Sunday, May 20, 2007

The results are in...

You're Kind of Stupid

You got 7/10 questions right!
There's some things most people know... except for you.

Yeah, f--k you Blogthings... they say ignorance is bliss or something like that.

On another note, I was tagged by Suzanne (AKA Alaska Stick Girl) to share 8 facts about myself. So, here goes:

1. I have three kidneys. One is atrophied and just kind of hangs out with the other two. Gross.

2. At some point every day, I have some kind of mystical experience.

3. I am gazing over the lovely Gulf of Alaska as I write this. This, as well as the rest of the natural world around me, is where a lot (most) of my inspiration comes from.

4. I love to work with just about anything but cotton.

5. Sometimes I go out tidepooling just so I can eat stuff. Like chitons. Or seaweed. But most times, I go out just to enjoy the elegant beauty of it all.

6. I bought some remote property about a year ago. You know, for when the end comes. Which is pretty much what I've been hoping for my entire life. Because it just costs so much money to live a simple self-sufficient lifestyle these days...

7. I'm really not as crazy as I sound. I mean, I am, but in the good way.

8. My house is dominated by love, fiber (both from sheep and my dog/cat), art glass, laughter, and kindness... not necessarily in that order.

As far as tagging goes... I'm a little shy about the entire thing. So, if you are reading this, tag, you're it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hooray for my SP!

Got a package in the mail today from my Secret Pal- full of all kinds of goodness and lots of wonderful notes...

First, I unwrapped this gem:


Spunky Eclectic roving in colorway "Walkabout" (how appropriate!). It's lovely and I can't wait to see how it will spin up.


Then, all manner of Australian sweet yummy things. The chocolate biscuits are especially delightful...


A very nice knitted washcloth (one of those ones that I may never use, because it is very cute and matches the colors in the WC so nicely) packaged in a pretty bag with some egg-shaped candles.


And this. A copy of Yarn magazine. But not just any copy...


The one in which my friend/fiber artist/cool chica who owns the yarn shop where I work has her Steve Irwin tribute yarn featured on the table of contents page. Nice! I had been wanting to get my hands on this one, and now I have it!!!!

Thanks so much SP- you are awesome!!!!!

PS- also got a killer postcard from my SP last week- I didn't take a pic, but thank you!

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's official...

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.

You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Well, aside from the fact that the Internet has validated my dream to live in Ireland, not too much exciting stuff is going on right now. I am currently in the throes of finishing my mum's Mother's Day gift. I thought, for some reason, that Mother's Day was on May 15. Seems I forgot that Mother's Day is always in a Sunday... like it has been for the past 28 years of my life. Nice. Oh well, she is being understanding and all that.
I'm also bummin' because I somehow managed to lose my SP's address AND e-mail. And I still haven't heard from the moderator of our group yet (it's been about a week!). I even tried contacting one of the other moderators, and ummm... got a bit of a terse reply. I know these folks are doing a hell of a lot of work- and it is so appreciated! I also know that I am a total nimrod for losing such valuable info. But, I'm getting a bit desperate. Plus, there are Lantern Moon circs in this package I want to send. And then some. Hopefully it will all work out soon!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

OMFG, she knits!

Now things have settled down just a bit. The whale festival was a HUGE success, and now I am just taking care of wrapping things up. That means, that this Sunday (my next day off), I will actually be able to lay around in my PJ's all day. Drinking mimosas and knitting. It is going to be so nice to have an Entire Day just to myself!

I did start a wee little project last week. No, the entrelac bag is still not finished (I needed a break from it). This was worked on at night, prior to presentations last week... just a nice little mindless project to fill in spare moments (idle hands and all that, or something).

This is a cowl being knit using two balls of Noro Silk Garden (#83 and #217, I think) that I picked up when back east. I'm just doing one round of k1, p1, followed by 1 round of (k1, yo, k3, double dec, k3, yo), then one round of knit (a basic zig zag patern). These two rounds are repeated, then the other color is worked in the same five rounds as established. Does that make sense? Well, it does to me anyway! That little bit of paper in the corner of the photo is my new tide table for the year- almost time to start going tidepooling again. And eating stuff that I find. That's a whole other story...

I realized I needed one of these, since I am doing gardening activities for my job... and it still feels like winter in these parts. It does not work to have scarves dragging through the mud, so I decided to make something a little more practical. Me, practical? I must be coming down with something ;-)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Secret Pal Rocks!

The Husband picked up the mail today- I could sense there was something nice in the pile, not a bill or junk mail... something a little more personal. He handed this to me:

Oh my! I think my SP must somehow be reading my mind... how else could she have known that I watched Naked Lunch yesterday and currently have Burroughs on the mind???
The devil is in the details...

Oh, and check check it... I suspected that she may be from Australia, but wasn't quite sure. This proves my hunch:

And oh my, now I know that I am in for a treat. We all know that the Australian folks are SERIOUS about their fiber (or should I say fibre??? [wink]).

