Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Looking for Christmas Music?

I hate "mall mixes" know, the stupid replayings of holiday music that play the same crap over and over and over until you WANT TO KILL SOMETHING AND IF YOU HEAR SOME 80s NEW WAVE VERSION OF RUDOLPH AGAIN YOU *WILL* KILL...


So I like the 40s and 50s for Christmas music...and I went to and made my own holiday mix. Starting with Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and let them do the rest. It rules. So far, I've listened to Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and of course Bing Crosby. It's exactly what I wanted.

Naturally, you can also put together your own preference for music--looking for that Beach Boys version of "White Christmas"? Or the one by Lee Ann Womack? Go ahead and click. :)

I sound like an ad, I'm sure, but c'mon! Free internet radio, tailored to your personal tastes. If a song plays that you don't like, you give it a thumbs-down and it'll move on to another song. Add more music or more types of music, and it'll grow as you like. I had a subscription to another Internet radio site, but I'm thinking of letting it lapse.

The only drawback to the site is that it doesn't do classical music...yet. Check it out, read about the Music Genome Project (which is freakin' cool) and if you do sign up and want my mix, let me know and I can email you an invite. You don't need to download anything, even. And when the holidays are over, check out the selection on other types of music. I have two techno stations--two different subgenres, natch--as well as a hard rock station and a soft-folk-guitar station. Seriously!

*urges* Now, go check it out! :D

Saturday, December 2, 2006

My First Angora

Angora bunny is one of those fibers that make my life worthwhile. I love everything about it: the range of colors from blinding snowy white to deep brown and black, the softness, the halo--not to mention my obsession with bunnies in general. It's also one of those fibers that you find in the LYS going for $25 for a 2oz skein. It's one of my 'holy grail' fibers, and until today I have had to content myself with buying blends and playing with inexpertly-cut bits that have been given to me because they were unusable otherwise.

Apologies for the crappy pictures.

Bought at today's Nutmeg Spinners' Guild meeting and spun on my lovely Bloodwood spindle. I have 2oz, though this is only about 1/2 oz so far. I couldn't wait to get enough to ply. :) I started spinning it almost immediately upon purchasing it. The fiber came from the lovely Woolybuns, who will be posting a picture of me on her blog, in which I grin like a fool and hold up my spindle with the first part of my singles on it. :D Not necessarily a flattering pic, but a fun one nonetheless. :D

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Winner is Me!

Just so y'all know. :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Flash yer Stash!

Sorry I haven't posted recently! November is National Novel Writing Month, which means I have been working like crazy on a story that's fallen behind, and on top of that, this is the time of year when I freak out about how many gifts I need to finish by Christmas...not to mention that both of my parents' birthdays are in December. *cries* I have too much to do.

So of course, with all this Stuff to Do, I decided to slack off participate in the "Flash Your Stash" on secretpal_lj3, over on LiveJournal. It took me an hour to photograph the whole stash, which I discovered would NOT fit onto a queen-sized mattress. Not even with stacking. -_-;;

So here we go!

My Spinning Stash, with my 3 spindles, niddy-noddy, 3 bumps of wool from a local CT farm, a lot of my handspun, a bag of washed but uncarded fleece, and a bag of bunny

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran & cashmerino chunky, and a few skeins of a knockoff

Assorted chunky plied yarns, some of my chunky handspun, sparkly and shiny yarns, recycled silk, recycled silk & wool...the white mass in the middle is some fingering weight vintage wool.

Worsteds & DKs, plied. Lots of KnitPicks WotA, Cascade 22o, Cascade Eco wool, some vintage teal green wool, two colors of a local co-op's wool (the bright green & yellow on the right), 2 cones of wool, OH and some KnitPicks Ambrosia in the very front & center. :) Also, some laceweight alpaca made it into this pic somehow; I must have been distracted by the cat and put it here by mistake. :)

Cottons, sock yarns, & Superwashes. Superwashes in the upper right, including some Filatura di Crosa and some Mission Falls 1824. Kitchen cottons in the upper right, then moving down to Berber Cotton, then sock yarns...some Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Trekking XXL, Cascade Fixation, some leftover Artyarns Ultramerino 4, then some Nature Cotton, and mercerized cottons on the bottom left.

