Friday, September 28, 2007

Petals Collection for Eye Candy Friday..., love love this color!

Petals Collection--September 2007
The yarn and the pattern are called Poppy. Sundara used purple poppies as the color inspiration. The yarn is a lot more purple that the pictures show.

Here's a closeup:

Poppy yarn, Petals Collection
This color is enough motivation for me to start another pair of socks when I'm finally finished with Summer of Love Lace socks. (I've now finished the instep decreases and am working on the foot.)

Up this weekend, the final house cleaning before vacation, figuring out which suitcases to use, know, all those little piddly things you have to do before you can leave! Plus, I need to get my take-along projects identified and prepped.

If I have any spare time, I will do some spinning. I will miss Sirena, but there is no way (and no time) to take the wheel with me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The new Petals Collection yarn arrived today...

...and it's my favorite color!!

I'm saving its picture for Eye Candy Friday, but believe me, it's beautiful! And Sundara's Poppy sock pattern is cool, too. Guess which project is going with me on vacation! I'm getting closer to finishing the Summer of Love Lace socks, and I need another pair of socks to work on after that! (LOL!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

one week til vacation...

...and I'm so ready to go (well, at least mentally ready).

I went clothes shopping yesterday, looking for pants and tops for the trip. I found some jeans, but I'm having trouble finding short sleeve tops (everything is long sleeve). I have some that are in decent condition, but it would be nice to have a couple of new ones. I guess I better scope out Kohl's...

I have been knitting away on the Summer of Love Lace socks, but there are only so many pictures of in-progress socks I can show (the curse of the slow knitter). Since I haven't spun since Sunday, I have nothing new on that front, either.

Instead, I'll show you some more pictures of old projects that I have completed. As I mentioned at one point, I'm scanning photographs of my projects so I can upload them to my web site.

Today's installment is a cross stitched afghan I did for a friend's baby. (Sorry for the really bad pictures; film was never my medium and having a really cheap camera didn't help!)

Carousel Afghan 1992-93
Carousel Afghan, view 2
As you can tell by the date in the second picture, this "baby" is now 15 years old! And yes, this was the same friend for whom I stitched the carousel horse picture!

This afghan is the first project where I created a design using elements of existing charts. I collected probably 20 carousel charts and books, and then gleaned items from each. In many cases, the original charts for the carousel animals were hundreds of stitches that I had to distill down to a 45 x45 stitch area.

Here's a picture of my favorite square—the seahorse, part sea dragon, part horse:

Seahorse from Carousel Afghan
What you can't tell in the pictures is that the carousel poles were stitched with variegated gold floss and gold blending filament.

This project took me a long time to do, especially since I had to plot a lot of it by hand. I did have a cross stitch application on my Mac, but it was easier to figure things out on paper first and then transfer it to the program. The center carousel top gave me headaches just trying to figure out how to flatten a rounded object! There was also a delay in finishing it as I had major surgery and was out of commission for a couple of months. I think I finally got it to her before the baby turned 1 year old.

I plan on post pictures of the other animals on my web site when I get a chance. (I think I got pictures of all but one of them.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

well, that was a rude awakening...

...the window estimate was, to say the least, more than we expected. After we picked ourselves up off the floor, we told the guy we'd have to think about it. Yeah, think about getting them replaced by someone else! I know you have to pay for quality, but, wow! (I can't imagine what the estimate would have been if we'd included ALL of the windows.) So, we are now looking at plan B.

Before the estimator arrived, I did some light cleaning and shifted things around in my sewing room to make it easy for him to get to the sliding glass door. I also did a hit-and-run organization pass in the room.

After the estimate shocker, I decided to concentrate on getting ready for our trip and working on my crafty know, things that are more under my control. (LOL!) I bought the cat supplies we needed, found a few sample-size things and quart-size zip bags, and did my standard errands.

I got my wish and got soup weather. In celebration, I made a big pot of chicken soup for Sunday dinner (yum!). Besides the classic onions, carrots, and celery, I added some fresh cut corn. It was wonderful!

In between all these goings-on, I knit on the Summer of Love Lace socks. I am now on the instep of both socks, working my way through the decreases. These socks are looking really good and I'm very happy with them.

