Monday, December 31, 2012

Bundle Up!

Winter is here, at least for a while, and I am taking advantage of the opportunity to bundle up in as many wonderful, warm, wool things as I can whenever I have to leave the house.  We have been away from home a lot over the past couple of weeks, but I think next week it should slow down a bit.   
In the midst of all of the busyness and doing things that had to be done, I decided to do something just for fun.  Then I started to have a plan to make a million, (just as I have for most everything this year) but after finishing one Bundle-Up-Bear, I realized they are far too much work for people who may or may not appreciate them.  I love this one and will knit more, but I know they are not the right gift for just anyone.  For right now, this is for me.  

Happy New Year!  Stay Warm!    

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hiding Isn't Working, and It's All I'm Good At

So, I was overwhelmed.  Oh, I had so many great plans and ideas.  I had about a half-dozen nearly finished blog posts all ready to go.  I only had to complete the projects, take photos, and click the publish button.  Of course, four or five crocheted hats, five woven scarves, a woven wrap, the handspun garter stitch scarf, a pair of socks, a pair of mitts, the rest of the blanket I started months ago, a challenging weaving project, some tiny things, and those other ideas that inevitably pop up this time of year take a lot longer to finish than those posts took to write.  Still, I decided that it was totally doable, as most of this is not due until the 29th.  I was making progress, but not finishing anything.  Life kept on happening, and it was not always compatible with crafting.  The next thing I know, the overwhelmed-ness starts, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to cope and keep me going.  However, it did not take too long before it all devolved into playing Zelda and hiding from everything.  Well, that is not the grownup way to do things, and seeing the progress that my niece was making on her Christmas inspired me to get back on track.  


Saturday, December 08, 2012

And Now, the Knitting

At least that is what will happen with the yarn I just finished. This is the BFL/silk that my sister-in-law asked me to turn into a garter stitch scarf for her.  I do not have to worry about it taxing my brain and can use it to keep my productivity up when I have idle hands and limited motivation or interest.  I just hope the colors play nicely and that I have enough yarn.  If my measuring is accurate, (and that is a rarity when it comes to calculating yardage) I have about 400 yards at about 19 wpi.  I would cross my fingers, but I have too much that I need to do right now.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Matchy-Matchy for Mom

MatchyMatchyForMomI often knit hats, mittens, gloves, or scarves, but it is rare that I make a set.  Partly that is because I do not pay too much attention to whether my clothes or accessories match, and the other part is that it goes against the appeal of knitting such items.  Knitters often make them because they are quick and require only one or two skeins.  That being said, I decided it would be nice to make my mom a matching set for her birthday.  I was not going to go so far as to use the same stitch pattern for everything, but I was going to use the same yarn.  I started with a Calorimetry because she does not wear hats but her ears are sensitive to wind and cold.  Besides, she seemed to like the last one I knit for her, and she needs another one.  Next, I moved on to knit a pair of Fetching for her.  I like this pattern and hope it will help keep her hands warm while letting her fingers stay free.  Then it was time for the scarf, but I did not have quite enough of this yarn to make one.  I considered a cowl, but that is not really her style.  Then I settled on weaving the scarf and adding another color to the warp.  I think it turned out well, and I hope she enjoys them and I know they will keep her warm.            

Monday, November 26, 2012

OverUnderOverUnder, BackAndForthBackAndForth

I could have written, "Up, Stick, Up, Stick, Up, Down," instead, but that really would not help without showing the draft, and I do not understand those yet. 

Doubled laceweight alpaca makes this the finest piece I have ever woven, and I am really pleased with it, making it the finest piece I have ever woven. The pattern is pretty on either side, and the drape is great. Even the hemstitching looks good.

This was the first time using the 12.5 dent reed for my Ashford rigid heddle loom, and I love the possibilities it offers. The warp is a strand of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Horizon and the rest of the mystery alpaca I used for the Annis I knit for my mom for the other strand. Then I doubled the Alpaca Cloud for the weft. I used a pattern from one of my weaving books, worked on it a little bit, and then let it sit for months. I had put this on the loom as part of the weaving demonstration I did this past Spring.  Anyway, I finally sat down to the loom and a couple of days later I was done. Then, I took three more months to blog it after nearly dying in the August heat to photograph it.  Everything in its time, right?

I have not decided who this belongs to, but I have decided that alpaca might be wonderful for weaving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Due to Weather...

