Category Archives: Crafts

Dearly Departed Daily Prompt


First let me make the question:  Is participating in the Daily Prompt cheating?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for them.  The words come easier when there is a stated goal… But.  Is just answering the question being too lazy to come up with something on my own?  So today, I’m going to forgo the Daily Prompt because I really can’t bring myself to write my own eulogy as it would soon turn into a shameless love fest and I’m not up to it right now…… So what to write.

shipwreckBIG

I’ve not written about my knitting for a while, so maybe that would be good to do today.  As posted previously, I am aching to start the Shipwreck, in Knitty’s Spring 09 issue.  It’s a circular shawl with seaweed, shells and ocean spray all in one pattern.  I love how this flows and I have the perfect yarn,  Knit Pick’s Palette Yarn in Marine Heather colorway.

shipwreckBIGcu

See the beautiful beads?  Love the effect they make of reflective droplets of ocean water.  Definitely want to do beads.  Probably would need hundreds of them, if not thousands… well, maybe not THAT.  Yeah, check the pattern, doof.  Oops, I need to cough up 5000 beads.  I’m not kidding.  See the beautiful beads?  Love the effect they make of reflective droplets of ocean water.  Definitely want to do beads.  Probably would need hundreds of them, if not thousands… well, maybe not THAT.  Yeah, check the pattern, doof.  Oops, I need to cough up 5000 Czech glass seed beads size 8/0; beads.  I’m not kidding.

Oh well, getting on to my last FO.  I’ve been working on this, off and on, since Oct. 30, 2011.  I can’t believe I let almost a whole year go by after putting it down for the summer.  Never put stuff down, except maybe a blanket…. grrr… not even an afghan, which I have one that is still floundering since it was started, OMG, January 2008~!

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This is the Tappan Zee Cardigan.  I just threw it on, unblocked, to take this pic.  While I am really happy to finish it and happy with how it came out, looking at this pic, I’m definitely not happy with the yoke.  I’m not happy that I only have these bulky crew neck tops to wear it with.  I’m considering doing something… it’s the “S” word that nobody really wants to talk about.  I’m wondering about steeking the tops of the shoulders and short sleeves to somewhat shorten the yoke, then allow me to attach long sleeves, then either wear this with a camisole type top or closing the front to make a pullover.  I’m sure I can do either thing and I do have two more skeins of Valley Yarn’s Prescott which I would LOVE to feel on the bare skin of my arms and shoulders… This stuff is SO soft, but unfortunately is discontinued yarn.  Oh geez.  Just realized that before I can close up the front of this, I’ll have to take out and reknit the five stitch garter bands on both sides of the front…. eeeeek~!  Oh well… I’d do it for that fine 100% alpaca softness.

Another quickie project (and last-minute or no reason) is what I call “Neck of Zebra,” a long black and white striped cowl which can be worn long or short.  100% Cotton gives this a feeling-really-good soft feel.  Dotted throughout are gigantic puffs of cotton.  I used US sized 11 needles just because of these puffs and I probably should’ve used larger, except the skinny parts of this yarn are really skinning.  All in all a really nice effect.

DSCN3035

 

Tips and Tricks…


Tips and Tricks...

See the winder up on the bookcase? Want to wind your yarn, all at once, or maybe two passes? Don’t want to fiddle with it? Lay it out all over the house first.

What i do is hang the opened hank around my neck and start unwinding it and laying it on the floor, over laundry baskets, beds, etc. Oh, and make sure you do not overlap the strands as you’re doing so. Make sure you have a clear path from your laid out yarn and the winder. my apartment has all wood trim around the doorways and it’s pretty old, so I need to make sure that my yarn will not snag on it. if your place is snag-less around the thresholds, then go at it! I love watching the yarn get swept up super fast, though sometimes that can be a problem. You’ll get into the groove after a few times.

Wind ‘er up, baby!

Important Note:

Remember do not do this when the boy is present in the house….

Alpaca Project


Okay so after a whole day, I think I want to reference my first post on the subject:  here and here.

