Jaci’s blanket

Posted On April 14, 2009

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008-copy1Jaci’s blanket has been done for a while, but I finally got a photo of her with it!  The pile of fabric looked a little scary (as in, I’m going to put those ALL together in ONE quilt?  Am I INSANE!?) but I think it turned out pretty well.  What do you think?


Define “black”

Posted On March 7, 2009

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My quilt is going to be sawtooth stars in wildlife print, black, and blue and green batiks.  The first time I bought stuff, I got almost half as much batiks as I needed, so I bought more, and I bought the black at that time.  I didn’t get enough.  Unfortunately, the bolt I bought from was (of course) gone… and the “black” we have left is actually very dark green.

I eventually located the remains of my bolt in the fat quarter section, and spent almost 4x as much to buy two of them as it would have cost if they hadn’t been fat quartered. 

I also found a bolt of the goldfish fabric I wanted, at the other store.  I bought a full 8 repeats, even though I can’t imagine using more than half that much for the quilt. 

In other news, I am now the proud owner of two orchids!  With two more on the way!  I’ve been considering buying an orchid since my trip to Ecuador a couple of years ago, when we visited two orchid gardens and I was fascinated by their specialization.  So I decided this week, it is time to take the plunge.  I went to a meeting of the local orchid society, where they happened to be having a raffle and a door prize.  I bought 6 tickets for the raffle and put them all in the one plant I wanted (an unknown hybrid cattleya), since there weren’t that many people there and I figured I had a pretty good chance of winning.  The nice man who won the door prize orchid gave it to me, it’s much too big for my dorm room but seems happy sitting in our living room (of course, its been there two days, so I haven’t had time to screw anything up).  The meeting was quite informative, the people were very nice, and the flowers they had to show were beautiful.  Note to self – next time bring paper and pen to take notes and make a wish list.  Anyway, I’ve been doing my own research and have ordered two other species, one of which is totally not recommended for beginners but I totally love the entire genus, so I’m going to give it a try.

It’s finished!

Posted On February 28, 2009

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Amanda with her quilt

Amanda with her quilt

For your viewing pleasure – here is Amanda with her Christmas present!  Gotta love that wild zebra stripe in with those bright colors… am I a genius or what. 

Also, finished Jaci’s quilt today.  And, I think I bought WAY too much batik print for my quilt.  What am I saying!?  One can never have too much batik print. 


My blue oranda that I got two days ago died today.  So I returned him for a refund – my water quality is perfect, so it was their fault, but they didn’t have any more blues (apparently I am not meant to have a blue oranda 😦 ).  Then, I went to the other Box Pet Store (we’ve got three, actually, and a LFS) to see if I could get that white lionhead I almost bought before I found the blue oranda. 

Yes I can, and also the one-eyed pearlscale that I was considering as a companion “retarded swimmer” for Dog.  I figure a one-eyed fish might be almost as blind as he is, and since Arges (Google cyclops) seems active and healthy, I’m not worried that there are other adverse affects of the loss of the eye.  Plus, as I suggested to the girl at the shop, “If you sneak up on her blind side, maybe she won’t notice the net until it’s too late.”  The lionhead has been named Umka, for “polar bear.”

A running tally of projects for 2009

Posted On February 27, 2009

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In an effort to get organized, I’m going to attempt to keep a list of projects in the works, finished, and any specific projectson the list for this year. 


Knitting:  Qiviuk Tam

Blankets/Quilts: Mike’s, Mom’s, Amanda’s, Christine’s, Andrew’s, Jaci’s

Sewing: fencing gloves

In progress:

Knitting:  Knotty or Knice socks, Cotton Sweater

Cross Stitch:  Christmas Stocking

Quilts/Blankets:  Mine, mini-blocks, Amanda’s Double Wedding Rings (for her wedding)

Sewing:  dress (zipper), fencing jacket/hood, pajamas


Knitting:  Double layer shetland jacket, Sea Tangles sweater

Quilting:  Kaleidoscope goldfish/koi, Lone Star, Mariner’s Compass

Sewing:  Purse, field bag… maybe a field jacket

In Defense of My Ecclectic Stash

Posted On February 22, 2009

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I am out of space.  Every possible surface of my dorm room, and every parent-approved surface of my bedroom at home has been covered in either books, fish supplies, or craft stuff.  Well, my closet is partially overflowing with random shipping boxes full of packing peanuts… but I keep them around so that when I need to pack things up to go home, I have boxes and I don’t have to carry each of my books, fish supplies, fish, and craft items seperately.  Anyway, the floor is particularly problematic.  The entire thing is covered in fabric.  There is a small cleared space big enough for me to put my big rotary mat in the middle, or else my desk chair (but not both).  I try not to buy unless I have an immediate project in progress in which I will be using the fabric, and indeed the vast majority of my stash is leftovers from previous projects. 

