Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is it wrong to base fashion choices on crazy old ladies?

I watched this very strange japanese movie yesterday.  The little old sisters, on the left, went out every day looking for cool junk in people's trash, and they'd both wear matching capes with fur collars and pompoms on the ties (which unfortunately you really can't see in the picture - that totally made the look!)  I really really want a cape with a fur collar and pompoms now.  Well, not really fur, but I'm thinking maybe a short dense eyelash or maybe, oh yes, perhaps even better, a really loopy boucle, like my single skein of Drops Puddel, which will never be enough, I'm sure.   Why are old ladies so darn cute?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas report

There's something relaxing about the post-holiday time - no more rushing around or trying to remember things you're sure you've forgotten to do.  The pressure is off and you can just sit on the couch watching the first season of Pushing Daisies, for example, without feeling guilty.  Which I highly recommend, by the way.  

Christmas gifts went over well - my mother LOVED her sweater and it fit her sooo well!  I was really afraid it'd be too big on her, but it was just perfect.  I can't believe I forgot my camera - I wanted to take a picture of her with it on,  and the button in place.  The socks that I started for my father last Tuesday were nearly finished by the time I left their house (I just knit until Christmas morning then put them  in a gift bag, needles and all, and said "look!  it's an unfinished pair of socks for you!) They probably would have been totally finished if I hadn't gotten carried away with the foot and done an extra inch and a half, while chatting, before realizing that I should have been decreasing for the toe.  I ripped back and finished up at home last night.  As I suspected, they were a little loose on him - not as much as I feared, but we talked about what he liked, and I think next time I'll make something that's ribbed all the way down and maybe across the top of  the foot too, so it's more fitted.   My mom also really liked the placemats, despite the weird coloration - which totally could have been fixed had I read cosymakes's comment before Christmas - that would have been perfect!  oh well.  My mother isn't too difficult to please!  

My sister-in-law's birthday is coming up next month and since she's been threatening to steal my newest mittens (the ones made with the Hand Me Downs handspun - who can blame her!?) I decided to make her a pair of mittens and a matching hat. 
 Sure, I could have used something from the stash, but of course, I didn't!  I got some Crystal Palace Taos, which I've always liked the look of, and because it's a two ply with each ply a different color, it kind of reminded me of the handspun that I used on mine.  I really like the way it knits up! 
 I only got two balls, so I'm striping in some of the leftover off-white Cascade 220 from my mom's sweater, and I'll do the same on the hat.  I think it'll stretch the Taos so that it'll be a perfect amount.  

Oooh - I also splurged on a little post-Christmas gift for myself! 
 A Namaste knitting bag!  It's the Zuma, in my new favorite peacock blue color!  and it's not leather!  Unfortunately, when I saw the pictures on the website, I thought that the interior of the bag was divided into sections by a mesh part, which was where you'd keep your knitting projects - but it's not.  Oh, for anyone who doesn't know, Namaste is a line of bags that are designed to be snappy enough to carry as a purse, but also very functional as a knitting bag (and big enough to hold both!) 
 That mesh part that I saw in the pictures is actually their Oh Snap! mesh bags - shown doing their thing, holding a project inside the bag.  duh.  Well, needless to say, I had to order the mesh bags too. I justified it by telling myself that this will easily allow me to fulfill my plan of always having a pair of socks on the needles this year!  And honestly there are a lot of times that I get stuck somewhere and wish I had my knitting with me - now I always will!  She's a beaut!  

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and I also hope you all ate far less candy than I did!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A not incredibly crafty Christmas

Originally the BF and I agreed that we wouldn't buy each other anything for Christmas this year, but instead make stuff.  I requested a gold spray painted macaroni covered pencil holder like everyone made for their parents in gradeschool.  Seriously, is there anyone out there who didn't make one of those?  Anyway, after a while of not being able to think of a single thing to make him, I asked if he was struggling as much as I was - he said yes, so we tossed that plan and just shopped.  I'd like to think we're both pretty creative people, but when under pressure, we produced nothing.  sheesh.  But I did do a little bit of handmade gifting - there's the aforementioned sweater for my mom, which is now blocked, dried, and wrapped.  Oh, and I found these little labels at JoAnn's that say "Handmade with Love" which I sewed on - so cute!  I also made these mittens for my friend at work, HelenI used SWS in the natural earth colorway, because she's into neutrals, then I embroidered on some snowflakes - because snowflakes will never be out of season when you're wearing mittens!  I also wove two placemats for my mother, which only seemed appropriate since she bought me the loom for Christmas!  I'm still not sure that I'm loving them - I don't really like how I did the warp colors in two blocks like that.  I wish I'd had the forethought to stripe them or something, but I did go back and buy more of the warp yarn so that I could make more in the same colors, but with different patterns, so they'd mix and match with the original set.  I used some brown Lion Cotton and Lion Incredible ribbon yarn as the weft, and I really like how it came out, colorwise! Ok, off to do more wrapping!  Have a great holiday everyone!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas is exhausting!

