Thursday, June 30, 2005

Horrible Three Horned Face

I think he's kinda cute, don't you? Though Triceratops Horridus may translate to Horrid Three Horned Face, he has always been my favorite Dino.

And now for your science lesson of the day: Triceratops was one of the largest ceratopsians - measuring up to thirty feet (nine meters!) in length and weighing in from six to twelve tons! He lived in the late Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming - all you want to know about the lil fellow photographed above, can be found here!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cult of Knit

Have you seen this? It's all true!

And it's all Raquel's fault. She dragged me in (she's good at doing that - and it doesn't help that I'm so weak and malleable ;) ). She's such an enabler! But I can't say I'm complaining too loudly. I really do enjoy knitting - and it's opened my eyes to some pretty crafty people out there! Though there are times I'm dreadfully resentful of my knitting - it's sometimes an obsession...I blame it on its portability. What other hobby can be thrown into ones purse to be worked on covertly in all manner of locations? Unlike reading, I can happily knit in a car without getting carsick. While I prefer to finish a row, I start and stop in any manner of locations on my "travel" project - much more convenient than a book or magazine that way - where I always feel compelled to finish the chapter or article before putting the book or magazine down.

And because I can fit in scraps of knitting all over the place, it seems to be my hobby of choice - but it's now being challenged by my newly acquired obsession - Spinning! - neither requiring little setup or preparation - unlike my kitchen and sewing experiments...or the various new crafting things I want to get into.

Knitting is like a jealous mistress I tell you. Or a small harem of them...especially since I rarely only have one project on needles at any given time. *sigh*

Anyway, Spinning is progressing slowly - but I almost have a full spindle :) that means I just need to spin up another full spindle so I can ply! I seem to have some issues with adding new roving, even though I predraft my fibers, I have a hard time getting my new roving to "take" if you know what I mean. I also have not successfully progressed to dropping the spindle to spin - I'm still stuck "parking and drafting." Every time I try to drop the spindle to spin, I seem to lack coordination and I wind up breaking my yarn because I draft too much fiber out and it lacks the fiber just slips past itself and the spindle falls to the ground all forlorn. And since I have issues adding new fiber, getting re-started is proving to be quite challenging!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

a Name can be a Powerful Thing.

In addition to getting in my farmer's market fix taken care of this weekend, Raquel and I headed down to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene for some fiber time where we petted, stroked and fondled all kinds of lovely yarns. While the gathering did have finished fiber products on display, they also had fiber arts in all stages of "production" if you will - from sheep, bunnies and alpacas to fleeces, rovings, yarn and knitted, woven and/or felted products! Of course, there were also knitting needles, crochet hooks, looms, carders, and spinning wheels, spindles and all kinds of other accessories to be had.

But what does this have to do with anything - much less a name, as alluded to in the title of this post? Well...neither Raquel nor myself walked out of the Gathering with yarn...that is unless you count the yarn that we made ourselves. That's right - we've taken up Spinning. Perhaps it was just a portent of things to come far into the future - a long ago nickname while I was learning how to skydive was "Spinner" - why? Because for some reason, I couldn't keep a heading while falling towards the Earth. It's finally come full circle :)

Care to ogle my roving? See a photo of it and my spindle over at Raquel's...I left my camera at home...Raquel's is on the left, mine on the right. Details? My spindle is a one ounce Emily Top Whorl Spindle with a Kingswood on Birdseye Maple Whorl and a Walnut shaft made by Adam's Woodshop. The roving is from Fantasy Fibers and is a multicolored merino in shades of dark reds, reminiscent of the desert southwest. Care to join us in our madness? Learn about handspinning here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Market Fix

mmmm fresh produce. There's nothin in the world like it.

I was up in Portland staying with the gracious Raquel and we were busy busy busy! Saturday found us at the Portland Farmers Market where all kinds of goodies were to be had...amongst the items that traveled back to make lovely meals: Artichokes the size of a dessert plate, cherries (of various varieties), fava beans, Porcinis (mmmmmm fungus!), tomatoes, fresh young garlic, a fantastic baguette and varieties of heirloom potatoes. While Raquel's husband was busy toiling over malt and yeast (and impressing me with his variety of mad scientist equipment), we packed up and headed off to the local strawberry field for heaps of fresh berries. Want to know what became of them? A good portion graced this absolutely lovely cake (and it was very tasty too!).

