Monday, May 29, 2006

Pick Those Prizes!

This is so FUN....I love to give out prizes! First, I want to thank ALL of you for participating and reading my inane chatter, looking at my pics and commenting....this month has been a blast and I hope you've all had fun getting to know me and each other. I know I have!

Now, on to the prizes!!!!

PRIZE #1
A handspun yarn of your choice from my Etsy store and a scented candle....no need to pay shipping either. Just click on "Pay by Check" and then don't pay me..he he.

PRiZE #2
A hand-dyed yarn of your choice from my Etsy store and a scented candle...no need to pay shipping either. (Same as above)

PRIZE #3
A skein of "Catch of the Day" mohair/rayon/eyelash novelty yarn (143 yards) in turquoise with an Arbonne hand lotion...smells softy of baby powder and citrus.

PRIZE #4
Two (new) of Debbie Macomber's paperback books..."A Shop on Blossom Street" and "A Good Yarn"....very enjoyable reading with a yarn store and knitters as the main focus...also with a scented candle.

PRIZE #5
Bucilla's Doodle-Loom...a tool for quickly making pompoms and a scented candle.

PRIZE #6
A Bath and Body "C.O. Bigelow Lemon Cream Body Wash", a pair of Gold Collection "Gold Stork" scissors with stainless steel blades and a scented candle.

PRIZE #7
A Bath and Body "Baume du Jardiner Gardener's Hand Creme", a pair of Gold Collection "Shantaclair" scissors with stainless steel blades and a scented candle.

PRIZE #8
Free shipping on any yarn from my Etsy shop, a set of three glass bead stitch markers (which, sadly to say, are NOT Heather's...I did buy more of hers, but am VERY selfish and couldn't part with them, so I bought some from Patternworks instead : p ), and a scented candle.

(Scented 3 layer candle "flavors": MaiTai/Punch/Daquiri, WildCherry/Cheesecake/GrahamCracker, White Zinfandel/Chardonnay/Cabernet, RedGrapefruit/PineappleOrange/BerryLime, and HazelnutCoffee/IrishCream/SwissMocha.)

I would love for the random picking to end up giving the prizes to the ones who want them the most, SO, what I'd like you to do is to write down what prize you'd really like to get, although I can't promise that you'll get it. Then, pick out a candle scent you'd like and include it in an email to me with your choice prize and name/address by June 1st. I'll do my best to coordinate the random picking with a prize you'll like....

(Here are pics of the prizes, not showing the yarns already in my Etsy shop)

The Books:



The Candles:



The Wash/Lotion:



The "Catch of the Day" yarn and lotion:



The Pom Pom maker:



The Scissors:



The glass bead Stitch Markers:



Wishing you all a Knit-o-Rific Day and hope you'll keep reading the blog and emailing! Would appreciate you spreading the word of my blog and, especially the Etsy shop, if you liked what you got. Another contest (Holiday Theme) in Nov or December!

Gina : )

Friday, May 26, 2006

Striping Extravaganza!

Wowza! Yesterday, since my eye was feeling so much better (contacts today, gals! woo-hoo!) I decided to do some major dyeing (my hubby always pretends to swoon as I say this and then says something like, "...and you're still alive?"...punk.) of self-striping sock yarns. I had three to do and still have an order for 2 more. Just waiting for the undyed yarn and/or color/yardage information.

ANYWAY....do you want to see the new yarns all together? Or separately?

Too late....I've decided...BOTH!



This is all 4 of the newest skeins, though one of them you've seen already...which, by the way, I decided to take Julie, Karen and Heather's suggestions and mold them into one...."Twillight Serenity"...a bit "romantic-gothic" but, hey, I like it : P

Here they are individually....(feel free to drool, become hypnotized and grab your credit card while clicking on my Etsy store link)



This luscious lady is called, "SATIN SHEETS AND LINGERIE"....kind of a sex kitten sock yarn for the girly-girl in you. Totally self-striping in the most awesome sock yarn that I could find...a light sportweight merino...that is not only machine-washable, but dryable, too...can you believe it? Way? Way!



