Wander the Web 44

 Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain.

Blueberry Molasses Muffins

Love these sketches done at the MTL Botanical Garden.

DIY Yarn Tapestry

I would wear this shirt all the time. 

A rare burst of wildflowers in the Badlands.

A sneak peak at the editing phase of a craft book.

Review: The Field Guide to Fleece

When I bought The Field Guide to Fleece last week, I thought it would be helpful when I eventually went to a random fiber festival. Or when I was looking up wool and fleeces from indie dyers and farms. I definitely didn’t expect to use it 2 days later at the spinning guild meeting.

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At every meeting, the guild holds a raffle for fiber or books or yarn. I spent $3 and split my 6 tickets between some roving and a washed fleece. Didn’t win the fleece but I did get the roving. There was no label, only a few notes on the bag. It was just enough info to find out the roving was the January 2012 shipment of the Australia-based Southern Cross Fiber Club. The colorway, Tequila Sunrise, is beautiful and on a completely new to me wool, Texel.

On a lark, I looked at The Field Guide first instead of searching though a few pages of search results. On page 204, was an entry for the Texel which is originally from the Netherlands and bred mainly for meat. It has a staple length of 3-6” and, while lacking in luster, spins up to make a lofty, air-filled yarn. The fiber is nowhere near soft but good for hardy blankets, pillows, and mats.

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The Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius is a steal at $14.95. It alphabetically details 100 different sheep breeds with photos and clear, detailed information. Everything from breed history and characteristics - staple length, micron count, and fleece weight - as well as how the wool takes dye, its best uses, and how readily the fiber felts. Every entry has a photo of the sheep and a close-up of an individual lock next to a ruler. The book is a wonderful pocket-sized resource that’s worth buying both for new and experienced spinners who need a good, quick resource. 

August Break - Week 4

Where did the month go? August and this project is almost over with only 2 more days before September. 

I’ve really enjoyed taking daily photos and completely ignoring all of the suggested prompts. Spending August getting reacquainted with photography was wonderful. Taking daily photos has become a fun log of my days even if they just capture a little slice of everything that’s going on. I’d like to keep the project going but mix it up a little bit so I don’t get bored. Maybe a theme for next month?

Follow the remaining days as they happen on Twitter

Or check out the last few weeks. Week 1. Week 2. Week 3.

From the ride home.

From the ride home.

The beach is the perfect place to rest my legs in the middle of a long bike ride.

The beach is the perfect place to rest my legs in the middle of a long bike ride.

I have a penchant for finding the knitting books first in any library I visit. Handy skill.

I have a penchant for finding the knitting books first in any library I visit. Handy skill.

I took tons of photos yesterday (August 27th) but forgot to post one for August Break. Time to fix that.

I took tons of photos yesterday (August 27th) but forgot to post one for August Break. Time to fix that.

Gummi bears are an appropriate afternoon snack right?

Gummi bears are an appropriate afternoon snack right?

August Break - Week 3

Week 3 complete! I’m happy and just a little surprised that I’ve kept up with the August Break Project so far. I’ve really started to enjoy this project, not just because it makes me keep my photographic eye open, but also because it’s a mini journal of my days. Looking back, I’m reminded that I did those things and explored those places and watched those waves. Taking daily photographs is starting to become something precious. 

For the daily feed, follow me on Twitter

Wondering what I got up to the past few weeks? Check out Week 1 and Week 2.

Writing a lot in analog tech these days.

Writing a lot in analog tech these days.

My bike and I are going places today. 

My bike and I are going places today. 

Love the feel of this yarn, Cool Wool.

Love the feel of this yarn, Cool Wool.

Skipping the digital version and writing my lists down on paper.

Skipping the digital version and writing my lists down on paper.

My Stripe Study Shawl gets a little bigger every week.

My Stripe Study Shawl gets a little bigger every week.

Walking on the beach might be my new favorite hobby.

Walking on the beach might be my new favorite hobby.

I love walking on the beach during low tide.

I love walking on the beach during low tide.

Wander the Web 4: Link Love Edition

Trying something a little different and joining up with CraftyPod for Link Love for the remainder of August. Instead of random goodness from across the web, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tutorials. No crafty goodness or Pinterest board of mine is off limits. This week, I’m sharing five of my favorite tutorials from across the web. 

