Monthly Archives: January 2009

Spindle Cat Studio

Ok, yarnies, are you ready for the ultimate yarn??  I came across this Etsy listing and it blew me away.  This is handspun yarn from the shop owner’s Wedding Dress!

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As a quilter (in a previous life) I have always loved the idea of making a memory quilt of someone who’s passed.  I never even considered turning clothing into yarn.  And a WEDDING DRESS!!  That is the ultimate.  Perhaps we’ll see a lot more upcycling of those hideous bridesmaid dresses in the near future.

scsringWhen you check out this listing in Spindle Cat Studio’s Etsy shop, browse her other items.  She has lots of goodies for knitters.  I love her Handmade Copper Ring Stitch Markers and her Dual Duty stitch markers for use with big and small needle sizes.  scsdualdutyThere are many beaded stitch markers to choose from, all beautiful and really affordable.  Consider supporting a fellow artisan for your knitting accessories.

scsgrapetrioThere are also a couple pins and magnets to show off your love of fiber.  scstranquility

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My favorite listing is the set of four cat magnets!

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Two TuTus

My oldest niece is turning 5 on Friday.  The girls have always loved to dance and the style du jour is ballet.  This means long, sweeping arm gestures and legs bent high behind them.  I had an idea that I could make a couple tutus in time for her birthday.  I already had lots of pink, shiny fabric that I had once intended on making fairy skirts with.  tutufirsttryI searched and found several tutorials on tutu making on the net, so this past weekend my mom and I cut strips of fabric, sewed together elastic bands, and started constructing the skirts.  There were two major problems.  One:  this organza-like fabric kept slipping out of its knot, and Two: the strips frayed and looked horrible by the time we were done.  Argh, how frustrating.  We tried sewing the strips to keep them from slipping off, but the fraying was too ugly.  I thought maybe I could treat the edges of the fabric with fray check or by burning them, but there were a lot of strips and a lot of edges and not much time.  Which was too bad, because the fabric was so pretty.

So I headed to the Etsy forums and got some advice (and sympathy) and then headed out to JoAnn’s with my 40% off coupons.  I bought a bunch of soft tulle in two pink tones and tried again, with much better results!  They were pretty quick and easy to make and will be lots of fun for the girls for dress-up.   I only wish I could be there to see them dance in them.

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If you want to make your own tutu, cut 6″ wide strips of tulle in the length of your choice and tie to a one-inch elastic band the size of your child’s waist.  Tada!

Hemlock Ring Blanket

One of the wonderful things about Ravelry is the multitude of free patterns, all nicely organized and in one spot.  I love the section featuring the most active, recently published designs.  I am not always one to follow the crowd, but I look at these popular designs as some rite of passage into the world of knitters.  It started with the JayWalkers.  EVERYONE in my knitting groups was working on or talking about the JayWalker socks.  “What’s the big deal?”, I wondered.  “It’s sock knitting.  Ugh.”  So I tried a pair, because I was feeling really left out.  And I loved the pattern.  And I’ve knit three pairs.

In November, Lisa started talking about knitting the Hemlock Ring Blanket.  I’ve always liked the idea of a knit-a-long, so when she said she was making one I said I’d do one with her.  We picked out our yarn together, got some great tips on knitting the blanket from the folks at Natural Stitches,  then cast on soon after.  There were emails back and forth of our progress.  It may have even gotten a bit competitive.  I had to put my blanket on hold while I did a bunch of knitting through the end of the year.  I recently picked it up, and, with the help of Susan’s good size 10 needles (vs. the three crappy size 10′s I had been using), and an H hook, I finished it pretty quickly.  It hasn’t been blocked yet, but here are some photos of the finished product.

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hemlock-ring-blanket-4While the pattern is beautiful, I am disappointed with the small size of the blanket.  I knit the large size, using two skeins of Cascade Ecowool, but it is still so small.  I don’t see it being used effectively as a  lap blanket or shawl. As far as the knitting, the beginning, center section kept my interest and I loved watching it take shape.  The crochet bind off was new and fun to do.  The rounds and rounds of feather and fan knitting over hundreds and hundreds of stitches was quite boring, though.

I think I can safely say that, as fun as knitting in the round can be, the final product is not for me.  3/4 round shawls, round dishclothes, and round blankets are moving to the bottom of my list.

Not Cool

After spending the night at my parents’, in the sweet and lovely rural suburbs, I found that some jerk stole the spare tire cover off my car.  “Why, why, why?!”  Will it be resold on eBay or Craigslist? Is it to replace a stolen or damaged cover? Was the thief just bored? If it will be resold, wouldn’t you wonder what happened to the rest of the car that the seller has this most insignificant part? If you have gone through the frustration of having your cover stolen or damaged, why would you inflict that on someone else? If you are that bored, why haven’t you tried knitting?
So, I checked the back of my car about 5 more times, in case I was mistaken. I tried to imagine when it happened and how I should keep an eye out for the perp, like he’ll be walking past the house at 2 in the afternoon wielding the cover over his left shoulder.  I wished the snow hadn’t melted so that I could trace the events of the theft. I imagine the Criminal Intent team approximating the weight of the thief by the depth of the footprint in the snow. I checked eBay and Craigslist for new listings today. I reported it to the police (neighbors should know).
Then I tried to think of all the things this theft wasn’t. They didn’t break a window to find that nothing was stored inside. I can drive around with a naked spare tire, but a broken window is a bitch, especially in this weather. They didn’t get the whole car, or anything of real value, and no one was hurt. I’ve had worse things happen, and worse will come in the future. But there is a feeling of violation that is just so unnerving. I guess I need to leave it up to karma.
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It does make me miss my old car and the eyeball tire cover. You wouldn’t get far without being noticed with this in your possession:

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And, finally, it is comforting to know that I am not alone.  I only wish I could post some clever, cool note in the neighborhood, but tacking a set of car keys to a handwritten sign would just be stupid!