This one, sorry to say, is already reserved....for Heather...she's making me one of her awesome knitting totes in exchange for this sock yarn for her son...who is a total cutie. This is called, "AQUARIUM" and is also self-striping, super wash and dry, but is fingering weight....over 300 yards!



"TOMATO SALSA" is the name of this bright, lovely yarn...deep oranges, reds, a spot of yellow and greenish-gray. It is SO soft...light sportweight 100% merino...just superwash on this one...no dry : ( This one is around 250 yards...might be slightly off on the number...don't have it in front of my at the moment.

Then, of course, you saw the pic for the "TWILLIGHT SERENITY", which is reserved for my DyeORama gift pal. That one is also super soft....merino worsted weight, superwash.

On another note, I got my own DyeORama gift yesterday in the mail...from Ann H. from the U.K. Here's my pic of the GOODIES!!!



1. My awesome 100% pure new wool hand-dyed yarn called, "Hunter Gatherer"...668 meters total...worsted weight...gorgeous! Not usually my colors, but I love it anyway and can't wait to knit it up...

2. A bar of Maya Gold Green&Black's chocolate...oh, heaven of heavens! Delicious orange flavor with spices in dark chocolate...she's originally from Belgium, so she knows the good stuff!

3. A fantastic postcard and lovely, lovely letter.

4. This book, which is hilarious and I LOVE IT! If you're a parent, you HAVE to get this book...I brought it to my eye appointment and was laughing so much that the people in the waiting room started looking at me really, really strangely....



Oh, one last note of the day...I just joined "TREK WITH ME", which is here .... if you have some Trekking sock yarn and like to walk or hike, join this Knitalong type-thing and take pics along the way....luckily, I just got mine from the amazing Jackie for my bday, so I'm set! It starts June 1st...so join quickly if you're interested.

Yikes...one last, last note of the day.....really...I have so much to do this weekend (WW, give a Reiki treatment, out to lunch with Ian, and my parents coming over to lavish me with love and gifts since they missed the bday...I'm so lucky....and tons of housework) so I won't be blogging again until Monday....when I will be posting...

drum roll...dum da dum dum....

Pictures of the GIFT GIVEAWAYS for the blog contest!!!! Yippee! (and a small secret...shh...come closer to the screen...EVERYONE IS GETTING A PRIZE!!!!)

Details to come.....(have a fantastic weekend...) Gina : )

P.S. I know, I know...last, last, last note...thank you to everyone for their Top 20 lists...I'm having so much fun reading them and checking out all the new stuff...you're all rockin'!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sleepy Eyes Top 20...and Periwinkle!

Here is my long awaited list (though I'm totally blown away by "The Other Gina's" list which you can see here)....hope you find some new and wonderful inspirations!

(Separating them into catagories...for those of us who like organization....)

ONLINE STORES:

1. Purl Soho for gorgeous, luxurious, and unique yarns plus the best (and sometimes very expensive) accessories....also great pattern selections and the yarn photography is excellent...they've also opened a new fabric online store, which is just as wonderful as the yarn store!

2. K Pixie for one-of-a-kind yarns, fibers and anything else you can't find anywhere else. LOVE this shop...I visit every day...there's always something new....it's easy to navigate and everything is fun to look at...I buy from here regularly.

3. Knit Picks for great yarns at unbelievably great prices....the inexpensive (and sometimes free) patterns are interesting and wonderful...I've had only positive experiences with their yarns...I look forward to getting their catalog every month and carry it around daily until I place an order. The more luxury yarns are very high quality...I love them all...the laceweights are just as nice as ones from an expensive store, though I wish they'd have a few more colorways in funky colors.

FAVORITE BLOGS:

4. Grumperina is so creative...always doing a new and exciting project that I wish I had the time and energy to do...she's funny (I loved when she called Addi Turbo needles "Blunty Stumpos") and seeing all of the new things she creates inspires me....not only adorable clothes (which she has the figure for, damn her) but cute toys and lace....oh, the lace!

