Monday, July 31, 2006

Last purple project for this month

Have you ever limited yourself and found that you were more creative in the process? That's what happened with this card.
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I was sending something to Sarah (my blogging partner), and decided that, in honor of the purple month, that I'd only use shades of that color. I didn't imagine that it would come out this nicely. Chalk, ink, paper punches and stamps. I'm pretty pleased with it. =) (The leaves were created by rubbing purple chalk on yellow paper, then tipping it with purple ink. The flower started with pink paper, and was shaded in the same way.)

Speaking of Sarah, let me introduce her, since we don't hear from her much. Anytime she posts, it's probably kind of a suprise, like, wait! who is this posting now?! So let's get to know her a little bit.

Sarah is my good friend from back home in upstate NY. We met about 4 or 5 years ago, when she was going to college near me and started going to my church. We started hanging out a lot, and I noticed that she would sometimes bring her knitting or crochet with her. I was immediately jealous that she could do something that cool, and wanted to learn, but I thought tha it would somehow be too hard for me to "get", and that I'd never be good enough to create something I'd be proud to wear.

I couldn't tell you how she learned; somehow I've forgotten that, but perhaps she'll fill us in at a later date.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I was pregnant with my second baby, and decided to learn to crochet. A week before Max was born, I started knitting. Several weeks later, Sarah came to stay with me for a few days (I'd moved a few hours away), and we crocheted together all one afternoon. It was so cool to finally be able to stitch together.

During that visit, she showed me a few knitting blogs that she read (I'd never heard of them!), and saved them to my Favorite Places on my computer. After a few weeks, it became clear to me that I "needed" my own blog, and started this one.

Sarah was getting married, getting a new job, etc., so she knew that she wouldn't be able to post frequently enough to have her own blog. I asked her to join mine so that I would be able to see the stuff she was working on, and she wouldn't have the commitment of a "full time" blog.

Blogging is fun, but blogging with friends is better! Whenever I see one of Sarah's posts, I read it eagerly, because it makes me feel like we're hanging out in my living room again, talking about whatever, with the fabric of our projects forming in our hands. Good times!

I miss you Sarah! Hopefully I'll be able to come visit soon.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Faith goes on...and on...about Andean-plying

First, a reply to A. Susie's question from the comments last week: we are moving very soon. We don't know when or where to yet, it depends on Mr FiberFlash's job and such. All that we know is that it's iminent. So sorry that I didn't answer sooner -- I've had a busy week, and forgot entirely. =)

Andean-plying. A few days ago, I read a post Mouse had made about how she learned to Andean-ply. I was intrigued, and immediately Googled it to see descriptions of it, pictures, directions, etc. As it turns out, Andean-plying will make a two-ply out of your singles. (Strangely enough, the word "singles" refers to both the plural and singular form of that noun.)

After I researched it, I filed it to the back of my brain. That day, I was spinning up a few inches of Alpaca top that I'd dyed as a color sample. When I got to my friend Kiersten's house the next day to spin, I realized that I still had the Alpaca singles on the bobbin that was in my wheel. I started to wind it off into a mini skein when Kiersten stopped me. "Oh, don't do that -- you can just Andean-ply it". I was just about to say that I didn't want to waste our precious spinning time with that when I realized that she was already winding it around my hand.
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The greens and blues looked so lovely together, that soon I was engrossed.

Once it was all wound around my hand, she instructed me to slip the layers of loops off of my middle finger. This is how that looks.
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Next, you take both ends, tie them together, and tie that to the leader of your wheel (or the leader on your drop spindle). Then you spin the wheel or spindle in the opposite direction from the way you originally spun the singles, and you're plying! At the end, you come to the loop at the dead center, and you just tie that off. My skein was so tiny and cute, and the blues and greens reminded me of the ocean. (Dye was Wilton's Icing Dye, of course.)

Since then, I've plied two other mini skiens that way. It's so ingenious! There is an Andean-plying tool (go Google it and you'll find several stores that sell it), but I feel like the whole point of this is to be able to do something quickly with little to no fuss or extra tools. Maybe that's just me. Maybe I'll buy one anyway. (Did you see that coming?)