When I got ready to attend SAFF, I was probably most excited about the spinning class.  I had never attended one, so I was really looking forward to the formal instruction, and the topic of the class, spinning faster, sounded like just the thing for me.  Then, SuperstormSandy came along and my class was canceled.  I was disappointed, but knowing what others went through and how they continue to be affected by the storm really made it difficult to feel too sorry for myself.  Still, I wish I had been able to take the class because I had hoped to learn so much.  

Although I have been spinning for a few years now, I continue to have about the same productivity level, and that is not too good.  This is not really too much of an issue, but sometimes I have a timetable for a project.  Take for example, the scarf for my sister-in-law.  I would really like to have it ready to send to her for Christmas.  The trouble is, I have so much going on right now, and so many other things I want to do.  For now, I just pop in a spinning dvd and hope that listening to Judith MacKenzie as I spin is helping, and even if it is not, it is a good way to pass the time.  Most recently, I have watched discs on silk and camelids, and I have found them to be fascinating.  I have even learned a nifty way to remember the difference between Bactrians and Dromedaries, but not everyone finds that as interesting as I do.  Anyway, along the way, I have picked up on some little tips that I hope I will be able to put into practice.  Watching her spin is inspirational to me, and that is always good.  I am spinning a three-ply, and I am already finished with the first single and have started the second.  

However, the spinning has to wait for a couple of days, because I have to cook a turkey, make good cranberry stuff and little s'more pies, and find ways to fit everything in the refrigerator.  Maybe in between things I can work on the millions of crocheted blanket blocks I need to finish and then assemble, but I have a few more weeks to complete that project.  Yesterday I made four blocks (and wove in ends!) and assisted in taking children for photos.  It is good that I love people, or else I would not have been able to bear that adventure.   

I will close this with a note of thankfulness.  There are many people and things I am thankful for, but tonight, I am thankful to have a working light in our bathroom.  That was not something we had last night or most of today.       

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I Do What I Do

It is not always necessary or advisable to spend too much time thinking about why I do what I do.  I spend more than enough time with that as it is.  However, sometimes people ask, and if I do not know already, it makes sense to figure it out.  I am, of course, talking about Color Affection.  For someone who knits lots of teeny-tiny things and lace, it has seemed something of an odd choice to some, and in some ways, it is.  This is not a criticism of the pattern at all.  It is a lovely, squooshy, cozy, hug of garter stitch, and after I get over my temporary dislike of the colors, (this always happens toward the end of a big knitted thing) I think I will wear it often and love having it.  

ColorAfflictionFO I knit this as part of a mostly-local KAL.  Being who I am, I have to be careful that I do not just stay at home and let connections wither away.  I found that I had been doing that more than is good for me, and if I did not put more effort into it, I would likely no longer have a social knitting group, and that is one of the few ways that I get out and spend time around people who are not family.  I was not making it a priority, and I was letting everything else come first.  Since no one could do anything about it but me, I had to do something.  When the plan for the Color Affection was hatched, I viewed it as the perfect way to be present and participate, and perhaps strengthen some bonds.  Even if it did not help out, I would have a new warm and snuggly, and that is always good.  
So, there you have it, and my garter-stitch-iness is not yet at an end.  While at SAFF, my sister-in-law fell in love with some BFL/silk fiber and asked for a scarf, and with a little bit of investigation, I discovered that it is a garter-stitch scarf she desires.  Yep, I'm going to be spinning and knitting a fingering weight garter-stitch scarf.  There's no mystery on why I'm doing this--love.

Friday, November 02, 2012


Well, it was a fun and fabulous time, and now I need to sleep.  Too many days in a row where sleep only showed itself in fitful, restless spurts of three-four hours makes for an exhausted Sarah.  It was a weekend that started with sun and shorts, and ended with snow and mittens.  Throughout it all, there were amazing views, unexpected experiences, and so much wool.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

SAFF-ward Bound

Many times, we have talked about attending the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, but we never really got past talking about it.  A few things change, (and some things that don't) and we are planning a trip to North Carolina to attend SAFF.  My brain is swirling around quite a bit, and it does not really seem real, but this is actually happening, so I need to get my act together, and in a hurry.  Kiwi is already buckled in the car and ready to go.

I am going to take a class from Abby Franquemont.  It is called Spinning Faster, and this is the class description:
Do you wish you could make more yarn faster? This is the class for you! You'll learn several drafting methods and get personalized feedback on how you spin and where your bottlenecks are. You'll learn to get the most out of your wheel, how to set up for efficiency, how to measure your productive rate, and exercises to practice to improve your spinning speed.

