Join me as I share my crafty journey with you. I continue to expand my repertoire of hobbies. I knit, sew, crochet, bead and probably most importantly am a lover of science fiction. Occasionally I even pick up a book. I play Nerd Wars for Team Stargate Command which consumes most of my time.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Button, Button Whose Got the Button?

     I caved and picked up some new buttons the last time I was at Wally World.  I was going for both washable and cute since all my items needing buttons are for children.  I then had a little button sewing party on my night off.  In no particular order:

I got a whole package of these, flowers are always a good choice for little girls. 
I originally got the daisy buttons for just the Solis Entrechat, but the yellow center looked so good with the browns of Piedras, I just couldn't resist.
Jordan was nice enough to model this for me.  This is Sassafras and its reversible!
So it can be worn as a slouch or a beanie.  I thought the design was ingenious.  It's a nice easy pattern and very pretty.  Christina had admitted that it does occasionally get cold enough for her to wear a hat and having a matching one wouldn't be too dorky.  I got a second button in anticipation that I could get another skein of the MadTosh DK in Hosta Blue.  I went to the open house at the Yarn Cupboard on Sunday with the intention to do three things.  One being to get the yarn for Christina's hat.  Sadly all the Hosta Blue in DK was gone :(  So I got this:
MadTosh DK in Chickory.  I think this is a better color for her anyway.  She's more of a true blue kind of gal.  (I hope she likes it.)  Of course now the button I had line up isn't the right color.  But that's okay.  I have a couple silver buttons that I think will look nice and will play off the gray undertones in this colorway.  I really like this color, so if she really hates it I can keep it for myself. 
     I took Earthen off the blocking board earlier this week.  I'm glad I checked it, the hat was still wet underneath the plate.  I think I should have used a bigger plate, but not bad for my first time out.
The texture actually shows up pretty well in this picture.
That's the inside texture I was rambling on about in my last post.  I think I would put that on the outside if it were me. 

     So I mentioned I had three purposes at the Yarn Cupboard open house.  Number two was needles for the other had that was commissioned from me, which is going well.  It's very high bamboo content and a bit loose and drapey for my liking, but that's what she wanted.  Reason number three is that Jennifer from Holiday Yarns was there with a stockpile of yarn.  I took the shawl I just finished, which is made from Flock Sock to show off.  Shameless self promotion is not beneath me.  I wish I would have had a bit more funds that day.  Jenn had an amazingly bright and fun colorway there, I think it was Unicorn Rainbow or something like that.  It was a neon rainbow and it was awesome.  I think it would work great for colorwork paired with black or another neutral tone.  I cant find a picture of it on Rav, I'm guessing its new.  Anyway, here are some finished and not-on-the-blocking-board-still pictures of the aforementioned shawl:
I also did the measuring and maths.  It took a total of 512 yards.  Before blocking it measured 46 inches across by 15 inches deep.  After blocking:  54 inches across by 19 1/2 deep.  I still need to tally up the beads.  It wasn't that many I don't think.  (At least not compared with the 987 I put in My Cassis.)  At some point here, because I'm insane, I want to break the 1000 mark.  That's pretty much it for truly finished items.  All of these are either gifts or commissions so I'll be having a gift wrapping party with myself here soon.
Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lilac Wish and a Plethora of Sock Yarn

