Saturday, February 28, 2009

winter surf

(click to see crazy icefisherman in middle of lake)

Bye bye you nasty ol' February you.Bring on MARCH!!!! OOoooh, I'm so excited for spring, it's close enough to taste.

Some new bloggy-poos I found that I really like:

JaanaMaa--she posted the cutest owl sweater!!! She makes some gorgeous things.

The pattern for the cabled owls sweater is found here. The designer's blog is here. Love. It.

I'm liking the Zietgeist blog, which I just discovered. Her heart sweater is the cutest thing evah. I am enjoying reading her experiences developing a yarn distributorship.

I am considering knitting the Bed of Roses Shawl for my next lace project...I have some pretty blue wool and I think it would be just right for that. Isn't it a pretty pattern?!

Another free elann pattern I'm thinking about is the Luna Skirt It would be fun to knit a large lacy project that you could then wear as a skirt, but I'm not sure I like the full-skirt effect, nor the length of the one pictured. Pretty sure you could make it shorter easily....

Am also trying to plan what to make with my various homespuns. Granted, I don't have that much spun up yet, but I was thinking it would be fun to knit up something that incorporated all my homespun scraps, like a garter-stripe shawl. Or maybe squares for a blankie?

I found this cute free pattern for a basic shawl, I might try this--I like the one BalkanStyle did.

I also discovered Ozbambi's blog--love the dyeing with Koolaid post. I'll have to go back and read that in depth when I get around to dyeing my own.

Did I mention already that I love Cindy's blog? The beading is making me crazy--I so want to learn about that, especially wirework. Like I have time. Sigh

Mohair in Summer is the blog of a talented Japanese knitter. She is always cranking out the FOs.

Spinning Jenny is another blog of a spinner knitter crafty person, who is inspiring for what she makes.

And how about Ilga Leja's patterns? Such as Lake of the Woods:

Wow, I'm loving that.

This shawl, called "Gail", is just gorgeous! Love the Sea Silk...

And a well-written intro to toe-up sock knitting. My first socks were made that way, the second pair were top-down Jaywalkers which I don't like as much. I'd rather start with the toe....
So much inspiration out there, I'm stymied!!!

So much rambling, so little time to knit! See ya.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring Cleaning, part 1

I'm so out of touch. Have hardly been on Ravelry or surfed much, and there are so many great blogs I like to read! But, just maybe, I like to talk more than I like to read...?

I just spent the last 2 hours from midnight on with a queasy stomach, surfing ravelry and Lucy's blog which linked me on to another blog I love and sent me back to Ravelry in search of a mentioned pattern. Don't you just love stream of consciousness surfing?! Once in a while I just want to see where it takes me. I miss doing that.

The pattern that I found was this beret in lace--so gorgeous in Cindy's handspun! Oh, and if you like chickens, check out Lucy's pics--I love her snow chicken!

On the other hand, not surfing so much has left me a bit more time for knitting and spinning and reading. And other stuff...

I was inspired to recycle this weekend. Related to this post about the BPA residues from common household plastics, I decided to do a bit of spring cleaning.

I have been hoarding these lovely little glass jars

from Christmas gifts. Usually we get a cheese platter or two, and often these cute little jars of jelly are included. Here's a photo more to scale:

I love the jellies, have used them for a yummy jam tart each year. I also love the jars and have saved them in my cupboard until they were overflowing and falling out.

Faced with either using them or ditching them, I chose to re-organize my spice cabinet.

I went from this:

to this:

Still room for improvement: those 3 large containers at top center are plastic...I need more glass jars!

I used my Brother P-Touch Labeler to mark each container appropriately

I love this labeler, I got it on Martha Stewart's website several years ago.

Several of the glass jars have plastic lids, but I think that's a step up from plastic containers.

I really try to save any nice glass jar with a metal lid. Such a scavenger...

