Another Hobby Blog

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Heads Up! Secret Pal 8 is Starting Soon!

For knitters and crocheters (you can do other stuff to, you just need to be interested in knitting and/or crochet)

Sign-ups begin April 1 and close April 30 !!

I've really enjoyed being in the Secret Pal exchanges 5,6,7! Spoiling is fun! Getting spoiled is fun too! I've had really good experiences with it and have made some wonderful friends!

Details at:

SP8 Website


Monday, March 27, 2006

Knee Injury: Update

To everyone who has been brave and kind enough to be my "mother hen" and ask/nudge/urge/insist I go get a doctor's checkup...

Thank you.

It's been 7 weeks almost exactly since I injured my knee on the ski slopes. When it happened I'd expected a reasonably "full" recovery (no interruption to basic daily activities, mild to moderate resumption of athletic activities) in 6 to 8 weeks. At this point, it's just not feeling right. It still impedes more than it should, and it still has bursts of unexpected pain.

So today I had a doctor's checkup.

The doctor is also concerned and is setting up an MRI to determine what is wrong and how bad it is.

Until then... thank you to everyone who has been asking about my knee's recovery and who has suggested I get it looked at and re-assessed. You've given a sense of normality to needing to ask for help. For that I can't thank you enough. :)

Hugs to all my Mother Hens!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not Too Late for Pink and Red!

I was sorting through my pictures today, and I've run across a couple that I simply must share. :)


How's that for pink! ... no color adjustments involved--that's just how the camera saw the vibrant sunset (not tonight's).

Just a few minutes earlier, it had looked like this:

You can see the hint of pink beginning to reflect off the lake and the sky. :)


How would you like your own trees to give you the red-carpet treatment?

I was most fortunate to have my camera with me on this fortuitous day! This image was taken a couple of years ago, and I have never seen this particular house as stunningly beautiful since. Last year, sadly, they repainted it and the new color does not provide such a nice backdrop for the autumn leaves.

Project Spectrum: A New Look

The sidebar image was nice... but so understated that it almost seemed to get lost! .. it's still there, and now (thanks to the coding help from my Oh-So-Proficient husband!) it changes the image every day for me. All I have to do to stay on top of it is to make sure the images exist when the sub-routine needs them! :)

So now that it's easy, I've decided that my blog can reflect the Image-Of-The-Day in a co-ordinating motif. :) I hope this doesn't drive anyone nuts!

I'm taking a teensy section of the main photo and cropping, tilting, mirroring, and otherwise manipulating it to create the day's background tile.

Clicking on the thumbnail version in the sidebar now shows you not only the larger version of the image, but also a bit of text about the image(s). .. in some instances the larger version will contain several images that are closely related. (If I'd had this much code behind the thing in the early days, you might not have been subjected to that many days of cherry tree photos! ;)

Please let me know what you think!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sockapaloooza: A Knitted Cuff!

After taking a break for a week (or was it two?) to make the hedgiehog, I've realized it's nearly April and I don't yet know for sure how much ripping and re-planning I'm going to need to do as the sock progresses! So I've started intensive knitting, and have been greatly rewarded!

The knitting is coming along smoothly, and I am *thrilled* with the way my colorwork pattern is knitting up! :) YAY!! Little hearts all over the place!!! fabulous fire colors with black motifs! The colors just POP! (sure this is all kinda true for the pattern swatches too, but now it's The SOCK!)

The gauge works perfectly.. fits over my heel smoothly with no tugging. :) YAY!!

The big hearts travel up the back of the calf. I should be able to start the heel flap after the third or fourth big heart... (we'll see as it goes?)

The new round begins at the center of the big hearts, too.. which may have been an oversight on my part since the big hearts are such a focal point...

I've used a special technique to avoid jogs at the join. When I finish the round, I take one extra stitch to duplicate the first stitch of the round. (this means I form an additional stitch through the row below the new first stitch in the same color as the first stitch and slip it on the needle next to the first stitch of the round I just completed. When I start the new round I work both of those stitches together as one, using whichever color is needed for the new stitch.) If that explanation didn't make any sense, it's probably because I described it wrong. I'll try to remember to get pictures for next time. ... I wish I could remember where I saw the technique that inspired me to ..... OH!! I bet I know where I saved.... YES! :) I got the idea from Judy Gibson! I'm not sure whether I'm doing the technique the same way she describes.. but she's the one that gave me the idea and helped me think of knitting in a slightly expanded way. :)

On the inside the jog still shows up a little, but that doesn't bother me. As long as it looks right from the outside! :)

The inside of the front..
(Bethieee says I have to put up images of the inside to show how the floats are managed and how even and smooth they are. (blush!) She says the inside is almost as lovely as the outside! ... and she didn't even notice the end-of-round solution until I pointed it out! :) )

The front from the outside, as if you couldn't guess! ;)

And just to be complete: the cuff at the expected height on a leg. :) (mine. I think I need to shave again.)

