Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kitty Blogg'n

See'n as our dog, Salsa, had her own post a few weeks ago, it's only fair to let Duchess have a turn. But, since she doesn't usually go places (except camping in the RV and we haven't done that recently), or do a whole lot, she doesn't have a lot to blog about. Here's what she's doin' most of the time...

Lay'n around. Enjoying the good life! :-)

Notice how well her colors coordinate with the blanket. We're constantly amazed at how her fur, ears and nose, or eye colors seem to go with just about everything!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Junk Makes Junk

When someone wants to make something of quality and have some assurance that they will be happy with the outcome it's always good to start out with quality materials. That's true for woodworking, painting, quilting, knitting, and many, many other things...including spinning. Here's a perfect example of why...

A friend in my stitching group is interested in spinning yarn. So, she went online, found a beautiful color of wool, and made a purchase. But, when it arrived, it looked like this...

A matted mess! I'm not sure what the seller showed in the picture or what they described, but this didn't seem like a good deal and I wasn't sure if it could be spun. I think it's definitely not what my friend was expecting. She was going to throw it away but I told her I'd see if I could save it. It seemed like a fun challenge.

There were a couple of pieces that looked like this...cute little crimps...nice for spinning...

But, most of it was matted or felted. It had a few surprises in it, like a dead beetle, dried poop (or something brown??) and small white hairs (like dog hair or something). But, it was fairly clean, with very little vegetation, and it smelled perfumy, like laundry soap. There were several shades and colors in the bag...ranging from a peachy-coral to cranberry to dark crimson red.

I carded it to get it back from matt to fluff...

When I did that I found out that most of the fibers were very short, around 2-2 1/2". There were a lot of little bits it was a homestyle haircut, not a professional shearing. I wanted to see what I could do with it so I kept carding and ended up with two big bowls full of cranberry colored fluff...

As I spun it, I found even more surprises. Much more of it was short than I'd thought and it had a lot of little bits that were like sweater pills. It was greasy and dirt and color were coming off onto my hands. The short bits and pills made for lumpy, bumpy, not so great singles. I'm wondering if the wool was left overs from the mill floor or ???

I filled a bobbin and Navajo plied it but I'm not impressed with the results.

I did get to use my new niddy noddy though...

It's fuzzy, in a not-so-pretty way and it's not very soft.

Maybe it'll work for a felting project or something. Here's a close-up...It actually looks a little better in the picture than it does in person...and, the color in this photo is a little off...

I'm not planning to card and spin any more of it. This will be it. But, I'm happy that I tried it. It was a good learning experience, more spinning practice, and it was fun.

Now, back to my Hollyberry yarn...made with good quality wool roving...I have two bobbins ready to ply. More spinning fun!!! :-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Poppy Time!

Southern California is blooming! Everywhere we look there are flowers and lots of color. I'm in awe every spring when I see how colorful our landscape becomes. It can be breathtaking. I soak in the beautiful scenery as much as possible because it doesn't last for long. Here is a field of California Poppies that we found this weekend...

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today is the first day of Spring! It's a warm, sunny, wonderful day! I haven't been able to stay inside! I enjoyed a long walk with friends early this morning, I ate lunch on the patio, played ball with the dog, and I keep finding myself outside enjoying the fresh air, sun, and the plants. We started a garden a couple of weeks ago. Here's some of our lettuce....

Red Leaf...


And, the Mexican Lavender is smells soooo good...

I'm so spoiled by the Southern California weather and warm temps we usually have. I've turned into a wimp when it comes to cold and it seems like we've had a very long winter. I'm sooo ready for warm again! The weather this week is such a treat! But...I heard on the radio this morning that we'll be having cold "wintery" weather again this weekend. So, we'll be back to warm clothes, hot food and warm drinks. But...I'll be ready and waiting for the next sunshiny, warm, wonderful day! :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Knitt'n Again

A little break from knitting may be just what I needed. I've been so into it for so long and I spend so much time knitting, thinking about knitting, looking at patterns, hanging out with knitting friends, going to knit shops, etc., etc. A little break now and then can be refreshing. Not to mention, great for getting some of the things done that have been neglected because of my yarny obsession.

