Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Something Old....

Now that I'm all mittened out, Ive discovered that I am apparently in a "finishing" mood - I've found myself picking up old projects, knitting away...of course, it helps that there isn't a mitten amongst the projects :) While some of the projects might take a while to finish (never ending miter squares and delicate lace stole), these, at least, seemed to fly right off the needles.

More photos here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cutting it close...

...in more ways than one. I cast on for these mitts last friday, and basically did little else but knit on them through the weekend - the ball of yarn is all that's left of the skein. Not bad, right?

of course, the finished mittens are much more interesting to look at than a ball of yarn - go check them out here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Knitting Revealed

Now that all the presents have been opened, I can show you what I've been up to since just before Thanksgiving....

I've been a Mitten Knittin' machine. Not included in the tall stack above are the ones I knit for my husband (will share those next) - piled one on top of the other, the stack is as tall as a container of one of my favorite juice blends - Cherry Cider, from Trader Joes.

More Mitten details can be found here and here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A moment of rest

Holiday stuff is done - either that or it's too late ;)

It's been a crazy crazy month, and I've finally got some time to sit, relax and wind down. What better way to do so than on the couch with the cats, some books, some knitting and hot cocoa :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

No, I'm not.

But it sure seems like there are plenty of others who are :)

And seeing as I don't have any wee ones (not of the human variety anyhow), and I like to go for a handmade gift when I can, The Expectant Knitter comes in handy when I'm short on inspiration. Targeted towards the expectant knitter, the patterns are broken into the three trimesters of pregnancy. The thirty projects in the book range from blankets, to toys, accessories and apparel for the whole family and are suitable for a knitters of various skill levels.

Each pattern offers a wide range in sizes from newborn up to 24 months for the baby, and from 2-8 yrs old for the big bro or big sis in the family. In addition to lovely photos of the finished projects, each pattern includes clear schematics and instructions for completion. The wide variety of projects in the book certainly give me more ideas for other projects to knit for the next wee one due to arrive - or even as gifts for families with little ones who arrived a while ago.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cat and Yarn, who could resist?

Not me.

It's just like Snood. But that much better because of the yarn and cat.

Goodness, between this and wastebook it's a wonder if I'll get anything done while I'm away from work!

ps. Happy Solstice!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just a wee bit behind...

Yikes. Anyone else notice that the year rolls over in less than 2 weeks? Things this last month have been a little crazy, thus the absence of blog posts. As you can see, I'm ridiculously far behind on my blog reading...most of that is probably Cute Overload or I Can Has Cheezburger. You know you're in bad shape if you can't even squeeze in your daily dose of cute.

I'll have more interesting things to share next week (stealth knitting, at the very least!) And of course, the regular year end summary.....sadly, the steeking still didn't happen this year, and I'm trying to decide if I need to re-plan/re-start Venezia....I've gotten no further than about 4 inches on the sleeves. The fact that my yarn is superwash has me concerned for the steeking process, and I'm also slightly paranoid over having enough yarn...oy. the dilemma.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weather Delay....

....well, not really. But it seems there are some pretty serious weather systems moving around the country. I was supposed to be up in Oregon today, but the week seems to be full of snow and sleet and ice....so rather than risk getting stuck up that way, I opted to stay down here with the rain.

Normally, you would be able to see an antennae array on this range of mountains - but as you can see, the clouds are settled in quite low. Such a shame it's hitting during the week, I adore weather like this for curling up on the couch with either a good book or some knitting, a cup of tea and a pair of cats...instead, I'm consoling myself by wearing handknit sweaters to work.

Not much to show in the way of knitting, it's all been stealth projects of late! December is speeding by, I can't believe it's just a week til Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Electric!

Just be thankful I haven't figured out how to upload an MP3 to accompany the blog post (yes, I realize I could probably filch something off YouTube)....but I figure several of you would want my head for posting the Electric Slide on here....

Anyhow, if you happen to have the urge to dance the electric (slide) then you might want to gig yourself out with an original design or two from:

Switch Craft! Conveniently bound with a spiral binding, (so it always lays flat!) Switch Craft is a book that combines sewing and alteration skills with a little bit of electricity in twenty unique projects from household accents, to toys, apparel and accessories, there's something sure to perk your interest.

