Monday, March 31, 2008

Icelandic Dreams

A friend of mine had a chance to go visit Iceland a while back, and of course had tons and tons of photos to share...

...this same (blogless, I'm afraid) friend is also an avid knitter, and what better gift for a knitter than some yarn? :) I took the opportunity to let loose with the dyes and see what I could manage to match based on the photos from her album. I was especially drawn to some of the stark images from Iceland's interior. Of course, it's probably not nice to admit that I personally covet this yarn and it nearly didn't make it into the hands of its intended recipient.

As for those of you who are wondering why I don't just make another...well, I didn't take notes. It was one of those "experiments" that just happened to have everything come together just perfectly. Further examples of my experimenting can be found in my Limited Editions - each of these skeins are created freehand adding color at will until the skein looks "done."

I continue to be intrigued as I eye other dyers' works as it seems no two dyers dye alike - we each apply our dyes with different eyes and hands. Given a set palette, I'll bet each dyer would still come up with something completely different in the application of those colors to the yarn or fabric. I find it simply fascinating - I think the fact that all the colors are essentially some combination of 3 base colors + black has me equally enchanted. Even after 2+ years of dyeing, I'm still learning and excited to be doing so :) Now if I could just have some recollection of how *some* of those limited editions were made, I'd be one happy woman with a slightly bigger stash!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Enjoying the darkness...

Join me this evening, and participate in Earth Hour!

Officially Earth Hour will be observed from 8 to 9pm in your local time zone. I haven't decided what exactly I'll be doing while the lights are off - though I'm sure I'll figure something out - if nothing else, I can head to the local mountain preserve and enjoy the night sky :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Featured :)

It must just be my luck - my Spin Off and shawl arrived at my house yesterday after I blogged :) Here's my shawl, featured on page 94 if you happen to be a reader of Spin Off. All the other shawls are gorgeous as well - and I really like how they opted to photograph them, against a neutral backdrop with nothing to distract. I also like how they did a small photo of the knitted product along with the fiber and yarn that they were knit from.

Luckily for me, Spin Off made mention of my Shop not just once (in the writeup about the shawl) but twice! Check it out! They decided to include the batt I sent as fiber reference for my shawl in their "Get This" product review section :) Ideally I would have had a more brightly colored batt to feature, but I can't complain too much.

The rest of the magazine is looking pretty wonderful too - I'm looking forward to going through it and giving their "wrap and roll" technique of coil yarn spinning a try - I'm not sure if I'm going to like it better than the current way I do coiled/core spun yarn but it's something new to attempt :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Anxiously Waiting...

The new Spring Spin Off is out....

and my Wing of the Moth is featured in the gallery! I hear my batts may have also made the Get This section....

Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for my own copy to arrive! I'm betting their photoshoot is much more lovely than mine was :) and I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A whole 'nother kind of bat

Cute, aren't they? These are California Leaf Nosed Bats - observed on a recent trip to a nearby wildlife refuge. I especially like the bat on the right - it looks like it has attitude :)

Speaking of batts - I've got more fiber being prepped for the carder - hopefully I'll have some of the sold out colors restocked soon - specifically, I'm preparing some Sugar Plum and some Caramel Mocha batts...there's also a whole rack of freshly dyed rovings that are set to be labled and photographed. Lots of Falkland will be back in stock!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is Here!

Happy First day of Spring :D
We've been inundated with the wild flowers down here, and even have a small patch of wildflowers growing in our yard - sadly I didn't manage to get a photo of the goldpoppy before it past its prime :( The flowers above are Desert Globemallow - haven't seen any in bloom near my home, but I'm sure they are coming into season if they aren't already there. I'm determined to try to enjoy the spring while it passes by quickly - it won't be long before the triple-digits are here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meet the Author (and the Cover Model ;)

We'll be doing a presentation and slideshow at the local Arizona REI's today and tomorrow at 6:30pm. Come enjoy the spectacle!

Monday, March 17, 2008

We have a Winner!

Congratulations to Tamara - she wins the copy of Little Cakes - Tamara, if you're reading, I need your mailing address :) I've emailed you too...

It's been a day of good things - while Tamara gets a copy of Little Cakes, it was a really good mail day for me...I got my long awaited Wollmeise yarn...all in super dark saturated colors - in both sock weight and lace weight :) (sorry no photos - camera is not cooperating) Shortly after signing for the Wollmeise, the bell rang again, and it was UPS...with my new skeiner! I'm calibrating comparing it against my current skeiner as this one will be moving over to a friend's place to live with my other swift so I can either drive them batty with the clicking of the counter, or they can wind in exchange for yarn ;) I'll be putting everything to the test in a couple weeks (I hope)!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cali for the Cure

One of the fine folks I've met via the internet is planning on participating in her local Breast Cancer 3-day...and she's needing some help raising her funds. To make things interesting, she's offering up a contest with wonderful fibery prizes. (speaking of contests, don't forget - if you want in on the Little Cakes drawing, you need to email me! I'll be closing up the contest at the end of this week)

As the donations rise, Cayli is planning on adding more skeins to the mix - and if she manages to get to the $500 point, she'll be adding her Secret of the Stole ii to the heap!