Spent a bit of time a lot of time yesterday spinning the reddish-brown alpaca fluff.  I’ve not gotten a proper comb yet, but been using this plastic pocket comb to flick the tips of the fleece that are stuck together.  It seems to be working out, but I’d love to properly comb this stuff out.  Oh, and why are only the tips stuck together?  If anyone knows, I’d really appreciate a comment to let me know.  Since I spun a lot of it, I’m going to keep going like this so that it’s all done the same way.  Not sure how much I’ll get, but I don’t really want to devote a lot of fleece to it, and I was thinking about doing a Navajo 3-ply.  This means I need to really stuff a lot of singles onto the one bobbin.  The texture is coarse and I’m thinking it could be because I didn’t comb it properly and that the fibers could have been lined up a lot better than I’ve been getting them.

I wasn’t going to say, but if you haven’t got a clue, I’m not a pro at this.  Big disclosure, right?  But you know, when I decided to do this, I decided to go on a journey, and part of that is committing to exploration.  I’ve never spun up alpaca and thought that I’d really love to try it.  In it’s natural state, the fiber is undyed, and not very bright or colorful.  I find that I do like the natural coloring and with working with this natural fiber, I find that I’m not distracted by ooogling and ahing at beautiful colors flying through my fingers.  I can concentrate more on the fiber itself and how it’s interacting with itself, my fingers, and the spinning wheel.

The most amazing thing is watching the loose, fluffy fibers attracting to each other to form an effortless twist and single strand of yarn.  They seem to almost magnetically seek each other out and twist into each other to form the single.  When I let it get pulled through my fingers, the strand is made smooth. When I let the twist travel into the draft zone, the natural twist forms a bit of a fuzzy halo around the strand.  Interesting.  The staple is not as long as other fibers I’ve worked with, so the twist seems tighter, or maybe that is how I’m working.  I’ve tried to slow down the wheel, but I don’t believe I’m getting a more relaxed strand.   Honestly, I can’t wait to “whack” this stuff.  I’ve never really done that before, but this time, I’m going to wash the finished hank and I’ve heard of people whacking a wet hank on the floor or somewhere and it’s supposed to “set the twist?”  Whatever.  I’ll ask someone.  The one thing that I’ve learned with spinning is to just relax and see what comes from your actions.  One time I made yarn that was way under twisted after plying.  It was so relaxed that it got me nervous.  The easy fix to that was to simply put it back onto the wheel and go another round of plying, but I did not unply it first.  All I did was run it through again, and it just twisted it a little bit more and that made a world of difference.

Okay, so the title of this post will also be what I am calling this Spinning Journey of mine.  “The Alpaca Project”

Deep Space #9 and Alpaca Stuff


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Beautiful isn’t it?

This is Frabjous Fibers, Vegan “Wool”, 100% nylon, Deep Space, #9 colorway, 8oz. and it feels like freaking cashmere!  759 yards of lace weight yarn in breathtaking blues, lavenders, some deep reds and whites.  I’d really like to make the Holden Shawlette out of this lovely stuff, but my friend, Rabbitridge asked me how nylon blocks and I’ve got to say that I have no idea.  I’ll have to check around.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to use the Vegan Wool.  Incidentally, if you’re not on ravelry, you won’t be able to check out the shawlette.  Sorry, but while I can share my own personal project, I can’t share other ravelry pages and I have no progress going on with my project.  I’ve put out feelers in the ravelry yarn group, one of the six main boards, I’ve reached out to the Frabjous Fibers, and the LYS I purchased the fiber from will be reaching out, as well, because this is pretty much uncharted territory for me and I guess most of my friends.  HEY, everyone plays with the organic stuff and this is a little high tech for yarn, right?

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Okay, while I wait to find out something, and after a really good tomato and provolone cheese sandwich, this second part will be the official first post pertaining to my newest endeavor, spinning yarn as a donation.  Recently, I received alpaca fleece from Faerie Tale-Fiber Farm  and will be spinning it as a donation to the No-Kill Sanctuary.  I’ll have to come up with some catchy phrase/name for my personal project, but for now, it’s the brown fleece referred to in my post, “Spinning to Give Back,” and hopefully, I can add more to this in a couple of days.  This is alpaca fleece came to me from So far, I’ve spun up a few yards just right out of the bag.  I wanted to play around with it to see how would be the best way to proceed. I was advised to spin it up first, before washing it and that kinda makes sense as there is no lanolin in the fleece, so won’t be greasy to the touch.  The fleece came to me really clean, but it smells a bit and I’m sure that is normal because, well, it came off an animal.  I don’t have a comb yet, so if I do more before I get one, it won’t be that much because though I love to spin right out of the bag, the strand seems hard.  I really want to line up the fibers and make it as smooth as I can… or as smooth as alpaca can naturally get.