Each project is rated from 1-3 in each of three categories: craft, tech and cost - that way, you can pick and choose your projects accordingly. Each project includes a clear list of materials and tools, along with a pattern schematic, assembly instructions and a nice clear photo of the finished object. I personally really liked the various bags in the book - and if I was clever enough I'm sure I could merge the tech ideas into one single bag!

Great for gifting, there's even a chapter dedicated to projects that would make great gifts - probably not appropriate for the holidays, I especially like the vibrating Voodoo doll (it wiggles when pinned!)

For the not so technical, there is a basic materials section at the back of the book to help get you on your way. Included information includes stuff on batteries (and holders and snaps), wire, LEDs, Conductive fabrics and thread, and of course switches. There's also information about the basic tools and skills required. Of course, if you need some hints for online resources, a handy list is available at the back of the book.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A wee gift

A great idea if you happen to be gifting a handknit to another hand knitter this season...or at other times too....

A magic yarn ball:

What exactly is a magic yarn ball? Well, you take little trinkets in one hand and your yarn in the other....and start winding, hiding the little trinkets inside the yarn ball as you go. If the little surprises are prone to snagging the yarn, you might opt to wrap it up in some tissue before wrapping the yarn over it. Gifting the remaining yarn along with your hand knit will provide the recipient with some spare yarn should they have to mend the gift later...or if there's enough yardage, they might knit up an accessory or work it up with other stash yarn.

The yarn ball above was received in a recent parcel and has been unwound and rewound into a ball for easier knitting - the cute little stitch marker is what was inside :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


...are a girl's best friend, right? :D Wound up rescuing this poor little one from certain smooshing while on the way home from a hike (don't worry, we didn't bring it home...simply shoo'd him off the side of the road). The little fellow (clearly a juvenile based on the rather ridiculous and pathetic excuse for a "rattle") was probably trying to soak up the weak December rays - unfortunately he was sunning himself right along a dirt road that sees a fair bit of traffic.

Speaking of rescuing...if you happen to have a Trader Joes nearby and you're as addicted to those Almond Snowmen cookies as I am, you might want to go and stock up...my local Trader Joe's tells me they are already sold out for this season!

Monday, December 08, 2008

You know it's the holidays when...

...the Almond Snowmen Cookies make an appearance at the local Trader Joes!

Yes, I am fully aware that I could bake my own randomly shaped almond shortbread cookies (and I have, too!) but it's so much easier to just get them from Trader Joes. They're just about as good as home made...and so addictive, what with the sparkly and satisfyingly crunchy dusting of sugar on them....

And just in case you're wondering how I eat them? Why head first of course...

...the same way I eat gummy bears. You have to put the poor things out of their misery quickly you know.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's bound to happen...

...to the most well loved of hand knit gifts.

I've been long battling holes in my first ever pair of felted slippers...but since I gave up trying to patch them, I've been wearing my handknit socks exclusively in the house since the temps got cooler...the first to succumb to the wear and tear were these socks, a birthday gift from a couple years back. Unfortunately, I failed to catch the wear and tear until too late, and now I'm going to have to brush up on sock mending skills - right now I'm thinking I'll pick up some live stitches and reknit the heel a la the "afterthought" heel method rather than doing actual "darning"...until they are fixed, they will be out of the rotation.

In the meantime, I think I better start looking for some slipper soles to better mend the fuzzy feet , because I'd hate to wear through all my handknit socks and have to spend my knitting time mending instead of knitting!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bags and Books

For those that prefer to do a little crafting for the holidays, there are a couple new books out that might provide some inspiration to you:

Bag Bazaar: 25 Stylish Bags to Sew in an Afternoon is a great DIY sewing book for the adventurous bag-loving crafter. The book starts out with a great chapter on basic sewing and bag-making techniques, including information on inserting zippers, creating gussets, attaching bag feet, and sewing pockets (both of the zippered and open varieties), amongst other things.

From there, the book gets into the designs. While the book provides information on materials and instructions, it does require some basic skills on the crafter's part in the creation of the template or pattern for the pieces of each design. Each project is accompanied by a nice drawing of the finished product (similar in style to the bags on the cover), along with appropriate schematics illustrating some of the assembly steps as appropriate. The designs are varied, and are simple enough for even a beginner to attempt.