Transparent Bookmarks from Two Bee - A cute, little tutorial for making transparent bookmarks with a sheet of overhead. The tutorial is in Portuguese but the photos are self-explanatory.

Invisibly Seam Stockinette from Anonyknits - An oldie but a goodie from 2006. Invisibly seam two knit edges together without fooling around with any pesky, live stitches. Tapestry needle and yarn to the rescue.

Delicious Salt Scrub Recipe from Deliciously Organized - Salt scrubs are amazing for your skin and so easy to make. This recipe only calls for a handful of ingredients.

8-Bit Popup Cards from Minieco - How to cut your own pop-up cards. A great minimal design using Space Invaders and skulls but you can use the tutorial to cut any design you please. All you need is colorful paper, a craft knife, metal ruler, and a cutting matt.

Home Made Gift Boxes from Creative in Chicago - I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve used this tutorial for simple, origami gift boxes folded from scrapbook paper. Customize the box to match your gift or any holiday you can find the paper for.

To join in on the fun, check out CraftyPod for all the details.

 

Pattern: Chevron Bookmark

I’ve made an executive decision: all that pesky, Christmas knitting is done, done, DONE. The week before last was filled with late nights, little sleep, a lot of last minute knitting, and a few triumphs. On Thursday night, I cast for a balaclava, finished knitting it in the car on Friday, wove in the ends in the parking lot, and dropped it in a bag seconds before the party started. I call that a win. After the party, the knitting continued since I had another party to go to the next day. This gift I managed to finish and wrap before I left the house. 

Anyway, in January of this year, I joined the local fiber guild. We meet up once a month and talk knitting/spinning/weaving/crochet and whatever else we feel like gabbing about. There are workshops, demos, and field trips. It’s definitely worth the membership fee. I haven’t been able to go the last few months and I’ve really missed it so I leapt at the chance to go to the Holiday potluck last weekend. Said potluck involves a little gift exchange and this year’s theme was bookmarks. Just because I can’t do anything the easy way, I had to come up with my own pattern and, of course, wait until the day before to cast on between balaclava rows. 

The pattern itself is only two rows, easy to remember, takes only a few scraps of fingering weight yarn, and almost seems to knit itself. Perfect for those last minute deadlines that make your eyebrows twitch. I know mine were.

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Chevron Bookmark

Supplies:

  • 2.75 mm needles
  • 6 g total of Fingering weight yarn in 2 colors
  • Shown in Knit Picks Palette - Mochi (A) and Clover (B) 

With the long tail cast on, make 21 stitches using color A

  1. knit 1, k2tog, knit 7, yarn over, knit 1, yarn over, knit 7, ssk, k1
  2. Switch to color B and knit across
  3. knit 1, k2tog, knit 7, yarn over, knit 1, yarn over, knit 7, ssk, k1

Switching colors every 2 rows, repeat rows 2 and 3 until the bookmark is 7” or desired length. Knit 1 more row with same color and bind off.

*

With the exception of knit night and knitting socks while standing in line, knitting is a rather solitary affair for me. I am alone with my yarn, my needles, and my own thoughts. So, enjoying the potluck, and realizing that I was surrounded by dozens of people who share a passion for yarn, and textiles, and making was an amazing experience. Just makes this bookmark all the more special.

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Back to the Beginning

For the longest time, I resisted reading Harry Potter. I was in high school and it was a kid’s book after all. It wasn’t until I spent the night at a friend’s house that I finally relented since Jess had the first few books sitting out. I grabbed the Sorcerer’s Stone and decided to read a few chapters just to see what the big deal was. A few chapters in and I was hooked. Before the night was out, I’d read the entire book and was ready for the next one. I bought them one by one over the next few weeks until I was eagerly waiting for the next book along with everyone else. 

Yesterday, I saw Deathly Hallows part 2. It’s probably the best of the series though I’m annoyed about how much was changed and cut out. Granted, that’s been my chief complaint about every Harry Potter movie. Still, I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed Neville being a total badass. That’s just how he rolls. 

Everything I’ve read so far about the Deathly Hallows, is that people are sad it’s over. Why? The story might have ended but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. It just means you start from the beginning and enjoy it all over again. I fully intend to just as soon as I dig them out of box number 6 in the office closet. Blast the lack of shelving around here. When I finally do crack open the Sorcerer's Stone once again, I’ll remember that room and my friends and that one point in my life when I went to Hogwarts for the first time. 