Thanks for making my day SP!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Small Things. Big Things.

All the small things- and some big ones… I have been playing truant from Bloggyville because this is going on right now. This is the 11th year of Whale Fest Kodiak, and the first year I have coordinated the whole thing, and I had the founder/former chair tell me last night that this is the Best. Year. Ever. Well, I’ll be pickled. We have had great turn out at our events, sales of our t-shirts are sky-high, etc., etc. Below is the design of the shirt, a woodcut of a humpback whale done by local artist Liz Mitchell:

So, that gives me little time to be in front of the PC talking about how little knitting I have been doing. What I have been doing is small things…

I made a little pouch knit in handspun alpaca (about 14 wpi) for a friend’s b-day (the same artiste who designed the Whale Fest shirts that have been selling so very well). Pattern from Andean Folk Knitting; however, I omitted the unas, the little amulet pouches that are a part of many of the bag patterns in this book. I was pressed for time, what can I say? She lurved it. Sadly, I cannot seem to find the pictures that I took of the thing. Just take my word for it.

Still working on the entrelac bag (for the same person. I must really like her or something). Done with all of the squares, just need to knit the top row of triangles, do and i-cord edge, knit 56 more miles of I-cord, then into the wash she goes! ‘Bout damn time.

Also, I have not forgotten about my SP10 commitment. Will be getting something out this week.
In my paying job, the sprouts are going strong in the greenhouse. Although the calendar sez April, still feels like February in these parts… Probably will not get to planting outside ‘til May. Whateves, I still am getting paid to garden. And fish. And hike. No complaints here…

Anyhoo, someday I will be a better blogger- and what a boring post this was (what the hell, at least I did it)! Someday I may even get my shit together enough to have a Real Website on which I sell fibery goodness. ‘Til then, I’ll just do what I can do ‘cause that’s all that I can do. Or something.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Am I to understand that today is not in fact Sunday?

Yeah, Sunday came and went. So did Monday. So much for my promise to blog every Sunday. What can I say? I'm full of surprises.

Here is what I did on Sunday when I wasn't blogging (you can see why I chose these activities over sitting in front of the computer):

Went to the harbor and saw a pack of HUGE Steller Sea Lion bulls (about 1000 lbs each) swin right by us. I have never seen this many HUGE bulls in a group like this. The pic does not do them justice. My dog was on the dock with us, and one actually stopped in the water and looked right at him for about 5 seconds before moving on. Wow.

Took a 4-mile walk on Burma Road, an old WWII road with sweeping views of mountains, and the occasional ammunition bunker on the roadside. This is me with the Sawtooth Mountains in the background
The past week at my new job has been exciting and wonderful. Here is a list of what I did:

1. Started seeds in the greenhouse:

This is the site of the organic garden, located behind the Woody Island Tribal Council office. It still looks so sad and wintery (the snow has just melted). This is where we grow veggies and such to distribute to the community. Nice. I currently live in an apartment, so it is a joy to get to garden (and compost!) again. Can't wait 'til I have a good "after" photo.

2. I learned to say "fart" in the Inupiaq Eskimo language from the Council's acting administrator. I wil not embarrass myself by trying to spell it properly. However, I do think it may be my mission in life to learn to say "fart" in as many languages as possible.

3. Had a wonderful conversation with an Alutiiq Native Elder. Try to tell me that's not cool.

4. Did some prelim planning for subsistence salmon and halibut fishing activities, including hanging a net. I tried not to look too stupid during this meeting.

5. Revamped brochures and posters for my program. Tried not to make them look stupid either. Also created a schedule for organic gardening workshops, such as pest control and composting.

6. Oh, yeah... in my current non-paying job... I have been scrambling to confirm speakers, get brochures in the community, and light a fire under people's butts.

So, these were the main things... not to mention just the day-to-day stuff. I will not post pics of any fiber stuff, because, umm... there hasn't been any progress. I love the things I do for a living, but I really wish that I could just be a full time fiber artist. Sigh..

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Over. Whelmed.

So, not that I was any kind of stellar blogger anyway, but now I'm afraid that I'll have even less time for it, for a couple of reasons. I'm going to commit to posting every Sunday, lest my SP thinks I've dropped off the face of the earth or something.

There is just SO MUCH going on in my life right now. One major item is that I am the Chair of this, and that I just started a new job here as their Environmental Education Coordinator. The job should be pretty exciting... working with the public with an emphasis on the Native community, in the areas of subsistence fishing, ethnobotany, and organic gardening. It's a bit of a departure from similar positions I've had in the past, which were more bio-/ecology based. Should be fun! I'll for sure be sharing all kinds of cool pics of me in the garden, out in the boat, up in the hills, etc... most likely with some kind of knitting with me ;-)

Monday, March 26, 2007

On the Atlantic side...

