Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yet Another Pattern, And Some Potential News

Ribs & Seeds

Another of my creations for fabulous Roxanne and her fabulous yarns - this one is also available from Zen Yarn Garden's online shop or Etsy store.

Ribs & Seeds

Called "Ribs & Seeds" - for the popular epicurean directive, "jalapenos, ribs & seeds removed" - this is probably one of my most thought-out patterns. I charted the whole thing from scratch, without really using any particular inspiration other than what I pictured in my head. (More frequently, I'm inspired by a stitch pattern or something I see, rather than something I make up from nothing.) I had a lot of fun making this one, and it feels most like "my own" creation.

Ribs & Seeds

Funny to put this picture after all that bombast about my creation - okay, the front is pretty unadorned because I was also trying for a slightly more unisex look to the design, so all the cabling fanciness is centered up the back. The colourway isn't particularly manly, but that's a good thing, since the finished socks won't be for a man. (And I love this yarn base, as I have all of Roxanne's yarns - this is the Bamboolicious blend, which I believe is the first bamboo blend sock yarn I've knit with - there's no shortage in stash, but ... well, it's stash.)

My twee Avery baby sweater is coming along nicely:


I can say that now. Yesterday I had a bit of a fit, as in all my infinite wisdom, I misplaced the arms. Since I can't come up with any babies I know of off the top of my head who have arms jutting out of the middle of their chest and back, I had to rip and redo that part. But I'm loving the pattern, and the yarn, and the combination of pattern and yarn.

Also, I spun this:


I called it "Kalamata", from a Yarn Wench fiber in "Olive Grove". Her colourway name was pretty perfect, so I didn't go very far left of center in picking my name. This is a superwash merino, spun up to sport weight for a swap. It was also the last of my Yarn Wench, so I'm looking forward to an update.

Finally, the potential news. I may be shifting my views slightly on something I said I wasn't terribly interesting in doing - because said thing has gone relatively well those few times I've tried it, and I think it may be worth pursuing. Any guesses? I'll give you some hints. It involves turning this place (on the left):

Oh my yes.  A studio AND a treehouse - both wired for electricity.  Really.

Into a place where I can be quite productive to the benefit of this place, with the help of these people. Care to take a guess? And any thoughts on that? Would anyone who's indulged in some of my product care to weigh in also? I probably shouldn't trip into this as lightly as I do everything else...

Thursday, March 20, 2008


When I'm desperate for material, I turn to my old standby, the old Who's-Googled-Me-For-What-fu. Today I have probably the best one ever. First, I'll share the runner-up: "my plump bottom". Fair enough. I do indeed possess one of those. The winner....I don't know, I think I'll save that for the end of the post. Allow for some suspense.

El Capitan will be taking a new position with a related Government Agency. I sort of fear change, at least when it comes to a shift in Capitans. And it wasn't so bad - I've certainly worked for crazier people. Also, he laughs like Dr. Hibbert, which I always found sort of entertaining.

Oooh, I have an exciting custom project coming up, one I can actually talk about - nice change - and you're gonna love it. I'm making raccoon boots. (It's okay, take a moment to let that sink in.) A friend of mine has a sister who took in a badly injured raccoon - poor little guy fell out of a tree, if my unimpressive memory serves - and due to his injuries, his little raccoony feet get really cold. They've tried a variety of tiny sock-like options, but nothing works, so I'm designing some custom booties to keep the little guy a little happier, hopefully. I love this idea - I think it's going to be a lot of fun. They have oddly-shaped and structured little feet and limbs, so there's some interesting angles and shaping to play with.

I'm knitting stuff!

In Progress - Avery

The Avery Baby Sweater, by Kristi Geraci, which is a really great pattern. (Queue or buy on Ravelry.) I'm tinkering ever so slightly with the pattern, just to add a few stitches and rows (can that even be called tinkering, really?) because I'm knitting it in a sportweight yarn rather than the worsted called for. I just couldn't pass up using this Socks That Rock - it's a perfect boy-sweater yarn. (Of course, with my views on babies and colour, I wouldn't have a problem with knitting it in hot pink for a boy, but I try not to foist my weird psychology-of-infants-and-child-rearing opinions off on others, so out of respect for the parents, I'm conforming.)


In Progress - Wollmeise Knee Sock

A knee sock in Wollmeise, Red Hot Chili colourway, no pattern 'cuz I'm making it up. This will probably take eons because it's my simple dull knitting, which I only work on when I'm on the phone or in a movie theatre or something like that, where little to no attention is required. (Oh, and both project bags pictured are from Piddleloop. Don't you love my monkey/crab bag? And can you tell my colour compulsion extends to needing my bags to match my projects?)

