Friday, September 30, 2005

Officially Thirty-Something!

Today is my Birthday :D And I'm officially a thirty something now. I think I'm starting to feel older, but I'm kinda hoping it's really just this stupid lingering cold.

But enough about that. Look! Look what my wonderful husband got me!! It's a wheel!!!!

Details, you ask? It's a Kromski Minstrel, in Walnut finish. Double treadle, double drive (though I have it set up as single drive with scotch tension right now). I've got the optional distaff on it (looks more castle like, no?) and an arch-style lazy kate (not in the photo). I've also got an extra large whorl for it, so I can try to teach myself how to spin much bulkier yarns (I tend to spin singles that are a bit thicker than fingering weight) .

It did require assembly, but it came together with hardly any tools (just a Phillips head screwdriver) and no difficulty at all. And yes, I have spun on it - there was a little bit of thick and thin going on at first, but I think I've gotten the hang of it now. I tried Navajo plying, but was having no luck with it - neither on my wheel nor on my I just went back to 2-ply - since i was too eager to ply up the first yarn off my wheel :D The yarn is currently sitting on a Niddy Noddy waiting for me to give it a bath to set the twist.

Oh - In case you're wondering, Marble doesn't know how to spin - but she does show surprising amount of interest in the treadles.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Freaking out about Holiday Knitting?

Not me...not yet anyway :D I've got only a foot done on each of the scarves (of which there will be two) - so I've got about 5 feet more to go! yeek. All other knitting has since been set aside, including my socks - and all they have left is boring K2P2 Ribbing for the cuff for as long as I wish to make them (they'll be slouchy socks I think - so maybe 3 or 4 inches of K2P2 - sounds all fine and good, but it's on US3 it takes longer than I would expect)

In any case, if you are freaking out about holiday knitting, the Harlot has some help and advice. Call and listen to her at 877-SOS-KNIT. It's a hoot. And it's free in the US and Canada :D

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Birthday Goodies

Not only did Amy treat me to crafting and Fruit Tarts, she also spoiled me with some birthday presents!! Such fun and colorful wrapping paper :) Tied together with coordinating yarn - and on the outside, a carebear and a skein of blue yarn - bet you'll never guess where it's from....Target! LOL! Off to the side, you'll see the fruits of my crafting time with Amy - she took pity on my pooor hands and we polymer clay'd my crochet hooks. Haven't had a chance to use them yet, but they certainly seem easier to handle now that they have proper handles on them. In addition to helping me bulk up my crochet hooks, Amy took some time to show me the basics of working with polymer clay - unfortunately, I can't show off my attempts (or the cute ebi pins Amy made while demonstrating manipulation of Fimo to me) as my camera refused to focus on such small items.

Anyway, I'm sure you're wondering what was in the wrapping was books! I looooove books!

I am now a proud owner of the ever popular Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop - and the first project tagged is the leaf pullover :) I sure hope I have yarn in the stash already for it!

The second book is a Japanese sewing craft book - handmade Zakka. ISBN: 4579110080. It has a bunch of adorable little sewing projects inside...if I could just get past my issues with cutting fabric! LOL :)

Thanks so much Amy, you spoil me!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Pre-Birthday Weekend

What a fun weekend :)

Amy of Amyville had Chris and me over for some lunch and crafting, complete with surprise birthday treats for me! She's so thoughtful, Amy remembered I have a thing about AJ's Fruit Tarts :) and had some on hand for dessert! I felt so special and spoiled - thanks Amy!

Chris also had a surprise for each of us - handmade purses/knitting bags in our favorite colors! Mine is blue, Amy's Pink and Orange, of course! Perfect for storing a pair of knitting projects (I know, because I happened to have two - actually three projects on hand if you count both scarves I have on the same needle!)

And check out the inside - a zippered pocket and one that closes with velcro - Chris has thoughtfully placed the loop part facing out, so if you happen to have exposed yarn, it won't get chewed!

If you're interested in one for yourself, she's able to take requests on color :)

Pop over to her blog and leave her a comment - she's planning on opening an online shop soon.

Thanks Chris! I love it :D

Friday, September 23, 2005

Last bits of Summer

A little bit of summer trapped in a jar to welcome in the Autumn!

What is it? It's Prickly Pear Jelly! Made by a friend down in Tucson, and gifted to me. Yum! While my favorite season is autumn, summer in the southwest does have its delights - and prickly pear fruit is one of them. Unfortunately, none of my personal prickly pear seem to bear large fruit - I suspect part of the problem is they are cultivated for their appearance rather than their fruit - and I'm sure the fact that I don't supplement their watering doesn't help matters.

In any case, if you happen to have prickly pears on hand, and wish to make jelly, I hear the trick to making it gel is to throw in a couple unripe ones - as fully ripened prickly pears don't have much pectin.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

September's Sampler!

September's Sampler Arrived - it's like getting a semi-surprise self gift in the mail!

