Thursday, September 30, 2010


Spinning is magic! Magic I tell ya! You take beautiful rovings, twist them around, and get art, pure, absolute art.

Each one unique, different, and impossible to completely repeat. Not to mention you can spin while you're watching TV in the evenings and it's relaxing! Is there any better art at all? I think not!
Knittyandcolor The Great Pumpkin Batt 100 yards N-ply
Take for example the above batt. Artfully carded adn blended, it turns into this one of a kind yarn. Just waiting to be, oh I don't know - a fingerless mitt, or something like that!
Or this handpainted roving, which blends into handpainted beautiful yarn. I love it! Love it! I tell you!
Knittyandcolor Tidepool Falkland 150 yards N-ply

Really, it's too gorgeous to even knit or crochet with, don't you think? I should hang it on the wall in a shadow box! Or drape it from the ceiling! Maybe simply put it in a bowl and admire it..

PS - I apologize for the overuse of exclamation points in this post..

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What New Stash? I Don't See any New Stash..

Nope, none at all..

Who knew that knittyandcolor could fit so much into one bag... Don't know how it got here anyway!

Must be a reward for finishing my first pair of mittens!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Insert Yarn Here

Cause Blogger isn't letting me upload pictures tonight.

So close your eyes and imagine the stash enhancement contained in the package from knittyandcolor that somehow came to my mailbox today.

A rainbow of colors, anything from gold to blues, to peach to the hottest pink. Batts, roving, beautiful colors all waiting to be turned into yarn.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Kenny

Dear Kenny,

Please don't think that my new obsession with Spencer Day has any bearing on our relationship.

I realize that you and I are soulmates, and that you sing directly to me, when you're singing. I know you even wrote On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful about me. We won't even talk about Soul of a Sailor, or The Road and the Radio. I am still going to knit you a cover for your guitar case, and we can totally discuss the marriage and kid thing. I'd never rule it out.

Spencer Day is merely a young man who caught my fancy. I mean, can I be blamed for haunting iTunes waiting for Hemingway's Whiskey to come out. And when I heard his soulful amazing voice, it made me feel things, especially Someday and Out of My Hands Obviously I am seriously conflicted right now. But never fear dear Kenny, Spencer, will never hold my heart the way you do. He's just my rainy day melancholy boy with the amazing voice. He will never replace you.

I mean, here I am, listening to your new CD as it downloads. I downloaded it as soon as it was available. I practically shut iTunes down attempting to get the copy first. Did I do that for Spencer? Absolutely not, his CD had been out a year before I found it. And only for you, did I stay home to watch Invitation Only (I realize my invite was lost in the mail, I understand). I even finished your blue mittens for you while watching! I know you don't need them in the islands but I thought maybe you'd be coming north for the holidays.

I will listen to you all night dear Kenny, especially Seven Days and Coastal. It makes me fall in love all over again. And remember, I can quit my job any day to move down south. Just whisper the words..

Your Soulmate

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Mitt Two Mitt, Red Mitt Blue Mitt!

Well the weekend didn't yield much handspun yarn what with the trip to the yarn store and all.

But I did get knitting done!

Look! Another fingerless mitt. Unique in it's design of course!

And..... AND!!!!!!

A mitten! With a thumb and everything! This is out of Blue Moon twisted Merino. Another yarn to get addicted to! Love it love it love it!

2nd mitten is underway as well, same color just different lighting for the picture.

One lonely little skein of yarn spun and N-plied as well. About 40 super bulky yards. This is so sweet and soft, I spun a lot of air into there, and it's absolutely beautiful to handle.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yarny Happiness

Trip to yarn store + new yarn = happiness!

Araurana, at HALF OFF! They have more, will be going back for it!

Noro Taiyo just cause.

Cascade 220 for a project I have in mind.

And another set of circular needles for mom. Who has decided she wants to make a hat. So I showed her how to magic loop tonight. Her ribbing is amazing.

