April 21, 2009

Yarn Harlot humor

I love this post by Stephanie McPhee about a sweater knitting escapade. Take your time reading it...her humor is certainly lovely.

But beyond that, I just died when I read one of the comments: "That sounds a bit like my rabbit agility students last night trying to guide their rabbits through the course. To go left, put your right foot out to tell the rabbit to also go left (away from the foot), only this means you have to remember both the direction (left) you want to go and to use the opposite (right) foot. My poor beginners were having issues - "is it 'go left use right foot to guide', or 'go right use left foot to guide'? Luckily, most of the grade goes to the rabbits, who generally did just fine. :)"

Turns out there is such a thing as rabbit agility:

Who knew?

February 19, 2009

Dogs on Thursday: Doggy Fashion

I went to the 2009 Knit and Crochet Out at the Mall from Hell...oops, Mall of America, this weekend. I've read lots of reviews about how glorious it was, with the fiber-feeling, and classes, and knitters/crocheters, oh my. But honestly, I didn't enjoy it. But, that's for another post...this is Dogs on Thursday.

The part that I did enjoy was the fashion show, especially the dog fashion show. The pups were all therapy dogs, and handled the crowds and outfit changes with grace and aplomb. Please see my Flickr set for more pictures, but here are some of my faves. (I apologize for the poor quality...I didn't realize it was so dark, and there was one woman I just couldn't get around to take decent shots.) As always, click the picture for a larger image.


The Briard in skull and crossbones:


The Sheltie in a skunk outfit:


And the Samoyed as a devil (she was also a diva earlier on...):


I probably wouldn't ever make any of these for my dogs (I knit Payton a sweater once, but that will probably never happen again, especially since he doesn't seem to need it anyway), but they were definitely fun to watch and a highlight of the day.

February 5, 2009

Death of the yarn

I must admit, I have a ball of yarn that is probably feeling the same way as this poor guy....


From Bent Objects

January 28, 2009

Tiny Knits

Of course I'm going to see Coraline when it opens, but here's a clip on the knitter of the sweaters in the movie:

Some of the designs she has in miniature are incredible.

I'm just not sure she's the only one who does this (though she says "designs conceptual sweaters"); I seem to remember Becka posting or emailing me about someone else who knits miniatures.

January 8, 2009

Test Knitting

For the first time ever, I'm test knitting a pattern for someone. Anne of How the West was Spun and Wooly Wonka Fibers asked for a tester for a pair of socks, men's size. Since I've never knit the husband a pair of socks, this seemed like a good opportunity. See Anne's post yesterday for a longer view of the women's size.

Here are my WIP pics (2 were taken with flash, 2 without):





December 18, 2008

No problem here...

I first saw this comic on my friend Janice's blog at the beginning of December:


I read "Rhymes with Orange" online, and very rarely on Sundays, so I hadn't seen it myself. But my mother does read it in the newspaper, and I wondered if she would send it to me. I didn't think she was going to, until we opened her Christmas presents to us last night. Yep, she included it in the package for me.

I can't say I've knit while eating dinner at a restaraunt, but that may just be yet to come. I scored a knitting coup not too long ago. My friend Becka and I usually bring our knitting to social gatherings at friends', and one other woman asked us rather snidely once if we always bring knitting out. At a recent gathering (Becka couldn't be there, so I was the only one knitting), there were 8 or 9 of us women in the living room. The snide woman was also there, and after a few other people also responded to some of her knitting-related questions, she asked, "so how many of you also knit?" Everyone else in the room raised their hands. Hah! Take that, oh snide commenter!

November 20, 2008

Yes, I am still knitting....

I just haven't been able to photograph and blog about it. This summer was sweater summer; I finished 4 sweaters, two of which I adore, one of which became a birthday present for a friend, and the 4th, well, after finishing, blocking, and wearing once, went to the frog pond.

The first sweater I finished was Rogue from A Girl From Auntie. I don't have a picture of the completed sweater, but I did blog about it a little in progress. I used a Cascade 220 color called "Lichen," and I love love love this sweater. I meant to try one of the mods with kangaroo pockets, but forgot when the time came. Oh well, guess I'll just have to knit another (probably with the cardigan mod).

After Rogue came the Cable-Down Sweater from Interweave Knits, by Stephanie Japel. No, mind did not look like this picture. For one thing, I used Cascade 220 again, but even though the pattern says it's worsted weight, I think it was supposed to be a lighter weight yarn. But, it actually looked very nice on my taller girlfriend, so she got it for her birthday. Here are some blocking pictures:




The next sweater was Norah Gaughan's Cabaret Raglan, also from Interweave. Yes, I also did this one in Cascade 220, from the leftover yarn from Cable-down.



It came out quite nicely. The problem was, though, that it just didn't seem to look right on me. Again, I think I'd prefer a lighter weight yarn, maybe a lovely Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool. So, Cabaret became froggy-pond:


Yes, after blocking. But I think the yarn is much happier waiting for the right project right now. Besides...I enjoy the process so much, that reknitting something doesn't necessarily bother me.