It felt weird, maybe like withdrawals, to not knit for several days. But, I stuck with it because it also felt kind of good and I new it would be good for me. When I started knitting again this week, I finished up another helmet hat for some troops in Iraq. These are simple hats but I think they'll be appreciated. They can wear them under their helmets or just to stay warm. Here's one of them...

The owner of the coffee shop, where we meet weekly to knit, mentioned that he was going to put a box of goodies together for a young man that was just deployed to Iraq. Several of us made some things and donated goodies. As of yesterday, the box was overflowing so much that it's probably going to become two big boxes instead of one. I bet it's going to be so much fun for him and his buddies to recieve it. It has candies, snacks, little Easter toys, magazines, and all kinds of little things they may need. It's interesting how such a simple thing to put together can mean so much and I hope it does. It must be really hard to be there and be so far from home and everyone they love.

I was able to work on my lace shawl yesterday too. Yay! I was able to focus again and, so far, it's been going really well. It's hard to see how it will look when it's in the knitting stage but, here's a little glimpse as I tried to stretch it out and hold the camera at the same time...

This is the only thing I have in progress right now and that feels a little strange. I've been trying to match patterns with stash yarns but I'm not having a lot of luck. I'll keep trying though. I really want to have more to work on and make a big dent in my stash this year.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Time Out!

The mojo's not back! I tried to whip up a simple hat last night (I'm making helmet hats for the troups) and, even though I've made mannnnny of these, I just couldn't do it. I spent more time tinking than knitting. So, I'm giving myself a yarn time out. No knitting, crocheting, spinning....anything fibery until Monday. Maybe I just need a break. It wouldn't hurt to think and do other things for a change anyway. LOL ;-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Missing Mojo

I feel like I've lost my knitting mojo...temporarily, I hope. I've tried to find it this past week by casting on a sweater (several times), only to end up cancelling that project due to knitter errors and lack of enthusiasm over the pattern. I've had trouble focusing on my lace projects. So, it's best to leave those until my brain can focus enough that those projects don't get frogged back to the stash bin. And, I've had trouble getting excited over any specific patterns to really get started on anything new. So, in an attempt to get creativity and excitement back into my fiber lovin' world, I decided to make a quick, little project bag. Frustrated with the pattern and the fiddly way it said to knit it, I put down the knitting needles, picked up a crochet hook and winged it. Here's the result...

It's made with Sugar N Cream cotton yarn from my stash and left over fabric from a quilt I made for my daughter. I love making stuff with what I have. It feels great and lessens the stash. The crochet bottom is sturdy enough to keep the bag standing and not flopping over. I like that. And, the light color fabric makes it easy to see what's inside. The drawstring is a simple knitted I-cord. Quick. Cute. Fun. A successful project! I think I might be feeling a little mojo. I'm feeling some inspiration and I've even found a pattern and stash yarn to excite me. Time to cast on and see if I've truly got my mojo back.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't Disturb the Kitty!

I wasn't planning to post anything today but I'm happily stuck at my computer and have to share why.... Duchess (our kitty) has curled up on my lap, which is pretty common...but, today she looks sooooo incredibly happy that I don't have the heart to disturb her by getting up to work on other things (at least, not yet). She's purring and keeps looking up and staring into my eyes...then, as I pet her, she snuggles her head into my chest and puts her paw up by my shoulder like she's giving me a hug! Awwwwww! I love her sooo much!!! I can't imagine life without kitties! They're so awesome and they make a house feel like home. :-)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lace CAN be fun!

Ok...So...Lace CAN be fun! Up until now it's been just a four letter word for me. Maybe I was picking the wrong projects or the timing was off or...who knows?! But, I did it! I made lace! It may not be with fine thread and tiny needles but...It's lace! was FUN! Who knew?!

So...allow me to introduce you to my brand new, completed, lace cowl... Ta Da....

(click the picture if you want to see it bigger)

The pattern is "Ridged Lace Cowl" and I found it on Ravelry...where else?! The yarn is the gorgeous Misti Alpaca Hand Dyed Worsted that I found at the yarn shop recently and couldn't live without. It's soooo incredibly soft and beautiful! I love it! Anyway...this project was super easy and super fun. The stitch pattern was easy to learn and I was even able to knit this at knit groups, with the tv on, or carrying on a conversation. Again...who knew?! I always thought I could only do that with mindless stockinette or garter stitch projects! This makes a great first lace project.

