Friday, December 30, 2005

A Steaming Pot of....

No, that is not my dinner - it's 2 pounds of yarn - split into four packages....dyed with KoolAid and Gel food dye.

In case you're wondering why it doesn't look like 2 pounds of yarn, the first reason is because you're looking at the top of 4 packages of yarn...the second is because the pot is monstrous. I bought it ages ago for vat's 18 inches in diameter...and I could probably put 2 more pounds of yarn in there.

I have to admit, it certainly took a lot longer to handpaint these than I thought it would - first, the winding of the yarn onto an extra large niddy noddy took a long time, and provided all kinds of entertainment for the cats. Then the tying of the yarn at semi-frequent segments (I think I settled on 16 ties per skein of yarn) - I had a little accident with one where I was not paying attention and snipped the actual yarn in addition to trimming the ties *sigh*. Then the soaking - in case you're wondering, two pounds of yarn just barely fits into my kitchen sink. And then there was the mixing of dye - I was going for 1 packet of drink mix per ounce of fiber, - it turned out that wasn't quite enough (ran out of dye mix as I was dying) so in some cases I had to mix more...either that or perhaps I didn't dilute it enough *shrug*. Then there was the matter of handpainting - or in my case, hand syringing (I used a 10cc syringe to inject dye all over the skein that was draped over yards of plastic wrap on my kitchen counter). Then the wrapping and transferring to the dyepot...

Stay tuned for the results - all I can say for now is that the house smells of a fruity wet sheep.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm on a Roll!

I'm liking this time away from work :) It's really letting me spend some quality time crafting.

In following with the suggestions made on the Poll I took a while back, I cast on for a pair of socks (and since the next project down from the socks was an aran sweater, I found a heavily cabled pattern for you cable fans) - these beauties flew off the needles (in more way than one - hooray for cabling sans cable needle!) and were finished in about a weeks time.

One of the bigger challenges was knitting the stockinette cable pattern on the heel flap - cabling across the back would have been bad enough, but in this case, it adds twisted stitches to the mix - the cables are comprised entirely of twisted knit stitches - according to the pattern writer, the twisted stitches stand out more strongly against the background - I have no idea if this is the case, but the pattern on the socks came out fantastically. More details can be found over here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Still tuned in?

Thank goodness they didn't take my crochet hook away on the airplane - otherwise I wouldn't have made much progress on my little amigurumi kitty! (well, that and the five+ hour flight home would have been even more boring!)

I'm a sucker for amigurumi - and they're fun (and relatively easy to make!)

For more details, and larger photos, click here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hooray, Holidays!

The Main Day of celebration has gone, and I was touched by the various thoughtful gifts and calls that were received - I'm especially enjoying the crafty gifts and those that enhance my various stashes (I'm such a sucker for people who enhance my stashes - especially when I have a self-imposed stash reduction effort underway!)

We spent the day enjoying each others company, catching up with far flung relatives, watching Harry Potter (finally!), and playing with gifts. Dinner was fantastic, and if anyone has suggestions on what I can do with ham, I'd be happy to hear it. We've already done the ham omelets/fritattas, and the bone is destined for soup - regardless, I've got several pounds of ham destined for the freezer.

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and that your celebrations are merry and full of joy!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays!

During some downtime last week from knitting and spinning, I decided to get a little sewing in and finished Gustaf off just in time for a last minute holiday postal run.

More details on Gustaf can be found here.

Best wishes for a very happy holidays, whichever of them you are celebrating :)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Kitty Cuddle Time

With Friday finally here, and all the holiday craziness running amok, I feel just like these two - in serious need of flopping down on the bed for some veg time. Hooray for use it or lose it vacation - I'm officially off regular work til next year! That means some nice decompressing time with the crafts and the kitchen - and if I actually manage to get my act together, I'll have crafting in the kitchen in the way of hand painted yarn!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Stay tuned...

While I was whiling away time on the plane the last week, I was playing with hooking instead of knitting.

I was working on a little something from this book - Amigurumi Collection Vol 1 - ISBN? Of course! It's 4309265723 and it looks like this:

What is it? Well, you'll have to stay tuned and see :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Happy Solstice Day!

