Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mom knitting part 2

The Mitered Square Rug from Interweave! The free pattern is a lot of fun and a fair amount of work as well.

The picture on the top is the one my mom made, and it is posing on a tabletop so it can seen easier. Don't be frightened of the spine, she's a physical therapist.

The lower one is the one I made with different colors. Neither one of us used the colors in the pattern, though they are lovely too. We knitters are limited to the choices available, no?

If you adore weaving in thousands of loose ends, give it a go. We're almost at the end of cotton knitting season, people. Fall is right around the corner.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My mom knit tiny sweaters!

How freaking adorable are these?

I love tiny things and I love these sweaters. I specifically love the way they are designed like actual sweaters, with stripes, etc.

I would so wear any of these if I was sparrow-sized.

But who is really so small they could wear such a thing?

I have no idea where this photo came from but the sweater looks crocheted, not knitted. Oh well.

I hope putting this squirrel picture below the sweater picture doesn't make my mom seem crazy, because she isn't. Her sweaters are cute and are not intended to be worn by woodland creatures. It's MY demented mind that put them together, clear?

Thanks mom, these rock!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I think I have a job!

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I wanted to show off a couple more swap items I just got: "Tie One On" headband from Superstitch and "Soul Meets Body" Tee from Skarinja. I keep getting amazed, impressed and inspired by all the neat things fellow Craftsters are doing!

Now what's this about a job?

Well, I know nothing about it really or how much they pay but can I start tomorrow? (warning sign for sure)

And since I am a struggling artist, a real job is the grown-up way to go. In addition to fearing it, I am also looking forward to it and I already know a couple of people there and they are Good People.

In fact, I used to work with one of the Good People at my last job, where we brainstormed the document "top ten signs you are getting into a bad job." (Not that my new so-called job will be bad. I'm happy to have the offer, really.)

I recall "can you start tomorrow?" being on the list. The rest of what I remember is listed below. There's only eight of them, and I think they may be specific to my industry. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Can you start tomorrow?

Can you come in today?

So if this works out would you be able to start now?

So it's 6 days a week. How do you feel about working weekends? It's a lot of late nights!

Things are going to be really crazy in the beginning but then it'll be really cool.

Things are going to be crazy for a while but we're going to hire some other people...…

The only drawback with this job is we have a really tight budget.

The pay is low and the hours are long, but we have a lot of dedicated people on staff who make it all work. Welcome!

Monday, August 28, 2006

ER Armwarmers

Here is the story of a pair of cabled armwarmers and how they came to be. They are knit from 2 balls of GGH Linova, (74% cotton/26% linen) color: black.

I was called to work as an extra on the set of ER last Friday. I brought with me some yarn and this pattern. An extra often gets downtime to read or play cards or knit, etc. and I hoped this would be no exception.

Our call time was 11:30 am and I was cast as a "parent with car" which means I would be driving my car in the scene, and I get a little bump in pay for that. After I checked in and wardrobe approved my clothes, I sat down in the junior high school cafeteria that was our location and started in on some knitting action.

We were all told repeatedly not to use the changing rooms designated for the minors. It was creepy that we had to be told that, but there was a guy in a blue shirt I suspect would have done it if he could. We were also told it would be a long day, and not to ask if we could leave early. I didn't like the sound of that one bit.

That's about when the 40 or so junior high school kids showed up for their scene. And the high decibel chaos ensued!

After casting on and working some ribbing into the cuff, I decided to take a quick break and assess the craft services. (This is the catering for you non-industry people) I worked ER once before, years ago when I first tried doing the extra work. I remember platters of chocolate covered strawberries and that's specifically what I set out to find.

Let me just say that this was no longer the ER of old, with the lobster salad and chateau briand. We're talking fruit loops and warm milk, and a basket of grapefruit. I can't think of anything I wanted to do less than peel and eat a grapefruit while knitting. Is nothing sacred? I skipped it and waited for lunch.

That's about when I overhead the guy in the blue shirt and some career extras talking, "I wonder if John Stamos will be here. I worked with him three years ago and we talked. I want to see if he'll remember my face." (Yeah right!) The guy in the blue shirt was seen eating a grapefruit.