Well, I guess it's not necessarily Christmas that's exhausting, it's the cookie baking.  I don't know why making 4 different batches of cookies took so long, but it sure did.  Now my kitchen is trashed and I don't feel like cleaning it up - hell, I haven't even taken my apron off  (but that's 'cause I kinda like it!)  Not that I'm complaining!  There's not much better than spending a saturday baking cookies, listening to your Willie Nelson and Family double album, and not worrying about the fact that you haven't gotten anything else done!  

We put the tree up a couple weekends ago,
 and I forgot to post pictures of the little tree topper the fella and I made together!  Since we got this snazzy red tree, we've never really had a topper for it so he said he could probably make something cool out of felt and he asked me what I wanted and I said a bird.  He cut out all the pieces and I figured some Elmer's glue would hold it together just fine, but it didn't.  He got frustrated and gave up because all the pieces kept falling apart, so I sewed it together with some space dyed embroidery floss and it turned out just great. 
Unfortunately the picture did not turn out so great - it's hard to take pictures when every day is cloudy!  Oh, and speaking of handmade decorations - I've been taking my good old natured time finished my felted ornaments, but I do have one finished, I think.  This is the one that everyone made fun of as I was crocheting it.  It really was pretty bad.   After felting it was still pretty weird, and oddly phalic, but I think with some tough shaping and stitching, and the all-important addition of sequins, it turned out pretty well!  
it's hardly even recognizable - I had to push the long pokey end in, and turn it upside down, to mitigate the penis-y look of it.  My to-do list for this evening does include working on the others, but I also want to warp my loom to start working on a couple placemats for my mama!  

Ooh, in other knitting news - I need to decide what to cast on for next!  I did start on my Selbu Modern, but I need something less chart-y for knit nights - I have other hats I want to do (Fresco Herringbone,  Bobbled Tam, Side Slip Cloche, and Sideways Grande Cloche, to name a few) but I'm also pretty excited about Amelia - the cardigan from the new Knitty!  At first I didn't care for it - but I think that was because I didn't like the way the model was wearing her hat.  I get caught up on stupid stuff, what can I say?  And I didn't like the stuff about a "peplum" in the description.  Then I looked at it and realized that it has lots of the same elements of my favorite store bought cardigan - the shaping gives you curves even if you're wearing something loose-y under it, and even though it's knit in worsted weight, it doesn't look as bulky as I'd expect.  I think I pretty much love it now!  I have some red wool that I think just might be perfect!  I really wasn't planning to cast on for another sweater, but it is sweater weather, so why not?  I don't know - I'll sleep on it and figure something out before knit night tomorrow!  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The saga comes to an end!

Ok, so the ends on the saga still need to be woven in, then the saga needs to be blocked, but in my mind it's pretty officially finished!  Here's Sally, my more-buxom-than-my-mother dressform, modeling:   I have no idea why this took me so long - it's not like it was horribly difficult, and the pattern was perfectly written so I didn't struggle there, it just didn't ever seem to be the top thing I wanted to work on.  I know my mother will love it though!  Oh, she's got a couple buttons that we're going to add at the top after I give it to her.  I knit 2 little i-cords on size 1 needles and I plan to sew them on sort of like frogs when we decide on button placement. I just love the collar!  And I'm really happy with the bit of ribbing I decided to add to the bottom (after eliminating about 4 inches from the original pattern to better fit my shorty mom) - it lays so much nicer there now.  Oh, I can't tell you how glad I am to have this finished!  I want to make mittens and hats and gloves and everything now!  I'm going crazy with cast-on-itis!  

What's kept me from casting on for anything yet is these guys:  
I've been working on more ornaments to felt - and thanks to Kamile and her size 9 crochet hook, I crocheted the last three which is faster and I think it might even give a cool texture after felting.  I'm probably kidding myself on that last part, but we'll see.  I'm stuffing them before felting which is another kind of iffy thing - I mean I did base this off the pattern instructions in Alterknits Felt, and she talked about not stuffing them too much or else they won't have enough room to felt down.  She gave a final weight that they ought not weigh more than, but seriously dudes, I didn't follow the pattern really at all, therefore mine are probably a totally different size (and therefore a different weight to start with) and I'm way too lazy to be weighing stuffing.  And come on, what do you need, like a cocaine scale to weigh out something as light as PolyFill anyway?  So, we'll just see what happens!  isn't that more fun anyway?  I'm going to do more embellishing post-felting so I'll take pictures then too - Catherine, I'm stealing your embroidered snowflake idea for the plain green ball!  I hope these turn out good - I'm pretty jazzed about them and they're pretty addictive!  

