Friday, August 29, 2008

Eye Candy Friday...

...again? Wow, this week went fast! Here is your last Eye Candy for August...

A rose called...

This is a Voluptuous rose from the front yard. This bush seems to be plagued by something that discolors the edges of the petals when the blooms are fully opened. This bloom shows the beginning signs on the right-most petal. But it's still beautiful.

Still plugging away at the scarf and not much else to report. Lately, it's been all about work.

Up this three-day weekend (yes!), I'm going to put away the spinning stash that is strewn across my craft that last mad rush for Ravelympics, I rooted through everything looking for a 2-ounce chunk of fiber.

Since I'm getting a little bored with the scarves, I think I'm going to start another project....whether it's another knitted thing or a cross stitch thing remains to be seen.

Have a good one!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

yeah, I didn't blog yesterday...

...I spent a lot of time working off-site. By the time I got home, I was too tired to blog.

I'm taking it easy craft-wise because my hands are still sore. I'm just knitting along on my Silk Waves scarf; it's about 28 inches long now. Here it is modeled by Borg (my office moose):

Silk Waves scarf still in progress

It is a soothing knit, with an easily memorized pattern.

Not much else to report...when I have an time-critical work project, all my energy gets focused on it and everything else falls by the wayside. [sigh] I'm really looking forward to the long weekend. (sleep...yeah, that would be good...)

Monday, August 25, 2008

wrapping it up... are the specs for the last 3 yarns I did for Ravelympics 2008. They are listed in the order completed.

First up, Apricot Orchid:

Apricot Orchid Yarn

...and the close-up:

Apricot Orchid yarn, close up

Started 8/21/08
Finished 8/22/08
Apricot Orchid 2 Falkland top (4.5 oz) from Yarn Wench
Spun and Navajo-plied on Lendrum DT wheel
Yards: 162.9
WPI: 10 average

Next, Plum Smoke:

Plum Smoke handspun

...and the close-up:

Plum Smoke handspun, close up

Started and finished 8/23/08
Plum Smoke 2 Falkland top (4.1 oz) from
Yarn Wench
Spun and plied on a Lendrum DT wheel
Yield: 180.2 yds Navajo-ply
WPI: 14

The final yarn is Aster:

Aster handspun

...and the close-up:

Aster handspun, close up

Started and finished 8/23/08
Aster Merino-Tussah top (2.0 oz) from Chasing Rainbows
Spun and plied on a Lendrum DT wheel
Yield: 128.4 yds Navajo-ply
WPI: 11

The yarns have all had their baths and need to be re-skeined. I need to recheck the WPI on these last 3 yarns because I think at least one of them changed radically after washing (and it was kind of late at night when I checked the WPI).

I'm going to be busy at work, so I'm not sure how much crafty stuff I'll be able to do this week. I'm sure my hands won't mind if I read instead of knit or spin!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crossed the finish line...

Ravelympics recap:
  • Handspun Heptathlon: 6 entered +1 late entrant; 7 done
  • Scarf Stroke: 1 entered; 1 in progress
  • WIPs Wrestling: 3 entered; 2 done
I completed everything for Handspun Heptathlon, but at the cost of my remaining WIP and my scarf entry. I knew there was no way I could finish either one by the end of closing ceremonies, so I chose to concentrate on the spinning, which I knew I could finish.

Originally, I was only going to do 6 yarns, but when the Husband reminded me that a heptathlon was seven events, I thought I'd try to squeeze in another one if I had time. And I did manage to squeeze in an extra 2oz Merino-Tussah top.

Sirena got quite a workout in the last month and I'm giving her a much deserved rest after I clean her up and give her a coat of Beeswax and Orange Oil. As for me, I need more Ibuprofen and some ice for my hands!

Handspun Heptathlon

Friday, August 22, 2008

sprinting towards the finish line...

...don't think all of my Ravelympics entries will make it by 8:59 am on Sunday morning! I can probably finish the two yarns by then, but not the two scarves. I just don't have enough time (and I do like to sleep!).

For today's Eye Candy Friday, here is a flower collage. Picnik paid subscribers got to play with the new collage feature. Here's mine:

Flower Collage

It's very cool...

