Finished Hand Goods for Friends

Two holiday gift projects were finished yesterday in the last stint before i took off to spend the Christmas at Disney World with my family, today ; )

First - a Needle Roll made from cute Japanese fabrics from  This was super fun to put together.  It was done in less then 3 hours start to finish!  I found an awesome tutorial here.


Second - i am finally parting with some stitch markers i've made.  These are modeled from my first set in white and purple flowers.  I've placed them in an Altoids tin to keep them together.  14 markers and 2 clip on leads.  I printed a vintage photo and placed it on the top of the Altoids tins...but can't show it as it's a total giveaway, and these haven't been passed to their new owner yet.

Coding Progress | Weekend Update

The binary Scarf has been under way for a looonnnggg time.  This weekend afforded lots of knitting time for the scarf, and much progress was made!  I now am 75% done and have a 5' long scarf!

Today was a PERFECT knitting and tea day...and my friend must be psychic as she invited me over for those particular reasons a week ago.  It was a beautiful day of rain and knitting goodness.  I made super amounts of progress on the scarf for my brother, ate amazing homemade apple sauce bread & tofu tacos, and enjoyed catching up with a good friend.

Now to some how finish everything in time for Christmas.  I'm starting to agree with everyone about cutting back the gifty holiday knitting, but it can be soooo much fun.

The Next Purple Thing

Two weeks ago a trip to NY meant a new portable knitting project...queue the socks!  I've actually looked forward to my work travel lately as it gives me time to do some personal knitting.  Luckily for me, blankets are too big to take and work on during a flight, so another project had to be started to fill the time.  I looked through my sock queue on Ravelry and came across "Snowflakes".  I'd never done a lacy type sock, so it was swatched and cast on.  They've been needy and requiring some attention (these are tv knitting socks)!  Since i finally finished my parents blanket for Christmas i gave myself this week to work on whatever i wanted and the socks have made good progress.  Next week it's back to the Binary Scarf for the Bro...

Two Day Winter Ocean Hat

Hat was started on Monday, finished Tuesday night, and worn on Wednesday.  I like these quick projects that turn out real product in less then a week.  Don't get me wrong, i love me some blankets with weeks/months of knitting to look forward to...but i also love starting something and getting to wear it while i'm still SUPER excited about it.

Project info
Name: Winter Ocean Hat
Pattern: Stella's hat by Melissa LaBarre
Craft: Knitting
Made for: Me!

Needle and yarn

Needle: US 9 / 5.5 mm
Yarn: Punta del Este Yarns Punta Del Este South American Cotton Hand Painted
How much? 1.9 skeins = 125.4 yards (114.7m)
Colorway: Blue/Green HP02
Purchased at: ImagiKnit in San Francisco, California

Christmas, right around the corner...

One gift down!  The giant Christmas afghan for the parental units has been completed.  I really enjoyed working on this, my third blanket.  It's wonderful to have a blanket going this time of year where you want one on your lap anyways.  My parents are Christmas freaks and should appreciate the Red, White, and Green goodness that has kept me warm for the last few months.  I think the next blanket will be crocheted...

I'm not usually big on Christmas.  Halloween is more my thing, but this year i kinda missed out on Halloween and i'm pouring it into Christmas.  Nothing crazy like my parents, but doing it up in my own way.  Susan/Sanddollar had crocheted up the CUTEST christmas tree from a Gnome pattern on Ravelry and i decided i needed one too ; )  Aren't they adorable!!!

It hasn't been decided yet how the adorable trees will be gifted.  Last year consisted of homemade cookies and fudge in snowflake chinese takeout containers mailed out to good friends not in the bay area.  I've been on the vegan cooking spree this year but am thinking about setting it aside for some delicious tiger butter.  Mmmmm...  What's your favorite holiday small gifty item(s)?

Ramble, Ramble

It's been a long couple of weeks, i'm tired.  Two weeks of system testing including one week with the end users in NY.  I'm so looking forward to the Thanksgiving break!  One good thing from NY was the start of the Purple Snowflake socks.  Pictures soon...but i want to have more then 2" of lef to show before the socks are put out to the public.

I sat down for some quality time with the blanket for my parents christmas present this evening.  Good progress made, and blanket will not be knit on the plane...but my brothers scarf may be.  Oh well : )

Handspun done over the weekend: Shiny Night
50% Tencel
45% Suri Alpaca
5% Mohair Top
Spinning Method: over the fold
Date Spun: Nov 23, 2008
Yards: 166

Merino: Watercolors

Merino: Watercolors
Originally uploaded by dre_ah
1st yarn off the new spinning wheel!

