Saturday, December 23, 2006

Not Home for the Holidays

Tomorrow morning we are off to Praia da Rocha, Portugal. We've never done this before. I mean, we've been away from our own home at relatives, but never at a hotel. Not sure how I feel about it yet. It really doesn't have any sense of Holiday for me right now. It's been so busy that the time has just flown by from Thanksgiving to now.

We started out Friday afternoon when the children were released from school. Christmas gift opening commenced at 2:00pm. I didn't last long. Does it ever? The children were very pleased. It's always a risk for me, as I shop and search year round. So the Playmobil tree house and Batman Lego's have been stowed in the closet since April. They were both speechless and set to work (Roy and I) setting the things up. Playmobil is a lot of work. Very sturdy, but a lot of work. The last 3 years have been building years for us, but well worth it. Smiling faces, chipper voices busy all day yesterday and throughout today.

Today was packing day, pitching day and decision making day. I need a few projects to take along to knit. Stuck with the Morit Shetland for a waistcoat, Aqua Cheviot for a Cardigan and the Berry Sublime for a new hat and scarf. Plus the socks to finish.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

TAG, You're It

Chery TAGGED me with a weird meme. It must be something like a screaming meme. I think you get that in some countries after drinking the water. I know I screamed when I saw her name on Leigh's blog and knew what may be coming my way. It has rules too. Write your list of 6 weird things about yourself. Pick 6 more people to do the same and list them. Then make a comment in their blog that they've been tagged and that they should read your blog.

I'm playing Freeze Tag on this one. One of the weird things about me that's not listed is that I feel guilty making people participate in things like chain letters and now the new blog tag. Personal, yes! Weird, maybe. Could be too, that I don't have an endless list of bloggers that I feel cyberly connected with enough to say "You've been Tagged" and they have no idea who I am. Mostly because I'm a lurker on most blogs. Ok, enough.

Weird list:

1. I can go for several years, eating the same thing for breakfast. Unless I go out for breakfast. Don't really like the meal. Happens to early in the morning for decision making.

2. I don't like coffee. I've stated that before, my sisters and I don't drink coffee, so it's not really weird to me.

3. I don't like chatting on the phone without a reason. This is why. I use to work in the medical industry and the phone lines (6-7) would ring non stop, all day long. So after getting home from work, I wouldn't answer the phone. Now it's brief and to the point. That's also why I only have to top up my phone every 3-4 months.

4. Kitchen and bathroom counter top clutter puts me over the edge. MUST BE SANITARY!!

5. I must finish sewing projects within 2 days. If not finished, I will ditch the project out of sheer boredom.

6. I will not eat leftovers unless it pizza or the rare Chinese food. Can you say Salmonella?? 5 days in the ICU and a near death experience with clear that right up.

So that's it for me. Probably not that weird, but "I am who I am." I think that's a "Popeye quote", Isobel. Or maybe it's "I ams who I ams, eats me spinach from a can, I'm Popeye the sailor man.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mouse in the House

This evening, Roy and I were sitting on the couch enjoying a bit of television. Holiday movie "HogFather" was playing. I'm knitting and watching, so I'm focused. Roy exclaims! "I just saw a mouse!" "A what?" I ask. "A mouse!" says he, to help me processed the information given. "Where?" "Under the TV" he says. "I see him, he's over in the Lego's now"

Neither one of us are afraid of mice and the mouse didn't seem to be afraid of us. There was no scurrying around, no dashing for large furniture to hide under, just a leisurely stroll around the chair, through the Lego laboratory, and over to the toy basket. "I'll get the frying pan!" shouts Roy with glee. There once was an episode in our past involving a frying pan and a cockroach, but that was another story all together.

Roy runs in with a towel. "Where is he?" I don't know why were referring to it as he. We're no where near close enough to confirm or deny that. "By the toy basket." So there we sit, on the floor with the towel as the mouse continues his tour of the children's toys. We patiently wait. It walks out, we stare, and Roy scoops it up in the towel. Easy as that. It now is residing in our bin. Heaven until Wednesday...

