Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Happy Birthday Mom!

Kids don't get to pick their parents but if I'd had the choice, I would have definitely picked you!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Well Look What We Have Here!

This stash busting stuff has now spilled over into my beadwork. Bryan and I went on our regular pilgrimage to IKEA and on this trip picked up some new shelving for the studio (pictures when it's closer to organized... which could be awhile). While sorting the bead piles I realized I had 5 unused bead kits I'd purchased over the years.

One, the Coming to the End netted cuff, I bought while taking a 3 day Cynthia Rutledge class for the Granuaile's Crown necklace a few years ago along with another kit I really need to finish. The other four were bought at a weaving guild table sale that I bought for the beads more than actually doing the kits. There's a bolo version of Linda Richmond's lariat necklace, and 3 kits from the Beadwrangler (2 different colors of the Rayna's Vine Wave kit, and a Sedona Ridge bead crochet rope kit.)

Now of course I need to decide if I'll go ahead and make the kits or scavenge any of them for parts. This stash busting is getting to be loads of fun!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why Revisting Your Stash Is A Good Thing

Thank you Rebekah, thank you!

I was recently thinking about what yarn and supplies I'd need for my two swaps (PS2 and ITE3) and what other yarn I'd want to buy for personal projects. Trying to stay with my one free shopping day a month for the next 3 months, I wanted to make these trips good ones. Well I knew I wanted to make this stunning wrap I saw in the Spring issue of Knitscene so I started adding the accessories to my list. Then it hit me. Check out your stash silly; you just might have the yarn already in there. That or mom had it in one of her piles. Yes mom, some of that is mine. Don't think I forgot. ;-)

So I looked and guess what? I pulled down the very first bin and saw that I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED!!! YFC #2 saved me a goodly amount of money because the yarn called for was 630 yards of a mohair, wool, and nylon blended. The skein I have from a local artisan (Roz Houseknecht) totaled 968 YARDS!

I wonder what else I have?

The Magazine

The Pattern

The Yarn

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Kung Hei Fat Choy (January Indie Swap Goodness)

When I originally signed up for Scout's Indie Swag Club, I did it half because I just wanted to get my hands on that gorgeous yarn and half because I wanted to force myself to learn to make socks (at least one pair). Then I joined and thought I'd lost my mind. What in the world would I do with all this yarn, especially if I didn't like making socks. My mom had the "brilliant" idea of giving the yarn to her. To my delight, I like making socks though my first pair is taking longer than planned for numerous reasons and I love the yarn!

In today's mail... THE JANUARY SWAG!!!

I received a vivid skein of 100% Merino called "Kung Hei Fat Choy" in this luscious shade of reds pinks, a little white and a splash of orange. Along with that yarn was a HOT sock blocker with the cut out of a ball of yarn and knitting needles through it (No Mom, you can't have it!) from Chappy's Fiber Arts & Crafts. YAY!!!

Here's a close up of the yarn.

Socks? Of course! The pattern I'm not yet sure about. I'll have to peek through my patterns and see which will do this yarn justice. *with a big grin hugs yarn and blocker tight*

Monday, January 22, 2007

Purse Swap II Questionnaire

Hi secret purse pal. Here is my questionnaire to help you get to know me. Let me know if you have any other questions.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Except for acrylic (unless it's the fun and funky type), I like most yarns. I haven't tried bamboo so I can't speak for that one though it feels nice.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
At the moment a large plastic bag for all my straights, double pointeds, and accessories. I do have a circular needles kit so that's taken care of.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Hard question to answer across the board. I learned to knit maybe 8 or more years ago. Went all out (e.g. my fourth or fifth project ever was a lace shawl) and then other hobbies got in the way. Especially when I discovered beadwork. Now I balance between beading and knitting though I am now learning to sew and do machine embroidery (my mom's fault).

As to what I consider my skill level, I'd say I'm intermediate. I'm willing to take on just about anything and I still need to refer to my books from time to time for certain stitches and techniques.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
For knitting: My Knitting Wish List on Amazon

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I'm not much on rose and strong florals though I do like honeysuckle. I'm more into edible smells and fresh smells like chocolate or ginger. Basically nothing heavy. They give me a headache.

