Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

...if I say it enough times, it will happen, right?

I'm manically desperately trying  to finish the Westknits KAL Mystery shawl today so I can submit a "finished" picture to the prize thread tomorrow. I have 5.5 rows and the bind-off to finish.

Westknits KAL shawl, almost there

It's gonna be a long night...

Monday, August 29, 2011

the weekend report...

...yes, we had crafting! A little spinning, a little weaving, a some knitting.

So, I couldn't resist the Bollywood fiber.  I hadn't ever plied with sequins and I'd only plied with beads once. I just had to try it.

I strung the beads and sequins on some gold rayon thread I had leftover from a previous yarn. Then I plied my Bollywood Wedding #1 (red and gold) single with the threaded add-ins.  I didn't use all of the ball, however, so I did a two-ply with the remaining single. Here are both version wound onto my makeshift bobbin:

Spinning Bollywood #3

and here's a close-up of the beaded version:

Spinning Bollywood #3, close up

The butterfly sequins were a challenge--they didn't want to go through the guides and had to be helped along. It will be interesting to see how this weaves up.

I worked on the Mas y Mas shawl. It's coming along slowly.  A couple of the warp yarns are a bit sticky. To open up the shed big enough for the shuttle, I have to use a pick-up stick to keep the shed open in the right place. So it's an extra step for each pass. It's just time-consuming.

I spent a lot of time on the Westknits KAL shawl. After a few errors (requiring lots of tinking), I finally finished clue #3. I'm 3 rows into Clue  #4, but it's taking forever. It's only 10 rows, but they are 10 long rows. I started with 293 stitches on the needle and it continues to increase.  And this is the small size...I'm glad I didn't decide to make one of the larger versions!  I hope I can finish by Thursday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Eye Candy Friday, and not a moment too soon...

...most of my week has been plagued by a massive sinus-TMJ-eye headache.

When it got into day 3 and the extra-strength Excedrine was not even touching it, I went back to an old stand-by: cold diet Pepsi. I've been trying to kick my diet Pepsi habit, but sometimes I need that combination of sweet (or faux-sweet as the case maybe), syrupy and  bubbles to really cut through the headache. Why it works, I have no idea. But it worked and I woke up this morning without my head splitting. Hooray!

Today's Eye Candy Friday is a combination of veggies and flowers. The Husband is growing a wide variety of peppers. This Spanish Spice Pepper is one of the biggest peppers I've ever seen. It's on a dinner plate, with a quarter used for scale.

Spanish Spice Pepper

This is an Anna Russian tomato sliced open. It is a very meaty and sweet tomato, perfect for salads. I think it would make some nice dried tomato slices, too.

Inside an Anna Russian tomato

This purple blossom is from an eggplant bush:

Purple flower from below

The Dahlias continue to bloom.

Yellow and Pink Dahlia

New to the garden this week is this purple fan flower. Love the shape on these little flowers!

Purple Fan Flower

Up this weekend: I need to finish the Westknits KAL shawl. The pictures need to be posted on 9/1 and I haven't  finished clue 3 yet, much less clue #4! I also want to spin some more of the Bollywood samples. I should probably work on my weaving since I can't weave a Bollywood scarf until I finish the shawl that's on the loom. Guess I'll be busy this weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and we have a little more Bollywood spinning going on.

Here are the latest two:

Spinning Bollywood #2

Both of these samples came with sequins and the red also had some gold beads. I plan on plying the red single with the add-ins, but I'm not sure about the other. I wasn't in love with the colors when I opened the box, but adding the pink silk to it really helped.

I'm going to try to ignore the other samples until I finish the Westknits KAL shawl. There is a prize thread for the KAL and you must post a finished photo of your shawl starting 9/1. I'd like to enter the drawing, so...

The Turquoise Trail needlepoint project is still progressing. I found an error in the pattern last night that caused me to frog a few stitches. Nothing major, just the number of plies was written wrong. I knew that the full strand of 12-ply silk was too thick for the section within 3 stitches, so I didn't worry about it too much. Then I tried to split the silk into two six-ply chunks. OMG...I'd forgotten what a pain silk can be! I'm back on track now. I hope there aren't too many more sections that need 6 plies of silk!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hey, look a post...on Monday! you didn't think I could do it, right?

Aside from grocery shopping and a couple of chores (like laundry) that need to get done every weekend, I didn't do anything other than crafty stuff.

