Monday, March 30, 2009

temporary insanity

So, a couple of weeks ago, there was a thread on Ravelry about this totally tacky Terror Fish intarsia sweater and how some people found it to be hysterically funny and they wanted to knit one, or their SO wanted them to knit one. While I was reading that thread, Scott brought me a cup of coffee and I said, "Oh, ha ha ha, look at this awful sweater. Isn't it amazing that somebody would WANT that? And they'd find a knitter to spend umpty bajillion hours knitting it for them?! ha ha ha...Wait a minute, honey. No, don't get that gleam in your eye. The point here is that it's AWFUL! You know, ha ha ha? Ha?! OMG, I know you like embarrassing clothing and I know you like fish, but no, really, that's just going too far. "

And then I stepped out of the office and when I came back, the fisherman had ordered the pattern in hopes that I could knit it for him. BEFORE OPENING DAY OF TROUT SEASON IN FOUR WEEKS!

And because I am usually up for a challenge, have never done even a tiny intarsia project, and have such copious spare time (snort!), this is where I am today...
Now, since then we have been curious to find out a little more about our friend, the Terror Fish. It ends up that this is from a 1960s cartoon called Stingray, something of an underwater good guys and bad guys battle. The Terror Fish is the submarine of the bad guys. For your Terror Fish edumication, I present the Stingray intro, in which you can see Terror Fish at 0:55.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm knitting on a deadline...
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Sunday, March 29, 2009


Uh oh. I fear the pig butt pic amuses my inner middle-school self just a wee bit too much.

I was helping my mom set up a fancy schmancy online photo book thing last night and the pig butt was chosen as the official placeholder pic for pages where she needs to dig up certain other pics. The photo book is being created in honor of the 10th anniversary of the golf tourney mom hosts in Florida w/ a bunch of her friends. Notable is the fact that the boobie prize for this golf tourney is a golf club cover in the shape of a pig butt. Maybe this fondness for pig butts is a hereditary thing.

But(t) this morning we had the pig-buttiest moment of them all! Anybody who knows us or has been reading this blog for a while knows we've been working on fixing up our...ahem..."handyman's special" of a 100+ y.o. house for the duration of our time here (15 years and counting), slowly but surely, room by room. It's the ultimate DIY project -- a baker and a transcriptionist figuring out how to do plumbing, framing, tiling, sheetrocking, etc. (You've already seen floor refinishing, upstairs hall gutting , wood stripping, stained glass window rebuilding, Jesse's bedroom renovation, destruction of the ugliest porch on the face of the planet.)

The guy who owned this house before us was named Gunther and his remuddling projects, or Guntherisms, have often left us shaking our heads in giggling bewilderment. We spend half our project time undoing his fine handiwork and the other half then moving forward again in ways that are safe, legal, functioning, and suitable to the age and style of the house.

You all know you can't solder PVC pipe, right? Gunther didn't. FYI: Soldered PVC looks a lot like a marshmallow that got too close to the campfire.

You all know that if wallpaper is coming loose, they make glue for that, right? Gunther didn't. Staples all the way, man!

You all know that if you cut live electrical wires and bury them in a wall, they should be capped or at least taped and inside a junction box, right? Not our friend, Gunther, oh no! Live, uncapped wires buried inside a wall! Lucky we haven't woken up in a pile of ashes, don'cha think?

If there was a gap between the roof and the horribly cheesy addition that you smacked onto the back end of your house, and that gap let in all kinds of weather and critters, you might think of any number of weatherproof/critter-resistant solutions, right? Gunther's answer: Stuff a towel in there. The man was clearly a genius.

You all know that five million linear feet of gorgeous chestnut trim should NOT be painted Brady Bunch turquoise and orange, right? RIGHT?!! Yes, of course you do. Gunther. Did. Not.

But this morning, in pig-butt Guntherismus maximus, we discovered that not only did Gunther glue that nasty crap carpet to the subfloor in Jesse's room (subfloor that is not installed at a height matching the rest of the house's flooring, BTW) so that its nasty black foam backing junk can never be removed, but he also NAILED down the edge of the carpet. INSIDE THE CLOSET! As if that area gets so much foot traffic. And as if glue and gravity weren't sufficient.

Ah, Gunther. We can always count on you for another entertaining chapter in our home renovation adventures. We shall miss your antics when we are finished fixing this old house up. if we're ever going to be finished fixing this place up. Me so funny!

