Thursday, December 29, 2005

Post-Christmas Knitting and Cleaning

I realize that I haven't posted anything since December 12. I've spent my knitting time since then finishing up 4 pairs of the Urban Rustic Gloves from the Winter '05 issue of Knitty for last minute gifts. After the first pair, I decided that instead of the vent I wanted solid wrist coverage and I added to the wrist length by three stitches. I neglected to take any pictures of the ones I made for my mom. D'oh! Maybe I can get her to take a pic and send it to me.

I took some days off of knitting to rest my wrists, but the time was well spent cleaning out my big closet. You wouldn't believe how much yarn I found buried in there. I also found quite a lot of spinning fibers and (gasp!) some moth damaged items. Here's why knitters and moths are natural enemies. Yikes! I have decided that these mittens deserve a rebirth so I will be re-making them from some lovely brown and cream alpaca that I bought at a yarn shop in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. Take that, moths!

I found lots of lovely spinning fibers in the closet too, so I was compelled to dust off my Ashford Traditional and spin a bit. I forgot how engaging it is. I invested in some organizing drawers and space bags, the combination of which now nicely contains my yarn and fiber stash. I'm ready to get snowed in. Food? who needs it, I have yarn!

Space bag full of fiber

Different forms of silk. Some cocoons, some fibers ready to spin, some of my handspun silk yarn. What can I make from that?

Wool and alpaca fibers, including a skein that I spun several years ago from some really great New Zealand wool. Oooooh! It's going to be a good new year!

In the closet, I found some Dale of Norway Tiur, sport weight mohair and wool in dark purple. I'm trying to duplicate Sophie's "Prithee, which way to the monastery" Moebius with it. I'm knitting it on Size 10 needles, but because of the mystery of the magic moebius technique I won't know the finished size until it's off the needles. I'm hoping for the shoulder hugging size like Sophie's version. Stay tuned for pictures! My dear family was good to me for Christmas (as usual) and I got many gift certificates for yarn and whatnot. I don't know what is more fun, shopping or the anticipation of shopping.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Another Weekend Off From Knitting

Knitting hand
Originally uploaded by Loretta.

After finishing the Urban Rustic Gloves I was trying to decide what to knit next. I have a Wonderful Wallaby started in purple Cascade Sierra. The body is done up to the armpits and I'm comtemplating doing a cable pattern at the bottoms of the sleeves. I can't seem to decide on a cable pattern, so I've set it aside for now until I find something that strikes my fancy.

I always feel lost when I don't have a work schedule or a school schedule. The school break is only 3 weeks, but some days it feels like forever. This weekend, I spent several hours reading about drawing, getting supplies, and doing pencil drawings. I'm particularly having fun with drawing my hands. I remember a really intricate hand drawing that someone did in a drawing class I was in about 25 years ago. It made enough of an impression on me that it has stuck in my mind to this day. One thing that was really interesting was that she showed both of her hands in the drawing and her hands were sewing with a needle and thread on a cabbage. As I remember, the assignment was a to draw vegetable out of context. I haven't tried drawing my right hand yet. After drawing the left hand mudra, I thought of my left-handed friend, LisaTV, who got taken to task in a yoga workshop for wanting to use her left hand in a traditional mudra.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Insomnia Sucks

Even if I can't sleep, I'll usually just lie in bed "resting" until such a time as I either a) eventually fall asleep or b) estimate that it is officially morning and I can go ahead and get up. Option b happened for me this morning at 5AM. Of course I have to put on my glasses and stumble out to the living room to figure that out without turning on the light in the bedroom, which will wake the other members of my tribe. But this time of year it's frickin' dark at 5AM or even 6:30AM. Whoever decided that it was a good idea to make people go into work at 7AM or some such should be hunted down and bitch slapped. Luckily I don't have to go into work at 7AM, unlike some of my unlucky fellow human beings. I know they are out there brushing their teeth (hopefully) right now. Sometimes in the summer I can't sleep when it gets light too early. So whatinthehell is my problem now? TOO DARK?? It's always something.