The only thing I'm less than thrilled with at this point is the way that this particular yarn colorway is pooling at this particular size gauge and this particular pattern... but to fiddle with that I would need to make major adjustments elsewhere, and I think I'm just being way too involved in my work again....

I think that they are probably fine even with the color pooling! What do you think?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cactus Buckets, the Answer!

Well, in two weeks I got TWO answers!! :) Both of them made me laugh! and since I promised two prizes, I can send one to each!! :) Yay!! Laurie and Heidi will each be getting a giftie from me in the mail (s'long as I have addresses to send to.)

The "real" reason (which went unguessed), as I was told by the nursery who bucketted their cacti, is that the buckets protect the tips from frost damage. .. without the buckets moisture collects in the pores at the tips, and when the temperature drops the moisture freezes, giving the cacti freezerburned tips! ouch!

I'll put pictures of the prizes up in this post later when I've had a chance to get them photographed and ready to send. Since both the respondents spin, I thought I would have fun with my drum carder and mix up a couple of fun batts for each. :)

For Zann...

Over the past three months, Zann has become a very dear friend. I am her SP7 spoiler (which she figured out a couple of weeks ago! very wise lady.) and I have rejoiced with her over many topics.

Today I mourn with her, for she lost her son.

Please take a moment to give her some support at Lizards In The Leaves.

Today I take a moment to consider the ways in which we strive to preserve things, ideas, emotions, and connections that we love.. through art, through poetry, photography, and (of course) packratting. ;)

Zann, this Project Spectrum Pink photo is for you:

The pink blooms of summer spread out to dry,
Fragile whispers of the glorious blooms they once were.

Hugs. --Peacock.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Project Spectrum: The Plan

I've decided to approach Project Spectrum in a couple of ways:

1- Check the sidebar! I'll be showcasing a new photo each day (or as often as I can get online to change it, anyway) in the color theme of the month. :)

All of the photos will be ones that I have taken (or crops from photos that I have taken.) Some of them will be current photographs, others might be photographs I took years ago, that I revisit now in this new context. :)

Since I want to change the photo every day (and don't want to clutter the blog to do so), I am using my sidebar for the picture's thumbnail. Clicking on it will let you view a larger version.

2- I will be making postcards weekly, and sending each one out to a lucky recipient. I do not have the slightest clue what any of these postcards will look like, or what techniques I will use in creating them! I will be as surprised as you will. ;) .. I'll post an image of each postcard on the blog a week or so after it goes into the mail.

3- I may have other ideas I want to pursue as the project continues... if I do, I'll let you know.

If you would like to be a potential postcard recipient, send a request to: "peacockschallenge at"

About Socks

(My appologies for the delay in posting.. it's been quite a week: I've had almost no internet access (I'd be lucky to maintain a connection for 2 minutes at a time, and then when it failed, it could be days before I got another chance! .. also, my dryer kakked and I had to wait until this morning before the new one could be installed .. and I still need to make lemon meringue pie!)

(...On the other hand, Mia's wonderful yummy pecan-shortbread cookies have sustained me! :) I'm so glad Bethieee's willing to share! Mia cooks WONDERFUL things!! Thank you, Mia!)

Back to the socks: I am so excited to be involved in this round of SockapalOOOza!

There has been a great deal of excitement and interest building around my exploration with stranded colorwork for the pair of socks I am making for the exchange. (And let me tell you, I am as excited as the rest to actually see it coming alive!)

