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Posts from May 2007






PED in need of a mate . . .

Pattern:  Made it up as I went along - toe up - short row heel
Yarn:  Lorna's Shepherds Sock
Needles:  Knitpicks Options US #0
Fabulous foot model:  DD#2 - whose feet are really, really long - 9 1/2's baby!

What do you think - do they need a pom-pom?

Gotta go, DH is waiting for me on the golf course.


Rather than the standard eight legs, DD#1's new sea critter has nine.  Therefore, we have named him Nonapus.  He seems to have an insatiable appetite for handspun yarn.


DD#1 designed this little softie herself.  I helped a bit with the pattern making.  She did all of the sewing.


I finished spinning and plying my Pigeon Roof Studio's "Drift" roving.  I love this colorway!!  I was hoping to make socks out of the resulting yarn, but it is a little too heavy.  I'm making a small project bag instead. 


I'm working on getting my spinning a bit finer.  My new Spindlewood is really helping.  I've also taught myself how to draft properly as I spin and that is making a huge difference.  The yarn I am spinning for my shawl for the Spun Stitches KAL is coming along nicely.  Perhaps I'll have something to show in the next few days.

I've Been Tagged

Christy tagged me for the Seven Random Things About Me me-me. 
I'm a pretty dull gal, so it hasn't been easy coming up with interesting random things, but here goes:

Muttis_house 1.  I love to do cartwheels, always have since I was a little kid.  I used to do them through the house and drive my mom crazy.  Now I still can't resist whenever I see an open field of grass, or that wet strip of sand just where the beach meets the waves.  My girls love it when I do cartwheels.  It cracks them up.

2.  There are a lot of twins in the family.  DD#1 & #2 aren't the only ones.  My sister has twin daughters who are two years younger than mine and my dad is a twin.  Two of my cousins also have twins.  My girls are identical which are not the kind that are inherited, but my dad is a fraternal twin.  I knew I was having twins weeks before the doctor figured it out.  He thought I was crazy when I mentioned it, but I knew my body well enough to know that the second pregnancy was really different than the first. Mutti_rhodie_ferns

3.  DH's family is from India, although he was born in Pittsburgh.  His heritage explains why my children look Italian despite my Northern European roots.   When we are all sitting together on the beach, I am the one with the big hat, the umbrella and the SPF 55 while the rest of them just get browner and more beautiful by the minute.

4.  I've had a hole in one.  This is pretty funny since I am a really bad golfer.  Many dedicated golfers play their whole lives without ever getting one.  This fact is fun to bring up at DH's corporate parties where I earn brownie points with the "big boys".

5.  In college I learned to blow glass.  It is a wonderfully physical process.  There is the heat of those blazing furnaces and the constant spinning of the blowpipe.  I never got very good at it.  I only successfully completed two or three projects.  I'd love to get the chance to try it again someday.Muttis_bunnies

6.  I can't sing.  People beg me to stop whenever I do.  I've always wished I had a great voice.  I'd sing like Ella Fitzgerald in smoky night clubs until the wee hours.  My children are all blessed with lovely voices.  I guess I'll have to live vicariously through them.

7.  One thing that I haven't yet done, but would love to try is Masonry.  I want to build a backyard fireplace.  I envision myself sitting outside by the fire, late at night, looking at the stars and sipping wine.

I'm not going to tag anyone, because I think just about everyone has done this me-me.  If you haven't and you want to, then tag-you're it!

The photos that accompany this post are of my paMuttis_garden_3rent's home and garden.  On Monday the moving van will take away the last of their furniture.  It has been and emotional and grueling process packing up our history.  I feel lucky to have grown up surrounded by so much beauty.  There are so many happy memories in this house.

My parents are both avid gardeners.  My father spent years devoted to his hobby of Rhododendron hybridizing, and my mom still hybridizes daylilies when she has the time.  As an adult, every time I would go to visit them in all but the foulest weather, I would find them in the garden when I arrived.

On Finding Perfection in a Spindle


Sometimes in life we are lucky enough to find something that is beautiful in both form and function.  It is this merging of art and craft that delights me.  Sadly it is something that is often missing in the world in which we live.  Perhaps it is what draws so many of us to traditional crafts like knitting and spinning.


