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Happy blogiversary to me

25 Jul

9 years. I’ve slowed down a lot, mostly because I don’t have the time or talent to do it well. But still, I blog.

This weekend the birdbath was like a savannah watering hole to all kinds of insects. We were watching them, and feeling a little jealous (not having a lake nearby to cool off in ourselves), between rounds of drywall taping/mudding/sanding and trips to the hardware store.

I’ve been spinning a tiny bit lately. The fleeces I brought home from Colorado are going to be rugs, some day. No pictures yet – I’m thinking of plying the Black welsh mountain and Cotswold cross together for a ragg effect.

 
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Lamb time

22 Jun

We spent a few days last week with Sean and Carrie at The Living Farm in Paonia, CO. They are interns there, learning the art and science of farming.  One of the high points of our time on the farm was visiting the sheep.

 
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Sunday agenda

09 May

For the last few months, our typical Sunday agenda includes sitting at the computer until noon,  sitting on the couch for some quality TV time,  and frequent trips to the refrigerator, before cooking a heavy dinner.

Not lately, though. We’ve been on a good trajectory, activity- and health-wise.  The attic is cleared out in preparation for the new roof (yay! June 6th!).  Spring cleaning, room by room, is nearly done – just have the spare room and fireplace room to go.  The garden isn’t planted, but it’s ready.

You might think that doesn’t leave much for today. Not true!  Besides the usual grind (laundry, groceries, packing for my bi-weekly office stint) we’ll be: planting a potato tower using some old Camaro tires from the basement; cleaning off the deck; and maybe replacing the patio table … the one that used to live at my mom’s house in the 80s. Yeah, it’s about time.

Knitting? Haven’t been much, lately. I got halfway off sleeve island on the Fisherman’s Rib Cardigan during our trip to Albany over Mother’s Day weekend, but I’ve barely picked it up since.  The warmer weather makes me think of gardening, not knitting.

I’m also a bit nervous about how well the yarn (Valley Yarns “Amherst”) will hold up. It’s a cheaply made (and also inexpensive) yarn, as you can tell by the crappy splices and periodic slubs, but it does feel lovely and squooshy to work with. And it’s just perfect for this pattern.

 

 
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Knitting checklist

26 Feb

Found on Ravelry. There’s not a lot left that I find interesting, though I’m kind of surprised I haven’t knit with camel yarn. And WTF is banana fiber yarn?!

Knitting with…
camel yarn
metal wire
dog/cat hair
bananafiber yarn
silk
bamboo yarn
soy yarn
alpaca
your own handspun yarn
someone else’s handspun yarn
wool
selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
cashmere
synthetic yarn
recycled/secondhand yarn
cotton
beads
linen

Projects:
Pillows
Rug
Jewelry
items for a wedding
Mittens: Tip-down
Mittens: Cuff-up
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Hat
Household items: dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…
Stuffed toys
Scarf
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Hair accessories
Afghan
I-cord
Shawl
Sweater
Cardigan
Toy/doll clothing
Baby items
Slippers
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
Gloves
Purses/bags
Knitting for pets
Knitting a gift
Holiday related knitting

Moebius band knitting

Techniques:
Knitting smocking
Freeform knitting
Garter stitch
Stockinette stitch
Knitting with circular needles
Drop stitch patterns
Slip stitch patterns
Domino/modular knitting
Twisted stitch patterns
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Button holes
Bobbles
Norwegian knitting
Two end knitting
Knitting with dpns
Steeks
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Tubular CO
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting
Fair Isle knitting
knitting socks, or other small tubular items, on two circulars
Fulling/felting
Swatching
Machine knitting
Darning
Short rows
Intarsia
Continental knitting
Thrummed knitting
Knitting on a loom

Other knitting-related stuff:
Dying with plant colours
Publishing a knitting book
Knitting for a living
Dying yarn
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting to make money
Writing a pattern
Designing knitted garments

From the Internet:
Olympic knitting
Participating in a KAL
Charity knitting
Knitting for preemies
Graffitti knitting: knitting items on, or to be left on the street
Knitting art
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting in public

 
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Reuse, recycle

19 Feb

I am, let’s face it, a gadget aficionado*. And so, when Verizon announced the iPhone release last month, I made an effort to resist (after all, my Droid is barely a year old…) but when the Big Day arrived, I couldn’t help myself.

Now, the iPhone is cool, but it certainly isn’t cheap. And I have better things to do with my cash (eg, buying yarn!) than to lay out even more $$ for a new phone holder. Besides, I never used the belt clip or holster for the last two phones I had. I just toss it in my purse or pocket and go. Not the greatest plan if I want to keep it looking new.

But. As we all know, these smart phones aren’t just phones any more. I haven’t felt the need to carry my phone with me around the house, but my iPod is my constant companion, clipped onto my shirt, with tunes or an audiobook going while I work out, do chores, spin, weave … just about all the time. And one of the big features of the iPhone is that it’s an all-in-one solution – phone, datebook, MP3 player, camera, etc. Unlike the Droid, or the Voyager, or the enV, I actually want to have it with me at all times.

