A Trip to Estes Park

Summer is gross here. It isn’t even officially summer for a couple more days and I want it to end. Temperatures have been in the 90s in Kansas City for weeks and there has been little rain. That new sod we got a couple months ago is just so, so sad. We decided to abandon our browning yard for a week and went to Estes Park, where it was still kind of warm, but so much less hot and humid than here.

We did our usually Colorado stuff on this trip. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, Mike took some pictures, I did some crochet, and we just had fun in nature. I got a wildflower identification book so I could stop driving Mike crazy with my “What kind of flower is that?” questions:

Flower ID in RMNP | Webster Fiber Arts

Yup. It’s a flower.

The Estes Park Wool Market was going at the tail end of our trip, and Estes Park was celebrating Fiber Week leading up to it. Much of the town was yarn bombed in celebration:

Yarn Bombing in Estes Park | Webster Fiber Arts

The FACE of Fiber in the Rockies exhibit also opened while we were in town, and we stopped by to check it out. So cool! There were so many gorgeous pieces in the exhibit, and there were so many different kinds of fiber art on display. The group’s Facebook page has some good photos of the award recipients’ pieces. I think my favorite pieces were by artist Melody Money. Go look at her website immediately.

If there is a wool market, it is a good bet there is going to be yarn to buy, and I came home with a few treasures:


The browns on the left are skeins of handspun alpaca by Chris Switzer of Switzer-Land Alpacas that I picked up before the wool market at The Weavers Attic in downtown Estes Park. This yarn is so soft. I have one of the skeins on my shoulder right now and I pet it every so often. I love them.

The big, plushy orange and gray toned yarn on the upper right is from Fiber Optic Yarns out of Ohio. Again, this yarn is freakishly soft and I love petting it. I also love orange and gray, so I am happy.

The orange and teal yarn in the lower right (yup, I like orange) is from Western Sky Knits in Montana. Even before I saw the name of the colorway on this one, I thought, “Oh! It’s like goldfish in a bowl!” I nailed it because this one is called “Fishbowl.”

That’s what I did on my not-quite-summer-yet vacation. Yay!

Until next time,

CGOA 2016: The Rest of The Adventure

Edisto Beach | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

One more post about my CGOA trip, because I saw some cool things on my way home that I want to share with you!

I took my time driving back from South Carolina so I could see some sites. I had three things that I really wanted to do: play in the ocean, hike to the top of Clingmans Dome in the Smokies, and visit the National Quilt Museum.

Sunday morning I headed to Edisto Beach, South Carolina to visit the Edisto Beach State Park. The drive there from Charleston was gorgeous, with giant trees lining the winding road and lots of marshy areas. It was a stormy day, which made for a pretty cool sky over the beach:

Edisto Beach State Park | Webster Fiber Arts

I played in the water for quite a while, and had a great time. I was worried that the beach might be crowded since it was a weekend morning, but there were only a few other people in the area I was, so I had lots of space to float on the waves and just relax. The water was the perfect temperature and, since I took a little in from a surprise wave, I can also tell you it was pretty salty.

I love the way the water made this pattern in the sand on the shore:

Sand at Edisto Beach State Park | Webster Fiber Arts

There may be a surface pattern design in there.

After the beach, I headed to Congaree National Park outside of Columbia, SC. I don’t have any pictures of the park because my phone overheated while giving me directions from Edisto Beach and I thought it needed some cool down time, but it was a really amazing place—like no place I had been before. It was also super humid, as storms had rolled through and more were approaching. I hiked the Boardwalk Loop Trail, which took me through the muggy forest. I saw a couple of deer, and then the wind picked up and limbs started falling off the trees, so I picked up my pace and managed to finish the trail before the heavy rain arrived. I did get to drive through that rain on my way to Columbia, where I stayed for the night.

I stopped at the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden before I left town Monday. Because I wanted to get on the road, I only went to the botanical garden. I found some cool colors and patterns there:

Riverbanks Garden Flowers | Webster Fiber Arts

Riverbanks Garden Plant | Webster Fiber Arts

I even found a turtle!

