Thursday, June 30, 2005

Some More Progress

Well, I haven't gotten very far yet, but I can mention that I think the edging is working. Not taking a picture until it's a sure thing however! The annoying part is I can't knit and read the computer screen at the same time while working on this. Darn. I'm using the nifty knit-on lace edging technique that I learned while trying to help dear Sheila from Merrit fix her Meg Swansen Garter Shawl problem a few months ago. Unfortunately you have to turn the work back and forth constantly. It's a little bit harder to turn a whole poncho than just a bit of lace, but I'm saving myself the sewing-the-lace-on part. I guess I need to practice my "knitting-back-backwards" techniques, huh?

Pictures only when I've got something good to show!

Other News
I keep hearing a bird calling outside that sounds tantalizingly familiar but I can't place it. And I can't catch a glimpse of the darn thing. I hope it's still around when Thom gets home so I can get him to see if he can identify it. It's driving me nuts!

Another thing that's driving me nuts is the smell of the chestnut pollen from my tree. It's so strong that although I'm not allergic to it particularly, my eyes are feeling gritty and my throat is scratchy and I'm in the house (but I'm not going to close the windows — I'll suffocate). It's only about a week or so a year that this happens, but it's a long week. Funny thing though — our annoying neighbour Mike hasn't come by to complain about the "poisonous tree". Does this mean that he's not feeling very well? I haven't seen him recently and the last time I saw him he wasn't looking too spry. I thought he was too ornery to ever go, I hope he's OK. But I'm not going over to check. He doesn't like me at all, looks right through me like I'm not even there, and never responds to anything I say. What a guy.

Off to my physiotherapist this afternoon. This may be the last visit for awhile since I'm getting much better. It's so expensive though Thom's extended medical pays for quite a few visits. I just feel so darned decadent lying there being massaged, with a warm blankie (OK, towel) and heating pads and the prickle-dance of the TENS machine on my back. Ahhh...pleasure. And then I have to get up, get dressed, and go buy groceries that I have to schlepp home on my back, thereby negating all the good stuff that Ivy just did to my neck and shoulders. I'd use the shopping cart like a little old lady, but it's so darned inconvenient and actually more awkward on my neck and arms. No wonder Thom's mom gave it to me. She doesn't like it either. Though she gets more embarrased by the "little old lady" thing even though she is one and I'm not. Yet. Just the fact that I'm a grandmother does not make me a little old lady. Uh-uh. That's a fallacy. It's my kids fault that I'm a grandmother — I didn't have anything to do with it. As a matter of fact, if it was up to me, I'd have more grandkids. Especially if they're all as cute as the first one. Or even if they aren't. I'd love them anyway.

HEY! I got a comment on my blog! My very first one. Thanks so much, Roberta! I feel like a real blogger now. Not like my idol Yarn Harlot though — she can get 600+ comments on one blog. Yikes! Not quite sure I want to be that popular. I think it frightens her too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today's Lesson

Strand or Lifted Increases

I thought I'd show the exact method I've been using for my increases in the toddler poncho. Montse Stanley in The Handknitter's Handbook (my knit technique bible) calls them "strand" increases but I like to call them "lifted" increases. Or more precisely "lifted-twisted" increases because if you just lifted the strand between the stitches and knit it normally it would leave a hole (which Montse calls "pinhole" increases). Are we all confused yet? Wait, there's more! There's a left and a right lifted increase. And of course the front leg of the twisted stitch slants in the opposite direction to its name. However, I've been working the right increase on the right side of the marker and the left increase on the left side of the marker so it's not too hard to remember. Once you've done it a hundred thousand times.

The increase that most knitters are familiar with is the right one. The left one is a bit more annoyingly tricky to work, especially if your needle points aren't very sharp. First you pick up the strand backwards to the way you usually do it — left needle going from back to front under it. That's the easy part. Now to knit it. The lovely arrow I've drawn in the above photo shows where you have to put the needle and the direction it goes in: through the front leg as if to knit. Sounds simple but there's no space between the left needle and the yarn to poke the right needle into. Try it and you'll see. Or maybe (probably) you're a better knitter than I am.