While I've determined that none of the stores I visited in NYC carry Dale of Norway Hauk, and my LYS doesn't either, I've cast on for a pair of socks and I've done some spinning (see? I do listen to my readers :D) And in order to also placate those that voted for the aran sweater, I hope you'll be happy to hear that the socks involve lots and lots and lots of cabling (sorry, I'm having lighting problems and am not satisfied with the photos I've taken, so no photos of the SIP (socks in progress)). Incidentally, I've no photos of the spinning either, but then again, I never find bobbins very enticing to look at. I'm still hunting for things to ply with - I had thought of just plying with a variegated thread, but figured that might be kinda boring. I've got a pile more of the fiber to predraft and load onto my distaff and another bobbin to load - so I've got some time before I decide if I'm going to ply the singles together like I have done with my other yarns or if I'll ply them with a comercially spun thread or other yet to be obtained (hello, shopping!) goodies.

Anyhow, I'll probably be doing some online shopping around for Hauk, or I might just buy up some Heilo and call it a day and cast on for that hat. After all if water resistance is really an issue, the hat can always be Scotch-guarded or DWR treated after the fact!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gocco Frenzy

If you haven't heard already, the Gocco print machine is being discontinued. (Read details here) I hear supplies for printing will still be available for several years, possibly longer, depending on demand.

What does this have to do with me? A Gocco-less, drawing-challenged individual? Well, I like the idea of Gocco. With electronic tools on hand, to help me with creating images, it actually makes it possible that if I *did* have a Gocco, I could make my own cards, etc.

Of course, with all this hoo-ha about the Gocco being discontinued, it is creating a run on Gocco machines amongst crafty folk. I've caught whiff of the Gocco frenzy but am resisting, and am still going round and round with myself as to whether or not I ought to purchase a Gocco or not. I have to admit that many of my other crafts are falling by the wayside as I continue to be focused on Fiber. Ah well, I will admit to "shopping around" for a Print Gocco machine, and most places are currently sold out and are on backorder.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A wee bit of weekend baking

Yes, I do realize that the traditional sugar cutout cookies and gingerbread men are missing, my excuse is we've been hit by whatever bug is making the rounds - I'm up and moving with just a few sniffles and a cough that might be more related to the stagnant air and high pollution advisories, but I just didn't have the energy to do full out holiday cookie decorating madness (some of you might remember the time I was up until 3am decorating snowflake shaped sugar cookies...on a work night).

Anyhow, I did manage to get some holiday baking done - not enough to permeate me with the smell of butter, sugar and vanilla, so I am drawn to eating these. I've boxed up the majority of them to take to work tomorrow to get them out of the house. Bigger photo and a recipe can be found here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Need a dose of Cute?

If the holiday rush has in you in a daze and you need a dose of cuteness, go here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Non Traditional Holiday Baking

Well, nontraditional for me anyhow. Holiday Baking for me generally consists of cookies. Lots and lots and lots of cookies.

Somehow I'm off my game, and unless the mood strikes this weekend, the opportunity will have passed for my Holiday Baking Madness. Why is that? Well, mostly because I can't stand to have all those baked goods sitting around my house - once I've moved onto the 3rd or 4th batch of cookies, the smell of butter, sugar and vanilla generally keep me away from the goodies. Unfortunately I haven't gotten to that natural block yet, and I've got the increase at my waistline to prove it. In any case, 3 or 4 batches of cookies usually turns me off the butter and sugar for a while, so if I intend to go all out for a baking extravaganza, I need to make sure I have an outlet to off load all those cookies (or they will go to waste). And no matter how much I want to bake, I prefer my holiday time away from work :)

Anyhow, you know the drill :) I've compiled more info about those tasty little cupcakes over here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FO = Naked Needles!

The needles are naked!

But my feet aren't :) You're looking at my first ever socks - quite luxurious being made of a wool/soysilk blend yarn, but quite plain as they are simply stockingette with 2x2 ribbing for the cuff. Details and another photo here.