Single-ply wools. Includes some Tibetan wool on the left, then some Manos del Uruguay and some debbie bliss that matches it exactly, a lot of Reynolds Lopi & Lite-lopi on the right, the multicolor in the front is Farmhouse Yarns (local spinner), 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Co. Lamb's Pride in purple, and last some assorted yarns from old projects.

Fuzzy and shiny yarns. Starting in upper left, a metric tonne of a kid mohair/acrylic blend that I got online, some acrylic thick & thin that makes amazing scarves, 1 skein of Berroco Sizzle, several skeins of Bernat Boa and some Splash that looks like lettuce, 4 skeins (well, 2, but the socks take up the other 2) of Reynolds Devotion, an angora/nylon blend that makes awesome socks, a few balls of mohair, some Plymouth baby alpaca, a few Target yarns, some mohair/nylon blend called "college", and the single green skein on the left is what's left over from my husband's alpaca socks.

Eleanor (from the book Scarf Style) in progress, with 3 balls of the yarn being used, plus 1 of the same yarn in a different colorway. The yellow is called 'citrus' and is dyed locally by my favorite LYS owner. She dyed the yarn for Eleanor specifically for me; it's called 'citrus grove' because it uses the same colors but in different amounts. I have 2 more skeins of this on hold for me at the shop...I'm buying it one at a time. :)

...And that, my dears, is what obsession looks like.

This week is killing me. I will have pics of the finished bad-ass bag once I recover from finishing an art commission AND a knitting commission that's almost done. XD

Anything in the stash that you have suggestions for me to knit? I'm open. I need to add some new items to the Shop. :D

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Aww yeah.

Last night, I designed my ultimate knitting bag. Then I created a pattern and cut out the pieces. Today I sewed it all together.

Aside from some details, the thing is done. I took it with me to my class tonight; my students were suitably impressed. XD Less impressed when I rolled over the strap a few times... XD

Anyway, the kick-assinest knitting bag is almost ready for its photo shoot. I am making a matching needle roll, too. I'm just totally enamored of this bag, because it is pretty much 100% my design. I used a very old Vogue pattern as a jumping off point, but never actually used the pattern itself. My bag has about a million pockets of varying sizes and positions, 2 zipper pockets, and space for my patterns. I made sure there was a spot for my cell phone and my wallet, as well as extra needles and plenty of room for even the sweater I'm working on. It RULES.

Here's a sneak peek at the lining fabric. I've been hoarding it for YEARS:

Anyone who can read Chinese--just let me know one thing. Is that real writing, or made up stuff? I am fairly certain it all means something, and I recognize a character or two, but I know of someone who wore a shirt that said "Prostitute" and she didn't know until someone told her. XD

And with that, I am off.

Friday, October 20, 2006


One of the many hats I wear these days is 'cabinetmaker', which means I'm an extra pair of hands for my dad in the woodshop when he builds awesome furniture for people. I also get to use the tools for my own stuff...which is very cool.

A few months ago, I made myself a peg-style swift out of some leftover poplar. For the non-yarny folk: a swift is something that holds the yarn while you wind it into a ball. You know that thing the yarny person in your life makes you do? Where you have to hold your hands out while the yarny person winds a seemingly endless ball of yarn? A swift does that for you, and spins. A swift is a good gift for the yarny folk. :D

This is what mine look like:

I started making these because recently, someone on a knitting community I frequent on LiveJournal mentioned that she wanted to find an affordable swift. I replied that I make them, and she immediately asked if I'd make her one. Shortly thereafter, another person requested one (it just went out in the mail!) and I made a couple extra out of some lovely solid cherry I had lying around.