Meanwhile my other fingerless mitt is almost done. Personally I believe no 2 objects should really 'match' including pairs of mitts. Their originality is important right? Thought so.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Completed the Gauntlet

Or rather a fingerless mitt. YAY! Ok, I didn't use the pattern, though I followed the increases and directions for the thumb gusset thingie.

Finished glove!

And then I sized it as I went. And just guessed. And it worked!
Sizing it

I've started the 2nd, and then I'll make a pair for Mom, I think it might help her arthritis. They're actually pretty easy!

The yarn is Noro Silk Garden, Noro makes even bad knitting look good!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Biggest Spinner and other absolute randomness

I tried starting fingerless mitts tonight. Of course I didn't have the right size needle (why do I never have the right size needle?) and first they were really too big (baby hat size), then almost right, (but still too big), and then a smidge too small. I am still working on that one under the theory that they'll stretch. I'm knitting them in this lovely merino/angora yarn that I made The Sock out of back in April. It's beautiful yarn. Really too nice for socks, but would be so warm for fingerless mitts. If I can ever get gauge.
Definitely too small. Probably doing it wrong anyway. Frog.

I started knitting because my wrist is killing me, I think I pulled something spinning yesterday. Or maybe working at my real job. Or a combination of both. In any case, I thought that spinning might make it worse. Knitting didn't seem to stress it.
Spot the real cat

Meanwhile I am feeling guilty because I am not working out while watching the first episode of the Biggest Loser, instead I am nursing a spinning injury. Oh well, maybe people will think I got it in spin class.. Good story anyway.

Favorite things pictures: One of my tanks. Last night I did the filter in this one, and despaired of ever getting it looking good again. But it's decent tonight. We won't talk about the turtle tank where I killed the filter, only to have it miraculously revive in the middle of the night. Still a good reminder I should probably stop buying fiber and instead get the canister filter I've been meaning to buy for Slider.
Random fish tank picture
My new angelfish. I can't seem to keep them alive in this hard water so don't get all bonded. But this time I'm trying them in an established planted tank. If it works, I'll plant a bigger tank, age it,and set them up in there. Cause I love them. The upper picture is the same tank, with my rescue Blood Parrot. He was almost dead at Walmart and I took him home. That was 18 months ago. He's still little, but growing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I knew I forgot something!

Like the 5th yarn that I'd spun, a fun N-ply skein of around 50 yards. It's from Fleecemakers. Isn't it pretty?!

Strangely enough, I found this skein, downstairs in a plastic bag that was open on a table. My question is, how did it get there? I blame the cats. Seriously, they probably did carry it down there.

I also spun and plied this today. It's the August Fondle This! Club offering from Spunky Eclectic. It's supposed to be made into fingerless mitts. This holds great possibilities. Though I spun this a bit too fine. I got 200 yards here. I could cable it, but I think it's fine. It's merino/angora, so pretty, so soft.

Yarn, what yarn? I don't see any yarn!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Falling Through Time

Is anyone else looking back and going where did 2010 GO?! I am! It's becoming fall in Minnesota. This is a good thing in some ways.

It means:
  • The mosquito swarms are calming down.
  • There are apples for apple sauce, apple butter, apple cake, apple pie!
  • There are pumpkins to cheer us up.
  • Cool crisp mornings
  • Warm afternoons
  • The trees are turning from green to reds, and the crops to gold.
  • It's time to cook hearty stews, or today, chicken and dumplings. Which make the house smell amazing, and makes everyone happy.

However, the fact that fall starts here in September is just wrong. It should still be late summer.

The fact it leads into winter, snow, and blizzards is tragic.
Fall colors!

I am still preparing. My September spinning is going well, though I keep getting sidetracked from my goal yarns. Now I'm spinning something for a special project. Or else maybe I'll use commercial yarn, and do the project. I am rather hoardish about my one of a kind handspun. I admit that.