Well I've pretty much come to the place where I want to stop with the multicoloured garter ridges. But I'm not finished yet. Back up a minute. Did I mention that I changed needles yet again? You might have noticed that in the photo. Not the bamboo dpns I started out with, not the grey Aero circular I carried on with when there were too many stitches for the dpns, but my rare Addi Turbo circulars, 24" long and ostensibly 3.25 mm. I'm beginning to not trust the sizes either printed on the needles or my needle gauge. There isn't any such thing as the same size needles. Kind of like trying to buy a pair of shoes size 8. The reason I'm using these particular needles isn't just because they're longer than the Aero's 16" but because they are slightly smaller. I changed over at the point where I started the multicoloured garter stitch because I noticed (before I frogged it) that the previous version was waving in the garter area. Probably because a) the variegated yarn is slightly thicker and b) because garter stitch is wider than stockinette. I actually went back to the needle size that I started with except that they're nickel plated so I knit tighter than I do on bamboo. Anyway it's working out OK.

Oh yeah. I was going to discuss The Plan that I have percolating in my brain for the finish to this poncho. I can't just bind off and let that be it. No. I have to do something knitterly! I want a pointy edge back in the plain yellow yarn. Haven't quite figured out how to do that yet but I'm researching. Right now there's a couple of good bets in Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge. I let you know how it goes. Eventually when I'm finished I'll put the whole pattern all edited and spiffed up here on Damsefly's Delights.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Oh Phooey!

Just what is it about this yarn? Here I was merrily knitting away — while multitasking I have to admit: reading Yarn Harlot archives and ripping CDs at the same time. It was coming out OK considering I never had a pattern but was making it up as I went along. But then this morning in the bold light of day I finally saw The Mistake! It was on what I consider the back (both front and back are the same so it's kind of arbitrary) and there was a wobble in the increase line. And of course it wasn't just a few rows back but several inches. Pooh. A braver woman might have left it thinking that it took me this long to see it, how long would it take someone without my gimlet eye to notice? But I'm too much of a perfectionist (just enough to be dangerous actually) to let it go un-frogged. It's actually pretty obvious. Today. How come it wasn't obvious yesterday before I knit all those extra inches? Remember the rows get 4 stitches longer every other round.

After Frogging. Sniff!

OK, it's done now. That didn't hurt. Much. Kind of like pulling off a bandaid quickly...

Oh No! A Mistake!
Just to remember why I'm knitting this poncho-thing anyway. This is my Kiera-grandbaby snuggled up to me in the baby sling as I was trying to get her to nap yesterday. Too cute, eh?

Sleeping Beauty

Monday, June 27, 2005

Some Progress is Made

As if losing my access to my email for 24 hours wasn't enough of a headache, I also had a migraine yesterday. Not fun. Luckily, my resident geek was able to fix the email problem. It only took him about 6 hours total time spent. Good thing I don't have to pay him like they do at his job for the same type of work! (My kind of payment he likes but I'm not going to ask whether it's better than money. I still have to pay him for this one.) After catching up on my email, I spent the day ripping all our CDs to my new and very huge hard drive and reading the Yarn Harlot's blog. That woman is a scream! Thom was noting that I was sitting up here laughing like a banshee for hours all by myself. Good thing he knows me well enough not to suspect that I'm finally losing my marbles. I'd never be able to write like YH. She is amazing — funny, pithy, and real. Canadian too! I especially love all the travel pictures with The Sock. I'm now working my way through the whole year and a half of her blogs. And I want to get her book At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. I didn't realize it was hers when I saw it at Chapter's. Who was to know that one Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is The Yarn Harlot? They should have put that on the cover. Oops, they did. My excuse: I was wearing my dark glasses which are just my distance prescription and I can't read very well (at all actually, unless it's a large sign a block away) with them on.

Craft Report

As you can see I've started the poncho, making it up as I go along. Really the only thing I'm doing differently from the plan in my previous post is that I'm working the increases (lifted left and right stitches) before and after a central stitch. So far anyway all seems to be working out OK. I get to babysit Kiera today so I can surreptitiously try it on her and see how much more I have to go. Do you think she would actually wear the hat I have in mind to go with this poncho?