So Clooney had something Stamos doesn't. Mainly, craft services. But no worries, we broke for lunch at 2:30. By this point the 12 "parents with cars" and the 40 kids have been hanging out, napping, reading, and not working. Three hours on set and no word about what we're doing or when we're working.

Lunch was awesome and I was being good, so I ate a big salad and steamed veggies. Yes, I was a good girl. And one hour later I was hungry again. In fact, I was still hungry at 5 pm, when I looked up from my knitting at the clock. Still no work, and I was almost done with the second armwarmer. I was starting to get concerned, would I finish and have nothing left to do? Exactly how long was this day meant to be?

As the kids finished their umpteenth round of simon says, we were called to action. The sun was setting in 30 minutes, and we had to get the shot in before then. We hustled our cars to the designated point and drove in circles a while. When it got too dark to shoot, they turned on the really bright lights and kept going. They released the "parents with cars" at this point and I got lost somewhere south of downtown at night trying to find the freeway.

The cabled armwarmers are now on their way to Canada for a craft swap I'm in. I'm to receive some headbands in return.

(If you like stories about knitting while being an extra, check out the story of the Alias socks.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm really tired and cranky

That's the kind of headline that really brings the readers into the inner circle.

You know what it's like when you have to work a job you've never done before and it's kinda hard and you're on your best behavior and it takes a lot out of you? That's been my last three days. Three whole days! (I know what you're thinking)

I'm considering adding a tip jar to the site and maybe google ads. Would you hate it as a reader to deal with seeing that stuff? Do other bloggers reading this do that? I'd love to hear your opinions!

So work plus blogger problems equals headline. But please don't worry about me...

I'm fine now. I did what I usually do when I need a smile and photo searched cute animal pictures. I hit the jackpot! According to the site I borrowed this picture from, the title is "Desdemona – The Cookie Thief" and credit goes to Kem Sypher of NE Portland, OR.

I love how the bunny is like, "what?"

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fiber Friday 8/25/06

I don't have much yarn to show off this week but if you want to see some really awesome yarns, check out the Fiber Friday thread on Craftster today. I clearly have a lot to learn!

I'll share what I am learning. I keep swapping the yarn I make. And since I have a hard time determining the value of my homespun, I give more than I should.

Another thing I am learning is that people really like the homespun novelty yarns. I think it's like if you've been a classical painter and the world wants cubism. You have to slow down and learn the technique. The world may think it's quicker and easier to go abstract, but it's actually harder in a lot of ways. But a fun challenge nonetheless.

Yarn in photo stats: 75 yards of bulky 2-ply. 4.2 oz blend of hand-dyed merino, targhee and rambouillet. And then of course, the aguas frescas kool-aid yarn.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Yarn Sale show-and-tell

I'm a bit nervous now because I just got a casting call to work on ER tomorrow. The last time I got this kind of call I knit these socks, so I guess I should just look forward to it like a good girl.

For local peeps, Knit Cafe on Melrose is having a 40% off yarn sale this week!

Step away from the yarn. Just walk away. Don't go in. Don't do it. Oh nevermind.

I picked up some sock yarn, "Katia Mississippi." Also, some 50% Alpaca/50% Tencel from Classic Elite called "Miracle." (bright stuff) And finally Noro Silk Garden Lite. Gotta love Noro on sale.

And... that's all. I wouldn't go over budget, not me. If it's not in the picture, I must not have bought it. That's all I bought! Yep. See the picture? Just those yarns. I was good. Yeah. Nothing else to see here folks. I'm definitely NOT hiding anything.

I'm trying to figure out a way to say what I'll bring to knit on set tomorrow, without contradicting the last paragraph...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Looky at the lovely silhouette art I scored in another Craftster swap! An artist named bhean put this together for me since she knew I was a spinner (see - spinning with a drop spindle!)

Obviously I LOVE it! If I ever get a tattoo, this could be it. And it's never too late for a tattoo, right mom?

The next picture is of a wallet a Craftster named knottydottie made for me! You can't tell but it's very well-constructed in real life. If you look closely you'll see the fabric is elephants! CUTE!