Starting with the silvery gray on the left: 250 yards of merino/silk Ashland Bay. 
Brown in the middle, cormo/alpaca 150 yards
Gold and pink on the right: pure silk (A verb for keeping warm, I think) 200 yards
On the bottom in the hot pink 140 bulky yards.

All Navajo-plied. Only 4 skeins this week, but hey, it's another 4 down, and this was a heavy work week around here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When the Parade Passes By

We had 2 marchers in a parade today, both playing the snare drums in the back quite happily. This was Cory's first year playing the drums in the parade, Kevin is an old pro. So we headed out this morning bright and early for them to line up and then got in our place to watch for them.
Not their band. But new goal - learn to play the bagpipes!

Today was national Spin in Public day. Which meant that I completely was going to take my drop spindle to the parade today and spin. Except of course, between bringing the camera, drums, matching shirts, etc etc I forgot it. But knitting did take place, as I have a teeny little baby knit bag attached to my purse. While I was knitting a little 2 year old came over and was absolutely fascinated by it. Future knitter in the making!
The correct band
Bang on those drums!

It was a lovely day, and the parade was really cute, with lots of bands and happy boy scout troops. A lovely way to spend a day. Spinning will commence tonight though, while I start the 3 seasons of Law and Order SVU that were on sale today!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Raindrops on Roses

And whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles

and warm woolen mittens er yarn, er, mittens to be?

Bright paper packages tied up with strings, (especially new fiber!)

these are a few of my favorite things!

We'll end there before I get to snowflakes, which I appreciate, but I feel should stay on mountaintops to be enjoyed from a distance, not on my nose and eyelashes.

TV isn't a waste of time if you're spinning yarn, right? Because I just spent an entire evening watching reality shows and loving it, though I'm not sure I'm pleased with who won Top Chef this season. Survivor looks really interesting this year, now that I have DVR I actually manage to watch that, before DVR I always, always missed it for one reason or another.

I'm working on some Ashland Bay Merino/silk tonight, that looks kind of like the stormy night that was outside the windows. I think storms remind us of how lucky we are to live in a warm, weather proof house, but it also brings to mind the need for warm scarves, hats, mittens and sweaters. I wonder what the yarn I spun tonight will turn into?

Mercury approves of lazy evenings at home

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dear Martha and Julia

Dear Julia, can you please tell me your secret to following an 18 step recipe for stew? I always start, and end up with some delicious yet definitely not Beef bourguignon, especially when the stupid liquor store closes before 11:00 on a Saturday, and when in Minnesota they don't sell wine in grocery stores. Maybe you lacked these problems? Or maybe you had more time to shop? In any case, I hope you don't mind my crockpot stew, it's kind of the same thing. But really not.

I like my stew with broth, you can add less liquid for a thicker stew
Recipe is easy:
1 package mushrooms brown mushrooms.
1 package baby carrots
5 parsnips
5 yukon gold potatoes
1 package celery
1 medium yellow onion.
1 pound stew meat
Enough stock to cover (personally I use chicken stock)
sprigs of fresh thyme
dash of worchestershire sauce

  1. Pat stew meat dry and toss stew meat in flour using a plastic bag, (preferably one without holes, unless you want to a
  2. Drizzle olive oil and add some butter to a pan and heat. gently saute mushrooms and dump into crockpot.
  3. ctually look like you were cooking. 
  4. Coarsely chop an onion and saute both the onion and meat in the pan.
  5. While that's browning, dice the celery and parsnips into the same size (approximately) as the baby carrots. Slice potatoes in half and then into 1/2" pieces. 
  6. Add all veggies to the crock pot. 
  7. Add the meat and onions, mix gently, add garlic (a good tablespoon - I love garlic!) and thyme to the mix.
  8. Add enough broth to cover. 
  9. Cook for 5 hours on high, or 9-10 on low. It's done once the potatoes are cooked, and can be speared with a fork. Enjoy with bread.
Dang, that's still 9 steps. If you want it to taste better, or more authentic, add red wine to the browning meat. I use a good burgundy. But it's good this way too.
Now, ahem, Martha, I know you do crafts, how do you clean your house at the same time? And how do you keep your cats from destroying everything? Furthermore, I have a large glass jar of sand. What should I do with this? I am thinking of having the kids decorate it with shells, but maybe that's too blase' Any suggestions?

