Thursday, August 30, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday

In an effort to prepare for an invitation from Ravelry, I am going to be trying to photograph all of my knitting that I still have in my possession (that is, it hasn't been given away as gifts). I decided to start with my sock collection, and was somewhat disconcerted by the pile when I gathered them all together! I did indeed start to photograph them on my feet, but my apartment was almost 90 degrees, so I stopped and took this picture instead:

Sweet, sweet socky love.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Although I completed these on Sunday (a mere 3 days after receiving the yarn in the mail), I have not had enough daylight to take good pictures until today.

Project Review
Pattern: Sidewinders: A Perpensockular Pattern by nonaKnits
Size: 8-9 Medium
Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight in Flower Power (the rockin' sock club SOTM yarn) from Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Needles: size 1 circular
Pattern/ Project notes: I loved this pattern! As you might recall, I FREQUENTLY have several gripes about patterns, but for this one, I had not a single complaint! The pattern is FREE, and yet had no typos, errata, and it was extremely well written. The instructions are lengthy and are spread out over several blog posts, but I just copied and pasted into a Word document and printed it out.

The fact that these socks are knitted perpendicularly from what is usually done, the 'stretch' goes in the opposite direction (top to bottom instead of around the foot). Therefore, there are 12 different sizes to choose from. According to my measurements, I was a medium rather than a narrow, and I indeed got gauge and the socks indeed fit perfectly when I was done. If you make these socks, definitely do the gauge swatch, because the pattern would be quite unforgiving and nonadjustable if you tried to 'fix' things as you went along!

People, you HAVE to try this pattern. It was so fun to watch the sock grow and to watch the stripes going the 'wrong way' on the sock! If you loathe kitchener stitch, though, you'd better develop steely nerves to do about 140 stitches to finish up each sock!

Oh, and check it out - I really wanted to do a quickie project, so I whipped up this crocheted market bag over the past couple of nights:

Project notes:

Pattern: Crochet String Bag from the back of the ball band
Yarn: Sugar 'n' Cream in Hot Green
Crochet Hook US G
Notes: This was fun, quick and easy. That is all. :)

Yes, I am dawdling on finishing the myrtle leaf shawl. So sue me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bricks, Brew, & BBQ

This afternoon at Western Ave Studios, a bunch of people got together to clean off bricks, chat a lot, and eat some tasty food. I didn't stay as long as some folks did, in part because I started getting a rash. I'm allergic to hard work, evidently... either that, or as a more knowledgeable person noted, I might be allergic to the silica in the powdery residue we were kickin' up a whole lot of.

We figured out various methods of getting the old mortar off of the bricks. check out that HUGE pile of bricks and dirt in the background... there's still a bunch of work left to do, it seems...

Aside from the rash, the other unfortunate side effect of the project was that I had parked my car on the other side of the big old pile of bricks, and it is just COVERED in dust at the moment. So it goes...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What in the....

Those of you 'in the know' will be able to figure out what in the heck I have knit here:

The rest of you will just have to wait a bit longer until such time as I choose to reveal the secret!

I will say that it is all knit up, and is just waiting some seaming. I will also say that I used the new yarn from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin Sock Club, which arrived two days ago. When I first pulled out the yarn from its packaging, I was all, "oooOOOOooohhhh!" when I saw the blue end. Then, I pulled it out a bit further and saw the weird brown shade and was all, "ewwwww?????" But then I reevaluated after I had wound the yarn into a center pull ball and was all, "oohhhhh. I get it now!"

Here is a shot of the yarn:

I am currently continuing to work on the project, and will post the final result and reveal the secrets of the mystery.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sneaky Fingerman.....

is sneaky!

Sneaky Fingerman also helped me avoid posting a picture of my actual face for Self Portrait Thursday. Plus, he is, like, soooooooo cute!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One Week From Now...

is evidently a big day in the knitting world! Who knew? Two yarn dyers are going to be updating their web pages on August 28 with their newest colorways. Feel free to remind ME about this as well...

