Location: Crescent City, California, United States

I love to make things with my hands. My current passions are knitting and spinning.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Caution...Picture heavy post

I just love going to Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon every year. It is the only fiber festival that I have ever been too, and I have been able to go about 5 times. This is the third year in a row that I have been able to take classes. This year I took a class called Fiber Feast (making designer yarns). The teacher had brought fibers in different colorways for us to choose from and we separated and layered the fibers, ribbons, and yarns on the tables then divided them up between everyone and spun up our yarns. This is my yarn......

I had alot of fun shopping. I bought a total of 3 fleeces - a White Shetland that I dropped off for processing at BSG, a Jacob, and a CVM (California Variegated Mutant). I was able to find a small picker to help prepare the fiber for spinning.....
I was also able to find a Jenkins Turkish spindle that I love. I really enjoy spinning with it, but not necessarily with the pin-drafted Cormo roving that I bought at BSG. I am able to spin a very fine single, but it has a few little lumps in it because of the way that the fiber was prepared .

I found a wrist distaff to use when I am spinning with a drop spindle. And for those of you who don't know what a "wrist distaff" is, here is a video of how to use one...

....and of course I found some lovely yarns at BSG. This is lace weight Merino/ silk 80/20 in the Hepburn colorway by Abstract Fiber.

Lace weight Merino in the "Tropicale" colorway by Only Natural. It was dyed with Cochineal, Logwood and Madder. The skein is 2 5/8 oz. and 600 yds.

Hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester top - 8 oz. by Crown Mountain Farms in the Novalis colorway.

From the top going clockwise in the picture below is BFL and silk (75/25) by Chamelion Colorworks in the October colorway, 4 oz. ob Bombyx silk sliver for blending with other fibers, and silk hankies dyed by Plum Crazy Ranch and Fiber Art.
Hand dyed silk ribbon
Dyed mohair locks
Firestar for adding sparkle to batts!

I think that is enough Pictures! Happy Spinning and knitting.

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 09, 2011

More Guppie Hats and other Finished Objects!

I have 2 more Guppie hats to add to the list of hats that I have knit recently. They sure are fun to knit, and what a fun and easy gift to make. I plan on knitting some to put away for future gifts.

I knit these 2 hats using Plymoth Yarns Encore Colorspun Worsted as the main color. Then I chose coordinating colors for the lips, fins and tail.
I still want to make one that looks like Nemo! I have the yarn, now I just need to squeeze it in between all my other projects!

I have finished a few things for myself (I know shock and awe - once in awhile I do knit for myself!). The first is socks knit from Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball yarn. They are a simple pattern that I adapted from a one-skein sock yarn project book. There are cables on the cuff, although they are hard to see in the picture.
I have also finished the Multnomah shawlette that I started before Christmas. It is knit with Noro sock yarn. The first time I finished it, it seemed too small and there was still a portion of the ball left. I couldn't see leaving that much yarn to sit around waiting to be used for something, so I undid my cast-off edged and knit the shawl using as much of the yarn as I could and still have enough left to bind-off.

It only took me about 2 weeks after finishing it to get the blocking done. I am soo proud of myself. It takes me forever to do finishing work. My goal was to have it done to take on vacation at the end of this week (and to be able to wear it to Black Sheep at the end of June).
In other news, all the kids are doing well at this time. Son #2 finally got full time work, God answered our prayers for him. Son #1 is still working, I pray the mine he is working in will continue to have work for him until a better job comes along.

Son #3 will be working at a Christian youth camp for the 1st 6 weeks of his summer vacation, and as an intern youth pastor at our local church for the last part of his vacation. He is one busy boy and God has blessed him with many good opportunities to work in his chosen field. He is just finishing his Sophomore year at college, 1/2 way through!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day -I heard from all 3 of my boys, and 2 of their girlfriends- all wishing me a Happy Mother's day! I felt very loved.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Here Fishy Fishy

When I need something quick and satisfying to knit, I knit hats. My latest projects have been fish hats sized to fit babies....

This hat is soo cute and fun to make....

I have knit 4 of them in the past month. The first one was a gift for a friend, then several friends from work asked to knit some for friends or new grandchildren of theirs. It was fun to hear the exclamations and giggles when people saw the finished hats!

I have made 2 of the light and dark blue striped fish hats. The above fish was knit with yarn that the person alreeady had. The great thing about it is that you can use any leftover yarn that you have and make the fish look however you want. What a great way to use leftover yarn from your stash! The pattern is The Guppie Hat- you can find it on Ravelry.

