Saturday, February 28, 2009

blog and run, Stitches West style...

...looky here...a picture of my yarn and some kudos!! I took a small skein of handspun seawool to the Creatively Dyed booth to show Dianne how her fiber spun-up for me (for the record, it is soft and sproingy and just yummy). She took a picture and posted it on her blog! What a nice thing to do! Thanks, Dianne!

After my second all day class, I am exhausted! I learned lots in Cat's moebius class and my project is coming along very nicely. It's too dark to take pictures now, but I'll post a bunch when I get a chance.

Tomorrow is the last day of Stitches...that went by really fast! I'm meeting a friend for lunch at the market and then I'll do my last cycle through. I've been eyeing a Namaste bag at the Yarndogs booth...gotta think on that one!

Friday, February 27, 2009

it's still Friday... here's a quick Eye Candy installment. I got home after 5:30 and saw this:

Sunsets are not something I normally see on Fridays, so this was a nice change.

Friday Sunset

I had a long day at Stitches West. My "Spinning Cotton for Knitting" class started at 8:30 and was really good. I tell ya, spinning with a charka is not a slam dunk. You use your left hand to feed the cotton and the right hand to turn the charka wheel. My left hand...not so dextrous and kind of clueless. It paid no attention to what I wanted it to do! I did manage to kind of get the hang of it and got a small skein of yarn. I decided not to invest in a charka right now. Instead I'm going to use the fast flyer on my wheel and practice spinning cotton on that before I go back to the charka.

I'll have a longer report on the market after I've had a chance to take some pictures. But here's a sample of some of the yummy stuff I bought:

Manos Silk Blend yarn

This is Manos Silk Blend-30% silk and 70% Merino Extra Fine wool. It is so soft! I got this at the Purlescence booth.

Tomorrow I have the Moebius knitting class with Cat Bordhi. I've taken a class with Cat before and it was really good. I'm looking forward to it!

OK, need food now...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

well, my bag is packed... hair is cut, and I'm (almost) ready to go. My little Saturn is hardly a jet plane, but it will get me to the Santa Clara Convention for Stitches West!!

Tomorrow I pick up my registration packet and go to the Market Preview—I plan on doing most of my shopping then. Friday and Saturday I have all day classes, so I won't have a lot of time to shop. I'll go back on Sunday to finish my shopping and have lunch with a friend. So looking forward to this!

Anyway, for WIP-is Wednesday, here is the Chocolate Covered Raspberries yarn that I'm spinning:

Chocolate Covered Raspberries, bobbin 1

Off to check my list and make sure I have everything...

Monday, February 23, 2009

finished the Jaywalkers...

...and they fit! See:

Jaywalker socks, take 2

The picture makes it look like the cuffs are different lengths, but they're not. Here's another view:

Jaywalker Socks


Pattern: Jaywalker Socks by Grumperina
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks That Rock Lightweight in Incredible Shrinking Violet (2008 Club color)
Needles: US 1 1/2 (2mm)

I love the way the striping turned out. There was a little color pooling, but not too much.

I spent a little time gathering my things together for Stitches West. However, before I could so that, I had to put away a bunch of fabric I had pulled out when I was sewing the tote bag. I had gathered several purple fabrics to see whether they matched the tote bag colors...I thought I might add a fourth color. However, just as purple is a hard color to photograph, it's hard to match purples in fabric. Anyway, I needed to get that back on the shelves so I'd have enough room to lay out my knitting stuff.

One of the things I needed to do was find a yarn that was not lace or fingering for my Moebius class with Cat Bordhi. Considering the amount of sock yarn I have, that was tough to do! But I found a sport-weight yarn that will work. It's all wound into a yarn cake and ready to go.

I was finding it difficult to knit on something else after finishing the Jaywalkers. I wasn't quite ready to cast on for the new BMFA club socks. I decided to use the Argosy scarf as my carry-along project for Stitches and I didn't want to work on that. What's left? Spinning!!

