Monday, September 28, 2009

fiber twist north

Last weekend, we were at the Fiber Twist at our favorite farmers' market. This Saturday, we rolled northward nice and early. Destination: Franklin County (Massachusetts) Fiber Twist. We shared a booth with our friend, Leslie Wind, whose beautiful metal shawl pins and cable needle necklaces were a nice complement to Scott's glass work.

Leah was tickled by the whole thing, of course, but especially by the opportunity to wear her Sylvi sweater/coat in Twist Collective's fashion show. She otherwise spent the day flitting among the knitters, participating in charity knitting sessions, gathering ideas, soaking up colors, and doing metalwork with Leslie. She was also working on her Swallowtail shawl again, as apparently it's been in a time-out long enough.

Beads made of beads. Must find tutorial.

In between selling Scott's glass stuff, I enjoyed a steady stream of knitting friends I know from other places, folks I had just met but felt like I could talk to for days, and loving all the incredible things they were wearing -- beaded, felted, knitted, crocheted, woven, and on and on.
No lack of inspiration or ideas after a day at an event like this!

Leah made a point of visiting Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer, to tell her she finally found what she thinks will be the perfect pattern for the gorgeous red and black hand-dyed yarn Gail gave to Leah last year. They had a good chat and the next thing Leah knows, Gail is handing her this awesome skein of yarn to go turn into something fabulous!

It looks like blue shades on my monitor, but it's purples, from hazy gray-purples to full-on grape, with itty bitty iridescent sequins spun into it. Incredibly beautiful, especially for a kiddo who is recently falling back in love with knitting lacy patterns. This might become a Shetland Triangle or a Forest Canopy Shawl. Gail has a book coming out this winter and it's bound to be a great resource with stunningly dyed examples.

Home again in time to scoop up Jesse and head out to Pipes in the Valley, a Celtic music festival in Hartford, so we could see performances by the Wicked Tinkers and Gaelic Storm. Then home to bed, with another big day to follow.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

knitting ukers!

Hey, there can only be so many knitting ukulele players in the world, so when Leah heard that Amy Singer (editor of Knitty, author of No Sheep for You and other books, AND uke player!) was coming to Webs, I asked if she wanted to go. heh if there was ever any doubt that Leah would want to spend an evening among the knitter peeps and especially another knitter who knows the raucous fun that is uke playing!

We met some old friends and new, bought some more dye as I gear up for my next experiment, and learned all sorts of cool stuff about knitterly fibers that are wool-free, since Amy is allergic to wool and is traveling far and wide to sing the praises of silk, Berrocco Comfort, bamboo, Berrocco Comfort, tencel, Berrocco Comfort, cotton, Berrocco Comfort, etc. ;-)

And then there were fun give-aways, book-signing and chat time. Amy's uke was back at her hotel room, but Leah brought hers in and Amy gave it a few strums of Secret Agent Man!

Even though Amy's book is called No Sheep for You, we found a way for her to have a couple of sheep.

Party girls, no less, with bows in their curly locks. They must be ready to head out for the awesome fun that is a uke jam, or at least an evening with knitters. :-)
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

september sickie snowboarder

Begun with an experimental dyeing session in mid September, at the beginning of this family's epic fever and ague of aught nine, the brown yarn went emerald/forest green. Then, for no reason whatsoever and with no recipient in mind, I cast on the snowboarder hat that I like so much, although I can't really say why, and worked on it when I was in a Hydrocodone-induced haze and still coughing my lungs out.

I know I didn't use the needle size called for in the pattern, although I'm not sure whether I went up or down in size, but I figured it didn't really matter since I was using handspun yarn and didn't swatch anyway. I figured it would fit someone, somewhere.

The only change I made to the pattern was adding the braid and tassel at the top, just because.