I also finished spinning the singles of October Sky:

October Sky singles
I'm leaning towards a two-ply yarn, rather than a 3-ply because of the way the colors blended during the spinning. If the color changes all looked like the picture above, I'd do a Navajo 3-ply to preserve them, but they don't. While I decide, I'll let the singles rest and work on something else.

I'm starting to put things aside to take on our trip. I'm debating whether to take a spindle...I may not have enough time to knit, much less spin. Hmmm, I'll think on this...I have a week to decide.

Friday, September 21, 2007

almost-Autumn Eye Candy Friday

This morning's sky:

September Sky 9/21
It is much cooler in the mornings now and the sun is barely beginning to rise when I leave for the gym.

So last night was the 2-hour season finale of one of my favorite shows, Burn Notice. I decided that I would work on my Season of Love Lace socks during that two hours. And look, I made progress!

Summer of Love Lace sock progress
I am now working on the heel flaps for both socks. I'm not quite an inch into the flap and I need at least 2.25 inches before I can turn the heel. But,when you compare to where I was last Friday, I've done pretty well for me.

Up this weekend: We have an appointment with window contractor to get an estimate on replacing 4 sliding glass doors. While I really wanted to have the kitchen worked on, I think the windows are more important right now. Two of these doors are in the living room, which gets very cold in the winter. The other two are in the Daughter's room (AKA my office) and the sewing room. Replacing these 4 sliding doors will reduce our heating costs and make it more comfortable in be in the living room.

I'll be starting my pre-vacation house cleaning, too. We're going to visit the Daughter at the beginning of October and I want to make sure the house is in decent shape before we go--don't want the cat sitter coming into a mess (hope to find a cat sitter RSN).

I also need to do a little shopping for the know, sample size shampoo, toothpaste, and the like. Also need to get the suitcases out of storage...

In between, I'll work on my socks and do a little spinning. (Yes, and work on my secret projects, Jane! LOL!)

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

wish-it-would-rain Wednesday...

...we need the water and I want it to be soup weather! This morning it looked promising:

September Sky
But, see that patch of blue in there? It's taken over and it doesn't look like it will rain today. The newspaper said maybe tomorrow...

I've hit a crafty brick wall. I don't feel like knitting, spinning, or quilting. Cross stitch or needlepoint are possibilities, but they aren't really calling my name either. Need to find something that will get me over that wall.

( that appeals to me. It's hard to do that at work though! LOL!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

confessions of a slow knitter...

AKA: no picture Monday.

Yes, I am a slow knitter. While others just whiz through patterns and whip up socks right and left , I plod along with my one pair of socks. I know part of the problem is that my hands get tired with small needles and I have to take many breaks to keep them from cramping up. And I'm really slow when I have to purl. I've gotten better at purling, but it still doesn't feel natural.

I spent most of Sunday on the Summer of Love Lace (Flower Power) socks. I finished the cuffs, steam blocked them, and did the ribbing. For the amount of time I spent on them, I should be a lot farther (or done if I was like some of you speed demons out there!), but no.

Saturday was for shopping and spinning. I went to Purlescence to check out the Dreams in Color yarn that just arrived and to see whether they had any new spinning fibers. (I just love going in that store and fondling the yarns! ) After checking everything out, I ended up buying the Baby Tulip Sweater pattern and the Dreams in Color yarns to make it! I need to get a few things done before I can start this, so it may be a while. (Remember, slow knitter here...)

As for spinning, I finished the first half of the October Sky roving and started the second. As an experiment, I tried splitting off a color horizontally and spinning that. Thank goodness I had only split off one color I hated the way it looked spun up. So, I'm back to the lengthwise splits and I'm living with the greenish-gold. It will look better when it's plied, right?

I also started the Secret Christmas far, so good!

OK, I'm off to do real work now...I'll get back to the socks tonight.

Friday, September 14, 2007

assorted Eye Candy Friday pix...

...'cuz I couldn't make up my mind.