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like a sweater!

I've been singing "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" ever since the flurries started, and when I can't get something out of my head, I start thinking everything to the tune of it.  But this time it really works!  Hark!  a sweater!  not a pile of sweater pieces!  I'm totally going to finish this by Christmas - in plenty of time!  I'll have extra time to try to squeeze in Christmas knits that will only serve to make me stressed and crazy.  super!  But back to the sweater!  I'm pretty darn happy with this thing - even though the sleeves are more fitted than I'm sure my mom wants (she kind of wanted a traditional dropped shoulder boxy kind of thing, but instead of making her happy and making something that'd probably be easier than this was, I opted to make what I thought would look good on her.  I hate it when people do that to me.)   I plan to block them as full as I can.  I'm also going to add an inch or so of 1x1 rib at the bottom just to rein it in a bit - she's a tiny little thing, but wanted the sweater to be loose.  Because of that, I know the bottom is going to flair out and not look nice.  If she totally hates that part, I'll just rip it and it'll be gone (because I'll have to pick up stitches along the bottom to add it.)  

I recently got the Alterknit Felts book after hearing about it on the Webs podcast.  I decided that I'd make some felted ornaments for my mum as well.  This is the before shot. 
 I'm going to do some embroidery before and some after - depending on whether or not the stuff is wool, probably.  Oh, and I'll probably do some beads or sequins afterwards too - just for added bedazlement!  I'm crocheting another because it just seemed faster.  I figure I'll do several then felt them all.   These are some of the yarns I plan to use (the little bits are from my Elann yarn subscription - a perfect use!!)  
They're all kinds of fun, and really fast!  I'm also going to do a couple of Eunny's cabled ornaments to put in, just so they aren't all felted.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday in the City

So I just got back from Columbus - it was just loads of fun, and so nice to see Jen and Linette again!  Man, did we pack in a lot in one day, but let me just get to the part I really want to share - Tiny Canary!  Super cool!  what a great time - if I was a high roller, I could have dropped a really fat wad there!  I was afraid that by Sunday a lot of vendors would be sold out of stuff, but not so!  I found Cosy's table and was probably about as obnoxiously weirdo fan-ish as I feared I'd be!  She was super nice - and I mean super nice!  Also with her was Laure (aka Klotho) who's a hand spinner and dyer and she and I talked over and under flailing arms and bags (it was busy there!) about everything from the Columbus knit night they went to last night, the Pittsburg state monopoly on alcohol sales, and what it's like to be friends with a knitting rock star!  They were both just really cute and it was really cool to meet them!  I ended up buying the Tomato Head hat:  This is one that I saw on her blog - see, the one in the two upper corner pictures?  that's mine now!  I was also happy to see that she could charge a good amount for her hats and seemed to be selling them like relative hotcakes.  way to make a crafty living Cosy!  I also got her Squares Squared hat pattern which is way cute.  After I giddily walked away and tracked down the friends, I did more shopping and nearly walked away without this, but smartly went back for it (ok, I was talked into it by Jen, but it takes very little for me to be talked into most things!)  How great is that?  I don't think there's a suitable qualifier!  It's from SquidFire and they had tons more stuff that rocked.  Ok, so quickly - in addition to Tiny Canary, we at gobs of Indian food, went to Penzey's where I bought probably my body weight in spices (which might come in handy if I perhaps die and need to be preserved! (or flavored)), hit the best bead shop ever, got some amazing chai, and finally ended at a thrift store (where I got some vintage grey wool for 50cents, but not a great casserole dish which they ended up pricing at like $7 -  forget that! )  whew!  what a day!  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

what weaving has taught me about knitting

Ok, so it's not like I don't know these things already, but today really made them very obvious:  1) weaving is WAY faster than knitting.  Maybe almost too fast.  I guess it depends on my mood.  2) not all fingering weight wool is the same.  Or rather, fingering weight wool can be as different as night and day, depending on the brand - which is probably much more dependent on the type of wool, the twist, etc.  

