Friday, December 16, 2005

Wilton's Icing Dye

Hello, This is the story of an Alpaca named Cocoa. Actually, it's not.
This is really the story of the frightening characteristics of Wilton's cake dye. Yes, that's right, the same stuff that you eat is also used to dye yarn.
Now I'd like to point out that this was my first attempt. Therefore the resulting yarn is not exactly wonderful, but not exactly terrible. It's really not what I expected, but I will say it's a good first try. First I wound the yarn into skeins. This was time consuming, but worth it. I used two different lengths, and at the end decided that creating a longer skein is better. For example, the pinkish bluish funkiness was a short skein, and the colors moshed all together and I really was totally unprepared for the whole thing. Second attempt as documented (since the first was so embarrassing) was a longer skein, giving me more room to 'paint.'
First things first:
1. Wind yarn into skeins. (I used guitar stands, open kitchen drawers, whatver as long as its stable and comfortable). I used a small scale my husband previously used for measuring rocket powder to achieve my 50 grams of yarn.
2. Soak yarn in vinegar and water (white vinegar). I suggest looking online for the correct proportions because I just guessed (and that's as dangerous as not checking your guage).
3. Lay out yarn on plastic wrap. I suggest lying it down in a long line, instead of leaving it in a oval like you see in the picture.
4. 'Paint' as you see fit. I wore gloves (the second time) and used chopsticks (first time with the dye straight out of the bottle) and paintbrushes (second time diluted dye in a little bit of water)Either way works.
5. Once done roll up yarn in plastic wrap.
6. Microwave for 2 minutes at a time off and on. Give the yarn time to rest in between. I used a glass pan/pieplate. (candle for stinky vinegar smell)
7. Rinse, but don't shock the yarn (it'll felt). You should have almost no dye at all coming out of your yarn. I repeat very small amounts of dye should be coming out of your yarn. Otherwise rewrap and nuke some more.
8. Dry (I wrung mine out and hung it in the shower)
9. You may have to rerinse that funky vinegar smell out.
10. knit.

I used Lion Brand Fisherman's 100% wool as Faith already said. It's cheap at ACMoore, especially if you have a coupon (200grams for barely 4 dollars).

Here's what I did the other day, now that I'm wiser about this whole handpainted yarn thing...
Not bad, huh?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The pretty yarn.

This is what I'm using to make the "Creative Focus Chunky" tipless mittens from the fall Interweave. It feels luscious on the skein -- 100% alpaca. I'll let you know how it behaves on the needles. It will be for one of my sisters, who is now into pink and brown.
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Sarah is a very bad blogger but a very good friend. I got this in the mail on Saturday with a note: "hey! I dyed this!" Might there be any pictures to go with that experience? No! However, she did very thoughtfully send it to me to play with. If/when I do knit this up, it will probably be a collar or something. One of those great things that you can do with tiny bits of pretty yarn.

This is LB Fisherman's 100% wool, dyed with Wilton's icing dyes in Sky Blue and Brown.
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Thank you Sarah!

Well, I have no time to write. I've been knitting non-stop and have several FO's for you, but can't currently get to that. We're packing for the holiday visits! More later.

Not enough days till Christmas!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Top Secret Secrets

Look what came in the mail!
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These were shipped very quickly. I'm going to be really mad though whenever I find the sets I lost...

And what's this? Bernat Velour? Why yes. I can't believe I bought it either. And no, I can't tell you what it's for. Besides the fact that it's a Top Secret Christmas Gift, it's also going to be a new pattern submission to Crochet Me mag, so I'll let you know how that goes.
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This just came in the mail yesterday from
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I cannot believe how beautiful it is in person. And, even though it's 100% wool, it's so soft! You can't beat the prices either. How do they stay in business with prices that low?!! The pink lace weight is called Brown Berries, and the bulky blue is Charrua.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Because you're never too young to learn wool love

Mr E and Bubby Bear.
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Still knit-knit-knitting away at those socks. (I must admit I've slowed a little, now that I'm approaching the final few inches. Soooooooo...long....must go on...)

