Friday, December 24, 2010


The elves have knocked off early here. Craftmas activities have subsided. The last delivery was made yesterday. Provisions for a cozy weekend by the fireplace are in place. Plenty of food options were gathered (chicken soup for the elf with a cold), sufficient wood for the fireplace, digital connections tested and secured---what more could these elves ask for?

World peace, first. Second, that our families were just minutes away and not transcontinental plane rides away.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

knitting and shrinking things

For my birthday in October, I received a really cool project bag that a friend knit, felted (technically, the term is "fulled") and filled with a skein of yarn from her stash that I coveted. She included several really helpful knitting accessories which I put to good use right away. Aside from being a great gift it was also an inspiration. Thank you Cheryl! (If you're interested the pattern is available here.)

It started me thinking about my felted knit experiments from last winter. (Don't worry I'm not making slippers again!) I dug them out from their secure location in the garage and they spawned more knitting and shrinking experiments.

First, I was compelled to make a cover for my iPod. Covering it in wool was more important than actually mastering the use of it. When I acquired it in a birthday frenzy there were no lime green covers at the Apple store! I know, how could that happen? Under pressure, I selected a turquoise and orange cover which I now think is probably for a Miami Dolphins fan (I'm not even sure what sport they play, but I do know where Miami is.) That's beside the point.

I had an acorn design in mind and thought that making an aCorn for my iPod was just oh so funny! I knit a pile of acorn samples, using knitting techniques from sock and hat constructions. It took several generations to determine what gauge knitting would work with the fulling process to create the fabric I was looking for.
They're not all candidates for iPod covers and as yet there is no truly lime green sample, but there are several combo's I like.

The one that did become the iCozy was from the first generation of samples. I knit it's acorn cap with a buttonhole for one of my buttons. Found the perfect thread, maybe too perfect, and constructed the button.

Stuck it on and decided that I needed to search in my vintage buttons for an alternative to the perfectly matched thread that rendered it unseeable.

Vintage won! Ta dah! The winning iCozy combo!

I'm writing a recipe to knit an iCozy. Takes almost no yarn. It's quick to knit. And most importantly, it's fun to intentionally shrink your knitting! It is adaptable in the felting/fulling stage to fit similiar mobile devices. Hope to post it soon, but I've got more knitting and shrinking projects in the works too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ruby red





Glorious ruby red beads decorate our Korean Ash in today's light-

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

is it really Dec 1?

I've been reminded by friends that I haven't posted since May! May 2010? Are you sure?

I know you have all missed reading my kitchen appliance rants. But this Thanksgiving went off without a hitch, because I tricked my oven. I turned it on Wednesday morning and didn't turn it off until the last item was baked Wednesday evening! I'm pretty sure there's a code in the computer of this Kitchenaid range that prompts random holiday crisis. Thanksgiving Eve 2010 was not on the list, thankfully!

The report I have to make today is in the local interest category. When I was on the road a couple of months ago I reset my Google news headline thingie to my own zip code on my laptop. I'm still surprised by Calverton headlines when I open the Google news page(duh!). Just before Thanksgiving there was a headline leading to an article about the Kent Animal Shelter needing donations for the winter.

I'm a dog lover. Last Fall we lost our all-time favorite boy, a lab/mystery mix, Louie (our all-time favorite boy in his weight category--just have to qualify that for our beloved Archie, in the miniature category). He was a rescue dog. A pain in the butt for the first year we had him, but he turned out to be our best dog ever. When I became aware of the needs of the local shelter I was determined to do something for their homeless dogs and cats.

I read the Kent Shelter list and decided to venture out on Black Friday to see what I could do. The last place I would have imagined I'd be on any Friday morning would be at Walmart, but towels were on the list and theirs were a great deal. The place was not the retail nightmare I thought it would be at 7 am, so I was able to score a shopping cart full of towels while everyone else was loading their carts with whatever the electronic thing is this year.

Inspired by the tower of towels success I headed for Joann's to buy polyester quilt batting to make dog blankets. My collection of flannel includes lots of colorways, prints and plaids that are never going to become logs for my etsy shop, but would make great blankets for dogs! Polyester quilt batting secured and a bolt of dog bone polar fleece that could be blankets too (without any sewing!)and some yarn and I was good to go. (Yarn on the brain, just can't pass up a good deal on Paton's classic merino for felting projects, but that's another story.)

Sewed up several blankets over the last few days and made my delivery to Kent Animal Shelter this afternoon. It made me think about Louie and how lucky we were to have him in our lives if only for a short while. There will be more blankets. I've hardly made a dent in my second string flannels and there are always more Joann's coupons arriving in the mail weekly.

If you're a local animal lover and have a chance to click on the Kent Animal Shelter link, there maybe something you could contribute too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

lucky guy(s)

Long time between posts here.

