Friday, June 29, 2007

Shamless Self Promotion

All items in my Etsy shop have free shipping if purchased on or before July 4th. Consider it my Independence day present to you!!

Happy Friday

Yesterday was the funeral, I went and things turned out surprisingly well. I got to see some friends who I had not seen in almost 10 years, and strangely enough it felt like I had never stopped talking with them. I didn't get in until very late, which was not good because I had stayed out late on Wednesday as well. Wednesday was pretty gross, I had a corporate event and somehow wound up partying with the traders, and their high speed lifestyle. So today I'm dragging my feet and eating greasy food, which is not great for my diet. I seem to have abandoned this one but I'm fighting to give it a chance. This week my weight is 135.6 which means I lost 0.8lbs since last week (woo-hoo) I probably won't loose any weight this week but I know that I can loose it if I try.

I just signed up for the IPY swap at craftster. I'm a bit nervous since this is a big deal. This is the swap that people create insane things like quilts and clothing for eachother. I hope I'm up to it. In other crafty news I bought a drum carder this week (another woo-hoo) from Spunky, she had the best prices I've ever seen and I'm itching to play with it. To paraphrase Veruca Salt "I want it NOW NOW NOW!"

Here's to sleeping in on Saturday have a happy weekend!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I finished the clapotis on Monday night.
Here is is blocking


I made a few modifications to the pattern,
2 less increase repeats 2 more straight repeats I used superwash handspun (that I spun myself!!!)Instead of the stitchmarkers I used the method suggested by craftsters in the knitalong to purl the drop stitch.
Here's the finished project



It was a real bitch to finish this because I kept running out of yarn and then I had to put down the knitting and draft out the fiber and spin more yarn and navajo ply the singles to match and block the yarn before I could keep knitting. I ran out TWICE so this process was repeated, which made the project last much longer then it could have if I had the correct amount of yarn to begin with.

I really want to show this off, but it's about 95 degrees in NYC today and not a break in the heat in sight. Oh well, I guess I'll put it in storage until the cold weather comes around. I was going to give it to Rob's mom but its not really her style and I gave her so much for her birthday (this is a blatant attempt to defend me being selfish) I will keep it for myself and if she wants one I'll make it with commercial yarn.

I just found out last night that a childhood friend's father passed away. I am very conflicted because this person did some really horrible things to my family (me in particular) but I never told my friend. I want to support him and show up to the funeral but I don't know how his family will react. I guess I'll just suck it up and go knowing that I'm there for my friend and not his father.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I need a vacation from my weekend!

It was a long week at work, there is much to do, and still more has been done. Sometimes I need my weekends to be a quiet oasis from my daily routine. It's gotten so bad that my mind won't shut-up and I lie in bed praying that I will get sick of thinking so much and finally sleep.

Rob and I were supposed to go out to the lake house on Friday night to set up for Jake's impending party. Six people all under the age of twenty two would be descending on the house ready for booze, music and food. It was my job to cook for the weekend and seeing as most of the visitors would be boys I knew I had my job cut out for me. Cooking and cleaning can be relaxing, but doing so in a harried fury leads only to stress and headaches.

We took them to the waterfall for a hike and sitting under the rushing cold pressure of the bottom fall was enough to release the kinks in my jaw from grinding my teeth to release some tension.

I managed to get a bit of crafting done. Namely I finished the lace weight on the bobbin. I let it soak too long (overnight) and then dry in the sun, this causing some discoloration, but the final yarn is lovely and delicate. Its a bit overspun, but when it knits up I think it will work itself out.
Its about 300 yards of lace weight 22 wpi, mohair, wool top, green firestar, and tencel. I'm calling it "Plastic Flamingos" because the original color was like those plastic lawn flamingos that people use to "decorate" their yards.

I also spun up about 1oz more of the colorway for my clapotis. I want this project to be done already. I'm kind of sick of spinning this color into navajo ply ww. I just want my wrap to be finished so I can figure out what to do with the rest of the roving.

I also cast off the back of Josephine
I'm about 2 repeats into the front and the colors are different. I'm hoping that once I seam it together it won't be so drastic. I'm also hoping I have enough yarn to finish this damn thing. The yarn req's were way off for this pattern. I also don't like the random decreases and lack of clear instructions for the body. I will post all my notes when I'm done with the project.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cast On Cast Off

I finally finished the back to Joesphine, and I immediately cast on for the front. I get so excited to knit a new item and with each thing I've started somewhere around the middle I get bored and lust after new pieces to CO. It's a bad habit and has resulted in multiple UFO's lying around the apartment. I will finish the Josephine, I promise myself this and I will not break a promise.

