Sunday, February 25, 2007

More knitting love

I forgot to include pictures of one other thing I bought at Stitches West. A pattern! I NEVER buy patterns, I'm more an open source for knitting patterns kinda gal...but well, I was in a spending frenzy. And this purse was amazingly beautiful. Stunning, even. I had to have one. So, not only did I buy a pattern, I bought a TEN DOLLAR pattern. Not only did I buy a TEN DOLLAR pattern, I gave them $10 for a receipt for the pattern to be mailed to me because the 10 that they had printed out were already sold. 30 minutes after the show started. Yes, it is really that amazing of a bag :D

Then, I wanted to post two skeins of yarn I got on Friday from my Spin to Knit swap pal. I am just IN LOVE with them both, especially the bamboo. I have wanted to knit a bamboo skein for awhile now, but haven't splurged on any bamboo, so this is a wonderful, special treat :) The second skein is wool and I am just in love with the colors in the yarn :)

And then finally, just because I can, I wanted to share a picture of my new magnetic knife rack :D I am sooo past the knife block and wanted it off my counters, so I got this at Ikea and am quite a happy camper :D I just love how all but one of my knives match, even though the santuko knives are Chicago cutlery, the other large ones are Wustoff and the litte ones and kitchen scissors are from Ikea :D

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stitches West Yarn Porn

Stitches West was this weekend. It's my first time going and I only had an hour to peruse the booths and soak in the amazing woolly wonderland :) Of course, I lost track of time and I was 1/3 of the way through the place when I realized I'd been there an hour and a half and I was late picking up my son from his sitter, lol. Luckily, my mother was cool about it and I got there half an hour late.

I was unbelievably bummed that I only got to see 1/3 of the booths, but I think, in retrospect, it was best for my wallet :

This is, of course, some Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande in the rusty orange color I've been lusting after for a year or more :) I got a good deal on two skeins of it - YAY! I have a skein of cream that a swap pal sent me, so I am envisioning an orange bag with a cream cable down one side :)

This is a really unusual purchase for me, but I was really intrigued by it and it was disgustingly cheap :) It was 5 skeins for $ could I pass it up?! It's a pretty green and purple woven ribbon yarn. Not sure what I'm going to make out of it yet. What does one make out of ribbon-type yarn? Maybe a scarf for my sister...

*sigh* At long last, I have a skein of Inca Cotton in my stash! It's just soooo soft and amazingly beautiful, all natural cotton...and it's a dang HUGE skein :) I got a good deal on it, so I was pleased :D This might be destined for a summery tank top, not sure yet :)

MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMalabrigo! I love this yarn!!! I got a skein from a swap pal in a different colorway and I just adore the stuff. I saw this colorway and the relatively cheap price tag and picked up two skeins for something. Maybe a bag or a scarf? OoOoOoOoOOoOoOoooooo...maybe wrist warmers :D :D :D

More alpaca love.... This is the skein of alpaca yarn that I lusted after in my LYS for over 6 months. I finally went in to buy it and the store was closing down and they had gotten rid of all their alpaca :( BUT!!! A LOT of booths had it at Stitches and I got the cheapest skein out of them all :D Oh my god, I love this yarn. It's the softest thing in my stash and at 600 yards, I can make a nice lace scarf or shawl out of it :D I may have to sleep with this skein tonight ;)

I'm really glad I was able to get to Carolina Homespun's booth before having to leave, because I was hoping to pick up some roving :) I have a lot of roving already in my spinning stash, but it is all natural colored and I wanted to branch out a bit into some nice colored roving. The blue I'm gonna spin and ply with itself, but the orange merino/tencel I want to spin on teh thin side and ply with some of the natural colored fiber I have to make a nice striped yarn :D

A fun little skein on a massive discount, I couldn't pass up this wool/alpaca and acrylic fun yarn :) Besides, I've never played with any of Rowan's yarns before and this one is fun colors and really soft :D It was well over 50% off that sticker price *proud discount shopper*

The Soysilk booth was giving out little sample idea that I think many more booths should have adopted!!! These are the two samples I got...a sock yarn and a ribbon yarn. Dunno if I'll ever do anything with them, but they're fun to have :)