The one to the far left is the micro-skein of alpaca, the next is the ends of the pink merino bobbins (tied together where needed), and the last is a Corridale-Cross that has a chequered past when it comes to dye.
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The Corridale is the same wool that came out all bad-eighties-thrift-store-faded-clothing colors last week. I overdyed it with a stronger vinegar/dye solution, and all would have been well, except I decided to try black...when I tested it out, it seemed to be taking as a deep, murky green, which was perfect for what I had planned, but after cooking it in the microwave, those areas came out burgundy/purple.

I decided to spin up a sample mini skein and Andean-ply it to see how the colors would blend. It's been really interesting to watch the process of wool to yarn. It's getting a lot easier to be able to tell how something will look, now that I've been spinning more.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of a sample skein, if you have enough wool to experiment with (if, say, you are dealing with an exotic fiber or something, you may just want to spin a yard or so as the "experiment", let that roll back on itself a little to see how it might look and decide from there.)

This is entirely unrelated, but I was picking up my new glasses yesterday, and the sales-lady showed me how thick my glasses would be if there wasn't the technology we have today for thin lenses. My prescription thickness is on the left, as compared to "normal" lenses.
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The glass doesn't have a band on the edge or anything. That's really how thick the lenses would be. Insane. Thank God for scientists and technology. Holy crap.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

To love and to cherish....

Ok, so I said that I'd tell you all about Andean-plying yesterday, but I forgot something. Yesterday marks 5 years of being married to my (also forgetful) best friend, and the hottest guy I know.

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We've been through good times and bad, and have an even better relationship than when we started; we're constantly growing together as a couple.

Some of our friends recently asked us how we are able to remain so deeply in love, and we told them that it has to do with selflessness (giving 200% of yourself regardless of what the other person is doing), and pursuit.

To gain the love and adoration of your spouse in the first place, you dated each other. It was all about the chase, getting them, getting to spend time together, getting to talk with each other, etc. If that stops, the whole relationship turns into little more than roomates. It's difficult to feel needed, desired, adored, if the extent of the marriage happens in front of the tv or divided up between kids/hobbies/work etc.

If you've stopped dating your spouse, you can start again now! It's never too late to start. Now that you're married, you've got more at stake than ever. Learn what makes your husband/wife feel loved (cleaning the house? saying "I love you"? little gifts? kisses etc?), and invest time in fufilling that.

Relationships take cultivation, and a loving, secure marriage relationship is awesome! I feel like the luckiest person I know, because I get to live with my best friend (with benefits!).

Speaking of which, who says that sex gets boring when you are sleeping with the same person for years? We have found that everything gets better as we grow closer. The more time we spend loving each other, the better time we have...well, having a good time. ;)

I love you, Greg. Thank you so much for always keeping up the chase.

Tomorrow or Monday, it'll be all about plying. I promise.

PS. Two books that revolutionized our marriage, from the very start, are Gary Chapman's, "The Five Love Languages" (which, pretty much everyone should read, regardless of whether they're in a romantic relationship or not), and "The Act of Marriage", by Tim & Beverly LaHaye (I'll leave it up to you to figure out what the "Act" refers to).

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I've just published the second episode of my podcast! Go check it out! (ETA: if you've subscribed to the show via iTunes, you'll need to unsubscribe and resubscribe to get the latest show, due to some technical errors -- otherwise you'll just get a 12 second "dummy" post that the server so kindly put in there for me.)

Yesterday, I got the latest Fiber Club offering.
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I could hardly believe it -- it's Tussah Silk! Oh. My. Gosh.

I've been at my spinning friend Kiersten's house all afternoon learning to spin this stuff. I also learned to Andean ply and played with a Navajo spindle. What a fun day! I'll post pics of the Andwan plying tomorrow as well as more details about this silk.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

stitching, bitching, and creative journaling

It seems that yesterday's Stitch N Bitch was "wear your Old Navy plaid skirt night". (I sense a trend.)
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All I can say is, Tiffany got her idea from me. =b (Once again, photo by Becca. She's turning into the official group photographer.)

Look closely at that picture. Can you see that I'm knitting a sock on two circs? This is my first time! (Thank you Tiffany for the help!) It's none other than Brenda Dayne's Pembrokeshire Pathways Sock with Sarah's (from this blog) handpainted sock yarn. I'm still on the first sock. It was going slowly because I was getting fed up with going from DPN to DPN and doing 6 cable twists every 4 rows, but last night I transferred it on to two circs, and I'm flying! If only I'd started two socks at the same time... Next time, surely.

