Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

Woo Hoo!  Mushrooms for Color has arrived!!!  The famous first book (famous to mushroom dyers, that is) has come and it's wonderful.  The seller even tied a wonderful piece of yarn around the carefully wrapped tissue paper.  I'm so exicited!!!  I started cleaning the bedroom and craft room today.  At the very least, I'd like to wake up in the new year in a clean, fresh bedroom.   It was starting to look like one on "Clean House."  I'm taking the bed linens to the laundromat when I finish tidying up and hopefully, I will finish the last two inches of the leg so I can start on the heel flap.  I believe that the heel flap will give me a burst of vigor until I start getting bored with the foot.  Poor DH.  He really does put up with a lot of messiness.  Today I'd like to return my library books, find that damn Twinkle book,  go to Central Park with P and make a nice dinner with Mr. Miukat.  Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men... 

I'd like to say that I did everything I wanted to today, but it would be a lie.  I cleaned the craftroom up a bit, and can see the floor now.  That's super exciting!  Also, I made beef stew and red velvet cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese icing at DH's request.  He's still playing video games, though and hasn't noticed.  I also did some laundry and have only 1 inch to go before I work on the heel flap.  It's already 11!  

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Starting Early!

I'm trying out a new tradition.  It's based on a Chinese New Year Tradition.  It's Cleaning-The-House-Before-The-New-Year.  Last year, I tried to get on the cleaning bandwagon, with limited success.  Still have clutter, and stuff to move, but for the most part, we've donated a few truckloads of stuff to Sally's Department Store.  I got a cleaning caddy, learned about cleaning and have been moving slowly forward.  I'm not there, yet, but it's coming.  My real goal is to be a neat and clean person by the time I'm forty.  I have a few good years left before that happens.  I will cry on my birthday if that day comes and I wake up still a slob.  This year, the craft room is my focus.  It wants to be a storage space and I want it to be a work room.  We're still in the process of compromise.  The other thing is that my husband wanted the room to be storage, but I claimed it as my own immediately.  Sackgirl-in-progress stabbed him in the leg with a knitting needle, and i think he's had it.  This is not fair to him, especially when the spillover creeps into his domain:  the entertainment room.  I'd like to clean it up and work in there also to show him I respect his space because as of now, I don't.

In other news, I discovered/identified two key things about my personality:  I am a flutterer and (damn, I forgot the word.  Basically someone who likes to do things in short bursts)  I like to wash the dishes and clean the house when I can do it a few minutes at a time.  I never do all the dishes at once.   I like do a rack, let them dry, then go back.  Same with the rest of the chores.  Devoting big chunks of time to things I don't really like stresses me out.  Vacation has been good, because I have the time to live like this for now.  What will I do when work and school start?

Monday, December 29, 2008

R and R

Well, today was not quite as busy as days past.  I contacted the WildMan Steve Brill to see if I could set a date for a dye forage.  We are tentatively scheduled for October 5, but nothing is confirmed.  In the meantime, I'm learning all I can about natural dyes.  I don't want to be a point person for an activity I know nothing about.   Maybe I'll go to the park and look for polypores to play with.  

Here's what I actually did.  I went to see my MIL, took a nap, and went to hang with Spin City. It was really nice to hang out with MagicStix and play show and tell. It seems qiviut is the fiber of the hour. It's super soft and luxurious. None for me until I can whittle down my stash. Next year, I would love a subscription to A Verb for Keeping Keep Warm.  The roving there is to die for!  I love all the soft colors.  I think they are what made me interested in natural dyeing.  I don't dabble much in sampling wool, but I heard that this year's Featured Sheep Breed is Leicester Longwool.  OMG!  Just like at Colonial Williamsburg!  I was super excited.  It seems that this sheep does not have a good reputation for the spinners in my area.  I guess the wool is a bit rough compared to, say quiviut and merino.  Oh well.  I would love to get my hands on some.  Little by little, I will learn.
Lastly, I finally got my hands on the Stitch and Pitch bags.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  (Saber, stop purring over my shoulder!)  In any case,  I got some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, an few sample skeins of ArtYarn, some Moda Dea Dream, Red Hear Foxy,   Sirdar Snuggly, Austermann Samoa, KnitLites needles, size 9 and 15, and a few patterns.  Oh, I almost forgot, some Caron Simply Soft, and some safety orange yarn.  Woo hoo.  Camo bikini-here I come!  It was like Christmas all over!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mr. Sandman...Bring Me a Dream