Okay, enough of a break. Back to the oak planks and the chop saw!
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

glass doodler

Scott's doodling, 1982, pencil and paper:

Scott's doodling, 2009, glass and flame:

And, because I know you want to see,
here's a cute little porkie patootie, twisty tail and all.

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Friday, March 27, 2009


Because some stitch markers are just too pretty to keep in the knitting bag, I decided to try to make a hammered wire pendant doodad on which to hang this new style of beads. I can easily remove a stitch marker to put it to use or substitute a different set of beads for an entirely different look.

Best of all: There's something satisfying about holding a cluster of glass beads in your hand - their cool smoothness, the sound they make as they are moved around - and this necklace keeps them at an easily accessible location, just right for a tactile treat.
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a very good morning to you too

On checking messages this morning, one was from Tina at Take Heart Farm, telling us how well the heart button Scott made complements her handspun, handknit vest. She even included pictures!
I'd have to agree, the handspun vest and button are a perfect pair.

Another heart button sold yesterday, made out of the same glass. That particular glass is soooo beautiful, with such great depth. Luckily a glass order came yesterday to replenish the stash of this glass and add some new goodies to the mix. Can't wait to see what it becomes!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to everybody who provided such great feedback about the stitch markers. Randomly chosen winner of sheepie stitch markers are Trek, Brownbear, and Chee-uh/Munkiknits! Let Scott (glastonburyglassworks at gmail dotcom) know your mailing address and there will be glass bead stitch markers heading your way soon. Those of you who were looking for stitch markers for larger size needles might want to stick around - we have something beautiful in the works for you!

I don't know if it's the longer daylight or just the abundance of good stuff for which we are thankful, but wow, so much joy, so many simple pleasures lately, for all of us. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

While our guys were having a blast ;-) at a national rocketry convention last weekend (no, that's not Jesse's rocket, just a big'un that he liked - his are way smaller), Leah and I had an equally awesome time hooking up at Webs with friends to see Barb Parry's presentation about her fiber farm adventures at Foxfire Fiber. Beautiful pictures of her farm accompanied her stories. We helped some of our friends find an excellent deal on yarn, ran into plenty of other folks we knew along the way, and made some new friends too.

I just put a new pair of sheep earrings up on Scott's Etsy shop. Baaa.

And now we're off to shop for wood flooring, as when Jesse's not busy building rockets, he's been honing his sheetrocking skills and his bedroom renovation should be ready for paint and a new floor within the next few days.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

first day of spring!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009


Pattern: Cece from Chic Knits

Knit by: Leah, age 10

Yarn: Mystery coned yarn identified only as "wool" on the sticker inside the cones, two strands knit together. They're the two cones in the top center of the third pic on this blog post. Cost for the entire 2 cones at weavers' guild "yarn tag sale" = ~$6. I think there's enough yarn left to make another entire sweater. These cones are like magic in that they never seem to get smaller. 

Closure: One glass button, 1" diameter, made by Leah's dad.

Modifications: We chose to make it big, in hopes that it'll fit this growing girl for at least another winter or so. We also chose to lengthen it significantly, because of that growing girl consideration and also because that's how she thought she'd like it best. I followed along and clarified things as she moved through the pattern, but she did all of the work herself. She started with the sleeves and needed to re-knit portions of each because the increases in combination with the lacy pattern caused her some problems, and there are some imperfections in the lacy pattern in the body at the beginning too, but they're just part of the learning process.

Worn to NYC yesterday to attend the Martha Stewart Show's Yarn Special. While the content of the show was disappointing, the day itself was a lot of fun, hanging with fiber artists and admiring each other's work, connecting in real life with people we had previously only "known" online. The fantastic handknit and crocheted items worn and being worked on by audience members were truly stunning. How unfortunate that the Martha Stewart Show missed them, having chosen instead to be blinded by Fun Fur. ;-)
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

spring bling

On some spring-like days,
a girl just needs a little sparkle.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

a public service announcement

Please always remember and don't ever forget...
It's TWO stitches for every THREE rows when knitting/sewing on a neckband!

Save yourself the d'oh! moment and do-over that we're (not) enjoying this morning. Still, it's worth doing right. Makes all the difference in how the neckline curve turns out. Our intrepid young knitter has come too far on this sweater to cheese it up now!

Since some of you have asked, there are now sheep earrings in our Etsy shop and a few other new glass doodads too. Scott will be working on many of the other requests this afternoon.

And OMG, you guys, I had what I think is an awesome brainstorm this morning! First prototype in the works later today. Could be super cool/fun/useful/stylish/colorful/playful! Can you tell I'm psyched?