If bags aren't quite your thing, or you're looking for something to accompany or put inside your gift, you may be inspired by a project in this book:

Magic Books & Paper Toys. I've always had a fascination with handmade books and cards, and I remember making all sorts of things (including my own illustrated flip book movie) when I was a kid. This book is whimsical, and split in two sections - the front half is all about handmade books and cards, and the back half (printed upside-down and reversed if encountered from the front - or reads perfectly normally if you flip the book over ;) ) is all about paper toys, some of which I remember from childhood and others that are completely new to me. Each project shows finished samples featured in clear full-page photos, along with illustrated instructions for successful crafting.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not quite productive...

Ever take time off with all kinds of plans for productivity, but find yourself distracted and not able to focus?

I must have been in some serious need of just relaxation and rejuvenation, because the long list of "to do's" didn't get even remotely done....though I got lots of reading, napping, cooking and knitting done :)

I did manage to get a little blending done, see?

But I still have about five pounds of fiber to get through...yep, five pounds...and that doesn't include the other colorways that are bouncing around in my head...

I did manage to remember to queue up the random number generator for the Made in Spain drawing...

Congratulations, Cayli! You're the winner :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Seriously. How did they know???

Just in time for Black Friday, would you look at this holiday card/advertisement* that I received??

While I have no little dog named Toodles, I am a knitter, and when it suits me, I do indeed knit for people for the holidays....

The inside of the card:

I was astounded. Simply astounded. What are the odds that they would pick a card like this one? Or does this mean that there are far more knitters out there than I am remotely aware of? Anyhow, I traditionally view Black Friday as Buy Nothing Day...and I most certainly am not brave enough to venture forth with the masses...at least not while I have knitting and the internet at my fingertips ;)

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

* card from Helzburg Jewlers, enticing me to go in for a pair of pearl earrings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting back into the swing...

Before the holidays hit, I figured I should attempt to get myself back into the habit of working out...especially since I've been told to get myself back into trail-shape to better eval how my knee(s) are doing. While I'm not back into running (or re-attempting the Cto5k program, though I did re-download the podcasts for training), I've started getting out for some brisk walks to the local park. Once I am certain my feet and knees are okay with the fast clip, I'll give the trails a go - and if all goes well, I'll hopefully be back to the Cto5k program in no time!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friends and Family invited...

to take advantage of the Holiday Horny Toad sale.

60% off for orders placed by 12/1
50% off for orders placed by 12/8
40% off for orders placed by 12/15
30% off for orders placed by 12/31

To make things even sweeter, Horny Toad is donating 1% of the sales made during this sale to charity.

Use this link
and use: frosty as your login.

I always like it when companies give back.

Speaking of sales, don't forget, Spritely Goods is running an extended holiday sale - portions of all sales always go to charity!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Speaking of Mittens...

Mmm cables - mmm mittens - meet Chevalier, by Mari of Made by Myself. I'm knittin' more mittens...these are being knit from Spritely Goods Superwash Merino in Fey - in a limited edition colorway (red maple). There's just enough variegation in the yarn to make things interesting, especially while it's held double. In some ways, the twisting cablework and the variegations in the yarn make me think of dancing flames. One of these days I'm going to have to refocus on my queue - it seems I have several projects that have been lingering on....I counted 8 other projects currently on needles according to my Ravelry Project Page - yikes! The oldest of the unfinished projects appears to have been cast on in September 2007 - and it hasn't made much progress since then since it's a semi-complex piece of lace that requires much counting and paying of attention to the chart...though I'm betting that I finish the lace before I finish the Mitered Square blanket!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mitten Knittin...

Well, okay, not mittens, but fingerless mitts - regardless, they kept me warm at Rhinebeck :) (yeah I know, I'm really stretching out the Rhinebeck mentions, aren't I?) I rarely wear full mittens, and I seem to be awfully fond of wearing shorts and tee-shirts, only to decide I'm chilled...then I add handknit socks, then depending on where I'm feeling chilled, I'll then add mitts - usually of the fingerless variety so I can still easily carry on doing whatever I'm doing with my fingers...if I'm still cold, then I'll usually give in for a scarf/wrap and/or a sweater. Keep in mind, this is generally in the comfort of my own home, where I seem to refrain from turning on the heat for as long as possible so I can get the most use out of my handknits...a girl has to resort to certain strange behaviors sometimes, I'm afraid.

