Thursday, December 29, 2011

The List

Last night I had the symptoms of startitis. I know that I caught it when I realized that I was going to be at the museum all Tuesday and had no plain socks on the needles and needed one.

I went stash diving and grabbed a ball of Seaweed with the intent to make myself some plain toe up socks. Well I finished the toe and realized that this yarn did not want to be plain toe up socks! It wanted to be some 2 stranded argyles instead!

Its want to be these socks caused me to rip out my perfectly worked toe and hunt down a yarn that would not mind being plain socks but as I hunted down the yarn I got to thinking...

I should cast on both the argyle's and plain socks because this year is all about mastering 2 handed knitting and I need a plain sock!

Before I knew it I had my printed copy for the argyle socks in one hands and a needle gauge in the other while trying to hunt down a black ball of Cascade 220 Fingering (I don't know how they can still get away with calling it "220").

Then it hit me while I was looking for a set of size 2 needles that THE LIST that lives on my computer was not getting any shorter and that maybe I needed to finish something on it before I went and dove into 2 new projects.

The List is a list of all my projects, on the needles and need to start, and hours estimated to complete them. Currently I'm at 190 hours estimated and 19 projects.

Some of them only need things like a second fingerless mitten because I whipped up the first then acted like a floozy on caffeine when another pattern or yarn caught my eye. Some of it is epic projects like a shawl that I think needs 60 hours to complete as I only have one border done. But the shameful thing is that some of it is so simple that if I just sat down for a couple hours I could have a finished project. Like the afterthought heels on a pair of socks.

So I sucked up the startitis last night and put a heel on a sock while having a glass of wine (the wine helps me forget about the other projects).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Perfect Gift: A Shawl

Every year there are a few people I have no idea what to make or get for them so they tend to linger at the bottom of my knitting list till I realize on the big day that I have nothing for them.

I usually panic, feel sick, think about not attending important family functions to avoid them, and then stash dive till I find a yarn that they might like and print a pattern that has some kind of meaning.

This year it was Ben's mom. She is the woman with everything and wants only more time with her family, but i feel she is knit worthy and therefor needs to be gifted with wool.

Last year I knitted her and her husband the Hemlock Ring Blanket in Ultra Alpca

Now my own rules state that because she got a masterpiece last year this year I get to tone it down a little. So a couple days before Christmas when I had no idea what to do for her, and was thinking about not attending Christmas morning with Ben, I was winding the balls for the last of the Christmas knitting and saw a skein of Hushed Purple. I also had a pattern that Caren wrote, and being that they knew one another I knew I had a perfect gift. I mean really, who can say no to a shawl?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


We all have them.

Leftover food
Leftover knitting
Leftover cleaning

And we're all expected to deal with these things along with out normal lives.

Today I nearly have the house back to rights. There are still piles of boxes, the table needs to go back in place, my recumbent bike needs to come back in, and there are dishes to dry. Yesterday there was not a single clean fork or plate in the house because we used all of them Christmas Eve, so I set up one of the folding tables in the kitchen, put a towel on it and proceeded to wash nearly all the dishes in the house. Took well over an hour but it got me to start going through the  kitchen and get rid of things we don't use.

Once I have the house back to rights I'll get back to the leftover Christmas knitting. There is 2 pairs of slippers, a shawl and a pair of socks to be done. Normally I try to get it all done before the New Year, but this year it might not happen.

Lastly there is a ton of leftover food, so today I am taking the cranberry sauce I made and making it into fruit jerky.

Here is my cranberry sauce recipe:

* 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail, thawed
* 1/4 cup water

Stir all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil 3 minutes. Press mixture through sieve set over large bowl, pressing firmly on solids.(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

Then to make jerky pull the cranberry sauce out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. 

Preheat your oven to 170°F.

Line rimmed baking sheets with heavy Saran Wrap (its the same stuff I dye with), leaving extra to go over the edges of the pan (but not too much it touches the oven racks or the side of the oven).

Pour cranberry sauce into lined baking sheets till it is spread evenly and about 1/4" thick. 

Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 hours till it is dry and the top is not sticky.

Let cool, remove from pans and cut into strips using a pizza cutter.


Monday, December 26, 2011


If your like me then the last 72 hours have been intense.

Christmas eve I had only had 3 hours of sleep and was expected to make dinner for 7.

Over all things went well but here are the highlights and left me giggling like a mad woman while my mom tried to make sure I had not lost my mind:

1. When there was not enough drippings from the roast beef to make yorkshire pudding so I used my grandmother's trick of using butter, but the butter dripped in the oven and filled the entire downstairs with smoke. I just stood there giggling figuring that if that's the worse that happened I was okay.

2. The roast beef could have been rarer. I tend to like it with a lot of pink in the middle but it came out with only a little.

3. I forgot to serve my cranberry sauce, so we'll have a lot of cranberry jerky and now I have the task of drying it all.

4. The vegetarian gravy was very peppery. To the point it was spicy.

On the upside there was enough food. Actually there might have been too much. There was mutterings and guesses about how maybe I had a second family coming.

The kitchen is also a disaster today as after eating dinner Christmas eve I sat back with a glass of wine, my nook, and played suduku till I was ready to sleep.

Yesterday we went to Ben's parent's house and then his family party so only a load of dishes in the dish washer have been washed and we used every single dish in the house. I was very lucky my parents gave me a 17 piece French corningware set because I was worried how I was pack the leftovers. I ended up using all but 3 pieces of the set and all of my storage containers. There is zero room in the fridge.

The next few days I'll just be making things out of the leftovers and getting the late Christmas gifts knitted up.

Look forward to split pea soup, corn chowder, shepherd's pie and a line up of the knitting related gifts I'm loving.

Harry Potter Update: I'm halfway through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I have 2 pairs of slippers, a single skein shawl and fingers on a glove to knit. Feel free to put in new guesses for the date I'll be done!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What it has come down to

I had to dye a single skein of yarn because I decided that the orange I bought was not orange enough for Giants and dyed it yesterday only to use my oven to dry it today:

I'm refusing to go to the store to get groceries till the knitting is done so we had pasta again for dinner last night and lunch was waffles today:

Tonight I'm serving soup and fresh bread. The only thing I have to say in my defense is that knitting is getting done, our cupboards are getting organized and that I'm proving I can cook from scratch!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

At the Speed of Light!

Today I was so fast at getting some yarn spun up that before I remember to take a picture the yarn looked like this:

What were you expecting? A picture of yarn!

Yep. Another sucker down!

Currently I have to turn this into three pairs of slippers, fingerless mittens, a shawl, a scarf, finish a cowl and maybe a sweater.

I'm guessing that I have 60 hours of knitting left and 78 hours till Christmas.

Lets see if I can do it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When an Injury can be a Good Thing

You know when you hear about a knitter that has had an injury to the leg and foot and you almost envy them because you think of all that time they get to sit around knitting and it just can't be helped? Well what about a reoccurring injury to the foot? Wouldn't you love to have one of those around this time of year?

Years ago when I was young I was hit by a car and one of the things injured was my foot and it never really healed properly. On occasion my metatarsal 1 on my left foot likes to pop out of place and it can happen randomly without pain or, on occasions such as this one, its out of place but does not fully pop in or out of place and there is much pain.  My doctors have always told me that when this happens just to stay off it till it works itself out one way or another.

So my plan today is to knit like a mad woman while listening to Harry Potter and since its my left foot I can still spin.

Go ahead and feel envious

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We only have a handful of days till the big man is here!

Things are rocking and rolling over at my house as I get the last minute knitting done, cookies baked, cleaning the house and presents wrapped.

Every year Anna and I usually spend an entire day in the kitchen baking cookies, however this year I drove up to her house and we only baked a double batch of my very popular chewy gingersnaps:

Gingersnaps are the top ones

These cookies disappear almost as quickly as my pumpkin bread (only a little slower as I bake more of them then the bread).

I'm also baking sugar cookies as per tradition and peanut butter cookies per Ben's request to make the fork marks in the top of them.