One of the respondents asked if I would talk a bit about socks.. maybe share some great ideas for beginner sock patterns!! .. Wow. That's a bit of an honor.. sure, I'll try. :)

Well, as it happens, patterns are not my forte. As you may have already noticed, I really don't follow patterns. Not that I Can't... (although I do seem to have more than my share of problems when I try...) but that I DON'T. There are exceptions: the Fiber Trends Huggable Hedgie that came in the mail from my SP spoiler!! Yay hedgie!! ... but now that I've made one Fiber Trends Huggable Hedgehog(tm), I will probably never knit a second one from the pattern. I'll take what I have learned, plus the inspiration and the excitement I gained from knitting the first one, and I will invent my own hedgehog. I'll keep the pattern around, of course, so that I can loan it out and use it to teach people, but in-between those duties, it will probaby collect dust.

Patterns frighten me. Patterns intimidate me. Patterns turn my brain into mush. Patterns make me feel like a complete idiot. Patterns are not my friend.

So instead of reccommending sock patterns, I'll talk about Socks themselves, and later I'll share the socks I have knit. :)

MOST IMPORTANT handknit socks are love. A beginner's pair of socks especially so!! A sock is made of thousands of stitches, each one formed by someone's hands. A sock is an investment of time and attention and energy. .. and when you're making the socks for someone else, especially someone you don't know very well, an investment of Hope.

When I joined up for SockapalOOOza, I did mention that I'd made a few pair of socks before, and that I'd even taken part in one sock exchange. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that my sock-sister was working with the beginners! It is not what I was expecting, and at first I was not sure that is what had happened... maybe the beginners' sock-sister also got some overflow or something?? hmmm.... but at this point, it is beginning to look like I did get put into the beginner's group after all..

..and I couldn't be more Thrilled!! I get someone's first pair of exchange socks!! handknit with hope and excitement and nervousness and determination!! So much investment of energy and personality!!! Yay! :) I can hardly wait to see what they will be like! :) :)

To my sock knitter: I trust you. :) You wouldn't have joined this exchange if you didn't think you had it in you to succeed, so I trust you. I can promise you that I will love the socks you send, whether you love them or not. I am really excited to find out who you are at the end of the exchange, and I hope that you are enjoying the sock-knitting journey!

I do hope I don't end up intimidating anyone with my own excited exploration of stranded knitting... After my success in the Knitting Olympics, I was eager to challenge myself again! I am actually very nervous about the socks I am knitting: will they work out the way I want them to? Will I get them finished on time? Will they make their recipient happy??

They are a huge leap of faith for me. I think I have made a total of 10 pair of socks. That's it: 10 pair. I am fortunate to have almost my entire history of socks available for photographing, so please let me introduce you to: My Socks! :)

Here they come, in order of creation:

1st pair of socks ever: Yarn- Regia. Needle size- 2 (probably) Gauge- 9 sts/inch stockinette

Take notice of the matching stripes throughout the socks.. matching at the heels, matching at the toes... in this case, it is not an indication of skill! It is more likely an indication of an anal-retentive need to control.

I had only ever knit flat things before this pair of socks.. and not all that many of those, really. But Bethieee was knitting socks, and she swore it was easy, so I had her show me how. She suggested I try following a pattern, but I swore that I couldn't, wouldn't, and might as well just give up now if that was what it was going to take to get a pair of socks. She finally capitulated and talked me through the process one step at a time:

1- cast on loosely (this is for a cuff down sock) enough stitches to encircle the leg at the height you want the top of the sock to reach.
2- knit some ribbing in the round. Maybe an inch or so high. (this sock was made before we decided that 2x2 ribbing gave a nicer finish than 1x1).
3- knit in the round the rise between the top of the sock and the top of the ankle.
4- knit back and forth on half the stitches a short-row heel following the instructions from... (I'm not sure which book we referred to at the time, but there are good instructions in several sock books, including: Simple Socks Plain and Fancy by Priscilla A Gibson-Roberts, The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook by Lynne Vogel, and Folk Socks by Nancy Bush).
5- knit in the round from the heel to the bottom of the little toe
6- IMPORTANT: make sure that when you start your toe, it's not at right angles to your heel! ;)
6a- knit a toe with (either) the short-row techinque (requires grafting after completion of the toe)
6b- OR knit a toe with paired decreases at each edge of the foot every other row. (can be reduced far enough to eliminate the need for kitchnering.)
7- repeat the process for the second sock. Hope you can remember what you did for the first one or that you can translate the notes you took!!

2nd pair: yarn- Regia, needles- sz2, gauge- 8-1/2 sts/inch stockinette

For this pair I used a gusset-and-heel-flap construction instead of a short-row heel. (Several years later, I have come to the conclusion that I have a mild preference for the gusset-and-heel-flap construction because it doesn't slip around so much on my foot when I'm wearing it. :) )

In the second pair, the anal-retentive need to control gets worse.