So, for now, this is fun and I’m getting my fingers used to this fiber.  In the mean time, I found Prince behind the couch (while looking for my niddy noddy).  This is fleece from a black sheep I got at the New Jersey Sheep and Wool Festival about two years ago.  I’ve learned since then to find out what kind of animal you’re getting the fleece from…. moving along……… His partner in crime was also hiding behind the couch, some really nice gray llama fleece I got from the same festival, sadly no name.  You know, it’s really nice to know the name of the animal you get your fleece from.  It makes it so personal.  No name came with the stuff from the sanctuary, but I’ll have to see if I can find out.  I missed the next two years of NJSW and hope I can get there this year since I don’t go to the NYSW or MDSW… Two somewhat close ones, but I’d really like to spend the weekend.  MDSW might be a good day trip, but never could plan it out.

Okay chickies… until next time.

Spinning to Give Back


Woo hoo… A new post!  I should be writing this in my knitting blog, but I’ve just not had any inclination to write for that blog in a long time.  In total, I have three blogs now, and it’s a bit overwhelming for me right now.

This one is about a unique way to make a donation, spending little to no actual money…. my most favorite kind.  For one thing, even if I had the luxury of having extra cash to spend, I’m a believer in stewardship.  Time, Talent, Treasure.  Where I can sometimes abound in the first two, I am sorely lacking in the third.  My Time is my treasure.  I value that, above all else; and if I am giving you my time, it means that I value YOU.

I have skills and I have talent.  I will be shortly giving my time and talent to Faerie-Tale Fiber Farm/Faerie-Tale Alpacas, a NO-KILL sanctuary for rescued alpacas.  Go on over to her facebook page and check them out.  Linda and her daughter, Lisa, had brought their alpacas to the Grand Opening Weekend at All About Ewe a couple of months ago.  I took a pamphlet, and to be honest, stayed AWAY from her table of alpaca yarn and knitted goods… sigh.  Anyway, I found out that one of the ways you can donate to the sanctuary is to agree to prepare, and spin up alpaca fleece, then send it back to them so they can sell it.  All proceeds go right back into the animals and their upkeep, and medical expenses.   As a bonus, she will send you some for your own use.  My spinning friends, you can’t beat that deal because you’re getting at least as much as what you’re sending back to them.  It’s a great way to practice and fine tune your craft, while not actually using your own fiber.  For myself, I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to help out these animals we love so much for their fleece, while getting the opportunity to spin stuff I never did before.  My intention with this blog is to document my progress and the creation of whatever yarn which chooses to reveal itself.  This is what I received in the mail.  The brown bag for them, the black bag for me:

You can be sure that next time I will see if I can get this beautiful reddish-brown….

I’m working diligently to finish up what I’m working on right now, and you can be sure that I’ll not wait to start on this.  The weather hasn’t been all that great lately anyway, so just as well.

I’m just a couple of days away from completing the spinning of eight ounces of Vegan “Wool”, colorway “Deep Space #9, (love it) from Frabjous Fibers, found it at All About Ewe.  It’s 100% nylon and has the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen and the softest fluff I’ve ever felt.  Oh, and hand-dyed in Vermont, USA.  The colors permeate the whole hunk of it, through and through.  If you’re like me, and prefer colors that really saturate the fluff, you will fall in love this half-pound of hand-dyed fiber.

Very smooth…. This is what I’m talking about:

You know, it’s so easy to get caught up in spinning for ourselves.  This craft is not appreciated across the board for the skill, time and talent it takes to create something beautiful from almost nothing, fluffy stuff.  You cannot place a monetary price, that people will pay, for a hand knitted item, let alone created with yarn that was handspun.  You just cannot possibly be justly compensated.  So we either create for ourselves or for others, but those “others” really must pass the grade to be judged worthy to accept something that is created with love, if even just a love for the craft.  We love what we do, but that doesn’t mean that we should be loose with it… humph~!  With that said, I love that I am able to give my time, talent and love for these animals and combine all that into something that can benefit them.

