Monday, November 26, 2007

Time Flies

I missed posting for a while and then it was Thanksgiving and whoosh, it was gone, I swear, it happened just like that. I have so much to catch up on! First I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend for those of us in the US. I have many things to be thankful for this year. Wonderful friends and family, a good well paying job, a home in a city where so many are still without, and a stash that seems to keep multiplying like tribbles! I can't really complain.

We went to visit my Dad and Step-mom in northern Alabama over Thanksgiving and it was nice and low key. My Grandmother and Uncle were also supposed to visit but my Grandmother had a small stroke the weekend before. She is doing much better now and should be released from the hospital soon. Unfortunately we weren't able to go and see her due to the distance and I know she was disappointed. I miss you too Grandma.

During our visit I did get to go to an alpaca farm! My Step-mom knows a woman who started raising alpacas a couple years ago and started Tuscany Valley Alpacas. I got to feed them and pet them! She had some amazing fleeces for sale but alas until I get a spinning wheel I thought it best I stick to the yarn she was offering. My Step-mom asked me to knit her a scarf with the brown/tan color with the added boucle and she also purchased the dark, dark gray color for me as a Christmas present! This yarn is so soft and luscious, I can't stop petting it! The yarn and fleeces aren't listed on their website yet but if you call or email Carol I'm sure she'd be happy to tell you more about it.

Before we left for the trip I finished this pair of Fuzzy Feet slippers for hubby. The pattern is from and the yarn is Crystal Palace Carnival, Bulky weight and used every bit of 2 balls. They were a super fast knit, finished in one very dedicated to knitting weekend.I forgot to get a pre-felted pic as I was so excited to get them felted. While I was felting I also stuck my bunny slippers, from last year, in the machine with them, as they've always been too big and I was hoping some additional felting might shrink them down a little. It worked, partially, one slipper seems to have felted better than the other, oh well, they keep the toes warm. I think I may make myself a pair of the Fuzzy Feet out of all my left over bits of feltable wool and just make them crazy stripes or something.

I also got in some good knitting time over the Thanksgiving weekend and finished up my Lenore socks. These are from the October shipment of the Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Loved this color, which is from the new Raven Clan series of colors from Blue Moon and loved the pattern, which was designed by the Yarn Harlot. I can defintely see knitting the pattern again and I've already gone to the Blue Moon website and ordered more Ravens, which came today! I have some heavyweight in the Ravenscroft color for a Mr. Greenjeans. I can't wait to cast on as soon as I finish this post! I also got a skein of Laci in the Haida color for Anne's Irtfa shawl. If you haven't seen this shawl, go check it out, it's amazing! And finally, a skein of Twisted in the Rook-y color. Not sure yet if this skein might become a Clapotis or if it might become the contrast color on a ribby pulli.

I also went to the New Orleans Aquarium before Thanksgiving with a friend and her child. I get a lot of questions about the condition of New Orleans and visiting New Orleans. So, I just wanted to say that the tourist areas of New Orleans are for the most part rebuilt and most visitors aren't going to notice if they come to visit our beautiful city. There are large sections of any problems from Katrina the city still struggling and even entirely empty but the tourist areas are back. The aquarium did lose a lot of their fish following the storm due to no electricity but they have been brought back and it was a lot of fun getting to visit an old favorite. If you have any questions about New Orleans or are planning a visit be sure to let me know!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Day to Dye For

Last Friday I had a little yarn dying party at my house! Sarah and blogless Pierce came over for lesson in using acid dyes. I prefer lanaset dyes and order the Lanaset Dye Kit from Sheep Hollow. But there are many other places to order from as well. I mix up the dyes into a 1% stock solution.

We had a ton of yarn from Knitpicks Dye Your Own line. First the yarn soaks over night in vinegar water so I don't forget to add the vinegar later. I have 3 crock pots for dying, all from thrift stores for <$10. For handpainting, layout same saran wrap and place the yarn in the middle, then go to town. I like experimenting. You control how dark the color is by how much water you add to the 1% stock solution, and a little for a really deep color and a lot for a very light color. If you want pink only use a little bit of red and a lot of water. Then wrap it up in the saran wrap. Then put that into a ziploc bag. Have the crockpots cooking with some water in them and then you can just float the ziploc bag in the water or you can use an upside down colander or some other set-up in the crock pot to keep it out of the water.

I also did the last two pictures showed using vat dying techniques where I put the yarn in the crock pot directly, covered in water and then poured the dye onto different sections of the yarn and let the colors mingle at will. The ones pictured here are just the ones that I dyed. I didn't pictures of Sarah's or Pierce's unfortunately but I think Sarah has some pictures of her on her blog that you can check out too!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Giving Thanks

I've gotten some great packages in the mail lately and I have to say thank you to the wonderful people who sent them. First up, I was in a Tea Swap on Ravelry a while back with Fiber Dreams. She sent me 2 packages, the first one had two wonderful boxes of tea, which I forgot to take pictures of before I took them to work, but trust me they are very lovely. The second box came this week with these beautiful skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in the Tickled Pink color with some really cool stitch stretchy stitch markers too. I couldn't be more tickled pink! You have to check out the blue socks she is working on, that is the yarn I sent for the swap and she is making up the pattern. Isn't it great? Thanks Laura for the great swap!

Next up, I won a contest over at The Silver Fork Saga. Lesley's been very busy lately but she found time to put together this wonderful package which included a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in the Wildflower color, absolutely stunning! Then there's a huge summery tote that will be great for a big project bag. The journal and the pens are very nice as well! And the thing that looks almost like a giant candy corn is actually a deck of cards, how cool is that? Thanks again Lesley!

And last but certainly not least, I was in a crafster swap with Leah (xladyluckx) and she totally out did herself and deserves a huge round of applause! If you don't know what craftster is you really need to check it out! It's great site totally devoted to crafting of all sorts, knitting, crocheting, sewing, paper crafts, polymer clay, stenciling, glass crafts, art, you name it, if it's crafty, it's on craftster! And they have some of the best organized and most fun swaps I've ever done.

Anyways, back to the package. So, Leah knows of my love for Rob Zombie and particularly for House of 1000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects. So she was able to get me personalized autographed pictures of Sid and and Bill! As well as a copy of the script to House of 1000 Corpses. But that wasn't all. Nope she kept on rocking it with this awesome apron and towel set to match my kitchen and this awesome altered Slipknot tank. And I totally love this fleru d'lis hoodie she made. The pink fabric she used is awesome! Not pictured is the scrabble bulletin board, the System of Down tote bag, an awesome pendant, the two skeins of Knitpicks dye your own lace weight, and a skein she dyed her self that I used to make the fat bottom bag pictured in this post. Thanks again Leah for all the wonderful goodies, you rock!

Halloween was quiet here. Not one single trick or treater. At first I was blaming it on everything else in New Orleans. Who would want to trick or treat in the neighborhoods around here? But then I hear that it was a slow year in most places though. Maybe it was the daylight savings thing. Oh well, I dressed up as an Andorian from Star Trek and had a little fun anyways! Hope everyone has a great weekend!