Getting together with Raquel is always fun - but it's dreadful when you're weak like I am and her such a strong enabler...added to the wishlist? A draining cooler for brining (I never have room in my fridge for brining whole poultry) and a Pressure Cooker. :) At least it's not yarn, right?

(oh - and as if I needed further enabling. As if the Culinary Gods have spoken, I was minding my own business, watching Food Network while eating my dinner - and who should come on, but Alton Brown! And what was his show about? Pressure Cooking. It Must be a Sign, don't you think?)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rabbit in Disguise

I've always been fascinated with different and creative ways of wrapping I had to come up with something unique for the little bunny. I came up with this idea - wrap the bunny as a carrot!

Unfortunately I had no orange or green tissue/wrapping paper - so I had to make do with my crayons. Sadly, on retrieving my handy Big Box of crayons, I had to set on to reminiscing...because my Big Box is missing a mess of colors I had when growing up. I think I acquired my Big Box sometime while I was in college...but it was after the big Crayola Color Reorg. I now have to contend with a "lavender" that doesn't look like any lavender I've ever seen, "shocking pink", "outrageous orange", and "macaroni and cheese" amongst others. I want my classics back!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hop to it!

A recent missive let me know that a friend has just expanded his family by one :) He's now got a little girl to dote over. I'm having a hard enough time reconciling my crazy mowhawked "lil bro" to a clean cut house ownin' doctor type...with a little girl - but hey, we all grow up sometime right? :D

Congratulations, Robert, if you're reading this - and no tellin Mia that she's getting a bunny!

Anywho, this little surprise was kinda sprung on me after little Mia made her debut, so a quick gift was in order! Read more on the making here.

I bet most of you were thinking I would churn out another Penguin! Well, to tell you the truth, while I do like making penguins, I was nearly out of Penguin an attempt to tame my stash, I decided on the bunny instead :D

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

twas a Rip Roarin' Good Weekend

I think I've got it all out of my system now...I've successfully frogged out two sweaters and the whole back of an unloved sweatervest....the spoils?

Copious quantities of yarn...first up: the checkerboard sweater - unraveled and separated into individual strands (the sweater was knit double stranded) so I can remake it into something useful. Marble contemplates the thought. She's pulling for a Felted Kitty Pi Bed. The yarn ranged from a white to grey variegated (the balls on the far left) to a tweedy tan/brown color (balls on the right) to a solid cream and dark brown (balls in the center). The sweater was a great hit with the cats while it was being unmade, and because the wool is very rough, it is definitely destined to be something for the cats :)

Next up: The super bulky, yet quite soft, handspun sweater created by my Uruguayan Abuela. Disassembling the sweater was a little bit of a challenge as it was seamed with the same yarn that was used to knit it...once I got going though, I managed to reclaim every little scrap. Because of the bulkiness, it definitely won't be finding its way back into a sweater - not for me anyway. Perhaps a Sophie Bag? a Booga Bag? a French Market Bag? Or perhaps even a Button Hole Bag...can you tell I have a fixation with bags? Then again, it isn't as if there is any lack of yarn - after all, that is one humongous sweaters worth of yarn sitting there for your ogling pleasure :)

And Finally, the back of that poor sweatervest (the fronts have been set aside for a felting experiment or other things - I see a small red pouch, or some felted embellishments). At least one of these balls is destined to become a Branching Out scarf - I hope with a little handling the halo will bloom back on this yarn - the yarn reclaim process had little bits of red fuzz flying. Fiber content: lambswool and angora with a tiny bit of nylon - very soft.

Stay tuned for my crazy knitting progress - I managed to complete two projects this past is just lacking a finishing touch before packing both up as they are destined as gifts.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Cup a what?!

a Cake! That's what! And not just any cake - but a little pint sized perfect personal pastry - a cupcake.

