Tuesday, January 27

My New Best Friend.

Last Saturday, my husband and I drove out to The Fold in Marengo, IL and purchased my new BFF.

my new Lendrum wheel

This is a Lendrum Double Treadle with the complete kit: flyer and bobbins, kate, jumbo plying head and flyer, and fast flyer. Yeah. It feels a little (ok, very) extravagant, but I've been saving for this for a long time and am very happy to finally own one.

my new Lendrum double treadle

I had never been to The Fold before; I guess I always assumed it was far from me but in reality it was only an hour or so. It seems like a great shop and I can't wait to go back. I actually didn't even look at much yarn (there was a lot) since I wasn't planning on buying any that day. They gave me a huge bag of fiber to get started with, and I've spun up a few bobbins so far.

my first spinning attempt
two ply, about 80 yards

Not horrible for my first attempt. I seriously need to keep reminding myself that this is going to take time to learn and that I need to be patient with myself.

If anyone knows of a good technical spinning guide or some place with good instructions on why you need to do something, not just what you do, I'd love any recommendations.

Thursday, January 22


So I just realized that I had a number of posts sitting in Wordpress unpublished. Shoot, I always feel so far behind when that happens. I have deleted the irrelevant ones and left two finished object posts below.

Anyway - Buttons!

Last weekend Joann was having a 40% off button sale, and I took the opportunity to finally find some to match my button tab hat, which has been buttonless since I finished it last August. I have two choices here that I just can't decide between. What do you think?

Pink buttons:


Yellow buttons:


I think I am leaning towards the pink, but the yellow is just a little different you know? What do you think?

I also picked up a few other cute buttons to add to my meager button jar. I would have liked to get more but I am saving my pennies for something super-duper special. More on that this weekend!


Finished: Crofter's Cowl

Knit Cowl

I made this knit cowl from leftover Creatively Dyed Merino from my button tab hat. I had to modify the pattern a few ways since I realized less than halfway through that I would run out of yarn if I continued as written. You wouldn't notice the mods unless you were looking at the original pattern, but I only did four out of six pattern repeats and they are all in the same direction. The pattern calls for two sets of three repeats to be knit and then grafted together in the center to make a symmetrical tube.

I am happy with mine but I do still like the original pattern and might make it again with ample yardage available.

knit cowl, with coat
not the most flattering photo, but you get the idea

This yarn is very very soft. Not only does it match the button tab hat (obviously) but I looks good with two of my winter coats*.

Pattern: Crofter's Cowl, by Gudrun Johnston (on Ravelry)
Yarn: leftover Creatively Dyed Merino (I think this is one of her older yarns.)
Needles: size 7US bamboo circs
Started/Finished: January 9, 2009 - January 11, 2009

*Yes, I have more than one winter coat. Three, exactly. My Columbia it's-super-cold-and-snowy coat - i.e. every day for the last month, a charcoal wool pea coat for when it is not super cold and I want something a little nicer, and a new long black winter trench-type coat from my mother. The hat goes with the last two.

Finished: Winter Break Socks

Holiday knit socks

These were fun socks to knit. I started them Christmas Eve and finished the first week in January. Really fast for me; usually I need at least a month to finish a pair of socks. Ah, the joys of working in education and having time off over the holidays! This was my first time doing a "bubble drop stitch" type pattern, and I have to admit that I didn't even know how it was accomplished until I tried this pattern.

The yarn is Lion Brand Sock-Ease, which I bought at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon and falling in love with the colors as I was walking past. I was pleased with the quality of this yarn, especially when compared to Lion Brand's old sock yarn Magic Stripes. The yarn is very similar to Regia and the colors are very nice and didn't bleed at all when washed.

(I believe this sock yarn holds the record of "least time spend in my stash before knitting". I bought this sock yarn maybe two and a half months ago? Most of my sock yarn stash is years old, and I usually go for the oldest stuff first.)

Holiday sock top

Pattern: Zombie Socks by Sheryl Giles (only available on Ravelry)
Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease in "Rock Candy"
Needles: two 24" 0US Addi Turbos
Started/Finished: December 24, 2009 - January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 15

Winter Pet Peeve

It's not the piles of snow, slick ice, or arctic temperatures that have been bothering me the most this winter. It's not people who drive way too fast or way too slow for the conditions, or the fact that I have to go to work when every school for over 50 miles around is closed.

It's parking.

I've noticed this winter more than ever that when the lines in a parking lot are covered with snow or slush, people seems to lose any ability to judge how wide their car is and how much room they need to park. Everywhere I go, cars are parked three-quarters of a car width away from the one next to it, effectively cutting the parking lot size by half or more.

Some places, like the mall or Target, this is just an inconvenience since I have to park farther away than I would like. Other places, like work or my apartment building, it is a real problem since spots are limited to begin with.

