Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just another day in the neighborhood

Sometimes I have to wonder what my neighbors think of me.

On one side of our house there is Vicky and she knows I work from home. However, my mailman, UPS guy and other neighbors rarely talk to me and I'm beginning to think it has to do with the fact that just about every time I go to check the mail or make a quick run to the car I'm in yoga pants or pajama pants. It also does not help that I sometimes check the mail 3 times a day when I'm waiting for a package and we don't get mail everyday. 

When I'm outside I know my neighbors see me and they know I see them, but there is this awkward try not to meet each other's eyes because every time I've waved at them they get tense.

There are times I just want to explain to these neighbors that I work from home and that one of my goals in life was to be able to work in my pajamas (and drink tea where ever I want). Vicky gets it and thinks its great that I get to be my own boss and I have to ability to take care of the house, cook, and be creative on my schedule. But the very prim and proper lady two houses up sometimes meets me at the mail box and gives me the look like "I can't believe you stepped out of the house like that." 

After a year of living here this is what I have gathered:

Lady 2 houses up is too polite to suggest that I dress to the fullest everyday
Vicky is sweet and thinks that the yarn and bag making is really great for someone my age
The people on the other side of us are most likely just wondering when Ben and I will move
I'm not sure if there are people on the other side of Vicky as I rarely see anyone going in or out
The people on the corner are up to no good and make it so that all our cars are not the worst thing here

Since Ben and I live on a street that has houses on one side and fenced off backyards on the other we don't have to worry about anymore drama then what we have with our 6 houses here.

Vicky is the only on that gets cookies at Christmas. I think everyone else would be weirded out by them

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I should be doing

Today I should be:

Casting on my new shawl pattern
Cutting new bags
Maybe doing an new design
Blocking the new Holden Shawl (its sparkly)

Instead I am screwing around with Adobe Lightbox trying to get white backgrounds like this:

While the bags are simple to do I'm having a problem with some of the yarns and its driving me nuts. As some of you that know me from Phat Fiber, this is an ongoing problem for me. I can get the colors of the items spot on but not the background.

So till further notice I'm going to be fiddling with this.

Send chocolate

Monday, March 26, 2012


Today will be short since I am sick.

Normally when I'm sick I try to just power through it and hope to stay busy enough not to notice the discomfort, this time however I've already given up one day to the sickness and I'm thinking of giving up another.

You can usually tell how sick I am by little indicators, such as this morning I nearly put on my jeans before my underpants.  This type of mistake is usually paired with my inability to knit and just a general liking to hold my knitting like a child holds a loved stuffy.

Yesterday when I finished the picot cast off of my new Holden Shawl I found that I was barely able to count to 4. Then I picked up the swirl, found there was an error, but had zero confidence in myself to fix it while in this state. So I picked up some Eco Duo and cast on a Grandma's Checkerboard Lace Scarf, but it turned out I needed a nap instead so I just cuddle the soft ball of alpaca and merino while on the couch.

Today I have one plan and that is to go to the fabric store and get some fabric I found online. If my day time cold medicine keeps me afloat long enough then I'll take pictures of the new bags and post them.

Till then please knit for me. I doubt I'll get any done today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That time of day

There is a time of day I love more then anything else. A time which I wish would just stay still and let me savor it.

It's that time from 5-6:30am.

The streets are quiet, the town is dark, it is cold outside and I'm normally alone in the house when I'm up at this time. It just seems like pure potential.

I have risen early and can get a jump start on anything. Today I got up early with Ben, and sat in my office to start the designing of a shawl for the booklet I'm writing for handspun yarns.

This time in the morning is when I feel a calm all around me. Maybe its because no one is up and driving their cars, the birds are still nestled in their nests, or its just the magic a calm crisp morning has.

These are the mornings I get up with Ben when he goes to work, I dress warmly, and curl up with a blanket. I hear some people describe the same feeling of calm while sitting in front of a warm fireplace on a rainy day. While I do not need the rain to have this feeling, it sometimes makes it all the more sweeter.

So today I will work on a shawl, enjoy my tea and wish this time will last a bit longer...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIPs Wednesday

Its been a while since I did one of these so I thought I'd share two things I'm up to!

First is I'm hoping to finish up my Holden Shawl today:

As of writing this I have about 6 more rows to go!

I'm also back at the sewing machine working on some new products for the store:

Interesting fact about what your seeing going on is that all this fabric is scraps and small sample fabrics I've had accumulating over time. I'm rather big on using up things to their max (as attested by the even smaller scraps that will be made into a quilt one day).

By using things to their fullest I can not only be greener but I can keep costs and prices down. My base items (aka the things that get made out of an item first) absorb most of my costs and then its up my creative abilities to figure out how best to use the remainder to make sure that there is very little waste.

What can I say?

I'm from Santa Cruz, CA

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Blog

I've got to say that I had really missed the blog when I was stalling to put up the 100th post.

I missed sharing my new projects and adventures, the rush of excitement when I got a comment and the general feeling of being connected to the knitting community.

I personally read about 10 blogs on any given day and I try to comment on my favorites to encourage them to keep the blog going and to update it.

If you want me to read your blog please post a comment with a link and all I ask is that you continue to read my blog and comment occasionally.

I enjoy getting to know new people.

