Tuesday, January 31, 2006

First KAL for the New Year?

Well....I swatched. And I did math - lots and lots of math. I think I have a Random Button around too that can be used to close the sweater.

What am I yammering about? The KAL is Yarn Harlot's crazy Knitting Olympics. The object of my craziness? The Teva Durham Leaf Lace pullover. Knit in Southwest Trading Company Optimum in Lilac (I think - or maybe it's Plum) - whatever it is, it's purple, and it's sitting on the side table waiting for the designated start time, along with my copious notes. I sure hope I did the math right...and I'm also hoping I have enough yarn. In order to try to mitigate the possibility of shortage, the following strategy has been planned: 1) knit the sleeves, together of course...even tho they have different motifs on them 2) Knit the top and finally 3) Knit the bottom, and if the yarn is looking short, graft away and hope to heck it's not a belly baring sweater.

Am I nuts?
Oh well. According to some, this is not a new development.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Cats on the Brain

Don't they look like twins?

Okay, maybe not completely...but humor me here!

Anyhow, the little cat is indeed inspired by the big handsome one. And I had to prove I could design other animals other than sheep (tho there is really nothing wrong with sheep :D)

This guy is easier to create than the sheep, in that he is created entirely of "regular" yarn, and the seaming didn't seem particularly challenging.

With some luck, I'll have a new creature added to my growing menagerie fairly regularly, but I'm not promising anything.

And in case you're wondering, the pattern is indeed up for sale in my shop.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I Love Pirates.

Amazing! I've managed to complete my pirate hat - and much more quickly than anticipated :) I think I actually finished it within a week of when it was cast on (I'm behind in my blogging, what can I say?)

Details, as usual, can be found over here (you really should read on - it's up for adoption).

It's fair to say I'm addicted to fair isle now, and am planning a 2nd Pirate Hat (mostly because the first is too small for an adult, my own fault) and I'm tempted by the Teva Durham Bias Fair Isle sweater in Loop-d-Loop.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Olympic Training?

I was all fired up to join in on the Knitting Olympics, that is, until 1) Work went to heck in a handbasket and me up to my eyeballs in taskforce meetings 2) I realized I didn't have yarn required for the project I had planned. What project was this you ask? The Teva Durham Leaf Lace Pullover. For me to complete this project while not enhancing the stash would mean mucho math. And while I'm not opposed to mathematics (I am, after all, an enginerd) my brain has been mush and not mathematics friendly of late. I could go ahead and cast on the Misti Alpaca and see about doing another Pirate Hat.

So then I thought hey - maybe I could join the Crochet Olympics instead, but then I wasn't sure what I could crochet.

What would probably do me best tho, considering the recent haul of fiber would be the Spinning Olympics, wherein I attempt to spin a bobbin a day or something like that...Of course, seeing as I only have 4 bobbins, I would have to finish off or wind off a mess of singles...

Course, I could just say I don't need this additional stress and finish off that cat bed, after all the winter won't be staying long and the cats need more furniture :P

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Have you ever wondered...

How big a box is required to hold 40 lbs of fiber?

Well now you know. :P Cat and 1qt/1L Nalgene bottle included for scale.

I have not taken a photo of all the luscious fiber inside the box, mostly because it is just plain shameful. Most of the fiber is colored solids, so I can play with blending color - see the drum carder on the counter? It's out of its box...and just waiting to be loaded...

There is, of course, a bunch of solid white/ecru in there, so I can start with the hand painting...of course, this means at some point, I'm going to have to make a dye purchase. I'm hearing good things about Lanaset Dyes...and I'm a little familiar with Dharma Trading Co...but of course, I'd love to hear about other dyes. I'm ready to expand from Koolaid!

Friday, January 20, 2006

New Tricks!

I'm learning all kinds of new tricks these days!

See? Here is the beginning of my first fair isle project :) I'm considerably further than when I took these photos - I've been a bit preoccupied and haven't been the best at updating my blog :P

Anyhow, I think I'm addicted. I'm knitting two-handed (ha ha) meaning, I'm knitting with the main color in one hand and the contrast color in the other. The knitting seems to be moving along smoothly, with no puckering or pinching. We'll see how it comes out at the end. Some of the stitches aren't terribly defined - I'm not sure if it's because my tension is a little wonky or if it's because I'm knitting fingering wt yarn on US3s (I started on 4s to try to hit gauge, but things looked way too loose). The hat seems to fit (yes, I tried it on and it looked more like a hairband) but it might make the skulls look a little weird - there's plenty of stretch in the fabric, but because I'm on needles a little larger than recommended for the yarn, the floats might show thru when stretched.

Lookie Lookie! Another Finished Object! Isn't it lovely? :) In addition to learning how to knit fair isle, I learned how to install a faucet. Much mumbling, cursing, grumbling and chocolate later, it is happily installed with no leaks - and it works wonderfully! It's such an improvement over the el cheapo faucet that originally came with the house!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I've been Memed

Somehow, I got Memed. Seeing as it was interesting reading, I'll play along.