So if you’ve managed to get down to this place, I would put the question to you.  Do you spin?  Do you knit?  Have you given back lately, using your preferred craft?  I’ve love to hear what people out there are doing.

Beautiful Disaster


Please raise your hand if you totally suck at working a pattern.  Nobody?  ME… I’m the doof!

While I have finished my girlfriend’s wedding shawl (((original post here))), THE wedding shawl, it’s totally too BIG.  Ugh.  I had an awesome time working on it and maybe that’s what I should be focusing on, but after I gave it a soak and got it on the blocking mat, seems that it’s roughly TWICE the height she wanted.  So, I’m hoping that just blocking for the points on the end will be enough.  It’s laid flat with the ceiling fan going, so I should know by tonight whether it will be a bust or not.  I’m totally not ripping it back a repeat.  If I do that, I’d have to redo the edging, assuming I rip back to the right row.

Sorry about the really unnatural looking pic, but I wanted to make the stitches stand out.  Actually, I’m really please with how it came out…. but it’s just really big…. and I could not pull on it hard enough to make really nice points.  Want to see a thing of beauty?  You can’t see the silver in this, but the yarn is Kraemer’s Sterling Silk and Silver, in Tuxedo colorway, which is really a nice black.  This is real sterling silver inter woven into the yarn.  Unfortunately, because of having problems sourcing the silver for this yarn, Kraemer’s has changed it a bit.  I heard that now they are using artificial metallic fibers for the silver part, but on the up side, the new yarn, itself is supposed to be softer feeling.

It’s settled.  I’m going to HAVE to make another one for me.  Maybe next year.  I’ve got so many projects waiting in the wings… BUT if a wedding pops up in the next couple of years, this will be my shawl.

Okay, I guess that’s enough.  I feel better now…. just hoping Paula still likes it.  If she totally hates it, I get to keep it… weeeeee~!

Still Grateful


Time cannot be held and is bound to slip away.

I’m still benefiting from that one night of watching Oprah’s Lifeclass.  I’ve already proven to myself that there’s no way I can sit and pay attention to it every night, but I’m finding the archives valuable, indeed, allowing me to manage my time better and still being able to attend and enjoy Lifeclass.  My time at night is currently being given to a lace knitting pattern which requires my full attention, visually and mentally.

One thing that I am grateful for and tend to overlook is the time that I now have since I’ve been out of work.  First off, I’m SO grateful for the amount of time that I have been spending, with my son.  I could never be home waiting for him to get home from school if I was working a day job.  I would’ve missed all his milestones up until this point…. all of which happened during the day.  I know too many moms who miss out on the most valuable moments of parenting.  We were sort of maneuvered into my staying home.  My work situation, and I can’t even say I had a career, was not paying enough for me to justify going back to work.  It simply wasn’t paying enough and I didn’t want to have to work just t0 pay for daycare.  Absurd, so it seemed to be a no brainer for me to stay home, though I did try to negotiate a work-at-home arrangement with my employer.  This really was doable given my job and how it was conducted in the office.  So, at the eleventh hour, after getting favorable feedback, I was maneuvered into the position of resigning at 5pm on the Friday before DH was due back from his FMLA leave.  Still sticks me a little, but not much.  DH’s salary was more than enough to keep us afloat.

I’m grateful for the present because the past is a memory and I really don’t want to think about the future.  If I do, I won’t enjoy the present.   Actually, I’ve been trying to prepare myself, mentally and emotionally, for a change.  Our domestic situation has been changing and shortly (hopefully) I’ll be thrust pushed shoved back into the workforce and my time won’t be my own again.  It’s hard to let go of something and lose control.  This is the one area of my life (my time) that I’ve had almost total control over, or at least enough to feel satisfied and not resent the other duties I have, like housekeeper, mother, wife, basically an administrative assistant for the household I call my own.  It’s sad.  I’m very sad about losing something I’ve enjoyed these past six years or so. So, by extension, I am grateful for whatever time I have in the present when my time is my own. Trust in the great big grand plan….

