Monday, December 22, 2008

Nanna is done

He looks like a model here, doesn't he? And, I don't mean that in a good way, I mean in that very posed way; he's making me think of one of those black and white shots from a sweater book from the 80's, one of the Rowan theme issues, perhaps.
Actually, he was watching the cat play and about to start laughing.
Once again, I highly recommend this pattern, it's fun and fast (just under 1 month this time).
Back to Frost Flowers - if Indy will let me.
Hope everyone's holiday plans are shaping up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nanna just keeps on going

I've sewn together the front and back, and am a third done with the sleeves and this little sweater seems to be taking FOREVER.
But everything seems to be taking forever lately. Maybe I'm just tired and can't wait for winter break. Oh, and here's Indy pretending he's a pirate's parrot. Argh, me hearties!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More slow progress

Indy, the cutest (farting-est, don't know if I've mentioned that - how can something so small and cute make such horrible smells? I suspect he'll grow out of it and doesn't seem to be in any kind of discomfort, but I'll ask the vet when he goes for his follow up shots), most human-centric kitten of all time continues to slow down my knitting to a crawl. I'm glad I wasn't working on a present list this year.
I have too many things on needles right now so any progress on anything is minuscule. I'm having a strong urge to start another Jack's Back - but here's my problem (aside from the fact there's no room in the knitting basket) I really want to do a red and brown version, but I have loads of blues and purples in the bins of yarn. I'm sort of teetering on the brink of starting another, very involved, knitting project but if I make myself do the right thing re: my stash, I might flame out and end up with another slumbering mess.
And spinning? I haven't had the guts to try it since Indy came to live with us. I've had a suggestion that I get a video of that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another beading idea

No pictures at this time, but . . .
Frost Flowers has sort of gotten me inspired to work with beads as a color element, rather than a straight matching sort of thing like I did with the first two I did. Here are a couple thoughts:
Autumn - red, orange, gold, brown with beads in a larger leaf shape (maybe do a circular motif in the center and then pick up on 2 sides for the wings of the wrap?)
Peacock - teal and blue yarn with purple, green and gold beads using a more round, eye-shaped lace motif - maybe do the center as a semi-circle that continues out along the wings of the wrap so you look like a peacock from the front? Maybe do that semi circular in just blues and greens, more like a real bird?

Monday, December 8, 2008


Man, kittens get big fast! Indy is probably doubled in size since coming home 9 days ago.
Here's Nanna - and here's Indy attacking it. And here's out Christmas tree, which he did NOT pull down on himself today while home alone with the tree. We're proud of that. Oh, and we have a pretty great tree stand.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


That would be Indy titling my post for me, tiny kitty feet on the number pad.
I'm more than half through with Nanna, but knitting with a little kitten playing with your yarn slows things down. Maybe I'll get my act together and take snap tomorrow.
Right life is just in the general holiday haze.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hope you had a nice holiday

There's nothing to put a crimp in your knitting and spinning like a brand new kitten.
Meet Indy (as in Indiana Jones) - 8 weeks, 2 lb.
He already loves to play with knitting needles and yarn as you work.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's the day before Thanksgiving

So more cooking and cleaning than anything else.

Here's what's on for after dinner tonight:
And for Thanksgiving Breakfast:

And something we'll undoubtedly make again this weekend:

No, really; you should make this. It's amazing.
Have a great holiday everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nanna! Again!

It suddenly occurred to me late last week - hey, I got that navy Encore Worsted last year to make the little one a sweater, and, well, it's unusually cold down here this fall.
So I'm doing Nanna again. It's a lovely little pattern and it's going pretty quickly. Hopefully he'll like it and it won't itch. But he's like his dad and they both run hot, not like me, so we'll see.
I've also had a breakthrough with Ravelry - they now let you load pictures directly from your own source, so I don't have to load the pictures to a Flickr account, then to Ravelry, which really kind of made that site more work than I was motivated to put in.
As a librarian, I deal with social networking software some (and have to listen to people discuss it far more [in fact, if you know certain things about me, stringtheory2.0 makes a lot of sense]) but for the most part it doesn't do much for me. Maybe it focuses too much on the social for me. I like Ravelry for all the combined brainpower; the way all kinds of patterns and yarns are cataloged in there. Anyway, they've made it easier for my lazy self to make use of it. Yay!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Halfway there on Frost Flowers - more predictable results of multitasking