Finally, I just recently finished the Basic Hoodie from Chic Knits. I don't have a picture, basically because I haven't really taken it off since I finished it. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in a dark gray, with a strip of the teal Cascade 220 (from the frog pond...yes, it's very happy in the basic cardi) and a smaller strip of Cascade 220 Lichen. I did not put buttonholes on the button band, and ended up machine stitching a zipper on. The sweater kind of stretched for the's not the best job, but I love the dang thing anyway. And the's not the softest yarn in the world, but it works up into this incredibly squooshy feel. I'll be making another one of these, too.

In terms of the patterns, A Girl From Auntie has THE. VERY. BEST. PATTERNS. It was a million pages long, but so easy to follow. The Chic Knits pattern is an easy second. I have a problem with Interweave in that they usually seem to have minimalist patterns because they're trying to save space in the magazine. I can appreciate that, but Cable-Down took me 4 froggings before I finally figured out what the hell they were saying. Cabaret was only simpler because the pattern itself isn't as complex.

Finally, I have one more FO, but I can't share any details because it's for a friend who may or may not be lurking here. And, given my memory and previous history, I'll probably forget to post after Christmas. So just remember that I finished another project as well. :-)

June 6, 2008

Promise Blanket

The Yarnery, One of my LYSs is sponsoring a "knit a square" blanket project. Click on the link for more details.

May 5, 2008

Rogue cabling

I can't even remember the last time I had knitting or crafts online. It's not that I don't do things, but more that I usually don't get good pictures or any pictures.

I've been working pretty solidly on Rogue recently; it's a good pattern, and goes pretty quickly, even when we're talking about just a couple of hours in the evenings. But more exciting, it's my first foray into cabling. There is a mistake in the side NOT modeled below (the model is one of our lovely space-taking-up speakers, required to get "just the right sound" even though our setup is "less than good" for true audiophiles--can you tell what I am not?), but other than that, I've only had a few major rip outs. I'm really enjoying the cabling part, especially for the awe it holds for my husband.



The true color is probably in between these pictures, closer to the dark one. It's a heathered green Cascade 220, and really fun to work with.

I'm probably 1/3 to 1/2 up the hood. I think (I don't have it with me, and don't quite remember) I have two skeins left, plus the one currently in progress. I'm a little concerned about having enough for the sleeves, but at least the good news there is that they probably don't have to be as long as called for in the pattern. :-) I also forgot to put in the pocket (I was so wrapped up in the novelty of cables that I completely missed that step and didn't feel like going back), so I might see about adding a purely external pocket later. I will definitely do this pattern again, though, maybe trying the cardigan version next time.

April 10, 2008

Let's make a contest out of it

ORIGINAL ENTRY I know I don't have a lot of regular readers, so everyone has a good chance of winning. I'm interested to see how much I can raise for the MS Society and the Animal Humane Society through posting on my blog. I'm going to try following the same contest rules I'm seeing on other sites. I will leave the contest open through midnight on May 9, though the Walk for Animals is actually on May 3. Click on the "original entry" link above to find the donation website.

If you submit a donation, you will receive one ticket for a random drawing. If you have a blog, please be sure to leave the address in comments, so I can spend some time there and personalize your gift. If you are blog-less/free, please tell me something about yourself and/or your interests.

I will give you two tickets for posting about my contest on your blog (if you are blogless, CC me on an email to at least one other person, and I will consider that as "advertising" also); be sure to leave me that comment also so that I can get those two more tickets.

I will give you three tickets for every person who donates who reaches me through your blog/email; be sure to leave directions that people reference you so I can add you up appropriately.

So, one donation, one blog mention, and one referral can earn you 6 tickets. Given that I have about 5 regular readers, chances of getting your name drawn are pretty dang good. :-)

Finally, I will send a special little something for the person who donates the most (I'll combine totals if you donate to both causes). And anyone who would like to help sponsor me with possible awards is more than welcome to send me an email at dtisinger [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for any help you can give.

April 1, 2008

FO: Clapotis

Pictures to come at some point.

I actually (finally) finished a Clapotis last night. Why not? After all, everyone else is doing it. I had bought 4 skeins of Cascade on sale at Crafty Planet, so decided to use those. And I followed the pattern (more or less). So I knew it would be bigger than the finished dimensions, just because I used larger yarn.

But, as others have noted, the pattern does get a little boring. Good mindless knitting, but boring nonetheless. I also discovered that I purl funky, which actually twists my stitches. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, but the pattern calls for a series of twisted and untwisted stitches. It still works reversed, but there are definite problems, most notably in the rows of stitches that border the drops. They don't hold tightly together because they are non-twisted when they're supposed to be twisted. Not necessarily a problem, but definitely different.

The other issue is that I got so bored, I missed a crucial point in the pattern when starting the decreases. I was sort of able to backtrack and recover, but the end result is that my final shawl is not a rectangle shape. It's mostly rectangle, but the final short edge dissolves into a point rather than a nice edge.