Certainly a fantastic idea, and you gotta love the little animation of the container shaking before opening to reveal a perfectly frosted cupcake. The thought of being able to tote (and not squash) a cupcake out into the wilderness for eating on an adventure brings warm thoughts to this hiker's heart! And think of the marvel and jealousy that would ensue should others be around when the fantastic little box was withdrawn from one's pack - assuming the weather has cooperated and the temperatures weren't too warm, the cupcake should travel unscathed and the frosting unmelted happily in ones pack for a perfect mid day munch.

Sadly, it does have one serious flaw in execution - what might that be you ask? Handwash only. Have these people never tried to get a plastic container squeaky clean by hand after it's been slathered with buttercreme frosting?!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sucked in by a Seam

The Rippin' party has continued...I finished ripping out the Checkerboard sweater and just need to get the yarn rewound on my ball winder...While ripping out the back, I discovered that my cat still does remember how to play fetch, but only on her terms. Her new favorite toy (under supervision only) is a ball of yarn made of small scraps from said sweater - I think it's because of the sheepy smell! Unfortunately, I was having too much fun actually having her play fetch that I failed to get a photo before she tired of the game.

Anyway, I was re-organizing my closet and making a pile of things to send to goodwill and stumbled across a few sweaters - almost all of them had the wrong kind of seam aka Bad Seams (see this for more info on reusing sweaters for yarn) but one sweater vest (yes, I had a sweater vest) that looked mighty promising....

The vest was knit of gorgeous yarn - double strands of laceweight (at least I think it's laceweight) very soft lambswool/angora blend. In a favorite shade of red....perfect for ripping! Or so I thought. If you noticed, I said it looked mighty promising. Yeah, that's right. Looked. After divesting the vest of it's buttons and snipping out the reinforcing threads around the button holes, I tackled the sweater by disconnecting the bands around the sweater arms and edges - only to discover that the two fronts were knit and cut....that's right. Cut. They used the happy banding to hide that small fact. So the two fronts are useless except for multitudes of relatively short strands of yarn. The good news is the whole back of the vest was knit in one piece and was able to be reclaimed - I'm now in the process of separating the strands and rewinding the balls. When it's all said and done, I should have just over 2 ounces of laceweight yarn - whee! I'll have to get photos of all my reclaimed yarn once its all wound up :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pasha, the Pioneering Penguin

Meet Pasha the Third :) he's a Pioneering Penguin, braving the wilds in search of elusive yarn!

Here we have Pasha, peering down canyon...trying to decide if these hunting grounds are first glance, things seem barren and brown.

On closer inspection, it seems the plants are still blooming, and there is a fair amount of greenery - however Pasha is not interested in foliage...he's on the hunt for Fiber! yarn fish either - but there were quite a number of small tadpoles lurking in the pool.

Pasha the Persistent, continues his hunt upstream....

Behold his bounty! Yarn balls, in a wide array of colors and sizes!

Finally, we have a candid shot...of our intrepid adventurer enjoying his catch. Pasha says "who needs fish when I have yarn?!"

Alrighty. Before you all think I've been sniffing too much yarn, there is a reason Pasha and I went off adventuring on a photo shoot - it's all in the name of the Knitty Calendar contest. Since I can't decide which photos I like best, I'll leave it up to you all - those who comment anyway. I can submit up to three - and while I have other Knitty knitting on the needles, I'm not certain I will be able to come up with creative appealing ways to get photos of those works - so I'm pinning all my photo publishing aspirations on Pasha. Would love to hear which photos you all like best :D

Monday, June 13, 2005

World Wide KIP Day!

Reams of knitting and knitting related progress was made this weekend starting with World Wide Knit in Public Day. Saturday found me running shuttle duty for a hike - and in between stops, I decided to go for a bit of knitting and a little caramel-mocha diversion along with an absolutely delicious apple-nut roll at Le Buzz. Properly caffeinated and sugared up (absolutely necessary after a crack of dawn start at 4:30am!), I headed up trail to meet up with the intrepid adventurers with Pasha in tow for a photo shoot in honor of the Knitty calendar contest. I had tried to do photos of Pasha at home, but I was doomed with poor outdoors were much better!

