Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

If ever there is a canyon that reminded me of Halloween spookiness, it's this one. Its a canyon that we visited this past summer - in case you're wondering, the canyon's name is "Not Mindbender" - other than the crazy spiders (yuck) and the biting flies, it was a lovely canyon ;) The spiders tho are what made it so creepy - deep in the dark sections of the canyon, there were huge pulsating mats of daddy long legs - now I don't know about you, but daddy long legs give me the heebie jeebies.

The taking of this photograph was fun - as you are looking at everyone on the trip in that photo - three of whom were toting cameras. Me, I was too busy being a "poser" so I don't usually tote a camera with me :P Incidentally, for this particular shot, the 3 cameras were all propped on various rock and sandy surfaces with their autotimers set up - and much running ensued to get back in the frame to effect a casual and relaxed pose. A real shame we forgot our Santa Hats - it would have made for a great holiday shot!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blankets on the Brain

I love the looks of quilts - especially the traditional geometric variety. Unfortunately it seems I am always doing battle with the sewing machine or the fabric (I can't seem to cut fabric properly to save my life) - but that doesn't mean I can't be inspired!

Witness all the evidence:

While at a craft fair last week, I decided I needed something simple and portable to knit. The socks I'm working are definitely not simple, nor is the lace - especially with all the beading...Frolic might be considered simple enough, but I didn't want to risk having to keep track of rows and I cast on for some mitered squares. I've had a Mitered square blanket in the queue for ages - after a few rough starts (stockinette miters have a little trickiness to them involving the moving and shifting of a pair of stitch markers) I have 4 miters completed (not all done at the craft fair ;)) - I'm doing 2 different striping patterns, 1 based on the fibonacci sequence...and the other based on one of the miter square blankets done by Mason Dixon Kay. We'll see if I have the bravery for some of the partial garter Miters as well...

While at the craft fair, I was situated in a booth right across the aisle from some ladies who were selling lovely quilts - one of which (notice the non-plain background above) now lives with me...while I aspire to be able to sew a quilt one day, it is not a day anytime in the remotely near future.

...Much more in line with my skill and ability are the projects in Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. That lovely book was a present from Amy. Baby steps, right? The projects in the book are great, with lovely photography (I'm such a sucker for good photography) - and clear instructions. I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with my sewing machine while working on some of the projects from the book.

And finally, a book that brings knitting and quilting motifs together: Kaffe Knits Again: 24 Original Designs Updated for Today's Knitters

I'm lucky enough to have received a review copy of Kaffe Fassett's new book - and it doesn't disappoint. The book is laid out nicely with stunning photography full of rich color - just what I would expect from Kaffe Fassett. Similar to some magazines, the book has all the glorious photos right at the beginning of the book - first a gallery of smaller thumbnail-like photos, followed by stunning full-page ones. All the pattern details (and charts galore) can be found after the collection of glorious photographs. The book itself is a treat to look at - I could spend hours gazing at the various photos just for their rich and vibrant hues. While the knitwear does not always appeal due to their blockier shapes, I know the bold motifs will easily transfer to other projects. I find I really enjoy the combination of geometric and organic patterns presented in this book. My particular favorites are the Big Flower Throw, Crosspatch, the Gridlock Throw, the Stepped Flowers stole, Cheviot Gardens, Mirage and Puzzle. I'm looking forward to spending more time with this book, soaking in the colors and perhaps even braving the world of intarsia again. If you've a fixation for glorious colorwork, I highly recommend this book :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Twisted Knitting.

~100 stitches, twisted and cabled = Bayerische. I am currently thinking of modifying the pattern to continue the cabling down the heel, just like Mizar has its cables straight down the heel...I think I'm crazy. At least I cast on for them in Soctober :D though there is no hope of my finishing them before the month is out. Seems the nonstop lace knitting of late has taken a toll on my wrists/forearms. I feel the dreaded tendinitis creeping in again, so I'm trying to find ways to still get some knitting in without damaging myself further - I've taken to knitting English style again to see if that helps at all...if it doesn't then I'm going to have to curtail the knitting and spend time doing other prep yarn for dyeing ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


a "waterfall" of yarn on my stairs while I do inventory

Whenever I get a box of yarn in, I always unpack the box - first, so I can do inventory, and second, so I can move the yarn to the Storage Room (or wherever else I'm going to squirrel it away until it's ready to be dyed). Often times, this results in cascades of yarn flowing down my stairs.

One of the yarns I'm all stocked up on is a new base that I worked with a mill to design. It's a three-ply fat fingering yarn, and it's gorgeous once dyed and fluffed up (and it's not too bad plain either ;) ) It's name is Sidhe - and it is available for purchase in its naked and natural state at the shop!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Lovely, isn't it? And I was just thinking I was in need of a shawl pin :)
Letoya made it as a surprise for my birthday! I apparently am getting more girly with age, and love the pink tourmalines in it - did you know that tourmalines look different under different light sources? Well, it's true - in the photo above, they are a light clear pink - yet in the photo that Letyoya took they are appear to be a deep rich pink. I actually need to run around with it some and see for myself what they look like in different light settings. Incidentally, Letoya makes lots of pretty things, some of which she's made available over on etsy.