As a creature who seeks comfort in patterns and repetition, the first pair of socks drove me nuts. .. especially since at the time much of my environment was in chaos and in my knitting I strove to create order.

Look back at that first pair of socks, will you? I bet you didn't even notice the problem that drove me absolutely NUTS. Count the color stripes.. (pink, orange, red, pink, orange, yellow, red, pink, orange, yellow, red, pink, yellow (3 stripes, no less!), red (1 stripe??), pink (3 stripes again), orange, red, pink. WHAT THE ?????)

In the second pair, I fixed the problem. Using the same yarn, same needles, same gauge, plus one extra ball of yarn, I got a very different pair of socks. I cut out the offending stripes that were in the wrong places and worked the cuffs, heels, and toes in Regia's co-ordinating yellow.

After having a chance to wear both the first pair and the second pair, I decided the first pair was for Bethieee. It fit her slightly better, and she didn't mind the screwy color progression at all.

Now I look back at this second pair and just shake my head. Really. .. all those extra ends to weave in just because I could not tolerate the stripes in the wrong places!!

3rd pair: yarn- Lorna's Lace, needles- sz 1, gauge- 11 sts/inch stockinette. (I broke quite a few Brittany DPs and permanently warped several Crystal Palace bamboo DP's on these pairs of socks!)

I loved working with the Lorna's Lace yarn!! compared to the Regia, it felt luxurious and soft! WOW!! what a difference! ... so now what am I going to do with all the other Regia I bought before I knew better??

No ribbing at the cuff this time! Tried a turned and hemmed edge instead with little picots at the turn. Short-row heel, short-row toe (kitchnered)

The yarn that remained after the pair of socks was made I doubled and knit on (sz 4?) larger needles into a headband. I cast on too many stitches, so it isn't really snug around my ears. It doesn't stay put, and it's not really wide enough. Maybe some day I'll pull it back out and redo it with fewer stitches around, a 2x2 rib, and wider top to bottom... on the other hand, it would probably be easier to just make a new headband from entirely new yarn. ;)

4th pair: Regia again, size 1, gauge 10 sts/inch stockinette. (important note: Regia is a slightly thicker yarn than Lorna's Lace Shepherd Sock!)

turned picotted cuff with beads in the picots. heel and toe both done in short-rows. cuff, toe, heel in contrasting (fair-isling) colorway. still anal enough to match up the stripes.

From this pair of socks I learned: a tighter gauge does not make a better sock! This sock is so stiff it almost stands up by itself, and it is so tight that it almost does not fit over my heel. Also, it is so tight that it does not breathe: my feet get very hot and sweaty in this pair of socks!


the aborted 5th pair would have been The Stripey Socks (which recently got ripped and became The Stripey Scarf). The gauge was much too tight again, so it would not have been enjoyable to wear anyway.

The aborted 5th pair (worked much too tightly!!) did so much damage to my hands that for several years I did not work any more socks in fingering weight yarn.

During this span of time, however, I made a couple pair of socks from worsted weight yarn naturally dyed with blackberries and other plants for the Rennaisance Faire costumes.

RF 1st pair: yarn- Lion brand Fisherman's Wool (natural dye), needle: sz4, gauge: 6-1/2 sts/inch stockinette

designed my own knee socks using the basic concepts I'd learned from the smaller socks. :) Darn good job.. I love these socks!

But Bethieee fell in love with them too, and I figured I could make more, so I gave them to her. (darnit!!) They're a super color, they fit me well enough, and they're just... oh, drat. she won't give them back, either!

The gauge is a little bit tight, but not uncomfortably so.


RF 2nd pair: yarn- Fisherman's Wool again, needle: sz 4, gauge: 6 sts/inch stockinette.

These ended up too big for me, so I finished them for Keithr. :) He needed socks for his RF garb anyway, especially since his outfit shows his socks! (My skirts really don't, so I can get away with storebought knee socks). Unfortunately, I don't know where he's put them right now, so I'll have to get a picture later.

RF 3rd pair: yarn- Fisherman's Wool, needle: sz 6 or 7, gauge: 5 sts/inch stockinette.

From this pair of socks I learned that a gauge that is too loose will not stay up without a garter. Also a loose gauge slips around on the feet more and will wear holes sooner.