Riverbanks Garden Turtle | Webster Fiber Arts

From Columbia, I headed to Cherokee, NC, just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway for part of the trip, which was just lovely:

Blue Ridge Parkway | Webster Fiber Arts

There was a bird singing to me while I took this picture, but I never got a good look at him.

I had to do some laundry when I got to Cherokee because my semi-dry beach clothes from the day before were stinking up the car. Then I got some rest in anticipation of my big hike the next day.

I’ve been to the Smokies a few times. A couple of years ago Mike and I went and tried to hike up Clingmans Dome, but I don’t think we even made it halfway. Last year, I went with some friends and it was very foggy, so we didn’t even attempt to go up because we wouldn’t have been able to see anything.

I should say, the trail up Clingmans Dome (the highest point in the Smokies) is only a mile, half a mile up and half a mile down, and it is paved, but the trail is incredibly steep. I figured I had all day to make it to the top, so I started early and went slow. I stopped at every bench along the way and rested on a few rocks and trees, too. Fortunately, there were a lot of pretty things to look at while I caught my breath, and I listened to tons of happily buzzing bumble bees. I did finally make it to the top. I was tired and excited as I turned a corner and came to this:


Ugh! I still had to climb to the top of the observation deck! I drug myself up that big ramp and was rewarded with scenes like this:

View from Clingmans Dome | Webster Fiber Arts

Yay! I looked across the mountains for a while, hiked down the dome, and then got in the car and drove to Kuttawa, KY to spend the night.

Wednesday morning, I went to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. It was so cool! Photos aren’t allowed in the gallery, so I don’t have anything to show you, but if you head over to their website, you can see a few images. One of the exhibits at the museum now is “Art Quilts of the Midwest.” I just loved it! There were so many unique and beautiful pieces in this collection.

After the museum, I headed back to Kansas City. I was bummed that my trip was over, but I was happy to sleep in my own bed again.

Until next time,

CGOA 2016: The Yarn

CGOA Yarn | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

Yesterday, I told you about my classes at the Crochet Guild of America’s 2016 Conference. Today, I want to show you my new yarns. I think I actually showed quite a bit of restraint, considering how much gorgeous fiber there was in the shopping area.

First up is this red and blue combo pack from LYDIA Yarn:

Yarn from LYDIA Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

LYDIA Yarn is a South Carolina company. These yarns are going to make me a spectacular striped KU Jayhawk-colored scarf.

I also got these cute little silk mini-skeins from Sheepish Creations:

Mini Silk Skeins from Sheepish Creations | Webster Fiber Arts

Sheepish Creations is out of North Carolina, so fairly local to the Charleston conference, too. My cell phone photo does not do justice to how vivid and shimmery these fibers are. Since these are small skeins, I will likely use all five to create a colorful cowl.

This natural beige-colored yarn is from another North Carolina company, Empty Pockets Alpacas:

Yarn from Empty Pockets Alpacas | Webster Fiber Arts

This yarn came from an alpaca named Special. You can see a picture of Special on the tag on the yarn. All those little alpaca faces starring up at me from the yarn racks might have contributed to my purchase—I can’t resist those cute little faces!

This yarn comes from Artisanal Yarns:

Orange and Turquoise Yarns from Artisanal Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

Again, my cell phone didn’t pick up how gorgeously vibrant these fibers are. Artisanal Yarns uses a variety of acrylic and polyester rescued fibers and ply them together to come up with some really stunning color combinations.

Finally, I picked up these yarns from Designing Vashti:

Lotus and Treat Yarns from Designing Vashti | Webster Fiber Arts

The Lotus yarns are cotton in rich magenta and deep purple. The yellow fiber is a super soft wool that I had to have once I held it.

Until next time,

I Went to the CGOA Conference!!

Minty Mountains Wrap | Webster Fiber Arts

You guys!

Last week, I headed out for Charleston, South Carolina to attend the 2016 Crochet Guild of America Conference. It was awesome! I had a great time and am completed exhausted now that I am back home.

