Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Another year of blogging! Doesn't seem possible I've been doing this for 2 years today! I'm still finding my voice, refining my posting style...each day I hope it improves.

Here's a big fat--

--to every visitor to my blog, I love my audience! And I'm so amazed, still, that anyone would want to read what I have to say. (Or come back for more!)

So how about a preview of things to come? I am working on a tutorial that will post soon. I plan on ramping it up a bit here with some fresh knitting, and a new pattern.

Hang on to your seats--here's to mo' bettah blogging!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From the Archives....

It's a rainy day here, perfect for lounging and leafing through old mags...

So here is a photo review from my vintage needlework magazine collection. I'm posting them for general inspiration and some of them for laughs =)

(All of these images were taken from Workbasket Magazines from the 1970-71 issues. I will not be posting the patterns, but let the photos give you some great ideas!)

First, lets start with crochet :

Christmas cozies for a tumbler--aren't they kitschy?! They'd look great on a beer bottle too, heh.

Next are crocheted slipper socks--I've never crocheted socks before, but I'd like to try these specifically, I like the way they look. In some fun sock yarn...

More crochet (and this is the kicker):

LOVING the Granny Square Tie!!! Wonder if I could get DH to wear one to work--yeah, baby!

This vintage ad for a "big crochet" book cracks me up--everything old is new again! Funny that "quick" was the draw 38 years ago, just like it is now!

What a cute pineapple potholder, I want to make one of these!

Look at this hilarious chicken egg cozy--it looks more like a puppet! I would probably make this up in worsted weight yarn, super-sized for a kitchen-mitt!!!

Look at this ad from Herrschner's from 1971. It's kinda pretty--imagine making all those bobbles. (Imagine sitting on them...yikes!)

Lastly, a collection of crochet jewelry:
The most basic of crochet jewelry, I think anyone could do this w/o instructions!

Interesting bracelet.

Now for this, I'd need instructions...

Love the idea of a ring!

Here are some knits:

Nice bulky mittens.

One of the cutest bags I've ever seen!

I'm saving the best for last, chicas. I need to make this one because...
(drumroll, please)

...I really want to look like an ELF!

What the?!

Here's hoping you have a creative weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Morning Coffee

How about a little book review? Grab a cuppa Joe--I have been book shopping, as usual, let me share them with you.

I am absolute trouble in a bookstore.

First, the book "Fiber Gathering".

This book attracted me for several reasons, one is that I can vicariously visit many fiber fests across the US by reading this. Another is that there are instructions for all different steps of fiber prep, such as skirting a fleece.

That's kinda cool for a dreaming-of-yarn-farming kind of gal. And a third reason is that there are cute patterns scattered throughout: look at this lovely Ruana

I'm having fun reading through this book. Maybe I'll get to visit one of those fiber fests soon!

Another book I got recently is all about reversible knitting.

Sitting down in the store, and leafing through this book, I thought "I have to get this." It is full of techniques for reversible knitting in all types of knits, such as colorwork, lace, cables, etc.

Did you know you could do this with completely different cable patterns?! I'm amazed...I was especially fond of the two scarf patterns shown here:

Can't wait to work at least one of these!

And I also popped for this book on colorwork.

It has sections on intarsia (which I will definitely refer to if I ever get around to doing intarsia), stranded techniques, color theory,

and even does a little study on the differences you get knitting with multicolored yarns in different weights and textures.

Do I look like I'm preparing for a long winter?! I guess I do...

I am cranking through the books these days, fiction and non. I just finished The Host by Stephenie Meyer--it was amazing as all her writing is, but so strange that it took me the first 100 pages of squirming and thinking I would not be able to keep reading before I finally became empathetic to the main character. Read it, guys, it's good.

Okay, I guess I can face the work week now =) Have to if I'm going to continue funding such a booklover's lifestyle!!!

Have a good week. (Edited for typos and such--I was in a hurry to post before leaving for work!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Song of the Hoo Hoo Bird

There is a bird in our neighborhood that I always forget about over the long winter months. This bird's distinction (in my mind) is his song. I don't even know what the bird looks like, but you can hear him in the distance in the wee hours of the morning. His song is 'hoo hoo' (like "you-who" in a sing-song voice) and it cracks me up. It's like he is trying to get my attention.

I love the Hoo Hoo Bird. It means that winter is over!

This morning is sweet soft weather, a drizzle that is more like a mist from the Garden of Eden. There is a riot of birdsong, Hoo Hoo Bird included, and the light is muted as well from the overcast. The ground is greening beautifully. Last night was the first night we slept with the windows open. Such a lovely thing to do. And to be awakened by the Hoo Hoo Bird rocks!! =D

It's spring, I'm loving my short hair, my puppy is healthy. I want to get gardening--I may try to get out there today if it doesn't rain any harder than it is now. I love to garden in the cool rain, it makes me feel so vital!