5th pair: yarn- Cherry Tree Hill (I think?) from my SP6! needle- 2, gauge- 8 sts/inch stockinette.

From this pair of socks I learned that when you get a good gauge and a good yarn, the sock is exquisite!! :)

yarn- Cherry Tree Hill (I think?), needle- unknown, gauge- 7 sts/inch stockinette

This is not my work.. this is the pair of socks I recieved from Cindy in the SET exchange! :) I LOVE this pair of socks!!! For one thing, I did not make it! That means I don't look for the things I could have done differently.

the heel rise is done in an interesting slip-stitch pattern, and it is a very comfortable, cozy pair of socks to wear!! Thank you, Cindy!!!

The pair of ribbed socks I made for my SET pal. :) I think they turned out pretty nicely. :)

6th pair: yarn- unknown sock yarn, needle- sz 1, gauge- 12 sts/inch 2x2 rib

From this pair of socks I learned the obvious: 2x2 rib takes more yarn than stockinette. DOH! ... I am almost done with the sock, it fits well, it feels cushy (although it might also be too thick to wear inside a shoe, now that I think of it...), and I am going to run out of yarn before I run out of toe. .. so I'm thinking about what I want to do to fix the problem. In the meantime, I'm working on the sockapalOOOza project!

As you can see, I am basically a one-trick pony. I've made minor alterations here and there, but I've never followed a pattern, so I'm not sure which one(s) to suggest!

Basic socks make me very happy. :) Fancy socks might make me happy, too, but I don't know. I haven't yet made a pair of fancy socks, and I haven't yet tried wearing a pair of fancy socks!

I love lots of colors. :)

I am confident that I will love whatever pair of socks is made for me! :)


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Etc., Etc., Etc...

1 - In theory I joined Project Spectrum a week or two ago. I say "in theory" because I still do not show up on the participants' list even though I submitted the form twice and followed up with an e-mail to the host. :( .. I think this means that I will not get any addresses to send postcards to. (POUT!!)

Actually, I joined twice. Apparently I cannot find my own name in an alphabetized list. Doh!! So I may well end up sending a postcard to myself!

(But this idea that I came up with before I realized I'd be in the real queue still sounds fun: )

Ok wait! I've got an idea.. if you want a postcard, send me your address. :) Each week I'll put all the addresses I get into a vase and pull out one at random to which I will send that week's Project Spectrum postcard!

send your request to: peacockschallenge at
subject: spectrum

More about Project Spectrum in a seperate post. :)


2- To anyone who tried to respond to Challenge: Cactus Buckets and had the email address fail, I've fixed the problem and mail is being recieved. .. alternately, you could post your answers in the comments for that post. :)I'll decide winner(s) on Sunday, March 18 (midnight PST).


3- Inspired by A Chair Is... I have started my own secondary blog: Beyond The Frame in which I am tackling the process of decluttering, cleaning, and organizing my house and my life. I use the forum to investigate the pitfalls (both external and internal) that stand in my way as well as the myriad little measures that eventually add up to success. (I'm assuming eventual success, anyway..) I talk about how I think about the processes involved, and how I get beyond those thoughts that stall my progress. It's not always as upbeat and pretty as this blog has been, but it's honest and and insightful and I could really use a supportive audience to cheer me along!


Okay, that's a wrap for now!

Redemption: Polyester Yarn and Size 11 Needles

I know I've posted at least once about my dislike for synthetic yarns... (although I do allow that sometimes they look just too fabulous for words, I often simply cannot tolerate the way they feel long enough to knit something with them.) ...and I think that I've mentioned that size 10-1/2's are as the largest needles that are really comfortable for me to use.

So what could possibly be so compelling as to redeem (at least temporarily) a Polyester Eyelash yarn and Size 11 circular needle? (and the one size 11 that I had is a Clover bamboo (the eyelash didn't like to slide on the bamboo...) and it's only 16" long (I bought it to make a hat before I realized that I don't really like size 11 needles, and I hated the bulky-yarn hat. .. but it did keep my from freezing that night. My hair was wet and it was cold out. So I did what any obsessed knitter would do: I bought some bulky yarn and a size 11, 16" circular needle and knitted myself a hat during the movie so I wouldn't freeze afterward. :)

...oops.. segueway.

