Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Anyone who knows me or has been reading for a while knows I am addicted to shawls. So, when a little birdy whispered in my ear that there was a group starting on Ravelry called 10 Shawls in 2010, what was I to do? Join and start planning of course!

Well, it is almost midnight in Olso, Norway. When it is 1 second past, we can begin. I feel lucky that I'm six hours behind. I get to start stitching at 6pm! What will the first shawl be? Well, since I am working on a large one for a friend, I picked a smaller one: All Shawl by Doris Chan. I have a skein of Sapphire Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that has needed a project for a while. Soon it will be a shawlette!

Happy New Year to all (whatever time it begins where you are)!!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I've been making so many large projects, that I forgot the joy of quick little ones. Thanks to the dishcloth swap, I've been refreshed. Perhaps I should intersperse some hats in with the larger projects for that little rush of success. After all, one can only use just so many dishcloths! ;-)

Create Your Own

Patterns: Fish Washcloth/Dishcloth, Super Simple Tawashi Flower, Amikomo 3-28, N-592 Ohina Tawashi, Fire Blossom Dishcloth, and Simple Scrubby

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homeward Bound

In less than a week, I will be a homeowner for the first time. I wanted a house, but could afford a condo. So, I searched until I found the comforts I wanted. Now I'm looking forward to (in no particular order):

1) Having a dish washer again. It's been about 20 years.
2) Having a garage! I am so tired of scraping icy windows and shoving snow off my car.
3) A washer and drier in my home. No more common laundry. No running up and down the stairs. No more waiting for a machine or for people to move their clothes.
4) If it's broken or doing something strange, I can just take care of it rather than waiting and waiting for maintenance.
5) An extra bedroom for guests. =-)
6) Using something bigger than a tack nail to hang things on the wall.
8) Walls that are colored instead of white, white, white everywhere I look.
9) Furniture purchased to suit the space.

Oh, I could go on and on. I'm so excited and grateful that the current market conditions have helped bring this about, at last!

The circular lace afghan was meant for the guest bedroom whenever I found a place. Perhaps, that is why I have not frogged or swatched the new version. Perhaps, I'm waiting to be home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Flashy Fiber

The other day I was in the LYS looking for a semisolid fingering weight yarn to make a lace scarf. Um, this one. Anyway, I walked by a display with a big fluorescent sign stating, "Do not work with this yarn pulling from the center. It will tangle. It is designed to be worked from the outside." I looked, at the yarn in the baskets, but didn't see anything unusual. Just the typical skeins. I wondered, but moved on.

I kept shopping and walking by that sign. I could not stand it any longer and decided to dig through the baskets. That's when I discovered this: The sign was referring to these Zauberballs. It didn't take long for one to jump up and demand to be taken home. (I'm a sucker for purples). No pics yet, but it is transforming into the aforementioned lace scarf, beautifully.

Oh, and speaking of lace, yes, Halia is no more. I have not, however, gotten around to the circular afghan. I guess it needs some more time in time out.

Then there is the scarf I made from Wisdom Poems using half double crochet. The colors were so beautiful I realized a simple textured stitch was the way to go.

I'm really happy with the result. It is headed for the local women's shelter as requested by the author of the Halia pattern. I hope it keeps someone nice and warm this winter.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not Quite

These two projects have been in time out for a while. I've been trying to work up the courage to frog them...

This is the All Around Throw.It started out really well. Beautiful lacy center which lay beautifully flat. I imagined it laid out on a bed in my spare-bedroom-to-be. But...
In the end, there was extra material. There is no way to lay this out flat. Now I understand why it was photographed over the end of a bed. I thought the drape was simply because of the way it was laid out. Live and learn! So, here is the plan. I'm going to rip out the last ball of yarn and restart. I'll use two less sections. With luck the center will lay flat and I can just follow the rest of the pattern as written. If it does not lay flat I'll have to decide if I should rip it out or put the last ball back on and call it a day.

Then there is Halia. A beautiful pattern I just fell in love with immediately. A quick search of a LYS yielded this lovely natural BFL. It is just the color I need to round out my shawls/wraps.

Everything was going beautifully. The lace is lovely and has a nice rhythm to the work. But...
Upon starting the second half I got these! The staring edge is arched, but the pattern does not allow for filling in this arch when beginning the second half. Pulling them together results in this extra fabric. I could try blocking it out, but I'm pretty certain it will just reappear. NOT attractive. This one is destined for the frog pond never to return.
Now, what shall I do with the lovely wool...?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feeling Flowery

This... Plus this...


