Sunday, December 16, 2007

Handspun Wristy

Step 1: Get some roving.

Step 2: Spin some yarn.
(Ok, step two is a lot longer than that. First, spin a really really skinny single. Then spin a slightly less skinny single. Then figure how out to ply them together. Yikes)

Step 3: Cast on 12 sts and knit until the yarn is gone.

Step 4: Join into a circle and place on wrist.

I am trying to get better at spinning, can you tell? This was my very first attempt at plying. I am going to have to spin the yarn with a lot more twist if I want the plying to go better. I also have to figure out a better way to keep the singles under control so they don't lose all their twist before I can ply them. Maybe a mug would work, with the end strung through the handle. I'm thinking I need a lazy kate.

I've a ridiculously large amount of this roving. I really want a spinning wheel because it is kind of annoying to have to keep winding the yarn onto the drop spindle. It may take me years to spin it all! What do you think the people in my life would say if I asked for a lazy kate and a spinning wheel for Christmas???

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Lookit what Seany brought me back from his business trip! (Yes, I get that it's backwards. Photobooth is like that. It's weird.)

What a sweetie for thinking of me and for carrying a gingerbread house kit all the way back on an airplane!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Hat Full of Spiders!

Aka, butterfly hat, aka Fleece MEGA hat.

So...I invented the warmest hat I've ever worn. Normal hats don't keep my ears warm- they either don't cover my ears or they do cover my eyes, both of which are not that great. Ear flap hats are good if you can find them I guess, but I couldn't find any patterns I really liked. So I made this hat. Then I made it again and then I made it again.

I like it so much because of two things.
1) The shape of it is exactly like the shape of the part of my head that I want to keep warm. That is, it covers my ears and is a bit longer in the back than in the front so it's toasty everywhere.
2) It's lined with polar fleece (or Minkee. So soft!), so it's pretty much impervious to the cold. (If you see my previous post about my glove mittens, you will realize I am a big fan of layered winter gear!

I call this one a Hat Full of Spiders because I think the butterfly stitch looks more like spiders. Plus spiders are way cooler to have on a hat. I saw the butterfly stitch on Knitty Gritty and decided it would make a good hat. Here is a link to a hat that has this stitch. It is a very awesome pattern, and it would have been even awesomer if I had found it before I actually made the hat! I lined it with lavender fleece because that's what I had around and it was snowing so I didn't feel like running to the fabric store!

This pink one was the first hat I made with this pattern, from about a year ago. It's from my first attempt at handspun/ hand-dyed yarn, and it looks kind of goofy. I am very proud of it though. I posted it on craftster a long time ago along with the pattern, but I sucked at posting then and I think it sort of got lost.

Finally, this is another one from last winter. I discovered Paton's SWS, (which I heart immensely) and decided it needed to be a hat. And I decided to add ribbing to see what it would look like. I lined it with Minkee fabric, which is so so so soft, but it doesn't stretch in the direction that I sewed it in, and it's way too tight and I already cut off the extra sean allowance and so I can't rip it out and resew it. So I like it but it hurts to wear for too long!

Here they are all together, a toasty trio.

Anyway, here is the pattern for the basic hat! Don't sell it.

Amazing Hat with Earflaps
By Emily Thomas

Needle: size 7, 16” circular needle. Size 7 dpns.
Yarn: Any worsted weight yarn
Gauge: 18 st x 24 rows = 4”


Work 2 at the same time, with 2 different balls (or two ends).
CO 2
R1: kf&b twice (4 st)
R2: kf&b 4 times (8 st)
R3: kf&b, k6, kf&b (10 st)
R4: kf&b, kf&b, p6, kf&b, kf&b (14 st)
R5: k14
R6: p14
R7: kf&b, k12, kf&b (16 st)
R8: Flap 1: p15, kf&b, CO3 (20 st)
R8: Flap 2: CO3 st to end of previous row, turn, p3, kf&b, p12 (20 st)

From now on, both flaps will be worked together. Break the unused yarn.
R9: kf&b, k19, CO8, continue across and join the flaps, k19 (2nd flap), kf&b (50 st total)
R10: p50 (50 st)
R11: kf&b, k48, kf&b (52 st)
R12: p52
R13: kf&b, k50, kf&b (54 st)
R14: kf&b, p52, kf&b (56 st)
R15: kf&b, k1, kf&b, k50, kf&b, k1, kf&b (60 st)
R16: CO3 at end of previous row, turn, p63, CO3 (66 st)
R17: k across, CO 14, join to knit in the round

Main Hat

Knit around for 4.5” more inches.