Content: Merino
Spun: short forward draw/worsted
Ply: Navajo
Yards: 77spun

Vintage Crochet Strikes in SoCal

I spent a few days with friends in family in my homeland of Southern California this past weekend.  Part of any good trip involves a yarn crawl.  Unfortunately i was reminded of how lacking in the creativity department SoCal can be.  Out of 3 yarn stores within 25 miles of my parents house we came away with the following results:

1) Open, 95% dedicated to Cross Stitch - That's NOT yarn or yarn~ish goodness!!!
2) Closed, on Saturday, @ 2:30pm?!?!?! - Ummm...that's just dumb
3) Open, hard to find tucked up on the second floor with no signs

#3 - Phebie's Needle Art (pic on left) - turned out to be ok, but i was so over it by the time i found it there was a quick walk through noticing all of the basics they had in stock and a dart out the door to see if there were any interesting shops tucked away in the complex.

I found a Vintage Shop - La Bomb Ba.  Super awesome find of some crochet tops from the 60's through the 80's.  Nothing came home with me, but I totally fell in love with a short cropped sun design that would make a beautiful sundress.  Must improve crochet skills.

And now for giggles and kicks ... drum rollllll ... the fantastic vintage tops.


Does anyone have any vintage~ish crochet tops?  Am i the only one feelin' the Granny Square calling?

Fresh Spring in November

Yes!  The Denim Spring Cardigan has been finished!  The actual sweater was finished a few weeks ago, but the attachment of 3 large buttons took awhile.

I never thought I could be so picky about the buttons.  Originally i had picked up three large black flat circle buttons from JoAnne's, but when i got home i realized that this sweater was going to need more love in the button department then just a couple of generic buttons from the generic store.  Thus began the button search.  I stumbled across, The Button Drawer, cute buttons for a good price and no minimums!  I would totally recommend the site, awesome everyday round flat buttons to crazy celtic designs.

I purchased three different sets of buttons to checkout on the sweater.  The winner was Countryside, but the others are definitly going to find awesome projects in the next few months.  I LOVE the branch detail on Stormy Night, and they're 1" wide.  Yea for large buttons : )

Countryside  /  Tudor Rose  /  Stormy Night

Binary Hurts

Trying to make some progress on my brothers scarf for Christmas while listening to War and Peace.  Making great progress on War and Peace, i'm down to the last 7 1/2 hours (56 hours already listened to)!  During this marathon i have had an epiphany...i do not like straight needles Sam i am.  The scarf is double knit and looks awesome, but i'm working it on straight needles to ensure that i keep even tension while working the double knit pattern.  Even just with the break to type this out my fingers are happy and joyful for the relief from the straight needles and ready to type the night away.  This will have to be the last project on straight needles for awhile.  That very pretty lace scarf is just going to have to wait.

Here's the progress on the scarf so far...

Steampunk Knit Accessories

One thing came to mind the minute i heard about the Steampunk Convention...little lace gloves!  I found the perfect pattern on Ravelry - Mrs. Lovitt's Mitts.  They knit up super quick and looked perfect with both of my "evening" costumes.  I really enjoyed working with the crochet thread.  Shiny...

Mrs. Lovitt's Mitts

After working on sewing costumes for 4 days straight, the day of the con i decided that a shawl would be another essential accessory...and i had plenty of left over fabric scraps from the costumes: Denim, Chiffon, and Crepe Satin.  Thus the Steampunk Shawl plan was put into effect.  Cutting the scraps of fabric into 3/4" wide strips of varying lengths (essentially everything i could get out of what i had in the trash pile) and sewing the strips together.  I used my sewing machine on a medium short zigzag stitch, kind of like a stretched out buttonhole, to mimic a bartack.  It worked great the the pieces really stuck together.  I didn't even have any problems moving to the chiffon.  I started on Friday, and was done by Saturday in time for the concert.  This is definitely one of my favorite hand made items of all time.  The purple and blacks look awesome and i think the bows on the back really help to soften up the look.  More fabric strip knitting to come...

Steampunk Shawl  Steampunk Shawl of the costumes to follow.  Unfortunately i was totally silly and didn't take any at the con, so modeling will hopefully take place this week before the trip to SoCal.  The busy holiday season is upon us.