Slow progress (though last night I really got on a role while watching the football game, I think skipping working out helped but holiday season is not the time to start skipping working out) I made it to the halfway point last night. I'm now on the second 440 yd. ball and just have to mirror back. I think I'll have the diagonal go the opposite way for interest on the other side. And no, I'm not going to match the bead placement on the other side. Threading on all these beads takes enough time without getting that OCD, thanks anyhow.
To ensure a match on the far side (just on the flower part) I counted out the right number of white and dark aqua beads and set them aside in a little baggie (inside of the big baggie all this crap lives in - such an attractive addition to any living room, plastic bags full of yarn and tubes of beads) so the two edges would be exactly the same.
So far this is my favorite of my beaded attempts. I think using multiple colors is what makes it so fun. The white/clear ones are from my friend Elsie and her daughter Stina who were in upstate NY and were kind enough to try and help me find the right beads for this project. I'd already fallen in love with the tanzanite and aqua but these white sort of pull the whole thing together. I'm including this close up, but I really need a shot outside, the flash washes these out too much. Well, if you click on it you can see it better I guess. But it looks all misshapen, 'cause it needs to be blocked.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meh, I don't like it

So, you can see from the pictures of the fleece that the colors are really lovely. They are - I love them. I loved spinning them.
Plied together, not so much.
I need to rethink this one.
I might like it better knit up.
Or I might not.
I guess I need to confront my dislike of high contrast marled yarn. Even if it's of my own design.
Comments and suggestions welcome.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Misty Mt. Chocorua

It looks more teal here than it really is - it's more green in real life. Bobbin #1 is all the Mountain Teal and the second bobbin is gray with a little bit of teal spliced in. I'll post a picture once I get some plied, which should be interesting.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

wow, that's really ugly, or the Messenger Bag of Doom

So, at home today, waiting for roofers.
I pulled out the sewing machine to fix some hems.
I also pulled out the leftover fleece from the Halloween costume this year to make a knitting bag.
It's based loosely on a messenger bag design, and I made 2 smaller bag inside for sticking scissors etc., in. I made it out of fleece because I get tired of bags being so rough they make my yarn pill before I even knit with it. When working on something complicated, like a Fassett sweater, I used to use an old pillowcase to bring it with me, but that's inconvenient (no handles or compartments) and kind of makes you look, well, insane, actually.
Boy, is this thing ugly!
Maybe if I had picked out colors I wanted to use instead of using up leftovers . . . I dunno. But's very soft and I think would look like more with a real project in it. I kind of want to crawl into it myself.
Other things to do today - making pizza and finishing plying that Gotland.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No new projects, just some progress snaps

So, I'm nearly done spinning the pound of Gotland; I should finish tonight and ply it. It's been a nice companion while watching CNN way too late into the night. And here's the Frost Flowers shawl - if you click on it to look at the image more closely, you can see the colors of the beads better. Ever tried to place/space stuff like this randomly? I'm firmly convinced human brains don't do random. Take a look at the darker green and white beads, am I achieving random? Not really. But it's coming out the way I imagined, and that happens rarely enough that I'm enjoying it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Spinning more stuff that doesn't belong to me

Here's some lovely chocolate alpaca from Yarn or Death . I've plied it with itself, and plied it with some multi color roving from Zeilinger. But, until she gets to see it and come down with a verdict, I'm going to work on the final pound of Gotland. I sent the spun Gotland to my mother see if she wanted it and it was promptly appropriated. But 2 lb. wasn't enough.
Then I'll start on the grey and green.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It travels

Yarn or Death was very happy with the first installment of her yarn. And it's still so shiny and pretty, I'm still a little surprised considering how hard the roving felt. Here it is sitting on my messy desk at work.
YoD is traveling tomorrow and is all excited about the number of hours in the car - knitting time, don't you know.
Tonight will be an Ash Ketchem junk food festival -- yay! -- the start of overeating season has arrived.
Have a wonderful Halloween/weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Again, no picture

It's been really cold down here this week, which I love, being from a cold place.
While I plan to ply the blue silk/merino tonight, I may or may not have a picture of it to show before going to bed. But I did get all 8 oz. spun up last night.
So, a random thought from the past weekend - Apple Crisp. (Note, we made on big one, cooked it for 40 minutes, used Granny Smiths and Macintosh apples, added a dash of ginger, nutmeg and cloves to the apples, and a full stick of butter for the topping.) We generally try to roll out some new dish in our house every other weekend or so when the weather gets cold, this one was a keeper.
Thanks to Lori for inspiring me to share that one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A picture of that silk and merino blend

