Monday, December 31, 2007

End of Year Wrap Up

I should make some resolutions but instead I hope to make real changes. I never keep my resolutions. I will no longer stay in relationships long after they should have been dead and buried. I will stop trying to save those around me and instead try to save myself. I will spend less on things I don't need and save more for the things I do. I will try not to indulge in gossip (though I'm sure I'll be gossiping tonight.) I will love those around me with all my heart and remind them of my love as much as I can. I will rub Dessie's belly at least once a day and take her for at least a 30 minute walk when I get home from work. I will eat less crap (though I will not cut the crap out of my diet entirely.) I will throw away my scale, it brings me nothing but pain and no arbitrary number should have such an impact on my daily outlook.

On to the crafting. I bought myself a 10" rigid heddle loom as a Christmas present and I've been tooling around with it a bit, I hope this will be a good way to use all the handspun I've accumulated over the year. Weaving seems to have the ability to really showcase the beauty of handspun without much effort. Of course I know nothing about weaving but Mollie and I were up in Connecticut so we arranged an impromptu yarn crawl. (By yarn crawl I mean two whole stores, but shut-up and don't judge me I'm fragile.)

The first store was Hither and Yarn on Route 4 which is a lovely store stocked with all sorts of goodies. I fingered a 70 dollar ball of quivut but be proud because I didn't buy it. I purchased some 10" circs and a lovely set of redwood 11 straights. I also bought a bag of orphaned skeins which I've turned into the first in my series of "Stickyfingers Scraptacular Scrap Yarn Scarfs"
These are great for tv knitting and stash busting

Then we headed out to In Sheep's Clothing, a strange little store situated over a dress shop operated by a bona fide knitter, weaver, and spinner. I have shamefully never been to a yarn store that promoted spinning and weaving and Ginger, the woman who owns the store, was so kind and helpful I picked up some yarn for warp and weft for a cute scarf and also I couldn't help myself I grabbed two ounces of the most delicious kid mohair in blue tones

I have some spinnies to show off. The first is mohair worsted weight 270 yards 5 oz
I had never spun pure mohair before but I like the slippy/grippy feeling. Too bad I hate to wear mohair.
The next is a 50/50 merino silk blend dyed by Momascrapalota and sent to me with the wheel I purchased from her. This was a dream to spin. In a perfect world I would spin nothing but merino silk. This is just over 300 yards of dk weight 2 ply
I don't even want to do anything with this, I just want to use it as a pillow.

The last skein is merino X spun from batts I received from mandalinn for a craftster swap. The colors aren't really me but I have about 150 yards sport weight 2 ply which I may make into a drop stitch scarf or sell on my etsy. This was spun with a modified long draw to make it super squishy and soft. There was ton of grease on the batts and I think even after three soakings the yarn still retains the lanolin feel.

That's it for now. I'm currently knitting another scrap yarn scarf as mindless knitting for my law and order new years eve marathon. I have a wonderful story about the dress I'm going to wear tonight but that's another tale for another time. Details to come. May all of you have a healthy and wonderful new year and I hope the best for the days to come!

Monday, December 24, 2007

FO for the Holidays

I needed a hat, a nice hat, a white hat to match my camel coat. I dug into the stash monster and found a half used ball of Patons Classic Merino (not the best yarn but a good bargain for the price) and found my IK holiday issue. I had been eyeing the Koolhaus hat, and even though everyone else is knitting it I found myself following the pack.
Pattern: Koolhaus from IK Holiday Knits
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino
Notes: Um this pattern with all the friggin cable stitches drove me insane. What should have been a 2 hour knit took me three days cause my hands would start to cramp and I would get frustrated. I love, love, love the finished product but wow what an effort. I made a few modifications. I did an extra repeat (I'm not so good at reading patterns) and so to compensate I blocked the hat with a fold at the ribbing, which I like better then the beanie style. This hat is wonderful, exactly what I was going for (which doesn't happen often) and I'm going to wear it until it falls apart. White goes with everything you know.