Incidentally, this Cayli is the same one that one of my new colorways is named after - she had put in a request for a colorway, and voila, here it is:

On that field of green lace, it reminds me of fresh spring flowers. Speaking of Spring, it's finally here down in the desert - the hillsides are covered in wildflowers :) I love spring in the desert - the days are warm, and the nights are still cool enough for knits.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Books. and knitting. but mostly books.

And not books of the standard variety either. Don't forget to email me about the Little Cakes book if you're interested in being included on the Contest!

I've been knitting - not much, but some - to the left is all that I can show you of that sock that I test knit (it's done)...the firestarters and Scherherazade's Slippers are still progressing - I'm almost done with the gussets again on the firestarters...and I'm at about the same place on the Scherherazade slippers. I still plan on making those "slippers" as long as possible, but I will be needing to sit down with some graph paper to see if I can figure out if adding a pattern repeat will be a simple "no brainer" or not...these days, my brain is short on computing power...I blame it on the Books.

No, I don't mean the lovely books that you can read and enjoy, or those with gorgeous photos that provide inspiration - I mean the Serious Books - the ledgers. The finances. Those Books. I've been spending the weekends transferring my semi-manual accounting system into Quickbooks and I think it's taking its toll - nothing like mundane data entry and rounding errors and troubleshooting of said rounding errors to cause a brain to look forward to some restful knitting! I'm hoping to be fully converted soon - hopefully before this weekend - I have some dyeing to do...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Who wouldn't like...

Little Cakes, or Swift Knits?! I'm a sucker for both :)

As I mentioned recently, there was a time when I actually entertained the thought of doing some pastry cheffing, and around the holidays, I usually am looking forward to fancy sugar cookies and the decorating of said sugar cookies. This book, Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse is a treat to look at. I am especially enamored of the various flower cupcakes...and I really like the looks of the Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes (scroll down for recipe, or read the whole interview!)

The book starts out with basic information including tools of the trade, baking tips and notes on ingredients. It also has basic information on frosting and decoration - my favorite part of these little treats! There's even a color mixing chart - that I might find cross functional use for for some of my colorways :D

For recipes, we start with the frostings, then head into the muffins and mini-coffee cakes, special occasion cakes (mmm strawberry shortcake and mini cheesecakes...not to mention the devil dog and twinkie-alikes...) and then we have the cupcakes - I'm extra happy to see a recipe for red velvet...course, I'm not sure I could bet Melati's Red Velvets...

As an extra sweet treat, the publisher is allowing me to offer up a copy of this lovely book to my readers...if you're interested, send me an email (woodlandsprite at gmail dot com) and I'll use the trusty random number generator to select the lucky winner at the end of next week.

Now then, in addition to small cakes, I also appreciate a nice quick knit. That's where Twinkle's Weekend Knits comes into play with 20 patterns to choose from, each knit (mostly) from fast knitting bulky weight yarn. The projects range from the expected scarves and hats, in addition to some wonderful sweaters and other accessories. Photos for this book are lovely, and right up front in the book, on glossy paper - the patterns are referenced clearly and are presented in the back of the book on matte paper. The patterns themselves appear to be well written, though it should be noted that most of the sweaters assume you're comfortable wearing knits with negative ease. I've got some bulky yarn in my stash that I've been trying to figure out what to do with - and I'm especially interested in some of the sweater designs :)

If the thought of working with bulky yarn wigs you out now that we are hopefully moving into the spring, don't forget about that scarf book I reviewed not too long ago - it's now available and has projects perfect for the warming weather!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A few more things...

I've been tagged for another meme - this time by Lalana

Here are the rules:
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Alrighty wierd/random things:
1) I like to read cookbooks - as in actually read them, not just browse them or look at the pretty pictures
2) I segregate my candy by color when I eat them - this goes for m&ms, skittles, smarties, sweet tarts, even nerds
3) I have a strangely high commitment to task - this can border on the obsessive, and it need not be about anything of particular importance. I once turned the house upside down looking for a missing sock. No, it was not handknit.
4) I like to save the best for last :) For example, if while dining, I am observed to be making a small pile of like objects on my plate, I may very well be saving best bits for enjoyment at the very end - or, I might be making a pile of the bits I don't like...
5) I really don't like walking on metal grating. Ever. I've an unreasonable belief that it's just not strong enough.
6) I seem to have a thing for shoes - but not fancy shoes like jimmy choos or anything like that - I've got a ridiculous pile of technical and outdoor footwear.
7) I know what it is to sit in complete darkness - and it isn't too scary once you get over thinking about monsters and scary creatures that like to lurk in such places :)

I'm going to tag: Raquel, Amy, Pam, Eva, Janet, Mariko and Thuy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's a new month....

you know what that means, right?

It means a whole whack of fresh yarn and a wee bit of fiber has hit the shop :)

Incidentally, I was able to do a mini "trunk" show for my knitting group - but since I don't travel with trunks, I used a gigantic IKEA bag instead...

that would be three and a half grocery bags full of yarn (the ziploc has one of my current projects in it) - and that's only a portion of what hit the shop this weekend!

As for the accounting, it's going slowly - I'm still trying to decide just what I think of quickbooks... after working on it a goodly chunk of the weekend, I still haven't gotten very far!