Blocked yesterday, the September Sickie Snowboarder hat was proclaimed an excellent project today. Not sure if it'll make it into the gift/charity stash or be snarfed up by one of the residents of this house, who apparently all have insatiable desires for winter woolies.
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signs of life

We're coming out of that sickie fog, slowly but surely. Still w/ cough, still w/ fatigue, but there are signs of life around here. Even when we're under the weather, there's a lot of making going on. Because when it comes right down to it, that's what we do. All of us. We make stuff.

Scott made more baked goods and glass beads in the past week than he's ever made in a week before. We all had a stellar time at the Coventry Farmers' Market's Fiber Twist on Sunday.

My mom's making a scarf using an assortment of yarns. It's going quickly, so that makes her happy, and is clearing out some of our scraps, so that makes me happy.

Jesse's making rocket-powered Lego dragsters. The above is supposed to be a video clip of this one's blast-off test run. It might only show up as a still photo, but it's cool, so I'm leaving it here no matter what. (I wasn't present for the test run or I would have suggested to the mad scientists that parking the cars BEHIND the launch zone may have been a better idea. :::rolling eyes, amazed they've lived this long:::)

Leah's still doing her velvet and satin embroidery, and lately she's starting to make shoes. She's also trying very hard to felt a knitted pouch that will. not. shrink. And working on a knitting commission for someone at the market last weekend. Jesse, meanwhile, commandeered the sewing machine last night in an effort to make his own ghillie suit from stuff we have around the house. First try involved knitting on size 50 needles (yes, really) with about 7 strands of yarn, with the idea of felting the resulting loose fabric. Surprise, surprise, though, knitting wasn't fast enough for the boy, so now he's on a mission with some old green curtains, pinking shears, and a big roll of elastic. Other than helping him remember how to put in a full bobbin, my assistance is not needed and my helpful input is not desired. :-)

Me? Mostly I'm still coughing and dragging, but I did manage to finish a cabled hat (pics to follow soon - blocking now) and cast on an adorable baby hat that makes me go squee!

ETA: Jesse just pointed out that one of Leah's favorite bands is playing a free outdoor show in Hartford Saturday night. If we scurry home from MA, we could make it. And there go the only couple of free hours that were still open in this weekend's calendar -- poof! -- but yay for so many good things going on out there!

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

while I was sleeping...

The other crafty girl in this house carried on with all sorts of projects. There's been embroidery as part of a costume she's conjuring up.

There's been finger looping, which is new to both of us. The flat braid looks like the usual braid, but the round braid (2nd from left) gives an entirely different effect.
There's been crocheted mask-making in preparation for what is shaping up to be an outstanding Halloween weekend.

And there's the jumble of supplies hinting at these and many other projects in the works.

Fun to see the crossover now as she's beginning to mix crochet with sewing, Scott's lampwork beads with weaving, patchwork with embroidery. Extra cool is how Jesse's doing mash-ups too, Legos with rockets, K'nex with LCDs, air power with hardware store supplies, Erector set with pumpkin chuckin'. Good thing they can provide blog fodder, since I've knit about an inch of a hat, in total, this week, but they're still going strong while I'm coughing and napping.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

a gansey, eventually

Started last Feb. with yarn scored in a stash swap. Knit 2 strands together throughout. Slogged through all that stockinette at the bottom. There's mindless social knitting and then there's I'm-so-bored-I-could-poke-my-eyes-out-for-entertainment endless stockinette. Note: Future ganseys will have some sort of pattern on the bottom portions too.

Made my way to the top, where all went surprisingly well. Learned the stretchy tubular bind-off because sweater necks rarely work out for me, only to find the head opening this time was too small. Put the whole thing in time-out for the summer.

Ripped out the neck and did it again -- entirely the same except for staying wth the same needle size as the body, so the neck turned out a little bigger. Tubular bind-off is okay with me after all.

Scoured the yarn, which then softened and bloomed considerably. Blocked to match size of Scott's favorite sweater.

