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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FO: Chelsea's Cowl

Pattern:  Rivington Cowl, by Kirsten Kapur. Purchased as a kit at Stitches Midwest, 2014. $7 of the purchase price was donated to Chelsea's Light Foundation

Light Fingering / 3 ply
50% Merino, 40% Alpaca, 10% Nylon 
Jilly (main color) 
Fingering / 4 ply
100% Merino 
Needles-size 6
Modifications:  I was a little worried I would run out yarn on the lace and found using a third needle to knit it on too fiddly for knitting on an airplane. So I substituted the Vogue Acorn Lace pattern which fit perfectly on the 192 stitch CO and had acorns (yay!).  I used the circs I knit the body with to knit the lace, a provisional CO and purled one row.  The first row was the wrong side, and when I came to the purl2tog on row 2, I purled 3 together including one stitch from the body to join it on.

Comments:  The final project blocked to 55 inches around and 10 inches wide.  The yarn fuzzed a bit as I knit (and frogged) but the final result was nice and soft.  The color work is more like knitting stripes with the yarn not in use carried up, so the body was quite simple. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stitches Midwest 2014

My first Stitches ever was great fun!  I had great weather and had some wonderful classes.  The marketplace was full of tempting items.  The people I met were talented and friendly.  The venue was perfect...lots of welcoming areas to knit and chat,  a large comfortable marketplace hall, and many classrooms.

There are many shopping opportunities close by like Woodfield Mall and Ikea. (which I managed to avoid!)  The hotel provides free shuttle service for shopping, but not to and from the airport.  Speaking of the airport, I was happy to find Garret's popcorn has a kiosk at O'hare on the B concourse where United lands and I got my fix of the Chicago mix.  

I went to a talk given by Franklin Habit who is such an entertaining speaker.  Later I found myself sitting at his table at a dinner, and discovered he lived in Waipahu for a time.  Who knew?  Lily Chin was fabulous in total hot pink with a vivacious personality to match. 

My first class was Artfelt Scarf, taught by Karin Skacel.  She is an excellent teacher. 

It uses a special paper that looks and feels like pellon, but dissolves in hot water.  The project is felted to the paper, wet, rolled up in plastic and dried in a dryer until it is felted enough.  The the paper is dissolved off.   I made the blue scarf but there were some cool examples of signs, panels in tops with handwoven fabric, and even a fish.

My second class was Using stash yarns to make a scarf taught by Deborah Jarchow.  She is an excellent teacher as well, and has a Craftsy class I had taken.  One of the best parts of the class was when we walked around looking at everyone's yarns and she helped us choose the ones we would use.


My last class was Annetarsia, knitting Intarsia in the round.  I had tried this out before using a video to make Totoro's tummy and was confused.  Anne Berk taught the class and it was most helpful.  I learned how to make a yarn butterfly that didn't fall apart, and also found out about another type of bobbin to try out.  

Here's Totoro!
The new one is grey.  I didn't use a pattern.  He joined his friends in Denver.

After being bewitched by the Verdant Gryphon I bought some yarn and silk hankies to spin on Edward (the Bossie).
I swapped some skull stitch markers for a cool project bag made by Undergroundchic.  It's a nicely made pouch with Kaffe Fassett lininng. 

I also met Stephen West and Stephen Be who had a stall together as they are on tour together.  I talked to Stephen Be's mom almost everyday as she was a fixture there, and such a friendly sweet lady.  She has her own yarn shop, Christa's Yarnshop, just north in Ettrick, WI. 

There were many impressive knits walking around.  I think this Pi Shawl, knit by a young man was one of the most impressive.  Apparently he has been going to Stitches since he was like 9.  He is designing his own shawls, now, since that is what he likes to knit.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Boy I miss spinning

I have not spun one thread since the dreaded neck adventure started.  I've knit very little.  I'm doing my exercises to keep the muscles alive until the disc settles down.  I experienced a MRI.  This was one of those tests that was put into action way after I started my career.  There were a lot of bugs to be worked out after the test was thought up in the early 50's and led to a Nobel Prize in 2003 for it's application in medicine.  But then I digress.

There are a million screening questions about previous surgery, metal parts, shrapnel, etc.  I certainly would not want anything rearranged accidentally by a giant magnet.  Luckily I'm not claustrophobic...a friend shared her story of freaking out and requiring anxiolytics.  I kept by eyes closed the whole time and listened to the Mumfords. I figured something loud would drown out the noise.  Well sort of.  It  was like being in a machine gun for 20 minutes.

                                    I also visualized Nausicaa being rejuvenated by the Ohmu.
                                        or Arriety floating down the river in the tea kettle.
                                                       I can't float without relaxing.

The good news is that there is hope of recovery without surgery, but the bad news is that it's indeed a bulging disc slight compressing the spinal cord and impinging on the C5 nerve root.  It does not pay to get old.   So my plan is to go to on the great MidWest adventure next month.  I plan to take a drop spindle or two and signed up for some classes in an air conditioned place. Before coming home I'll visit some family.  When I come back I'm going to start spinning again. 