On a side note I finally got around to taking a picture of the Lacey Coquette Tube Top from fitted knits(a bad pic but still a pic.) I knit this in brown sheep cotton fleece and though it looks good here this top stretches to a huge size during the day. Here's the pic and look at all the attitude I'm giving, Tyra would be proud.

Monday, December 17, 2007

FO x 2 and Other Weekend Goodness

I knit like a mad woman this weekend. Working on multiple projects and dying up goodies for the shop. Friday night I stayed up until 2AM just working away sipping a good glass of Cabernet and watching all my DVR shows from the week. My hard work was rewarded with not one but TWO FO's to share.

The first was the Scarf for Jon. I worked this entire scarf up in three evening spending about 1/2 - 1 hr each night. Its a bit short (my stupidity in thinking a 6'1" man needs a scarf the same length that I a 5'2" girl would wear) but the colors are nice and the yarn is soft and squishy.

Pattern: Made up by me using a stitch pattern in Vogue Stitchionary Vol 1
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in Taupe 3 skeins 213 yards
Notes: I goofed a bit on the garter stitch edge on a couple of rows carrying the pattern all the way over, but its not noticeable unless your a knitter or incredibly astute. I love this yarn its all kind of goodness all wrapped up in a machine washable package. I will definitely use this yarn again and the pattern is a nice quick knit done in chunky yarn with US10 needles. Both the "right" side (bottom area) and the "wrong" side (top area) make for an interesting pattern so it will be a scarf that can be worn either way

I rushed to get this scarf done because Jon was coming over to help me set up my tree. I realized that without the help of someone larger then me I would have to get a tiny tree, and I've had tiny trees in the past but this year I wanted a real tree. We drove out to 440 farms and after a few mishaps involving tying the tree to the car and then having to cut off bottom branches this is what I got
Yes the tree is next to my majacraft little gem
lights on with flash
Lights off without flash (very blurry but you get the idea)
I'm happy with the tree, I need to go buy a tree topper I think I'll get a star cause I don't like the idea of an Angel with a pine tree up it's butt.

Jon wanted to see the scarf so I gave it to him and he loved it, but he wants me to wrap it up and give it like a real present so he left it at my house. He helped my bake shortbread cookies and wow they are yum, but very very very fattening (2 1/2 sticks of butter!) so I brought a tray into work today. I figured my co-workers will get fat but love me for it.

The second FO was cast on Friday and finished last night.
Pattern: truffle clutch from Yarn magazine online.
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Vanilla and mystery cotton from when I used to shop at the Yarn Co (I hate to even suggest I patronized those bitches)
I didn't follow the pattern for the lining instead I used fusible interface and ironed on some cotton fabric, the interface really helps the bag keep it's shape
I used a small snap as the closure and sewed a bead on top to make it more pleasing to the eye
Here it is blocking out. You can see that the sides are a bit wonky but I was able to fix that when I sewed the bag together.

After all that crafting I sat down Sunday night with a hot cup of tea and watched the sunset
I listened to the wind howl and rattle the glass in my window panes but I felt good and warm.

Friday, December 14, 2007

How many days left??!!

I have yet to buy a Christmas tree and for some reason my grandmother has taken this personally, like me not buying a tree equates less love for my roman catholic roots. I'm half Jewish and half catholic which meant twice as many presents growing up, and also twice as many religious responsibilities. In fact if you combine all the things you're not supposed to do from the bible and the Torah I think you're left with sitting, standing and sleeping (but not too much sleep lest ye be guilty of sloth) as acceptable activities. Anyways my catholic grandma is demanding to know why I have my menorah out but have yet to buy a Christmas tree. I love Christmas trees, real ones with their piney natural smell decked out in all the ornaments I've hand made or collected over the years, but to be honest I can stash a menorah in the back of my closet in a shoe box and I can't really do that with a Christmas tree. I am caving in to her pressure and Saturday the tree will be bought and decorated.

