Monday, April 30, 2012

Manic Monday: A Deadline

I've got a deadline and it's tomorrow.  It's a design deadline and I'm just about done but I really cut it close this time.  Just need to dot my i's and cross my t's -- do that last run thru and make sure it all make sense.  Oh  and block the item...take pictures...yeah, okay.

Why do I do this to myself?  I meant to get it done sooner, but like my knitting I had to get it right, even more so with designing and my first pass sucked so bad I didn't even take a picture before frogging.  I scratched the entire thing and went all the way back for a fresh look at my stitch dictionaries just a few weeks before my deadline.  Well, I'm glad I did.  It just goes to show, I work well under pressure. You can't see it now (it's a Handwerks Club project and they get first dibs) but when I start working on the second version (this is how I know it's good -- it evolves) you'll see it here.

What else is going on with me?  Not much.  Yesterday was the last day of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and I participated all seven days.  When I wasn't blogging I was frantically knitting, charting and checking my design.  I'll be glad when I can get back to the WiPs, they've been patiently waiting in the sidebar, literally.  Check back here -- maybe on WiP Wednesday or Fiber Arts Friday.  We'll see how the week goes.

Want to join me in the madness? Got a day job funding your hobby? Craft evenings and weekends to get it all done? Knit, or crochet, sew, quilt, spin, felt, weave, lace AND blog? Just how Manic are your Mondays?

Join the party and don't forget to link back to

Button coming soon...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

3KCBWDAY7: Crafting Balance

When I think about crafting balance it's not generally between knitting and crochet.  It's between knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing, bobbin lace, cranking on my sock machine(s), inkle weaving, quilting, hand embroidery, flatbed machine knitting, and crochet.  But probably less crochet than all the others.  I know how to crochet and I like crochet borders, edgings and accents, but that's probably it and I'll do it when I need to.

I spend most of my crafting time knitting.  The most projects on the go that I have are knitting, following that it's probably a tie between weaving (1 inkle, 1 4-harness, 1 8-harness),  and bobbin lace (3 projects on pillows). The rest of the UFO's are quilting (1) and embroidery (1).  As for sewing and machine knitting (both flatbed and sock), those projects generally get done when started (or just not at all).

I love crafting -- and I love discovering new things!  I don't know what's next, probably just more of the same.  Making things with my hands actually is a balance with my other life as a computer programmer.  Having just come off a 6 month break (read: just got a job after being laid off), I found that I really missed coding and the opportunities is brought (read: $$$).  I actually considered other more freelance opportunities to write code before finally landing a job, I still am, but I'll save that for later when I'm ready to "retire".

For now I'll just indulge in all the crafting I want to do while enjoying my career that supports it.  It's tough sometimes, as I don't get as much time to do all the crafting I want but I'm trying to keep things in balance and I'm using my Manic Monday blog post to help with that.

It's the last day of the 3rd Annual Knitting Crochet Blog Week.  I actually blogged all 7 days.  I hope you've enjoyed my posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

3KCBWDAY6: Improving Your Skillset

For today's topic I have a meme I did in 2009.  Since then I've accomplished a few more things and there are still things I've yet to do.  I think my biggest goal is to knit a sweater that fits me.  I'm a loose knitter and I keep thinking if I knit the medium it'll work out.  I don't swatch, I don't do the math.  I just cast-on, go and end up with something too big.  Definitely something I need to work on.

Ah, well -- on with the meme.

THE DEAL: You mark the things you have knit in bold, you italicize the things you intend to try, and everything else you just leave in regular font. My own comments in parenthesis.

