Oh, poor, neglected blog. I didn’t meant to ignore you for so long. Life has been busy. My main excuse is that I was in Japan for most of April. I kept an online travel journal while we were there, if you happen to be interested in our day-to-day adventures, you can visit my Yahoo travel journal.

I certainly haven’t been neglecting the knitting and spinning, but that will be the subject of another post. This post is about the awesomeness of Maker Faire!

The Yarn Harlot was there on Saturday, but since I was working at the yarn shop that day I couldn’t go. I enjoy reading her blog, but I have never read any of her books and I have never felt a strong desire to go to one her events, so I wasn’t really disappointed. Instead, we went on Sunday, and look who we got to see instead:

That’s Adam Savage, from Mythbusters! He talked about his career history…starting out in theatre set design and special effects, working for ILM as a prop and set builder on all sorts of awesome movies, working for a toy company, and finally getting the gig on Mythbusters. He didn’t talk about Mythbusters much, he mostly explained how he is crazy obsessed with making extremely detailed replicas of movie props, like the ZF-1 gun in The Fifth Element (which he has been working on for 10 years, and he still hasn’t finished it), and making his own Maltese falcon (as seen in the film noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart ♥). It was really awesome, but now we know for sure that he is absolutely insane. In a really good way.

The Bazaar Bizarre (craft fair) was really good too, albeit EXTREMELY crowded. It was hard to stop and look at stuff, or cross the aisle to look at a different booth, because of the constant river of people. There was a great selection of stuff from a lot of cool designers and crafters. James bought me a few belated birthday presents, and I bought for myself an awesome skein of Dream In Color Smooshy at the Imagiknit booth. I was too tired to get pictures last night but hopefully I will do that today, and I can properly credit the crafters that I supported.

My sister scored at the Swap-o-Rama-Rama in the same building…she found a plain white tank and then had it screenprinted for free. There were also sewing machines for public use so you could alter your “new to you” clothes right there.

We ate corndogs…James got a foot-long “monster” corndog (my sister and I opted for the normal size), and there was a guy mixing the batter with a drill.

There was also drivable cupcakes (click any picture to make it bigger):

Huge wooden dinosaur skeletons (remember the smaller ones you built when you were a kid??):

Belly dancers:

And a giant metal lady on fire!

There was a TON of other cool stuff. The rest of my pictures are here, or go look at the Flickr group pool of photos, because no one person could capture all of the awesomeness that was there. We had such a good time, and I can’t wait to drag more people with me next year. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t have a great time…there really is something for everyone.  Be sure to check it out next year, or see it in Austin in October.


I got a spinning wheel! The Lady was kind enough to GIVE me one of hers – for free! It’s an Ashford Traditional, and I’m sure it’s seen many owners…but it still works beautifully and is simple enough for me to figure out. I got a quick one-hour lesson, which was enormously helpful, and since then I’ve just been learning by doing. I spun some green Corriedale for practice, and then I dove into my build-up of Spunky Eclectic club fiber. “Pie for Everyone!” seemed like a good place to start.

(click for bigger)

Can I just say that spinning on a wheel is awesome? I knew I wanted a bouncy, springy, bulky weight yarn, and that’s pretty much what I got. I spun and plied all 4oz in just a few nights, and I had so much fun while doing it. It’s not perfect, I could have given it even more twist in places, and my drafting needs work (though it’s loads better than it was with the spindle), but I love it.

Spunky Eclectic Club Roving, November 2007
100% Falkland wool
4 oz, 116 yards
something like bulky weight

I’m envisioning turning this into a squishy Urchin or Zeebee hat. I’m a little hesitant to knit it up because I love looking at it so much, but I haven’t knit with my handspun yet and I think it will be awesome.

Right before Stiches West, I sort of went through and reorganized my yarn. I had seen the Inga Hat a few weeks prior, and found some random worsted weight wool to use for it. It’s amazing how much nicer stranded knitting looks with real wool, instead of superwash.

Leftover Cascade 220 (lavender) and Galway Highland Heather (blue)
size 3 needles
I love the braid around the bottom. My excuse for casting this on (amongst my many other projects) was so I could try out the braid as a possible embellishment for the completely ridiculous hat James wants me to make for him. I think I’m going to give this to my sister, because I never finished her second mitten for xmas and I’ll be seeing her next week. These are definitely her colors.

Just for fun, my fabulous model:

I did end up going to Stitches last weekend, even though I almost backed out. I was thinking, “There’s not much I need, I don’t have anyone to go with me, I’ll just spend money, I just ordered yarn from elann.com…” But then my boss at the yarn store asked if she could ride with me so I decided that was a good enough reason. Realllllly twist my arm, right?

