Friday, July 25, 2008

Quilt Odyssey

It's that time of year again, time for the annual Quilt Odyssey quilt show at Hershey. I was afraid I might not be able to go this year since I'm still trying to resolve my foot pain issue. But the doctor seemed to think if I was sensible and took plenty of breaks and did my stretches I should be alright. So off we went. The show was great this year. A wonderful display of antique quilts. I snapped only a few pictures of my favorite quilts.I hadn't planned on buying much at the vendor mall since I'm not really sewing much as knitting and spinning seem to have taken over most of my free time. But I succumbed to two purchases. A Christmas panel of Santa and some animals and a quilt kit.The kit is 5 one yard cuts of coordinating fabric and 3 patterns with cutting instructions to get a twin size quilt from the kit. For only $30! It came from a shop called Bolines. They sell the kits on their website so be sure to go check it out. I think I'm going to make the Off Center Four Patch design, when I get around to sewing again (which might even be this weekend since I still can't spin).

Since I'm not spinning, I've had plenty of time to knit. I've finished Jen's Flat Feet socks.
The pattern is Twilight from 2 at a Time Socks. I wasn't too bad to work with, but I don't think I'll be rushing to knit more sock blank type socks anytime soon. It was worth a try, for sure. But I still prefer the smooth nature of regular yarn. Now I'm working to finish the 2 other pair of socks I have going.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sniffy goodness

As I mentioned last post, I have fallen under the spell of indie perfume oil. My collection of Possets and BPAL imps has grown just a little this week. I've sampled The Midsummer Muse more thoroughly and will definitely be getting a bottle of Guinevere. It is the perfect blend of flowers and sweetness. Her shop is worth a look just for the enchanting descriptions she provides for all her scents.

I also took the plunge and purchased a bunch of fragrance oils, base oil and bottles to
try my hand at blending. There is precious little information available on the subject and I've received no response to my inquiries on boards I thought might have folks willing to talk. It appears that people are afraid to give up any secret that might take away from their piece of the pie. Ok fine, how hard can it be? Apparently not very. My first creation is a blend of pumpkin, peach, and other sweet smelling goodies. I've dubbed it Fuzzy Pumpkin and it is, if I don't say so myself, really good! I'm wearing it now and can't stop sniffing my wrist. I've blended up a few others and can see now I should have ordered way more bottles. This is going to be fun!

Lest you think I've forgotten about knitting, here's my next big project...Savannah from Dolce Handknits and 17 balls of Elann Superwash Bamboo. The yarn feels wonderful, so soft and just a bit of shine. I think this sweater will be beautiful in this yarn. I am going to be stern with myself and finish at least one of the 3 pair of socks I've got going and finish Milan before starting this one.

And spinning, I know I haven't had any spinning news in ages. That's because the yarn I'm spinning now (from a Hanks in the Hood Cozy Stripes batt) is being spun really fine. I hope to end up with a 3 ply sock yarn so I'm trying to spin as fine as I can. I even moved up to an 8.5 to 1 ratio, which is about as fast as I can handle at my level of experience. Cozy is the bobbin on the left.
The other bobbin is a luscious merino/silk blend Jen did for me. It is a dream to spin. I told her I hope she kept the recipe because it's pretty much all I want to spin. Ever. Unfortunately I'm currently not allowed to spin do to problems with my right foot (tendonitis/plantar facsiitis). Doctor says no spinning till it's all cleared up. I have practiced spinning with just one foot from time to time in the past and might give it a try now that I HAVE to spin one footed. But the temps are in the 90s so spinning isn't really high on my list of things I want to do. And there is no way I can treadle fast enough to spin Cozy with just one foot. For now I'll concentrate on knitting. And perfuming!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lots of catching up to do!

Ok, so what have I been doing with myself this last month?

I finished the Darvoset socks.
Plain vanilla, toe up, short row heel. I think they have a bit of a animal print look to them.

I'm knitting a pair of socks with the Conjoined Creation's Flat Feet sock yarn.The yarn came from Jen, so I'm knitting the socks for her. I'm using the Twilight pattern from 2 at A Time Socks, although I'm knitting them one at a time. The yarn is different to work with. As you can see it comes knitted flat and you unravel it as you knit. The kinkiness of the yarn doesn't pose much of a problem. I had to learn to adjust my tension a bit and kitchenering the toe shut was very difficult, but otherwise it's pretty much like knitting with any other yarn.

Today we went to the yarn shop. Edna talked me into this kit.
Yes, it's a kit. Cotton Kisses from Plymouth. It looks like a ball of yarn, but it includes all the yarn, pattern and buttons needed to make a baby sweater. There's actually 2 different patterns included, a cardigan and a pullover. I may skip both, though and make a baby surprise jacket. Since I don't know anyone with babies, this will probably end up being for the library auction next spring.

I also snagged another skein of Araucania Ranco sock yarn.
When I went to put it away, I discovered it was deceptively close in color to the other skein of Ranco I have. This is color 301, the other was 306. Regardless, both beautiful.

I hennaed my hair again.Hopefully this picture isn't too horrific, but it shows the color fabulously. With henna, the color is so gorgeous. It's deep and multi-tonal and my hair is soft and shiny.

And I've discovered a new obsession. Perfume oil. My collection is still quite small compared to some (this picture still makes me drool, oh to hit the lottery!) I've got just 5 full size bottles so far and about 40 sample size. Perfume oils are much stronger smelling than spray perfumes. They seem to last longer (at least on me) and don't seem to annoy my husband (which is a pretty darn good thing!) The fragrance is much purer since it's not diluted down with alcohol. I've actually cleared all my spray perfume's out, I never want to go back! I've only come across 2 scents, so far, that I've absolutely hated. Most I like very well, some I just want to bathe in. High Tea from Possets is one. Tintagel from BPAL is another. Possets seems to be the best place to start if you want to get into this type of thing. Her site is easy to navigate, she has excellent descriptions of all of her fragrances, and she ships lightening fast. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is the ultimate source for scent. It doesn't say how many different scents they offer, but I'm guessing at least 100-200. Their offerings are much more diverse too. If you want to smell like a grave or a flower, they've got you covered. Their biggest drawback for me, other than trying to navigate the huge site, is that their wait time for orders is 2-3 weeks, yikes! All the BPAL I've got I got from individuals on their forum (another great way to get started). The last company I ordered from is Midsummer Muse. Again, I just got samples for now, but think I'll be getting a bottle of Guinevere for sure! I'm also considering getting some fragrance oils from my soap suppliers and trying to blend my own oils. It sounds pretty easy to do and then I could get exactly what I want for WAY cheaper. I'll keep you posted.