Overall, it's not that bad. I like the weight of the worsted, and I like the colors. The yarn was very splitty, which got irritating, but I survived that. I may even venture another one at some point (I started it because I needed mindless knitting), but I think if I do, I'll figure out how to purl correctly for the pattern and use a yarn closer to the pattern's recommendation.

March 5, 2008

Why, Etsy, Why?

When winter is dragging on, and the world outside is drab and drear, why do you showcase black/white/grey items on your main page?


November 26, 2007

Aspen Grove Shawl - WIP

I've been working on the Aspen Grove Shawl by Miriam Felton recently. I've just finished the top section, the leaves at the tops of the trees. I bought the kit from Wooly Wonka Fibers; the yarn is simply gorgeous. I need pointier needles (love my addis, but they're too blunt for the fine-ness of this yarn).

Here are a couple of pictures of the unblocked shawl hanging over my computer. I love getting caught up in these huge projects that will take me forever. But it will be so pretty once it's finished.



November 24, 2007

Dragon Scarf -- FO

(Click the pictures to view them larger sized)

As a warm-up for actual knitting, I had to post this "Lio" comic by Mark Tatulli:


I do have a few finished objects, but don't have many pictures of them. This is one of my favorites, though: the Morehouse Farm dragon scarf. This picture was taken at work:


This was a fun pattern to knit. Because the pattern is only sold as part of a kit, I did break down and order one. I love the technique for the spines down the back--very innovative. I'm not sold on this particular yarn, though It seems like it would felt wonderfully. I really want to find a bunch of cheap green yarn so I can enlarge this pattern to make a costume for Payton.

As an example of how silly high school students can be (or is it me that's silly and they're the ones who are serious?), I wore this scarf all day one day when we were solidly booked with appointments. Only one student commented. Here I have my hair dyed blue and I'm wearing a dragon scarf, and no one says anything. Of course, all of my adult friends/colleagues/neighbors, and even a few strangers, have comented. :-)

October 4, 2007

Dogs on Thursday October 4

DoT Bone.gif

Here are the pictures I promised yesterday of Remy modeling my completed muttluk:

20071003-DSC_0067.jpg 20071003-DSC_0068.jpg


You can see her getting more and more annoyed with a) having the muttluk on, and b) me fiddling around with the camera. In the final picture, she just gave up and decided to ignore me.


October 3, 2007


I took Annie Modesitt's toe-up socks class at the Minnesota Textile Center last night. Aside from needing a "stop being stupid" button to zap stupid drivers, the night was a ton of fun. Annie is a very laid-back, easy to work with instructor, and I loved her combination of "this is one way to do it, but here's another" hints throughout the class. I was particularly excited because I've never tried knitting socks on circular needles, and never tried toe-up socks, so got to learn both! She calls this class "Muttluks," in part because we make small socks to learn techniques that we can later use for wintertime puppy foot protection.

We didn't have time to completely finish one sock in class, so I finished mine tonight. Here is the finished product, graciously modeled by my little Remy girl. (I'll save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow's Dogs on Thursday post.)


We also had the chance to learn the "after-thought" heel, which is a real winner in my book. Very slick. I can't wait to try a real sock with all of these new techniques.

September 13, 2007

FO: and proof that I cannot photograph socks

I have actually completed another pair of socks! My trick for getting both done is to work from both ends of a ball of yarn. I did section 1 on sock 1, then section 1 & 2 on sock 2, then section 2 & 3 on sock 1, and so on. The only difficult part with this strategy is not getting too tangled when working with the outside end of the ball. But overall, I managed swimmingly.

Pattern: Hedera from Knitty
Janice has also completed a pair, and it's thanks to her that I even looked at the pattern, which is now my favorite sock pattern.
Yarn: Mama Llama Twisted that I got from my seed swap with Tracy (the colors in my photos are truer than the color on the Mama Llama site--a beautiful mix of teals and greens and sand colors....I call them my "Seashore Socks" because they remind me of being on a beach)

hedera01.jpg hedera02.jpg hedera03.jpg

They're a little big, because I still haven't exactly gotten the hang of when to start the toe decreases. But I love them all the same, and, as the second picture shows, Remy also approves.

August 23, 2007

Updated post

Just because it's a little farther down, I'm providing a new entry to say that I've updated my prezzies post.

Necessity is the mother of invention?

Annie has her way, I have mine. Scroll down to the bottom of Annie's post to see her replacement swift. I don't have a swift, either fixed or broken. Nor do I have a ball winder. But I do have chairs.

20070819-swift01.jpg 20070819-swift02.jpg

The backs of chairs came to my aid to wind my skeins of my new Kauni wool (color EF, with lovely greens, blues, purples...) from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions. Dangerous store, with beautiful yarns that we mostly just dream about here in the US.