Sleep dev and it's only Monday

I've finished the hand stitching of the bloomers for the convention. Tonight also involved a quick trip to JoAnn's in search of fabric for the "Saloon Girl" inspired costume. Beautiful purple crepe Silk was purchased along with some back sheer goodness with little black satin bows. It's going to be good. Tomorrow calls for the finishing of the bias and hand sewn hem on the jacket along with a muslin cut out and fitting for the top of the Saloon girl outfit. The pattern has shoulders, yuk! This needs to be cute and revealing. Thus the sleeveless, but with cute straps top in mind. Pictures to follow, and hopefully sleep : (

A Yolo Experience

Today was spent up near Davis in the mild heat checking out the Yolo Fiber Mill.  Amazing stuff!  There were awesome vendors from all different categories, even a guy selling a couple of bottles of Olive Oil.  Tactile was there...and with my wheel!!!  YEA!!!  Sorry, still dancing around the house with a GIANT SMILE.  YEA!!!  Okie, that over, for now : )  Brooke helped me to assemble my beautiful new child, and then i proceeded to camp out spinning for a while.  Bliss...  I had brought some of the Alpaca i bought in Taos and it's spinning wonderfully.  Super soft and such a pretty blue/gren combo.


There was a guided tour of the Mill learning about the carding, spinning, and plying processes on the super mega giant machines.  So many awesome gear shots.  I'm totally getting excited about Steampunk Halloween (separate post to follow with a costume update).

Also managed to remember that my camera takes those moving pictures things...movies i think ; )  Here is the guy who makes the plying happen desmonstrating how it works and another showing the winding off of a skien of yarn.  It's amazing what technology has produced over the years, and more amazing to think that most of these machines were from the 50's-60's ish.

A Sporting Costume

Tonight was the sewing and fitting of the muslin version of the Jacket i'm working on for the Steampunk Convention at the end of the month.  It came out pretty good!  I ordered the starting pattern from Laughing Moon - #110 Ladies 1890's Sporting Costume.  Small adjustments to the fit, and some rotating of the sleeves and...much better!  Tomorrow i get to go fabric shopping ; )  I hoping to complete the full (quick lined) jacket and a pair of long bloomers by the end of this weekend.  Wish me luck...i'll need it.

Here are some pictures of the muslin...


Crafty Weekend

Saturday was Color!  It was a super blast, and a special thank you goes out to Kristine from A Verb for Keeping Warm for letting me crash her totally full Fiber Prep Class.  I had a great time learning about the wondrous joys of hand carding, the patience required for drum carders, and the deadliness of hand combs.  I am very proud of myself for not drawing any blood on those combs, they are super crazy sharp and painful!

Today started with open studio meandering in the city with the primary goal of checking out a good friends photography, Steve Baudonnet with pieces up at Iceberger Gallery in the Mission.  His current work with machines and pollution (and tobacco) is beautiful.  My favorite is the picture of an engine on a dining room table with half finished plates of chicken.  You're just waiting for the 50's mom in the polka dot dress to come out.

Next was a walk through CapsuleSF in Hayes Valley.  This is totally the most time i've spent in the city in months, minus work with totally doesn't count.  Amazing hand made jewlery, clothes, and trinkettes.  I picked up some cute cloth button bobby pins with little geishas on them from Vividot.

Also found some new stripey socks from RockNSocks, which were much needed as i have had to part with two pairs of too holy socks in the last two days.  The winner for awesome today was totally the silkscreened tank, that was silkscreened in front of me on the tank i choose with the design i choose...[insert GRIN]...AWESOME!!!  The company was Juror2 and they had all sorts of different designs for all different walks of people.  I got one that's very dracula/grim reaper called "The Traveler", very dre_ah ;)

Halloween in two weeks...costume rush

So with the rapidly approaching holiday of Halloween i am nearing panic mode as i ordered Costume Period Patterns from Laughing Moon today with the "Special Shipping Comment" of "For Halloween, please rush.  Thank you".  I'm hoping they read that section.  Sewing will consume most of my time until Halloween, assuming i get those patterns before sunday.  I browsed around JoAnn's today, pretty bland.  Once i have the yardage amount i'm planning to head over to Stone Mountain and see if something there catches my eye.

To help complete the Steampunkish outfits i started the "Mrs. Lovett's Mitts" pattern this evening.  They will be the perfect accessory to either period dress with exciting fabrics/trims - AND - jeans and a t-shirt incase i get no sewing done before next friday.