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Otto picks a Winner!

Thanks to all of you who shared your birthday memories on my last post.  I have picked a winner from the 9 posts, with the help of my buddy Otto.

Congratulations to Lois of KnittingsMyBag!  She’ll win a pair of hand knit Stars in Stripes coasters in her color choice of Raspberry.

(info about the video clip is in the comment section of this post)

Birthday Giveaway

So, today is my birthday (assuming you’re reading this on January 22nd).  Having a birthday in January has always sucked for a girl growing up in Pittsburgh.  It’s dark and gray, it’s cold and depressing, and you’re limited to mostly indoor activities for your birthday party.  So I’m feeling a bit “eh” about my birthday, but reminiscing about some lovely past ones.  I thought I’d share one here.

When I lived in San Francisco, my roommates and I used to plan birthday surprises for eachother.  Planning the birthday was as much fun as being the birthday girl (or boy)!  One of my favorite birthdays began with my roommates giving me Dramamine, telling me there was a very windy drive ahead.  We arrived in Monterey for a whale watching excursion which was AMAZING (and the real reason for the Dramamine).  This was my first whale watching trip and I’ve been told you often go out and don’t see any whales.  We did.  We saw many orcas, dolphins, and seals.  There was a kill (I think the whale took down a seal), then National Geographic turned up and made us move out of the picture (seriously!).  We spent the rest of the weekend in Big Sur and I had my birthday dinner at the beautiful Nepenthe.  It was a chilly and rainy weekend, but the view from Nepenthe, with VERY thick fog sitting in the mountainside, was breathtaking.

So here’s the giveaway part.  I’d like to hear about your birthdays.  Post one of your most memorable in the comments section below.  Post only one comment and on January 23rd I’ll randomly select one person to receive a pair of my Stars in Stripes drink coasters in your choice of Bluegreen, Raspberry, White, or Red White and Blue.giveaway

My List of 99 Things

Not much to blog about these days since I’m holing up in the house, snarling at the cold and dark outside. This List of 99 Things has been floating around the internet, so I thought I’d take my turn here.

  • Things I’ve done in bold
  • Things I haven’t done but would like to do in italics
  • Things I haven’t done and never, ever want to do in plain text.

1. Started your own blog (obviously).
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band — or musical (if singing counts).
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower (though I’ve seen a meteor drizzle).
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/Disneyworld.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitchhiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden a Gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Though I have stood under it and have the rocks to prove it!).
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie (Unless being in the audience of “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh” counts).
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business (does Etsy count?).
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I can’t since I spent some time in England).
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Knitted Gifts

I can finally post a few knitting projects that were recently gifted as Christmas presents.  The delay in posting is not because I was keeping the gifts a secret from the recipeints, it was because it took me until a week and a few days past Christmas to finish them!  I don’t know what happened, but these projects seemed to take forever to complete and I doubted I’d ever want to knit again after finishing them.  The knitting urge is slowly being revived.

momsjaywalkers-3For my mom, I knit these Jaywalkers.  The first pair I was knitting were about 1/3 done when I realized they were HUGE.  It turns out that the yarn I was using was not the same weight as the previous Jaywalkers I’d made.  I was not thrilled about the color of that pair either, so I ran to Natural Stitches and grabbed a skein of Supersocke 100 before leaving for Florida.  I knit these from both ends of the skein and the colors and the striping (and the size) were much better than the first pair.  My mom and I wear the same size shoe, so knitting the right size was easy.  Though,  for some reason, when she puts them on, her heel lifts up and she can only walk on her toes!

golfclubcovers

I knit this golf club cover for my dad.  I have to confess, these are the most bizarre things I’ve ever made.    Maybe it’s because of my distaste for most sports that I find these things utterly ridiculous.  Maybe it’s because I knit socks and these are like socks gone bad… terribly bad.  I could only finish one club cover in time for our belated Christmas.  In all honesty, though, I doubt I would have made more if I’d had more time.  I gave the golf club cover to my dad with the idea that we could call it a failed experiment and cut up the yarn for stuffing or nesting materials if he didn’t like it either.  Turns out he loved it.  He said, “That’s really funny, I was thinking of asking you to make me some of these but I thought, ‘I can’t ask her to do that, that’s just too much.’ ”  My dad has always been difficult to find gifts for, so I was overjoyed to find that he had wanted these and a bit perplexed by the fact that these simple, weird golf club covers (that no one should like) made him happier than probably any gift I’ve ever gotten him.  Go figure.