Friday, December 31, 2010


a toddy recipe for you to start the new year -- fully customizable:
  • boiling water
  • bourbon (or rum.  or whiskey.  triple sec might be good.) quantity determined by time of day.
  • lemon (or tangerine. or orange.) quantity determined by intended medicinal value of toddy.  how healthy do you want your toddy to be?
  • maraschino cherry.  not to eat, just to decorate and sweeten.
stir and enjoy!

a most healthy and happy new year to you, and i thank you for stopping by. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

by comparison...

we are thinking it's quite brisk here today -- we had cold rain yesterday and snow in the mountains down to 2500 feet.  but i've never noticed us having wind chill before.  winter time!  warm hats!  scarves, gloves, mittens!  fire in the fireplace!  no, it's YOUR turn to walk the dog!  don't bother mama now, she's knitting some important warm thing!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

orange you chili?

we grew chili peppers this summer, theoretically to be able to make salsa with the tomatoes we grew.  in july, a few ripened past green to red, and as soon as i saw that, i knew what my christmas wreath would look like this year.

i have hoarded peppers, mostly on the plant, since then.  i harvested them all the other day and began wiring them to a plain pine wreath.  i have to say it was a bit dull until i picked an orange from our tree, sliced it and dried it in the oven (200°F for 2 hours on a lightly oiled pan) and added the dried pieces to the wreath.  slap on a bow, and voilà!  a wreath!

Friday, December 17, 2010

done in a day!

well, yes, i'm now 13 days behind on the advent calendar KAL, but day 3 was so easy (especially compared to the nupps!) that i was able to complete the pattern portion in one day (yesterday).  i had a bit of sitting and waiting to do yesterday, so there you go.

i celebrated by having an old-fashioned and sitting down after dinner to finish the beads in the spacer section.  i cranked 'em out!  knit the remaining rows lickety-split, and started day 4.  started, counted the chart, tinked, counted the chart again, counted my beads -- i had about 40% fewer stitches than i was supposed to have.  what?  i did not perform any unnecessary decreases -- i know!

i realized i forgot the yarn-overs before and after the beads.  so i get to tink all the way back to the beads and see whether i can stretch the yarn to add those yo's, or will have to redo the beads (BOOOO!).

i took much better pictures this time -- the last one was one of the worst pictures i've ever published.

this picture is more clear, i believe, because i used a flash, but the color is not as true.  if you click on the picture you can zoom in and see the top row has beads but no yo's.

the hurrieder i go, the behinder i get.ツ

Monday, December 13, 2010

groups of nupps

my progress on the KAL is slow -- the nupps take some time.  they're kind of fun, and kind of a pain.  i am using a crochet hook, but i'm using it to do the purl on the return row.  the nupps are not very obvious -- maybe when i complete the whole section (day 2), they'll pop a little more.  or maybe when it's blocked.

i did decide to add beads -- i had some square ones here at home, and the colors were right.  some are bluer, some are greener, but they have a metallic bronziness that goes well with the yarn.

sorry about the background -- everything i do these days is a bit quick & dirty;  this was the first pillow i grabbed to quickly pin, take outside and photograph the lace.

so if i finish section 2 today, i'll be 11 days behind.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

because starting a new project makes me feel good

i had noticed this lace scarf knit-along in november, and dismissed it as impossible.  but i needed a bit of a boost the other day, and impulsively jumped in 5 days late.  it's a project that has some features i've been wanting to try, nupps and beads, specifically.  i started up on monday, and tried to knit charted lace with medium to dark-colored laceweight yarn on size 2 needles in the car in the dark during swim practice, and guess what happened.  so i'm back-tracking, retrieving the lost yarn-over and losing time, but i love the yarn and the project.  and i look forward to quiet afternoons with a small glass of dry sack by the fire, knitting.  ahahahahaha! 
picture from

i shall take a picture of the advent scarf as soon as i have more than one inch of fabric to show you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

final flakes

this one is my favorite.  i have it pressed against the side of my black piano, so it IS hanging, supporting itself.  acrylic-girl asked a good question about the firmness or stability of the crocheted snowflakes, using the wool/stainless kidsilk haze combination i wrote about.  i pinned them to the ironing board and steamed them for 10-15 seconds, to define them a bit more and flatten the crochet curl out.  it worked great!  i think if i were going to hang them for any length of time i would hang them from 2 points instead of one, but you definitely do not have to starch them to get them to feature the proper shape.

here are all of ones i've completed:
upper left and upper right were done with a size 3 vs. size E hook (smaller), and they came out much more defined.  i like 'em!

and they're already given away.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

fuzzy flakes

a wee bit of crochet for some instant gratification holiday crafting.  the pattern is from paton's, and i crocheted it using a furry yet stable combination of kidsilk haze and the lion brand wool stainless steel yarns.  i used a size E crochet hook.  (ravlink)

a bit closer you can see the slate blue of the stainless wool and the oatmeal color of the mohair.  sorry it's blurry -- the camera did not want to focus on all that mohair.