The one pictured is cherry. My poplar one is paler, with a yellowish cast.

I do indeed make these, and I will be happy to put one together for you or the yarny person in your life. Email me for more info, or check out my etsy shop to see if one is up for sale. I will also do requests within reason, just let me know what you're looking for.

Oh, and check out what I devised for myself to help with my spinning:

The wood shop isn't safe with me around. :D

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Funky Scarf!!

I actually got this yesterday, but my camera and my computer don't like talking to each other for some reason. Making them work together is like convincing two petulant children that they have to be nice to each other. XD

I got my GORGEOUS Funky Scarf from my Funky Scarf Swap Partner, Jill, who sounds like someone I would totally hang out with in real life. :D Check it out--it's Silk, Rayon, & Wool...and the colors ARE that bright!! <3

Full view:


Closer detail:

In other news, last week my husband celebrated our 5th anniversary with SEX--Stash Enhancing eXpedition, that is. ;) (There was the other kind, too, but you guys don't want to hear about that, now, do you?) We ended up taking a long drive through beautiful Granby and Avon and Simsbury, CT, on a perfect day to view some awesome autumn leaves. We're talking blue sky, puffy white clouds, brilliant yellow and flame red trees, and...ponies?

Yep, East Granby was hosting some of the Painted Ponies. It really was too bad that I didn't have my camera with me, but suffice to say that the ponies were all awesome. My favorite was a geometric rainbow-colored one.

Then we reached our destination: the Wool Connection. WC has the distinction of being the first 'real' LYS I ever shopped in--I talked about it a few posts ago when I ran into Linda, a spinner who works there. I had some Citrine-colored Manos del Uruguay in my hand when I happened to find their bargain bin...HOT DAMN but they had four balls of Devotion in a delicious deep magenta. Let's see, what's more enticing: a yarn I can find elsewhere for the same price, or $40 worth of angora/nylon yarn that happens to be the precise yarn called for in a particular pattern I wanted to do...for $25? Yes. Twenty-five dollars. Be still my heart.

I also happened to notice a single skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot that exactly captured the autumn colors of my drive up there...which meant it, too, came home with me. I JUST finished winding the skein into a ball, and I aim to make a pair of socks using the doubleknit technique described in Knitty. Oh yes.

Pic of my haul (total price: $44)

In sad news, DM's brother-in-law passed away last week on the very same day, so it's been a week of ups and downs. The funeral is I'd probably better go get my clothes set now.

Much love!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Midnight Meadow

I have been showing off a lot of my spinning of Yarnpunk's colorful fiber lately. Today, I was helping DM ply her first handspun and happened to see my yarnpunk singles sitting next to my black Shetland singles. I'd toyed with the idea of plying them together, since I was concerned about the colorful singles ending up with a muddy effect from too much color on color. I've noticed that already with the heavier-spun skeins I did with the first batch.

I have to say I love the result of the color on black plying. This is my first time plying two different yarns together, and I'm very happy. I have about the same amount of black left to spin, so I'll only get another 90 or so yards out of it, though I have a ton of the colorful left. It looks like I'll be spinning up some white to ply with the next batch; maybe I'll think of a project that will let me use both at once.

So here you go: pics of the latest experiment, now known as "Midnight Meadow".

Detail shot (from which I've made my current wallpaper):

The two skeins next to each other:

A bigger pic of one skein:

Because of the difference in the two sets of colored singles, one skein ended up about DK weight while the other is more fingering weight. There's a definite difference in the two skeins that's not immediately apparent in the pictures. The thinner yarn actually has about 10 more yards on it than the heavier one, but it weighs LESS. I am feeling really good about my spinning right now. :)

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Revised Spinning

First, before I go on and on about the Guild meeting & stuff, here's the purple yarn I ended up with from the last post. It's not nearly as bright, but it's a pleasing effect. I spun 2oz of both a bright purple and a grey purple, then plied them together. There were about 6 or 8 yards plied left over of the grey purple, so I gave that to a friend who knits for her to play with. I think this will be one of my submissions to a spinners' swap that will take place next year.

