A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

January 28, 2011

Cedar Rapids

Wes and I had a chance to see a new film last night. Cedar Rapids had a screening as part of Sundance USA, a program that tries to bring a taste of Sundance to several film-loving cities. Cedar Rapids stars Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) and John C. Reilly. It's a very sweet but funny story of an naive insurance salesman who goes to a conference in Cedar Rapids. The director, Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt, The Good Girl) was in attendance and did a Q&A. I would show you the trailer but I think it gives away some of the best parts of the movie--why do they do that?! If you like somewhat offbeat comedies you should check it out.

January 27, 2011

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Sometimes "What the hell is this" just isn't strong enough.

Like when you see a bloody tampon cat toy.

For days when the fetus cat toy is too tasteful.

Big thanks to Kristin H. for bringing this work to my attention.

January 23, 2011


I'm still having a lot of fun learning about jewelry-making. There's an excitement to discovering a whole new craft I haven't felt in a long time. I still love my knitting best but this is a really entertaining diversion. For instance, last night, while I knit, I watched all these videos from Cool Tools about Precious Metal Clay. It's amazing stuff and the things you can do with it--if you have the talent--are really incredible.

Here are some more wire wrapping projects with various gemstones.

Peridot wired to a rhodium-plated pewter ring for a pendant.

Assorted gemstone pendant. I don't know for sure what any of this is since most of them came as part of assortments. Mostly quartz, I'm guessing.

More of the same but this one has a lot more movement. I couldn't get a great photo of it but I think it's pretty.

More rhodium-plated pewter components with watermelon tourmaline. I bought a strand of these and love the colors. They run from dark green to pink.

January 21, 2011

Emergency Knitting

Pattern: Improvised
Yarn: Opal possibly? I got it years ago in a swap.
Needles: US0 Addi Turbos
Notes: Back in September I met Samantha Roshak. She was knitting a long tube from sock yarn for her Totally Tubular Socks pattern. I liked the concept and one day a few months ago as I was getting ready to go to a movie I provisionally cast on 72 sts and started knitting. I planned to knit all the way to the end of the skein then use a contrast color for the cuffs, heels and toes of the socks. But I couldn't take it. This skein was endless. I knit a basic wedge toe. Then I cut one half of one stitch at the middle of the length of the tube. I unraveled a single round. I then picked up the stitches on the top half and knit another toe. I decided where to put the heels and again cut only one leg of a single stitch and opened the middle of the sock. Then I knit an afterthought heel which is just knitting another basic wedge toe. I did the same on the second sock. I put the rest of the live stitches from the "bottom" sock and then undid my cast on and put those stitches back on the needles too. I knit ribbing up two at a time hoping to use every last bit of the yarn. But again I ran out of patience and bound off using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off (I find Cat Bordhi's video more helpful then reading the Knitty instructions). Then I happily threw out the last few yards of yarn!

If you're intrigued about this method of sock knitting, please buy Sam's pattern which is an absolute steal at $2.00. I bought a copy just to check it out. She includes loads of explanations and links to videos that demonstrate many steps of the design. I had already knit most of my socks before I got a copy of the pattern so my sock technique varies a bit from her pattern.

January 20, 2011

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Um, no.

Just no.

January 18, 2011

About That Retreat...

I've been meaning to write about my spinning retreat since I got home but things got away from me. The retreat was for spinners using Hansen Crafts miniSpinners and was taught by spinning guru, Judith MacKenzie. It was a small retreat with only about a dozen or so participants. On the first night Judith gave us an overview of what we would be covering and got us to work spinning some Corriedale top. The next morning Kevin Hansen joined us and spoke to us at length about how to care for the spinners. He showed us how to replace the brake band, how to disassemble the Woolee Winder and changes to the wheels as he has worked on them. Most important to me, he explained that those of us with older spinners have a stiffer, heavier spring that attaches to the brake band. He gave me a lighter, softer replacement spring and whoa! It was like I had a whole new spinner. It became so responsive to finest adjustments. Which was great because Judith wanted us to work on diameter control beginning with spinning the finest 2-ply we could manage.