Baking  and cooking is a very big deal in my family because our family motto is "Food is Love." You can hear us whispering this to each other as my Grandma P tries to get my dad to take a third helping of turkey, or reminds me that she has just refilled the peppermint patty jar. When I do my rounds for the holidays you will always find me with a small thing of cookies or bread to give to friends and family.

This year is also a very special one because Ben and I are hosting Christmas Eve dinner and I'll be cooking for both our families. You might have even noticed that one of my previous post had pictures of yarn in front of our very first Christmas Tree out our place.

With all this baking, hosting and cooking I've been very busy and have to say that the knitting schedule has gotten somewhat disorganized. I'm to the point that one project completed a day is a wonderful day! The good news is that I finished the Christmas shopping on Thursday so now all I'm waiting for are packages in the mail and the gifts I do have are already wrapped and in or under the tree.

Today and tomorrow I will be knitting slippers!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back at it

Well I'm back from Colorado and man was I busy out there.

First there was the Caer Galen Midwinter feast which was the reason I went during this busy time to visit my good friends Jeanne-Marie and Jim. We had originally met at the 2008 Midwinter when my ex and I had seen a sign for SCA, and being the sword fighting geeks we are we followed the sign. The first person we met was Jim who turned me over to Jeanne-Marie and from there she and I became close fiber friends.

Jeanne-Marie is a wonderful weaver as can be attested by these towel:

While I currently don't have pictures of myself at the Midwinter I do have a picture of myself at the archery practice:

All was well and good till the string of the bow caught on my arm:

Immediate swelling and bruising
I'm actually a left handed archer so the entire thing was rather awkward but I did hit the bulls eye a few times and had tons of fun.

I also knitted this lovely Honey Pot One Skein Shawl  in San Fran Shops for Jeanne-Marie:

 I knitted Jim slippers and finished them at 3am the day I was leaving which I think was really my first "IT" moment of the holidays.

On Wednesday I was determined to finish the slippers and stayed up really late to finish them, then before going to bed I packed up at which point Jim got up for work and gave me that look that said that he thought I was crazy. Around 4am I got to bed and woke up at 7:30am so Jeanne-Marie and I could have a cup of coffee together before she dropped me off at the airport for my 12pm flight.

I slept the entire time on the plane and then drove from SFO to Santa Cruz just in time for my Macroeconomics final.  It went well and at this time I have caught up on sleep just in time to stay up all night knitting a hat that has to be wrapped and presented as a gift at 10am tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flying Knitter

This knitter is about to take off for Colorado tomorrow and being that its the holiday season  I have to take knitting with me.

I have the following:

Yarn and patter for Fiber Trends Slippers

Yarn, 1/3 done Birds Nest Smoke Ring Cowl and matching yarn for Mitt Envy

Yarn that I will weave into a scarf
Leftovers from last years SF Giants Blanket

Yarn and magazine with pattern for 1846 Gordon Highlanders Regimental Socks (aka Tartan Socks)

Yarn for a Slytherin Scarf:

And I have yarn for a shawl and a pair of socks

All of this fits into one compartment of my backpack and my backpack is not that large and here is a picture of all the yarn in it:

All you can see is the baggy containing the cowl and the rest of the yarn is sitting in the first compartment right behind the North Pak Logo.

How did I do it you might wonder. Well there is a small trick I learned when trying to organized the stash. I baggied all my yarn and then kneeled  on it to push out all the air and zipped it shut! THis is what the yarn looked like after I baggied it and before putting it into the bag:

A few other things that you might think about packing when leaving for the holidays or traveling is a interchangeable needle set with case. I adore my Boye NeedleMaster  and I have also tossed in a small pair of scissors, a nail file, tapestry needles, nail clippers, stitch markers, sticky notes, 1 set of sock needles, measuring tape, a pen, a stitch holder and crochet hooks. With the zip up case I can keep all these things in there and whenever I'm running out the door for knit night, or traveling I can just grab this case and know I'm set (just make sure you put everything back in the case after using it).