The only thing I knew I wanted to get was a new drop spindle…something simple and basic, lighter than 2 oz, but with a decent spin time and the ability to hold more than .25 oz of spun fiber. I love my carnelian whorl spindle from Butterfly Girl Designs, but I’m already slow at spindling and that one makes me even slower. After almost giving up, because spindles were quite scarce in the market…

…I found this lovely little Schacht spindle!

I was able to spin up THREE predrafted sections of Goblin Eyes on here, as opposed to the one I could fit on the carnelian spindle. And it went so much faster! I’ve already got this Navajo plied and will be pulling a 2 oz skein off pretty soon.

At another booth that did have spindles (but none that I was crazy about), I had the opportunity to try spinning hemp fiber. It was way easier than I thought! It drafts very easily (almost too easily…but it’s way easy to join again) and just look at these hand-dyed colors:

Fiber Fiend hand-dyed hemp pencil roving
colorway Sunset

The booth where I found my spindle was a fantastic new discovery, located right under my nose. A Verb for Keeping Warm is located right in Oakland! How did I not know this? According to the blog, her stuff will presently be available at Article Pract too. And, of course, she’s on Etsy. Here’s what I picked up with the spindle:

A Verb for Keeping Warm hand-dyed merino/tussah silk roving
colorway Branch

Pretty pretty. I was feeling so good about the hemp experience that I was confident enough to believe I can spin merino silk and not mess it up! Now I’m not so sure…

The only other thing I got was a few super cheap skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I got out for under $60 and everything I bought was either 1) relatively unique, 2) something I was planning to get, or 3) too cheap not to buy. AND I had a ton of fun with my boss, Bente. We got a full tour of the SWTC sponsor booth and drooled over tons of wool silk yarn.

I have about a million things cast on right now. My Ravelry projects page looks ridiculous with all the wips, and there’s a few I’ve been too ashamed to list. On top of that, I will be getting a spinning wheel for free in the very near future. If only sleep weren’t so essential…

Last night as my Thing-a-Day for Feb. 12, I started the cross stitch kit I bought from Subversive Cross Stitch a few weeks ago.

Didn’t get super far, but I’m trying to do it when James isn’t around/isn’t paying attention so it will be a hilarious surprise.  Also…cross stitch is so awesome!  This morning as I was getting dressed for work I was dreaming about doing an entire Pacman (best game EVER) screen in cross stitch.  Then…look what I found!

I also found my new favorite blog, Sprite Stitch.  I have seem some of her stuff on the CRAFT blog before, but it took until today to realize how awesome every single post is over there.  OMG.  If I could cross stitch old video game characters and scenes for the rest of my life, I would die happy.

P.S.  I have only missed one day of Thing-a-Day so far (last Friday).  I haven’t always been posting on time, but I’m caught up right now and I’m trying to do things every day that contribute to the project and my goals for it.  Almost halfway there…

Stripey mitts. Whipped these up a few weeks ago to use up some scraps of superwash wool, and keep my hands warm. I completely made up the pattern as I went and lucky me, they fit perfectly! We’ll see how long I can go before I lose one. (Speaking of losing mitts…I had been missing one of my Delicato mitts for awhile. Then I found it about a month ago…but I couldn’t remember what I did with the one that wasn’t lost. So I stashed the new-found one with some of my knitting stuff…and when I was digging through that spot yesterday, I realized they were both in there. Brilliant.)

Remember NaKniSweMo? Well…it only took 3 months, instead of one…but the Treeline Striped Cardigan is FINISHED. I lost my momentum in November during the long plain stockinette portion of the body. Over xmas (when I couldn’t work on my sister’s mittens because of her presence!) I got through some of it while hanging out with the family. Then, a week ago…something possessed me. I knocked out the last few inches of the plain body section, and once I finished that, nothing could stop me. All day at work I would think about going home to whittle away at those raglan decreases. I waffled about knitting the collar as written, but I went with it.

Yarn: Cascade 220 – 2.5 skeins of navy, with Artfibers Tsuki carried along; just over 2 skeins of periwinkle.

Friday night I picked up the button band (which doesn’t have any buttons…so what do you call a buttonless button-band?). I stayed up until 1:30am doing a new bind off (the double crochet bind off), which was completely worth it. It has just the right amount of stretch, and it gives a slightly bolder line that stands out from the muddle of color from the stripes worked in 1×1 ribbing. It rounds off the corners and connects to the solid-color ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. I was excited to have it done, but that bind off just…MADE it.

My motivation (however fleeting it might be) toward finishing, rather than starting projects has continued over to Mystery Stole 3. I finished chart H and started I last night, and I’m feeling just as excited to continue tonight. I really want to start Muir with the orange Hello Yarn laceweight I got awhile back, but I absolutely refuse to start another big lace project before finishing MS3.

