10.30.2009

I’m only buying one skein of sock yarn! Ha…

My girlfriend that I met on Ravelry and I went to the Southern Indiana Fiber Arts Festival, last weekend. The drive was pretty, the company good, weather cold, and the fiber great!

I went with the plan that I was only buying one skein of sock yarn. Really, just one skein. Dena wanted to look at spinning wheels, or maybe I wanted her to look at spinning wheels. We walked, talked, looked, fondled a lot of fiber and yarn. She tried a few wheels, and didn’t buy that much. I was doing fine until I bought:

045 Screaming Wild Monkey! A special house blend of 70% super wash merino/15% Banana/!5% Seacell (impregnated with silver) 4 oz. The photo doesn’t show the colors, they are vibrant.

From the River’s Edge Weaving Studio at  weavingstudio.com

Then I ran across:042 50g each of Tussah Sea Sliver, 60% Seacell, 40% Tussah Silk from Fleece Artist at fleeceartist.com

While my girlfriend looked at wheels I found these:018 Sweet bunnies, then I purchased….036 A big ball of German angora bunny and merino blend, and some cut angora, enough to blend into a sweater. From Angora Eden It made me want to buy a soft sweet bunny.

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I was still under control at this point then I found Donna Jo Copeland, from Breezy Manor Textiles & Things

So I had to buy one pound of BFL/BL cross from Orion, beautiful

028 A wonderful dark, dark brown.

And she gave me a deal so I had to buy this also from Amber Meadow Farm (I can’t find a link but she is at amber.meadow at yahoo.com)

033 032One pound of Chestnut Frost, a blend of Shetland, Llama, and Mohair with a little glitz (not too much) thrown in.

So now you know what will be on my wheel and I’ve about converted my girlfriend from a spindle to wheel. Still working on that.

Get your fiber out and enjoy.

10.25.2009

Featured Etsy Seller

Featured Etsy Seller is Made by Melissa! A  28 year old engineer by day – and she started crafting as a way to express her creativity.

Good prices, and quality items!

She crochets,

Recycled Silk Breezy Scarf $35.00 USD

scarf

Beads,

Pink Crystal Dangle Earrings $10.00 USD

earrings

and has many other items in her shop.

Penny the Pink Elephant  $15.00 USD

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Stop past her shop and look around, and take a look at her blog here.

Support Handmade!

10.24.2009

Decluttering, working towards simplicity

I have been on a major decluttering streak. I have pitched, donated and reorganized, but I’m not done yet.

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I come from a mother who was extremely neat and orderly, and a grandmother that teetered near hoarding. So I live in fear of, well, maybe both extremes.

Clutter seems to show up, mysteriously in my house.  I have tried over the years to beat it back. Below are the tips that helped me most.

1. Find a system.

I tried for years to organize myself, it wasn’t until I studied naturally organized people that I realized that, yes I need a “constant” system. Not one week every three months to work non stop to make everything perfect again. Only to ignore it for another three months. (my favorite is a crazy lady, the flylady, also good are simplemom.net) Find something that works for you, and then yes, you have to use it.

2. Baby steps

Even if you only have 5 minutes, pick a shelf, drawer, even a portion of a counter. I have a rule, if I’m talking on the phone, I’m decluttering, open that junk drawer and start flinging. I am always amazed at why most of it is in the drawer anyway.

3. Have a “not ready to part with it” box.

I have a box sitting in my walk in closet, when I am decluttering I often find something that I’m not ready to part with, but haven’t used in a while. I put it in this box. Next time I’m making a run to Good Will I look into the box. Usually I’ve decided that I can get rid of all of it. If not I can always take it out. This allows me to part with things that I wouldn’t have upon first glance.

4. You do not have to keep something because it was a gift, or belonged to someone special.

A thing is not a memory. Keep the happy memory. Get rid of Uncle George’s monkey lamp.

5. Divide your area (house, office, garage etc.) up into zones. I like the FlyLadys zones, five zones, one for each week of the month.

  • Zone 1: The Entrance, Front Porch and Dining Room (October 1 - 2)
  • Zone 2: The Kitchen (October 5 - 9)
  • Zone 3: The Bathroom and One Extra Room (October 12 - 16)
  • Zone 4: The Master Bedroom (October 19 - 23)
  • Zone 5: The Living Room (October 26 - 30)

I use to get overwhelmed and ended up with a bigger mess, because I had taken the shoes that I found in the living room that I was cleaning, and put them in the bedroom closet and then started organizing that. Now I stick to the zone I’m in, and in a week you will be amazed at your progress. Even if you are using your 5-15 minute intervals of cleaning/decluttering.

6. Set up a simple filing system and use it.

There are so many good organizing products out there. Keep it simple, I use a small hanging folder box.

7. Paper is like fleas, it will multiply. if you pick it up, put it where it belongs.

Paper can quickly overwhelm you. Junk mail, don’t put it down. Sort through it and trash it.  Magazines, newspapers, and school papers, go through them regularly and toss the old. If you want to keep something special, hey make a file for it.

