Friday, November 30, 2007

A Year

My husband is getting sent to Korea for a year. I'm not allowed to go.

A year.

He's going to miss 5 birthdays, a Christmas, a Halloween, our anniversary, Izzy's first day of Kindergarten...

I don't feel like knitting right now. I know I'll do it later. I can't send him to Korea without new socks, an afghan, pillows...

A year.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I got all inspired by my daughter's love (love!) of Hello Kitty to spin some cat fur. If you are stuck in a Hello Kitty Nightmare, check of this great site, Hello Kitty Hell. The guy who writes it is hilarious.

At least it's better than Dora! Anything to get a smidgen of relief from that madness.

By the way, if you are making novelty yarn with giant flower buttons, make sure that they fit through the oriface of your spinning wheel before you spend twenty minutes stringing them on the base yarn. Trust me on this one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Letter to Santa, Give Mama Some Yarn

I don't know how to rotate videos on Blogger. If anyone knows how, please leave a comment.

Angel Hair and Baby's Breath

I'm having a lot of fun remixing old yarns with new handspun.

I plied a handspun wool single with vintage "Opalesce" yarn from Reynolds (45% Viscose/ 21% Wool/ 15% Acrylic/ 12% Mohair). The result is lofty, silky, fluffy, shiny...

As long as my house is a foster home for abandoned yarns, I'm going to find them new lives.

Monday, November 26, 2007

(Don't Eat) Yellow Snow

Here is a new novelty yarn for the shop. I used one skein of vintage "Fluffy" yarn from Unger, 4 strands (2 skeins) of vintage "Nevada" yarn from Flits, and two plies of my handspun targhee. I spun the whole yarn two strands at a time, crisscrossing the strands over each other after each spinning. Then I overdyed the whole skein with bright, happy yellow Jacquard dye to perk of the 70's look of the yellow faux mohair. I ended up with about almost 70 yards of bulky weight fun.

I like combining old with new, serious with funky, and wild with sedate. I'm working on some more yarn remixes this week.

Clown Vomit Cloche

Per my darling Auntie Jay's request, I have started the Clown Vomit Winter Set. Aunt Jay teaches special ed kindergarten and likes bright colors. They call her the "Pink Lady" because she wears bright pink every day. (At least that's her story and she's sticking to it...)

The yarn is my own bulky 2-ply handspun carded wool. I love spinning rolags. I am holding a single strand of vintage faux mohair for fluff. I'm going to full it a bit to close up the crochet gaps. The convertable mittens are going to be knit with the same bright flowers on the wrists.
I hope this thing shrinks enough to be a hat.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Handsome, Version 2.0

I finished my grandfather's sweater vest. It turned out better than I thought it would. I made it in his favorite color and it's machine washable.

Nothing makes me happier than making something for my family.

Caron Simply Soft Solids, 3 skeins held doubled

Size 10 needles

My own pattern

I can't wait to give it to him!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Want to make an instant dog sweater? Cut the sleeve off of a sweater and hem it. Cut two slits for arms and hem those. I used a women's medium wool sweater from the thrift store and hemmed it all by hand with a single ply of 4 ply worsted wool yarn. (Cut a 24" length of yarn and separate the plys like embroidery floss.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Stache Hat

The Stache Hat, originally uploaded by Ginga.

Some people have all of the good ideas...

Too bad David's balaclava has to be plain old black.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When will I learn?

I have a 6" triangle left to finish Clapotis and I'm out of yarn. Of course I don't remember the dye recipe for the color I'm using.

Now I have green fingernails and a somewhat matching 30 yard mini skein drying.

I'm leaving you with some lovely pictures of crocheted undies from the Charles M. Russell Museum. We visited last weekend to celebrate a Victorian Christmas. Miss Isabel had a blast.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas Tea Clapotis Shawl

ravelry 005, originally uploaded by alexcateye.

I'm making a door prize for a Women's Tea at my church. It's Clapotis from

The yarn is my own handspun/dyed.

They are rioting at Ravelry about this pattern. I guess it's overdone. This is my first time knitting it and I'm having a blast. It's like knitting a waltz. One, two,, two three... Kate Gilbert is a genius!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cloudy Cowl

cloudy 004, originally uploaded by alexcateye.