So anyway. Guild.

Saturday was my second meeting with the Nutmeg Spinners' Guild. I brought a good friend (Dragonmaille, who I've mentioned in the past) with me...she showed up as a guest, and within an hour decided to go whole hog and register as a full member. I love having RL friends who spin. :)

DM and I were among the only people who weren't doing the workshop that day, so we set up our chairs toward the back of the room and pulled out our drop spindles. DM is new to spinning, and I've been spinning about a year. I was able to help her get started (indeed, I think I'm the reason she started in the first place...sorry, DM's husband) but honestly, I muddled through a lot of this on my own, and my technique isn't the best. Or wasn't, until Saturday.

Soon after we got settled, another woman came in. I vaguely recognized her, but figured I'd seen her at a previous meeting. She grabbed a chair, announced that she was 'going to sit right here next to these girls' and quickly struck up a conversation with us. She praised DM's wonderfully even single (makes me JEALOUS, I tell you; that girl has been spinning for a tenth of the time I have and her stuff looks better than mine did until like six months in), showered both of us with encouragement and generally exuded an aura of 'ultimate spinner' that was pretty impossible to resist.

However, it wasn't until she produced her own (tiny) spindle and set it twirling by running it along her leg instead of the wrist-wrenching motion DM and I used that it clicked for me just HOW I knew her. She was L, the woman I credit (blame?) with truly making me WANT to spin.

Back when I learned how to knit, my husband took me to my first real Yarn Shop. We were greeted and led around the store by an energetic, enthusiastic slip of a woman who had awesome hair (no really, it defies description) and seemed to know just what to show me. At one point, she showed me a hand spindle and described the process of hand spinning. I left with two balls of yarn and a fierce desire to find out more about this cost-effective method that I hadn't known was available.

A year later, after I've spent this time learning the craft and becoming obsessive about fiber, who should sit down with us but that herald of handspinning, the lady who made me realize I COULD spin (and gosh wasn't it fun), L. She laughed when I blurted out, "It's YOUR fault I spin!"

From there, she REALLY started to help us out. I watched her work on some wool samples she was thinking of buying. It was impossible not to notice her techniques and compare them to my own. Everything she did seemed effortless, which only was fair, since she'd been spinning for much longer than I. However, what could I learn from her? I don't know many other drop spindle spinners in real life.

To show the difference, here is a little collage that shows the difference one afternoon made in my spinning. First is a pic you've seen before, from my last batch of this fiber from Yarnpunk. Next is my new spindle, with a new batch of the same stuff. On the bottom, you see the new spindle next to a ball of the first batch, which REALLY shows the difference. I think my new yarn will be thinner PLIED than my singles from the first batch. HUGE difference.

Now, if you've made it this far, here are the tips I learned and would like to share with other hand spinners who are at the same 'kinda-got-it-but-need-more-guidance' stage:

1. Instead of twisting the spindle with your fingers, roll it against your thigh. This puts a powerful spin on it, without the jarring movement of wrenching your wrist. It's especially good on heavy spindles, but works for light ones as well. For a standard z-twist single, roll it from knee to hip; for s-twist, roll it from hip to knee.

2. Get a new spindle if necessary. I love my Ashford that I received through a secret pal exchange, but it was too heavy for the yarn I wanted to produce. I found a lightweight bloodwood-topped top-whorl spindle that let me spin yarn so fine it brought tears to my eyes. I kid you not. The benefit: the Ashford is ideal for plying, while the new one is better for spinning. The other benefit: I don't have to worry if one is full and I want to spin something different. :) The other other benefit: now my husband can learn on a spindle and I don't have to give up the one I'm using. :D

3. Learn to draft while you spin. No, really. I have been a yearlong advocate of pre-drafting, but I don't know if I can even go back to that now. There is nothing like seeing how much control you can have over the thickness of the yarn.