What makes it odder still, is that almost immediately after the mouse was placed into it's new home, Hogfather had a bit about the Grim Mouse Reaper. The mouse comes out of the hole, makes a wrong step and the little mouse corps moves on. Just really odd.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Spin In

Sunday afternoon I attended my first "Spin In" The day was organized by my spinning teacher Juliet. She had it at her home up in the Dublin mountains. As is usual at her house in the hills, it was a totally different climate than the rest of Dublin. Gale force winds greeted us as we unloaded our gear. Nearly ripped the doors of off Sara's SUV. Earlier rain meant mud and muck on either side of the road, so we had to be careful of our step. Narrow, winding mountain roads are an interesting adventure in parking vehicles for 8-10 drivers. We managed!

We were warmly greeted by a lovely fire and eager spinners, who had come from various parts of the country. There were a huge variety of wheels that night, as well as drop spindlers. Lovely wheels manufactured in Donegal, Louets and a variety of others. Each person really likes their individual wheel type.

This is Juliet teaching Navajo plying. This is done by making a loop and doing a crochet type hooking of the yarn through the loop. As you pull the yarn through and treadle, it twists back on itself forming a ply or twist. I'm not sure if I like the effect. I'll have to give it a bit more practice.

Here's a snap of the ball I did that night. It's a corridale fleece. It might have a blend. It's not the softest yarn. The corridale/shetland that I have is a good bit softer. Can't wait for the next one.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Down Under X3

I know that I haven't written about the other 2, but today was a very sad day for myself and daughter Avery. India, one of her best pals is moving back to Australia tomorrow. Along with Katrina, Ted and Harriette. They've been in Ireland for 5 1/2 years now and have become an important part of many peoples lives, including ours.

So is Down Under, calling my name? I do hear a voice in the wind. After all, Knitting friends Kelly and Sharon have recently gone to New Zealand, the Williams family are in route and there may be a faint chance that my niece may be studying there next year. I don't know, but it does sound good. Plus there are tons of sheep in New Zealand!!

Knitting for Pleasure

Is that possible this time of year? It is for me. The pressies are nestled all snug in their suitcases and cupboards, while visions of other things are dancing in my head.

With the completion of the Fingerless Gloves, all the gifts are completed and awaiting the big day. I'm on to a sock. My first sock completed!! YES!!

Here is the heal turning done. I've really had a phobia over sock heals until Sharon showed me the way! Now it was a easy as pie (term used lightly). Can't believe I actually remembered how to do it since September when she showed me.

I've been drooling over SweetGeorgia's Yarn since discovering her website. OH, MY!! It is so yummy!! This is Velvet Underground, 100% Superwash Merino. It is really lovely. So soft and great to knit with. Love it. Can you tell?? Pattern is from Hello Yarn. It's easy to do on the magic loop method too!!

The colour is hard to translate in pictures, but it's browns, blues, dark red, cranberry and the mixes that come with all those. Happy, happy, happy.

The poor self striping sock is at a stand still for the moment, but will hopefully regain my interest after sock number 2.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Currant Fingerless Gloves

Remember the currant coloured yarn I spun back in November? Well, when I brought it home, Daughter Avery, said with a squeal!!! "OOO, Momma!! What are you going to do with that?" "I would really like something out of that, if you don't have plans for it." As only my DD can do.

So here they are. I used the pattern from the Debbie Bliss, Junior Knits and then modified. Planned on doing the Fetching, but the yarn was a bit thick and I started out with the purl stitch and ended up with 6 knit stitches at the end. Rip?? No way!! I'll make up my own pattern, so that's just what I did. Single large cable up the middle. Did the magic loop on these too. I love that loop!

I really like the yarn too. I did a long draw technique (for all you spinners) so it's very soft and spongy. Can't remember the breed, but it's a cross of Finn and two others. Really nice.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Today should be a rest day for us., but the week is very busy and a lot needs to be done before then. Plus I'm getting a sinus thing, so I'd better get cracking before my head explodes. Messy, messy. Well drugged up on the Sudafed and can now blink my eyes without a great pulsing noise crashing in my ears.

