Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair!


OK, this knitting/yarn addiction thing has gone drastic. On Friday Oct. 21, I arose at 5:15 a.m. (::shudder::) in order to get an early start on the drive to Asheville for SAFF. Being a dedicated night owl, this was painful -- but the yarns beckoned! Cynthia Johnson, owner of Two Knit Wits, my favorite LYS in the whole wide world, fired up her RV and drove four of us to the fair. If you gotta get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get somewhere, I highly recommend getting there via RV. Once you're awake enough to be reasonably coherent, you can knit during the drive.

Anyway, we arrived at the Western North Carolina AG Center shortly after 9:00 a.m. This was the first sign we saw:

Um, yeeeeaaah, this was DEFINITELY not the tractor show. The main building was stuffed with vendors selling everything from raw was-on-the-sheep-yesterday fiber to breathtakingly beautiful dyed yarns of every weight and color. Oh, the notions and the wheels and the looms and angora bunnies!

The main building looked like this:
Note that there are vendors on the upper level as well as the floor!

There was also another arena stuffed with vendors, and over in the animal barns you had sheep and alpacas:

We spent a few hours doing our first run of the booths, then went back to the RV to eat lunch (another huge benefit of RVing a trip like this is that you've got a fridge for perishables, and electricity to run the slow cooker, so you can have a really good lunch without paying concession stand prices. Oh, and the on-board bathroom is a major bonus, too!) It was freezing cold in the morning, but warmed up to reasonably comfortable by midday.

Although I wanted to bring home ALL THE THINGS, I limited myself to one skein of sock yarn--and a few T-shirts and a sweatshirt. The prices were great, and the vendors were all very friendly. And the admission fee? Only $3!

On the way home, we swung through Black Mountain to stop by the Black Mountain Yarn Shop. (What? It was there, right off Hwy 40, and - you know - the millions of yards of yarn we'd seen at the show weren't quiiiiiite enough to sate our appetites.) We didn't stay long, though, because we had this little cutie waiting in the RV:

He's a 9-week-old English Angora rabbit, and he's now lives at Two Knit Wits. His name is Hank. (Get it?)

In addition to my new sock yarn and shirts, I came home with approximately eleventy thousand ideas for dyeing yarn. My dear friend Jane, she who is responsible for encouraging me to set foot on this path to yarny addiction, had given me a big box of fiber dyes some years ago. I got into them, starting Googling for instructions and dug out my book on dyeing. Most of these dyes are over 20 years old, but a very nice (and helpful) guy named Jesse at Cushing's Dyes tells me that shelf life is not an issue, and I should be OK using them to dye yarn. Sooo I've got four skeins in the pre-soak stage, and I'm about to begin some mad experimentation with colors and technique.

Friday, September 9, 2011

::HAPPYDANCE:: I won a prize

Thanks to the wonderful folks at ArtBin, I shall soon be receiving this collection of awesome storage goodness:
Since September is National Sewing Month (which I totally did not know until a few days ago), ArtBin is giving away prizes every day on their Facebook page. Just Like the page, and watch for the daily questions.

I have several ArtBin products, and I really love them. It's great to have storage that was thought out and designed by people who know what they're doing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tutorial: Make a coupon organizer from an old planner/calender

So I've been sucked in to watching that show Extreme Couponing on TLC. It's amazing to me how much money can be saved. A $700 grocery bill reduced to $12? Hell yeah! The trade off, though, is time. Some of these people put in 60 hours a week scouring sales flyers and the Internet for deals/coupons, arranging and sorting their huge 3-inch binders that contain eleventy billion coupons as they plan their attack on the neighborhood grocery store.

Sixty hours a week? Uh, yeah, no, not for me. I have s**t to do. Plus, there's that scary I'm-going-to-be-on-next-week's-episode-of-Hoarders: Buried Alive aspect that seems to be a common thread among many of these extreme couponer people. I think if you have 200 sticks of deodorant in your house, it's time to stop. I don't care if you're getting them for free. Stop! Sheesh.

Annnyway, while I'm intrigued by the whole extreme couponing thing, I don't see myself getting into it. We don't use a whole lot of the products that are most commonly discounted with coupons. However, I will search and clip coupons for the things we do use. My repurpose-that-envelope-my-bank-statement-came-in method of containing my coupons wasn't really doing me much good, so I decided to look around for a better way to manage these things.
Remember the pre-PDA days when we all wrote down our schedules in planners? Well, here's a way to put one of those old planners to use:

Friday, February 25, 2011

I teach...and I learn

So I got tapped to teach beginner sock-knitting at my favorite LYS (Two Kit Wits in Oak Ridge, NC). The first class was at the end of last year, and I think I learned as much as I taught. It was great fun, and while I did have one student bail after the first class (I'm looking at you, A.F.!), my other students stuck with it -- even the one who was knitting giant manfeet socks for her husband with the size 12 tootsies.