i'll do the other snowflake today.  when i do another of this one, i will modify the last round by chaining 3 or 4 (instead of the 5 recommended on the pattern) on all of those loopy outside sections so that it tightens up a little.  i will try some with a smaller hook, as well.  these are so quick and easy!  i want to do a million of them -- and the stainless yarn, though not really a christmas color, obviates the need to starch the snowflake.  it could stand to be blocked a bit, just to straighten it out, but i doubt that will happen.  i'll take another picture when i have a few of them hanging festively somewhere, looking deceptively fragile.

and the blue makes the flake look cold, right? ツ

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

my two weeks were spent this way:

enjoying the full moon rise over the sea of cortez.

playing on low tide sand bars with enthusiastic children and a puppy.

watching those same children rest in the sunshine.

baking pies.

fishing for bait to fish for more fish.

contemplating my shadow by the light of that same full moon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

best wishes...

... for a happy thanksgiving!  i'm grateful for you, my internet friend.  thank you for allowing me to tame my tempest here with you.

this adorable turkey is a free pattern from webs.  the picture is from the website.

one of these may have to be knit upon arrival at our little campo in baja.  here is a panorama for you -- i'll be enjoying this view for the next week.  as always, double click for a much larger view.

Monday, November 15, 2010

it's the end of the world as we know it

and i feel fine ツ

meet maisy, our new family member.  she is a 3 month old labradoodle, smart and sweet.

Friday, November 12, 2010

paisleys and washcloths

i used the autumnal palettes i "discovered" on to paint some paisleys. what i learned:
  1. if you don't gesso your canvas, you get a lovely canvassy texture on your background
  2. if you don't use your paint in say a year, some colors may be dried up and unusable
  3. if you don't have an adequate variety of paint colors, the colors you blend will be remarkably uniform
  4. make sure your overlaid color is significantly different in shade intensity than your background color
  5. i still love drawing paisleys
  6. a painting can be a color sketch

how about some washcloths to consume some stoplight time? i have always liked that basic washcloth recipe, illustrated by the green one with the blue stripe. the center corners always buckle on me, however. this time, i just put a little set of short rows in each corner, and voila! no buckling!

your washcloth hint for the day. you're welcome.ツ

Saturday, November 6, 2010

loving colo(u)rs

if you don't already know about, you should!  you can create colors, look at colors created by others, and (my favorite feature) create and explore color palettes and patterns created by others.  there is a feature (i haven't used it yet) allowing you to extract a color palette from a photograph.  wow!

the palettes above were created by others using autumn photos -- the top from leaves, the bottom from a chestnut


ETA:  you do not have to be a member to explore the palettes and patterns;  you do have to be a member to create, but it's free!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

from the sublime to the ridiculous

you decide which is witch!!  i'm so glad halloween is over.  it's terrible to hate a holiday that the kids enjoy so much, but i do. 

i survived!  and even wore my ancient troll earrings.  everything old is new again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

♬ sewing the seams of love ♡ ♬

yes, i think i'm hilariousツ
thing one will be a witch for halloween this year, and needs a cool, middle-school cool, glittery, tulle-y cape.  so i'm sewing.  the seams.  of ♡.  ♬
if you're too young to get it (or if i'm not as funny as i believe i am), check here.  for heaven's sake don't watch the whole thing -- it's really long, and i never really liked the song.  (no offense to the tff fans out there ツ)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

my new toy...

you know how gives you free shipping on books if you go over a certain amount? i was ordering some books for my daughter and came up just short. so naturally i needed to buy the barbara walker treasury, seen above. i pored through it, and after my recent experience with päivi's  22 leaves KAL, i wanted to just experiment a little. i found a little lace design, printed out some graph paper and got to work! well, hardly work. but some fun thinking and calculating and figuring.
i thought i'd try a square and just repeat a simple pattern out to make a lace kerchief, in effect. it's really fun, and i can't wait to finish this one so i can start another! i'm using some autumn colorway sock yarn from joann's called sensations bamboo & ewe pattern, a wool/bamboo/nylon blend. the colorway does not allow for much view of the lace, but it's inexpensive and easy to work with. i think i might use a plainer yarn for my next experiment, but it looks very fall-like, and i like it.  if i figure out how to write an elegant chart that someone besides me, myself, and i can understand, i'll write up the pattern and post it on ravelry.  it's just the repeats and exceptions that i don't know how to express on a chart.  but that will be fun to figure out, too!

finally, i have one last picture of my official french market bag in use -- it's so pretty, so handy, and i can't wait to do another. it's one of my favorite patterns ever.
as always, if you click on a picture, it will pop up much bigger.

