Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Yarn in the Wild

Had a few backup shots, in case I couldn't find one or two items in the Scavenger Hunt over the weekend. First, a garden Winnie-the-Pooh, in case no gnomes were spotted:

...and then the Temple of the Oracle at Delphi, which, while old and historic, didn't actually have any corners, so wouldn't have actually worked for "cornerstone of old, historic building". Plus, as you can probably tell, it's just a travel poster in our local Greek restaurant.

I really did have fun with it, and, hey, I got a headband out of the deal!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What if they ran out of yarn?

I just got the following from one of my stitching friends:
"Have you heard that DMC is declaring bankruptcy? I don't have the news links at the moment, but I'm sure you can look it up. Since the company is based in France, most of the articles are in French and need to be run through a translator.

Apparently the factories are shut down all the employees laid off. But I don't know if there is a seperation between the French and American branches of the company. There's nothing about this on the American DMC website."
The company issued a press release last week (here) that they've suspended trading in their shares (first step for a restructuring, pretty standard, but it means they've taken a really
heavy financial hit), which follows up the February announcement of the restructuring (press release here).

Has anyone heard any information about this? I'm feeling a lot less bad about 20 years of
floss hoarding right now, believe me!

Crossposted to The Stitching Blog

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend fun: Scavenging!

Okay, so I don't want to overload Blogspot, which doesn't have a "cut" feature that I've found... so follow this link to get to the Changes 2008 Photo Scavenger Hunt photos I took. Wheee!

I'll put *one* here, though: my finished object for the weekend, my Arrowhead Lace Headband. Yay!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Scavenger Hunting!

Whee! The fun never stops!

The "Changes, 2008" group on Ravelry (support for keeping all those New Year's resolutions going, and a great group of folks to boot) is doing a photo scavenger hunt! I'm having SERIOUS amounts of fun accosting strangers and having them hold a tiny ball of yarn with pointy sticks, leaving said ball of yarn here and there to photograph it, and trying to remember where the *heck* in my neighborhood I've seen an actual Garden Gnome.

I hope to have my ten (or more) photos taken by the end of Sunday. We're supposed to put them in a group on flickr, but I've already filled up my three allowed group slots (and I'm not gonna give flickr money; that's what PhotoBucket is for), so I'll actually be putting them up over on my *other* journal, behind a cut (since it's photos) and leave it unlocked for a week or so. I thought about putting them here, but it would take Many Pages, and the lj-syndication would take over people's entire friendspages (not that this column doesn't from time to time as it is).

As a preview, though, I give you my Work-in-Progress (an arrowhead headband made from Yarn Candy) and a Flowering Tree (a Pink Dogwood):

Now, the real fun is that the first few photos are of a Ball of Yarn Candy. Then you'll get to see the progress of the headband as I go along, and, hopefully, *it* will be my last required photo (me wearing a FO). Wheeeee!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Want Candy!

Jess at Stitch DC Georgetown has come up with a good way to sell little yarn bits. Tiny leftover balls of fun, just fifty cents (fifty three, with tax)!

See? Itty-bitty yarn balls!

I got some... um... blue green black bronze ribbon ladder stuff, and I'm knitting a... hm. Headscarf? Hairband? I dunno. It's a triangle right now, and in its third iteration already. No, wait, it's a rectangle... fourth. And it's already finished, two days later... I have so TOTALLY gotten my fifty-three cents worth of fun out of it already.

Plus, since I'm attempting to save up for enough of the yummy silk-alpaca blend in deep rose for the long Katherine Hepburn sweater out of lace style, a ball from the Yarn Candy Jar on the counter will give me the thrill of yarn buying and playing with New Stuff, while still letting me save up the $$ for the Big Purchase. Wheee! In addition, if I'm having a tough day at work and neeeeeeeeed new yarn, I can get bunches. As you can see from the photo, there's more than one ball of Yarn Candy on my chair.

