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!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Van, Cookies, and Spinning

This weekend was suppose to be a camping adventure, however fate was a fickle mistress.

Ben and I packed up the car in record time on Thursday and headed out for some camping and dirt biking goodness (I feel so cool now that I'm learning how to ride a motorcycle). We were about 40 miles from the campsite when we blew out a tire on the van. We pulled over but because there was so little space on the side of the freeway Ben backed up the on ramp that we pulled over in and parked us next to a lettuce field.

Well we had a spare tire, granted it was a slightly smaller spare then the rest of the tires, but we had a spare. Then after a search of the car we find we don't have a jack or a tire iron. Epic fail. Ben and I were both in the scouts for years and one of the mottos is be prepared. I have my nice spare, jack and tire iron in my Honda's hidey-hole and Ben, who tinkers with cars, has tons of them in the garage, so I found it kind of ironic that we did not have one in the van. Luckily I found out that we were about a mile from an auto parts store and Ben took one of the motorcycles to get what we needed to change the tire.

My only complaint the entire time was that there were a number of cars that passed us and no one stopped. I was taught as a child that if you see someone on the side of the road you stop and offer any assistance they might need. It ranks up there with helping little old ladies with heavy groceries and lost children. This will be the end of the rant, but please, next time you see someone broken down on the side of the road please help them. Sometimes they just might need help changing a tire, or they might need a cell phone to call a tow truck.

Okay, lets get back on track. Ben and I changed the tire, loaded back up the van, but because the tire was not the right size Ben did not want to go camping since the last 5 miles to the campsite was unpaved and he was worried about blowing another tire. We headed home and proceeded to completely waste the weekend.

Friday kind of disappeared in a frenzy of cleaning up the house and knitting (I can't even tell you what I knit). Saturday I spent hours working on my reunion cowl thinking I was nearing the end to only check the directions and find that there was 1 more repeat of 25 rows. (25 rows for another repeat + 10 more rows to finish the current repeat + 12 rows for the edging) x 430 stitches per row = 20,210 stitches to finish it or a quick trip to the project closet to get something else to work on. I came out of the project closet with my vine yoke cardi (which I'm not even sure if can still be called that as I've messed with the stitch count so much its something completely different now) and the rest of some batting I needed to finish to spin for a Christmas gift.

But to take the edge off of it all I ended up baking Ben and me cookies. He found me poking around in the cupboards checking to see if I had the things for Healthy Peanut Butter Freezer Cookies and found that I needed dried fruit and I was nearly out of peanut butter.  We got to thinking and he funded a trip to the store for cookie dough for him and the supplies I needed for my cookies.

I added a fruit bits mix, 1/4 of mini chocolate chips and cut
them in to bars
Then today I decided to try and make chocolate chip cookies while watching Hot Fuzz, which is something I have not done in years. I usually add too much vanilla, or the cookies came out as hard as rocks.
I love mini chips
Turns out that I still can't make the thick, gooey chocolate chip cookies I strive for. Though they have a soft chewy center, they're as thin as pancakes and crunch on the outside. 
Wonderful kits and yummy cookies with milk!

But at least I made a sale today and I got the rest of my spinning done witch is part of a larger project soon to be unveiled! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

And I give you...

Baby Hallows
Giants yarn and Candy Corn

The front of the sock

Side view of the socks

I loved knitting these as the 50 yard skeins of each colorway are self striping, the patterns are quick to knit and baby stuff is the cutest!

You can find the kits in the shop and it comes with a code to download the pattern on Ravelry, or you can click on the button below to buy just the pattern!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Just ignore the flashes of light coming from the lab today... I'm taking photos for the store all day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sneak Peak

The next couple days will be very fun and busy, so today's post is more of a peak at whats going on in the lab rather then a real post.

I have more yarns to put up in the shop, my cowl pattern is complete all I need to do is get pictures before it goes up for sale, and I've caught a cowl bug so I'm making one for my grandmother out of my hand spun from last month's phat fiber box.

New Coffee colorway and the new cowl

My grandmother's cowl and my mug that says "Chaos Panic and
Disorder. My work here is done"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2011

This year I'm finding the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue to be useful in filling in the holes of my gift list. Best part about it is that I can make most of the items from yarns I carry and therefore I might have been dipping a little bit into the store stash. Its one of the perks of being a dyer.

My favorite so far has been the Midtown Cowl by Jenny Williams which can be made with one skein of any of my lace weight yarns, as I plan on making for myself. Or you can make the French Quarter Shawl, the Taverna Shawl or Delancey Scarf.
Midtown Cowl Knitting Pattern
Fields - Hand Dyed Lace Merino/SilkYarn - 100g/875yards

For a friend you might think of the Novel Sleeve by Kathy Zimmerman or Oak Barrel Socks by Sarah Fama with any sock yarn. There is also the Ashbury Mitts, Watercolor Beret, Chivalry Mitts, Friendship Socks, Flipper Mittens, Roisin, or the Jet Gloves. The list goes on and on what you can do with sock weight yarns, so grab your Christmas list and start knitting!
Ashbury Mitts - Knitting PatternNovel Sleeve - Knitting PatternAutumn Blaze - Hand Dyed Fingering Merino/Nylon Yarn - 100g/400yardsWatercolor BeretFlipper Mitts - Knitting Pattern

Getting Old

I know I'm technically not that old (that is till you ask an 11 year old what old is and suddenly you should be planning your own funeral arrangements).

