Monday, July 28, 2008

New Toy....

Not fiber related by any stretch of the imagination. Seems my other digicams all decided to kick the bucket simultaneously. One of them had been fighting the fight for a good long time, but could no longer be resurrected with a swift tap to the case.

New camera is not as nice as my husband's, but it is nice and portable.
What good lightweight backpacker isn't in love with anything Titanium? ;) And it takes nice photos too...and at 10MP it's a nice upgrade from the previous cameras....

Of course, I didn't go taking photos of knits or yarn or fiber when I first got the camera up and running (drat those proprietary rechargeable batteries!) ....I instead opted to chase the cats around for some paw shots.

Nice macro, eh? :D

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Interlude with a Cupcake....

I finally had a chance to taste a cupcake from was quite tasty - I haven't had a chance to do a side by side with Melati's Sugar Blossom Cupcakes, but they are both tasty, and are apparently both in Scottsdale!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's that time...

...time to feed The Beast.

The poor thing has been a little bit neglected, what with all the dyework going on...and the batt stores are looking a little sparse.

Here's my happy little Monster, with a smidge over nine (yes nine) pounds of fiber prepped for carding and piled on top. Since I'm still receiving in orders from TNNA (a big box of Malabrigo arrived today - I still need to photo the new colors and update the stocks...that's the plan for the weekend in addition to carding my way through all that fiber), I've decided I'll focus on the blending and push the dyeing back another month or so. If there is anything you really want restocked, please let me know, and I'll do my best to make sure it's on the list for the next round with the dyepots.

A while back I was fortunate enough to receive a poster of the Bats of Arizona - I thought it was rather fitting to mount it over my carder ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baring my Guts

Or my Mitten's Guts anyhow. I love how floats look, don't you? Nice neat floats on fair isle projects always make me happy.

Interested in finding out more? The mittens are done, and all the details are over yonder on the Finished Objects blog.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The much more famous Stephanie, aka the Yarn Harlot is currently working her way through her fiber stash for the Tour de Fleece...she's apparently up to stash acquired in 2006 or so, since that is when I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time ever at a book signing. Given the number of knitters this woman has met in her various tours, I was amazed to discover at TNNA that she recalled who I was.

Anyhow - her spinning is gorgeous. From a 2 ounce batt, she managed to generate 200 yards of lovely 2-ply laceweight. Clearly it must be a sign that I should go spend more time with my own wheel!

In knitting news, the mittens are finished, i just need to get some time to write about them...stay tuned :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And here is why Row Gauge Matters...

Well, I'm not yet done with my mittens...but I could have been!

Aren't they looking lovely? The fern motif shaped up nicely - the little color additions on the stem are little bits of yarn from other mittens in the mitten-along. I think it makes them even more special :)

So the question is...are you noticing anything slightly odd by any chance? All I have to say to explain myself is that I was just having a lovely time knitting along, following the chart, while listening to/watching TV (anyone else get sucked into Wipeout?) Next thing I knew it, the mittens were getting kinda tangled each time I flipped em over to knit the other side. Hmm... that's odd - that usually happens when I work on knitting sleeves...or long socks...

uh, yeah. it is fair to say we have a problem. No amount of blocking or felting is going to shorten these babys up. I noticed that my Vs are rather upright and long...rather than being short and squat. I think this is what is to blame for my ridiculous mitten length...or that's as far as my brain can figure it out.

If we look at the interesting side of the mittens, you can see approximately where my index finger ends. I'm trying now to figure out what the best path forward is - seeing as it's not quite at the beginning of that part of the motif, I wasn't sure if I should rip that entire "frond" back or how best to proceed. As it is, if I rip it completely out, I think I'm going to have to drop back some stitches (and pick them back up again) to adjust the colorwork on the 2 lower fronds...either that or I'm going to be doomed to rip clear all the way back to just above the snails. If that happens, I think I might cry. Then again, I've been really enjoying the knitting, so knitting it twice may not be that bad ;) This would be one of the downfalls of knitting your mittens (or socks or sleeves both at the same time ;) ) The good thing with the shetland wool is I don' t think it's going to be too traumatic to rip back - the wool is rather grippy, so I would expect that it will leave the happy little active stitches sticking straight up waiting to slide back onto the needles!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

We have Snails.

I've cruised on past the snails on the mittens and am working my way up the fern motif. Things are going relatively speedily and I'm still working on making my gauge behave when it comes to carrying the yarn across long stretches and then having to knit with it on the first or second stitch on the other side of the mitten (we'll see how successful I am when I'm finished). When looking at the palm of the mitten it appears I have fairly even gauge/tension between hands (I make this statement because both colors appear to show up fairly evenly on the 1x1 stripes). Tonight, I curl up with the mittens while watching the Hell's Kitchen finale...or whatever else I can find on TV...or maybe I'll watch something on the computer. Either way, I'm going to get a little knitting done :)

In other news, the Shop has several new additions - not so much of my own personal dyework and fiberwork (I'm woefully behind and the 110+ degree days aren't really conducive to thinking about blending fibers). Orders I placed during or after TNNA have started to make their appearances at my door - there's yarn and woolwash and LOTS of patterns :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

4th of July Mitten Launch (we must be crazy)

For those readers in the US, I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July weekend. I sure did - even though it was probably hot enough to braise a roast in my car, several of us decided to get together and play with wool.

It was all Steve's Idea...

here's all the lovely yarn (except for Illanna's - since she was joining us virtually from far far away) about 5 minutes before the designated start time of High Noon on the 4th of July....

I suspect a great number of folks who saw us at various establishments this weekend all thought we were crazy....ah well, I'm enjoying the knitting....and I'm discovering that my right hand is slightly dominant with Fair Isle knitting - but it's probably a lot more pronounced in large stretches of colorwork (vs plain on striping). I'll explain more about that some other time. Steve & Kiki have semi-time-lapse photos on their blog of the mitten progress over the weekend....

Unfortunately, with today being Monday, I suspect the mitten progress may be greatly slowed...but you never know :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bag Lady

I adore bags of all varieties, though it seems of late, I prefer larger bags that I can cram a bunch of stuff (including my knitting!) into - I was really excited to receive a review copy of Simply Sublime Bags (due for release next Tuesday - though you can pre-order it now!)

The book is nicely put together, and includes 30 different projects - some requiring no sewing, others that require just some hand stitching, and others that use simple stitching on your sewing machine. Projects vary from very easy level 1 up on through "Project Runway - here I come" level 5. The stitching and levels are easily identified by small icons on each project page. While a number of the projects use materials and fabrics all found in fabric store (as I would expect in a sewing book) this one also includes some projects showing you how to recycle and re-purpose other goods and turn them into great accessories. Several of the projects use materials I would never have thought of using (like a shiny mylar bubble envelope), and I've found lots of inspiration flipping through the pages.

I should note that several of the projects make creative use out of packing and duct tape - while these may work fine in some regions of the world, I'll have to find some other options if I want to make those projects - simply because the adhesives have a tendency to melt and goo up everything down here in the land of 110+ degree days.

Seeing as there are actually days during the heat of the summer where I can't be bothered with wool, this book will be sure to keep me entertained. From little pouches, to clutches, to purses, to totes and messenger bags, this book has inspiration and instructions for it all. If you're as into crafty bags as I am, I definitely recommend a look-through!