Decrease for Top
Switch to dpns when it gets too tight for circulars.

R1: k8, k2tog around
R2: k
R3: k7, k2tog around
R4: k
R5: k6, k2tog around
R6: k
R7: k5, k2tog around
R8: k
R9: k4, k2tog around
R10: k
R11: k3, k2tog around
R12: k
R13: k2, k2tog around
R14: k
R15: k1, k2tog around
R16: k2tog around until 6 st remain.

Break off about 12” of yarn. Thread it through remaining stitches and pull to close. Weave in all ends.

Blocking will help keep the edges from rolling up.


Cut an 18” x 12” piece of polar fleece.
Fold in half (the hamburger way) so it is now 9” x 12”.
Sew with a ½” seam allowance to make a tube.
With chalk (ok, I used a blue highlighter) draw this pattern along the top of the tube:

Pin the adjacent edges of the arcs together and sew, so that all the points come together at the top.

Try the hat on with the seam in the back. (You’ll probably want to trim it a bit so you can breathe.) Put the knit hat on over the fleece hat. Draw the outline of the knit hat onto the fleece, leaving enough room to turn the edge under.

Cut along the line. Pin the fleece lining into the knit hat, turning the edge under. Sew along the bottom edge.


To even out the edges, I crocheted along the edge. Single crochet or crab stitch would work well for this.

Tassels (make 2)

Cut three to five 25” lengths of yarn and twist together until they twist back on themselves. Tie a knot at the end. Attach to the ear flaps (a crochet hook is helpful here).

There you go! A new hat!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas Babies Part 2

Awwwww. Just in time for the snow, too! Perfect!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Babies!

Apparently I am all about starting new projects this week. I discovered some red MicroSpun and some ridiculously fluffy white Yarn Bee and so I am going to make Christmas hats for the preemies! And I've started early enough that I might actually be able to donate something. Now I just need to buy cardstock to print tags. This is my way of confessing that the reason I haven't actually donated anything to the Preemie Project lately is that I don't have any cardstock for tags. I should really do something about that. I suck.

But you should feel how soft this hat is.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lizard Ridge

I got so excited about finally finishing those darn mittens that I let myself start another project I've been thinking of for awhile. Lizard Ridge from Knitty is supposed to be knit with Noro Kureyon, but this yarn was part of a kit to knit a different afghan that I inherited from my Grandma. My uncle has the blanket made from the original pattern so I wanted to do something different with it. I figured Lizard Ridge would be a great way to make interesting stripes.

This pattern is much more fun to knit than I anticipated, and it is going faster, too. It helps that I have figured out how to knit backward recently, and I am getting almost as quick knitting backward as I am purling forward. This makes the short rows go pretty fast. The color changes are just often enough to be interesting but not often enough to make annoying ends. I have even woven in every end I have made so far, so if I keep this up (and actually ever finish after this initial excitement wears off soon) I will not have much finishing to do!

I am also knitting it in strips instead of squares. I'm not sure exactly how much yarn I will have to make it, so I might have to do some math at some point, but for now I am just knitting (= The yarn is only 25% wool, so I am a bit worried that the bumps won't block out, but I actually kind of like them. Especially since the yarn is a bit less exciting than the Kureyon, it adds some interest to it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Take that, Winter! Mittens

Woohoo!!! My hands will never be cold again!