A little bit of flower like sunshine to cheer up the kitchen. This one isn't actually for me. It will be part of a round robin dish cloth swap.

I haven't done a swap like this before, but I'm looking forward to it. After sign ups, the moderator starts us off with 6 dishcloths. She sends them to the first person on the list. That person can take 1 or all of the dishcloths as long as she/he replaces each with a new one before sending them on. They can be knit or crochet. I will be far enough down on the list that by the time the package reaches me there is likely to be a nice variety of work by the various talented hands participating.

It has been a while since I did a swap. Thanks to we go again!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Thought for the Day

Have you ever been in a joke shop? I have to admit even though I recently entered my fifth decade, I'd never done so. What's the point? It will be stupid. It will be gross. I don't need to go in there! Or so I thought.

There were stupid gags, and gross ones. But, surprisingly there were also some real delights: costumes, silly signs, games, gifts for milestone birthdays, sand art, rain sticks... We had a great time reading to each other and holding up our "finds". Laughing.

Then I saw it. It wasn't very big. Just a wee bumper sticker. It stopped us in our tracks. The message?

Life is Sexually Transmitted

Hmmm, how true!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seclusion Success

I spent the weekend secluded in my home so as not to spread my germs. Sometimes, sharing is not a good thing-LOL!

Anyway, since I was stuck in the house with the prospect of boredom, my thoughts turned to UFOs. I was hoping there was something in the pile that could give me that victory rush one gets when finishing a project. Lo, there was one. The Cotton Country Shawl which I started last November was patiently waiting for two measly rows and a border.

Ha! Easy peasy and DONE!

I'm so happy with the result. I wanted to be enveloped. Adding 3.4 extra repeats resulted in a shawl that when lain on my shoulders reaches just past my wrists. Of course the fact that it is made from silky wool rather than cotton adds to that yummy wrapped in comfort feeling. Just what I needed. =-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Causing a Stir

Questions fired in rapid succession from two nearby tables in a restaurant when I pulled out my Jenkins Turkish Delight:

Whatcha doin'?
Is that a toy?
Is that cotton or wool?
Can you repeat that?

The verdict? That's so cool! LOL

Spreading the fiber love. =-)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Progress Blocked: I thought I'd be working on getting my classroom ready for next week. But... someone has decided to sleep on my supplies! I don't call him "box cat" for nothing.=-)So, here I am posting to the blog. There is a lot of spinning to catch up on. Serious progress.

Progress Success! First, this little beauty came to live with me for a few weeks. The lovely Gina lent me her Ashford Traditional. It is a sweet wheel.
I took to it quickly and spun some soy silk. See the two skeins below? The one on the left was spun on a spindle and the one on the right on the wheel. They are amazingly similar!Then, because I had to try something else I grabbed 4oz of Falkland Combed Top dyed by the amazing Heather of Sereknity in her Black Forrest Fudge colorway. Yummy!I'm really happy with both of these yarns. I wondered if I would be able to spin on a wheel, and now I know. Woot! A lot of the things I've read about spinning make more sense now that I've sat sat a wheel. Thanks Gina!

Progress? No. Learning? Yes. Then I had to try out my new Greensleeves Ethan Jakob spindle. I decided it might be just right for the one and only fiber batt I own. I had no idea that there were so many different ways to spin from a batt. I think I tried them all! Here is some on the Ethan Jakob and on a toy wheel spindle twice its weight.
Close up...In the end I gave up and threw all of the spun stuff away. I think there is just too much going on in this batt: 50% BFL, 40% Bamboo, and 10% fire star. The different fibers tended to separate as I spun so there would be stretches of almost pure BFL or Bamboo. Not my thing. That and they seemed to want to tangle.
I'm sure much of this is my inexperience! I thought the BFL would balance the slippery bamboo. Nope. Not in my hands it didn't. I'm going to have to just let this one go and stick to top for a while.
So, the rest of the batt is up for grabs. There is more than 3oz left... Interested?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cozie Complete

Well it wasn't done in the morning. It took until about 1:30 to finish 2,000 stitches and block this 30x30 cozie. However, I'm glad to say: mission accomplished! I love how it came out. This morning after a trip to the post office, it will be heading out to Sophie with the purple one.Moments after taking these photos I started the next project. I dug out the blue alpaca, found an appropriate hook, printed the pattern, and packaged stitch markers, a darning needle and a pair of folding scissors. One traveling kit complete!

