Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hands on 3rd

Friday night I was able to con, er, make plans with Jenny and Mieke to crash the opening of Hands on 3rd. I really wasn't sure what to expect other than free food. And really, give me a few free cookies and I'm yours.

And free cookies they had.

(They had cheese & crackers and wine and soda. It was a lovely spread, but really, I was about the cookies.)

This event definitely had an art show kind of vibe in both the people attending and the overall mood of the room. Everyone was creative and curious, trying to take it all in without breaking anything.

From what I understand, Hands on 3rd is going for a community feel. There's very little retail (though, I think that'll change since people will need supplies) as their current focus is on classes. And those classes are incredibly varied, and all look to be quite interesting. Oh sure, they have sewing and quilting and crochet but they also have make your own kitchen garden, millinery, frame building, and the list goes on.
One of my favorite things about this space is the energy. The owners & teachers are just so enthusiastic to share their talents with you. I spoke at length with Corina Haywood, their millinery teacher. She was just lovely and I couldn't be more excited for her fascinator class on 5/17.

Of course since they didn't know me and were happy to see people walking through their door they asked how we had heard about their space. Well, of course, I told them, Ellen originally found them. It was her keen eye that discovered this little gem before they even opened.

All in all it was a lovely evening filled with cookies and good company.

HANDS-ON 3RD
8377 W. 3RD STREET
LOS ANGELES, CA 90048
(323) 655-0515

HOURS:
TUESDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 10am - 6pm
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: 10am - 9pm
SUNDAY: 12noon - 6pm

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Do you live on a Crafty Planet?

I had to break my rule about going to Minneapolis in the winter this weekend. (More on that in a later post, hopefully tomorrow...) But, besides spending time with clan Klukow, I had the pleasure of visiting Crafty Planet.

Oh. Mi. doG.

I don't think I could ever live in Minneapolis (please see previous posts on respiratory issues) but I could live at Crafty Planet. Its in the North East side of Minneapolis (apparently pronounced Nor-East), just a stone's throw from downtown. When I asked Todd to take me I didn't realise it was on the exact opposite side of town from him. Of course, I could have guessed this as he lives in SOUTH Minneapolis and Crafty Planet is in NORTH EAST Minneapolis. Whatever, we were on a craft mission...distance is no obstacle.

We walked in and it was sensory overload.

Crafty Planet doesn't just have yarn, they have fabric. They don't just have all the Sublime Stitchery patterns, they have all the Subversive Cross stitch. They have EVERY craft book I own, have heard of and some I've never even thought of. They have classes and nice people who work there. It was overwhelming. I've already asked Todd if I can go back when I'm in town for HIS BIRTHDAY. He agreed. He's good like that.

But, for those of you who won't be visiting the Metro Area anytime in the near future (pictures here), as the nice owner man told me when he was ringing me up "You can always shop us online!" Now, I doubt they have EVERYTHING I saw online, but they do have the fabric I thought I could wait on. (Isn't that handy!?) Seriously, they have every bolt of fabric I've seen and coveted IN ONE PLACE. They have stuff Michael Levine doesn't! Its upsetting, overwhelming even. They have monkeys and robots and skulls and knitting needles and wood and designers and just, its too much. I love it there.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Crafting Guilt

"How much did you pay for that yarn?"

"How many hours did you put into that?"

"Sewing is not a cheap hobby."

"How much did it cost to buy all the supplies for this?"

How many times have we heard these questions?

Do you ask triathletes how much they've put into their bikes? Or, how much someone spent traveling to Asia? How long did someone prepare for a marathon? I don't. I think its tacky. Unless of course I might have general questions if you've made something or gone somewhere and I'm just dying of jealousy and I want to price out if I can afford to do it. And the curiosity questions, the can-I-do-what-you-do questions, always flatter me. But here, I'm talking more about the accusations and the second guessing which I've never understood.

On Friday night, after fighting with my mom's Singer over a HEM, a straight seem for crying out loud, I decided I would buy a sewing machine. (I know, rockin' single girl life over here.) I knew my approximate comfort level for cost and timing.

And then something happened.

Regina & I were talking with Russell at the Sewing Arts Center last night about machines. And after settling on a machine I could afford, Regina said something that really struck me.

"I really want a lifetime machine."

How many times have we bought cheap knitting needles only to never use them again because they broke or splintered or even bled onto work? One one project alone I bought THREE different sets of needles before I broke down and bought the nice ones I should have started with in the first place.

I mean, its only crafting, right. Cheap supplies should be fine. Its not like food; its not something you need.

Or is it?

I don't do therapy. My medications don't allow me to drink away my problems. When I'm upset or oxygen-impaired I make something. So then why is buying a new crafting tool considered such an extravagance? Why do I feel fine buying a new computer but I feel I have to justify a new sewing machine? What is this guilt, this need of justification to spend on something we love to do?

I don't know.

I do know that I worked on these machines in class and sewing was fun! Its still not easy, but its learnable. On the home machine threading could take up to an hour...getting even stitches could take equally as long and all that takes place before even working on whatever. But working in class, assuming I was paying attention, I could thread the machine in under a minute and have something complete in just a few hours. And I can make something fun and its mine and no one has one just like it.

So I bought it. The new machine. The one most definitely not in my first price range but the one I really wanted and feel happy and comfortable with and one I won't be looking to replace in a year or two...one I can grow into and make things to torture all of you with.

The he!! with the guilt, this is going to be fun.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Arts & Crafts Project

Before Christmas I signed up for sewing classes at the Sewing Arts Center. But, I didn't really want to wait for class. I have a sewing machine at home and I even live with a sewer. So really, why wait?

On an outing to Michael Levine I picked up some random fabric...stuff I loved but I had no idea what I'd do with it. Except for one skirt I knew I wanted to make...one of the Amy Butler Barcelona skirts. Obviously, since this would be my first home-sewn garment, I knew I'd have to keep it simple so I went with the classic A-line style. Three pieces and a zipper, nothing too complicated. I mean, my mom has sewn me dresses and costumes for years. She completed not one but TWO home ec classes and got As in both. She took one look at the pattern and said, no problem.

Until she saw my fabric.

For those of you out there who wonder why I pay for lessons when I live with a sewer, wonder no longer.

"Why did you pick this?"

'cause its funny.

"There's a house in your fabric."

Yup, and trees too.

"Why did you pick fabric with a house and trees? This makes the skirt more difficult. Why didn't you just buy a solid fabric."

Because I can buy normal at the Gap.

"Ok, next time we sew, no landscapes."

Mom would tell me what do to and then wander off. I'd do whatever that was, go find her and then make her come back to tell me what to do next. I can't say I learned anything but I will say we had fun. She might have originally complained about the fabric but she was amused with the final product.


"Where will you wear this?"
Work?
"Really?"
Yeah, why?
"Wear it tomorrow. "
Mom, its December. I can't wear a cotton skirt when its like 50 degrees out. Its cold.
She was awestruck that I actually wore the skirt to work yesterday. Hey, it was in the 70s, completely appropriate to wear.
Though, I might have forgotten to tell her not only did I wear the skirt to work but I took pictures of myself in it in not one but two different bathrooms with both my camera and my phone.


Some things are just best left unexplained.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Keep them holiday gifts rollin'
Rollin' rollin' rollin'
Christmas!

Yeah, I just made that up.

Here at the cube farm there are many people who make my job possible. Several people I know call that "doing their job." Since, I'm also support staff, I understand that in theory, but, its still nice to say "thank you" and "please eat this." Besides, when I really need something I can say "would you like another cupcake?" and then magically files appear in my office. The people I work for think its my winning personality that gets them everything they need done in record time. The truth is my mom is an exceptional baker and I'd rather share than gain 100lbs.

Since it is the holidays, I wanted to give mom the weekend off (and besides I think violence would have occurred if I had tried to add to her already busy baking schedule) Therefore, today I handed out chocolate dipped hand-made marshmallows. They're fantastic, if I do say so myself. And, since I pretty much dislike everything I make, that's saying something.

Cute right? And I so don't do cute well.

You too can do this! And cheap!

Packaging:

  • The boxes are from Smart & Final ($6 for about 50 - 100 of them).
  • The gift tags are from Costco (seriously people if you're buying gift tags anywhere else, even those sticky ones for $3 at Target, stop now. 100 of these tags were $10. Aren't they cute? And, they have different ones every year. Next year pick them up. Seriously.)
  • The stickers are from Target.
  • In stuffing the boxes...you know those wax paper sheets they use at the bakery to give you your muffin? Yeah, you can buy a box of those for $6 at Smart & Final as well. Voila! Instant non-stick paper for the gift and it looks fancy too.
The actual gift:

Ok, you already have the link to the recipe (which I'm printing again right now since mine is covered in Pam.) Here's how we do it my house, with a few tips the recipe doesn't give you but my mom gave me.
  1. Spray any utensil you plan on using with Pam. I don't know how you're getting your marshmallows out otherwise.
  2. Senior Brown uses a metal baking pan, we used our silicon baking pan. Honestly we haven't loved how many of our baked goods have cooked in ours (hence our sacrificing it to the marshmallow doGs) but nothing sticks to it. Its sort of brilliant. Don't get me wrong, you need to do the Pam & the powered sugar/cornstarch lining to it. But, when my marshmallows got a wee out of control and went up over the side to the other side of the pan, I peeled it right off...no drama!
  3. Cleaning your stuff is super easy. Two words: Hot Water. I found this to be an easier clean-up than making cookies.
  4. You need a Kitchen-Aid mixer. I'm sorry, it won't be the same otherwise. You need a big engine and the ability to flog your machine to mix on high for 12-15 minutes. Any other mixer in our house would have caught fire from trying this. I'm not trying to be a brand snob here people; I'm just looking out for your safety.
  5. Follow the recipe. Since this is complete chemistry if you do something silly like mix the marshmallows on low instead of high you'll end up with taffy, er, so I heard.