I decided to make these last winter when I was standing in the below 0ºF windchill waiting for the bus. It was too cold for gloves, but mittens didn't let me use my fingers to get my bus pass out of my wallet. Mittens with fingerless gloves or whatever they are called inside would probably have been ok, but then my poor fingertips would be exposed to the cold. So I looked through my stash and realized that I had some sock yarn that pretty much exactly matched my wool yarn so I decided to pair them together to make these!
I used the sock yarn to knit some gloves with no cuff and I used the wool yarn to knit some giant mittens with no cuff that I later felted to make them fit nice and snug. Then I put the glove on inside the mitten picked up stitches through both parts around the cuff and knit down for awhile! Ta da!

I'd put up more pictures and details and stuff, but the internet is being all weird, so that will probably wait till tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sneak Peek

Here is a tiny look at part of the project I am working on. Doesn't it look great?

No, not so much, you say? Just you wait till tomorrow! I am almost done, and I couldn't be more excited!! Especially if it remains as darn windy as it's been lately. Eeee! I can't wait to be finished!

Friday, November 9, 2007


I got my nose pierced! A couple friends and I were at the coffee house getting interviewed for the newspaper about the Preemie Project and I was like, "let's go get pierced!" and one of my friends was like "yeah!" So after the interview we went over and got some brand new holes! Like I posted in facebook: "I was recently thinking to myself: "You know, I haven't had any major puncture wounds within an inch of my brain lately." Also, "Man, what could I do with this $40 in my pocket?" So I found a guy who would punch a hole in my nose. And now I have a nose piercing. The end."

The picture is lame. Don't you like how staticy my hair is? It's really bad when I am brushing the cat because you can literally hear him crackle. I am afraid I will touch him one day and he will spark and catch on fire or something. We turned the humidifier way up, but I am not convinced it is helping!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Carbs and Pants

I'm not sure why I felt like posting these particular pictures today, but I think when I took these pictures in June I was still a bit weirded out by the whole "new me" thing. Maybe I have finally spent enough time being how I am now to be comfortable enough to share it. Anyway, when I first moved here (Iowa, far away from home, as is pretty obvious by the previous post...) I didn't know many people so instead I ate a lot of cookies and watched a lot of tv and gained a bit of weight, like 10 or 15 lbs.

That's when I bought these pants, which are a size 12. At that point I weighed something like 162 lbs.

Then I decided maybe I didn't feel like being like that anymore, so I stopped eating so many cookies. Then my friends told me about the South Beach Diet and I started following that. For two weeks I didn't eat a single itty bitty carb, not even fruit. I learned about ordering double vegetables at restaurants instead of pasta or potatoes. I started eating more eggs than I'd ever eaten in my life. I learned that things that are good on bread can often also be good on slices of bell peppers (probably tuna and hummus more than peanut butter and jelly... ew!) I started going to the gym to watch tv instead of going home to watch tv. After about 4 or 5 months of this, I lost about 35 lbs.

That's when I bought these pants, which are a size 2. Now I weight something like 127 lbs, but I've stopped weighing myself so obsessively since my weight hasn't changed in several months.

Now I have learned to be more careful with what I eat. When I know I will be going to a party or somewhere where there will be a lot of candy and carb-y beer and pizza (or if it's Halloween, for example) I will try to eat carefully the rest of the day, so that I can enjoy the good stuff without feeling bad about it. I also go to karate 3 times a week, which is such a good workout that I think I could even start eating non-flaxseed pasta (gasp!) and be ok.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. Woo!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I went to Oregon!!!

Oregon is way better than Iowa. Seriously.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Painting vs Sculpting

When I say "Painting vs Sculpting," I am talking about knitting, of course. I've been thinking lately about different types of knitters and why I am drawn to some projects and not others. I think it comes down to whether people prefer to sculpt with their yarn or paint with their yarn.

Here's what I mean:
Often online, I will see blogs and forum postings from people who make nothing but socks. Gorgeous, hand-dyed, different intricate-lace-pattern-every-time socks. Or they make fair-isle scarves or sweaters which are a plain rectangle with very complex colorwork patterns. Or crazy aran blankets with a hundred different squiggles scattered across them. I am starting to think of this as "painting" fancy designs with the knitting.