You would be proud though, that I managed to finish 4 yarns today, 2, start to finish, the others plied.

Left to right:

120 yards of Navajo plied Taste The Rainbow (from the Painted Tiger)

380 yards of super soft 2 ply Haught Pink (knittyandcolor)

125 yards Navajo ply Hydrangea (The Painted Tiger)

200 yards Navajo ply Vineyard (Louet Northern Lights roving)

I totally, completely screwed up Hydrangea, I had the tension set too high and it just wacked out the finished yarn. So N-plying wasn't the best idea, in retrospect, I should have just plied it. But it's done, and it's pretty, just not perfect. It'll still make a nice something someday. I still have a lot of that to spin, and the same with the rainbow. That was originally supposed to be spun back on itself but someone (Neptune) shredded the roving and I ended up N-plying instead. Maybe the Painted Tiger puts catnip in the color. Or else he was inspired by the name.

And I love the pink, and the rainbow. Anyone else? I have no idea what I'll do with them but I LOVE THEM!

Rainbow Bright!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beach Street Knitting

When I'm not spinning, or knitting, I read. I love to read and I hoard books. If there is ever a Library Hoarders show on TV I am in trouble. Books are everywhere around here, piled and double stacked in shelves, located under desks, hiding in the kitchen.. Not to mention the 14 containers full in the garage waiting till I have a library and can really and truly put them out.

Most books I buy 2nd hand, or at the stores off clearance racks. I am so bad, that one time, at work, someone threw out a book that had been left there. I had already read this book. And I detested it. But, I saw it in the garbage can, and it bothered me so much, I fished it out, cleaned it up and took it home to sit on a shelf. It's probably some sort of illness really, I mean the book addiction. I probably picked it up as a kid, from my best friend Meghanne's house. Her mom, and dad were journalists. Their house was book heaven. Books floor to ceiling. I read those books all the time when I was over there. I treasured them. And now I rival that collection here.

But with that said, I am incredibly picky about books. Most current literature disappoints me. It's the author being unable to develop characters, or else, being unable to resist killing the well developed ones off. I hate the trivial sleep with everyone plots, and I also hate the life sucks crap. Life does suck, it's what you do with that fact that matters.

Anyway, rant over. My darling brother gave me a gift card on my birthday to a Big Book Store. So I raced over to spend it (of course!) I picked up a couple authors I love, Maggie Sefton who writes a cute little series about a spinning/knitting shop, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's newest book Fever Dream - I am addicted to Agent Pendergast, and their scary, bone chilling but thought provoking writing. But I also bought 2 new authors. One was the best selling Friday Night Knitters Club. I loved this book in some ways, but I absolutely hated the ending which personally I felt was uncalled for. The other, was a british author, named Gil McNeil. The title of the book was the Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn club.

This book, wasn't a mystery, didn't try to appear smart, or too sophisticated for most people (that's my other pet peeve, most authors feel they must appear smart, you appear more intelligent if you don't flaunt it.) It was about an every day person, facing problems and solving them, making the best out of her situation.

Jo was widowed suddenly, and is faced with leaving London with her 2 small boys. She buys her grandmother's knitting shop, and moves everyone to the sea. Where she meets the town gossips, the local celebrities, the old biddies, and the terrible PTA president. All while walking the neighbors dog her boys are obsessed with sneaking home and trying to get them over the loss of their dad. It's honest, funny, and sweet. You want to move next door to Jo just to stop by for tea, laugh at her hysterical kids, and maybe get a knitting lesson. Not to mention help her train the dog. I finished the book practically overnight and immediately went back to find more. Alas, her next wasn't scheduled till August.

