Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008 (Conclusion)

You know what they say about all good things.... The Men's Fall Knitting Retreat was no different.

The last day was a fairly sad one for lots of folks. It really did seem much, much too short and, yet, so exhausting (for me... perhaps not for others).

Our final day was filled with two more classes. Harry taught the Mosaic Knitting class. I was in the class and I must say that it's a pretty nifty technique for dipping your toe in the color work pool. Its a method the requires manipulating only one color at a time, but creates lovely "tiled" or "tessellating" patterns that are so kewl. Harry had an cool pillow (which sadly, I didn't photograph) that showed the technique off to perfection.

The final class was Magic Loop taught by David. I think lots of folks came away from the weekend with this technique in their arsenal of fiber skills.

I did some final administrative work on the feedback forms and on paperwork for the Y. Stephen and I recorded audio for the next episode of Yknit. We took our requisite group shots. I even took a hike over to see the Point Bonita lighthouse.

Then came the daunting task of packing up my car. I thought that I'd come home much lighter but somehow, I still had a full car of stuff. The magic of fiber mitosis and the out of control generosity of my new buddies.

From the feedback, I'd say the event was a RESOUNDING success. The only real issue was with the sleeping arrangements and I believe that we can ameliorate that for future retreats. At the moment, I can't even THINK about another retreat might look like, but I'll be riding the high from this one for quite some time.

I made LOTS of new wonderful guy fiber friends. I'm excited about the possibilities of publishing, of spinning and of knitting. But, most of all, I'm just so happy to see the seeds of these crafts planted so firmly in the souls of my brother men.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008 (Instruction)

Friday night, I finally got to sleep around 2am, but bolted awake at 6am due to the need to visit the loo. You see, when you become an old man, you make many trips to the bathroom throughout the night. But, when you sleep on the top level of a bunkbed, making the trek up and down the ladder, in the dark, in a perfectly quiet room, is a huge drag. So, once I got up, I was staying up.

It was just as well, because I was a little anxious about the day as it was the first real fiber class I had ever taught. I had 7 people signed up for my Intro to Drop Spindle class and I was a wreck. Only a few weeks before I had offered to give some advice/tutorials to a co-worker's husband who had taken a class, but I think I confused him more than helping. So, it was with great trepidation that I prepared for my students.

We had a series of classes on Saturday, two at a time in the early morning and then again early afternoon. The first two were Freeform Knitting/Crochet taught by Kyle and Drop Spindling by yours truly. Kyle had some stunning examples of his technique and I think his students walked away sufficiently inspired. My group was so eager and enthusiastic. A great class. I feel like I gave them a good foundation on which to build up their skills. We had some wonderful breakthroughs and I saw some pretty fab yarn being created. An added bonus was being able to share fellow Raveler Fuzzed's super cool and unique Tilt-A-Whorl spindles, especially created for the retreat.

The afternoon set of classes were Entrelac/Knitting Back Backwards taught by our resident industry professional, Brian (from Skacel) and Sock Design (pictured above right) taught by Stephen. I took the Entrelac class, but wanted to be able to split myself in two and sit in on Stephen's group. Fortunately, Stephen made an excellent handout that is tucked away in my retreat binder.

Brian was an excellent instructor and I picked up some great entrelac techniques working on a groovy scarf pattern design by Brian himself. It uses a gorgeous "vintage" yarn made by Skacel called Unikat or a newer version called Loft Color. They are both felted yarns that have long color changes which knit up beautifully as entrelac. Those guys that took the class, got the pattern and enough yarn to make a full scarf. Thanks, Skacel!!!

Stephen's class was more of a design and brainstorming class with examples of how to work with existing patterns and make them your own. One of his impressive accomplishments was sharing some ideas that will hopefully be published in the near future. Another milestone: one of his students started his first sock (Go Rob!).

After dinner, we all gathered around (we kept calling this the group therapy set-up) for the much anticipated, Twined Knitting demo. Ivar (who came all the way from Sweden) led our group in this fascinating old-world technique that uses two strands of z-plied yarn and twists it every time you make a new stitch. Just learning the cast on was enough to send some boys over the edge. But, it was a super cool presentation and Ivar really took his classroom prep very seriously. He had a sweater, a hat and some amazing mittens.

Next on the agenda was a brainstorm led by Darrel about an E-zine about men's fiber culture, men's design and men's themes. Darrel is the mastermind behind Men Who Knit and has been talking for a while about getting a online publication off the ground. It was a spirited and lively discussion about the relevance and importance of having a masculine voice in the sea of feminine design. If the amount of time spent discussing is any indication, I think Darrel's work is cut out for him.

Our last activity was show & tell. Since we had spent quite a bit of time on the E-zine, we didn't start our show & tell until almost 10pm. But, I knew this was going to the coolest part of the retreat. Such friggin' fabulous pieces were shared. David's unbelievable lace. Ted's handspun lace scarf. Brian's sampler shawl/sarong. Doug's ginormous afghan. Michael C.'s unbelievable jacquard sweater. Ivar's twined knitting masterstrokes. Harry's sweet sweater for his son. Andy's convertible gloves. Stephen's cycling aran. On and one it went into the wee hours of the morning.

After everyone went to bed, Stephen and I stayed up and refined our questions for the Yknit interview the following day. Man, did I tumble into slumberland like a boulder.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008 (Reception)

On Friday, November 7, I got up early after a restless night of "sleep". I was nervous because it was the first day of the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008. Adding to the stress was the fact that I had never done anything like this before (retreat, knitting or otherwise) and the fact that most of the attendees did not each other beyond Ravelry or Men Who Knit online communities.