I must add that Yarn Candy projects do not count as "UFOs", since they're mostly just doodling with yarn. Because I say so. Besides, they'd fall under the 24-hour rule most of the time, anyway!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Contests, Pandas, and Virtue Rewarded

Okay, Knitty is having its Biggest Contest Ever right now! To enter, you just join their mailing list (yahoogroup). Okay, I can do that... and I *totally* want to win the audiobooks from Knitting Out Loud, two of which I've almost bought already. To be honest, I'd be happy with *any* of the prizes. Sometimes my luck is in, and it's been a good week so far!

Speaking of prizes, I was almost *instantly* rewarded yesterday for not going nuts and buying a sweater's worth of Kauni. Background: I wanted to go to Victoria, BC, last fall, but didn't. Thea Dueck, founder of The Victoria Sampler, my favorite cross-stitch design supplier, designed a Twelve Days of Christmas sampler/ornaments last year. And it was offered at a class in Victoria, exclusively. (This is why I wanted to go.) Yesterday, I got an e-mail letting me know that (YAY!) the Twelve Days of Christmas Cyberclass was available for sign-up. I didn't even have to think about it, and felt Quite Noble for not ordering any yarn. Clearly, it was a Sign/Reward for Good Behavior. ♥♥Yaaaaaay!♥♥

PS, it might be somebody's birthday. Not mine. But someone's.

(Also ♥♥!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kauni: Just Say No (today, anyway)

I Will Not Buy Kauni Yarn today. Won't, won't, won't!! I *have* to finish one of the... lessee.... Tailored Scallops I, Tailored Scallops II, Titania, The Cat Sweater, The Stoplight Sweater... FIVE sweaters I've got on needles right now before I even THINK of getting any Kauni yarn. Because if I get it, I'm going to go totally mad and start Alice Starmore's "Henry VIII" (here's a pic of Wendy Johnson's finished product, which made me scamper out and track down my own copy of Tudor Roses. I *have* yarn to make it, but I'd have to rework the gauge, and it's cotton, since I didn't tolerate wool then, and wouldn't it just be SPECTACULAR in rainbow Kauni, using the method Wendy used for her Lismore (pic here)?

Besides, I'm back on a cross-stitch kick right now. Here's my progress (all three days of it) on my new Michael Powell kit (love, love love his stuff!), "Mini Cottages II".

Yes, it looks vaguely like there might be houses in there somewhere, but wait until I have enough down to start the backstitching. Then it *really* pops!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's all about the Photographs

I have to find a Luxurious Yarn Photographing Spot.
I have some lovely stash (as I'm re-discovering), and it deserves its day in the sun on Ravelry. But really good yarn photos need really good, interesting yarn photo locales. (Heck, any photo needs a good background and composition. The only reason people might knit my Really Simple Top-Down Mitts is because the photo that goes with the patterns is GOOD.) Some people have lovely stone walls they use; one woman uses the beach (with artfully draped contrasting towel to protect the yarn); my favorite involves the creative use of contrasting cats (although how the cat hair gets out of the yarn later, I have no clue. Then again, it's probably just a preventative measure: if high-contrast cat hair is gonna get in the yarn, you might as well get it in there early.). I could hang hanks of yarn off the wysteria trellis... but the wysteria would probably eat it (heaven knows it tries to eat people every chance it gets).

As it is, I use that old knitterly standby, the Bathroom Mirror. Please note that the bathroom is small, so getting a shot of an entire sweater is more of a challenge than I care for:

This sweater was a gift for my birthday last year. It's silk (ooooo!), and really soft, and really comfortable. I was thinking of making another of these sweaters... and then it dawned on me that I don't really like the fit. But without pictures, I wouldn't have known this, since in all other ways, it's my very favorite sweater.

I really need a better place to get photographs of me in my knitting. *sigh*

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just in case there *is* such a thing as "too much yarn"...

Okay, first off, in case you missed it: There's a CONSIGNMENT YARN/STITCHING STORE on eBay! I'm totally going to try them, and get rid of some of the stuff I'm never, ever going to use. They're Stitch in Peace, and it looks like using them would also mean my things would find good homes. Yay! (I asked if they were looking for others to do Art Prints. I've got a good number of knitting and stitching related sketches that could turn into final prints easily, now that I've got a drawing table.