I started the scarf for Jon from my holiday knitting list and I'm 2/3rds done with the thing already. No pattern is being used, I'm making it up as I go along and I borrowed a stitch pattern from the Vogue Stitchionary Volume 1. Here's a pic I took before I knocked out another 1/3 last night.
(yes that's Dessie in the background, I couldn't get her off the couch so I could take the pic)
I'm using Debbie Bliss cashmerino chunky and its a lovely yarn, which is also machine washable because if I've learned anything about knitting for men it's that whatever you make them better be able to go through the machine (men do not hand wash!) I only bought 3 balls and its 71 yards each I'm afraid the scarf will be too short and I don't have enough time to order more yarn, but I'm gonna block this sucka out until it begs for mercy.

Next on the holiday knit list, ("HKL") is the Juno sweater for my mom. I finished the back last night and if I can finish the scarf I'll cast on for the front. I hate, hate, hate the Skye Tweed yarn I'm using but it's what I have and my mom loves the color.

For my sister I've added another item to the HKL, the truffle clutch, which is cute and tiny and should be a quick knit and a stash buster.

My coworkers scarf is coming along and I may be able to cross this off the list soon. Its now officially too long for subway knitting.

I received my package for the Art Yarn swap I organized over on craftster and my partner LUBEE spoiled me rotten. Just look at all the goodies she sent to be turned into one fantastic skein of crazy, gnarly art yarn.
I've spun a few art yarns before but I can't wait to see what I can come up with.

I also received my partner for the Secret Ground Hog Bunny Swap (Its a non-denominational holiday swap on Ravelry) but I have no idea how much stuff to send. If anyone out there has participated in a secret partner swap please let me know what is an acceptable package cause I'm a little lost. Thanks in advance!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cleaning Out My Closets

I have an FO, of course it's not any of the projects I listed in my last post (that would be too logical.) I was cleaning out my crafting closet, I must decrease my stash monster before the new year and I really have taken on too many hobbies that I don't actively participate in anymore, when I came across my fingerless gloves from One Skein. I started knitting these all the way back in march and I have been like 10 rows shy of finishing them for the longest time. I sat down at the boob tube (the pattern is simple garter stitch in a small gauge but easy enough for tv knitting) and cranked them out in less then an episode of Degrassi High (a guilty mindless pleasure of mine) which was being shown as part of a 24 hour marathon!

Here they are, bad pictures abound because I have no one to help me photograph and taking pictures of your own hands can be precarious.
Pattern: Fingerless Garter Mitts from One Skein
Yarn: Hand spun hand dyed silk yarn from my first foray into spinning silk hankies, 200 yards (give or take a yard or 10) of fingering weight 2 ply.
Needles: US1
Notes: Ran out of yarn for the second mitt so it's a bit tighter then the first, but my hands are two different sizes and I was able to block out the difference. This is one of the few patterns I've knit from the book, I bought it expecting more but it has good potential for dealing with those lonely skeins of handspun I have lying around. I really can't figure out if I'll ever wear these, it seemed like a good idea at the time but now I dunno, I can't wear them to the office and I'm not sure how effective they would be on a night out.

On to the pics

On the creepy doll front, I received my package from Carrieme for the craftster Blythe Holiday swap and she sent me the most amazing package. Have a look (if the dolls don't give you nightmares, I find them charming)
The loot
The girls in their new Pj's testing out their new lounge chairs
Thanks carrieme you're the best!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Knitting

Every good crafter does it, we tell ourselves we will give out handmade presents (or at least stocking stuffers) and then wait until almost the last minute, drive ourselves insane and then fall into a crafting coma. I am no exception to this effect, I realize now its closer to Christmas then not, and Hanukkah is already here. I have the great pleasure of being born of Catholic and Jewish parents which means that I get presents twice in December, but also have to give presents twice in December. I have been up late nights with my pointy sticks and string, and though I'll admit it here, I'll deny in person that I have also broken out the crochet hooks, beads, clay, and felting supplies. Its hard to craft things for everyone, people tend to be picky and many of them don't realize the special qualities of nice handmade gift. Though I have not taken the "buy handmade pledge" touted by etsy (I mean c'mon I'm not going to find anything for my picky, crabby father on etsy he needs like tools or a good smack in the back of the head for the holidays) I am trying to at least buy stocking stuffers from etsy shops.