I bought Cascade Pima for the drop stitch tank from Fitted Knits, I'm in love with this book and there are so many patterns I will make. This one caught my eye and for the first time I'm making a pattern from the suggested materials, this rarely happens because usually the yarn suggested is way too expensive. I'm going to make this using a mod I saw i the flickr group where I will knit in the round. I hate seaming and this will make me more inclined to finish.

I CO last night for the Market Bag with mods that I saw on craftster. I know another UFO, but this seems like it will knit up quick and then it will seriously cut down on my consumer waste.

Still spinning the batts, I think I have about 2oz done, I'm still, tyring to figure out if I should ply it or not, I'll post pics of the single soon.

I've just signed up for this:
And recommend you do the same if you're a spinner.
Sign up at The Tour de Fleece(on Craftster) or at Star's blog.
Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 7th through Sunday July 29th. Days of rest: Monday, July 16th, Tuesday July 24th. (Just like the actual tour)
Spin something challenging Wednesday July 25th. (The last hard climbing mountain stage in the Pyrenees - Col d’Aubisque)
Take a button if you want one. Then we can use the button on our blogs in show of solidarity. Take it from here or grab a clean one from the flickr pool.
Wear yellow on Sunday July 29th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour - but here we are all 'race leaders')
Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Like a Record Baby

I started the batts last night and since I've never spun fine on the Louet before it was a learning experience. Moving from the Babe, who is temperamental yet easy to work with to the Louet who is fine tuned and very precise left me frustrated. If my tension was too loose the wheel groaned like an old plane getting ready for takeoff, too tight and the yarn snaps. So after much fiddling I settled in on a proper tension and spun in the long draw. I didn't want the yarn too thing because I think I may keep it as singles.

I received my magic roving ball package from my partner last night, I decided this was the motivation I needed to work on her package and began dying up some merino/mohair blend. I was using the big pot for pasta so I thought I could use the Wilton's dye method with the microwave. It wasn't as great as the stove top method but it worked none the less.

Wilton's Icing Dye / Microwave Method
Step 1: Soak roving/yarn in a mixture of 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1 cup water (so if you're using 3 cups water use 6 tbsp vinegar) for at least 1 hour
Step 2: Find a microwave safe vessel and prepare dye bath. I used the following method for 6 oz or roving I used 4 cups water and 1/2 vinegar and then added 1 tsp maroon dye. I mixed dye bath and placed roving on top. Then I dotted the top of the roving with blue dye in spots and slightly agitated dye and roving until dye dissipated.
Step 3: Microwave on medium stetting (uncovered) for 4 minutes, take out and stir roving to ensure proper coating with dye and microwave for 4 more minutes, take out and stir one more time and microwave for 2 more minutes.
Step 4: Place hot roving in cold water bath. Drain water and refill roving bath. Repeat this until drained water runs clear
Step 5: Allow roving to drip dry in shower or outside

I goofed and put the hot roving into a cold bath into my bathroom sink. Porcelain and dye love each other to death because they refused to separate no matter how hard I scrubbed. I had to resort to Ajax to de-pinkify the sink to Rob's approval.

I tried drilling some holes in the resin pendants I made this weekend and realized that in the future fresh flowers and resin really don't mix. The pendants won't get hard enough because of the water in the flowers. Oh well live and learn.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Long Weekend

I spun up some more superwash from the sheep shed to finish my clapotis and I realize I'm still about 50 yards short. Oh well, back to the spinning wheel, I really want to finish this project already, of course it's now 90 degrees out and I probably won't be able to make use of it until the fall months roll around, but it was a quick knit and fairly mindless.

I did some wet felting this weekend. It's fun, messy and soapy but fun and good for getting frustration out. It was my first time trying a flat wet felted piece and though I don't think it will become my craft of choice I had a good time.

I'm going to lose weight. I've told myself that many many many many times before but I mean it this time. I bought the "volumetrics" weight loss book and I have the newer one in the mail. I've tried WW before and though I had success in the past it just doesn't seem to work for me any more. My only issue is that the author doesn't reccomend going below 1400 cal a day, I'm a teensy beanser (5'1") and I don't think I'll loose much weight if I eat 1400 a day. I will work out as much as possible and I will be earnest with myself, starting by posting my current weight. I'm 136, I tell everyone I'm 125 and they believe me, but I'm not and I have to face the fact that for my height I'm officially overweight. I will post my weight each Tuesday and I will let you know how this works out.