Another finished project is the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann.

The yarn I used was Encore Tweed -beige and blue(#4108). I was 2 rows short of finishing and had to buy a second skein of blue - I will have enough now to make a matching hat! I was anxious about knitting this sweater - anyone in their right mind would be when you look at the pictures of how it looks before you sew the shoulder seams. I bought the directions from Schoolhouse Press and knit the jacket with the line by line instructions to make sure it turned out right on my first attempt. I will probably make more of these. I think it is a great present and a fairly quick knit with minimal seaming.

This is also a great project to use leftover yarn from your stash or homespun yarn. You can get creative with the color changes and striping and step out of your comfort zone!

I have also been doing some spinning - This is some brown and pink Blue faced Leicester that would be great for a to find a pattern and figure out how much yardage I have!Next off the wheel is this blue wool and alpaca blend. It is about 25% alpaca and is very soft and smooshy. The above is only half of what I spun. There is almost 8 oz. altogether.

On one of my recent yarn store excursions, I purchased some Romney that was hand-dyed by the owner of the store.It isn't the softest fiber, but I love the variation in the colors.

I also purchased some green fiber. The staple length is a bit shorter, but the color sure blends well with the first sample.

I had to comb out a few locks just to play with it. You can see the nice crimp in the middle of the above picture. I can't wait to start spinning that :)

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Special Chocolate Truffles

This past weekend Sean and Melissa came to visit. Melissa loves to cook and try new recipes, and it just so happens that I like to try new things also. So we worked together on making these Mayan Chocolate Truffles from Nourished Kitchen. Some of the ingredients were a little pricey, so I won't be making this too often, but it sure was fun to try.
Cast of Characters pictured above (the cinnamon is missing from the picture) - we weren't able to get everything from the local health food store, and I of course used some ingredients that I had on hand. I have never used whole Vanilla beans before, and was thinking they would have a bean inside the pod- like a green bean does. Needless to say I was mistaken. For the complete recipe, please see the link above from Nourished kitchen.
I had to go and buy myself a zester for the orange peel in the recipe. I had tried useing the zester part of a grater before without much luck, but the zester I used for this recipe was a breeze, it was so quick and easy, and I had a nice pile of zest when I was done (pictured above with the vanilla bean).
This is what it looked like after stirring in and melting the chocolate, not very pretty :(.
After it has chilled, you cut it into chunks and roll it in cocoa. It looks a little better that way, don't you think?
The recipe called for at least 85% chocolate. The only chocolate that we could find in the health food store was candy bars, and I was pretty sure that we weren't supposed to use that. We ended up useing Ghirardelli 100% caacao unsweetened chocolate baking bars. Did anyone notice in the picture of the ingredients that the sugar was missing? That is because there was no sugar listed in the ingredients. Jenny from Nourished Kitchen says that "You won't miss that sugar one bit." Perhaps if I had been able to find and use chocolate with 85% cocoa content, I might not have missed it. I taste tested the "batter" before we rolled it in a log to refridgerate it.....all I have to say is BLECK, UGH, YUCK!! Needless to say, we added some sugar, about 1/4 cup, to make it somewhat palatable (and yes it was organic evaporated cane juice sugar). The finished product still was not anywhere near as sweet as a candy bar, but that is OK. The lack of sugar allowed us to taste and enjoy all the other flavors that were having a party in our mouths. The first taste that you get is chocolate (of course) and orange. After the second bite, I tasted the mild bite of the Chipotle Chili and cinnamon-it was quite a taste experience. Melissa didn't care for the finished product, but Sean and George ate it up!
Baby Hat #1 - the yarn used is Be Sweet Bambino Taffy in Spearmint Gum, #883. The pattern used was on the label.Baby Hat #2 - Knit with Be Sweet Bambino Taffy in #881 Salt Water Taffy. The pattern was a free pattern from the shop where I bought the yarn.
Baby Hat #3 - Knit with Be Sweet Bambino Taffy - #886 French Revolution. The pattern is the same as the one used for #2.
Baby Hat #4 - Knit with Baby Jacquards Floral by Bernat. The pattern is the baby ruffle hat on their site.
I am also knitting the baby surprise jacket for the first time. I ran out of yarn with just 2 rows to go. When it is finished, I will post pictures.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are you ready for a long awaited posting??? Be ready for lots of pictures. For Christmas presents for 2010, I did a little sewing and alot of knitting. In reviewing my pictures, I missed a few things, like 1 neckwarmer for mom in bulky alpaca, and 1 pair of slippers for my sisiter. So, here's what I got.....
Cogwheels quilt for my son and daughter-in-law