OK people? Let's try to me aware of what we are doing and what is going on around us. Not just in the snow, but every time we park our cars.

snowIf my camera had a temp gauge, this photo would have been marked '-90 million degrees below 0'.

I'll leave you with this,
Bad Parking Blog, which comforts me that I'm not alone in my bad parking hatred.

Friday, January 9

2009... Resolutions?

I don't typically make new year's resolutions - at least I don't call them that - but this year there are a few things I've had in mind and January 1 seemed like a good time to start.

You many notice two new pages on this site, although neither one is knitting related. (I wanted to try "quit my job and knit full time" as a resolution but it didn't happen this year...)

I want to take more photographs, and get back into the habit of carrying my camera with me without feeling like a dork taking random photos. To encourage this, I've started "365 Photos of 2009" to take at least one photo every day. Since it is winter and there is not much I want to do but be inside away from snow, they first photos are little boring. I'm hoping that improves the weather gets warmer and I get more creative with this project.

My other goal is more ambitious - that is to read 52 books a in year, or an average of one per week. I have been telling myself to "read more" for a few years now. I used to read all of the time, any book I could get my hands on, but I've dropped off dramatically. I joined the 52 Books in 52 Weeks on Ravelry in December and just finished with my second book of the new year. So I'm on track of one per week already, and embarrassingly have already read a third the number of books as I did in all of 2008.
If I think of it I might post some book reviews here, since I am already on the lookout for recommendations myself.

Wednesday, January 7

Finished: Felted Cat Bed

I just realized that I never gave my one and only Christmas knit a finished object post. This is the "Kitty Pi" bed from WendyKnits. I missed the boom of people making these by about 4 years I think, but oh well. I thought Maggie might enjoy it. (I was actually thinking that maybe she would at least be interested in it, not just sniff it once and then ignore it forever.)



Post felting (duh):

Felted Cat Bed

With cat:

Kitty Pi cat bed

She likes it! Sweet. It really is making me ridiculously happy that she is sleeping in it.

Pattern: Felted Cat Bed from WendyKnits (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool Dark Gray and Leaf Green held together; About 1.5 balls of each.
Needles: size 11US dpns and size 15US 29" circulars

Those huge needles just about killed my hands. It's a good thing it was so fast to knit, I don't think I could have worked with them for much longer. I was very happy that the sides stood up on their own once the bed was dry since I've seen lots of photos of cat beds on Ravelry with droopy sides. But it doesn't matter in the end, since she mashes them down and makes more of a "cat mat" with it anyway.

Sunday, January 4

A few knitting gifts.

I was very lucky and received a number of knitting related Christmas gifts this year.

knitting related christmas gifts '08

My parents bought me Woolly Wormhead's Going Straight (a unique hat pattern book) and a Patons sock pattern booklet plus yarn to go with each. (SWS and Kroy Socks.) They also gave me the new Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book Free-Range Knitter. I received a "Knitting Pattern a Day" 2009 calender from my aunt and uncle. They have given me these calenders in the past and I always end up dismantling them to sort through the patterns a few months into the year. I'm going to try and use it as an actually calender this year.

Steve (with a little help from my Amazon wishlist) gave me a skein of Rock Creek Yarn's Cherry Blossom sock yarn, something I've wanted since I came across their ad on Ravelry. He also bought me Franklin's new knitting cartoon book "It Itches" and (drumroll...) Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop DVD. I've wanted the DVD for years now and am excited to watch it.

I also bought myself something for Christmas:

Yarntini Cheertini Yarn

A skein of Yarntini's Cheertini sport-weight sock yarn. I was hoping to have it in time to actually make socks to wear on Christmas but our plans changed because of a massive snow/ice storm and we left home before it came in the mail. Oh well, I guess I'll have new Christmas socks next year.

And now, since it is my last day of vacation before I have to be up bright and early for work tomorrow, I am going to go take a bubble bath (with a Lush bath bomb from my hubby) and watch my new EZ DVD before reading in bed for the rest of the night.

Thursday, January 1

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2009 everyone. I have high hopes that this is going to be a good year. My rough plans include more knitting/crafts with less guilt, more reading, more picture-taking, and more bike riding (and exercise in general).

I have had some time off work over the holidays but I haven’t accomplished anything close to what I had hoped – especially the things on the list that read “sitting” and “doing nothing”.

Please think good thoughts for my grandfather, who has been sick and is currently still in the hospital from his latest emergency room trip last Monday. Also for my grandmother who can not comprehend enough of what is going on to be anything but angry and terrified, and their children (my mom , aunt, and uncle) who have to deal with it all first hand.

Here’s to hoping all of your New Year’s dreams come true! =)