Here is the cache of plastic to be recycled after moving all contents into glass jars--

I even found some larger glass jars for holding things like cinnamon sticks, and bulk spices. It feels really good to organize this, and only took about an hour. (hey, I just noticed I have 2 containers of curry powder--duh!)

Another bonus: it made the house smell really great, transferring all those spices! DH thought I was baking up a storm =)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finishing up

So, it is difficult to pick up and move on after such a blow to the family. But life continues....

I finished my Bandage for Lepers in Vietnam, and mailed it to June at JunieMoon: I was reading her recap on using smaller thread; I really liked the FO made in size 10 crochet thread on size 2 knitting needles. I wonder what was used before?

The bandage was fiddly to make, but extremely satisfying when it was done! Wierd, must be my medical bent.

I knit a Kerlix!

I hope it got to her in usual I mailed it late and had to send it express-mail to get it there by the deadline! Expensive charity knit--Sigh.

I finished up my first Bird In Hand mitten while traveling for my grampa's funeral. And on 2/20, I sewed the picot hem. These are really warm and cute! I don't know if I'm going to have enough red yarn to make the second one...we'll see. I think I bought another ball of that and stashed it somewhere.

Another B-I-H tidbit: I saw and fell in love with natsuko's bird mitten, so I charted it from her picture and am putting that motif into the palm of the left hand like she did. Too cute!

I have also been working on the reversible cable scarf from "Cables Untangled" by Melissa Leapman.

I started this a couple years ago, then put it down as the color was all wrong for the gift I was planning. Now I'm making it for me--it contrasts oddly with Meinstein (whodathunk.) I decided to make a matching hat with the last ball, then add to the scarf from whatever is left. For the hat I cast on 90 stitches and knit several rows of k2p2 rib, then switched to 6 k and 2 p across. Several rows into that, I began the first cable twist. This sure takes up a lot of yarn!

Here's a pic of a cute machine knit tammie I picked up at the local drugstore for 5 dollars.

I bought it knowing there was no way it's one-size-fits-all-craziness was going to fit my huge noggin. But I think it's cute for a teddy bear (if I had one) and it might even fit DD's American Girl doll. I want to chart the words on it, to make one for myself in thicker yarn.

Other textile news: look what I spun up yesterday!

I spent hours during the icky snowstorm, spinning and then plying this nice wool, while The Young and The Restless weekly recap played on the TV. (So glad I tuned back in last night of all nights--Cane just found out his newborn daughter is really his brother's....heh)

I'm getting better (less kinks), my crazy uneven spinning doesn't look half bad when it is made up in very colorful wool! I'm proud of this skein, made from 4 oz merino wool hand-dyed by Gale Evans in her 'Crayon Box' colorway. I can't wait to see what I can knit up in this lovely happy yarn! Looks like sherbet =)

And, last but not least, I just recieved my cashmere laceweight yarn from China, and with luck it'll match the Summer Sampler Lace Shawl so I can finish that up before this summer!!!

That's it for my knitterly recap. Hope everyone else is having such a textilicious February.

Until next time....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The passing

Bittersweet sadness. With the end of one long fruitful life, the edges of my family pull inward, like gathering a scarf around a collection of precious seeds, to keep us together, to keep us from flying apart. Perhaps this is why God gives us families. To strengthen us when we are most weak.

I thank God for my family, for the cherished memories of my grandparents. If anyone ever doubted their own impact on the world around them, they should look at the influence of grandparents. They set the very foundation of generations to come.

Circumstances have forced me onward in the face of Goompa's death. I have been ill, I have had to go to work daily. I have wanted to just sit and cry, but have not until now had the leisure of such. And it is snowing outside, a gentle shower of pure white from the sky. The clouds cry.

Goodbye my beloved grandfather. I will see you again when Christ our Lord deems fit, and I look toward that joyful day.

A heartfelt thank you to my readers, especially those who have expressed their condolences. You have all been a blessing in my life! I look forward to many more interactions with you. --Aim

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


My wonderful Grampa died today. Born on the 4th of July, he was an all-American boy his whole life. He loved hot dogs, potato chips, fireworks, fishing, swimming in the lake, growing tomatoes, and writing poetry. He was 95.