The Poncho in Progress

I'm not really happy with the needles I'm using. I started with Clover Takumi bamboo 3.25 mm dpn's but this is an older set with only 4 needles. (Phooey! Who knits on only 4 dpns?) I soon ran out of room on them for the increasing number of stitches so I switched to a circular. Of course I didn't have the right sized circular (go figure) so I'm working on an Aero 3.5 mm. I've proved to myself that I actually knit tighter on a metal needle than on a bamboo one because the gauge didn't change hardly at all. Even though I proved the needles were different diameters in my needle gauge. (That's the green plastic thing in the basket there.) I'd rather have a Takumi circular in 3.25 mm but I'm having a hard time justifying yet another set of needles to myself. Yeah, I know but after springing for those expensive Denise modular needles you'd think they should cover everything, wouldn't you? I knew they were too big for a lot of my knitting! The smallest one in the set is 3.75 mm and much too big for this yarn. Meanwhile I'm over halfway through the poncho on the Aeros so maybe I can get away without spending anymore on needles this time. Whew! That was well not-justified.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Endings and Beginnings

I finished the last sock from Malachy's Toddler Set! Finally. The second sock is pretty uneven in tension, worse actually than the first sock. Boy, I really must not have been terribly excited about this project anymore or maybe I can blame it on my sore neck and shoulders. Whatever, I'm just glad it's done! Flitting on to the next thing...

Here's a photo of the original sweater I started to make for Kiera more than a year ago and well before she was born. It just wasn't working out the way I envisioned and I liked the set I ended up giving her at the baby shower better. I just never got back to working on this one. (Gee, it sounds like I never finish anything without struggling and complaining, doesn't it? Not true — well, not all the time anyway!)

So I've decided that it's going to turn into a toddler poncho and maybe another hat if there's enough yarn. I doubt the dyelot is still available at Birkeland Bros by now! So I'm working with what I've got, just like as if it was a limited amount of handspun. The plain yellow is Lanett (100% superwash wool) and the variegated is Sisu (80% superwash, 20% nylon). The top picture is the bits and bobs before I started pulling it all apart. Of course the frogged yarn was all kinky so I decided to wash it to make it easier to knit with. And just in case it shrank or changed in any way, I had to wind everything into skeins and wash them all together. There were some fairly short bits so there'll be a number of joins in the poncho. This stuff is slippery! It doesn't felt together like regular wool and I find that joins in commercial yarn are much more obvious than in handspun. Washes easily though — a must for garments for little ones. (Big ones too sometimes! And Silly Son Simon, Kiera's dad, isn't allergic to it as much as he is to "real" wool.) It might be "engineered" but at least it isn't plastic! You don't think I'd knit plastic yarn for my precious one-and-only grandbaby, do you!? Ick.

Frogging Done

Now to let it dry (it's all currently hanging on the railing on my upper deck but the sun's gone in, darn!) and wind it all back into balls. Thank goodness I have the proper tools: skein winder/unwinder and ball winder. It can get rather tedious but at least I don't have to find a spouse or a chair to hold skeins for me. I think I'll kind of design this poncho on the circular needles. First a cast-on round in the variegated yarn that will fit over her head, then some circular garter (k 1 round, p 1 round) to make the neck lie flat, and including 4 increases (before and after the centre front and back stitches) every other round. Next change to yellow yarn and continue in plain st st (not forgetting the increases) until it's bigger and then finish with a wide border of the variegated in garter again. It remains to be seen whether I change anything from this before I'm done! You never know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Garden Star & Silly Goose

I promised a picture of the Garden Star. Of course you can't see the cool strobe effect in a stationary picture, can you? See how high my tomatoes are and it's only the end of June! Being in their "house" keeps them a bit warmer but the trade-off is a bit less light gets in. Here in the Vancouver Lower Mainland we have to keep our tomatoes under cover or risk losing them to late blight. They'll look wonderful with ripening fruit one minute and the next time you look the whole plant will be rotting before your eyes. Not a pretty sight. Speaking of not-pretty sights, my squashes in the bed next to the tomatoes are not looking too robust at the moment either. The problem is wire worms who have been nibbling on their roots. The cucumbers have the same thing — must be because they are in the same genus and wire worms find them all yummy. Thom has potato wedges (which the worms also find yummy) in each bed to trap the darn things. The numbers are thinning but so are my plants!