4. Don't draft too close to the spindle, and don't keep your hands too close together. I didn't see how holding my hadns farther apart would help, but help it did. Loosening up my grip also made a huge difference; rather than losing control of the roving, I had a much greater control and could spin MUCH finer singles.

And that, my dears, concludes my long rambling post about how kickass it is to run into the people who inspire you to do something in the first place.

The end.

Art vs. Artisan Craft

I belong to several communities on DeviantArt under two different identities--one is my personal ID, "chocobogoddess", and the other is my community about spinning, "daspinners". DASpinners is part of a larger network of 'artisan crafts' communities. One of them posted a poll asking what we thought the difference was between an art and an artisan craft.

I voted "something that gives priority to function over design" because I think that's really the only difference. As a spinner (of yarn, not of wheels ;)), I know that my end product can be utilitarian as plain white wool with no embellishment or as frivolous as cashmere and silk spun with glass beads and flowers.

Honestly, for me, the difference between art and craft has always been the same as the difference between talent and skill. You are born with a talent, but you can learn a skill. I know many skilled people who can draw pictures with amazing detail, and people who have little skill but form pictures that evoke an emotional response. The talent lies with the second person, not the first. It's the same way with artisan crafts--the question is not how technically well does one do their craft, but how beautiful is the product?

Food for thought.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Scarf Recipe

Since the funky scarves from my last post drew so much attention (I posted them on three communities, and everyone was so flattering), and I've been asked to post my 'recipe' for them, here you go! (Note: The pics are the same as they were in the previous post, just separated and shown here again for reference, should you link to just this post and not my whole blog. :D)

First, choose your color families. For the first scarf I chose Red, Green, and Purple (RGP); for the second, I chose Blue, Purple, and Green (and I refer to it as the Blue scarf). Don't be afraid to put opposite colors together...on the flip side, you could do something like Pink, Red, and Orange where everything is related somehow.

Next, choose three yarns in each color family. The method I used for the scarves shown was as follows: Select one plain yarn that exemplifies the color for you. Then select one that has a definite texture, like mohair or eyelash or glitz, etc. Then select one yarn of any texture or pattern that still falls within the color family, but only barely. (For example: in my greens in the first scarf, I chose a forest green alpaca, a soft eyelash yarn in lettuce colors, and then a wool yarn in a green that looks almost yellow-gold at times, but is still green.) It helps if the yarns are similar weights/gauges, but it's not vital. It just helps.

Plan out how random you want to be. The first scarf was simply thus:

CO 20sts
Row 1 (RS): K across
Row 2: K2, P16, K2
work 11 rows total this way, ending with a RS row.
Row 12: Change yarns and work 11 rows as you did for the previous yarn.

This gives you stockinette-reverse stockinette-stockinette etc., which is the effect I wanted. The k2 on the WS rows keeps it from curling at the sides.

I repeated the colors 3 times. The RGP scarf has only 9 yarns in it; I knitted all 9 and then, when I finished section 9, I pulled out my yarns again. Here's where a little thought is needed.

I decided that I didn't want any yarn to touch any other yarn more than once. I also didn't want the same yarn near itself; I set a guideline of minimum 5 other yarns in between. This meant I had to be careful about what the order of the next section would be. I tried to keep it random, however, so I would figure out what yarns could be used next to each other and would grab from that pile without looking.

Repeat this for a total of 3 sections or 27 blocks. The scarf will look horrific until you weave in all the ends, etc. I knitted some ends in where I could; use your judgement.

You can either block the scarf now and leave it borderless, or do what I did and crochet a black border around it. I highly recommend a solid black yarn, preferably superwash (since scarf ends tend to pick up stuff) and plain. You don't want to take away from all the color and pattern of the other yarns, y'know?