     I've got some updates and some more new yarn.  First off, I finally finished Lilac Wish.  I even got it blocked too!
It's huge.  I had to use six blocking boards.  (I hurt my neck pinning it all out... I need to clean my craft room.)  The nupps show up much better now.
Here is a finished but unblocked closeup of the beads. The Lilac Wish Lace pattern is excellent.  It's both charted and written.  I thought it was nice and clear and easy to follow.  It shouldn't have taken me as long as it did.  If I hadn't dawdled I probably could've gotten it done in a month.  Now that its December and I'm starting to look forward to 2015, I should admit I didn't knit 12 shawls in 2014.  This is number seven.  I am hoping to at least start number eight before the year is out.  
     I've also finished the hat Helen requested.  I don't have finished pictures of it though.  Even though its just a hat, I think I'm going to block it, since its an alpaca blend and supposed to be a slouchy style.  This is the pattern I used:  Earthen.  It's a great simple pattern, the texture it creates is pretty great too.  I think I like the inside better than the outside.  If I was to make it for myself I would wear it inside out.  Alrighty, that's pretty irrelevant unless you can seen what I'm yapping about.  Next time.  
     So onto the new yarn acquisitions.  I did a bit of Webs ordering on Thanksgiving.  I got an order for a hat from another co-worker.  She wanted a specific color and a specific fiber content, so I figured I better go big if I was to find what I wanted.  I got this:
Lotsa bamboo in this one.  The colorway is fawn.  I was hoping it would be a bit darker, like the image on my screen, but alas, that's the downside of online ordering.  Since I was there picking out goodies for other people, a little something for me sort of fell into my cart.
When I say little... that might be a gross understatement.  Because that's a 1lb, yes 1 pound of Valley Yarn Franklin Natural sock yarn.  I don't know for sure yet what I'm going to make.  I'm going to dye it, that's definite but at this point I'm thinking cardigan or several shawls.  It's 1800 yards so I have plenty for a cardigan which is why I'm leaning that way thus far.  Ya know what I paid for it?  I bet you think it was like a guzillion smackers right?  Wrong. 18.99!  (It was on sale, they normally ask 24.99)  But seriously, I feel like I stole it.  Of course I've never used this yarn before, so I hope to heck I like it, cuz a bought a freekin pound of it.  I've been hearing good things about Valley Yarn in general and you never know 'til you try it right!  More updates on this later.  (I have a feeling winding this off the cone is going to be a pain in the backside.)  
     That's it for now.  More picture of finished items will be forthcoming.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More Yarn and a Few Finishes

     In preparation for knitting White Whiskers I've purchased some more Cascade 220 Superwash Sport to supplement what I have already.  I've also purchased the pattern, but I've realized I need to get some more needles, I think.  I'll be putting this pattern on the back burner for the time being.  I have several other projects ahead of this hat, even though I really really want to ignore everything else and knit this up.  Here are the three new colors I picked up:

I think I'm going to do gray cats with the turquoise back-ground and yellow cats with the dark green back-ground.  I'll have to figure out which other colors to use.  The hat needs four colors not including the little bits of white for the white whiskers.  I really enjoyed using the 220 Superwash Sport the last time I used it for a colorwork hat.  It's soft and durable, decent yardage for the price and its machine washable.  That's why I originally did a search for sport weight stranded color work items. 
     Alright on to the things I've finished; well, almost finished.  I need to pick out buttons, which I'm finding is a pesky process.  I think I need to go button shopping.

I finished the little Entrechat.  It just needs a button.
I also whipped up Sassafras.  This too needs a button.  This pattern is great and comes in child right up to adult sizes.  I'm thinking about picking up some more yarn and making one for myself.  I wish Christina wore hats, I would make her one to match Kylie's.  The MadTosh DK is great to work with, very soft and the color is very pretty.   I really need to get back to working on the purple shawl.  I don't have that much to go and I would like to have it ready by Christmas.  I took my wares to work and I've gotten two hat orders.  I need to shore up the details on them both or else I would start one now.  I have the next two days off for working this past weekend.  I may knit up the one and if the color is quite right just do it over.  I've been wanting to knit some more overly manly items.  I never seem to have any on hand and I have way more male co-workers at this job.  It would be a good dry run for the new pattern I want to try anyway.  Alrighty, more knitting updates to come.  We're supposed to be getting a pretty bad snow storm in the next day or so.  The North Country is getting hammered right now, two feet overnight and its still coming.  I find stormy dreary weather the perfect motivator for crafting.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stitch Along Thursday

     I'm joining Tammy over at Life and Yarn or Yarn and Life for a stitch along.  I've been working on two projects in the last few weeks.  Usually I'm pretty monogamous with my projects at least until I get side tracked or hit a hiccup.  I've been working on a shawl since the middle or so of August.  Its a nice shawl pattern but I think I'm a bit shawled out or something, I've been putting that aside often to work on other things.  I made some good progress, then I ran short on yarn.  I decided to get more as opposed to just binding off where I ran short.  I managed to get another skein in the same color.  Here is my progress so far, I just have a few rows to go on the last chart.
It's a crappy picture, but shows the lace decently.  I've put beads in this as well.  The yarn is Holiday Yarns Flock Sock in the color Lavender Buds.  The pattern is Lilac Wish Lace Shawl.  It'll be interesting to see how much this grows when I block it. 
     I've also been churning out some more baby items, which is probably why I haven't had too much shawl knitting mojo.  Those instant gratification projects are addicting.  So here is the first Entrechat.  This one is actually finished except for a button. 
The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the Piedras colorway.  I've had this yarn sitting around for too long, its so pretty knitted up, I don't know why I didn't do it sooner.  I'm still working on the second one.
This one is also Mal Rios but in the Solis colorway.  I don't have much to go, I think just the last couple garter rows and the bind off.
     I've acquired two more skeins of yarn as well.  I got more yarn to finish up the shawl and a skein to make another baby hat. 
This is Madeline Tosh DK in the Hosta Blue colorway.  I'll be making this into Sassafras.  That's it for now, just a quick little update.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stash Enhancement