Some of my favorite items are pictured above...they include:

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Darn it, I missed!

I missed my official Blogiversary. How sad is that?

In the past year I've gone from knitting rectangles, very nice, but they were just knitting lace, the occasional garment, and I'm still cranking on my first official pair of socks. I've learned to spin, to support my fiber addiction...and I've learned how to crochet :) Not bad.

I've continued to cook and play in the kitchen, tho not much that has been blog worthy...

And I've managed to make friends with people who have somehow, one way or another, stumbled into my little piece of the internet. Thanks for popping by and dropping the occasional comment :) I appreciate each and every one!

Here's to more blogging and more random friendships!

Monday, September 19, 2005

C is for Cookie!

I love chocolate chip cookies. Especially fresh out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk. Mmmmmm.

While I don't have a set recipe for the Chinese feast I cooked up in celebration of my Lunar birthday (a huge vat of hot and sour soup and fried dumplings :P), I do happen to have a link to the recipe I used for these tasty chocolate chip cookies.

Head over here for the details.

And no, the chocolate chip cookies were not served with the Chinese food - we had mooncake for dessert, of course!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Celebrating the Harvest Moon

And my lunar birthday! I was born on the same day as the harvest moon in the Chinese calendar - and as such, I mark the date with the Mooncake festival every year :) I am partial to yolk free mooncakes, even though they are not considered as auspicious as those with yolks inside. This year I couldn't decide between Mung Bean cakes or Lotus Seed I bought a box of each. Yum!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Early Presents are the Best!

While I was delivering some Kilt Lifter to her and her husband as a thank you gift, Raquel surprised me with an early birthday present! Thank you Raquel! Isn't it lovely? Creative and reusable packaging (wooden wine bottle case) stuffed full with eight ounces of stunning blue-hued merino/tussah silk roving! Hooray! I haven't tried yet, but I suspect the wooden case will be just the perfect size to stuff my spindle inside along with some roving for a little bit of protection. I love it. And in my favorite color too :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fire up those needles...

it's nearing holiday time.
That's right, Halloween candy is in the aisles...and next thing you know it it'll be stuff-yerself-with-Turkey day and then the official count down begins.

As such, the knitting needles have been pressed into action - various gifts are in the planning stage, others are in the execution stage :)

Of course, there's also some Personal Knitting going on...a pair of socks, Cozy (which actually got worked on this past weekend - 24 more rows done, and nearing the end of my 2nd skein of yarn - at least I *think* it's the end of the 2nd skein...I can't remember - the poor thing has been stuck on needles longer than I can remember. ) I'm flirting with the idea of knitting Leaves in Relief, though I'm thinking of doing it with a cabled braid down the sleeve instead of all those twining leaves....I certainly have the yarn for it - 1 full kilo of worsted wt cream colored Irish yarn...

Friday, September 09, 2005


Look! She's done! More details on her creation can be found here. She and Pasha are good friends - and they are going to be winging their way to a pair of sweet little girls who have been evacuated from their home due to Hurricane Katrina. I suspect when they evac'd they didn't take many toys, so hopefully these two will bring a bit of brightness to them.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cat Bits

I've been taking a break from knitting to crochet....
... and I've found that while I can crochet reasonably quickly, and I love the fact that there's only one loop to keep track of, crocheting hurts my hand :( I don't know if it's the way I hold the hook, or if the hook handle is simply too small...

In any case, I have completed all the bits and pieces for a Matcha/Skimima/Flo & José - like kitty...and finishing syndrome has set in. What is it with finishing that makes me want to procrastinate and set it aside for later? Most of the hard work is done...all that is left is to put all the pieces together, after all!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

All Skeined Up!

:) amazing the difference lighting makes...I am continuing to struggle to get accurate representation of the color of this yarn. Anyhow, there they are...all skeined up :) Aren't they lovely?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pure Nerd.

Pure Nerd
69 % Nerd, 26% Geek, 21% Dork

For The Record: A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia. A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one. A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions. You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.
The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Prettily Plied

I'm very pleased to report that plying goes a lot faster than spinning :)

For a more details and bigger photos, go look here.

Of course, I haven't decided what I'm going to do with this yarn yet...I've got plenty more roving in this colorway - I think I bought 8 ounces total.

I'm currently contemplating keeping the small hank for myself to play with while offering up the larger hank for sale. In case you're wondering, the larger hank is 50g (about 2.5 oz) and contains about 79 yards (72.5 meters) of yarn.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ready to Ply!

Well...Almost Ready to ply anyway :) I've got a full spindle of lovely Mojave colored Merino Roving spun up into singles - or one long single anyway. What is the proper terminology - does anyone know?

The plan is to transfer the yarn from the spindle onto a ballwinder so I can try to ply this into a 2 ply yarn using a center pull ball - I was going to try the Andean bracelet trick, but I'm worried that 1) I will wind up winding it too tightly around my hand and 2) the yarn will be prone to twisting on itself making a snarled mess.