I finished knitting section 3 of clue #3 for the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL 2011, AKA Mysterious Waters [Ravelry]. I found a stitch count problem when I picked it up again and had to fix that first. Otherwise, I think I would have finished clue #3.

When I finished section 3, I had to decide what size shawl I was going to make. While I love the colors I choose and the way they are used in the pattern, I decided that I was not going to wear this if it was a medium or large shawl, but would wear it if it was more like a scarf. (If I'm going to wear a triangular shawl, I want it to be lacy.) So I'm making the small size which requires a repeat of section 2 before I can go on to the final clue, which I downloaded today. You won't see any more pictures until it's done. :)

The Bollywood Phat Fiber box was calling my name. I fondled the fibers again (!) and decided that it wouldn't hurt to do a little spindle spinning with one of the samples. That was my downfall. I love the bright and shiny colors of the red that I choose. So I picked up another...and another! Then I transitioned to the wheel because it was faster. I intended on Navajo-plying most of them, but then decided that 2-ply and singles would show off the colors better. So by then end of Sunday, here's what I'd spun and plied:

Spinning Bollywood, part 1

I'm totally in love with the pink and gold single in the upper-left corner of the picture. And the red 2-ply at the bottom right, too!  I have a bunch more to spin and then I think I'll weave a narrow scarf that uses all of the colors. It will be bright, shiny, and very happy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hello, Eye Candy Friday...'s been a week.  We'll get to that in a minute. First, let's have some eye candy.

Nasturtium leaves, just because they are pretty and green:

Nasturtium leaves

Little gala apples, because we actually got to eat apples this year. Fewer squirrels means more apples for us!

Gala apples

Wonderfully shaped Anna Russian tomatoes:

Anna Russian tomatoes

A green and gold tomato:

Green and gold tomato

Freshly-picked red tomatoes:

Fresh tomatoes

For the first time since I heard about them several months ago, I managed to remember the date and time for the Phat Fiber box. I scored a Fiber box on the first try! Must be beginner's luck! The box arrived faster than I expected and was filled with wonderful samples.

Bollywood Phat Fiber box

The theme is Bollywood and I'm loving the bright and shiny colors of the fibers.

Bollywood Phat Fiber box colors

Don't you just want to dive in?

Anyway, that box was the bright note this week. On Monday I got my new glasses and let me say that while I love the frames for both my regular and sunglasses, I am less than pleased with the vision improvement (or lack thereof). However, I was willing to give myself a few days to determine whether it was simply due to the new prescription or due to the optometrist not getting the right correction.

Then on Wednesday, I started to see flashes of light in my right eye. This, of course, totally freaked me out. Thank goodness Kaiser decided that I should come in right away and got me in that afternoon. They dilated my eyes and numbed them so they could get a good look at what was going on and take some measurements of my cornea. (Ewww!) My eyes did not get back to normal until about 10pm!

Bottom line is that everything is OK except for the cataracts developing in both eyes (which I knew), but I now have new floaters in my right eye. Oh, yay. I lost half a day of work for that and now I'm trying to adjust to my new floaters and catch up on lost time. Plus, I still don't see as clearly as I want. Hmpf!

The good news is that I can knit even with my vision a little wonky. I've managed to finish clue #2 and part of clue #3 for the Westknits KAL shawl. Here's what it looks like so far:

Westknits Mystery KAL, as of 8/19/2011

Up this weekend: Some sleep, I hope. I really wiped myself out last weekend cleaning the house for my Mom's 2-hour visit. I've already let my husband know that my plan is to do crafty things. We'll see how far that gets me!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

hold, please...

...this week has escaped me. Too many things going on and a last-minute eye exam today left me with dialated and numbed eyes.  Thank goodness for spell check because I can barely see to type this.

Hope to be back on Friday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Eye Candy Friday...

...another long, yet short week.

We're heading into that part of the year where the garden is mostly tomatoes and chile peppers. They all start to look the same after a while. Finding eye candy this morning was a challenge.

Another hibiscus is blooming in the courtyard:

Hibiscus, opening in the morning sun

More dahlias are blooming in the back yard:

Baby Dahlia

The dew on the dahlias was interesting this morning:

Morning dew

Love how it glistens in the sun.

As an added bonus, here is the latest progree picture of Turquoise Trail. The upper-left quadrant is finished!