I prepped and started spinning this:

Chocolate Covered Raspberries, close up

That's Chocolate Covered Raspberries seawool top by Creatively Dyed. It's spinning up a little pinker than I thought it would be, but it's pretty. And even though I spun all the way through the Academy Awards, I've barely made a dent in this fiber! It's 8 ounces...this is gonna take a while!

Friday, February 20, 2009

assorted pictures for Eye Candy Friday...

...starting with a sky picture (because you knew I would).

Morning blues

Things are still drying out, but the rain is supposed to start up again soon.

Our garden is starting to come to life again. The weeping Santa Rosa plum tree has lots of buds and a few blossoms:

Buds on the Weeping Santa Rosa Plum tree

Our daffodils are starting to bloom. I've been playing with Picnik's an edited daffodil picture for you (click to embiggen):

One daffodil

There are a couple more pictures in my Flickr photostream.

On the craft front, I've wound the yarn for my Rockin' Sock Club socks and strung all the beads:

Queen of Beads socks, ready to start

As soon as I finish the Jaywalkers, I'm starting on these socks. I'm finally to the toes of the Jaywalkers (YAY!), so I'm hoping to finish them this weekend.

Also up this weekend, start getting my stuff organized for Stitches West. I'm taking some extra time off next week, so I have plenty of time. I just want to make sure that I know whether I'm missing anything and make sure to do my homework for one class. I'm only working Monday and Tuesday next week and I'm looking forward to that!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

no rain this morning...

...we're enjoying a little break. Here's what I saw when I got back from the gym:

No rain this morning...

...a little crescent moon, some blue sky, and a few wispy clouds.

The rain is supposed to start up again this weekend, so we'll get a chance to dry out a bit.

Back on Friday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

pretend this is a Monday post...

...I was totally engrossed in a craft project yesterday and didn't get done until late!

Overall it was a very good weekend.

For Valentine's Day, the husband and I decided we'd rather spend the money on a nice dinner at home than at a restaurant. I made us a nice dinner of steak (for me)and Tombo Tuna (for him), with baked potatoes (in the oven, not the microwave!) with sour cream and our own home-grown chives. Some fresh cauliflower and a salad rounded out the meaI. For dessert, I made some dark chocolate dipped strawberries and served them with whipped cream. That and a bottle of champagne, YUMMY!

The rain pretty much kept me indoors, so I was able to work on both the scarf and my socks. However, I did not finish either one. Instead, I finished spinning Dragonfly Wings:

Dragonfly Wings yarn

and the close up...

Dragonfly Wings yarn, close up

Finished 2/15/09
Merino-silk top by The Yarn Wench
Spun and plied on Lendrum DT folding wheel
Yards: 536+ yard of 2-ply
WPI: 15 average

It felt good to finish this one. I'm not too sure about the way the colors fell on this one and I think it's too loosely plied in some places. In hindsight, I think I should have done a Navajo-ply to bring out the individual colors.

The project that consumed me yesterday was this:

Purple Tote bag

a new tote bag in purples! All it's missing is the perfect button.

Purple Tote bag, top

Started and finished 2/16/09
Fabrics purchased at Eddie's Quilting Bee:
-- Mirror Ball Dot by M. E. Hordyszynski for Michael Miller
-- Fairy Frost by M. E. Hordyszynski for Michael Miller
-- Marbled fabric by ?? (need to look this up...)
Pattern: Craft Bag Kwik Sew 3464

I modified the size of the inside pockets to be larger:

Purple Tote Bag, inside

The only drawbacks are that I should have made the handles a bit longer than the pattern specified and the bag is a bit floppy. (I put a shoe box inside the bag for these pictures.) Unlike the previous tote bag pattern I used, this pattern was easy to follow and the illustrations really enhanced each step.

I have some of the Mirror Ball dot fabric left, so I may just make a drawstring bag to match!

Friday, February 13, 2009

rolling into a long weekend... looking forward to an extra day off!