After returning from MDS&W, I couldn't stop thinking about the spindle I didn't buy.  I had purchased a few spindles already that Saturday, and by the time I got to the booth with the Spindlewoods it was hard to justify one, let alone two more.  So I picked out a sweet 1/2 oz. mini spindle and went on my way.  Days went by and I couldn't stop thinking about how nice that second one would have been.  Something with a little more weight, but not so heavy that I couldn't easily spin lace on it.


"Why not send an e-mail to the good folks at Spindlewood?", I thought.  Perhaps they have a few laying around that they'd like to sell.  When I received a return e-mail from Steve, I realized that not only was I dealing with a talented artisan who cares deeply about making spindles that his customers will adore, but also that here was a man who is such a sweet, kind person that he makes you feel like you are having a friend customize a spindle just for you.  Along with his chatty e-mails he sent photos of whorls for me to choose from.  In the end, the package that arrived in the mail today contained my dream spindle.  Spinning on this glorious object makes the desire to buy a wheel a little less urgent.  It spins forever, yet I am able to spin a very fine, thread-like single.


This my friends is the perfect spindle.  And Steve?  Well lets just say that it is meeting people like Steve that makes me glad that I am a knitter and a spinner.

Too Bad Typepad Doesn't Have a Scratch and Sniff Feature

I wish you could smell these.


I love wisteria.  It is actually an aggressive, invasive plant.  It could even pull my deck down.  But just look at those lovely blooms and the smell, ah, the smell.  Heavenly.

I made some socks that remind me of this pretty plant.


The yarn is Sundara,  that Keohinani sent to me when she was my KSKS pal.   The stitch pattern is one that I made up.  I wanted something that would add a subtle texture and break up the pooling on variegated yarns.  It is a waffle texture of sorts.


Now I'm trying the pattern on some strongly variegated yarn.  The new yarn is hot fuchsia, brown and orange.  The look is totally different, but interesting.  It almost has a tie-dyed effect.  I should have something to show in a few days.


Yeah, I know DD#2 needs to put some lotion on those knees.  Dry skin runs in the family.


Don't forget to sign up for the Spun Stitches KAL.  We are spinning yarn to knit a shawl.  All levels of spinners are welcome.  Challenge yourself!

At Long Last, I Present Linea

Thanks for your patience.  Life has thrown a few curve balls that have prevented me from offering Linea as quickly as I had hoped. 

Since this is the first time I will be charging for a pattern, I have set up and account to accept payment through Paypal.  I have yet to work out all of the geeky bits.  So for now, after I have received your payment, I will e-mail the PDF file to you.  You can expect the file in less than 24 hours.



Linea is a lacy summer top.  Fabric knit from bamboo yarn has a lovely drape. The elastic in the Esprit yarn adds stability to the bodice, which is knit at a tight gauge for the yarn. The armhole depth and shoulder straps are designed to allow a bra or camisole to be worn underneath.  The top is knit in one piece from the bottom up.

SIZE XXS [XS, S, M, L]  (The model in the photograph is wearing XS.)

Chest 25 [29, 33, 37, 41] inches
Length 22.5 [25, 26, 27.5, 30] inches

[MC]: South West Trading Company Bamboo [100% Bamboo, 250 yards per 100g ball] color: Parrot 2 [3,3,4,4] balls
[CC]: Elann Esprit [98.3% Cotton, 1.7% Elastic, 186 yards (stretched) 100 yards (relaxed) per 50g ball] color: Glacier Blue #8699 2 [2,3,3,4] balls

1 set US size 7, 24” circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)
1 set US size 5, 24” circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)
1 set US size 4, DPN’s
1 set US size 4, 24” circular needles
Tapestry Needle
Stitch Markers
Stitch holders

South West Trading Company Bamboo 18.5 stitches and 24 rows = 4x4” square in lace pattern on larger needles.

Elann Esprit and SWTC Bamboo held together 22 stitches and 36 rows = 4x4” square in stockinette stitch on medium needles.

