Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stitches South Part 2

Okay, so I can see the exact day when exam prep took over my crafting time, since I posted the first half of my Stitches South post in April, and haven't updated since.

So here is the rest of my Stitches South story.

Saturday morning, Kelly and I both had classes. I took Math for Knitters with Edie Eckman. It was great, I learned a lot.

Later that day, we hit up the market again.

Some Koigu KPPM, in color P500.

Koigu KPPM in color P500

Maple Creek Farms South Blend - Wood Plank

Maple Creek Farm South Bend - Wood Plank 789

This is an absolutely delicious feeling yarn. It's soft. smooth and cool, perfect for Florida. It's destined to become a shawl.

Kitechen Sink Dyeworks Merino Fine in Edgar

Kitchen Sink Dyeworks - Merino Fine in Edgar

Kitchen Sink Dyeworks BFL Roving - I'm seeing a trend with all the blue

Kitchen Sink Dyeworks - BFL Roving

Newton's Yarn Country Bamboo Print - I have no idea what this will be.

Newton's Yarn Country - Bamboo Print

Louet Euroflax - For some hand towels

Euroflax from Yarn Barn of Kansas

Silk cap and Noils from Ellen's Half Pint Farm

Ellen's Half Pint Farm - Silk Cap and Silk

Creatively Hand Dyed Yarns Bamboo Wool

Creatively Dyed Yarns Bamboo Wool

Lisa Souza Black Hills Gold

Lisa Souza Silk Merino in Black Hills Gold

I am really looking forward to spinning up these wool blends, but right now I'm lacking the inspiration. I haven't even touched any of the yarn yet.

The rest of the weekend was a blast, and I was so glad we did it. I definitely want to go next year!

Since Stitches, I've mostly been studying for exams, and complaining about studying for exams. I've done a little with the Triathlon training, and took a trip to the Keys with family. I think I passed the exam, so hopefully I will have more time for crafting and getting back on the internets over the next few months.

Right now, I am lacking inspiration in the crafting department, so I am mostly trying to finish up UFO's. Hopefully I'll get my mojo back soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stitches South Friday- I will Own This

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to get to Stitches, my first real fiber show. I have never been able to go, and always wanted to. This year, the stars aligned, and Kelly and I were able to get away for a weekend.

We got there Friday afternoon, a few hours before the market closed.

We didn't know exactly where the stitches events were being held, so when we got to the conference center, we parked where we thought it was. We found the Waverly hotel, and knew that was where we had to go to register. Unfortunately, it was down a steep little hill from where we were parked. A little hill that was covered in slippery pine nettles. We looked for a path down, and found what we thought was one. I nearly killed myself on the way down.

First, we made a beeline for Sanguine Gryphon, as we had planned ahead of time. I've been lusting after Bugga for a while now. So, headed straight to their booth. It was easy to find, it was the one with the ren faire tent. I kept myself to two skeins here:

Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Cowkiller

Skinny Bugga in Cowkiller. This picture does not do it justice.

Sanguine Gryphon Bugga - Tulip Tree Beauty

Bugga in Tulip Tree Beauty

Absolutely gorgeous. Once I was able to take my eyes off the yarn, I noticed the outfits. The ladies in that booth were wearing ren faire dresses. The best by far, though, was the Steam Punk/Ren Faire outfit. A corset, goggles, and a belt with throwing knives and bullets. This chick is dangerous. I think that may be the best outfit I've ever seen anywhere, ever. Seriously. I wanted sooo bad to get a picture, but sadly, no pictures in the market.

We pulled ourselves away, and stumbled across the Big Sock. It was hard to miss. I'd heard about this, but couldn't picture the size until I saw it in person. We took a few minutes to work on it

Knitting on the Big Sock

It is like an iceberg. What you see on top of the table is just a small part of the whole thing. It nearly went to the ground. It is also much bigger around than the entire table. And this is just one piece of the leg. I have no idea how they are going to work the logistics of heel and toe shaping.

We walked around some more. I saw Rachel Herron, the author of How to Knit a Love Song. You may have heard her interviews on Knitmore Girls and Knitcast. I had, and her book is on my list. I gushed a little, and she was so nice, we chatted for a few minutes. I bought the book there, because I had been planning on getting it anyways, and come on, how often do you get to buy a book from the person who wrote it?

We walked around the market until it closed that night. Kelly bought this really cool lint roller system, she can get cat hair off of her ceiling now. I got more compliments on my Han Shot First shirt than ever, which was the comfy shirt I picked out for the ride up.

We made our way back towards the parking lot, only to find a nice little staircase between where we had been parked and the hotel.