So remember the purple and silver stitch markers I posted about last week? They were part of the package I sent to Bianca for winning my Blogoversary contest. In addition to the Sundara Lenten Rose yarn that she won, I included a few other goodies, just cuz! You can see a picture of the whole package in her blog, but I wanted to give you a closer look at a few of things.

I included this little bag that I made using Happythings' drawstring pattern (Love this pattern!). The outside fabric is a fat quarter I picked up somewhere along the way, so I have no idea of what fabric line it's from:

Blue drawstring bag

And, yes, I purposely turned the dotted side of ribbon to the inside rather that the outside...I just thought it wold be a nice little surprise.

Here's a view of the inside. I used a Michael Miller "Fairy Frost" (one of my favorite fabric lines) for the inside.

Blue drawstring bag, interior

I included a pink scissor leash (fob) that I made. I made one for every pair of embroidery scissors I own (and I have a bunch), plus some for friends, and then some! The rubber tip protects the tip of the scissors and the lobster clasp attaches to one of the handles.

Pink scissor fob

I mentioned that I had made soap a while back. I included one bar each of the following...

Butter Mint (peppermint and creamy vanilla scents):

Butter Mint Soap

Creative Dreams (clove, rosemary, peppermint, and rose scents with dried calendula petals):

Creative Dreams Soap

I had such a blast putting the package together! It actually helped me re-charge my crafty side, so now I feel motivated to finish a few things!

Up this weekend: try to finish the Jaywalker socks (or the Argosy scarf); work on the sweater; and work on one of my sewing projects. We'll keep Valentine's Day pretty low-key. I'll make some chocolate-covered strawberries and get some champagne. We'll have all the essential food groups...what more do we need!?

Happy day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

nothin' from nothin'...

...leaves nothin'. I have nothing new to show.

I'm still working away on the Jaywalkers, the Argosy Scarf, and the February Lady sweater. {sigh} I wish I knit faster—I really want to be done with one of these projects!

One good thing: I thought that it would take a week before I got my sewing machine back. They called Monday afternoon and said it was ready, so I picked it up last night on my way home. Yay! It's all clean and oiled..they say it's working perfectly.

Now I can work on a sewing project that has been percolating in my brain--a new knitting tote bag. I want one that I can use to carry my knitting stuff for my Stitches classes, that has enough room to carry a few market purchases, and that won't become a black hole that sucks up everything I put in it. A tall order...we'll see how far I get!

Anyway, here's one of my older quilts called "Food Fight!" I used a Terry Atkinson pattern called "Lasagne" and some of my collection of food fabrics:

Food Fight! quilt

Yes, it's a little busy...LOL! I have a friend who says this quilt is her favorite color: all of them!

Here's the label.

Food Fight quilt label

That ought to wake you up!

Monday, February 09, 2009

and here we are at Monday again...

...and I'm hoping that this week is a little more normal!

I was determined to the make the most of my weekend and get a couple of things done that I've put off for too long.

First off, I closed my craft account. For many years, I kept a separate bank account that I used for my hobby business and for my craft show spending. Before going to a stitching, quilting, or knitting show, I'd deposit a set amount of $$ in the account and use only that account for my purchases. It worked great for stitchery shows because they were always out of town (Sacramento or Southern California) and I didn't have to rely on credit cards. It doesn't work as well for International Quilt Festival or Stitches West because they are both essentially "in town." (15 minutes away is "in town," right?) I didn't have a lot in the account and I hadn't used it in over a year, so it was time to close it.

Next, I took my sewing machine to a local sewing and vacuum service store to get it tuned up. It's running OK, but it needs a little TLC. I should get it back in a week unless they need to fix something. And since my mind was on sewing, I swung by The Granary and bought some fabric!

Then I ran a couple of errands and got back to the house by 10:30am. Whoa...I still had a whole day ahead of me!

I pulled out the February Lady sweater and tried it on again. I had just gotten past the arm holes and it just didn't look right. I felt like I had wings...the yoke was too big. I ripped back several rows and started the lace section again. It's looking much better now, but it will take a while to get back to the same point.