While I was away and waiting for the poll results of what I should cast on for next, I settled for a little bit of hooking and I've just got a little bit of assembly to complete. In case you're wondering what the outcome was, it appears the winner was the Fair Isle Pirates hat, tied happily with Spinning. Since I don't have the yarn for the hat, I will probably cruise my sock patterns, do a little swatching and see what socks I might be able to cast on for next while I hunt for Hauk (my most convenient LYS does not carry Hauk - they might have Heilo, but it's not teflon treated, which would be a big advantage for an outdoor hat).

Help me decide - what shall I cast on for next?

They Call Them Pirates Hat - yarn needed! 21%5
Miter Squares (for a blanket) - Cotton Ease Stashbuster 4%1
Socks! (pattern TBD) - Sock Yarn Stashbuster 17%4
Aran Sweater (I'm liking Irish Moss by Starmore) - Natural Wool Stashbuster 13%3
Kitty Pi Bed - Reclaimed Felting Yarn Stashbuster 8%2
Buttonhole Bag - Felting Wool Stashbuster 4%1
French Market Bag - Felting Wool Stashbuster 4%1
Minis (sweaters and socks) - ornaments for NEXT YEAR 0%0
Lace scarf - Doucer et Soie Stashbuster 8%2
forget the knitting, what happened to the spinning?! 21%5
24 votes total

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm Back!

I had intended to write a much more lengthy post explaining my absence, but I'm not feeling particularly well. I suspect it is post travel illness :( darn that recycled cabin air!

Anyhow, I was off on the East Coast for work.

Leaving my home, I nearly had my crochet hook confiscated (apparently it looks like a threatening object in the x-ray machine).

It was cold. There was a snow storm (just a mini one, but the panic was all the same it seems)

Ribby and Kepler were both featured during the trip with great success.

While I was over yonder in the land of cold whiteness, I visited my brother and sister in law, my big sis, and Marie. Marie is much more organized than I am when it comes to getting her shop going, and she even has stuff selling at various shops (including her own)! I must say thanks to her for carting me hither and yon to various knit shops (and talking spinning talk with me). I must say, I persevered in not adding to the Ridiculous Stash - hoping only to find some Dale of Norway Hauk with which to cast on for that Pirate Hat (since that's what seemed to be winning). I was nearly undone by some wool-silk Alchemy and some gorgeousness by Artfibers. Since the hat and the spinning were tied though, I figured I should either settle for Hauk or roving. Neither of which were available. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Freezing Cold!

Seems the entire country is experiencing cold temps!

The good news is all my hand knits are getting used! Hooray!

Sadly, it seems I don't have that many hand knits that I can wear - I've given away a bunch of things (it turns out I don't actually own a handknit scarf of my own - I've gifted away all the ones I've ever knit!), and for a while, I was doing softies (3 penguins, catnip mice and 1 crochet kitty) most of which have all gone to new homes as well. The few cold weather knits that I have made have been worn - Ribby Cardi, Fuzzy Feet and Kepler!

In other news, my needles are now officially naked. Stay tuned for photos and details of the most recent FO! While I'm waiting for the poll to get populated, I've been spinning - I'm still trying to decide if that yarn will be left as singles or if it will be plied. If you haven't voted or left comments on what I should cast on for next, the poll is still open - go vote now (you can pick more than one! scroll to the bottom of this post to vote)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Stuff For Sale

Don't forget to place your vote on what I need to cast on for next! I'm rapidly closing on the end of the socks I have on needles...I'm just trying to run out the rest of the yarn in the cuff before I bind off (and then I will have *gasp* NAKED NEEDLES!)

The next round of items is up for sale on eBay.