I thought about knitting a pouch, which would be super cool, but … slow. Besides I’m all full up on projects right now, with a pair of Cranberry Biscotti Socks, a neck warmer, and two sweaters in active rotation. Then I thought about the pile of darning in my bedside table. This poor blue sock has been darned at least three times, and at this point doesn’t even have a mate, so it was nominated for transformation.

First, i measured the sock against my iPhone, and cut off the cuff of the sock about 1.5″/3cm longer than the phone. I used the cuff because it’s got patterning all around, it’s exactly the size I want, and there are no darned patches on it! Plus, the top of the cuff is already finished, and the cut edge is hidden inside the pouch.
Pick out the bits of cut yarn, and unravel a round or two so you have a good solid edge. This sock was a bit felted, so I’m not concerned about stitches unravelling.

Turn the cuff inside out. Using the unravelled yarn and a sharp tapestry needle, seam across the cut end of the sock about 1/2″ from the now-live stitches. If you have the time and patience, this would be a great place to practice grafting: Unravel a few more rounds, cut off the excess yarn, and graft the live stitches to close the tube into a pouch. I’m in a hurry though, so I just backstitched across two or three times.

To wear the pouch, I found an old eyeglass chain. I just sewed the rubber bits that attach to the temples of the eyeglasses, to the inside of the top of the pouch. You could also knit i-cord to the length you want (mine is about 30″) or use an old necklace. (This is where Samwich decided to help by supervising my work. Always a team player, she is.)

So there you have it – a free smart phone pouch in about 15 minutes.

* That may not be the word Paul uses, but it’ll do for this family-friendly blog.

 
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New Mittens Sunday

16 Jan

… or, NaKniMitMo goodies!

Felted NaKniMitMo Mittens

I knit these mittens in just a day, from the Noro Kochoran left over from my Rasta cap. (That’s the hat in the background; here’s the Ravelry link to it).  They turned out fluffy and warm, just the ticket for walking to the gym.

Gory felting detail: they got 30 min in the washer with a pair of jeans, then a rinse cycle, then another full warm-water cycle with the rest of the laundry and the hat.

 
 

Less

09 Jan

Many people have been posting their resolutions or intentions for the new year. Resolutions are not my style, though. Instead, I’m going to choose a one-word theme for 2011:

Less.

We have so much, it’s stupefying. Suffocating, even. I spend my days moving piles of stuff from one place to another, planning what to do with it, and then acquiring even more stuff because … well, isn’t that the American way? And the more I have, the more I want.  It’s what makes our economy go ’round.

It’s the same with my fibercrafts. (Which in fact is a lot of the “stuff” I push around … ) I find I don’t so much choose a project, as drift into whatever strikes my fancy at a given moment. This is fun, of course, in the same way that choosing dessert in a restaurant is.  Instant, decadent gratification.  And like a restaurant dessert, I tend to take a couple of bites and ask, “What’s next?”

Physically and metaphysically, I need to get back to the basic food groups, and cut way down on the desserts.  Learn to savor food that actually satisfies hunger, instead of filling an empty void. Knit  lovely objects that will warm someone, not languish in a chest drawing moths.  Live by using what I already have on hand, instead of spending my life searching for the secret ingredient that will make everything perfect.

Full disclosure: just now, I ordered more clothes. To be fair, I have recently put on enough weight that I have almost nothing that fits.  I gave away all the regular-me clothes last winter, when I’d lost a lot of weight, courtesy of the medications I was on. The drugs are gone this year, but most of the weight is back; so I’ll just pack up the mini-me clothes currently filling my closet, and give them away, too.

So for 2011, not a resolution but a goal: to make more with less.

 
 

Peace on Earth, good will to men

25 Dec


Merry Christmas!

 
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Frogging Friday

03 Dec

Goodbye, St Brigid


By the time you read this, I will most likely have one less sweater in my cedar chest (and a whole bunch of newly washed skeins of Debbie Bliss Merino Aran hanging up to dry).

I loved knitting this sweater. The cables were huge fun, the yarn squooshy and perfect, and the details of the design delightful. It went very fast, at this nice big gauge, and it came out exactly as advertised … which may be the problem.

It’s an in-between length, falling right at hip level – too short for a tunic, too long to wear with jeans. And the wonderful heavy yarn makes it more than warm – I’ve never been able to wear it for a whole day. It would make so much more sense to recycle the yarn for a cardigan.

Have I convinced you yet? I’m still a little nervous, so maybe I’ll sleep on it another night before pulling the plug.

 
 

Thankful Thursday

02 Dec


Thank you for the seed we eat
Thank you for the needs you meet
Thank you for the rain and snow
Thank you til the time we go

 
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