31 March 2009

New! + a Sneaky Sale

A little something new in my shop! This shawl, scarf or sweater pin is made from a heavier gauge of copper or sterling wire than my other pins. I really love the way it turned out.

It's great for heavier knits, but it's still super super light so you can wear it on your lace.

Available in sterling too!

To celebrate, I'm having a sneaky sale: 15% off your purchase of $15 or more, through this Saturday, April 4! Enter coupon code FIGURE8 at checkout!

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30 March 2009

Monday's Musing

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
- Thomas Blackburn

Happy spring everyone! Have a great week. :)


29 March 2009

Blog Tour!

I’m participating in the Fiber Gathering designers’ blog tour!

Fifteen talented designers contributed their designs to this book about U.S. fiber festivals. Do some armchair traveling with us every day at the beginning of April to celebrate the release of the book. There will be posts about designs, festivals, photography, and interviews with the author. Please drop by and visit us as we tour the blog world and celebrate our fiber festival community!

March 31st: Joanne Seiff, author - Yarn Spinner

April 1st: Kim Guzman, designer - WIPs N’Chains

April 2nd: Rosemary Hill, designer - rosemary-go-round

April 3rd: Donna Druchunas, tech editor - Donna Druchunas’ Blog

April 4th: Cathy Adair-Clark, designer - Catena Expressions

April 5th: Terri Shea, designer - spinningwheel.net

April 6th: Chrissy Gardiner, designer - Knittin’ Mom

April 7th: Jeff Marcus photographer - Yarn Spinner

April 8th: JoLene Treace, designer - JoLene Treace Unraveled

April 9th: Cindy Moore, designer - fitterknitter


25 March 2009

A Good Day to Dye

Karen and I have been dreaming up more colors! And the other day, she sent me some yarn that I had asked for, but she sounded hesitant about. I could tell over the phone that she didn't like it but didn't want to say anything! So I decided Kool-Aid, on sale at Safeway, was the answer.

When I got the yarn, I could see that she was right: something was definitely missing. It was a nice tonal range of denim blue to a darker almost navy blue, with some purple bits thrown in. (Wouldn't you know that the before photo didn't come out?!) I whipped out the Black Cherry Kool-Aid.

The kids started to be interested, more in the Kool-Aid than the yarn, I think. I have to say that this was my first experiment with dyeing and I loved it! It was too much fun. I used four packets, heating the yarn on the stove and stirring it a little. We all watched fascinatedly as the color began to vanish out of the water and the yarn changed color.

I love the way it came out.

And really, this is excellent prep for my next foray into dyeing: pale pink laceweight cashmere. I look terrible in pale pink. And next time, I will be better at documentation. I promise!

I'm calling this color Crush, and hoping that Karen can re-create it.

She's good at that. :)


23 March 2009

Monday's Musing

This is a great little story....

"During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: 'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?' Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. 'Absolutely,' the professor said. 'In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.' I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy." - Joann C. Jones

Happy Monday, everyone! Have a great week. :)


18 March 2009

All a-Twitter

It just occured to me that perhaps I should mention that I'm on Twitter? You can find me and follow me here. And I have to say, I've been Twittering more than blogging. The abbreviated format really appeals to me! I've always been a bit terse. :g: Thanks to Nathania for kicking me into gear; I had signed up but not tweeted!


17 March 2009

Sheep Art

This is the coolest!!! From Juanita. :)

15 March 2009

Monday's Musing

This is so beautiful, and such a wonderful sentiment...it always makes me tear up. If something like this is possible, somehow I think we'll all be ok.

Have a wonderful week!


12 March 2009

Recipes and other tidbits

A few answers to questions!

asked me to let everyone know how the fiber spins up. I've spun both Lisa Souza and Royale Hare fiber before and both spin up beautifully!

LisaK asked which colorways the Lisa Souza fiber is. They are Olive Tones and Deep Sea. (The Royale Hare Fiber is Mt. Tam Moss Muir Woods Moss - thanks, Ba!).

Miyamojo asked where she could get the pattern for Bluebird, my newest lace stole. It will be available for download soon! It's being test knit. I will definitely post when I release it!