The first booth I stopped at upon entering the convention floor had rows and rows of amazing hanks of yarn in all kinds of gorgeous colors. I found one I was in love with, but at $30, I thought I should shop around some more and see what else other booths have. After an hour and a half, I was still thinking about this hank of yarn so on my way out the door, I stopped and bought it. It's 50% tussah silk and 50% merino wool. It's worsted weight and it's just shiny and soft and amazing and the colors are just...gah! It makes me breathless :D I figured that's a good enough reason to spend $30 on a skein of yarn :D It's fairly large, at least, at 280 yards :D

I also bought three pairs of circulars...a pair of Crystal Palace (my favorite needles of all time!) and two Inox circulars for magic looping because I've never used Inox needles before and they were affordable. Oh! And I got a back issue of KnitScene that I've been wanting! I was very happy to find it there so I wouldn't have to break down and pay for shipping (which costs as much as the magazine on most websites!)

Here's everything in all it's glory :D

Can you tell I'm still on a MASSIVE yarn high? :D :D

*off to sniff my yarn*

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hope you like the new look :)

I thought it was time to change things up and have a new look for my craft blog :)

Green and orange....aaaahhhhh *relaxes, surrounded by my favorite colors*

I wanted to post a few recent craft projects and/or yarn porn and/or swap items received. I know, I know, I'm behind on the picturey goodness.

I just finished up a dishcloth swap and I decided to go out on a limb. Instead of making a dishcloth for my recipient, I turned it into a hotpad! She loves roosters and her kitchen is decorated with roosters and chickens, so I layered some batting between a dishcloth and some adorable fabric and hand-sewed it up :) I really hope she loves it!

This is the skein of yarn I got from my spin to knit handspun yarn swap I'm participating in :) There was a bonus skein as well, but I've already used it! Isn't this skein gorgeous?! It's so very soft, too! She gave me a hint that the brown and red would appear again in my next skein, so...yay!

This is my yarn that I got for almost free! I had a $10 gift certificate for signing up for Google checkout and the shop had free shipping, so I got both skeins for $4. *happy bargain shopper grin* It's all sinnnnnfully soft :)

I have more stuff to photograph and post as well. I got a CONE of black cotton for $3 at a craft reuse store over the weekend...and I want to post a progress picture of my big brown blob. I also got some Inca cotton in the mail yesterday I bought on eBay - yay for amazing soft beautiful cotton!

My fiber is supposedly on it's way back from the processing mill as well! I can't WAIT for it to get here so I can spin up some of the sheep that I saw get shorn :D

Happy craft day :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionairre

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I am obsessed with Alpaca yarn :D Alpaca yarn is die for! But I also love wool, cotton, silk, bamboo, even some acrylics if they're SUPER soft. I'm a VERY tactile person and can't handle anything that feels plasticy or rough. I have a fair amount of alpaca, wool, alpaca/wool, wool/cotton, cotton, alpaca/silk, and some soft acrylics like Simply Soft and some Patons. I do NOT like anything "fun fur" ish or novelty yarnish. Otherwise, I think I'm pretty easy to please :D

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I store my needles in an over the door shoe rack :D It's inside my coat closet, which is right next to my fiber arts center :) I have one pocket for each size needle, with the extra pockets for cable needles, Knit Picks Options cables, etc. I only use circular needles, so they fit right in each pocket just perfectly :)

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I have been knitting for a little over a year now. I was taught when I was little by my Grandma, but I could never get the purl stitch down and lost the skill all together over time. About a year ago, I was loom knitting and I decided to pick up some needles again and try to learn. It was easy and seemed to stick this time :) I am probably an advanced beginner or early intermediate. I can do cables, lace work, short rows...but haven't tried any color work yet. I knit almost exclusively on circular needles, so I have no problem with circular knitting. I'm a big fan of the Magic Loop method :D

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I do not, because then I would just have a list of things that I want and probably will never have and it would depress me, lol.