Ted (seen here checking out the amazing swag table) came all the way from Owen Sound, Ontario, CANADA to be with us. He and Stephen (seen here replicating the groovy artwork created by Franklin Habit) were my first arrivals on that sunny and warm day. There was very little haze and the temperature was perfect. It seemed to bode well for the weekend.

I was "greeted" by a gathering of quail just in front of the Kiwanis room and I quickly snapped some pics in case our presence was going to spook them (and it did). I made contact with Rochelle (our YMCA rep) and set to unpacking the MOUNTAIN of raffle prizes and goodie bags. While I was doing my merchandising of the goodies, I heard what I thought was Y staffer behind our classroom/meeting room, but it just turned out to be one of the locals.

One by one, the gentlemen arrived and I finally started to feel like the retreat was real. Andy arrived sporting a cute Xmas hat, in spite of the heat... that's a dedicated fiber fiend for you!. The next to show up were Brian (from Seattle and Skacel), Ivar (all the way from Sweden) and Doug (all the way from WeHoSoCal). Then came Michael, Harry, John, and Kenny (MSKR 2008 almnus and token Southern Boy) Chuck and David. After that it was a bit of a blur... literally.

The sun set early and the fog rolled in BIG TIME. I started to get worried because several folks hadn't arrived. But a call from Steve let us know that he was at a "No on Prop 8" protest in downtown SF. Kyle, Darrel and Jonathan showed up a bit later and we were all in.

Our first dinner (cafeteria style) reassured me that we were going to be taken care of. The preparations are simple yet hearty. The Y tries to shop local and organic when possible. We also had coffee and tea service ALL DAY LONG. Believe me, I drank my weight in coffee that first day. It's a miracle I made it to sleep that night. Oh wait, that was due to temazapam. :-)

Our first get to know each other activity was supposed to be a bingo game that used cards containing surprising facts about each attendee. But, since we got off to a late start and since we had a LOT of swag, we did a "lightning round" of group Q&A wherein everyone had a chance to win and then select one of the prizes from our booty table.

Everyone had a chance to check out the Swag from our generous donors:
Article Pract, A Verb for Keeping Warm, Briar Rose Fibers, BrooklynTweed, Danny Oulette Designs, Hansigurumi, HelloYarn, KnitSonya, Knotty Naomi, Oceanwind Knits, Perchance to Knit, Schoolhouse Press, Shelridge Farms, Spinning Loft, Tactile Fiber Arts, Unique Sheep, Wild Geese Fibers, and Yarn Nerd. We're so not worthy!!!

I busted out the two cakes that I brought from Sweet Adeline's, a chocolate ganache devil's food cake, and a lemon curd cheesecake (which Kenny heard me say as "lemon curry cheesecake"... he was in desperate need of an antihistamine). I think they were both a big hit. Jennifer at Sweet A's is a confectionary goddess.

We rounded out the first day by doing a bit of knitting, a bit of spinning and a whole lot of laughing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yknit episode 016 is LIVE...

Originally uploaded by mikewade
... and wild, apparently. Our guest is Linda Cortright, publisher and editor of Wild Fibers magazine.

We have a contest for a FREE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to Wild Fibers. Entry details in the show notes and in the podcast.

And, a special bonus for Yknit listeners, Linda is offering a 10% on all subscriptions and back issues ordered before December 1, 2008. Special promo code revealed in the podcast and on show notes!

Go Wild!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008 (Anticipation)

The Men's Knitting Retreat is an umbrella organization dedicated to the promotion fiber crafts within the male community. Ted Myatt (KnitterGuy) and Joe Wilcox (QueerJoe) created the first event this past Spring at Easton Mountains, NY and it was a resounding success. The Men's Spring Knitting Retreat had over 30 attendees who practically declared the event to be life-changing.

Building on that success, hizKNITS and I were inspired to bring some of that manly magic to the West Coast and thus, the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008 was born. With only a short time to research possible venues and get the word out, we, as a group, ended up choosing the picturesque and budget-friendly YMCA Point Bonita Conference Center. It is located just minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

There were 19 folks who attended the retreat and we had a wonderfully varied crew. One of our group hailed from Sweden, one from Canada, one from the Mid-West with the remaining guys from the West Coast states.

These past few weeks have been filled with last minute photocopying, organizing donations, and making sure that the classes, handouts and binders were in working order.

This is what the goodie bag table looked like before our guests arrived. You see here Article Pract tape measures, Spinning Loft writing pens, Crystal Palace yarns, Tactile Fiber Arts sampler bags and..... *drum roll please* Skacel project bags containing (1) a sock pattern, (2) Fortissima yarn for said pattern, and (3) one of a kind Addi Turbo Needles with 40" join for magic looping those socks.

And that's not counting the Raffle/Contest Prizing!!! More on that later.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008

Are you a knitter or a spinner who happens to be a guy? Would you like to meet other guys who share your passion for the fiber arts? Would you like to learn more about knitting and spinning techniques from other guy crafters? Well, read on brothers-in-yarns:

In keeping with the tradition and high standards set this year by the folks that produced the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat 2008, we are excited to present this opportunity for an all male retreat located at the continent's edge at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay. it provides the setting for an unforgettable retreat in a natural, functional setting and is only ten minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands. Retreat website can be accessed at

The price for the weekend is $180 per person. This includes bed (dormitory style, like summer camp!), 3 meals a day (including special dietary needs if required) and a private conference room for mixers, classes and bull sessions. And if that wasn't enough to recommend the facility, the Golding Fiber Institute hosts their spinning retreat at this retreat space!!!

Read a recap HERE!