Mrs. Lovett's Mitts

Beginning Crochet: With my hands held

This morning involved waking up at a reasonable time to pull out the dusty crochet hooks, grab some yarn, and head down to the Knit-One-One Studio for a "Beginning Crochet" Class.  It was a blast!  Susan Miles taught the class and was super patient with me as i crashed the day by showing up for part two...with having been out of town for part one.  She had me caught up in the first hour and ready to go.  I learned new crafty abbreviations like dc and hdc.  A whole new world has been opened up : )  Thank_You_Susan!

My 1st Granny Square!!!

The rest of the class started a hat while i learned the basics.  I kept up with the granny squares and even managed to finish one!  This was a big part for me.  My great grandmother made beautiful granny square blankets, ponchos, everything, and i have one of these beautiful blankets over the back of my couch.  People always complement me on it as i hide the knitting from no one, but i have always had to admit that i don't have the faintest clue about crochet.  Now i can hold my head high and proclaim my great grandmother made that and (eventually) i will be able to turn to my own and say...this one's mine [insert ridicilously large grin on face].

The other driver for learning to crochet was Amigurumi, only the cutest little things ever.  I fell in love with all of the zombie doll keychains, square stackable cats, and plain adorable dragons that are all crocheted.  Now i have the basics down and can buy some of those super adorable pattern books and not just look at the pretty pictures.


New Life to Drop Spindle Spinning

I've taken the classes, sat there for hours on end, but just never really got into drop spindle spinning.  While at the Taos Fiber festival there were BEAUTIFUL spindles from Woolly Designs.  At first i looked.  The next day i tried a bottom whirl drop spindle.  OMG, i loved it!  I picked up a heavier spindle then i currently have (1.9 ozs).  Between the low whirl and the extra weight something just clicked and i've been doing a bit each day since.

I am really enjoying my new purchase, and at just $40 it was within the budget even after the 6 lbs of roving (can't wait for it all to arrive in the mail).

I've been spinning everywhere, ncluding spinning at the Airport in Alburquerque while waiting for my flight.  An older gentelman walked by while i was spinning and said "She's making a kite!".  I'm not quite sure where this came from...


Clouds and Cardigan Blues

Today marked day one of the 25th Taos Wool Festival. There was roving, yarn, rugs, wheels, spindles, looms...all things fiber related. Everyone had out their best and it was good stuff. The weather was perfect with a dash of sun, but mostly a light cool overcast with the rain saved for the night.

I especially fell in love with the roving at LoneSome Stone Fiber. I bought way too much, something like 5 pounds all together. Luckily they were willing to ship it, otherwise my fellow plane mates may not have been too happy with me.

In the afternoon there was a Ravelry Meetup. A very sweet woman brought homemade pumpkin cupcakes, delicious. It was nice to meet the gang and pickup some swag (Yea for Stickers!!!).

I even got some time to sit and listen to an amazing woman playing the Celtic harp and work on my cardigan.

Natural Dyes: Day Two (all about the Indigo)

Today was devoted to the wonderful Indigo. We learned about the different kinds of indigo: Natural, Synthetic, and "Instant"; discussing the pro's and con's for each. I totally need to plant some Japanese Indigo plants in the backyard...

We prepared an Indigo Stock Solution using powdered Natural Indigo, "Spectralite" (Thiourea Dioxide) as the Reducing agent, and Soda Ash as the Alkali. Then we learned about "waiting". It's this crazy thing where you sit around and eventually something don't even always know when.
Indigo: The Chemicals we use Indigo: The Mixture

After the waiting was up, about 20 minutes, we added some of the Stock Solution to a large pot of water, stirred a bit, and did some more "waiting". Once the waiting was over with we checked theheat, color, and the pH and added Alkali and Reducing Agent accordingly to achieve:

1) Temperature (around 110 F)
2) Color (lookin for that Grass Green)
3) pH (Wool about 9.5~10)

Grass Green Please Incase the Indigo don't behave so good

All of the Dying Stars aligned and we began the dipping! We did once pass of over dye on all of the colors we had done yesterday. My Favorite is totally the over dyed Cutch, beautiful soft green. Holding the yarn in the dye pot for 3 minutes isn't so bad, but doing more then one skien at a time is totally the way to go!

End Product: Overdye and Straight Indigo Yarns Dips

Well the class ended, i learned a lot, and can't wait to get home and start bringing even more crafty stuff into my home/life...They're SOOO pretty!!!!