Outside of Stitches

We came down the hill on the left side, completely missing the staircase to the right. It doesn't look so scary there.

Anyways, we headed to the hotel, managed to get lost looking for a restaurant for dinner (Google maps fail!) then gave up and ate at one we passed.

We headed back to the Waverly for the pajama party. Since the Star Wars tshirt had been so popular, I decided to wear that instead of the nice plain shirt I had planned under my Swallowtail shawl.

Star Wars + Knitting = Love

I look awful in that picture. That's what I get for trying to be funny and pose.

At the pajama party, we met up with the awesome trio of PicnicKnits, ContinentalKim, and KBelle. The party was riot. They started the trivia with a Princess Bride quote, and the yarn fumes must have gotten to me, because I got way too excited, and think I shouted something like "I will own this!" If you've spent more than 2 seconds with me, you know this is completely out of character. Then, I didn't own it, but Corrina did, which made me proud.

There were some other contests, too. There was one for knitted slippers, which had some really cute felted flip flops. I see a KAL in the future. The wackiest pajamas contest was fun, too. The Ravelry crew was called upon to judge. Well, poor Casey was called on to judge a pajama contest of mostly middle aged and older women, and he wisely called the rest of his crew up to assist. That should be a Sam Adams commercial. Always a good choice.

I was slightly dazzled by the knit-celebrities from Ravelry. Not as dazzled as some. There were some Wayne's World style "We're not worthy" tributes, but I'm sure that happens a lot. They were very nice.

After a fun night, of swatching to find the perfect pattern for my Hanks yarn, and chatting, with candy bars but absolutely no smartfood popcorn despite the rumors, we called it a night, because Saturday was the big day.

On the ride home, I only got us on the freeway when we weren't supposed to be once. There was an Orlando style trick of putting up a concrete barrier between lanes with no warning. Kelly and I laughed so hard we cried at all the funny things that had happed so far.

That's where I'll leave it for now. Tomorrow, more on Stitches.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Presents Galore

There has been a ton of present crafting around here as of late. I am only posting two, because they're the only ones that have been gifted and I have taken pictures of.

Two ladies in the knitting circle had birthdays this weekend.

Christine plays tennis and knits, so I found a cute tennis charm and made some stitch markers.

Christine's Stitch Markers

It's hard to tell, but the beads in the middle have little flowers on them.

Jen is a chemical engineer who loves her coffee, so the Hypercaffeinated Coffee Cozy by Chemknits is pretty much perfect.

BadJen's Caffeine Cozy

I think they both liked their gifts, hopefully they'll be useful. Dinner was fun, except there are now pictures floating around of me trying to stick my tongue in Brenda's ear.

I have to get some decent pictures of the Arrrgyle socks, but Nerdy Husband and I have been so busy, it's hard to get us in the same place while it's daylight, and I really want to get the pictures done right. He has been wearing them though!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Join the Club

Just a quick post to share two club shipments that I've gotten recently and am absolutely in love with.

The February shipment of Hank's in Gainesville is this lovely green/brown varigated, in a cashmere blend base.

Hanks Yarn - February Club

As Rachel Ray would say, Yum-O. These will probably become a pair of Charades for me, or maybe Aquaphobias, because I am not giving this yarn up.

And goodies! The tag on the stitchmarkers is only ripped because I got a little excited trying to open them.

Then, there is theSlipped Stitch Studios Knitmare on Elm Street Bag club.

Slipped Stitch Studios Knitmare Club

Isn't it so cool! If it was green it would be perfect. The middle button cracks me up.

Slipped Stitch Studios Knitmare Club

Also, I forgot to photograph it, but there was a matching key fob too. I forgot it because it's been on my keys since I got it. I love it, but my hubby isn't so thrilled when we switch cars. At least it has skulls and not unicorns.

1 Up, Version 2

Meanwhile, in other podcast-y news, Jackie from the Kiping It Real podcast recently asked for test knitters for a pattern for a 1 up mushroom from Mario. I immediately volunteered because:

1). Her pink version was incredibly cute.
2). I already have the yarn, leftover from the a previous Mario mushroom.
3). There is always room for more video game decor in our house.

The pattern was deceptively simple and very quick. It is held up on the inside with some plastic canvas (handy stuff). And the results? Well, I think this picture says it better than I could:

Itty Bitty Mushroom

This little guy has personality. Looking at my photos, it looks like he has moods, too. Now, he lives in our office, hanging out with a PS2 and our old gaming PC. It's the land of obsolete games. I think he looks happy though.