The total amount is for this event per person is $180. This breaks down as follows:

* $148 per person - Point Bonita Retreat fee
* $8.50 per person - Environmental Education fee (based on $75 total)
* $10 per person - MFKR Administrative Fees (helps us with printing, gas, time spent online, etc.)
* $10 per person - Men's Knitting Retreat fee (this will help us setup MKR website and other costs)
* $3.50 per person - PayPal fees
* $180.00 - Total Weekend Cost Per Person (does not include the cost of airfare if you're flying into the Bay Area)

Check-in is Friday, November 7 starting @ 3pm
Check-out is Sunday, November 9 @ 11am (but we can remain on-site until 5pm)

We will require your payment in full at the time of your registration. Please contact Michael Wade (WonderMike on Ravelry, or [mikealanwade at] if you would like to join us. And if you'd like to get your groovy MFKR2008 swag, check out the Cafe Press store.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yknit 014 featuring Tactile Fiber Arts

This episode is live!!!

We've got TWO contests.

Leave us a comment... or better yet, write a review in iTunes for us.

Love you all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yknit 13, Yknitalong featuring Larissa Brown

The new podcast is LIVE at and on iTunes.

This interview was so fantastic, primarily because Larissa is a dream subject... smart, thoughtful, funny and very zen. I could have chatted with her for hours, but I knew we would need to edit it down to ~30 minutes so I spared her the fanboy marathon.

If you haven't see her book Knitalong go to your nearest independent bookseller and give it a whirl. It's got great stories, luscious photographs and some simple but elegant patterns to experience.

I know I've gone a bit silent recently, but it's all for wonderful reasons:

1. Anthony has started school (Whooo Hooo!) - He's studying English and poor thing is so nervous. I keep telling him he's going to knock their socks off, but he's not sure if that's good, since I'm an avid sock knitter.

2. Men's Fall Knitting Retreat planning is in full swing - The date has been set for November 7-9 at Point Bonita YMCA in the Marin Headlands. It's going to be tons of fun with lots of fiber goodness for the Y-Chromosome set. If you are a guy or you know a guy who'd be interested in joining us, please put them in touch with me.

3. I'm about 3/4 of the way done with MY FIRST SWEATER (EZ EPS) - Yes, this UFO has been on my needles for well over a year (if not longer). The lure of quick knit objects (like toys) or obligation/deadline knitting (like booties), always jumps ahead in the queue, but, with the approach of the MFKR (see #2 above), I'd like to have a practical but personal FO for show and tell.

4. I'm about 1/5 of the way through the Uncle Argyle scarf from Son of Stitch N Bitch. It's such a striking pattern, but GOTT IM HIMMELL, it's a slow knit. Granted, I'm a slow knitter, but the chart is serious daytime, full-attention work. The results are ENTIRELY worth it.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yknit Episode 12, "Y Would Dye 4 U"

For some reason I thought I had posted about this. I guess I forget about the blog with so much work going into Yknit.

We have a contest, we have an announcement for Scout and we have lots of conversation about color. Come over to Yknit (or iTunes) and give it a listen.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Genius of Chihuly

Or, how I spent my summer vacation.

This year instead of stalking Kaffe Fassett in Europe or learning how to dye textiles in India, I took the days off surrounding the Fourth of July and had some quality me time. This means that I switched all of the digital media off (well, all except the DVD player and my iPod) and dove right in to spinning on my new Ashford Joy, knitting on a wonderful double knit pattern from Son of Stitch N Bitch and donating clothes to Goodwill. As if that wasn't enough to keep me busy all the long weekend, I also went to the Dale Chihuly show at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco AND saw the reunited Yazoo at the Paramount Theatre.

This post will be about the Chihuly experience.

I've never actually been to a solo exhibition of DC's work. The DeYoung had a few lovely pieces in its permanent collection, but I've never been to the Bellagio or to any of his installations in Venice or Seattle. So, this show was overwhelming in the most delightful way.

Anthony and I trekked over to the city at what we thought was a good time, but once we arrived, we saw the crazy long line just to get tickets and I worried that going on a Sunday of a long weekend was not the best of ideas. Fortunately, the line went pretty quickly and the cashier gave Anthony the student discount because they didn't have a disabled one. Honestly, don't get me started on places that don't have discounts for folks in wheelchairs. But, I digress.

Since half of SF decided to go on the day we did, there were limits to the number of people allowed into the exhibit at the same time. We were told that we could enter at 3:30pm but once inside we could stay as long as we liked. This wasn't really a problem since there was a killer Turkish carpet/weaving exhibit I was interested in AND the rest of the museum to explore.

The Turkish exhibit was quite lovely. I don't really understand weaving, but I have a feeling that I would have no patience for it. It seems like a lot of trouble and a lot on investment in tools and materials. Hrrrm. Perhaps that isn't that big of a barrier for me, considering how far down the rabbit hole I've fallen with spinning, but I think a loom would be a huge obstacle to navigate around in our place. But, these pieces were magnificently constructed with beautiful colors and designs. My favorite pieces were the robes! The light was a bit low to preserve the integrity of the fabric and hues, but even under diminished light, it was impressive.

We roamed around the African and Polynesian displays until I realized that I was a bit peckish and needed at least a coffee and cookie from the museum cafe. Yes, the line was from hell, but I made Anthony go ahead and grab a clean table, while I queued up and made my choices. I got a super yummy turkey and poblano spread sandwich (with Peet's coffee!) and I got Anthony an assortment of organic local cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing (with Peet's Coffee). While we were eating our snacks, this scary seagull swooped in (barely missing my head) but then proceeded to peck away at the glass windows/walls of the cafe, because he/she was annoyed with the "other" gull that was mirroring every step s/he made. I captured a quick bit on my camera's movie setting.