Sometimes, though, one simply has to suck it up and buy something before someone else does.  I’ve had my eye on this goldfish print fabric for months.  I want it for a kaleidoscope quilt/stack’n’whack.  Today, it was gone.  I am still hoping that it will turn up… maybe I’ll call the other store… but in the future, if my plans to use something persist for a month or more, I will buy it.  In related news, I’m going to be looking for patterns to make purses or other small items that I can sell.  Hopefully I can feed the addiction without losing too much money.  Considering etsy…

QOTD: “I have the bedside manner of an autistic vulture.”

Posted On February 19, 2009

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Hmmm yes, I have not posted in quite a while.  But, I thought I’d update for once. 

First off, about the title of the post:  This is a real, live quote from my cell bio class.  I am (mildly) allergic to latex, so I requested that my partner do the steps that required gloves (I can always run upstairs and grab some nitrile from the chem labs, but for the thirty seconds we needed them… not worth it.).  One of my classmates sarcastically said “Well that sucks” when I explained the allergy.  My partner told him he wasn’t being very nice, and his reply was that he has the bedside manner of an autistic vulture.  We had a good five minutes of uncontrollable laughter. 

Other great verbal moments: 

The choir director, who has a chronic issue with mispronouncing words (after however many years he’s been here, he still says the last line of the school song backwards), spent about five minutes lecturing us on how we were singing the line “Thou burning waters,” which would have been fine except the line was “Thou flowing waters” so we weren’t really listening to him.  Another of my favorite quotes from him was, “Basses, please be sure to enunciate at measure 116, where there aren’t any words.”  Uh… doesn’t “enunciate” mean, “To pronounce words clearly?”

Cell Bio professor:  “Some people actually do genetic research in their own homes.  There is a specific word for them… they are…”  Scott (the autistic vulture) “Nerds?”  (Which is even funnier because I believe 90% of the class will end up either as doctors or doing research… so the rest of the world pretty much considers us nerds)

An old one, from our band professor:  (holding up fingers in peace signs).  “Like Richard Nixon:  I have a dream!”  Umm, yeah, that was Martin Luther King, but thanks for trying.  We appreciate your enthusiasm.


OK on to the crafty stuff!

I’ve been making blankets for Xmas presents.  I started with a Margaritaville themed one for my brother, who is a Jimmy Buffett fan, then did one like a bookcase for Christine (the future librarian) and a crooked rail for her twin sister Amanda (the chemist… speaking of nerds…lol all in good fun.  She thinks I’m just as wierd for being in Bio… AND she’s not getting her PhD).  My mom requested a crooked rail, and I did a really awesome retro movie night log cabin for Jaci (future film producer), and a modified around the world for Mike A.  I have a sawtooth star one in the works for myself.  This all leaves me one heck of a lot of leftover scraps… what to do with them? 

of course, make a scrap quilt!  But I can’t just do a simple strips and blocks design, right?  At least, not after I read an article about miniature quilts.  What better outlet for the 1×1 squares I used to make 16-squares for my brothers blanket!?  I can use paper piecing to get the tiny blocks together without ending up with a tangled mess.  Also, I can make hundreds of little blocks and put them together in the world’s wildest quilt. 

What kind of block to experiment on?  99% of people would probably have started with a crooked rail block, maybe something 6″?  Well, I started designing a sawtooth star at 4″, and then decided that I’ll be doing enough of those for my (regular sized blocks) blanket.  At some point, I’ll probably want to stick one of those in, though, right?  So I stuck with a 4″ block, and went in search of just the right block.  Something interesting, but not to hard.  OK forget not too hard.  Something interesting.  Hard is a word for people who don’t want to try.  Ooooooo look, a 12″ block version of the lone-star I still want to try sometime.  I can do that, right? 

Yeah.  This block can NOT be paper pieced.  But not to worry.  I can paper piece most of it and wing the other part.  Sometimes, bigger is not better.  Sometimes, smaller is better.  And sometimes, smaller is just ridiculously difficult.  This was not entirely ridiculously difficult, but it was working very hard on being that way.  For one thing, I haven’t done any paper piecing in at least 8 years.  Secondly… well, there was that whole “cannot be paper pieced… well I’ll just wing that part” thing.  Yeah.  I don’t recommend winging it to anyone else.  Still, I am now the proud owner of a 4″ mini star, which is really, really cute, and has only one tiny hole where I screwed up (and I put super glue on this spot, so it won’t fray… and you can’t even see it from more than 8″ away). 

Needless to say, this will be if not the only one of this particular star in the quilt, at least one of a very select few. 