It sounds like the right class for me.  Of course, I have never taken a spinning class before, so I am not really sure of anything.  Well, I do know that I am a slow spinner, (not really a problem) and I would like to be more efficient, because I put a lot into it, and I would really like my results to better reflect that.

There is so much more to do to prepare for the trip.  The laundry and regular packing were no big deal.  I even brought along handknit socks to wear because I really think we will have the weather for it, and if a fiber festival is not the place to wear handknit socks, I don't know what is.  

I have been planning my travel knitting, and am so optimistic about finishing my Color Affliction while I am gone that I am bringing my little sample of Soak (if I can find it).  Then it will probably be the knitting of little things, or maybe socks.  Of course, there is a baby blanket I need to work on, and it might be a good choice, but it is not the number one thing I want to do.  My Bauble shawl understands that its charts and traveling are not a great match.  Bauble wants undivided attention, I think.  Bauble has been talking about bead choices and may be plotting my demise.      

I will probably buy a few things, but I will have to see all that is there before I know more about what I might want.  Since I do not have a local weaving store, I might get a bit for the looms.  I especially look forward to seeing things in person and figuring out whom I want to order from in the future because I will not be able to buy absolutely everything I see and want.  I do understand that I would be doing a disservice to myself if I do not purchase some goat milk fudge, and Bruce always approves of fudge.    

No time to get a good pic of the yarn I finally finished, so you'll have to settle for one of a niece.     

Monday, October 22, 2012

Maybe I Should Stop Calling It Affliction

We have colds, and lost most of the weekend.  The whole thing is really just a bit of an annoyance, but occasionally, Bruce tells me that he thinks he will not survive.  While I generally approve of his being dramatic like that over a cold, I felt like the line belonged to me in reference to something else I did this weekend, but that is maybe a story for another day.  

So, there have been many naps, and too much time spent vacantly staring at crappy television programs, but that has not been all.  As it turns out, the endless garter stitch of Color Affliction has been an excellent companion.  It has allowed me to be productive when I could not focus on much else.  I am nearly to the short-row section, and I hope my brain is ready for it when I get there.    

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Socktober!

Are they still playing Socktoberfest?  I don't know if they are, but I am pretty sure they were back when I played Personal Sock Club.  That was 2009, I did not start at the beginning of the year, and by the time I reached my July bag grab, I was done.  That month the random draw was Chalet Socks from Folk Socks and Louet Gems Merino in Navy.  Once I got beyond the enlarging of charts, I think it started fine, but then I just put it aside.  No, I do not remember the reasons why, but I would guess it is not an interesting or original story.  I picked the socks up a few times, but never really did much until this summer.  Along with the mittens, I decided that enough was enough, and it was time to finish, that is to say, effo or effoff.  

While there were times that I wanted to just shove them back in a bag and forget about them, or return the yarn to a state of stash, I continued.  Along the way, I began to enjoy the knit, and trying them on showed me that I was making progress, and that they would be wonderful socks. Knitting this pair also reminded me of many of the wonderful things about socknitting.  It was a great inspiration to sew that little bag, and now that they are done, I find myself thinking more about knitting socks more often.  I am relieved that I am thinking about making more socks, but not feeling the need to knit millions of them.  I already have too many things I feel that way about, and I do not need more.  

Of course, October is not just about the socks.  It is the time when Stacey organizes a fundraiser.  Donate early, and donate often.  I have knit a few things to add to the prize package.  The shawl is cashmere and the little knits are magnetic. PrizeContributionToNMOFundraiser

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Affected and Afflicted

While I cannot be sure of the first time I saw it, I think if was over at Margene's.  I looked at it and considered it, and then let the idea drift away.  However, it kept coming back.  It kept popping up here and there, and so did the desire to knit it.  Someone else showed me her yarn choices, and I thought about it some more.  Soon I was trying to decide if I wanted to knit it because so many others had, or if that was the reason I was resisting the idea.  Another knitter showed me her yarn, a plan hatched, and I bought the pattern that night.  I used the promise of stash-shopping as the reward to finish up a few things.  I already had ideas of what colors I would use, but looking into the bins gave me other ideas, and soon I had a bag of possibilities.  I showed it to others, they gave their opinions, and as they played with the various combinations, I had even more ideas. 

