Friday, December 23, 2011

I meant to post this all yesterday. But I didn't. Oh well. I also haven't taken a picture of my now-brown shawl. It's cloudy and dark and I'm not really sure where to lay it for the best presentation (brown shawl + brown wood floors = not so great). But! I finished my father's christmas gift!

And here are some pictures from Solstice at our house.

The hero pegs I made for the boys. Wolverine, Captain America, Robin, Batman, and Deadpool (some of these were *greatly* influenced by the amazing peg dolls I found on Etsy). Within five minutes of playing with them, they smeared a bit. It makes me worry greatly about the peg dolls that I've sold on Etsy. Of course, it didn't help that the Imp had had his hands in his mouth prior to playing with them. The anxiety, I tell you. I should just stop selling things all together.

The Beast loves the camera. His greatest pleasure is getting behind it and helping take the pictures. Budding photographer, perhaps?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

My life is full of hats, it seems. Last night I cast on this hat for my husband in the glorious Malabrigo I recently bought (the colorway is Garden Gate, if you're interested). Today I realized that I was using needles two sizes too big. Ugh. I neglected to switch them after finishing the Elf's hat just before.

On an up side, I've finally gotten around to starting to reread a series that I love (I honestly don't know how many times I've read these already). Today is The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. If my usual ways hold true, I'll put off knitting and plow through this book in a day or two. Then I'll pick up the second book and repeat the process!

Here are some things I've finished lately:

This is the Elf's Link hat (as in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). He begged, I've made. He's thrilled. (Ravelry notes here)

This is my "Jane Eyre" shawl. I used bulky and probably shouldn't have. I also had a seriously limited amount of yarn - so it's shorter than I'd like. And I don't understand the neck band/cuff/doohickey at all. It's warm, though. However! Before you all get excited about the color (every one seems to adore it - my middle son helped me dye in more than a year ago) - I'm overdyeing it. As I type, in fact, it's sitting in a black walnut dye bath. I don't do purple and pink, sorry. (Ravelry notes here)

This is Jiji - from Kiki's Delivery Service. I honestly thought he'd be smaller. For size comparison, those are my three year old's hands. Jiji is for the Beast for Solstice. He's absolutely obsessed with Kiki's Delivery Service (and Ponyo - I'll get to that for his birthday). (Ravelry notes here)

Okay, this isn't finished yet. It's a gift for my father for Christmas (we go to their house for family mayhem). I'll finish him either today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

Reading Monster Blood Tattoo Book One: The Foundling by D. M. Cornish. I don't remember where I heard about it. It's fairly interesting so far. I got it from the library, so I need to read it before I give in to my desire to reread beloved series over and over again. Knitting: the not-Pebble vest. It's, what? My fifth attempt? I just couldn't get this right. But I think I have now. (Rav details here)

The "waffle" scarf. It took all of both balls of Top of the Lamb. It's longer than I am tall. Whew! But it's done. (Rav details here)

The Imp needed a new hat. The fox-eared hat I knit last year is just too small (I'll be listing it on Julie's handmade hand-me-down doohickey later). I started and finished it in one day - mostly with my eyes closed. I've been feeling dizzy and nauseous (no, I am not pregnant) so watching the stitches move makes me feel terrible. At least I know that if I ever lose my sight, I can still knit. (Rav details here)

And a gratuitous baby picture. Because he's cute and I wanted to. So there.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Oh man. I lost Saturday. It just as well didn't happen. I spent just about the whole day running errands. Everything was crazy-busy, of course. The post office, the grocery store. I won't even mention Target because that was utter hell (and I would have skipped it if we weren't desperate for cat litter).

Friday night (yes, I am skipping around) I discovered that the local yarn store no longer carries the yarn I was using to make that scarf from the Yarn Along. Do you notice the past tense? The scarf was frogged. Using every last scrap I had would have only gotten me about 35 inches of scarf. Oof. So I bought some lovely Top of the Lamb by Brown Sheep (I adore this stuff) in a nice and manly grey-brown. Sunday I spent every free moment knitting the scarf back up. I'm not even halfway through the second ball of yarn but at least it's more likely to be a decent length (not that I know anything about scarves).

So what does all of this mean? I didn't get any work done on my other knitting projects. I haven't worked on my kids' Solstice gifts. Oh. And I have to frog that infernal vest. Again. I stupidly did the side panels in reverse stockinette instead of garter. Grrrrr.