The kit didn't come with enough of the fabric to straighten up the edges and then cut out the pieces that were needed, so I ended up hunting for some extra fabric to finish it. I got it all pieced by the 1st week of December and then had to find someone to quilt it at that late date. There is only quilt store within 50 miles. and there was no way that they were going to be able to do it. Luckily, a friend that used to work with my husband now has her own home quilting business and took it in to quilt. She had a bubble/dot type pattern that was perfect with the fabric and had the quilting done within a week!!

I love the way it turned out. I haven't done any quilting in quite awhile (been too busy working, knitting and spinning). I had a great time sewing on this quilt and was very pleased with how it turned out. My son and daughter-in-law loved it too, which makes it all worthwhile :)

It seem like just about every year I have one project that I make for alot of people at Christmas time. Something that is fairly easy and quick to knit, and hopefully very useful. This year it was the Felted Slippers by French Press Knits. The pattern was quick and easy. She also has a great video tutorial for sewing up the seams. I had fun knitting these for the girls in my immediate family. I put buttons on most of the slippers, but purchased some pre-made felt flowers at Hobby Lobby for the black slippers. You can't beat red and black!You can't beat the Koigu neck cozy pattern for a quick and useful gift. I made about 3-4 of them last year, and mom wanted one this year. (The color is alot prettier in real life.)

My sister found some precious yarn that she felll in love with and gave to me to knit her a lacy scarf. Again, the color is off in this pic, it is really a pretty blue with beads on one strand of the yarn. This yarn was not fun to deal with when I made a mistake :(

My sis also needed a new lunchbag, and decided that she liked this pattern by Craft Apple. Yes I know it says "diaper bag," but it had all the little compartments that she wanted and plenty of room to take bottled water and containers of food. The fabric I used for the outside is Nicey Jane laminated cotton- Lindy Leaf. I used laminated fabric for the inside and outside to make cleanup easy in case of spills. The fabric was a little hard to work with- especially for topstitching on plastic..ugh. But overall, I thought it turned out well and she was thrilled with it. I bought some of the same fabric for myself to make a raincoat....someday!

I used a magnetic snap to close the flap on the bag (a first for me), and made a fabric flower with a button for the center, to decorate the flap.

The pattern for the flower is from the book Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland.

I haven't stopped knitting gifts, but have switched gears to baby gifts for 2 friends that are having babies this spring. I have also squeezed in a little knitting for myself, imagine that!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

Boy, time has sure been rushing by. I have been cranking out the Christmas presents like crazy. I started on the presents in September, thank goodness. I think I will still be getting down to the wire to finish everything up, and then I have to ship the presents off!

Be ready for a picture heavy post after Christmas, I don't want to spoil any surprises before then.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September Madness

I have a goal for the next 3 finish as many Christmas presents as possible before I go on vacation to see my mom and sister. My ulterior motive - to use their washing machine to felt said presents! These slippers from French Press Knits are too cute once they are felted, and are super easy and quick to knit, a perfect Christmas gift. You can find the pattern here.
I looked on Ravelry for project pics and found this. Check it out, there are some really cute slippers!
Before I started the French Press slippers, I made a pair of Felt clogs for myself. The pattern is from Fiber Trends. Yes, they are going on vacation with me also, so that they can be felted. This is also a quick pattern - but you have to really pay attention because you are doing alot of wrap and turns.
If you make this pattern, make sure to look at the errata page on the website.
I have also finished knitting my Slanted Norte Tee. Now I just need to bury yarn tails and block it. Did I tell you I don't much like blocking? It's not nearly as fun as knitting :)
Maybe I can talk someone into taking a nice picture of it actually on me once it is blocked!
I have been working on washing my brown Shetland fleece that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering last year. This is it, all laid out for sorting.
It is all washed, as of about 2 weeks ago. I have been washing it in a plastic tote that I set in a bathtub. I had to carry some hot water from the stove to the bathroom to make sure the wash water was hot enough. I also combed some of it using combs that I bought at the same time as the fleece.
It is going to take alot of time to comb all of it, but I kinda enjoy the process. I have decided that I need to get something to hold the clamps to a counter top or table. I have been looking at this comb holder. Wouldn't that be a good Christmas present? Husband, are you listening?

Labels: , , ,