I handcarded some batts this weekend, about 3 oz of pink, blue, yellow, brown, and green firestar. The finished result is a sparkly peach with flecks of the other colors through out. I can't wait to see how it spins up.

I finished my last mini skien for the H&H3 swap and I will tkae my pics and package it up tonight. I can't wait to see if my partner likes it or not.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tea Cozy Pattern

Here's the pattern for the quick little tea cozy I whipped up for Rob's mom's birthday. It took me about an hour and a half to finish and it's great for using left over cotton yarn.

Materials needed
Sugar'n Cream (Your color of choice I used Cream and Light Blue) 2 balls about 240 yards of main color and 50 yards of contrasting color
H Hook (5mm)

Notes - The entire body of the pieces is worked through the back loop only (this is my first pattern be kind)
Chain 30 sts
1st row: DC in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain to end of row. Chain 2 Turn
2nd Row: DC into each DC to end, Chain 2 Turn
3-15: Repeat 2nd row
16th Row: DC into first 15 DC, Chain 10, Skip 10 DC, DC into last 5 DC
17th Row: DC into 5 DC and DC into each chain stitch, DC into last 15 DC, chain 2 turn
18-31: DC into each DC, Chain 2 turn

Take piece and whip stitch first 6 stitches together skip the next 18 stitches and whip stitch the last 6 stitches together. You should now have a tube with openings on either end.

Contrasting border is worked through both loops
With contrasting color chain 35 sts, cut yarn and place chain to the side
With contrasting color sc into each SC 2 times to form a contrasting border cut yarn.
With contrasting color SC into each DC on one side in the opening that was not sewn together (10 DC) SC in where both sides of the opening meet. SC into each DC on the other side (10 DC) SC into opposite end where the sides of the opening meet. Cut yarn

Weave in loose ends

Take the Chain 35 and weave it into the 5th row from the top and pull to gather top as needed

I know this isn't the clearest pattern but if you have any questions leave a comment and I will gladly walk you through any issues.


Rob and his momma did the laundry yesterday. Clean clothes were waiting for me when I met up with them. I do love having a BF who can and does clean and the laundry. I tried to get Dessie-pup a haircut yesterday. She looks adorable as a fuzzy muffing but unfortunately she gets hot and cranky during the summer when her hair is too long.

Rob had an episode on Monday night. I went for drinks after work and didn't get home until about 8:00PM. He picked me up at the PATH station but I could tell something was up. He was slow and slurry. He's supposed to be in recovery but he didn't seem sober. After much prodding he confessed he had taken a klonopin, not seeing the big deal in this because he has a prescription for it, however it didn't mix well with the scrip he's currently taking and he was a mess. The dog got sick and barfed all over the car because in his haze he had fed her sweetened flavored yogurt instead of the plain greek yogurt I had bought to mix into her food. The car now smells like doggy/dairy barf and I refuse to sit in the front seat until it clears up.

On the crafting side I finished my jumbo skein for the H&H3 swap and it's so squishy. I won't post pics until after the swap so as not to ruin the surprise. It's currently setting in the bathroom with a 1lb weight to prevent the curling (yes it's slightly unbalanced so shoot me!) I received some wonderful new fibers from Meilkes Farm. Organic cotton and soy silk, I'm so excited to try to spin these, although cotton seems like it might be a bitch to spin up.

My partner for the Magic Roving swap is 15, how cute is that!!! I'm trying to put myself in that frame of mind while I craft, but I was 15 over 10 years ago so I may have forgotten. Not to mention that she seems nice and normal while at 15 I was maladjusted to life in general.

I found an online Alanon meeting and I think I will try to participate once a week. I know it's probably not as good as the real thing, but if its the best I can do, it's better then nothing at all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Current Projects (With Notes)

Here's the Star baby blanket, I have no idea what I'm doing wrong but if you look close you can see the points are curving to one side:
I'm using Caron's Simply Soft in "Bone" and "Country Blue." I hate this yarn, it feels like sticky plastic and even Rob touched the blanket and said "this feels dry" I really hate acrylic but cheap acrylic is the worst. I'm only using this because it's for a baby and babies are messy so this blanket will have to be cleaned a lot. Also when crocheting I try to use cheaper yarn since crochet uses like 3 times the yarn of knitting and something tiny, even for a baby could wind up costing me a ton of moolah.