Last night I started my 5th yarn for Ravelympics. This is another Falkland top from Yarn Wench, called Orchid Orange Sunglo (oops, wrong one!) Apricot Orchid:

Apricot Orchid, bobbin 1

It's turning out a lot paler than I though it would, but I like it. I have one bobbin done and another started. We'll see how far I get on it tonight!

The Silk Waves scarf is about 20 inches long now and I still have a ton of yarn. I need a minimum of 40 inches to make a decent scarf and it's just not going to happen between now and Sunday morning. And I haven;t even touched the Morning Surf scarf in a week...oh well!

And of course, work has picked up so not only am I crazed at home, I'm also crazed at work. Ack!

Anyway, see you on the flip side...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

even more spinning...

...I'm beginning to see Sirena in my dreams. LOL!

I finished another yarn late Monday night. This is Deep Night yarn...

Deep Night yarn

...and the close-up:

Deep Night yarn, close up

Started: 8/17/08
Finished: 8/18/08
Deep Night 2; Falkland top (4.1 oz)from Yarn Wench
Spun and Plied on Lendrum DT wheel
Yield: 36.4 yds beaded; 145.7 yds not beaded; 182.1 yds total
WIP: 13

The little skein you see at the bottom of the pictures was beaded using a Navajo-plying beading technique from Knit-R-Done. It's a very cool method, but a little time-consuming. Since my goal was to spin 6 (!) yarns for Ravelympics, I decided to ply the remaining yarn without beads. This is definitely a technique I want to use when I have more time—it's very cool how it keeps the beads in place.

I went to Monday Knit Night at Full Thread Ahead and worked on my Silk Waves scarf. It's very pretty and it's a quicker knit than the Morning Surf scarf. I have a feeling I may finish only one of these for Ravelympics...oh, well.

Overall, I feel pretty good about my Ravelympics accomplishments. But between work and crafts, my hands are really starting to complain. I may have to swap over to quilting when the Olympics are over just to rest up my hands.

Monday, August 18, 2008

sore shoulders and hands...

...but I got a lot of spinning done! First, the Ravelympics count:
  • WIPs Wrestling: 3 entered; 2 done
  • Handspun Heptathlon: 6 entered; 1 in progress; 3 done
  • Scarf Stroke: 1 entered; 1 in progress
In addition to the yarn I finished Friday night, I finished this one Saturday:

Reef yarn

and the close up...

Reef yarn, close up

Started and finished 8/16/08
Reef 1 Falkland top (4.1oz) from Yarn Wench
Spun and plied on a Lendrum DT wheel
Two Falkland singles plied with Copper rayon thread
Yield: 105.4 yds
WPI: 8

I spun these singles on Sunday:

Deep Night, bobbin #2

This is Deep Night 2 Falkland top from Yarn Wench.

I experimented with beading as I was Navajo-plying the yarn. I'm not sure whether I like it (and it takes a lot of time!), but here's what it looks like so far:

Deep Night yarn, beading experiment

I also made some progress on the Silk Waves scarf:

Silk Waves Scarf, in progress

Also this weekend, we said good-bye to the Daughter—she's back in Baltimore gearing up for year 3 of her PhD program. It was nice having her home for a while and we'll miss seeing her fly in and out of the house!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

another Ravelympics finish...

...this is the Plumcopper yarn:

Plumcopper yarn

and the close-up:

Plumcopper yarn, close up

Started: 8/10/08
Finished: 8/15/2008

Plumcopper Merino-silk top from Yarn Wench
Spun and plied on Lendrum DT wheel
Yield: two skeins Navajo-plied, 220.4 yds total
WPI: 13 (average)

Also, I cast-on a Silk Waves scarf [Ravelry]at lunchtime yesterday. I decided that I didn't like the look of the capelet (for me anyway) originally intended for this kit, so I changed it from Shawl Relay to Scarf Stroke. I also sent my Alternates "home" (read: delete) as it will be a push to get everything done as it is...if work wasn't escalating right now, I think I'd feel differently!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Eye Candy Friday and Ravelympics update...

...two in one! I've been spinning away on my second yarn for Ravelympics and I'm almost there. Last night I finished spinning the second bobbin and started plying the first bobbin I'd finished earlier in the week. This is the Plumcopper yarn (Yarn Wench merino-silk top):

Plumcopper yarn, in progress

I should be able to finish this tonight. (Then I'll only have 4 yarns left to spin...ACK!)

