Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Laughs in Flowers

Yesterday I spent a few hours making recycled cards. One is for the Arbor Day Challenge with the EtsyPaper Team. It's now in my shop. I also made a few more for two swaps I'm in -- a notecard swap (theme is flowers, trees...) and a knitter's Earth Day swap on Ravelry.

The cards are made with torn paper from recycled catalogs. Once the flower was glued on the card (also recycled paper), I lettered the quotation with a brush and liquid watercolor.

This has always been one of my favorite quotations.... and perfect for spring.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Time for a Hint

Crossposted in winemakerssister and The Big Bag Knitalong & Swap.

I'm currently participating in The Big Bag Knitalong & Swap. All the participants are making a felted bag -- the pattern is by Maia Discoe and is available for free through Ravelry.

This is my first knitalong (KAL). The idea is to chat with the other participants and compare notes as you knit with the same pattern. But because it's also a swap (you'll eventually send your bag to the person you're spoiling in the swap), you sort of want to keep some things a secret...

So this is my first hint. The bag is made up of seemingly random stripes in four colors. Here are the first two.

It should be very interesting to see how everyone interpreted the pattern and their partner's favorite colors.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Happy Scavenger.... Or Is It Scavengee?

Crossposted on winemakerssister and Scavenger Hunt Swap.

Ok, Scavenger Hunt swap spoiler -- show yourself!

I received a wonderful box filled with goodies from Norfolk VA today... but with no name attached. Everything is clever and fun and well thought out. I love it all!

Here's what I received:

Something round - 2 skeins of Manos color 106. My spoiler said they jumped into her basket. I can understand that -- they knew they were meant to come to my home and make me very, very happy...

Something with a "T" - a big, lovely lightweight tote, perfect for holding a larger knitting WIP, eh?

Something green - needle felting claw and mat cleaner. You're right spoiler, one can't have too many felting tools!

Something hard - "Mag Knit," a fun clasp that turns beads or I-cord into a necklace. Should be fun to play with!

Something local - a lovely light shawl pin made by a local artist and knitter.

Something funny - a wonderful, whimsical, giggle-inducing little felt pin entitled "Garden" from Keri Rounding's Etsy shop.

Spoiler's choice - The book, "Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair." Ok, I'm a professional drunk (who's constantly covered in cat hair), so it's perfect for me! Sounds like a very fun read.

Thanks so much, my nameless spoiler.... it was very much worth waiting a few extra days!

Edited: It's Erin! Yay!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Comes to California

I just got a note from my partner in the Longing for Spring swap -- she received my package. So now I can post about it!

The idea behind the swap was to send your partner some spring-y things... and of course some knitting things.

My partner doesn't have a garden -- she lives in an apartment with a shady balcony. So I sent a book on container gardening, and some tuberous begonias directly from a nursery.

Her favorite flower is the Sterling Rose. Obviously not something she could grow on her balcony. So I made some notecards with photos of Sterling Roses on them.

She loves knitting socks and has a wonderful, impressive stash of sock yarn (beautifully cataloged on her Ravelry site). It was easy to look at what she already had and pick some fun spring-y sock yarn from an Etsy seller. I made some stitch markers to match. And the last item is a binder filled with sock patterns I printed out from her Ravelry queue.

I hope she likes it all!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


It started when I made some coasters for Holly (my sister) for Christmas. They matched the pillows I made for her... which matched her new Ikea sofa.

They were lots of fun to make. A little patchwork project that goes pretty quickly.

Since then I've made a few more sets. Some for swaps, and each time I made some extra to sell in the Etsy shop. The ones at the top feature some very cute Japanese robot fabric. The ones below were originally made to match someone's kitchen. I always think of the combination of rusty red and gold as being a bit Tuscan in flavor. The dark blue polka dot fabric adds a nice punch.

They're filled with flat quilt batting then I quilt them in a concentric square pattern. They should do a good job of protecting your table from hot liquids, and absorbing condensation from cold liquids.

The part I love the best is working with several fabrics -- piecing them together to bring out more from each color, pattern, and texture.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Glimpse of Spring

Cross-posted on winemakerssister and Longing for Spring.

Yes, the ground is still covered in ice and snow. And it was 10 degrees F outside when I woke up yesterday. But today I got my first glimpse of spring.