I've got the following listed:
  • Nearly New Doc Martens 10 hole boots
    color: black
    Size: UK7, US Mens 8, US Womens 9 (according to the Doc Martens site anyway)
    They are a bit too big for me, I usually wear a size 6 Doc Marten, but somehow got confused when I bought this pair.
  • Matfer Professional Mandolin
    I even have the instructional video! It slices, dices, waffles and juliennes! Alright, maybe it doesn't dice, but it does make quick work of apples, potatoes, carrots and other veggies. I've just found I'm handier with my small cutlery collection and I just don't do waffle or ripple cut things often enough to keep it.
  • Minolta 35mm semi-pro Maxxum 7000i SLR
    We've gone digital, and this excellent film camera is collecting dust.
    Included are:
    • The body of the camera, of course
    • Minolta Maxxum 28mm AF Lens
    • Minolta 70-210mm AF Zoom Lens with Tiffen Sky 1A Filter
    • Minolta 3200i Flash
  • Canon Elph LT APS film Camera
    A nice little pocket size point and shoot that uses Advantix style film.
For full details, photos and to bid, please visit the individual listings on eBay.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Weekend Diversion

You people are definitely not all about the immediate gratification on knitting projects are you? ;) Right now, the fair isle pirate skull cap is winning, with the Aran Sweater running a close second. If you haven't done so already, go and add your votes and/or comments. I'll leave it open for another week then I guess I'll be casting on and doing your bidding ;)

In other news, I actually did a little baking this weekend. Nowhere near what I usually do for the holidays, and only one kind - it was a new recipe to me, pointed out by Mariko.

Want to drool over more photos?

Or just want the recipe? Both can be found here, at my poorly neglected Food Blog.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Next Knitting!

For those that are still furiously holiday knitting, don't forget to call 1-877-SOS-KNIT (toll free in the US and Canada!)

I had all these ambitions for holiday knitting, but quickly threw in the towel and will have to space my holiday knitting over the course of a year, I think. All I accomplished was this before I got distracted by selfish knitting. Of course, it doesn't help that I did rounds of scarves last year - and I still have a few people in my family who have not received anything hand knit yet - I'm sure I'll have to remedy that soon or people will think I'm playing favorites :P - or perhaps I should just learn from Kiki's comments on Gift Knitting.

Anyhow, I'm now pondering what next to cast on for - I'm planning on starting up some more amigurimi crochet, mostly because it's a little faster (or so it seems) but then again it could well be because they are all such small projects they fly off the hook quickly! Other than a pair of socks that are nearing their finish, I'm sans projects right now (amazing!!!)

So...what *shall* I cast on for next? I'm partially of a mind to get a whole mess of projects for felting going - that way I can stuff them all in the wash at the same time...but at the same time, there are plenty of other things to cast on for as well - I've got plenty of yarn in the stash that needs to be whittled down. What *is* a blogger to do? Why turn it over to her readers of course :) Please vote, I'll probably cast on for the top 2 items.

By the way, I may have finally found a pattern that might suit my husband (who has, to date, turned down the offers of sweaters, socks, slippers and clogs). What miracle pattern brought about this change? Hello Yarn's "We Call them Pirates." Of course, as luck would have it, I do not have yarn for that pattern - which would mean stash enrichment rather than stash busting - oh well ;)

Help me decide - what shall I cast on for next? (you can pick more than 1!)
They Call Them Pirates Hat - yarn needed!
Miter Squares (for a blanket) - Cotton Ease Stashbuster
Socks! (pattern TBD) - Sock Yarn Stashbuster
Aran Sweater (I'm liking Irish Moss by Starmore) - Natural Wool Stashbuster
Kitty Pi Bed - Reclaimed Felting Yarn Stashbuster
Buttonhole Bag - Felting Wool Stashbuster
French Market Bag - Felting Wool Stashbuster
Minis (sweaters and socks) - ornaments for NEXT YEAR
Lace scarf - Doucer et Soie Stashbuster
forget the knitting, what happened to the spinning?!


Free polls from

Darn it, I missed out again!

*sigh* turns out SHF (sugar high friday) and IMBB joined forces for a virtual cookie swap. Of course, I was busy playing somewhere in remote canyons, and falling behind on my holiday duties...

The first half of the wrapup is posted and I will be perusing it closely so I can start up the baking machine and start on my holiday baking...while madly trying to finish holiday gift preparation and holiday card addressing! Go have a look, but make sure you're not hungry when you do - who can resist all the photos of all the lovely cookies?! (not me, that's for certain!)