As for the chocolate dipped part...

  • Let the marshmallows set for at least 3 hours. We usually do overnight but I didn't have that much time and 3 hours did nicely.
  • Get a big knife and, all together now, spray it with Pam. Then, cut whatever size you like!
  • Mom picked up a bar of Bittersweet chocolate at our brand new Trader Joe's but you can use anything. My absolute favorite was mint chocolate chips. Mmmmmmm.
  • If you're not using chips, chop up some chocolate (about a cup's worth), as small as you can, put it in a small bowl, nuke it for a minute, stir and if its not melted keep nuking in 30 second increments.
  • Make sure your marshmallow is dusted on all sides (again, not that I made this mistake or anything) with the sugar/cornstarch mixture, then dip into chocolate and let it set on a wire cooling rack (wax paper will do if you don't have the wire cookie cooling rack thingies.)

My mom did the math and I think all 20 of my boxes cost me a total of about $20 since everything except the containers were on hand. But really, if you had to buy all of the ingrediants that might set you back like $10.

I have a few extra...please come visit me and take them away before I eat the leftovers. .

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sewing Arts Center

We all drive by it.

The Sewing Arts Center on Pico right next to the 10. You know where it is...just east of Stitches from the Heart and Trader Joe's. I've never been there. I'm so embarrassed, which is why I'm talking about it on the interwebs.

One of the girls here at the cube farm notified Regina & I that the Sewing Arts Center needs our support. What? A crafty business needs help? Let me borrow one of Regina's capes so I can fly right over...or maybe I'll just jump into the passenger seat of Regina's car.

Yeah, the three of us headed over there at lunch.

If you've never been there and you have any interest in sewing or learning how to sew, now is the time to go. Holy crap, these people could not be any nicer. My two cohorts wanted to take the apron class this weekend but it was cancelled due to lack of sign-ups. Oh well. No oh well. Russell offered to teach the class to the two of them on a night that worked for them for the same price.

I heard that and I signed up immediately for the beginning sewing class starting January 5th. I've wanted to take another sewing class and this one seems perfect....$125 for four classes (4!) and you learn the basics. I'm so excited. I have a few projects I want to do but won't start since I don't know what the he!! I'm doing on a sewing machine. And really, I need to be nice to Hello Kitty. She's a good sewing machine.

So yeah, Sewing Arts Center has classes and sewing machines and fabrics and notions and electric bikes (not kidding) and super nice staff who can help you will all of it.

Sewing Arts Center - 3330 Pico Blvd - Santa Monica, CA 90405 - ph: 310-450-4300

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Urban Craft Center - The Return

So Regina & I spent our Sunday at the Urban Craft Center. Anyone who reads this blog or hers knows that we go there. But, unless you've been there lately, you haven't been.

Holy.
Crap.

I'm moving in. Seriously. I'm buying an Aerobed and just moving in. Mom can take care of the dogs.

The space is gorgeous and the shop they opened...they have fabric that Michael Levine doesn't have. Yeah, that's right, I said it. And I bought a yard of it too. The shop & space are pretty much the stuff of every crafter's if-I-won-the-lottery conversation. Its fabulous. They have like every crafting book. I haven't seen anything like this in any of my knitting/crafting travels. They have supplies and gifts and stuff you need to buy me. And, their prices are exactly at suggested retail, unlike other places I've been to that have tried to charge more.

Now, I'll be perfectly blunt and say that I'm waiting for the next wave of classes (mostly because I've already taken the ones in the current group that tripped my trigger....do the soap class, its fabulous.) Although if they were to do some of the holiday Martha Stewart project classes we talked about at Felt Club (hint, hint do a simple stuffy class before Christmas...I need to make at least one!), I'd be in for that. But, otherwise, I'm waiting for the quilting class in January that's been tossed in front of me like a carrot on a stick.

So, until the website is fully functional, get on their mailing list (they only send out newsletters so you won't be bombarded with stuff and they're super protective of their people so they don't sell you out) or better yet, go visit. They even validate.

The Urban Craft Center
2433 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

(In the Edgemar building)

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Monday, November 24, 2008

And the countdown begins

That's right kids, we're just one month shy of Christmas. So, the crafters out there are either smiling smugly or panicking right now. I'm oddly in between. Between my own projects and the elves I've employed, the only panic that set in for a moment this morning was the fact that I almost forgot a short person in my life. Its not Christmas crushing as I picked out the gift my mom is getting her (that and she's not yet two so she wouldn't remember or hold it against me) but still, I forgot. Not good.

Moving on...


Here is my first complete gift, safely posted here on the interwebs as the recipient feels the internets is a waste of time and if she were to log on it would suck her into the great Matrix and never let her out. (I exaggerate, only mildly.)



Yup, my first pair of completed socks. Now, this isn't the first pair I've attempted or the first pair on needles, but the first pair done. Woo!

These are from the worst book ever named but the best for fabulous basic men's patterns. Seriously. The pattern is called Plain Old Rag Socks (link here for the Ravelers out there.) For anyone afraid of socks because a) they don't want to knit with needles the size of toothpicks, b) they don't want to work with yarn the width of dental floss, and c) don't want to spend 2 weeks on a project that will be destroyed by the recipient, these are the socks for you. They're on size 7 needles using a worsted weight yarn. The first one took me a bit to figure out the heel turn and all of that but the second one took me the flight home from Minneapolis to L.A. and that was after my flight from London....we're not talking about full brain power.

I only ran into one snag. You see those fabulous green toes? Super cute right? Well, yeah. The pattern might just underestimate how much yarn you need. Unless you want to stash bust using a different yarn for the heel and toe, do not try to use one skein of gorgeous hand-dyed yarn that you dyed yourself and were super proud to use on this project only to see you're 10 rows short. yeah. Not good. You're going to need 1.2 skeins of yarn.

Woo!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Felt Club/Nickel Diner

Really these two deserve their own posts but I enjoyed them back to back so you can too!

First rule of Felt Club is that you talk about Felt Club.

Well, it seems that everyone important was talking about Felt Club before the event. I didn't feel the need to toss my two cents in before. But, now that its over, I'm happy to chatter.

Since most of the outlying areas of L.A. seem to be burning, creating this creepy orange-grey look to the sky, there was no one on the road. We left the house late, circled for parking4 times, bought bagels and then headed over to Felt Club. My thinking was that I didn't want to stand outside for an hour for a swag bag so I might as well just get there on time and saunter in. Yeah. Right. I got there at about 10:30 am (opening was 11am). Right when we jumped in line I saw a blue car that I was about to point out to Todd that looked like Regina's. Turned out, it was Regina's! She had the same plan I did...get there at 11am. Yeah, traffic from the side of the city she was coming from was just as light and she got there hella early as well. And we all ended up with a swag bags. Woo!

Ok, onto the show...

Thankfully it was at the Shrine this year. And I say thankfully because the last Felt Club event I attended was in a venue so small that the Fire Department was dispatched. (Hey! Felt Club! Over here! How about Santa Monica Civic next year? Just an idea.)

By getting there early, we actually saw all the vendors and their merchandise. As the day wore on, we literally made our purchases and ran as it was getting more and more crowded. I mean really crowded, push-through-people crowded, hey-I'd-like-to-look-at-that crowded. Anyone who questions the power of craft right now, need look no further than Felt Club. Crazy crowded. But, I would do it again, in a heartbeat. Yup the vendors were that strong.

Here are my favorites...

Ex Libris: Seriously brilliant. He takes old books and turns them into journals. He even keeps the pages and tosses them in with the blank pages. And, the dude was nice. Regina snagged my absolute favorite...a book about lawns. That's ok. I grabbed Dehydration Made Simple. I was happy to see that although a few of us were just buying one or two, there were people buying ten to twelve at a time. I hope he sold out of his entire stock yesterday.

My Imaginary Boyfriend: She has these log pillows and even kits to make the log pillows. And, seriously, the cutest robots EVER. Freakin' brilliant. I saw one little girl holding her robot like a doll after her mom bought it for her. That little girl couldn't have looked any happier with her robot. It was awesome. If I ever do get my own house, you are all buying me log pillows. I want a stack of them. I'm not kidding. And really, that's the only reason I didn't buy the kits myself. I couldn't stand the thought of them just sitting sadly waiting for a place to be put.

Biggs & Featherbelle: So I got bath salts & soap & Todd got lip balm. Todd's working in Albuquerque today so I can't ask him to comment on the lip balm, but Oh. Mi. Gawd. I love the bath salts. I have the Muscle Soak. Not only does it smell yummy but it is amazingly relaxing. I know, I know, baths are relaxing in general. But this stuff is way better than what you're buying in the stores. Once I run out I either have to mail order, go to some yoga place in Hollywood or call Twin Cities Green to make sure that they really are carrying everything from Re-gifts and send Todd over to dreaded Uptown to pick up some more. Hmmmmm....

I Melt with You: Sadly, only their candles are up on their site. (Not that there's anything wrong with their candles, they just have so much more.) I picked up the yummiest smelling body balm ever, Mint Mango Tea. I don't know what it was about this scent but everyone in our group agreed that it was the best ever. They also had a clean laundry scent that made for the best candle ever. And, like all of the othe vendors I mention above (even if I don't say it in the individual write-up), they were just so nice and excited to talk about their product. And, for me, that's what makes shopping and gift buying fun.

With our purchases and swag bags in tow we headed over to Nickel Diner. Horray! I finally made it! I'll be honest, I'm not sure what I liked more...the food or the vibe. We'll start with food and you can decide later.

The menu is fabulous. There were at least six things I wanted to order, and that's really saying something. Three of the sandwiches looked good, the French toast was tempting...hey, I'm making myself hungry again. Anyways, I settled by trading half of my sandwich so I could try two different things. Oddly, I loved both. Usually, I'm all smug that I ordered better. Yeah, wasn't so sure. And the french fries are worth the tightness of my waistband today. And the desserts.... So, she left the desert tray right in our field of vision. Not cool. We kept staring at it. Wondering what was on the side we couldn't see. Finally, she saw our drool and brought it over and introduced us. We were all in love. Homemade pop tarts, ding dongs, red velvet cake, chocolate cake, the list goes on and on. Everything we ordered was great.