In case you're reading and wondering, no that isn't some sneak lace knitting that I haven't posted - it's the little portion of the Secret of Chrysopolis Stole that I've managed to complete. The stole is released through Clue 4, however I'm still knitting away on clue 1. The beads and their placement are my own doing - the pattern doesn't have beads incorporated. It's definitely a more challenging lace knit than Secret of the Stole, but I'm enjoying them the detriment of my other projects!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ever Evolving.

When we got our house, it was spacious and there was tons and tons of room. The house was perfectly sized - a nice large master bedroom for us, plus a room for each of the cats ;) Actually, the guest rooms were a nice size for I have no idea where to put guests anymore.

This particular room has likely seen the most drastic changes. It went from being a guest room, to a sewing room (you can't see the 2 sewing machines - one of which is an industrial beast that likes to try to eat fingers), to a gear storage room (when the other gear storage / music guest room needed overflow can hardly see any of the gear (partially due to creative cropping and the large quantities of other things in the room at this stage). Incidentally it seems I like to play with string in various varieties - the bright orange would happen to be a couple of new ropes I haven't broken into yet, and yes, that is a spool of rope on the floor.

The center of the room, which used to be used for blocking lace, is now covered in boxes of books (and no, that's not all of them) - I'm expecting about 25 more boxes to be moved into that room as soon as the rest of the books arrive from the Printer. The couch has turned into a storage shelf (it wasn't a very comfortable couch) - and it holds yarn inventory. And for the curious, no, that would not be all of my yarn. That's just *some* of my yarn (though it is mostly naked yarn). In the spirit of full disclosure, I should note that that the inventory currently overfloweth - I just received a shipment of base yarns (including the new one that I had specially designed just for Spritely Goods :D ). I've been running around trying to find places to store yarn, and I'm afraid I have to admit it's taken over the house. Too bad I haven't quite figured out how to make it work as insulation for the house ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekend Knitting

Secret of the Stole Hint 1 done
Seems I've been taking a little bit of a much needed break over the weekends to relax, recharge and knit.

One of the knit alongs that I seem to have been sucked into, the Secret of the Stole, has captured my attention - it's not what I think of as "typical" lace, as there are rather long stretches of straight knitting, though it has enough going on what with the motifs and beads to keep me entertained while I hang out with the cat :D

Since each hint is conveniently sent out on a Friday, it means if I'm not slated for other activities over the weekend, I spend the weekend knitting on it, often times finishing the hint sometime during the weekend.

completion of hint 2, unblocked of course :)

The stole is coming together quite smoothly, and the variegation of the CoffeePot Rock is quite alright in this pattern. The beads, unfortunately, don't really show up real well in the photo - I've decided to go with both the iridescent and the luster beads - the luster ones do show up much more readily as they are "solid" in color.

Seems I'm entranced with lace these days, with 2 of the 4 projects on the needles being lace (the other two are frolic and a pair of very complex socks...but more on those later). I've also joined *another* mystery shawl kal - the Mystic Waters KAL, and I'm trying to decide if I can spin up enough yarn out of a gorgeous wool-silk blend that Raquel gave me for my birthday the year I learned to spin....all this time it's been sitting quietly trying to decide what it wanted to become and it is starting to mumble at long last...the big question is whether or not I can spin finely enough to get over 1200 meters out of the fiber I have on hand....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Moth... not necessarily a four-letter word ;)

While this moth did bring a smidge of aggravation (eep - running out of yarn!), it was well worth all the effort at the end. Details and big photos and musings can all be found on the finished objects blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prelude to the Un Pinning

Sorry folks, I promise. Unpinned photos soon - for now you get to look at crinkly bits...I have to reiterate my amazement at the lace blocking process - the tiles on the floor are 12 inch tiles - so the moth, at rest, unblocked is somewhere close to 5 feet across the wingspan....blocked, I believe she is close to 8 feet across!

I love these bumps - they are actually the backside of the moth - backside of the fir cone lace portion, that is. Note their halo - that would be the high angora content showing itself :) This is going to be one heck of a warm shawl, I suspect!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A long strange road indeed....

Those of you who have been reading along for a while, have noticed that I like to play outdoors :) and on occasion, for information about where I've been playing, I link to another site regularly. You may have guessed that I am in some way affiliated to said site - and indeed I am - I'm the proud wife of Todd of Todd's Desert Hiking Guide, an extensive site dedicated to providing hiking routes and info (amongst other things) for the desert Southwest (primarily Arizona and Utah)....incidentally, the DH and I have been wrapped up working on a Really Big Project.