These are the yarns I gathered for Color Affection.  I keep playing around with various groupings of three and I am still not sure, but I really want to start knitting.  Cast on is slated for October 17th, so I still have time to decide.  It is good that I have other knits going to keep me from starting early.
So far, this combination dubbed "I Love the Eighties" seems to be the favorite amongst those I have asked.  

AutumnAffectionHere is the "Autumn Affection" set.  I think it is a little different from what I normally would pick, and is an interesting possibility.

Then there is this set that does not have a name.  Bruce said that the Ash would be good for socks.  I take that as a hint, and think I should get some secret socks going soon.  

My mom thinks I should do "I Love the Eighties" for the knitalong, but cast on for "Autumn Affection" right now in secret.  Maybe I will knit it for her, but I will be good and wait to cast on with everyone at the pre-determined time.  

What do you think?  One of the above combos, a different grouping, something else you know I have?  On the other hand, maybe you think I should just shut up, quit asking everyone, and figure it out for myself.          

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sew What?

WIPBagTotally unimpressive to anyone else, massively impressive to me.  Yep, I sewed a little project bag.  I suppose that the bag itself is not much, but I am quite pleased that I was able to take an idea and turn it into what I wanted it to be.  

Years ago, I bought some little bags at a dollar store.  I really liked them because they are great for knitting on the go, but there were things I did not love.  The fabric is not so great, the strap is pretty bad, and the pictures on the front are ugly.  Anyway, I cut apart one of the bags and used it for a pattern, and after much more time and effort than it should have taken, I had a new bag.

There are a few other details about the bag that I love.  First, I made the double-fold bias tape myself.  As I am quite the beginner at sewing, I still get to have these moments where I try something new and it thrills me more than it probably should.  If I were five, I would want to hang my bias tape on the refrigerator.  The battle was hard-fought, but I won.  I made mistakes and when I rushed I had troubles, but I learned so much.  I also had a reminder to trust myself even though I am a beginner, because some of the problem was a defective bias tape tip that I have now exchanged, but that is neither here nor there.  Anyway, I used this great tutorial, and now have yards and yards of the stuff and will never hesitate to make my own whenever I need it.  

The other little handmade detail I love is the strap.  I wove it on my inkle loom, and it might please me even more than the bias tape.  I used some rayon crochet thread that I bought ages ago from a clearance pile at a craft store and have been trying to find a use for ever since.  It was one of those times where the "Oooh, Shiny!" and "Yay, Bargain!" collided and I could not stop myself.  Anyway, it is great for these straps, and I already have the loom set up to weave another.  I have also sewn another of these bags and it is just waiting for its strap.  Overall, I feel like I have done pretty well with 2012's National Sewing Month.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Done and Just Begun

FinishedSeaMineralMitts SeaMineralObligatoryFloatPhoto

I finally finished my mittens, and then the hot returned.  It really is not so bad.  Perhaps the only reason I think that is because I have these wonderful new mittens.  I do love them, and it has only been a bit over a year since I started them.  The pattern is Sea Mineral Mittens by SpillyJane.  I changed the thumb because I think they are more comfortable this way.  While the way they are done in the pattern (peasant thumb) is just so very matchy-matchy, I think I did well enough with the gusseted thumb.  Now I just have to wait until I can wear them.  

With the mittens done, it was time to dive into the stash.  I was looking for yarn for some future knits, but more about that another day.  At one point, I was going through the lace bin, and removed the handspun yarn so it could live with its own kind.  Side note:  I have a good bit of handspun at this point, and I am considering a NoMillSpunNovember.  Anyway, I found some more lace in other bins, and the next thing I knew, I had trouble getting the lid on the lace bin.  If that is not a sign to cast on for new lace, please don't tell me.  

Augh!  The Color is Totally Off!
I decided to knit Bauble from Knitty (First Fall 2012).  It is a pattern that I liked when I first saw it, but it was not a good time for me to knit it.  I think it is an ideal pattern for me right now.  I have the full bin situation, I have been knitting (almost finished)AlmostChaletSocks socks with twisted and traveling stitches and so does this shawl, this Malabrigo lace yarn is so pretty and soft, and it has been too long since I have had lace on the needles.  I have already made it through the foundation charts and am on to the main ones, and am quite enjoying the knit.                   