Another tip for knitters that are flying is to travel with your knitting in an easy to reach pocket. There might be times your stuck in lines, or they might want to see the knitting at security and if you put it someplace accessible you'll be able to whip it out with a problem.

My last tip is to make sure you have a book just in case. I'm borrowing a friend's Nook for my trip just in case there is a problem with me knitting on the flight. You never know if one of the people sitting next to you or your stewardess might have a problem with your knitting.

Now I'm all set!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just keep swimming

This morning I woke up with a bad headache, but I'm lucky to have such a wonderful man, because when he came home for lunch he got me a cup of tea and after it I was able to slowly get out of bed and start the day.

I leave for Colorado on Thursday morning and I have tons to do between now and then.

First I started the pork cooking for tamales. As some of you might heard this last week we're had wind storms and my grandmother, who lives in the mountains, was without power from Wednesday till yesterday, her road is blocked and she's out of "everything" as she puts it. So I'm making the tamales to take to her tomorrow morning when the road is hopefully clear, or I'm going to be taking a very long hike uphill to make sure she gets these.

I'm knitting a hat and a glove today as well and tomorrow an entire pair of slippers! Don't you just love holiday knitting schedules?

While I knit I'm going to bake Pumpkin bread today. Phat Fibers is having an open studio of sorts where every participant is offering a recipe for free in their shop.

Here is my Pumpkin Bread recipe:

There are also many other yummy looking items like:
Christmas Cheese Balls from the Tomorrow Farm

Butternut Squash, Barley and Kale Stew from the Phat Fiber lady herself
Holiday Studio Tour Butternut Squash, Barley and Kale Stew Recipe

Corn Chowder from Real Life Knits
Holiday Studio Tour - Corn Chowder Recipe

Friday, December 2, 2011

T Minus 22 days

Till Christmas!

Are you feeling the pressure?

I'm actually not freaking out yet.

I have not even been knitting that much. I'm more freaked out over how to cook roast beef and heat up the spiral sliced ham for Christmas Eve dinner then I'm worried about the knitting (oh and I solved the cooking crisis but finding directions on how to heat ham in a crockpot then glazing it in the oven).

Maybe by sharing the list with you I'll freak out like I should and get on it:

Behind on:
Spinning for a cowl and knitting it
Knitting slippers
Spinning a scarf
Knitting a pair of socks
Pair of mittens
Knit a hat
Fingers on gloves

Need to start after Colorado:
Pair of slippers
2 pairs of socks
Fingerless mittens these are really due after Christmas)
2 sweaters
Pair of mittens
1 Scarf
Finish a cowl
Spinning dk yarn

If I try really hard tomorrow while we get a Christmas tree I think I can get the hat and a mitten out of the way. Then Sunday knit the slippers and spin the yarn for the cowl. Monday knit the cowl and do 3/5 fingers on gloves. Tuesday the rest of the fingers and finish the second mitten.

Then I'll reserve Wednesday for anything I let slip through the cracks and be back on schedule for the holidays and knit the pairs of socks and finish the cowl in Colorado.

How is your Holiday knitting coming? Are you feeling the pressure yet?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Manic Monday

Today I dyed the last of my undyed stock.

I have the West Marine Craft Show on Wednesday and I'll be bringing all of my stock to the show to hopefully make some extra money for another yarn order before the 2nd.

This now means I have to dry the yarn, re-skein it and then label it.

Which because I'm so busy I have barely any time to write the blog today so I'm going to give you this gem that is an older blog post of mine that somehow never got posted. I don't know why it was never posted but I feel that the manic tone it was written in hints to the idea that I might have been a wee bit busy when I wrote it.

Written 11/11/11:

Can we sing Christmas Carols yet?

Yesterday I spend a lot of time on my recumbent bike knitting while I rode it.

In the latest book by the Yarn Harlot she talked about adding layers to make something more interesting. I found that when I have to do plain knitting, for lets say a scarf, then I do need to add a layer or two to keep it interesting. I'll listen to books on tape and ride the bike without really noticing the mile's I'm clocking.