I haven't done any knitting in the past couple of days. What little time I've had for crafts, I've used for spinning. However, I need to get back to the last WIP I've entered in the Ravelympics and I still have to cast on the little shawl (scarf?) I signed up for...yeah, I'll be busy this weekend!

In my continuing fascination with the sky and clouds, I took some pictures last night as the sun was setting. This first picture shows our apricot tree in silhouette. The other trees and shrubbery are in our neighbor's yard.

Sunset Silhouette

The Husband teases me about taking so many sky pictures, but when you see a sky like this...

Clouds at Sunset can you resist?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WIP-it Wednesday, Ravelympics style...

..I finished another WIP. But first, here's my Ravelympics count:
  • WIPs Wrestling: 3 entered; 2 done
  • Handspun Heptathlon: 6 (+1 alternate) entered; 1 in progress; 1 done
  • Shawl Relay: 1 (+1 alternate) entered; 0 started (oops!)
I finished the Wisterious Bootees that I started back in April. Here's the picture:

Wisterious Bootees

Finished: 8/12/08
Pattern: Saartje's Bootees by Saartje de Bruijn
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Wisterious
Needle: size 5
Size: large (cast on 35)

I'm happy I finished the second one, but I probably won't being knitting this pattern again for a while. It's an easy knit and the pattern is very easy to follow,. I simply didn't enjoy knitting the straps and I don't like how they turned out. Why knit something if you don't enjoy it?

After work, I'm meeting up with a fellow Raveler to help her with her Ravelry profile and show her some of the cool stuff you can do. After that I'll go home and watch the Olympics and spin away. I need to get cracking if I want to finish 5 more yarns, not counting the alternate.

What on earth was I drinking thinking when I signed up for that many!?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ravelympics report: two down...

...too many to go! My count is:
  • WIPs Wrestling: 3 entered; 1 done
  • Handspun Heptathlon: 6 (+1 alternate) entered; 1 done
  • Shawl Relay: 1 (+1 alternate) entered; 0 started (oops!)
First up, I finished the Plumthorn yarn:

Plumthorn Yarn

...and the close up:

Plumthorn yarn, close up

Started on the spindle: 5/22/2008
Finished on the wheel: 8/9/2008
"Plumthorn" Wensleydale top from Pigeonroof Studios (gift from Terry)
Spun on spindle and wheel; plied on wheel
Yield: 440 yards, 2-ply
WIP: 16

I also finished one of my WIPs:

Foxglove Baby socks

Finished 8/10/2008
Artyarns Supermerino in color 107
Pattern: Baby socks from Cat Bordhi's Foxglove class at Stitches West 2008
Needles: US 5
Originally, I intended on knitting the second sock to make a pair. However, when I looked at the completed sock, I wasn't happy with the size or how it looked, so I knit a complete pair.

Friday night, we went to downtown Redwood City to watch the opening ceremonies. As it turned out, we did not stay to watch the ceremonies because we couldn't get a good view of the screen. However, we did spend a couple of hours enjoying the live music that led up to the televised ceremonies. We split a pizza and some wine, and just enjoyed being outside in the pleasant weather.

On Saturday, we went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit—it was amazing to see her paintings in person. However, there were a lot of people, making the rooms very crowded and it was difficult to have a good look at her smaller works. I did get to spend time enjoying my two favorite paintings and the photographic exhibit. Next time we'll go during the week. After fighting the crush at the museum, it was nice to sit at the Thirsty Bear and enjoy the good food and excellent beer. I highly recommend this restaurant! The churros and hot chocolate dessert is to die for!

Sunday was spent working on the baby socks and starting another yarn. Rather than tackle another new-to-me wool (the Seawool in my queue), I decided to do one of the merino-silk tops I bought from Yarn Wench. I started spinning Plumcopper 2:

Plumcopper Merino-silk, bobbin 1

I like the contrast between the purples/pinks and the golds/brown. This is destined to be a 3-ply.

I'll be back on Wednesday with an update...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eye Candy Friday for Ravelympics Opening Ceremonies

...which coincide with the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing that started at 5am PST. While I did not cast on for one of my new projects, I did get up at 5am and work on my spinning WIP, the Plumthorn Wensleydale top. I decided to finish this on the wheel to make things go faster.

Here is the second bobbin.

Bobbin 2 of Plumthorn

I have just a bit more to spin and then I can ply it. I do love how this is turning out!