Friday, September 21, 2012

Using Up the Little Bits

There is so much that I do not know, but I am learning.  I learned that if you do an outstretched arm, self-portrait, cowl photo shoot, you will end up with a lot of pictures that prominently feature your nostrils.  Also, sometimes a side profile shot will give the illusion that you have stray cats hanging from your chin.  Anyway, recently, I was at a bit of a loss of what to knit next, so I grabbed a small skein of handspun, wound it into a ball, and checked patterns on Ravelry to see what I could do with those 93 yards.  It took a while, but then I came across a pattern for Estonian Lace Wrist Warmers from Evelyn A. Clark.  I thought about turning them into fingerless mitts, but then decided against it because it meant knitting two things, and if it did not work out, I might have 1 1/2 things, and therefore, not really anything.  EstonianLaceNotWristWarmersCowlCloseUpSo, I took the lace patterns from the wristlets and used the stitch multiples from the chart and cast on enough to make what I hoped would become a cowl.  With the dark yarn and it being lace, I wasn't sure if it was going to work out well, but it did.  The fiber was a sample of mystery fluff from Fiber Art Work (lys), and I am so glad to have been able to turn it into something useful.  

Friday, September 07, 2012

Best Laid Plans and All That

So, I thought for sure that if I planned things just right, all would go according to plan. I wrote my posts, scheduled them to publish, and thought that I would keep up with it. That last part was the unreasonable expectation because last week was crazy busy--some days crazier, and some busier. We had family visiting from out-of-town. It is too bad that the whole thing was set up the way it was because it just meant a lot of busyness and not near enough good visiting time. It was what it was and will be what it will be.

I coped with some of it by sewing. Happy National Sewing Month! I made a bag for my Schacht Cricket loom. It is something I have wanted to do for a while, and then I saw a contest and that inspired me to get out the duck cloth and see what I could make. It is by no means an award-winning piece, but I like it and it is a great way to carry my little loom.

Speaking of the loom, I forgot to show you the rainbow scarf I made on it. This was what I had put on the loom for the weaving demo earlier this year. I like this cute little scarf and love its drape and bright colors.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Taki!

It is hard to believe that our Taki turned 30 on August 8.  It is especially hard to believe when I consider we cannot get him to not make a silly face in a photograph.  Of course, his new birthday hat is a bit different, too, so it really is not out of place to pull a face when modeling it.  The knit was a labor of love, and that made the challenging aspects worth the effort.  I think it is quite a spectacular hat, and I hope his sister does not think it is so fabulous that she needs one too.  

The pattern is Samurai Kabuto from Folk Hats, and it is the original reason I bought the book.  It took a few years before I felt like tackling the challenge, and Taki's 30th birthday seemed like the perfect occasion.  It was knit either this hat or a thirty-piece mochimochi sushi refrigerator magnet set.  Maybe that will be his Christmas present.  That way, I do not need to knit thirty of them.  Anyway, the hat even goes with the theme of one of the rooms in his house, and recently, he has had more interest in researching his samurai ancestry.  

The pattern really is quite well written, and if you combine following the directions with patience and determination, the hat is totally doable.  I suppose that goes for just about any knitting.  Well, except for the good pattern part.  We have all encountered those that were not.  /ahem Knitting this took a lot out of me during a time when many people needed a lot from me.  In fact, I was sewing a few last details in the car on our way to the party.  However, I think it turned out great, he likes it, and he is very much worth it.          

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I received a wonderful box overflowing with prizes from Stacey's NMO fundraiser.  I love it all so much, and have been making plans.  I do have some singles waiting for their plying time before I should get into my new fibers.  After that, my next challenge will be to find the time to play with it all.  Then again, there is a lovely new drop spindle in my prize package, and that is a great way to spin when time is scarce, and it would not interfere with the plying.  Well, only if you count the fact that time spent not plying means that plying does not happen, but we are not super interested in reality right now.   

Since this is week 500 for Unconscious Mutterings, it seems like the right time to participate again.  I did the exercise as soon as the list was posted because I thought it might be unwise to peer into my mind later.  This is the time to remember--Do Be a Do-Bee.   

Call ::  Me
Instinct :: Killer
Toffee ::  Nut
Cleaner ::  Professional
Gut ::  Feeling
Leveled ::  Demolished 
Discover ::  New
Together ::  Again
Attack :: Killer Tomato
String ::  Along

Saturday, August 25, 2012

All Thumbs

While I started these mittens over a year ago, it is only now that I am getting ready to finish them, and I am so close and yet so far. I really do not remember why I set them aside. I picked them up the other day and breezed my way to the tip of the second mitten and feel like tossing them back in a yarn bin, but I will not. I will weave in ends and knit the thumbs. Then it is only a dunk in the bath, the drying, and I will have new mittens. I can do this, and I will.