My favorite place to get scented oils/perfumes is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (aka BPAL). *sigh* Example description of one of their oils:

BLACK PEARL- Evocative of the sea's unplumbed mysteries. Gentle and lovely, but menacing and profound. Coconut, Florentine iris, hazelnut and opalescent white musk. And it really smells like that too! You can get what they call "imp's ears" which are those little glass samplers for $3.50 a shot or 6 for $19.50. They also tend to include extra samples to tempt you.

I tend to use incense over candles. One day I'd like to try to blend my own incense.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
My husband has the sweet tooth. LOL! I do like really good chocolate, especially truffles and caramels. My guilty pleasure would be Reese's Cups though. I'm more of a salt fiend and can wipe out a whole bag of Cheese Doodles by myself! Yay Cheese Doodles!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Again, I'm a beadweaver as well as a knitter. I'm now learning to sew and do machine embroidery. I haven't spun in a long time (my mom has my spinning wheel now) but I do have a drop spindle I'm determined to learn and master darn it! I use to be into mail art but got turned off by project partners and mail pals who were putting no effort into their work (one stamp on a blank card) because they were only in it to get the art and cards and such. I have been in to all sorts of arts and crafts over the years but this is my current collection.

8. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I can't think of colors I don't like though I do favor earth tones (rusts and such) and beachy colors (sea greens and washed blues). Where my issue is when bad colors collide. For example: green, yellow and purple are colors that should just not be put together. Yuck!

9. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I've been married for going on 5 wonderful years this coming Halloween. We don't have children or pets.

10. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Don't know just yet. I've just discovered the fun of socks so I can see myself making many more of them. I love making bags and I haven't made any lace shawls in awhile but I want to get back into that. I've yet to knit a sweater (fear of finishing) for myself or anyone so that's a goal I'm shooting for.

11. What are you knitting right now?
I'm finally getting around to finishing my first pair of socks. I was making great time and then work and holidays got in the way and I just crawled to a snails pace.

12. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Either. I prefer bamboo or some other wood needle so the stitches don't slip and slide about, but it's not mandatory.

13. Is there anything that you collect?
DISNEY stuff! Especially pins. Unusual glass beads. Interesting cookbooks.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Final Secret Pal 9 Package... WOW!

This arrived a few days ago but this is the first chance I've had to post/thank my pal about it.

This is the WONDERFUL final package my SP9 pal Karen sent me.

Where to begin?
  • The brand new knitting book "Knitty Gritty Knits"
  • 4 skeins of so soft Moda-Dea "Dream" yarn. I saw it and new immediately that some of it is being used for a cowl.
  • A luscious skein of Savvyminx sock yarn in the Gaia colorway. Can you say DROOL!?! 440 yards of the stuff too! It's just so pretty. I think I need to come up with a way to just show off my pretty yarn skeins until I get to knit with them.
  • Ginger smells! A bottle of royal ginger scented body lotion by Jafra. A bottle of royal ginger body oil by Jafra. A bottle of ginger and seaweed massage oil by Jafra (Spa line). A bottle of ginger and seaweed body massage cream by Jafra (Spa line). I love ginger!

Thank you again Karen for spoiling me these past 3 months. I've been a lucky recipient of great goodies!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Oh Magoo! You've Done It Again!

Well... I did it... again.

I've just joined, say it with me now, twooooooo purse/tote swaps. Why? Because I had so much fun last time and made a wonderful new friend here in the blogesphere to boot. The lovely and talented Janice! Yes, she's the one who made me that absolutely GORGEOUS tote bag and coin purse from the International Tote Exchange II. Double the pleasure. Double the fun.

The International Tote Swap III. Sign-ups end January 24, 2007.

The Knitted Purse Swap II. Sign-ups end January 31, 2007.

What helps with these two swaps is that the finished bags are due about a month apart so I can get them both started, concentrate on finishing the one for the ITE3 first (due out 3/19/2007), then go full steam ahead on the one for KPS2 which is not due until my birthday (4/15/2007). Sounds like a good plan to me!

I get extra bonus points since I'll have to shop for the yarn during my free day (YFC '07) between next Monday and February 15th.
This should be interesting. VERY interesting. *drums fingers together*

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Follow the Leader (aka Projects to Join)

OK, I thought I had will power but apparently I don't. I've joined two new creative projects and it's all Jennifer's fault (thanks hun). Actually I don't feel guilty at all as part of joining these projects feeds into my 2007 goals.

