Saturday, March 31, 2007

Flash Your Stash (and WIPs) for April

I saw on Chris' blog that Elspeth at KniTV was having a contest for 'WIP it out' and had mentioned April 1st is Flash Your Stash Day.

Well, here is my stash. Remember I moved in January so this isn't much, but it's everything! All of my currently not-in-use needles and yarn are in the above picture.

WIPs: (and the rest of my needles)

WIP #1: Green Booties

WIP #2: Wool Circular Shawl

The shawl hasn't advanced since the last picture I took of it.
The special needle for it is yet to come in the mail.

Very shocking - I only have two knitting Works in Progress! The pair of green booties for the flea market and the circular wool shawl. There has just been too much going on! Sewing and drawing takes up some of that time, as well. I need to sew a few more items to take to the flea market next Tuesday - so have to set aside some time this weekend for that.

This purple bunny is for a friend who was sad.
He's a little crooked, but gives good hugs.
I should make a few more of him ;o)

New artwork - March 29th, 2007

Note on the Art: The blue and green flowing thing (coming from the figure's mouth and over the rabbit's eyes) is a symbol for 'song / breath / speech.' It does mean 'song' in this instance. It represents the chant song my grandmother sang to me when I was a little girl.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Susan at Knitiot Savant sent me some interview questions for the 'meme-like' that is going around.

1. What's your favorite color?
Hard to say - color takes on a different meaning to an artist! If I had to choose, it would be sapphire blue or darker heliotrope colors.

2. Where do you find inspiration for your craft projects?
A combination of what materials are available, what I've seen recently and how useful it would be to have when I'm done with it (to me or to someone else).

3. What's your favorite season of the year and why?
I think Autumn (and Indian Summer). The smell of dry leaves and the warm wind bring me back to when I was a little girl collecting acorns in our front yard. I would heap buckets full of them from our great big oak tree and then we had a few neighbors who would buy them for 10 cents a bucket. We would also go out in the woods at our farm and chop firewood to drag on sleds out to the waiting truck. I was too little to help cut, but would help heap up the sleds and drag them out over the path.

4. When you're down in the dumps, what cheers you up?
I revel at the world around me, and how expansive and detailed it is. Then I look at myself in it and ask: "What are you doing? Stop moping and get up and do something about .. well, something at least." Even if I can't fix the problem immediately, there is usually something that needs to be done or a productive project that can get me out of the slump. Often, also, I draw or write journal entries if there really is something that I need more insight on.

5. Why did you start blogging?
I made my first official blog post (here) in February of 2005. However, that was just because I saw other people with knitting blogs and wanted to put up some of my trials and projects here and there. I dropped off posting after we moved to Tennessee. I truly began posting on a regular basis after cutting a hand severely in September of 2005. I was really thankful when I could begin typing, knitting and doing other things again normally - and used this blog as an outlet. I met some great friends here and really enjoyed sharing pictures and day-to-day activities with all of you! Thank you :)

Thank you Susan!

It's raining and gloomy out today - still 'dark' at 9:30 in the morning! We went to the flea market yesterday and the weather was beautiful then. There were puppies galore, goats, bunnies, garden plants and tons of junk (like usual). However, we did pick up a few interesting bits. I dug down through a bucket of old necklaces to find a white metal enamel turtle necklace for fifty cents. We also found an antique check imprinter that still works - the kind that used to perforate the amount of the check into the paper for safety.

Neat find! A metal turtle necklace

In the afternoon we put in a row of early corn and some broccoli. Mark also planted some flower seeds all around the house and fence.

Unusual garden items: Blue seems to be on my mind lately - I've bought seed for blue Hubbard squash, ornamental (Indian) blue corn, and also Blue Lupin seeds to plant on the hill. I remember growing the Hubbard squash in our Heirloom Centennial garden at the North Central Experiment Station in Grand Rapids, MN. I worked there for three years and learned a lot about horticulture and plants.

Another pair of shoes in progress. Same pattern - a bit bigger

I'm trying a few different sizes of the booties. We are planning (if the weather cooperates) to sell at next week's flea market. A few of my toys and these booties might make a nice display on the table beside our other things. Not sure what might sell well though. We can only try :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Renovations Complete, mostly...

The work we did for the data center reconfiguration is almost finished - and most of our services are back up and running. I expected it to be longer. It could have been, if more things broke in the moving process. It was a tough day and a half - and quick, considering how big the job was!

I was busy in a crafty way, as well.

Easter basket tag balls or squeeze toys

More 'low-calorie chocolate rabbits' knit up.