The first is Sundara Murphy, whose yarns can be seen here. I belong to her sock of the month club (AKA the Petals Collection), and have liked the yarn VERY much. I like the patterns for the most part, as well. I chose not to follow the most recent pattern, making these instead, but still... the yarn? Definitely worth it. It knits up nicely, is comfy to wear, and washes nicely as well.

The second is Sunshine Yarns, who is local to Boston and can be found on Etsy right here. I have not knit anything with her yarn, but I have touched and patted it, and it felt quite nice indeed.

So, next Tuesday, feel free to email me and remind me to at least check out the yarns, okay?

I have been browsing Ravelry through my friend's account (I'm # 12500 or something close to it on the list), and found these two sock patterns that I am just in love with. First is the Vinnland sock from The Anti Craft. These socks are very appealing to me because the pattern is not symmetrical. Instead, the cables wander along the length of the sock, and are very visually fascinating. I'm sure it will make for nonboring knitting as well! The second is the Whiskers and Paw Prints pattern, which has little whiskers.... check out the pattern and you'll see what I'm talking about! Both of these would look great in a solid sock yarn color, and I haven't done much knitting with solids. Hmm. And considering that I literally only have enough yarn for two more pairs of socks in my stash.... well, forget the fact that I have knit myself probably 30 pairs of socks... I want to make MOOOOOORE!

As for my last post about 'stalking' my readers, it appears that this may be somewhat disconcerting for some of you... but don't worry, I am REALLY not married to the idea of trying to figure out exactly WHO visitors are, just that there ARE people who come back more than once! Example: I was able to figure out who my sister was, because she's the only person in England who visits me every day. Plus, most visitor locations do not exactly match the towns that they are from. So, you will most certainly continue to remain anonymous if that is the way you want it... don't worry!

The only person who emailed me and said that they would happily confess to reading my blog regularly is my mom, and she doesn't have a blog. However, she is the one who taught me how to knit, and is a great knitter. She is also an amazing (repeat: AMAZING ) seamstress (is that the right term, mom?) and is able to draft her own patterns for gorgeous complicated tailored jackets, pants, dresses, coats, and whatever she puts her mind to. Mom, if you'd like to forward me some pictures of things that you have made, please feel free - I'd love to put them up and show you off! (If you're feeling shy, you can put the clothes on your dressform)

In actual knitting news, I am now exactly halfway done with the border on my current project, the Myrtle Leaf Shawl. I totally promise a picture. Eventually.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm Spying on Youuuuu!

So, recently, I decided to try and add a map to my blog, to show where visitors to my blog were from. I didn't quite get that far, but I did find a site called Clicky that can track how many visitors I get per day, and approximately where they're from. (the approximately depends on where their server is or something like that?) Anyway, I am thrilled to see that I appear to have a few dedicated readers from all over the place!

My sister, for instance, peeks in on me every day (waving hello to you, Liz!), and my parents seem to check in a few times a week, as well (howdy, mom and pop!). I won't embarrass the rest of you unless you WANT to be embarrassed. So here is my offer: if you visit me on any sort of a regular basis, please feel free to comment and say hello, and include a link to your blog/ website if you'd like a mention.

I should also mention that there are a few people who subscribe to my blog via a RSS reader, and if they don't actually visit my blog, I don't think it registers as a 'visit' by Clicky... but I know you're out there!

As for my day today, it is a bit cloudy out at the moment, but I have a nice day planned out: bead show, pick your own peaches, lunch, go to studio, followed by dinner, and a movie at a friend's house. Then tomorrow, I will most certainly have a horribly exhausted first day of work.... I have been legitimately TRYING to set an alarm and wake up at 'work time', but in my 3/4 still sleeping stage, I have rolled over, turned off the alarm, then gone back to sleep. Not so good.

Oh, and my NEW espresso machine officially sucks... you remember when I almost set my old coffee maker on fire a few months back and got the new machine? Well, the steamy arm thingy stopped steaming a couple of weeks ago, and the on/off knob broke off this morning after being troublesome for a week or two. Ugh. I am quite certain that I do NOT have the receipt any more. Luckily, I still have a French Press and am enjoying some seriously muddy coffee as I type. Oh, and have I mentioned that I haven't even used the thing more than once or twice a week since I got it? Damn you entry level Krups product, damn you right to hell! May you be infested with a litter of ratbabies at the dump!