Price $6.00 US


As a lover of plants, the idea of dyeing using natural plant dyes has always been appealing to me.  At MDS&W there was a booth of Navajo spinners and weavers who were selling native vegetal dyes.  I bought a bag of Juniper Mistletoe and a bag of Sagebrush.

Yesterday I pulled out the crockpot and the bag of Sagebrush.  The best part about the process of dyeing with natural dyes is the lovely herbal smell.  Sagebrush is a plant in the Artemisia family, a very aromatic group of plants.  The color's not half bad either.


This yarn is destined to become a pair of socks from one of Cookie's wonderful patterns.  I'm thinking Thelonious.  I've been looking for the right yarn for these socks.  Sagebrush should do the job nicely.


Next up, Juniper Mistletoe.

Weekend Escape

I took a little drive to Maryland on Saturday.  I didn't mention that I was going on my blog, because things have been so hectic around here lately, I wasn't sure until the last minute if I would be able to pull it off.


I managed to kidnap a couple of friends (blogless) to join me.  We had so much fun, diving into piles of roving, playing with spinning wheels, searching for the perfect spindles and of course, eating.

I only bought enough yarn for one project.  But the same cannot be said for roving.  Piles of the fluffy stuff came home with me. 


Above:  Angora, merino and silk roving, and a lovely new spindle.


Tussah silk - I spun a bit at the hotel on Saturday evening.


Angora and merino, which I have started to spin on my new 1/2 oz. Spindlewood spindle.  Ooooh, I love this spindle.  I have already been to Steve's website looking for another - must have another, a bit heavier, also with a beautiful burled wood.   (Insert sound of coins being saved in a jar here - must find a way to fund the new addiction.)

I purchased quite a bit more which will be making appearances in the next few months, as I get it spun.  Some of  the roving is earmarked for an upcoming project.   Teresa and I both have the goal of spinning yarn to make a shawl.  We'll be starting up a KAL for anyone else who wants to join us.  More information coming soon.


We finished the day drinking wine and spinning our new loot in the hotel.  It was a perfect trip!  (Note the name on the lable of the wine.  You can click for a bigger picture.)

New pattern update:  Every free moment last week was spent working on the pattern for Linea.  I've only got a bit more math to work out and some proof reading, then I'll publish it.  I did manage to get the golf club cover up.  It's in the side bar.

Confessions of an Etsy Junkie

I have the Etsy link located a little too conveniently in my Firefox taskbar.  I spend more time than I care to admit roaming around that little world of temptation.  A month or so back I found Blue Thimble.   When I saw her Bird's Nest Tote I instantly fell in love.   I mean, wouldn't you?  Haven't you?  Just look at it!   


Unfortunately, the tote was in the "sold items" section.  But that's nothing a quick note to the seller couldn't fix.  Allison responded very quickly and said she'd custom make the tote for me.  She was so friendly and kind to work with, not to mention a perfectionist.  When her new shipment of canvas bags didn't take the dye in the same way as those she'd had in the past, she began experimenting. All the while she kept me informed, until she was able to print  in a way that met her strict standards.  The result is my wondeful new tote.


The plan is was to keep my spinning in it.  The only problem?  After the photo shoot, DD#2 asked if she may use it for her book bag for the rest of the school year.  Sigh.  She looks so darn cute carrying it - and she is always such a cooperative model.    What's a mother to do?


Did you notice the just-off-the-needles Fetchings?  Yes, I jumped on that band wagon.  I was one of the few who hadn't knit this pattern yet.  When I found a single skein of Koigu Kersti in the sale bin at Purl last week I knew my time had come.   Everything you've heard about this pattern is true.  It is so very quick.



Pattern:  Fetching
Yarn:  Koigu Kersti, Color K521
Needles:  Addi Lace US #6, magic looped - those pointy tips work great for cabling without a cable needle

Etc:  I was able to get stitch gauge with the Kersti, but my row gauge was a little off.  Since I wasn't sure if I'd run out of yarn, (I only had the one skein from the sale bin) I knit per the pattern instructions. In the end I had extra yarn.  Next time I'd probably knit an extra row between each cable and two to three extra rows before binding off.  They are a little skimpy, but not enough to rip out and make the adjustments.  I'm on to other projects and DD#2 is happy with them just as they are.