Just thought I'd mention my recent cross country flight. I dread the day long journey to California, and last week was no different. To stave off the boredom and flight anxiety I usually have knitting projects on board. I had two sock projects with me last Tuesday, so as soon as I settled into my aisle seat on the first leg of the flight to Chicago I pulled out the preferred sock project. The middle seat was empty and the window seat was occupied by a late 30-ish man. As soon as I started the casting on process he became interested.

So what are you making?

I'm starting a sock for my husband.

How does that work? How does it become a sock?

It eventually becomes a tube and then gets a heel and then a toe.

Bet you'll have it finished before we get to Chicago!

Probably not, don't think I knit that fast.

Well, your husband is a lucky guy.

I knit for the duration of the flight, but surprise, surprise I didn't finish the sock. I did make my way through the cuff.

During the 2 1/2 hour layover at Midway terminal, where they don't offer FREE Wifi, I made progress on the leg of the sock and the stitch pattern started to develop down the leg.

The flight to Sacramento was very full and the empty seat between a woman at the window seat and my aisle seat was soon occupied by a big, tall man. What was he thinking squishing into the little center seat (and possibly impairing my right arm action)? I pulled out my sock project anyway. He looked up from his magazine and asked me:

Are you making a sweater?

No it's a sock.

My mother used to do that in England when I was young.

Hmmm...that's interesting. Yeh, England is still full of knitters!

So what will you do with a sock?

Make another one and then my husband wears them.

Lucky guy!

As I knit along on the sock leg, I became more and more attached to the results of this appealing hand-dyed yarn. I'm thinking how lucky my husband was to be getting these socks that I'm loving so much I might have to hijack them!

I arrived in Sacramento many hours later, settled in at my parents house and took out my alternate sock project, a sock I'd started knitting last month with plans to gift the pair to my brother so he'd be prepared for next winter. I showed him the sock in progress and told him I was knitting it for him.

I couldn't wear that sock!

Why? Is it too fancy?

Well yes it's too fancy! Maybe when I'm buried...I could wear them.

Brothers! He was in a surly, deprived mood. I can't tell you how much of a pain in the %@# these socks were to get started (right? Karen), during my early spring brain freeze. Maybe I'll finish his casket socks and set them aside until that fateful day or maybe I'll just give them to some guy on a plane!

Just a 12 hour span of sock knitting in public.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

honkers pond recedes

I could write about the travails of owning a house near a non-tidal river. I could write about the knowledge I've acquired about pumping water out of a basement. But there are far worse scenarios in other households in our area due to the torrential rains we experienced last week in Long Island. Mine are tales of inconvenience not tragedy.

The river acquired some of our backyard a week ago, about 30 feet in beyond the bulkhead at the greatest point. Now it's about 10 feet away from being our backyard again. Last week I joked about our bulkhead looking like one of those endless pools in a resort, that was before the river rose another 8 inches or so totally obscuring any edge.

This morning the sun is out, the river is receding back over the bulkhead and the swans, geese, ducks and various other birds will have to find another shallow pond to frolic in. All have been entertaining but some are not as clean as others. Canadian geese, you know I'm talking about you!
When I tiptoed out there just now to shoot this preening swan I was able to snap a few pictures before he/she headed towards me thinking I had snacks to dispense. I don't feed intimidating waterfowl.

While learning too much about pumping water out of our basement and worrying about the drawbacks of houseboat life I did manage some knitting projects during the evenings. Look! New socks! Toe-up construction from a very precisely dyed skein of sock yarn from AlishaGoesAround. Here they are posing with their shoes.

It's Spring and time to be finished with those winter knitting projects! I'm working my way through them so I can start felting experiments. Water, soap, agitation---amazing what it can do to simply knit forms and wool fiber. Hope to have some to show soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

spring sprung

Yes! That first sign of Spring when the crocuses start popping up in everyone else's yard. Crocus. my yard it's one 3 inch high grape hyacinth at the base of our large maple! You'd have to get down on your hands and knees to see the subtle display. I love it nonetheless.

It was great to get outside in clothing less cumbersome than a down jacket. Ok. So it hasn't been that cold, but you get the picture. The warm temperatures will be fleeting though as another cold front heads our way. Not expecting snow. (So don't expect snow pictures!) Famous last words.

Friday, February 26, 2010

lost my snow-mo-jo

I thought it only appropriate on the eve of the closing ceremony weekend that this picture be one that expresses the Olympic spirit. This pair of tennis shoes has been hanging from the lines since the morning my new dishwasher was delivered and installed, last Fall. (How do they do it and how do we get them down?) I am sort of sorry that the Olympics will be over soon. Though I might have missed the tennis-shoe fling there were plenty of events of daredoing and endurance that I did manage to catch. And I love the setting in Vancouver!