It is just that I have been a bit unsettled with my knitting lately. That can be a perfect opportunity to attend to the odd piece left unfinished. It is a good time to just knit without thinking about what I want to knit and just follow along and form stitch after stitch after stitch. When I do not feel like knitting, there are plenty of ends waiting to be woven in and snipped. While I am feeling a bit meh, I am going to use it to make my way through something I might otherwise set aside in pursuit of more exciting knitting. Then, when I cannot stand it, I will paint my nails and bask in the luxuriousness of forced idleness while I wait for them to dry.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feeling Like a Champion

After taking some time to diagnose the problem with my computer, gathering the confidence to order the part, and then finding the courage to tackle the repair, I am back. It feels good to figure out a problem and then fix it myself. It also feels good to return to blogging. Blogging is a weird thing, I often have very different thoughts about it, and yet, here I am. I could have kept up better while my computer was down, but stepping back from it was helpful. It even gave me the opportunity to build up a bit of blog fodder to help me as I work my way back into it. That is not to say you will be subjected to every baby bib and burp cloth I have sewn lately, but I do have them, and if I come up short for a photo to go along with a post, you just might get to see them.

Sewing is not all that I have done. I was social once for a little bit, and that was mighty nice. It allowed me to vent a bit. It was mostly just a little unnecessary family drama that will be just fine. I was super tired when I learned of it and am glad that I have time to prepare before I really have to deal with it. You know, it is one of those times when one is called upon to be the bigger person and do the right thing when it seems pretty pointless. Well, besides the fact that doing the right thing is right. I am still looking for ways to squeeze more positive and joy out of the situation, because there are still some opportunities for that. Well, that is my hope, anyway.

Oh, but let us get back to the social bit. It was not all about me dumping my stress out all over the place. It was also a good time of catching up with one another, and even discussing things that were not me. I like that the best. Helen had recently returned from family vacation, and she brought back these lovely gifties. I love my new mug and socks. Thank you, Helen! Those are not the only fabulous prizes I have received lately, but they will wait for another post.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


We traveled about 800 miles over the weekend, and by weekend, I mean just Saturday and Sunday. That was about 150 more miles than we intended, due to an unfortunate missing purse incident. That story is not particularly entertaining, was incredibly stressful, and all was pretty much put back to right in the end. We are so relieved to be home, and grateful that when all was said and done, everything worked out, eventually.

There was both newness and oldness in the adventure, so we prepared as best as we could and hoped it would be good enough. As far as that goes, we did pretty well. My biggest decision for the trip was the knitting. I decided to go with what has served me well in times of stress this year. No, not more owl hats, but rather the teeny-tiny mochimochis. I opened another package of magnets, put them in my accessory pouch and then tossed patterns in a knitting bag with an assortment of small balls of Knit Picks Palette. It turned out to be good car knitting. I learned that I-65 around Birmingham is not ideal if it is time to do assembly or embroidery, and that I would be better off starting a new creation and coming back to it, or I waste a good chunk of time. The handle in the car door is a great spot for the chibi, scissors, and clipped yarn pieces. By the time we returned home, I could feel phantom dpns from all of the times I had temporarily stuck them in my hair. I also had a few new pieces, and they followed a theme.
I came upon the theme before I knew how true it would be, but it was still silly enough that I kept with it. I held up the panda and gnome I had knit and said to Bruce, "It's PandaGnomeum!" He is so good to laugh at the silly things I say.

Unfortunately, the PandaGnomeum has continued, and we are struggling to keep afloat. One thing after another pops up before we have a chance to think about unwinding and catching up on things like laundry, grocery shopping, and computer repair. We will be fine; we just feel a bit out of sorts.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

This is Not Car Knitting


The knitting I should have done by now just got underway at the end of last month.  I am making the Samurai Kabuto for Taki's birthday, and it will be tough to finish it in time (August 8th).  I have made progress on it, but now I am down to the brim, the tassel, the dragon, and assembly and finishing work.  The neck protector section took much longer than I had anticipated because the button stitch rows took forevah, and the row that followed was always a bit tougher because of it.  I am working on the dragon now, and that involves things like measuring, and I have learned (why, yes, I do learn my lessons sometimes) that is best done when one has a firm, flat surface.  That is to say, measuring on my thigh while riding in the car is not the best path to success.  Since we will be traveling many miles this weekend, I will probably leave the hat at home and knit something else.  I just do not know what that something else should be.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