Tonight, the Husband and I are going to Redwood City to watch the Opening Ceremonies, which are being telecast outdoors on a big screen. We're meeting up with one (or more?) of his co-workers, so it should be fun. I am taking one of my knitting WIPs to work on.

Tomorrow, we have a date to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at SF MOMA. I love her work and am really looking forward to it! We plan on having a late lunch after the exhibit at Thirsty Bear (yummy!). After that we have no plans, so we'll just play it by ear.

Have a great weekend! And just because you need a flower picture from me:

Magic Lilies in pink

Magic Lilies, AKA n@ked ladies

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

let's pretend I have no WIPs...

...cuz there are no new pictures to post.

I am working on the Montego Bay Wrap. I am resisting casting on another project or starting a new yarn—I need to wait for Ravelympics to start! Maybe I should just read...

On my way home last night, the sky looked dark and ominous close to the horizon. Above that it was blue skies and white clouds. I couldn't get a good picture of the contrast, but here's what part of the sky looked like:

Clouds rolling in

Off to finish my work deliverable...back Friday with Eye Candy Friday.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

bicycle, bicycle, bicycle...

....all together now:
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride it where I like...

OK, now that you have Queen stuck in your head , here's a picture of my bike:

My new bike

I want to take another picture when it's more light outside—in real life, it is more teal. However, I wanted to document the bike before I took it out for its first ride this morning, just in case. I don't think I mentioned that one of the tires was flat yesterday when I was going to ride it to the gym. The Husband fixed it so I could ride it this morning. (I know, what a guy!)

For now, I'm just riding it to the gym and back four days a week. That's 2.2 miles for a round trip, 8.8 miles a week. Not a lot, but at least I've eliminated one car trip for the four days...every little bit helps!

Monday, August 04, 2008

well, that was an interesting weekend...

...some things went as planned and others didn't.

As planned, I finished the Midsummer Paradise socks. And they fit perfectly, see:

Midsummer Paradise socks

The pattern was easy and makes a great fabric. Sundara used a different type of toe (don't know what it's called) that doesn't require the Kitchener stitch. My only regret is that the subtle color changes in this yarn don't show off the stitch pattern very well; a multicolored yarn might. A closer picture:

Midsummer Paradise socks, close up

Started: 6/16/08
Finished: 8/2/08
Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks That Rock Lightweight in Midsummers Night
Bird of Paradise sock pattern from the Petals Collection by Sundara Yarns
Needles: US 2 (2.75mm) on the cuffs and toes; US 2.5 (3mm) on the rest
Fits my size 9M foot
Modifications: Knit 5 inches of cuff instead of 6 inches

After finishing those socks, I was at a loss of what to do next. Most of the stuff I want to spin right now is marked for Ravelympics, as are a lot of my WIPs. Usually, I can easily move right on to the next project with hardly a break. This time I couldn't—it was very unsettling! I pulled out my spindle and did a little more on the Plumthorn yarn while I figured out what to do.

I decided to frog the Montego Bay wrap and start it again. I had found an error in my knitting around row 4 that messed up the pattern and needed to get it back on track. I'm knitting this in a Rockin' Sock Club yarn from last year, Walking on the Wild Tide. This poor yarn had been frogged so many times...I had tried a few times to do the toe-up sock from the club and tried a different shawl pattern. I finally settled on the Montego Bay pattern and now I had to frog it again. This is one reason this WIP is not in the Ravelympics; it may never get done!

As I was knitting away Saturday evening, I kept heard what sounded like cats growling. Since it wasn't very loud, I figured it was across the street or something. It went on for a few minutes, so I decided to see if our cats were in the back yard. [Side bar: Now I don't want you to think that I let my cats out to wander the neighborhood. Our cats are inside cats for the most part, but they do go out in the back yard. Our backyard has 8-foot walls on all sides and we block the openings around the gate with chicken wire and grates to prevent escape. I've only ever had one cat that was agile (and smart) enough to leap 8 feet and get out of the yard. The cats I have right now can't manage it.] They were both in the yard...Sombra had cornered a kitten behind the tomato plants and Tica was standing guard. The kitten was small enough to slip though an opening by the gate and was hiding when our cats found it.