July 19, 2007

Searching for the perfect pattern

UPDATE: The yarn is indeed Harmony from Jojoland, color C02. Click on the "harmony" link in the previous sentence to see the variety of colors in this gorgeous yarn.

I bought a beautiful skein of laceweight yarn this past weekend. It's from JoJoland (I think it's Harmony, but I'll have to double-check when I get home tonight). It's simply too gorgeous to not have the perfect pattern for it, so I'm hoping the wonderful world of the online tubes can help me out. I don't know if I have enough readers (in fact, I know I don't) to really run a contest, but run one I will (encourage your friends). Prizes are yet to be determined: if you have a blog and leave your URL, I might even make the prizes a surprise based on your blog entries....

Here are my specifics:

  • must be a lace knitting project, beginner to advanced intermediate (I can probably figure out difficult patterns, but I want to at least enjoy working with the pattern)
  • I'm thinking it will probably be a scarf/shawl/stole, but I'd be open to other considerations
  • for scarves/shawls/stoles I prefer rectangles or squares, but I've seen some stunning circles, and if the pattern is right, I'll use it regardless of shape
  • pattern needs to work well with wonderful varigation in a range of blues and greens and browns (I'm waiting to see a completed Mystery Stole 3 before I consider that pattern)
  • in order to consider your pattern selection for prizes, I'd need to see some version of a finished product, preferably one that shows detail
  • I'd prefer not to purchase an entire book for one pattern, but if that's the only way to get The Perfect Pattern, I'll do it
  • since I'll be away from email for a while, I think August 10 would be a good closing deadline. Either post your suggestion in comments, or email me at dtisinger [at] gmail [dot] com.

I spent some time online last night and found some ideas at Mimknits, Knitpicks, and Blackberry Ridge. Eunny Jang's Print O'the Wave Stole is a possibility, maybe Cookie A's Sarcelle?

Anyway, ideas gladly welcomed. And since my poor little blog has so few readers, if you might happen to mention this to others who might have some ideas, I'd be much grateful.

April 24, 2007

The Word is "Color"

Just a slight rant, here.

The word is "color." As in, "Have you seen the new color in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool?"

The new word "colorway" (as in, "Have you seen the new "colorway" in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool?") that I'm seeing popping up in the craft world just drives me crazy. What's wrong with "color?" Why do we feel the need to create new words that don't add meaning?

April 23, 2007

Finished Object: Hypoteneuse

I just finished my second large shawl, the Hypoteneuse, pattern by Anne at Knitspot. I used Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool (my favorite yarn in the whole world), and I made the shawl bigger and longer than the pattern called for.

While not showing the whole thing, this picture shows the truest colors:

(click for larger pictures):

The majority of the shawl is in the lighter green in this picture. I hadn't intended to put the strip of blue in, but I ran out of the dark green and thought the blue would add interest.

The opposite side has a lighter green yet:


I didn't take a close-up of the other side with the light green. Originally, I thought the whole shawl out of the main color might be a little too much. So I got the brown and light green for a spot of difference. But I didn't want to make the sides exactly the same.

I'm really enjoying it. I don't know exactly how big it is, but it's quite large. I'm not going to block it because a) it will be WAAAYYYY too big if I block it, and b) the silky wool blocks beautifully but spreads the stitches and I'm afraid it will decrease the warmth a little.

February 26, 2007

Finished Objects

Andy was wondering why I hadn't had any new crafts for showing recently. Well, I finally have some finished objects.

This little hedgie was actually knitted up before Christmas, but it wasn't until a little while ago that I finally got it in the washing machine for felting. (Click for larger pictures)

hedgie-1-small.jpg hedgie-2-small.jpg hedgie-3-small.jpg

Pattern: Fiber Trends Huggable Hedgehogs (FT-228)
Yarn: Cascade 220, one skein; Sirdar Funky Fur, one skein

But what has really been taking up my time is the Arctic Diamonds Stole from Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters, pattern via Interweave Knits Winter 2006 issue. The stole is the one on the book cover:


Here are a few pictures of my version. It is unblocked in these pictures, as I really don't have a surface large enough that is free enough of dog hair at the moment. The stole itself is around 6 feet long and probably 2.5-3 feet wide. It took pretty close to a month of evenings watching DVDs on the computer. I discovered that I really couldn't work on it while watching foreign films, or playing games with friends. The pattern is quite simple, but you do have to pay attention.

arctic-diamonds-1-small.jpg arctic-diamonds-2-small.jpg

Yarn: elsebeth lavold silky wool, six skeins

I love love love this yarn! It's wonderful to work with, and it comes in some of the most divine tweedy colors. I wish I could say I made this for myself (I might end up making myself one anyway), but it is half of the gift idea I finally thought of for Kjetil's family as a thank you for the wonderful time we had in Norway. The other half is still in production, so can't show it yet.

There's one more completed project that I can't show yet because it is a gift. But I promise to try to remember to show it later.

