Friday, February 27, 2009

Darn you Brenda Dayne!

I am a HUGE Brenda Dayne fan. I feel her honorary title of saint is much deserved. If I were asked what one person I would love to meet, her name would be top of the list. Her knitting podcasts have been my companion since the day she started. I believe hers is the longest running knitting podcast (Marie Irshard was the first, but sadly she no longer podcasts). Brenda is witty, intelligent, thought provoking, inspiring, creative, the list goes on.

So after this litany of why I love her, why am I saying darn her? It is her selection of music. Hers is the only podcast that features music I can bear to listen to. I generally hate music in podcasts (accept for Stuck in the '80s, duh). But Brenda's tastes are very similar to mine so I usually enjoy what she has to offer. Enter podcast 73, yeah I'm a bit behind. The show ended with a song by Jonathan Coulton called Code Monkey. I urge you not to click the link. Most definitely don't hit the Play the Song button. I will not be held responsible for the brain siezing power of this evil and malignant earworm. Since first hearing the song yesterday, I think I have listened to it, oh I don't know, 30 times. Maybe more.
And, yes, it is playing now while I write this. This song totally rules.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yarn drying with cat

Very special yarn (merino/cashmere!) for a special project. Quinn was less than happy to have to give up her spot in front of the heater to make way for my yarn. At least she didn't choose to sleep ON the yarn!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

MAP! and the Collection

As promised, photos of the awesomest b-day present ever...the Marauder's MapFully opened it barely fits on my kitchen counterThere are little fold out maps on the insideAll in all a fabulous collectors piece. A display case will be forthcoming.

My indie perfume obsession continues. My current collection comprises 6 boxes.Cigar boxes are my favorite place for storing bottles. It keeps them organized and out of the light. I painted the cardboard box (which I previously blogged about) but left the wooden one exactly as I found it. It was a $1 steal at the flea market last fall. My eyes are peeled for more like it. The drawback to storing these little bottles in boxes is that you cannot see the labels. I write the names on white caps with a fine point Sharpie and find that dot stickers from the office supply fit well on the caps that can't be written on. Is there a silver Sharpie out there? Must remember to look when I'm at the store again.

I love mint tins for storing samples as well as the little wooden chests I found I Michael's for $2. A splash of paint and they are perfectly charming perfume boxes.

The state of my soles

Recently Dharmafey of Socks in the City did a video podcast on her socks and how they are fairing. Her podcasts normally center around sock yarns and sock knitting and I found it extremely interesting to see some of the socks she's knit and her her opinions on how the yarns held up. We are all so excited when we get the new sock yarns and knit socks, but we don't often go back and talk about them after the fact.

So yesterday when I was taking my dry socks off the drying rack and hanging up the newly washed ones, I took notice of how my handknit socks are holding up. And I was a bit surprised by what I saw. So today I pulled out all my handknit socks and lined them up in order of least shabby looking to most shabby looking.

First the ones that look the best.These are the yarns (From left to right) Mr Joe Blanket, Opal 6 ply, Lion Brand Sock-Ease, Regia Bamboo

These look pretty good, only a bit of fuzziness.Online Supersocke 6ply, Opal Petticoat Cotton, Handspun colonial wool, Lime & Violet Sasquatch

And finally, the really fuzzy shabby socks.Knit Picks Bare Gloss, Knit Picks Essentials, Knit Picks Bare Merino

The socks more or less all get worn about the same. The handspun socks don't get worn much because they are really warm, but I wear my other handknit socks quite often. I was shocked that the socks that looked the worst included my most recently finished pair of socks (the green and brown Knit Picks Essentials)These socks are only a few months old and look as bad as the purple Knit Picks socks that are several years old.

I was also very happy to see that the Opal socks are holding up so well (especially given they are the oldest socks pictured here!)They are not quite as soft and cozy as the KP socks. Maybe it's the nylon in them that keeps them nice looking but also makes them a bit stiffer. Opal is also about 3 times as expensive as KP yarns so perhaps there's something to be said for paying for quality.