Notice my new goose in front of the tomato house. My Uncle Al made it for Mother and she gave it to me. It's made of a river stone with a drilled hole that fits over an iron peg in the rest of the body. Apparently he even did the welding on it. Too bad he's not in Mother's good books since he remarried and re-wrote his will with his new wife as his beneficiary instead of his kids. However, it is his to do with as he wants, even if Mother disagrees. Meanwhile the goose is protecting my garden from crows. Maybe.

No craft report today — I've been spending way too much time with the plants (and on the computer) instead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Scoobie Doo's Mystery Machine Lunchbox...Er...Sockbox

What's In The Box?

Mystery Machine and My Current Socks

Today I thought I'd show you my favourite way to carry around my sock knitting. I've tried felted knitted bags (the needles poke out), just stuffing it in my pocket (the needles stick me!), and plastic Ziploc bags (the needles poke out again). I scarfed this cute lunchbox from Thom who won it at work for something-or-other. It was filled with candy which didn't last long, then it sat on our dresser for about a year. I asked for it a couple of times but he seemed reluctant to part with it but finally, since he couldn't find a really good reason to have it sitting around any longer, he let me have it. Well he couldn't figure out what to use it for! It's perfect for socks and I can even get two socks-in-progress in it with both their yarn balls. Even the longer 7" needles fit OK. The box is ready to travel anytime I need a portable project. Scooby-dooby-doo!

As you can see I've finished one of the toddler socks and the other one is in progress. I had only a couple of yards of the Confetti yarn left, all gray and white. That was close! Good thing I divided what I had left into matching balls before I started knitting these things. That little ball in the corner of the box is the second ball for the new sock, not the leftovers from the first one! At least now the 2 socks should be fairly closely matched. The finished one is about 5 1/4" long in the foot. Hope that's big enough to wear at the same time as the hat and cardigan. I never can remember how big a one-year-old's feet are. It's been 30 years since I've had a one-year-old though, so I guess I can be forgiven my memory lapse.

Other Stuff
Today is the first day of summer! It started out wonderfully — warm and sunny — but now it's clouded over and the wind is picking up. Still muggy though. I spent the whole morning in the veggie garden weeding and planting and tying up the mints and yarrow. My hands still smell like feverfew even after a nail scrubbing and a shower! It's such a strong scent, not quite pleasant exactly. I think I'd rather smell like mint. I still need to do the front garden but not today. My physio is making enough money from me already! I should be just about ready for a treatment by my Thursday afternoon appointment. Guess I'd better get out there and put the sides back down on the tomato house before they get wet.

We've been enjoying sitting out on the upper deck having dinner with the dragonfly lights overhead and listening to the water garden. It's doing really well so far this year and looks interesting with the glass bubbles and water plants. Even the fungus that's growing on the spout looks interesting! I'll have to ask Masami if it has wabi-sabi. Of course that depends on whether she likes the "auk" that sits on top or not! He is developing a lovely patina (OK, rust) from sitting outside over the water. Oh and I finally found a spot for the orange metal star where I feel a little more secure about leaving it outside. It's hung from the roof peak of the tomato house where I can see it from the deck or the kitchen window. This star is so cool — it's a foot across, laser-cut and bent so that as it turns it has an optical strobe light effect. However it doesn't turn well by itself and really needs a motorized hook thingy like Christmas decorations sometimes have. No idea where to get one or whether or not it would be OK outside. Maybe I'd better not draw too much attention to the star anyway before someone decides to steal it. Especially if they found out that it's worth $40! (Now you know why I'm nervous about it!) And yes, I think it was too expensive. But too cool! I'll have to take a photo.

Friday, June 17, 2005

What a Bibliophile!

I have been buying too many books. And magazines. I'm running out of room to put them! I'm truly glad my NeedleTrax program which helps me keep my inventory doesn't have a financial total available or I'd have a heart attack (or more likely Thom would). When 6 large bookcases are filled with craft publications — the fantasy/sci-fi and computer books are elsewhere — you just know you have a problem. Is there a 12-Step program for biblio-holics? Never mind, I don't think I want curing quite yet.