Tiffany is knitting her first sock. She just turned the heel last night, without any help. That's better than I did my first time! =)

I finally finished spinning up the pink Merino.
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Can you believe that I fit nearly 4 ounces on that one bobbin? I literally could not get it to take on anymore, even with the tension turned all the way up; it wouldn't turn anymore.
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It turned out exactly as I had planned, which is a wonderful change. Something that I need to work on though is spinning my yarn more tightly. I was trying to make sure that I was spinning it 6 twists to the inch (double the yarn on itself and measure with a ruler how many twists are in an inch of it), because it seemed that the yarn would be at it's soft, lofty best at that ratio, and using a long draw (the less you touch your yarn as it's spinning, the less air you press out of it, thus giving you a loftier end result). As it turns out, I should have spun it just a little tighter (maybe 7 or 8 twists to the inch) so that when I plied it, it would counterbalance and end up where I wanted it.

So while this yarn looks sweet in the photo, it has a dirty little secret. While I was plying, it was breaking at different points, so I had to knot it, which is never fun. But I will be the one eventually knitting with it, so I don't have to worry about someone else getting fed up with it.

Ah well. I've got some fabulous Blue Faced Liescter (pronounced "Lester", like the man's name) from my Spunky Eclectic subscription that I intend on spinning up next...or maybe some of the fabulous alpaca from my mom's neighbor...Or maybe I'll just knit.

Oh! Speaking of knitting, I have this new idea. I've been wanting to start a project/creative notebook for myself, and I was thinking that it would be cool to have a group notebook for our SnB Meetups.

At each Meetup, we could pass it around, and whoever wants to can write a little note about something they've learned that day, or something that they're enjoying right now, what's the favorite color of the hour, what coffee are they drinking, what were the topics of conversation. Maybe we could even include some snips of yarn that are being used, or perhaps a swatch or two? Then whoever takes any pics during the Meetup can bring those in next time and tape them in the appropriate spots, if desired.

Unfortunately, I'll be moving soon, but the book could stay with the group. It would make a cool group history for everyone to look through.

Now that I've actually typed this out, it sounds pretty darn fun. Off to Major Chain Craft Store with my 40% coupon to get a notebook!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dye party!

Yesterday three out of the four ladies who take my knitting class cancelled on me. The one girl who was still going to be there is my friend, Tiffany, so I moved the class to my house instead. (The bribes: home-made caramel ice-cream, chocolate banana bread, red tea, and chai!) She brought her Mystery Wheel (see the post below) to see if I could figure out how to work it (I couldn't), and some LB Fisherman's wool so that we could have a dye-party.

After fussing with her wheel for a little while, I decided to remove some of the twist that Mr. Fiberflash's little cousin had so generously applied to the singles I'm spinning right now. There was so much stored up twist, I was able to draft across the room.

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(Click for larger picture if you actually want to read the words.)

True story.
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Finally, we started mixing up our Wilton's Icing dyes and soaking the wool. Tiffany's favorite color is orange.
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Isn't it aggrevating when you can't find the center pull of a skein? This one lady in our Stitch N Bitch group, Yvonne, just pulls out the entire center in one deft motion if she can't find it, so I gathered up my guts and went for it. (It works, in case anyone's wondering but it's a little hair-raising.)
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I dyed about 6 oz of Corriedale Cross roving and a tiny bit of alpaca roving, and a mini sample-skein of alpaca singles that I'd spun up a while ago.

Something weird happened. I painted them all exactly the same color combination. The alpaca took the dye wonderfully, but the roving hardly grabbed it at all.
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This is the same wool that I'd spun that three-ply from (listen in on my upcoming podcast to learn what a disaster that was.) Has anyone else tried to dye this fiber? Are there any tricks to getting it to take? I'm very frusterated. Maybe I'll just have to spring for some professional acid dyes and a "dyeing-only" pot to rescue it.

So far, I've never had a very successful dying experience. I've read up on it a good deal, and know a lot of the little tricks and steps and such, but somehow when it comes down to it, I'm never satisfied with the results.

This explains why it thrills me so much to be part of the Spunky Fiber Club. It's so relaxing and fun to know that a fantastic, wildly colorful bunch of roving is going to automatically hit my doorstep once a month. Someday perhaps I'll be able to dye my own...