February 14, 2007

WoW widowhood

While the hubby continues to be enthralled by World of Warcraft ("enthrall," in this case, meaning "to put or hold in slavery; subjugate: to be enthralled by illusions and superstitions"), I've been amusing myself otherwise.

I've watched the entire Cadfael series available through Netflix, while also knitting the Arctic Diamonds Stole from Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters (I don't have the book, but I'd like it *hint* *hint*).

I've also done a little bit of drawing, though not much. I found this newfpup picture online: newfpuppicture.jpg which inspired this: newfpupdrawing.jpg

The scan isn't as nice as I'd like, but at least you get the idea.

September 12, 2006

My First Pair Ever


This is the first pair of socks I've ever completed. I have one sock of a different yarn, but haven't had the gumption to finish it. The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks Stripes, but I can't seem to find the color title. The picture on the yarn wrapper indicates that it should actually stripe, but I suspect my guage isn't quite right for it to do so. I kind of like the randomness of this, too, though.

August 15, 2006

The Art of Cutting Paper

Peter Callesen's paper cuts are brilliant as well as beautiful.

July 7, 2006

I-Fri Welcome

My suggested topic was chosen for this week's Illustration Friday. I haven't been able to participate recently, but I suppose I probably should this time. :-) I feel like I've won an award or something!


Welcome, if you found me via IF!

March 26, 2006

project for someday


Some day this little puppy will be the center piece for a quilted pillow-top with doggy-themed fabric. I've been collecting puppy fabric for years; a 1/4 yard here, 1/2 yard there, to make some type of doggy quilt. I don't think I'll ever get to the point of making a whole quilt, but 12x12 pillows might just be doable.

February 20, 2006

A is for...



I just got back in touch with an old friend from high school. He's a year younger than me, but turns out he has a daughter who turns 8 next month! While 23 is a fine age to have kids, or so they say, I really didn't know very much of anything at that age, let alone enough to be a parent. He's had custody of her since she was 5 days old. I know from mom's experience that single parenting is not easy, but from birth, that must be a real challenge.

Anyway, I don't know much about 8-year-olds, but those "in the know" suggested sparkly stuff. So I embroidered this monogram for her--what you can't see is that the pink "A" is even outlined with a pale pink sparkly floss (awful stuff to work with, by the way). I'm not sure what exactly to do now. I'm thinking of putting a pink ribbon in the fabric somehow and leaving it as a wall hanging, but that almost seems like a cop-out. Why do something simple when you can try something complex and muck it all up? So the other idea I have is a log cabin quilted pillow with the "A" in the middle. I've got at least two weeks to figure it out, so wish me luck. And if you have any ideas, I'm all ears. :-)

January 16, 2006


Trying to catch little Remy now. I've cut up some large sheets of watercolor paper; these little portraits really work up quickly, though this is the third attempt with this Remy picture. She was in the backyard this summer, sitting so nicely by the garden.


Christmas Presents

Now that Christmas is over, and I've had a little breathing room, here are some of the presents I sent out this year.

First, to my little "nephew" Aidan, a bag for crayons and coloring books:


The bag holds sixteen large crayons in the outside pockets. I also put in around 4 little pads of paper. I couldn't find any blank notebooks at Target, so ended up making them by just stitching cardstock on the front and back of a clump of paper.

Next, a set of foundation-pieced coasters for my aunt:


Payton and His Tongue

For once the scanner did well. The light helped bring out some of the highlighting I tried to do with the paints. This was Payton resting after playing with 3 other danes this summer.


A Murder of Crows

A recent painting reflecting the weather we've been having here recently. The crows gather in the trees, and it can be rather dramatic will all of the crows and the bleak landscape.


Vegas Mountains

These mountains are visible from my in-laws' house in Vegas.


Bell Museum Wolf

I met some Everyday Matters folks at the Bell Museum for a sketch-crawl; this is the only one I actually scanned. Playing with watercolor pencils, but not so sure how to use them effectively.



From a Birds & Blooms picture.


December 14, 2005

Mary Jane Slippers Update

I have fully completed one pair of slippers, and mostly completed a second (I got sidetracked by a sweater I'm knitting for Payton). If I can remember, I'll try to post pix this evening. I'm particularly in love with the second pair--it's a beautiful bright yarn, mostly in purples. I just have to complete the straps, but it's using the same yarn as the sweater...


The crochet around the edges and for the strap really isn't something I know how to do well. Also, the black yarn ended up being quite a bit heavier than the slipper yarn, so that threw off the equilibrium somewhat.


I love the colors in this...scanning them don't do them justice. I still crocheted the edges (with my adapted crotchet style that is neither single nor double crochet...), but I've knit the strap instead of crochet. We'll see how it looks when I get the second one done. The solid purple is what Payton's sweater is in.

November 13, 2005

Slippers take 2

Finished the second slipper at knitting group today. I tell ya, these things really work up quickly!


Notice anything funny about the heel? I'm still ultra-confused by the "when you finish the row, cast on an additional 14 stitches. Join" instructions. Apparently I managed to do the decreases only on one side, which is why one side of the heel looks rounded (or at least edged like a triangle) and the other is more squared.