     I partook in some cold sheeping this year for the purposes of conserving my craft space and with the hopes of saving up some funds.  Sadly, the Hubbs and I suck at saving money and well, I really like yarn.  So, for at least a little bit here, I'm off my self proclaimed fiber diet.  When I was perusing my stash the other day I realized I've been remiss in sharing my most recent acquisitions.  Back in April I decided to sign up for Expression Fiber Arts April club.  She gives out the theme or an inspiration photo but the yarn is a surprise when it comes in the mail.  Candi called this one Happiness, it's 100% silk in worsted weight.

I talked about the shearing festival in May and the yarn and fiber I acquired from that.  Also in May, some Malabrigo Rios in the Sunset colorway found its way home with me.  I think they had been buried in the shop for quite a long time.
This photo doesn't do this colorway justice.  Its very golden and warm.  They have the old style labels which is why I think they waited for me for a long time.  I want to do something special with these. 
     I picked up a kit made especially for the Jeweled Cowl class I was supposed to be teaching back in May.  (The dates didn't work out for people and I've been too lazy to schedule another class.)  The yarn is Holiday Yarn Skinny Ewe.  Jennifer is local and I'm using some of her other yarn to make a shawl now.  I wish I knew where she got the beads from because they're perty!
The colorway is Aqua-Marina.  Since I expected to knit with this soon after I bought it I wound it immediately.  It was the easiest cake I've ever wound.  No tangles, no knots ah, it was yarn winding nirvana.  (Its the little things for us knitters sometimes.)
     From June 'til about last week I was cold sheeping, well except for this one skein...  I bought it originally for the Team Stargate Swap.  I was going to make something for my swappee, a shawl was my thinking.  Therefor the purchase was justified.
It is Prism Lace Wool in the Sky colorway.  It's 1460 yards!  I thought that was pretty sweet.  Because I'm the queen of procrastination I didn't get around the that shawl and wound up going with plan C for that swap.  Now its mine... all mine... Well, I think it will still be a shawl someday and I should make that plural since there is so much yardage. 
     So now we're up to this month chronologically.  I received yarn in my swap package.
It is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud which is a laceweight yarn.  It is mostly black with very subtle turquoise blended in it as well.  It's very pretty.  I've been wanting to knit up some shawls for a select few of my former co-workers.  I'm working on one now and I have two more that I really want to get done before Chirstmas this year.  So with recipient #2 in mind I went shopping and came back with this:
This is not a great picture, the fall weather has been dismal the last week or so.  It is Malabrigo Sock in the Arbol colorway.  I was looking at some other yarns while I was there but everything else is way more expensive for less yardage.  There is a reason I love Mal, not just for the irresistible colors but for the value as well.  In real life there is a bit more green.  It sort of reminds me of copper that's starting to patina.  The pattern I've picked out for this is a Boo Knits and its beaded.  I got this and another skein at Sheep Thrills! Yarn Company.  They relocated, oh five or so months ago, while I was cold sheeping and I finally got over there to see the new location.  It's very nice, better parking, a bigger more open space.  Of course I didn't know where anything was anymore, but I still found what I was looking for easily.  The space may not actually be bigger but it feels bigger and it is more open.  So while I was there on a mission this caught my eye: 
It is Malabrigo Lace in the Sunset colorway.  I really like this color and again you cant beat the yardage for the price. 
     That sums up the yarn purchases.  I've been plugging along on the Lilac Wish Lace Shawl and I've run myself out of yarn a few rows short.  I'm going to see if I can track down some more of the Lavender Buds colorway.  I've also been working on some baby gifts for some co-workers.  I'll have more on those few projects later.  Some button sewing and blocking needs to happen.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More on the Sewing Front and Pom-poms!