Turquoise Trail, as of 8/9/11

Up this weekend: It's Spin-In on Sunday, but I have to miss it this time. Mom is coming for a short visit on Sunday. Since this is the first time she's traveled in my direction in at least 3 years, I can't miss it.  So on Saturday, I get to clean house! If it was just my Mom, I wouldn't worry about much more than the "public" rooms, but she's bringing two of her sisters who have never been to my house. I just know they'll want a tour. They're out of luck when it comes to the converted garage/the Husband's's full of all the stuff that most people put in their garages. No way can I pick that up and do everything else in one day!

In between cleaning and visiting, I want to finish clue #2 and start clue #3 of the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL 2011, AKA Mysterious Waters [Ravelry]. I'd also like to weave more on the Mas y Mas shawl [Ravelry].

We'll see how far I get!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

pictureless WIP-it Wednesday...

...because I showed you a picture of my latest WIP on Monday. Here's a mini-update on the WIPs (project name - mood):
  1. The Beets Go On Socks [Ravelry] - Frustrated/Irritated
    I found another break in the yarn at about the same point in knitting the cuffs for these socks. I'm about ready to chuck the yarn and put this pattern aside for now. I don;t know if it's the quality of this particular skein or if some random bug is eating the yarn (EWWW!). I tend to think that it's this skein because I am having no issues with other projects that I have in process.
  2. Seaweed Cardigan [Ravelry] - Pleased
    I haven't worked on it in a while, but the knitting is coming along nicely and I still like the pattern, Just too many things in the queue right now.
  3. Mas y Mas Shawl [Ravelry]- Excited
    I wove about 12 inches over the weekend (there are about 80 usable inches to weave). I love how the colors are showing through the weft and I'm thinking that it might work as a decorative table runner as well as a shawl.
  4. Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL 2011, AKA Mysterious Waters [Ravelry] - Enthralled
    I worked on Clue #2 on Monday and Tuesday. I'm taking my time with it so I can avoid fogging back. I ended up re-doing clue #1 three times before I got it to the point where I liked it. Purely a knitter problem, not a pattern issue.
  5. Turquoise Trail needlepoint - Satisfied
    I have finished one quadrant and am about 50% done with another. It's beautiful. The only reason I'm not calling this a "very happy" is because it's taking so long to do.
  6. Tealing Groovy quilt - Mellow
    This will wait until I am ready to machine quilt. It's all set to go, I just need to be in a quilting mood. For now, it is hanging in my craft room waiting patiently for its turn.
  7. Isonzo spinning [Ravelry] - Relaxed
    Another project that will wait until I get back to it. It's 8 ounces of Wool-Bamboo-Seacell and I've spun about a 4th of it. After all the spinning last month, I'm giving my hands a rest from spinning for a little while longer. It can wait, too.
That's all of the active projects. There are, of course, a bunch that are not listed. I think I would really scare myself if I unearthed every unfinished project I have!

Monday, August 08, 2011

it's still Monday, right..., they keep escaping from me! Since it's so late, I'll keep my weekend report short.

I spent a few happy hours weaving on the Mas y Mas shawl [Ravelry].

Mostly I was obsessed with the Westknits mystery shawl KAL [Ravelry]. Maybe it's because the photos of the potential color choices were so beautiful [Flickr] and everyone's pictures of their first liittle nugget of knitting looked so ineteresting. Or maybe it was because I'd already done one pattern by Stephen West and enjoyed it. Or maybe it's because I found yet another break in the yarn for The Beets Go On socks. Or maybe it's because I found the perfect shades of teal to use for the shawl.

I started it.

Westknits Mystery KAL, clue #1

...that is all. :)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Just another Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm actually posting on schedule. Woo hoo!

Today we have pink amaryllis (AKA pink n@ked ladies):

Pink Amaryllis moons

Purple lantana:

Purple Lantana

Yellow lantana:

Yellow Lantana

and a weed (Field bindweed).

Even weeds can be pretty

We harvested a few vegetables last night...a gherkin, a cucumber, and a couple of tomatoes:


Here's a close-up of that gigantic gherkin:

On the surface of a gherkin

Up this weekend: A few chores, a few errands, followed by weaving and knitting. I want to make progress on the Mas y Mas shawl I'm weaving. I also want to make progress on the Beets Go On socks. What is really tempting me right now is a new Knit-A-Long...the Westknits Mystery KAL 2011: Earth and Sky [Ravelry]. I really enjoyed knitting his shawl pattern for the Pro-Verbial club (Blue Whale Shawl on Ravelry). The mystery shawl looks intriguing...I might have to do a little stash diving over the weekend!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

July 2011 Recap...