Fully sated, we made our way to the Chihuly show.... and I. Was. Blown. Away. Dale Chihuly is such a master of his craft. It was that good. There were crazy Ikebana sculptures, fabulous southwestern motif vessels, glorious organic bowls with glowing edges, a room with a clear ceiling and light shining through hundreds of small glass objects (c.f. the picture with this post), a wall of jellyfish/anemones, boats on black mirrored rivers filled with balls, hanging/writhing pieces that looked like Superman's Secret Lair, and finally a garden of the most unbelievable flora I have ever seen.

We were allowed to take photographs as long as there was no flash, and I took over 200. I was able to edit out the blurry or poorly composed ones, making the final count about 150 but I can imagine taking loads more with a better camera. I only have a Canon Powershot A620 but I dream of a digital SLR in the future.

Anthony and I didn't really fancy coming home just yet, so we went backwards through the exhibit to revisit our favorite pieces. We were finally kicked out at 5:30pm and headed back to the Beast (East Bay is pig latin for Beast). Practically a perfect day with a nice creative shot in the arm.

What have you seen this summer that has filled you with the desire to make art?

Monday, June 16, 2008

WWKIP Day 2008 - Berkeley

WWKIP Day 2008 - Berkeley
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Man oh man. I keep having these events that I want to post about but there just isn't enough time in the day. Well, I guess there would be enough time if I would stop trolling for drop spindles and taking pictures of said spindles and seeing if there are groovy new spindles that I haven't discovered yet... you get the picture.

This past Saturday, June 14th was World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP) and I wanted to go out, meet some new knitters and get some audio for the Yknit podcast.

Anthony and I took BART down to Sweet Adeline's for a bit of breakies and then joined the KnitOneOne (K11) event already in progress. Sile, the knit-evangelist and guru behind K11 organized the Berkeley meetup along with Elaine (not pictured), aka KimChiCrafts on Ravelry. They expected about 15 but got treble that amount. AWESOME!

There were knitters and crocheters and spinners of all ages, genders and backgrounds at this event. It was wonderful to have a chance to chat and interview most of the non-shy folks but, sadly, I didn't get to stay the whole time or see the final knit-tagged tree. I guess I'll go back for that photo.

After my interviews in Berkeley, I hopped on BART and pulled out my brand spanking new Golding Ringspindle (Tsunami model) and spun the luscious blue merino that Sean gave me from the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat in May. I got lots of perplexed looks and even some positive feedback from women AND men. Whooo hoo.

I got off at Powell station and made my way up to Union Square where there was still a nice group of folks braving the ever increasing temperatures and lack of shade that is US. Everyone there was up for being interviewed and I got some nice pod-fodder and cute pix of the knitters assembled.

Not content to attend just two parties, I headed over to the Western Addition for a party at the famous, Karen Baumer's new place. I didn't know this beforehand, but Karen's work has been featured in Interweave Knits, the Stitch N Bitch pattern books and DIY's Knitty Gritty. I just thought she was cool, but who knew she was a star. ;-)

I had some serious dwelling envy because her place was a remodeled victorian but with 100% new everything: floors, appliances, fixtures, everything. And you couldn't ask for a more perfect hostess. Not only did she SCREAM through her knitting, she kept my champagne and St. Germain cocktails coming non-stop. I really enjoyed seeing Karen and meeting all of her ADORABLE and SASSY co-workers (a few of who are crafty as well).


I moseyed over to the Garcia/Rhodes home and had a nice visit with Rene (amazing glitter artist). He plied me with drink and we talked about our upcoming collaboration (mum's the word), iPhones and philanthropy. I had hoped to entice him to dinner at Little Star, but he already had plans for dinner at his friend, Peter's, for make-your-own sushi. On the way, we picked up Robert Allen and arrived only to discover not only were we crashing a dinner party, but there were already place settings for the exact amount of people who were really invited. Arrgggh.

It's amazing that I actually had a good time, because I was quite embarrassed at the beginning. But, our host was dreamy and cute and gracious. There was never a moment where I wasn't being offered more sake, more beer, more food. Ironically, I refused all food offered me because I was still suffering from shame, having crashed the event. So, it was the Nicole Ritchie plan for me. Sake + Beer... combined with the coffee and cocktails that I had earlier, and it was all the mental and physical strength I could muster to make it to BART.

Okay, I skipped an important bit. On the way to BART (almost the last one of the evening), I had to get some sustenance from Deja Vu pizza. This is a little dive on 16th between Guerrero and Dolores and the place was packed with freaks, let me tell you. There was a guy at the register (on the customer side) who was terribly sunburned with bad blue eyeshadow and eyeliner and only two teeth in his head. He shared with me that he had just gotten out of the hospital and his drugs were wearing off. Pity that. And also, pity that I didn't have any either.

Since I didn't want to share my slice or have an audience, I did what any self-respecting starving city dweller does: I ate it in the parking lot of the nearest church. Classy!!! Oh, and the pizza was so bloody hot, that I destroyed the roof of my mouth. It makes my new retainer all kinds of fun.

And that was my Saturday.

Sunday, was a day of rest.... and errands/dinner with my friend Michael. He's the person responsible for my knitting obsession and the person I moved to San Francisco with from Austin, TX. He's my oldest friend in the Bay Area. He's pretty much my younger brother... but Latino.... and crazy.... in a good way.

That's all for now. Next? My new glow in the dark retainer!

Monday, June 9, 2008

YKnit Episode 9, "Hot for Harlot"

For your listening pleasure! Oh, and we have a contest too. Very easy to sign up.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Maker Faire 2008

It's weeks after the end of MakerFaire and I still haven't said "boo" about it, so here goes. I'm getting up there in years, so my memory is failing me here and there, but I'll try to give you the lay of the land. If you wanna skip to all the pix, go fer it.