Anyway, we stayed up till almost 1am, and it was a lot of fun. Thanks for coming over Tiffany, I had a great time! =)

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Mystery Wheel

My friend picked this up in Germany a few years ago. Can anyone tell me what type it might be, and how it should be assembled? (With the drive band and all.)

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pink Wool and the Tiny Folk

Ever since my sockapalooza pal sent me this:
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it's been on my mind. I would pull it out to look at it from time to time, but since I still consider myself a beginner spinner (hey, that's kinda catchy!), I didn't want to risk, ruining it. Plus, I really couldn't think of how I might spin something that was so full of different colors.

About a month ago, I met a local spinner who is REALLY good. She knows what she's doing, can spin for a project, has the ability to consider a fiber and then spin according to how that particular fiber will respond best. I've been spending some time with her, so I brought this Merino top over to her house last week. She gave me some options, and this is what I decided:

First, I ripped off a good length. Then I split that section of top along the color lines. It was interesting to me how easy it was to divide the colors cleanly.
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Then I spun that up in random order, without organizing the color sections into any particular sequence.

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Next, I took the rest of the top, and pre drafted the entire thickness of it, like this:
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That allowed me to spin more of a blended singles, so that when I ply them together, they will (hopefully) blend well together, without any colors opposing each other too much. I'm still working on this second one:

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As you can tell, the colors are much more mixed together. It's more of a pink heathered color, with some shots of purple through it.

I can't wait to see how this comes together! I'm thinking that it's going to be a fingering weight when plied, which should be perfect for a lacy shawl. Spinning for lace is great, because lace is so open that it really doesn't use all that much yarn.

The boys have been very happy that I've been spinning. Sparky loves to treadle with me, but also, he and Max both have this thing for wool. I ripped off a piece of pink wool for each, and found them a few minutes later giggling madly under my desk.
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Max's wool was already felted into lumps in his sticky little hands, and Sparky was rubbing his all over his face. Merino is buttery soft; I love the reckless, joyful abandon of my tiny folk.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Knitted Ferrari

Knitted Ferrari

Wow... has anyone seen this yet. And I can't even finish my darn knitting olympics picovoli.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Saying goodbye, pyro greif and crochet nipples

Stitch N Bitch meetup was kind of bittersweet on Monday, because Knitting Friend Laura is leaving. She happens to be (a doctor) in the Army, which never seemed to be of consequence until now, which is why I've never mentioned it, but she's getting deployed on Saturday. (She's one of those people who happens to have a job in the Army, but that's just her work, not her life.)

For some reason I didn't take any pictures of her Last SnB, but here's the Handmaiden Sea Silk that I gave her as a parting gift:
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It really is just as soft and wonderful as it looks. The colors are rich, and it smells just faintly of the ocean. Be sure to click on the link above; it has anti-inflammatory properties and releases vitamines into your skin as you work with it and then wear it. Incredible. I will most definitely be getting this for me, maybe in some blues or greens or something. Yum. I have to admit that, for the few weeks it sat on the edge of my stash, I may have walked around holding it a few times.

We all stayed at the meetup until around's so sad to say goodbye. We'll miss you Laura! You being deployed puts a whole new spin on "adopt a soldier" programs. Our group has pledged to "adopt" her, our very own knitter, who will soon stand on foreign soil (or sand?)

Something good that came out of that night is two finished objects! My two samples for the store are completed, and I turned them in yesterday morning. It seems I was a bit overenthusiastic about the bag-strap length.

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Now I am short, but this probably would still look silly on a 6-foot woman. Fortunately, the strap can be knotted since it's not too thick, and it doesn't look too weird that way... Anyway, the bag will be hanging on a wall for a while, so it doesn't matter.

Upon closer examination of the strap, I also noticed something else. Somehow I'd managed to crochet a double-bobble, which somehow could only look like a mutated nipple to me. Which calls into question why I've now crocheted two bags entirely covered in these nipple-bobbles, but let's just go ahead and not ask those questions, shall we?

Laura suggested adding a flower to cover it up, which is what I did.

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Not bad, eh?

Here are some unusually crappy pictures of the finished bag.