He was a difficult man with an amazing wit. And we loved him so.

I miss him already.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

"H" is for

H is for Hearts. And on that topic, Valentine's Day is coming soon. Wouldn't you love to give someone these off-color conversation hearts? So much attitude in such little packages!

Hearts you can knit or sew for Valentine's day...

  • cute pillowcases with hearts to make. What a great design!

  • And for quilters heart yo-yos that could be sewn into a lovely reusable garland in your fav scraps! Oh, this is toooooo cute! I'm feeling very inspired!
H is for Healthy living.

With all the news about mercury in our corn syrup, studies of bottled-water plastics residue (BPA) being retained in our bodies after exposure, and the chemicals entering our food chain manually, it's never been a better time to think about your health and revamp your lifestyle.

I'm personally trying to become a better consumer by reusing plastic grocery bags, & slowly replacing them with re-usable totes. I'm buying more fresh produce, and especially from the organic section and local farmers. I'm weaning off bottled water--I guess the BPA-laced plastic is also used to line cans...that's frightening. It is EVERYWHERE.

Our rapid-pace, disposable lifestyle is killing us slowly, by poisoning our oceans with debris and CO2 emissions, eroding our ozone layer, and depositing chemicals into our very makeup that could have unforeseen consequences. Very scary indeed. Like destroying our planets natural oxygen factory, the rain-forest.This poster makes a sad but true statement:

Here's an article on healthy eating. Paying attention to your own habits, consumer habits, eating habits, etc, can make an impact on yourself and the world around you.

For instance, I was always grabbing the bottled waters at work as a "healthy snack." Now I'm freaked out by the BPA I'm exposing myself to. (Not to mention the trash needlessly generated) I'm going to get a Brita Filter to keep at work in our office fridge (these are generally made of plastic too, but I'm not sure which kind--I'll find out today) and filter the water to drink from my own cup. There are plastics that have no BPA leaching, that should be safer to use. I guess it's the plastics labeled "1" and "2" that are the best for water bottles. "7" is the BPA-loaded type. Here's a link to BPA-free water bottles that you can re-use, so buy one and fill it with tap water!

My own thought on aluminum is this: I won't switch to aluminum water bottles; aluminum cookware use has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease, so I'd pick a stainless steel version, or just use an old-fashioned thermos that has the glass liner.

H is for Hobbit House! A sustainable-living Hobbit House!

Found here (scroll down). What a cool article, and a sweet design! Wouldn't you just love to live in something that had that kind of curb-appeal?!

Have a Hobbit-cozy, Homey & Healthy weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"G" is for Gamma Globulin

Gamma-globulin. My word o' the day. Doesn't that have a lovely ring to it? It's just a fancy name for a protein found in our bodies, but I think it sounds so many words in medicine.

G is for Garden!!!! Every year, I get through the last 2 months of winter by dreaming of my next garden. During the worst of the weather, I leaf through garden books, websites & seed catalogs, drooling over pictures of flowers, edibles, & trees. It doesn't matter how much I'm NOT actually gardening anymore. Just the act of "dreaming green" helps me get through February, the loooooooongest month of the year IMHO.

I eagerly await bulbs flowering each spring. This year, there might not be many bulbs left--we tilled under the flower bed last summer. But if any survivors come up, I will be ecstatic! Keeping my fingers crossed.

This year, I want to plant some heirloom seeds from seedsavers. I did this a number of years ago, and I have to tell you, the heirloom tomatoes I grew (4 varieties) were KILLER!

If I remember right, I grew "Black Krim", Pink Brandywine", "Eva Purple Ball" and "Amish Paste." I don't remember much about the last 2, but the others were fantastic. Homegrown heirloom tomatoes ROCK!