This year, I went to Maker Faire with Stephen (hizKNITS, my podcast partner) and Tammy (PunkRawkPurl) under the working concept that we'd interview for our podcast (Yknit) and do research on the state of CRAFT and possibly get ideas for future event planning. Fortunately, we did get a nice interview with Natalie Zee Drieu (Senior Staff Editor of Craft Magazine) as well as some nice audio from revelers (not to be confused with Ravelers) and vendors.

Stephen drove us down early (10am) so that we could make sure to see the Yarn Harlot speak (11am) and to get our press credentials and scope the festival layout. It was good that we did this as parking had already started to back up and we took one of the final spots in the lot adjacent to the fairgrounds. Folks who arrived later in the day had to park a substantial distance from the festivities and had a big delay from the interstate.

We picked up our badges and lanyards, got our maps and heading in with about 15 minutes to spare before the Harlot. The seating for the main stage was about 500. I'm horrible with respect to these types of estimations but I confirmed that with other folks who were there. At first, it wasn't quite full, but about 10 minutes into her talk, the place was packed. Always a delight, Stephanie entertained the crowd with amusing stories and research about the benefits and educational aspects of knitting.

Afterwards she had a very popular book-signing and then had a crazy packed "knit-in" in a woefully tiny craft lounge. Since we had interviewed Stephanie the night before, we felt good about leaving her and exploring the fairgrounds. We saw pretty much the whole thing including the vendor booths in the Craft area, the work spaces in the Make area and all the outdoor activities including people powered music, transportation and, of course, DINING.

It was so cool to see all ages and all genders participating in the Craft areas. We saw our good friends from "A Verb for Keeping Warm" and got to meet the good folks at TinyMeat, Sweet Meats (is there a theme here....) and all the other Etsy and local independent crafty businesses.

There were robot wars, live demonstrations of science in action and quite a bit of fun music (including my favorite, the theremin). We saw lots of Ravelry friends, bloggers and mulit-crafters.

At the end of the day, we were all in a daze (might have been the non-stop junk food fest) but very happy to have attended. Next year, we plan on going but being more strategic with our interviews and, hopefully, plan something groovy and community-based like the Knit-In, but with more room to spread out.

There's tons more that I could mention but let's just say that:
we came
we saw
we crafted
we collapsed!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Yarn Harlot Meets Yknit

Yarn Harlot Meets Yknit
Originally uploaded by mikewade
What a crazy, crazy weekend this past one turned out to be. Podcast Interviewing, Yarn Harlot, Maker Faire. Too crazy! So crazy, in fact, I was done in and spent pretty much Sunday and Monday recuperating. I blame the corn dog, ice cream, energy drink combination. But, I must confess that it was so incredibly cool. It was one magical moment after another and boy, do I feel blessed.

So, this past Friday, Stephen and I moseyed over to San Francisco to interview the Yarn Harlot at her hotel. We literally were handed off from Jenny & Nicole, of Stash & Burn fame, who met with her before we did. I was hoping to be there for the interview, but we'll just have to settle for being fanboys and gush over the podcast when it's posted to iTunes.

We had a rip-roaring funny interview with Ms. Pearl-McPhee and then escorted her to the new Millennium (or rather, it was a new location for me). The food was spectacular and I had many new vegetables (some I had never heard of, like fiddleheads). Great beer, lovely company and super model waiters. What more could you ask for? Well, the icing on the cake was the prom night pics that we posed for at the hotel. I think the concierge was like, "I know she's famous, but I don't know exactly what for..." Obviously, not a knitter, but no mind.

Giddy with epicurean delights and fibertarian fantasies, we made our way to separate homes and dreamed of a world where the Yarn Harlot reigned. And speaking of reigning, that's exactly what she did at....

THE MAKER FAIRE. More on that with the next post.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Handspun Corriedale Booties
Originally uploaded by mikewade
What has been occupying my world these days?


I have gone off the deep end and it's so not pretty. I've acquired spindles. I've acquired fiber. I've attended classes. I've attended festivals. The virus is strong and tenacious and I fear for my wallet.

But wait, there is good that comes of my latest and greatest addiction:
Baby Clothes. Specifically, the quintessential bootie, which I so love. What you see here is Judy's Novelty Wool (purchased at Stitches West 2008) and spun on my Cascade Top Whorl spindle. I made a two ply using my groovie Katie-A-Go-Go, that I discovered at Nancy's Knit Knacks. It's pretty freaking awesome.

This past weekend was the lovely Color: A Fiber Festival in Berkeley, California. The event was held at the dreamy Pacific School of Religion and featured a fiber bonanza market hosted by A Verb for Keeping Warm, Tactile Fiber Arts Studio, Pigeonroof Studios and Girl on the Rocks. There were also classes in weaving, knitting, drop spindling and rare/luxury fiber introductions. I had such a great time making new fiber friends, learning new tricks and, of course, hanging out with the coolest green and earth friendly entrepeneurs in the Bay Area.

Stephen finally got back from Sock Camp (I missed him greatly) and had a lot of great audio to share. You can look forward to some amazing future Yknit episodes and contests!

And this weekend? MAKER FAIRE... with special guest THE YARN HARLOT! Someone get me drink!

Friday, April 4, 2008

If I'm Eating Baby, I Don't Count Calories

Do you?

I took this photo walking around the Mission after interviewing two sweet knitter guys for our latest podcast, "Lace In Your Face". Doug and Troy were two new friends that we met on Ravelry and they happened to be in the Bay Area for some yarn shopping and vacationing. We didn't pass up the chance to talk with some Y-Chrome fiber peeps and get their thoughts on Ravelry, knitting and, specifically, lace.