I got our cats inside and had the Husband help me catch the kitten. It was scared out of its mind, but once I got its paws controlled, it calmed a little. However, when the Husband brought out a cat carrier and I went to put the kitten inside, it freaked out and bit me. After a little first aid for me, we put food and water in the carrier and left the kitten alone for a while. It ate everything (poor starving little thing). That night I put the carrier in my sewing room and closed the door to keep our cats from bugging the kitten.

Sunday morning after a little research on the Internet and a lot of discussion, we decided that the best thing was to take the kitten to the Animal Shelter. We already have 3 cats and one has to live in a separate room from the other two so she won't get beat up. If we kept the
kitten, it would have to be in a separate room for a while, and we just don't have any extra rooms for another cat. It was a big unknown...was it just scared, or was it feral? Could it be socialized? Since you have to report any animal bite that draws blood, it would be better to have the kitten at the shelter under observation. We hated to do it, but I know my cats...they would continue to worry the kitten and not give it any peace. Not good for the kitten who was already scared. I'm hoping for the best...

After we dropped off the kitten, the Husband distracted me by taking me shopping for a new bike. Riding the Daughter's bike has been OK, but it's just too big. We took advantage of a sale and got a basic riding-around-town bike with a rack on the back wheel. It's 4 inches smaller than the Daughter's bike and is very comfortable. No pictures yet, but soon!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Eye Candy's August, people!

...yeah, I can't believe it either! Summer is not nearly long enough anymore...

Today's Eye Candy Friday is a mix of pictures. In the category of "we just need a cat picture once in a while", here is Miss Sombra in a typical pose:

Sombra, mouthing off

She's always whining about something...

Some flower pictures from the garden. Dianthus...


Gnome Purple...

Gnome Purple

and Ageratum.


I went stash diving last night looking for more spinning candidates for Ravelympics [Ravelry link]. Look what yumminess I found! This is Kilkenny 2, a Merino-Silk top...

Kilkinney 2 Merino-Silk top, close up

Andromeda 2, another Merino-Silk top...

Andromeda 2 Merino-Silk top, close up

Plumcopper 2, also Merino Silk...

Plumcopper 2 Merino-Silk top

and one of my favorite color combinations, Deep Night 2, a Falkland top.

Deep Night 2 Falkland top

These are all from Yarn Wench; I adore her colors! I don't know which to choose...they are all wonderful! Decisions, decisions!

Up this weekend: finish the Midsummer Paradise socks. I have finally finished knitting the feet and am ready to do the toes! I am also going to look at my soap supplies and see if I have enough to do a batch or two. I haven't progressed beyond M&P soap yet...just don't have the time to do the full-blown cold- or hot-process soap thing...maybe someday.

Have a good weekend!

July 2008 Recap...

...I'm separating the recap from Eye Candy Friday. Look for another post following this one.

The Recap:


  • 7/27 Plum Honey Light yarn [Ravelry]
    Yarn Wench Merino-Silk top (4.1 oz) in Plum Honey Light 1
    Spun and plied on Lendrum DT wheel
    Yield: 273.8 yds Navajo-plied

    WPI: 12 (Worsted)
  • 7/20 Guerrilla Girl yarn [Ravelry]
    Tempted Yarns Merino-silk top (4.0 oz) in Guerrilla Girl
    Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
    Yield: 208 yds. Navajo-plied
    WPI: 12 (Worsted)
  • 7/5 Mermaid yarn [Ravelry]
    Yarn Wench Falkland Wool top (4.2 oz) in Mermaid 2
    Spun and plied on Lendrum DT wheel
    Yield: 394 yds., 2-ply
    WPI: 14 average (Sport)
Worked on:
  • Midsummer Paradise Socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Spinning Plumthorn (Wesleyan) from Pigeonroof Studios [Ravelry]
  • Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple [Ravelry]
  • 7/6 Guerrilla Girl merino-Silk top (spinning)
  • 7/10 Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 7/21 Plum Honey Merino-Silk top from Yarn Wench (spinning) [Ravelry]
Frogged/On Hiatus:
  • Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting): Waiting for cold weather
  • Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting)
Works In Progress (did not work on):
  1. Saartje's Bootees (knitting)
  2. Foxglove baby socks (knitting)
  3. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  4. Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  5. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  9. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  10. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
So, not much knitting, but some spinning, and no real work on the WIPS. Gotta do better in August!

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...