First: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.
Easy enough :) Here we go.
making (nee stitch marker)
step into my thimble
Brooklyn Handspun
Half Baked

Next: Select five people to tag:
Alrighty then, here they are:
Another Chris
the Luscious Gracious Clan

Finally, answer the following questions:
What were you doing 9 years ago?
I was bright eyed and bushy tailed...well, figuratively speaking, of course. A total green newbie to corporate life. Eeeek! Has it been that long?!

What were you doing 6 years ago?
I was properly aged and a true cynic, looking desperately for ways out of corporate servitude (I haven't found an escape to my liking yet). I was likely also lamenting the tech stock crash.

What were you doing one hour ago?
I was watching the plumber install the new water heater * (*I should note that I am typing this entry and saving it for posting for later.....)

Name 3 movies you can't turn off if you stumble across them on television.
Any of the Lord of the Rings Series
Any Wallace and Grommit movie - including Chicken Run (even tho Wallace, nor Grommit was in the movie, it has Wallace and Grommit Feeling)
Any Pixar movie, because Pixar does wonderful work - their animation is wonderful and the storylines and presentation are fantastic :)
Thank goodness the question wasn't about what type of TV shows I get sucked into :)

Name 3 things you want to improve upon this year.
Time management
Weight management
Financial Health (I'm aiming to get out of Corporate servitude, remember?)

Name 3 things you can't live without
Fine Foods, Friends and Fiber
Wonderful Wilderness
Good Health

Name 3 things you could (live without)....
Corporate Servitude
Bureaucratic Nonsense
Bush in Office (oops, did I just let show my colors?).

Name 3 things you really like about yourself.
My curiosity to learn - nothing in particular, I just like to learn new things!
My ability to pick up new skills quickly
My ability to problem solve. I know, that sounds nerdy, but it certainly provides a fantastic sense of accomplishment!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Chocolate Kind of Day

Being "grown up" can be such a blessing...and a curse :P Our house is starting to show signs of its age. The last couple of days have been spent learning about the joys of plumbing and spending lots of unforecast money (this after already deciding to take the plunge about getting serious with my handspinning business!) it's driven me to Chocolate.

Chocolate firmly in hand, I'm learning how to contort myself in strange ways to fit under the kitchen sink so I can replace a faucet. I even had to buy a funny looking wrench for the job! The other major plumbing fiasco has professionals coming to fix it. Lets just say it involves a dreadful odor of something burning, a tripped breaker and no hot water.

Speaking of Chocolate, I highly recommend this stuff:

Especially the peanut butter variety. It's a perfect sweet and salty combination, as proclaimed on the bag - and it's like crack terribly addictive. Anyhow, enough "resting" in front of the computer. I have chocolate a faucet to tend to.

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's Lambing Season!

Just as cute, if not cuter than the lambs I designed for Southwest Trading Company, and inspired by the little lambs I see in fields this time of year, I present my first pattern available for sale in my shop!

They are made out of SWTC yarns, mostly because those are what I have on hand these days. I have been successful in making these sheep out of other yarns and note that while the Karaoke is easier to find substitutes for, the Feather is quite unique. If you know of yarns like it, to use as a substitute, please feel free to leave a comment!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Round and Round we go...

No, you're not seeing things - those fat little slubs and coils were put there on purpose! And no, the photo doesn't do that skein justice - a closeup, and more info on what's doin' can be found here. But if you don't want to go there, I'm planning on offering up more unique yarns by way of my handspun sometime in the future. When? Not sure. Soon, I hope - I'm just having some problems figuring out how to knit, crochet, design patterns and spin all in my rather limited spare time. Does anyone have a functioning Time Turner?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Come out, Come out Wherever you are!

Apparently, this week was National De-Lurking Week!

Unfortunately, I'm slow to catch on, and the end of the week is nigh!

Please, if you are a lurker, leave me a comment - first, because I love comments, second, because if you have your blog identified in your blogger profile (or if you don't have a profile, leave your blog address instead) I happen to love seeing "who" my readers are!

If you don't feel like leaving a comment, think about leaving a pin on my Frappr Map!

If you're super motivated, do both!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I have no willpower.

I am weak. An absolute Wimp with a capitol W when it comes to yarn sales - even more so when I can get my hands on said yarn to feel it up good and proper before it goes into the shopping basket. The original intent was to purchase some yarns for spinning - or rather for plying and some yarn so I can start that Pirate Hat...

Anyhow, behold, the yarns for spinning - in their glittery glory - 5 balls of fancy yarn to use while plying - a little something to add some shimmer to my handspun goods. The white stuff is actually an iridescent glittery yarn, and the red is Flame colored Little Flowers from Crystal Palace. I couldn't resist.