My mother suggested that perhaps I'd weave her a set of two placemats for her and my father.
 I'd already planned on that because it'd be super easy.  I wanted to use something washable, because duh, it's a placemat, and I wanted to make them kind of stiff-ish, but not so bulky and bumpy that you couldn't safety put a drink on it without worrying that it'd tip over.  Now here's the thing - when I justified getting this loom, I did it by saying "but I can use my stash yarn - it's not like I need a different set of materials for weaving!" but I kind of had trouble finding stash yarn for this project!  I only have a 12 dent reed, which means my warp threads pretty much have to be fingering weight.  To weave from my stash, this means wool sock yarn, or the cone of yellow/gold rayon I have.  I'd kind of like a cone of fine cotton, but I certainly don't have anything like that for knitting.  Actually, the mill ends of linen I got would probably be fine, but they're yellow, orange, and tangerine and those really aren't going to fit my mom's much more neutral color scheme.  So I decided that some superwash sock yarn would be cool, and I'd use some natural colored worsted cotton (Peaches and Cream or something like that) for the weft.  

I got kind of fancy-ish (fancy-ish for my 3rd piece anyway) and did some green Cherry Tree Hill (leftover from my Monkey socks) on the sides in about a 2" band, then I did some red Pace (leftover from my May Beret) in a similar band just inside the green bands, then I used some yellow Opal down the middle.  Wow - I see now why the Cherry Tree Hill is so lovely - it's very much stretchier than the other two, and the twist is much more defined.  Maybe it's merino?  dunno.  The Pace and Opal - while very different in price, seemed pretty similar.  Very not stretchy.  That made getting even tension kind of weird.  I don't think that was the biggest of my problems though.  I think I did something a little screwy in the warping process because I realized that I was pretty consistently skipping two threads along the bottom, so it was like a giant long float back there.  And the front looked wonky.  blast.  However, unlike knitting, my whole piece of fabric, which I calculated to be long enough for two placemats (I was just going to cut it in half and hem the edges) took all of about 2 hours to make - like start to finish, warping the loom and all!  kamazing.  And when it was finished I realized that it was a bit short for two placemats.  not that I was too upset over that - it was kind of screwed up and I don't think I'd want to give it to my mom that way.  So I folded it in half and decided that maybe it could be a bag for me. 
 Oh, here's my other worry - are these colors too rasta?  that's really not what I was going for, and I think the white weft yarn mellows it out, but wow did it look rasta when I just had the warp threads together.  So anyway, I made some fabric this afternoon!  what it will become, I have no idea.  Oh, I suppose it could be a hand towel!  oh, this will work out just fine and I'll do better  next time on the placemats, I promise.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm gonna hang with the cool kids!

I'm going to Columbus to visit my dearest Jen, an old friend that I don't see nearly often enough, on Sunday.  We kind of planned to make it a mirror image of my last visit which involved lunch at an Indian place, spice shopping at Penzeys, then her sitting bored at a yarn shop which I spotted and talked her into stopping at!  THEN - I realized that this weekend is the Tiny Canary show (sorry, Indie Design Market technically) in Columbus and it was surprisingly easy to talk her into going to that - I'm not sure how down she is with the DIY crafters, but she's pretty much down with everything and for the love of god she did totally recover her couch with pretty much no knowledge and just a staple gun - and it looked damn good!  So anyway, that means I'll get to totally meet Cosy (and in my mind, me seeing her and gushing something stupid like "oh man, you're totally like a knitting rock star!" equates to "hanging with" ok?)  and all the other supercrafters that I would love to be!  And on top of that, I'll get to catch up on the past two years with my Jen!

oh, Sunday knitters - that means I'm not sure I'll be at the Night and Day for knit night - I'm just not sure what time I'll get home.  If you decide on some new location, you better keep me in the loop!  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday is for fun!

Well, usually Saturday is for laundry and vacuuming that I've neglected during the week, but this Saturday was for fun!  After reading Dharmawrites' latest blog post about her finds at the Planned Parenthood used book sale, I was inspired to tell everyone about my haul too. 