The vibe was cool and I don't mean in an eastside hipster sort of way, which was going on as well. I mean the owner works the door and greets her clients like friends....completely old skool. In my opinion, that intimacy has been lost in restaurants today. It was incredible to see it back. She knew her regulars, greeted them immediately, seated the new kids, made sure everyone had what they needed, cleared a table because the busboy was busy...it was a very cool ballet to watch.

I don't spend as much time as I used to in Downtown but I can tell you that I'll be back to Nickel Diner. There are too many things on that menu I need to try and maybe one day I'll be greeted at the door.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Updates and random stuff

Really this should be titled guilt about not blogging but whatever...

On the craft front: I'm in the middle of a few projects (crochet, knit & counted cross-stitch), I need to block a finished project (knit) and hand-finish another finished project (felted knit) so I haven't had anything pretty to show you lately.

On the food front: I had lunch at Craft today and that was nice, not mind-altering, but nice. The maple bacon ice cream was good but tasted mostly vanilla, in case you were curious. In other food news I'm on a mission to eat at BLD and Nickel Diner. If anyone wants to help with this issue, I'll be available Halloween weekend.

Oh, the SCV and the SFV are on fire and I'm a smidge scared that my breathing will shut down like it always does. So this can be my official l.a.-is-on-fire-again post that I seem to do every year. Because of the winds and their unexplainable fear of the winds, my dogs are passive aggressive to each other because they both want to sleep in my bathroom and neither of them want to make room for the other. (Yes, I used two clauses starting with 'because' in one sentence. You'll be ok.) Why the bathroom is so much safer than their dog beds 10 feet away is beyond me. But, they obviously know something I don't. So there's that.

On the internets front: I just entered 2006 and joined Facebook. I'm so hip its unsettling. Though, I will say that the facebook is interesting in the personas that develop on that site. Obviously we all show different sides in different situations, like work, social, interwebs, etc... but facebook is fascinating in how the application gets people to share much more than they would, lets say, on a blog or MySpace. Speaking of facinating, did you see the CNN.com write up of The Oxford Project. If you're looking to kill a few hours, pull up a chair and start reading.

So, that's what's going on right now.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Holy Crap its October

I know, Queen of the Obvious today, eh?

A few things to announce:

1. Its October. Holy crap. Although I've laid the groundwork for Christmas gifts and crafting I'm freaking out just a little thinking about how behind I think I am. This doesn't mean I am actually behind, it just feels that way.

2. Its hot people. For the non-L.A. people, holy crap. Yesterday was the first day gramma turned on her AC all year. Now, that's hot. And not in a good way. Because the baddogs are by definition seniors and they both hate the fan blowing on them, I had to send them into grammas room last night for fear that they might melt in mine.

3. Just 17 days from now I leave for the UK. This marks a few things.

a. I haven't been outside of the US in 4 years. Considering I had been going to the UK annually from 1997 - 2004 , that's pretty huge. As someone who prides herself on traveling as much as she can, to think I've stayed in the US for the last 4 years is a wee weird. I mean, I've been to Oregon, Hawaii, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Nevada and Arizona in those four years. And that's pretty outstanding. But that's all the U.S. That's home. It'll be good to get out of here, to have to look the opposite way to ensure I don't get hit by a taxi, to take trains and be on the lookout for cheap food, not to think about the exchange rate when I need to buy something, to have people think that I have the funny accent.

b. My best friend is getting married. And this means that although she's been living in the UK since 1997, this marks her actually really not ever moving home.

c. I have a total of 24 hours on an airplane (and we're not even discussing self-imposed layovers in Minneapolis) and that means I need to figure out projects to bring. (See Christmas gifts above.) This might sound easy to non-knitters. You bring a few magazines and a few books. But, when you're going to be away from home for 10 days and you're faced with a huge amount of time in airports and airplanes, its pretty stressful.

d. Its a thousand degrees out (see above) and I have to wrap my head around packing for dreary London weather. And a wedding. And a rehearsal dinner. And I still don't love my bridesmaid's dress so I'd like to find something else that's in a jewel tone tone in a fairly sleek silhouette. But the dress I have fits and its free and I should get over it. And really, I haven't see anything I've liked any better than what I had in the closet.

Holy Crap. Its October.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

As the Robot Turns...

I have these friends, we'll call them k8 & mrk, 'cause you know, no one would have names like that, and they like robots. And, they have a fabulous daughter, who we'll call Mina, who also likes robots.

So, what would a person make for a certain person (Mina) who's turning 1 year old?

Hmm...

Lets think about this...

A robot?

Might be a stretch.

Unless you happen to read Craft Magazine....

Except that the pattern isn't available in the magazine. They just have pictures of Jess Hutchinson's fabulous robots.

Here's my Mina-friendly version:



I felt bad that I couldn't get him exactly like the ones in the picture. But Mina didn't seem to care...




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Friday, September 26, 2008

When did this turn into a craft blog?

Whatever, probably more interesting than posting videos from my cell phone (high quality!) of my dogs rolling around in the grass. Or maybe not.

Anyways, a few of you were curious to what I bought at the Knit & Crochet Show. Wonder no more. I present you with the Basket o' Portland Goodness!


We'll start with top center, the red paper looking stuff. This is a Habu linen (3 skeins). This stuff is so magical that Regina had to talk me down from buying about 9 skeins in 3 colors. And by talking me down she told me to work with it and if I needed more she'd bring it back from her next NY trip. That's a good friend.

That multi-colored stuff was free in our gift bag. Its Red Heart Heart & Sole with Aloe. Yes, yarn with Aloe. I'm not creative enough to make this up.

Next is that lovely purple cone...Habu silk & stainless steel. Of course now that I'm reading the description, I might need a second cone.

Next we have a thingy (technical term) to attach snaps. Bolt had the cutest purple cowgirl style snaps (which got buried in the picture) but as Regina pointed out, how am I going to put them on anything. So yeah. There's a snap application thingy. And, since I had the snap application thingy, I then found more cute snaps at Knittn Kitten.

The lime green yarn was in our Knit & Crochet Show gift bag. Coats & Clark. And that's all I have to say about that.

Fabric is a vintage cowboy print from Knittn Kitten.

Zippers from both Bolt & Knittn Kitten.

Pink tomato pin cushion from Knittn Kitten, 'cause you know, I needed a pink tomato pin cushion. Apparently there was a blue one. But I didn't see it. So that makes the blue tomato pin cushion a rumor.

Multicolored skeins of yarn are all Dicentra sock yarns. The BRIGHT fuchsia is also Dicentra but its not sock, just lace weight. And for me.

In the middle, below the Habu linen paper we have a purple Habu skein in either cotton or bamboo. I can't remember.

On the needles (Size 0!) we have Habu cashmere and under that are all the needles I bought (sizes 1, 2, & 3) from Village Spinning & Weaving. Seriously, they had every circular needle ever thought of by Addi. I'm sure they had other needles as well, but the BOXES of Addi were busy overwhelming me so I didn't notice.

Not pictured as it was in my work craft bag (for lunchtime) is my turtle WoolPet. I'm working on him right now. But hers is cuter. But I think I'm ok with that as she does this as a living and this is my very first needle felting project. So, there's that.

Yup, perfectly restrained in my Portland shopping.

Hmmm, maybe that video of Dick rolling around in the grass would have been more interesting.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm not sure if my stitches are sublime

but the patterns sure are cute!

Last year I got the bright idea to embroider everyone kitchen towels as holiday gifts. I'd do really stupid things like dancing vegetables and cupcakes and monkeys and stuff. 'cause you know, everyone needs monkeys on their kitchen towels. And, I found stacks of flour sack towels on sale at Target in these great colors like burgundy and tan and a deep green and a great yellow. (Sorry I can't find anything similar on the website or else I'd link.) Then, for whatever reason, I made soap instead and called it a day. But, I still had all the embroidery patterns, towels, tools, etc... And, for whatever reason, I've been in the mood to embroider later. Pretty lucky for those who have a birthday right now, eh?
heh.
Here are my recent creations.

One of my poor co-workers was the lucky recipient of these:














Now, I love these guys. They just make me smile every time I see them. My mom even smiled when I showed them to her and she hasn't drunk the craft Kool-Aid I've been drinking for the past few years. Usually, if something passes the mom test, then they're acceptable for modern society. But sometimes I just wonder what people think of these things I come up with.
But I'm not overly concerned with this next one...Ever wonder what to get that cowboy in your life that has everything he could ever need? Wonder no more...



That's right kids. Kitchen towels with guns on them!

And, since you need more six shooters in your life, here's a close up:

I'm quite pleased with how these came out. I am hardly an embroidery master at this point (and thanks to these pictures I can see some of my errors) but I did actually try different stitches for this project and I don't think it totally sucks.
You're looking at four, that's right four different stitches in one gun. Not that the recipient will notice (or care) but I'm always all proud of myself for trying something new especially when it something scary like embroidering $.50 towels with $.05 floss.
Wow, I live on the wild side!
Out of control!
Someone stop me!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Portland - Saturday/Sunday

Saturday began with a fairly disappointing breakfast at Burgerville but was redeemed with Coriolis Sock Class with Cat. The techniques this woman comes up with are amazing. If you knit socks and you want to step up your game, go see Cat. She has this new technique called Houdini that's available on Twist Collective and she says she's going to write a new book and include that (or was it about that anyways...) so if you're looking for yet another way to knit a sock, now you know.

Though, I have to confess, we might have allegedly missed a bit of the afternoon class. As luck would have it, our class was sold out and several of the women in there really wanted and needed Cat's help. And, Cat was going to go over everything she did in the morning class in the afternoon as well. Armed with our class handouts and one of Cat's sock books we hightailed it out of downtown and off to our Aberta Street & Knittn Kitten adventure.