My package arrived from my wonderful spoiler, Dotty. She was so great -- she really worked at getting to know me. And you can really tell from the package of Heather-friendly goodies!

The package included a "tour" of her garden (one of my favorite parts of the package!), two skeins of hand-dyed violet alpaca yarn, a skein of Heather-green Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, adorable Japanese fabric, gorgeous buttons, a Noni purse pattern (I think she read my mind about wanting to make a Noni purse), a beautiful scarf pattern, Blue Tower Columbine seeds (we both love blue flowers), a "WonderVase," and a gorgeous vintage embroidered runner. It's amazing how well she knows me!

Thank you so much, Dotty!

An Afghan for Afghans

A few weeks ago I joined a knitting group that meets at the lovely little downtown bookshop, Nomad Bookhouse. They meet on the 3rd Monday of the month -- I figured I could handle joining a group that meets once a month. The group is called Sip 'N' Knit.

I found out about the group in Nomad's new newsletter. The idea was to work with the book, Knitting for Peace.

I didn't own the book (have purchased it since then), so I went online and read reviews. I wanted to be prepared to start knitting a project at the first meeting, so after quite a bit of research, I chose to knit for Afghans for Afghans. I love the idea of sending something warm to an Afghan child. And, since they require that you work in a natural animal-based fiber, I knew this was my project. I want to follow the instructions explicitly so that my knitted piece will fit into their guidelines.

I decided on an afghan/blanket for a baby or child. They require them to be a minimum of 30" x 40". Mine will end up being more like 40" x 50". Afghans like color, so I'm making it quite colorful. And they suggest using the color green -- it's good luck for Muslims. So the blanket is mostly green with occasional stripes of bright color.

Once I got to the group with my yarn, I found out the only a few people were actually knitting for charity. Most were just working on their own projects. But this has gotten me started on the blanket and that's great. I've enjoyed working on it -- it's perfect for times when you want to work on mindless knitting. You know.... you're either in a situation that requires concentration (on something other than knitting) or you're so tired you just want to sit in a comfy chair, watch and movie, and knit....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

EtsyGreetings Spring Color Challenge

The Etsy Greetings street team is currently holding a spring Color Challenge. The challenge is to make a single card featuring the colors of lilac and green. This is my entry (left).

There are currently three days left to vote for your favorite. Just click here and vote -- it only takes a moment.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Questionnaire: The Big Bag KAL & Swap

My answers for The Big Bag KAL & Swap questionnaire:

Do you knit, crochet, or do both? For how long?
I knit (barely crochet enough to finish knitting projects). I taught myself to knit as a little girl, but only did a little knitting then. I started back up when Tommy was a baby (18 years ago), but really started with a passion about 5 or 6 years ago.

What other crafts do you do, if any?
Lots. I like to think of it as having a lot of interests... rather than being easily distracted. :) Take a look at my Flickr pages for examples. My other art/craft interests include charms and other jewelry, lots of paper arts, sewing....

What are your favorite colors?
I love lots of greens - chartreuse, sage, teal, evergreen - although I'm not a fan of Kelly green. I love red, dark red, and burgundy. I like lots of blues - periwinkle, Swedish blue, cobalt. I also love fresh combinations of colors like lime and bright blue or aqua, aqua and red, chocolate and cream/pink/blue/aqua, citrus colors....

Colors you loathe?
I really don't "loathe" any colors. My least favorite are muddy yellows and Kelly green. I'm not a huge pink fan, but it's fine in combination with other colors. And I'm not particularly crazy about pastels.

Favorite yarn brands?
I tend to use standard things like Lamb's Pride, Cascade 220, etc because they fit with a lot of the projects I do. I also like working with most Mission Falls yarns -- their colors are nicely sophisticated. I lust after the soft, luscious decadent stuff like alpaca, silk, and cashmere.

Fiber types? Yarn you can't stand?
I actively dislike eyelash yarn and other similar novelty yarns. I'm not a fan of acrylics and other synthetics. I'm not even particularly fond of natural/synthetic blends. I'm soooo much happier with natural fibers.

What is your favorite type of item to knit/crochet?
Bags. I also like hats, scarves, and an occasional sweater. I love felting.