Afghan (I've got some Lorna's Laces I bought for a sampler afghan)
American/English knitting
Baby items
Cable stitch patterns
Charity knitting
Combination knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Double Knitting
Drop stitch patterns
Dyeing spinning fiber
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing yarn
Entrelac Lady Eleanor
Fair Isle
Free-form knitting
Garter stitch
Gloves (I have a kit for Sanquhar Gloves)
Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Hats: Cuff-up
Hats: Top Down
Holiday knitting
Household Items
Jewelry (something in Adorn)
Kitchener stitch
Knitted flowers
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks
Knitting socks on two circulars
Knitting to make money
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting two socks on 1 circular simultaneously
Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn (have some in the stash)
Knitting with cashmere (oh, yes, yes, YES! did that sound orgasmic?)
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with dpns
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Knitting with milk (some in the stash)
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn (stashed!)
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn ack-rylic!
Knitting with wool
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn (if I can bear it)
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO
Machine knitting (circular!)

Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip Down.
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Participate in an exchange
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book (someday)
Shadow Knitting
Short rows

Slip stitch patterns
Socks: top-down
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Swatching (I really should do this more)
Tassels (and/or pom-poms)
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO (on a sock machine all the time)

Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

Friday, April 27, 2012

3KCBWDAY5: Something Different

For today's topic, I give not just one but three poems on three subjects in three forms.

Acrostic for Knitters

K is for Kindness, what you always show,

N is for Nimble, you're quick and fun at play,

I is for Inspirational, you uplift those around,

T is for Talented, you're just so amazing,

T is for Terrific, you're simply the best,

E is for Elegant, you're so full of grace,

R is for Ruby, as precious as the gem,

S is for Sensational, enough said!

Cinquain for Needles


Pointy batons

Knitting, cabling, lacing

Connecting each stitch to form cloth


Haiku for Sheep

Sheep graze in Winter

Covered fleece growing heavy

Ah the Spring shearing

Dedicated to the wonderful artisans who inspire on Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

3KCBWDAY4: Seasonal Knitting

Living in Northern California, in the Bay Area the weather is pretty mild.  The winters aren't terribly cold and it doesn't snow.  It does rain, but even that's been light of late.  Looking at my knitted wardrobe it mostly consists of accessories like scarves, shawlettes and socks.  I have a few large shawls and stoles and even fewer sweaters.  The rest of the items seems to consist largely of vests and shrugs, they are the perfect thing for Spring or Fall around here and a wonderful vehicle for all sorts of yarns in various weights and content.

I like knitting with wool the best.  It's easiest on my hands and therefore more comfortable and enjoyable to knit.  I tend to gravitate more now to the dk weights and I love the new trend for knitting sock weights at a worsted gauge.  I don't knit as much during the summer because working with the wool tends to make me and my hands more hot and sticky. I suppose my cotton/linen projects are more appropriate on the more hot and humid days, but I don't have as many of those and wool dominates the stash. The rest of the year I'm probably knitting the same sort of things with the same sorts of yarns.

So I don't consider myself a seasonal knitter, rather a constant knitter with summer (and just the hottest days at that) only a short respite from knitting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3KCBWDAY3: Hero Worship

Today's topic for the 3rd Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week is "Your Knitting or Crochet Hero".  I'm not much into hero worship for anything let alone knitting, but if we're talking admiration there is one individual I can think of in my fiber world.

She is an accomplished knitter both hand and machine.
She is an accomplished weaver, basket and rigid heddle to complex cloth, published, in fact.
She is an accomplished spinner, one fait acompli worth mentioning is the Barbara Walker Learn to Knit Afghan that she not only knit, but spun the yarn for each square from the fleece of a unique breed of sheep.
She is an accomplished dyer of yarn and fiber, her color sense is fabulous and if you know me, by now you know her.
She earns my admiration for all these things and more.
She is my mentor, my boss, my partner in crime, but most of all she is my friend. 
She is the artisan behind Handwerks and her yarns are an endless inspiration for me. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Manic Monday: Keeping Track

This weekend Handwerks had a Trunk Show at The Golden Fleece in Santa Cruz. 
It was hot and I think everyone was at the beach, or elsewhere outdoors, but many of the faithful showed up for The Golden Fleece's 1 year anniversary.  I came away with a couple of my now favorite (it must be, I have so much of it) Handwerks Silky Sock in Ruby and Sundown (the ruby is a bit more redder than pictured), and a license frame for my "trouble".  I sold several Giant Kelp patterns and Laura sold some yarn and left a bunch with Gunilla to stock the store.  All in all, despite missing the beach, it was a great day to spend in a yarn store.