Good Morning! The day is already starting out way better than yesterday. The cats are licking their chops from breakfast and the house is quiet. I spent about a half-hour in bed this morning dreaming happy wakeful new project thoughts. I don't know if this happens to any of you out there in Blogland, but right before I fall asleep and right as I am waking up, the weirdest projects come to me. It's how I conceptualized my niece's birthday cakes, and wedding dress, and I love when it happens. Well, I guess something happened when I was sleeping and the "Tinsel Bikini" somehow weavedknit it's way into my subconscience and came out early this morning as "KnitBits-12 months of Knit Bikinis." Oh yeah. I have one for every month, save May, as nothing much really happens in May, and I have flowers on my August bikini. Here's a list:

January-Fancy New Year's Bikini-silver fun fur
February-Valentines Day Bikini-pink, white, and red, with a big red heart on the each triangle cup
March-St.Patrick's Bikini-Green bikini with rainbow i-cord ties and black wide waistband on the hipster with a big gold buckle. Accesories include a pot-o-gold purse, black with crocheted gold coins on top.
April-Easter Bikini-white angora bikini with knit bunny ears and a pompom tail
May-May Flowers-Basketweave crochet bikini with flowers trimming the waist and top
June-Grass Bikini-green fun fur bikini accessorized with red ginham and a picnic theme
July-Fourth of July Bikini-blue triangle top bikini with stars on each triangle cup, red and white striped bottoms
August-Birthday Bikini-yellow bikini with jewel-toned crocheted flowers (like my birthday dress)
September-Back to School Bikini-White halter top bikini with collar and pink tie, gray bottoms with pleated flouce.
October-Hunting Bikini-Camo bikini with saftey orange trim and button down, wide leg-warmers
November-Thanksgiving Bikini-Brown bikini with turkey tail
December-Christmas Bikini-haven't decided yet

So you see, I have issues. Off to clean the kitchen, make red velvet cake and dye my reclaimed mohair.

Here it was before: Here it is after:
I call it Raspberry Truffle. I know it's not very original, but I like it. Off to watch football and get some knitting on the socks-that-will-take-forever (STWTF for short).

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I went out this morning to get cat food, parked my truck, then noticed a bunch of wires and lightbulbs hanging out of the hole where my tail light should be.  Ugh.  I can't use my truck until I get a replacement.  I spent the better part of the day doing fibery things to get my mind off it.  First, I took some roving that's been in my stash for years and started spinning it.  Don't know much about wpi, but like most yarn that I make, it will be a 2-ply and is slated to become a cropped vest.  So far I've got a bobbin and a half.  If I had to guess at wpi, I'd say it's 9-12.  It's grayish, with burgundy and dark green streaks, with some flash.  It will make a good top to a sexy librarian outfit!

J and I went thrifting, and I bought some sweaters for the frog pond.  The first one was a complete bust.  It was ladder yarn, and I thought it had sequins stranded with it, but upon frogging, I realized the sequins were sewn in.  The yarn was hard to frog, so I gave up.  It was a silk/nylon mix and had beautiful drape.  Oh well.  Lessons learned.  AND, it had a crocheted edging on the hem AND was edged with a chain stitch thingy which did NOT want to unravel.  
The next sweater was an Italian hand-knit mohair sweater.  The sewing yarn was really hard to see.  I did waste a bit, but got a big, hunkin' skein in the end.  There are a bit short lengths in it.  It's not a problem, though.  It was so damn annoying to frog that I can't imagine anything I knit from it coming undone.  Tomorrow I will try to kettle dye it brown/pink.  That failing, I will overdye it burgundy.  That's all for now.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Friday!