Just in the last couple of days I got 2 books in the mail from That Bead Lady in Ontario plus 2 from the local Book Warehouse. I swear there was a good reason for every one of them! Beaded Crochet Designs by Ann Benson is quite wonderful for a bead crochet lover such as myself. It includes some different ideas for combining beads, other types of beadwork (peyote, brick stitch), joining ropes, and wirework than I've seen before. Her designs are a bit sweet for me, especially with the little girls playing dressup while modelling some of the pieces. I'm more of a spicey kind of girl myself! However, as technical inspiration there's some juicy ideas here and it's enough different in style from Judith Bertoglio-Giffin's books to make it worth owning all.

The other book I got from Cathy (the actual Bead Lady!) is my old sci-fi author acquaintance Margaret Ball's book Embeadery. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in this book. I know it's self-published but I think she could have used better paper and instead of putting the colour plates in the back, they should be interspersed in the text. I feel like I need to cut them out and paste them in the correct place like those stamp books I had when I was a kid! I guess she's a good writer but not a book designer. Either that or her book was starting to exceed her printing budget which is probably more the case. The techniques described are like regular embroidery stitches but with beads on the threads. The nicest examples in the book are all on the cover. One of these days I'd like to make a wall hanging and hope to use some of the stitches in here. Well it's on my list anyway.

I lucked out at Book Warehouse (discount and remaindered books) and found the last copy of the late Gosta Sandberg's The Red Dyes: Cochineal, Madder, and Murex Purple. I saw it for $42.00 at Maiwa Handprints last time I looked but was discounted down to a mere $19.99, less than half price! How could a dyed-in-the-wool dyer like me resist? I've read the guild's copy of course, but there's nothing like having your own copy when the need to look up something about kermes or Turkey red arises. I plan to buy a copy of Jenny Balfour-Paul's book on indigo soon too. Then I'll have red and blue. And yellow is so easy to obtain from just about any plant. A whole rainbow awaits!

The second book I got at Book Warehouse was The Pattern Companion: Knitting by a number of knitwear designers. It seems to be a compilation drawn from seven previous books. I'd never seen this particular book before but since it was only $11.99 and had more than a few interesting and adaptable patterns in it, it came home with me too. I think it was considerably better value than the Knitter's magazine I just got that had not one pattern in it that I particularly liked. Even if I never knit a thing out of a book or magazine, I should at least fantasize about making some of the patterns.

Have I managed to justify my purchases sufficiently? I haven't even mentioned the magazines yet. Never mind. Now I just have to find room for them all on the shelves. But first I have to cover them with clear adhesive-backed plastic, stamp the inside cover with a hand-carved stamp, and write my name and the year in. Have to make sure everyone knows these are my books!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Butterfly Fun

Atlas Moths

On their cruise, Celeste and Sean went to a butterfly breeding enclosure in the Grand Cayman Islands. There are lots more of these gorgeous photos! These guys (well, I think one's a girl!) are almost as big as both my hands put together. I'll post more when I can't think of what else to show off.

Just Ruminating Today

I just got back from a visit to Ivy my physiotherapist for a treatment followed by a visit to Pat my hairdresser for a cut. Boy, do I feel pampered! Not being one of those matrons who are always visiting the "salons" it's pretty unusual for me to spend so much time on these things. I'm kind of an oddity for a woman — don't wear perfume or makeup or nailpolish or pantyhose or heels. I wear whatever I feel like — don't care what's in style or what others think. Of course that leaves all the money I save by not buying all the usual feminine stuff for the stuff I do love: books, magazines, fibres, yarns, dyes, tools etc. Works for me.