     As I stated in my last blog, I had done some sewing for a swap and I couldn't show off my new experiments.  Well, my swappee has gotten her package so now I can!  I ended up doing a fair amount of sewing for that swap, which I'm fairly proud of.  So, first up, the now familiar drawstring bag:
Well actually its everything because I packed up the box the moment I finished the needle roll and was taking the pictures hastily and at night...  In front of the drawstring bag is a zippered notions pouch.  There are several tutorials on Pinterest so I just picked one and ran with it.  The dimensions I used for my fabrics were 7 1/2 inches by 6 inches.  Basically, you want to be just slightly wider than your zipper and then the depth of the bag is totally up to you.  The method I used doesn't have any fabric tabs on either side of the zipper.  This eliminates the pucker that can happen when that method is used.  I also interfaced the outside fabric, to add stability, and I boxed the bottom corners of the bag.  So it stands there on its own.  I think it turned out pretty darn good, considering I was making most of it up as I went.  I think when I make the next one, I'll put some pockets inside, 'cause pockets are awesome and there can never be to many.  Off to the left is a needle roll.  I have a picture of the inside:
I used a tutorial I found on Pinterest for this one as well and again I altered it to fit my purposes.  The original tute can be found here:  Nesting Sticks.  It is designed for long straight knitting needles to be housed in the back pocket.  Since my swapner wanted a roll to house either crochet hooks or DPNs I omitted the largest pocket.  So that entailed cutting two pieces of the next largest sized material.  I also added two inches to the dimensions so that I could flip down the top, to keep the needles/hooks from falling out once rolled up.  For this particular roll my dimensions ended up being two pieces that measured 11 1/2 X 18.  (That's all I had of the blue batik, I figured 1/2 inch wouldn't make too much of a difference.)  One piece (the really thin light blue fabric) that was 7 1/2 by 18 and one that was 5 by 18.  That's the smallest pocket, the one I had to piece to get the right dimensions.  I like the effect actually.  It also ties the inside to the outside.  The ties are 12 inches each grosgrain ribbon.  If/when I make another one of these, I'm going to use narrower ribbon.  It doesn't tie all that well.  I'll probably also use bias tape on the top of the pockets so I don't loose any height.  The front pocket end up a bit on the short side in my opinion.  (Or I could add another inch or so when cutting in the first place.)  I only changed the overall size of my needle roll, the rest of the tutorial was followed verbatim.  I made two of the very front pockets a little wider incase my swapner ever wants to use it for interchangeable needles.  The cables should fit in the front nicely.  Overall I think I'm proudest of this one.  It wasn't difficult or anything, but I think its the most I've stretched my sewing/altering skills thus far.  The other item I sewed for this was a downright pain in the patoot.  But it was a valuable lesson for me.  I'm very much like my mom and don't like small, tedious, piddly things.  
I made an apple pin cushion.  It turns out quite small and is therefor a pain to sew together.  The finishing techniques are pretty cool though.  You use two buttons to make it apple shaped.  I wouldn't mind doing this again, but I will be blowing up the section pieces so it winds up quite a bit bigger.  I also need to work on my hand sewing skills.  Here is the pattern I used:  The Guardian.  Considering I didn't do a test run on this one, I think it turned out okay.  That's it for the sewing portion of this swap.  I did knit up a pair of fingerless gloves.
The pattern is:  Vancouver Fog and its free!  The yarn I used is Berroco Ultra Alpaca in the Yucca Mix colorway.  (It's a skein of the infamous bus yarn)  The color is prettier in real life, it doesn't photograph well.  It is a 50/50 blend of wool and alpaca.  From what I can tell, they dye the wool but leave the alpaca natural so there's this, I guess, tweed effect. It looked like sea glass on sand in my opinion, very earthy and beachy.  The stich def is also really good and its super soft.  I think I'm going to make a pair for myself.  I also did some bead work for the swap, with some no so helpful helpers...  Reese really likes shiny beads and metal.  She tried to eat another stitch marker.
I really stuck to a blue theme for this one.  It was more or less unintentional.  Once I found the butterfly fabric it all fell into place.  I wanted the stitch markers to roughly match all the bags since I was making them as a roughly matching set.  I'm using wire and crimp beads now to make knitting markers.  It's easier, by a long shot, and they wind up being snag-less.  I wish I would have found this method first.  The three little packages in the front there in that first picture were three soaps.  One for each of my swapner's favorite shows.  I stumbled across the coolest Etsy shop when I was searching for nerdy swap things.  She's called the Merchant of Gallifrey.  Her shop is here and its filled with all sorts of wonderfully nerdy things.  I'm kicking myself for not ordering anything for me.  Okay so that's pretty much it for the swap.  I received some wonderful things myself, including two books by a new to me author.  (I've already finished the first book and am about 2/3 through the second.)  And a shawl made from a Boo Knits pattern.  I really like her patterns as does my swapner, she it making her way through all of them.
 Here are the contents of my package.  I need to get some better pictures of the shawl, it is truly magnificent and beaded!  I'm looking forward to doing some spinning.  I got some fiber in my last swap and some back at the shearing fest.  I really just need to practice some more, now I really don't have and excuse not to.  
     I've finished up some other things as well.  Last weekend I churned out a baby hat.  I decided to add pom-poms to the peaks.  Its all done now, I just need to pass it on to my friend.  
  The pattern is:  Baby Tri-Peak Hat and its another free one!  The yarn is the Ella Rae Classic Superwash that I dyed myself a few months ago specifically for this hat.  I used that same yarn to make the pom-poms, then I overdyed them with Wilton's violet.  I really hope Jess likes it.  I also finished off the hat for her.  I finished the knitting back in March, this hat too just needed a pom-pom. 
Jess had asked for a big pom-pom so I used what was left of the skein to make it.  The pattern is:  Whitecaps Hat.  This is my fourth rendition.  The yarn is MadelineTosh Chunky in the Jasper colorway.  I love this yarn; its so incredibly soft. 
     Well that it for what I've been up to lately.  I've been reading up a storm just lately.  A friend of mind recommended a book.  It was very good, and a nice quick read.  It was "Brain on Fire; My Month of Madness" by Susannah Cahalan.  It's an autobiography and it details her plight with a pretty rare disease.  I don't want to spoil too much since I found the search for what was plaguing her to be very suspenseful and what drove the plot for the first half of the book.  I found it very interesting because of my medical/scientific background.  It was essentially an episode of House, but it book form.  Quite frankly it was terrifying as well.  Nothing scares me more then the thought of loosing my mind, my sense of self bit by bit and not knowing why or how to fix it.  Seriously good book!  Alrighty folks, that's it for now.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Plethora of Bags