Then it sat again for weeks, while he was sick, then the kids were sick, and now I'm sick (yes, still. yes, it's getting old. yes, I saw the doctor again today. yes, new meds to start later today). I did manage to help Scott get the bakery booth set up for a farmers' market yesterday, though, and it was cool out, so I brought the sweater along for a couple of quick photos.

And then I came home and took a nap.

Pattern: Old Way Gansey from Interweave Knits, although I think I got it from a library book, with help of Knitting In the Old Way or Knitting Ganseys or something like that. I think it was a mash-up of all of the above. Hydrocodone cough syrup brain is not good for long-term recall. And who really cares at this point anyway, right?

Yarn: Mystery coned tweed wool from Jen's stash

For: Scott, with specific request for saddle shoulders and seed stitch. The boy likes his seed stitch. :-)

Verdict: The sleeves are little too long, but otherwise two thumbs up.

And now I think I need another nap. Sheesh.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

lace ribbon scarf 2

It's my turn to be the sick one 'round here, so we'll keep this short and sweet.

Pre-blocking, resembles cat barf.

Post-blocking happiness.

I didn't even need to ask the model to change into a different shirt.

When she was picking peppers, I noticed how well the scarf coordinates with the hair scrunchy she crocheted with leftover sock yarn, stitched around a hair elastic.

Pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf from Knitty
Yarn: Jojoland Harmony
2nd one I've made. Good take-along knitting.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

mixing it up

When my mom was in Italy this summer, she bought some yarn. It's a blue-green colorway with little flaggy bits hanging off one of the plies -- nice colors, but difficult texture. She tried knitting something with it and it didn't work out well at all, so she handed it to me with the challenge to figure out what to do with it. I tried a variety of needle sizes and a variety of stitches. No luck. My suggestion? Hook it up with a bunch of yarns of varying but cohesive colors and textures to make a wrap, something similar to Jane Thornley's Green Before the Gold (scroll down), maybe, although possibly knit lengthwise.

This project will need lots of scrap balls of yarn. You know what that means, don't you? Stash diving!

So, into the leftovers box we went, my trusty yarn-diving companion and I. Crappy pic in the artificial light this early morning, but given that I now have a cough that's every bit as bad as Jesse's and the Nyquil (which helped me sleep last night, for the first time in three nights) has me feeling all loosey goosey this morning, so be it. :-) Anyway, mom's yarn is in the center, still with ballband. Leah and I chose bluey-greens. Some purples worked their way in there, because we just can't help our purple-loving selves, and some cream alpaca too. Not all of these balls will make the final cut, but I'll hand this collection over to mom soon and see what happens next.

Found some treasures in that stash and tidied things up (untangled, rewound) while we were in there too.

You know what happened this week? I found myself with exactly one...ONE!...project on the needles. It's a bulky thing, though, and wasn't suitable for grabbing quickly to take along as a small project to work on while I was waiting to pick Leah up from the American Red Cross babysitting course. Socks to the rescue! It's been a while since I was actively knitting socks and the time has come to bump up production again, so here we go while I decide what else to cast on, since I know full well that I need multiple projects to fit different moods and settings. Fun to look at all the options and anticipate a cast-on frenzy while I mix it up and get some new projects in motion.

I wish the blog had a scratch and sniff option because Scott is baking bread with Asiago cheese, white wine, sauteed onions and garlic. It smells so incredibly good. Can't wait to taste it.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

what's pneu?

It turns out my boy does not have the flu, but he DOES have pneumonia. Poor kid. Now that we've figured out what's going on with him, the meds should kick in quickly.

Before I hit the sack, here are before and after pics from my first try at acid dyeing.

Brown handspun (not by me), before.

Sock yarn, before.

Overdyed with Cushing's turquoise dye, after.