Every once in awhile I feel a little odd though. Like at a wedding or party where most of the people are strangers (or nearly so). The usual ice-breaker question is "So what do you do?" I've given up trying to explain all the things I'm excited about and usually just say "fibre artist" and/or "craft instructor". The trouble with "fibre artist" is people always want to know where I sell my work and seem disappointed when I say that I don't, I sell my expertise instead. That usually causes the conversation to drop when they realize they don't really have a clue about what a fibre artist is and they aren't the least bit interested in finding out. I usually end up pointing out what I'm wearing that I've made, whereupon they say "Oh, I could never do that! You must have so much patience!" Argghhh...not with that attitude I don't!

The rest of the time I hang out with my fellow fibre people and feel perfectly normal. They all know what I'm talking about and I don't have to explain why I spent 3 months recycling my 25-year-old handspun yarn to knit a new sweater out of it or why I actually use handwoven tea towels every day. I'm even going to a potluck meeting with my weavers & spinners guild this evening. (Note to self: Need to make a dish to take and don't forget the plate, cutlery and handwoven napkin!) It'll be fun — especially since we don't meet again until next September. I love them all a bunch!

One last rumination on myself for today is that I'm really happy with my relatively svelt new figure. Now if I could get rid of the migraines and the osteoarthritis (and lose 20 years while I'm at it!) I'd be a totally healthy and happy camper. Of course I could lose some more weight but I think it's still slowly coming off a tiny bit at a time. Doesn't matter; right here is good. I've managed to keep it off for more than 6 months now so I know I'm not going to blow back up to where I was a year ago. (As long as I'm still reasonably careful that is.) Low carb works! Don't listen to the nay-sayers! My doctor is very happy with what it's done for my health. The best part is going through all the clothes I wisely didn't throw out for things I can wear again. I have a whole wardrobe back that was unavailable to me for years! Now it fits just fine. Happy Dance!!!

Yeah, there'll be more about my crafts next time. I was indulging in myself today!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Gotta Show Off Some Progress

First I want to mention how much fun we had last night. All the kids came over for dinner — a monster turkey that I got free after last Christmas, but without the fixin's. We did low-carb (except for the gravy) with faux-tato salad and a tossed salad with greens and flowers from the garden. I should have taken a picture of the salad with the comfrey and viola flowers glowing on top! It was so pretty. Plus we had wonderful local strawberries with cream for dessert.

Kiera wasn't really into the food, except for the strawberries! Luckily she doesn't seem to be allergic or anything. She's really doing well — had her checkup with the doctor and is wonderful and perfect in every way. Like we didn't know that! She can't quite crawl yet but goes backwards instead, getting more and more frustrated as things get even farther out of her reach. But she can spin around on her bum like a dervish.

Celeste and her sweetie Sean brought their pictures from their recent Caribbean cruise. In a smart move they put all the good ones onto a CD with copies for all the parents and friends. We got the narrative directly from them as Thom showed the pictures as slides on his laptop. I'm sure I'll post at least one or two of the butterfly and scenery pictures when I can get the disk back from Thom's computer. So now Bronwen wants Simon to take her on a cruise too! He kindly gave her the option of a new floor in their townhouse or the cruise. She picked the floor. Smart girl! But of course they're going to have to wait awhile to get the money together for renovations. They've only been in their place less than a year. Easy to count since Kiera was born 5 days before they moved in. She was in a hurry, but only by a couple of weeks instead of 7 1/2 weeks like her dad.

Next Sunday is Father's Day and Bronwen has planned a family picnic at Lion's Park combining Chadwicks and Fairbrothers. Should be fun — we haven't seen her relatives (except her mom) for ages. Hope the weather improves from the current forecast of "cloudy with sunny periods and a chance of rain" which kind of covers all the bases. We're on rain or shine!

Malachi's Almost-Finished Set

I absolutely have to finally show this darn thing off. I've been working on it for so long, it's starting to wear images in my eyeballs! Of course if I actually spent any time actually knitting it would go faster. I'm happy I have only got a sock-and-a-half to go now. Feels like I'm on the home stretch. Notice how uneven the knitting is on the sock leg. If you can see it in this photo you know it's pretty bad. Note to self: never try to fudge the proper gauge by knitting loosely instead of changing needle sizes. I was using my Addi Natura 2 mm dpns which are actually slightly larger than 2 mm but not quite 2.25 mm. I usually get about 9 st per inch with them but I wanted 8 instead. Of course I wasn't consistent in my looser-than-usual knitting! Unfortunately I'll have to do the second sock the same way or they won't have a hope of matching.