Oh! During the craziness of Saturday's errand-running I went to a "new" yarn store and bought a ball of Cascade Eco plus in a lovely green color that is apparently called turtle. I also dropped off some books at the used book store and scored a lovely stack of new-to-me books for less than $9.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Villette by Charlotte Bronte, Little Men (and at the bottom, Little Women) by Louisa May Alcott, The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine, The Watsons and Emma Watson by (Jane Austen but "finished" by..) Joan Aiken, and finally, Emma by Jane Austen. No wait, I also bought the first book of the Bartimaeus trilogy for the Elf for Solstice. I've read them already and am kind of hoping it will help rekindle a love of recreational reading. It's not in the stack because it is hiding amongst my yarn stash to prevent prying eyes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

I'm a day late. Yesterday there were all of five minutes of sun shine. Grey days do not make for good photographs around here. I'm knitting a scarf for a friend (Ravelry notes here). I think I'm going to run out of yarn before it's long enough. I'll check at the yarn shop tomorrow, otherwise I'll have to frog and try something else. I'm also knitting a Pebble Vest for a friend and some gnome hats.

I'm still reading Spartan Gold. I have some books waiting for me at the library, but what I really want to (re)read is the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. It's just this thing that I do - rereading series when the mood takes me.

Here's what I've finished recently.

Fingerless gloves for a friend's husband (modeled by the Elf). They're like my stripey ones, only shorter and without the stripes. (Ravelry notes here)

A wee doll for a wee boy. The hair is Crayon from KnitPicks. It's pima cotten and *insanely* soft. If I didn't dislike working with boucle so much, I'd be positively swimming in this stuff.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn Along!

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

I was going to call this an un-yarn along. Last weekend I unraveled my sweater. Yes. I did. It fit poorly. As usual, I assume that my large self is even larger and overcompensate. I deviated from the pattern and just.. ugh. The sweater was a flop. So rather than keep it and never wear it, I took it apart. It's hanging in hanks outside right now. I redyed it using my (very used up) walnut dye. It's a slightly more even orange-brown now. Hopefully I won't have to alternate balls this time.

Anyway, it turns out that I actually do have things I've been making, rather than unmaking.

When today started I was working on an enderman for B. It's done now. But I'm still reading Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood. My father lent it to me and it's fairly interesting so far.

(Ravelry notes here)

After five years, a new hair accessory for me! It's a little smaller than I'd like. I'm going to try another one with the yarn doubled and larger needles. (Psst. Peggy - see my new coffee mug?)

(Ravelry notes here)

(Ravelry notes here)

So. Remember that sword I made for the Imp? Well the Beast has become emotionally attached to it. So I needed to make another for the Imp. Can you see where this is going? The Beast then wanted the second sword. So I made a third (which is by far the best constructed). Now they mostly get along with a bit of sword-swapping. But the Elf is asking when I'm going to make him one. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Well. So that absense was longer than I'd planned.

The Beast will likely wake from his nap any minute, so this will be short. I made black walnut dye! And tincture, but it's still "cooking" for another week or so.

The Elf and I gathered a slew of walnuts from our grocery store parking lot. I had so many and no one to pawn them off onto. We ended up composting half a bag of them.

These were my experiments. I didn't use a mordant, nor did I dye using heat. I just let it soak overnight and rinse-rinse-rinsed forever. The bottom layer is an old (previously white and well-loved) playsilk. The rolled up piece is a 75% wool, 25% nylon double-knitted sock yarn. The center is Sawya by Mirasol (pima cotton, alpaca, and silk - mostly cotton). The far right is a 100% wool that a friend sent me once upon a time (I've been slowly dyeing bits of it for projects). I think it's fascinating how different (yet similar) the colors are.

Tomorrow I hope to dye a cotton shirt and some wool felt. Yay!

On the gnome front, meet my newest favorite addition!

If my internet connection decides to like me again (as I've lost connectivity while writing this!), there will be some new (really new!) additions to my shop this afternoon (and more in the next few days as well).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yarn Along!

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week. With how crazy things have felt this Autumn, the Yarn Along seems to really be the only time I update this blog.

Working on this tank top/camisole. I don't care for the project much. Back and forth stockinette is so very dull to me (don't ask why in-the-round stockinette isn't, I can't explain it). I'm a big fan of Isabel Allende, so it's no surprise that I picked this book up once upon a time. It is a little weird that it's taken me this long to get to it, though. I'm only reading when nursing the Imp to bed at night, so it's slow going. But I'm okay with that.

Here are some things I've been working on lately.

Crochet dish rags. I have a mess of kitchen cotton and thought I should use it up. This photo isn't of all the cloths I've made - some have already been used. I really don't need this many. I was thinking about listing them for $1 each on my Etsy shop just to find homes for them - no one local that I know of would want them as gifts. Any one out there need some dish rags? They're nothing special but they get the job done.