I, on the other hand, am more interested in scuplting interesting shapes with my yarn. For awhile I thought that this was because of the fact that I am generally watching TV while I am knitting and I don't feel like counting every stitch. After mulling this over, however, I think really it's no less complex, and no more mindless to count the 6 stitches that come before a complicted increase that will eventually become the nose of some sort of hat creature (or whatever) than to count the 6 stitches that come before a color change or a yo, sl1, ssk, psso (or whatever) of a lace pattern.

It's not that I don't like fair-isle or aran knitting or lace. I've made perfectly good things using all of these techniques. It's just that when I find myself day-dreaming about knitting (yeah, I really do that) it's rarely because I am trying to figure out how to incorporate colorwork into a pattern. It's much more likely that I will fear my cat will get cold in the winter and so I will be trying to figure out how to knit a cat-cozy... or I will wonder how I would do the increases if I wanted a sweater with a zipper that went diagonally across the front... or I will wonder how to make the cuffs if I want to knit mittens that are also gloves (my new amazing project I mentioned in the last post).

Therefore, I think that there are two types of knitting, painting with color or lacework or cables, and sculpting with interesting shapes. In order to be a master of knitting, I feel like you have to be able to seamlessly integrate these two components into each other. This is what I strive for as a knitter.


I really have been knitting, I swear. It's just that, well, I haven't been knitting a lot, you see. And for everything that I am knitting right now I am making up the pattern as I go along and writing it down. Which means I feel like at some point in my life I should send these patterns I am writing down to some sort of knitting publication and make them put them somewhere for people to see. Which means that I can't post it online if I want someone else to do it for me. Which is silly. I think I will post my project I am working on now, anyway. It is going to be very awesome when it's done. This may very well be the worst post ever.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


So, I was asked to make someone a CD of my favorite songs so they could "broaden their cultural awareness" or something. I had a lot of fun going through my music and putting this together, so I thought I'd share it!

3 Libras, A Perfect Circle
Lithium, Nirvana
Walking And Thinking, Ra
Road Trippin', Red Hot Chili Peppers
Realize, Colbie Caillat
Blackbird, The Beatles
Danny's Song, Kenny Loggins
The Only Living Boy In New York, Simon & Garfunkel
The Luckiest, Ben Folds
Wherever You Will Go, The Calling
Mad World, Gary Jules
New Slang , The Shins
All At Once, The Fray
Somewhere Only We Know, Keane
Ants Marching, Dave Matthews Band
Yellow, Coldplay
Float On, Modest Mouse
I Stand Alone, Godsmack
How Much Longer, Eve 6
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps, Cake
Super Mario Bros, Boston Pops

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I finished my craft room! Here's the finished mural! I took me about 6 hours to do the whole thing. I love it! Note the heron on one of the rocks.

Here is the background on the wall
I mainly will use this room for homework, so I like that the table is big enough to spread all my papers out and still have a sewing machine on it.

Craft closet!!! It's truely amazing how much stuff I fit in there! There are containers for yarn, painting, beading, sewing/quilting, scrapbooking, rug hooking, embroidery.......

Best. Bookshelf. EVER.

I am so happy with how this turned out! I was pretty nervous painting on the wall, so I am glad it didn't like, drip black all over or something. At least I think it's fairly recognizable as some place with trees or something... Woooohoooo!!!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I got invited to Ravelry! Finally! I am so excited! I think they do the whole wait lots of months for an invitation so that your will be so excited to use it when you finally get in! Actually it's really cool, though.

As far as crafts and me, I've sort of been trying to get my craft room painted and furnitured and prettified. I painted it on Saturday, a light lavender. It's not really what color I was going for, but I was all set to deal with it. Then I went to take down the tape and realized just what a crappy paint job it is. I think I may take this opportunity to do a second coat in a slightly different color. Darn it! I want to be done painting! Here is a preview of the beginning part of my practice for the mural I want to paint on the wall. I might be too sick of painting by then though...