Last but not least (by a long shot), I present the envelope and label collection from devilninny. I love how a lot of the envelopes represent knitting and cute animals (including a skunk) and the labels have knitting themes on them too. Very thoughtful.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fiber Fest Stash

I almost forgot to show off some of my recent score! I didn't photo the undyed white fiber because I'm not such a skilled photographer to make that stuff look good.

Starting at the top left corner, you see the silk "hankie," the ball of Italian yarn, the angelina sparkly stuff, the copper angelina, and the pendant. I'm glad I remembered to post a photo. It was hard describing the color of the silk!

Aguas Frescas Yarn

Remember the roving I dyed with aguas frescas flavors of kool-aid? I spun a small amount up in a thick-thin singles yarn to get a better sense of the color palette.

I also threw in some white as is in my style this summer. I don't know why I do it. I think it's like adding water to a strong tea to dilute it, or maybe I just like bits of white in my yarn these days.

I sold some more roving in my etsy shop this morning and I'm up to my eyeballs in swapping duties. I am making someone some cabled armwarmers from this free pattern. It looks like fun!

I've already had some adventures in yarn selection, but I'll save that story for when I've made progress. Besides, I'm certain to make a few more mistakes along the way which is usually decent comedy.

In exchange for these armwarmers I expect to get a handmade mixed paper journal. I love the idea of trading things I can make for things I want but can't make.

A big thing among Craftster swappers is the "wist." A lot of you are already hip to the wists but for those who aren't it's like an online wishlist of things you think are cool, want to know more about, or just plain want. I've resisted creating my own wists but it does seem to help people get a better sense of your style.

ps: I tried to align the yarn in this posting so that it looks like an exclamation point!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fiber Fest Re-Cap Special

Sorry about the recent posting snags. I'm completely off my rhythm of daily postings centered around photos! Boo! I'm using firefox instead of safari and it seems to interact with blogger better. Okay, enough behind the scenes talk. Now on to the goods:

Saturday I went to the Fiber Fest with my pal Nik and we had a great time. See Nik wearing the scarf she made? It's really pretty!

This year at the fest they had some alpacas in the front yard of the Santa Monica Civic and they were as funny and cute as they are known to be. A fiber fest in Los Angeles isn't quite like the Great Fiber Fests of Colder Climates. Three alpacas were a big deal. And the small one wore a scarf. We wondered if the scarf was made out of her own fiber. Which would be kind of funny conceptually.

I had a budget of $40 and I spent exactly that! (Including the $5 entry fee) I'm sure it's tacky to talk about money but with all of the blogging problems of late, I'm free to break some rules.

I bought:

* 2 oz. undyed rambouillet roving. Clean, soft and spongy!

* 8 oz. kid & adult blended mohair carded batts. Undyed.

* One ball dark bamboo green colored kid mohair/silk yarn from Italy, 230 yards. So soft I couldn't put it down.

* Half ounce angelina sparkly fiber "HB crystal MOP" (I don't know what that means either)

* Half ounce angelina copper flash sparkle

* One stunning hand dyed silk "hankie" (for spinning), 1 oz in a burgundy meets creamy coffee color

* painted wood heart pendant. (oddball item that caught my eye)

I have to confess, I did have fun BUT it was better last year. (GASP) There were fewer vendors and a lot of them were unhappy, unkempt, unfriendly ladies who seemed very cranky to be making a fortune surrounded by a room full of creative and fun people trying to connect with eachother and have a blast. Plus the prices were a bit high. One could do better on eBay and the like.

That said, there were also many highlights and my favorite place was "Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks." That's where I took the photos of the yarn hanging. The woman was really cool and has an amazing skill with colors. That's also where I bought the silk which was a funny moment. She demonstrated how to draft the "hankie" and everyone got really excited and started a mad frenzy at the hankie basket. It was ridiculous AND great.

On another note, remember the guanaco I saw at the zoo last week? I saw guanaco fiber at the fest! Expensive!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm still alive

I've been trying to update my blog all weekend but blogger is broken. If you can read this, sorry!

I have lots of pictures to share of the fiber fest...

Soon, I hope!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dice stitch markers!