My sweater finished blocking. It's hard to see from the picture, but it has about 2 inches of ease. I love it. I took all of the leftovers I had and made a quick easy cowl.

I cast on 50 stitches with a size 11 needle using a provisional cast on and smooth linen waste yarn.

I knit every row until I had 5 feet left.

I picked out the cast on, put the stitches on a spare circular needle, twisted the work 1/2 of a turn, and grafted. Easy.

Grafting is easier than people say it is. Just ignore the directions and use your tapestry needle to make an imaginary row of stitches in between the two needles. When people tell you how to do it, they just mess you up.

Half-Tatted Feathered Fishing Fly Bracelet

This is my Whip Up Whiplash entry. CLICK for more info.

My stepdaughter is in the Fishing Club in school. I wanted to make her a little frippery to show that some fisherman are, in fact, pretty girls.

If you choose to make a feathered bracelet for yourself, it will be a great introduction to the motion of tatting. The entire bracelet is made with one half of the double stitch repeated. Remember hair wraps from the '90's? This is even easier.

I began by sketching out a couple of tatting shuttle shaped pieces on cardboard. I cut them out and loaded them each with a different color of Orlon fly tying thread. If you don't have any available, lace weight yarn, embroidery floss, or woolly nylon would make fine substitutes.
I chose a sturdy scrap yarn for the base. I tied a slip knit halfway down the 36 inch length and hung it from a doorknob. It would be just as easy to loop the knot over the arm of a chair. The point is that you'll want tension to keep the work straight and even.

I attached the first shuttle with another slip knot.

The stitch is simple. Make the thread look like the letter C. Slide the shuttle between the base yarn and the shuttle yarn. Repeat.

Give some slack. Make a loop. Dive the shuttle between the base yarn and the loop you just made.

Every ten knots or so, push your work towards the end with your thumbnail to keep it tight and neat.

When you're ready to add a feather, pinch it in place with your free hand and wrap the shuttle 360 degrees around a few times to hold it still. Then start your knots. Leave as much or as little of the feather free as you like.

If you'd like to add a second color, hide the end under a feather.

Tie the second shuttle on. Let the first shuttle dangle. Work all of the second color on top of the base yarn and the first shuttle's thread. Easy.
Continue adding feathers and changing colors until piece measures desired length.
Cut ends 1/2" longer than finished length and overlap.
Wrap shuttle 360 degrees around join until all base yarn is hidden, then finish with 3 or 4 knots.
Trim ends to feather height.
Alternately, any type of jewelry clasp could be sewn on instead. Because this will be worn by a teenager, I know it will be worn constantly until it disintegrates and a clasp would be unnecessary.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slouch for toddlers

I whipped up a quick hat for my cousin's daughter, Addison. She's 3. Her dad is a fisherman. I had one lonely skein of fly tying yarn left, so I knit it into a slouchy beret for her.

I'm sending the hat and Izzy's outgrown wool socks to Alaska today. Miss Isabel is a little jealous of the hat. I'm not going to tell her about the socks. My family is very practical. It's fine to give cotton socks to the Salvaiton Army, but handknit wool? We hand those down.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In case of emergency...

Erin at The House on Hill Road was asking about carry along stitching projects. Here is mine. (That ball of pink cotton yarn has been in my car for at least six months. I forgot why. It lives in the glove compartment.)

I'm a knitter, but I need to crochet once in a while. I love watching how fast crochet grows. I love throwing crochet in a corner and knowing I won't lose every stitch due to carelessness. I hate how bulky and stiff it can look. That's why I've started doing all of my crochet in lace weight.

To make your own emergency crochet kit, purchase an outdated first aid kit from and Army Navy Surplus store. (No, this isn't stolen Air Force issue. They use soft sided paramedic bags. Army boxes are waterproof.) Empty out all of the pesky medical supplies except for the cool scissors. They will cut through a nickel. I've seen it done. Place delicious lace weight merino yarn, a size F crochet hook, and a couple of safety pins in the box. Start an easy shawl at home.

