Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pending Projects

My current project list is a bit, um, scary. And it does not include books to be read or job stuff. Perhaps this is why blogging has fallen by the wayside?


  • Mitered Square Shawl
  • Alpaca cardigan
  • Backpack
  • Northern lights scarf
  • Zaurball shawl
  • Emerald sweater
  • Cover for lumbar cushion
  • Lace vest from takli spun cotton

Wood burning:

  • Kitchen table
  • Cabinet knobs - Kitchen
  • Knobs hall
  • Earring frame
  • Sideboard
  • Desk
  • library boxes
  • Library stool
  • Plant stand table
  • Laptop tray table
  • Bat house
  • Vintage box with metal strap
  • Box for interchangeable needles
  • Camp stool
  • Mirror frame for master bath


  • Rock wall
  • Move remaining rock to back yard
  • Dig out grass in NW corner
  • Plant white lavender along wall
  • Add yarrow and another lower plant along front of house
  • Move leopard plant to back yard
  • Terrace upper end of back yard
  • Build small deck for tea house
  • Prune dead limbs off lilac
  • Prune mock orange
  • Dig out grass in backyard
  • Lay out path in backyard
  • Acquire and spread mulch in backyard
  • Prune shrubs under porch
  • Install drip in backyard
  • Terrace lower end of backyard and install pavers
  • Repaint back porch
  • Buy bench for lower end of back yard
  • Paint mural on back fence
  • Acquire and install rush fencing along chain-link
  • Repair gate
  • Repair concrete front steps
  • Repair concrete back steps
  • Plant solar lights
  • Repair and reinstall broken siding piece

Inside big jobs:

  • Finish scraping kitchen floor
  • Paint kitchen walls, ceiling, cabinets
  • Replace hall bath sink
  • Prepare walls and paint hall bath
  • Tile hall bath floor
  • Replace master bath sink
  • Tile master bath floor
  • Paint master bath
  • Replace light fixture in master bath
  • Wash all windows
  • Replace cracked garage window with stained glass

Other projects:

  • Outfit picnic basket
  • Sew picnic blanket
  • Sew and block print canvas slipcover for couch
  • Make duvet cover for bedroom
  • Rehem bedroom curtains
  • Make slipcovers for library chairs
  • Organize Yosemite pictures and format book
  • Organize fiber room
  • Finish tweaking Country Craftsman Wheel
  • Mount niddy noddies on wall

On another note, I am testing out Blogsy iPad App, so just ignore the picture and link:



Sunday, June 09, 2013

Spindle Camp 2013

It was warm. Really warm.

It was also great fun.  We hung out and spun/knitted/chatted/ate/drank/laughed and hung out in Lake Francis during a record-breaking heat wave. Some folks made great progress on projects.  I miscalculated a bit by bringing a nearly finished wool shawl to knit. No matter how light and airy, a lapful of wool in 104 degree heat is a bad idea. So I mostly spun cotton on a takli.  I did bring the firebird wheel, but didn't use it much either. Progress was not really the point anyway; it was all about laughing, chatting and sharing ideas with other fiber addicts.

Some folks brought stuff to sell.  Sharon wove these gorgeous towels that I snapped up for the little trailer.

We had a "pirate" exchange and I am going home with some great yarn. 

Here's a video Lucy took of Barbara Sue:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kelp Bed Scarf Pattern

2012 has zipped by at a nearly supersonic speed.  It has included landmark events and wonderful small moments.  We laughed, we cried, etc.  Seriously though, it has been amazing.  Among the top adventure highlights were visiting Death Valley, taking a hot air balloon ride over the Tucson Mountains, and especially, rafting the Grand Canyon.  (I have so many photos that getting a few on the blog just hasn't happened. As yet.)  Choosing the right knitting project for the 7-day raft trip was tricky.  It needed to be relatively uncomplicated (social knitting), pack small, require few tools, be doable in hot, sweaty weather, and provide plenty of knitting time.  I settled on knitting a simple, lacy scarf with linen yarn.  I was able to knit in camp each night and even a little on the raft (without puncturing the raft as feared by some of my co-rafters).  The pattern is one I designed several years ago.

Kelp Bed Scarf (aka One-Row Pleated Scarf)

Materials: any yarn you would like to use. The crisper and/or stretchier the yarn is, the better it will retain its accordion pleating.  For the orange scarf shown I used "Fibra Natura Flax" linen in Tangerine.
Needles: Not too critical, but sized to knit your yarn somewhat loosely  (I used U.S. 7)

Cast on a multiple of 5 + 1 (For my orange scarf I cast on 31ss.)
EVERY ROW:   *K3, YO, P2tog* repeat to last stitch, K1
Continue until you reach desired length, get bored, or run out of yarn.   (Mine is fairly long at 80 inches.)
Cast off loosely.

Note: Do not stretch to block, unless you want to remove the pleats.

Yes, it is that easy!  The resulting fabric is self-pleating, giving a great drape when wrapped around the neck.  I am currently using the same stitch pattern to make a stole out of Kid Silk Haze.  It has a completely different look - entirely soft, light and floaty instead of the crisp pleating of the linen yarn.  I'll post a picture when I am further along.

I am super thrilled with the way this scarf feels and drapes.  Despite having a closet-full of scarves, this is now my favorite.