We also got some lovely audio from Mel (cabezalana) visiting from Maine. We took him to Queer Knit Night at the 3 Dollar Bill cafe in San Francisco. We coudn't let him visit the bay area without dragging him to Ritual for coffee.

The piece de la resistance for this podcast episode is the wonderful interview that we got from Eugen and Lew of the Lacy Knitter's Guild in Mountain View, CA. They are both octogenarian knitters and have been working their craft for longer than I've been living. Incroyable, no?!

Y Knit, Episode 5 "Lace In Your Face"

Stephen was so inspired by their work, that he started a new lace project called the Hanami Stole. It's his first lace project and it even has beading at the edge. Totally crazy.

hizKNITS In Da House

We finish the episode off by performing an homage to lace knitting boyz by re-working a brilliant Public Enemy number, "Bring the Noize". Our song is called "Lace for Boyz". Tell us what you think!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Knitting In the Tub... Again.

Knitting In the Tub... Again.
Originally uploaded by mikewade
All your friends are knitting in the tub. Don't you wanna be like your friends?


Happy Knitting!

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm a Little Hazy on that...

Originally uploaded by mikewade
This past Friday, I beat a path to downtown San Francisco for the Great Outdoor Egg Hunt. I've fallen deep, way down deep the MOO hole. I found almost all of them but I'm not going to go back for the complete set. I think I scared quite a few of the tourists.

After my egghunt photo captures, I headed over to Holly's for a quick visit before Ferd's Birthday dinner. Holly and Renecito were on their own because Papa Rene is in Austin for SXSWi. He's working on a Netflix Film preview party by creating a giant logo made of Rice Crispies and Elmer's Glue. I believe it's film about medical marijuana. So, I had a nice visit with Holl and 'Cito. Saw Holly's new iPhone (green with envy) and showed her my MOO cards and new holder. I'm certain she'll be ordering some soon.

Since I was running late, I caught a cab on Divisadero and made my way to the Mission location of Cha Cha Cha (CCC). The frickin' cab ride was $10. I can't believe that a cab costs that much. If hadn't been soooo late, I would have walked the whole way, but I was already past the fashionably late marker. CCC is a tapas-style restaurant and it's *always* overcrowded. This Friday was no exception. And to add insult to injury, our party was on the tiny, airless second floor landing.

I'm not sure why, but Ferd had invited about 30 guests, which to my mind, is too many. You can't really visit with more than 3-4 people anyway and the check always ends up being a drag. The space was so small that we were split into two separate tables. I didn't even talk to the folks at the second table.

Dinner was all right, but I always leave that place still hungry and having paid way too much money. I know it's a birthday celebration and not reallly about me, but I still think It's madness! It was, however, nice to see Scott and Deni and Bo. I also got to meet some of Ferd's new co-workers who were very funny.

My arm was twisted and I joined the crowd for a trip back to Ferd's for music and more drinks and dancing. I kept trying to make my exit because BART stops running at midnight, but Bo and her beau (whose name I'm forgetting) gave me a ride back to West Oakland BART, so I stayed until about 1am.

When I finally arrived home around 2am, my sweet Anthony was still editing the Yknit/Rick Mondragon episode number 3. Rick was a natural and fun subject, and I love the original musical bits Anthony has made and pre-recorded sound bites he selected. We got into bed around 3am.

I should have known better, but unfortunately, I didn't drink enough water and had a splitting headache from all Sangria and Pear Cider from the night before. Ick. One of Saturday's saving graces, was a carefree visit to Alameda for some knit loving with my fiber posse. We ate home-made PunkRawk pizza, bean salad and red velvet cake. I learned how to knit I-cord onto chenille craft wire (aka pipe cleaners) and got some puppy lovin' from Sammie the Schnoodle. Oh, and I showed my fiber haul to Elaine and Sonya who had not seen it yet.

I ended the Saturday by watching the next episode of the American Experience of New York. I think it's number 4 and it was called "Cosmopolis". It was about the roaring twenties and the lead up to Black Tuesday and the subsequent Great Depression following the crash of Wall Street. It's the perfect thing to knit to. You've got great narration and can look up from time to time to catch the pan and zoom across sepia toned photos and herky jerky vintage video. I have no memory for dates or names, so I'll be enjoying this series over and over again.

And then we had the time change. I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS time. It's so retarded. We're not farmers. Why do we need it. I feel tired for like a month. Actually, I feel tired until Fall Back. Seriously. I hate DST.

To be continued.....

Friday, March 7, 2008

Do you MOO?

New MOO Cards and case!!!
Originally uploaded by mikewade
I first saw MOO cards when Victor (of Knitter's Uncensored fame) included one in a yarn swap. I never thought I'd have need of them for the following reasons:

1. I'm in a relationship (no speed dating for me, thank you)
2. I don't have a band
3. I'm not an artist
4. I blog very infrequently
5. My photography is very amateur

So, imagine my shock when I got bit by the MOO bug. I blame Stephen because I love his MOO card of Janie Sparkles eating yarn AND his cool Altoids-Retooled-Case made by his mother. Yes, that's seems right. It's hizKNIT's fault. Phew! I can sleep easier now.

So, Stephen and I ordered MOO cards for Stitches West and we split the pack of 100. I gave away all of mine so, naturally, I had to place a second order. This time, I selected only things that I had knit for the images. Plus, I included my new gmail address, the podcast and my blog.

Now, I wanna swap with folks. Do you MOO? Wanna trade with me? Bring it on. Oh, and check out this project. I'm doing it. So should you.

p.s. There's a fun contest happening at MOO, too. It's an Easter Egg Hunt. It's a total time suck and lots of fun. You have been WARNED!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

She Dyed A Raspberry Sorbet...