First up, this year's duck family. This picture is from this morning's feeding:

Mama and baby ducks
I may have mentioned before that our office complex is home to a duck family every year. This year the ducks were late in arriving so the family is still here. There are 6 babies (who aren't so little any more) and they are brazen little souls when it comes to food. Because we are in an enclosed area that has limited duck food sources and the babies can't fly yet, the mama duck has a tough time bringing in enough food for them all. We feed them corn to supplement their diets. They love the corn and will come knock on our windows when they are hungry. (The picture only shows the mama and 5 babies; the 6th duck was in the water.

Next up, proof that I still knit: Flower Power cuff close-up
This is one of the cuffs from the Flower Power socks. I love how they are turning out, even though they're hard on the hands. So far, I've done 12 rows of the 20 necessary for the cuffs.

And here is a picture of the first "big" picture I ever cross stitched. I did this carousel horse in 1989 for my friend Julie.

Carousel Horse cross stitch
It was a kit for a unicorn carousel horse, but I decided not to do the horn and just adjusted the mane to exclude it.

Carousel Horse close-up
I wish I had a better picture of it, but this was way before digital cameras and I had to scan the only photo I had. I learned how to make (and hate) bullion knots with this project. I now avoid bullion knots whenever possible! (I also learned how to cut a mat for this picture...)

I found this picture and a bunch of other project pictures when I was updating my project database. I'm slowing getting these pictures scanned so I can put them in my web site's project pages.

Up this weekend: More spinning, the start of my secret Christmas project (yes, for you, Jane! And no hints, either! ), and finishing the cuffs on the Flower Power socks.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

slow week on the craft horizon...

...I'm working on the Flower Power socks (Rockin' Sock Club yarn), but the size 1 needles are making my hands ache. I can only do a few rows before I have to stop.

As a result, I've been working on my fiber project notebook. Mostly compiling the information and still looking for those elusive yarn labels.

No spinning this week (so far). I took a picture of the October sky on the bobbin, but it's a little fuzzy. I need a better setup for taking pictures on the wheel (gee, really?).

October Sky spinning
At least you can see the colors. I have no problem with the oranges and the blues; it's the greenish-gold that I'm not thrilled with. (Oh, and ignore the little teal blob on the left...that's part of the leader.) I'm going to try dividing the roving width-wise to see if I can control the colors better.

That's it...I know it's boring, but that's how it's been this week!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I love weekends...

...unfortunately, they're never long enough and they're followed by Mondays! To brighten your Monday (and mine), a September rose from our garden:

September rose
We had a wonderful dinner out on Friday, but I ate far too much! The Husband did himself proud in the birthday gift department. He gave me a framed linoleum print of a cat (awww!) and a platinum wedding band that matches my 20th anniversary ring (Yeah!). What a guy!

I got the organization bug and alphabetized our DVDs and entered then into the database. We appear to be missing about 6 DVDs...some of them might have taken a trip to Baltimore to visit the Daughter. LOL!

On the spinning front, I finished up the first bobbin of the Merino-silk roving and started spinning October Sky, another
Yarn Wench roving. I'm not sure I like the way the colors are blending on this new roving, but it will probably look better when it's plyed.

I decided to cast-on the Summer of Love Lace socks (the latest Rockin' Sock Club installment) because everyone had said how fast they knit up. I'm all for fast! I also worked on the Montego Bay wrap a little.

I'm still working on putting together a project notebook for my knitting and spinning. I'm stalled while I try to figure out where I put all the yarn labels for the finished projects and whether the book I purchased is really the right one to use.

We are still enjoying a bounty of tomatoes. I leave you with a picture of last night's salad. Four kinds of tomatoes, some mozzarella, home-grown basil, olive oil, and Balsamic vinegar:

Tomato Salad

Friday, September 07, 2007

Foot Candy Friday...

...Firebird yarn (Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club yarn) in Fawkes Socks pattern (from Socktopia):

Fawkes Socks pattern
Here they are on the cool Blue Moon sock blockers I bought at Stitches West:

Fawkes Socks
I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to have finally finished a pair of socks! Not only are they done, but they fit really well! I did the ribbing and the first pattern repeat in KnitPicks size 1(US) needles, then switched to KnitPicks size 2 needles; I went back to the size 1 needles for the toe.