I drove out to Charleston over two days and got to my hotel last Tuesday night. My room even had a sweet spot to store yarn:

Yarn Storage at the Hyatt Place in Charleston, SC | Webster Fiber Arts

My yarn is pictured with Rod Carew, who got the American League batting award named after him at the All-Star game. That game was a pretty big for the Royals All-Stars, and I apologize to the people staying in the room below me for the crazy happy-dance noises coming from above as Hosmer and Salvy hit their home runs.

On Wednesday, I attended a session about the CGOA Master’s program. I’ve mentioned before that I have been working on my swatches for the program, and it was nice to get a little inside info. I also went to a session with Tara Swiger that was about businessy things like getting more done in the day.

Thursday, I took two classes from Mary Beth Temple: Geo-Metric for Crocheters and Creating with Crocodile Stitch. I don’t seem to have any swatches from the Geo-Metrics class, but it was all about math and yarn, both things I love, so I was a happy girl. I the crocodile stitch class, In made these two swatches:

Crocodile Stitch Swatches | Webster Fiber Arts

Look at all of that texture! I have all sorts of plans floating around in my head for using those little petals, or scales, or whatever you want to call them.

Thursday night was the CGOA business meeting and a goody bag! A serious one:

CGOA Business Meeting Goody Bag | Webster Fiber Arts

There is so much good stuff there! Patterns, coupons, hooks, stitch markers, a coloring book (!), other stuff, and YARN! So much yarn!

Friday, I took two classes from Susan Lowman: Playful Polish Star and Intermeshing. (Susan is the designer behind the Skipping Stones strip of the CGOA Crochet Along I showed you earlier in the year.) Both of these classes involved some nifty stitches with color changes. Here’s a swatch from the Polish Star class:

Polish Star Swatch | Webster Fiber Arts

And here is a couple from the Intermeshing class:

Intermeshing Swatches | Webster Fiber Arts

I’m excited to do more playing with both of these techniques. I think there are some cool color possibilities with the Polish Star, and there is all sorts of fun to be had with the lines and squares of the intermeshing.

Friday night was the announcement of the crochet design winners. I entered a piece I call “Minty Mountains”:

Minty Mountains | Webster Fiber Arts

This is a loooong scarf made from bulky wool roving. I crocheted this with some very tall stitches and some short ones to create the gray and charcoal mountains, and used three different textured stitches to add the mint green accents. It is fluffy and wooly and I love it.

There were 92 entries in the design competition, each more impressive than the last. You can see all of the winners here (and you really should go take a look at them—amazing!).

There was another goody bag at this event:

CGOA Design Winners Presentation Goody Bag | Webster Fiber Arts

More yarn and coupons and yay! You know I like that Caron gray yarn, as I have made this and this with it in the past. Woo-hoo!

Saturday was Marty Miller’s Shawls from All Angles. I don’t have swatches to show from this one, either—most of them were tiny little shapes that I will someday size up to an actual shawl. I have one that is already underway using the techniques from this class. We also got more free yarn:

Rowan Yarn Gift from Shawl Class | Webster Fiber Arts

I ended my classes with Darla Fanton’s Double Helix Bead Crochet Necklace & Bracelet. LOOK WHAT I MADE!

Double Helix Necklace | Webster Fiber Arts

I made a crocheted beaded necklace! Isn’t it pretty? Darla had the bead pre-strung for us, so that helped a lot. I had never done bead work before, nor had I worked with such a tiny hook. It took me some time to get in the groove, so I didn’t work on the bracelet in class, but I was so proud of my necklace that I wore it to the closing banquet and fashion show that night. As you might have guessed, there was another goody bag at this event:

CGOA Banquet Goody Bag | Webster Fiber Arts

That Lion Brand catalog is like the best catalog I have ever seen. So much yarn, and so much yarn that I don’t normally see at Jo-Ann and Michael’s, like that 24/7 Cotton.

Whew! This is a long post, and I haven’t even shown you the new yarn I picked up from the vendors at the show. I will save that for next time.

Until then,

Field Trip to Columbia

Field Trip | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

Yesterday, I met my mom for lunch in Columbia, Mo. After we had our meal and went our separate ways, I hit up a couple of yarn shops in Columbia.

It was a cold, rainy, snowy, gray day in Missouri yesterday, and I think that influenced my purchases. Everything I came home with had some orange in it. I love orange, but everything I bought? I was definitely looking for some sunshine.