Here are some cute little dice stitch markers for noting one's place in knitting projects, and I just made a whole bunch! The red stitch markers are shown on a size 8 needle and the larger ring on top fits best on needles sized 5 through 10.5

If you have some pliers and basic findings, you can make them too!

The clever thing about these stitch markers is that they are convertible to 2 sizes! The second ring is smaller, and fits best around size 0 through 5. Can you tell how pleased I am with myself for thinking of it?

These markers are better than most because you will have a closer fit on your needles and the rings won't get themselves into trouble! It's like two markers in one.

In summary, each marker fits needles 0 through 10.5 comfortably. I'm thrilled with how they came out since they are my first attempt. I plan on making more, of course. I even put them in my slow, slow etsy shop. I guess nobody knits in the heat except us koo-koo birds.

Fiber Friday 8/18/06

Purple yarn: 70 yards merino with glittery firestar mixed in, 2-ply.

Green yarn: 69 yards crazy singles with merino, cotswold, mohair and recycled sari silk.

Lilac and blue yarn: 45 yards corriedale 2-ply.

Pink and white bouncy yarn: 160 yards blend of merino, targhee and rambouillet, plied with pink thread.

The first three are all yarn I made for another swap. The girl I made them for is into purple and other jewel/rich tones.

I hope she likes them! I'll find out soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Swap yarn show-off part 2

My yarn from the Craftster homespun swap arrived!

Here are the stats: Pink yarn is 70/30 merino/silk 1.5 oz and about 50 yards. The mixed skein in the middle is romney + 1.5 oz and about 45 yards. The brown yarn is 2.8 oz and over 100 yards. It's baby alpaca! Did I score or what?

I am beyond excited and thrilled to have these! I think they go very well together and may use them in the same project. Any ideas?

I just had a lightbulb moment. The time and energy I am putting into these swaps is like what I would normally do if I had a job! I like this much, much better... but where will the money come from?

But seriously, look at the yarn. How did she make the mixed skein? I have to dig in there and check it out. Here is the yarn I sent to her. (In case anyone is curious)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Adventures of the postal center

Here are some little parcels I put together for a swap I entered on Craftster. (scroll down to see the contents: cuffs!)

I like to mail things from the postal center around the corner instead of going to the post office for a lot of reasons. This includes, but is not limited to: length of lines, temperature inside building, attitude of employees, odds of being chatted up by creepy dudes, proximity to my house.

One funny thing about the local post center is that they sell lots of mail-related doodads and one random item. I try to keep it clean around here but it's sort of amazing to me that they also sell lube. It's in the glass case, next to the sharpies. I don't understand it, and I don't ask.

Anyway, I was filling out forms in there today and this guy walks in and says, "don't look at my face, I just had laser and it looks terrible." The two guys behind the counter and I all immediately look at his face. I don't know what "laser" means, but it's true, he did look terrible.

As he was collecting the items in his box, he started telling us about his night. His neighbor tried to stab him with a giant knife! All because he asked the neighbor not to put his trash in front of his door. If you're like me, you are suspecting there is more to the story.

After some discussion, the four of us agreed the neighbor has a crystal meth problem. The stabber is going to jail for two months and laser face had a steel plate installed over his front door. I started to get involved, but I managed to walk away in the end. I often attract this sort of chaos. Don't even ask me how I got myself into my current situation of storing a homeless guy's wardrobe thingy in my livingroom. Oy vey!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Aguas Frescas color chart

I'm going to have to do this a bit more carefully and photograph each color on it's own but for it is!

I present the aguas frescas line of kool-aid dyed onto wool roving. The number one feature that differentiates this series to the regular kool-aid colors I think is that these are sunset colors. In real life, these are very bright. When I dyed, I aimed for medium tones, not too saturated and not too washed out.

Both of these yellows (pina and mango) are golden and warm. I am happy to see this since the only other yellow I have from kool-aid, lemonade, is cold and greenish. I had been using wilton's buttercup for yellow and it's great to have two more options. The mango is especially pleasing.

The tamarindo is interesting. It doesn't come even close to any other color in the kool-aid palette, since it's basically beige. I'm interested in experimenting with this color, to see how dark it can go and also blending it with other colors to mute them.