My second group of students started in January. This time around, I modified the class, focusing on making it easier to learn the Magic Loop technique, and using worsted weight yarn to make nice, thick socks for winter wear. Again, I had a student who was married to a man with giant manfeet. Size 14 this time. We've dubbed him "Sasquatch." His wife has come to the Dark Side -- er, I mean, discovered the joys of sock-knitting, and has knitted him two pairs of socks in just a few weeks.

I'm kicking myself for not getting photos of my first group of students. Here's one of the second group on our last night:And the first pair of Sasquatch socks:

I'm really proud of these ladies. We had a great time, learned something new, and did a whole lot of laughing. I'm now in the student position, as I'm taking my first sweater knitting class. I've made dog sweaters, but have never made one for myself. I'm slowed down a bit by a shoulder injury, but I'm determined to get this thing done. If a newbie sock-knitter can knock out two pairs of Sasquatch socks in a month, surely I can get a damned sweater done!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In which I make tiny condom-ish hats for babies

So Cynthia, the owner of my favorite LYS ever (that would be Two Knit Wits in Oak Ridge) has started a charity knit project for the NICU at Alamance Regional Hospital. Participants in the project were provided with a variety of patterns from which to knit or crochet wee hats for premature babies. I figured I'd give it a try. I've had a partial skein of baby-melting acrylic yarn (acrylic being preferred for these projects b/c of ease of care and low chance of allergic reactions) in my stash for a while, and I am on a quest to decrease the size of my stash this year.

Ahem. There will be no snickering about my quest. I'm serious. Stop that snickering! Yes, I realize that one of the keys to decreasing the stash would be to stop adding to it, but another key would be to knit up yarns that are already in it. So there.

Anyway, I grabbed a pattern and began to knit. I am one of the rare knitters who has never knitted anything for an infant. I've done my share of cooing and squeeing over adorable baby patterns, but I've knit nary a bootie. This is largely because Gomez won't wear booties, I suspect. Thus, as I knit on this tiny hat, I was totally unprepared for the result:

Yes, that's a quarter sitting next to my first finished hat. Yes, it's a tiny hat. It's for a tiny baby. What strikes me is the condomy look of this thing. What's with putting stems on tiny hats? I asked on Ravelry's LSG group (because those hoars know everything) and I am assured that yes, it's supposed to look like that. Someone suggested that the stem gives a pixie-ish look to the hat. I just see reservoir tip.

I've made two more wee condomy-looking hats, and plan to cast on a couple more hats tomorrow. (I knit these things via ML, two at a time, the same way I do socks. I'm impatient that way.) I'm going to use a different pattern, though. Preemies have enough to contend with without having knitted condomy-looking things on their heads.

Monday, October 4, 2010

OT: I should write a household instruction manual

Got a start on the laundry chapter:

How to Change Bedsheets

1) Remove cat from bed.
2) Remove comforter; set aside.
3) Remove cat from bed.
4) Remove top sheet; toss in laundry basket.
5) Remove cat from bed.
6) Remove pillows; toss pillowcases in laundry basket.
7) Remove cat from bed.
8) Remove fitted sheet; toss in laundry basket.
9) Remove cat from bed.
10) Unfold fitted sheet, fit to two corners.
11) Remove cat from bed.
12) Fit another corner.
13) Remove cat from bed.
14) Fit final corner.
15) Insert pillows into clean pillowcases; place on bed.
16) Remove cat from bed.
17) Unfold top sheet; shake out.
18) Unhook cat’s claws from top sheet.
19) Remove cat from bed.
20) Apply top sheet to bed.
21) Remove cat from beneath top sheet.
22) Smooth top sheet; tuck bottom end under mattress.
23) Remove cat from bed.
24) Place comforter on bed.
25) Remove cat from bed.
26) Smooth, straighten comforter.

How to Launder Sheets:
1) Remove cat from laundry basket.
2) Hold basket high overhead as you make your way to laundry room.
3) Trip over cat.
4) Put basket on top of dryer.
5) Open washer, twiddle with dials and/or buttons until water starts rushing into tub.
6) Add soap/detergent/soapnuts to washer tub.
7) Remove cat from laundry basket.
8) Remove sheets from laundry basket; insert into washer.
9) Close washer lid.
10) Chase cat down hall to retrieve the pillowcase she is dragging away. (OPTIONAL: Shout “Oi, f**kface, gimme that!”)
11) Add pillowcase to washer; close lid.
12) Turn laundry basket upside down; place over cat.