Being one of those leftie-liberal-treehugging-wacko types with a strong affinity toward the wild coast of the Pacific Ocean, I thought for sure that I would feel out of place when traveling back East. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case at all... in fact, what I loved about associating with other like-minded people there is that, frankly, the leftie-liberal-treehugging-wacko types of the East are much less annoying that most of us in the west. It's kinda like they aren't trying so hard. Or trying to outdo one another in their crunchiness. What a nice change.

All that aside, I had a wonderful journey. We stayed with my new brother/sister-in-law in Easton, about 30 min south of Boston. Affter being stuck on an island for so long, even this little suburban hamlet seemed like the urban jungle. There were Actual Thai Restaurants, for one thing. Oh, and even though I live in a fishing town in AK, there was more seafood available (there's a whole other story about how much of our seafood is sold overseas, then sold back to us. But, that's for another time...) I personally put at least 3 dozen live cherystones to a swift death involving hot sauce and my gullet. YUM. My hubby has more pics of the trip on his blog, so here is the link if you actually give a shit. Frankly, being back on my wild little island= slow interwebs. Therefore, I like to minimize how many pics I actually have to upload to the blog. There are many pictures of me eating wonderful food, and one memorable shot on me passed out on the train back to Easton after getting absolutely sloppy on Jameson and Guinness on St. Paddy's. That was a memorable night- at least, what I can remember of it.

One would think that I would have gotten TONS of knitting done on a 2.5 week vacation, but sadly, that was not the case. I started a sock for my dad's b-day as we were beginning our journey. His birthday was on the 22nd, so ummm.... this is now for Father's Day.

Here is a picture of the sock in progress:

I'm knitting it using Cascade 220 on 3.25 mm needles. Gauge is 6 st/inch and I'm using the sock patt from the Handy Book o' Patterns. No way was I using sock yarn for his big-ass feet. Even on worsted weight I couldn't get much done!

And as for the entrelac bag... well, it should be finished, but this is all I have. Plus about 17.4 miles of I-cord for the straps.

I did somehow manage to make a spiral scarf using the yarn "Estrus" that I spun a bit back.

So little knitting. Staying with the fam also meant being around my adorable new nieces, rambunctious retrievers, and all sorts of other wonderfulness. Therefore, my priorities went beyond needles and yarn. Plus, it's hard to knit when there are cute children hanging off of you. How the hell do people with kids find any time to knit at all? This just furthers my opinion that (most) parents just straight-up kick ass.

What else? Well, I did make it to one yarn store when we we driving to Newport, RI (one of the most beautiful places in the world). My husband painted one of the lighthouses there. How neat is that? For shizzle. We made a detour into Tiverton, RI to find a place called Sakonnet Purls. Wow, what a nice shop, with a very nice staff. They were very excited to hear that I came all the way from AK- and that I worked at a yarn shop there as well. The Husband stayed in the car the whole time, and no, I don't feel badly that my already long experience in the yarn shop was augmented by a 20 min conversation with these fab ladies. I will be ordering online from them, that is for sure!

During our trip to the shop, my Husband (a Boston native) mentioned that Tiverton is "Swamp Yankee" country... meaning, that a lot of the old families who intitally stole land from the Natives in that region are still there and that, they are referred to as "Swamp Yankees". I'm not sure if this is a disparaging term or not, so if it is, I apologize. I was so taken by the phrase however, that on Sat, I carded a batt using the colors of the region in winter and spun it up yesterday with snippets of boucle, some other random novelty yarn, and trade beads/ glass leaves. I present:

"Sakonnet Swamp Yankee"- 90 yds, 3.5 wpi. Love it!

And, there is another yarn in the works. Let's just say that "pimp" is part of the title, velour fabric is part of the fiber, and leave it at that for now...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

SP 10!!!

It's been a while since I have blogged, just for the simple fact that I have been a-travelin'. Went to Boston for a couple of weeks (St. Paddy's Day, baby), during which time I also peeped out Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine! What a blast! I'll post more about my adventures when the jet lag wears off...

SP 10 matches came out recently- I've heard from mine and just dropped my gal a line- this is the first time I've ever done one of these, so I'm really looking forward to spoiling and being spoiled! Till, then, I need to go and drink more coffee...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Every year about this time, a pod of orcas returns to the harbor in Kodiak to feast on the many Steller sea lions that hang out there. It's all about the timing when catching a glimpse of these majestic animals- I've only seen them 3 times in as many years! Today, a friend of mine who works on the channel leading into the harbor phoned to let me know that they were out and about. Needless to say, The Husband and jumped in the car and raced down there... here is a glimpse of what we witnessed:

A calf. I got seriously choked up. I am not worthy of witnessing such profound beauty.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I'd like to thank the Academy... even though I'm filled with hot air