5. What's your favorite scent?

I love citrus-y cents a lot, as well as jasmine, vanilla, apple. I do not care for spicy scents and I have an aversion to the smell of coffee and tea. I know, I'm bizarre :P

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I guess I have a sweet tooth, yes, although I don't eat chocolate. My favorite candy is swedish fish...YUMMMY!!! but I also like things like SweetTarts or Smartees. Outside of candy, I like things with peanut butter or cinnamon...such as peanut butter cheerio treats (like rice crispy treats, but made with cheerios and has peanut butter in them) or cinnamon toast, lol. I always put in that I do not drink coffee or tea at this point, because I know those are common goodies sent along and I would hate to not enjoy your packages to their full extent!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

Besides knitting, I spin (mostly spindle, but I am borrowing a Ashford Traditional wheel right now and am in LOVE with it). I also sew, make jewelry, and other misc. crafty stuff.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Yes, to the MP3 question...all my music is on my computer, lol. I like the genre of music I refer to as "Chicks with guitars." Basically, Indigo Girls, Garbage, Ani DiFranco, Gina Young, etc. I also like most 80's alternative rock...Erasure, They Might Be Giants, B52s, INXS, stuff like that. I'm also a huge broadway musical soundtrack freak. My secret love is Barry Manilow and Cat Stevens music, lol. Recent artists I like are K.T. Tunstall, Scissor Sisters, Evanescence, Bowling for Soup, Gnarles Barkley. Basically, I like most anything except for Country, Heavy Metal and Rap :D

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

My two favorite colors are green and orange. I love all darker earth tones...browns of any ilk, rusty reds, cobalt blue is okay, forest green, dark purples even. I'm not a fan of yellow in almost any format and pastels are just not me.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Does a toddler count as a pet? Okay, well in that case, no, I don't have pets :D I have one son who will be 5 years old in April. I co-parent him with my ex-wife (yes, I'm a big ol' dyke - Hi! Nice to met you!), so he's at my house half of each week. I have a partner of 1 1/2 years that I do not live with (yet) but spend an awful lot of time with, so we might as well live together :D

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Noooo ponchos. A poncho on a 5' 11" 230 lb woman who is heavily endowed in the chest area is just such a bad idea, it should be outlawed :) I have very broad shoulders, as Just say no. LOL. Scarves are nice, as are fingerless mittens or gloves. I am a computer geek, so I need my fingers to type all day. I like hats a lot, but I'm a bit picky about them.... I have curly fluffy red hair, so when I wear a hat, it squishes it all down and then I look silly. Therefore, the hat has to have some poof to it somehow...a brim, something to compensate for the bulk around my head that goes missing under the hat. Yes, I know I'm weird :P

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I like to knit just about anything :) Dishcloths are easy and fun, good for trying out a new stitch. I like making purses/bags. Fingerless gloves are good. Made a few lace scarfs that were a joy. I just did my first pair of booties the other day and oh gosh, they're so fun and easy to make!

13. What are you knitting right now?

Right now, I'm making a dishcloth for a swap, a large brown blanket, some ruffled wrist warmers and I'm TRYING to make my first pair of socks, but they could possibly fit an elephant...I think I increased a bit too much, LOL.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Of course, who doesn't?!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I knit only on circular needles. Bamboo is my needle of choice, but I also really like the new Knit Picks Options needles. I have size 4 and 5 in them thus far, as well as some size 2 Knit Picks classic circulars that I'm using for the great sock knitting experiment. I'm working on getting more Crystal Palace bamboo circulars...I just love the needles...and the cable join pivots, so the cables will always lay where I want them to go! I only have size 8 right now in a few different cable lengths....they're just so spendy! But they are my favorites... *drool*

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a spiffy ball winder, but no swift. Just haven't needed one yet. My hands or a back of a chair seem to work just fine :) I usually prefer to make something that will work, rather than spend a lot on something already made...

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Well, I have a purse on a loom that was supposed to be for my sister's wedding gift last April : Guess I better get on that and finish it up, LOL....