But the size is better, and I'm pretty sure I followed the numbers for just the small size, rather than oddly combining sizes.

This week sometime I'll probably go to Crafty Planet to get another skein of yarn (at least I really like the yarn!), and I'll take them with me to Vegas for TG Day.

Either that or I'll bring stuff to knit a turtle-neck blanket-coat for Payton. Or both. I'm also having fun working with multiple needles and learning the Kitchener grafting stitches.

November 12, 2005

Am I doing it wrong?

So another participant in the mary jane knit along is using four needles instead of three. I guess if it comes out right in the end....

One mostly done

Here is one slipper mostly done (still needs the contrast edging and strap...I'm thinking black at the moment, but haven't decided for sure):


I'm using Cascade Yarns Quatro 100% Peruvian highland wool, color number 9434, and US 7 bamboo double point needles

It didn't take terribly long to learn the cast on, and I even was able to follow the pattern directions. On the knit-along site there are several sets of toe-up cast on instructions, and several participants have had difficulty with it, so I thought I was done for. Turns out, that's possibly the part I can do the best.

I also had every intention of using the medium size, but I think I might have switched between the medium and small. At any rate, the slipper is quite a bit too big. It's wool, so I might be able to felt it down a little, but I am going to try to make the second one according to the small pattern and see how it goes. Worst comes to worst, all I'll have to do is get some more yarn and make a fourth of one size or the other.

I also really had difficulty with the heel instructions. After knitting the final row of the bottom, the instructions read, "dont turn; cast on 14 stitches and join." I assumed that join meant "put everything back on two dpns and continue like the toe," but it didn't really make a lot of sense the way I did it. I don't like the way the heel came out, and I'm pretty sure I didn't do it right (just a note: it really looks better in this scan than in real life...).

But, there's nothing like doing it again for practice! :-)


November 9, 2005

Like I Even Have the Time!!


So I've signed myself up to participate in this knit along. I'm not promising any timely results, but at least it might be a way to use up some more yarn! Click on the picture to get to the knit along blog with references to the pattern.

I'm particularly excited about learning the Turkish cast-on. Apparently it's a cast-on method that allows you to start with the toe and work up.

I may have to run by Crafty Planet today and stock my needle collection with appropriate sizes. :-)

November 8, 2005

More Card Samples

Kristen made these cards on Sunday; they're a "year round" set for her sister.




November 7, 2005

Card-making Day

I had a wonderful afternoon yesterday making various cards. I invited several other crafty friends, got out all of my rubber stamps and papers, and set up a card-making industry on my dining room table. They all brought things from their collections as well, so we had quite a few choices. Becka has already posted some of her cards. Here are just a few of mine:





Craft Filing Solution

Check out the bottom picture on this entry at yarnstorm. I think maybe this is what I need! I love the look of the drapers' drawers. I wonder if I could find some in the U.S.....

November 2, 2005

Virtual Snowflakes

In the same line as those sites that have you draw a pig or some other piece of work online, Make-a-Flake allows you to make your own virtual snowflakes. I tried playing around with it this morning, but didn't do so well. I'm not exactly sure how to work the scissors (no, I didn't read the directions carefully).

But at the very least, it reminded me how to fold paper to physically cut out my own snowflakes. That's a project I've been trying to figure out for the past 8 years or so (not trying very hard, but still....).

Update: I just did figure out how to use the scissors. You really need to make a minimum of three snips: a start at an edge, a point somewhere inside the flake, and then back to the edge. The tool isn't necessarily optimal, but it can be done.

September 16, 2005

first carving attempt

My order of woodblocks came today, so I spent some time playing around with my new tools. Of course, I still don't have any inks, brushes, or paper to actually make the prints, but for right now, getting a feel for the tools is a good thing.


For my first attempt, I decided to just go with one color and outlines. Perhaps that was a little ambitious, since I failed to really consider how skilled I'd need to be for some of the smaller areas. It's working OK, but obviously could be better. I believe that I could also use this as the key block, if I decided to to a multi-color print run. Since I am still learning, and really didn't set any registration notches to guide subsequent printings, I will probably create a new key block if I decide to do one.

I didn't even create the image properly. For true moku hanga, you should use a special type of paper to transfer your image to the block; I just traced over my image to make an imprint, then drew that imprint on the block. I'll be sanding it out a little later, so the pencil lines won't be a problem, but this isn't really what it should look like.

Once this carving is complete, I will probably start over on the other side with a multi-color version. That will be trickier, since I'll have to decide ahead of time how many colors I'm going to use, and carve that many blocks. Because there are variations within the colors (windows, light, door, trim, etc. on the lighthouse; different patterns in the rocks in front; etc.) I will probably need to do at least 6 blocks: color 1--brown rocks/beach in front; color 2--white lighthouse; color 3--black lighthouse trim, detail, birds; color 4--blue sky; color 5--yellow/cream light (also possibly accents, though I'll need to be careful there not to create "green" by putting the yellow on top of the blue sky); color 6--blue ocean. And that's just what I can think of right now! The colors won't necessarily be in that order either; I'll have to figure out exactly how to achieve the effect I want without inadvertently mixing colors--I think if I do light colors first (white/cream, yellow) and be sure to carve the light accents when I do the sky block, that will be the best route.