Michelle at Boulderneigh and Yarnhog asked about steaming handspun; I will show the process when I finish spinning my bfl. :) Stay tuned!

And last, by popular demand: the vegan lemon cupcake recipe! I've also added a chocolate cake/cupcake recipe. This was the first time I have ever tried the lemon (loved it!), but the chocolate cake is a huge huge favorite around here, and we would still love it above all others even if the littlest one weren't allergic to dairy and eggs.

This incredible chocolate cake recipe is originally from Amy, who got it from Barbara. I have modified it slightly. I doubled the recipe and alternate dry and liquid ingredients when adding rather than combining them all at once. I've found that, with the doubled recipe, it isn't possible to have a lump-free batter when adding everything together. I also found that putting the topping on right away as the cake is put into the oven always led to burned chocolate chips in my oven, so I put the topping on later as the cake bakes. I began spraying the brown sugar with water when I wanted a crunchier topping. (As you can see, it's a huge favorite here!)

Amazing Chocolate Cake (
Vegan: no dairy or eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 F

Sift together and set aside:
2 cups sugar
2-2/3 cups flour
2/3 cups unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 tsp salt

Combine and set aside:
2 cups cold water
2/3 cups vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. vinegar

brown sugar and dairy-free chocolate chips for topping

In a large mixing bowl, combine approximately 1 cup of the dry ingredients with 1/2 cup of the wet ingredients (exact amounts not important) and mix until smooth. Add more dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, then add more liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly. Continue adding ingredients in this manner, ending with liquid, until all of the ingredients are mixed thoroughly together. Batter will be thin.

Pour batter into two 8" square pans or one 8" x 16" pan, ungreased. Bake for 15 minutes and pull out of the oven. Add crumbled brown sugar over the top and spray with a fine mist of water until the brown sugar is wet. Bake another 10 minutes, and then pull out. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and return to oven until done, about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Total baking time: approximately 35 minutes.

Or makes approximately 30 cupcakes: line a muffin tin with paper cups and fill 2/3 full. Top with brown sugar and chocolate chips and bake for 20 minutes.

This delicious lemon cupcake recipe is based on the chocolate cake recipe above and is the one I used the other day. It was a huge a hit with the kids. Thank you, Barbara!!!

Lemony Cupcakes (Vegan: no dairy or eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 F

Sift together and set aside:
2 cups sugar
3-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt

Combine and set aside:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1-1/2 cups cold water
2/3 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. vinegar

1/4 cup Vegan margarine
2 cups confectioners sugar
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

In a large mixing bowl, combine approximately 1 cup of the dry ingredients with 1/2 cup of the wet ingredients (exact amounts not important) and mix until smooth. Add more dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, then add more liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly. Continue adding ingredients in this manner, ending with liquid, until all of the ingredients are mixed thoroughly together. Batter will be thin.

Pour batter into two 8" square pans or one 8" x 16" pan, ungreased. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Or makes approximately 30 cupcakes: line a muffin tin with paper cups and fill 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Prepare icing by mixing confectioners sugar into the margarine gradually. Add lemon juice and rind and mix thoroughly. Frost cake or cupcakes when cool.

Enjoy!!! People can't believe there's no dairy or eggs in these!


10 March 2009

This and that

So. While I was away at Stitches West, the new Twist Collective came out. It got pretty much lost to me in the whir of activity and subsequent exhaustion, but I've just had a chance to look over it more closely. I have an article on knitting with wire and a free pattern for a choker in there.

(ROTFL! I just noticed that they put in "tetanus shots optional")! I hope you will all check out the article, as it gives a bunch of little tips that I've found really helpful in my wire projects. And did you know that Scout photographed the Big Sky section? She rocks.

Overall, I think my favorite pattern is the sunflower toy. I love it!

I've been spinning more these days to relax a bit. Spinning is soooooo soothing; much more so than knitting, for some reason. I just finished a little plying and I am just so taken with the color!

I love it. It was mystery fiber to me (I got it at Knitterly and it was totally unlabelled), but Karen from the Royale Hare recognized it on my blog and claimed it as hers!