So... My size 11 bamboo circular needle (that really grabs on the eyelash) is also only 16" long, which means that the stupid bamboo points are too short to be comfortable in my grip. .. it's also shorter than the pattern called for (pattern suggested size 11, 29" circular.. but I don't plan on buying another size 11 if I don't have to. .. and I have DP's so I figured I'd be able to make SOMETHING work... luckily, the circular was long enough because this would be a very inconvenient project on DP's.)

It turns out that all that's required to make me abandon my principles and knit with polyester eyelash on size 11's (that are too short for my hands) for hours and hours without cessation....

Is a Fiber Trends Huggable Hedgehog pattern, and yarn that comes from my Secret Pal. :)

The first half was easy. The wool was an absolute joy to work with! .. and the hedgehog's belly side gets knitted on a 10-1/2 circular. (Thank You SP6!! Your October box is still paying dividends!) The pattern was clearly enough written that even I could follow it. :) (although I would have preferred a chart.. )

Z is such a tolerant model... :) Here is Z wearing the hedgie-belly as a hat to give a concept of the size (not yet felted). ... Somehow I had thought it would be smaller even though the pattern says the finished size will be approximately 10" high.

I think I got the paws right, but that part of the pattern didn't seem to be worded very well. .. Maybe it's just me. I have a terrible time following pattern instructions!!

I started running into trouble when I picked up stitches with the eyelash-wool combo. (This is where the pattern says to switch to a sz 11.. next time I'll see what happens if I continue with the 10-1/2.)

The pattern says pick up 77 stitches around the perimeter of the hedgie-belly, and even gives a breakdown of where those stitches should be found.

I tried. Lord knows I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried again. I ripped that stupid row of picked-up stitches out more times than I can count.

I finally resorted to grabbing a fistful of plastic pin-style stitch markers and spacing them according to the pattern's directions... 7 sts across top of head... 10 sts down each side of face... 1 sts at neck... 7 sts around paw...6 sts around belly...

but when I got to the lower paws, I had too many stitches.

Time and Time and Time again I ended up with 79 stitches instead of 77. Nothing I could do would give me 77. Nothing.

I solved it by using the next row to k2tog at the spot where the lower leg meets the belly on each side, reducing my total of 79 to the reccommended 77. :)

It's part of what leaves me wondering whether I did the paws right.

The eggplant-like shaping of the hedgie's back is achieved through numerous short-rows.

I read the pattern carefully. I followed the pattern closely. I did my level best.

I knit and ripped and knit and ripped and knit and ripped some more.

I admit I was trying to Understand the pattern, and I was having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the shaping. (It's really quite clever once it works...)

I finally gave up and decided that I would knit the pattern through blind faith, following each instruction as it came, not trying to guess how it will line up in the next section or figure out why it does what it does. I decided that I would knit the entire back as written and that I would only rip again if I got to the very end and it hadn't worked yet.

As an approach, it worked surprisingly well. Maybe I should try it more often. ;)


I got through the first set of short-rows, and everything seemed accurate.
I got through the second set of short-rows....

and I had 11 stitches left on the needle where there were supposed to be 9.

I counted every single stitch on the needle, just to make sure.
Three times.

It's really quite unfathomable..

I had the right number of stitches on the needle.

I just happened to be on the wrong side of the work.

No, I don't mean that I had somehow turned the work around and was counting from the wrong side... ...I meant that I was WORKING the darn thing from the wrong side.

The pattern says "......K9 this should be the end of the row."
only I've ended up with K11 and at the BEGINNING of the row.

Proper number of stitches...
Wrong side of the hedgie.

Oh well. It's garter stitch, it's eyelash-covered, and it's going to be felted.
Who cares if my hedgie's a mutant?

He's a cute mutant. :)

Z hopes he can talk me into giving him the hedgie... See the hopeful look?

I felted the hedgie in the washing machine and shaped his little face by hand while he was still wet. I stuffed him with some plastic grocery bags and let him dry overnight.

The next day Z was eager to help with the photo shoot...

...but he wasn't inclined to give the hedgie back.
Z thinks all felted fuzzies belong to the Z.

Not this time, Z!
MY hedgie!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lookie What I Got!!

My SP7 spoiler (who has been most fabulous-- writing me e-mails and telling me about her wonderful experiences and asking me about mine) sent me a BOX!!