I took the camera out this morning to once again document the snowfall. Everything looks the same as the last storm and the flung shoes were the most interesting items out there. I've lost my snow-mo-jo. But I did manage to shovel the driveway and start making a snowman. The snow was not the snowman making grade, however, and mine looked more like a sinking snow cat instead. The fearless feral cats have been traversing our Louieless (our big dog that passed away a few months ago) yard unimpeded by my featherweight dachshund. These cats have a good 5 - 10 pounds at least on Archie! I'm sure they won't deterred by my snowcat, either.

While not shoveling over this long Long Island winter I've done lots of knitting and lots of sewing. Not much of it has been displayed here. I do most of my knitting show-and-tell on Ravelry---the knitters facebook. The bulk of my knitting ultimately becomes my Fall display for the buttons and pins I make.

Really we all want to see Spring inspiration, right now! A little crocus peeping up under the snow cover, perhaps? Not in my yard, not this week! So I have to make my own.

I've been toying with some wearable chenille pieces for the upcoming local fiber arts show Fluffystuff at the end of March. They look like the load of flannel pajamas got shredded and inextricably tangled. (That's a word, right?) I'm not sure what I will be taking to the show, buttons and pins probably, but with a name like Fluffystuff I'm really tempted to take the pajama jamboree along. Before I wash them they look like this....

After the washer and dryer treatment....

We'll see. I'm happy exploring the possibilities and using up lots of Spring palette flannel until it's really Spring!

Friday, February 12, 2010

mo snow pictures

Just so you don't think that The Blizzard wasn't documented at our house on Thursday----it was!

It's just that I'm more interested in Spring and putting on my boots to go outside yesterday to take pictures was the last thing I wanted to do. Dennis was way more inspired!

pink-y, red-y and such

Oops! Forgot to post the finale of the little rustic stool with the pink bark cover. It languished for a while until I resolved how to finish it. It got a cute little drawstring and that did it, just in time for a Valentine's color theme post!

This time of year the sun is so low on the horizon, it's almost impossible to get good available light indoors here for photography. I'm just not much for setting up lights. So last week I dragged my recently finished, Valentine inspired passionately colored chenille items along on a drive out to Greenport to see my friend Sarah. She graciously allowed me to use her abundant Southern exposure for photos. Cairo, her little fluffy Jack Russell terrier, followed the red log all over the house and posed wherever I set the camera up! He's an excellent model for scale, don't you think? I'm a sucker for dogs that pose---mine always scatter when the camera starts clicking.

Red log and pink stool are in my etsy shop now! Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

just maybe I watched too many Westerns over the holidays

My husband and I have now settled on one channel for our tv viewing out of the hundreds available on our cable system, Turner Classic Movie channel. We are trying to wean ourselves off cable and our news junkie habit and we've managed to eliminate watching almost everything but TCM. When the tv is on, it's on 68.

Which might explain why I was compelled to sew up a group of chenille items for my next Sewfaux update, inspired it seems by the many Westerns I've watched. When I'm not interested in the movies' story I look at the movies' set, which would have been the case if a Western is on (this excludes Deadwood, not on TCM anyway). After completing some long unfinished pieces they just happen to look like they belong in the bunkhouse.

Cowhide, barrel cactus, bark....Podner! Just have to imagine some cowhands, your dude ranch guys and gals sitting around the campfire with their bedrolls, or hanging out in the bunkhouse doin' a few rope tricks. Roy and Dale's house. Lonesome Dove. Bonanza.

I've just been totally immersed in sewing for the last few weeks after I tried to find something in the closet where all things chenille go. Layers and piles of unexplained chenille. Someone had to do something about it!

Don't worry I haven't gone totally Western, though it may crop up from time to time. Alongside the dude ranch decor I've also managed to prduce a few items for the following update, in reds and passionate colors expressly for Valentiners. I know you're all relieved.

Shop will be updated by the end of today.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

snow-covered is how I like it

Up and down our street it looked like this at 9am this morning-

Not again, you're saying. I know, I just can't help it (being that I'm the official snow photographer, remember?). I don't know what it is but as soon as snow covers the ground at my house I'm compelled to get out there with the camera.

This morning was no exception. First snow of 2010! Our view across the frozen Peconic River-

Second only to all of Fall, snow-covered is how I like it here. I like the texture it creates on the Black Prince holly, how the forsythia never looked better, how the color peeps out on the chamaecyparis (which I had to look up to spell), how subtle the colors on the Korean Ash look and how it fills the craggy bark on the large pines.

Except for driving it's pretty great stuff. This weekend it's the perfect excuse to cocoon. Some here have settled in with their kindle, others are contemplating knitting up a storm---the other sock, the rest of the vest? There is no end of projects to pick up here...

Happy New Year!