I also finished up the menu for Christmas Eve and the Christmas list.

The Christmas menu was something on the to do list since I like to make sure I can get all my dry goods before the holiday rush happens.

The Christmas list was not planned and a little worrisome.

I had my Christmas schedule open on my computer that I rarely ever shut down and when I folded it up and went to bed I had not saved the file thinking it would be there in the morning just like the last few days, or it would auto save. However, my computer had updates and needed to restart and I was using Notepad which does not auto save so I lost all of it.

In my usual Santa Cruz upbringing rather then flip out, like I wanted to, I remembered to "Breathe deep, seek peace." Its my favorite line out of a book ever and it reminds me that just because one little thing has gone wrong does not mean the world will stop moving (even if that funny feeling in my stomach makes me feel like it might). It ranks up there with the phase "Dude, chill."

I could not remember what was on that schedule because I knew some stuff had gotten added recently, but I had the booklet list and the actual Christmas list still so I pieced it together. I still have about 1 week unclaimed, which is odd because I know from my sticky notes that I'm really 3 days behind.

At this point all I want to do is be able to hum Christmas songs while planning the lists.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A little catch up

I know it might feel like I've been ignoring the blog but I actually have not. I've been knitting like a mad woman and to keep myself on track and not knitting while on the computer I've switched to knitting while riding my stationary recumbent bike.

A few of my friends at knit night have been wondering how I do it. How do I listen to a book on tape, knit and ride a bike? Well its simple. I've trained myself to knit while doing other things to the point that simple knitting can be as easy as breathing for me. Also, it took me a while but I have finally mastered the purl stitch without looking and this makes knitting rib a lot easier. These two things have made it so I can be in a dark theater and knit a plain sock, or read a book while knitting the ribbing of a hat.

When biking I always choose something simple that has to get done but I might find boring to do while I listen to Harry Potter. Since I've had 3 Gryffindor scarves to knit since mid October I've had plenty of things to keep my hands busy while I ride (it also keeps me from getting off the bike since I find riding it fairly boring). Here is a picture of the last scarf:

Its not blocked
It's my own pattern for a house scarf that is knit in 1x1 rib so that it looks like knit on both sides but takes up half the yarn then one of your fancy tube scarves that you see in Charmed Knits.

Using size US8 needles I cast on 35 stitches in the main color (in this case red) and then knit 1x1 ribbing till it reaches 3" on an odd row (I average 19 rows). I then count how many rows it took for me to reach 3" and then change colors and knit 1x1 rib that many rows. I then keep changing colors and knitting 3" stripes till I have 19(21) stripes total then cast off.

Using a hardbound book (I used my copy of Cara Black's Murder in the Palais Royal) I made the fringe for the edges with the plan for 7 tassels in the red on each side and 6 in the gold with 7 strands per tassel (for those of you that hate math it means you need 98 stands of the red and 84 strands of the gold).

It's a rather quick pattern and I found that to knit a scarf it takes 64 miles or about 6.5 hours on my bike. The weaving in of ends takes about an hour then about 30 mins for the fringe. You can also block it if you would like.

I've also been spinning like a mad woman and decided to bring my spinning wheel to knit night and spun up some lovely blue wool alpaca I had dyed:

The color transitions are just stunning

I'm wearing my reunion cowl

The picture above does not do it justice, but I've found that when I take pictures at knit night the lighting is just so yellow that even editing the photos does not help all that much.

I'll share pictures of the finished yarn on Friday and I have a new pattern out that I hope you'll love!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Busy Weekend

This weekend was all about friends and creating things.

It started out with going to a class to learn to make these really useful yarn cozies that keep your center pull balls from tangling on the outside and when made with yarn containing elastic they shrink as you use up the yarn:

Made with Cascade Fixation and is trapping a ball of
Encore Worsted Weight

Then Saturday night I made this yummy 168 calorie per slice quiche for brunch with friends on Sunday morning:

Before adding the cheese on top

I call it "Leftover Quiche" (though its technically a frittata), because I use what I have on hand and make it the night before while I cook or put away dinner. I avoid using high fat ingredients like a crust, sausage, cream, butter and whole milk, and instead I toss in handfuls of vegetables and sometimes chicken (Ben gets the chicken quiches). This particular recipe is from Saturday night and I prepared it while I was making pizza and added some Morningstar sausage to give it more of a breakfast flavor!