One other fun item for today.  I did fencing tonight (with the local SCA group… my boss suggests that this stands for “society of crazy adults” but they’re nice, fun people who like to pretend to kill me… which is OK cause I like to try to pretend to kill them, too.  Anyway) and was quite pleased with my work.  Alex decided to have me work on lunges.  After a few of the regular sort (mine being longer than they ought to be, to begin with, but they work well for me), he decided to see how far I could reach.  This “maximum reach” lunge is refered to in our group as the “Hail Mary lunge” because there’s pretty much no recovering before you’re dead, if you miss.  I am 5’4″.  I have almost a 4′ lunge.  This gives me, once rapier and arm are factored in, almost a 9′ max reach.  OK, now that we know that, and since I don’t appear to have caused any permanent damage to myself (by which I mean, I can still do full splits so I was all good on this)… yay lets do about 20 more.  My only problem with this is that I didn’t do any on the other side.  I think I finally have them convinced that I am fairly hard to break.  I got to show off my new gloves, which look very sharp in addition to being very functional.  I didn’t kill anyone, but that’s because they aren’t giving me as many openings, because I’m getting better.  Yay!

History, deep thoughts on dance and music, and a very warm sock

Posted On May 25, 2008

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So my history prof suggested that we all consider metaphors for world history and in what situations they work, and when they don’t work.  The universe has always been a grand dance to me – in more than just the cheesy “Life’s a dance/All the world is a stage” way.  I usually put it as “Everything is only music and motion, and they are each the same as the other.”  There are rhythms to everything: the motion of subatomic particles, life and death of people and animals, the motion of the stars, the expansion of the universe.  A still scene (whether seen live or as a painting, photo, drawing, etc.) to me is only a dance of color, light, and shadow.  Life is full of theme and variation, and so “History repeats itself.”  Knitting is a dance of hands, yarn, and color.  A song is a dance of notes.

It has always been somewhat fascinating to me that I am as strongly visually oriented as I am and yet as a musician, when someone asks me what I picture when I hear a particular piece of music, I rarely see anything unless I’m thinking about how I would choreograph a dance to that song, or if that song is strongly connected to something visual (ie the theme from a movie).  It’s as if the notes are something I can see on their own terms – they don’t invoke a scene, or colors, as they seem to for others; rather, they themselves are colors just outside the range of human sight, and if I listen right, my vision expands into their range. 

Working on finishing my first double knit sock.  I’m using it for my photography assignment to tell a story with photos.  So I started with cold feet… they see a photo of socks in a magazine, they find some yarn, they choose what yarn to use, they knit their first sock (trying it on as they go), and I’ll end with one foot having a sock and the other ready to start knitting its sock (yeah, I’m actually making it look like the feet themselves are knitting the socks).  I’m surprised by how far each ball of this yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, color Baltic) is lasting – I’ll get at least completely finished with this sock and some of sock #2 (maybe even all of sock #2) , and I’ve already done a doubleknit hat, from the same 2 balls.  That leaves me three left and my mitten/gloves won’t take all of the next two balls… they may not even take one whole ball! 

I’ve been thinking about things I’d really like to do and one thing I really want to do is get better at spinning – GET A WHEEL – and someday have some sheep, angora rabbits, and alpacas so that I can start completely from scratch and create the project I’ve been dreaming of – a sweater/jacket, double knit mostly in plain stockinette, with small fair isle stars around the cuffs – natural brown, black, or grey shetland wool on the outside with blue stars and undyed angora/alpaca (maybe a touch of merino and/or silk) inside, in a lighter shade or even white/cream, maybe with a few accents in the blue from the stars outside.  Wonder if there’s anyplace domestically that produces 100% Shetland wool?

Teddy Bear

This is my teddy bear pattern – I haven’t got a good name for it yet – started out as Mike’s Bear but have since decided against that title.  I’ll post a photo once I have a close up of just the bear I made with this pattern.  Otherwise if you’re on KnittingHelp, I’ve got one posted with Aaron’s bear and Josh’s bear. 


CO5, place marker and join in round (5)

Knit twice into each stitch around (10)

K around

*K1(Knit twice into each of the next two stitches)* repeat between *’s twice more, K1(16)

K around

*K1 (Knit twice into each of the next three stitches)* repeat between *’s around (28)

K around            

*K3 (Knit twice into the next stitch)* repeat between *’s around (35)

Knit 6 rounds

K2 (K2tog) knit to last four stitches, (ssk) K2 (33)

K around

K2 (K2tog) knit to last four stitches, (ssk) K2 (31)

K around except for the last stitch of this round.  Slip last stitch of this round to right needle, remove marker, slip stitch back to left needle, place marker. 

