now that I've braved the needlepoint waters after having successfully avoided them for several years, I came to the realization that I love making stitches in canvas and therefore have a duty to add this art back into my repertoire. As such, I will be perusing the canvas collection at Abuelita's this weekend during my teaching escapades in search of more little Halloween treats similar to my cyclops mummy above.

I love Halloween!

Bloggin' on

I have been rendered silent while witnessing current events here in the States over the last few weeks. As many of you know, I work in the financial services industry, investment banking to be specific, and because of this my job has become pretty insane. Oh, this isn't to say that my firm or my position are in any kind of jeopardy (at least not in the near future). No, in fact we are one of the few healthy institutions out there. Debt free! However, we are not worry free. Anyone who lives and breathes in this country will eventually feel the effects of the events we've seen in the last few weeks whether you're sailing around in your yacht or clippin' coupons for your next grocery store run. Everyone at the cube farm understands this.

Needless to say, despite my relative job security, I've still been a bit depressed. My husband has been out of work since February (for the third time in three years) so our country's economic woes hit home a while ago. I am still in court with my ex-husband regarding his visitation and support for our daughter (will this ever end?). Oh, and in addition to working full-time at the cube farm, I teach knitting and crochet on the weekends and I do design work for publications in the evenings. I don't get much time for relaxation and worry is the weight that I carry about my shoulders each and every day. I wager that if I didn't have yarn to lift my spirits at the end of each day, I'd need a straight jacket and a dribble cup.

Speaking of which, while I've been watching our economy go down the tubes, I've been doing a bit of spinning. Like that segue, eh?

I am beginning to thread ply some of my wool singles...

"Seeing Red", approximately 400 yards, light worsted.

"Pretty in Pink", approximately 500 yards, light worsted.

I've also been trying my hand at spinning cotton. This is not the easiest fiber on the planet to spin, let me tell you! Nonetheless, I am getting better...

Spinning definitely soothes my overworked soul.

In addition to my nightly trysts with yarn, I have something else to look forward to...Halloween!! Definitely my favorite season.

I have lots of tricks and treats in store for you all, so stay tuned!

Ahhh, definitely feeling better after blogging a bit. Got to remember that you guys also have the ability to lift my spirits as well!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Portland: Day Two

Day two in wonderful Portland began with another class at the Knit and Crochet Show. Jenna and I were both enrolled in the class, which was all about the ways of the sock. More specifically, the ways of creating Coriolis socks, taught by the inventor of this particular method, Cat Bordhi. Needless to say the class the filled. Sock knitters are nothing if not dedicated to their craft. However, Jenna and I are more casual about knitting socks, so we absorbed all of the great tips and tricks during the morning session of the class and decided to forego the afternoon session in favor of a bit of Portland exploration.

We hopped a bus to NE Alberta street in search of some crafty wares. This turned out to be a fantabulous idea as not only did we find tons of treasures, but there happened to be a street fair going on that day as well. Icing on the cake as far as I was concerned.

First Stop, Collage! This place is filled to the rafters with paper goods, scrapbooking materials, stamps, stickers, brads and crafty tchotchkes. It's nothing short of superb. I picked up some Halloween themed items as well as some stuff to make ATCs.

Next up, Close Knit! Okay, we didn't go there to purchase anything. Jenna and I had done enough damage in the Marketplace at the Knit and Crochet Show after all. However, when in another city, it is always good to go and check out the local fuzz. Close Knit is such a great store! Lots of stock from Manos to Rowan, including some hand-painted hanks from local makers. The staff was friendly and the feel of the place was wonderfully cozy. If I lived in Portland, I'd be there all of the time!

Our final craft stop on NE Alberta Street was Bolt Fabric. Another petite brick and mortar packed with quality stuff. Find tons of quilt cottons such as Mendocino, Pop Garden and Garden Party, unusual buttons, embroidery patterns, floss and a good selection of books. Definitely worth a perusal.

Damage to our wallets sustained, we hit a local taco truck before hopping a bus and cab to the other side of town.

Jenna sits propped against our chosen lunch venue.

Across town, Jenna and I hit Knittn Kitten. This store was a find! Vintage craft materials, fabrics, yarns and books. It's quite literally a thrift store for craft junkies. Brilliant to be sure! I increased my current collection of McCall's Needlework with a few purchases from this shop.

Our afternoon spent, we girls headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner with a colleague from the cube farm. Jeff and his wife, Mary, picked us up from our home away from home and we drove over to the Pearl District for a evening meal at Bay 13. There we indulged in a couple of bottles of Westrey Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley to start, combined with Grilled Flatbread topped with mushrooms, carmelized onions and fontina cheese, Sweet Potato Fries with a side of horseradish aioli, Steamer clams in Thai chili, scallions and cilantro. We followed that up with seared Ahi Tuna, Maine Diver Scallops and Beef Tenderloin for our main course. Our plates looked as if they'd been autoclaved at the end of the meal. So, yeah, the food was good!

After dinner Jenna and I parted ways with our fellow cube farm inmate and spouse and hit the pavement in search of Powell's.

Oh. My. God.

If you are a bibliophile, then this is your heaven. Below is just one floor to ceiling bookcase of many in the craft book section of the store...

Amazing. I know I speak for Jenna when I say that I would move to Portland simply to be close to Powell's. Yes, it's THAT good.

Not a bad Day Two right? But wait, there's more...

How do two crafty chicks end a craftacular day in a fantastic city?


Oh yeah, Voodoo Doughnuts...

Classic Buttermilk.

The ever popular Voodoo Doughnut, pierced by a pretzel.