Monday, October 25, 2010

i love it!

here is my gaia trapezoid with the bead attached.

this is how i have been wearing it.

here it is spread out a bit, showing off the gaia detail and the lovely noro colors.

i'm sorry about the lousy pictures -- i have 20 minutes to do this so only time for snapshots, not photographs.ッ

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a trapezoid

my gaia shawl turned trapezoidal scarf is done. knitting complete, 2 ends to weave in. the only thing left is to determine how to treat the one hanging stitch there at the top. i think i will put a bead on there to finish it off.

look how pretty! i'll take a picture once it's dry and the bead has been placed, but i'm thrilled right now to have another incomplete knit off my hands.

if you're interested in the knitting details, you can look at my ravelry page even if you're not a member.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

i'm felting, i'm felting...

what a world, what a world!
my crazy enormous hat felted down, as you can see, to a reasonable size.

it's still really large, but quite comfortable.  it's not supposed to have that brim, but i like it!  the colors are better than illustrated here -- they're actually quite restrained in an autumnally lovely sort of way.   bad hair days, i presently defy thee!

my official french market bag, in these dark days of me not being in the mood for knitting, benefited by getting its embroidery on.  instead of my customary daisy chain, i back-stitched my decor in order to get a finer level of detail.
here it is pre-felting:

and then post-felting, sitting upside down on the coffee maker with one of those square tupperware containers doing the blocking.  it fits perfectly.

you can still see a great deal of stitch definition.  why did i not felt it more?
  1. i did not want it to get smaller, as the handles are pretty short when knit per the pattern
  2. size 7 needles are really pretty small, i believe, for felting the lamb's pride.  i think i'd go up to 8's if i were to do it again.  this would help the stitches rub against one another and cancel one another out.  ッ  as it were.
  3. the flash makes it look more stitch-defined than it really is. 
  4. this one is a reminder for me for the future:  the bind-off sections could easily have a penultimate row of garter, to prevent so much curling.
  5. well, i think that's it.
i'll take another picture when the bag is dry and ready for its close-up.  but this wicked witch loves her some paisleys, can you tell?  in my former days of gainful employment, the paisley was my favorite doodle.  before i was able to play solitaire on the computer while listening to a customer complain interminably, multi-colored paisley doodles on a desk pad soothed my bored and anxious brain.  i replicated that notion in yarn here. ッ

somehow i never figured out that all i had to do was click my heels three times...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

crocheting in lilliput

it looks like a short, odd crochet hook, doesn't it?

(sorry it's blurry) here is that crochet hook next to a skein of bulky yarn.  i popped by a stitch in time yesterday to grab a size Q hook -- i really did not know they came that big -- in order to crochet up this cute hat from the purl bee.  the prefelted hat is ginormous!

it seemed like an excellent use of this yarn i received as payment in kind for a sample i knit up for a local yarn store.  sadly, i did not like the feel of the yarn or the fabric it knit into, so i've wondered what i would do with it.  it has almost identical properties to the yarn recommended in the bucket hat pattern, so i thought i'd give it a go.  i cannot imagine that this thing will felt down to a wearable size -- it's 48" in circumference along the bottom -- but it will be great-looking if it does.  i've never felted a crocheted item before, so that's an adventure as well.

a FO is in my future, i can smell it!   or is that just the wet lambswool...

now, reporting from los angeles:

a flu update for you.
hmmmmm.  low to minimal activity for the united states.  let's zoom in, shall we?
california is not looking too affected by the flu.  let's check into this a little more closely.
los angeles -- low flu trend.  but wait, what's that smudge on the map in the l.a. area?  zoom in once more, please.


you have to be pretty sick not to feel like knitting!  but i'm not too sick to be inspired...

look at this wonderful graphic, figure 887 from the amazing Encyclopedia of Needlework, by Thérèse de Dillmont, free on the kindle.  it's an embroidery pattern, but how great would it look knit up?  especially in one of those incredible kauni fair isle colorway combinations? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

i cannot believe...

... i knit something this beautiful.  thank you so much, päivi, for the wonderful opportunity and for sharing your talent and your lovely pattern with us.

it's obviously a quick blocking job,  ;-) but i had to squeeze in the blocking between school obligations, errands, etc.

click on the picture to make it much bigger, as usual.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

i pause to admire...

... oh yeah --  the last row of the 22 leaves shawlette!

we now return you to our regularly scheduled knitting.  i can't WAIT to block this and see how it looks!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

well, cr&p.

so much for "Miss High-and-mighty, I'm using lifelines, nyah-nyah"!  i meant to put one in after clue 3.  the road to hell and all...

i mean really, it's like saving or backing up on the computer, isn't it?  you should save/back up when you don't want to recreate what you've done.  since i did NOT follow my own "sage" advice often enough, i have much time invested now in the deep annoyance of:
  1. realizing that something does not look right, 
  2. trying to fix something 3 rows ago, 
  3. realizing that looks WORSE and tinking back, 
  4. and the most aggravating thing of all -- knowing that i know better and could have prevented all this by just (say it with me) using a lifeline!
i did figure out this morning that i will NOT have to frog to my lifeline on row 32.  in fact, i this morning i found that i had knit 14 stitches instead of 13 on one section on row 67, setting up my "wait a second, this doesn't look right" moment 2-1/2 rows later.

bbl -- gotta go put in a lifeline. knitting will ensue.  and some ryder cup golf watching.  and some college football watching.  oh, yes, i am QUITE busy.  haha!

ps -- i wish i had taken a picture of the weird stitch arrangement that clued me into my error last week, but i panicked ツ