Here is the recipe:

1 tbsp olive oil
8 eggs
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped roma tomatoes
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar and monterey jack cheese
1 cup red, yellow and green bell pepper strips
4 Morningstar veggie sausage patties

Coat a 9" pie pan with olive oil.
Pan cook morningstar sausage then chop into small pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer blend the eggs and milk together.
Begin to add 1/2 cup cheese, all vegstables and sausage. Mix well and make sure everything is coated in egg.
Pour mixture into a 9" pie and let sit in fridge uncovered over night. If you have extra mixture you can pour it into a ramekin.
In the morning preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 9" quiche for 1 hour. You will know it is done when you tap the side of the pie tin and it does not jiggle in the center. Turn off oven, cover quiche with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and put back into cooling oven for 5 mins.
Let cool for 5 mins then cut into 8 slices.
Nutrition information: Serving size 1 slice - 8 servings per quiche, 168 calories, 10.1g fat, 3.8g sat fat, 224mg cholesterol, 277mg sodium, 4g carbs, 1 gram fiber, 2g sugar, 14g protien, vit a 36%, vit c 37%, calcium 11%, iron 10%

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't tell me its not Friday

This morning I woke up so sure it was Friday. It was short lived when I realized it could not be Friday because Ben is not in bed with me because he does not work on Fridays.

Sadly its Thursday and I'm a little behind on my Christmas and booklet schedule.

Here is what I'm behind on:
1 Cowl
1 Pair of Mittens
12 oz of Fiber Spun Up
Designed a Hat and Knitted It
Designed a Shawl
Designed Fingerless Mittens

I have finished the tea cozy and all I need for it is a button, I have casted on the the mittens, I have roving soaking and roving dyeing for spinning tonight and I have the roving for 4oz of yarn ready to go to spin. My plan tonight is to get all the spinning done because though it looks like this:

Dyeing it a darker blue

and this:

Rinsing with synthapol which helps gets out the extra dye

I can dry it quickly in the oven, blend it on the carder, then spin it into the worsted and DK weight I need. Till then I'll be on my recumbent bike making a scarf that is not on the schedule but needs to be done anyhow.

HP update: I'm on chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This books is a total of 21 hours long!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


A few weeks ago when we had our first few rainy days Ben and I started to poke the thermostat. When it stayed at 74°F even after a night of keeping the windows open we started giving each other worried glances and muttering about how it might need to be replaced. However, it got warm again and we forgot about it.

Now I grew up in a house where when your cold your told to go put on a long sleeve shirt or a sweater, but I'm almost always cold so I usually take a hot water bottle to bed with me (actually I have one warming my feet right now). Ben on the other hand will suck up the cold because he's responsible for the heating bill and I respect that and don't ask to turn on the heat, I just make comments on how cold it is.

The last couple days its been cold to the point that Ben had poked at the thermostat and yesterday when he had no luck with it he told me that if I could get it working I could heat the house as much as I wanted all day! I jumped to the task, and after playing with it I noticed that the low battery sign was blinking and replaced the batteries. Well seems the rechargeable ones do not give off enough voltage so Ben got some other batteries from his secret hiding spot and tried it again.

Well this morning it was even colder and he extended the deal so I went online and started reading the manual. I carefully started to work through it and got the day set but could not get the time or anything other then the lock to work. I then realized that our touch screen must be dead from a certain point to the bottom because nothing else would work.

It says it is 62°F in my living room (which I think is a big fat lie), and outside its 36°F (I have a thermometer out there) and we're expecting more rain in the next few days.

I think I'll spin yarn and bake for the rest of the day to stay warm.