My fave, the Maple and Bacon Doughnut. Oh yeah, two crispy strips of pork atop a rich maple glazed fried dough log...Yum!

All I can say is, thank God we had to walk 10 blocks to get to the Max...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Portland: Day One

Portland was a blur. Jenna and I flew into this fair city to our north last Thursday evening and began a whirlwind three days of Knit and Crochet Show participation, meet-ups with friends, eating, shopping and general jaunting about town.

Friday morning began with a bit of breakfast, pretty standard hotel eats, and a short Max ride to the Oregon Convention Center for the Knit and Crochet Show where Jenna and I then parted ways. She went to go get magical with the mobius while I immersed myself in hairpin lace. Now, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, then you are probably aware that I am a sucker for process. Yep, I love to learn new techniques! So, when perusing the class listings for the Portland Knit and Crochet Show, I was immediately attracted to Jennifer Hansen's class and she did not disappoint!

The all day hairpin lace extravaganza was divided into two distinct parts: general technique in the morning and learning how to join the lace strips in the afternoon. It took me a while to get used to holding the loom and managing my yarn with one hand and working my hook with my remaining hand. Eventually, despite the trial and error, I did get into a groove and was churning out strips of lace faster than I originally expected. I still felt like a hairpin lace tard though.

After lunch, it was all about "the joins". As Jennifer explained, once you get the general technique of making hairpin lace down, the artistry happens when the strips are connected. She taught us several techniques beginning with the cable join. All joins were very interesting to work with and I was amazed by the variety of connections available. Also, Jennifer is a great teacher! If any of you ever have a chance to take this class at one of these shows, I highly recommend it. Hairpin lace is an awesome technique.

Intrigued? Go to Jennifer's website for more info and tutorials. Oh, you can buy her wooden hairpin lace looms there too...

After classes finished for the day, Jenna and I hightailed it back to the hotel for a meet and greet with one of my favorite bloggers on the planet...Jimbo!

Jimbo standing next to his latest and greatest hook, Diplohookticus.

This master of the hook and his lovely wife, Carol, whisked us away to their son's humble abode where we were wined and dined in style with their amazing family. Our evening runneth over with wonderful food, outstanding wines from the region, homegrown micro brews to make even the seasoned aficionado weep, not to mention great conversation and lots of laughter. I hated to leave! It was a special evening of very special people. And if this experience alone wasn't enough, Jim gifted me with a lovely rubescent hook...

It's stunning!

Jimbo, you're the best, bar none.

More to come...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And Away She Goes!

It has been either crafts or travel on this blog for some time now. This post differs little in that regard. Although, this time my upcoming travel is in the pursuit of craft, combining those two subjects quite nicely.

Where am I headed off to you ask? To Portland, Oregon, that's where!

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Why am I headed to the middle of the Pacific Northwest? For the Fall Knit and Crochet Show peeps! I've already been to the Summer New Hampshire venue after all. Gotta try the show to my north. It's only fair.

Best part? My good buddy, Jenna, will be accompanying me on my jaunt northward. We have each signed up for two classes apiece. I'm taking Hairpin Lace with Jennifer Hansen while Jenna gets magical with the mobius and we both finish up with Cat Bordhi's Coriolis Socks class. Having been to this show once before, I have learned that less is more when it comes to classes. In New Hampshire I took 6 classes and well, I was totally burned out by the end.

In addition to class time, we girls intend to sup with Jimbo! Love this man. Cannot wait to meet him in person! Oh, and we have also planned a run to VooDoo Doughnut (and I mean to work off all of the fried dough we intend to inhale somehow). There will be lots of other activities as well. I'll be blogging from Portland so as not to deprive you all of the blow by blow, or rather, the fluff by fluff.

After the show, Jenna returns to LaLaLand while I hop a plane to Vail, Colorado, for my annual work retreat.

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Have no fear, even though there will be work involved, I also have plenty of fun stuff planned as well.

See you from the road everyone!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Woven Diamond Stole

This stole (shown above during blocking) finally moved from WIP to FO last weekend. I had been working on it (not consistently mind you) since last year. Actually, I should qualify my last statement. I had been weaving (yes, weaving) piles of diamonds on my 7" Hazel Rose Diamond Loom from my stash remnants since last year. It didn't really occur to me what my piles of diamonds were destined to become until a few months ago. I was plodding along at a glacial pace before the lightening bolt stuck me brain. After illumination, I definitely rocked and rolled those wool diamonds into stole right snappy.

Here's a pic of my little loom along with one of my first diamonds...

I assembled my little woolen and woven bundles of joy by crocheting them all together with no less than a cone of Lamb's Pride worsted and my trusty G hook.

The finished stole measures about 30" wide by 90" long. It's definitely Autumnal in look and feel.

I have several small looms in various shapes that I use quite regularly. Definitely expect more woven delights from moi!

Copyright 2008 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Introducing 4 Torpedoes!

Yes, cube farm cohort, good friend and all 'round creative colleague, Jenna, and I have begun a new little business venture...4 Torpedoes!

What is 4 Torpedoes you inquire?

4 Torpedoes is fantastic fluff, handsomely hand-painted. It is yarn that has been soaking up celebratory color in a simmering kettle. It is painterly string awaiting your vision to determine its purpose! 4 Torpedoes is your place to peruse and purchase a plethora of fantabulous fibers (we hope)!

Sock knitters FYI...we will be loading up the store with lots of sock yarn this week!

Oh, and as if this stunning announcement was not enough, "the girls" also have their own blog.

Got to love the interwebs!

P.S. I will be adding a few new patterns to my sidebar on this here bloggidy blog blog and my woefully neglected website soon...just in time for Halloween!!