Thank you,


PS. Maybe someday your blog will make my favorites list:

LeeLeeTea - Natalie is about my age and I can really connect with her as a beginning designer

hizKNITS - Stephen lives up in San Francisco and reminds me of why I love the city

Tartelette - Helene's pictures are wonderful, the book reviews informative and someday I hope to make her crab chowder

YarnHarlot - Yep, we all read Stephanie's blog. I love it because I think we're in the same crazy boat when it comes to the fiber arts

PhatFiber - Not only do I love saying "Where my phatties at?" but I also love staying connected with their blog

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's in the Bag

There has been a plan in the works these past couple of weeks. These have taken over my office:

Yes my office is rabbit themed, however the paint is from
the people that owned the house before us.

Radioactive Rabbit is now carry project bags and they are on sale fro $15 till Tuesday 3/20!

These bags easily fit my 1-2 skein projects, a pair of scissors or my small emergency kit, a copy of a pattern, my wallet and my phone. Its also easy to carry on my wrist or be tossed into my bag to protect my yarn from its mortal enemy, my keys.

I also like them for my spinning wheel and put the fiber I'm spinning and my spinning cards into it.

I'll be making smaller project bags in the near future so keep an eye out for that, but till then please let me know what fabric prints you would like to see on the bags for a chance to win a $10 gift card to my shop!

Knitmish  won the gift certificate!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Normally when I buy yarn I have a plan for it. Please note I'm talking about yarn and not fiber. Spinning stash is an entirely different animal in itself.

I buy yarn, it comes home and is logged into the Ravelry stash then I add a little note saying what it will become. If it does not become the planned item within a couple months it moved deeper into the stash and gets its own little baggy with what it is for written on the baggy and maybe a copy of the pattern inside with the yarn.

At Stitches West I had a full plan that I was not not going to buy yarn unless I knew what it would become. Well 2 out of 3 yarn purchases hit that requirement.

At the Yarn Place Arizona booth they had bags of 10 skeins of yarn for $20. I fell in love with this yarn:

Bel Canto DK

My companions Caren and Cassy did not even tease me for breaking the rule that I had to have a plan for it as we all agreed that with about 1,100 yards of DK weight yarn I could make just about any garment I wanted.

I took this lovely bunch of yarn home and began to do some research. I set my heart on Rubies and Ribbons, thinking that since you hold 2 yarns together in this garment I would be perfectly fine.

So last night before knit night I went to The Golden Fleece and picked up needles to swatch it, as I hear that's a requirement for the swirls.

The swatch was a disaster!

My gauge was so far off that I was getting about 1/2 the stitches per inch I was suppose to. Caren tried to help me by looking at the pattern and the swatch and she knew, as I did, that this just was not going to happen. While some of our group looked nervously at me (as I was the second person last night to have a project go horribly wrong), I just decided that it was not to be and started to look through the book for a pattern that matched my gauge.

I accepted that the yarn's destiny was not to be that swirl, but as I'd already agreed to buy another person's stash of this yarn off them for a swirl I was determined that the 2,200 yards of this yarn I now own would be a swirl.

While flipping through the book I saw Depth of Field:

It had all I wanted. A large lapel, not too much fabric around the hips and it was long enough for my tastes.

I then checked the gauge for it and was shocked. My swatch was perfect for it. I was right on row and stitch gauge, which is stuff of legends. The funny thing was that I looked at the suggested needle size and it was US10 and I realized I was getting the drape I wanted and gauge with a size US5.

Casted on and starting the first welt
I hope to do at least 2 welts a day so it'll take me a little over a month to complete this wonderful sweater.

But please don't hold me to that timeline!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Fleece

There is a long standing joke in my family that if you give me a sheep I can make you a sweater. Never has that been more true then recently.

Sadly a member of the Phat Fiber community is having financial difficulties (here is her shop if you'd like to support her) and she therefore started selling off some of her fleeces and I bought a lovely Leicester Longwool fleece that after skirting was about 3.3 lds.

Clean locks

Since Ben is currently on a motorcycle adventure to Death Valley (with a sworn oath he'll come back alive) I decided that this was the perfect time to wash the fleece and start to process it.

I have already washed it by giving it a really hot bath in my washing machine with some dish detergent (no agitation, just a hot water soak for 30 minutes) and then a rinse of another hot bath for 30 minutes. Normally I rinse a fleece about 3-4 times but as this was fairly clean this only needed a bath and a rinse.

half the fleece drying on an elevated screen door with a fan
blowing over it in my kitchen

I then searched up and down the house for my flick carder. I rearranged my entire office, cleaned the closet, cleaned out drawers, dumped out boxes and to this moment I cannot find it. So I went and got a dog brush as they can do in a pinch.

I have now begun the painstaking process of opening up each lock of wool.

Clean, open locks ready to spin.

Something few of you may know is that Leicester Longwool sheep are actually an endangered breed of sheep (less then 500 breeding females registered) and is a cross breed of Leicester, Lincoln, and Ryeland sheep. It has a wonderful crimp to its wool, the color is very creamy and lustrous. However, because the staple of the wool is up to 7" in places I cannot put it through my drum carder and my hand carders are not fine enough for it I need to use a flick carder to open up each end of the lock before spinning it.

It may take me all week to get this fleece processed and I have plan to spin it into a 3-ply DK weight yarn for the Calligraphy Cardigan my heart so wants.