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Probably Halloween. I don't usually dress up, but it is in my favorite time of the year, so it wins by default :)

19. Is there anything that you collect?

I collect yarn :D Oh, besides that...well, I have several hundred books...mostly Sci Fi, children's books and kitchen is decorate in pears. I used to collect Wizard of Oz stuff, but not so much anymore, although I have a Oz tattoo on my right thigh...I think I have it all, lol. I collect lizard, frog and turtle stuff...I have a lizard tattoo on my right ankle and several lizard knicknacks around my house.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I want some more Patons Rumor yarn something fierce! The green stuff, I think it's called Fern Heather....besides that, I am always in love with alpaca yarn :) I want some cotonade yarn in colors Spruce, Lipstick, Nutmeg, moss, chocolate or plum. I would LOVE to try some sea silk in color Forest or Mineral. I have been drooling over Inca Cotton in color Oz for quite some time and I need another skein to make a top I want... I've also been on a search for some Joseph Galler peruvian tweed alpaca in color 111, 106 or 107 since my LYS went out of business right before I went in to finally buy the skein I pet every week! I also adore Colinette Tao 100% silk in shade Madras 153, Colinette Jitterbug 100% merino in shade Sahara 135, Prism Lotus (wool, bamboo, silk blend) in color Highlands, Muench Touch Me in any earthy color, Malabrigo and Manos de Uruguay in anything earthy and Trendsetter Blossom # 106.

Can you tell I have a thing for yarn?!

I would like some Crystal Palace circular bamboo needles in any size other than 8 (5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10 1/2) and I'm always in the market for some more Knit Picks needle tips in sizes other than 4 or 5, as well as more cables (I'd like a 40").

I don't have any knitting magazine subscriptions, but I would certainly like to get Interweave Knits one of these days. Until I do, I just read them at the library and copy any patterns I want at work on the copy machine :)

Are there any techniques you'd like to learn?

Well, I guess I want to learn different/better ways to do short rows and explore those possibilities some more. Then, I want to start learning about double knitting and colorwork. Oh, and there are those damn socks I can't seem to figure out very well!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Well, does casting on about 8 times, knitting a few rounds then ripping it out in increasing frustration...make me a sock knitter? I thought not. I'm trying! Really, I am! I am now up to my instep, but the toe is so large, I could fit both my feet in it, lol.

My foot measurements are: 10 1/2 inches long, 9 3/4 inches around at ball of foot. I wear a size 10 wide or 11 regular shoe, depending on the manufacturer.

I also have a very big head, lol... 23 1/2 inches or 60 cm around. What can I say, I'm of swedish decent and I'm just all around big :D

23. When is your birthday?

My birthday is February 16, so I will have just turned 34 when this swap starts.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Stymied by crafts

I just want to pout.

Okay, so I AM pouting, lol.

I can't seem to get how to knit socks! *grrrr* I have cast on (using Knitty's magic cast on, which I love!) and I knit a few rows and screw up and have to rip them out and start over. I've cast on at least 8 times so far. *pout*

I think maybe I need to step up and make some in a thicker yarn for my first time....I'm using size 2 needles and some sock yarn...first time with both, so that can't be helping matters.

In order to feel like I have done SOMETHING lately with my knitting, I made an adorable bib and pair of booties for a co-worker who's leaving at the end of the week for maternity leave. We're having a shower on Wednesday here at work and I am jazzed to have these to give to her! I made them in mint green cottontots easy and so fast!

I actually think doing the short rows on the booties helped me understand them better, so when I go back to my short row toes on the socks, I'll be better off than the first 8 times, lol.

I'll post pictures soon.

Also, I bought some super scrumptious yarn online for free shipping and $10 off! Alpaca and silk...mmmmmm....can't wait for it to get here :D

In other craft news, I'm in love with Elaine's spinning wheel. I spin and ply whenever I have a chance and I am just so proud and happy with the results. I do indeed love it much more than spinning with my spindle :D I took some yarn single I made, set and made into a center-pull ball and I plied it with some alpaca I just spun and it's just a delight. I should give it away to my spin to knit swap partner because I have nothing else spun up right now, but...I just love it sooooo much, I wanna keep it :)

In other spinning news, I heard from the Wooly Knob fiber mill on Friday and my fiber is done being processed and should be on it's way back to me this week sometime. YAY! I sent it in September, lol...didn't realize it would take this long. But I wanted to use them because 1) two gay boys run it and 2) I got a good recommendation for them and I wanted to make sure I got some decent, spinnable roving back.

sooo...all in all, just putting along in craft land. Next post will be more exciting, I promise :P