Thanks, Jess.

To The Library!

For the last week or two, I thought my mojo had taken a vacation without me. Or maybe the cat had dragged it off. He does that sort of thing. I could manage all the necessities like laundry and the dishes without skipping a beat. But knitting? Meh. I knit because there were due dates. Bookbinding? After cutting and and gluing the pages for a basic accordion sketchbook, it just sat - unfinished - on my desk. So, today, I put the crafty stuff aside and focused on other things. The other things turned out to be the jumble of books, computers, yarn, and boxes that I have the nerve to call an office.

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I pushed play on the 98th episode of Cast-On and got down to work. Then I got distracted by a not-so-giant pile of knitting books. At first, my intention was to put them neatly away but I couldn’t keep myself from cracking them open. Weekend Knitting was first and it made me smile. Soon, there was a whole pile of books that made me happy. They ended up on the shelf next to my desk for easy reading.

I guess I just needed a bit of inspiration since my mojo decided to come around. The little accordion books are a little closer to being finished. I’m contemplating a few more sets of stitch markers. Plus, this month’s pair of socks - Dotty - don’t feel like such a chore anymore.

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I could wax poetic about the inherent goodness of books, but I’ll leave that for another time and just get back to my reading. Then, knit night. Can’t forget about knit night.

Wrap Up

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My birthday was last weekend and, in order to celebrate being halfway though my twenties, good times were had. There was good company, good food, and good yarn. Lots of good yarn. Plus, a few good books too. Now that the weekend is several days past, I'm several dozen pages intoFever Dream and following the exploits of one of my favorite literary characters, Aloysius Pendergast. Based on the frenetic pace with which I read the first 60 pages, it won't be long before I'm reading The Girl Who Played With Fire.

During birthday lunch, my dad asked how old I was. My reply, "Old enough." I'll probably say that next year too but, like the pages of my book, I'm sure this year will pass far too quickly.

Review: The Joy of Sox

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@Amazon: The Joy of Sox: 30+ must-knit designs

@Rav

When I feel like getting out of the house and don't have anything particular to do, I usually end up over at the bookstore. This little quirk of mine means that I know the stock of the knitting section pretty well.  One day, The Joy of Sox by Linda Kopp, appeared on the shelves and I couldn't resist looking it over. Then, I couldn't resist taking it home.

Once home, I settled in and gave it a closer look. The Joy of Sox is a parody of The Joy of Sex and all of the book echoes this theme. The tutorial section is rife with innuendo and the pattern photos and intros focus on couples. Even pattern names join in the fun with names like A Roll in the Hay, a sock with a stitch pattern based on wheat sheaves, and Quickie Socks, a pair of quick to knit socks done in worsted weight. Small knitting "confessionals" are also strewn throughout the book along with helpful hints concerning everything from color pooling to sock recycling.

Underneath this playful facade, Joy of Sox is a very detailed and informative book. The tutorial section covers basic sock anatomy, to how to adjust socks, and basic recipes for heel flaps and short row heels. How to knit socks using DPN's and circulars (1 or 2) are also included. There is no bias towards toe up or cuff down socks as techniques for casting on and off for both types of construction are included. All 32 patterns have nice, color photographs that show off the socks and their details from different angles. Unfortunately, some of these photos are a bit small which can make it hard to inspect specific aspects. The patterns appear to be well written and, when necessary, included large, legible charts. Depending on the pattern, written versions of the charts are also included. 

What really made me fall for this book, besides from the attention to detail, was the variety of patterns. Socks are knit both from the toe and cuff and come in a variety of heights from anklets to thigh highs. There are patterns for fingering weight socks up to worsted. Ribbing, cables, lace, color work, and even bead knitting all have a place. With all of these choices, I'm having a hard time narrowing down my favorites. I want to knit both of the thigh high patterns, Takeout for Two and Girl's Best Friend Thigh Highs. Cyber Flirt, a sock that bears cabled emoticons, also looks like a lot of fun. Surprisingly, I've fallen hard for several color work socks despite the fact that I've haven't knit anything like that before. My personal favorites include From Russia with Love, Toe to Toe, Boyfriend Socks, and Snow Bunny. However, my favorite pattern of them all is Afternoon Delight by Silvia Harding which is a lacy knee sock with beads. With instructions like "impale bead onto hook," how can I resist?

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