Here is a small pile of yarn that is destined to become pirate hats. I figured the red and black actually matches the yarn that is called out in the pattern - the baby ull will require some futzing to get it to hit the gauge requirements. Wish I had known Adrian was going to release matching mittens, I would have picked up extra - as it is, I'm going to have to figure out what to do for the linings in the hats as I didn't get extra yarn, and I really don't have any sport weight yarn in my stash - which would be why I had to enhance the stash to get those hats done!

What's that? Oh, the blue stuff? You're right and you're terribly observant - I've broken the resolve to not stash enhance already. I couldn't help it. I've been wanting that stuff ever since I first saw it in a yarn shop - and was successful in ignoring the urge til this last round. Clicky clicky on the photo for a closeup. It's Noro Lotus, in case you're wondering, and no, I really have no idea what it's going to turn into. I might actually have to get a WPI tool so I can try to spin to match it. In addition to the hoard above, I picked up a small group of Addi Turbos (some normal addi's and some Addi Naturas) because my Phildars don't have the smoothest of joins (that, and they were included in the sale).

Last, but not least...remember what I said about being weak? Everything, and I mean *everything* in the store was on sale - that includes the item in the box...if I didn't already have a spinning wheel, it would have been a good time to buy one - I settled for a fine cloth drum carder instead. In an effort to fool myself, it's still in the box, waiting patiently in front of my wheel. (I figure I'm not really committed until I take it out of the box - then again, my wise husband inquires how I know I will like it unless I open the box - it's a catch 22, I tell you!) I intend to use it for custom blending fibers - both by way of color and fiber type. I guess I ought to get that fiber biz moving, eh? I've got to start off setting the capitol expenses!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

So Spoiled!

My cats are terribly spoiled.

Here is Troy, lounging around in a catbed, created by me, expressly for him - he fills it perfectly...but I have to admit, that may simply be coincidence :D

If you're curious as to how it was done, I've posted what I recall of the process over here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Feeling Sheepish

The tail end of last week and a good portion of the weekend was spent on increasing the size of my herd.

Incidentally, this guy is a bit different from the first group - though they do go together quite nicely.

To find out why I was busy making sheep, read on here.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Fruitastic Yarn!

Honestly, it didn't take a week for the yarn to dry...It only took a few days, but I got distracted, what with returning to work and all (what a drag, I was on such a crafty roll too!)

Anyhow, I'm fairly pleased with how it all came out. The fiber still has lingering fruit smell, and the fruity sheep smell has dissipated (thank goodness!

As usual, finished photos and more detail can be found by reading here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Late to the Party

As I cast on for new projects in 2006, I'd like to present the last of my creations of 2005 - one for each workday between Christmas and New Years - 5 brightly colored birds to say "howdy do!" As usual, more details can be had over here.

New Year Projects have started - I've prepared the wheel for some spinning, and while I wait for the local yarn shop sale this weekend (so I can finally cast on for that Pirate Hat), I have decided to make a dent in my stash and cast on for the Kitty Pi Bed. The Kitty is pleased, every time I lay that project on the floor, she is immediately sitting on top of it :) Hopefully she'll love it just as much once it's felted!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Looking Backwards and Forwards

2005 was a fantastic year - especially when it comes to crafting and "meeting" all kinds of new people when it comes to blogs!

Accomplishments in 2005 included:
Learning how to spin, on both a spindle and a wheel
Learning how to crochet
Plenty of new knitting techniques - including reading charts, knitting lace, ditching dpns to knit socks from the toe up and the cuff down, and learning to cable without a cable needle!
Finished objects were numerous (I'm actually quite surprised, since it really didn't seem like I was finishing much of anything at the time!), and included:
1 long sleeved shrug
1 cardigan (hooray, Ribby!)
various baby gifts, including 2 pairs of baby booties, a matching sweater and hat, and a pinafore
3 works of lace
numerous scarves
a rather neat menagerie of creatures
a felted bag, a photo of which appeared in Creative Knitting
a fancy tank
and finally, some Cabled Goodness in two varieties

This year, I hope for lots of things - I hope for continued and new friendships, good health, plenty of creativity, and the time management skills to be able to do it all ;) . With cabling and sock knitting down, my next task is to conquer color knitting :) Other fiber pursuits include massive stash reduction, getting my fiber business off the ground, and learning how to turn out a spectacular supercoil. I have plenty of other hopes that are non-fiber related too, but those seem rather mundane - from improving my health and fitness, to learning to live more simply and with less stuff and all kinds of things in between.

I don't know what it is about the beginning of a new year - either time time away from work has been particularly energizing, or it's just the mental thing of starting anew - whatever it is, I'm liking it, and I hope to remain energized for quite some time!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ringing in the New Year!

A Bell to Ring in the New Year!

Before I get too far in this post, I want to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

All kinds of creatures wear bells...

Any idea what might be sporting this bell?

If I had been more on top of things, I might have ordered some fancy ones to remind me of my trip to the Swiss Alps, where in addition to the melodic lowing and bleating one could hear the sounds of all kinds of bells as the herd moved on the hillsides.

Anyhow, for more info (and a photo) of the creature(s) wearing this bell, click here!