The shop update went moderately well, and I'm toying gently with the idea of starting to dye yarn regularly, but I'm worried about it - because, as I put it to a friend, there really just aren't enough dyers in the world, and with my staggering fame, how could I ever keep up with demand? (Which is my way of saying, "Would I sell a damned thing?")

Okay, you've been patient. Here's my official new favourite Google search term that somehow - God only knows how - landed someone on my blog. I am both concerned that I discussed anything that was similar to this topic, and acutely worried about the sort of person who'd be looking into this.

"rent a baby"

Uh. Yikes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quick Updates and Stuff

Thanks so much to everyone who's purchased the Bob's Party Sock pattern so far! I love making Ravelry money - it's great fun, and I appreciate everyone's support, kind words, and purchases. :-)

I spent the weekend doing all sorts of fun things:


Dress shopping with Patrick and my best friend for her wedding in West Palm. We found a beautiful dress for only $99, though time will tell whether that dress "sticks" or we find another. (I ended up with two, why should anyone else be any different? Still, a hot dress for $99, who could pass that up?) We had lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger (they DO have a veggie burger!) and drank shakes and ate fried food - it was AWESOME.

Then when I got home on Sunday, I got to work.

my 'dye studio'

I set up the "dye studio" on the front porch and went to town with the acquisitions from the yarn sale last month. (There will be a shop update tomorrow with all the stuff I dyed. There's about, um, ten skeins, I think? Or rather sets of skeins - I'll quietly disclose here that I used Koigu as the fingering base, Louet Sport for the sport base, and I have three additional skeins of a merino/nylon yarn base obtained from another source. And always with the caveat that who knows when I'll have any more, since I do this sort of thing very rarely, and all the colours are limited edition, non-repeatable, all that fun stuff.)

While I was out there, this happened:

Did you doubt when I said my neighbours were bad?

To anyone who ever doubted that the new neighbours were pretty bad. This was a domestic disturbance call (which I'm proud to say I did not make, though I thought about it - however, I was concerned that it'd be pretty obvious that the chick who'd witnessed all the screaming from the front porch was the one who called) and best I can tell, it was the two brothers who were involved, and the mother called the police. Hurray. One of the guys got hauled off in that car on the left. Sigh - it used to be a lovely quiet family neighbourhood...

And finally, for the mandatory dose of cuteness to follow all stories of arrest, I present Rooster's Favourite New Place To Hang Out:

Rooster boa.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Yet Another New Pattern!

I'm on a roll, though, ain't I? Kinda makes up for the fact that my only FO of the year so far is the Cobblestone. Well, and these:

Inviting 5

There's a special significance to this pattern. This is my Bob's Party Socks pattern. Why Bob? (Uh, why NOT Bob?)

Inviting 2

The stitch pattern I was playing with was called Raveling Leaves, which of course made me think of Ravelry. This was written as a Ravelry celebration sock. ("Whee! Got my invite!" Remember those days?)

Inviting 4

The yarn is wonderful stuff, the merino/silk/nylon base sprinkled liberally with real silver, and was custom-dyed by Helen of Painted Skeins to match the Ravelry logo. It came without a name, but I dubbed it "Ravelberry" 'cuz I'm nerdy like that.

Inviting 3

This is my first for-sale-by-me pattern - I've provided free patterns, now it's time for a little dough. BUT! The dough's not for me. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern will go straight back to Ravelry!! I'd really appreciate it if you'd buy it, pimp it on your blog/flickr/rav boards, whatever - it's not about me, I swear - it's about making coin for Rav! I'd love to come up with a HUGE pile of money for them!

Download the pdf from Ravelry for a $5 donation!

Ravelry Bitty 2

See, Bitty's got her socks, and she's STILL waiting on that invite! Come on, Bob!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Random Happies

A friend of mine from college has this thing she does called "Happies". There's a whole set of rules to Happies (your happy can't be someone else's sad, you can't repeat someone else's happy, etc.) and we do them before meals. It's a great way of starting out a meal on a really positive note, and it tends to keep the mood high. And I don't have much knitting or spinning to show due to a smashed thumb - a rather ill-timed smashed thumb, since I had self-imposed some pretty important deadlines and smashing my right thumb in the pantry door kind of left me knitless for about a week. So instead, happies!

Happy the First: My final installment of Scout's Indie Swag!

Scout's Indie Swag, February

This one's a little bittersweet - I LOVED this club and was so lucky to be a part of it, and I'm quite sad that it's coming to an end. She's doing another round of it - though it's formatted more as a sock club, without the swaggy stuff - but due to budgetary constraints, I have to sit it out. This was, bar-none, the best sock club I've been a part of. Worth every last little penny. The swag was always great - this month was a bone shawl pin from Designs by Romi, a pattern from Romi, and this lovely yarn from Scout.

Happy the Second: My new coat!