Here's the clapotis:
For this project I used some hand spun I made from hand painted superwash from the Sheep Shed Studio. I'm so glad I ordered so much wool because I'm about 2/3rds done and I ran out of yarn. Now I have to figure out how thin I spun the singles and spin up some more. The yarn was Navajo plied so I have to spin about 3 times as much as I'm going to need so after plying I have enough. Gah I feel like I'm in over my head. On a side note I love how the subtle color changes in the roving came out and knitted up I'm so glad there was no pooling of the colors in the center of the shawl. I did 2 less increases in the first section, and depending on how much I can spin I may have to do 2 less rows of the middle section. We'll see how it comes out. This will be my first large project I've made with my handspun and so far I'm happy with the way it came out.

Here's the Josephine I'm knitting:
This is also acrylic, but it's not as offensive to me as the Caron's. It seems there's a few errors in the pattern and the website has not yet posted any errata so those of us in the knitalong are flying by the seat of our pants trying to wing it to complete this pattern. I do love the final pictures and I hope mine will turn out okay. I'm going to really have to tug the stitches to even everything out since blocking acrylic is impossible. This is why I added an extra row of knit stitches at the bottom. I would hate to have a curly FO.

Here's that tea cozy I crocheted up for Rob's mom:
It's a pattern of my own design. I may post the pattern later on. It's made with peaches & cream yarn and crocheted with an H hook. Don't let my craftster buddies find out I made a tea cozy. There's no irony to it!!

Monday, June 11, 2007


I made my first sale on Etsy this weekend, after complaining on Friday how no one has bought from me. I actually sold to two different people, which makes me feel like an important business lady, *sits up straight in chair*.

This weekend Rob and I packed up the car and spent a wonderful weekend in PA. It was the Milford music festival this weekend and we spent some time outside in the late spring air taking in the sounds of a small town gathering. As city folk we are in awe of events like these, where it seems the entire town gathers together. There were live bands, great food and art at night. I'm seriously reconsidering this urban lifestyle I'm so accustom to. I carded some mill ends from sheep shed, and wound up with a lovely peach. I spun on the drop spindle for the first time in a long time and attempted some resin charms for a swap partner. I think I'm going to have to try again since they came out so cloudy, not sure what I did wrong but hey if at first you don't succeed....

I swung by the LYS in Milford and picked up two skeins of sock yarn from Plymouth. I'm not sure if I'll actually knit socks or try to incorporate it into one of the lace patterns from VK Summer. It may not works since it's a variegated yarn.

We swung by Cold Spring Sunday to check out Rob's niece's recital. Again we experienced small town charm. After a filling day we drove home to catch the last episode of the sopranos and even though everyone hates it in the office, I couldn't think of a better way. It really showed that no matter what Tony does he's going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. A fittingly bleak ending to a bleak show.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

All the pretty colors

I spent most of Sunday over the stove. It was a cloudy day and the moisture in the air meant sitting on my backyard throne was not really an option. Instead I pulled down the largest post we have (which to be honest with you isn't really all that large) and the white wine vinegar. I decided I'd give dyeing with Easter egg dyes a shot and I had some from the sale K-Mart was having the weekend after Easter up by my dad's weekend house in CT. I can now say I love dyeing with Easter egg dyes. They are so easy to place and even a bit easy to contain where you want the dye.

First I soaked the roving for at least 30 minutes in water. I know some dying instructions tell you to soak in water and vinegar but I think all that vinegar ruins the quality of the fiber. If you want really bright colors then add the vinegar to your soak only 10 minutes before you dye.

This one is a superwash 4 oz that I put in the dye bath before the Easter egg dyes (which I forgot to mention are like small tablets that dissolve and release their color.) Then I placed one yellow, one blue and one purple tab around the top of the roving. Then I left it alone, not stirring or mixing I let the dye do what it wanted (an organic process if you will) There isn't a lot of color in the overall roving but the concentrated areas are really bright and it should spin up into some interesting yarn.

This one is wool top 4 oz that I put into the dye bath without dye yet. Then like the last one I dropped in my tabs. One pink and one orange, but then using a mixing stick I moved the roving around to make the roving more spread out.