Here's what I have pending
-I have like more then 2/3rds of my mothers Juno to knit.
-My sister is a fashionista and I can't figure out what I'm going to make her, for the secret santa swap at work
-I'm making knitty's Danica out of patons sws in black gray and white (nice and gender neutral because I don't know if my present will be picked by a man or woman)
-Laura at work is getting the super secret pattern I'm working on.
-Both grandma's will be very angry if they don't get something made of wool.
-Jane is coming into the city this weekend and I have no present for her as of yet (hello late night knitting!)
-And there's a guy who I'm seeing who I promised a scarf to only after he begged me (I know knitting for guys = bad luck, but hey if its not gonna work its not gonna work no matter how long you hold off knitting for them)
-Mollie wants a Pullip doll and I'll probably cave in and get her one, but she's a beginning knitter and I think I'll spin her some mollie-tastic yarn to play with.
-I still have Rob's socks on the needles and even though we're not together anymore I think I'll give them to him, they are way way way too big for my teensy size 6 feet.

In addition to all that I need to make tiny things to give out to unexpected people, I don't know who I'm spending Christmas with but my family is large and I'll forget someone and then run around the house like a chicken whose head has been cut off looking for something I can quickly wrap and won't miss too much.

Even though I'm under all this pressure I managed to dye up some new yarns. I'm now offering Super Fat Sock yarn which is a sport weight yarn good for house socks or boot socks have a looksie at what I did
Ripe Banana
210 Yards Sport weight
100% Superwash Merino

Super Sock
340 yards fingering weight
100% superwash merino
As always they are available on my etsy.

Do you have a ton of holiday knitting? Commiserate with me in the comments. I'll have interesting notes on my weekend adventures.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I am working on a new pattern, this one is good for left over laceweight yarn, you will only need about 300 yards to create something lovely. Anyone out there have use of a charting program and some time to donate so I can make this pattern as readable as possible. I'm still knitting away to finish the item. I'll give you two hints, I'm using the Aspen yarn I posted two posts down and I'm borrowing heavily from the Vogue Stitchionary 1. If you can help me, I promise to repay you in gratitude, I would be the happiest blogger on the block.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Still Recuperating

Oh my aching weekend. Instead of taking it easy (as per my doctors orders) I got it in my head that it would be a good idea to go out with some friends to enjoy my single status. Well cut to my stumbling into a cab at 5AM (yes 5AM, I thought I was still 21 at the time) I can't even remember most of what transpired during the night though I do remember asking a bouncer to carry me to the bathroom because I was tiny and people weren't moving out of my way (the funny thing is he obliged and wow do I feel like an ass about it.)

Its Monday morning and I think I'm still hungover, somewhere during the night I switched from my usual single malt scotch on the rocks to beer and then to tequila, (my tummy hurts just thinking about it.) I also remembered why its a good idea to eat dinner before one goes out drinking.

Enough of my crazy life, I'm checking myself into a convent on the way home, no more shenanigans for me, I'm too used to living like a married lady to really enjoy the single in the city life I used to lead.

On the fiber front I have another FO, with a sad after thought about how I lost one of my wonderful mittens during drunken debauchery. That's the bad thing about knitted items they should never leave the house because I will loose them, (drunk or not.) Hopefully my friend will find it at his apartment or Mollie will find it in her pocket, those are the only two places I haven't been able to look.

Pattern: Branching Out from Knitty
Yarn: Handspun Cormo from locks sold by AspenMoonArts on Etsy. I rewashed and combed these out spinning a light fingering 2ply yarn.
And Modeled by Dessie (who hates when I dress her up in my knitting)

It snowed yesterday, the first snow of the season, I think we got almost an inch and I forgot how clean everything looks after the first snow fall, white and crisp.
Here's some shots from my terrace cause I was too hung over to go out to get some real pics
(See even Jersey can look nice in the snow)
Accumulation on my terrace.

I'm off to finish working, which is what I should be doing while I'm posting this, but I won't tell if you don't : )