To see a much better description of how things are supposed to work, check out Annie Bissett's blog, Woodblock Dreams.

September 10, 2005

new toys

Ive been very interested in woodblock printing...printing from linoleum blocks was one of my favorite exercises in 9th grade art. One of the differences (aside from the fact that one is wood and one is lino) is that lino tends to use an oil-based paint, and woodblock uses water-based paints. I just got these new tools in the mail yesterday:


I've ordered some woodblocks from McClains Printmaking Supplies, so now I just need to decide what my first image might be. Of course, as a complete beginner without any formal lessons, I'm not going to be able to produce anything like what these artist's have done. But hopefully I can create something nice.

For more info on woodblock printing, here are some of the sites I've been watching:

Woodblock Dreams

The Baren Forum

Matt Brown

One of the reasons I've been so enamored of woodblock printing is that I love to work with my hands. I took shop classes instead of home ec when I had the options, and even took woodshop as a complete elective in 9th grade. I dream of having a nice shop someday (donations toward that dream will always be accepted :-) ). Carving woodblocks combines both woodshop elements and painting which are some of my favorite activities.

September 1, 2005

No Background

Here's a watercolor of mom's dog Shilo:


I've got a bit of touching up to do, but I'm fairly happy with the image overall. My problem, though, is always in the background. What do I do? That tends to be where I ruin the majority of my pictures--trying to put something in the background that doesn't work for whatever reason. The original background here was pebbles. Not very interesting in and of themselves.

August 28, 2005

Weekend Crafts

Had quite a busy weekend. Worked in the garden, went to parties, watched movies, sewed, baked, cleaned, a little of everything. Here are two of the things I did.

1) Red-Headed Super Nerd Card Case


We were talking about people from high school over lunch one day, and one of my friends mentioned how a lot of people from HS remember him, but he doesn't necessarily remember them. His specific comment was that it was hard not to noticed the "super nerd with red hair." As a reward for coming to another party (instead of going to his second job) was going to be a surprise something or other with "red-headed super nerd" on it. This card case was what I came up with. I used two of my new fabrics (the one at the top right is the inside and the lower left [not the pink pouch--the grey above that] is the outside), and I embroidered the words with red embroidery floss. That didn't come out quite as cleanly as I iron-on transfer fabric wouldn't transfer to this material, so I used a paper-piecing method, but the paper was a little too thick and I didn't make quite enough holes for it to be removed easily. But the result probably turned out better than if it had gone easily.

2) E. Dickinson poem postcard


I found this poem in a different context and just had to illustrate it. I'm trying to draw smaller right now. It seems like I can only get detail in my larger pictures. But I'm pretty pleased with this rendition. The goldfinches have been hanging out in my yard recently, at the thistle feeder, the russian sage, the cat-mint, and at the echinacea, as seen in this illustration.

August 26, 2005

first fabric swap

I've been a little jealous when I read about all of the swaps going on in crafty blog-land. I like giving and getting as much as the next person. But I finally got my chance. I stumbled upon Dioramarama who offered some goodies to those who bought her items and mentioned they saw the offer on her website.

I WIN! I get books AND goodies! She sent all of this fabric, 6 little googly-eye magnets, and a hawaiian-themed pencil/knitting needle/scissors/anything I want case:


July 15, 2005

Creative Help Needed

I have this journal already:


It's part of the Potter Style line at Clarkson Potter publishing. I really want a similar journal for work--basically a blank book with "wire O binding" (that's what they call it...). I want great danes on the front, which is why I picked up the one I have. But I have already devoted that journal to another cause.

I am just having the dangdest time finding something along these lines. Does anyone have a good source for journals that might have danes or dogs on them? Worst comes to worst, I'll have to make a cover that I like, in which case I need to find the cheapest, plainest journal I can.


June 28, 2005

Paper Camera

Jamie over at Paper Forest discovered the neatest craft use for paper yet: a working pinhole camera. With free downloadable instructions! Even if you don't want to make one, you might be interested in browsing the site--neat info if nothing else.

May 25, 2005


Every first Sunday in April, the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine has an open house, including the Raptor Center. These are two of the owls that were out as educators:


I believe this little guy was a sawwhet owl; teeny, tiny little thing.

Then there was the great horned owl:


May 19, 2005

Fun sewing

Becka gave me the pattern for her cute little bags...and I finally made one.

The outside is a lightweight denim and I embroidered the little puppy on it (I did most of the embroidery on the bus on the way to a conference yesterday....)