First, I stopped at Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe. There was a group of ladies spinning while I was in the shop. Yay! There was also a lot of really fun fiber in this shop. I came away with this 100% wool yarn called “Sunspot” from Universal Yarn.

Universal Yarn—Poems—Sunspot | Webster Fiber Arts

Continue reading

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part I: Yarn Acquisition

Yarn Bowl | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

Mike and I took a trip to northwestern Arkansas last week. Since our trip straddled the fall equinox, this was technically a summer and fall vacation, but whatever it was, it was lovely. We stayed on Beaver Lake and had a great view of the water, some very active hummingbirds, and some squirrelly squirrels. We spent time in Eureka Springs, visited a couple of state parks, saw the Crystal Bridges Museum (amazing), and spent a day at Silver Dollar City. We came home with many fine treasures, and I came home with a fair amount of yarn.

In Eureka Springs, we visited the Shoppes at Fleece ‘N Flax, a place I found online before our trip. They have supplies for all sorts of fiber arts here—rug hooking, weaving, spinning, and, of course, knitting and crochet. I found some really great stuff here, and Vicki at the shop showed me some of the things she had been working on, including a crocheted rug that I believe she said was made from a very old doily pattern, but she used very bulky yarn and a very large hook to make it rug sized. Awesome.

My treasures from the shop are pictured below!

This super colorful Berroco Boboli Lace is called Strawberry Jam. We also came home with about a 10 year supply of jellies and jams, so this was an appropriate choice. The color name wasn’t printed on the label, just a number, so I only discovered the name when I went to the Berroco website.

Berroco, Strawberry Jam | Webster Fiber Arts

This is another one that is full of color: Cascade Yarns Tangier in Amazon. This one is a Silk/Cotton/Rayon/Acrylic blend and felt really nice in the little knitted sample the shop had on display.

Cascade Yarns, Amazon | Webster Fiber Arts

Next is Delicious Yarns Parfait in Jellybean. Delicious Yarns is out of California and their yarn lines are beautiful and clever. You should visit their site. This yarn is going to be fun to play with.

Delicious Yarns, Jellybean | Webster Fiber Arts

This one is by Tempted Handpainted Yarns & Fibers from Oklahoma. It is called Box of Crayons.

Tempted Yarns, Box of Crayons | Webster Fiber Arts

And finally, this guy. I can just drop this skein over my head as is and it is a pretty fabulous necklace, but I know I am going to want to play with it a bit more than that. This is Ozark Opulent II from Ozark Handspun. The coloway is called Lilies.

Ozark Handspun, Lilies | Webster Fiber Arts

We ended our trip by stopping at Silver Dollar City on the way home. I love Silver Dollar City. We lived in Springfield, Mo when I was a child, and made many trips to Branson and Silver Dollar City. I will forever associate the scent of cedar mulch with Silver Dollar City, and that is a pretty nice association to have when I am spreading bag after bag after bag of mulch in our flower beds. I think this little section of the year is the best time to go to Silver Dollar City because they have the National Harvest Festival going on, and there are all sorts of artists and crafters at the park selling and demonstrating. I picked up this completely awesome yarn bowl from one of those artists, Nancy Fairbanks of Fairbanks Pottery Studio.

Yarn Bowl by Nancy Fairbanks | Webster Fiber Arts

I mean, come on. How perfect is he? I love him so much!

I also found some yarn at Silver Dollar City. These are from Canfield Creations Yarn Patch, a store operated by Cindy Canfield of canfieldcreations. Check out this monster:

Plymouth Yarn, Earth | Webster Fiber Arts

That is Plymouth Yarn Company Oskar in Earth and it is a bulky beauty. This one reminds me of trees, which is probably why it called to me after having spent so much time in parks and forests the week before. It is also a fall-ish yarn, as is the other yarn I purchased at the Yarn Patch. This handspun yarn by Kathleen D. Brewer of North Cadron Handcrafts reminds me of Thanksgiving.

Kathleen D. Brewer Handspun | Webster Fiber Arts

And there you have it. A cornucopia of yarn from our summer/fall adventure.

Until next time,