Then we were supposed to spin larger and larger making fine adjustments to our spinners.

Making big yarn is hard.

Judith demonstrated spinning some novelty yarns. This is 60/2 silk spun with dyed mohair (bottom), duck down (left) and duck feathers (top). These are Judith's samples.

She also showed us dyed silk carrier rods. They are silk waste from reeling silk. It is stiff and papery. You can pull it apart and then lightly draft it to spin. My sample here has a whole cocoon spun into it. I would never want to knit with this yarn but I think it would make an amazing weft yarn for weaving. It's really fast and fun to spin too. I was online looking for sources right after I got home.

We also spun up some bison with 3% Merino that I adored. I bought a few ounces to take home.

The retreat was really wonderful. The B&B where we stayed was very nice and the innkeepers took great care of us. Other than the four hour trip home from Forks in the dark and snow and ice it was perfect.

January 15, 2011

New Jewels

I've been having lots of fun making some jewelry.

This is made from cheap glass beads.

More cheap glass beads, some Czech glass beads and a few crystals with a large unknown stone. I got it in a big sale bin.

More cheap glass beads. I love the color.

These have Labradorite briolettes with some seed beads and unknown white stones (again from the sale bin).

These are horn. I had another glass briolette on the end of the chain but I had left the chain too long and the stone just didn't go well with the horn. I will leave it plain until something else jumps out at me.


Pattern: Rick from Sock Innovation by Cookie A
Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight in a Rare Gems colorway
Needle: US1
Notes: Look! I knit socks! I haven't finished a pair of socks since November of 2008. I started these on jury duty in November 2009 and then they sat in a bag for over a year. I pulled them out for the Sock Stash Knitdown on the Stash and Burn Ravelry forum. I'm excited to be knitting socks again since I wear them every day and love them so much. It's also nice to use some of these great yarns that have been languishing.

There is some errata for this pattern so be sure to get that before starting.

January 13, 2011

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to bring you Tblisi Fashion Week!

We can discuss when you come back out from under your chairs. Guess I should have warned you.

January 11, 2011

January 7, 2011


Today I arrived in Forks, Washington. Contrary to what Wes has been saying on Twitter I am not attending a Twilight conference. I am attending a spinning retreat with Judith MacKenzie on e-spinners. The town of Forks is a hoot with all the Twilight-themed merchandise and tours. Even on this rainy winter weekday there are people having their photos snapped in front of signs and buildings. The B&B where we are staying as been designated the Cullen house and their is Twilight-ianna everywhere. Must get to bed. Lots of spinning tomorrow!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

January 6, 2011

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Oh dear, this knitter seems to have suffered from a repetitive stress injury and now needs to wear Handeze to support her aching hands.

Oh no, now this knitter has also injured her shoulders and has fashioned a support from some Ace bandages.

And then this poor woman suffers a catastrophic injury and had create a bandage out of the only material available, her grandfather's underwear.

Stay safe out there people!

January 4, 2011

Knitscene Preview

It's up. I see some really nice designs. A lot of wearable pieces. Your thoughts?

January 2, 2011

New Skills for the New Year

I've been trying to teach myself wire wrapping lately. My first efforts were pretty sad but with better tools I'm getting better results. These are just some cheap glass beads I got at Jo-Ann's and some cheap wire to go with them. I've gotten myself a few nicer gemstone beads and some silver wire for when I feel like I've got the hang of it. At least if I mess them up I can reuse the beads but it would be good not to waste a lot of the wire. Silver prices are going up! This book, Wrapped in Gems: 40 Elegant Designs for Wire-Wrapped Gemstone Jewelry, has been providing a lot of inspiration. It's pretty thin on instruction though but there is so much information online.

I was also trying to learn to do a little bead crochet. These tubes look so simple but I tried about eight times on Thursday night and could not get it right. Each attempt looked better than the last but they still looked like ass. The free "pattern" has virtually no instruction and no illustrations. I got frustrated and gave up for now.