Speaking of S.A.B.L.E., one of the things over the weekend was organizing all the $1-a-skein Patons yarn mom and I got at the Dollar Tree near our gym. Here, the yarn takes up most of the basement floor (which is actually pretty small, for a floor, but it's still a lot of yarn:
It was 34 balls of pink Twister, 32 balls of blue Silverlash, 22 balls of sky-blue Allure, 15 balls of Lacette, 12 balls of ChaCha, six each of Carmen and Melody; assorted colors, totalling 18 balls, of something fuzzy looking; and 6 random balls of various things in other colors that can be used with any of the above.

Here it is, carefully tucked into three extra-large Zip-Loc bags.

Well, almost. The deep mauve Lacette (for both the Go Fly a Kite shawl and the Oriel Sweater), red-and-black Carmen and red-and-black ribbon-ladder-stuff are in a fourth bag, at my house.

But that would've made it look like Too Much Yarn.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I do other crafts, not just knitting.

No actual knitting yet today; I had to start early and take a short lunch because I've got PT tomorrow morning for the shoulder.

And I've been online all day playing over at The On-Line Needlework Show, which showcases dozens and dozens of designers... so my LNS can buy their stuff for me!

(And I really gotta open my own design studio. I've only had the bloody corporation up and running and ready to go for THIRTEEN YEARS now without doing anything with it!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Visit from the Crochet Fairy

Early this morning, the Crochet Fairy snuck into my workplace, and left little tapestry bags for all the girls in/teaching the crochet class here. Each contained an H hook and two balls of "Black Dazzle" Patons Silverlash (#81040), plus, hey, a little tapestry bag tied with orange and white curly ribbons. Because the Crochet Fairy really likes both "orange" and "curly ribbon".

The Crochet Fairy expects to spend a good chunk of the morning finding good - and basic - scarf patterns to distribute to the girls, as well. (With the hope that they'll have time, now that Taxes are done, to find stuff on the internet themselves.)

The Crochet Fairy: Because nothing will get someone hooked on a craft like free balls of yarn.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Making a difference, making the different

Knitters making a difference: A worker, who sorts through rubbish put out for recycling, has turned his hobby of knitting nets into something to help his colleagues.

And a really cool crochet square done by Deb at work. She's the one teaching everyone to crochet here (yay!).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Shopping Frenzy

So, this weekend, it was all about having fun. Saturday was Sorting Through Mom's Yarn and Shopping at Three Stores (A.C. Moore, Marshalls, Ross, then back to A.C. Moore and Marshalls).
Things obtained - and all on super-sale, too, so the total *won't* bankrupt me (but it did eat my part of our state tax refund):
5 skeins Caron Supersoft in Heather, to make my own (properly scaled) Tailored Scallops;
Latch Hook kit of giant sunburst/star thing (it's a Shaggy kit called "Nova") - the yarn is Caron Supersoft (!!)
Size 10 and 10.5 wooden knitting needles
Crochet hooks and project bags for all the girls at work (SERIOUS sale here!!)
Four long sleeve t-shirts in various colors
Peacock blue linen dress, suitable for all the upcoming First Communions and Weddings
Fun exercise DVDs
Several birthday presents for my husband
Cute little crystal rose tealight holders
A new SAK handbag - crocheted in green nylon (aka "the pattern to make a few more")
Sunday was a Giant Book Sale, A.C. Moore, tasty Mongolian stir-fry, and back to A.C. Moore.
Things obtained:
$33 of books: SF, Romance, and a four-year Spanish course complete with workbooks and Teachers' Guides.
Comfy-to-hold latch hook with puffy purple handle;
Tiny Panda-Bear Cross Stitch Kit (will be done by the end of lunch, thus under 24h)
Panda-Bear punchneedle kit (just to try - I just need a punchneedle)
Huck-Weaving kit (just to try)
Latest issue of Knit & Style, with two projects I want to do in it.
Things started were the tiny panda cross stitch and the second Tailored Scallops. The yarn for the Latch Hook Kit is sorted now, too.