(K3tog) – this will include what used to be the last stitch of the round – K to end of round (29)

Knit 8 rounds

K1(K2tog)(K2tog)K1(K2tog)K2(K2tog)K1(K2tog)(K2tog)K1(K2tog)K2(K2tog)K1(K2tog)(K2tog) (19)

K around

K1(K2tog)K2(K2tog)K1(K2tog)(K2tog)K1(K2tog)K2(K2tog) (13)

K1*(K2tog)* repeat between *’s around (7)

Stuff with microfill or waste yarn scraps

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread tail through remaining stitches, pull tight, and tie off.



CO4, place marker and join in round (4)

K 2x into each stitch around (8)

K3, K2x into the next two stitches, K3 (10)

K2 rounds

K2x into each stitch around (20)

K around

*K4, K2x into the next stitch* repeat between *’s around (24)

K around

*K5, K2 into the next stitch* repeat between *’s around (28)


K3, K2x into the next stitch, K16, K2x into the next stitch, K3 (30)

K5 rounds

*K4, K2tog* repeat between *’s around (25)

K around

*K3, K2tog* repeat between *’s around (20)

K around

K2tog around

Stuff with microfill or waste yarn scraps

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail.  Thread tail through remaining stitches, pull tight, and tie off.


Ear (make 2)


P across

(K2tog), K 2, (K2tog)

(P2tog) (P2tog)

(K 2x into each stitch)

(P2x into the first stitch) P2, (P2x into the last stitch)

K across


Seam into a curved ear shape.


Leg (make 2)

CO5, place marker and join in round (5)

K around

Knit 2x into each stitch around (10)

K around

Knit 2x into each stitch around (20)

Knit 5 rounds

K4 (K2tog) K1(K3tog)(K3tog)K1 (K2tog) K4 (14)

K around

Knit 2x into the first and last stitch of the next row (16)

K 10 rounds

(K2tog) around (8)

Stuff with microfill or waste yarn scraps

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail.  Thread tail through remaining stitches, pull tight, and tie off.


Arm (make 2)

CO 6, place marker and join in round (6)

K around

Knit 2x into each stitch around (12)

K 10 rounds

K2x into the first and last stitch of the next round (14)

K 6 rounds

(K2tog) around (7)

Stuff with microfill or waste yarn scraps

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail.  Thread tail through remaining stitches, pull tight, and tie off.


Sew all parts together and embroider eyes and a nose on the face. 

Basketball is bad for knitting

Posted On May 20, 2008

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Got tacos for dinner tonight a la Mike, followed by best 2 in 3 matches basketball (matches played to five points).  OK, I suck at basketball, more than any sport except soccer.  He won the first match, then the second match was ahead 4:1 and was trying to let me win so he’d get a third match.  However, it wasn’t until he stopped trying to let me win that I got three shots in a row, then I was trying to catch the ball before it went out (with Mike laughing at me, the jerk…) and I jammed my finger.  Ouch.  So I couldn’t bend my middle finger on my right hand and had to finish up left handed – I surprised both of us when I made the next shot.  I even did alright with the last game, fell behind but ended up 4:4 until he made his last shot.  So I lost, but considering the fact that I was playing left handed (and I have a hard time even dribbling lefty, let alone catching, shooting, and defending) not bad.  Came home, put some ice on my finger until it stopped swelling so much, and then went back to knitting my tam.  About twelve stitches and I couldn’t bend my finger anymore (I was trying to keep it still so it wouldn’t swell up but when I’m knitting I forget).  Its taped now but really slowing me down! 

Conclusion: Basketball is bad for knitting.

(I will point out, however, that Mike was nice to me about it – he wasn’t about to stop the game if it wasn’t absolutely necessary but he offered to find me some ice if I needed)

In the works…

Posted On May 16, 2008

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Keeping track of whats up next…

I’ll have a teddy bear pattern up shortly, I just have a couple of kinks to work out but I have to knit bears for Lockie, Aaron, and Mike.  Followed, probably, by others.  I’ve got portraits to do for them all too.  Josh is spoiled.

Gotta finish my second entrelac sock and my IK Quiviuk Webs Tam… yay!  But then I have three design concepts in the works for double knitting techniques.  First, socks and gloves – I’ll be making these in Lorna’s Laces to match my Bricks of Atlantis Hat.  That should take me up at least until I get back to the states, then I’m making a knit in one piece jacket or pullover, hopefully with alpaca or llama inside (maybe mixed with merino or silk, we’ll see) and maybe shetland outside (I love shetland, though I don’t know where I’ll get it from, I just have some raw wool lying around) otherwise I guess merino or a blend of mohair.  That one will be very exciting to design and knit up, and hopefully will be done in time to do some Christmas knitting!!!

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