It's the friday after Christmas and I'm sick, tired, and broke.  I had a wonderful holiday, but the day was long.  The hour and a half drive back from upstate on Christmas eve was through a dense, gray fog.  We didn't wake up until 12 on Christmas.  DH has been sick, and I think he may have spread his disease to me.  I vow that the new year will be better.  On a lighter note, in order to get my mind off the possibility of vomiting, I have been considering the idea of getting this.

Here is a bad picture of my fiber stash.  (I didn't get the camera I wanted for Christmas, but it's ok.  I think I may read our camera manual and try to do better.)
Jasper, the 20 pound cat in the corner, will give you an idea of the scale of my stash.  I found adult natural mohair, merino fleece, a few pounds of merino roving, a few ounces of dog hair, a few ounces of cat hair, black shetland fleece, free brown mystery fleece, free gray mystery fleece, mohair roving in blues, gray roving, brown/multicolor roving, green merino tussah roving, random odd dyed bits, tussah roving, purple roving with blue angelina, pink and orange dyed merino fleece, and I think that's it.  NOW, if anyone believes that I DON'T need a drum carder, SPEAK NOW, or forever hold your fleece peace.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank You, Mr. Postman

So, my husband comes up the stairs and brings me a package and says, "Here.  It was outside.  Did you order anything?"  and I say, "Nothing that I can remember, but it's always possible."  So he gives me a media-mail envelope which CLEARLY feels like a book, perhaps from my Amazon wishlist, and sure enough, it's The Age of Homespun.  There was no note, no message, and no one told me I was getting anything.  Thank you, O mystery book gifter.  I look forward to reading it over the holiday.

On the mad present crafting front, my coworkers liked their gnomey ornaments, and yesterday, J and I made decorated molded sugar flower-cubes, and decorated sugar cubes with Christmas-y flowers.  We also made bathbombs.  I dare say I added a bit too much liquid and the domes now look like silicone breast implants.  Oh bother.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Today I gave J her neckwarmer.  I was so happy to see it go to it's intended.  We did a lot of christmas-y stuff today like:  make eucalyptus bath melts, green tea cookie bath salts, lavendar bath salts, marbled peppermint bark, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.  Tomorrow, we'll make up a quick batch of half-sphere bath bombs.  I think she made pizzelles, too.  DH and I saw Broadway's version of "Young Frankenstein."  It was cute.  I especially liked the parts when they made new songs/scenes.   My only complaint is that I don't like when the Broadway actors try to hard to be the movie actors playing the part.  I think that actors need to bring their own experience/take on a character, rather than acting like another actor.  This was the same complaint I had about Little Shop of Horrors.  I wanted to see the Dentist, not an actor acting like Steve Martin acting like the dentist.  Still it was fun.  Must...finish...knitting... 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Died Dyed Today!

O! frabjous day, Callooh Callay!  I dyed some yarn with food coloring and vinegar.  Strike me down for not taking pics.  Still having camera issues.  I knew I wanted purples.  I knew I wanted an adult palette, serious and toned down.  I also knew I did NOT want pooling.  I used some chunky superwash that I had gotten at Smiley's a few years back in a neutral color.  First, it soaked in hot water w/ a little detergent for a few minutes.  Then I squeezed it out, salad spun it, and laid it on plastic wrap on the counter.  I mixed up some squeeze bottles of warm water, a glug of vinegar and a squirt of food coloring.  I used the paste and gel colors that come in squeeze bottles in violet, gel violet, red red, and rose.  One violet separated and turned sky blue.  The black looked dark blue, one violet actually  looked purple and the pink was an afterthought when the red was too red.  It behaved more like a paint, somehow.  Anyway, I started with the black, zigzagging lines in a somewhat pattern, then added the purple, the blue, and some red.  Then, I squeezed out the excess water, flipped the yarn over, finished off the dye and still had some light spots.  I squeezed out the excess again and then overdyed in violet, which somehow looked blue.  I gave up trying, dismayed, and consigned this batch to a possible overdye after processing.  Then I microwaved for ten minutes, cooking for two and cooling for two five times.  I will def. steam on the stove next time.  This was too labor intensive for me.  I'm impatient to let the bath exhaust, and couldn't tell when it was finished, so I gave it a soapy rinse after about 4 minutes.  It ran like hell.  So I did six more minutes.  The dye still ran.  Rinsing in the bathtub helped a lot.  The colors seemed better.  I dried it on the radiator, wound it into balls and started on another neckwarmer.  Pictures to follow.  Once again, my buttons came in handy and I found the perfect ones.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fall In Love All Over Again!