In celebration, I worked on the Montego Bay wrap for a bit and contemplated what to do next. The new Rockin' Sock Club pattern seems to be very quick judging from the posts I see in the club blog, but I also need to work on the Daughter's Winter things. Choices, choices!

Tonight, the Husband and I are going out to for my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant, Cascal. I'm looking forward to their Black Bean soup with Sherry and their Spanish flan...Yum!

Up this weekend: more spinning, picking a new knitting project, maybe some sewing, and we'll go to the Mountain View Art and Wine Festival. It's one of the last festivals of the season and the best (in my opinion). It will be fun to check out the vendors and just be outside.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

another finished yarn...

...presenting Blue Moon (pre-bath):

Blue Moon yarn
and the close-up (with a dime):

Blue Moon yarn close-up
Spunky Eclectic Corriedale Wool roving (4oz)
Color: Blue Moon
Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
3-ply yarn: 2 Blue Moon singles plus one variegated metallic thread
Yield: 180.8 yards
Weight: 12 WPI, Medium (Worsted) weight

Here's a picture of the Sulky Metallic thread I used (there is a lot more blue in it than the picture shows):

SUlky Metallic Thread
Also, as I mentioned yesterday, here are pictures of my finished sewing projects. First up, the cover for Sirena:

Purple cover for spinning wheel
I used a purple, pre-quilted cotton; it is lined in the same material so nothing scratchy touches the wheel. I sewed a strap on top that I use to pull the cover off. (Note that I couldn't take a picture of this without Sombra and Tica "helping!" That's Tica hiding behind the wheel.)

Here is the latest Knit2 bag. This one uses a Batik on the outside (leftover from my Mom's quilt)...

Knit2 bag in green
...and a seaweed-looking lining (leftover from my Tides at Bodega Bay quilt) with a Fairy Frost green for the separator.

Inside of green Knit2 page
I didn't get my Fawkes socks done yesterday, but I did get closer to the toe. I won't post any more in-progress pictures on these. The next pictures will be of the finished socks!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You say it's your birthday...

...It's my birthday tooyeah! Happy birthday to me, and to my fellow Virgos!

AND I actually took a vacation day for my birthday. The Husband is on a short mountain biking trip with my brother, so I have the whole day to myself. Woo-hoo!

I've been to the gym and done a few chores, so now I'm getting ready to spin the day away. Don't ask me why, but I needed to mop kitchen floor before I felt right about doing what I wanted to do! LOL!

Yesterday, I made progress on the Fawkes socks—I'm going to do one more pattern repeat (12 rows) and then start the toe. Maybe I'll finish them tonight (wouldn't that be great)!

I also did a couple of sewing projects that have been languishing (a cover for Sirena and another Knit2 bag). I'll post pictures of those tomorrow.

Sirena is calling...
(we're gonna have a good time!)

Monday, September 03, 2007

August 2007 Recap...

Work really impacted my personal life in August and I only finished one crafty thing. I hope September is a little better!

Here's the recap...


  • Yarn Wench 100% Falkland top (3.9 oz) in Cali
    Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
    Yield: 242 yards Navajo plied

    Weight: average 14 wpi
In progress:
  • Knitting Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue.
  • Spinning 4+ oz of Yarn Wench 100% Falkland wool top in Josie; 1.5 spindles-full so far
  • Fawkes socks in the Firebird yarn from Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock club (almost to the toe!)
  • Spinning 4oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
On Hiatus until I can face them again:UFOs (In progress, but didn't work on):
  • Flip-top mittens (knitting)
  • Just Nan 2002 Christmas ornament (cross stitch)
  • Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  • Peekaboo mittens (knitting)
  • Queen Mermaid (cross stitch)
  • Sangria shawl (knitting)
  • Seahorses pillow (needlepoint)
  • Twinkletoes slippers (knitting)
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
My plan is to finish the Fawkes socks ASAP, and then move on to one of my UFOs. Now that it's September, I need to finish the Peekaboo mittens for the Daughter so she has them for winter. (Did I reallyh say winter??)

Not-quite Eye Candy Friday...

...we've experienced a week of poor air quality due to the fires north of us. So many people (and animals) have lost their homes, some...