Then I worked on the Jaywalker socks. I finally finished the decreases and am working my way down the feet. I probably have about 2.5 inches before I get to the toes. No more pictures of this one until I get them done.

Next I picked up the Argosy scarf. This is a nice project to work on while watching TV. We watched the movie "Hancock" while I worked on the scarf. It doesn't look very long, but it's coming along:

Argosy scarf, in progress

Sunday was spinning day. I put on a big pot of Louisiana Red Beans and spun the day away. I did take several breaks to check the beans and do a few things. I finished the first bobbin of Dragonfly Wings and I've about halfway done with bobbin two.

Bobbin #1 of Dragonfly Wings

I hope I can keep this momentum going. It felt so good to get back to the spinning wheel!

Friday, February 06, 2009

is it the weekend yet?

...'cuz I'm really done with this week! I just feel like curling up on the couch with a couple of kitties, a good book, and some hot chocolate. I'd love it if the rain continued all weekend so I'd have an excuse to stay inside!

Today's eye candy is courtesy of our trees that are blossoming like crazy. Here is a blossom from our rogue apricot tree with a tiny visitor taking a drink from a rain drop:

Apricot blossom

Our flowering plum tree is almost in full bloom:

Flowering plum tree, in February

As I was reviewing my pictures this morning, I noticed this cool reflection:

Reflections in a raindrop

Up this weekend: who knows!? I'm still suffering from a little knitting (who am I kidding?) full-on craft ennui. We'll see just how much I actually get done!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Daughter!!

...the Husband and I are in denial that we have a 31 year-old daughter! (We refuse to be that old...) Anyway, she's on her way to Vegas to celebrate with some friends. I know she'll have a great time!

Here she is in front of the Lincoln Memorial when she went to the Inauguration (she'll probably kill me for posting this picture! LOL!)

No news on the WIP front...still working on the same two projects. And work continues to be fun with our flaky's really hard to get anything done when the Internet goes up and down.

Here's one more picture.


Hopefully, this post won't take forever to upload!

Monday, February 02, 2009

well, that wasn't nice...

...our router at work decided to be a PITA and not come back up after a reset. So we were offline for quite a while. We're back now and I can finally post my recap (see separate post) and my weekend report.

First off, no spinning because my attention was focused elsewhere (see below). And I knit a little on the socks and on the scarf, but nothing else.

I made soap!! I made some Gardener's Soap for a friend (lemongrass, peppermint, cornmeal, chamomile, and apricot seed.), a few bars of Butter Mint (vanilla and peppermint), and a few bars of Creative Dreams (peppermint, rosemary, rose, clove, and some Calendula petals). It felt good to get back to this. I love the scent of essential oils!) No pictures yet...

I found some cool charms and beads at Michaels. I made two sets of stitch markers.

Amethyst and silver:

Purple stitch markers

Sea shell:

Shell stitch markers

Saturday morning was cool and foggy, perfect weather for taking some macro pictures. It was the morning of the spider...several of my pictures have spider web threads in them.

Geranium leaf:

Geranium leaf

Spider web:

Spider web

Morning dew on a snow pea plant

Dew on snow pea tendril

(there are a few more snow pea pictures in my Flickr account.)

Confused rose that thinks it's spring:

Rose blooming on January 31st

That's about it...the weekend was over before I knew it. Someday I'll get some spinning done!

January 2009 recap

  • 1/31 Shell stitch markers
  • 1/31 Amethyst stitch markers
Worked on:
  • Jaywalker socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 1/24 Argosy scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 1/10 Dragonfly Wings Merino-Silk yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  2. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]

  1. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  2. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  3. Central Air socks (knitting)
  4. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  5. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  8. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  9. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  10. Paint it Black quilt
  11. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  12. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  13. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  14. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  15. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

Limited connection...

...I'll post when I can.

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...