Have you all seen the kimono by Ropeknits on Ravelry? I love this pattern. Ya know, I love just a few too many my favs list on Ravelry is about 6900 items long (some are duplicates, I just like everybody's work!!!) I'm so inspired by everyone else.

Or how about Sassymetrical? Cute idea, great name!
And, I'm thinking of knitting up a pair of Mother's Day Cotton Slippers Aren't they cute? Great idea, using cotton for slippers, that should feel so good on the tootsies!

Now, I just found a group on Ravelry for the giant-needle knitting! Remember I bought some size 50 needles from the Bagsmith--I have a burning need to make something with them. So I am now searching rav for the patterns to knit up with 3-5 strands of yarn held girlfriend bought a book from the bagsmith. I might want to get that, too. Or at least from the library. Anyway, here is the link to the search for those patterns on Ravelry--check it out!

Oh, and if you're like me and get real tired of having to sign in to Lion Brand website, and want a quicker way to surf their patterns, here is the Lion Brand patterns page from ravelry. It is a bit easier than trying to browse their webpages.

Well now, the rain has gotten steadily heavier, and the sky more leaden. There is still a lot of bird activity out there, but inside, I feel like curling up with my bagsmith needles and going to town! I hope to have some pics for you soon, I have a lot of lingering projects that are ALMOST finished, but not yet.

--gotta go knit now. May the Hoo Hoo Bird sing in your backyard too!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Good Stuff

Oh, spring, spring!!! I'm so excited!!! Able to take puppies for walks, although our older dog now has heart failure. But she is doing remarkably well for her age of 14 years.

And even she positively gambols about when it gets warm out finally! The backyard grass is starting to green up finally. Hopefully we've seen the last of the snow--that last blizzard was amazing! And only 5 short days ago!!

I got outside to work in the garden for the first time on April 4, two days before this blizzard. I have 3 large clumps of Miscanthus sinensis that require cutting back to the ground each spring. I found out last year that putting this job off just makes it harder to do later in the season, as the new growth becomes mixed in with the old. Anyway, I feel good I got one of them hacked down! Two to go...

I'm gonna try not to do the weekend warrior thing this year--no more cutting down trees and hauling them around after being completely sedentary! Man, I really hurt my back doing that last autumn. I'm inspired to get moving, start yoga again, and slowly work up to my strength in the garden!

And while in the garden, I can reminisce about my grandfather's prowess as a gardener. He was amazing, and I count it a special blessing that we could help him in his garden as he aged. I'm so lucky to have known grandparents into my 40s--many people don't have that opportunity.

I also am thinking it really fun that DS is taking the same botany class with the same teacher that I did about 8-10 years ago! That was probably my most favorite class ever. Second only to the forestry class I took in high school.

Loving the apical meristem. Yeah.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

J is for ?

J is for Jean Greenhowe, that wonderful toy pattern designer! She has a free patterns page, and these cute chocolate-egg covers are one of them! I love her patterns, have purchased some on the internet, and I'd really like to knit her nativity set.

Alphabet blogging can be a challenge at times. Here is a good example: what the heck do you say about knitting that starts with a 'J'?!

So I have a couple of go-to research assets I use when I get stumped. I go on Ravelry and search groups that start with J, or patterns, or yarn names...that's a pretty up-to-date reference for what's out there.

And I peruse my "Principles of Knitting" by June Hemmens Hiatt. Unfortunately, this time, the only thing there is "joinery" which is a fancy way of lumping all methods of joining to a previous knit edge or joining 2 pieces together. Kinda un-inspiring, and really involves too many techniques to list in a blog post. So, onward to Ravelry!

But first, jackets. I think I mentioned previously that I love jackets! In addition to "A Jacket Called Horse", and Meinstein (aka 'My Einstein' Jacket for those who don't know), there are so many jackets I desire, I'd make them all if I could live to be 300 years old. I guess I'm just gonna have to be picky what I make =)

J is for Japanese knitting! I'm a big fan of Japanese patterns, I purchased a few books from YesAsia, and have yet to knit any of them. But I KNOW that if I only get around to knitting one of them, it will be the Acorn and Oak design called 'Herbstlied'. Even if I only knit a swatch of that pattern. Love it!

Here is a great blog to help knit Japanese patterns! This is for poor slobs like me who cannot read Japanese. You can find help with translations and the photos of WIPs and FOs are amazing. They have links to help you purchase the difficult to attain pattern books. (I know, I'm enabling you...)

Also, there is another blog called "Crossed in Translation" that highlights the Am Kamin sweater pattern published in a Japanese pattern book, and offers translation advice. This blog is no longer active that I can see, but has loads of great advice for some patterns.

There are also groups in Rav that are all about Japanese knitting!