I am so grateful that I’ve had the time to pursue my varied interests.  I love and need lots of time for, well, the fiber arts, which includes knitting, crochet, spinning both on a wheel and spindle.  I’ve started wire wrapping various stones, gems, even rocks and made them into beautiful works of art that can be worn on the neck. This extra “me” time has allowed me to develop and work at creating beauty down previously untraveled avenues and not performing under appreciated scuttle work in an office.  (can scuttle work ever be “fully” appreciated?)  What’s really important is that I have not been subjected to other people deciding my worth.  I’ve participated in a few craft shows and festivals, so while I’ve not been an overwhelming success, I’ve totally enjoyed the process and gained invaluable experience.  I recently received an invitation to display my work in a consignment shop, dedicated to showcasing independent artists in another part of the country.  I’m so excited!  The venue is Charmed Butterfly in Scottsville, Va.  Go check them out.  I’m also preparing to participate in another local craft show this December.  That’s pretty cool and things are looking up.

You know, and this is not trivial to me, I really appreciate my reading audience, whoever you are.  All through the year plus that I’ve not posted, I’ve had people coming back.  Amazing.  I’m awed that I have these die hard fans out there who are reading.  I’m glad that what I have said months and months ago is still being read somewhere in the world today.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU~!

Wedding Nightsongs (Gail)


I am making this shawl for Paula's wedding in December 2011

A good friend of mine is getting married December of 2011.  Being a knitter, the first thing I thought about was, “OH.  I can make her a shawl or something.”  Well, she picked out Gail (aka Nightsongs), a beautiful, yet free pattern that she happened to pick out.  Though I love lace, I do have a hard time connecting to knitting charts which most lace knitting patterns are written as.  As luck would have it somebody actually created something called an “UNchart” which is sort of a part written and part charted pattern.  It was love at first sight!

So, the yarn that Paula pick out is Sterling Silk and Silver by Kraemer Yarns in Tuxedo colorway (black).  63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon, 2% Silver ~3.5 oz./ 100 Grams, approximately 420 Yards.  This stuff is lovely.   Real sterling silver threads run all through this stuff.  Recently, Kraemer’s was forced to give up getting real silver threading because it’s getting harder and harder to get, so now they have some other fake material substituting for the silver…. SO, I am making this shawl, with one of the last skeins available with the sterling silver inside.  Nice gift, eh!

I had completed the majority of the shawl when it got really hot this summer.  Of course, I totally abandoned the project knowing I had plenty of time.  About a week ago, I picked it back up and as of tonight, I’m up to the last 19 knitted rows for the edging.  My eyes were giving me some problems at about 11pm, so I stopped for tonight and will resume tomorrow… I can’t wait to get this thing done, but I’m loving it and watching the leaves develop and I’m really looking forward to blocking this baby using my relatively new blocking wires.  This will be the first project I’m using them for and excited…. Well, as excited as you can get, considering.

Yeah, I was pretty boring tonight, but I did want to document this shawl in some way and have been meaning to do it…. PLUS this will be the first post on my knitting blog in a LONG time, so it really was begging to be done.

Now for something really important.  I have a wedding to go to at the end of March 2012 and I’m considering asking Paula if I could borrow her shawl… hee hee.  We’ll see…. I have no idea what I’m wearing for that yet, but I do know that I don’t have any elegant piece like this to speak of in my wardrobe.  After completing this one, I’ve got some serious Christmas knitting to start, so I can’t even whip out another shawl right now.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:2

Oh well, searching for this quote has pushed me past 12 midnight and so I’ve lost the post a day challenge.  That’s okay, though, because I have love.

Hippies Creations


Angel backgroundThis was my tree last year.