The colors in it are amazing.

My big treat when I spin is steaming the yarn over the kettle at the end. I love watching the yarn twist and writhe and then relax into shape. So cool.

And last but definitely not least, I'll leave you with the image of the birthday cupcakes I made for the littlest one to take to swim practice. Not as pretty as Jane's, but they were tasty, and they didn't last very long!

They are also vegan (the littlest one is allergic to dairy and eggs), and if you all want, I will share the recipe!

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08 March 2009

Monday's Musing

Have a great week, everyone!


07 March 2009

Mmmmm. Fibery goodness.

Or Stitches West, Part Deux.

I also got some gorgeous fiber at Stitches West, since I am now a confirmed fiber-holic. First up, from Karen at the Royale Hare, we have some amazingly soft (and green) superwash BFL. Just look at that color!

This is going to be a hat for my mail carrier, whose spinning wheel I have. She was so sweet; she loaned me her wheel indefinitely because she's not using it, but doesn't want to sell it to me because she'd never buy another! She likes green, too. :) I couldn't resist starting to spin it.

It is sooooooo soft.

Karen doesn't have fiber on her site yet, but I think we're going to work on it over the summer.

Next up, is some delectable merino/tencel fiber from Tactile. Yummmmm. It's naturally dyed and I cannot wait to spin this stuff! It is a lovely light springy chartreusey golden green.

And last but definitely not least, is some BFL from Lisa Souza. These are two different colorways, but I loved the way the colors coordinate. I think I may ply them together.

And yes, there is something of a greenish theme here, why do you ask? :)

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04 March 2009

Stitches West 2009 Report, Part I

Whew! Where to start? I am feeling human again, after many naps. Stitches was amazing. I saw old friends, reconnected with people I had not spoken to for some time, met new people, and met old virtual friends in person. What a great time! I won't even attempt to name names; there were too many and I know I would leave important people out, as my brain isn't quite recovered yet!

I did get my pattern all ready and the piece into the fashion show, as well as getting as many pins as possible made. And I made it down to Santa Clara at about 4:45 on Thursday evening (the show preview opened at 5:00 - yep I cut it close!).

So I know what you've been waiting for: the goodies! Today is yarn (tomorrow we'll do fiber)! I was lucky enough to be invited to hang out in the Royale Hare booth. Karen gave me my own little corner of the world, where I displayed my lace and pins, and signed my book (I also signed at Habu on Friday). And after looking at all that gorgeous yarn for so long, of course I came away with some of Karen's laceweight.

This is the Royale Hare's new laceweight silk in Azure. The minute I saw it, I could not get that color out of my mind. I had to have it! It is even more gorgeous in person.

Here's a new Royale Hare-Designs by Romi designer color of alpaca lace: Light Spring Green. It has little flecks of gold in it. Yum. I tried to resist, because we all know I don't need any more green laceweight! But alas, the siren song of the green was too much for me to bear! I love love love this color that Karen dyed for me!

And this is possibly my very favorite, even though I don't usually go for pinks. This one is the Royale Hare Medium Orchid alpaca laceweight. Mmmmmmmmm.

Also in my rambles, I visited the lovely Kristine of A Verb for Keeping Warm. Look at the color of that silk! It's Transnational Fury, and it is achieved with natural dyes! I know. Amazing, isn't it?

So now I am designing, designing, designing!!!

On another note, my friend Joanne's book is out! Fiber Gathering, a book about fiber festivals in the US, has one of my patterns among the mix. Evergreen is a warm and cuddly stole, that is a surprisingly soothing knit.

If you're on Ravelry, you can see all of the projects here. Congratulations, Joanne!!!

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02 March 2009

Monday's Musing

Better late than never edition. :)

I'm back from Stitches West. I had a wonderful time, saw old friends, met others in person for the first time, and petted lots of yarn and fiber. So in that vein, here is today's musing!

"The language of friendship is not words but meanings." - Henry David Thoreau

"A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be." - Douglas Pagels

It's nice to be home. I missed my guys!

Have a great week, everyone!!