We had about 30 minutes between shopping and our dinner date at Bay 13. The dinner itself as well as the company was outstanding. After dinner we went somewhere for dessert. Before we could get to dessert, our dates had to go home. But, this turned out to be a good thing. As they drove us back to our hotel we passed Powell's. I had never heard of this place but as I learned its a book lover's fantasy land. Apparently the biggest bookstore, period.

Our original plan was to relax for the rest of the evening. I mean, work had been crazy for both of us this week, we got to our hotel after midnight on Thursday, we were out partying with Jim on Friday and now, here, we have downtime. I sat silently in the car as we rode back from the hotel trying to gage how far we were staying from this place.

Yeah, right, downtime. Once we got back to the hotel I hopped on the computer to see how to get to Powell's. Sure it was 9pm. Sure, it was in a part of town that could be a smidge sketchy late. Whatever people! We're talking books here! And, once I saw the map and saw that Voodoo Donuts was ON THE WAY to Powell's. Yeah. That was easy.

We downloaded directions from the Google and made our way to the Skidmore Fountain Max station and up to the bridge. As luck would have it a fairly cute, fairly scared looking female crossed our path and we asked how to get to Powell's. She pointed us in the right direction and off we went.

** Public Service Announcement ** Ladies, do not do this alone at night. During the day this area is fine. But, at night, there was a reason that fairly cute girl looked scared. You should not be walking around here alone.

After a brisk 10 block walk, we made it to Powell's. Wow. I spent about an hour in the knit & crochet books. That was followed by general crafts and Halloween. Wow. Other than picking up a random book as a gift on my way back from the bathroom, I was able to (mostly) control myself. I picked up 2 knitting books, 1 gift book, 1 reusable tote bag ($1) , a tshirt (gift) and a mug (gramma gift). Serious restraint!
On our way back we stopped at Voodoo. Though, I must confess, we were still so full from dinner we simply admired our donuts until the next morning.

As you can see I opted for the Voodoo dude and a traditional chocolate cake donut. Though my chocolate cake donut originally had the anarchy symbol on it, the frosting smeared on the way home. I'll be honest, the chocolate cake donut isn't anything to write home about. I wasn't my favorite. The Voodoo dude was quite tasty. As you might guess it had a raspberry filling inside. This serves two purposes, a good visual for a voodoo doll and keeping me to just eating around the filling thereby keeping me from getting sick from eating too much donut. (I'm not a filling kind of girl.)

Regina got the other donut they're famous for...


That's right, the maple bacon. Like my chocolate cake donut, she also got her own buttermilk bar 'cause she just likes those. I didn't try the buttermilk but holy crap the maple bacon rocked my world. Like chicken & waffles work together, so does the maple bacon donut. Yum! If you're ever in Portland and you don't happen to be a vegetarian, I highly recommend it!

Full from a healthy breakfast of voodoo, we went back to Powell's for a brief run around of all the sections we missed the night before. Though I can't say we saw all of it, I was able to hit the cookbooks (xmas gift), the pet section (more xmas gifts) and travel. So, I didn't feel like I had missed anything. I didn't see it all, but there wasn't anything I would cry if I didn't see it.

Now, our original Sunday plan included Crafty Wonderland. However, nothing in Portland, other than Powell's, opens before 11. And, with a 1:30pm flight, that doesn't work very well. So, we had to save Crafty Wonderland for our next visit.

I left Regina at the hotel since my flight was a few hours before hers, enjoyed a very healthy lunch, and was home by 4pm.

In case you're wondering, we've already started planning a trip in the spring.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Portland - The Actual Trip - Thursday/Friday

Regina & I flew in to Portland separately on Thursday night meeting up in baggage claim (carousel 10 for those keeping track at home) around 11:30pm. After locating luggage, we hopped into a cab and made it to the "official" hotel of the show, the Doubletree in downtown Portland. Other than having to pay $10/day for wifi, I was incredibly impressed with the hotel. The staff was friendly ("Thank you for staying at Doubletree. Here's a cookie. While you stay with us, anytime you want one, just stop by!"); the rooms were nice. I was a little concerned that they sold Pepsi products (don't judge me for my Diet Coke habit) but overall, it was a nice hotel, the Knit & Crochet show got a great rate & it was central to everything we needed.

Friday morning we got up stupid early as I had to get some work done and Regina had to get her packet. If you ever attend the Knit & Crochet show remember this. Like the spice, your packet is life. You're no one without your packet. Luckily Regina knew this and not only called earlier in the week to alert the show people to the packet malfunction but we got to the show early so she could pick up a new one.

As we were leaving the hotel we realised that we had no clue to where the show was. I had all sorts of maps to Voodoo Donut, Collage, Crafty Wonderland, but the one map I didn't do was the one to the show itself. Awesome, right? As luck would have it a delightful woman with a Ravelry bag was leaving the hotel the same time we were. We followed a nice lady with the Ravelry bag to find the show as we figured anyone with a Ravelry bag is our kind of people. Nice lady with Ravelry bag and her friend were very nice to us as we made our way to the show. Later, we formally met her when we went shopping at the marketplace.

While Regina learned about hairpin lace, I took Magical Mobius with Cat Bordhi. One thing about Cat. She really thinks about knitting. She's a student of the art of knitting and you really feel this in her class. She's incredibly patient and answers every question. She teaches the class in a variety of ways from talking & demonstrating to us as a large group, then breaking us down into smaller groups to show detail and then comes around to every individual to answer questions and see progression. If there is something specific that you want to learn and Cat is teaching it, take the class and you'll leave with a solid understanding and ability.

During our lunch break we wandered away from the convention center and stumbled onto Burgerville. From an L.A. point of view, Burgerville felt like the Portland equivalent to In'n'Out. The food was fresh, the line was long and when I almost cried because all of their Diet Coke fountains were giving me only water, the replaced one immediately. I was in love.

In my afternoon class, we were lucky enough to have a visitor. Annie Modesitt. If you've never met her or had a class with her and you have the opportunity, run, don't walk to the class. Not only does she have a wicked sense of humor but she knits like nothing you've ever seen, ok, nothing I've ever seen. Lightening quick with this combination method....it was outstanding. And, all of these topics I have no interest in like knit embellishments and learning to love lace and not hate charts now sound good to me. I mean, I would toss a few small children aside for a chance to actually learn her combination knitting technique and would toss a few adults aside for the cable sanity class. Seriously, if I go to the show next year, I'm stalking Annie. You've been warned.

After our afternoon session we ran back to the hotel to drop our stuff and to meet up with Jim. Jim & his wife Karol whisked us away to Beaverton to what was probably one of these best meals I've ever had. If you don't read Regina's blog you're probably wonder what fabulous restaurant they took us to in Beaverton. Well, it wasn't a restaurant. They took us to their son's house where he made an unbelievable meal. Mushroom soup, smoked scallops on a bed of spinach, salmon with sides I ate so quickly I can't remember, home made ice cream and all the best local wines you could drink. Unbelievable. And, he did a beer tasting of beer he brewed and bottled himself. And, we saw the hops he's growing for a new batch. And, to have two interweb peoples in your house in addition to the rest of the family you're entertaining...it was too much hospitality. Its been a week and I'm still overwhelmed. Regina & I are trying to figure out how to be adopted. I'm not kidding. Since we didn't drive ourselves to dinner, Regina wasn't able to take Diplohooktius Jimbosei with her. Though, don't think she didn't try.



AND, like the night couldn't get any better, Jim gave me a hook. I carry it around with me. Seriously. Next time you see me ask to see the hook. That's how much I love it. I carry it with me. Daily. And, just to torture me, he has an auction of TWELVE hooks up right now. If you crochet or you know someone who crochets, you need one of these hooks. They are works of art. And, they actually work. I mean, how often can you carry around and use a work of art in your life.

Had enough? Ok, me too. Saturday & Sunday next...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Portland, OR Crafty Shopping

Everyone says that Portland is a really cool town. And its not that I didn't believe them its just tough for me to imagine a city I've never been to. I don't know...one of my personal issues I guess. But, I can admit that I had the same reaction to Portland that I had to Minneapolis.

Who knew this city was so cool?

I heart Portland.

I know, I know, get in line.

When I was surfing around looking for crafty places to shop, there was an abundance to say the least. Therefore, we limited ourselves to Alberta Street and Knittin' Kitten.

The trip to Alberta was inspired by Natalie & her adventures there. We took the bus from our hotel in Downtown to Alberta Street. Right about the time we were thinking that we should have rented a car, we got there. And there was a street fair. And right about that time we were thankful we took the bus and didn't have to drive or park.

The street as well as the street fair itself was a hoot. There were the usual unusual vendors like the political kids and the tie-dye kids and some really cool tshirt kids, and a plus-size apron chick and these kids who painted knitting needles. Then, the parade was incredibly random featuring, well, anyone who wanted to be in it. There was a British style double decker bus, people walking on stilts, a dude riding a bike with his kid, people in random make-up. If you've ever dreamed of being in a parade, sign up and do it next year. Seriously. Anyone can.

We limited ourselves to shopping only at crafty spots. As Regina & I are certified shoppers (kids don't try this at home) we felt it best to just set goals. First up, Collage. If you're into paper and paper crafts, you need to go there. I'm not into paper or paper crafts and I was seriously considering starting. Her stuff was incredible and fun. What a buyer...I really enjoyed the shop.

Next, Bolt. This is a super cute shop. And the ladies who work there couldn't have been any nicer. Natalie covered the merchandise wonderfully so I won't go over it again but if you're in the area, you really should stop by. They had these really cool HUGE wooden buttons. I sort of wish I had added a few to the pile o'stuff I bought. Also, they had EVERY Sublime Stitching pattern, the usual ones, the limited edition ones and ones I had never even seen or heard of.