Crafty day again. Making a few Christmas bits. Kole (son) thinks they look like space ships or planets. Not the balls, but the finished product. I'd agree.

The idea is not mine. I saw a friend in France, who had on this really great stick pin. She got it from her friend Candie Cooper who does jewelry design. She's a very gifted designer and crafter. Very funky stuff.

Anyway, starts with the basic felt ball. Size is your choice. Assortment of beads, glue and stick pins. Really cool to see the results

Here's the beginning of the process. I started out with sewing pins that have the coloured heads and switched to sequin pins. I was running out and the colours weren't great with some of the balls. So, you choose.
At last the first batch is done. The green one has the UFO on both ends. You'd have to dig a hole in the ball and glue the stopper into it. Not an easy task, but well worth the work. The colours aren't a great representation of the actual. I think they're great!! Yippee!! Another successful project.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Felt Squares

This is not a tasty recipe. Nor is it for the faint of heart when it comes to crafting. It all started one morning over brunch at Avoca Handweavers in Dublin. Things have been looking a LOT like Christmas since Halloween here.
We don't have the Thanksgiving break to mark the time between holidays. Anyway, there they were!! Garlands, sparkling sweets, wrapped in cello, beads and big sequins!! (Stopping for a drool mop) I can do that!! A lot cheaper too!! Famous last words!!

I did have the squares at home. (Craft Central) So I got out the cutting board and whipped off a few strips of felt. Avery (daughter) thought that life just couldn't get any better than this. Glue, pink felt, sparkles... Does it?? They began to multiply, because ,Why make a couple, when you can make a Minion? I mean like the Ork army in Lord of the Rings. They just kept coming... More and more rolls. Will it ever end?

Kinda looks like sushi too! Anyway, sprinkle with sugar (clear plastic glitter) and wait for them to dry. That aerosol adhesive does a great job of sticking the glitter on, also sticks the rolls together! A mass of tacky felt with a hint of something toxic. WARNING - Do this in a well ventilated area or on a day when the wind isn't gale force. Leaves don't look good stuck to this.

Wrap in mini cellophane bags. (if you can find them) I cut my cookie bags up. Twist ends and secure with something, anything! Just secure them! Beads, you don't know how many beads are on a garland until you start stringing them... LOTS!! Ok, string 4, put on giant sequin, string another 4 and place sweet on with needle (provided you haven't put to much glue in the center and the needle won't go through) Lovely! I got tired of the bags and went for the open air approach to candy. I'm sure they'll have a thin layer of dust on them by January.

Ho, Ho, Ho. I'll pay the 12.99 next time. It was an adventure and a good lesson in making garlands.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Got this from a friend. Have a great and restful day!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fingerless Gloves and the Magic Loop

Sounds like the beginning of a good Fairy Tale. Once upon a time, before we left for France, I bought some Addi needles from Lisa at This is Knit. Ok enough, I can knit, but not great at the story telling thing. Anyway, extra long. I wanted to do the magic loop. I don't mind the multi needle approach, but it's just fiddly. The first row is the worst. Not that it's bad by any means, but the loop is great!! Half of the stitches on one needle, half on the other. Pull the long cables out on either side. Cheryl taught me the begging step of flipping the first and last stitch from one needle to the other so that the transition is smooth.

The purple yarn is Lorna's Lace Wool/Silk blend. I had to decrease the cast on amount by 5 stitches. It doesn't have very much spring to the yarn, but it is soft! I made them a bit longer than the pattern called for too. Don't like draft up the sleeves

Next was the Kilcarra wool. Love the green colour. Has bits of orange and purple in the wool. A bit scratchy at first but toasty non the less.

The fingerless gauntlet gloves came to a stand still in France. Yarn ran out. Bummer! Ruined my knitting schedule, but today I was up at Craftspun yarns with mom and Cheryl for a restock of the green. Success, plus another item or two for the non Christmas knitting. This is the last one. Not telling who they're for!!! Sorry girls!!