ETA: Less than 2 hours after listing them, the sheep earrings are sold. Hm. Guess we better see if the beadmakerbaker can make another matching pair - not as easy as you'd think!
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

cooking up glass goodies

I have sometimes referred to Scott as the beadmakerbaker. That's because his main work-for-pay is in our home-based wholesale bakery. Recently, though, he was asked to bake up goodies of the glassy kind as a result of a swap we arranged with Carissa of The Cupcake Factory. Carissa requested very specific cupcake bead "flavors," including one to match her logo, complete with sprinkles and a cherry on top!
Meanwhile, we received an order for a sheep to sock stitch marker set from Lixie, who used to put out a podcast that we enjoyed. While packaging her order, I remembered that Lixie used to wax poetic about her love of cupcakes and at one point I asked Scott to make her a cupcake bead. He did that and also made a bead with her name on it, but somehow they got put in the bead box, not mailed to Lixie, and then she stopped podcasting (only temporarily, I hope!) and time passed and...well, you know how it goes. So I rummaged around in the bead box and found the two beads that were originally made for her.

Apparently Scott's glass cupcake-baking skills have improved in the interim, but the older cupcake was still fun, so off they went to London with Lixie's order.

Thanks, everybody, for the stitch marker loop feedback so far. Lots of great ideas and comments in there. Never thought much about the glass sheep, drop spindles/bobbins, socks, and balls of yarn as jewelry or bracelet charms, but hey, if you all are fiber-crazed enough to adorn yourselves with glass sheep, who are we to argue?! Will get some more jewelry findings and let you know when I post them on Etsy. Meanwhile, keep those comments coming. We appreciate your input!

BTW, Leah's in the home stretch on her Cece cardigan. She has about an inch of raglan decreases to go and then a narrow button band to attach. She intends to block it today and then dive into her dad's pretty glass button stash and see what she can find to perfectly complement her second handknit sweater.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

feedback, please!

The Beadmaker and his Knitters need input from The Blog!

What kind of loops do you prefer on your stitch markers?

Earring wires.
Pros: Can clip to individual stitches. Can wear cute sheep/pretty beads as earrings. :-)
Cons: Wire ends could snag yarns. Easily bent out of shape.

Rubber rings.
Pros: Snag-free. Will not tiddlywink off a needle and fly to the other side of the room. Available in many colors so one in a set can be a diff. color to indicate beginning of round.
Cons: Um...??? (I can't think of any. These are my favorites.)

Split rings.
Pros: Jewelry-like loop in case stitch marker will be used as a charm or pendant.
Cons: Can snag yarn. Can get pulled out of shape.

What? Why?

Please leave a comment below. Make sure you're signed in or you leave some sort of contact info because all providers of feedback will be entered in a random drawing for some freebie stitch markers. Don't know how many yet, but it's safe to say the freebies will probably be sheep. And yes, if you're one of the winners, we'll put your favorite style of loop on your stitch marker!

The drawing will be on Monday, 3/23/09, at 5:00 p.m. All comments up until that point are eligible. Please ask your friends to give us their input too -- the more people who respond, the more we'll know!

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2 steps forward, 1 step back

One step forward:
Somebody on Ravelry asked Scott for buttons to go on a purple sweater. This little beauty is what he came up with. It's the same amber-purple glass he's used at other times, but accented with a rod of purple glass that just makes it sing. I already told him I will need my own sweater's worth of these buttons eventually.
Another step forward:
My Taize scarf, a honeycomb-like pattern knit in Ball and Skein's sock yarn. I struggled with this written-out pattern until I made my own little chart for its body motif. Clipped the chart to my work, as I like to do, and I'm motoring along nicely now. Love the deep texture. Mine looks significantly different from the one on the pattern and not nearly so luscious when I spread it out as if to hard block it, so blocking in this case might just be enough of a stretch to neaten everything up, but not enough to take away any of the depth.
One step back:
Leah was just about ready to attach the sleeves to the body of her Cece cardigan a few days ago, when we noticed some boo-boos in the sleeves.
One sleeve only needed to be ripped back an inch or two, to where she got off track in the lacy pattern during the upper arm increases, but the first sleeve she knit (above) had bigger problems. She decided it was too obvious and would bother her enough that it was worth a re-do, no matter how much it hurt to see 2/3 of a sleeve disappear. Both sleeves are back up to the underarms now and she'll be starting the raglan decreases later today.