Wee gnome hats. Yes, my gnomes are bare headed at present. I've been sewing and crocheting hats for them. When I get tired of sewing, I switch to crochet. Overall, I'm feeling a bit burned out on the peg doll hats - it's my least favorite part of the process. Which is why I'm doing it all at once. If I have a huge pile of hats to choose from, I can focus on the more enjoyable parts!

A long awaited picture (poorly taken) of my sweater! I haven't had occasion to wear it yet. It's awfully warm here again. I had to turn the air conditioning on yesterday. Can you believe that? In November? Insanity!

In non-wool news, this soup has to be about the best I've ever had. Yum!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yarn Along, Etsy Update, Giveaway!

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

Alright. I'm knitting a new shirt! I finished my sweater (pictures to be taken eventually) and am giving the silk yarn another try. I just started it last night, so not much progress. This morning (after my youngest two woke me up at 4:30am) I finished reading Between Two Ends by David Ward. It's a kids' book, but was enjoyable. Next I'm giving Grey Griffins a try.

I finished this hat yesterday. It's for the Imp but fits the entire family. I lovelovelovelovelove this pattern. I can assure you that I will be knitting more of them. (Rav notes here)

These little Wolf-Kin are new in the shop! They may look familiar as I made some for a swap earlier this year. I've also added some more weather gnomes and some spring and summer gnomes as well.

The giveaway! Over at We Bloom Here the lovely Peggy has posted about my chore gnomes! Enter in her giveaway to win one of my autumn gnomes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yarn Along - Sweaters!

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

(Ravelry link)

Still working on my sweater and reading Dragonfly in Amber. The sleeves are done. They're a bit funny shaped because I was winging the decreases (and waited too long to start them). That's okay, though. Live and learn.

(Ravelry link)

This is a sweater that started life as a shirt. I think it turned out well. The Imp wouldn't let me try it on him as I went, though. The sleeves are a smidge too short and I guess I didn't bind off loosely enough. I have several more balls of the yarn, so that should be fixable

Other than that it's been a whole lot of sniffing, sneezing, and wishing I could sleep all day. The Beast stays up until between midnight and 2am and then the Imp gets up at 7am. This doesn't take into account all the nighttime nursing. So yes. I'm tired. And sick. Whee!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Drowning in Gnomes

This is what my weekend looked like:

Now I'm listing three weather gnomes sets and two chore gnomes in my Etsy shop. As soon as I pry myself away from Stargate SG-1 episodes I'll be making wee hats for some spiffy new Winter gnomes! Whee!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Today I woke up to Etsy orders needing to be filled (well, and a cranky toddler and a feverish baby)! How wonderful is that (the orders, not the miserable kids)? Since my shop was beginning to look empty again, I've added the Chore Gnomes I was working on in a previous post. I've also ordered 100 more peg people bodies! Yes! While awaiting their arrival I'll be cutting and sewing wee hats from my hand dyed felt. Yippie!

Hopefully (providing the feverish baby is content enough to nap) I'll even finish up a pair of squishy, rusty red longies to add to the shop.

I've also made my first Etsy Treasury. It was lots of fun finding new and intersting things - I can't wait to make another!

I'm feeling so motivated this Fall!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wonderful days!

I have so much to write about. Which likely means that I will write very little.

This weekend was perfect. The first day of October was the first truly cool day for us. Our windows have been open, the breezes blowing. Saturday we spend several hours outside. B and I moved the compost (with some wee hands helping, of course) and expanded our "food garden" to make room for some fall plants. The Beast has finally accepted shoes and the wearing thereof. He ran laps around our car while the older boys whooped and jumped about - occasionally stopping to help me pull roots from the garden bed. New seedlings were procured: salad greens, cauliflower, and cilantro. My banana peppers are popping up blooms all over the place. It's amazing what a break from the heat will do.

Late last week I adopted B's childhood pocket knife and have been halfheartedly carving magic wands for the boys from sticks in the yard. It's strangely enjoyable, but is rough on my hands. I think a proper set of carving knives would help.

Sunday we spent most of the afternoon at my father's house to celebrate the Imp's birthday. He was utterly thrilled with his gifts and the cookies on the ice cream cake they bought. It took a couple of hours but he eventually warmed up to everyone. It's amazing to see how different he is at home versus at my dad's. He's so much more confident on his turf. I also found out that my father quit smoking back in June. This is a *huge* deal. I never thought he would ever quit. Even after throat cancer he smoked like a chimney. I can't tell you how very proud of him I am for having finally broken the habit.