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This bag is my hybrid version of the Flower Power Rug (free pattern on the Bernat site or in craft stores selling this yarn), and the Textured Tweed Clutch from Interweave Crochet, Fall 2005. I used a size 6 aluminum hook, and Bernat Handicrafter Cotton.

The yellow isn't a gross color in real life. It's actually this perfect shade of light, icy lemon.

Also, I finished this baby hat, with a spur-of-the-moment flower appleque (I probably just totally butchered the spelling):
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I never did end up figuring out the crab-stitch, but I'm ok with that. For now.

This pattern (sans flower) is also free on the Bernat site. I completed it in about an hour or less, so this would be suitable for a beginner, or someone who needs a quick gift.

I want a little baby girl, just so that I can decorate her in things such as this. (Sarah, judging from my current track record, I'll probably keep on having boys, so since you haven't started yet, can you just get on the girl program for me? That'll work out nicely. Thanks.)

My thoughts on working with this yarn, Bernat Handicrafter Cotton. It was nice. It was exactly like Sugar N Cream and Peaches N Cream. Do we really need Bernat to make massive skeins of their version? No, I didn't think so either. But reguardless, I have no complaints (except the occasional knot, which was annoying). It's about $10 for 340 grams, which ends up being about the same price as either of the "N Cream's". Crochet and cotton do go well together, I must say.

This post is getting quite picture heavy, but I must leave you with one more. Has anyone seen this yet?
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Looks seductive, yes? Don't buy it. "Write! Mark! Melt! Transfer! Cut! Seal! Sucks!" Oh wait, that last one was my own thoughts. The outside of the package is all cute and stuff, but it doesn't mention anywhere that you need pliars to remove and replace the tips. Thankfully I had one at home. The directions are on this one tiny piece of paper, and it kind of just says something about pliars in passing.

Something else that they failed to mention is if you are supposed to unscrew or just pull off. I tried to just pull first. Guess how well that worked out for me? Then, I finally got the hang of the tips, and was changing them out to see what worked for which purposes. Except that grabbing with the pliars was creating digs in the surface of the metal tips.

I was burning my cardstock and paper on top of an acrylic cutting board, when I realized that whenever the paper would finally burn, it would stick, forever fused, to my board. Ask me if I've been able to remove the burned shreds yet. (Actually don't. It'll just incite me further.)

Furthermore, it was very difficult to get a decent burn mark in the paper or cardstock at all while on a flat surface. The burning process really needed more air, and worked best when the paper was held up...except that's exactly where I had the least control of things, and very nearly burned my fingers several times.

My conclusion: do not waste your money. Thankfully, I still had the receipt, and was able to return mine. (I thought it was kind of funny when they innocently asked "oh, is it damaged?" and my immediate response was "yes, now it is!")

If anyone else has had decent results with this product, please let me know. Perhaps I'm just craftiness-challanged and it's all me. Please speak up if this is so!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Flower Power

Thank you so much to those of you who voted and left comments in reguard to the Deep V Vest! It was all just about to be very helpful...when I showed the pattern to my husband, and he confessed a great dislike to it. Now I could have sworn that I'd showed him it before, and that he'd thought it was cool then. But maybe I just imagined that. Who knows. The point is, I could still knit it, but then I will be spending all those hours creating something that he's not going to like on me, and knowing that will always make me not really want to wear it or feel good in it. Harumph. The pattern looks so fun that I almost feel like doing it anyway. But better sense prevails. So anyway, thank you anyway, everyone.

A few weeks ago, the store manager at Major Craft Store gave me an armful of some new cotton yarn they just got in called Bernat Handicrafter. For whatever reason, I had zero motivation to work it up, so it's just been sitting on my desk for 2 or 3 weeks. Bad me.

Finally, on Saturday, I decided to stop putting it off. There are 4 free patterns that are hanging up in tear-off pads by the yarn display; a bag, a hat, a poncho and a rug. The manager had asked me to crochet a hat and a poncho. The problem is...well, it's not that I'm prejudiced towards poncho makers (or will hold anything against you if you happen to love 'em), the time that I started knitting a year ago, I knew that ponchos were already on their way out in the fashion industry, since their wild reintroduction to the market 5 years ago. I have no idea why people still spend so much time crafting something that is only still popular in the fiber arts world. (This does not apply to doll-wear -- their clothing is small, plus anything for a doll is adorable no matter what it is, and has a certain timelessnes to it somehow) But maybe it doesn't matter to anyone that it's "out"? Again, I'm not trying to bash anyone; these are simply questions that I ask myself.