...still off-track this week, but at least you get a recap!   Between Tour de Fleece and the length of George RR Martin's "A Dance with Dragon," I didn't finish as many books this month.


  • 7/3 Spring Lake Lagoon handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    50% Merino, 50% Tencel top from Royale Hare
    139.5 yds Navajo-plied , 11 WPI
  • 7/5 Mountain Meadow handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    SW Merino-Alpaca top (4.1 oz) from Wolf Creek Wools;
    271 yds, 12 WPI
  • 7/10 Armstrong Woods Redwood (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-Tencel (4 oz) from Royale Hare;
    269.8 yds chain-ply; 13 WPI avg.
  • 7/17 Bainbridge Island handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    75% merino, 25% bamboo with sparkle (4z) batt from KnitPicks
    135.8 yds 2-ply, 10 WPI
  • 7/17 Forest Afternoon handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]Merino-Bamboo-Silk (4 oz) from Miss Babs;
    238.2 yds, chain-ply, 14 WPI
  • 7/19 Rhapsody in Blue and Purple quilt for my boss' retirement (quilting) [Flickr]
  • 7/24 Silver Lake handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    50% Merino, 25% Tussah silk, 25% Bamboo  from Lisa Souza
    269.8 yds, 12 WPI
  • Books:
    1. A Turn in the Road, Debbie Macomber
    2. The Silent Girl, Tess Gerritsen
  • 7/2 Spring Lake Lagoon top (spinning) [Ravelry
  • 7/3 Mountain Meadow top (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 7/6 Armstrong Woods Redwood top (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 7/10 Forest Afternoon top (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 7/16 Bainbridge Island batt (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 7/19 Silver Lake top (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 7/30 Mas y Mas shawl (weaving) [Ravelry]
Worked on:
  • Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]
  • The Beets Go On socks (knitting) [Ravelry] - started again
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  • Turquoise Trail by Laura J Perin (needlepoint)
  • Isonzo Merino-Bamboo top (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • Jungle Songs quilt
  • Natural Dyes batts from Yarn Wench (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm [Ravelry]
  • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry
  • Tealing Groovy quilt  (quilting)
  1. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  2. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

it's August...

...and I've already gone off-track! Monday just flew right by and it's looking like Tuesday is going to follow!

On to the weekend report: On Saturday, I had the itch to weave. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and then I walked into my craft room. Oh, was a disaster in there. Between the quilt that I finished and the stash diving for Tour de Fleece, things were seriously out of place. Since I don't have a lot of room in my room, I needed to put things away before I could even try to find the stuff I wanted for weaving.

A couple of hours later, I did a little stash diving and came up with this:

Warp ingredients

I'm using the technique I learned in my Stitches West class: multiple yarns and colors for the warp and a solid color for the weft.

Some of the warp yarns I've had quite a while, like the pink ladder yarn. Some are new like the Piedmont Yarn Skyline in Berry with the sparkles. I pulled a rayon yarn out of a necklace kit that I was never going to make. It will be a pain to work with, but the addition of the shine and color will be worth it.

For the weft, I'm using one of my favorite weaving yarns, Mas Acero from Brooks Farm. Here's one view of the warp and weft together:

Beginning of the new shawl

And up close:

Mas y Mas shawl

I'm calling the shawl "Mas y Mas," Mas Acero and more. :)

On Sunday, I visited the new location of Purlescence Yarns. OMG, their new space is awesome! There is so much room...I love that the weaving and spinning area has lots of space where you can move around and feel comfortable trying out the wheels and looms. I also like the layout of the yarn area. It's like a library for yarn! I bought a few skeins of yarn for weaving, one bump of Crown Mountain Farms fiber in purples (big surprise), and a book on spinning art yarns, something I've been wanting to try.

After that, I wove a little and did the hemstitching on the shawl and then broke out the Beets Go On socks [Ravelry]. I know...I'm knitting socks again! I'm almost back to the point where I was when I had to frog them. It feels good to be knitting socks again.

Tonight is Craft Night. We've had a little break while our hosts were on vacation. That means I'll get to work on Turquoise Trail again. Someday I might actually finish it!

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...