I've finally finished my gnomes. Today the stars aligned and I managed to find some decent light in the house that wasn't too bright. The kids even mostly cooperated. Of course, the pictures are still on the camera, so I'm mostly just assuming that they turned out decently enough. I'm hopeful, though.

Today also marked the day that I received the package for this year's Dish Rag Tag. It was exciting (which seems a little sad, but I'm okay with that). I finished the dish rag in under three hours (including nursing the Beast to sleep for his nap and eating lunch). It helps that the older boys ran off to the Elf's room to play with legos the whole time. So it was just me, the yarn, and Stargate (I'm rewatching SG1 on Netflix).

Okay, so picture-free posts are kind of boring.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Gnome Love

Thank you all for your kind comments about my gnomes in the last post! Here are some in-progress additions:

Lightning gnomes to go with my other weather gnomes.

Chore gnomes! It was harder than I thought, finding simple pictures that would (mostly) universally represent common tasks. I tried to avoid having images of people and hands - very difficult.

Days of the week gnomes! The "angel" shaped ones are a tiny bit smaller than the average peg person. The "boy" gnomes are the teeny ones that come up to the shoulders of most peg people. I'll have to come up with something better for Sunday (white) because my current paint just isn't cutting it.

They will all be rubbed with beeswax polish and given hats. I'm in the process of dyeing more wool felt for them. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yarn Along and Birthday Goodies

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

A pair of longies! Who would have thought, right? I'm using the leftover yarn from knitting Emily's test pattern for a bear. Will these be for my kids (who sorely need longer longies?) or will they go into the shop? Well, that depends on how far this ball of yarn gets me. It's entirely possible that they'll end up as shorts. Time will tell! As for reading, I finally picked up the second book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I've owned it for a good long while and just never got around to it. As I'm currently lacking in library books, it seemed like the time to get into it. So far it is quite as enjoyable as the first book.

And now!
Yesterday was my sweet little Imp's third birthday. Here are the (sad, pathetic, poorly put together) gifts that I made for him.

This is Deadpool. A Marvel character. The Imp is in full-on comic super hero mode. Ever year we participate in Free Comic Book Day. Needless to say, we have a lot of comic books. We're also a video game family (hold your judgement, please). So no, he doesn't really understand who Deadpool is. He just knows that he looks cool and (in his words) "Deadpool have two swords!"

I think I failed in making this guy, though. There are some much, much, much better ones on Ravelry. Here are my notes, such as they are.

This is a Wolverine mask. It had so much potential. And then I sewed the "ears" on crooked. The night before his birthday. It's not an accurate representation, either. But he recognized it (along with the doll), so that's what matters, right? Granted, he refuses to wear it properly - guess I should have just made a Spiderman hat instead. Ah, well. Notes here.

These are some of my finished gnomes that will, hopefully, make it into my Etsy shop.. eventually. Many thanks to Julie for her wonderful help and idea sharing.

These are my Autumn Gnomes.

And these are my weather gnomes. Okay, so nighttime and rainbows aren't really weather.

Friday, September 23, 2011

{this moment} and a test knit!

This wonderful toy pattern that I was lucky enough to test for the lovely Emily has introduced the word "bear" into the life of one little Beast.
(Rav notes here)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yarn Along and Other Things.

Joining Ginny at Small Things again this week.

Still knitting my sweater. Not a great photograph, but it shows the color well. I've just about made it to the bottom of the arm holes. Excitement! I'm just shy of half-way through The Happiness Project - which is a problem because it's due back at my library in three days. Oops. So what have I been doing instead of reading?


I have been extremely fortunate to have two sales on my Etsy shop in the last week or so. Of course now my normally pretty empty shop is looking pathetic indeed. So a bit of restocking is in order. These gnomes aren't done, but don't they look handsome? I got to try out my new watercolor pencils. Yum!

What you can't really see, laying in front of the gnomes is this:

My dear and lovely friend has gotten my family absolutely addicted to My Neighbor Totoro (you should hear the Beast declare "toto! toto-doe!" when he wants to watch it). I searched Etsy and would you believe there aren't any Totoro stich markers? Travesty! The Elf and I had some Sculpey fun and made ourselves a veritable army of Totoro.

Ignore my freaky colored fingers and nails in the photo. I spent last night trying to make black felt.

This is what black gel cake dye gets you. Sigh. I thought for sure that steaming the felt would help. If you just let it soak, it generally turns pink. My next attempt will use much more of the gel (which is freakishly old, anyway). See, I need black wool felt to finish the Imp's birthday present (for this Tuesday! Ack!) and the only local place to buy it (Michaels - and resonably priced, too!) doesn't seem to want to stock it. Bleh.

And to end with a cute picture...