All the gifts are done except one. All are in the suitcase and ready to be taken back to the US. The goal has been met!!! Yes!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Knitting Coils

Do you remember the Coils? I wasn't sure what to do with it. Knitting can sometimes cover up the beauty of the yarn. Isobel had knitted this lovely openwork scarf that I thought would really suit this yarn. She generously gave me the pattern.

It is a combo of knit 2 together/yarn over. I've used it before on a few things, but.... Mine always seems to move sideways. It doesn't hang straight. So as hers was perfect.. I'd give it a try.

Half way through.... It's a wave, right then left. Nice!! FROG!!! Not easy with the coils. Ok, I'll try and follow the pattern exactly. By this time I can see the shift in pattern from row to row and 2-3 hours later!!

Voila! Trellis Pattern Scarf. I love it. It's very light and lofty, yet warm with the wool. Happy, happy, happy!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Finishing Projects

Today was finishing up day. All the bits laying around, that were mostly done, but not quite. 2 hats for friends were completed. Forgot the photos. Ooopps!! Was in a rush to get to a birthday party today. This bag and it's fraternal twin were completed tonight. Trim on, snap sewn, handles attached. Ahhh. A new knitting bag or two.
I love the ribbon on this one. Hard to see, but it has a bit of celery green with the aqua. Just seems to add a little life to the bag. I'm on the hunt for the perfect button to go in the middle of the flower.

The bag is an Interweave Knits pattern. 50x28 before felting. YOW!! Big enough to sleep in! Hands were 84" long. They turned out a bit long, but you can cut the stuff once it felted. I decided not to cut a hole in the top for the handle. I just thought it might pull to much. Anyway, I'm very pleased with it and glad it's done.

Tomorrow will begin the tale of knitting in France with pictures this time!

Back from France

Our trip to France was lovely. We were outside of Lyon and Macon in the middle of vineyards, rivers, valleys and some of the most beautiful countryside and villages I've seen. Every country has distinct characteristics. This area was the epitome of France.

Historic old churches surrounded by vineyards. I would love to come back during the prime grape season just to see the grapes hanging off the vine.

As Cheryl said in her blog. I too, was reserved to come to a country that I didn't speak the language, but I've had a change of heart or maybe it's brain. I would love to return and visit a bit more.
More fibre stuff tomorrow. Easy does it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cobweb Felt

I took a workshop over the summer on making cobweb felt. This beatiful, shear, gossimer felt is amazing to make. The process of stretching out fiber in a very shear layer and transforming it into fabric is fantastic. Soap, water, wool and friction. Wow, what a result. There are small red beads scattered around the the bottom in little lines. Needed just a little something!
This was a birthday gift for Cheryl. One thing she doesn't do yet is make Felt. Yes!! I can do that and I really like it too! Turns out, so does she... So it was a Happy Birthday to her.
More are in the works for Christmas gifts. I was thinking, teacher gifts from the kids. Also my friend Katrina is moving back to Australia in early December, so I will make one for her.
More later. I've been a knitting fool. 2 scarves, 1 completed pair of fingerless gloves, 1 nearly complete pair of fingerless drop stitch, gauntlet style gloves (ran out of yarn) and 1 fetching nearly done. Wool/Silk blend... YUM!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Grammy Clause

My parents have come to visit for 3 weeks! We always love the visit. Avery loves the craft things my mother brings. She always comes up with amazing stuff for the kids to do. Glue stick heaven!!
Dad keeps busy by teasing the kids (which they love) and trimming our garden or yard. Yesterday was tree trimming day. A few large branches quickly turned into 3 small piles of leaves, branches and stumps. All precisely cut into equal lengths. 10 on the score card for tidiness and 10 for precision.
This would be some of the food portion of the visit. Some of the things that we can't get here or are just to expensive. Corn husks for making Tamales, Pepperoni, Enchilada Sauce and dried Cranberries. The cranberries are available, but you need to mortgage the non existing house to buy enough for baking.
There was also more things that we love, need or want. Mostly the wanting.... No wonder my house is so full. Anyway, we are having a good time.
Today is prep day. Tomorrow Roy and I leave for France. We'll be gone for 5 days. Don't ask where we are going, I don't know. Outside of Lyon is all I know. Roy's at a conference and I'll be doing some knitting.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I'm veering away for the usual green/purple combo for a bit. (I'm out of purple dye) So I thought I'd do something in the pink/red range.