The inside lining is from this really cute dogs and cats fabric that I found while we were in Florida. Just don't pay attention to my lousy job of edge-stitching. :-)


Platypus pix finally up

Some of you may remember my entry in February about Gus the Platypus. Well, I've finally gotten around to getting pictures up. Check out the linked entry to see more...

May 9, 2005

paper goods

Tismo actually started blogging again (aka, something to do when the wife is dead to the world), and found this origami site. Pretty snazzy, if you have the patience for it...

April 13, 2005

More Neat Cards

Nifty card templates from (thanks meggiecat!)

April 8, 2005

Celtic Crosstitch

Wow! This is Cool!!! Enter a word or phrase, and it generates a cross-stitch chart for you.

Come on, it's the little things in life, people! :-)

April 6, 2005

Other Interesting Crafts

Robert Sabuda's Pop-Up Cards

Painting Magazine's picture archive

Neat picture of a deer

April 5, 2005

Got any socks to get rid of?

Sock Dogs!!! I am just going to have to make one of these.

Sock Dogs Trio created by Naive Knitting

I would post a picture, but it just feels strange, since I haven't made one yet. Go to the site though. They're CUTE!


April 4, 2005

The Well-Read Cat


My scanner isn't big enough to capture the whole image, so I'll have to describe the rest. The inspiration for this painting is a friend's cat, who really did put herself on the bookshelf, posing as a furry bookend.

The rest of the books on this kitty's reading list are 101 Siamese Kittens (the blue book), The Ninth Life, and Mousing for DUMMIES. I found this kitty's picture on the web--it looks quite a bit like mom's Annie-cat too, which may be one of the reasons it was so fun to paint.

March 30, 2005

More fun crafts

Cheap silk screening

Image transfers

February 9, 2005

Meet Gus the Platypus



I've had World of Knitted Toys on my Amazon wishlist for some time now, and finally decided to break down and get the book. The book is broken into sections, with various animals and people that fit in that category. For example, "Forest Friends" has knit patterns for Canadian Mountie, Grizzly Bear,
Beaver, Raccoon, Chipmunk, Moose. "The Snowy Regions" has patterns for Eskimo, Husky Dog, Fish, Penguins, Seal, Walrus, Polar Bear. But the best section, in my opinion, is the "Australian Outback," with patterns for Australian Sheep Farmer, Merino Sheep, Koala, Kangaroo, Wombat, and . . . Duck-Billed Platypus.

If you have a book that has a pattern for a knitted platypus, I really don't see that there is much choice other than to make the platypus. Which I did. The directions are very simple, and putting the guy together was incredibly easy. There were increases and decreases, but everything is pretty much your standard knit and purl stitches.

You'll have to wait to really meet Gus until I have my film (*gasp* yes, film!) developed. (Front view Side view) But until then, enjoy this cute little image, courtesy of the Minnesota Daily, which one of my colleagues just happened to see on the very day I brought Gus into work for show and tell:


October 1, 2004

I'm such a sucker

A friend hosted a Stampin' Up party last night. I've included samples of the cards I got to make:

Card 1

Card 2

The company has a huge catalog/idea book that they sell, but if you host a party, you get one free. So I'm going to host a party.

Beware, all you friends of mine! You'll be getting the invite sometime in January (so don't spend too much over Christmas); I'm thinking the end of January, beginning of February is a good time to have a fun, crafty, festive party. Does anyone know that far in advance what evenings might be better than others?

August 16, 2004

Scott's Quillow

Scott's birthday was this past Saturday. Every time I've made a quillow for someone, he's asked when he'll get one. His turn finally came. I found this cute dragon fabric while shopping with Lori & Becka one day; I just added some purple polar fleece, and the materials were set. But I just kept putting it off (of course). Then I found this paper foundation quilt panel, and decided to use it for the pillow portion. The quillow itself is too big and awkward for me to photograph nicely, so you just get the pattern and the fabrics and get to use your imaginations on the rest. And I didn't do the full dragon panel; just the yellow bordering the dragon itself.


August 9, 2004

It's all Becka's fault

Whenever my friend Becka does something new and creative that looks like something I can handle, I have to try also. The newest interest is Paper Foundation Piecing for making designs for quilts. It's so much easier to make intricate designs using this technique than to cut out zillions of tiny squares and triangles, etc.

We spent several hours on Saturday afternoon at Joann Fabrics finding various quilting types of fabric for me, as well as a few random fabrics for some of her projects. (And yes, all of the sales clerks recognized her, some even remembered that she works at the MN Textile Center.) We found a really cool pattern book, A Quilter's Ark, that has some good critter patterns.

This black bear is my first attempt at a paper foundation pieced block:


I don't know enough about all of the cool software I have. This is a PDF file requiring Acrobat reader (sorry, Mom), because I couldn't remember how to use Photoshop to create a thumbnail.

----Entry date 8/16/04----
I'm trying one of Andy's suggestions, so maybe this image will work better:


Ah, yes. Much better. Thanks, Andy. :-)