Catherine and I went this morning (even got there before the doors opened - which means you're standing outside in the cold with an assortment of other weirdos who do things like 
get to used book sales before the doors open!) We hit the table labeled, I believe, "household arts" first (yeah, I'm not ashamed to admit it - even though it sounds very 50's - "where will the ladies go?  to the household arts table, of course!") where we did our best to corner the market on old craft books. I picked up some gems: McCalls Needlework Treasury from 1963 and The Good Housekeeping Needlecraft Encyclopedia from 1947 - 
both chock full of great instructions for like everything I'll never do!  Oh yeah, at this point in the game we're both grabbing everything we even halfway think we might want because you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em - and the foldn' 'em part comes later when you take you haul to a corner, like a squirrel hording its acorn, and sort through it all to make your final decisions (or maybe that's the part where i'm supposed to say "there'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done" I don't know I've grown weary of this Kenny Rogers analogy now.)  Anyway, I migrated over to the "collectible cookbooks" table next and scored more great stuff - The American Woman's Cookbook from 1942
 which has a whole section on, basically, how to be a good housewife.  In the Menu Making chapter there's a bit that reads "The appearance of food is important to the modern man.  Beautiful color and dainty, attractive arrangement play a large part in a successful meal." - I love that!   Oh, there's even a section on vegetarian entrees, which surprised me - although it's pretty much just billed as an economical meal, and lots of the recipes still call for stuff like bacon fat and gelatin!  Oh, then I got some little gems in the stack of booklet type cookbooks - Favorite Recipes from the United Nations (published by the UN in '56), The Ground Meat Cookbook (seriously?  204 intriguing ground meat recipes!), and (this one's for you to be jealous of Dharmawrites!) Cooking Way Down South in Dixie from '49.  
Man - I could have looked at old cookbooks all afternoon!  I got more than that - but those are some highlights!  I walked out with a bag for something like $21 and I'm half considering going back tomorrow when it's something like $5 for all you can stuff in a bag.  

I had to rush out (and by that I mean that I only had 2 hours to spend there, which felt like nothing) because I was going to a Weaving Guild workshop on the rigid heddle loom!  I totally thought I'd be running in there late and there'd be like 30 weavers giving me the stare down, but Cay (the woman I bought my loom from, who also happened to be doing the workshop) pulled up just as I did, and as it turned out, I was the only one who showed up!  She said there were only a couple who signed up and they were a little iffy.  So basically it was like a private lesson!  Even though I'd already warped my loom once, it was great to do it with someone who actually knew what she was doing!  I brought my finished piece to show her so she could see my edge issues and after I got the thing all warped and started weaving she helped me with that. 
 So basically I just sat there weaving for hours and got to ask her a million questions!  I kind of felt bad that I took up her whole afternoon just for me - but it was certainly a big help!  This time I warped it for a 5ft scarf and used the same shiny yellow/gold rayon for the warp, and some JoJoland sock yarn in a colorway that moves from blue-green to green, for the weft.  It's gonna be beautiful!
  Ok, man, this is a long post - my appologies!  It was an exciting day!  

Friday, October 31, 2008

You had me at heddle!

So I'm kinda like a double threat now - weaving and knitting.  Yeah, that's right - I'm officially a weaver.  

Thanks to Cay, from the now closed Yarn Basket, I have a loom and didn't have to sell a kidney to get it!  Even better, it's the Schacht Flip loom which was my first choice until I found out that they retail for $225 now.  I PM'd her a bunch on Ravelry and she gave me all kinds of advice on the differences in some of the looms I asked her about.  Some people suggested that I look on eBay or on some weaving websites where people are selling used gear - which I did, but then realized that I didn't know enough to do that.  When Cay told me that she had a couple Schachts from before the price increased, I totally jumped on it!  She's the best - I mean really the best!  She even handed me a big stack of Handwoven magazines for free!  

I talked to my mother to tell her I bought it - assuming she'd want to wrap it up and give it to me for Christmas, but she surprised me by saying that it really wasn't necessary due to the fact that I'm not 12 and that I'm pretty capable of remembering that this is my Christmas gift, even if I get it early!  yippee!  So last night I pulled it out and set it up - which was kind of weird since I didn't really know what anything was supposed to look like, and even though I was following the instructions, I was still not totally sure everything was, you know, on the right sides of other stuff.  Then I proceeded to warp it with some gold slightly slubby rayon from a cone I got at the Woolgathering 2 years ago. 
 It's fingering weight and seemed to fit the calculations for the 12 dent reed I have (yeah - there's math involved in weaving too!  oh math, what can't you do?)  I think this part took me a couple hours, and I believe I had to walk around my dining room table 62 times to measure out my warp threads!  Aside from the walking, there was a whole lot of this:
Pulling 62 loops warp threads through the slots with a little hook.  Then after that, there was the matter of cutting the end of the loops and pulling 62 of the now 124 threads through the little holes.  Sounds tedious, but I can certainly think of worse ways to spend my time - it was a heck of a lot of fun, really.  I mean I'm used to spending hours making loops of yarn and pulling them through other loops of yarn, aren't I?  This is the finished warping - I feel like I have more extra than I should at this end, but again, what do I know?  maybe this is normal. 
 Then the best part started - I picked out some Cherry Tree Hill from my stash and wound my shuttle and started weaving.  
It's fantastic!  I love it.  The variegated yarn is so much different in weaving than in knitting - or at least if feels like it is so far.  Maybe it's because the warp threads break it up, kind of like a slip stitch pattern does.  Whatever the case.  I'm crazy in love with this.  By my calculations, this was supposed to make a 12" wide piece, but it's a bit narrower, which I'm attributing to the fact that I don't really have my technique down - kind of like finding your gauge when you start knitting.  You can see at the beginning I was pulling the edges too tight (the warps are way closer together there) then I tried to loosen up and the edge got messy, but then I think I evened out a bit.  I'm hoping to attend a workshop that Cay is doing for the weaving guild next weekend, so maybe I'll get to weave with some real weavers and soak up their technique!  Whee!  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Santa, won't you bring me a loom?