But this morning as I rose a little before 4:30am again I realized that not only am I actively trying to get up early, but that I've noticed that I feel really lazy if I get up past 8am. I feel rather accomplished by 7am if I get up before the sun and it helps me tackle my to do list which looks something like this:

Make pasta sauce
Make the honey walnut cake
Make at least one thrummed mitten to check the pattern I wrote (ETA Release 10/10)
Finish the Baby Hallows Pattern (ETA Release 10/15)
Put 15 more skeins up into the shop
Untangle a skein
Visit my Grandmother
Tag all the things with new tags that should be arriving today

I have all this and an itch to write a cowl pattern, so who knows what will happen.

Till then I give you a picture of the thrummed mitten and later today the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts special!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sugar High

Yesterday I got up at 4am and started work on the Phat Fiber samples.

I did not stop till about 7:30pm when I sealed the box with all the samples and the full size skein for the superbox giveaway and this is what I have to show for it

I sent 50 mini skeins for the box and coupons for a new baby sock pattern that I plan on completing tomorrow.

Today is all about getting the house to rights and updating the shop!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What a Weekend

I feel like I was very unproductive this weekend, but I was very busy none the less.
Preparing to be washed and sorted

Yes that is a teapot and I'll have you know my house
is covered the in the most beutiful blossoms

It started out on Friday with going to a farm with Caren, where we got to pick tomatoes and Dahlias.

I love the white and green coloring
Then Ben's parents and brother came over to the house for dinner. Ben's parents were especially happy because it was the first time they had ever been hosted by either of their sons for a nice dinner.

I made tamales and pork shoulder that I had in the crock pot for over 24 hours simmering over low heat.

It literally fell  apart when I had Ben get it out of the crock pot.

For dessert I made a Walnut Honey Cake with Riesling Sabayon (check out the lovely Tartelette blog) and served it with berries and ice cream. It was a wonderful cake, but I managed to slice open my right index finger on a sharp point on my flour sifter, and then when I was cutting the label off the wine bottle to get to the cork, I sliced open my left hand. Ben's mother wanted to give me stitches (she's a nurse), but I found my super glue and after a few minutes of pressure, and two layers of glue, my hand stopped bleeding and is now healing right along. It did however prevent me from getting a picture of the cake so I plan on making it again this week.

Perfect fall weather (lets not ask how I got this picture of 17N) 
The next morning I went to my folks house so we could  headed up to Petaluma to visit my grandmother Sue. They were out grabbing bagels when I got there so I tracked down the very lazy owners of my parents

Athena, who is a 1 year old Maine Coon and softer then
an alpaca. She could not be bothered to greet me at the
door as she was lazing about, watching the bird feeder outside
Boo, who owns all the land she can see,
was looking at a spider outside the window
before giving me this bored look.

 The plan was to pick up my grandmother and go see the artwork she had entered in the Sanoma Harvest Fair. She won 2nd place in the farmscapes category and both 4th and 5th place for harvest scenery. I'm going to have to get my dad to send me the pictures he took of her paintings, because I could have spent hours walking around the art building, looking at all the photos in detail. Instead I was informed that if I did not hurry up we could not go see the livestock which was one of the other reasons we were there.

One of the cool things is that when we walked into the fair we got to see some babydoll sheep and a baby alpaca. Then after the art and some yummy fried zucchini my grandmother and I headed over to the sheep and bunny rabbits.

Lazy sheep
Sheep trying to find lunch

Yes, that is a bunny. He was soft as sin

What you doin?

My grandmother's biggest concern was whether or not the bunny rabbits were happy in their cages and it took 2 breeders and myself to explain to her that they were happy and not in those cages for very long. 

She then asked me if I wanted one, because the breeders were selling some. I realized she was shopping around for my Christmas gift and immediately informed her that angoras usually went for around $200 at the low end, unless you could find them at a rabbit rescue. She was floored by this and I took her over to the breeder that was selling fiber. She got a second shock by the price of the angora tuffs you could buy (I refrained from getting some since I got some in my phat fiber box). We then had a conversation regarding what animals Ben and I planned on getting in the future (mainly dogs), and about the price of angora yarns we had seen at The Knitterly in downtown Petaluma (a favorite yarn shop of my grandmother's, my mom's and mine).

Then after a getting a wonderful bag of kettle corn (my dad's and my favorite fall tradition), we headed off to find pumpkins at Adobe Pumpkin Farm.

This little guy was very interested
in licking the sugar from the kettle
corn off my hand.
There were few pumpkins as this summer has not been hot, but my grandmother scored this awesome bunny rabbit pillow from R.U. Piper Designs at the Farmer's Wife Barntique. I'm always on the lookout for rabbit stuff and when my grandmother saw it she knew I needed it, which I truly do.
His beret says Paris
After we all parted I spent the rest of the night hanging out with Anna, and when my car got blocked in we decided that I should just stay the night. We stayed up watching The Patriot and looking through the new Interweave's Holiday Knits. We came to the conclusion that I need to do a special on it, because you can make many of the  patterns with fingerling and lace weight yarn. So watch out for that later this week and till then I'm going to leave you with more pictures from the Harvest Fair.
Some colorful pumpkins

The fiber booth. There was very little
in the way of knits

2nd place winner for flower pots

1st place flower pot winner.

Cute Dumpkins
I think its a juicer... Still looks cools

The pumpkin wagon looked fun and yummy with the potatoes under it
Squashes, gourds and pumpkins of
all shapes, colors and sizes

We could not find the poisoned apples. Dad looked