Did I mention I started going to karate again? I love it! I worked out for 2 and a half hours today, which was great, because today really sucked. The first two things that happened to me today were I hit my head on the corner of my nightstand, then got up and hit my head on the corner of the wall! Arg!

I love The Preemie Project! It's so fun to hang out and knit with people!!!!!

Here is how awesome my cat is:

Monday, October 1, 2007

Something a bit sad

So here is a preemie set, all pretty and almost done. Except I ran out of yarn. Right before the toe of the second bootie. The only reason I started making the set was to get rid of yarn that's been in my stash forever, so I really really don't wanna go buy more. Does anyone have a few yards of fuschia Lion Brand Microspun they'd like to send me???

The hat is cute though, with a little cable pattern. I guess I will donate just the hat, and have a bootie and a half just sitting around for the rest of eternity.

Sunday college knit nights have been happening, and they are totally fun! I mostly haven't knit anything, because pretty much every week I've taught someone to knit or crochet, but presumably once the newbies get the hang of it (and they are! they are!) then they can help teach, too! It's hard to teach someone to knit, but I think I am getting better (at least I hope so!)

Yesterday I finally used my Christmas present gift certificate to a spa! Oh my goodness, that was the best thing ever! I got an hour long facial and an hour long massage, and played in their whirlpool and steam room. I felt very princess! (= Thanks Seany!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


So I've been bad and I haven't posted anything lately. I haven't been doing too much crafting, which is why. I did go away for the weekend to the east coast, and had a little mini vacation, which was very great.

I also got a kitty!! He feels like you think a cloud should feel when you are little and don't yet know about water and condensation and such. Like Care Bear clouds or something. That is, he is so soft and fluffy and warm and wonderful!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Field of Dreams

Some of my people came to visit for Labor Day weekend (yay!!) and so we went on a trip to see the place where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed. I really like this picture that I took there. It is so sterotypical midwest that it almost hurts.
Having guests also made us realize that it would probably be nice to move the guest room down to the basement, so that guests can have the whole basement area to themselves. As a bonus, this means that my craft room will be the bigger room!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Craft room! eeeeeeee!

Isn't that a beautiful sight??? Ok, so the whiteness and plasticness of it all isn't super inspiring, but holy crap I love having a craft room! I am secretly plotting a mural to paint on the wall, which should be a really nice touch, if it turns out. That probably won't be for another couple months...

In the picture, I am working on the curtains for the living room. Here is a handy hint: If you ever think that you should make curtains because it would be stupid to buy them since after all it's only a piece of fabric with some hems- don't do it. I have only finished one and a half (out of about 7) in the past week. That one looks fantastic hanging up, though! Then again, there is a piece of fabric that I've attached to the curtain rod with safety pins that looks just as good! I'll post pix when I finish more of them. Notice the Sex and the City DVD playing on my computer.

As I was organizing the craft room, I came across this, one of first things I really ever knit. Ok, I can't actually remember what the official first thing I ever knit was, but this I started in sometime in high school, so it's up there. I think it's intended to be a baby blanket. I have absolutely no intention to ever finish it. The yarn is from my grandma. She gave me a whole box of colorful yarn when I told her I'd taken up knitting!

I am pretty proud of the fact that I figured out how to do the pattern with the purl stitches. Switching between knitting and purling was practically the first thing I decided to learn, once I'd figured out about needles and things. I remember being blown away by the fact that by making a "backward" knit stitch you could add so much dimension to a piece. It helps that I (apparently) figured out how to knit continental, not english, which makes for easier knit/purl switching I think. I learned to knit by looking at badly hand drawn pictures of bodyless hands making stitches, so I really had no idea what the *right* way to hold anything was. I think I turned out ok as a knitter though!