Anyhow, additional photos are over here, as usual.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Sale...

Rather than wait for Black Friday, Spritely Goods is offering extended Holiday savings* on many yarns in the shop - cruise over for more details!

*Sales pricing is good through December 14th, and is limited to stock on hand.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking me back...

Various things trigger memories - I didn't expect it from a cookbook - but what a delightful surprise, to find myself reminiscing about trips to Spain while flipping through my new copy of Made in Spain. Since I am a food-tv junkie but don't have cable, I have to satisfy myself with programs available via my local PBS station - Made in Spain is one of those programs that I've enjoyed watching.

The book is arranged by food "courses" and region parings - starting in the very south of Spain, in Andalucia (and Salads), wending its way through and around the country, each chapter is introduced with a brief personal story from the author and chef, Jose Andres. In case you're wondering, the other pairings/chapters are as follows: Madrid (Soups), Pais Vasco (Snacks), Navarra (Vegetables), Cantabria and Extremadura (Cheese and Eggs (a perfect pairing, if I do say so myself)), Valencia (Rice), Murcia (Fish), Galicia (Seafood), Cataluna and Castilla y Leon (Pork), Aragon (Other Meats), Asturias and Castilla La Mancha (Sweets), La Rioja and Baleares (Drinks) and Canarias (Sauces).

In addition to the clear instructions and ingredients, most recipes are accompanied by an enticing photograph of the finished product. Along side the recipes, is typically a tip from the chef in addition to a little back-story on the recipe. While some of the ingredients may be difficult to find locally, there are some merchants listed in the back to assist you in your search.

The recipes in the book are simple and straightforward in execution and there's a wide variety to satisfy both conservative and adventurous eaters alike. If you've never tried Spanish food before, this book has a great variety to choose from. I'll even make it easy for you ;) Leave me a comment (and make sure there's a way to contact you should you win) before Sunday November 30th, and I'll use the ol random number generator to select a new lucky owner. US only please, unfortunately international postage on a heavy book like this one is a bit much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


On several of the blogs I frequent I've seen folks participating in photo-a-day activities - some just do fridays (eye candy friday) - others do apad (a-photo-a-day) - and others do self portrait photos.

Since getting myself a much more portable camera, the idea had been to carry it around with me, attempting one of these photo-a-day kind of activities. I've not been so good at it - though I was recently convinced to give it another try.

Here's day 1 ;) (worry not, I won't blog all my photos) - clearly I need to get better at regularly wearing sunblocking facial moisturizer...I've apparently developed quite the fleet of freckles. Amazing the things you learn when taking a self portrait!

Friday, November 07, 2008


...and it spins real well too ;)

You didn't think I could have possibly left Rhinebeck empty handed, could you? LOL! I've been wanting one of these lovely spindles for a really really long time - and of course, Golding Fiber Tools was at Rhinebeck and I couldn't resist. Instead of the typical Golding brass ring, this spindle has a raised cloisonne ring....and did I mention, it spins for what seems like forever?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Honorable Mention....

Pretty cool - My husband's website got mentioned in the local paper (the Arizona Republic) in the Travel section on Sunday.

In case it's hard reading (even if you click on it for full size) it says:

Canyon Sweet
"...avid 'canyoneers' scramble through canyon waterfalls, clamber up limestone walls, rappel down rocky cliffs and plunge into pools of icy water --- all on purpose!

Arizonans can canyon to the hearts' content as nearby Coconino National Forest, the Grand Canyon and Tonto National Forest.

Todd's Hiking Guide offers a comprehensive list with hike descriptions, required skills and photos..."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh dear.

Sheep and Wool

If you've been reading other knitters' blogs or skimming through Ravelry, you probably already know that Rhinebeck was wonderful this year...

There were plenty of sheep and other adorable animals (Angora bunnies are really really cute...and the alpacas aren't bad either!) Of course, knitters and spinners were all over the place, and there was plenty of yarn and fiber to ooh and aah over...and all the finished objects. My goodness, I don't think I've ever seen quite so many handknits all in one place ever!

To top it all off, the leaves were stunning - Rumor has it that the leaves all fell off during Rhinebeck weekend - I'm not sure though since I unfortunately was only able to visit the festivities on Saturday.