     So last time I promised pictures of the sewing I've been doing.  Here goes: 
 This isn't even all of them.  I've made two more since I took pictures.  One of the new bags is for a swap, so pictures will come later, but I really love the fabric I found for that one.  The other bag that's not pictured here is a duplicate of the blue floral one in the middle there.  I had to fudge the dimensions on those two bags since the blue and purple batik I was using was on the small side.  Here is the pattern/tutorial I've been using:  In Color Order; Bag Tutorial.  I've been sharing it every chance I get.  Its' a really great tutorial, its relatively easy and the bags turn out pretty darn nice, if you ask me.  The designer is also local to me.  

Here is a shot of the insides of these bags:
I've been having far too much fun choosing fabric combinations.  I have found that I prefer to use cotton cord for the drawstrings.  It's easier than making fabric ones and the cords slide better.  I wish I could find a little bit better selection of colors.  I need to go back to the craft store when it's not quite so busy.  Yesterday was a bit nuts and there was a sale on all the cord and lace so the area was rather picked through.  I did find that I can get the cord I like by the spool, but again that area was picked through and all I could find was black and "Finding Nemo".  Yes, I picked up the Nemo cord, I couldn't resist, it was turquoise and the Nemos are small, so I think it will be subtle and fun.  I should probably try to find some fishy fabric now to make some bags that are all matchy.  I also did some fabric perusing.  They had some really nice looking prints in the sale section, but I wasn't there for fabric so I held back.  Well, until I got over the where the fat quarters were kept, which were also on sale.  I made it a point to pick out some coordinating fabric for once, which was really fun.  I cant wait to sew up some more bags with my new fabrics. 
     I also sewed up a different style bag last night.  But again, its for the swap, so no spoiling until the package is sent.  I have one more thing I want to sew for that.  Hopefully I'll have enough fabric left to make that thing sort of coordinate as well.
     About a month ago, when my in-laws were out for their annual visit my MIL gave me her serger.  She doesn't sew like she used to and thought that I would get more use out of it.  I've never used a serger before.  (My Mom just got one a year ago.)  I've watched the how-to video that came with it a couple times now, but I think I want my mom around to help me right at first.  It's so much more complicated than a sewing machine.  I'm still just getting comfortable with that.  I do have a pair of jeans that need to be hemmed up, so that's probably a good first project for the serger.  We'll see.    
Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Catching Up