8. Take everything off of or out of what you are decluttering.

Don’t shuffle through it. Take it out and look at each thing. Do this fast, don’t think too much. Thinking starts me wondering if I will need this later. Think you might?  Stick it in that “not ready to part with it box”.

9. Look at expiration dates

Look at the dates on your meds, vitamins, spices, salad dressing etc. I am surprised at how many things I find that are expired.

10. If you buy something, toss something.

Buy a new pair of pants? When you put them away. Look at all of your other pants, try some on, chances are you will find some you can get rid of or donate, or just never liked.

11. It doesn't have to be perfect.

The “I don’t have time to make it perfect now syndrome”, kept me from starting things. The entire kitchen may not be perfect, but that one drawer looks great. It’s a start, you don’t have to do it all at once.

12. Once you start flinging and decluttering, it feels really, really good. Letting go of things gets easier. Just start little.

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Simplify, it feels good, and you will have more room for yarn!

10.23.2009

Pit Bull Awareness Day

This is a YouTube Video I got from RoseByAny@-;----'s blog. I love her blog and all her posts about her puppies. It is Pit Bull Awareness Day this Saturday.

 

10.21.2009

Silkworm drama…

Right on schedule on little eggs started hatching…Sept 29th

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These little guys are called “Kego” in Japan, and translates to “hairy baby”. See detailed info on the website WormSpit.

I am feeding the Mulberry leaves although it is starting to cool down here in Southern Indiana. I have bought the dehydrated “silkworm chow” yummy, in case we need it. I have gotten different opinions on this from “you can’t change from leaves to chow, but can change from chow to leaves” begin the predominant opinion. I talked to one guy who said his ate either, as long as they had food.

I bought the “Zebra silkworms” which said they were stronger, and more disease resistant. This sounded like a quality I would look for in a tomato plant, so I thought I would be a good idea.

Hopefully I will not kill as many worms as I did fish when I started with aquariums.

Oct 2, blast of cold air last night, I didn’t know that the #1 cause of silkworm death is temperature. OK so I had 1000 eggs. I didn’t need 1000 silkworms, right?

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But I don’t want 1000 dead silkworms…..Crap#$%# This is not good for my Karma!

OK…..Oct 13th021 Starting over, 500 eggs, one woman, two heat lamps, lots of website info…..

Four days after receiving the eggs, and with heat and a thermometer, keeping the eggs at approx. 80 degrees.

011 Oct 16th Babies again, now they are bigger than before….

And so very hungry, very, very hungry…

026 Oct 21st Bigger….(bad photo, they were “feeling” photogenic tonight)

Trying to keep them warm and happy..

More later.

Get your knitting out!!

10.10.2009

This and that

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Here are some things too good not to pass along. Love all of these links…

From Jo So and Sew a tutorial on how to cover a plastic bangle with knitting.

Check out How to Be Domestic, she shows you how to etch a set of bar glasses, this would be a nice personal present or wedding gift.

I got one of these one Christmas and used it to death, here is the pattern, a crochet dish scrubby, yes you really need that scratchy acrylic yarn to make it work well.

Wee Folk Art, teaches us how to make a mini braided rug

You know I’ve been crazy about top down sweaters, here is a pattern for a raglan cardi from CosmicPlutoKnits

Along the same lines Knitting Pure and Simple has a fab tutorial on top down sweaters.

Indie Fix show us how to make a mini drawstring bag. This is great to carry those socks we are knitting.

For us Knitters that need some crochet flowers to put on, oh whatever, here is a video from Little Birdie Secrets.

From CraftNouveau a primer on photography for your online selling.

Now go create something….

10.05.2009

Halloween memories..

Bloody-Footprints-Runner-744166

One of the best Halloween memories I have is going to a big scary Halloween party. I was about 7 or so. They had set up a “haunted house” and we had to go around and look at scary things. Headless man, scary witch and lost of webs we got caught in and noises. But the best part was sticking our hands into bowls of monster “parts” , which were covered with just a hole to put hands into.

Eyeballs were wet, cold peeled grapes. Intestines were cold, cooked spaghetti. Cold hot dogs were fingers, brains were cooked oatmeal, and the most horrifying was the heart which was a water balloon filled with warm water.

This was accompanied by lots of moans, shrieks, and screams. O to be 7 again.

Here are some scary things you might want to make:

From Instructables a crochet eyeball with optic nerve attached from the crochetninja

The great knitted pumpkin pattern

Felted pumpkins from Knitty

How to make a very real looking werewolf head from Instructables

From the blog of Strange but True a knitted digestive system, that is quite detailed and accurate.

Creepy severed body parts garland. Quite festive!

Here is a link for a variety of tombstones.