I think I figured out what to do about Kiera's sweater that I started way back when. It was in the same pattern, Devan, in bright yellow and red/yellow/orange/green variegated but I just can't bring myself to work on it. I really have the hardest time doing 2 or more of anything! So, I'm going to frog the whole thing and make her a poncho and hat. Mom Bronwen will love it! Better not let her read this blog just yet, eh? Back to knitting the sock.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Granddaughter Kiera playing with the bracelet

Actually this was way back in January at her daddy's 31st birthday party. You should see how big she is now! Not quite crawling yet, but she's working on it. Ten months old and counting. I'm not too proud of a Granny, eh?

The Bracelet Story

My "Thom Beads" charm bracelet

Last September for his birthday, I got Thom a really great book about lampwork beadmaking through my friend Ania (aka Turtle Beads). He went right out and bought himself a beginner's kit and started in with only 2 lessons with Ania under his belt. I made this bracelet with his smallest early beads. Even his very first ones are here. I used gunmetal eyepins and practiced my wrapped loops. Ok, they aren't all great but I've improved! I threaded them on Conso nylon cord along with the green iris 8° beads for tubular bead crochet. I tried to make them an equal distance apart so they would spiral around but they had minds of their own. Once I discovered that I let them do their own thing. After I crocheted the bracelet length, I threaded some SoftFlex bead wire through them and crimped (with my new crimping pliers) the toggles on the end. Unfortunately, the crochet pulled up and left some cord showing so I had to add some more bead crochet to one end to cover it. Since then I've learned how to snug up the crimp on the cord so as to avoid gaps like this. I hope. Anyway the results made for a heavy but wonderful bracelet that I love to wear to show off Thom's early beads.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Finally! Pictures!

Fuzzie Hoodie detail

After arm-wrestling with Hello to get it online (darn firewall was keeping it trapped!) I've finally been able to post pictures. Yay! So, here's the one I was trying to get put up back a few weeks ago. Not a great picture — it's a scan of the real thing, done in desperation while my digicam was still in the shop — but it'll do until I get a better one. After all, we're still in the testing phase here!

Craft Report
Not much to say apart from the fact that I'm almost done the baby hat. I plan to complete it today and then assess what I can do for the socks. I've almost run out of the Confetti sock yarn so it may have to serve as the accent yarn rather than the Lanett. Then I need to figure out how big to make the socks so they are in scale with the hat and sweater. This is a much bigger and more tedious project than I thought way back when I started. Luckily I actually like knitting socks.

There's also the monthly Spectrum study group meeting tomorrow. I still have to get some fabric pieces, my plexi "printing plates" and all the sponge brushes, scrapers, rollers etc. ready for more monoprinting play. Hope I'm more into it this time after that disgusting migraine spoiled it last month. Anyway the company is good and the food is excellent!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Keeping My Hand In

I don't really have much to write about today, but I thought I'd better do something to keep up the momentum here. Still haven't solved the picture problem, but I'm getting closer to a solution.

Craft Report
I'm in the slow process of sewing the baby sweater (actually toddler-sized) together. One more very long seam to go. It's actually looking quite good though I had a palpitation after discovering the armholes were bigger than the sleeve top. I fudged it in place anyway and pressed it with a hot steamy iron and it looks just fine. Whew! I'm working on the hat at the same time, since it's portable and I don't need the pattern in hand to work on it. It's just like a star sock toe only twice as wide and with 10 decreases around! I also don't have enough of the Confetti yarn to knit the baby socks that Estarisa wants. There might be enough to do yellow socks with the new ball of Lanett and maybe a Confetti toe on them. Or not. I'll have to figure out how big to make the socks to go with the set so Malachy doesn't grow out of them too fast.

Next I have to get back to the original baby set I was making for Kiera almost a year ago now. It may or may not need to be frogged to become something else! I'll wait for a day when I'm feeling very calm and not rushed. I need to assess it with a clear head. I want it to be useful and wearable for another year and that granddaughter of mine just keeps getting bigger! Funny that.