Scout's Swag March 2008
Originally uploaded by mikewade
My final Scout's Swag shipment. :-( Makes me sad to know that it's over. Scout was very sweet and asked Stephen (hizKnits) and I if we wanted black in our colorway and she made it special for us boys.

Keeping my yarn-economizing promise to my partner Anthony, I am sacrificing my spot so that folks who couldn't get in last time will be able to experience some Scout Lovin'! It's crazy popular and for good reason. Scout makes beautiful yarn and was so creative with the swag this past year, go knit pouches, knitting-themed rubber stamps, exclusive patterns and, of course, the YARN!

Scout is changing the name of the club to reflect a new focus on the yarn. For the third season, it will be called simply "Scout's Swag Sock Club". Since she's not doing the indie swag portion, she can focus on keeping the prices down and allowing more folks to participate. Scout will also be doing cool things like choosing winners to help her select colorways.

If you want to try and get a spot in the next subscription cycle, you can get details here.
Good luck and Happy Scouting!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Over the Fold and Through The Wool

I've been really enjoying my drop spindles, now that I don't totally suck at drafting and suspending. I took a great class at KnitOneOne with Brooke from Tactile Fiber Arts Studio and I really do love the "over the fold" technique that I learned. It's so much easier to concentrate on the drafting and not worry about the spindle going out of control and falling. It's a much smoother, controlled process and I'm getting some seriously fine singles.

This lovely fiber here is from Kristine at A Verb For Keeping Warm. It's a wonderful Blue Faced Leicester that is called Magic Bean. It's a green I go weak in the knees for. So weak, that I had to buy more of a related colorway, Magic Blue-Green Bean and another lovely hue, Vermillion.

If you want to get some of this amazing stuff, you can visit her online store or Article Pract in Oakland. I have it on a good authority that AP will also be carrying Tactile Fiber Arts studio fiber (deliciousness!!) and the glorious fiber of Krista of Pigeonroof Studios.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Lookie Ma, Press Passes

We Felt Very Important
Originally uploaded by mikewade
How lucky are Stephen (hizknits) and I?

We went to Stitches West in Santa Clara, CA.
We got Press Credentials.
We interviewed a host of Knitting Gurus and Gentlefolk.
We (okay, just me) purchased a LOT of fiber
We made some amazing new friends.
We were completely overwhelmed.

Something bad had to happen right? It was going along all soooooo smoothly. Well, it was bad indeed.

A bit of backtracking is necessary. Stephen and I thought it would be fun to get a few interviews at Stitches West. We'll try to meet Lucy Neatby, we'll see if XRX will let us speak to men teachers and students and maybe walk around the market. We'll purchase a few things so that we're not completely deprived of swag.

Little did we know how receptive everyone would be to our requests. XRX gave us the royal treatment (no comments from the peanut gallery). Lisa Mannes, marketing manager for XRX arranged for our press passes and essentially coordinated a host of interviews and gave us carte blanche to speak with folks at the market. Our first interview was with Rick Mondragon, fearless leader of Stitches and Editor in Chief of Knitter's Magazine.

The opening night preview, I helped Article Pract set up their booth (very small amount of help, mind you) and then I walked around and got lots of great audio from my guy knitters. I bought some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mill Ends. I was doing GOOD!

The next day we got loads of interviews, including the fabulous Lucy Neatby, Vickie Howell, Kristine from a Verb for Keeping Warm, Brooke and Maia from Tactile Fiber Arts Studio, Eugene Bourgeois from Philosopher's Wool and two wonderful lace knitters, Eugene and Lew. We even met our podcast idols, Jenny and Nicole from Stash and Burn as well as rockstar Rachel (Yarn a Go Go) and wonderful Wendee from Hazel Knits.

Then, it starts to become a bit blurry. I'm operating on less and less sleep AND the drive to Santa Clara from Berkeley is starting to make me cuckoo. So cuckoo in fact, that I don't realize when I'm recording the AWESOME interview with Jess and Casey from Ravelry, I'm actually recording OVER the interview with Vickie, Eugene and some sweet guy knitters on the market floor.

I didn't realize that we had lost audio until Sunday night when we starting digitizing the raw files and, believe me, when I say that I was overcome with illness. It's so heart-wrenching to know that you had a unique opportunity to speak with someone AND got great audio. But, we're in the process of contacting those folks and we hope to make it up at some point in the future. And, we've got a better system in place for ensuring Audio Integrity. So, good learnings but painful, painful ones.

We're working on organizing the bits and bobs and we've got some great shows coming up. I'll announce when the next show goes up on Yknit and iTunes.

Take care.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Magical Mystery Knitting Tour

Teacher, Guru and Students

Hosted at the new KnitOneOne studios in South Berkeley, you will be lead on a wonderful journey by knitting guru, Kate Freeman. What are you knitting? That's the mystery. If you're interested, there are still spaces. Sign up here!

We're Here, We're Queer, We're Fiber Freaks

Gay Bay Meetup @ Cafe Gratitude (2/18/08)

The first meeting of the East Bay Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Stitch 'N Bitch (hereafter referred to as the EBLGBTSnB) may now come to order. We had a lovely turnout at Cafe Gratitude (the one in Berkeley) after my research on possible locations and coordinating on Ravelry. We had 17 folks in attendance in spite of an icky cold and rainy night. Pretty good for a start.

The space was nice and big, but the lighting was less than ideal and several folks had issues with the food and the cost of said food. Personally, I thought the whole experience was lovely and I would highly recommend you give Cafe Gratitude a try. Now, I'm not saying that you'll love everything on the menu. Who would? But, most of the desserts are lovely and the milkshakes are to die for.