Even though that was a step back, it was still a step in the right direction! Forward she goes!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


All heads in my house were spinning with an abundance of incredibly fun events this past weekend. Among the highlights were a Celtic Woman concert for Leah and, on Jesse's calendar, a karaoke b'day party with friends, registration for a rocketry conference, and historic miniature gaming.

The Second Sunday Fiber Artisans were mostly spinning too. I think I was the only one knitting, while the rest were busy making beautiful yarn.

One of Scott's customers asked if he's ever made a stitch marker in the shape of a drop spindle, for fans of that type of spinning. So the next morning, he did exactly that! Adds a different little twist to the Sheep to Sock stitch marker sets.

And now, I'm off to learn an entirely new (to me) way to knit. The owner of our LYS showed Leah how to do Portuguese purling a couple of years ago, but lately I've been reading about how the Portuguese knitting style is even faster and more efficient (less wasted motion) than Continental, so I want to give it a...spin!

Up next: a poll with free sheep stitch markers to a couple of the people who give us their feedback!
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Friday, March 06, 2009

sometimes we make the pretties

and sometimes we make a mess.

Here's a pretty:

Merino and tencel from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm, spun the thinnest this fairly newbie spinner has been able to manage so far, then Navajo plied, which is a new-to-me technique. You can see toward the left of the skein where the Navajo plying got away from me a few times, but by the end of it, I think I was doing a decent job. Wet finished the skein last night, upon nudges from two other spinners in this household, who claim that we don't own enough bobbins and it's not fair for me to have one tied up with my singles and then not spin for a while. Sheesh -- the peer pressure!

The mess that we've been making? Oh, that would be Jesse's room. Until this morning, it was woefully outdated and outgrown, still decorated with all the fishies painted 14+ years ago by people who were excited about his impending arrival. I realized this morning that we had a fairly wide open day ahead of us. Five hours later, his room looks like this:

Yes, a mess! But it's forward progress, so Yay! We already took the sheetrock to the dump and I'm sitting with ice on my shoulder now. Tomorrow we'll take down the ceiling and insulation, and tear up the carpet. And then we'll have to figure out how we want to put it all back together in a style befitting its teenage resident!

Okay, enough of the messies. Let's go back to the pretties! Namely, Leah's Cece cardigan. The V-neck decreases are underway and she might be able to join the sleeves to the body tonight.

I'm off to clean the destruction debris off me and then work a while on the Taize scarf I cast on yesterday. I wish the pattern came with a little chart that I could clip to my project (so I'll prob. make my own), but otherwise I'm loving this design. Another of the pretties to balance out the messes!
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Thursday, March 05, 2009


Leah bought this little sheep pin as a surprise for me while at Spa Knit and Spin last weekend. I don't know when exactly she purchased it, but I do know that I spent at least half an hour chatting with Susan from Goose Pond on Sunday morning and she kept Leah's purchase a secret. I think my facial expression matched this sheep's look of surprise when I arrived home to find it on my desk! I forgot to include it with the pic of Spa purchases because it was already pinned to my coat.

I can't believe it's practically the weekend again already and the coming weekend looks to be every bit as much fun as the last. Meanwhile, this entire week has zipped by with many happy surprises and good karma all around.

First, I won a prize through one of the New England Textile Artists' contests. I don't know what I won yet, but I think the anticipation and surprise is part of the fun.

Next, it appears that Leah's Sylvi caused a bit of a stir when Leah wore it in the fashion show at Spa last weekend. I was completely unaware of this because I was busy trying to catch a decent photo of her in the show (unsuccessfully, as you can see in the last pic of this post), but Julia Farwell-Clay, the Features Editor of Twist Collective, the online magazine that published the pattern, subsequently went out of her way to track me down and compliment my work. She started with a Ravelry post that included terms like "showstopper" and "utterly gorgeous." And, wow, people then followed up with similarly enthusiastic comments and someone else was kind enough to link Julia to my blog. She then left a comment on Sylvi's blog post that mentioned the "audible gasp" when the knitters saw Sylvi. Seriously, I can't believe I missed all the hubbub at the time, but I am blown away by the flood of compliments now!

Given a good-natured kick in the pants by Julia and other Sylvi enthusiasts, I updated my Ravelry projects and Leah's too. We both had something like 15 projects to add -- yikes, I guess it's been a while since we updated!