I've been thinking of my Manic Monday post all week.  This being Knit and Crochet Blog Week, I wanted to contribute something useful or inspiring on Monday, but the topic is color and do you really want to hear me wax poetic on pink, again?  So, instead I thought I'd take the wild card topic, "Craft Your Perfect Day" and what would that perfect day be without the five things that take the Manic out of my Monday, the things I need to stay organized, focused and above all inspired.

They are:
1) Ravelry.  What did I do before Ravelry?  I had a database for my projects, yarn and fiber stash and maybe a few "lists" in Excel.  But now, I don't know how I'd keep things sane w/o Ravelry.  I have my yarn stash, projects, queue and library all in Ravelry.  It took months to get all the yarn up and my library is almost up-to-date.  I try to keep up with new acquisitions because one of the best things about Raverly isn't so much the database of what I have and what I'm doing, but what I COULD be doing with what I have.  Yup, what I truly love about Ravelry is that pattern browser and advance search.  With two clicks, I can not only search for patterns for yarn I already have, I can search for patterns that I actually own!  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There are all of you, Ravelers, who's projects I've consulted and admired, who's patterns I've purchased, who's groups I lurk and unlurk.

2) A digital camera.  I use the one on my phone because not only does it take decent pictures, I can upload directly to the internet.  Enough said.

3) Flickr.  This ties the camera on my phone with my account on Ravelry.  I store all my yarn and project pictures on flickr, and yes, I pay for it.  I gain nothing by promoting the goodness I derive from using flickr, but it's been an insdispensible tool for storing and retrieving pictures for Ravelry and of course, this blog.

4) My blog and the blogosphere.  A journal to record my successes and failures, a springboard for inspiration.  Your comments and above all your posts show me that I am not alone.

5) My computer and the Internet without which, the other four things would be moot.

My perfect day would involve these five things, oh and a little bit of knitting.

Join the rest of us for Knit and Crochet Blog Week

and/or join the party for this Manic Monday. Don't forget to link back to

Monday, April 16, 2012

Manic Monday: Done and Done

Last Monday I had a bag to felt, some mitts to seam and pj pants to sew.  If you saw my Fiber Arts Friday/FO Friday post you already know that the bag felted and the mitts are done!  All I had left was the pj pants.  As you know Sunday is my Funday, but it's really my Get'r-done-day!  I started out the morning cleaning up the kitchen.  That done, I had to sort through things I need for my new job (books mostly).  By 11am I was ready to pull out the machines. 
Here's my cabinet that holds both my sewing machine and serger.  I opened it up and started to setup the machines the cabinet seemed a little tippy. 
Uh, oh.  That's not good.  I think the easiest way to reattach this was to empty the cabinet, tip it on it's side and screw the wheel back in.  Of course, I didn't do that.  Instead I tried to screw it in from the bottom using a very thin wire gauge/cutter as a monkey wrench.  Well, screwing it in from the bottom meant I was turning it the wrong way, which I did twice.  By noon, I was getting hungry so I stopped and had a little lunch.  After my blood sugars settled I sat on the floor played with the thing it screwed into (that metal circle thingy in the picture on the right) and focused on which way I should be turning things (I know, I know, righty-tighty -- but that's only if your right side up).  By 1pm it was fixed.  And by 4pm I had these:
Yay! Sew Easy Pajama Pants, pattern by Taylor Made Designs.  The fabric is pretty cute, one leg is ballet slippers and the other is ballet terminology.  I cut everything out on Friday.  These pants are pretty easy and booklet gives very good instructions (which I don't follow, but I've read through them).  This is the third pair of pj pants that I've made.  All between jobs!  This time I used some pretty ribbon from my ribbon stash.
Nice right?  The best part of it is, it was given to me.  My aunt (mom's twin) used to work in a fabric/craft store.  You wouldn't believe the price tags on these.  The one I used was dated 1985.  I don't sew that often (I had to read the manual to figure out how to do buttonholes), but I learned a long time ago so the skills are ingrained.  When I cut the pants out I used the remaining fabric for a bag I've been wanting to make.  So, since I had time, and everything was all setup, after dinner I made this:
It's a Grab Bag!  I saw it on a WiP Wednesday post and had to make it.  You can too, the pattern is free from AllPeopleQuilt(.com).  It took me the rest of the evening and of course I only loosely followed the directions (just love doing things the hard way), great pattern, nice diagrams.  As you can see, the ballerina has claimed it.  Now I gotta make mine!  That's it for me on this Manic Monday.  Do you sew, or knit, crochet, weave, spin AND blog about it?  Then tell me what you did this weekend or what you're gonna get done this week! 