Itty Bitty Mushroom

In the next week: clubs, a trip to stitches, and somehow I'm training for a triathlon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spinning From a Batt a la Chrissy the Great

Do you listen to podcasts? Well, I do. In fact, the next two posts relate to podcast-related projects.

The first has been in the works for a very long time. Last year, Chrissy the Great, host of the Manic Purl podcast published a really great spinning tutorial showing the process she used to make some absolutely beautiful yarn. Since I had the same batt (from a Sugarbee studios fiber club), I decided to try the tutorial, and take pictures of the process. I talked with Chrissy, and asked if she'd be interested in a photo version of her tutorial. This was in April, of last year.

Spinning the yarn was not what has taken so long. What did is taking the pictures, downloading and learning GIMP, an open-source image manipulation program.

Here are the results: Spinning from a Batt Tutorial



Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 10

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mini Post for a Mini Project

A small post for a small project.

Olympic Mittens

I had heard of the mittens worn by the Canadian Olympic team. There are even knitting patterns. Then, I heard about knitting patterns for mini mittens. Even cuter. And realistic to knit before the games. So I thought of Brenda, who is a big fan of the Olympics, and who was hosting our Ravelympics Cast On party, because she is awesome! (All of the ladies in our group are awesome!)

Anyways, I looked at patterns on Ravelry, and finally picked Pink Argyle's Mini Mittens pattern. Then I embroidered the Olympic rings. I skipped the Maple Leaf, because Brenda supports Team USA. Attached with some icord and viola!

The result is a very cute and very versatile little ornament.

It can hang on a purse or knitting bag

Olympic Mittens

or dangle from your rearview mirror.

Olympic Mittens

I then promptly forgot to give them to Brenda at the party. And the next three times we saw each other. She got them just a few days before the Olympics ended.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ravelympics Success

I have been away from the blog because I have been **gasp** knitting! It was that time, when fiber people the world over show their dedication and skill. The Ravelympics!

And unlike last year, I decided to set a reasonable goal. Then, once I met it, set some outrageous goals.

First, I tackled the Hat Heel Socks, with an entrelac leg based on the Annetrelac Socks. A few of the ladies from our knitting circle were doing the pattern, and you know I'm a sucker for new construction.

Ravelympics Socks

The came out great.

Ravelympics socks

And only took 8 days. Project page

So, I started setting out more goals.

First I set out ripping out a sample of some handspun, that's being gifted to a friend.

Miss February Yarn

Miss February Yarn

That was simple enough, done in one afternoon. Here's that project page and stash page.

Miss February Yarn

Then, I set my sights too high.

I decided to tackle the Arrgyle socks that I have been making my husband since January. Of 2008. Most of that time I have been hiding them in a deep dark corner of the craft room and tried to forget about them. It has been a long, hard slog. But I did make a lot of progress. All of the hard stuff is done.

Aargyle Socks

All I have left is the stockinette foot.

So, I am going to say that I am very proud of myself. I got much more knitting done that I normally do. Which is good, because I am getting ready to start really digging in for my next exam.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bakin' with Bacon

Now, Nerdy Husband and I are very adventurous eaters. But this weekend, we took the plunge and tried something that is new and exciting even for us.

We put these things together:

Bacon Brownies

to make this

Bacon Brownies

Bacon brownies! See that bit of yummy goodness sticking out of the middle!

We got the idea from Bacon Today and decided to go for it. Honestly I think that NH was a bit surprised that I went for it, because I am trying to diet, but we took the precaution of inviting friends over, so that we would not eat the whole pan of brownies ourselves.

They tasted like brownies, with an aftertaste of baconny goodness (spell check says baconny is not a word, but I think it should be). If I were to do it again, I would cook the bacon until crispy, then cut it into small pieces and mix with the batter. The brownies kind of fell apart a lot. Not sure that we will try again though.

Since the urge to bake hits me every weekend, and the knitting group had a trip to Hanks, the most awesomest yarn store ever, I attempted to make Chocolate Chip Blondies last night.

Well, if your recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan, and the biggest you have is an 8 x 8, you can't just put the batter in the small pan and think it will come out. If you trust the toothpick test, set the blondies out to cool, and try to cut them, the result is a gooey mess that is half raw, underneath perfectly cooked top. If you try putting them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, they will still be gooey in the middle and over cooked on the top and corners.

It takes skill to burn something and undercook it at the same time. Rather than risk giving my friends food poisoning with bad food, there were no treats. Epic fail.

Some research (looking at a brownie box) shows that using such a small pan requires cooking on low heat. Also, I could have split the batter between two pans. If this baking trend continues, I will invest in a full size pan again.