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, too... ratbabies are too GOOD for the espresso machine. WAAAAAYYYYYYY too good.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Think Fall is Coming...

Over the next few days, a couple of things are happening that lead me to the undeniable conclusion that Fall is on its way. Stepping outside today, the first sign is evident: the air is much cooler, much more crisp than it has been in a long time, and the weather forecast states that it is going to continue being that way for the next few days at least.

Second, and much less palatable to me, is that in fewer than 48 hours, I will be getting my lazy bones up via alarm clock to go back to school for the year. I have gotten so used to my summer schedule (or lack thereof), and it is quite enjoyable to daydream having this type of schedule forever. However, until I can survive off of only a few thousand dollars per year, I will need to keep working!

I HAVE had a nice summer - trip to London, opening up my art studio, spending time with old friends, getting a new computer, knitting a whole lot... and hey. Summer will be back in just 10 months, right?

In knitting news, I am only a couple of hours away from finishing the body of my latest shawl, the Myrtle Leaf Shawl with Willow Border from the Victorian Lace Today book. I will post a picture in the near future, but for now, it really just looks like it did in this post, but longer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday: Blurry

Playin' with my camera in low light...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I have some end of the summer deep thoughts mulling around in my head, but I think that at this particular moment, this picture will be MUCH more enjoyable for you.

I would totally put up with horribly itchy eyes, incredibly runny nose and sneezing every 20 seconds for that cat. For serious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Japanese Feather Lace Socks

I have completed another pair of socks, yessiree. The latest and greatest are right here, starting with the toe shot:

Next, we have the ever artistic side view:
And of course, a closeup of the lace pattern:

Pattern Notes

Pattern: Japanese Feather Lace Socks by Suzi Anvin
Yarn: Sockotta by Plymouth Yarn, bold stripe effect color # 5612. 45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon.
Needles: sizes 0 and 00 double point.
Gauge: Well, it called for 9 stitches per inch. Let's leave it at that.

Comments: This pattern suggests, rather boldly, that it is a good introduction to lace knitting, because the pattern is easy to knit. I would, also rather boldly, disagree. Now, the lace pattern itself was reasonably straightforward... however, everything else about the pattern was not beginner at all. For one thing, as the lace pattern snakes back and forth across your instep (which is gorgeous), the rest of the foot increases and decreases along with it. This looks beautiful, but is in no way 'beginner'.
Also, there are typos. One of which left me scratching my head for quite some time, and I am not a beginner.
Next, the heel includes stitches I have never seen before. This does not shout out 'beginner' to me. What in the world is a K-YOd? Yep. I now know.
I think what caused me a lot of consternation is that there weren't enough checkpoints in the pattern - moments that said 'yes, you should have this many stitches on each needle'. Cuz yeah, the number changes pretty frequently.
Next, the heel shaping leaves you with a bit of a 'pointy' look to it... I think if I did this heel again, I would not work the short rows for so long. I mean, I do believe I have pointy heels, but not THAT pointy... and yes, I did shift the sock around for the pic so that the pointiness did not show!
I did much better on the second sock (not getting confused-wise), but suffice it to say that I really don't think a beginner would have a good time at all with this pattern.

All of this being said, I think that the lace pattern is quite pretty, and now that I know what I'm getting into, I would consider knitting the socks again. But seriously... I think a 4 row lace pattern over, say, 8 stitches, is a LOT more 'beginner friendly' than... a 28 row lace pattern over 11 stitches. Just for the record.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Self Portrait Thursday

I think I might be feeling shy this Thursday!

But I don't FEEEEEL like it!

So, here they are, six lovely bead crochet bracelets, all ready to be sewn shut, but.... that is the part that I don't like to do! So, for now, they sit, quietly waiting to be finished. It's talkin' big to say that it'll happen soon, when I know in my heart that it is much more likely that I'll go ahead and start a new one to add to the pile.