It's Manic Monday join the party and don't forget to link back to

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fingerless Mitts and Felted Bag

IMAG0498Finished, a pair of mitts and a felted bag. 
First up the mitts:
Yarn: Crystal Palace Fjord and Crystal Palace Kid Merino
Knitted by: Kelsey, but I did the seaming.  She knit these awhile ago, probably during some knitting camp at Yarndogs, but she never got around to seaming.  Now that they're done, she can wear them with her new hat!
It's a great beginner project.  Knit flat, 2x2 rib, and then you use the ends to seam.

IMAG0503Another project that I finished up for Kelsey is her felted bag.  This was a kit from Continental Stitch, they're always at Stitches West with the coolest kits.  This one came with 4 balls of Jarbo Lovikka and metal rings for the handles plus a really easy pattern.  I helped Kelsey start this then she abandoned it for other pursuits. I finished up the knitting, attached the rings and tied it up before felting.

IMAG0510 I wasn't sure about the metal rings in the washing machine so I tucked them into the bag and tied it shut. I dropped the whole thing in a mesh laundry bag and washed it with a bunch of towels.  It didn't felt.  I have one of those top-loading, low agitation, low water washers and I'd felted things in it before.  Then I remembered that everything I had felted went through the dryer too.  So I popped it in with the towels and voila! I guess technically it's fulled, not felted.

So what is my daughter pursuing that's so important she has no time (or desire) to knit?

IMAG0511Yup, she's my ballerina and she's already using the bag.
That's it for me for Fiber Arts Friday and FO Friday.

(I still have to do her PJ pants...I have the weekend, check back on Monday).

Monday, April 09, 2012

Manic Monday is now a Meme!

see more Knit Princess @

No, the knitting didn't get boring, but as most of you know, knitting is not cheap! After nearly 6 months of unemployment I start a new job next week!  So here I am, the last week of my semi-retirement and it's already crazy.  

Fiberdev's TODO list:

1. felt this

2. seam these

3. turn these into pj pants for Kelsey

And start this meme!  Want to join me in the madness?  Got a day job funding your hobby?  Craft evenings and weekends to get it all done?  Knit, or crochet, sew, quilt, spin, felt, weave, lace AND blog?  Then join me on Manic Mondays.  Button coming soon...

Monday, April 02, 2012

Manic Monday

IMAG0474I missed Fiber Arts Friday and FO Friday so it will have to be Manic Monday for me and no party to join.  I finished the asymmetrical version of Giant Kelp.  When I designed the original pattern I thought it could be knit asymmetrically by alternating various repeats of the 2 main lace patterns, giving a more organic feel to it.  I like how it turned out and how the 2 patterns work well together.  I'll have another version available later this year worked in sock weight.
IMAG0476 The pattern was created for the Handwerks Sock Yarn Club for 2012 in club yarn Select Single.  The yarn is a limited edition and has been dyed in other fabulous colors, the one pictured here is Teal.  The pattern currently can only be purchased with yarn.  The official release date for the pattern is May, 2012.  It will be available both at Handwerks and Ravelry.

Sister 1 got her hat back from sister 2. Plus a shot from the back.

IMAG0470IMAG0471This almost puts me back on track with the current WiPs, just in time to focus on next month's club project.