TDF2012: All Over But the Plying

So, I did not know that I was going to disappear from blogs for the duration of the Tour de Fleece, but I did. It is good that the Tour is a July event, because it is a good way to keep up with something during a time of year when I would otherwise sit on the couch staring blankly at the television. Sure, I'm still sitting on the couch and the teevee is still on all the time, but I just keep spinning, and eventually, I have new yarn. Eventually is a key word here, because I am a slow spinner. It does not seem that way to me while I am spinning, but it is true. I followed the spinning schedule for the Tour, and I did not make it through the twelve ounces I planned to turn into yarn, but I did enjoy myself. I even got the drop spindle out for a bit so I could get a Tour de Niece picture. Yep, my auntliness increased again on Friday the Thirteenth (Madeline Belle, 7lbs, 15 ozs; 20").

Spinning also helped me cope with some unpleasantness and difficulties. It can be very therapeutic and calming, giving me a place to focus attention and settle into a soothing rhythm. Team CrankyPants helped, too, as did all of the beautiful photos of other spinners' work.

With all of the hours and hours I spent at the wheel, I hoped to have a finished yarn, but I was still about three-quarters of an ounce short of finishing the singles. I did make my way through that after the end of the Tour, and now I just need to ply.  


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tour Training

Well, if by training you mean, looked at fiber, then I have been training. Since spinning is not a requirement for Team CrankyPants, I am pretty sure this really does count. Actually, I have been doing some things to get ready. I sewed an apron to wear while I spin. This should help to keep any loose fibers off my pants, plus if I am spinning dark-colored fibers, they will be easier to see against the white apron. SilkCapsNewApronI should sew a darker apron for when I spin light-colored fibers. It should go faster now that I have already sewn one. However, I do not have plans in the immediate future to spin anything white, so maybe the darker apron will wait. 

The other day I took advantage of the heat to dye some silk caps. My nephew helped me, and that made the process even more fun. I have not decided whether I will spin the caps or just knit straight from them. I think they would make great mitts or a nice cowl.

RoyalBFLSilkCupcakesI think I am getting close to having a plan for what I will spin during the tour. I have the pile of mystery fluff that I carded ready to go, and I have my box of Royal BFL/silk Cupcakes. I have plenty of fiber to choose from, but figure getting through all of that will be enough of a challenge for me. That has not stopped me from thinking about other possibilities, just in case. Mostly, though, that is just a distraction and a fantasy that I will have so much time to just spin, and no other drama or trouble will keep me from it. I can dream, right?  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Up On the Roof

We have been very busy, but most of it has been a home maintenance and repair journey, and therefore, not particularly blogworthy. We started out with the task of cleaning the gutters and found a hole in the roof. We have repaired the hole, and are in the process of other roof work. It is not fun, the weather is very hot, and we have both fallen. We are thankful that we were not on ladders or the roof at the time. He fell up the porch and I fell off the porch. I can only laugh at my bruises and scrapes. My unhappy wrist (probably a mild sprain) is super-annoying, as it has slowed me down and prevented me from doing as much. After a couple of days, I struggled to keep to the R portion of the RICE treatment, but I have greatly improved my machete skills (best $3 spent at Harbor Freight, evah).

Anyway, it is very weird around here, and I am so grateful to have people who will answer questions like, "Which is the better gnome?" and, "Which gnome goes with this chicken?" without batting an eye. Those are the kinds of questions I feel up to dealing with, not the question of my Rata Scarf.
I did block what I have, and I still do not know, but I kind of feel like just frogging the whole thing, but that is probably the home improvement talking. Of course, I do not have the time or energy to deal with it anyway, so it will wait.


For now, there is tons of laundry to do, missing sleep to locate, and I have to not think about getting up on that roof in the morning so that I can get up on the roof in the morning. In between now and whenever, I hope to catch up on emails, blogs, comments, and maybe get a few packages in the mail, but it seems I am forever in that mode, so there you go.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Previously, Not on the Blog

Just popping in for a minute, because I do not have time for much more than that. Until then, enjoy these pictures of lace I knit for friends but did not show so that they could be surprises, but then never got around to blogging.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Argh! Yarndage!