Of course there was still the question of whether there would be enough time to finish the wrap before the High Holidays. So, off to the calendar I went. After a little counting and a little math, I know this can be done! Just 4 motifs a day will get me to the necessary 114 with time to spare. Let's hope I can keep the pace when school starts a week from now.
Here's yesterday's motifs: I realized quickly that leaving the end dangling from the center would ensure I placed each motif the same way up. Also it helps me orient as I join the points. No twisted motifs here! (Well, as long as I pay attention - LOL) So, the "Star of David" wrap is well begun. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Seeing Stars

There I was innocently surfing around Ravelry: reading forum posts, answering messages, catching up on my friends' projects when I was stopped dead in my tracks by this:
It is pretty and lacy, but that is not what made me gasp. I was done in by the fact that each motif looks like a Star of David! It is very very difficult to find motifs of this shape that look really good. Yet, here there is an entire wrap's worth? Woo Hoo!

Then, I had a vision. Myself wearing this wrap during High Holiday services with the family. Snugly wrapped in a soft layer of alpaca to combat the always chilly air conditioning. What color would it be? Well, blue of course. I have the perfect yarn sitting in my stash.!

I thought maybe for next year. Not this year. The High Holidays are only a few weeks away. That plan is changing thanks to my sister the knitter with whom I shared the pattern link. Her reply?

WOW!!! Teach me, teach me, teach me, (jumps up and down)

She is so excited that she is planning to accost a friend to teach her to crochet the wrap since I am too far away. I cannot let the knitter wear this wrap before I do! No fair! So, this morning I am attempting to finish up the blanket I'm making for Sophie's Cozies so I can begin the shawl with a clear conscience.

Wish me luck! =-)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

WIPs Running Wild

Have you ever been overrun with WIPs? Ever look around your home and realize that every available surface has some work in progress (or two or three) sitting upon it waiting for your attention? Yeah, me too.

A few weeks ago I decided I had to get the fiber WIPs in hand. Fiber-in-Waiting was stashed. Then, with a new box of zip top freezer bags, I managed to corral all eight or so projects into one Lantern Moon basket:Hooray for containment! Of course I promptly started a new project because my Jenkins Turkish Delight arrived in the mail and I just had to try it out...right? LOL Anyway, last night I came to the conclusion that projects near completion had to be cleared out.

First up to be emptied was the wagon wheel spindle I bought for my students to use. It can be dropped and survive nicely. On it was some red merino which has now been finished, plied, and is soaking as I type. The rest of this merino is going back in the stash for testing future spindles.
I think this yarn will be a light fingering. As I was skeining I realized there was more than enough to make a kippah. I look forward to my first FO with hand spun!

Next up will be more plying. My first attempt at creating a three ply from three singles from the Romney I finished a bit ago. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Want to make quick music videos? Try Animoto! I wanted to test it out before making some things for my classroom, so I picked some pics, some music, and voila!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Traveling Surprise

So, yesterday I got a postal slip that said I had a package from Megan. I was mystified. I thought, I only know one Megan. What would she be sending me? I'm upstream from her in our Traveling Scarf group on Ravelry...

Then, today, I got the package from the post office and nearly cried I was so touched by the enclosed notes. I hadn't even looked into the bag at the scarf yet. Then, then I opened the bag. Oh, my it was a beautiful soft scarf. See? Megan in cahoots with Julie made this lovely traveling surprise. You see, we had a few scarfs go MIA in our group and one of them was mine. It looked like I would have to be satisfied with the enjoyment I got from designing a piece for each scarf that came my way. There would be no happy scarf wending it's way back to me after traveling around two countries.

Now? I have a wonderful scarf all my own. And it has come from two countries! Julie is in Canada and Megan in the US. I don't know if I can properly express how touched and thrilled I am to have this scarf.

Thank you ladies for your thoughtfulness. I LOVE IT!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spin, Span, Spun

This is a new record. I stopped only because...I ran out of fiber!

As I have become better at spindle spinning, I've been able to handle bigger and bigger cops on my spindles. This, a Bossie midi, has the largest one ever:

2 5/8 oz - 1.25 oz spindle = 1 3/8oz of lovely Romney

I hear tell that one should be able to make a cop that at least weighs as much as the spindle before winding off. I can now say I've done that! WOOT!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sophie's Cozies

Sophie is a delightful 4 year-old who wanted to go to the hospital and play with the children to cheer them up. Unfortunately, there are age minimums for volunteers which do not allow for those who are so young. Undaunted, Sophie and her mother came up with a different idea: give the children hugs and snuggles! How? With small blankets made from soft yarns. And Sophie's Cozies was born...