I've been hearing rumors of this Box for weeks and it's been so EXCITING!! She didn't get it out in time for Valentine's Day, but she let me know why, and that's just cool with me. Then she went to Stitches so she held off sending the box until she got a chance to shop there!! .. and then there was this other little thing that had to come in so she could put it in the box.. and then.. Exciting, I tell you!!!

It's like when I tell my doggie to hold a treat on his nose and say "wait...not yet... wait... not yet... sooon......." and drool starts to run down his chin, and he quivers all over and starts to pant, and his eyes cross as he tries to look at the treat on his nose.. and then he's SO HAPPY when he finally wins the prize!

Okay, well, to clarify the concept: I didn't drool. (...much.)

But boy was I SO HAPPY when the box arrived!!! I saved opening it for an end-of-the-day reward, and I think those few hours may have been even more difficult than the weeks preceeding it! It was RIGHT THERE!!! All it would take was a couple of minutes with a box knife, and really.. who'd be the wiser? ;)

But THIS was definitely a box worth waiting for!!

First there was the box of chocolate and the Valentine's Day card!! My Spoiler thought of me on Valentine's Day!!! Yay!!! Valentine's day in March!!! ;) It's Never too late for hearts and candy! ..well, okay, by Christmastime the gummy candies do get hard enough you need a chisel, but short of that it's never too late!

Since Bethieee's away for the weekend, I even get to claim my very favorite chocolates all to myself and she'll Never Know I've done it! (oops, was that my out-loud voice?)

Then I found the Tea!
Now, I love a good cup of tea.. I have a huge tea drawer filled with all manner of wonderful teas for myself and friends who visit... but I have Never seen this tea before!
The box says that there are little "hand-woven tea blossoms" that "unfold and bloom" in hot water! I'm so eager to try this out, but this time I'll wait for the Bethieee to get home first so that I have a friend to try it out with. :) (Keithr does not like tea.)

The tiny little gold box held... a glass Peacock Button! Oh wow!!! How perfect is that?! I am thinking I need a one-button cardigan jacket or something to put this button on! .. until then, maybe I'll stitch it to one of my hats just so I can wear it in public! ;)
(It's a huge button, btw.. maybe an 1-1/2 inches across.. this is A Button To Be Noticed!)

The long, thin, tissue-paper-wrapped bundle was very obviously fibery goodness. It had that soft, squishy yet springy telltale feel to it. So of course I was expecting Yarn. Yarn is lovely. Yarn is wonderful! I was looking forward to yarn... I had NO clue that my yarn would be Embryonic!!

FIBER to SPIN!!! WHEEEEEEE! I am SO excited!!! This is not just Yarn, this is One-Of-A-Kind, Do-It-Yourself yarn!! This could be Anything!!
It's 2 oz of 50/50 Merino/Tencel in a color called "Peacock Plume" (How perfect is that?!) from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks!! It's very shiny and super soft!
I'd love to get a shawl out of it, but that might be pressing my luck.. maybe if I spin it to a fine laceweight single and ply it with another fine laceweight single spun from a merino-silk? .. or if that would grey out the color too much, perhaps I could ply it with a silk sewing thread? ... I might only get enough length for a scarf, though, because taking it too fine might thin out the color too much.. hmmmmm... whatever it will be, it's going to be FUN! I will think about this one for awhile and let the ideas grow in the back of my head. :)

I saved the dangerous-looking box for last. It had a big label on it: "Warning: Animal Inside" and I know how grumpy animals can get after being shipped by the post office.. especially if they're also hungry.
This was a box to be opened with great delicacy and care...

Look! Hedgehog Eggs!!!

No, Really!

Hedgehog Eggs and the instructions on how to care for them!!

Definitely a box worth waiting for.

Bye! I have to go incubate my hedgehogs now!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

SockapalOOOza: Pattern Swatch

With a decent idea of the gauge I wanted to work, and armed with a pencil, a sharpie, and some 10 square to the inch graph paper, I started drafting out the pattern.

At first I thought I would repeat the large heart motif several times around the girth of the sock, but I wasn't so happy with it knitted up. It would be great for a larger project, perhaps, like a sweater maybe? but on a little sock it just seemed too huge.

So I drew up another pattern with the large hearts only tracing up the center line in back and a set of smaller hearts patterned around the rest of the leg. Much better!

I did one repetition on size 2 Addis, and a second repetition dropping the needle size to 1 and thickening some of the lines in the smaller hearts.