About that Tailored Scallops... Look what I found at Marshall's:

Yeah, it's Tailored Scallops, with ugly pockets thrown on the front, and a not-so-great "fix" for the button band/collar. (Having studied this pattern a LOT over the last week, when I checked, yep, the body pretty much follows the EXACT pattern, but for the collar construction and the ugly pockets.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Injuries that inhibit my crafting...

If anyone is ever at a loss for something to get me, might I suggest a skein or two of Adorn Sock Yarn from Three Irish Girls in whatever colorway you think might strike my fancy? (Honest. I didn't see one there I wouldn't adore.)

I need to find some dyes that will work on the lovely fluffy fiber my friend Doc got me for my birthday. (I just found it again... wheee!) I'll be doing, I hope, long pools of blue and orange, broken by a bit of white, and it should make a yummy-warm sweater or shawl for my BroncosCountry icon photo.

Yes, today it's all about the Bright Colors. (The camera phone just doesn't do justice to the brightness of the turquoise in the following photo.)

See, I finished my socks, and realized my "sister's" wedding is in a bit over two months. The plan is to knit a light- to medium-weight cover-up for over the sleeveless dress I'll be wearing. The colors are Turquoise and Chocolate. Fortunately, Feza's "Fanatic" comes in EXACTLY that colorway. I give you the back of "Tailored Scallops" from Lace Style:

I must now add that I got this done in one day, since I took a day off work for a mid-day doctor's appointment, was chauferred around to Many Other Places, and thus had a ton of time to knit. On the downside: I have Exactly Enough Yarn... and we all know what that means. I'll be calling Alynn's at lunch to see if they have One More Ball. On the other downside, the doc says my rotator cuff is screwed up, so I have to "be careful" about knitting. He suggested "cross-stitch" as an alternative, since the off arm doesn't really move. I reminded him that he knew that because of the Frozen Shoulder Incident of 2001, where I went to a cross-stitch retreat, locked my shoulder in place for 16h a day for three days, and came home with side pain, inability to breathe without pain, and radiating shooting shoulder pain (aka, presented at the ER with heart attack symptoms, and it even took THEM a couple of hours to figure out that no, I'd just managed to lock my shoulder in such a way that my body couldn't unlock it).

He nodded, and suggested nice, long walks. *sigh*

Over the weekend, I'll try to post pics of all my Consolation Shopping...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nutkin Socks Finished

I'm in a subtle knitting race with Courtney, the Knitting Goddess. (Really, really subtle, so much so that this is the first she's heard about it. It's just been nice knowing there's someone else chugging along on thet same little project I am.) We're both knitting Beth LaPensee's Nutkin Socks, and (as of yesterday) we were both at about the same place. I have a totally unfair advantage, however, as my busy end-of-year crunch-from-hell at work ended last week, and hers doesn't end until next week. I made up for my unfair time advantage by reminding her that hiding in a stairwell and knitting a few rounds is better than killing a client, co-worker, or innocent passer-by. (If you ever think tax time is bad for you, work with accountants during tax time. They can forget all sorts of important things - eating, hydrating, breathing. And they vanish from the rest of the world pretty much from mid-February to end-of-April every year. I'm totally impressed that Courtney has any time to blog at all!)

Given this grossly unfair advantage, and the fact that I really want these lovely socks done, I stayed up *waaaay* too late last night, with the following result:

Yaaaaay! Finished socks, my first pair! Woohooo!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


OMG, I'm totaly getting a copy of Stitchopoly for my friend Midge for her upcoming birthday. Probably one for myself, too... she just saw it at AC Moore, had to call me and tell me about it, and I reminded her NOT to buy it for herself.

I mean, I just HAVE to. (And I'm totally being the Scissors every time I play, unless the owner of the board wants them. We'll have to play it at her birthday party, for sure!) I wish I could find a better pic online, but there will be *much* better pictures coming once she has hers in hand!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Things accomplished (and not)

The exciting news: Squee! I'm a *moderator* on the Changes 2008 Raverly group. (I really have no idea what magic powers this gives me, but *squee*, there I am, listed at the bottom of the group page!)