Purdy, ain't they! Since they're not finished, they're not actually for sale anywhere yet... so if there is one that you see that you reeeeeally want, let me know... ;-)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Weird Day

Have you ever had one of those days where you just flounder around, not really sure what to do with yourself? I mean, sure, I could come up with a zillion things I'd like to do, but none of them really sounded like the right thing.

I wasted hours that way today. Now, mind you, I am NOT complaining. After all, I have the summer off from work. However, psychologically, that sometimes puts a bit of pressure on me, as though I need to make every single second count or I'm wasting time, taking it for granted, and so on.

Anyway, today started out that way big time. I woke up later than I planned, and just plain did not know what I felt like doing. Did I feel like going over to my studio? Naah. Perhaps I should clean my apartment? Ick. How about go for a walk? No, my foot hurts. And so it went.

Finally, I decided that an iced mocha latte (decaf) would most certainly give me the inspiration to figure out what to do. I brought my car keys with me just in case I was inspired to go somewhere while out. (I wasn't inspired) Once I got back to my apartment, I noticed that someone had left a few mystery novels on the counter in the mail room, so I grabbed one and decided that perhaps what I was going to do today was read.

After chapter 1, a weird thing happened: I decided that after every chapter, I would tidy up my apartment for a few minutes. After chapter 3, that 'few minutes' of tidying had turned into a tidying hour! It was as though once I had started, it was more and more satisfying to keep going.

However, it is hot out, so the whole 'sweating like a pig' thing has slowed me down for the time being. Last week was SO HOT, that even though it is pretty toasty out, it just feels nice to have the windows open and to be breathing fresh, nonconditioned air.

Anyway... I only have 13 days left until the school year starts again... and I really don't want to spend another one of those days like today, feeling like I'm wasting the end of my summer. Any suggestions for how to make the most of this time are most certainly welcome.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Silver and Turquoise

It is a dark and gloomy day today, but the light in my studio is still pretty good. The couch DOES, however, look pretty good for a nap...

I have a couple of things to share today. First off, my first 'serious' foray into handmade ear wires. I have made ear wires before, but this time around, I have a tumbler so that they get all hardened and polished and awesome. Cool, huh?

The next project I worked on was making a bracelet/ necklace set for my neighbor, who wanted to get something for his daughter who is turning 40-ish. He really wasn't sure what he wanted to give her, but he gave me a price range, said she liked turquoise, and away I went. For the earrings, I figured I'd stay simple and not TOO matchypoo, because this way, she'll really be able to wear them with a lot more things.

So, although these two things are not for sale, I do indeed have enough materials left to make something similar.

Just putting that out there... ;-)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bead Crochet

So, today I decided to take some pictures of what goes into making a bead crochet bracelet. At craft shows, I try to explain to people the work involved, but sometimes, as they say, a picture is worth a bunch of words.

First, if I want to follow a pattern or try something new, I browse through my bead crochet pattern books, particularly this one and this one. There is also a great booklet chock full of patterns that I got from Beads East, but I seriously can never find it. It gets lost a lot. Stupid booklet.

Here is the pattern I chose for today:

Next, I picked out some beads and some thread:

Whenever I bead crochet, I complete one pattern repeat and slide it waaaaaay down the thread. I then lay it neatly on my beading mat. This is very important, because it is critical that you not make mistakes when threading the beads.Every single time I complete a pattern repeat, I compare it to my first 'sample'. Yes, every single time.
Here it is, the 4 foot long snake of beads, ready to be crocheted. One of the nice things about bead crochet is that once the beads are strung, the project is pretty portable. No beads flying all over the place!

Yes, there IS a crochet hook at the end of that metal thingy. It's just very small!

Crocheting! Each stitch has one bead in it. That means (going to do some math) that each bracelet has over 800 beads and stitches! Each bracelet takes several hours to complete.

I'm not done yet, but here is what I've gotten finished so far:

Cool, huh? When I'm finished, I carefully sew the ends together in such a way that the seam does not show... unless you look really, really closely and know what you're looking for.