Happy knitting!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Window on the Sea

Tada!  I finally finished another afghan, this time as a wedding gift for my nephew Eric and his bride Ashley.  The concept behind this afghan is a window looking out on an abstract seascape.

The yarn is 2 strands held together - one of KnitPicks Crayon cotton, and the other KnitPicks Peruvian Highland Wool.  The resulting fabric feels fabulous and has a great weight and drape.   I bought the "Bare" version of these yarns - not only are they ready for dyeing that way, but they come in larger skeins (fewer knots).  I knit each of the rectangles in basic stockinette, throwing in an occasional purl row to suggest ripples in the water.  Not the most exciting project to knit, but more portable than knitting a blanket in one piece.

After all nine rectangles were complete I mixed up the dyes.  I used acid dyes, specifically counting on the cotton strand to NOT take the dye the way the wool would.  The result, so I hoped, would be a heathery look with the boucle cotton providing a hint of frothiness or sparkle on the water.   I hand-mixed several shades of blue-grey-green, then added touches of bright yellow to suggest sunlight.  I practiced several methods of applying dye on a swatch, and settled on using a sponge to pat it on the presoaked rectangles. Then I rolled them in plastic wrap and steamed them.  I am really pleased with the result. Each "pane" is different, maintaining the abstract feel.

The next step was to pick up stitches along the edges and knit the pieces together.  Then I picked up stitches all the way around and knit the border with mitered corners.  I don't think I ever counted the total number of stitches around the thing, but it was A LOT.  I had to link together about 5 or 6 Options cables, and broke several in the process due to the weight.  To create a neat stretchy edging I bound off with a mile or so of applied I-cord.  It wasn't until I got the thing off the needles that I could see that it turned out about 40% larger than I planned.  The original lap-blanket-for-two ended up large enough to almost cover a queen size bed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Citron Shawl

I am pleased to announce a Finished Object.  Yes, another one!  This one is a Citron Shawl that I started eons ago, then let sit untouched on and off.  I finished it during Spindle Camp, then finally dyed it.

The yarn is Filatura Di Crosa Golder Line Superior, 70% cashmere/30% silk, and is gorgeously soft and so light it feels as if it is floating in your hand.  (Happily it was also on sale.) Its only drawback to work with was its color.  Fuzzy laceweight mushroom tan yarn becomes almost invisible in anything but very bright light.  I look pretty hideous in that color, too, so after it was complete I mixed up a pot of dark purple dye.  I was shooting for a little lighter color, but the cashmere sucked up the dye in record time.  Happily the dress I will be wearing it with has darker purple accents to match.

The Citron pattern is really designed as more of a neck scarf.  I added a few extra sections to make it much larger.  I don't think I would have had the staying power to add a ninth ruched section - that's a LOT of stitches per row!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Mitts for Jess

I knit and embroidered these mitts in record time (for me) for my niece, Jess.  One week after graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Biology, Jess' car was hit head on by a drunk driver going the wrong way up a divided highway.  Jess suffered from a broken collarbone and bad burns on her wrists.  Amazing girl, she went through surgery and having a plate put in her shoulder, then within a few weeks started her summer job as a research tech at the San Diego Zoo.  The mitts are to protect the fragile new skin on her wrists.  Jess is doing great!

The mitts had to be really soft, yet not so warm that they couldn't be worn during warmish weather, so they are made from BeSweet Bamboo.  The yarn has a great hand-paint look with subtle color gradations and is so soft and smooth that it is a pleasure to work with.  Be Sweet is made in South Africa and supports job creation programs and educational development projects in economically depressed areas. The bamboo is listed as "eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, and machine washable".  Perfect for the busy young scientist.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I've been caught up in preparations for an upcoming trip. Armed with a recommended gear list I have tackled the likes of REI and Amazon, slowly accumulating a small mountain of items. The trip is an awesome 7-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon, so I can't afford to forget anything important. Yet the maximum allowed luggage is 25 lbs. Tricky.

It is going to be HOT in the bottom of the Canyon, so at least the requisite clothing will be lightweight.  Several folks have recommended taking a sarong for light-weight bathing suit cover-up around camp.  I whipped up a standard-size one on the sewing machine and, after experimenting, decided I didn't like the tight knotting or resultant slippage.  So, using an old nightshirt as a basic cutting guide, I whipped up an extra-loose dress out of lightweight cotton. It counts as my first attempt to sew more than a skirt, bag or trailer curtains. 

I will be taking the Nikon Coolpix AW100 and handful of extra chips and batteries. In case the spare batteries are not enough, I have acquired a cool little gadget called the Solio Bolt (cheaper from Amazon). It is a pocket-sized solar charger. It only outputs through USB, so at first it was going to be unusable for the camera batteries. With some searching, I found a battery charger that can be powered by USB. Neither is speedy, mind you, but a workable backup.

Aware that many of the 17 other family members on this trip will be bringing identical cameras and REI-sourced gear, I have pulled out that wonder of modern science, the Sharpie.

First I put my name on my camera. Then I decided to customize my green duffel bag. It wouldn't help much to put my last name on the bag, since at least 5 of the other rafters will have the same name. And there is another Amy on the trip. I went for pictures instead.  (For much more elaborate Sharpie Art, check out the official blog.)
Should be useful to identify the bag in the airport, too. There's still plenty of ink in the Sharpie, but I draw the line at labeling my underwear.

And here's a shot of Saturday's harvest from the garden.