BTW: I've just finished chapter 12 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Friday, November 4, 2011

Warping the Time and Space Continuum

Its currently 1:30 in the morning and I'm currently taking a break from knitting while listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Why might you ask.

Well it all started out with Ben getting off work early and us heading off for a nice lunch of nachos (which turns out was about 12 hours ago now). After nachos we decided to give into the food coma and take a nap. Since Ben's ankle has been bothering him nether one of us has slept through the night. He will often get uncomfortable after a short time and when he moves it wakes me up (we have a waterbed).

3 hours into this nap I got up because I had realized it was raining and I wanted to enjoy the sounds and smells of it. Ben kept sleeping even after I told him it was raining. I also decided that this cold wet winter weather was the perfect time to look at the Christmas knit list and felt rather proud of myself for already starting one of the projects I was dreading.

That feeling did not last very long.

How I put together my knitting schedule is first I make a list of everything in priority. I then begin to look at my patterns and if I have already started the project then start assigning days to things. My first few projects look like this:

Mom's gloves (the dreaded second glove, she knows about it)
11/3 - Finish Chart D - Done
11/4 - Finish Chart E
11/5 - Finish Chart F
11/6 - Do 3 fingers
11/7 - Do Thumb and last finger

Reunion Cowl (me, gotta add something in for yourself)
11/4 - Do 2 rows
11/5 - Do 2 Rows and Cast off

Mittens for "Someone"
11/6 - Cast on and do Cuff
11/7 - Work to Thumb
11/8-9 - Complete mitten
11/9 - Cast on and do Cuff
11/10 - Work to Thumb
11/11-12 - Complete mitten

I take into careful consideration of what parts of what I'll be knitting and what I can do while knitting them. Such as I can ride my recumbent bike while I watch TV and do simple knitting like cuffs and garter stitch. I also know how quickly I knit so I know a pair of mittens in a week is doable. However, what I did not plan for was a couple additions to my holiday knitting list, like all the spinning.

As of my current schedule I will be finished on the 27th of December and that is if I can do crazy things like knit a sweater vest for someone with a 50" chest in 2 days. I'm also going to be in Colorado for 5 whole days  and have set those aside for doing some simple weaving with my friend's awesome loom, visiting my old friends, eating at my favorite restaurants and going shopping at this lovely yarn store that gives you discounts if you spend over $250 (which when I got my loom I did).

So tonight I don't plan on sleeping. I have some silk hankies dyeing for the mittens, I'm almost done with chart E of the glove and if I get chart F done tonight I plan on spinning while the hankies dry.

Who wants to bet I'll have listened to all the Harry Potter books on tape before Christmas? Put your best guess as to the date I'll finish listening to the series in the comments and whomever is closest will get a free skein of any sock yarn in my shop!

Monday, October 31, 2011

This is Halloween

This is what Halloween means to me

Being creative

This is Halloween batting
Pumpkin Carving

Roasting the guts of the pumpkin

Warm soup 

And eating kettle corn with my honey while waiting for Trick o' Treaters!
~Happy Halloween!

How to spin lace...

If your not very good at it.

All last week I spun lace and because I'm not great at lace yet it took a very very long time (this blog has also been waiting its turn for a week because it needed a photo).

Usually I can spin 8 oz of 2 ply fingerling weight in about a day, but since I'm just starting to learn to spin lace I'm going slow to try and get enough twist. Many spinners have shared with me that they have a chronic problem with not having enough twist in their yarns and it makes it easier to break a single when plying if this happens. So my approach has always been to make sure that I have some extra twist in my yarn and so far its been a success.

Problem with putting that extra twist in lace is that it tends to break the single because I don't have enough fiber and its trying to pull into my bobbin too fast.

Now there are two ways to fix this. First is that I can use a fiber with a longer staple so I'm currently hunting down a good silk or milk protein fiber in colors that would look good on my mom (this is actually more of a chore then it sounds because its got to be a color she likes and one that I'm willing to look at long enough to spin and knit... so I'm limited). Second is that my wonderful Little Peggy was built by the very clever John Rappard and he made it so that it has the springs and holes drilled to be used with a scotch tension knob. I use it with a double drive band, as that is how it came to me, but if I keep having trouble its nice to know I can switch.