What's keeping me sane in my iTunes:
Secret Knitting

Stasia's Place

If' you've never listened to any of this, you should!! It's the perfect thing to do while knitting. Don't fry your brain on your TV -- listen to Podcasts! There's tons of different subjects -- those are all the knitting ones currently available, but go find whatever appeals to you. Podcasts for everyone!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

soft, fuzzy Bliss

Hey, need more yarn? Of course you do! Check out what I'm selling:
eBay: Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora TURQUOISE yarn

There's a little free gifty with purchase! I'm throwing in 4 handmade note cards (blank on inside) just because I'm that nice. =)

I'm done with one-and-a-half of my brother's King Kong Cabled Footies, but I'm waiting to photograph until I can shoot the pair. Oh my aching hands!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Winter Knitty is live!

The new Winter Knitty just went live!!

Of the new patterns, things I just might have to knit:
Mrs. Beeton: which is super pretty and delicate looking -- the most dainty gauntlets I've seen
Real Stocking Cap: well really any excuse to knit a sock. Plus, my brother Jom would probably wear this proudly.
Danica: because I love the woven look of the pattern stitch, and I've never tried Entrelac, so I might as well start here.
Marley's Ghost
: this is going to be the first thing I'll knit for Mr FiberFlash, I think. It screams his name.
Thuja: not exciting, perhaps, but a Christmas knit for my Grandpa, nonetheless.
Pomatamus: must I give a reason?
Namaste: because I need one (for real!)
Creatures: while going about their chores in the frosty NY air, I think that my little siblings would find these indespensible

With no disrespect to the authors of the patterns (heck, I don't have anything in there, so I can't speak too harshly!), here's my short list of "What In The Blazes Were They Thinking?"
Forecast: while I enjoy Stephanie Japel's never ending creativity, sometimes I wonder if certain designs would look goood on anyone else?
Bobblicious: I've been wondering if I should like bobbles. I'm left to still wonder.
Blanche-Neige: if you would like to embark on the most expensive hand knit of your life, go for it! Not only would this project cost you $228 in the main color alone for a size small, but the yarn is only available through the author's store. Hmm. Also, this pattern doesn't really stand out to me. I wouldn't substitute a yarn to do it either. Yes, hmm indeed.

But really, what are you reading my blog for? Go! Check out the new Knitty!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cables wrong and right

While in Florida last week, this is what became of my Newsies Hat.
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Yes, it's sad. A moment of silence, please, for the first cabled, wrong hat.

Here it is after taking a shower. It took a little over a day to dry because of the humidity. Also, it had a peculiar smell that I've heard described as "Alpaca hairy smell". I can't describe it any better. It wasn't quite bad, just, well, hairy smelling.
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Here is the sock that I'm designing for my brother. It's being modeled for you by the lovely foot of my husband. (Nice hair, huh?)
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And a close up of the (correct) cable down the center.
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I am naming these "King Kong Cabled Footies" for the one fat cable down the center. My math was a little shaky, but I've realized that as long as you know what you're doing with sock construction, there's a bit of fudging that can be done with no real harm. I intend to have a second go at these after Christmas (for myself, maybe) to work out the pattern oficially, before posting it here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

frusterated + christmas knits

A few weeks ago I was looking around for my interchangable needles, and discovered them missing. "No matter", I thought, "things always turn up in time, and I'll just use DPN's for now." Yesterday I did an all out search through the house, because for my Christmas projects, there can be no more delay. I need the needles now! They are nowhere. Also, all of my crochet hooks are missing. The two sets were in two little ziploc bags. After turning the house upside down for yet another look-see, I finally gave in and bought new sets. I found a really good deal on eBay. It sucked that I had to buy more, but the new ones I'm getting are in their own cases (Boye Needlemaster and Boye Crochetmaster) and not too expensive. Check out this seller -- they have 6 more sets of needles, and 5 sets of hooks. These are killer prices; only %30 of what you would pay at full price (the needles are normally almost $100, and the hooks are almost $50 at

Currently on the needles: a pair of socks I'm designing for my brother Caleb. They are cabled footies, inspired by this pair I saw on Misocrafty.