In the mean time, I make cards, shop, knit and sew a bit,  and eat and mostly watch the weeds grow instead of attacking them..  

Flip it cards are all the rage and there are a billion dies, cutters and methods.  The minion is made with the Stampin' Up Owl Builder Punch (Stampin Up UK Crafty Hallett Christmas Minions with the Owl Builder). I made several flip it cards following Stephanie Barnard's instructions, from The Stamps of Life.  She has a youtube video called "Make a Hidden Panel Card with Stephanie Barnard from The Stamps of Life".  Jackie Topa has a nice video on the Envelope Punch board sliding gift card holders.  After holding out on getting a EK Success Stamp-A-Ma-Jig, I broke down and got it, and now wonder why I held back.  It is quite useful for getting images stamped where you want them to go.

I saw the movie Begin Again since I like Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly. Adam Levine is quite good as well.  He makes a brief appearance in one scene wearing a cabled slouchy hat.  Try as I might I have not found a screen cap of that hat or the afghan Keira Knightly wraps up in when she crashes at her friends house.  What is is with these movie people?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Punch Totoro Tutorial

Blogless Muffy has been bitten by the stamping craze, and got me obsessing on the Stampin' Up Owl Punch.  Besides owls, there are so many ideas.  This appeals to me as it hits a fond memory of mine from childhood making paper dolls with my sisters.  We cut a lady out of a magazine, and glued her to cardboard.  From there we traced around her and designed clothing, complete with tabs to hold them on.  If I remember correctly they were stored in cigar boxes, no doubt from my uncles, especially Uncle John from Maui.

When we last got together to make cards, the gang was making owl medical folk, and I was hooked.  Furry Tale Cards and Crafts has a cute example on her blog.  I obsessed on the owl punch.   I searched for a Totoro, but couldn't find one.  So here we go. My first attempt. 


Owl Builder Punch from Stampin' Up
Large Oval Punch from Stampin' Up
Blossom Petals XL from Stampin' Up

Card Stock:  Grey or Blue, White, Black
Inks to sponge edges
Adhesive of choice.  I used Tombow Mono Aqua

In main color, punch out 1 owl body, 3 smaller petals
In white, punch out smaller circles from owl punch and one oval
In black, punch out small eyeballs, heart and feet.  

From body, trim off feet and ears.  I made a little template for future use.  Trim the oval for the tummy.  Sponge all the grey edges and tummy piece. 


Glue the eyeballs on to the white.
Glue feet on back of body.  Adjust up so just his toes are showing.
Turn heart upside down and glue on the back of the tummy piece to make his nose.
Add his ears and tail to the back.
Add tummy markings.  I used a glaze pen.  

The Landcaster says they still look like owls. Bah humbug to him, lol. 

Add:  7/19/2014

Tried some different punches.  Petal from small 5 pointed flower...a little too small imo.  Wedges from the scallop punch for tails and arms.  Also found some very tiny googly eyes that are cute. 

I saw a specialist for my neck/arm/shoulder problem and she confirmed a Cervical Radiculopathy.  My MRI is scheduled on Monday.  She also poked a really big needle in the muscles along the C5-6 vertebrae and injected steroids.  Not as bad as it sounds. The hope is that some of the weakness will improve over the next week.

Still no spinning, but I watch the Tour de France on TV and admire all the wonderful spinning going on and beautiful yarn being produced by folk like Mokihana on Ravely.  And I knit a bit because I can't help myself.  The Plover Shawl is working up nicely in my Blue Heron Metallic.

At the rate I'm going it will be a long term project.

On this journey with my neck issue, I'm looking back at the vinyl much great music to review the past and make peace with it. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Just a Little Knittin' to keep myself sane

Needle:  size 9
Yarn:  Cascade Tangier, colorway 6, Galaxy
Mods: none
Comments:  I made the shorter version which wraps around twice and can cover my head if I want.  The colors are better on the first photo.  Ravelry has many striped examples that are quite stunning.  I went with a self striping yarn because I have two skeins of Tangier and mostly because I'm too lazy to sew in ends.  This is such a clever construction, starting with a mini-shawl, and not requiring stitches to be picked or anything.  If I would have changed anything, it would be the YO.  Because of my size 9 needles, the holes were larger then I like and look a bit sloppy.    The yarn is very nice and comfortable against the skin.

After seeing Msknottyknits' beautfiul example on Rav,  I've CO for Plover Shawl by Amy Christoffers from Savory Knitting with my Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.  I'm thinking this yarn is too fussy for this pattern, but I will knit on for a bit.  