For the last hour and a half I was attempting to amuse myself by reading people's knitting blogs, something for which I don't usually have very much time. I saw one person's comment about the madness of trying to finish knitted Christmas presents in December and how people don't appreciate how you knit your fingers to the bone for them. However, I learned a long time ago, that it's a waste of my time and effort to knit for people who don't appreciate the work that goes into knitting. A corollary of this universal law, is that it's a waste of time to knit for people who will not wear or care for your knitted pieces, or even those who might (gasp!) banish them to a thrift store. This is why my two fabulous sisters are the lucky recipients of most of my hard work. They appreciate the art and the work. They cherish and care for even the most delicate of knitted pieces. And they WEAR them. Well, it's also lucky that they happen to live in Colorado where it's freezing in the winter. So I can knit them the warmest of sweaters (and socks, hats, mittens, scarves, blankets, etc, etc.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Urban Rustic Gloves

Urban Rustic Gloves in work
Originally uploaded by Loretta.
There's lots of cute stuff in the new winter '05 issue of, but the Urban Rustic Gloves caught my fancy.

I was looking for a quick diversion for my Tuesday night sit & knit group. These are quick, fun and can even be knit with some distractions. It looks like the one ball of Crystal Palace Yarns Iceland will make a pair. I love projects with unusual construction and these definitely fill that bill. They could even be a last minute Christmas gift.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekend "off" from knitting

For some reason I found myself wanting to make lip balm. My friend who owns , a lovely soapmaking supply company, has told me that lip balm is about the easiest thing to make (and incidentally, has a huge price markup.)

So with a little inspiration and a recipe from, I went down to Brambleberry's retail shop, Otion. I ended up making a few colors of lip balm and lotion bars for stocking stuffers.

So if you have a half hour or so and want to whip up some fun gifts, lip balm fills the bill. You can make girly colored and/or flavored balms. Or you can stick to a basic recipe that even men will love. Hey! guys get chapped lips too.

The lotion bars have slightly different proportions of the same basic ingredients as the balm. And are made by pouring the melted lotion balm into molds. I also picked up some pretty little organza bags at Otion and card stickers at JoAnn's for a nice gift presentation.

Besides knitting, I'm not one of those artsy-crafty people. I generally don't like stuff that makes a mess (or has mess making potential.) But this little set of projects had very little mess involved and it took only a relatively small space on my kitchen counter and simple tools to assemble and process all the ingredients.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Winter is here

We have snow on the ground, a rare occurence for Bellingham . I know that the grass is still peeking through in this picture and that people who live in snowier parts of the world are not impressed. But it's a little deeper today and any day when I get to wear my Sorels is a good day. The kids across the street somehow managed to get enough snow together to build a massive snow woman, complete with strapless evening gown. But she didn't survive the night and is now a massive blue cone.

The multicolor moebius is now off the needles and I've started a pair of silk/wool blend socks. I'm long since bored with plain, rectangular scarves, but I'm finding these moebiuses (moebii ?) endlessly fascinating. There are so many posssibilities for color, style, size and form. Cat Bordhi is correct in her two moebius books A Treasury of Magical Knitting and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting, this is magic. I have done a couple moebius scarves in Elizabeth Zimmerman's style, where you basically knit a long rectangle, then join the ends with a twist, creating the moebius. But Cat Bordhi's cast on to a long needle with the twist built in adds magic to the knitting. I'd like to think that Elizabeth would have loved it, had she lived to see it. I'll try to get some pictures up this weekend of some of the various moebius projects I've done this year.

Well, with me in my moebius and pa in his cap, the kitties are tucked in for a long winter's nap. Not that they confine their napping to winter! Smokey is doing her monitor top impressionist/Mona Lisa impression and we're about to head out for winter provisions (AKA cat food and yarn). The school quarter is all but wrapped up and I'm trying to talk "pa" into a downtown gallery walk tonight sponsored by the Whatcom Museum.

Despite the darkness and the cold and the short days. I really love winter. It's the height of the knitting season. It's easy to find plenty of days to curl up on the couch with yarn and needles. Cats, yarn, books...Life is good!