Close Knit. Cute and CROWDED which is awesome. When have you been to a neighborhood yarn shop on a NON-sale day and its been crowded? But, they were crowded with good reason. They had a great selection of small local brands and the big brands we all know and love (manos, Rowan, etc...) as well as a good selection of books, bags and random items for sale. If we weren't at a knit/crochet show with vendors to match, this would have been much more of a temptation.

Last, I must mention the food. Any search on Alberta Street will bring up the various restaurants and bars. But, that's not where we ate.






When you're walking down a crowded street full of shops and restaurants, how do you walk past this? I can answer that. You don't. It was awesome...a taco truck on a vacant lot with tables and chairs. And, judging by the number of people getting orders to go, I'm guessing this is a fixture and locals grab food and take it home. And for good reason. Yummy and cheap...my favorite combination.

All in all, Alberta street was fabulous.

But we weren't done.

Oh, no. Now that we had food and drink we had the strength to move forward. By the way, did I mention that prior to the shopping we had been in class from 9am - noon? And that after we did the majority of the Knit & Crochet Show vendor shopping that I talked about yesterday? Oh, I didn't? My bad. Moving along...

We took the bus back to our hotel and Regina immediately walked up to a cab and asked how much to get to Knittn Kitten. I'm not sure exactly who, but one of Regina's people knew of this magical place. A vintage craft store? We HAD to go.


And we went.


And it was fabulous. We bought fabric and patterns, pin cushions and patches. Next time I go to Portland, I'm bringing stuff to sell her. (The owner said that the majority of her stock walks right in the front door.) From what I understand from the Portland kids, it can be hit or miss. But, if you've never been its a treasure chest. They have vintage patterns from the 50s through present...power 80's suits anyone? or a 60's mini dress? Vintage magazines ... all sorts of fun stuff. We learned that they were featured in the last issue of Craft (the one with the dude and the weaving on the front.)

Next up, food and a smidge more shopping...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Knit & Crochet Show - Shopping

Ok, we'll get to the great classes, teachers, people, blah, blah, blah....lets start with the important stuff, the Portland shopping.

Since we were in Portland for the Knit & Crochet Show, we'll start there...

The vendors were incredible. Seriously. Lets say you know about Village Spinning & Weaving. And, lets say you don't live in California and you really want to go to Village Spinning & Weaving. Ok, here's a solution...if there's a show that they're a vendor at, its like going to their store only with more books and less roving. Their booth was overwhelming. Among the non-Californians, Village Spinning & Weaving was referred to as "the book people." Everyone loved the book people. They were my personal needle source (more on that situation later).

My favorite individual vendor (non-store) was Lisa with Dicentra. That's her baby and she does it all herself. Holy crap. And, her stuff is AMAZING! For your sake, I hope she gets her yarns & roving listed on etsy 'cause she has a fabulous sense of color. On Friday I was able to buy NOTHING...except from her. I was able to resist all but her.

So Regina & I wandered off to lunch between classes on Friday and saw The Naked Sheep car parked on the street.


And, I'm pleased to report that the people who own Naked Sheep are as friendly as you would think people who own a light yellow beetle with their logo on the car would be. I mean, how can you be mean when you have sheep on your car. Even though the lady in front of me in line at their booth was buying about 10 times the amount I was, they treated me exactly the same and rang me up just as quickly. I've added them to my list of interweb vendors to shop from and people to visit on my next visit to Portland.
**Ed. to add - If you're interested in seeing a picture of their booth and a write-up of everything The Naked Sheep had to offer at the show, go check out their blog. I was completely taken with the Wool Pets (as everyone else seemed to be by the buying frenzy) and the hand-spun yarn was just incredible. And, I've now learned through the blog that it was Cheri and Bradley who were so nice! So people of Portland, go shop there. And send me a tote bag, ok?

Ok, next on the list is a company any knit aficionado has heard of and I've heard about their yarns but I wasn't ready. It didn't matter how much you warned me, I wasn't prepared.
That's right, I said it. I even went out and bought size 00 needles so I could knit with their yarn, and you're talking to the queen of size 9. I don't do small. But I do for them. The yarn was overwhelming and wonderful. Who knew silk & stainless steel could be soft or that someone would make a yarn from African plant fibers.

And, last but certainly not least was the friendly crew Abundant Yarn & Dye Works. I wasn't planning on buying anything Sunday. We were just stopping in to see what was going on before I left for the airport. But they were so nice and excited about the yarns they carried and how they were from sustainable farms and local and all this really cool stuff. And then I found it...a yarn named with my middle name so obviously I had to buy it.

I mean, duh.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

*Poof* (Knit & Crochet Show)

Yup, that's the sound of my head exploding yet again.

One of the reasons I love what I do for work and I've stuck with it now for 7 years is that every day is different and every day I learn something new. And, that's one of the reasons why knit, crochet, dying and embroidery have held my interest as well. There is an endless amount to learn.

Though I do have a walking encyclopedia at my disposal, not to mention my personal library full of books and magazines, nothing quite prepared me for the Knit & Crochet Show. Sure on the surface its a bunch of knitters and crocheters descending upon the Convention Center. There are classes and vendors and I was ready for all of that. What I wasn't ready for was the amount you learn and the people you meet in this long weekend.

Here are the people I met this weekend, in no particular blog order:

Drew.
Annie.
Cat.
Jim.
Jennifer.
Laurie.

Here are the people who now have my paycheck:

Dicentra.
The Naked Sheep.
Habu.
Village Spinning & Weaving.
Abundant Yarn & Dye Works.

And I'm not even talking about the nice people in my classes or the vendors who don't have my credit cards or the other people I met whose names I've forgotten or blogs I didn't write down or shops I visited in Portland or the nice people I had dinner with. I just need to put my head back together and I'll start breaking it down.

More to come in my next post....

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Off to the Fair!

One of the myriad of reasons I go to Minneapolis over Labor Day weekend is the State Fair. Unless you've been there or some other farming state's fair, you've never seen anything like it. You and your closest 100,000 friends in one place. Though, because the fairgrounds are so large, you're not in any long lines or get pushed around too much.

We usually park in the front yard of one of the houses along the fairgrounds in St. Paul. For $20 you drive up, hand them your keys and walk right into the fair. No shuttles, no walking blocks and blocks to your car...just drive and go. Because of obvious traffic concerns, this year we decided to try something different and take the shuttle near Todd's house. $10 for the two of us round trip. And, oddly, as advertised, we walked onto the bus, and left about 5 minutes later. When we took the bus back, we walked onto it, and left about 5 minutes later. It really couldn't have been easier. And, we skipped all the traffic we usually sit in to get near the fairgrounds. Though, the rumors that you get discounted fair admission for taking the bus are false. Don't believe them. They lie. Admission is still $11. I'm just sayin'.
Because we took the shuttle we entered at a different gate over by all the live stock.

(By the way, that isn't the full fair map. I cropped it. There's more.)
Even at 9:30am, just a half hour after opening these areas were crowded. People here take their livestock very seriously....just so you know. First stop...corn dog. I mean, what says healthy state fair breakfast like a corn dog. Because we entered at a different gate, we got our dog at a different vendor. Usually we do Pronto Pup, this year we did Poncho Pup. I know, super exciting right? But, until you've had a corn dog at the fair, you haven't had a corn dog.

After our first food tasting, we did the swine barn. They pigs and sheep were very cute, despite my trying to figure out how to use the camera in my new phone.

Most of the sheep were either wearing their hoods and coats to keep them clean before they were shown, or had just been sheared. I thought it was mean to take pictures of them in their hoods (they look like unofficial members of a certain cult and really, I'm sure the sheep don't want to be seen in that light) or without any fleece. They looked so naked...cool, but naked. So here's a little guy with no hood and with his fleece just chillin'.


Here's the top boar:



I thought I got all of his stats in one picture but obviously not. As you can see Squeaky was quite content, taking in all of the attention.

Next we headed to the cattle barn and watched a few minutes of the milking demonstration. (I got bored when they hooked up the cow to a machine. Wow, watch the machine milk. Milk, machine milk. Not that advances in farming aren't fantastic. They are. Its just not super exciting to watch the machine milk.) We went inside and visited with the nice cows. I had no idea there were so many different kinds. It was cool to see them by category all in the same area..definitely gives you a good appreciation for what cattle people do and the size of these animals.

Outside of the cattle barn were the nice Alpaca people. They had alpacas and yarn and items made locally like scarves and hats and mittens. Everything was just beautiful. I chatted with Pat Hansen who owns Pure Country Alpacas. They doing a farm tour at the end of September...if I were in the metro area I'd totally go. I learned all sorts of things about alpacas and their fleece and the mill she uses the co-op she belongs to. It was pretty fantastic. Of course I had to buy a little yarn for myself, milled from her Alpacas! And, I bought a bit of hot pink roving from one of her friends who gave her roving to sell at the fair. Both are incredibly soft and if I weren't on such a spending spree that weekend I would have bought more. She had both hand spun and mill spun yarn. I'll admit, I went with the mill stuff but it wasn't for the quality. The hand spun was some of the nicest I've ever seen. But, how do you say no to 200 yards of lime green alpaca yarn? I'm so excited to have met the person who cares for the animals it came from.

Here's a (bad) picture of the alpacas they brought to the fair:

After the alpacas we went in search of more food. I mean, we had been at the fair for almost 2 hours at this point and only a corn dog to sustain us. My goal this year was either to eat stuff we hadn't had before, or, if we were going to repeat, like the corn dog, get it from a different place.

While looking for food, and for Raven, we stumbled upon "Veggie Fries." It was their first year at the fair.

As part of our food strategy, we opted to share everything so that we wouldn't explode, er, would be able to try more stuff. As you can see Todd is getting a jump start on the "Veggie Fries." Maybe it was just me, but it reminded me of vegetable tempura. But, it was darn tasty, on a stick and deep fried so it met all of the fair requirements.