What kind of needles do you like? (i.e. circular, straight, metal, bamboo, etc.)
I mostly use circulars. My favorite materials are casein (and the vintage mock tortoiseshell ones that are similar), bamboo, and wood.

Any knitting tools you lack but crave?
I got a winder for Christmas.... yay! I'm lusting after Knit Picks' Harmony circular set, but it's way too expensive for swapping. I'll put it on my birthday list.

Honestly, I'm pretty well set for knitting tools, but always like recommendations from other knitters.

Patterns you've been dying to get but haven't yet?
The Lucy Bag from Two Old Bags. Nothing else that I can think of at this moment. I love knitting books, but have quite a few...

Do you drink coffee, tea, cocoa? Flavors you love/hate?
All. I tend to drink decaf coffee -- caffeine seems to bother me. I don't really like chai tea or other sweet drinks (that doesn't include good hot chocolate).

Favorite sweets & snacks?
Dark chocolate or other good chocolate (not white! it's not chocolate!). Can be plain or with goodies mixed in like nuts, dried fruits, and other flavors. I also love maple.

Any pets, kids, spouses? Spouses that act like pets or kids? (j/k)
A Golden Retriever named Winston, 4 cats, a teenaged boy, and a husband.

Favorite things to knit/crochet for the above, if applicable?
I'm trying to finish a hat for the boy but am finding it boring. He also wants a "Mrs. Weasley" sweater... we'll see. :) He's very picky but would probably also like some fingerless gloves. Winston loves the cold and wouldn't appreciate a sweater. I have knitted a few catnip toys for the kittehs.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Favorite authors or genres?
Mysteries. I also like recommendations from others.

Do you collect anything? (besides yarn! LOL!)
Depression-era kitchen ware (Fiestaware, Hall china, cotton tablecloths, bakelite silverware, that sort of thing), Atomic era (1950s) barkcloth and china, cookbooks, fabric.

What, if any, are your non-craft related hobbies?
Gardening, cooking.

Scents you adore? Scents that make you gag?
My very favorite is green tea. I like clean, fresh scents. Very clear florals. Citrus. I'm less interested in heavily perfumed scents.

What is your idea of a relaxing time?
Knitting, watching movies, reading, gardening, art/crafts.

Oh yeah, are you on Ravelry and if so, care to share your Ravelry ID?
Yes. Winemakerssister.

The Big Bag Knitalong & Swap

What a fun idea -- a combination knitalong (KAL) and swap!

This knitalong is based on a free ravelry pattern, The Big Bag. It's a key-hole felted tote bag, perfect for a knitting project. The group is currently open -- sign-ups end March 7.

Once you receive your partner, you can start knitting. Of course, you want to make a bag in the colors your partner will love. And, of course, I signed up....

Scavenger Hunt Swap (Sent)

I sent my package for the Scavenger Hunt swap out relatively early -- my partner's birthday is on Valentine's Day and I wanted to get it to her during her birthday week. She received it, so it's safe to post it here (since it's no longer a secret).

We had a list of things to find for our knitting-themed scavenger hunt. One (or more) was supposed to be yarn. Almost everything (except "something funny" was specifically tailored to my partner's likes and dislikes.

Something local: My partner loves good chocolate (who doesn't?) so I sent two packages of Gilbert's dark chocolate drops. They make these drops specifically for the winery -- we serve them with tastings of our raspberry dessert wine. Gilbert's opened in Jackson in 1900.

Something hard: A jasmine candle in a glass holder. Jasmine is one of her favorite scents.

Something round: Handmade stitch markers that match the yarn I sent.

Something green: Two skeins of teal alpaca silk yarn. She, like me, tends to use more "basic" (and inexpensive) yarns like Cascade 220. But she expressed interest in lush, decadent yarns like alpaca, cashmere, and silk so I sent her some lovely soft decadent stuff. (Oh, and she loves green and jewel tone colors...)

Something T: She's a tea drinker (also like me) and especially likes green tea.

Something funny: This was the hardest category for me. I ended up making her some notecards that said "What If the Hokey Pokey Is What It's All About?"

Spoiler's choice: She likes bags so I sent her a morsbag that coordinates with the rest of the package of goodies.

That was a fun swap!