After setup of the Knitting and Stitching Show Wednesday, I came home and thought that I ought to have something colourful to spin on Friday. So....
this is what we have. As I was spinning, some girls from the knitting group that I go to on Tuesday's stopped by and said "I really love the Currant colours" Currants! I hadn't thought of that, but that's exactly what they look like.

Growing up in the US, currants are not a common fruit. You see them as a garnish or decorative. Children's drinks, medications, sweets are all Grape flavoured. In Ireland it's Currant. My children had to be deprogrammed from grape and programmed to Currant. Now it's one of the favourite flavors. Yum. I've grown to love it to. So in honour of "The Girls" we have Currants.

It's not a great picture, but it's not nearly as PINK as it looks, more burgundy. Bad picture!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fiber Femmes Article

November/December Fiber Femmes Magazine was published online today. I did an article about the Sheep and Wool Festival in Northern Ireland. Yippee!! It's been published today.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Next Project, Coils!

As if I needed another project, here it is. Blue Faced Leicester Roving. Lovely and soft. Takes the colour nice. I can't figure out how I used to get such brilliant clear colours in the beginning of my dyeing adventure. Seems all my colours come out a bit muted. Anyway, this is the dyed and dried roving. I like it. I still have a thing for purple and greens.

This is the single spun. Yummy. I plied it with a white mohair that I got at Avoca last year. The cone was 7 euro for 1/2 Kilo. Great price. Very fine, so it would take an eternity to knit anything with. Great for plying. Nice and strong. Look what I did by accident. Coiling!! Oops. Got a little carried away with feeding it into the orifice and ooh, that looks cool. So I continued on. I really love this. Think I'll try a big coil on the next one.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Makin' a List, Checkin' it Twice

Well the list is dwindling. The colour board is complete and ready to go to the show on Wednesday.

The yarn is all labeled and priced. Must make out a price list for the ladies at the booth.

Fleeces are in bags for the demo. Drum carder is here, hand carders, combs, wheel is in use on another project, but will be ready.

Seems like the list is going down in size, but still have a few things yet to do. Make several hundred copies, make my costume for Tuesday party, still finish a few Christmas presents, doctors appointment and a few other unavoidables before then. Kids are off on school break this week coming, so will need to divide time wisely. Whew!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dyeing Day

Yesterday was dyeing day. I used two types of non-toxic dyes for the display presentations for the Knitting and Stitching Show. The Guild is selling kits made up of Goodall's Food Colouring and Kool-Aid.
I started with wool yarn. About 10grms each. Soaked them in vinegar and water for about 30 minutes. 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of water per colour. Plus a glug of vinegar per pan.

15 minutes on the stove top for the brights or the microwave it's 2 minutes on and then let it rest for 2 minutes until the colour is gone. Pretty simple. Nice range. The purple was blue and cochineal. I wanted a pinker purple. The red is very orange.

The pastels were 1/2 teaspoon to 1 cup water. Plus a glug of vinegar to each pan. I took it out when the colour was what I wanted. Not a timed thing, but an eyeball thing.

This was the best. The green dyed up quick and dark. I pulled it out before it was done. There was some colour left. I thought, "I'll do the pastel." Not green at all. Very turquoise. Very pretty. If only I could exhaust the green to get the turquoise.

Bit of multi coloured yarn. I may knit these into samples. Not really liking the look of these in comparison to acid dyes, but I probably need more practice.

Kool-Aid Pompoms. I really like these. I used 1 packet per 1/2 oz of yarn. Very strong colours. Same cooking time. No vinegar needed. What does this do to our insides???