I get to wear it today too cuz it's cold and stormy. :-) to my next first sweater. I'm going to cast on just as soon as I post this. Wish me luck! :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Just about every morning, I sit down at the computer to check email and visit some of my favorite blogs. Today, as I visited one of my favorite blogs, Sel and Poivre(click to visit), I was surprised and delighted to read that she gave me a Kreative Blogger Award!

I'm honored to receive this from Marie. We somehow found each other this last year and we're regular visitors of each other's well as regular commentors. I'm always excited about what I'll find on her blog. She posts several times each week and tells about wonderful knitting projects she's working on, delicious foods she has made, and interesting things going on in her life. She's a creative writer and I always enjoy her posts. I also enjoy all the comments she leaves for me on my blog. If I could send the award to her, I'd do it in an instant! Thanks, Marie!

I follow quite a few blogs and I'm often on the look out for more. I love to see what kinds of projects people are working on and I delight in seeing the creative things bloggers come up with. I also enjoy reading and seeing different ways that people live in different parts of the world. I have my top 10 favorites listed on my sidebar. I love so many, but for this award I can only nominate five. So, in addition to Marie's, here they are...

1. Handweaving Today - I found this just a few months ago and it quickly became one of my favorites. Dave's blog is so beautiful! He's an awesome photographer, weaver, spinner, and a kitty lover! I always enjoy seeing his many new weaving creations...they're gorgeous! He is so creative with how he uses colors and yarns. And, I love reading stories and seeing pictures of his two beautiful kitties, Dusty and Miss Lulu! Thanks, Dave for sharing your creativity and delighting readers several times each week with your beautiful photos.

2. Sailing Knitter - I found this one recently too and, like Handweaving Today, it quickly became a favorite. Jonesy and Terry decided to give up life on land for a while to live on their boat and see the world. Their adventures are fascinating! There are so many things that can happen while living on a boat that I never would have imagined! Their blog transports me away to other lands and cultures. Through their stories, I get to enjoy an adventure I'll probably never experience (I get verrry sea sick). Terry also knits...that's always a plus! :-)

3. Knitspot - I bet a lot of people know about this blog. And, how could you not love it?! Anne is such an incredibly talented knitter and designer with some of the most gorgeous lace I've ever seen. She's also an amazing gardner who shows mouth watering pictures, during the summer, of her garden bounty. And, one of my favorite posts ever was her trip to New Mexico when she attended a knitting weekend and visited weaving studios and yarn shops. I was so glued to the screen that I stopped blinking and my eyes watered...I couldn't wait to read each word and see all the great pictures. You can read it here.

4. Claudia's Blog - I've been following this one for a quite a while. It initially caught my eye with the picture on the top left corner of a sock knitting project with a gorgeous tropical ocean view in the background. I was hooked when I read that she rides a tandem. My husband and I ride a tandem too and it's not very often that I see others that do...especially on a blog! Claudia is also a knitter. And...she combines those two loves as she raises money each year for an MS ride. Her blog fans donate yarny prizes. When readers make $ donations their names go into a drawing for the great prizes. Claudia was the top fundraiser this year and won a trip to Maui! She also encouraged readers last year to exchange at least one car trip each week with alternative a bike. She called the project BAT/KAT for Bicyles As Transportation / Knitters Alternatively Transporting. Readers checked in with her each week and she kept a tally...together, we all logged over 2008 BAT/KAT trips in 2008! Very cool! Her blog is creative, funny, real, and sometimes unexpected. I love it!

5. Knit One Quilt Too - This blogger posts a lot of eye candy. She's a talented and creative quilter who creates an abundance of fun, colorful and beautiful quilts. She knits too!...Sometimes. :-)

Thank you to my top favorite bloggers, and the many others that inspire and entertain me. Blogland is such a great place to visit, learn, and be inspired. Here's to blogging and the creative wonderful people who do it! :-)