Remember to crochet extra sc in each corner so they stay square!! Also, I used a larger hook than I normally would, since I wanted the edges to be able to stretch. I hate it when the sides of a scarf are crocheted too tightly; the scarf does that weird pouching thing and never hangs quite right.

The Blue scarf was done a bit differently. I was making that one for me, so I felt freer to experiment more. The changes:

--12 yarns instead of 9
--Changing stitch patterns with each yarn--there's garter, moss, seed, stockinette, etc.
--3 borders crocheted on: black, noro kureyon, and black again.

I hope this helps you design one of your own! I also sell these on my etsy shop, if you're not a knitter or don't want to do this yourself. :)


Sunday, September 17, 2006

A return to the computer!


I have been gone for way too long. My monitor died, as I mentioned in the previous post, and I just got my new one a couple of days ago. After catching up on all my messages, webcomics, forums, and groups, I can finally update my blog.

It's been a busy few weeks. Since I couldn't really play on the computer as I wanted to, I turned to knitting and spinning to fill the void in my life. :D Below are the fruits of my labors.

First, knitting.

Dark Rainbow:

Made from 1 skein of a mohair blend I can NOT for the life of me remember. Yarndex didn't jog my memory, but if you recognize it, let me know! I keep all my labels, but I remember putting this one away a long time ago. Grr. It had a black label and came in a flat ball. Made for a friend.

And my Funky Scarves--one is for my pal, the other is for me. :D

Yarns include (but not limited to): Plymouth Alpaca Boucle, Mango Moon Viscose, Manos del Uruguay, Le Fibre Nobili Imperiale Mohair, Dalegarn Heilo, Target, Carol Martin Farmhouse Yarns, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky (and knockoff), Sirdar DK, Noro Kureyon, Bernat Boa, Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, Lite Lopi, and more.

And then some spinning:

First, some purple Dorset, 2 oz of each. I have finished the lighter one and am about halfway done with the darker one. I'll be plying them together for a heathered effect, and should have about 200yds when finished. :D

Purple Dorset

Next is an old project that I finally finished. I bought the alpaca back in October of last year. I started it back then, used some to ply with other yarns (see older posts), and got tired of having it take up room in my spinning box. So it's done. About 90+ yards of worsted weight, 2-ply.

Alpaca "Vamp"

And finally, my favorite, 3oz of roving from the awesome Yarnpunk. I have more on order. This was received on a Thursday afternoon and was dry by Saturday morning. That's how obsessed I was with getting it spun. I left it at single ply, and have since knitted a hat for winter. There's still some left over! I will probably spin the next batch more fine so I can ply it with itself, and I'll also separate the colors more to get a less mixed effect.


It's good to be back!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Monitor! NOOOOOOOO!!!!

My computer monitor died last night while I was in the middle of about five things. It just made a little *click* and then the picture shrank to a tiny dot and disappeared. I still heard my music, but ended up having to shut down manually since I couldn't get even ctrl/alt/del to work...probably due to the comp thinking it was in sleep mode or some such. Grah.

I am looking for a replacement for a temporary fix, but I don't know what is going to happen. Also, my printer/scanner/fax is hooked up to my computer instead of this one (my husband's), and it's too far away from the machine to jury-rig it. This week's update may not happen on time.

I'm really upset, considering I just finished getting my comp to where I liked it with the new HDD, though I can't be TOO upset since I knew this was going to happen sooner or later.

I can access my sites & stuff, but I can't look at any mail that has been sent in the last 24 hours, pretty much. I will be posting this message on my LJ and on the site so you all know what's going on. Once I have a monitor, I'll let y'all know that, too.

*sigh* :defeated:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Booga Bag--PWNED

I can't believe I finally finished it. I really can't.