So. I kind of have this pact with myself that I Will Not For Any Reason knit or crochet a poncho. Plus, I doubt that the store will pay me enough for my trouble and dislike (thus far, I've been paid, at the most, $3 an hour for my time, when all is said and done). Instead, I am un-venting a bag. It's a cross between Bernat's Flower Power Rug and the Textured Tweed Clutch (IK Crochet Fall 2005)

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Here are the front and back pieces blocking. The long yellow thing is the strap (seemingly endless!), and in the upper left corner is the baby hat.

Something a little disturbing that I realized is that I've been crocheting wrong for a year-and-a-half now. Look at the inside of the hat:
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Those lines shouldn't be there (I don't think?) I've been picking up only one loop in every stitch instead of the whole "v". It seems from Happy Hooker that I'm supposed to be picking up both those loops, which makes the fabric more uniform on both sides. Can anyone prove or disprove this point?

Something that's making me crazy is that I can't finish this hat, because I can't figure out the Crab Stitch. I know that this hat doesn't HAVE to have it, but I want to know how to do it! I've tried to work from several sets of directions on the web, but to no avail. Hopefully tonight at SnB someone will know how and can help me. I hope to turn both these pieces in to the store by tomorrow.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I want to start on the Deep-V Argyle Vest as soon as Orangina is off the needles, but I'm having trouble choosing my colors. I am going to use KnitPicks Merino Style. (Pics courtesy of KnitPicks)

Storm (Dark Teal) and Vanilla
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Cinnamon and Vanilla
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Cinnamon and Nutmeg
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Petal (Pink) and Cinnamon
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What do you think?

My little ducklings

The new Knitty is up! So exciting! There are tons of sock patterns, most of which are quite interesting. I do agree with Mouse though -- why are there so many hats, gloves and socks in a SUMMER issue? Hmm. Anyway, it's another great issue. Knitty is by far my favorite of all print and online knitting mags. Not only do they usually have smashing patterns, but they also have interesting and educational articles, as well as product reviews.

Has anyone seen Eunny's new sweater? That girl is completely amazing. I purchased her "Deep-V Argyle Vest" when it first came out, as well as "Chuck's Cabled Socks" (confusingly, these are sized for a woman's foot). I can't wait until she posts the pattern for the new Twisted Stitch Sweater! I've been watching her knit this, and it's totally fabulous.

Earlier today, Mr. FiberFlash took Sparky and Max outside to play. I took a nap because I wasn't feeling that well. A few hours later he came rushing back into the house. Max was covered in blood, and since I'd just woken up it took me a moment to figure out what was going on. They'd been playing on the concrete steps, and Max had somehow fallen and cut his top lip. Max was in suprisingly good spirits, but the cut was deep, and I could tell that stitches were in order.

Thankfully, Mr. FiberFlash was able to bring him to the hospital. I stayed home with Sparky, since he needed a nap, and I think that I would have cried and been sick all over the emergancy room when they had to sew my little guy up.

Sparky was a little concerned about where Max had gone, but we read "Make Way For Ducklings" while drinking sweet tea and eating peanuts (the only thing to eat while reading that book, if you remember the story), and he's now fast asleep.
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Max is on his way home from the hospital at this moment, and it seems that he is doing well (and is also asleep).

On Monday, at Stitch N Bitch, it seemed that Old Navy green was the color of the day (at least for Tiffany and I):
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Please excuse our shiny heads -- it's hot here in Georgia!
(Photo by the hilarious Becca)

In the past week, I've finally begun to make headway on Orangina:
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Exciting! I can't wait to wear this.

I've been catching up on my Blogroll today, and noticed the Yarn Harlot's spinny entry on Tuesday. She was spinning up batts by Farm-Witch, and they looked utterly gorgeous. I needed some. Unfortunately, every other spinner in the world probably thought the same thing on TUESDAY, and everything is bought up (this is not reflected on the store's site, but I have confirmed this via email.) She should be posting some new batts in the following week though, and I'm going to be all over that! While I kind of suck at spinning thus far, I am a firm believer in spinning good quality, beautiful stuff, just in case I suddenly get good. Or maybe just to keep me interested. =) So I guess, since this has to be postponed for a few days, this is will be a semi-impulse buy.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Shopping day!