Rabbit squeeze-ball (SOLD)

Practice making little shoes!

I'll probably give these away, or pack them away for 'later.' There are a few things about the pattern that need to be perfected, including my technique. I had forgotten how hard it is to make good looking I-cord with fingering yarn!

I found the booties pattern in MagKnits, they are a version of 'Special Socks', the Cinderella version. I think they turned out a tiny bit small, 3 inches long, but not bad for trying out a new 'small things' pattern for the shop.

It was also something I could make with the needles and yarn I already had -- while I'm still searching around for where I want to buy a large circular needle from. Sadly, KnitPicks options only goes down to 4 in circular needles.. and the shawl is being knit on size three. So, a 47" size 3 circular needle sounds like my best bet.

UPDATE: Ordered a 47" size 3 Addi turbo needle from an online shop :o)

Blog Linky: You me, and a baby <-- a geek mom and proud of it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

May Be Offline for a few days soon...

We are doing some renovating here and the internet connection may be down for a few days.

Some Etsy Links to look at:
Plush castle playset <-- very nice work!
A dragon knitting pattern for sale on Etsy.
little sewn baby shoes <-- don't look hard to make!
cute little print by blackapple
tiny needle felted rabbit and carrot

Thanks for all your suggestions on the circular shawl - will need to do some ordering, on Ebay perhaps. In the meanwhile, trying a few other little patterns and seeing what I can do with the needles I have.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Questions about Circulars...

Good questions! I'd like it to be 30 to 36 inches in diameter to end up with - which means over 100 inches in circumference. So - do I just keep going with dpns (seems to be working okay, stitches are tight) or do I use a circular needle? And, if circular, what size circular needle? I appreciate your insight!

It is so hot out today, comparitively! We planted a tray of tomatoes and peppers, and another tray full of geranium seeds. I hope to sell the geraniums at the flea market in May.

We went for a walk yesterday...

Miss I calls this a 'sarvis' tree -- take a look at who was visiting it!

This tree has a very sweet smell that can be smelled all the way from the doorstep! There were tiny honey bees swarming it as well, but they were too fast to catch on camera.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Progress on the Wool Circular Shawl

Happy Spring Everyone!

We've been busy around here :o) My November gift is going suprisingly well -- round things usually get 'ornery' on me after they are bigger than a sock ;o)

Size 3 needle, White 'Palette' Knitpicks yarn (100% wool)

It is almost 10 inches in diameter now.

I put a few rows on it every night.

We rented 'Eragon', 'Stranger than Fiction' and 'Blood Diamond' last night. CarrieK, I think you reccommended 'Stranger than Fiction'? Really great movie - although I fell asleep just before the end so will have to watch the end today.

Also - lots of work in the garden yesterday. It will be super-warm out today (77°) and we are also going to start some plants indoors in trays.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Here comes the weekend...

Taking it 'easy' this weekend -- hope the weather warms up for some garden work, though! It was nice and sunshiney out yesterday, but the wind was too cold to do much outside. Puck came through her surgery just fine -- she curled up in a ball on the couch for most of the day yesterday. She did scare us a little by going outside and disappearing for an hour after dark -- but one of the other dogs went out and retrieved her.

Kim at Knitten-kittens, I can't comment on your blog anymore :o( The number verification fails every time :o( Still reading though.

'Counsel from Fox' 03/15/2007 12 noon

I am making some progress on this wool 'shawl.'
It will be a gift for someone in November.

Mark took some more close-up pictures of the Singer that turned out wonderful. We were looking at how it actually worked. He also figured out the bobbin winder! The little kit of odds and ends the seller gave us had two different kinds of bobbins in it -- I was trying to use the winder with the wrong type.

The bobbin loop coming up.

The bobbin in its 'bullet-like' case.

Keeping busy with the Ebay store, knitting rabbits, working on my dream bag weaving... there is a lot going on here. My best friend from high school called last night and we had a good talk, also wished her a belated happy birthday from last week.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pink Geranium

I have a real fondness for geraniums, have since the first batch I had raised from seed back in high school. When we were shopping for garden seeds the other day, this beautiful specimen came home with us ;o)

Click to enlarge - you can even see the little hairs on the stems in this picture.

Geraniums are one of those plants that have wonderful smelling leaves as well as flowers. They are not terribly expensive, and can be raised from seed in a moist, covered container starting in January or February. They can do well inside as a houseplant with just some good sunlight and light watering. Sometimes they can have a tendency to overflower - using up their energies all at once, but the extra flower stems can be gently pruned back without harming the plant. It is best to allow only a few flower clusters to bloom at once unless you have a very good supply of fertilized soil to the plant.