Funnily enough, I usually have trouble getting colors to come out as vivid and bright as they are in real life in my pictures. Tonight, the spinning is shining through. Must be the silk, I guess.
It's so nice and soft, I want to get it all spun (8oz. really shouldn't take long) and see how it looks when plied.
Hopefully I'll remember to ask YoD tomorrow whose roving this is so I can give them proper credit.

No picture (yet); the new addiction

On the topic of 2 great tastes that go great together? Silk and wool!
Yarn or Death went to SAFF and had a great time. I'm jealous, because I miss going to things like the NH Sheep and Wool Festival. Raising sheep and other woolly things this far south seems, well, kind of mean to me as it's so hot. But anyway . . .
Before she was leaving she asked if I ever spun with non-animal fibers. I explained my spinning is really good enough for me to have ventured into cotton, hemp, stuff like that. But I'm not as dense as I look, so I said "if you see anything at SAFF that you really like, feel free to buy it and I'll spin it for you - unless you want to do it yourself." YoD isn't ready to start spinning, but I now have 8oz. each of silk/merino blend in summer sky blue (2 oz. of which I spun last night while watching the Colts and Titans) and some chocolate brown alpaca.
Before (15 years ago - that's scary, when did I get so old?) I'd worked with silk, but it was in brick form, and I got very frustrated and decided I hated silk.
I was wrong.
I'll post pictures of that silk/merino tonight. Maybe I can haul the wheel out onto the porch before the light goes away.
The pre-drafting is different than straight wool - the silk gets really smooshed down sort of locked together, so after pulling the roving into quarters, I then find it works best to fluff it out from the side, turn it 90 degrees and fluff it again. The roving goes from hard, squeaky and dense (do you know what I mean about silk fibers being squeaky?) to soft and cloudy and suddenly very shiny.
So, what's worse that suddenly discovering your taste for something wickedly expensive like silk and wool roving? Finding someone else insane enough to fund your problem. Even YoD saw the danger here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend before Halloween

Night pictures don't show colors very well, especially not these blues. But I'll try and get one in daylight.
I'm thinking of calling this one "Frost Flowers".
And we carved our pumpkin this afternoon. We stopped by the courthouse down town to see what the local schools had done to see if we could get inspired.
The pumpkin design was the little one's idea, start to finish (I just work here).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another version of the Matrix

Snow with shadows is the colorway. Since I'm getting a little tired of doing the same pattern over and over, I'm going to mix it up a little bit this time. I'll use the leaf pattern at the edges and diagonal eyelet pattern for the main body of the shawl.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Some stuff (no pictures, sorry)

So I've moved past the neck of the linen stitch pullover - meaning I've cast on to close up the neck again, and once I get back down to just the back, I'll take another picture.
I have this idea for small knit messenger bags - using the linen stitch again for strength and stability - in wool. Maybe I'll play with that. Or maybe this should be where I learn to crochet. (I can hear Yarn or Death laughing as I type this.) Something maybe 10" by 12" with a should strap? I'll maybe play with that.
So, I hear that yarn I made for my sister in law has become a sweater! I'm hoping for a picture . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Happy nine year anniversary, hon.
It would be nice if we could spend it hiking in the Whites, but it sure beats not celebrating 9 years.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Once again, asking you to try and visualize this

Trust me, here . . .
These two plied together - sort of soft and misty looking. Like a foggy mountain-side.
Maybe it's something you have to see.
In my head, I'm picturing Mt. Chocorua on a misty late Sept. or early Oct. day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting side tracked by junk food

Not really junk food I suppose, but I got onto a wristers kick. This started off innocently enough using up the black acrylic for the little one's costume, but then it turned into using up this ball, and now, look, I have some leftover acrylic wool blend from last winter . . .
The linen stitch is still coming along, and once that's a bit closer to done, the stars are getting dug back out.
Oh, and I have an idea for that left over fleece and some old t-shirts, but we'll see if that comes to anything. Sewing and me, not such good friends.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Making slow progress

So, the Iron Matrix is done. I did a better job of blocking than you might think from these pictures, I just chucked the poor thing down on the floor to take it's picture.