In other news, yesterday was my father-in-law's birthday. Andrew, Elijah and I made this card for him and put it in the mail on Monday:

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Monday, November 28, 2005


We've got fingers! (In case anyone's wondering, the lovely hand model is my husband.) No mitten cap yet, and some of the stitches are in need of a little tug or lift here or there, but it really isn't hard to do. This is going on the back burner for now though, because we will not be seeing the recipient of this gift until after Christmas. Now, on to some socks!
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Another project completed! This is the mistake rib scarf that's been posted in several places and I also think is in a book? 2 Balls of Noro Kureyon #166. This was a fairly easy scarf to knit up. Looks great too! One thing is I think I need to block and wash it.. neither of which I've ever done before. We'll see if I get around to it. Suprisingly the scarf is not very scratchy. This is a great scarf for cheap people like me who buy very few skeins of yarn, but love kureyon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Once and for all

Ok, before I knit anything else, I decided to do a google search for cable tutorials. I found a video here at KnittingHelp that makes it all very clear. I so wish that I'd done that before. Oh well. I'm glad I'm learning it now!

The start of one Peaceful Palm

Yet another knit along...Peaceful Palms. I will actually complete this KAL three times over, if my Christmas list goes as planned. (Why did I plan so many things? I will never know.)

I've cast on for the first glove/mitten, and will be working on it through the Thanksgiving weekend. Hopefully I'll have some FO's to show at the beginning of next week!

Pattern: Urban Necessity
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I must note: there is nothing like the feel of warm, honest wool running through the fingers. Oh Wool Of The Andes, how soft is your twist.

In other news, I will be ripping back the cabled rib hat entirely. It seems that I haven't gotten cables down yet. ARRRGGG! I will persevere, and I will come out on top yet. (Thank goodness I haven't been trying to do cabled sweaters, right? Now THAT would be a true disaster!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Basic oops

Here is the basic cabled rib hat:
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As you can see, it's too small even for a 2-year-old. What went wrong, you ask? Oh nothing. I just didn't check my gauge. Yes, I'd rather not talk about it.

In other news, my husband took me out on a date this weekend, and we ended up at one of our favorite stores, Barnes & Nobel. This might have followed me home:
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It's hilarious, and if you haven't read it yet, you should.

Also, this came in the mail yesterday:
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I'm a natural fiber kind of person, so it's almost horrific looking to me, but I couldn't really resist the offer of free fiber, novelty plastic or not. Mr A thinks it's delightful, and calls it blue hair. Blue hair is right. What do you dare me to do with it?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

FOs!! (updated)

On Friday night I got back from a week in Florida. We had a great time, and I have some pics from the trip, but my Photoshop is down and I don't have time to play with it before going to church.

Here is one of the most important parts of my packing:
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It's impossible to take too much yarn with you.
I finished these Socktober socks on Tuesday night (yay!):
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Yes!! One Christmas gift done. These are for my mum, who's feet are the same size as mine. They fit me perfectly, which is a relief. The edges are definitely scalloped, but at least it's consistant. After wearing for a few minutes the ribbing rolls in a little, but the socks seem to be staying up in general. There are a few other minor mistakes, but I am shelving my perfectionistic ways for the sake of sanity.

Pattern: Jaywalker
Cast off: November 15th
Yarn used: Opal handpaints (reccomended yarn for pattern -- happened to have on hand)
Needles: Size #1 Boye DPNs
Other posts on this project: Knitting along, Turning Heels, First Sock!