I'm not one for most awards shows, but there is something about the Oscars that always fascinates me. I always have to watch that stuff, preferably while drinking one or two bottles of wine during the show. Last night, however, I actually went to bed right smack in the middle! I have been looking forward to this evening for months, yet a curious GI complaint just made me want to go lay down and read. OK, this is the TMI section of the post:

A couple of days ago, I started having some gas pains. Worse yet, there was no relief from either end. So, last night this culminated in me considering making a puncture in my stomach with a sock needle to relieve the pressure. Serioulsy. My stomach was actually distended. I tried everything- some ginger, mint, and fennel tea, some OTC stuff, creative yoga positions. Nothing. Not only was I extremely uncomfortable last night, I cold only drink one glass of wine, and I felt fatter than usual- especially when seeing all those starlets cramed in to size 000 gowns.

So, my analysis of what I did see. Way too many fashion dont's... Nicole Kidman looked like a bottle of ketchup that had a chunk of dried ketchup next to the bottleneck. Gwyneth Paltrow looked like she was sheathed in a pair of old-lady stockings. Yuck. I love Ellen, but I felt like she was hosting her daytime show instead of the Academy Awards. Jennifer Hudson probably shouldn't have gotten the award, but good for her anyway. But, found out this AM that Scorsese, Gore, Whitaker and Mirren all got well-deserved Oscars. I guess that's something.

Speaking of this AM, I am experiencing some relief- but my abs are actually sore! Can you believe that? WTF? However, I did manage to get some knitting in last night in between moans of pain and moans of "Why are they wearing that?"

The entrelac bag in process. It's about 1/2 way done. Hope to have the knitted portion done in the next couple of days. Then, I'm going to sew in a nice lining and make a fused glass button for it- my girl is gonna LURVE it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bon Anniversaire Maman!

OK, so her birthday was on Thursday... but her present arrived yesterday. I sent her some washcloths (which she is fascinated with- she just loves that one can actually Knit a Dishcloth), a cute fabric box, and this:

My first-ever Branching Out! Yeah, yeah... I'm always a little behind the cool kids when it comes to jumping on the bandwagon to knit these patterns. I'm very proud of it- this is the most complex lace pattern I've ever tackled, and it was made with some of my handspun.

I love how the colors look with this pattern- this yarn was inspired by the year I lived in upstate New York and the mottled burgundies, oranges, rusts, purples, and greens of the Adirondacks in autumn, which came out nicely in the leafy motif with this yarn.

She called me yesterday when she received it to tell me how much she LURVES it. I knit this in a hurry, after I finished Purple Pewter... suddenly the yarn called to me from my basket o' handspun and told me what it wanted to be, and to whom it needed to go. Love when that happens. I found the pattern surprisingly easy to knit- lace is a very logical thing- you can easily see what you are supposed to do in the next row based upon what you did before. Conversely, it is also easy to see when you didn't do what you were supposed to do. This makes me think I may be ready to try out some of Debbie New's Cellular Automaton knitting method. Hmmm... maybe I should get too far ahead of myself after only completing one little scarf...
Pattern: Branching Out from Knitty Spring 2005
Yarn: 175 of my handspun Corriedale, about 12 wpi
Measurements: 6"wide, 48" long

Friday, February 23, 2007


I've been doing some spinning over the past few days... first up, the yarn resulting from my batt inspired by my need to rid myself of winter blues...

Yep, that's bright. About 14 wpi, 175 yds. Oddly enough, the sun has been shining ever since I started spinning this yarn. It's much more sparkly in person.

And, I felt compelled to dig in to the stash o' batts and spin up this lovely...

"Earthworm"- 3 wpi, 85 yds. I'm really proud of this one and submitted it to The Yarn Museum's Coils Gallery. This skein won't be living with me much longer, though... I'm giving it to a good home.

Some time ago, I crocheted a hat using Kureyon #126 and took it to The Rookery to sell. It went rather quickly, because, I dare say, it was very cute. I found out recently that the woman who bought the hat is the same woman who owns the framing shop/gallery next door. She is quite a fantastic spinner/artist in her own right, and we have great conversations during my Saturdays at the shop.

So, when I found out she had my hat, I told her all about how it was made in my favorite colorway, which I haven't been able to find in some time. Turns out, she bought 9 balls of the stuff from The Rookery. The following week, she GAVE it all to me. I mean, holy shit:

All she wants in return is for me to knit her a felted bag using some other balls of Kureyon she provided (more on that soon). I made it clear that just knitting a bag would not enough for such a fucking righteous gift, and told her I would be providing her with lotsa other goodies in the near future. So, when I finished "Earthworm" yesterday, I just knew it had to go to her...