I am enjoying watching all the spinning going on for Tour de Fleece this year. Wish I could spin :(

The good news is that the pain in my neck/should/arm is much improved.  The bad news is that it is a pinched nerve causing the weakness and that can be very bad indeed.  I'm seeing a specialist soon.  The MRI is on hold until my records can be reviewed for mesh and clips and stuff I've forgotten about.  I'm trying not to freak out about the possibility of surgery.  Me and surgery don't have a good history together, but I just have to remind myself that I'm still alive so it couldn't have been all that bad.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed the disc will settle down before it gets that far.

Lot's of crepe myrtle in bloom at Ho'omaluhia and around town.  The lavender flower is a giant variety.  The red-orange flower beneath are from the Flame Tree.  The orange flowers on the top row, second from left are from the Sorrow-less Tree.  The Sanskrit word for this tree is Ashoka, which apparently means sorrow-less. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Aloe Dye Fail, Skully stitch marker success.

Not being able to spin has left me a bit discombobulated.  I've limited my knitting to a few rows at each sitting.  The arm/shoulder/neck pain is improving, but the arm weakness is about the same.  I saw PT today and will see Sport's Medicine tomorrow.  The meclomen is helping the pain and not irritating my stomach so far like other NSAIDS, and it is on the WalMart $4 RX list.  YAY.  I really dislike taking meds.  My son had fun reading the two page handout that came with the pills and keeps asking me if I've had any sudden weight gain or puffing up. 

I'm knitting  Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham from Inspiration Knits. Not free but clever.  It starts off like a shawl and ends up a cowl.  There are no seams.  I'm using a self-striping yarn, Tangier to avoid having to weave in ends.   I must say, the striped versions with higher contrast are more eye-catching.

My aloe dyeing was a bust.  I was inspired by the lovely pink Kai got with aloe. I got a rather pale yellow which is actually quite nice.  I learned a lot.  First, always label packages of white powder.  I'm now sure the white powder was soda ash and not alum.  Secondly and most importantly, don't be in a rush when it comes to dyeing anything.  Third, my churro spun on the Navajo spindle was not spun well, and fell apart with the abuse. 

Mom brought a good point when I whined about the least I have tried it.  I may try it again, too when the aloe plant gets out of control.  Somehow it seems better then throwing the thinnings away. Also cooking aloe does not smell too bad and is non-toxic.

In lieu of spinning in the Tour de Fleece I'm shopping online (mostly card-making supplies), surfing for inspiration and re-potting my poor neglected plants, including 3 sea island cotton plants.    I even managed a set of skully stitch markers and some very dangly acorn earrings.  The bone skull beads were funky smelling when I got them, and they were boiled, soaked in bleach and paint thinner and left in the elements for awhile (like years, lol) and they no longer smell bad. 

I'm signed up for Stitches felting class, and one rigid heddle class.  The only knitting class is intarsia in the round, so I'm hoping my shoulder/neck/arm problem will be better by then.  I was going to take Cherry Baby with me, but I decided not to spin for all of July and maybe August. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

So Sad, No Tour de Fleece for me :(

I've somehow messed up my arm and neck and can't spin.  I've tried resting, massage, exercises and even resorted to acetaminophen and naproxen.  I'm resigned that I will not be able to spin in the Tour de Fleece this year.  I have been  referred to a specialist. Sigh. Guess I'll keep off the knitting for a while as well.  My hands don't know what to do while watching TV anymore.  The pickings on TV are slim, but I've settled on Longmire, 24, Endeavor and the last season of True Blood. 

On a more successful note, my mom's pineapples are going strong.  She has harvested 2 already and this one is almost ready.  

She is coping with my dad's passing by doing what she always does when under stress.  She is cleaning and organizing...going through pictures, clothes, writing letters.  Many things have gone to the thrift stores.  She messed up her shoulder and finally saw her doc.  She was referred to PT.  But she never lets these sort of things get her down.  Her main concern is whether the cat (Kiko) chooses to sleep with her or not.  It's handy living next door to her, and I have breakfast with her 6 days a week now that I'm retired and get all the daily reports!

My quest for "cocktail" attire for an August wedding has only been 50% successful.  The search goes on.  The plant re-potting project is underway.  The Lancaster has reported a white fly infestation on the avocado tree in the pot.  Agh!  The trials and tribulations of owning a yard!  The Lancaster has been digging and laying gravel around for his great "drainage" project.  I'm not even sure I needed that, but he's usually right.  Guess I'll have to buck up and call the appliance dude to figure out what is wrong with the flaky dishwasher.  The Landcaster feels that is important and he's usually right.  Aah the mundane-ness of it all.

A Texas cousin came for a visit.  It was nice catching up and sharing stories.  He lost both his parents this year, one month apart.  His mom was my mom's sister, and mom is the last of the siblings.  This is the cousin that I met for the first time when he was 70!  I love his stories.  I'm not sure why I never got to share in his life growing up.  My mom never took us to visit them in Granbury, TX.  He expressed his recent awareness, that there is nothing like family.  It's never too late.  True too of old friends...reminiscing, we all remember different things and have different takes on what went down way back when.