Well, stuff happened over the weekend. On Friday, I wrote the following list, as incentive, so I'd have to do *some* of the things on it, or feel quite ashamed before y'all.
"In no particular order of importance, I:
  1. got a Netflix account;
  2. took a bunch of things I just don't have room for to the Salvation Army;
  3. scattered grass seed over the patchy bits of our lawn;
  4. sent fancy electronics off on the first leg of their journey to Michigan;
  5. cleared off the floors of three rooms in the house;
  6. set up my drawing desk; and
  7. started going through the stash room - or, rather, started getting things moved around so I could actually get in the stash room.
Oh, something about "laundry" and "bathroom cleaning", too. And there was a slight project hiccup, but I can blame that on Yarn.

Three-headed daffodil,
just because it's cool.

Now, what actually happened:
  1. Didn't get NetFlix account, but did at least figure out my queue for when I get one;
  2. Did get stuff to the SA, and *also* got FIFTY-NINE books donated to the library (their big fundraiser sale is next week);
  3. Did nothing with the lawn, as it was on-and-off rainy all weekend;
  4. cleared a *lot* of floor in all three rooms - almost finished the front room, got about a third of the middle, and half the back. And this was with working all weekend!;
  5. Got the boxes for the electronics dealt with and out of the attic, plus another large box;
  6. set up my drawing desk
  7. did ten loads of laundry, and still have another ten to go (yeah, it builds up over time, I guess);
  8. Did NOTHING with the stash room.

Now, what this means... I got a TON of stuff done, including knitting half my nutkin sock, and a good chunk of the finger part of my ninja mitten (Sock yarn on Size 0 needles? Why did I think that was a good idea???). I rassled with starting my own Go Fly a Kite Shawl, and managed to *not* start it by cleaving unto my unfinished Nutkin sock. I realized that I have THREE huge Martha Stewart sturdy laundry baskets FULL of stash in the middle room. I have no way of getting this stash into the stash room, however, as it is full - or anywhere I could put it is beyond reach of my two-and-a-half-foot long arms. (This is why the Stash Room will be on the list of things to deal with for quite some time.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Plans for the Weekend

Thought for the day, gakked from Yarnardent @ Ravelry (on the Changes 2008 board) - (anyone know the original source?):
When does a WIP (work in progress) become a UFO (unfinished object)?

It starts out as a WHIMM (work hidden in my mind). After a FART (fiber acquisition road trip) and some SEX (stash enhancing experience), it becomes a PIG (project in a grocery bag). The PIG becomes a HISY (haven’t I started yet?) and once you have a HISY-fit and begin, it becomes a WIP!

The WIP becomes a UFO as soon as another WHIMM occurs that drags your attention away from your current WIP.

Repeat process.
So, I was looking at the thing-I-want-to-start-next (assuming, of course, I finish something soon), and decided that since the corner of my house is almost too cold to knit in (!!), I really need a set of long armwarmers.

Almost too cold to knit!

Naturally, I'm doing the "Snowball's Chance" ones, and discovered that they're much easier than I thought: just fitted arms, and duplicate stitch. As it's been over a year since I duplicate-stitched anything, I decided to find some on-line help, and discovered a tutorial at Bella Knitting. Quick, easy, good photos. (And I should add that the yarn for them accidentally followed me home from my weekly drop-in on Jess at Stitch DC. Convenient, that!)
yay i cn hz ARMWARMZ!

In serious news, it's now the second quarter of the calendar year, so it's time to review the UFO stats. This time around, I decided to see what sort of projects I had that were so-many-years old, just to see if there were any trends (other than starting things I haven't finished yet) over the past decade and a half.

19963 1    
1999   1   
2000 1     
20013   11 
2002   1   
2004     22
20054  1 3 
200651   3 
200711 2  3
2008      3

Well, it appears that I tend to start more cross-stitch and not finish it, mostly because the pieces left are large and non-portable, and knitting/crochet have more of an Instant Gratification factor. Plus, they don't need framing. The latch hook project (all one of it) needs to be restarted anyway, so when I can get to it, I may just pull the one or two rows done and fold it up for another decade. The crochet from long ago is a pure-white afghan done fillet-style with the family name and a big heart in the center. If I've made it through the name, I'll keep going; if not, I'm going to pull it out. Actually, I'm going to pull it out anyway: pure white afghans in my house are a BAD idea.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

$1 a ball. For Patons.