I have one more skein in this colorway. If there is anyone who has another color of Opal Handpaints, or Socks that Rock and would like to trade, let me know! Here is what the skein looks like:
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I also finally learned cables:
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This is the Basic Cabled Rib hat from SnB Nation. Also, I completed Bubby in one day. So cute!! I was going to make it into a marionette, but now I realize that the arms aren't loose enough. Would have been a Christmas gifty, but I gave him to Mr. A instead, who is enjoying him thoroughly.
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Bubby was completed using KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, which is 100% Peruvian wool. SO soft, and it doesn't feel itchy to me at all. I'm not sure how I would feel actually wearing it, but I was very impressed by it's softness.

I'm glad that I realized how to cable now, but it sucks, since I completed my Newsies Hat with the cables twisted all wrong.

Here's a close up of Newsie. Sad. So now I need to frog the whole thing and begin again. At least it's not a hat made out of fabric! Once you cut cloth in a pattern, you're commited. Then I'd really be screwed. Oh the joys.
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Added note: Thank you Mouse for your suggestion about resizing pics! Sometimes I make something bigger to show detail, and I was wondering why my sidebar was all screwed up. =)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nearly profound

Your Birthdate: April 24

You understand people well and are a natural born therapist.
A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around.
You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you.
You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people.

Your strength: Your devotion

Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness

Your power color: Lilac

Your power symbol: Heart

Your power month: June

I saw this on And Knitting and had to do it too. Strangely enough, the results this time were fairly true. What's up with the power month/color though?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bagged and Felted

News from the knitting front....

This is Sarah speaking and guess what? We have another completed project! Wow! Here tis...

Of course this is the finished project (and what's that? a Kureyon scarf in the corner?). I began with some bartlett yarn in blue loch 2 ply. This is a great color, very deep blue with purpley hues. Anyways, I knitted it up using the hobo bag pattern from knitty-unbiased. I knit it very loosely on big needles in the hopes that all would be well once felted.
Thankfully 4oz was just enough because I only had 1 skein and I bought it very far away.Then I moved onto the whole felting experience. First, an unsuccessful attempt by hand. Just didn't work and was just way to much effort. Then during the Bills game on Sunday I threw it in the washer (twice). Pulled it out, stretched it to where I wanted it, and let it dry. Voila! I'm excited to felt again in the future. This was a very good result for a first try. I learned several important things #1- yarn dyes may bleed (a lot) # 2- always felt inside a pillowcase #3- weave in ends good.

Friday, November 11, 2005

First sock!

I know this probably shouldn't be so exciting, but this week, I've finally finished the first Jaywalker. Yes, it really did take me way too long, but only because my life has suddenly gone full throttle. I will finish the second one. I have a few inches done, but nothing that I will photograph, since you will only think that I am reposting pics of this one in progress. So in all her glory, I present, Jaywalker 1:
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The color in the photo is a little washed out. The sock itself is much richer, warmer tones, but I decided not to worry until I can take pictures of the two finished together.

Does anyone remember me swearing to a yarn fast until I've saved up to buy the spinning wheel? Did anyone believe me?

This cute little yarn family came in a big box this week. Oh, did I order that? Oh. Well, its' for Christmas gifts (well...most of it) And anyway, it's Knitpicks. Does it really count when it costs that little? (Why did I have to buy this much? Well, to get the free shipping, of course!) Notice the cream colored sock yarn to the far right. Yes, I'm going to dye my own. No, that has nothing to do with Christmas.
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I ordered two of the "dancing" elastic sock yarns. "Ballet" was pretty, although I wish it was a little more subtle with the purple/pink theme, but I must say, I agree with Mouse: "Swing" is like a circus. I was going to make it into little footies for my brother, but I'm afraid he'll hate them. He said he might not, but I can't take a picture that truely captures the horror of the redbluegreenyelloworange throwing itself up at me. Maybe I'll hide it for now.

Ok, ok, since I'm airing all my dirty laundry, I might have bought this too...
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It also didn't cost much. I was at Hobby Lobby, and it was calling to me. I had started a little hoody sweater for Mr A a while ago, and completely fell out of love with the colors. So I'm starting again. New blue, and no grey this time. It's a good thing that this sweater doesn't take a lot of yarn! Otherwise I'd feel bad about this switch. But I don't feel bad. (Ok, nevermind, I wouldn't have felt bad anyway.) Alright, back to that second sock here...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

turning heels

I've turned the heel, and am working my way towards the toe:
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You can't really tell from this shot, but the ribbing is buckling. I don't really know what I could have done to stop that action. Ah well. I assume the same will happen with the other, and then both socks will have matching wavy edges. I've decided that this will be part of my mom's Christmas gift.