The only problem? I didn't know which part of a stitch to stick the needle into to make a knit stitch. I knit every single row in this thing through the back loop! So every other row has twisted stitches! Thankfully, I've since figured out better ways to do it! Check out this beautiful detail:

In other news, our house is (very) slowly turning into a home. Despite some (aaaaaaaugh!!!!!!) flooding in our basement, I still think this space is so cozy, and I love hanging out down there. It could just be that the craft room is in the basement... The carpet is all torn up, because we were trying to get it to dry out and checking for mold and no one's been back to fix it (grrrrr). I did my best to cover up the carpet, and move all the furniture back to take these pictures, though. My favorite thing is the pictures of Oregon on the wall. We were going for a kind of "winter at a mountain lodge" kind of thing, and somehow I think our old inherited furniture pulls it off!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Eyeball Yarn

This is probably the coolest thing I've ever seen.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm sick of storms

But isn't this an awesome picture Seany took?

It's beautiful, but holy cucumbers, it needs to stop raining around here!!! The weather radio has been freaking out every couple hours for the past 3 weeks. Flash floods! Severe thunderstorms! Tornadoes! Enough already! Today's rain so far is nice and steady and non-thunderstormy. It kind of feels like home, which I appreciate. Maybe I can get away with a handknit sweater today! It's probably gonna be in the 90's (ºF) today, but our lab is always cold!

In other news... I haven't done much crafting lately, unless you count interior decorating (which I kind of do!) I started a new, bright pink preemie hat at knit night on Tuesday. I am trying to make up a cable pattern, and I was trying to talk to people, and I was trying to figure out how to cable without a cable needle, so I didn't get very far. It should be cute when I finish though!

I think I am going to start taking karate again. I need some kind of structured work out and some people to hang out with, plus I totally miss karate. I would have to save Grey's Anatomy for Friday's though!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ikea furniture

Sean went to Chicago for some reason yesterday, so I made him stop at Ikea to get us some furniture. So that means our weekend will be spent swearing and trying to figure out how to screw part F into leg W using bolt Q or something like that. I am so excited, though! I had only seen any of it online, so I am still not sure what it will look like in real life. The mirror is freaking HUGE! I can't believe Sean drive all the way from Chicago with it in his car!

These are the part I really was looking for when I found these, cuz right now I am using a step ladder for a night stand, and I have to keep taking everything off when I paint another room. It's kinda inconvenient. But of course, they were out of stock at the Chicago store. Hmm.

I can't wait to see what they look like in our room! I think they will make the green less super-happy-cheerful and more calm and relaxing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

UIHC Craft Fair

Today was craft/ bake sale at the hospital for The Preemie Project day! Woohoo!! Only I didn't get a chance to make anything, so I suck. After wandering around the hospital for a good 15 minutes after lunch (that place is huge!!! And it has good lunch!) I found the sale. There was tons of stuff! So many people worked really hard to make all of the crafts and food. I feel bad for not making anything, but I did buy something! I have been meaning to make a knitting needle case for all my loose double pointeds and my circulars, but I haven't gotten around to it. So when I saw this needle case, I knew I had to get it. I wanted to get a cookbook, too, but I only had $13, and I wanted the needle case more. Maybe someone will let me buy one soon even if it's not at a crafts sale?? Isn't it cute? I got too excited to wait till I got home, so these are mac photobooth pictures taken with the laptop webcam, which are not exactly the highest quality. It's a good camera, but holding my laptop over my head to get the perfect angle is not great. Someone at my husband's work held a laptop over their head in a car to block the glare, and dropped it on their face and chipped a tooth and it was a recordable! So don't worry, I was being safe! (=

Anyway, here is the new needle case! Thanks for making it, Natasha!

I am thinking of using that pretty blue and the dots as inspiration for painting my craft room. I got a bunch of books about painting murals, cuz I was also thinking of trying my hand at some kind of tromp loeil design in there, but dots are way less scary, and could actually happen in this lifetime. Any thoughts?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Painting and Moving

I've been busy!!! We've eaten nothing but pizza and have been running on about 5 hours of sleep per night for the past 5 days, but we've moved into our house!!! Several walls are painted, and everything (except goodwill stuff) is out of the apartment! Here are some pictures of the chaos.

Paint colors for the kitchen/entry way and bedroom

Paint colors for the basement




I love it!!! Now I just have to finish unpacking.....