More Adventures with Bacon - And what I did over Christmas break

Time to take a little trip down memory lane, in order to bring you another bacon story, with some actual crafting content.

Every year, our knitting circle has a Secret Santa swap, and a big Christmas shin dig. Last year, Laura made Pigs in a Pig, and they were a huge hit.

If you haven't had the opportunity to try them, Pigs in a Pig are pigs in a blanket, with bacon instead of biscuit. Wrap a Lil Smokies sausage in bacon, and roll that in brown sugar and spices, and bake. Delicious! If you don't like the sausages, you can use small pieces of chicken instead, and pretend that it's healthy.

Laura has since moved away, but it was decided we needed to still have the Pigs in a Pic, even though they didn't fit with our theme of Taco Night. I volunteered to give it a shot. It gave me a chance to experiment with bacon, and I may or may not have made a test batch for dinner one night.

At the party, there was sooo much good food. Taco night was an awesome idea, so everyone could eat what they wanted.

We had a great time. Charlotte hosted, (thank you!) and we ate and chatted and had our swap.

My swappee was Kelly. She knits socks, and asked for yarn, so she got some yarn from Hanks, and a matching project bag. And chocolate.

Secret Santa Gift for Kelly

The bag was one of my simple project bags. With a twisted cord of cotton yarn, which didn't turn out to be the best closure. I also need to upgrade my pattern to a nicer bag, with boxed corners. But it's functional.

Secret Santa Gift for Kelly

Jodi was my Santa, and she got me some awesome sock yarn, and the cutest Mr. Man buttons. There were some awesome gifts, and I think everyone was very happy with the swap this year, organized by the talented and infamous Bad Jen.

I really love these crazy events with our knitting circle, every so often. It was such a fun time!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So, I'm going to try to post pics of some of my projects.

First, I'm going to start with some sewing.

I followed Born Knitty's tutorial to make a teething square for Jackson, my nephew. He likes to hold on to and suck on little blankies like these.

I found some John Deere fabric that was also yellow, which my brother and his wife, respectively, would love. Put together with some blue flannel and a Claire's bag (why do we have a Claire's bag? I have no idea)

Jackson's Teething Square

sewed it together

Jackson's Teething Square

and the end result.

Jackson's Teething Square

I gave it to Jackson while he and his mama were visiting for Christmas, and he seemed to like it. Although the one addition he would probably like is for a tag. Apparently he really likes to touch and suck on the smooth texture of tags. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

State of the Stash - 2010

I have a tradition. Every year, I go through all of my crafting supplies on the first of the year. I empty out the tubs, take note of what I have, reorganize, wind up partial skeins that have gotten tangled, wipe down all of the containers storing yarn, check for damage, that sort of stuff. And I take pictures.

I've done this every year since 2007, but only posted to the blog in 2008.

Every year, it gets a little easier, and I get a little more organized. This year, it included organizing my craft room/guest room.

Craft/Guest Room

The spinning wheel sits in the corner, next to my craft bookcase.

Craft/Guest Room

Do you see the yarn? No? It's neatly packaged away in the blue boxes.

And then there's the bookcase.

Craft/Guest Room

This is where I store all of my UFO's. Every last one of them. Knitting, crochet, spinning, the braided rug I started in 2005, all of it. Several of these are more than a year old.

Here's a better look.

Stash Toss 2010

My goal for 2010 is to clean this up considerably, so I can use it for other things. Like books.

Anyways, my sewing table, blocking board, and ironing board all fit in the closet, although in reality they don't spend much time there. The important part is that they can!

Having a guest room, with furniture, painted walls and pictures makes me feel oddly grown up.

But surely that can't be all of my crafting supplies, right? Right. The giant tower of craft remains in my hubbies office.

Stash Toss 2010

I did organize everything on here.

There's a shelf for sewing supplies

Stash Toss 2010

and one for fiber

Stash Toss 2010

and the other shelves are organized by how much I'll use them.

But what about the yarn stash?

Well, here is my handspun

Stash Toss 2010

and here is my collection of all the little bits and bobs.

Stash Toss 2010

It may seem odd to keep all of these little scraps, but they are surprisingly useful. I'm never without stuffing or stitchmarkers.

Here is all of the partial balls

Stash Toss 2010

and the source of all my guilt, the yarns which I haven't used at all.

Stash Toss 2010

Indy and I investigated and

Stash Toss 2010

The oldest: a ball of GGH Apart I bought in 2006, for the Rockstar scarf I never made.

This seems like a reasonable amount of stash to me. It hasn't grown too much since last year.

My only crafting resolution this year is to finish every UFO I have now by the end of the year. And to keep my guest room looking like a guest room.