Last night was, as it turns out, a really good night for shopping. Someone in the blogiverse had gotten her paws on her copy of "Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not)", so I had to check the local B&N to see if they had a copy. They did - ONE. Just one. MineMineMineMineMine!! Since I was already buying stuff, I checked to see if they had season 1 & 2 of "Project Runway" - they did. They were also playing an Armik album I hadn't heard (and thus did not own) - got that, too. Then, it was off to the neighborhood of the gym. Nearby the gym, you see, is a Dollar Tree. This, in itself, isn't incredible - but the fact that it's selling skeins of Patons Yarn(!!!) for a buck apiece (!!!!) is. I got three skeins of Lacette - yeah, that's what I needed to finish my Travelling Roses shawl - for THREE DOLLARS. Mom had wiped out the entire stock of whatever-she's-making-her-sweater-in - ice blue Allure, I think - the day before. (If you're interested, it's at the northeast corner of the intersection of Old Keene Mill Rd. and Rolling Rd. in Springfield - next to the Giant. The yarn is just sitting in one of the racks outside the store, waiting for you.)

When I got home, I looked at the five balls of pink Lacette that I'd gotten for just shy of $6 apiece, and frowned. I have three balls of a deep mauve/dark rose... I do not need these five balls. (If I can find the receipt, some of those overpriced little hussies are going back to Michael's.) After chastising my yarn for a while, I curled up in my chair, and spent the rest of the evening startling my spouse by randomly laughing out loud.

You understand.

Also, much fun was had in Toronto, thanks to the Yarn Harlot's photo-with-sock scavenger hunt. (Rules here). I feel like setting up something like this in DC - it would be a ton of fun, and it would be a neat way to get people into the city to find all the cool little corners I've found. (I shoud add that I've been thinking of doing a photo scavenger hunt for years; I just have to save up enough prize money/get enough sponsors that lots of people would play.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sleeves, gadgets and flowers

Woohoo, Titania has sleeves!

Also, I'm going to turn her into a cardigan... it'll be a bit more flattering on my definitely plus-sized bod. (And remember, I do sleeves first. I'll be doing the front panels of the cardi simultaneously, too, so I don't finish only one of them. Doing just the back, while it will take much longer, will be much easier, as I'm gonna leave the lace off the cream section. (The sleeve-tops go STUNNINGLY fast, being in stockinette.)

Nifty item alert: Okay, this is cool. I love those "row counter" bracelets - and here's the instructions to make your own! Yay!

And, gacked from Quilting Cindy, I know what sort of flower I am. Also yay!

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend.
You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Shopping for Stash

So, Saturday afternoon, after beating my head against a wall for seven hours straight over doing my taxes (which isn't just mine: it's mine, my husband's, and his corporation, we don't get ANY shortcuts, and there's a ton of extra schedules I have to figure out, so it's *not* as easy as people try to tell me it is, it's just not!), I decided that I deserved a field trip to Aylin's Woolgatherer. I needed an extra set of size 1 DPNs; my husband told me to get two sets. This, I did. I also managed to get a lovely 14" set of size six wooden needles, two sets (one large, one small like I already have) of lovely little Almost Amy (go look at her stuff, it's fun!) stitch markers, four balls of Feza "Fanatic", thick-yet-lightweight wool-blend braid, to make the shrug for my sister's wedding, and a truly adorable little hand-painted enamel "I love Ewe" sheep pin by Gita Maria (go look at her stuff, it's cool!). Please note that the sheep in question is mostly orange, thus I had to buy it.

See? ORANGE sheep. I had to get it.

I should also add that my plan to "finish my taxes, then start working on cleaning up the Stash Room" didn't materialize. The taxes are done and filed, the Stash Room isn't gonna get touched for a bit longer. But at least I know the next sweater/shrug I'm knitting once I finish something (anything!! The wedding is in JUNE!!)... I just have to pick a pattern. Yay for Ravelry!