After reading about Sophie, I wanted to make a cozy.

So I stitched up this Bobby Square sans a few rounds (click picture for pattern) with the left over yarn from the Wheelchair Wrap. Then, I tossed it on the scale. It looked promising so I kept going.When the squares were done there were just a few grams left...not enough to join. So off to the stash I ran. I knew there were some scraps of white in this same yarn in there somewhere.And, lo my memory was good. Plus, I think the crochet gods were smiling on me. Just as with the purple, there were but three grams remaining when the joining was done. (Perhaps that is a sign that it was meant to be?)And here it is! I'm so pleased with the way it turned out. The picture is a little washed out. The colors are more vivid in real life.

Here's hoping some little one is well comforted by this soft cozy and the loving heart of Sophie.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Purple People

Some time ago, my sister asked me for a shawl. Not just any shawl. She wanted a "Perfect Spring Shawl" for her own. (It is a version of the My Blue Jeans Shawl which was modified by the ever creative Elisa. Thanks Elisa! If you want to make one from Dream in Color Smooshy you can find my counts here on Ravelry. )

If you have been reading for a while, you'll know this is the seventh time I've made one of these!

I warn you, making them is addictive! They are quick, easy, and lovely. This one is done in Dream in Color Smooshy's colorway Pansy Go Lightly. There are subtle color variations of blues and greens which don't show up as well as the dominant purple. I'm happy to say she loved it.

The other purple thing finished is the Wheelchair Wrap. Why purple? I wanted to use Lion Brand's Pound of Love for its softness and washability. I did not, however, want it to look like a baby item. It is meant to be worn by an adult after all... It turned out that my stitch gauge changed so that there is enough extra material to actually wrap the front or pin it closed. A happy accident. The row gauge came out right on the money.
This pattern is a good one for quick gift or charity crochet.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday Faces

Faces of the painted variety that is...Actually those are some samples that I painted on the back of my hand/arm. Usually Friday nights are reserved for fun of the yarn variety, but who could resist the call of a good friend for help with her 6 year-old's birthday party? I ended up face painting.

Face painting is fun, especially when you let the little people describe what they want. They get so excited and have clear opinions. The birthday boy had a skull and cross bones on one cheek and a snake on the other. I think my favorite of the night was the girl who wanted to world on her cheek. Every time I saw her after that I caught myself singing "We Are the World". Nearby adults burst out laughing when they made the connection. The kids thought we were crazy.

One little guy kept coming back for more painting. When I cut him off he had a snake on one cheek, an apple on his forehead, a cloud and stars on the other cheek, a skull/ghost on one hand, and a heart on the other. I think he was all of three years old! LOL

My biggest challenge of the night was another three-year-old who was sucking on a ring pop while I tried to paint butterflies on her cheek. Did you ever notice how much the cheeks move when the mouth is sucking? Yeah, not so easy that one!

I thought I'd make it to stitch night after the party for some fun of the yarn variety. Nope. The party that was to end at 8pm went until 9pm. No yarn for me, but the reward of many smiling children was worth it!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Charitable Thoughts

Have you read any of the Debbie Macomber books about Blossom Street? They have been on my "some day I'll read those" list for a while because most of them take place in and around a knitting store called "A Good Yarn". The side effect of reading these novels is wanting to stitch along with the characters.

I have read the books out of order, so in finishing up the series I'm actually reading book three Back on Blossom Street where the characters are making lace prayer shawls.

Now, I've made a few of these in the past, but not recently. In fact I haven't done any charity stitching in a while until I made this the other day:

Divine Hat by Rheatheylia
Free pattern found HERE and Ravelry pics HERE

It will go into the Chemo Cap stash where they collect until I think there are enough for a reasonable sized donation. By the way, if you crochet, this is a fun and easy pattern. I enjoyed making it and will likely make a few more some time.

