Category Archives: Other craftiness

Oregon coast weekend, symmetry, and more

I went to the coast for a retreat this weekend. It rained torrentially, except for about an hour after dinner on Friday. I hadn’t been to the beach in Gearhart before, so I took a quick walk to see what there was to see…

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a gorgeous sunset

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Tillamook Head, to the south

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Interestingly textured seaweed

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And these very interesting things. They look like tubes of tapioca. I had never seen them before, so I put the picture up on Facebook and appealed to the power of the interwebs. The answer came back quickly, from the 9 year old daughter of a friend. (Concidentally, the very same kiddo who was the recipient of the Gryffindor sweater that needed a new home a few months ago.)

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They’re squid egg sacs. More info here, if you’d like. I love science…

We did a little cardboard loom weaving on retreat.

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My piece says a lot about me. I like symmetry. I like a plan. I’m currently designing a knit piece, and symmetry plays a lot into what I find appealing. Is this the sign of a tidy mind? It’s not a sign of a tidy house!

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My friend’s piece was a lot more free-form than mine. That says a lot about her, too. The fact that there’s room for both in this group? That says a lot about the world!

There were 15 of us; the Lodge can house up to 26. If you’re looking for a group getaway spot on the Oregon Coast, I highly recommend The Lodge at Gearheart’s Little Beach. It overlooks an inlet, but beach access is a short walk down the road.

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Another week of the Aloha KAL done, and it’s time to pick the next winner. This week’s prize?

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These totally fun wine glass coasters. Very aloha! It’s not to late to join the KAL. I’m guessing it will run at least 2 more weeks. More info here.

How was your weekend? I frogged a design prototype, and figured out how to make it better. Symmetrically, of course…

Purling back backwards tutorial

Aloha edging

I’m working the knitted on border of my Aloha Shawlette for the Aloha knit-along. The border is 4 to 6 stitches wide, and it’s tedious to turn my work after every row. The solution? Purling back backwards. You can do it, too.

Edited to add: Some people call this knitting back backwards, or KBB. I’ve seen it referred to both ways. For me, what I think of as knitting back backwards would result in garter stitch. I’ve never done garter stitch with this non-turning technique, but it’s possible, too. I just haven’t needed it yet.

I’m almost done with the shawlette; this is a quick and easy knit! But it’s not to late to join the KAL. You can be part of the chat and prize drawings through my Ravelry group. I’ve just drawn the first prize winner; JBTCat will be getting these fishy stitch markers.

fish stitch markers

You can make stitch markers like these, too; check out my tutorial here.

There are a few more prizes in store, including yarn and a mystery fun thing. Come join the fun!

Over the Cascades, again

Last Friday I headed over the Cascades again, but this time in Oregon. It was a music getaway weekend with friends, but before everyone arrived, I had a trunk show at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.

Stitchin Post (photo by Sarah Peery)

We had a great time! It’s always fun to meet knitters in person, and see hand knits up close. The Stitchin’ Post is starting a KAL of my Garland shawl today, so I left a couple samples for the week.

On to music! My new guitar made her debut with my fellow Pie Birds, Claudia and Becky. We played and sang and laughed, a perfect weekend.

The kids dyed eggs while we played more music.

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And what does any good yarnie do with that leftover egg dye?

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Of course. I bought a skein of white yarn at the Stitchin’ Post. It’s Juniper Moon Farm Sabine, 30% Royal Llama, 30% Merino wool, and 40% cotton. I was hoping for all animal fiber, but this was luscious. I wound off yarn in approximately 25 yard hanks (around my arm, one uses the tools at hand!). We dip dyed it, squeezing out excess dye after each dip, and then microwaved the yarn for 2 minutes to set the color. A quick rinse after it cooled, and then dried overnight. I was going to wind it into balls after they dried, but decided to leave them as mini-skeins to preserve the color runs. Aren’t they sweet?

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On Sunday, Claudia and I walked along Whychus Creek. This creek has been restored, and was the subject of the Two Rivers, Three Sisters quilt exhibit that we saw in Portland last year. This panel was my favorite. (Just had to show you, because it took me a while to find this picture in my archives!)

Whychus quilt

Here it is in real life…

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Whychus Creek, near Sisters, Oregon

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On the way home, we stopped at Black Butte Ranch so I could get a proper picture of the mountains we saw while driving.

Mt. Washington Mt. Washington

image Three Sisters (Middle Sister is not visible from this viewpoint) and Belknap Crater in foreground

The sight of a snowcapped volcano always takes my breath away. Such beauty in this world, and we get to live in it. :sigh:

In knitting news, I’ve started my Aloha Shawlette for the KAL. It’s going pretty quickly!

aloha kal day 1

How was your weekend? And what are you knitting?

Studios are springing up…

It’s spring, and my crafty compadres are creating great studio spaces. Knitted Wit has just moved into her new studio/dye space. I visited her there yesterday and helped label some yarn, but didn’t think to take pictures. Here’s her pic from the outside, with her spiffy yarn ball curtains.