I like the results of the smaller needle gauge. The question that arises, however, is will there be enough stretch in the cuff at the smaller gauge to fit comfortably over the heel girth? hmmm...

I'm happy with the back side.. the floats are short enough that I think they will cause no problems.

And to help me keep track of my place, I put my pattern onto a sheet of metal and use a long magnet to underline the current row. (Darice sells a product of this description to aid with counted cross-stitch.)

Next step: cast on a cuff and start the pattern for the sock. After I knit a few inches, I'll see if it slides comfortably over my heel or if I have to make some sort of adjustments to get it to fit properly.

I've decided I'll make the cuff in black. I will probably be doing the heel flap and gusset in a stranded pattern. I have not decided whether to do the toe stranded in a pattern or solid black...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Peacocks Challenge 1: Cactus Buckets

When we were in Tucson, AZ in February, we happened upon this strange sight.

It was a source of great amusement as we pondered why this was done... some of the most outlandish theories were my favorites. SO:

I'll give one prize to the first person who correctly tells me why these cacti are wearing buckets on their heads!

And a different prize to the theory that makes me laugh the hardest!

E-mail your reply to: peacockschallenge at hotmail.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

SockapalOOOza: Gauge Swatch

Originally I thought that I might attempt one of the socks in Anna Zilboorg's Socks For Sandals And Clogs, but working the yarn I've chosen to that number of stitches per inch left me with an inappropriately loose gauge. I think she must have used a sport or dk weight yarn.

Since I'm more in love with the yarn than I am with the pattern, my next step was to make a gauge swatch, changing needle sizes until I found a gauge I was happy with:

I started with a size 5, and worked down to a size 2 before I got something that I felt would wear reasonably well. I could probably safely drop it to a size 1, but I have had good success before knitting comfortable socks with yarn approximately this size on size 2s. (No, I didn't really think the size 5 was going to work in the first place, but had to try it anyway as there was no other way to get 6 sts / inch in the yarn I've chosen. I figured it would probably be too loose, and it sho-nuff was.)

I also tried working the heart motif varigated on black vs black on varigated. I like the black motif on varigated ground much better because when the motif was varigated, the stripeyness that occurred contradicted with the curviness of the heart shape.

Next step: chart out a basic pattern for the motifs and see if the gauge makes a good, readable pattern when worked in the yarn.

Thank You, Indie!

I just got a box from Indie! Indie was my spoilee for my first SP exchange: SP5, and we've been sending email and little things back and forth ever since. :)

What a fabulous surprise has arrived this time! Indie sent a box with my name and Bethieee's! and inside were these excellent treats:

Two skeins of yarn from a local (for her!) working yarn mill! plus a brochure about the mill. If I ever get to go visit England, I will have to put a visit to the mill on the itinerary! That would be so much fun!!

Of course, each of us (Bethieee and I) tried to claim *both* the skeins of yarn as our own, but that didn't work so well. She hid them under the couch cushions, but I found them and hid them under my computer desk, but she got hold of them again.... anyway, we eventually solved the situation by agreeing to each take only one skein. Luck would have it we each got the color that we favored of the two! Bethieee took the turquoise color, and I got the sky-blue. The sky blue would look really good on me, so I am thinking of maybe making a nice warm winter scarf so it will frame my face and bring out the blue in my eyes. :) It's nice and soft, too, so it will be a pleasure to wear!

Also included were four bars of Green & Black's chocolates!! Bethieee claimed the orange-and-spice flavor because she likes ginger and anice and other spices like that more than I do. I was going to share the other three with her evenly, but instead I ate most of the 70% cacao bar today. I was feeling a little nauseous, and the chocolate bar really settled my stomach. :) and was yummy!! I'm eager to try the white chocolate -- I haven't tried Green & Black's version before, and I'm very partial to a good white chocolate! and the milk chocolate is most certainly guaranteed to be delicious. I'm quite certain they will be gone by the end of the week.

The Robin's Egg chocolates are also appreciated! and half-gone already. They're such a perfect little bite size, and they're just yummy. Bethieee's especially fond of them and was thrilled to find them in the box.

And to top it all off, a little bundle of incense sticks that makes the yarn smell fantastic! (and the chocolate smell a wee bit unusual..) I may be the only person in existence who keeps incense sticks around in my drawers as sachet.

Thank you, Indie! You're fabulous!!! Good luck finding a new flat!