Now might be a good time to let you know that Minnesota takes "on a stick" very seriously...and not just their food. I have Change on a Stick for Barack Obama that I got at the fair. They really like their stuff on a stick and take it just as far as they can.

Ok, I'm getting hungry...more food & fun tomorrow.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

So I've been busy

I haven't updated my blog. I haven't been going out much. I've been working quite a bit and weekends are full...especially my Sundays.

"What are you doing on you Sundays, Jenna."

Holy crap, I'm so glad you asked.

In the beginning, Regina & I would dye roving and yarn for our own use. And then, while shopping around for, well, more yarn and roving, we realised that no one does what we do. No one is dying exactly how we dye and really, we needed to share it with the world.

So, ta da! We are.



4 Torpedoes is up and running. Now, the blog is under construction. But, since we have items listed at etsy and the blog is actually up I wanted to share that with you.

So, if you need fabulous yarn or roving, we're here to provide it for you. And, besides, since we dyed it, we love it and if isn't bought, we're using it to make Christmas gifts. Win win for everyone!

Right now we're dying a rambouillet roving blend endorsed by the one and only John Pitblato. I mean, it was a part of his fleece and he works with it himself, so I'm calling that an endorsement. We've had a ball dying and spinning with it so I'm hoping everyone else enjoys buying it and spinning it. I'm all about spreading joy and love. And, we also have fantastic one of a kind, hand-painted sock yarn as well as glow under blacklight sock and bulky yarn. I mean, we all need yarn that'll glow under a blacklight.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Best Intentions

I'm in no way an expert knitter. People tend to like what I do and although I'm often my own worst critic I can usually live with what I've created. But, here's the problem with the experience level to which I've graduated: I think anything I'm going to make will just take a little while. Two weeks to k8's birthday? No problem! I can whip something up in two weeks.

Well, I can knit it in two weeks, but I always forget about the finishing. Its sort of like projects at work. I will tell you, dead serious, with nothing but love in my heart, I'll be done in two hours. I'm convinced everything work-related takes two hours. And, after doing what I do for 7 years now, you'd think I'd have learn this isn't true. Nope, I still believe, deep-down, that everything takes two hours. Luckily, I work for guys who are never ready for projects in two hours. Kind of like everything in L.A. is twenty minutes away.

Ok, back to the knitting...two weeks to birthday, no problem!

As we've talked about before, Regina & I dye a lot of yarn. Its fun. It amuses us. And, we make darn pretty colors. But, here's the thing, we have to start using all this pretty stuff. I'm staring at the bin' o dyed yarn in my bedroom (yes, until recently, I kept my special dyed yarn close, whatever, shut up)...what to do, what to do...k8's birthday, what to do.

So, I go to my library o' felting books.

Bingo!


See that backpack on the left...that's my girl. Of course I'm not doing those odd little squiggles or fair-isle. I'll let the yarn speak for itself. I gathered all the blues I've dyed, and off we went. Some yarn was dyed with Kool-Aid, some was dyed with jacquard, and some was redyed Kool-Aid with jacquard 1.5 weeks before our deadline when I decided that I just HATED the yarn I was about to work with so obviously, something needed to be done. Here are the colors we ended up with:


I was quite pleased. Regina was quite pleased. Gramma was quite pleased until she learned the bag wasn't for her.

Four days before the deadline, the bag and strap were felted. I'm feeling pretty good about myself. All I have to do is enclose the top for the drawstring straps, feed the strap through, sew the straps down and buy & sew in lining. And all of this is going to happen with Todd in town. Ok, for future reference, maybe I should write all of this down 'cause when its all in my head, it doesn't seem like much.

Ok, 2.5 days to go and Todd happily escorts me to Michael Levine's. He and I walk around the store together pulling out various bolts of fabric. We have slightly heated discussions involving polka-dots and Hawaiian prints and why we don't line bags in dark colors. I'll spare you the details but I will tell you it was nice having somewhere there who had a strong opinion and would actually listen when I would say things like "No, remember, nothing dark, she'll lose everything in there." 'cause then I'd pull a bolt out with some dark color and he would scold me ant tell me that she won't be able to find anything.

Here's what we both decided would be perfect:


I didn't mean to buy Amy Butler. I don't want to be one of those crafters who just waxes on and on about her like there are no other cute fabrics out there...but it matched perfectly and I swear I didn't realize that it was Amy Butler for Rowan until I got it home. Kinda funny it worked out that way...sort of like making fun of the "flyover" states my entire life and then spending all of my vacation time in those states for the last two years, but I digress...

Here's the bag, done at 6:22pm, in time for our 7pm birthday dinner. (Thank you 405 traffic doG for ONCE letting me run down the freeway at rushhour at 65 miles per hour.)



















Yeah, I know the pictures aren't the most even, but seriously, it was 6:23pm and I had to be in Marina del Rey at 7pm. I was pushing it even taking pictures.

Woo! At the restaurant at 6:50! I made it to the birthday dinner with wrapped gift in hand on time. Of course, I got work an hour early, didn't feed the dogs that day* and wasn't accepting personal phone calls until I went to dinner, but damn it, I finished that bag in two weeks.

Just like I planned.

Happy Birthday Kate!




*no skinny dogs starved in the making of this bag; gramma fed them.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mama's got a brand new bag


And she made it too!

This bag is from Hollywood Knits Style by Suss Cousins. I have the hardback version of the book, just in case you were interested in my personal knitting library. I have all her books. I dig them all. They're written well, the patterns work and generally your stuff looks chic while being pretty darn easy to make. The purse above, knit & purl. I know, complicated right? And its a quick knit so for all you wacky advanced knitters that get bored easily, this will take you no time and yet be a go to bag. Its light, sturdy and just happy. In fact, lean in. I'll tell you a secret. I'm making one for my mom in summer colors. Shh, don't tell her.

Ok, back to the purse at hand. The handle and the yarn are also Suss. Both were bought on sale so yeah, not too useful for your current purchase purposes. But, if you do happen to swing by her next sale, the yarn is a red/pink (1 strand red, 1 strand pink) thick thin sort of thing called Suss Charm. I love it. I loved it when it was full price. I loved it on sale. I loved it on clearance. And, I bought it all three times. I have oodles. Love. it.

What you can't see (mental note take a picture and learn to share) is the lining, my particular favorite part of the purse. Its a skirt that I bought back in college that I love. LOVE. (I know, there's alot of love in this post.) I got it at Wet Seal (shut up!) on Clearance for $9.99. Hmmm...what year? 1996? Anyways, it was a slip style skirt, small slit on the side, elastic waist and black lace trim at the bottom. I was so cute wearing that with black mary janes and a black top that I would wear over it. I even wore it when I was personal shopping at Bloomingdales with a black sweater set, black tights, and yes, black mary janes. Sadly, I stopped wearing it years ago but just looking at it made me happy so I couldn't get rid of it.

*Idea*

I could reuse it (!) and get the same joy from that shiny leopard every time I opened my new purse.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Corntastic!

When Regina took me on my first foray to A Mano I was immediately enchanted with the corn yarn. I mean, its freakin corn. And its soft. And dude, its made 100% from corn. Seriously. Corn. How do you not fall for that.

As I discussed in my last post, don't put the yarn near a hot iron but other than that it was interesting to work with. Its a ribbon yarn texture but oddly sturdy...about wool strong but not cotton strong. I just finished a second project with it and it also has a nice drape. It was that soft drape that initially attracted me to it but knowing that Todd's mom would never wear a knitted cardigan or shell I set out to make a bag. After much discussion with Regina, it was determined that crochet would give this yarn the strength it needed to become a fabulous little bag.

The bag was pretty free form so I have no pattern to post other than I worked with an F crochet hook, with 10 rows composing each stripe. I think I cast on about 180 stitches and worked in the round from there. What you don't see are two belt loops on the back of the bag about two inches long to hold the "belt," also about two inches thick. Magnets hold the bag shut (the two circles you can see in the picture) where D rings hold the bag on my hips.

I thought the bag would be bigger when I cast on but the size dictated the function of the bag, a small hip bag meant to carry only cash and keys for shopping as I talked about below.

Once I got over the "iron incident" I really liked this bag, and the lining (see below) which says something since I basically hate everything I make. But, if I didn't like Todd's mom so much, I might have kept it. It would have been great for sample sales and Last Chance runs.

I like crocheting, now I just have to learn how to read crochet patterns.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Insanity, partially explained.

If someone could explain to me how to craft and work and have enough time for blogging, I'm all ears. I can't seem to do all three. Lets go on a narrative of my latest project which I think illustrates why I can't do all there.

When I'm starting a project, I'm easily distracted. The project is shiny and new and there's no end in sight. I can pick it up, put it down, not even really think about it or its finish time. However, once I turn a corner and I'm on the back end of the project, I turn into a woman possessed. I stay up later. I knit longer. I. just. want. to. finish. So I work and work and work and work and then sleep. And then I go to work. That doesn't leave a whole lot of time for ye old blog. Hmmm.

That brings us to last night. I was at the very end of a project, a wee tote designed from corn yarn (yes, corn, how cool is that?!?) because corn is cool and its soft and the sig. other's mom lives in place where they grow corn and I knew she'd get a kick out of a bag made out of corn. Its an easy little project. Regina taught me how to crochet in the round and change colors in a pretty way so off I went striping to my hearts content.

I let the bag tell me where it was going and what it needed. (Yes, yarn talks to me. You want to make something of it punk?) So, it finished itself and declared itself to be a wee bag to be used for garage sale forays or bake sale volunteering, small enough to wear on the hip and big enough for money and keys. Sounds good to me! But it needed to be lined.

Off to Michael Levine on Sunday, my first time by the way. I'll be honest. I expected it to be bigger. But once I started to look at the fabrics, my head almost exploded. Everything was fabulous. They even had yarn I needed that I had no intention of buying there. So that was a plus and saved me another stop or two to find the yarn. Another bonus was Santino. That sighting can only be appreciated by the true Project Runway fans out there. He's even taller and skinnier in person than on the show. But, he looked the same otherwise, hanging at the button counter.