Oh, it is probably my fault, but I still feel as though I have been wronged.  I want to shake my fists, cry, and shout that my 5% more yarn than the pattern lists is a sufficient safety margin.  However, that does not make me any less out of yarn, nor any closer to finishing it. 

I decided to get serious about finishing my Rata scarf, and as I neared the top, I noticed the beginnings of the cone showing through beneath the yarn.  That sinking feeling began to settle in, and I wondered, but kept going.  Well, I made it to the top, and worked the edging almost all the way across before reaching the end of my yarn.  Even if I had made it across the top, there is still the long trek working the edging down the right side of the scarf left undone.  I did entertain the idea of not working the edging on the right side, but that was mostly a bargaining/wishful thinking thing in hopes that the yarn would go further than it did.  

After that disappointment, I moved on to a Team CrankyPants Training Camp task--I finished prepping some fiber.  The task has alternately made me think that I need a drum carder, and that I should never again attempt to prep fiber myself.  It really was not even real fiber prep.  I was just carding together two smaller bumps of combed fiber into one blended bunch of fluff.  Still, it is done, and I am glad.  I have been tossing about several ideas about my spinning for Le Tour, and the craziest of them involves beads and silk.  

Anyway, I have decisions to make in regards to my Rata Scarf.  I guess there are only two--rip, or buy more yarn.  I am loathe to do either, but just letting it sit unfinished indefinitely is not an answer.  I do have a plan, and hope you will weigh in on what you think about it.  I might try blocking what I have to see how well I might like this scarf if I finish it.  If it is so lovely that I must have it, I will buy more yarn.  If I feel meh about it, I will rip.                 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ten Years is Not Enough

Ah, marriage--it combines the contentedness of being neutered with the occasional sex of being not!  Happy 10th Anniversary, Brucie! 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Why Not? That's Why Not

Clearly, there are many people who would never knit the things I have been knitting from Mochimochi Land, and many of them question my sanity when they see that this is what I have chosen to knit lately.  Some of them even feel the need to ask why I am knitting these, and it catches me off-guard each time I get the question.  I do have answers for the question, but I suppose what stymies me is someone actually asking me.  Of course, I just keep knitting and am not really bothered by the questions, but have a little chuckle as I wonder why they feel compelled to ask.   

I love making and giving away these cute, little creations, and I find the process calming and stress-relieving.  I also come up with weird plans occasionally, but they do not always amount to anything.  I have an idea for next month, but I probably need to get started on it now.  The biggest problem is that it involves getting things in the mail, so the plan has two strikes against it already.  

Speaking of the post office, I need to go there now, as I have something that actually needs to get somewhere soon.  Catch ya later!   

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Caps, Gowns, and More Caps

May has been a very busy month.  A major event was the daughter's graduation from college.  We are so proud of her.  Her hard work and accomplishments made it easy to look past the challenges involved in organizing her graduation party.  We survived the mixed-nuts-controversy, the panic over parking, and invitation indignation, all with our sense of humor intact.  None of it was actually anything to worry about, and as long as at least two people could keep that in mind at all times, it kept a relative calm over those who prefer to panic.  I stayed so busy keeping things flowing that I hardly had any time to socialize, and I kind of liked it that way.  

The weather jerks kept telling me about the heat, and I was starting to take it personally.  As this attitude was neither positive nor helpful, I decided that I needed to do something.  As I cannot control the weather, (not that it would be a good thing if I could) I figured that a sunhat was what I needed to put myself in a better frame of mind.   

In the past, I have looked at knitted summer hat patterns, never really found the right one, and I often freeze up when I begin to think about the millinery wire and starch.  Anyway, awhile back I thought about sewing a sunhat.  I looked at various patterns, and immediately discarded those sized for "average ladies' heads."  If that worked for me, I would have already bought one from the store.  Then there were the directions for those with more sewing experience wherein the designer throws out some guidelines, and you work out the pattern for yourself.  As my experience and skills are not there yet, my search continued.  Finally, I found a pattern that I liked, and filed it away for future reference.  Fast forward to this week, and I was ready to try.  

The pattern comes from Lorenna Buck, and I love it.  It fits, protects me from the sun, is comfortable, and I want to make more.  Even with my sub-par-sewing-skills and mistakes, it still looks pretty good.  I learned as I sewed, and think my next hat should be even better.  

With the need for air conditioning comes the need for a new hat for Harrison.  I love the pattern and the sizing options mean I could make these for everyone I know.  I seriously doubt that I will do that, but I will probably knit more of them for babies.