And guess what?  I already know the answer!  He WILL!  

Ok, so here's the back story -- I called my mother today to talk to her about buttons for her Tweedy Aran Cardigan (which is coming along swimmingly, btw!) - we decided we're going to wait until she can try it on to decide on buttons, and I'll use little loops instead of button holes.  She really just wants one or two buttons at the top, so I think that'll look great.  And she's very particular about buttons, so if she finds something else she likes 6 months from now, she can easily change it out and not worry about the size being too big or small for the button hole, etc.  So anyway, I also wanted to give her a Christmas gift idea in case my favorite uncle asks for ideas for me - somehow he always comes up with amazing stuff, with no help from anyone, so he may not even ask, but in the latest KnitBits Cirilia talked about the fringe on the featured scarf being done with a fringe twister.  It sounded interesting so I looked it up on the www and found that it was a weaving tool and something that I think would be way cool to have for the ends of knitted scarves or wraps - so that was the gift idea I wanted her to pass on to my uncle - if anyone can find it, he can.  he's cool like that.  So in the conversation about weaving tools, I told her that I was thinking of weaving, but that I wasn't asking for a loom because they were expensive - and that this tool was in the $20 range.  I told her that the looms I was looking at were like $125 and said that sounded like a great gift for her and my father to get me - and she was SOO excited!  I too was excited because it was the first time someone else was that excited for me (gosh, can't you always count on moms for that?)   I told her how my friends were all poo pooing the weaving idea - she said "you tell them that yoooour mother thinks her little girl would be a wonderful weaver!"  so take that all you weaver haters!  Now here's the problem - I jumped online to look at looms again and realized that I was kind of off on the price thing - the Schacht loom I looked at before (the one that Cirilia has, and talked about on another KnitBits a while back, which initially started me thinking of all this) is more like $225 - but there's a Beka ridgid heddle that is about $130.  My problem is that I don't know enough about them to understand what the price difference means - is it a quality issue?  Will I have to spend $100 on Beka accessories just to start using it, whereas the Schacht comes with everything I need?  I've thrown out some questions to some weavers in the area and I'm hoping to up my understanding a bit before going back to my mother.  At the very least, I know I'll get one - even if I have to throw in $100 of my own - either way, I'll be weavin' in the new year!  yeah!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So most of you are probably over it by now

But here's one final entry about this cactus flower, because it's fully open this morning:

I'll stop going on and on about it now.  But I want you to  know that I'm still going to be raving about it inside.

*Added note about 20 minutes later, after I found out some info about this plant from the internets- check this out.  It's not incredibly flattering.  Especially the parts that talk about how the flower resembles "a small dead animal" which explains why it's sometimes called the "carrion plant" and that it can often "fill a room with the smell of death".  Oh yeah, and they attract flies - you know, because of the stench and resemblance to a small dead animal.  lovely.  mine, for the record, does not seem to have filled the kitchen with the smell of death.  I think I'd notice that.  But I am going to go stick my nose in it to see if it stinks up close.  I still love you carrion plant!

Friday, October 17, 2008

If this doesn't blow your mind...

...I seriously don't know what will.  Can you believe that?  I mean. can. you. believe. THAT??  Do you see the hairs?  and the color? That is in my kitchen and it's growing off an ever lovin' cactus.  oh, not even just a cactus - it's the arm the I broke off.  Something this amazing will never happen again in my lifetime.  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What you do when you hurt a plant that you think might be pregnant with alien spawn?