Love the colour! It's been a bit grey/windy/rainy/cool here lately, but I feel so great walking down the sidewalk in this cheery turquoise trench. And it was cheap! (Yay Target! It's a really well-made coat, too, quite sturdy with nice finishing.)

Happy the Part C: My herb garden!

Got tired of buying herbs

I get tired of buying fresh herbs all the time, but my thumb is a crusty brown colour, not green! I'm hoping I can do a better job with this garden. I love the planter - sassy red. Hot.

Happy the Four: I make stitch markers now!

I make stitchmarkers now.

Shoddy picture, but you get the idea. I'll be selling these in the shop as they come together. They're Posh Markers - glass beads with sterling silver findings. The larger ones will fit up to a US5, I think - I'll test it before I make the guarantee - and the smaller ones fit up to a 2.50mm needle (US 1 1/2). Those aren't entirely practical, so I wasn't sure I was going to sell them until I came up with a name I couldn't resist. Teeny markers = Marktinis! (I'm a dork.)

Happy the Where Am I: Bumper stickers that make me snort:


Heh. Heh heh.

Happy the Who's Counting Anymore: MY ROOM!!!!



The wall o' yarn and crap

In case you don't remember where I'd last left it - it was hideous.

Rooster's very happy to have his place back too.

I am STOOOOKED!! It's so clean and organized now - I threw away SO. MUCH. CRAP. - and it's decorated and everything! (And Rooster is so beyond thrilled - he loves this room. He sits outside it and whines when the door is closed. So do I.)

Books and dyestuffs and other yarns and ...whatever.

The only "problem" with the room is that it's a little rear-heavy (join the club). The room is at the front of the house on the second story, and there's all this amazing light because the whole front wall is windows - it's wonderful for natural light and photographs and work, but it's not so great for furniture placement - so everything is on the far wall.

Finally, I can work from home!

And I finally have a viable desk/workstation/sewing table. I'll now be working from home - just one day a week, but I've been dragging my feet on taking them up on the deal because it's so difficult to do without any kind of dedicated work space. Now that I have this nice desk area, I'm all set!

So despite my poor smushey thumb, things are going pretty great. Hurray!

Oh, and if you want to try The Best Macaroni And Cheese Ever OhMyGod, here's the recipe. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm Still All About Me.

Lest anyone should think my selfless knitting for the hubby that I showed off yesterday indicates that I'm turning over some new unselfish leaf: HA!!!

This post is all about me. If you find me dull or uninteresting or self-indulgent, then you should: a) pat yourself on the back, you may be right; and, b) skip this post. (But there's fun stuff amidst all the indulgence.)

First of all, the big exciting news: you can buy my handspun yarns at The Sweet Sheep! Look here!! (Anything with a "YO" in the title is mine. All fiber is dyed by Michelle, Ms. Sweetie herself.) I'm in the wholesale business now! Wow! There's still items, all on sale, in my shop, but if you want finer weights, sport/DK or fingering, they're all to be found in Michelle's shop - I was saving up my sock mojo for her. :-)

Okay, so let's talk about my awesome mail day. In addition to my final Scout's Swag club installment (which I'll talk about in the next post,) I got this wicked package from Kristi. Kristi got to go to Stitches last week, and in order to get me to shut up about it and quit bugging her about who she's seen and what she's petted, she sent me a care package. Don't you wish you were as annoying as me so people would give you shut-up gifts??

Kristi rules.

Check it! Much-coveted Ravelry t-shirt and pins (neener!!), some wonderful fabrics for spinning (or sewing, maybe sewing...I can picture a little coin purse in that nummy orange one), and some awesome fibers for carding and playing with. Woohoo!!

Speaking of nummy orange things:

My almost-but-totally-not-even-close birthday present

I bought this for myself on my husband's birthday. After calling him and asking him if he wanted to go ahead and get me a birthday present. Which he did. So I bought it. I've been needing a good laptop/travel bag, and this one is PERFECT. And ORANGE. And it was on sale at the outlet. It was a good day. (Maybe even as good as the day I had at Jo-Ann's on Sunday, when the checkout girl rocked my whole world by scanning a "40% off item" coupon for almost all of my purchases instead of just one. And also somehow - and I wish I'd noticed this before I got home, I would have made sure they fixed it - I paid $1.79 for ten yards of muslin.)

A not-my-birthday present for me!

Someone at the Tumi design house is a knitter. There's a freaking notions bag. Plus tons of pockets, plus a mesh divided pocket compartment on the inside, perfect for WIPs. Come ON! Awesome much? (And with my new Ravelry pins on the strap, it's even more awesome. What.)

I have other self-centered things I could go on about, but that'll do for today. I'll carry my egocentric ramblings on into tomorrow. I have to share a little bit of potential sacrilege with you before I go, though.