The type of Geraniums you would find being sold at plant stores are also called 'Pelargonium', to determine them from wilder cousins. Here is a wonderful site with many beautiful pictures of different breeds of geraniums. I think most of these were grown and photographed by just one guy. It's apparent some people REALLY love geraniums more than I do, but the pictures are gorgeous. Also - be sure to check out his greenhouse picture just for the sheer magnitude of it.

This one in particular looks like a little bonsai tree!
It's going to need some care and a tiny bit of pruning here and there,
but it should live for up to a year or more, producing pretty flowers and outgrowing this pot at least once.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Astounding Science Fiction Collection

This is Mark's collection of Astounding science fiction magazines, later known as the SF magazine Analog, which is still in publication today. He has magazines from as early as 1939 in this collection, many of them full years, right up until the 1990s. We moved and reorganized these magazines during the last week - putting some duplicates and oddballs up on Ebay at our store.

The Analog magazine published early stories and serials by well-known SF authors such as Theodore Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Harry Harrison, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson - and many more. There were also countless authors that never made it to the level of 'household names' as some of those just mentioned - but are also part of the history of early science fiction. I liked Mark's quote that these short stories are similar to a 'short course in the golden age of Science Fiction.' The magazine also did (and still does) publish fact science and technology articles.

More on the Astounding/Analog magazine publication from Wikipedia.

Close-up - they aren't in perfect condition but each copy is readable.

An old ad inside the cover of one that caught my interest. The year was 1939.

Another old ad from the back of a 1941 copy

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Flea Market finds (and some knitting does occurr)

We found a steal at the flea market - an antique Singer sewing machine for such a small price, we had to scoop it up. It seems to work, too! The one thing we are having difficulty with is winding a new bobbin -- the instructions are wadded up and falling apart -- and this bobbin winder seems different than many of the ones we are looking at on the Internet. It is a 27-4 Singer according to the manual. We looked up the serial number (beginning with 'B') on the Singer website and it says this particular machine was made in 1904. However, since it has been refurbished, it might contain parts of several different models -- we're just not sure.

I play with the bobbin winder some.

A close-up of the winder in question.

There were also very good-smelling strawberries at the flea market!

Some knitting does still occurr here...
A *secret mystery project* (No guessing!) started out of fine white wool.

article on indian corn

Monday, March 12, 2007

Of DST and other woes...

We didn't have that much worry about Daylight Savings Time here - even with all the computers, servers and other time-oriented things. Mark spent that morning doing some clever fixes with zone info files. However, it is time for the puppy to make her visit to the vet - for her surgery. I'll be calling them later on today - poor Puck!

Puck helping out with the garden the other day

Neat site found while browsing: This guy has done amazing things with spinning and weaving. He spun and wove fabric to cut and sew his own shirt, and several other pieces of clothing. Not to mention his pages on astronomy, ham radio, silversmithing, gem grinding... just a total geek renaissance man. Check out all his pages and be amazed!

Also check out Chris' But since I wasn't blogging then contest. I reallly do regret not having a day by day entry of when the girls (Sally and Willowpede) were tiny kittens and just coming home for the first time. That was during a hiatus in my blogging. I still miss them terribly - Mouse reminds me so much of Sally that I've woken up in the night having to figure out exactly which cat is purring and pawing at me. *sigh*

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wool Bird Pincushions

Currently at the shop:

Wool felt version of bird pincushion

New design: owl pincushion (wool felt)

I spent the weekend playing with the bag of wool felt that came in the mail last week. We've also been going through stacks of books, and clearing up more old equipment to sort. Mark turned over the garden with the backhoe and we will have to get some plants and seeds. I have a bag of blue iris bulbs we can find a place for out in the yard soon :o)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Even more Knit Rabbits...

If you haven't guessed already, I have a 'thing' for rabbits ;o) These little knit ones are very addictive - and the pair has already sold in my Etsy shop! I made the smaller one (only 5 inches tall) out of some of the wool Palette I had sitting on the shelf. It was made with the 14 stitch pattern, but is much tinier than the acrylic 12 and 16 stitch rabbits!

It looks I'm going to get a lot of practice making these little guys!

Please also take a look at my buyable PDF pattern for sewing rag rabbit softie dolls!

Knit a Rabbit

Made on size 3 DPNS, each in two pieces. Knit each piece on 2 needles, using a third for working stitches.
You'll need that fourth DPN needle when working ears and legs!