So now I'm going to post about them here so I can drag you into this obsession with me!

The first is Project Spectrum 2.0 run by Lolly of Lolly Knitting Around. This is an inspirational project that starts in February (so hurry and sign up) and each phase lasts for two months. Using whatever arts and crafts medium you want, make as many things as you want using one or all of the colors for that phase as the focus. No pressure, just have fun! The full details and sign up link can be found on her site. The February/March colors are: Blue, White, and/or Gray.

Why am I participating: Because I find the concept totally inspirational! It gives me something to ponder on rather than just pick a random project or none at all. And for items I want to make that month, it lets me re-imagine them in a whole new way.

The second is the Yarn Focus Challenge #2 run by Rebekah of Knit Knack. For 3 months you can go shopping for yarn only one day per month, your "free" day. The premise behind this challenge is to truly think about your yarn purchases rather than walk into a yarn store and buy like crazy. The challenge runs from January 15 through April 15, 2007. Sign-ups will be accepted until January 20 (you just need to email her). Read all the rules on Rebekah's blog so you can properly participate. For those who want a different commitment, there is Stashalong which doesn't let you shop at all but does allow you to choose how many months you want to go for (you can go month to month), or Stash and UFO Bust-Along (running from 1/15-4/15) which has no shopping at all for those 3 months.

Why am I participating: First, because I have plenty of yarn in my stash plus the gorgeous stuff I get each month from Scout. I really need to work with that rather than buying stuff that just sits in the bins collecting dust, being totally forgotten. Secondly, I'm banking on bad weather across these 3 month making the desire to trek to one of the LYS not pleasant. Third, I really need to plan out my yarn shopping trips better. Fourth, it ends before May which is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Not shop for 2 days straight? Are you kidding!?! And lastly, IT'S AN EXCUSE TO BEG FOR PRESENTS! LOL!

I'm thinking about a few other projects (in various mediums) plus of course starting a few swaps, challenges, etc... myself. I am going to be a busy little beaver!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Plans For 2007

So what have I been up to? What to I want to be up to? Good question.

In 2006 I accomplished an assortment of personal goals such as getting myself out of debt. *does the Snoopy happy dance* I still have bills like rent, insurance, and the Disney Vacation club membership mom and I bought into but those are life necessities. Yes, Disney is a life necessity. Besides, we could always sell our membership if it ever came down to it... Not likely!

Creatively, I ended 2006 with the successful completion of my first sock. Sadly I'm still working on the second sock due to numerous factors but I'm back on track and plan to start cranking socks out now! *grin*

I also sent the woven and beaded scarf that mom and I worked on a couple of years ago to "Belle Armoire" magazine for hopeful publication. It was interesting to look at the scarf as I prepared to FINALLY mail it off and realize how much farther we've both come in our abilities. Still, it was a fun shared project and I've already pulled out one of the 3 woven purses mom made that I will add beaded embellishments to.

The "pink hooded baby blanket of doom" was finished on time though I can't say it was well received. Possibly my imagination but I got the impression the recipient was expecting something more "grand". C'est la vie. I can't please everyone. I can only please me.

I created two beaded ribbon necklaces as gifts that came out nicely and I can definitely see ways to run with them to make them even more my style.

On to 2007.

Personal goals are typical: get into shape, get into a career (notice I said career not job) I really want, travel more, etc...

Creatively, I plan to will become far more serious about what I make; putting more effort into producing something I'm truly proud off, even if it means pulling out stitches, starting over, or scraping the idea and trying something else.

I will use my creativity as a means to squash depression rather than let depression keep me from being creative. There will be "craft breaks" twice daily at work. I don't smoke or drink coffee but I can take a few minutes to take time out for me. There will be daily creative work at home as a means to leave the office day behind.

I will take on creative challenges. Try projects using new techniques or combinations of techniques. Run swaps, trades, bead-a-long, knit-a-longs, etc... Share more in the various creative communities I belong to rather than lurk because I don't think I'll be accepted.

So with that, I'm off to get things done. =)