And here's the linen stitch pull over. Next row, I cast off for the neck.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I've mentioned this before, but our house came with a cat, Sneaky.
Sneaky was always an indoor/outdoor kitty. We didn't change that when we moved into the house. He tended to take off for a couple days every fall. We always worried; he always came back.

Sneaky has been missing now for almost a week.

Very sad.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Like he said, prepping for Halloween

JoAnne Fabrics for yarn for fingerless gloves, fleece and felt; $26.00.
Blank truckers hat at to glue the felt cut outs onto; $14.00.
Prepping for Halloween (what my husband called this photo on Flickr) . . .

You guessed it.


The small one has been told (in advance) that no, he can't wear the costume to dinner.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Look at this mess - and some not mess

Here it is - I even spread it out a little bit so you can see what's under the piles. It's really quite the mountain.

And here's the finished spinning. 2 lb. of Gotland and 8 oz. of superfine alpaca. It's hard to take a good picture of black fibers, but I think you can get a sense of how soft this stuff is.
It also comes in chocolate brown . . . . mmmmmm earthtone vest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Done with the alpaca

That 8 oz. spun up really quickly, and it's so soft and heavy! I love it. 8 oz. isn't enough to do much though.
And I'm too tired to take a darn picture of it tonight.
So now what?
Yeah, I'm looking at more colors for the next color spinning project.
I'm in love with Ruby Merino from Copper Moose. Purple Orchid is lovely too. Together, perhaps not so much, and I've already done that last year. Maybe 1/2 lb. the Ruby or the Purple Orchid as poison with Plum and Navy. Sadly, CM doesn't do 1/4 lb. and it's not in my nature (or within my closet constraints) to stash fleece. . .

What am I doing???
My knitting basket looks like the Knitting Muse barfed in it; I can't buy fleece. I must knit, I must conquer my Don Adams fear of that stupid stars jacket and finish some things.
Yeah, that's what I'll do.
I promise, tomorrow a snap of that completed spinning and my train wreck of a knitting basket. They say you can be a wonderful example or a terrible warning . . . I'm veering into terrible warning territory these days.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Here's the uncut fleece for the vest - I'm just going to make it a pull over. We have a mesh hat on order and I have some felt to glue the design onto it. I've made the fingerless gloves already (as you can see below) and he'll wear jeans and sneakers and his backpack. I think we can get Piki to stay on his shoulder, maybe with pipe cleaners.
Now we just need a poke ball.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finally some pictures

So, here's the tunic - if you click on this to get the larger image, you should be able to get a sense of the design.

Poor Yarn or Death (formerly the Mad Crocheter) - she's fighting the good fight with linen. I told her she might not be ready to work with such a non-cooperative fiber as linen, because despite all the needle changes the gauge is still wonky. I told her maybe to try a different stitch, like linen stitch (it must have that name for a reason, right?). I think that if she plays with the linen and does some swatching, she might get the final piece of understanding hand (fiber content + gauge + stitch pattern). I've promised to show her how to do linen stitch in person, because as she pointed out "I've seen it described and it STILL doesn't make sense to me". Like knitting with beads; I get that.
And this spinning - it's the super soft black alpaca. I only have 8 oz. so it should be spun and plied by the weekend.
And for final fun - I get to go to Jo-Anne's this weekend to start putting together this year's Halloween costume. Yup, you guessed it, Ash Ketchem. My wonderful spouse managed to talk him out of wanting to go as Pikachu, and man, that would have been a tough costume to make!

Monday, September 15, 2008

White with blue, looking for a new lace pattern

Maybe I'm inspired by the fact that it's dyed blue, but I like KnitPicks Candle Flame Scarf Pattern. Probably double the size and work the beads up the center of the flames.
Not really branching out, is it?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More bad snaps - think this will go with white?