Head: Start out with (12,14,16) stitches - increase for (2,3,4) rounds, stitch round for (6,8,8) rounds, decrease for several rounds (to an even number), separate for ears, work first ear to end, decreasing to four stitches and drawing yarn through all loops and tying off. Break yarn. Reattach yarn and work second ear as first. Set finished head aside.

Body: Start out with (12,14,16) stitches - increase for (2,3,4) rounds, stitch back and forth on one side for several rows. Break yarn (leave several inches for weaving in), reattach to other side and stitch an equal number of rows for pieces to meet up again. Continue knitting from other needle in round fashion (this will leave two holes on either side of the body for arms to be cast on later... like a mitten thumb. Knit in the round until the body has reached the desired length. Seperate into two equal halves for legs. Work as for ears.

Arms: Cast back on 6-10 stitches on each armhole and work arms as ears.

Finishing: Stuff head and body with yarn clippings. Work in all yarn tails or tie them inside in such a way they will not come loose. Sew head to body with a piece of the project yarn. Use embroidery thread to make happy rabbit faces.

A sweet shot of Puck (the puppy) and Yeller (the outside male cat) playing on the front porch.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Knitting Rabbits

I've been knitting these little rabbits - a pattern I stumbled upon a while back just after making my first mitten. One small rabbit finished, one larger rabbit in progress.

Drawings from this week:

03/06/2007 (night)
The council about the bundle.

03/08/2007 (morning)
Binding up/gating off bad forces

Sunday, March 04, 2007

We Play with Clay (again)

Yesterday we tried our hand at a very simple animation, and had some silly fun doing it. I did the camera work on the animation and Mark moved the little creatures around attacking each other.

Click to Open in New Window
This animation is rated: PG for some clay violence!
Hit 'escape' when finished viewing to stop the animation.

I had just let the big red dinosaur eat one of the other ones....

Mark says: And these go right here.

We used different clay than for the other dog - this stuff was easier to work with and to move, but harder to clean up! It promises to get much more interesting now that we've seen some of the problems with lighting, forming and what our (very simple) software can do with the product.

Thanks for all of the suggestions on what to make for the shop! I have some 'chocolate brown' felt that could make some cute 'chocolate bunnies' with embroidery.

Also: I saw this little bird pincushion today on Etsy. I have some wool felt coming in the mail and really want to make one of these! I currently have no pincushion and haven't had a good enough idea to sit down and make one.

Not perfect, but this is how my version turned out.

A good place to keep pins ;o)

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Survey please! : So - for my shop for Easter should I make...
  • Lots more little handheld rabbits...
  • Some hopkin frogs...
  • or a few of the new rabbits? (still needs some work)
What do you think? Help me decide please!
Of course, I could continue making a little of each, since Easter is in April. I'm also getting hit daily in my search results for kangaroos and sloths.. go figure ;o) Maybe I'll do a few batches of them after Easter.

Working on the second knit dishcloth for my mom's birthday present. I have a little chunk of strawberry soap to put in with it. We have new Primus albums and Beethoven's Creatures of Prometheus playing on the overhead stereo in a random mix, and 'The Dark Crystal' and 'The Neverending Story' to watch this weekend.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Fiat Bunny

The Rabbit Prototype (aka Cthulu) is finished!

I'm mostly happy with him. Also happy to announce his resemblance to the demony Elder God (<--Lynn: this links for you) has diminished.

As with all prototypes, there are little places you know can be tweaked in the next one.

His legs especially, while they sit nicely, look a bit funny when held like this.

Lynn asked how much time per day I spend on things like crafting, weaving, drawing etc... That depends on the day. We are usually up near dawn here, and working on all number of things. If I had to estimate - I'd say I probably craft for about four hours a day - but that is spread out through the entire day and in-between other things (like waiting for my machine to reboot into Windows or browsing through submitted news articles for my editing job). There is always time to tie a knot in a new needle of thread - or stitch up an arm or leg while reading.

Weaving is a different matter, though. That I usually 'take time out' for, mostly because the frame is across the room from the comptuer ;o) I haven't been working too much on my dream bag - but I have started the back side of it now.

For the drawing - pattern drawing and little sketches can happen throughout the day as well. I might take a half-hour or hour out later on to listen to some music and make one of my random-line drawings, that start in random scratches on the paper, and end up as many figures with symbols between them.

Also: Sorry to hear Blogger has been so awful lately with the comment verification! *growl* I'll see what I can do about that!

Mouse blisses out while getting petted in a sunbeam.