Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh, the tangled web we weave!

For most yarnies, it's the cats we have to worry about playing with our yarn and tangling it up. But, oh no, not me! I have to have a dog with a yarn fetish, and to top it off, Sunny has expensive taste!

Sunny AKA The Yarn Freak
Last summer, she got into one of my baskets and had a skein of my beautiful, much loved sea silk strewn about the living room. DH caught her in the act (lucky for her it wasn't me), and took it away from her. Everything was salvageable, but thoroughly tangled, and it has been sitting in a basket, out of sight, since then. It was just too painful to look at, at the time.

So, yesterday, I decided it was time to untangle the mess and roll it back up in neat little balls. This is what I started out with.

I started at 8:30 AM, armed with a pot of coffee and a darning needle for those stubborn knots I was sure were in there. By 10:30 I thought I had made pretty good progress, until I took a second look.

It was taking forever to get that mess undone! I was on the phone with my sister, chatting while I worked on the tangles, and stepped away for a couple of minutes (literally 2 or 3) and when I walked back in, that *bleep* dog had drug the little ball I was working on across the floor already! I could have cheerfully strangled her, but I controlled myself! Before I knew it, it was past lunch time,and I had worked my way through about half of it, and found a break in the yarn, so I set that ball aside decided to get something to eat (and another pot of coffee) and work on the rest after lunch.

The last half went quicker than the first, maybe because there was not so much yarn to work with then. By 2:30 PM, I had two neat little balls of tangle-free yarn. YAY!

And I learned a valuable lesson: Keep all yarn out of the reach of children and pets (especially English Bulldogs).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spinning Yarns

Since I began knitting several years ago, I have always bought commercially spun yarns. These yarns are great because they are evenly spun and strong. They make wonderful items that will last for years. But in my search for more diversity of yarn than that offered by my LYS, I discovered hand spun. Since they are not made by a machine, they are truly unique, and that really appealed to me.

Lately, I have been trying to expand my knitting knowledge and skill by trying new techniques, and decided to try my hand at spinning. When you want to go handmade, you go to, a very large, and growing, community of crafters and artists. I searched the site for spindles and roving, and landed at the shop of Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber. I ordered one of their kits, which includes a drop spindle (top or bottom whirl), instructions, 3 rolls of hand painted roving, and one roll of undyed white for practice. My kit arrived yesterday!

While waiting, I had been searching the web for tutorials on spinning yarn with a drop spindle. There are many out there, but one of the best I've seen are a collection of videos on YouTube by Megan LaCore. It's one thing to read instructions, but, for me, it is so much clearer when you can see someone and follow their example.

So, with spindle and roving in hand, I tried to spin my first hank of yarn. It was fun watching the spindle twist the roving into yarn. However, my yarn turned out a little thick, more like super bulky, instead of the worsted/chunky I was aiming for. But, this is all part of the learning process, and with every spin and draft you learn a little more.

It's exciting to try something new, and even if my yarn does not turn out 'perfect', it's mine, and it's unique!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I love getting new books!

There are so many great projects out there that I want to tackle, and most of them are in books that I do not have...... yet.

I came home today to several packages sitting on my porch (does a happy dance)! Now I have in my possession; 3 Elizabeth Zimmermann books, 2 Vogue Stitchionaries, and an Interweave Knits magazine from Summer '08. YAY! Plus, I still have a few more that I ordered yet to arrive.

Right now they are spread about on the couch and table around me, just begging me to look inside and pick which project I want to knit first. I want to knit the Apres Surf Hoodie for me (not on Ravelry, click here), and DH wants a Tomten Jacket like the one by Jared Flood (not on Ravelry, click here). Oh, the possibilities!

I am excitedly waiting for my Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene magazine. I cannot wait knit Riding to Avalon (not on Ravelry, click here). I ordered the yarn I want to use already, and it should be coming any day!

Now, my books are calling!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

52 Books in 52 Weeks (Ravelry Group)

My 2 favorite hobbies are knitting and reading. How great is it that there is also a reading group on my fave knitting site? That's a rhetorical question, it's su-weet, of course!

Occasionally, I have to take a break from knitting. If I work at it too long, my hands and wrists will start to hurt and go numb. That's when I put the needles down and pick up a good book.

I have an extensive collection of paperback and hardback books, but I think I love my Sony E-book Reader best of all! It goes almost everywhere with me. It's perfect for waiting on kids, plus it's smaller than a regular hardback book and fits in my purse. It also has a lot of memory, it will hold over 100 regular books, and that is without the optional memory card.I still have a lot of paper/hardback books that I need to read, so I'm starting at the bookshelf.

Here is my reading list for 2009.

Currently Reading:
Anthology - Nora Roberts (Tonight and Always, A Matter of Choice, and Endings and Beginning)

Jan. 09 -

  • Killer Dreams - Iris Johansen
  • Faithless - Karen Slaughter
  • Echo Park - Michael Connelly
  • Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch - Debbie Stoller
Feb. 09 -
  • Crisis - Robin Cook
  • The Innocent Man - John Grisham
Mar. 09 -
  • On Blue Falls Pond - Susan Crandall
  • A Kiss in Winter - Susan Crandall
  • The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen
  • The Apprentice - Tess Gerritsen
  • The Sinner - Tess Gerritsen
  • Body Double - Tess Gerritsen
  • Vanished - Tess Gerritsen
Apr. 09 -
  • The Beach House - James Patterson
  • The Lake House - James Patterson
  • Local Hero - Nora Roberts
  • High Noon - Nora Roberts
  • Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
  • New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
  • Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
  • Midnight Sun Partial Draft - Stephenie Meyer (from
May 09 -
  • The Face of Deception - Iris Johansen
  • The Killing Game - Iris Johansen
  • The Search - Iris Johansen
  • Body of Lies - Iris Johansen
  • Blind Alley - Iris Johansen
  • Countdown - Iris Johansen
  • Stalemate - Iris Johansen
  • Quicksand - Iris Johansen
  • Mary, Mary - James Patterson
June 09 -
  • No One to Trust - Iris Johansen
Yeah, I know I've been slacking on my reading. It's hard to find the time with 2 kids, a full-time job, and a part-time job on my plate. My knitting has been suffering, too. I still have a sweater on the needles, that's barely half way done, that I started in April. Hopefully, now that the kids birthdays are done, and the 4th of July has passed, I'll find a little more time to do the stuff I want to do.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sleeping with the Fishies

I saw this pattern for a Dead Fish Hat (click here if not on Ravelry), and just had to make one for my son. It's so cute! My step-granddaughter loves it too, so I'll have to make one for her in pink. The tail didn't turn out quite like I wanted, but I'm still happy with the way it looks.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Conquering the Cables

The last time I tried cables, they looked horrible! So I've avoided patterns that included cables since then.

Recently I joined a Hat of the Month group on Ravelry, and the hat for January was Who? by Sara Amoroso, (if you're not on Ravelry, click here), which was cabled to form little owls around the hat.

I really wanted to do this for my son, it's so cute, so I pulled out my cable needles, and set to work. I had to frog a row or two, and tink back a couple of times, but I finished it.

It turned out good, and my son likes it. He even asked me to make him another. Maybe one in white? Snow owls are so pretty.

To my daughter it goes!

I finally finished the sweater, and I was very happy with the way it turned out, but it's too tight in the arms. The body fit great, but..... my daughter loves it, so it's all good.

I still want to make this pattern again, but next time I'll make the same size body, but the next size up for sleeves, and just adjust the pattern a little.