Anyway, the bag? One word: Entrelac. I love it so far. It's gonna be awesome.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Creamed Corn

As the two readers (hi mom!) of this blog know, I am occasionally prone to ranting about off-the-wall stuff. Then, I feel like an ass. So, I slept on this one before deciding to post. I decided that I actually had A Valid Point and should proceed.

I'm not much of a charity knitter. That's a failing on my part and I intend to be better about it. I mean, check out these folks for some wonderful inspiration. I love their blogs, and these are some of the people who are inspiring me to knit for charity (my friends and fam really don't count in that sense).

One thing, however, that I am finding disturbing is a theme that I have seen on several blogs. Now, I know these folks are in the minority, but it bears mentioning. I have run across the notion that people knit for charity with what they consider substandard yarn. As in, "Yeah, someone gave me some crappy Red Heart acrylic, which I would never wear, so I decided to do some charity knitting with it." Now that is just not cool. That is like giving nothing but creamed corn to a damn food drive. I mean, let's face it, people with limited means are grateful for anything they can get, but no one, not one living soul, really wants to grub on some fucking creamed corn. Spend an extra few bucks and get some canned artichoke hearts, some yummy organic Mac & Cheese (like the stuff from Annie's-YUM)... give people stuff you would want to eat, not that which you want to get rid of.

Same goes for yarn. I'm not saying you have to knit hats with cashmere or anything, but Cascade 220 isn't really that expensive. Lion Brand also has affordable yarns that are pleasing to the touch and sight. All I'm sayin' is, if yer gonna knit for charity, give a little bit more than just your time. And yes, I have officially declared Red Heart acrylic to be the creamed corn of the fiber world.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Life is a series of trade-offs

There are so many things that I LOVE about living in Kodiak. The wild natural beauty, the fishing, the wildflowers, the tidepooling, moments like this:

The dog and me- Pillar Mountain, 2/19/07.

This is my "intrepid explorer" pose.

That being said, there are a lot of sacrifices one must make when living in such a remote area. While I often welcome these minor inconveniences, in winter, they can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. However, I have learned to live without good produce, a Thai restaurant, decent live music on a consistent basis, etc... There is one thing, though, that has been driving me batshit. You see, everyone on the Interwebs is raving about the new issue of IK. We don't have it yet. For the most part, we get magazines 1-2 weeks after everyone else in America. I have learned to deal with this with my beloved Vanity Fair, but I'm dying to get my hands on that entrelac sock pattern- among other things. It seems like such a small thing, but it is a good example of some of the isolation I've been feeling this winter. This is my 4th winter here, and man, it has been a tough one. I don't think I have the S.A.D. or anything, but just a touch of the winter blues. So, I carded a batt the other day to help me overcome:

This has to work.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Noro Kureyon One-Ball Wavy Gravy Hat Pattern

Is that a long enough name for a pattern? Anyway, this hat uses a little less than one ball of Noro Kureyon. I wanted to come up with a hat pattern that would use that one odd ball I always have laying around, but have the hat be long enough to cover the ears (I'm not a big fan of beanies). Plus, the pattern stitch is very stretchy... although the finished diameter of the hat is 17", it stretches comfortably around my 22" noggin (I have a verry large head).

Dimensions: 7.5" from center of crown to base of scalloped brim. 17" diameter- but can accomodate a wide range of head sizes (see above).

Yarn: 1 ball Noro Kureyon (hat shown in color #159 )

Needles: 1 16" or 20" circular in 5 mm (US#8). Set of 5 dpn in same size.

Gauge: 5 st/inch and 8 rows/inch in stockinette stitch.


Using long-tail CO, loosely cast on 72 sts

Join, taking care not to twist

Rnds 1&4: purl

Rnd 2: knit

Rnd 3: *(k2tog) two times, (yo,k1) four times, (k2tog) two times* rep from * to * to end of rnd

Rnds 5&6: knit

Rnd 7: as Rnd 3

Rnd 8: purl

Repeat rnds 5-8 a total of 9 times.

Knit two rnds

Decrease for crown:

Rnd 1: *k7, k2tog* rep from *to* to end of round (64 sts rem)

Rnd 2: knit

Rnd 3: *k6, k2tog* rep from *to* to end of round (56 sts rem)

Rnd 4: knit

Continue as established, decreasing 8 sts every other rnd until 8 sts rem. Draw yarn through the remaining stitches and fasten off. Block lightly.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Puppies and other assorted eye candy

My current work on the needles is still top-secret. Hopefully I can unveil it late next week... not too much else going on in regards to the knitting front. Had some dear friends over last night for handmade rosemary/sun-dried tomato foccacia and various antipesto-like toppings. Yum! We also drank copious amounts of wine, solved all of the world's problems, and laughed our asses off. Plus, we got to meet this little lady:

a little husky mix named Luna, aged 8 weeks with her new dad. How cute is she?
(yeah, yeah, I know that a few weeks ago I bitched about people putting pet pics on their knitting blogs.
I didn't mean that all pet photos were bad, I'm just annoyed when they are the cornerstone of damn near every single post.)