Panic!  Gaa!  So when you're moving plants to windex off the glass shelves, and though some course of seriously terrible events, the plant comes crashing down on you, sending dirt into your eyes, bra, floor, and just baked muffins, AND after screaming and putting it back on the shelf, you realize that a giant branch broke off and that that branch was the one with these huge blossom/buds on it that you've been watching and anticipating for like a month now - you get kind of panic-y!  Like maybe the plant will inflict some kind of revenge for killing it's unborn babies.  I mean really - look at this big bubble of an unopened blossom!  Isn't that the craziest thing you've ever seen?  I don't even know what this plant is - because I got it at the North Dayton Garden center (aforementioned favorite nursery ever) which always has the weirdest stuff I've ever seen.  It's some kind of cactus, except that it's not at all prickly, but rather very soft and kind of fuzzy, like what I imagine a deer's antler feels like when it's new and young and  covered with that little peach fuzz.  This is the mother plant - this is the piece I broke off this morning and promptly repotted (all the while appologizing to the mother) - otherwise known as the pregnant arm of the mother.   I vaguely remember the lady at the nursery telling me that it will get some amazing flowers on it, to which I mentally said "yeah right - it happens here in this otherworldly atmosphere, but not in my kitchen at home!" until it did happen - or almost did.  Now I'm afraid it'll have to put energy into trying to survive in its new pot instead of birthing whatever's growing in this pod!  I broke off another piece months ago and potted it up - it too has a pod growing.  In the morning when the light is shining through it, I feel like I'm candling an egg - waiting to see some life moving around in there.  but nothing yet.  So hopefully this one will open.  Oh, and if you don't hear from me for a while, come over and make sure the house isn't filled with some kind of ectoplasm and overtaken with creatures from beyond.  And if that does happen, just hope like hell that they didn't make it up the steps - you'll have to climb up on the porch roof,  break in the bedroom window, and rescue my stash - you can have it.  I won't need it anymore because I'm sure they'll be feeding off my delicious brains or savory organs.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Back to my mother's cardigan - ugh

There's really nothing terrible about working on this cardigan - I enjoy it when I'm doing it, but I think I've just got it built up in my mind as this monumental wall that I have to cross before I can get to anything else I want to make.  It's not that bad really!  I took it to Memphis which means I had a decent amount of plane time to work on it - time with no distracting tv or beverages or conversations!  I think I made some decent progress.  Well, maybe not decent, but progress.  I've made so many mistakes on this thing.  You'd think I'd never knit before.  It's not like I don't know I'm screwing up - I do!  but it's so hard to go back - there are all these panels of different stitch patterns and once I realize that I fouled something up I just can't bear to frog back through the field of fancy rib, then the cable, then the this, then the that, and so I just keep going and tell myself that no one will notice.  oh, but they will.  Even my mother, who is bound by motherly laws to not notice the flaws, will certainly notice.  but seriously, I think she'll still be proud.  Maybe what keeps me from being as excited as I could be about this is that I'm not incredibly proud of it.  But I will keep plowing on!  I'm bound and determined to get this finished by Christmas.  

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I cut my hair off!

well, I didn't do it - Beth at Square One Salon did it.  I love it - she's so good!  I'm not sure I totally meant to get it all cut off, but it was one of those deals where I decided maybe Thursday that it was looking pretty crappy and lifeless (and I'd done so much chopping on it myself since my last cut that I knew I'd better say "i'm sorry" right after "hi"!) then made an appointment from work on Friday morning and left to get it done that afternoon - not a lot of time to really decide what I wanted to do.  I did want something different though and I did throw out the idea of a pixie cut with kind of more length in the front, then said " I trust you" - because I do - she always does a great job, and she always goes for something modern.  And I love it - I think it's kind of nerdy cute!  The BF wasn't totally keen on it at first, but when he knew me years ago - predating days - I always had my hair short, so it wasn't like he'd never seen me with it short before.  It's just that I didn't warn him - but again, I didn't warn myself either!  He thinks it's cute now.  I mean what do you do with your hair when you're going to be wearing a hard hat half the day?  Maybe people with long hair who just slick it back into a ponytail don't have problems.  Guess we'll see how this goes.  I just wanted to prewarn everyone who I'll see at knitting on Sunday - because even though my hair wasn't totally long before, it's still a big change.  Whee!  

And in other news, I finished my Eleanor!  This seems kind of weird to blog about because all my local friends have already seen it, and I've posted it on Ravelry, but still, I will!  Let me tell you -- this is a fantastic pattern and I think everyone should run out right now and buy it (it's available as a Ravelry download)!   I think the possibilities are just about endless for styles with this on pattern - it's written intending for about 2" of positive ease which would give a little more relaxed look, but mine definitely doesn't have that, and neither does Emily's, and I think they look great fitted.  Also the colors you pick could make it look really modern or totally retro or just very understated and natural (like in brown tweeds with wooden buttons maybe) - I even think if you took out the waist shaping it'd look really super on a guy (not my guy, but some thin, nerdy-hot kind of guy!)  I'm so so crazy happy about this FO - I love the fact that it looks good buttoned up, 
or just partially buttoned,
 or totally unbuttoned (I think the great waist shaping keeps it looking good unbuttoned - it doesn't turn all slouchy.) 
 I used Cascade 220 and because I waited till evening to take pictures like an idiot, the flash is on and the blue comes out kind of royal-ish, when really it's much more peacock teal-ish.  Ok, one last time - go buy this!  it totally needs to be in your queue at least! 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Woolgathering Weekend!