Well, it's been a little while since I posted last. That's because I've been spinning this:

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This week I learned how to spin with a long draw. It's gotten more and more consistant, but when I plied it, I found all the underspun spots...because that's where the yarn broke (over and over and over), and I had to tie it in knots. It's not very pretty. But I'll be the one knitting with it, so I can just work around the bad spots. Ah well, it's all a learning experience.

The yarn is about 8 oz. of light worsted-weight three-ply (Corriedale Cross); the top one is Navajo Plied because somehow I had a lot left on one bobbin. I plan to dye them today, and I'm trying to figure out what color combination. I was thinking of using every color in the Garden Tone box (Delphinium Blue, Aster Mauve, Juniper Green, Buttercup Yellow), but then I've been thinking that I would like to have a momento of Georgia once we move. Panseys will always remind me of here, since our landscapers kept them blooming all through the (not so cold) winter.
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Whatever the colorway, I intend to knit it up into the Short-Row Ribbed Scarf (except without the fringe, probably). A pattern like that seems to be best when working with a multi color yarn, since it keeps everything from pooling too badly (suposedly) and may help the finished project look as pretty as the skein did.

A week ago, I went on a shopping trip with Knitting Friend Laura. The nearest local yarn store (LYS) is 35 minutes away, so we made a day of it. She came by to pick me up at around 10 in the morning, and then we headed out. We would have left earlier, except that we were driving to Alabama, and they're an hour behind us. Nothing much seems to be open before 10am on a Saturday over there.
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The yarn shop was our first (and most important!) stop, of course. The store is located in the front three rooms of the owner's house. She (Darlene) runs it with her husband and sometimes her kids help out too. We wandered around the store for a good while, feeling every ball and skein at least three times. Laura found what she wanted pretty quickly (as in, maybe a half-hour) but I couldn't decide. Darlene's daughter came into the store at one point and asked us if we wanted some chocolate banana bread. Our answer was pretty much and instant "yes!" The banana bread was dark chocolate, and the bananas made it taste like there was bourbon in it. Incredible. Thankfully, I thought to ask for the recipe, and I'll see if I can get permission to share it on my show in a few weeks. She brought the bread out to us on little blue and yellow stoneware plates, along with glasses of water with lemon. We felt like celebrities. (Well, we are, of course) =)

We talked with the Darlene for a little while about a new technique she's come up with recently, called "Concording". She sells a DVD with all different knitting techniques on it, including Concording. She is currently in the works of writing a pattern book based all around that technique for Vogue Knitting, which should be interesting.

Finally, I was able to find what I wanted, and we left.

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Our next stop was a strip mall. We picked over things at the Salvation Army, then headed over to the Asian grocery. I love international food, and I was so hungry from all that shopping! It was hard not to buy everything in there, but I managed to leave with only a few fried snacks, and some chili oil. The weirdest thing that I got was dried, sesame anchovies. I ate a few of them, but then the fishy flavor overcame me and they ended up in the trash. Ah well. They were interesting though.

After that, we went to the Thai place and picked up some iced coffee (Thai coffee is made with sweetened condensed milk and super-strong coffee -- very tasty!), and I got some spicy/sweet/sour soup. I can't remember what it was called, but it was quite good. The restaurant was a total hole-in-the-wall, but I've been thinking about it ever since, and if I'm ever in the area again, I'll have to go back there. Laura got some steamed spring rolls.

We brought our Thai food over to the antique mall, where there is a sitting are in the back for tired husbands to hang out and watch TV while their wives troll the isles. It was pretty funny, because we were sitting there with two old guys watching Nascar or something, while eating this fragrant food out of styrofome take out boxes. We got a few looks.

After lunch, we wandered around the mall for a while, and I ended up getting this tiny vinyl purse, which is the perfect sock knitting bag.

The most interesting thing about going to Alabama is that there is this distinct feeling of a time warp. My cell phone is my clock (I haven't worn a watch in years), and that clock always shows local time, so it's hard to keep track of what time it really is back home.

Alltogether I had a wonderful day, and I'm so glad that my husband is willing to watch the boys for me and let me have the freedom to do things like that. =)


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