I'm thinking of a shawl, probably Bare fingering weight in white. These blues make me think of the shadows on bright clean snow. I got 4 of the lighter and one of the darker - for the darkest parts of the shadows - and now I just have to find the right lace pattern. I'm tired of the pattern I've been using for the Matrix.
Feel free to shoot me lace ideas or arguments about the color choices. I'm in love with these beads - I'm such a poor photographer, I really can't do them justice. They're so lively for little pieces of glass. Very fun. Once they're in the piece I don't think the difference in the 2 colors will be as stark as it might look when they're in the tubes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No, really, I'm still working on stuff

What a busy fall it's been and fall doesn't really start until the 22nd. Here's the Gotland - washing is a challenge, this stuff felts if you look at it funny! - and the Iron Matrix. Not a spectacular picture, but I'm more than 1/2 done.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So very slow

And no pictures either.
Sorry for the large dose of lame - I'm done spinning the Gotland, just going to ply it tonight and then set it. Almost halfway done with the Iron Matrix, everything else has been backseated for those. I sense that I'm close to cresting this project hill I've been on.

This weekend we made chicken tacos (fried chicken, lime/chili mayonese, lettuce and tomatos - it's really quite awesome) - my husband made up a great copy of this recipe from our favorite faux Mexican restaurant that involves not having to fry the chicken. The small one suggested that we put it on the internet for others to enjoy, maybe I'll do that sometime.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ironweed (Vernonia altissima )

Saw a lot of this stuff this weekend while biking. The south seems to have more than it's fair share of pretty purple wildflowers (unlike Kudzu, Ironweed doesn't seem to have a scent). Sort of looks like the purple fall flower I'm used to from NH - purple asters.
Still, it's another thing kicking around in my head for a fall project - maybe a fair isle, maybe something with texture or cables and color?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some things I learned today

My car went to the shop today (nothing big, in fact so minor the fix was free) so I had an unexpected day at home. And I learned some things about squirrel-proofing your attic:
  • I now know how to disassemble and fix a very jammed heavy duty stapler.
  • I have a much clearer understanding of how to cut, shape and use 1/2 inch galvanized construction fabric.
  • I now know that I can staple said fabric into rafters with said stapler above my head and behind me while lying on my back on a one inch beam and balancing myself so I don't fall down into my own kitchen.
  • I know this last one isn't a lot of fun and the insulation makes me cough.
  • I know my attic reaches 90-plus degrees by 10am.
  • I know I need more 1/2 inch galvanized construction fabric to finish this job.
I also know I don't want squirrels in my attic. Sigh.
So I'll do something else with my afternoon. I'm almost done with the Gotland. I need to measure these skeins, they must be HUGE. Have a nice day, everyone.

Some things I learned today

My car went to the shop today (nothing big, in fact so minor the fix was free) so I had an unexpected day at home. And I learned some things.
I now know how to disassemble and fix a jammed heavy duty stapler.

Monday, August 25, 2008

No pictures - not much of anything, actually

That's not really true, but I've got too much going at once to make much progress.
I'm still happily spinning on the Gotland, but it's a bit slow - I can spin nice and small, which means filling up a bobbin takes a long time, so I only have 2 skeins plied. I'm over half through it, but I've already posted pictures. But I still love the smell and the feel of this fleece. I've been mulling over pullover ideas for it once it's done. It's very slick and heavy for the gauge, so I think less would be more, patternwise.
I'm also working on linen stitch, and the Iron Matrix shawl. I'm into the second skein of Gloss. Knitpicks' latest catalog has the twinset from the Natural Knitter worked up in Gloss, and it looks lovely. I had a mental note to try the cardigan from that pattern, and I think Gloss would be great. Lots of nice new colors as well. Pumpkin appeals to me - maybe it's wistfulness for fall in New England, 'cause I sure don't look good in orange.
I'm still kicking around the white beaded Matrix version - maybe try the pattern in a big triangle, maybe only do the beads on the outside edge to keep the weight done? I still haven't found size 6 beads that I think would work . . .
And the linen stitch is coming along, I'm alomst up to adding on for the sleeves and I predict that one will slow WAAAAAYYY down when that happens. Maybe I can wear it in the spring.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some slow progress

The linen stitch top is going well, if not exactly exciting to look at. Or photograph. Sorry, once the sleeves go on it will begin to more interesting. I'm really interested to see if the linen stitch does anything to ameliorate the pilling that happens to most cotton yarn when washed. Guess I could have done a swatch and tested it.
And here's the Gotland plied up. It's shiny and kind of hard, not as hairy as the singles were, and it's HEAVY. It would work best knit into a very plain sweater, I think, otherwise it would be a workout to wear it. But it does spin up nice and evenly, so it wins as the most evenly plied yarn I've ever made. And it smells very sheep-y. Which makes me happy.