While I was on a roll, I updated Scott's Etsy shop with a few new things too. Just realized I still haven't taken a pic of his new beads that look like teeny drop spindles. Off to track some of those down...
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Monday, March 02, 2009

giva geta

Spa Knit and Spin 2009 with the New England Textile Artists, an entire weekend spent amongst hundreds of fiber enthusiasts, has come and gone. A few highlights, in list form:
The entire thing is based on the premise that we all have something to teach and we all have something to learn, and that many hands make light work, so here are some of the entirely enjoyable ways that we contributed to the event:

1. donated 4 handknit hats for soldiers
2. demonstrated how to frame needlework (Debbie), how to wire beads to make stitch markers (Scott), two-handed two-color no-tangle knitting (Leah - see above), and how to make a felted scarf out of leftover yarns (Debbie). I actually did that last demo three (or was it four?!) times because more people kept asking to see it!
3. Spa 2009 glass bead stitch markers for the main organizers
4. Donations to the group's Treasure Chest for giveaways.
5. Two hours as volunteers at the Greeters' Table, answering questions and selling raffle tickets for the beautiful afghan some members made to raise funds for charity. 

That's the "giva" part of the weekend. We gave a little, but oh, what we got in return!

First, the tangibles:

1. Spunky Eclectic black cherry roving for Leah to spin and ply with Grafton Fibers singles already on a bobbin.
2. burgundy angora yarn for Leah's Just Enough Ruffles scarf.
3. Dye Dreams royal purple merino/tencel yarn for Leah to make Knitspot's Delicato handwarmers.
4. Dye Dreams sea green merino/tencel yarn for Debbie to make Knitspot's Gust scarf.
5. Woolen Rabbit's Arabian Nights for Debbie to make Knitspot's Brambler scarf. Apparently we're liking the Knitspot patterns. :-)
6. Ball and Skein's burgundy yarn for Debbie to knit Miriam Felton's Persephone scarf.
7. Three beautiful natural colors of Icelandic Lamb roving blended w/ baby alpaca or Tussah silk, a fabulous door prize won by Debbie from Frelsi Farm Icelandics!

Intangibles also received:

1. Tatting workshop with Kat Parks. This was a refresher for me, since I took a tatting class many years ago. I never got very good at it, but apparently tatting is like riding a bike because as soon as I saw Kat do a knot or two, I was off and running.
2. Nalbinding workshop with Rudy Amman, who was even able to teach a lefty! I've always been curious about this technique and am tickled to have learned the basics. That's the little gray bit of stitching in the center of the lowermost row in the yarn photo above.
3. A new cast-on taught to Leah. 
4. Time to relax and chat with friends we've known for years (see that character above, concentrating on his very first knitting project ever? You might recognize him from Spa 2007. This time, Bart was knitting while Scott was spinning.) and those we just happened to sit near or stop along the way to admire something they were making/wearing/using/doing.

Other random reasons for smiles:

1. Within minutes of arriving, Leah spotted somebody wearing one of Scott's sheep beads as a necklace.
2. Free, fresh, delicious cookies in the lobby.
3. When I stopped at the Frelsi Farm Icelandics booth to say thanks for the door prize I won, we learned that the owner used to live in our hometown.
4. Warm pool, cold days, kids splashing about with glee.
5. The owner of Dye Dreams yarn, also wearing one of Scott's sheep beads as a necklace.
6. People randomly stopping us to chat because they remembered us from the 2007 Spa or they read our blog, and us doing the same with others.
7. Thai Garden. Yum.
8. Willing observers of impromptu yo-yo tricks from our favorite yo-yo guy.
9. A whole slew of new-to-us local microbrews to sample!
10. The bed at the Hilton, which was comfortable enough that Scott and I have debated -- MULTIPLE TIMES -- whether it was The Most Comfortable bed we've ever slept in (besides our own), in close competition with the awesome bed at the Rose Island Lighthouse. Hotel reservations were a xmas gift from my mom, so thanks, mom!
11. People who get it admiring something you've made, such as the Sylvi coat and Swirls hat modeled by Leah in the fashion show. BTW, the pic above shows approx. 1/8th of the crowd gathered for the fashion show. The stuff that paraded by was amazing. Even Jesse was impressed -- enough so that he didn't choose to zone out with the Dragnet radio shows on his iPod!
12. Those same people romping about with items we admired and found inspirational. Seriously, some mind-boggling fiber artists gathered at this event. And not just knitters. There were spinners, weavers, feltmakers, lacemakers, quilters, and probably countless other fiber arts represented.
13. With every such event, the circle of friends grows, the horizons expand, and the enthusiasm is refreshed.
14. We expect to get to do it all again next year! Yahoo!!
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