There is a pattern that Barbara G Walker called Japanese feather & fan: Izzyknits made up a beautiful crescent shawl pattern in this lace, and it is available as a Ravelry download. See her blog about it here--very pretty!

There are links to Japanese Kanji charts at KodyMayKnits! She has charted a lot of the kanji symbols, such as the happiness symbol here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday Surf

This is an edited post I started last weekend--hopefully it's not too random :)

Some crafty links:
homemade padded envelopes tutorial. These are cute and retro, depending on the papers you use. Great recycling idea!

I like this one a lot: gift bags made from an envelope! She even gives a pdf file to print out the "stamp" on it. So cute and really looks easy.

Some knitting scoops:
My new favorite blog is Flutterby Patch. This link takes you to a very sweet knitted daffodil pattern! She has some amazing free patterns, and the cutest blog I've ever seen! LOVE IT!

You should also head on over to Little Cotton Rabbits' page for the free tiny knit bunnies and bearsfor Easter. These are so cute! She never fails to amaze me with her bunny cuteness....

Another fat bunny pattern here is free.

This is really cool: a periodic table of knitting. What a great idea for science geeks like me! I love it!!!

Some cute sewing ideas:
Meet Me At Mike's has a list of cute Easter project links, for bunnies, eggs, baskets, etc. Cute stuff.

Allsorts has a great felt bunny pin to sew. Very sweet.

There are the sweetest little "Kimono Shoes" found at this site, along with many other fun sewing patterns, for things like reusable sandwich bags, a t-shirt shrug, laundry bags, wallets, photo albums, pincushions, and you-name-it. A great link list of how-tos.

Lastly, I like this post at Maya*made blog. I really like to do my own fabric stamping--I remember back in art class,(6th grade?!) when we did linoleum printing, that was so cool. I like the scarf she printed and made with her own stamp.

Back when DD was a baby, I cut a potato in half, then carved a heart on one side, and a cow on the other. I stamped an old bedsheet allover with these in various blues fabric paints, and then used the fabric in a quilt. (I still have the quilt, but some of those squares are shredded because tying it created huge holes!). I remember how engrossing that project was, and how it didn't matter that I had to do the painting on the floor of our tiny apartment kitchen! I was fascinated :)

Regarding the homemade dogfood I mentioned in my last post: I used a potroast, the potatoes and carrots, the broth, and added cooked rice and oatmeal, spread it onto baking sheets and baked for about 30 minutes total at 325 degrees, until it was golden brown. Because I did not add flour, it did not crisp into kibble or crackers, but was more like dog-burgers! So I kept it all chopped up in a bowl in the fridge and dished it out to them over the week mixed with Newman's Own dog kibble--they loved it!

Here are a couple dog kibble recipes I found online: from here, and here. I'd like to try again to make kibble or dog treats at least: I have another potroast leftover in the freezer (we just don't do leftovers much anymore).

Okay this has been a very rambling post, but I hope you've enjoyed some of the links :)

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Lily

Check out the male and female organs of this Easter Lily...kinda risque when you look up close =-O Nature is so spectacular!!

But look how shiny the petals are, so white against their green foliage! The scent is incredibly strong. I'm amazed that all of this is combined into one plant. So beautiful and so symbolic at Easter.

Here's another pic of my shawl in progress.

I just finished the Elephants chart from a Jade Starmore book I got from the library--isn't it cute?! I had fun picking out the colors too. This shawl will be something I wrap up in to hang around the house, so I'm picking crazy stuff that doesn't go together. I love it though.

I started 3 posts last Sunday, and did not finish any of them. I'm not too satisfied with them.

Something I have to tell you--I got myself a Vitamix for my B-day! Another item I've wanted for 20+ years, woohoo! I have been cranking out the vegie and fruit juices and smoothies, and even made my pups dog food from a leftover pot roast no one was going to eat. Smoothies are my dinner each night--hope I can lose some weight!

The best smoothie ever was one I made last night:
1 quart strawberries, hulled
2 bananas, peeled
8 oz vanilla yogurt
a snippet of wheat-grass (I usually go light on this stuff! It's not for flavor!!)
a 1-inch piece of ginger-root, peeled
ice (about 2-4 cups), use crushed ice if you don't have a Vitamix

Beat the crap out of this stuff in your blender or vitamix, until it is smooth, smooth, smooth. I love the ginger flavor with the banana and strawberry--quite literally the best smoothie ever. YUM!

Tonight's smoothie was 1/2 a pineapple, peeled + one tangerine, peeled + one banana + 1/2 tsp cinnamon + ice. Wasn't too sweet, but the spice added just the right touch.

So. It is almost Good Friday. I think I'll go and read about the Last Supper now. Have a blessed Easter everyone. Edited to add link to Vitamix.