     The end of July and beginning of August proved to be a bit rough for me, so I apologize for my blogging absence.  On July 26th we made the decision to put Pookie down.  It ultimately was my decision and it was not an easy one.  She had had some ongoing health issues the most significant of which was incontinence.  It seems a bit harsh, but really, I just got sick of cleaning up her bloody s#*%.  Overall she was a pretty miserable cat, but there were those special moments when she endeared herself to both me and my husband so yes, it is a loss.  We had discussed her ultimate end many times before, it was something we knew we would have to do eventually, so we had already discussed "getting a replacement for Pookie".  Even so, I was mopey and really depressed after that Saturday.  I perused the web for adoptable cats that evening, which in turn made me even more depressed.  So the next day, Sunday, hubs took me cat shopping.  The thought of picking out a cat the very next day made me feel guilty beyond belief and I decided, in my head, that none of them would pop out at me; that I needed more time to mourn my fat stinky cuddly green eyed monster.  
     First we went to the pet shop where we found Mongo, or rather where Mongo dallied with me just to get to my husband.  It no longer exists.  So then we stopped at Pet Smart.  They have cats from two local organizations.  They were mostly adults and two youngish ones that were sleeping.  I was looking over the adoption paperwork when it got quite crowded around the cat area, so we picked up a bag of kitten food and departed.  We were going to go back home when we decided to go to PetCo, which is right across the boulevard.  I couldn't remember if they kept cats on hand or if the organizations brought them in on special occasions.  So we risked it.  We wandered to the back of the store and where the aviary used to be, we found the adoption center.  There, sitting in her litter box was a 5 month old female who looked quite a lot like Mongo.  I didn't see her initially, there was a black and white male named Oreo in the first cage.  Hubs got my attention when he made the announcement "I think we just found our next cat."  That's when I looked and saw "Ricky Lake" sitting in the litter box.  That probably sounds like a very odd character trait to be attracted to, but it speaks volumes to her personality.  It was rather warm and stuffy in that room so we suspect she was just trying to cool off.  The Sunday cleaning crew came through and we were able to hold her, well attempt to anyway, she is not an arm kitty in the least.  She played with a jingly ball and hid in as many places as she could find.  I filled out the adoption application and contacted the agency person.  I was approved on Monday and we brought her home Tuesday July 29th.  It took us a whole week to figure out a new name for her.  (Ricky Lake is just wrong on so many levels.)  We still don't have a unified name for her.  I call her Reese and hubs calls her Lily.  Jack took to her within a day, Mongo took about a week.  She is a terror, an ankle biter and a curtain climber.  She cuddles for a few moments then wants to play again.  The boys being 3 and 5, like to take long undisturbed naps, so it took a bit for them to all bond well.  Reese is growing like a weed and becoming more affectionate and comfortable with us each day.  She loves fuzzy mice and jingly balls.  She purrs the loudest and is very vocal.  Reese likes the tub; she plays there just like Jack.  She climbs to the highest point she can, just like Mongo.  In only a few short weeks she became an amalgamation of our other two fur-babies.  Needless to say she fits in pretty well.  We went on vacation just two days after we got her.  (We take our cats with us whenever we go home.)  So she spent a good week with my parents.  They all got along marvelously, which is good, since Pookie hated my mother with a passion.

  Here is Reese.

     The bad news didn't end with Pookie's death.  On August 1st the start of round 3 of T11 it was announced that Nerd Wars was ending and the end of that round.  There will be no T12.  Since my crafting life revolves around Nerd Wars and lets be honest, so does this blog, I found the news to be downright gut wrenching.  I wont lie, I had a weep, okay a sob.  I get easily distracted, so Nerd Wars has been a great tool for me to focus.  It has been motivation to try many new things including lace and spinning.  I have gained some really great cyber-friends/family from my teammates.  Its been a wonderful experience and something I will treasure forever.  Nerd Wars is still going, just not in a competitive format any longer.  They decided to go right into it and not take a break in September.  We had a limited amount of time to claim a place on the team list so I took it upon myself, with some prodding, and I'm now Captain of Team Stargate Command in what we are calling NW2.  I had been wanting to step up and take a more active role on the team.  This seemed like a good time, with much less pressure since there is no scoring now.