And, since there is little else to report, here is a treat for Eye Candy Friday:


Me walking on the beach at Cape Chiniak. Memorial Day 2006.

Can you tell that I am yearning for Spring?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I just changed to the new version of Blogger- meaning that a lot of my page elements are a bit on the wonky side. Bear with me over the next couple of weeks whilst I get everything straightened out... I'm a bit HTML-challenged ;-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cupid and his arrows...

I used to hate Valentine's Day. I mean, let's face it, it is a construct of the retail industry and pharmaceutical companies. The retail industry profits off of all of the useless fodder that one feels they must give/receive on this day, the drug co's benefit from the crushing sense of self-doubt that people feel when they do not live up to the status quo of Cupids and roses and shit like that. Hey, heaven knows that I popped a Vicodin (or 3) on sad, lonely Valentine's Days of the past. But, for joy, now I have a reason to celebrate...

The husband and me, 2/13/07.
Piedmont Point, Fort Abercrombie State Hist. Park
Note how blue the Gulf of AK is in the background.
Try to ignore all of the chins.

... and not with overpriced roses, bad chocolates, or cheesy cards either. We are going to meet up for a sushi lunch and a hike in the woods. This is love. I wouldn't have it any other way. Here is a lovely post on the meaning of true love, not the faux romantic sappy stuff. That is exactly why the husband and I are so happy- we laugh, love, sometimes fight, and always grow. Together. I am the luckiest woman in the world. I look at this picture and think, "Wow, that guy, with those kind eyes and sweet temperament. This man, in all of his hot Black Irishness, with rapier-sharp wit, who never raises his voice, who always supports the silly things I do... this man loves me." I hope you all can find the same kind of love and trust someday...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I didn't have a chance to run down to the LYS yesterday to take a more improved picture of Purple Pewter. However, we got a rare sunbreak today, which left me scrambling about the house to find the camera so I could take a better picture of the shawl. So, here are some slightly improved images. I think I can only blame so much of my photography issues on bad lighting... methinks I am just a shitty photographer...

See those books in the background? All fiber arts books.
Mostly about knitting. Someone is just a tad obsessed...

I pinned the edges into points. Not only does it look snappy, It's a hell of a lot less time-consuming than trying to pin lace edges straight. I may be lazy, but I make lazy look good.

The batt for this yarn was a combination of several colors, everything from gray to burgundy to lavender to purple and a few shades in between with some "Marcasite Flash" Angelina for sparkle. The glittery bits are hard to see, but they are in there, I promise.. I allowed the colors to blend randomly on the drum carder and spun it all up in just as random of a fashion. I LOVE the painterly effect this gave the fabric.


Dimensions: 56" wide, 35" long
Yarn: My very own handspun Corriedale- about 325 yds, sport weight
Needles: 5.5 mm 24" Addi Turbo
Pattern: Rob Roy shawl- pattern available here (for free! Because I am not only lazy, I am also cheap.)
So, in the interest of saving $$$ on gas (read: I'm cheap), I probably won't get a shot of the Kureyon cap until Saturday, when I go work at the LYS. Then, I will post the pattern. Until then, there is another handspun lace project beckoning... shhh... it's a secret!

Monday, February 12, 2007


The purple pewter shawl is complete! And, I have to say, it surpassed my expectations. To be sure, it is a simple lace pattern, but this is the first time that I have made such a large piece using allover lace stitchery. The size turned out perfect (about 56" wide)- my biggest fear was that I would end up with something too big for a kerchief, too small for a shawl! This also marks the most substantial work that I have made with my very own handspun. Below are some pics, pre- and during blocking (I just love the difference some water and pins make):

Yay! Crappy pics taken in low light! My signature look! Fortunately, the shawl dried quickly, so I will be unpinning it this afternoon to take down to the LYS- she has nice full spectrum lights in there that are perfect for photographing the fuzzy stuff. Also, I finished that wavy 'lil Kureyon cap the other day- I will be posting the pattern, but I forgot to take a pic before taking the hat down to the shop! So, later today or tomorrow, I will be putting up the hat pattern- and some decent pics of my proud achievement in all of her glory!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hats=Crack for Knitters

So, after finishing the Diamusee hat, my needles were beckoning me to cast on yet another! I had no control over the situation- I think I may be a hat addict.
Why I love hats:
  • They are quick to knit, even at a fine gauge.

  • Everybody loves hats, just about. I know that I can never have too many.

  • I can put them on consignment at the LYS and make a profit because of the minimal labor cost.

  • If they do not sell at the shop, then they make a great gift. (Yeah, that's tacky. "Ummm, hey, here's a hat, made just for you, that no one else wanted to buy..." What the hell, I am tacky!)