First, the basics: 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon in 2 different colorways (one for the bottom third, the other colorway for the top 2/3 and the I-cord), size 10 1/2 needles, hand-fulled. It took me about two days of on-and-off knitting to create--LAST YEAR. The fulling part...well...

Here's the story as I told it on the punk_knitters community on LJ:

So I have this Booga Bag that I knitted months ago--no, make that a year ago at least. I used Noro Kureyon, which I know felts like crazy, but I had no access to a washing machine. Thus, I decided to try felting it by hand.

How hard could it be? I thought to myself. It's just moving it around in water--should be easy. I filled the sink with water, dropped the bag in, and started wringing away. I scrubbed, twisted, even tried using the ribbed handgrip of a broom to get the stuff to full. It sorta did, but the stitches were still very visible. All I had to show for my efforts were a sore back, aching arms, and a slightly fuzzier version of the unfulled bag.

I tried again a few days later, by dropping it in the shower and stomping on it when I was done washing. Aha, thought I, this will do the trick. I stomped and rubbed and smooshed the thing around...again to no avail. Disgusted, I gave up, hung it up to dry, and then put the thing away for a long time.

From time to time, I'd see it as I looked for another project, taunting me. Teasing me. It laughed in my face and knew it had defeated me. Time passed. I moved into a new apartment, another one without a controllable washing machine.

Last night, I washed some socks in the sink and happened to catch a glimpse of the bag, which had somehow worked free of the box into which I'd tossed it. And then a light bulb went off.

I changed the bulb, then looked over at the bag again. Stupid bag. I can make handspun yarn felt itself just from accidentally swishing it around a little too much while setting it, but I can't full a stupid bag? I wonder...

Grabbed the bag. Grabbed the soap. Got the water really hot, then plunged the whole thing in. THIS time, however, there was no scrubbing, no--this time, there was just swishing around, a gentle pedaling motion with the fabric held loosely in my hands. I twisted, folded, and pedaled until, triumphant, I lifted the PERFECTLY FULLED BAG from the water! YES! I DID IT!!

So the moral of the story catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Or, to put it another way, don't kill yourself when felting by hand. Just pretend that what you're working with is an heirloom sweater that MUST NOT FELT. Treat it gently, and the thing will shrink up in no time.

The end.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Funky Scarf Swap Questionnaire

Are you allergic to any fibers? No, but I am allergic to anything--ANYTHING--with mangoes or mango extracts. Just so you know.

Do you prefer any fibers over others?
I love angora, alpaca, wool, silk, cotton, mohair, cashmere--anything natural with a preference for animal fibers. I don't care for ribbon or eyelash yarn, and I try to avoid manmade fibers in anything I wear when possible.

Thinking back to Scout’s post about what funky means to you, post an image of something that you think is funky! Since I don't want to steal this person's artwork, here:

Would you prefer funky yarn or a funky pattern? Either or. :)

What are your favorite colors? Anything rich and deep--cobalt blue, firecoal red, vivid gold, royal purple. I am currently obsessing over summer colors like turquoise and lime green, but the scarf can be anything that fits my profile. I do have preferences for bright and complementary colors (orange/blue, or yellow/purple, etc.) Also, look at my other posts about yarn to get an idea of what colors attract me.

What is your favorite piece of art? The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt. I love stained-glass windows, too--all those jewel tones outlined in black.
For reference:

What colors would you NEVER have up close to your pretty face? Lemon yellow, sadly--used to be able to wear it all the time, but it just doesn't go with my complexion anymore. If it's with other colors as an accent, that's fine.

Would you prefer an actual scarf or a cowl?
Scarf, actually. I love the look of cowls/neckwarmers, but my neck is too wide or short for most, and they make me look like a turtle. XD

When you wear a scarf do you prefer a wider/shorter scarf or a thin/long scarf? Wider, longer. Thin scarves look like string and short scarves look silly on me.