     In the weeks leading up to this point, I had already been depressed, my 30th birthday was August 2nd.  I'm not sure why 30 seemed so daunting.  I guess because its a mile stone to some extent and I always thought I would be in a very different place at 30.  I thought I would have kids by now, a house, different priorities.  The one saving grace is that I'm at a different job.  If I was still at St. Joes, I think I would have had a meltdown.  I has some lofty plans for my future 5 years ago and I have lofty plans for the next 5.  I guess I was mostly depressed because nothing has changed.  I feel as though I'm in a rut.  (Which is absolutely no one's fault but my own.)  So I went out with some old friends Friday night, which was great.  Then went to Lowville Saturday.  I spent my birthday with my husband, our cats, my parents and my brother.  I had my first Wagyu steak and then enjoyed a nice long nap.

     On August 10th I took part in the 3rd annual Jephson Estate Knitting/Crocheting Charity Event.  There is something about sitting around and crafting with other people.  Lunch is provided which always makes it that much more fun.  Jephson is beautiful and its always such a treat to get out to Cazenovia for the afternoon.   

     Okay that was long and more personal than I normally get.  So, other than keeping an equilibrium on cats, thinking I would loose the cyber world I held dear and kissing my 20s goodbye forever.  I did get a little bit of crafting done.  In commemoration of Nerd Wars ending I decided to end the way I started.  Back in October 2011, in the first round of T3 when I started playing, my first ever challenge submission had been a hotpad.  Specifically the double-thick-diagonally-crocheted-potholder.  So my last ever submission to the Nerd Wars that was, was another hotpad.
  The other project I submitted, was the mostly completed shawl that I worked on at Jephson. 
The pattern is lilac-wish-lace-shawl.  It has nupps!  They're not a difficult as I thought they would be.  They aren't very prominent right now, but I think they'll show up better once the shawl is done and blocked.  The yarn is Flock Sock from the local dyer Holiday Yarns.  Lavender Buds is the color-way.  Its great yarn with a good tight twist.  It's just slightly tonal and the absolute perfect color for this shawl. 

     I only crafted one project back in July (round two).  There were a few really hot weeks so I decided to make a small raglan style top to go over tank tops.  I thought it would be a nice fast project.  Boy was I wrong.  I used the rather pricey skein of Araucania Huasco to make it.  I finished it, really, just out of spite and of course the rest of the summer wasn't that hot, just mostly humid.  (Humid enough that wool wasn't at the top of my to-wear list.)  The pattern is Indifference.  It's a good little pattern.  I should have tried it on more often, it wound up a bit big on me.  I still need to block it, so I apologize for the crappy shot.
     I've been sewing more than anything lately.  I've been wanting to make prizes for my team-mates and now in NW2, there is a challenge where sewing counts.  Score!  I also attempted to make some stitch markers, I got some wire, so I wanted to make the snagless king.  But, Reese intervened by attempting to eat one.  She didn't just cart it off to play with it, no, she legit tried to eat it!  So, I'll be making stitch markers only when the hubs is around to distract her.   
   I'll have pictures off all the sewing next time.  Picking out all the fabric is far too much fun.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dying, Knitting, Shearing and Wheeling

      Well I sort of dropped off the map there for a bit.  I got busy the week of Knit Crochet Blog week.  I got behind and then never caught up.  I was thinking about doing a book review for the day we're supposed to do something really different.  I have some time at work to read again, so I've been going through all the books I read partway through and then dropped.  It feels really good to be reading again.  More on that later, most likely.

     I didn't do much knitting in the month of May.  It was the "in-between time" for Nerd Wars.  I worked on Holden sporadically and didn't actually finish it in May.  There have been some big changes with Nerd Wars, or at least they seemed like they would be big.  Now that we're all back, it's pretty normal already.  Dyeing has been added as an acceptable craft answer for the challenges.  This, of course, makes me super happy.  My first challenge submission this round was some yarn I dyed.  I've been knitting like crazy now that T11 has started.  I'll be doing a dissertation this tourney as well.  Okay, so on to projects.

