Friday, January 25, 2013

Merry Makemas

Now that everything has been gifted to everyone, here's a recap of what I made for gifting.

For my best Lady, a lovely Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neckwarmer. This is a great bulky-yarn little cowl with offset seaming. I made one for myself a few years ago and wear it all the time. It's the greatest. This one is made out of Brooks Farm Duet, fine mohair and wool, 4 strands held together. It's squish-tastic!

For my sister, I took some lovely Hello Yarn club fiber and carded it into wee rolags before spinning a a sort of colorwave. This was one of the quickest spin-to-knit-to-blocking-to-wearing projects I've ever done. And, it was also the earliest I've ever finished a Christmas craft. The pattern is Wingspan.

For my neighbor-friend, I spun a super bulky Swaledale thread, and then Navajo-plied it to retain some big swaths of color. I tried many non-felted patterns, but none of them seemed to work. I was afraid that going with a felted pattern might require more yarn than I had, but eventually I went with my favorite felted clogs pattern, and made small modifications as necessary. The Swaledale was a big hair mess post-felting:

I ended up shaving the slippers before gifting - her house always seems so hair-free, even with two cats, a toddler, and a husband. She's requested some non-slip action for the bottoms, so I gotta retrieve the slippers once we thaw out from our current deep chill (nothing warms the knitter's heart quite like seeing a handknit in constant use, am I right?).

I knew when I received December 2011's Southern Cross Fibre club that it would be PERFECT for something for my mom. She's a fan of the sea blues and beachy colors, and Oceanic had all of that going for it.

I wanted to weave something for her, but was still very much a novice. So, I instead spun 8oz of this gorgeous BFL/Silk blend into a whack of laceweight 2-ply. The colors matched up pretty well, too, giving the finished yarn long runs of color. I knew that if I tried to knit with the yarn, I'd start something that I might not finish (ahem), so I kept playing around with the weaving idea. My friend Anj persuaded me (oh the force she used!) to take a 6 week weaving class at our local guild, and by week 2 I felt confident enough to warp my 24" rigid heddle side-to-side, full width, and went to town. It's by no means perfect - lots of missed warps, some wonky beatings, and tension issues leading to some meh edges - but it is beautiful nonetheless.

Finally, with all this crafting going on for my favorite ladies, I was struck with the idea to make something for my favorite guy... What could I make for Miki that he'd love? Something that would bring together some of his favorite things - camping, hiking, Mt. Washington, and - sorry, dear - snuggling (but manly snuggles. Like, with beer and bushy beard and beef jerky snuggling...)? It took some thinking, but I settled on making a quilt using the peaks of the White Mountains and the Presidential Range as inspiration. It was not finished in time for Christmas - ran out of thread and even with the quilt bat(t) signal up, I didn't have enough - but I wrapped it for him anyway.

He was delighted! Here you can see he's instantly put it to use in our often-chilly home (we keep the heat set low because I don't know why... To save money? To force the cats to lay on us? To prove a point?). The backing was a mix of fun camping prints, complete with tents and trailers and wildlife. I OF COURSE managed to sneak some squirrels in there, too. The brown chevron fit in well with the mountain theme, I thought.

And here's a shot of the front. It obviously has received the Lucy-Cat Stamp of Approval. The quilt top was pieced using the bulk of a Moda Happy Campers Jelly Roll. The tallest "peak" - in this case, Mt. Washington - is the full 44" of a strip, with the rest proportionate to that peak. I didn't use a pattern so much as I looked at lots of elevation profiles and graphed out peaks and valleys using MS Publisher (I know! High tech!).

And that's it! I can now start to procrastinate on making next year's gifts. I have some plans in the works, though!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Domestic bliss

Mike: you should've seen it!

Me: *dubious*

Mike, standing more upright and with his head tilted oddly: it was like this!

Me: why do you do that?

Mike: what?

Me: act out your turds!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Oh, I know whodunit.

The evidence is plain to see. Someone has been dipping a paw into my ort jar. The first time, I thought it wasn't intentional. The second time, I thought she was just lucky. But the third through eleventh time? I'd say we have yarn stalker.

Don't be fooled by the sight of the two of them snuggling on the radiator. This house is a full-blown crime scene. I'd wrap it in caution tape, but I'm pretty sure draping crinkly ribbon around the room wouldn't end the way I envision.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


I'm changing all of my resolutions to this one simple concept: don't let this happen, ever. That is the end of a car, that caught fire, while making a left, as the driver was heading back to return it to his friend.

I resolve to have none of those statements apply to me this year. Or ever.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

You say you want some resolutions?

While I do like to treat each day, week, and month as the beginning of the rest of my life, there's something unavoidable and traditional about making a list of things to do for the coming year. Last year, I resolved to be as crafty as I wanna be, and I kinda fulfilled that. However, I'm not the best at keeping notes on projects. So, first resolution:

1. Keep better notes on craft projects. This is useful if I want to repeat the same project, or (more likely) stop mid-project and need to know just what I was thinking before getting interrupted. 
Also, this makes it easier to then blog about the stuff I've made

For many of the things I made in 2012, I didn't take decent photos of the progress or the finished object. Resolution the second:

2. Take more photos of WIPs and FOs. This includes ALL the things I make - 
spinning, knitting, weaving, quilting, sewing, stitching, and so on.

2012 found me exploring making garments beyond elastic-waist pajama pants. I'd like to continue exploring garment making. #3, then:

3. Keep challenging myself to try new techniques in my crafts. 
Sew more zippers, work on achieving more precise quilt piecing, maybe learn to crochet for real, for real.

I made some great changes and personal improvements in 2012, but there's always more work to be done.

4. Work on my posture. I really need to display my full 5'1.5" self!

5. Be kinder to my body. Better posture would help, but also 
just becoming more aware and in touch with what my body is telling me. 

One of my biggest errors of 2012 was probably not taking care of my vehicles. The latest car issue isn't included, but there are other things that I've really let slide.

6. Get the oil changed on the motorbike more ... regularly. 
If I expect to ride the bike as often as possible (everyday except hurricanes, blizzards, 
and other inclement events), I need to take the time to care for it. 
Let 2013 be the year of no roadside assistance freak-outs, 
and no freezing road-side stranding. 

7. The Ghia had a decent year - fully inspected, registered, and insured. 
Now troubleshoot and fix those squealing brakes and get the throttle cable replaced. 
Maybe, just maybe, think about paint.

And finally, the typical resolutions: eat more healthfully, exercise more regularly, and so on and so forth.

8. Lean into vegetarian/vegan options more. 
After giving up (house) meat for Lent last year, 
I kinda went meat-tastic from June on. 
Break myself of the meat, potatoes, vegetable meal idea.

9. Stop making excuses for skipping the gym (sick, tired, raining, spinning), 
and try to go twice a week 
(Ideally, Monday and Wednesday mornings 
before work, since my schedule allows it).

10. Practice kindness and explore what it means to be kind. 
Sounds hippie-dippy, but I think it's something that I need to be more mindful of, 
something that if pursued could mean so much more for me in all kinds of ways.

So, there they are. 10 ways to be a better me in 2013, from being a better crafter to a better bike owner to just better. Did you make any resolutions this year?