  • They are a great use for small quantities of yarn, as shown below:

This is a hat that will (hopefully) use only one ball of Kureyon to knit, using what may be my favorite "mindless-when-I-don't-feel-like-I'm-being-lobotomized-with-stockinette" stitch, Feather and Fan. It' s a simple knit, and I will post the pattern when the knitting is complete. Then, because I have an addictive personality, I will probably start another.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"To think something is not necessarily to say it."

The above quote is paraphrased from one of my favorite books, Wise Child, by the late Monica Furlong. This book, as well as the others in the trilogy (Juniper and Colman) helped shape my core beliefs from a very early age. Although they are generally considered reading for young adults, I still enjoy picking them up and reading them from time to time. It's a nice view into remote Scotland in a time when the region was transitioning from Pagan lifeways to Christian beliefs. And, especially in Juniper, there is much talk of spinning, weaving, and dyeing from a magickal perspective.

But, I'm afraid I thought of this quote for more sundry reasons. Last night, when I was teaching my sock class, I was once again reminded of the very short distance between my mind and mouth. I was discussing with one of the students why ssk and k2tog decreases are both used, as they slant different directions. Because the knitters in the class are fairly new, I wanted to make the point that if it was just easier to use one method of decreasing in their first pair of socks, that no one would fault them for it. I said, and I quote, "You know, that's just kind of an anal thing." Yes, I said, "You know, that's just kind of an anal thing" in the middle of a freaking knitting class. Fortunately, I quickly realized how that sounded, and without missing a beat, I just kept talking, and managed to throw in other words like "retentive" and "perfectionist" to smooth over the fact that I had just used the term "anal" in a sentence during a freaking knitting class. You know, I don't think that I am socially retarded, but I am definitely socially awkward at times. Hmmm... I wonder what kind of people will be visiting my blog after this post? ;-)

Ahem. In other news...

I finished the Diamusee hat... pardon the poor pic quality, but cloudy days in my poorly-lit house translate to yucky pictures. The colors in this yarn are much more subtle than the crayon-like colors which my camera avec flash interpreted:

I'm especially fond of the crown- didn't even plan on the colors working out that way in the bullseye pattern (if you squint I swear you can see it), but it looks like I did. Hmmm... I wonder if this increases my chances of having an eagle poop on my head. One can only hope.

This pattern was a great way to use this yarn- it's a little spendy (but worth it!), and I used all but 2 yds of the ball for the hat. I happily threw the leftover strand of loveliness into my Random Bits of Yarn receptacle to be incorporated into another project.

Pattern: Ela's Favorite Hat from One-Skein Wonders- adapted to include lacy swirl decreases on the crown and purl bands at even intervals.

Yarn: Diakeito Diamusee- 1 ball approx 100 yds (oops- tossed the ball band & can't remember the colorway/exact yardage)

Needles: 5 mm 20" Addis/ Brittany dpns

I seem to be in itty bitty project mode- I also just finished a Kureyon-chan bag for my stepdaughter's b-day. Unfortunately, I sent it off before taking a pic. I like the pattern, pretty much a standard model for the felted purse, but I wish the author had made it such that the pattern uses up more of that "stray skein of Kureyon" for which it was designed. Even after adding about 10 extra rows, I had a bunch left! Also, I adapted the pattern for knitting in a buttonhole rather than cutting one. Dunno why, but that cutting thing always gets under my skin a bit. But really, I'm not being mean- it's a cute design and well worth making. I recommend the pattern, especially for someone new to felting knits, but in the future, I will make the bag larger in diameter. A nice, quick evening knit is always nice...

Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire

I've never done the whole SP thing before... just came across the questionnaire on another blog, and thought I would give it whirl. Since I work at the LYS, I'm sure I can come up with all sorts of lovelies for my SP! And, for whoever is assigned to moi, here is some handy and useful info:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I'm into the animal fibers: wool and alpaca are favorites, with a little silk thrown in for good measure. I love all things Noro... the more rainbow-like the better! I'm not a huge fan of cotton, but I will knit with it if it is especially lovely.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a felted cylinder that everything goes into. My dpn's are sequestered in a case made of felt. Yeah, I could probably be a bit more organized ;-)

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I taught myself when I was 18 on vacation in Scotland. After making a pair of socks that turned out like sweater sleeves, I went on hiatus for a few years. I've been knitting consistently for the past 5 years and consider myself somewhere between intermediate and advanced.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Nope- I like surprises!