The jamaica is the closest to the usual kool-aid colors but it's unique too. The intensity is high and the saturation happened immediately. It's a rich, bloody hibiscus dye.

Finally, I am confounded by the mandarina. The color on the package gave me the impression it would be a darker orange than it is. I don't know what to do with it except use sparingly.

Keep in mind that the colors may not be accurate on your monitor. They aren't exact on mine either. But I think you get the general idea.

In more kool-aid news, I did pick up some flavors I didn't have before and I plan on giving them a go as well. This includes changin' cherry (blue!), strawberry lemonade and strawberry kiwi. I think the latter two are both pink and the possibility exists that I may NOT dig into those right away.

What's next? I spun up the aguas frescas samples into a thick-thin singles yarn. I will show it off after I set the twist, of course.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Oops, I did it again...

I made more pink yarn. It's like Close Encounters of the Third Kind when Richard Dreyfuss carves the same shape over and over into his mashed potatoes. Only with a spinning wheel, wool and dye.

The aliens of pink are going to be coming for their yarn. Give them my address; it's all waiting here for them.

It's the only explanation of why I am compelled to keep up with the pink lately. It's really not my color, but it doesn't seem to matter how much I deny it.

In non-pink news, I used the FIVE flavors of hecho en mexico aguas frescas kool-aid today and I should be able to show it off tomorrow. Various bits of wool roving are spread out over the apartment drying as I type.

Tease: pleasant surprises were mango and tamarindo (though the latter smelled funky). Terrible shock was the mandarina. Think neon orange.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Aguas Frescas

For those of you who do not consider it a real blog entry without a picture, I present to you a panda with it's arms on backwards. Now onto the goods...

Check out the Kool-aid flavors I scored today!

I also picked up some other flavors I didn't have but I'm especially excited about the highly coveted aguas frescas, which are hard to find! This can only mean one thing, I am going to dye some fiber tomorrow! I can't wait to see all the golden goodness emerge. Do the Kool-aid people know what we do with this stuff?

This is going to be a great week!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Today's sweater story

Look! I recycled some yarn from an ugly sweater!

Let me think, where did I get the sweater... thinking... oh yeah! I knitted it myself last year! That's right. I remember now. I wanted a raglan style cardigan that I could fall in love with. A sweater that I would end up wearing every day. A simple, natural, old fashioned, plain and tall hand knit cardigan. Alas! It was not meant to be.

If I could pinpoint where the sweater went wrong I would say it was in the expectations phase. I wanted the sweater to be what it could never be. I was looking for the stuff only dreams are made of... cozy, soft, perfect, timeless, classic, flattering, etc. I may as well been hoping to knit a unicorn. That was the first problem.

I had enough undyed yarn to make the project, but there were many questions. Could a girl my size, shape and complexion look okay in a bulky knit shapeless, colorless sweater? Probably not. Was my gauge consistent? Not especially. Did I knit the whole thing anyway, including seaming and weaving in the loose ends perfectly? Of course. I'm no amateur.

Put kindly, the sweater could have fit a small horse. More honestly, it would have fit a full grown male gorilla. I wore it around the house a day or two, in denial. I kept checking the mirror to see if it looked okay, and it never did. I posed like they do in knitting magazines when the shaping on a garment is bad. I hugged myself, I reached for an apple in an imaginary tree, and I twirled around, laughing. It helped a little, but the sweater was hopeless.

I put the sweater in my closet and forgot about it. That is, until the other day. I looked at it on the shelf and a wave of memories came back to me. What sweater is this? (pause) Oh yeah. The stupid sweater.

How is today different from the day I put it in my closet last year? I'll tell you. I now own a ball winder. This makes it SO easy to pretend that the bad sweater never happened. Just plug in one end and turn the crank. The monster unraveled into nothingness.

This is the story of an unfortunate sweater that has potential now that it is reduced to it's original state: yarn. Yarn can be anything. And if I put the yarn back in my stash the memory of the stupid sweater will wear away from it over time. Or is it that I am supposed to knit it into something else to erase it's memory?