I name this post for the subject of my post. Her name is Petra and has a son, Lennon, who is loveable, kind, gentle, loving, and just the best son ever…. except when his ammonia levels skyrocket. When this happens, he becomes very aggressive, disoriented, incoherent and has been described as appearing to be a bit crazy. In other words, he becomes a totally different child. Normal ammonia levels are 50-60. I do believe I read that Lennon’s had gotten as high as in the 300’s. Lennon is of preschool age. He has already had two liver transplants. Lennon has Urea Cycle Disorder.  Please check out the link for this genetic disease.  Can you imagine this happening to your child? I am sitting here doing just that. I cannot imagine myself living through, and witnessing what my friend has witnessed happening to her son. All I can think of is that I have a hard time when my preschooler gets a cut, let alone going through life saving surgery and the gory details that go along with it… just to NOT get graphic about it. Just to think of their little perfect bodies enduring what seems impossible… becomes a reality. It’s a hard reality for mothers to come to grips with; and at the same time, no one should have to experience.

I’m not writing Petra’s whole story here, but if you’re interested, you can find it here. The reason for my writing is that I want to get her story out. She is not asking for donations; but as it happens, she does have an Etsy shop, HERE. She does wonderful work with beads and pyrography, or, wood burning.

I don’t make it a practice to advertise for other people, but I was moved to, today. I figure, “Hey, it’s the Holiday season and maybe someone is out there shopping around for gifts.” A part of me felt powerless until I thought of writing about her. After being paired with Petra in a beading swap, we corresponded ourselves into a friendship that has survived a few long spells of not corresponding. She made me a beautiful bracelet that rests so pretty on my wrist. It doesn’t happen often, that I will just love something that wasn’t made by me. She seems to know what I like.

RFTY vi

Fall 2007


Hi everybody. Well, it’s finally starting to look like fall. Sorry, about not posting all summer, but I needed a break. This is my first time back. I’m really happy about fall, my favorite time of year. Summer is nice, but if I’m not at the beach, it reeks. Oh, I do love to garden and I do love summer activities. What kills me is the heat and/or humidity. Ah, I can finally put that behind me and start thinking about reinstalling my hot chocolate recipe of the week. I’ve already had some this year and introduced my little one it. Now all he wants is hot chocolate… that’s my boy!

I have been busy and will be forthcoming on what I’ve been doing this summer, knitwise, and will be posting some of my WIP’s and FO’s. See, I’ve learned new language while I was away. WIP: “Work In Progress” and FO: “Finished Object”. I do most of my learning at Ravelry. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve added their button to the blogroll and sidebar, though the sidebar one links to my flickr site. At present, I’m trying to figure out how to have the button, itself, link to Ravelry; but so far it’s a no go. If you click on it, you will be transported to my flickr page. In the mean time, have you gotten your invitation yet? I know that I said that I was not going to talk about it, but it’s been going on too long now. Jess and Casey have been doing really great work over there getting the site working. It’s totally amazing, but again, I refrain from the details for the benefit of those who are still waiting to get on. Of course, if you wish that I would expand on the site, I certainly will… but you’ve got to let me know; and the easiest way to do that is to leave a comment.

My brother’s wife gave birth to a daughter September 19, 2007. Katelyn Theresa, 5 lbs. 7 oz. WOW!

Ever since I found out about the pregnancy, I was furiously crocheting a blanket for her. Then I found out they have a froggie theme and had plenty of time to modify the blanket to include a knitted center square with a froggie on it.Crocheted/Knitted blanket The center panel was DK’d to get a front side on both sides to compliment the crocheted squares. I am so happy that I chose this green, too. It’s more froggie than baby green, ya know? I am also very happy that I finished it time for the shower. I can really get into granny square blankets. My grandmother used to make them and I have one blanket from her that was made with scrap yarn. My uncle is going to give me a blue one she made years ago, and I even remember her making it. I remember the loving way she laid the squares out on the bed, arranging them in just the way.
Green Jacket/Hat/Bootie Set We visited Katelyn about a month ago and I rushed to complete a crocheted jacket, hat, and bootie set, made with left over yarn from the blanket. I even made the buttons, myself. I don’t have a picture yet of her wearing it. I love Caron Simply Soft yarn, so soft! Erin, my SIL , loved the outfit, so that made all the work and “rush, rush” of it, all worth it.

Well, I’ve got to get going, so will leave you with these few glimpses of what I’ve been doing.

Hope ya’ll come back now, hear?

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