Over a year in the making, this project, in addition to the official launch of Spritely Goods are the biggest, most significant and most rewarding (and perhaps most frustrating at times too ;) ) "Finished Objects" I've ever had the pleasure to work on...

a book. Not a knitting book ;) - but a Hiking Guide for one of my favorite activities other than knitting :) It's chock full of photos, and I'm excited to say I can now add "Cover Girl" to the list of my accomplishments ;) The book is available for purchase directly through Todd's Desert Hiking Guide - we're in the process of setting up distribution to retail locations and If you happen to know of a book store or outdoor store that may be interested in carrying this book, I'd appreciate any contact info you can forward to me :)

I've learned a *ton* in the process of bringing this project to this stage, and I'm sure I'll continue to learn plenty more. Now that the books are in hand, I can say I'm very pleased with the results :)

Stay tuned for knitting content - even though she's been dry for days, I haven't unpinned the Wing of the Moth yet - was too busy moving boxes around ;)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Corona, Anyone?

No, not *that* kind of Corona!

Sorry for the slightly blurry photo - apparently the Macro setting wasn't working quite right on the camera. This would be one of the numerous scallopy Coronas on the edge of the Wing of the Moth Shawl. I do believe in aggressively blocking my each of the Coronas got 8 pins each to make sure they were nice and round :) I'm looking forward to the unpinning. All told, I probably used a box and a half (that would be about 150) T-pins to get the job done...

And out of the extra yarn I spun, this is all that was left. Notice how you can just start seeing thru the "wall" of the yarncake. Keeping an eye on the quickly collapsing yarn cake during the bind-off process was making me think that I was going to be needing a Corona...that's for sure!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yikes! It's Socktober!

Time is surely flying - I can't believe it's already October! Of course, I suppose the fact that autumn doesn't really happen down here (it's still in the 90's can you believe it?!) doesn't really help much with my brain's ability (or non-ability) to register the marching on of the time...

Behold, the first socks of the season....excuse the flashy photo - I kept forgetting to take photos during daylight hours and finally gave in and just took one with the flash.

Both socks are indeed done, and all the details can be found over at the Finished Objects Blog. Clicky clicky :)

I am now sockless in terms of projects on needles, and am trying to decide what to cast on for - since I'm now working 2 lace projects (soon to be 3 what with Secret of the Stole's first clue being released) I feel the need for cabling and texture - or something simple and plain. I think for simple and plain, I might cast on (finally) for Rowan Frolic, after I do some swatching...nothing simpler than 2x2 rib ;)
As for the cables and a sock project I'm trying to decide between Twisted Flower...and Bayerische

oy. the choices.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Knitting on Empty.

Or close to it anyway.

So I'm knitting along, keeping a close eye on my yarn, and I find myself 3 rows into the corona edging on the wing of the moth....and I'm going to run out. There is no way I'm going to make it without having to spin more yarn....

*sigh* I swore I had enough yardage...but apparently not. I guess I need to haul out the fiber and do a bit more hand blending. Thank goodness it's my own blend and I have more fiber on hand! I've pulled together about another ounce or so of fiber - I just need to spin it up - I may have a bit of a WPI matching issue, but that's alright, seeing as the yarn is thick and thin anyhow - ah the charm of handspun :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Painted Petrogylph

Another adventure not too long ago had me hunting down the elusive "red deer" - these petroglyphs are unique because they are unique because they are actually colored. In addition to being pecked into the stones, these particular petroglyphs have also been painted with reddish-brown pigment. Several other deer in the area appear to have been previously pigmented, though exposure to the elements seems to have washed the pigment away. The Red Deer can be found in Agua Fria National Monument - near the Squaw Creek Complex. If I remember correctly, the access is by 4WD vehicle, and then on foot - though it isn't a really long "hike" - rather a ramble, checking out the ruins and other petroglyphs in the area. Better to tackle this adventure once the weather has cooled down, as the rocks can be burning hot in the summer!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


The months have just rolled over....and there are new goodies in the Shop. Since I'm on a lace kick, I've stocked the shop with Malabrigo Lace weight in several colors (mmm supersoft, spun from baby merino wool!), in addition to adding a vibrant red semi-solid in my own line of yarns.

In honor of Spin Out (have you donated yet? It's not too late!) the shop has loaded up on luxury fibers and a slew of new handpainted rovings...head on over and have a browse around!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Very Great Indeed!

click image to see larger version

A while back, I mused upon finding a pictograph that looked suspiciously like my cat. That unique pictograph was found while on my way to this glorious panel - the Great Gallery. This image is actually a panorama of almost the entire panel (over 300 feet in width actual size!) - the figures in the panel loom large - many of them are as large as actual people (5-6 feet tall). It is said that this panel contains over 60 figures and is considered one of the greatest pictograph panels anywhere. It is certainly unique in its size and condition based on my limited experience! If you ever get a chance to go, pack a pair of binoculars (or make use of the ones packed in ammo cans near the site) to get a "close up" view of the details. Now that it's getting cooler, I'm sure the hike would be much more pleasant than when I visited!