This is the yarn I dyed for the Nerdology challenge.  I'm going to be making Baby Tri-Peak Hat with it.  Jess asked me to make a hunter orange hat for the baby.  I thought it would be fun to dye the yarn myself.  The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Superwash.  I have a ton of yardage here.  Once I'm done with the hat, I may overdye some of the yarn just for fun.  Orange is a fun color though, I'm sure I can find things to make.

I did finish Holden at the beginning of this month.  It was the morning of our 10th wedding anniversary actually. 
I added beads to three of the lace repeats.  I used some of the "Amber" colorway from the 6/0 seed beads I picked up at AC Moore.  They are a gold/bronze/purple mix and they pulled out the subtle browns and golds in this yarn perfectly.
The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Playa colorway.  The picot bind off is very pretty and it wasn't as tedious as I thought it might be.  I'm counting this one as my May shawl, since that's when I started it.
My June shawl is already done.  I used the pattern Elk Tooth and some yarn I picked up at the shearing fest.  More on that later.
It is quite small.  Its much more of a scarf which is fine.  I'm not being overly picky with my requirements of what constitutes a shawl for my little personal challenge.  I only had 218 yards of this yarn so I searched for patterns that took about that amount.  Elk Tooth jumped out at me.  I thought the textured portion at the bottom and the shaping would lend well to the variegated colors.  I think it looks pretty nice.  The yarn is hand dyed and handspun by a local artist.  I got to meet her at the festival and talk for a little bit.  She loves bright colors and all her yarns are super bright and happy, much like her.  Other than a boring old dishcloth, this is what I've gotten done so far. 
     Back to this shearing festival.  I happened to see a sign for the shearing fest in Jamesville on my way to Yarn Cupboard.  It's always memorial day weekend and it had totally slipped my mind.  I had gone out to this farm once before, but had shown up a day late.  (The website was wrong, and then later corrected, after I had printed out the itinerary.)  Anywho, the starts aligned for me.  I had to work Sunday and Monday so I stayed here alone.  The hubs ran off to spend the weekend with our Anniversary gift...  So once I saw that sign, I jumped at the opportunity to peruse a shearing fest by my self.  The Springside Farm is a short drive outside Syracuse in Fabius.  There were sheep, Alpaca, cashmere goats, rabbits a donkey, chickens and peacocks.  Up in the hay mow were vendors and demonstrators.  I wish now I would have grabbed a chair and just watched the spinners for awhile.  They all had wheels, so it probably wouldn't have helped with my spindle spinning much, but non the less it was great.  I bought some yarn and some fiber. 
That's the yarn I used for Elk Tooth.
This is Icelandic Wool, in Periwinkle, from another farm in Fabius, Shepherd's Falls Farm.
Roving, also Icelandic, also from Shepherd's Falls.  This color is Sky Blue.  I really enjoyed seeing all the animals, especially the cashmere goats.  They were only three months old and therefore adorable.  Rufus and Reckless.  Rufus and I became very good friends and I seriously contemplated goatnapping him.  I think though, the apartment complex people would frown on having a goat in here...  In all seriousness, I have always wanted a goat, once we get to our countryside home, with land.  Now I think that goat is going to be of the cashmere variety.  He was so sweet and soft, it just seems like the right breed for a knitter like me.  I watched the sheep shearing for a while and then took the grand tour of the farm.  I didn't get to see much of the Alpaca shearing since I found that building right before the tour.  Next year, I'll be sure to get there earlier, now that I know where everything is, I can spend more time spectating.
Now on to this Anniversary gift.  We like to do outdoorsy things, we have a snowmobile.  My parents have a four-wheeler.  I have many great memories of tooling around on that thing.  It's getting older and it stopped working.  After much deliberation hubs and I decided it was time to get one of our own.  So happy 10th anniversary to each other.
It's a 2014 Arctic Cat 1000 Mud Pro.  Yes, that's a winch on the front and yes that's a snorkel.  The winch has come in very handy already.  Half the fun of owning a four wheeler is driving it in mud and muck and trying to get it stuck.  (We were successful on several occasions earlier today.)
Well, that's it for now.  Until later.  Happy Crafting!