Everyone at Michael Levine was fabulous and helpful and I left with everything I needed for the wee bag as well as Mom's Mother's Day project.

Last night I sewed the lining for the purse. Now, I've sewn exactly three things, all for me, none of which had to be perfect. But, this is a gift so I wanted it to be nice. Needless to say, I did the lining and redid the lining and then the iron burped on the lining so I did it again.

Finally.

I was done.

I put the purse down.

I turned to grab something.

I knocked the iron over.

Are you gasping?

Gasping now would be a good thing.

Yup.

Hot iron + corn yarn = melted purse.

At 11pm.

sigh.

As "luck" would have it, it fell on the top of the purse. And as any crocheter will tell you, one of the many nice things about crochet is that its damn easy to frog and put back together. So I cut out the burned portion, saved the lining (!), crocheted the top again, affixed the closures again and promptly collapsed at 2am.

Now, any rational sane person would have just turned the iron off, cursed the iron (because its obviously not your fault for being a klutzy moron) and gone to sleep...I mean....someone rational would know that they're not leaving for Minnesota until Friday so they could have spent copious amounts of time during the rest of the week fixing the purse.

Yeah, rational doesn't live here.

The blog doesn't get updated. I post a month's worth of 366 at one sitting. I crazy. But, on the plus side, since my last blog entry I've finished 2 purses both fully lined. I'm even using one as my daily purse. I'll post pictures as soon as I find the time to upload them.

After I finish this purse.

heh.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Guilt and then some

So I took this amazing class at the Urban Craft Center on Sunday. It was their yarn dying/painting class with John Pitblado. The class was fabulous. John was fabulous. The students were fabulous. My newly dyed and painted yarn is fabulous. But I haven't had time to upload my pictures or really review my notes to give you a good description about the class and how, well, fabulous it all was.

And I feel poorly for that.

So yeah.

My bad.

If you get the chance to take a class with John, please take that class; it'll change your life.

Seriously.

But lets talk about Craft. I had the good fortune to eat at Craft in Century City today. We were part of a 45 person private party so I'm not sure if my experience is typical but I really liked it. We had this super cute room at the back that sat all of us quite comfortably. Despite all the chatting, it wasn't too noisy. The staff inside the room was friendly. The food was good. And, best of all, someone else was paying. So, if you get a chance to eat there for free, I say go for it.

Next up: Il Moro

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Nettie's Neddlecraft: The End of an Era

Nettie has had her lease on Wilshire Blvd. longer than I've been alive. Seriously. Since I was a kid I remember driving by Nettie's Neddlecraft. Its a block west of Neimans in prime Beverly Hills retail real estate. Driving to Bonwitt Teller I remember passing that burgundy awning. So, it was surreal to go today knowing that Nettie will only be there a few more weeks.

My first foray into the "needle arts," if you will, was needlepoint. It was an easy way to keep me occupied when mom & I would visit family in Pittsburgh. Its like coloring with yarn. I still enjoy it and have an unwritten contract with family that when a baby is born a stocking is stitched. And, I've bought most of my stockings from Nettie.

Every visit to Nettie's was the same. You walk into the store and are completely overwhelmed. She's been in this business for years and her inventory reflects that history. I would only shop in one aisle as most neddlepoint is cost prohibitive; yet that one aisle could keep me occupied for an hour. Then, as Nettie would sit in the back stitching with her other clients, one of her people would help me find something or just ring me up. It was always a unique shopping experience.

Walking into the store today, I don't think I warned Regina well enough and to be honest even I wasn't prepared for the amount of stock she had on hand. Not only did Nettie have her usual overwhelming amount of merchandise but she was also emptying out her warehouse. And, for the first time, I had the pleasure of speaking to this proprietor. As it is rude to ask a lady of her stature her age, I did ask her why close, why now. She didn't answer but we did establish in the course of the conversation that she has a great-grandchild my age. Later we overheard that her landlord is aggressively raising the rent so it was just time to go.

For all of you collectors out there, look at what Regina introduced me to:


And get this, she has a sign that all the magazines are $1.50. But, while we were there assembling our stack Nettie changed her mind and said that she's charging face value for them. McCall's marked it $1 in 1975, you pay one dollar in 2007. That's right, I said it. It reads $1.25, you pay $1.25, no eBay bidding required.

You seriously need to head over there. Rumor has it she'll be there until the 25th, but I'd head over this week. You just never know what you're going to find. She really wants to get rid of those magazines. After all, they're sitting on top of a convection oven still in the box that she hasn't had the opportunity to use and she'd really like to take that home.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fight Club

Since Ed Norton or Brad Pitt didn't show up, I figure I can talk about Fight Club. Then again, if Ed or Brad had shown up, I would have freakin' broadcast Fight Club. But, more Ed than Brad as I've loved Ed for years. Though if he were standing next to Russell Crowe I'm not sure what I'd do.

*Ahem*

We find ourselves at the Urban Craft Center once again. However, this time we are not arriving to flowers and Kool Aid; this time we're walking into respirators and lye. That's right ladies and gentlemen, its time to make some soap.

This was my first class with Carolyn and let me tell you, she's cool. You ask incredibly inane questions like "When was soap invented?" and she actually answers truthfully and doesn't give the reasonable response of "Obviously you didn't have your respirator on properly when you were mixing that lye."

Here you can see all the materials all neatly laid out, 'cause that's how they roll at UCC. The short white container all by itself is the lye. The two stacked containers are the palm and coconut oil. The longer container that looks like it contains olive oil contains olive oil. Then on the other side you have your directions, safety goggles, respirator and instructions.

All the safety gear is for handling the lye. I used the respirator more than once as the extreme smell of the essential oils heated was a bit more than my delicate form could take. And, because I'm me, I broke the respirator. Its a wonder these girls keep letting back in the front door with the chaos I seem to cause.

I didn't take any during pictures 'cause you have to keep the lid on the crock pot. And you can see the crock pots on the right side of the picture. Imagine some while foamy stuff in there and you have your during picture.

As one of your class given supplies, you get an 8 bar mold that says "HANDMADE." (Do me a favor...look surprised when you get this as a gift, ok?) However, there is enough to make more then the one mold so you can either bring your own (anything flexible) or use the other ones they have. If you use theirs, you just have to let your soap harden there and pick it up later. And, since I figured I wouldn't make soap again on my own, I left my "Handmade" mold there with the borrowed molds. (See, I'm recycling. Check me out. Pay no attention to the individually wrapped containers of food I eat everyday. Focus on the soap mold I left at UCC to be used again, ok?)

Here's one of the other molds. Isn't my monkey cute? He's even cuter in person, I swear. They also have hearts and rocket ships and birds and pigs and all sorts of fun stuff.

If you do the class later this month (the 27th if my memory serves), save me a spot. I think I'm going to take the class again for three reasons:

1. It was fun.
2. I want to make more soap but me + handling lye = bad idea
3. I have my own molds and essential oils I want to use.

Join me!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween is almost here...

What are you brewing?

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Revel in the Ravelry

I'm in!

Boy, that sounds dirty out of context. Ok, for all y'all on Ravelry I'm up and running, well, more like jogging, but I'm in! So, if I haven't found you, please find me. You'll never guess what my user name is. (Here's a hint, its the name of my website and perhaps even my last name...ok, ok, radomile.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dude, its Thanksgiving

That was my thought looking at my datebook right now. As I am a full-fledged member of the 21st Century, of course I have the most modern appointment keeping tool available. And, there it was, staring right at me...Thanksgiving. Yes, I understand there are a few weeks until then but seriously.

10/26 - 10/28 - T is in town.

10/31 - Halloween

11/1 - S'n'B WeHo Day-of-the-Dead-Halloween Party - I'm so close to being done with my "costume" I can't stand it. Hopefully tomorrow...see T is in town entry above.

11/3 - Soap Making at UCC - I don't see it on the website but I have an email that lists it. 10am - 1pm - Fight Club! Come join me!

11/9 - 11/13 - T comes back to town.

11/17 - Brentwood Holiday Boutique - Anyone want to go with me? Its a great place to get ideas on things we can make and we can laugh at how much the parents are paying for the stuff. Think of the legendary Pidge. I'm sure we'll see stuff like that.
11/17 - S'n'B UCLA Hockey Night - Who wants to drive?

11/18 - Erin Fetherston for Target - Yes, I will have bought most of the collection on-line, but that doesn't mean I can't check it out in person as well!
11/18 - Felt Club - Ok, I've been promised that the new venue is like a bazillion times better than the last one. So, I'm willing to give this crafty gathering another go.

11/22 - Thanksgiving.

One year ago...


Three years ago...

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Did you know there was an earthquake yesterday?

It happened at about 1:45am. Yeah, I got the notification yesterday morning in my email but that's not how I knew about it. I knew 'cause I felt it. I was just getting to bed. You know why I was just getting to bed?




If you guessed because I was obsessively finishing the second version of the world's cutest baby hat, (blue brimmed version above) you would be correct! (Apologies to my married or out-of-town friends who live under this thin veil of illusion that I live this glamorous L.A. single girl life, though stay tuned for my pole dancing public service announcement coming up next!)

Anyways, back to the world's cutest baby hat. Seriously, my pictures don't do it justice. (Though the folks at Knitty did a damn fine job photographing it!) But, let me tell you, it really is the world's cutest baby hat.

Seriously.

Anyways, this was made from all sorts of yarn I have. As the pattern calls for double strands of 100% superwash merino wool, I sort of improvised as I don't really knit with superwash merino wool...I mean, that would be too easy.