Love buckeyes? try this eyeball version, yummy

I like this goolish breakfast sandwich that your kids can have fun making

Happy Halloween, now get knitting…

10.04.2009

Dyeing to ……

Once upon a time there was a woman, a knitter of course, that dreamed of learning to spin.  She knitting and bought spinning books and magazines and read all of the articles. OOOO, Ahhhhh…. Then she met a fellow knitter, who was spinning on a spindle. Knitted Gems, who is a great knitter who is also a knitting designer. Her blog posts and photos about her beginning spinning gave me courage to try it. So in fits and starts I started.

024Then I met another blogger, Spin, Knit and Life, who sells luscious batts and spun fibers at her Etsy shop. She encouraged me and give me little tips, well maybe big tips. She walked me through buying a wheel, my first, now I’m thinking about another, and through her I became interested in dyeing.

The first thing I dyed (with Kool Aid) was some of the first fiber that was spun from my wheel.  Some lovely soft hand spun, that I’m now incorporating into a sweater.

009

By now I’m seriously into the dyeing addiction. The latest I made is a sweet pink with some grey added in. I think it would look perfect knitted into a traditional little cardigan with some sweet pearl buttons.

010 Pretty in pink here.

011 Sprinkle (see technique here) on some grey and microwave for 2 min. Then cover with saran wrap and sit it in the sun for 2-3 hours.

004Woo hoo, beautiful yarn, soft and pretty.

008  Ready to ship out to someone to knit some pinky goodness.

May your needles fly as fast as dragonflies…

10.02.2009

Line your bags, give them a foundation..and they will serve you well…

I admit, I love to knit bags, they are beautiful and soft. But yarn handles and bags can become stretched out. After taking the time to make the perfect bag, take the time to line them and give them some structure,  then your bag will be totally wonderful, lasting and you will amaze even yourself.

These are tips, that I discovered during my great summer binge of purse felting.

Handles, if these are knitted, reinforce them.

003 (2) 

If I am making an i-cord handle I often put several strands of cotton yarn (or cotton cording, I have also crocheted a chain of cotton yarn and used that), together and string it up the middle, then take a few stitches on each end of the handle to anchor them. This keeps them from becoming too stretched out. I do this even if I’m felting the I-cords, but if felting don’t stitch them until post felting, just safety pin them to them ends, not tightly though, leave some give). Nothing is worse than handles on your purse that keep growing. (my big pet peeve) Your nice under the arm purse ends up hitting your butt and you have to contend with putting some knots in the handles to take up the extra room.

If knitting flat purse handles, that maybe OK. give them the pull test, I mean really pull on them. How much weight are you going to carry in that purse? If they don’t have much give, (if it is a felted purse) they could be good to go. If you get them to stretch, consider taking fabric and lining the underside of your purse handles. (use the same as the lining or contrasting, or you can match the yarn color).

Bottom, and possibly sides, reinforce them

I use to take a piece of cardboard, in the shape of the bottom and hot glue some fabric to it and stick it in. This is good, but it usually bends, folds and things get wedged underneath it (usually that thing you absolutely have to have right now!) But I have found the holy grail for me. Foamies, these little cheap pieces of foam are great! They are available in almost every color you can think of, come in varying, thickness, I usually use the 2mm, I have gotten the 3mm once, that was really heavy duty. Cost, wait for it, less than $1 per piece. They can be found at practically anywhere, from Wal-Mart to your local craft store.

 Foamies, usually one or two sheets. (< dollar a piece) Sturdy and washable

Take your finished bag and decide on what section you need to reinforce (example, I always do the bottom if nothing else)

Get your Foamies out, and place your purse section on top and roughly draw a line around the section you want to reinforce. Now cut this out, bigger is always better, (we can trim later, but can’t add on)

012 (2)

Now pin onto bottom of purse, and cut any excess off, now overcast stitch all around with needle and thread. Don’t worry this is inside and no one will ever see it. So no need to be perfect.

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If you wish to reinforce any other sections of your bag, repeat for those areas (sides, pockets etc…) I always do the bottom, it really gives your bag some shape that holds up, and is, yes, washable.

Lining, yes, do it you will be glad

I always line my bags, even a beginning sewing can line a bag simply and add even one pocket on the inside. This will make your bag more functional.  Fancy or simple, add zippers if you wish.

All of these steps will make a purse that you will be proud of and last and be functional. If you took the time to knit the purse, please take a leap and do some finishing. You will not be sorry

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This is a very simple lining, with pockets, ok, a lot of pockets, no fancy closures.

 

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All packed up and ready to go.

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Below are some links to a few excellent tutorials, there are many out there on great blogs.

Discover how to properly line your purses in a way that your mother would be proud of, see these links and find some of your own.

Simple lining from My Recycled Bags.com

Zipper and Slip pocket from Sew Mama Sew, purse lining tutorial and other great tutorials.

How to add pockets to your lining from Tiggersong on Instructables

Simple, great looking bag lining tutorial from Future girl, and others.

May your needles fly as fast as dragonflies..