This last one is also wool top 2.5 oz that I submerged in a fully prepared dye bath consisting of one green Easter egg tablet. I mixed the roving around in an attempt to get a uniform color but alas there are a few spots where the dye struck a bit brighter then the rest.

Here's some pics all dried up and prepped for their close ups.



All of these are now listed on my etsy, which has yet to make a sale. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but hopefully it will turn around soon.

Yesterday I ordered some fibers I've never worked with before. Cotton, soy silk and firestar glitz. I can't wait for them to arrive, I've heard only good things about soy silk and even though cotton is supposed to be a bitch we'll see how it turns out for me.

I'm a little more then halfway done with the clapotis and I'm hoping to finish tonight, it should take longer to knit this sucker up but I'm under pressure and time constraints and I always seem to work best in tight situations. I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that the teapot will arrive. I still have to crochet the tea cozy and prep the dollar store containers so they won't look so cheap. I'll post pics of everything when it's done, wish me luck, I'll probably need it ; P

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Project Monogamy

I can't do it. I start a project with the best intentions. Loving the pattern or the yarn, then out of no where a new project enters the room. It buys me a drink and whispers dreamy nothings in my ear tantalizing me with new stitch patterns or even better a new craft entirely. At this point I have four projects on needles. A half spun skein of yarn and two cut patterns waiting for their fabric. I go to the craft store and see things I don't need and probably won't use, but the idea that I could use them is enough for me to purchase and regret later. My living room had become overtaken with craft odds and ends and really I don't know how Rob can stand it anymore. Part of me wishes that Dessie-pup was a chewer so then I would have an excuse to throw things away.

Rob told me on Sunday that his mothers birthday was coming up.
"How soon?"
That left me with less then a week to pull together a present for a woman who will more likely then not wind up as my MIL. Thing's have been rough the past month or so with Rob and I and his parents have gotten involved. It's a long story but it boils down simple enough. His parents have been rather lovely to me lately and I really wanted to thank them for their kind effort and words.

Thinking of her birthday in a panic I reached into my stash and pulled up the two skeins of "Portofino Corridor" I had spun up after the Italy trip.
I named it such because it reminded me of this photo Rob took in Portofino
I hope I'll have enough. I'm already finished with the first skein. It's lovely hand painted superwash I got from , and I have more roving so if necessary I can spin up some more.

I also ordered a lovely teapot from Redcrowarts on etsy and will crochet up a cozy for it. I'm thinking of buying some special tea blends and either stamping or embroidering some tea towels to complete the set. Seeing how it's already Tuesday I better get cracking.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Picture Post 2

Dessie-pup says "Bring on the photos!"

I'm So excited, my new wheel finally arrived. It was a long two weeks since I had ordered it but I'm so glad it's finally here!
It's a Louet S10 and I think I'm in love. I was so used to the Babe Pinkie (a dippy little wheel) that the sheer size of this thing freaked me out. I feel like I'm learning to spin all over again.
I put it together Friday night and with a little help from Rob I was ready to go. I started with the roving for the Handspun Handcrafted swap I'm participating in over on craftster. The pink and yellow roving is what I'm currently spinning.

I took a break from that roving to finish up my Spunky Eclectic Fiber of the Month. I was wrong when I called it wensleydale, it's actually Coopworth sliver, which is another fiber I've never worked with before. This one stained my fingers like you wouldn't believe. When it was all spun up I transferred it from the Babe to the louet for plying. I went with Navajo plying to preserve the color and you wouldn't believe how fast it went on the new wheel. When I was done I gave it a good long soak to get out the remnant dye and the colors really brightened up quite a bit.
That's what I came up with, its about 210 yards at dk weight.
Here's a gratuitous close up

I couldn't believe that I woke up at 9:30 on Saturday. I was up until about 3AM Friday night and I was hoping to sleep in Saturday. Since my internal clock foiled my plans I jumped up got dressed and took a little trip to Target to find a lounge chair for the backyard. It was so nice out and my legs were the color of egg whites so I figured I'd set up camp in the back yard and knit, read, just relax. I made my way to the lounge chair section, stopping briefly at clothing to pick up some cute tee-shirt dresses and a wrap dress that was appropriate for the office. I'm proud to say the queen now has her throne.
Just look at that relaxing goodness.

More to come this week, I'll discuss some swap skeins I've made and show some shots of my Blythe's modeling their new clothes and hair.