So on Thursday I ran to the store to buy the book. This morning I finished it. The same amazing people, this time as old friends, because I knew them from the first page. I sincerely hope Gil McNeil writes even more. I can't wait to see what happens to the town this year. Finding a good book, and stories you love, is a rare treasure, and I am so happy to have found these!

Both are available at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble, no affiliation, just great stories.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Love's Labor's Lost..

Or the lost Labor Day weekend.

I love Labor day, doesn't it always bring back memories of school starting, new opportunities, and seasons changing. School may have sucked, but the first few weeks were always fun. Kind of like New Years, but not. It brings to mind the State Fair, greasy food, cool mornings and the promise of frost.

All of that was before I moved to Minnesota. Minnesota Labor Day brings to mind cold blizzards, and the knowledge that in a few short weeks we won't see grass or any color other than white and shades of gray for weeks at a time. Months I tell you!

All of which is immaterial this year, because I worked every day of Labor day. Yup. Took it literal this year, so I worked 2, 10+ hour days, and one 2 hour day. And yes that last still counts. Unless I am absent from my work for 24 hours, I did not get a real day off.
Goodbye summer, goodbye State Fair

So in protest to the end of summer, my lack of a Holiday weekend, and having to squeeze in the State Fair in a few hours I started spinning some of the roving from I love these colors, and it's mesmerizing watching the colors change. I also finished up, the bright batt from knittyandcolor, oh, do I love this! I should have plyed it after finishing it, but I just needed to start more color in my life.

In other news, Sock is still researching suitable partners, and looking rather forlorn while doing so. My mom strangely is knitting a scarf, she of course is using a pattern IN LACE right away (show off).
Lance feels sorry for poor Single Sock

Random picture of Oscar, the fish, for a random post

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SSF Seeks Perfect Pairing

Ad as seen on Sock Harmony

Single striped scarf, seeks perfect pairing. Like minded mate, preferably made from the same merino/angora fiber as she is.

Candidates machine knitted need not apply.

Winter is here in Minnesota. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration - but not much. It's hovering there, waiting to swoop down and shock us out of our mosquito infested humid summer directly into blizzards, below zero temperatures, and permafrost. We do have 4 seasons here, they just consist of winter, just winter, almost winter, and start of winter. Have I mentioned how much I hate, yes hate, this place?

Anyway, sometime in the just winter season (aka April), I knitted my masterpiece. A sock. A sock that striped, and curved, and actually fit quite well. Said sock was placed on my bookshelf. It is still there. Making occasional forays to show people, and then returning to it's place of honor. It was my suggestion that it try Sock Harmony in hopes of magically pairing up with another therefore relieving me of the need to actually knit another sock. So far no dice. Stupid internet dating. Of course the entire reason I originally knitted the sock was the winter problem and my hatred of it. That reason has not gone away. Hmmm

First sock in the works - can I really manage another one?
Guess I need to find that yarn and those directions again. Or a sock knitting machine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Favorite Color

Sparkly Green Batt from Knittyandcolor on Etsy
Is Green - Deep emeraldy beautiful green. Green

Bright sparkly pink and orange batt from knittyandcolor

Or, maybe it's PINK! Bright fuschia gorgeous pink!

New braids of roving from Don't they just make you happy?!
 Or maybe every color of the rainbow! Red, yellow, purple, blue, silver, green.. How can you have a favorite? They're all gorgeous, and they all have their own purpose and place in the world!

My first shawl!

And speaking of color - the beautiful Noro Taiyo scarf, finished with it's crocheted border and blocked. Sorry, I couldn't afford a model, the couch volunteered.

Closeup of the border

Neptune and Merc are wonderful blocking weights.
This is extremely sensitive and hard work!