What is the climate like where you live? Really friggin' hot & muggy in summer, bitterly cold in winter. I'm in New England. XD

Would you prefer a functional scarf (to keep you warm) or one just to funk-up your wardrobe? Functional is preferred, but decorative would be ok if it's light like mohair or something. I overheat with too many layers indoors.

What else would you like your partner to know about you?
I am an artist, I'm married, and I also work as a cabinetmaker. I have done Renaissance and Victorian costuming. I plan to learn and master every textile art/craft during my lifetime. I'm the kind of person who believes that this life is short, and we need to do things that make us happy, whether that is painting our toenails each a different color or hanging out in a cafe while pretending to be someone famous. I almost never wear makeup. I have a fat, spoiled cat. I try to surround myself with color because I live in an apartment with plain cream walls that I can't change. I adore bunnies and chocobos (it's ok if you don't know what chocobos are). I want to find out who my partner is after this is done because I like meeting new people who might see things the way I do.

And there we go.

PS: Just because, a picture of my workspace:

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Major Update on Projects

I'll have the post soon--for now, though, I am sharing my load of finished objects & yarn with you. WARNING: SUPER pic-heavy...I just got hold of a camera that works so I'm using it like crazy.

First, the yarn I bought at KnitWits in Westerly, RI.

Recycled silk from Mango Moon

Need a better look? How 'bout THEM apples?

I love this yarn. It isn't as consistent as most of the recycled silk I've used, but I have a feeling this will make a GREAT bag. Word of warning, though--the blue rubs off on your hands. Highly recommend washing before using whatever you make out of it. :)

Here's the alpaca I found. It reminds me of 1950s and 1960s camping. Like, these colors would totally belong in a woodland lodge, probably on some fedora-wearing dad who smokes a pipe and wears black-rimmed glasses. It's all the tan and green, I think. Yarn is Aurucania Nature Alpaca, handpainted.

And then we have the projects.

Summer Dice Bag
Yeah, I have a seasonal dice bag. My cashmere/alpaca one is too fuzzy and warm for summer gaming, and I liked the Berroco Cotton Twist in these colors. It's a little shiny and silky, and less likely to make my hands damp or sticky when carrying it in our 90+ degree muggy summers here.

Stripy Crochet Bag
This wasn't meant to be anything originally, but I crocheted the circular bottom and thought, why not keep going? More Cotton Twist, but in solids this time. The green is about right, but the blue is a rich, bright turquoise that never translates well to the screen.

I like the bag; it's cute, but I don't think I'll actually use it. This may end up on my Etsy shop when I update soon.

Crochet Linen Market Bag
Another crochet project, though this time, I used a finer gauge hook and yarn. I wanted an open, lacy design that I could do without having to refer back to a book constantly. I found this pattern in my awesome "Encyclopedia of Stitchery" that I got for a dollar on the bargain table. BEST-SPENT DOLLAR EVER. The yarn is Louet Sales Linen in a very deep plum color. (I'll edit with the correct name when I find the label.) I tried to adjust the colors in the images so you could see the color better. This is a bag I know I'll keep; I've already started using it like crazy!

If you like the pattern, I'll post it--I kind of made it up as I went along, and I've never written a crochet pattern, but at least I can give guidelines & stuff if you want to make one yourself.

Granddad's Scarf
Not really FOR my Granddad, but knitted in May & June while he was in the hospital and then, after he passed away, during my grieving. I usually think seed stitch is annoying (albeit a more beautiful alternative to garter), but it was so soothing when my nerves were frayed. It was just enough pattern and thought to keep me conscious of what I was doing, but rhythmic enough to do without making mistakes or having to keep track of anything when I needed to focus on my family. I don't honestly know what I'm going to do with it yet, but that's ok. I will figure it out when I need to. Yarn was a Soy Silk, can't think of the brand name right now. I'll edit that when I find the label, too.


And one last pic of my pretty Miao Yin. Just because.