What on earth can I make with 1200 yards of bulky weight superwash undyed wool? I got it! A classic, raglan style cardigan!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fiber Friday 8/11/06

I dyed a bit this week, and spun some too. Not much to brag about really. NEXT week I'll have some sparkly yarn to show off!

All three photos are of different pinky fibers. The first one is hand-dyed roving. The second is hand-dyed commercial yarn and the last is the swap yarn I spun. I actually did some non-pink stuff this week but I'm going to keep this a themed collection today.

It's baffling, really. I don't like pink a whole lot, but you wouldn't know it this week!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


So many wonderful handpainted murals of pandas...

...and dragons (?)

The guy on the left looks like he's too sick to join KISS. The one next to him has remarkable posture. The next one is angry and the guy on the right looks like an actual panda.

The next painting is funny because there is a realistic panda looking at the scary panda, wondering how he got into this scene. I don't know how to comment on the dragons.

Another thing funny about this crazy panda, is he actually looks like a real panda, as it turn out...

...At least in body language. This real panda may be sleeping, but it's hard to tell.

There's no confusion here. Cute pandas live at the San Diego Zoo! They eat bamboo and honey sandwiches. AW!

In spinning news, I'm back on the wheel today with fury! I'm going to spin some yarn for another swap I entered...

(Doing happy dance for a sec...)

One week until fiber fest!

(Still dancing)

Don't tell the pandas they're living in captivity. They seem to like it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Soft Undercoat

It was a long hot day at the San Diego Zoo on Monday but I managed to take lots of pictures. Today's offering is the Guanaco. It looked like a fiber animal to me...and it is!

I wanted to grab a bit of fleece but obviously there was no way that could happen. I thought the big one in the picture was friendly and wanted me to have it's fleece. It's clearly shedding in the summer sun and would like to have it gone I imagine.

I have some llama fiber in my stash but I haven't spun it yet. It's soft! I have been known to touch it but for some reason I haven't spun it. I also have some camel but I'm avoiding that too. I don't have much else in the way of exotic fibers...I have some bamboo that needs to be carded and a handful of angora bunny too. When spinning, however, I tend to stick with utilitarian fiber, basic wool.

According to Wikipedia: "Like the llama, the guanaco is double coated with a coarse guard hair and soft undercoat, which is even finer and thus more highly prized than that of the alpaca, although they carry far less of it."

The article goes on to say they also have thick-skinned necks, which Bolivians use to make shoes. Ugh.

Later this week: Pandas!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Swap yarn show-off

Yay! My swap partner received the yarn I sent so I can show it off! It's 4oz of worsted to bulky weight hand-dyed goodness. I tried to spin it smaller but I swear the fiber wanted me to spin it thick. I always obey the fiber. Well, not always, but I really should.

This skein is 2-ply and mostly pink. (what a girly week I'm having...) My swap partner, who also happens to be the organizer, started a thread on Craftster where all the swappers can show off the yarn. So far, I'm the only one there.

I sent off the yarn with time to spare and now it looks like I can join another swap...uh oh! I'm enjoying the swapping! This can only lead to danger and yet off I go.

In unexpected news, I am seriously considering going to Burning Man this year. I have never been and am looking for an opportunity to get away from myself a bit. At the same time, this crazy fest is intimidating and heat stroke-y, so I don't know. But it would be interesting to set up a spinning wheel in the middle of nowhere.

OH! Before I forget, I got a fine haircut today and that's why I'm late posting. Maybe the haircut will help me "get away from myself" so I don't have to camp in the desert after all.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Your ear just tastes so much better than a handful of oats

The big news today is that I am going to San Diego. I am hoping to see some fiber animals at the zoo so I can take pictures and show them off later this week.

I'm not asking for much, just some ear nibbling like what's happening in this picture I fleeced off the web. (Sorry) This picture was taken by Tanja A. It looks a bit painful and I don't fully understand why one would bite another's ear. Is this some kind of dominance thing?

In other news, I'm pretty excited to see my free pattern for Band Cuffs are getting promoted by people other than me in the web-o-sphere!

First there was Craftster...

..and Knitter's Review...

Now the big one, Knitting Pattern Central!

In summary, the pattern belongs to everyone. But your ear, that belongs to me.