Sadly, we probably won't return to the Cafe, but it was a wonderful kickoff to what I hope are many, many more. Here is a link to the entire Flickr photoset.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yknit Episode 2 is Up

Yknit Episode 2 is Up
Originally uploaded by mikewade
We just posted our second episode of the Yknit podcast. Our guest is Sabrina Gschwandtner who came to Berkeley for a book signing with KnitKnit, a new book profiling artists who use knitting in their respective media.

Please visit the blog and leave us a comment. You can also enter a contest to receive a free copy of KnitKnit, Issue 7 (the cool indie 'zine, not the gorgeous hard cover book). Tell us what you think about the art versus craft debate.

Stephen and I are going to be at Stitches West 2008 this weekend (2/21-2/24). We're conducting interviews, working and, of course, shopping. Well, I am. Stephen claims to be on a yarn diet. Wuss. If you see us there, please come up and say hello. I'll be working at the Article Pract booth and buying everything at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We Have Ignition... We Have Liftoff

All the rumors are true. Stephen (hiznknits) and I have been working with an amazing producer and musician (who I share a life with) to launch our knitting podcast, Yknit. It's all about fiber, knitting, design and anything else stitch-related we obsess about.

Our first interview is with legendary, Debbie Stoller, on the occasion of her book signing for "Son of Stitch 'N Bitch". Give us a listen and let us know what you think!


The First Yknit Podcast

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Watch The Spinning Wheel Turn

You might not have heard, but KnitOneOne has moved to a lovely new studio in South Berkeley, near Sweet Adeline's Bakeshop. The new location is very open and bright and ideal for classes. There are hardwood floors and a generous skylight that make the room very warm and inviting. At the moment, it's a bit echo-ey, but I'm sure that will be taking care of once more yarn and furniture are brought in.

I was very excited to be one of the first classes to take place in the new studio. And I had heard wonderful things about Brooke and Maia from Tactile Fibers.

This was my second attempt at drop spindling as I didn't feel like my first instruction was enough to explore all the different techniques, nor was it enough to get decent feedback form experienced spinners. Brooke is an excellent instructor in this respect and I would recommend taking a class with her if you're so inclined.

I'm still somewhat on the fence as to whether I'm going to dive in to spinning but it's nice to understand the principles of yarn formation since it's such a big part of knitting. My only issue is that it's a pretty big investment to get a nice wheel, then I'd have less time for knitting which is already an issue for me. It doesn't help that I have severe startitis and pretty much a racoon's sensibility when it comes to new fiber and books.

I'm sure I'll find the right balance with my spinning and probably keep it in mind for small projects like booties, hats and, if I'm feeling adventurous, socks!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Where's the Hamburglar?

Originally uploaded by mikewade
Yes, I'm Grimace(Y), but what else is new? Does anyone get that McDonald's reference? Hmmm. Yeah, I bet you all too young to even know what that is. Gawd, I feel old, in spite of having the mouth hardware of a 13 year old.

The first post of 2008. Yes, yes, I know that I've been horrible about blogging. If intention and incompleted posts count, I'd have you all caught up with my life, but every time I start up writing, I get bored and have to trash it. At first, I wanted to do a New Year's Resolution list, but I never do them, so it would be a list of things I haven't accomplished. And will all the competition for my time, I didn't want to make myself feel guilty for yet another unfulfilled personal obligation.

I'm going to reflect a bit on 2007 and why 2008 is going to be so much sweeter.

January of 2007 started off with a trip to the emergency room with Anto. I thought he had had another stroke (albeit much, much milder) and I was worried that if I didn't act quick, we'd be very sorry. The reason we went was due to some pretty severe cognitive processing difficulty. It just wasn't like him to be forgetful and confused all the time.

We eventually discovered that it was a combination of meds he was taking for spasticity and high blood pressure, but man, I really thought that it was the beginning of alzheimer's or dementia. It was pretty friggin' scary and I started to lose my shit. Fortunately, we started up some decent physical therapy in Vallejo with the folks at Kaiser and began the long road to recovery.

I attended Stitches West for the first time last year and it was AWESOME. It was also bank breaking and too much to digest in one weekend. I've since learned that it's best to go to Stitches with a certain amount of cash and once you've spent it, you stop. At least that should work in theory. We shall see as Stitches West 2008 is coming up at the end of this month. In addition, I'm not taking any classes this year. I had thought of taking sock classes from Cat Bordhi and Lucy Neatby, but my hesitation (and worrying about finances) meant that the classes were full up before I had a chance to enroll. Oh well, it was meant to be. Plus, I can feel a bit better about putting my current knowledge, DVDs and books to work.

Last year also saw the reunion of two former acquaintances who didn't previously knit but now do so obsessively. The maniac I'm speaking of is none other than Stephen/Hiznknits and I'm so happy that this boy is in my life. He's funny, he's smart, he's irreverent and he's a kick ass knitter. He also has the cutest dog and a cuter partner. What more could I ask for in a knitting buddy? Well, I was about to find out....

During my SURPRISE 40TH Birthday party, I was given an awesome felting jellyfish project. It was created by Kate, Tammy, Elaine and Stephen and they are now my knitting posse. I'm so lucky to have these wonderful knitting obsessed friends in my universe. They make me laugh, make me think and, most importantly make me knit.

It was the infusion of coolness and originality to my knitting world, that inspired my upcoming foray into the world of podcasting. There, I said it. I can't take it back. Stephen and I have done a couple of interviews with some pretty cool people and we've been working with our Executive Producer, Anto, to get it ready for public consumption. More on that in the near future.

All right, that's me for now, I'll be a bit more regular in 2008. That's a promise to Victor, Karen and Stephen.