Hat with Lime brim:

Lime: Baby Alpaca I picked up at my first crafty yard sale last year; fingering weight bordering on thread so I put 5 strands together.
Blue: Suss 100% wool (discontinued, though I will be at their sale on Saturday, 10/20/07, 9am - 4pm at 117 N. Gardner St., LA, CA 90036 - email me if you want a copy of the announcement) doubled.
Light Blue: Baby Alpaca I picked up at the yard sale listed above, again 5 strands together.
Yellow: I used the two yellows I dyed at Urban Craft Center, 100% wool, fingering weight, one strand each.
Turquoise: I used one strand of my latest creation of Kool Aid died Yarn, 100% wool, worsted weight.
Purple: 100% wool Bulky weight gifted from Melissa in her move to L.A.
Pink: Baby Alpaca...ok, you already know...same craft sale, same strands.

So yeah, point being, as long as you stay away from the bulky weights (I know I cheated but for that purple purl row it just worked for me) you really can use any yarn. Let me rephrase that, depending on the baby for whom you're making this hat, you can use any yarn. This hat is heading to Minneapolis where they actually dress children in wool to keep warm so I wasn't worried about offending a new California mom by presenting a wool infused hat. But, let me tell you between the happy personality of the hat, the super soft Alpaca and the smell of the Kool Aid and natural dyed yarns, these hats are among my favorite things I've made.

Random Knitting Things You Should Know for This Pattern:

Knitting on Circular Needles: I prefer circulars to DPNs but that's just me. I did 80% of the larger hat on the circulars and flipped over to 3 DPNs to finish it.
Knitting on Double Pointed Needles: If you know the theory of DPNs, you're all good. I had never really made anything on DPNs before and this was super easy. The Blue hat was just too wee for the circulars so I used all of the DPNs in the set (5?) for this hat. The hardest thing for me was to find one of the needles when I'd put my knitting down to pet a neglected bread-stealing greyhound.
I-cord: Anything with the word idiot in the title is easy.

According to Regina, I did Fair Isle which I've never tried before. (Good thing the author didn't mention that or else I would have been too scared to try the pattern.) I've never knitted a hat on double pointed needles and I've never done that flower on the top before. And, let me tell you, out of all the things I did for the first time on the hats, that little @$%^#$ flower was my nemesis. Ug, you're at the END and it looks so easy in the pattern and yet its not WORKING. But, its fine, I now understand how to do it and its all good. I'm ok. Happy thoughts, think happy thoughts. Vacation, Hawaii, cruise to the Panama Canal....

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Live and Let Dye

Ok seriously, some people pay to have people seam up sweaters they've knitted, I need to pay someone to do titles for me.
To review:

Before:

During:




After:



I have to admit, the ghetto Kool-Aid cake (the candy cane striped one in the front) is my favorite. The other happy yarn cakes of goodness turned out really well and much softer than you'd image after being tortured in dye (all be it natural) and hot water. The two yellow cakes are finding their purpose in the world's cutest baby hat. I'm sure the others will find their calling shortly.

As you sit transfixed by the candy-cane striped skein, you'll be happy to know that I'm perfecting the Kool-Aid dying recipe and will post as soon as I'm done with my experimentation. While you wait anxiously for that nugget of information, I will warn you that winding home-dyed yarn is a wee more challenging than winding usual yarn-store yarn. I mean, the skeins held. They didn't tangle or anything so they went onto the swift quite easily, but the winding itself was a bit of a negotiation between the yarn and I. If you must know, the bright yellow one and I had some choice words.

See, its not all the fault of the bright yellow skein. I accidentally started to felt the bright yellow skein while rinsing the dye out. FYI, don't do that. As someone who has both intentionally machine and hand felted items, I didn't think this would be a problem. I mean, if you've ever felted you know what I mean. When you're trying to felt something, it takes for freakin' ever. But, if you're not trying...yeah...hot water and wool really should be treated gently. But, despite the wee felting, the yarn is super soft and fabulous to knit with.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

To Dye For

If I'm not free on a Wednesday night for dinner, it usually means one thing...I'm hanging at the Urban Craft Center. This week's agenda: dying yarn.

The class was so not what I expected. First of all, the amount of yarn you get for your class dollars is outstanding. Here's on skein of the yarn before:




And for all of you at home playing along who may want to do this, Knit Picks has the best deal going. This costs $3.49. You're looking at like 440 yards of yarn goodness. I have to admit, I'm a bulky kind of girl, so I think if I were to do this at home, I'd buy the bulkier weight yarns. But, for this class, the lighter weight was awesome to work with. And, while we were dying, rinsing and hanging, I was thinking up different projects to do with my newly colored yarn.



Back to the class being not what I expected. Ok, so first we get like skeins and skeins of yarn, which was fabulously surprising. Second, I guess when I think of dye I think of Rit. I had no idea that we'd be using natural sorts of dyes like onions and sunflowers...how cool!

Angharad had all sorts of pots brewing upon our arrival. Since the natural process can be a wee unpredictable, she started without us (she didn't want us to be stuck there staring at pots waiting for the color to leave their natural elements) but explained everything she did so we could repeat it on our own. She also taught us about preparing the yarn prior to dying it and did one dry unprepped skein with the already prepped skeins to illustrate the differences in how the color attaches to the yarns....very cool.

In addition to the four natural dying batches, we each had one Kool-Aid batch. I'm so doing this at home. (Shhh, don't tell gramma, I couldn't imagine she'd enjoy that image.) Now, I had heard some not-so-favorable reviews of Kool Aid dying a few months ago, but after doing this with Angharad and downloading the instructions from the Knit Picks Website I'm super excited to try it with the wool I grabbed from the happy crafty yard sale a few weeks ago.

But, back to the class. Here's all but one batch o' yarn we dyed:




(I really wish I had remembered to grab my real camera as my cel phone doesn't really do this justice.) The row of yarn in the front is mine. All the skeins are there except the brown, which was still cooling. The first yarn in the front (the red one) is the Kool-Aid dye. We did a variegated sort of thing where we chose two colors. I did red and pink. (Mental note for the pink, use SEVERAL packages. Oddly, the end of the yarn sucked up the pink immediately and didn't give the rest of the half a skein a chance to grab any of the color.)

I know the yarn looks odd sitting on the rack but as it dries it looks fabulous. When I wind my skeins into happy yarn cakes, I'll post those pictures for your your (ok, really my) enjoyment.

At the end of class we had the option to let our yarn dry there or take it home. Of course, I'm all about instant gratification so I took mine home. Angharad busted out Ziploc after Ziploc to get our damp (and one wet) skeins home and included a jumbo Ziploc for easy carrying as well as instructions so that we could do this at home.

I mean, that's one of the things that's so cool at this center. They really want to teach you how to do all of this and share the joy that is the creative process. I mean, she was the one telling us how affordable Knit Picks yarn is an how much it cost so we could do this at home. That's just neat to me....that someone genuinely wants to pass on what they know to you so you can have that joy yourself. I was looking at my yarn drying at home last night and I was just pleased as punch with it.

Ok, more classes I'll be taking, please join me!

11/28 - Hand Made Soaps
12/12 - Gocco Screen Printing
12/16 - Hand Painted Yarns

Obviously, there are more classes, but those are the ones that float my boat. I'm also playing around with the idea of the sewing classes...I'll have to think more on those. But, one thing I was reminded of last night, for $25/hour (I think that's per person), they'll teach you whatever you want to know. Like, if you want to learn how to sew a skirt, you bring the pattern and fabric and she'll show you. How cool is that?

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Today was a good day*

Work was good, got WAY too much accomplished. And then the day really began...

I can't recommend The Urban Craft Center enough. I know I've talked about them before but last night I took my first class. Yes, we've already covered that the chicks there are great. But, they're also great teachers and I was super impressed by the materials they use. Everything was top notch. If you're thinking about taking a class there, you really should. I want to do the Natural Dying class (10/10), the handmade soap class (11/28) and the Gocco Screen Printing class (12/11). Let me know if you'd like to join me!

Ok, so I had no clue that my night would get better after class. Did you catch Bionic Woman or Life last night? Holy wow they were fantastic! I'm so in. C'mon NBC, you're doin' good. Keep it up.

*That's right, I grabbed that lyric from Ice Cube. I can admit that. We're cool.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Un-Raveled

Ok, I admit it I jumped on the Ravelry bandwagon. Now, when I say jumped I really mean I'm walking behind the wagon hoping it stops so I can jump on. Now, I only signed up about an hour ago, here's where we are:

Found you!
You signed up on Today
You are #34712 on the list.
18963 people are ahead of you in line.
23 people are behind you in line.
44% of the list has been invited so far

In other crafty news Yarns Unlimited (828 Pico Blvd., just east of Lincoln) is having their HUGE annual sale...not my favorite kind of sale where you have $1 and $ 3 bins but everything in the store is 25% - 50% off. Now, that's cool. There's some blue wool I've been needing for a few projects so this is the perfect opportunity to stock up on such a basic. Of course, I'm sure I won't be tempted on anything I don't need. Gramma put a ban on bringing any new yarn into the house.

Heh. Yeah.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Reading blogs is an expensive habbit

Seriously.

There are all these people out there who know about all this cool stuff that I've never even heard of. Today's evil influence: Allison. (We've met her before 'cause she owns SuperCrafty and goes to the WeHo Stitch'n'Bitch.) Yeah, she alerted us to the Urban Craft Center.

Ok, I don't know about you, but every now and then (though lately its been daily) I've said to myself, "Gee, it would be nice to learn how to embroider." Or, "Gee, I would love to make soap but I don't want to blow up the house." Well ladies and gentlemen, we have women who have not only thought that, but created a place to make it happen.

Yippee!

Regina and I spent our lunch hour in search of the mythical Urban Craft Center and not only did we find it but found parking as well! After work and on the weekends, you can park in the lot, but during work hours, you're on the meters.

We chatted with the chicks running it about the concept, the marketing, and the classes they're not only having but want to have. I of course was asking stupid questions about some of the classes 'cause they have crafts I've never even heard of.

We're taking the Artful Stitching class next week. If you want to join us, call 'em up and reserve your spot.

Its a small, small (craft) world.

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