As for the rest of the crazy knitting progress that ensued, I'm nearly done with the Triceratops, made great progress on Anouk (both are gifts) and also made fair progress on my Ribbon X Back. While I wasn't knitting, I was busy blocking and unraveling :) I'm pleased to report I have successfully rescued that Silk Sweater I thought I had shrunk (thanks Chris!) - and I've just got the Back of that Checkerboard sweater to rip out...

Now then, I do have a question - anyone happen to know what the standard conversion is between DPI and PPI or if there is such a thing? I ask because I'm stumped as to what Knitty is really looking for for a submitted photo. All help is appreciated :)

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Five is the number of projects I have on needles. And Five also is the number of projects I actually worked on yesterday. Feeling a little bit fickle, I knit a little here, and a little there...and next thing I knew it, I had actually gotten a bit done on each item! Miracle of miracles, I might actually get Cozy done sometime in the not too terribly distant future! Yowza. Now if I could just quit getting distracted, I'd be all set. My latest distraction? Matcha Kitty. Go check him out. He's handsome and may well tempt me to drop my knitting just to have one of my own!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

C'mon Over to the Dark Side... know you want to.

Several days ago, I developed a mad craving for dark chocolate m&ms after discovering their existence by reading Good to be Girl. For a long long time I struggled against their lure - well, that and they were nowhere to be found in my local grocery stores. After one heck of a day, I was determined to go find them...either that or cave in for a Marie Callender's Chocolate Satin Pie. Yeah. It was one of *those* kind of days!

Luckily for me, I found them lurking on the shelves at Target. I only lament the fact that I was only able to locate the plain Dark Chocolate variety - it would have been extra bonus and day brightening if I had stumbled across the Dark Chocolate Peanut kind...ah well, I'm pleased to report they are as tasty as I imagined they would be. A small crunch from the candy coating, and into the delicious dark chocolate we go. Yum. There's nothing more soothing than chocolate and knitting.

Monday, June 06, 2005

X = ?

Yeah....more math for me this weekend. Many thanks to the creator of the Knitting Companion - While I had indeed swatched religiously for the Ribbon X-Back, I still had to rip the poor thing out when after thirteen rows it was looking suspiciously large...indeed, half a row knitted onto another circular needled let me try on my pathetic two-and-a-half inches of tank to only confirm my suspicions. Ripped and re-balled, the tank (or rather the yarn for the tank) sat patiently next to me while I reworked the figures - the biggest challenge, of course, was the shaping...and of course, I won't know how well those calculations will come out until I get there. Ah the adventures of being the boss of my own knitting :D In any case, I've redone the calculations, measured a couple tee shirts that fit approximately how I expect the tank to fit, and have re-cast on for a smaller size. We'll see if I picked right in another few rows...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Ready for a Rrrrip Roarin' Weekend!

I don't know what's gotten into me. I blame it on the feeling of fiber and that darned Checkerboard sweater. What's been goin' on? Well...I've gone about recycling knitted things - the first target? That silly Trio Knit Bag that I knit out of Lion Brand Homespun...I know, the yarn was probably not worth the time spent reclaiming it, but there was such satisfaction in the unraveling...The reclaimed yarn along with the remaining Homespun is destined to be come a cozy lap blanket or cat blanket for one or more various animal shelters out there. I've also frogged out my mesh french market bag because it was stretching way too much under weight - I had intended to only frog it back a little big and re-do the decreases for the bottom, but I got carried the yarn will now be remade as a Triceratops! In the meantime, I still have the front and back of the Checkerboard sweater to rip back as well as that green & grey bulky wool sweater. Whoo! Let the wool fly!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Roses are Red...

...but sometimes they're blue too! As you can see, I've finished felting my Rose bag :) As usual, full details can be found over here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Roses in Bloom

Not only were the Cliff Roses in bloom up in the higher elevations, I got an awful lot of flower knitting done while enroute! Talk about fast knitting!

Each flower is knit in a different color, twelve in total and all out of Karaoke. They are for a felted bag that I'm test knitting for SWTC. I'm on the last bits of the bag, and should have it ready for the wash today! Can't wait!