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There’s still time to help launch her studio via her Indiegogo Community Supported Yarn campaign. She’s offering lots of cool perks as thanks.

Lavender Sheep has just moved and is creating her new studio space, with both a wet studio and a dry studio.

My turn! I’ve been using one of the boy’s bedrooms here as an office (most recently it was CollegeBoy2′s bedroom). I’ve been purging it and finally got it patched, painted, and organized. Let’s see, it’s only been three years since he left for school…although to be fair he has lived at home the past two summers.

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Here’s the view from the door. Very inviting. There’s a comfortable futon sofa/bed. I write from this desk overlooking the back yard. The shelves to the right of the desk have my printer and my very handy swift and winder. The light from these south and east facing windows is beautiful. And yes, that’s a Darth Vader bank on the dresser. He’s still menacing, all these years later.

My beloved IKEA Expedit shelves are now right where they belong instead of in our bedroom, and I re-organized them, too.

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My sewing machine will move in, once I’m finished moving a few more things out.

It’s been a very productive week. And I finished a pattern, which goes live on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m knitting Jami Brynildson’s Rock Creek Shawlette before working on more new designs. It’s pretty relaxing knitting someone else’s design once in a while! I’m using Juno Fibre Arts’ Alice, which is 70/20/10 Baby Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere and very luscious. The color is Campion.

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My new studio rug makes a great backdrop!

How was your week?

Never too late…

to learn a new thing! This is my first ever granny square. Crocheted!

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I used to crochet a long time ago, but my only project was a ripple afghan I made for DH when we were dating, back in the Dark Ages. All acrylic, shades of cream and brown.

I’ve been reading the Rose City Yarn Crawl threads on Ravelry, and Laurinda Reddig, designer of the Crochet-ALong shawlette, says that if you can crochet a granny square, you can crochet her shawlette.

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I’m still not convinced. The granny square was easy to figure out. I clearly don’t know which way I’m going with the shawlette. Lucky for me, I’ll see her Friday at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton at their KAL/CAL group, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Knitted Wit (Lorajean, dyer of my project yarn and so much more) will be there, too. Come see us!

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I had a great time at the Knitting Bee last Sunday. It’s really fun to knit with other knitters (and crocheters), and the most inspiring and intimidating thing? Seeing all these people knitting MY PATTERN. So far, they seem to like it! I really love seeing all the different color combinations, too. Check them out on Ravelry!

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Other knitting? The office peeps from Lantern Moon came over last night to cast on for the Thrumbelina KAL. We have new thrummers! I finished my first slipper, and have just started the second. It’s not too late to join us. And the pattern is still on sale for 25% off through the end of January. That’s tomorrow!

What’s on your needles? You know what’s on mine!

Arm Knitting?

I guess it’s a thing. You use your arms as knitting needles. Really big gauge, suitable for a chunky accessory. Check out the video here, and then let me know if you think it’s worth trying. I’m not convinced yet…

I’m being pretty slow about getting ready for Christmas, but here’s the next little step. This is the poinsettia tree at my church; we’ve been using the frame for the past three years or so. I always help set it up. I think we may need to scoot it back a little bit; the light isn’t falling quite right on it. I’m probably the only person who is that particular about it, though.

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You can see the first two advent candle banners on the right side of the picture. When it’s all up, it will look like this.

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We made these last year, and I love them. If you want to know more about the technique (salt and dye on silk), you can read about it here. It’s really fun, but you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out until it does. Hard for a control freak like me, but a good lesson in letting go!

Are you knitting/making gifts this year? I have one thing I want to make for a friend, but it won’t get done before Christmas. I’m planning on the box of yarn with a card explaining what it’s going to be method. Have you ever done that? I’m thinking it counts!

One holiday at a time…

That’s my motto. No Christmas before Thanksgiving. Heck, no Christmas before Halloween!

A couple weekends ago, it couldn’t be helped. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided, so we had to do both at the same time. My sister-in-law made a menurkey. I can’t find the picture of her with it, so here’s DH.

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We came home and celebrated the rest of Hanukkah.

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(Playing with depth of field and my menorah collection)

Now I’m ready to prepare for Christmas.

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We had a little snow here to put me in the right frame of mind.
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I found Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a reasonable price at Costco, so I’m making some vanilla extracts. Two are made with vodka, and two are made with bourbon. I gues that would make the latter…Bourbon Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract! A week later, the vodka version is nearly as dark as the bourbon version. But don’t let that fool you; it won’t be ready to use for about a month or so. Here’s a recipe; it’s crazy simple. I love these flip top bottles, but I wish they came in a smaller version! These are 8 ounces, which is a lot of vanilla extract.

More merry-making: Here’s a group from Westlake High School singing at the Rotunda in the Texas Capitol in Austin Texas.

Yes, Austin! We had a quick getaway this week. Here’s a better view up into the dome. The star up there measures 8 feet across.

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This is a beautiful building. So much detail!

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Even the door hinges are beautiful.

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Texas State Representatives meet here.

We also toured the LBJ Library and Museum, and saw lots of bands play. Favorite meal: breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Cheap hipster slacker breakfast.