P.S. Happy Veteran's Day to my wonderful husband. He's a veteran of Desert Storm.
Me love him long time!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

6 Days to a Sweater

It's done! This is the first time I've knit a sweater in less than a week. It's blocking now, but here are some lumpy pictures.

I am so in love with this yarn.
My husband enjoyed pointing out that I was over generous with the bust shaping. This is why I never ask him to take pictures.
So far, those weird tucks around the neck seem to be blocking out. The rings formed by the different colors aren't giving me as many belly rolls in other lighting.
I've casted on a garter stitch cowl to wear when I'm in the mood. I hope to have pictures of both tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2007


I got a package from my very best friend today! It was the pick-me-up I've been needing. November is really the toughest month for me. Seasonal depression and holiday pressures start full force at this time a year.

For those of you following along at home, those are mother/daughter Calorimetry head wraps. She also fulled an orange bag for me. (I have a thing for bright, happy colors.)
I also got some books. I was really excited to get Vogue Sewing. There is so much information in this book. It's full of fiber content, fit, figure type, seam finishes, types of pockets, etc., etc., etc... I also got a copy of Hookorama. A lot of the patterns are strange, but there is a pattern for a moth in there. I have a thing for moths. I have a tattoo of Mothra. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I plan to crochet some lavender moth repellent sachets with this pattern. It was a private little thrill for me. That's one of the great things about have a best, best friend.
Isabel got a signed copy of The Kids' Knitting Notebook. It's adorable. There are pockets for swatches, cute projects, and a lot of ways to document a child's learning process. Iz is at the point that she can crochet a chain--she can't wait to knit.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I miss my little girl. She's having fun with the puppy. His name is Chewy. Chewy the Chihuahua. He needs a sweater--I just know it.

On the up side, I have gotten a ton of knitting done. I'm doing a bottom-up raglan with the handspun blue yarn. I have the body and almost one sleeve done. I decided to block the body to see how this lumpy, bumpy yarn looks. I like it. Actually, I love it. It's squishy and bouncy. It's feels like clouds this color should feel like. Not fluffy like white clouds, but dense and buoyant.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wide Open Spaces

We dropped Izzy off at Grandma's house today. My mother has a new chihuahua puppy and she wanted him to meet Iz. He's adorable, but doesn't yet allow flash photography. (I guess it makes him pee on the carpet.)

I finished a requested pair of slippers for my Aunt Peggy. They are hideous. They look like something you'd steal from a demented nursing home patient "for her own good." Oh well, they're done.

On the way home, I started a sweater with my cloudy blue handspun. It matched the sky perfectly.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

High Tech Fabric Box

I sewed something I like! I made a bed for my iPod, camera, and phone plus their cords. I bought these fabrics at, having no idea what I would do with them. Then I bought the wrong interfacing at Joann's. I ended up buying this awful stuff that's as stiff and thick as posterboard.

This box was in no way fun to make. I broke a needle, went through 2 spools of thread, wound the bobbin 4 times, and broke the top thread a minimum of 25 times. I never did get the bobbin tension properly adjusted for the thick interfacing. I should have gone back to the store to the the Microtex needle suggested online (but nowhere on the interfacing package) but I was determined to get it done today.'s done, and I never have to do it again!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Le Steek, Le Chic

I knit 'er done. Actually, I stitched 'er done. I sewed that zipper three times before I figured out I had to sew it by hand. Then I added a little onto the collar so the back of my neck won't freeze. I think I'm ready for ski season. (Ready for hot toddy season anyway.)

Yarn: My handspun, plus oddments of Lamb's pride
Needles: Size 7 circular, 2 circulars for sleeves; sewing needles for steek and zipper
Pattern: None, except I borrowed the chart for Cheesy Love from Knitty so I could have some hearts on my sleeve, cuz I roll like that.

In other news, I bought some sweater stamps at the post office. The lady at the counter was a little freaked out by my enthusiasm. I'm sure they've seen nerds freaking out over stamps before...they sell Star Wars stamps there. Oh well, at least I did her the service of making her feel normal and well adjusted for the day!