I've finally decided what I'm going to knit for everyone for Christmas. Unfortunately, I only have about 7-1/2 weeks to do it all. List to follow as soon as I have a moment...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

All spun up

Well, it's official. I have caught the spinning bug. When I first discovered people were spinning their own yarn, my first thought was "that's the most crazy arse idea yet! I hardly have time to knit with yarn that's already spun!" Now please don't misunderstand me: I am most definitely a Dyed In The Wool DIYer (pun intended). But with so many gorgeous options out there, is there really a need for me to spin my own? Over the past few months though, spying on everyone else's spinning in Blogland, I've slowly been seduced...I must spin! Especially when I see wool that looks like this.

But no, I can't just go slow and get a hand spindle. I must feel the hypnotic rythem of the treadle! I long for the soft fibers being drawn through my fingers! So now I'm on the market for a wheel. Yes, I know they're expensive. Yes, I know that I'm tossing out a huge chunk of cash out on something I've never tried. Yes, yes, and more yes. Of course, I don't have enough money saved up yet because of my yarn habit, which is currently on hold for this new Need. Let's see how well I do on a serious yarn diet. A yarn fast, actually. Hmm, we'll see what happens.

In other news, this is how far I've gotten on my multi-directional scarf:
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That's a self-portrait, with the camera cleverly cropped out of the picture (actually, it's not so clever -- it's just photoshop). =)

This scarf is being worked up in Noro Silk Garden. It's moving along slowly because first off, I started out with only two skeins. Clearly not enough, so I had to buy another...when I finally got around to it, the yarn shop (back in NY) thankfully still had the same color/dye lot. Now the problem is that I have other projects winking attractively at me, so it's hard to stay faithful to this one. Whenever I do work on it again, I am once again completely taken in by the yarn's beauty. If you have never used Noro Silk Garden or Kureyon, you must. I need to get some nuetral colored Kureyon to make a pair of fingerless gloves/arm-warmers for my sister for Christmas (Do you realize that's only about 60 days away?!) Ah! All these plans, so little time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Knitting along...

I have officially started my first KAL. The thing we are Knitting Along is SOCKS! It's Lolly's Socktoberfest. I felt like I needed a new project. (This has nothing to do with getting anything finished -- I have at least 3 things on the needles, but none of it was "calling my name") So, you know, new house, new knitting project. I started on Grumperina's sock pattern Jaywalker from the latest MagKnits. All was going swimmingly. Well actually not. Whenever I start on a pattern for the first time I have to completely screw it up at least once. So that happened, and then everything was going along swimmingly. I was knitting in church, and I suppose I wasn't quite paying attention to what I was doing (better than not quite paying attention to church!), and something got messed up, along with there being atrocious stitch ladders in-between some of the needles joins. You can't tell what's wrong from the picture, so you'll just have to believe me. I got this far:
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And then had to rip the whole thing out. An entire weekend of knitting. It probably looks pretty sad to see that's all I got done in an entire weekend (and not knitting on anything else, either), but between Baby Flashbang's feedings (now solids as well as nursing!), and Toddler Flashbang's demands (Play ball, Mommy!) on top of Mr. Flashbang having to work nearly the whole weekend through, I feel this was a real accomplishment.

So during naptime yesterday I started again, and here, two naptimes later, is Jaywalker:
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This pattern is great. In fact, the decrease/increase is so rewarding that I had a hard time getting through the ribbing when I cast on the second time. Give me more 'a them zig-zags! The pattern stitch is very easy to memorize (except, of course, when you mess it up during church), and every other row is a round of knit stitch, which moves things along nicely.