So, I finally got up enough willpower to do it.  I literally dusted off my spinning wheel, ditched the pluckfluff-inspired yarn that was too bulky for the orifice and which kept getting stuck in the hooks and spun up some of that yummy merino/silk blend that I got at Rhinebeck. It was really hard to pick a name and colorway for the new yarn, seeing as I've misplaced the vendor information at this moment, but settled on "Wooly Silk" in the "Swamp Flower" colorway.  A green name that accurately described the color was very hard to come up with.  It wasn't emeraldy, or jade-like, and all I could think of was a swamp with colorful flowers in it.  I envy the people who have all kinds of cute, funny and snarky names for their yarn.  This yarn satisfied my urge to spin a thick and thin bulky yarn.  The "Cashmere Neckwarmer" pattern only used about 75 grams of this gorgeous roving  I am so in love with this pattern!  A large, iridescent white button from my button thrifting outing and is just perfect to finish her off.   It only took a few hours to complete and I feel like I could make one for everyone I know!  (Just kidding!)   The picture doesn't do it justice and I'm working on getting a new camera for xmas.  Maybe I'll build a lightbox over vacation, too.  I can't take the crappy pictures anymore!

While spinning on my wheel, I remebered why I bought a wheel to begin with: a.) I like yarn b.) I like making yarn and c.) I hate drop spindles.  Ok.  I said it.  I hate drop spindles.  I don't want a Lollipop, or a Golding, or an ebony and tiger-fox-bearwood maple hand-carved spindle.  I don't want to spindle in public, or at home, or on a hike in the woods.  I love that some people love it.  I love the idea of it, but the truth is, I don't like doing it.  If I want yarn, I want it now.  I haven't spun in at least a year, and within an hour, I had a finished 2-ply.  I have a need for speed.  I will not be denied.  Going back to my wheel was like going home.  Ahhh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sackgirl's Evil Twin

Sackgirl is becoming my nemesis.  Yes, she is cute and perky, but the worst is that her head is hard for me to shape.  It not round, but sort of square, a little bit wider on the bottom and tapering slightly towards the top.  She's making me crazy.  When  I started this project, I was like, "Ok, I'll just improvise!" and I thought it would take me one skein and a few days.  Well, a few days has turned into a few weeks and one skein has become two and maybe even three!  I am not knitting Sackgirl.  I am knitting her evil, teenaged, difficult twin.  I don't like her much right now.  The knitting is hard on my hands, so I put her down for a while.  Since I've picked her up, I more confused than ever.  I hope we can salvage our relationship.  (Cry, cry.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We Got Mittenz!

I finished my Cabled Owl Mittenz today!  They were so easy, I almost couldn't believe it.  The only other mittens I made were crocheted a few years ago, and I lost one.  These mitts are going on a cord ASAP!  They'll be no divorced mittens for me!  I worked a little bit on my Sackgirl.  She's a real brat.  She hurts my wrists and I need to buy another (2?) skein(s).  My deadline is before Comic-Con, so I have two more months.    In any case, I'm just praying she doesn't need to be disciplined (aka ripped) for being a bad Sackgirl.  I have my reservations about her mouth, as I cast on 35 stitches, and now they grew giant, like double the size of the ones on the needle below.  (I should take  pictures of what I'm talking about.  Basically I am making the mouth with a short-row toe.)  I'm hoping when I pick up the stitches, it will go back to the shape it's supposed to be.  If not, I will k2tog on the next row until it's the right size again.  The worst part is that the top of the mouth is stretched out and the bottom isn't.  Optimal for a frown, not a smile.  Ugh.  Oh well.  Like Tim Gunn says, "Make it work..."