For February, I’ve joined Thing-a-Day. This is it’s second year running, and by signing up, you commit to making something each day – it could be anything – and posting about it on their site. My goal is to broaden my horizons in what I make each day…knitting everyday is a given, but I want to try more digital photography, cooking, and sketching, maybe even some writing. Some days, I’ll no doubt take the easy way out with knitting or spinning. It will also be a challenge for me to post every day about it. I’m thinking of doing weekly recaps on this blog, but if you happen to be interested in my daily updates, you can read them here starting February 1st.

I made it a point not to overload myself with gift knitting this year, though I did strive to give handmade (whether by me or someone else) whenever possible. Still, in December I kept thinking of more ideas. There are a few little things I made that I didn’t get pictures of (felted bowls and a wrist pillow for my Dad) but these were the major achievements.

(from left to right)

-Seahorse stuffie! This is not knitting, it was hand-sewn. My first stuffie/softie toy like this of any sort. It only took me about two hours and it was a lot of fun! I made this for James’ sister; it was VERY well received. I bought the pattern here.

Phineas socks. I’m glad I started these early (at the beginning of November) because they took quite awhile, as socks always do. They were for my uncle who lives in Montana, so his feet need to stay toasty warm. The yarn is Louet Gems fingering weight. I haven’t heard anything, but hopefully they fit him ok.

Tiffany mittens. These actually are not finished. I had the first one done in time for xmas, so I wrapped it up. I would have had the other done, except that I was home with my sister (the recipient) the last few days before xmas. Since I have to mail them to her anyway, I took a little break, but I hope to have them finished up before the end of the month so she can actually get some use out of them this winter in New York.

Clementine Shawlette. This may look familiar. It was quite nice to have something done that far in advance, though I didn’t get around to blocking it until right before I sent it. My grandma loved it.

-Plain Jane slippers. This is a pattern that I acquired not long after I first started knitting. Unfortunately the link doesn’t seem to be active anymore, but luckily I have the pattern on my computer. This was my fifth pair, I think. I used Queensland Rustic Wool (superwash!). This pattern is awesome: fast and cute. Made these for Michelle, because she had wanting something knitted by me so badly. The little red heart buttons were the perfect finishing touch!

I know it’s been awhile. I wouldn’t say it’s the holidays that made me too busy to blog; there’s really no one reason to blame. Maybe it’s the working 50 hours (or more) a week thing. It’s been tough enough to keep on up blog reading. And in the spare time that I have, I’d much rather be actually knitting and spinning than writing about it.

This was Christmas at my parent’s house.

I got to hang out with my sisters, see my dear kitty, Merlin, and do holiday stuff like frosting cookies and wrapping presents. I hardly left the house except to see a few high school friends at night, and it was completely relaxing. Christmas day is always extremely low-key with my family; it takes us hours to open all the gifts because we take our time, and take breaks, and enjoy being around each other. I don’t have many gift-knitting pictures, but I’ll show the ones I do have in my next post.

I’m not really one to make New Year’s resolutions, goals, life changes, etc. Usually I tell people that my resolution is “to be more awesome than last year.” But, reading all these blogs the past few weeks on the subject has inspired me to at least lay out some *guidelines* for improving my life a little bit.

1. Meal planning. I received a few cookbooks for the holidays that I had been wanting, and I would really like to actually use them. I get it together and cook every now and then, but this post over at Obsession with Food has inspired me to plan out the meals for the week. This will hopefully a) make cooking at home more and more frequent, b) allow me to be more adventurous and creative with what I make, and c) solve the pesky problem I tend to have of leftover, unused ingredients spoiling and going to waste.

2. Eating more intuitively. Another interesting blog post inspired this. I want to take on a new attitude toward, and better habits about eating. It’s not about dieting, but it is about both enjoying what I’m eating, and giving my body what it needs to feel good. Too often I deprive myself of adequate food during the day, and then come home and eat terribly in the evening. The meal planning should help with my dinner dilemmas, and make those late-night Taco Bell runs less frequent. And if I’m planning out my meals, it should be easier to ensure I’m eating wholesome, quality food, rather than whatever happens to be lying around.

3. Making time. I tend to think that I “don’t have enough time” to do everything, from infrequent hobbies to cleaning the house. While everyone just needs to chill out and do nothing once in awhile, I really think that I can use my time at home better. The other night when I got home from work, rather than sitting down immediately and knitting for 4 hours (until I was tired and starving), I got my laundry going, cleaned the bathroom, and vacuumed right away. It didn’t take very long, and I still had plenty of time to work on several different projects. I felt productive, and I didn’t spend the evening thinking about how filthy the house was. I want to be the same way about my other hobbies too. I’ve been trying to spin every few days, and and I hope to make sewing more frequent as well. Also included in this should be picture-taking and blogging 🙂

I’ve already got a ton of projects either started or in the planning stages.  Lots of good ideas and inspiration have been coming my way lately.  Lots of nice yarn and fiber to see, too.  I promise pictures soon!