Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday Night

I went to Chicks with Sticks again this evening. I went with my best friend, Selma, who isn't really a knitter. She was working on a garter-stitch "scarf" using cheap acrylic; she gave me back my needles and yarn when she dropped me off at my house. Heheheh. Knitting just for looks.

CwS was super busy! People were sitting on the little-used stools, and it was quite noisy (Selma sat in the corner, and didn't say anything, but we had dinner in Bliss... mmm... deli food).

In other news, World Wide Knit in Public day ( is this Saturday!! Man, I am so excited! I think there'll be a lot of CwS people there. I was recently looking at the wwkip day website, and discovered that most states are having 1-2 gatherings, and Florida is having 6, but California is having 15! And there's a whole bunch in the Bay Area (I think it's in part because I posted that I was doing it in so many places, but also because the Bay area is filled with so many cool people).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Chicks with Sticks

I've surprised myself (yet again) by not immediately writing about a new, um, thing (I think "love" may be too strong, and hanging out could hardly be called a "hobby"). I have been to two SF Chicks with Sticks meeting/get-togethers.

I actually have no idea what to call the CwS thing, I'm not just being cute, because it's not a guild, so it's not a meeting, but it's not really just hanging out either, plus, I know pretty much no one, but I'm good at making small talk (proven by the fact that I can be hit on by a drunk guy in the subway and convincingly pretend we're chatting like business acquaintances). So, yeah; I don't know what to call them. I'll use "meeting" for the sake of brevity.

CwS meets at Bliss Bar in Noe Valley (don't tell the bartender- I'm not 21 yet; I don't buy drinks, so I'm OK) every Monday night from 6:30 to 9:30; you don't have to go the whole time, but I like to, because I really need to get out of the house more often.

The people (there's one guy, so it's technically coed, but not really) are very nice, and laugh a lot. The co-founder, Kathy, who is helping me with WWKIP Day, is especially friendly (and is a great storyteller, by the way); she has a laugh that sounds a bit like a zebra's whinny* (click "listen" to get a vague idea of the sound)- in a good way. Kathy is working on a display of knitted silk wristlets for Noe Knits; they're going to go with a bridal theme (along with a knit cake!). She is, as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee said in her debut book, "a Knitter."

I think it's especially fun to see what other people are doing, and, of course, to see what yarns other people are using. Naturally, there's a lot of chatting going on, and I'm already starting to familiarize myself with the context of people's lives (in other words, I know who they're talking about when they tell a story). I don't really have much to say right now, because I'm not a very advanced or prolific knitter, and I don't have a significant other, or *cough* a job *coughcough*, and, well, I just don't have much to say. As usual it's, "my dad has had this experience..." or "when I was in kindergarten, I..." or whatever.

So, in conclusion: lots of fun (even the bus ride to-and-from), good conversation, great projects, and I can't wait to go tomorrow night.

*I really do mean it in a good way. It was the exact thought that struck me when I first heard her laugh. It's quite nice, and she looks happy when she laughs, unlike me... I look evil.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sheep & Wool Festivals

I've been reading a lot of blog posts about the two major S&W festivals on the East Coast. It seems that not only are they huge, but there's tons of great stuff to buy. Of course, the buying part is what I latch on to.

Frankly, I have Coast Envy. I'm jealous of the people on the East Coast who have an accessible and popular rural community. I know California has wool festivals, but at least half are in SoCal, and I'm looking for this kind of thing in NorCal.

An example of a successful discovery: West Valley Alpacas in Esparto (a town even my encyclopedic mother had never heard of), where I bought Spartacus (there's a whole post down there somewhere). I learned of another alpaca farm- can't recall the name- that's also in Esparto. After a good long internet search, I happen to happen upon TWO farms in that podunk little town. This farm was having its shearing during the Memorial Day weekend, so I couldn't go, but I really wanted to; I'll know for next year.

There's a thing in Sonoma County called Farm Trails*, which is a directory of farms/vinyards/ranches/whatever in the county. You can search depending on what products you're looking for, or what area you're in, or the features of the location (like sleepovers, petting zoo, or whatever). I'm not giving the website, because frankly, it's a terrible site. It's hard to navigate, and the info is not current. Most of the farms are orchards or vinyards, not really a lot of fiber farms, but there were some.

Sonoma goes through various iterations of horticulture; right now it's oeniculture, before that it was apples (but they were bought out by Washington apple companies to cut the competition), before that, it was peaches, but that was before my parents' time (so, more than sixty years ago). The area we have a cabin in- Western Sonoma, I believe- has an apple blossom festival in the spring, and the Gravenstein Apple Festival at the end of the summer. If you're in the area, I reccommend going, because there are some to-die-for apple fritters, not to mention the other delicious fair food, and all the local vendors.

But back to my topic; the vendors, even at the Gravenstein Fair, don't sell yarn or fiber or anything. Last year, there was a display/petting area that had llamas, rabbits, sheep, and angora goats. The woman who owned the goats was spinning their locks in the grease. That's the first example of fiber-love I've encountered there (not including the Royale Hare booth, where I ordered yarn for the first time- they were there one or two years, but haven't returned).

I want to find a fiber festival like the ones on the East Coast.

I'm going to SOAR this year, and there's going to be fiber galore, but probably no raw fleeces. (I don't know why that disappoints me; I don't even want to buy raw fiber!)

Maybe if I researched a little better, or- as I'm sure my mother will reccommend- I should go to a local guild and ask them. I may just ask Morgaine of Carolina Homespun, because she's really on top of this kind of thing.

*Lots of places have this kind of thing. There are wine-tasting trails (also in Sonoma, Napa, etc.), in England there's a tea trail, in Scotland there's a whiskey trail. There are probably wine trails in France. I know one can travel the silk road (but that's a little different). It's a highly marketable idea- it's a tour that you can tailor to your time, your area, your tastes, and all the local farms/vendors/shops have to do is put themselves on a list that probably doesn't cost very much money, and they get some great advertising.