Not too shabby! now, while the bracelet is not exactly stretchy, the crocheted tube of thread inside allows for juuuuust enough give that the bracelet will roll right over an average sized woman's hand. Yes, I have/ do/ will make them bigger or smaller for those individuals whose hands are not average-ish.

Presto! My project is done. Now, I will just sit back and wait for the avalanche of compliments. No pushing, please... there is enough room for everyone's comment!
Quickie Knitting Update

I have turned the corner on sock #1 of the Japanese Feather Lace Sock. I really like the lace pattern, but as frequently happens to me, I have some 'issues' with the pattern. I will save them for when the project is done, and will just leave you with a nice picture:

That's it for the moment...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Western Avenue Studios First Saturday

Today was the first time I got to participate in the WAS First Saturday event. It is a scorcher today, so we didn't get a whole ton of people, but I did manage to make a few sales, make some jewelry, and enjoy myself overall.

I took a few pictures (of course), and now that I have a laptop, I can load the pics onto my computer right here in the studio! Very convenient.

Yes, some of these are shots that you have already seen- new shots, but the same camera angle of the same darned things... but that's probably going to happen a few more times until the novelty and excitement of being in this space wears off!

If you click on the pics and go to my Flickr account, there are notes on the pictures. If you're interested.

Here is my sign and bio. NOT crooked in real life.

I took some pics of my jewelry and hung them in the hallway. Again, not crooked in real life. Pwomise!
Dad, this shot is for you... look how great that screen fits the window!
This shot is taken from the doorway - people get a great view of my display as they walk by. Well, hopefully the walk IN, not BY.
Display from inside. Check out the groovy old mirror - it rocks!
Workspace, with laptop hiding back there.

More workspace. The little tumbler on the table is tumbling ear wires. Can't wait to see how they turn out!
All right, that's it for now. No knitting update pic for now; you'll just have to wait on that one.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Some More Shots around WAS

WAS = Western Avenue Studios, by the way.

On August 2, which was a ridiculously hot day ( mid to upper 90's), I decided to get a few shots outside.
WAS sprung for a humongous sign, to help people find us in this random, end of a dead end road location:

Train tracks run along side the other side of the street. It is especially nice when the trains park and idle for hours... very odoriferous!
I don't care if Queen Ann's Lace is a weed. It's still pretty.
Evidently, the train tracks are a great place for a wee plastic nip 'o' liquor.
Pelby? was here???
Ivy clings to more than brick.

Ivy and a steel beam.
I am no graffiti expert, but this is kinda pretty. It probably says: "we kill tall, blonde chicks who take pictures of our graffiti."
My windows are three rows down, the two on the right.
Once my Honda dies, I am totally picking me up one of these babies.

Three.... two.... one.... um, blastoff?

Yes, the Classic Elite factory store is in the same building as my studio. Rock!

I hope you have enjoyed these lovely pictures. I sacrificed my sanity walking around in the heat to snap these pics. Whew.
Mango Moon Scarf

Well, here it is, the finished Mango Moon scarf. I took a stealth picture at my parents' house the other day, with the scarf hanging in front of my mom's tomato plants. Yes, Mommy, this was the secret surprise I was telling you about. :)

Here's a close-up of the fringe, which is actually the best part, in my opinion:
Project Notes:

Yarn: Mango Moon Dawn, 100% recycled viscose, two skeins
Needles: Denise Interchangables, size 9
Pattern: I made it up. changed skeins every other row, did a 3-yarn-over drop stitch every 8 rows.
I really loved working with this yarn. For one, I bought one of the skeins in London... it was the ONLY thing I bought to bring home the whole time I was there. Next, the color was beautiful, and I loved the raw, unfinished nature of the yarn.

And here is a shot of my newest cast-on. It's the Japanese Feather Lace sock pattern from Suzi Anvin, and I am enjoying it already. There is a 28 row lace pattern, but that just keeps things interesting! I'm using Plymouth Sockotta sock yarn, which is a cotton/ wool/ nylon superwash blend. It's nice!