Till then enjoy this picture of bright green singles that will become a shawl I'm designing for the booklet in November

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A very busy bunny

This blog comes to you from Anna's house. Lets all thank Anna for keeping me sane because this week has been a very busy and worrisome week for me.

The first is that I have not finished my Phat Fiber samples. I'm planning on getting them all done on Sunday as I'm sending out snag free stitch markers. I think I can do this. Originally I was planning on doing some yarn and a pattern, but I got side tracked by spinning.

I'm also now behind on holiday knitting and got to get going on that.

But this past week has been a lost because I found out that I had loaded all but disc 17 of The Historian, which I've been listening to as I spin, and I had to go by the Mountain View Library to get the 17th disc. I do love this library, but because I was on a tight time schedule I only had time to load the disc onto my computer and snap this quick picture of the gorgeous garden behind the library:

Mr. Badger and Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows
I use to take the kids I nannied for to this library and after we got books I'd let them run around the garden. They were 10 and 12 so I technically could not play with them because I'd be accused of hovering, so I would sit down and read or knit while keeping an eye on them.

After the library and a quick dinner with my folks I got to go see Tamora Pierce and hug her:

sorry for crummy picture
She's really amusing and down to Earth. Her book In the Hand of the Goddess was the first I read when I was about 9 years old and it really had a hand in shaping the person I became. Alanna was a strong female role model for me and that's just what I needed then.

This weekend is shot as well since I picked up this:

I just took this picture. Its staring at me

So if you'll excuse me... I have some reading to do...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting Your Fix

This is just a quick post to let everyone know how to get their fiber/dyer/spinner/mad scientist/lady adventurer fix as the holidays begin to pick up.

If you look to the right you will see that you can follow me by email. Now if you subscribe by email I swear on my pretty floral bonnet that you will not get spam from me (aka I will not sell or share your info) or blogger. I've actually been using it with my own email account and all you get is a nightly update on the days I post.

I also have twitter which I try to update every few days and most recently I have hooked it up to my Etsy store so if you want to be the first one to pounce on a yarn or some wonderful snag free stitch markers you can follow me there.

The holidays are always a busy time for us all, but I can promise to share quick knits for gifts, my easy made hostess gifts and some yummy recipes this season and hopefully it will help you as well knowing that your pumpkin pie turned out as runny as my first, but at least I'll share how I made the 4th one come out perfectly!

Friday, October 21, 2011


This week I started making snag free stitch markers!

As a few might know I use to bead when I lived in Texas, but since moving back to California I have been focusing on my other hobbies, but I still have tons of bead! So I started to make stitch markers with jump rings and wire wrapping but I always hated how the joints of the jump rings would sometimes catch on my lace knitting.

Now I've learned the wonder of crimp beads and stringing wire to make these cute stitch markers. They don't snag on my knitting, they are helping me work through my bead stash and because the bead stash is so large you will all benefit from the low prices!

I'm also designing some patterns that use handspun yarns and some of the patterns will require beads. I don't mean your crazy 600 beaded knitting project that you have to string all the beads before you begin, but patterns that are for beginners and use 50 beads.

So start spinning for the the booklet release on November 15th and take a look at the new stitch markers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh wow....

Last night I returned to knit night after 2 weeks of not showing up because life got in the way, but I have something to show for it:

The Wound Up cowl is officially up on Ravelry!

Cue red carpet announcer - As you can see the lovely model Caren is wearing a one of a kind hand knit cowl from Radioactive Rabbit. The yarn is superwash merino, silk and Stellina for that extra sparkle. With its lovely drape I hear it only took 8 hours to knit and 1 skein of Radioactive Rabbit Sparkle DK yarn that is hand dyed in a lovely Starry Night colorway. A colorway that has be so popular that I hear it is sold out but we can look for more to be in stock this winter.

You can currently buy the Wound Up pattern by clicking on the buy now button below and pick up some great DK yarn in the shop!