Something I noticed, since I got the chance to start on the same one twice, is that it really is a good idea to have all your stitches distributed onto 4 needles like the directions call for. The fabric is less stretched, therefore not as much stress on the joins, and with the way the pattern is, it's much easier to keep track of where you are, since you start and end each needle the same way. I only have one set of four size #1's, so I'm using one #0, and it's working fine. None of my stitches have been too tight coming off of the smaller one, so I don't think it's affecting my join any.

I'm using the suggested sock yarn, Opal Handpainted, which I just happened to have in my stash. In fact, I have two identical skeins in my stash, for reasons I don't care to explain. Does anyone want to swap Opal skeins? If you have another colorway that you'd like to trade, please let me know; drop a comment or an email. I love the way it's knitting up, but surely after two socks I won't want to knit with the same stuff again for another project.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Reality Shows for Knitters

OK, this is just plain hilarious. And since I still have no progress whatsoever to show you, click here! Be distracted! Oh, and tell me which is your favorite idea. =)

Knitlet: Knitting Reality

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Well my dear readers, I finally feel like I am kind of pulled togetherhere. I am using the computer for the first time in quite a while!! Yes. So, I haven't been knitting too much due to all of the excess of Other Stuff (although I did purchase a third skein for my multi-directional scarf, and knit a few rows on the way back from Florida last weekend). But, since this is a knitting blog after all, I won't bore you with stories of my crazed past two weeks. Here, instead, is a serene picture of one of my favorite things about our new apartment: my knitting corner! How lucky can one girl be?
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Thursday, October 13, 2005


S.D. strikes again...This is a very nice scarf for a very nice Dad. Sadly the not so nice daughter made the very nice Dad wait 10 months to recieve this very late Christmas present. Ooops. This was started before I got into fancy expensive yarn, so it's made of lion brand something. BUT, it's still very nice and soft and warm, and it'll wash. As you may or may not be able to see, it's got some simple cables running down through it. I like it. Very masculine. Come back Faith and show us some real knitting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The move is made

Hi everyone! I am safe and sound here in GA, and unfortunately haven't even gotten a chance to breath since getting here. Don't have time to even be blogging right now, but I will get back to it as soon as things have settled some. For now, you can enjoy posts by my new partner in this blog, Sarah D, who inspired me to knit in the first place. =)

Monday, October 03, 2005


Mrs. Flashbang herself is currently indisposed. Now the dictionary gives a perfectly adequate definition of indisposed, but I rather define it at my own discretion. You can too. Therefore Mrs. Flashbang (who is indisposed) could be sick... in the potty... on vacation... just very busy... or not inclined to contact the known world. Regardless I am here to provide you with a not-so-fantastic knitting project that hopefully will one day be a)completed and b)fantastic.


So of course, in true knitblog style: I am using Noro Silk Garden (the colorful stuff), greenish Debbie Bliss something with angora, and reddish mohair blend from I can't remember where. The pattern is feather and fan, even though I tweaked it a little, as usual. As you can see the mohair is a bit pushy and the silk garden a bit tight but, oh well, my mum will love it either way. -S.D.
ps. I'm still too scared to cut the yarns... once I cut I can't start over...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Orangina, Rapberina

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Oh Orangina, how long will you taunt me?
optimism with #3 circulars
Fresh faced amateur am I
Was it too much to resist?
Take advantage of her while defenses are low!
Does it make you feel coy to drop a few stitches
To slip in a YO
To repeat your repeat instead of a purl?
I've cast on again till your twist is untwisted
What determination have you to maintain your round form?
Hidden soft beneath Rowan label
Wound into pretty center-pull
Have you no decency?
Oh lace, oh cotton drape from my needles!
Scoff at me, go ahead
From between blushing strands,
Hoping to earn that place in the frog pond
Not so secret yearnings to be a party of tangles
Forgotten raspberry hued knots in the stash
You night animal, you restless mangle
Though you may prevail for the moment,
Enduring many hours,
I shall conquer in the end


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