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quite content in quarantine

Because of the sickies around here, we've been sticking close to home the past few days. I've also had a light work week and was basically off work yesterday (IOW, I only did one "full-time" job). This hermit lifestyle suits me just fine, as it gives the chance to bounce from project to project, both the creative ones and from the to-do list in my head. Besides the button makeover I already blogged about, among the fun yesterday, there was:

First try at dyeing using acid dyes. We like!
More earrings made from Scott's beads.
Leah tells me they're extra cool if they don't match exactly.

Lace ribbon scarf blocking.
I never tire of the magical transformation with blocking.

Meanwhile, a certain someone rode her bike to the local needlework shop and came home all atwitter about xmas gifts in the works, sharing her excitement in only the vaguest of terms and challenging me to provide help without really knowing exactly what she's doing. So far, I know at least one of her secret projects involves a sewing machine and fusing fabrics, and supplies for other projects were bought at the needlework shop. She also finished stitching the Celtic knot on her Renaissance style gown.

I love that she's known by name at the local quilt shop, the local needlework shop, and at least two yarn stores. Good stuff.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009


Nice enough shirt, except for the buttons.

That's better!

That beadmaker, he comes in handy.
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a multicraftual kid

Since Leah so far has escaped the Virus of Doom (not flu, btw, according to Jesse's testing, but he's still a pretty sick kid) that has turned the males of this household into pathetic sofablobs, she continues on her merry way with a perpetual assortment of projects.

When a friend was here for a sleepover recently, pre-quarantine, they decided to sew patchwork bags for themselves.

Lots of previously sewn quilt blocks, paper piecing experiments, and scraps were included. The friend hadn't used a sewing machine before, but Leah showed her how and the two of them had a blast, making it all up as they went along. I wasn't home to get a pic of her friend's bag before she left, so I'll try to do that when she comes back to line it and embellish with tassels and decorative stitching. Leah's using her bag, even without the lining, and is pretty psyched about the results.

I prefer magic loop, but Leah likes to knit socks and fingerless gloves on DPNs. She does not, however, like having to track missing ones down or picking up stitches when a needle slips out, so she got a package of goofy pencil toppers/erasers(?), poked a hole in a pair of them, and secured a length of elastic cord from one topper to the other, knotted through the hole.

Now, when she's putting her knitting away, she can gather the four needles and tuck their ends into the toppers, held in place by the lightly stretched elastic, with no fear of losing her needles. Bonus: No needle-poked holes in tote bags!

The love of Celtic knots and making her own outfits from periods throughout history (examples here and here and here) continues. Most recently, she's converting a hand-me-down gold satin evening gown and Goodwill-found velvet dress into a Renaissance style gown, complete with embroidered stomacher and sleeve inserts.

Lots of library books and Internet research for information. She's putting lots of effort into this dress and has a very clear idea of what she's aiming for. So far, the results are better than either of us could have anticipated. Go, Goob!
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009


104.1 was the call number for a radio station I used to like a lot. It changed hands, though, and I don't enjoy it much now.

104.1ยบ was Jesse's temperature when he woke up from a nap yesterday afternoon with glassy eyes and a pounding headache, so off we went to the hospital. I didn't get much enjoyment from that either, but at least there was good knitting to keep me occupied during the mercifully short wait times. (If you know Jesse, you can imagine the need for short wait times. Mercy.)

Working diagnosis: flu. We'll know the test results later today. If positive, we'll be filling that Tamiflu Rx for Jesse and sending Scott's pathetic sick self off to the doc's office too. He doesn't have the fever, but is otherwise feeling pretty crummy.

This morning, I'm hot, cold, stuffy, headachy, coughing, and basically just about ready to crawl back into bed. Just a little bit of each, not too bad, but enough to make me think something's brewing for me too. Other than a reasonable amount of work for me and some beadmaking for Scott, the calendar has been cleared for the day.

Is is wrong for a mom to think of her family's sick day as a happy little staycation? Well, you know, happy except for the misery. ;-)

Fluids for all! Tylenol all 'round! Bring on the knitting and movie fest! Or maybe some tea and a nap.
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