But, back to the topic: Prayer Shawls. So, where does one begin to look for a new pattern? Ravelry of course! A quick search for worsted weight, free, crochet, and shawl turned up this:

I realize it doesn't look like much laid out flat; however, it is a clever design (pattern). It is short so that it can easily be worn in bed or a wheel chair, has a pretty decorative edge, and because of its shape will sit on the shoulders with little sliding. There is a great pic on Ravelry (here) showing it being worn. I imagine this being a restful pattern to stitch given its elegant simplicity. It should work up quickly once I make a trip to the yarn store. (No, really. I don't have enough yarn in this weight living in the stash to make the shawl!)

So, two afghans and a shawl on the hook it will be.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Shopping We Will Go...Baa

Tis the season for Sheep and Wool Festivals. In the last month, I've been to two. The mission this year was to acquire a Golding Spindle... Check
.80 ounces - spins like a dream
Try some Bossies...Check

A matched set of minis in cherry (.46 ounces each) and a midi in rosewood (1.46 ounces?) Yummy!

And see how many different types/blends of spinning fiber I could acquire...Check

Since I haven't been spinning long, I don't know what I like. Only one way to find out, right?
Here's what I bought:
  1. Shetland, Falkland, and a 3.5 oz braid of three colors of Corriedale from Purple Fleece
  2. Merino/Tencel 70/30 in purple from The Fiber Fetish
  3. Kid mohair/Cormo 50/50 from Buckwheat Bridge Angoras
  4. Alpaca/BFL 50/50 from Moon Shadow Designs (sorry, no web site)
  5. Border Leicester from Riverslea Farm
  6. Corriedale from The Sheep Shed
  7. Romney from Foxhill Farm Fibers & Sheep (sorry, no web site)
  8. Merino/Silk 80/20 from Hampden Hills Alpacas
  9. Coopersworth - pin drafted from Turtle Creek Farm (sorry, no web site)
And here's what I already had:

  1. Undyed Blue Faced Leicester from Blarney Yarn
  2. Merino from Snokist Farm Girl (4 oz each of red, purple, and blue) and two more in peacock and Navy from the Fiber Studio
  3. Handpainted Superwash Merino from Zebisis Designs
  4. Colonial that was primarily purple and streaked with other colors from Yarn to Spin
  5. More of the Colonial in number 4 in brown shot through with red, blue, yellow etc. and some Merino in greys from Elegant Ewe

I'm thinking that I am well stocked for a while! This is the entire stash. Some is partially spun and one is almost completely spun (brown merino). Now to find a good place to store it all...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's all His Fault (THANKS!)

At 8am my phone rang and I was greeted with the question, "So, what are your plans for this morning?"

Hmmmm, I thought, he needs or wants something...

Turned out I was right. His lunch was sitting on the dining room table about 1/2 mile from my house. Since we live so close I have keys to their house and they have keys to mine. Getting the picture?

You guessed it. Off I went to run some errands, stop by the house, and then drive about 25 mins., through road construction, to my friend's work. He was very happy to avoid buying take out.

Now, I could have gone home at this point. But, I am on vacation. That's no fun. Being half way to a yarn store I rarely visit was enough incentive to keep on trucking north. After all, I need a niddy noddy. I've spun enough to be tired of using my forearm or the back of a chair. That's a good enough reason, right? (Say right!)

The trip was a definite success. See?
I've never seen this type of niddy noddy before. It makes a two foot skein and look...
It comes apart into two flat pieces! Perfect for traveling with a spindle. So clever.
Um, while I was there, I may have found some more top like the purple Colonial I showed you on Tuesday.
The one on the left is more of the Colonial top and the one on the right is Merino. Both are four ounces of loveliness. The price on all three was just too good to resist. The top was actually less than what I paid for the first 4oz on-line!

So, to my early morning caller... It is all your fault, thanks!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

False Faroese Fantastic!

If you guessed that the Kauni was a shawl, you were right! The Mock Faroese Shawl by Lily Chin to be exact. Come to think of it this is the same pattern on which I used Noro for the first time. Must be good luck!
Here the shawl is blocking with the Wool Inspector looking on. She actually had to be convinced to leave this one alone as the crinkle of the plastic under the towels got her all excited. Thank goodness for pins holding it all down! It received her seal of approval. After drying...LOVE!
There is always that moment when you first put on something you have made and pray that it will be as wonderful as you imagined. Larger than the first, beautiful drape, the right colors to make you look good. Sigh. No disappointments here!
It is hard to see, but the first section is a deep purple, followed by a black and then a light gray. As the colors progressed the black and purple became lighter/more vibrant and the gray deepened. Here I thought there were just three colors when I picked it out!
Now, back to the baby blanket (and of course some more spinning). =-)