Lastly, I wrapped up a present to myself with a big, fluffy ribbon:  yarn from my stash and the pattern for Baby Cables and Big Cables, too.  I want to start on January 1st, 2009 as part of my knitting resolution to make a sweater next year.  I really want to downsize the stash a bit, not that I have alot, but just because.  I really should add I need to downsize the fiber stash, too. Most people don't have three sheep in their closet!  I am nervous that the Plymouth Colorspun DK in shades of pink and gray will be too much for the delicate design, but I've seen garments knit with the same yarn (on Ravelry, of course), and hope it will be subtle enough to pull it off.  I guess I'll be able to tell after the first few rounds.  I added size 6, 32 inch addis to my amazon wishlist because, well, because damnit, it's my first sweater, and I should have tools that enable me to finish it as smoothly and quickly as possible.  Nothing is worse than working a project you've been looking forward to, only to find out that your tools aren't right for the job.
I've been toying around with the idea of a cabled shrug and tube sweater.  Basically, it will have a large collar, will only be about 6 inches long or so, owl cables will run vertically around the back and front and it will have gigot sleeves. I've never really knit a sweater before. I know that it will have to have inset sleeves. I guess that bottom up would work best for the owl cables. I think it will also have about 1 inch of ribbing, because I couldn't stand it if the bottom were all mis-shapen and rippled. I guess I'm just thinking out loud here. I guess I can knit a front and back, sew them together, pick up stitches for the collar, then knit the sleeves, pleat the sleeves at the top for fullness, and then continue to knit until I reach above the elbow and then decrease until I have the correct diameter for the rest of the arm, or rib the rest of the way down. It also may have eyelets at the decrease area to thread i-cord and a pompom bow. I feel like this owl cable obsession is really bad for me. I was going to use the Adriafil Party I got at Smiley's, but alas, Lion Wool-Ease Chunky is so cheap and easy to use, not to mention, easy to take care of. And it will match all the rest of the owly accessories I have been making.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Whew! Half-way Through the Weekend!

Been uber-busy this week at work.  On top of that, I've had a full-on mitten obsession.  I only have half of the second one to finish tonight and I'll have another FO.  So what, I have several other wips that I need to work on, I started two more projects.  The pile of yarn vomit on the left side of the futon has been growing and growing.  I'm starting to think that yarn comes from the same planet as Tribbles.  Oh well.  J and I plan on doing some elfy stuff tomorrow, like making stuff for Christmas.  Friday night, I went to a Christmas tree trimming party.  My co-workers were like, "Stop freakin' knitting!!!!"  It was making them crazy.  The next party was J's birthday party.  She went to FIT and all her friends are crafty and fashiony.  When I busted out my knitting, they were all like, "OMG, that is so cool.  Show me how to do that!  What are you making?"  It's funny how people's perception of knitting in public can be so different.  My knitting group would never dream of having a party and not knitting.  

Speaking of knitting groups and parties, the Sit n' Knit Christmas party at the Gin Mill was this afternoon.  It was awesome! MisplacedPom knit me a pair of super-yummilicious merino wristlets in pink!  It's like she knew they'd be for me!  I can't wait to show them off at work!  As an added bonus, she also gave me a cabled bangle.  This is so cuuuute!  I was thinking of making some for gifts, and I think I'm convinced now.  Dollar store, here I come!    ZsaZsa7 loved her new felted clutch.  I was so happy it went to someone who liked it.  Well, off to eat a Philly cheesesteak and finish my mitten.  I think I'm going to have an end of the year resolution:  to finish all WIPS before Dec. 31st so I can start on my first sweater: Baby Cables and Big Ones,  Too.  That's all for now!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Scrounging on Starr Street