I had such a fantastic time, hopefully I'll get a chance to do it again in the future :)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Do your Duty....

If you are a US Citizen and have not yet submitted your ballot, do your homework, get on out there and vote! If you found yourself in a long long line at the polling place today, consider getting onto the early voting list, or the vote at home list - or whatever alternate your state may offer. I voted from home for this election, and found it convenient and conducive to taking the time to do my research on various ballot measures and propositions.

After today, I'm sure the candidates might need to hoist a drink - either in celebration or condolence, the following book may be useful (and a good one to keep in mind for entertaining this holiday season too!):

The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks is a fantastic book - especially if you are an aspiring mixologist. The book is well put together with approximately 100 "essential" drinks (plus variations) - each drink recipe includes a stunning photo of the finished cocktail in addition to a brief history on the drinks creation. The book is broken down into nine sections for the drink recipes and also includes a few appendices to address basic recipes (basic syrups), garnishes, and glassware/tools. The Drink Sections include: the Classics (prohibition era drinks), the Modern Classics (cocktails born post prohibition) , Martinis, Sours, Highballs, Tropicals, Punches, Sweets and Innovations (did you know there is a cocktail out there that uses avocado as an ingredient?!).

Simply reading the book has proven entertaining, and has brought back memories of playing at tending bar way way way back when! Coincidentally, the book has a recipe for from-scratch eggnog that I may just have to try this holiday season, especially since I generally object to most of the commercially available eggnogs, what with their strange thickeners and liberal use of corn syrup! I've also discovered that I apparently like Bloody Caesars (though I don't object to a simple straight up Bloody Mary).

Monday, November 03, 2008


Phoenix Bess is amazing - she's only 16...and she's a talented designer (apparently, she's been designing since the tender age of 12!) - and she just got her first book out!

It Girl Knits, while perhaps targeted at the younger knitter, has patterns that I think are suitable for a range of individuals. The designs are clean and simple, and many of the projects are suitable for beginners. Broken into different types of days: Sunny Days, Days Off, Play Days, and Nights, the patterns include knitted bottoms, tops, dresses, jackets, accessories (bags, headbands, a cap and a hair wrap) and even a couple bikinis and a pair of felted boots!

Each project is nicely photographed and has clear instructions and schematics. The various tops and bottoms appear figure friendly to different body shapes - though they do tend toward fitted, body skimming styles - and most of the patterns are definitely best for warmer weather months (almost all the tops are sleeveless designs). While I wouldn't be able to carry off all the apparel designs (certainly not the bikinis), there are plenty of options to choose from - I'm amazed at Phoenix's talent, and look forward to casting on a few projects.

If you're on Ravelry, you can pop over and have a look at Phoenix's portfolio to get an idea for her design sense - while patterns from the book don't seem to be listed there yet, I suspect they will make an appearance eventually.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Slipped and Twisted

Round 1 of test knitting was completed just in time for my Eastern Seaboard Tour. I love how the pattern breaks up the little bits of color on this yarn in the small cable section...

The bigger cables aren't half bad either...see?

Wondering what I made? You can see the finished object details here.

The yarn was a pleasure to work with - with regular addi's I had no issue - though with my lace needles I'd occasionally split the yarn. For hand, the yarn is wonderfully soft, and it seems to wear quite nicely - I'm thinking I'll likely add this as a base, I just need to find space in the house to put it...and decide on a name :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A brief Glimpse

Despite my best intentions, it seems I keep getting derailed from blogging...Life simply is not cooperating ;)

Anyhow, here are some little looks at what I've been up to lately:

more test knitting with the new base - these are Orchid Lace Mitts by Anne Hanson (Knitspot)...I'm knitting the pair at the same time, but on separate needles since I have to shift the stitches around.
Gorgeous fall colors - this was taken in Maine, where peak colors seemed to be had. I was amazed that the leaves hadn't all fallen off the trees yet. Of all the seasons, I miss Autumn the most. It's just wrong to find myself at the end of October, with the house still sealed up and the air conditioning blasting because we are still having 90 degree days.

And this is a shot of the hills in New Hampshire....its fair to say I had a grand East Coast tour, which is one of the reasons I find myself short of time blogging - I'm still digging out from the pile that amassed while I was away! Stay tuned, I've got more photos from out east...and yes, there is one of a Sheep...