G is for GMO--genetically modified organisms--that are being forced on us by "Large Corporation." I'm very concerned about this. This article about super-plants whose very DNA has been meddled with makes me want to change my consumer habits. To counteract the implications of this "scientific advancement", I will buy my seeds from mom & pop seed-savers and not the local displays at chain stores. And, I might try to save my own seeds after a good harvest.

I don't want to eat GMO. I don't want our food-chain modified. Already it has meant the complete extinction of numerous varieties and species of natural organisms. Did you all know about this?! What if these scientists unwittingly unleash some "viral" plant that wipes out all others?! What the heck?! These guys need to be controlled. They have no business messing with my sustenance. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

(Link here).

So, I'm gonna garden a little this year. Organic food on my own land. Even if it's only a couple of tomato plants, it will be worth it. My mouth is watering!

G is for Gourds. I grew a crop of gourds once, about 7 years ago, put them into the garage to dry, and promptly forgot about them! (I had to get through PA school.) Last summer, I was moving stuff around in our garage-cum-shed, and found a pile of dried, ready to craft bottleneck gourds! And I just found this tutorial on gourd-crafting. I need to make gourd birdhouses! What a great idea.

"G" is for Granny squares. Oh yes, I love the old-fashioned granny afghans. I remember the year my Nana gave us each one for Christmas. That was five afghans! We each had our own color, and those blankies were well-loved and well-used. Some of them still exist 30 years later! (She did not make them, but bought them at a church bazaar. She was a prolific knitter, but never crocheted...)

So I have a fondness for the granny square. The flower grannies I am working on I already published my pictures of here. I am making a blankie for DD.

Look at this cute crochet granny top, shown here:

Happy Granny Crocheting!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Mend-day

I deserve a pat on the back. I just spent 2 days cleaning, organizing, de-constructing my sewing room, and making room for another new chair:

Isn't it lovely?! I fell totally in love with this chair at Pier One. And I told myself, "Self, you can have that chair if you pick up your sewing table/mess." So, after 4 years of procrastinating about cleaning up my sewing table and craft area, I finally did it. OMG I cannot believe how much great stuff I had stacked up and forgotten. And how long I let it go....

Anyway, I knew it would be a monstrous huge project, which is why I kept putting it off. I got it down to just the basics yesterday, moved some furniture around, and then this morning I found mending that needed to be done. So, before I put away the sewing machine and serger, I mended:

  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 4 sweaters/shirts
  • 2 towels
  • 1 pair undies ;-)
I feel like I've gotten so much done!!!

One of the best things I fixed was this silk/cotton sweater top from Coldwater Creek. The neck edge started fraying--this is one of my fav tops in spring and summer.

In my stash, I found some periwinkle ricrac that matched perfectly!!! So now you can't even see the frayed edge, and it can't fray any farther because of the zigzag stitch I used! Yeah, I love that.

I still have bags of things to go through--if I didn't just dump some of it into bags, I'd be working on it for days more...But the lion's share of the work is done, and I feel great!

AND, most importantly, I have another place in my house where I can knit! Woohoooooo! I love this room of the house, it has 2 east-facing windows and one south. Lots of morning sunshine. I spend much time in here on my computer, but now I get to do more!

This morning I put a 3 lb tip roast into the crockpot with oregano, fresh rosemary sprigs, garlic, and lemon slices to cover. We're going to have some beef sandwiches with the Superbowl! Can't wait. I'm hoping to also whip out another batch of granola--we can't keep that stuff in stock!

Here's a photo of a quilt top I turned up in my fabric stash:

There are bunches of polar-fleece; I made 2 blankets this morning by simply cutting off the selvedges. DS got one with print of the Chicago Bears, DD got one with the USMC logos on it.

I found some Hello Kitty fabrics, including the one that I overdyed. I found lots of fabrics for work clothes and sun-dresses, quilts in progress and a whole bunch of quilting patterns I'd forgotten I'd bought 3 years ago! Sheesh.

Have a Happy Superbowl Sunday, y'all!