After a very long week at work, it was finally time for the Woolgathering in Yellow Springs - an annual fiber festival, and one of my favorite times of the year!  I went with Emily and we saw nearly everyone there in the world that we knew!  Our friend Catherine made everyone these nifty buttons and she gave them to us as she saw us!  Cool!  The weather was great, the people were friendly, it was busy, but not too crowded to be able to look at what you wanted to look at, and the yarn selection was great!  I got lots of great stuff, and although I had a list I wasn't nearly as focused as Emily, who checked off almost every project on her list (and these were sweater quantity things!)  I did get mostly stuff that I have a plan for, but apparently I'm also pretty open to the most minor justification - like Emily saying "oh, you'll think of something".  Damn right I will.  someday.  That's how I ended up with this skein of fantastic yellow sport weight cotton from Creatively Dyed Yarn.  I love it!  I also picked up a skein of 100% Llama just because I don't have any llama and I felt that I should round out my stash's fiber content!  It's a deep grey - the whole section of this was undyed natural colors, I believe.  I'm thinking mittens or a cowl, but who knows!  it's 240 yards and fantastically soft - any suggestions?  I also picked up a hank of hand dyed DK weight alpaca - it's a lovely blue green that doesn't really come out quite right in the pictures.  I hate to admit it, but I'm also thinking maybe a cowl for this (I'm using cowls as a justification for everything I pick up lately!)  Then I got a single skein of this bulky alpaca - it's really heavy and fantastic and I wish they'd had more skeins of each color because I kind of wanted to splurge on a sweater quantity ( I was thinking of the Abbess Pullover) This will be a cowl maybe for work ( I know, I know!) because I'll definitely want something warmy for cold days, but I'm worried that it'll get dirty or absorb the smells like everything else I wear does!  I suppose that's what the wool wash is for, and I shouldn't worry about it.  Finally, I got one ball of this Alpaca Yarn Company Joya - just because it was so loopy and made me think of one of those Russian hats.  It'll probably sit next to the ball of similarly loopy Garnstudio yarn I haven't done anything yet.  after owning it for years.  My intention was to buy some local handspun, but it seems like I ended up with more handyed.  Still, I did better than usual by getting less commercial yarn.  

Oh, there were also tons of weavers there but I was not allowed to look at any of them, and when I did I got a stern talkin' to by Emily.  I don't understand why everyone is against me weaving.  Seriously, no one I know has thought it was even a slightly ok idea.  It isn't like I'm going to quit knitting or that I'll have to sink tons of money into an entirely different group of hobby supplies.  It's starting to feel like one of those situations where everyone tells you that the guy's no good for you, but you don't agree, so you cling to him even more.  Weaving is my bad boy.  But seriously, he's really sweet and it's just that no one else really understands him like I do!  

In addition to all the shopping, we saw lots of sheep and goats and alpacas and, as always, the duck herding dog (which I took a little video of, but Blogger isn't wanting to upload it apparently) 
 Then, because the Woolgathering is at Youngs Jersey Dairy and they're kind of famous for ice cream, we got some ice cream - cinnamon for Emily and a Pumpkin Bumpkin for me (it was a shake made with real pumpkin pie and french vanilla ice cream - mmmm!)  THEN she took me to Ashley's bakery in Oakwood which is just around the corner from where she grew up.  Because it's apple season, that means it's apple dumpling season so she said we had to get one!  I'm saving mine to split with Billy, unless I change my mind before he gets home from work and eat the whole thing then pretend like it never existed!  She also got me a couple of their famous cookies - I can't remember the clever name now, but it was a thin chewy molasses spice cookie with a poof of meringue in the middle and deeelicious!   They also have fantastic salt sticks (rye bread sticks with grainy salt on the outside!) which I had to get and eat half of.  So today my super nutritious food intake has consisted of an apple with coffee for breakfast, a granola bar to keep me from passing out while shopping (it was the South Beach kind which Emily is always raving about and there are pretty damn good!), then a milkshake (which, I remind you, was not just pie flavored, but actually had pie IN it!) then a cookie, then half a breadstick (which I intend to finish when I post this!)  Not really going in a good direction today!  Oh well - it's the Woolgathering weekend and that's reason enough to celebrate!