5. What's your favorite scent?

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Kind of... I am a fan of all things Godiva and any other candy that is artisinal in nature

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Yes, I spin, do leaded/fused glass, lotsa mixed-media work... if I can make it with my own two hands, I'll try it!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Just about everything save for cheesy country and death metal. If I had to choose, bluegrass and GOOD hip hop (AKA poetry set to a beat, folks like Mos Def & Mr. Lif) are my faves- yes, my computer can play the MP3's

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Love purples, blues, and greens. I am into most colors, but yellow is not for me!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm married, and have kids covered in fur. Japhy, a black lab, and Fiona, the cat

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Everything 'cept the ponchos. I love scarves and hats!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Hats, mittens, and socks

13. What are you knitting right now?
Some socks, a hat, and a lace shawl

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
But of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I prefer circs, esp Addi Turbos

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Lucky me, I have both!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
3 months old

18. What is your favorite holiday?

19. Is there anything that you collect?
hmmm... I dig on shells, crystals... anything beautiful that comes from nature.

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 do not have any subscriptions, but I regularly buy Fiber Arts, Spin Off, and Interweave Knits. Also love Quilting Arts and Textile Fibre Forum, as well as Knit Knit. I have lotsa knitting books, but would love to get any of Barbara Walker's Treasuries. As far as yarn, Sea Silk is something I would love to play with! (Geez, I sound like I have expensive tastes! Don't worry, I'm just as happy with some dishcloth cotton.)

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I've played with a lot of techniques, and would love to master lace knitting.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes! I am a size 8, average width.

23. When is your birthday? September 15

Thank you in advance kind SP!

We'll I'll be...

Just took a look at the hits on this blog... seems that folks from all over are taking a peep at the silly little things I do and say. It's funny what a motivator that can be; I mean, this is in essence an online journal which I do mostly to keep a record of the things that I create. But, knowing that people from Russia to Paris to Australia are looking at this, why that just makes me want to share what I do even more. Thanks so much to all who visit- it brightens the day considerably.

So, that being said, there are but a few things to share today:

The purple pewter shawl comes along nicely. I'm thinking two more of the 11-row pattern and I will be out of yarn and therefore, done. The size will be about what I expected and I think will make for a dainty little wisp that I can secure with a handmade fused glass shawl pin. I'm hoping that wearing it will make me feel like I'm in a Jane Austen novel, even when I am just outside picking up my dog's poo.

Am also working on a hat using Diakeito Diamusee. This yarn makes me think that this is what Kureyon wants to be when it grows up. Don't get me wrong, I love some Kureyon (and have a stash of it to prove it) but Diamusee is so soft, the color changes both surprising and elegant. Of course, as with most singles yarns, I think pilling will be a bit of a problem. I've experienced a little just in the knitting process. However, these pills were easy to remove without damaging the look of the fabric. I think after a bit of wear, all of the pills will have worked their way out of the hat. As far as the pattern, it's based on one from One-Skein Wonders created by the owner of Knit Knot in Portland, OR and is perfect TV knitting. I got most of it done last night while watching, and I am not ashamed of this, Dirt. Man, something about those scandalous shows on the FX Network. Cracks me up that it is owned by Fox, who also runs the most conservative cable news network. Rupert Murdoch is laughing at all of us on his way to the bank- making money off both sides of the moral spectrum. Good for him...

Am also doing a little spinning. This wool of undetermined origin is minimally processed, to say the least. That is what I like about it. I like the feel of lanolin on my fingers, the VM (most of which comes out whilst predrafting), the fact that this is a very organic looking yarn. There are about 7 oz of this stuff, which I think will end up as a 3-ply worsted weight. I'm thinking densely knit hiking socks with some gansey-style stitches.

Speaking of socks, part II of my Basic Sock Construction class is tonight in which we tackle the heel. I'm going to give my students a little pep talk (which is really for the benefit of one particular student) in which I discuss how when taking on a new skill, it must be approached with the mindset that you can do this. That no, this is not hard, it just needs to be figured out. I have taught myself many different art forms: printmaking, stained glass, lampworking, fusing, and knitting are just a few. Gee, that sounded arrogant, didn't it? My point is though, I was successful at teaching myself those skills becuase I went in with the attitude that yes, I am capable of this. When you go into something and say/think "This is hard" or "I can't do this", you are setting yourself up for failure becuase words like that set up mental roadblocks. I hope this works.
On another front, I made incense yesterday! It had been years since I had made the stuff, and I still had lotsa powdered sandalwood and various resins to use up. So, I busted out one of my favorite resources, The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews by the late Scott Cunningham and went to town.

After blending red & white sandalwood with dragon's blood, myrrh, and copal, some rosemary and juniper, and oils of vetivert, patchouli, juniper, and cedar, then adding some saltpeter (to make them smolder) and gum arabic to hold it all together, I came up with these little bricks:

Husband says it smells like the incense they used to burn at church when he was growing up. It's woodsy and heady and wonderful! I need to do a few more test runs, and I will come up with a more detailed post on how to create combustible incense. It's pretty damn easy, really, just a little time consuming- like most things in life.

PS: If you are visiting my blog from far, far, away (or even not so far), drop a note in the comments- just so I can link back to your own blog ;-)