Hey all.  Yesterday I went thrift shopping and scored a button stash.  OMG, it was awesome.  I've been so inspired by all the embellished purses and accessories on Ravelry that I needed to expand my button stash.  It wasn't terrible, but it could certainly be enhanced.  What stash couldn't?  I went to my favorite thrift shop on Starr Street.  First, I beelined my way to where I know they hide the sewing supplies, scrounged around in the drawers and dug, dug, dug into the buttons.  Then, I grabbed a cup because I couldn't hold anymore in my hand.  My cup overfloweth, so, I found a clear box of buttons, dumped those out and continued building my custom button stash.  Also, I found a thread organizing box.  What luck!  Add to that a copper mold of the sun to add to my kitchen collection and two vintage 50s knitting pattern books (one for men's items, and another for people who like knitting dresses with size 3 needles.)  All for $19.   I could've haggled, but it really was a deal.  Those thread boxes cost that much easy.

Today, I'd like to see some FOs, so I'm off to find some material to line my purse.  Also I got some cute accessories for my Korknisse (gnomey cork toys) on Ravelry, like tiny jingle bells and mini candy cane decorations.  Yeah for gnomes!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Lazy Day

I better be careful, or all my posts will have this title.  Working on finishing my Sit n' Knit gift exchange present, a felted clutch.  I love it so much, it will be hard to part with.  I keep imagining that the person who will get it will scream and jump up and down like when they call your name on the Price is Right.  I should be prepared for, "Oh, it's nice," just in case.   I had a hard time figuring out strap.  Clutch bags are inherently impractical if they have no strap.  Who wants to grab onto their purse all day/night long?  What about grocery shopping, trying to put the key in the door with all the packages.  I just couldn't do it. 

So first, I was going to do a strip of felted fabric and attach it.  That was voted off because there are no gussets on the clutch, and the correct width of fabric for the strap would look bunchy at the joins.  Then I thought about felted i-cord.  That would be too thin and the design would not be balanced.  So then, I wanted to get a chain and thread a thin strip of felted fabric through it, like a Chanel bag.  That didn't work, because there was no suitable chain at the craft store, and Home Depot would render chandelier chain, which would be too heavy.  So THEN, I went back to i-cord, which I will felt, and use a 3 strand braid, possible with some gold ribbon woven with it.  Note, that each time I changed my mind, I frogged the last idea, and started from scratch.  This better work!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Halloooooo There!

Hi out there in Bloggerland. Today is my first day on Blogger. My cats are mad at me and hungry because I've been f^%!# around with templates all morning.  I've finally settled on this template and am relatively happy with it.  It would be awesomeif I could actual use xml.  I am bidding yahoo 360 goodbye, but my older posts can be found here.

So I had a few drinks (ok, so it was two, a glass of champagne and a whiskey sour) last night in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the end of Prohibition and it turns out I'm a lighter weight than I formerly thought.  I woke up this morning feeling like a prune in vacuum.  So  I can't believe i slept until 1:30.  I usually wake up between 6-7 EVERY MORNING, RAIN OR SHINE, WEEKDAY OR WEEKEND!  This was crazy.  Then I ate 1/2 a pumpkin pie and have been craving fatty, fried, junkfood.  (Chicken tenders are in the oven, and honey mustard is ready to go!)
The house is a disaster area.  I have no inclination to lift a finger to change it.  I have knitting to do, but all I can do is watch tv and mess around on the computer.  I feel like I am the only scrooge I know.  I don't like christmas.    I was raped of Thanksgiving this year, with no one to cook for and that has set the tone for the whole season.  Supposedly, I'll be making Christmas dinner, however, and I have to drum up the spirit to make a menu.  I've been toying with idea of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and piped pointsettias, as well as Turtle Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust.  That's all for now.  Hopefully, I'll have some FO's on Ravelry by the time the weekend is over.

It turns out that I will be able to move my blog over very slowly.  Don't be confused about the older posts.  This is going to take a while with my unmatched skill of procrastination...

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