Thursday, June 30, 2011

Knitted Knockers

This is very cool, and helps breast cancer survivors. So, if you want to do some volunteer knitting, yet something "different", here's the thing for you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tour De Fleece 2011

It's that time of year again for the Tour De Fleece Challenge on Ravelry. Again, I'll be spinning with Team Sasquatch for TDF2011

My goal? Attempt to spin 1 lb of silk/merino fiber from Ashland Bay in the colorway "Spice" within the specified time frame. This is only the singles. I get extra credit for plying. ;-)

Ashland Bay Spice

I bought it because it reminded me of tabby cats. However, when I did my sampling, it came out a beautiful brown tweedy color.

For the samples, I've spun 1oz of fiber, and tried a 2 & 3ply to see what I liked using a 11:1 ration on my Ashford Kiwi.

Ashland Spice 2plyAshland Spice 3ply
2ply (Left) / 3ply (right)

I'm basically going with the 3ply sample.

So far, I've split my fiber into 1oz size bites so I can get them off the bobbins and onto quills when I'm done. There are about 16 (1oz) bumps there + 1 bump @ 1.5 oz.

TDF2011 Bumps

Usually, 1lb of fiber is enough for a sweater for me, so this shall end up being one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Head over Heelix

I usually don't jump on a given knitting bandwagon immediately. If I like a pattern well enough to knit it, I usually get around to it. Very rarely has there been a pattern that I Have To Knit NOW!!

However, in the new issue of Knitty Fall 2011, I saw the Double Heelix and I just Had To Knit It Now!!

Luckily, I had just finished a pair of socks for my nephew (more on that later), and was looking for another portable project. I also had the appropriate yarn for it in my Stash.

The heel was a little bit tricky to get right and I frogged 2x because I didn't read carefully enough, but once I got the heel, everything else was cake.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Retzlaff Winery Event

The Retzlaff Winery Event came and went...without me. :-( I had gone last year, and had every intention of going this year, except that it was slated to have 80% chance of rain (unseasonably) on the planned weekend, so it was moved to a weekend when I already had conflicting plans. :-(

However, I had already arranged with Janet Heppler of Nebo Rock Ranch to buy two of her fleeces. She put aside two grey fleeces and 2 hogget fleeces (the first fleece removed from a sheep and generally the softest fleece a sheep will ever produce) for me to look at at Retzalff.

Fortunately, a friend, Lisa, was willing to pick up the fleeces and drop them off to Morro Fleeceworks for me (who was also going to be there). So, when it was definite I couldn't go, I had her do that for me.

I also had her get some fleece samples for my fleece & fiber study book so I could have some before/after of the fiber along the way.

Six pound grey fleece, Gretta

Gretta was coated, so she wasn't particularly dirty, and there was some grease. But, she had that wonderful musical sound when you pinged her locks.


Odie, a hogget ram @ 4.5 pounds.

According to Janet, the hoggets aren't coated and there is some VM in their coats. But since I really wanted to experiment with a hogget, this is of little concern to me as Janet's fleeces are quite nice. The hogget was slightly greasy, but not overly so.


I did take some of the samples (not enough to spin, really), and washed some of it so I could see the before and after. I've read enough about washing fleeces to have a working knowledge, but no practical experience. So I tried my best.

I had some tulle so I wrapped some of the samples in that, and let it soaked/rinsed 2x using Dawn.Then let it dry in the very hot sun.

Gretta Washing

The Results?

Gretta had very little change; just dirt & debris and some of the lanolin was removed. You can feel the difference mostly in touch versus sight. The *after* is very soft and most of the lanolin has been removed.

Gretta Before / After
Before / After

Odie (Before & After)

Odie had the biggest visual change, as the yellow-y lanolin & dirt was removed leaving a very clean white fleece.

And, ZOMG, is it sooo soft!

Ode Before/After

Now that I have these clean locks, I wish I had a little bit more to try a sample spin, but this was mostly just to have reference examples of the fleeces I buy. that I really can't wait to have these arrive from Morro!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feeling Not So Blue about Blue

Previously, I wrote about my cat Blue who was suffering from an unknown-at-the-time ailment. However, she is responding beautifully to both types of antibiotics, and cancer has been ruled out.

She's eating, grooming, and generally herself again. This makes me happy. Now, I can concentrate on other things, like crafting....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Feeling Blue

This is my cat, Blue. (Once dubbed Bluebeard for the grey 'beard' under her chin, until we found out she was a girl...)

Blue in Repose

She hasn't been feeling well for the past few days, and the doctors don't know what's wrong; actually they just don't know WHY she's sick. It could be anything from an infection to the big "C"-word.

She's on two types of antibiotics, subQ fluids, and we're putting food down her until she feels good enough to eat on her own. She was at the vet for 2 days on an IV.

This is what I've been doing for the past several days, so things have been quite on the blog-o-sphere, and very minimal crafting has been done.

Blue's getting better, but progress is slow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

iPad Accessory Case

Since I got the iPad2, I've been looking at a variety of accessories, including cases for it. Some are rather expensive, and there are mixed reviews on all of them. Until I could make a firm decision regarding what type of case I wanted, I opted to at least make something quick for myself as a modicum of protection rather than just throwing it into my messenger bag when I go out.

I have available leather as well as fabric in the house, but I opted for fabric until I was happy with what I got, as fabric is a little more forgiving if a mistake is made. (Plus I have much more fabric available).

I took some progress pictures with the iPad just to see what it was like.****

All-in-all, it took me about 2 hours to put it together. I did spend 30 minutes, trying to remember how to do a bowline knot.

Fabric Being Used

I had some left over linen fabric from a previous outfit I had created.

I also had some left over quilting material that would serve as padding for my iPad.

Quilted Pocket Finished

One edge of the quilted fabric was already sewn in bias tape, so I thought to use that as the top edges. The edges are serged for extra strength


After some sewing for both the lining (green fabric) and outer fabric (striped fabric, the pocket was finished.

Finished Pocket

Boning along the Edge

I did some decorative stitching of a vine motif along the edge of the flap, and used boning to give it a little bit more stiffness.

Boning added to edge

Finished Pocket with iPad Enclosed
Here's the finished pocket with the iPad inserted. It's a little bit bigger than the iPad, but the inner quilted pocket fits the iPad snuggly.

Closure Idea

I was playing around with the types of closures to be used. A while ago, I found a young boy's leather belt that I think might work for the closure, but it proved to be a bit unwieldy.

Closure Idea

I opted for a leather thong & a nice brass button. The thongs are tied with a figure-8 & bowline knot.

Closure 2

**** (Although 1-2 photos were taken with the iPhone because the iPad was in its case. And can I say that the iPad camera just SUCKS? I know it's not on par with my regular camera gear, but the photos it took are just horrid! They only look good when resized very very very small. The "large" ipad sized photos are just waay too noisy & pixelated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quick Update

I'm sorry for the lack of posts as of late. May & June are my busiest months filled with sci-fi conventions, DIY faires, and ren faires. (Told you I was a geek....)

But for now, I've been playing with my FAVORITE thing that DH got me for my birthday.

It's the iPad2, and I've already loaded up all of my knitting patterns onto it, not to mention tons of sheet music for fiddle tunes, and playing with apps.

Unfortunately, I've also been wasting time playing Suduko on my iPad. *sigh*