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We got around via Car2Go. Very cool!

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Cheaper than a cab, and pretty convenient. You only pay for the time you drive, 41 cents/minute, and you can park in any legal parking lot in their service area. We have these in Portland, too, and use them occasionally when we need a second car. Do you have Car2Go where you live?

Are you ready for Christmas? Not me, not yet!

Linocuts!

Lino-whats? Linocuts!

I went to a printmaking party at a friend’s house on Sunday. It was a new crafty thing for me. We traced images, transferred them to linoleum blocks, and then carved the blocks so we could print with them. (Cool carving tools, no picture though.) This block is about 3 inches square.

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I used a knit snowflake motif, because, hey, it’s me.

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I love how my prints turned out. The gold on black paper didn’t have as much pop as I expected; the silver was better. I like the gold on the cream paper, though. The blue print is the first one I made. I’d love to try this again. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it wasn’t nearly as intimidating or complicated as I thought it would be! I’ll cut these prints out and mount them on cards for stationery.

Knitting continues, and I picked up some new yarn for no reason.

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The one on the left was purchased in Ellensburg when I was there at the beginning of the month, because I wanted to support the LYS there. It’s Ella Rae Lace Merino, but really more of a light fingering weight than lace weight, 460 yards/100g. The one on the right is KnittedWit’s CSY offering for November. It’s Bling, colorway is Solstice, 438 yards/100g. I saw it when I was labeling yarn for Lorajean, and had to have a skein. “It followed me home, can I keep it?”

Hope you’re having a great week! Happy Thanksgiving, to all who celebrate. We’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and the beginning of Advent this week. Bring on the holidays!

Tempus fugit

Time flies! I’m a little buried under right now, in a good way. I have two design projects in the works, but I can’t show them to you yet. And I’m prepping for classes at Stash in Corvallis this weekend and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival next weekend. There is nothing so inspiring as a deadline. Git ‘er done!

I did take a little time out last week to celebrate a friend’s significant birthday. We were in Pacific City, home of the other Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast. (There may be one more, but this one and the one in Cannon Beach are the most well known.)

haystack rock  pacific city

Yes, there are surfers here! Full wetsuit required; it’s cold out there.

haystack sunset

Our house was high on the hill (out of the tsunami zone!) overlooking the town and the beach, perfect for sunset viewing.

sunset in a glass

Click on the photo for a closer view; the sunset is echoed in the stem. Bonus!

We went down to Lincoln City to Jennifer Sears Art Glass Studio, and played with glass. I made a paperweight, and my friends blew glass floats. Very cool to learn about the process, and do our own…with lots of help.

stretching glass

Stretching molten glass so I can twist it in a knot. Even in glass, I wanted something yarny…

swirled float before blowing

Swirled float before blowing…

swirled float after

And after.

paperweight back

My paperweight.

paperweight front

The bubbles are caused by a sprinkling of baking soda. There’s no place for the air to go when it’s dipped in the last layer of molten glass, so it makes bubbles. I love this. And I’m dreaming up ways to do it again. So many possibilities!

I did take a little time with graph paper and pencil to chart out my new project, and math out the underpinnings. Now I’m home, knitting it, and I think I love it. Looking forward to showing it to you, later.

What are you working on? It’s definitely fall here, so I need to get back to my cardigan…eventually. Deadlines first!

monogamous knitting

I’m back! I was traveling last week. I took two knitting projects with me. One was my Garland shawl, and the other was the beginning of a Filigree shawl.

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I guess I really am a monogamous knitter at heart. I only worked on the Garland shawl; I never even looked at the Filigree. I had been worried about trying to knit with beads on this trip, because we were spending a week on this 65 foot catamaran.

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(The Ouvea V)

Surprisingly, bead knitting wasn’t a problem, as long as I wasn’t knitting while we were actively sailing. Which is no time to be knitting, anyway.

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(hanging out at Monkey Point, Guana Island, a great snorkeling spot)

We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s significant birthday, and it was a blast. Our family of 10 spent a week in the British Virgin Islands on a crewed charter (captain, chef, hostess). It was a blissful week of sailing, snorkeling, and beaches.

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(The Baths at Virgin Gorda)

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(Above the Bubbly Pool at Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke)

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(DH getting away from it all, Benures Bay, Norman Island)

And sunsets…

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I found a couple of these little shells on the last beach of the trip (Benures Bay, Norman Island). So cute!

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It’s a coffeebean trivia (false cowrie). They’re about a centimeter long. They look like smiles on the other side.

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I brought them home and turned them into the centerpieces of a little keepsake project. Ankle bracelets, one for me and one for sis-in-law. These remind me of sand and the color of the sea when the sun is shining on shallow waters. (I had to drill holes in them to string them; I did that with a bead reamer.)

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The instructions for these beaded bracelets (or necklace, or whatever) are in my free Victoriana Bracelet pattern. They’re made with a crochet chain with a few beads worked in. Pick some beads and make one for yourself, and one for a friend!

Back to my Garland, and real life…