Now, none of these socks has holes or spots that are uncomfortably worn. This is strictly an appearance thing. I love my KP socks and can handle the fuzziness. In my opinion, a bit of felting on the soles is not really a bad thing. And just for the record, all my socks are machine washed (cold, gentle cycle) and hung to dry on a drying rack. This goes for superwash and non-superwash yarns.

Pretty much the only thing I've been working on is the February Lady sweater. I finished the body a day or two ago and started the first sleeve last night.Isn't she pretty? I'm planning to wear it for Easter. Normally I do not like knitting lace. However, this has been an extremely enjoyable pattern to knit. It's a 4 row repeat, very easy to memorize. It also seems to knit up very quickly. Despite the fact it's been on my needles for months, when it's actually seeing the light of day it progresses quickly.

I swatched for my fair isle sweater and decided I was not going to like black for the background color. Webs was nice enough to change my order to dark grey and shipped the yarn right away. So now I've got my yarns but I'm trying not to look at them and fall victim to their siren song to cast on. Poor Jen still hasn't received the yarn for her FI even though she ordered before me! Even if it weren't for my need to finish my existing projects, I would wait for her out of solidarity, since she's the one who conned, I mean talked me into this.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

One step closer... being able to start my fair isle sweater. A bunch of the yarn arrived this week from Webs.The colors are (from the top) light grey, dark grey, fawn, chestnut heather, pine, eggplant, dark navy and merlot heather. I'm stymied until the natural and black arrive from back order (expected the end of March). I do have some similar weight black and natural that I'm going to use to do some sample swatches with.

It's been ages since I spoke about spinning. I am indeed still spinning. My foot issues are pretty much resolved and I can treadle with two feet again. Here's what I've spun since I last posted handspun:

Hanks in the Hood merino wool in Cozy Stripes colorway. My first true fingering weight handspun.

CJ Kopec merino, bfl, silk blend in Cottage Rose colorway. Still find it difficult to spin with silk.

Ashland Bay merino in Sapphire colorway.

Pigeon Roof Studios Superwash BFL in the Nightshade colorway. This is only half the roving. I've given up on trying to squeeze 4 ounces of fiber on a bobbin.
I've still got a ton of fiber to spin through, of course. Jen's trying to get me to spin for a sweater, but I'm not quite ready to commit to such a large amount of spinning just now. Maybe when my backlog of sweater knitting is a bit more under control!

My birthday turned out wonderful. Thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes. I got two fabulous presents which I, unfortunately, don't have pictures of just now. My folks got me a darling little
4 cup coffee maker since I've recently developed an addiction to the stuff after a lifetime of tea drinking. And my sister gave me the ultimate present, a Marauder's Map. This thing is awesome. As you fold it out, you find different map views depending which folds are together. There are also little mini fold out maps inside. It's not a true map of Hogwarts, which is unfortunate. And much of the writing on it is jibberish repeated over and over. But the over all effect is grand. I love it. I will get pictures of it posted when I can.

Monday, February 02, 2009

It takes so little to make me happy

So today is February 2. Groundhog day. The unofficial/official start to crazy tax time at work. Day before the birthday of doom. I wasn't exactly chuffed for a grand day and life has been serving up the crazy all morning.

Then, I came home for lunch and found my Woobie Valentines order arrived. Check out these awesome little bottles of scented goodness.Aren't they the cutest thing ever? The little cork stoppered one was a free sample and it leaked all over, but other than that I am just tickled. I love that they look like poison bottles. The Scorned Love scents even have the skull and cross bones. Squee. I'm so glad I opted for the 1/3 oz potion bottles rather than standard 5ml bottles. And I'm should also mention the scents (as always) are heavenly! The only drawback with getting a bunch of perfumes at one time is you can't sample them all at once! If you haven't checked out Penny's site, please do so. She's wonderful to deal with and has great products. And her prices are the best around. I'm sure I'll be going back and getting the rest of the V-day scents I was looking at, especially after seeing these gorgeous little bottles!

See, doesn't take much to make me happy.