I found this pamphlet at the post office, and I believe it's for a Franciscan church, so I can only assume this is supposed to be a monk. But....

Obi Wan doesn't care for your Jesus figure

....whatever, that is TOTALLY Obi-Wan. And Obi-Wan, from the looks of things, doesn't necessarily approve of this Jesus guy. Interesting that this is supposed to be pro-Jesus, and this guy looks confused. (Doesn't Obi-Wan the monk kind of look perplexed about the Jesus, like he's trying to decide if he's supposed to eat it or what?)

And that's your daily reassurance that I'm probably going straight to hell without passing Go. Happy knitting!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


So!! Yesterday was Travis' birthday. He celebrated by going to work. I celebrated by taking the day off. Ha! But all for him - I got up when he did - crack of dawn - and made him a nice all-homemade breakfast of chocolate croissants, pancakes with blueberry maple syrup, and bacon. (Then he went to work and I went back to bed.) Then, so excited I could hardly stand it, I drove out to meet him for lunch and presented him with his birthday present. I asked him if he had ANY idea what he was getting, and he said he didn't - judging by his reaction, he REALLY didn't.

"What.....wait, is did you.....when did you knit a SWEATER?????"

He loved it!  And it fit!

His next question was, "Did you measure me in my sleep?" It fits him absolutely beautifully, and I'm so happy to finally show it off. He confessed he didn't think he'd get a sweater from me for a VERY long time.

Fits so perfectly!

Unfortunately it's starting to get entirely too warm for sweaters, but I'm hoping for another couple of cold snaps before it's all over. I'm definitely into sweaters now - this one took five weeks, but remember I could only work on it at work, on the bus, and at knitting meet-ups, any time Travis wasn't around. So they don't take so long after all!


He does now understand why I've been trying to kick him out of the house so much these past few weeks - when our best man and his wife had their baby and he asked me to go visit with him, I told him to go ahead, I wasn't really in the mood. Of COURSE I was in the mood to see a brand-new baby, but that's how desperately I needed him out of the house so I could finish! Fortunately, Awesome Neighbour came over and asked him to go to a buddy's house Saturday night, bless him, so I got to finish it all up then.

He took photos patiently for a while. And then he started busting out the Sears catalog moves:

The "Excuse me, do you have the time?":

Travis breaks out the Sears catalog poses

The "HaHA, this guy said something funny!" (that then turned into him cracking himself up):

Travis breaks out the Sears catalog poses

And the "Seriously, woman, are you done with the pictures yet?":


Project Details:
Cobblestone Pullover
Pattern: from Interweave Knits, by Jared Flood
Yarn: Rams Wool Selkirk in Red (itchy, but cheap and durable)
Needles: US7 for the body and yoke, US6 for the sleeves and collar, US9 for bindoff
Size: 43 1/2" (and PERFECT fit)
Start: January 23, 2008
Finish: March 1, 2008
Modifications: I was concerned for the hugeness of the sleeves, so I knit those down a needle size. I also added length to the body, on the recommendation of Raveler Courtney, and I'm glad I did. (Thank you, Courtney!!) Just an inch or inch-and-a-half, and it's just exactly right. Why can't my sweaters ever fit me this well?

I hated this thing So. MUCH. by the time I was done, because it was giving me that sense of temporary-project-insanity. The yoke almost killed me, just because it seemed like I'd knit and knit and knit and measure and, somehow, have a quarter-inch LESS knitted fabric than an hour ago. Garter stitch in the round, on the bus, supporting what feels like a ninety-pound sweater over your lap under less than ideal sweater-knitting conditions ("Sorry, the air's not working today,") gets harder and harder as the days trudge on. But I absolutely love it now, and with the fit and the colour and the fact that he's happy with it, I'm thrilled. (He did deem it, when asked, "a little scratchy," but said it wasn't a problem. I don't think he'll be likely to wear it without an undershirt, so it's no biggie.)

I topped it all off last night with a nice dinner - chili-rubbed seared elk loin over five-onion polenta, roasted asparagus, sauteed mushrooms in a shallot shiraz reduction - and I think it was a pretty successful birthday, for a Monday! (I'm not sure which he appreciated more, the sweater or the fact that I managed to handle that much very raw, very red meat to make him a good dinner. Seriously, blech. I'm still working on handling meat comfortably. I'm not sure I'll ever totally get there.)

So now that I know that I can knit an entire man's sweater in five weeks without ever working on it at home, I'm feeling better about garments. I'm going to finish the Juno cardigan from Rowan, then I'm going to start my next sweater (from Fitted Knits). Maybe for me, sweaters are the new socks!

I have a few other minor little happenings to discuss - a happy mail day, a couple of fun scores at bargain prices - finally, something to write about! Maybe I can be a better blogger in March. Finally having an FO seems like a great start!