5. The Yarn Harlot, of course, has been my favorite for a LONG time...always hilarious and interesting...I love the way she talks about her life and everyday issues, as well as spinning and telling us new things she learns.

6. Scout's Knitted Swag is one of my new favs....she is hosting the DYEORAMA swap right now (which is a great experience) and dyes the most amazing sock yarns...oh, you just have to see them to believe it...plus her blog is fresh, lively, and fun.

NEEDLES:

7. Clover Takumi Bamboo needles are my favorite straight knitting needles...as well as for dpns. Super light, very smooth and totally affordable. I can even find them at ACMoore in a pinch.

8. Skacel Addi Turbos and, also the Naturals, are the best for quick knitting and my favorite for circular knitting...I use the natural ones for laceweight...not as slippery. I also like Bryspun circs, which are new, but they are a little heavier...I like the tips and the connection isn't bad at all...the cord is very flexible and they're white, which is nice to use with darker yarns.

BAGS/BASKETS:

9. Lantern Moon has the most wonderful baskets and bags for knitting...plus gorgeous, exotic wood needles and accessories. I have the smaller rice basket and the taffeta wrist bag and I love both. If you wanted to get a special knitting gift for someone, this would be the place!

SPINNING SUPPLIES:

10. I am in LOVE with Spunky Eclectic! Not only does she offer bulk, natural roving, yarn and fibers, but amazing colorways (and near solids) for her fibers, yarn and roving....I'm addicted to this place and, if you want to start spinning, she has some neat beginner spindle kits and also fun, fun patterns. Her selection of knitting bags is mouth watering....very cute.

11. Our own, Lis of Yarn Botanika is one of my new favorites for handpainted fibers. I've ordered LOTS...and every single thing has been beautiful....her delivery time....super quick. You should check out her sock yarns and handspun, too...oh, I love the Lemon Lime sock yarn....might end up buying it at some point. She also has beginner spindle kits with handdyed and also natural fiber to start with. The spindles are definitely worth seeing!

12. The Fold is a spinner's paradise...lots of things here...fibers, wheels, spindles, bags, yarns, and dyeing products...you can also get Socks That Rock here, too! This place has gorgeous stuff!

YARNS:

13. If you like cashmere, you HAVE to try this....Jade Sapphire. They offer various weights of the most beautiful cashmere...buttery soft with a nice halo while knitting...the colors are to-die-for. They also have cobweb weight lambswool, which is the stuff of dreams. I have LOTS Of this yarn...and I'm not sure I will ever use it!

14. I fell in love with the Malabrigo yarn I got at the Ewe'll Love It yarn store yesterday (pic below)...it's a merino wool worsted weight yarn...but you have to FEEL it to believe it. I'm thinking of making a nest out of every single color to sleep in....sounds weird to some, but oh, so wonderful!

15. Berroco Softy is one of the very few novelty yarns that I still can't stop touching. It's like a baby kitten with puffs of silky soft nylon, fuzzy eyelash and a soft, braided main base yarn...(pic below)...I'm going to make a scarf out of it but I've got my eye on the "Potion" color and would love to make a shawl or cardigan out of it. Yummy!...Purr....

16. Of course, I must mention Socks That Rock, which is the best yarn ever for socks. I don't know what's better...the colorways, the fact that it's superwash, the texture or the skein size...it's all GOOD!

17. I can't get to the near end of this yarn list without mentioning Cherry Tree Hill yarns...the silk laceweight and superwash sock yarn are so silky, very pleasurable to knit with and the colorways go on and on...how could you not love them all?

18. Angora, angora, angora...my first love....my favorite angora yarn is probably Anny Blatt's Angora Super. Fuzzy, soft, and a great yardage....thinking about making a blanket out of this someday....very warm, too : )

NEEDLE CASES:

19. Our own Heather of A Crafty Kat makes the best, and I mean it, the BEST needle holders...I love my dpn and circular holder more than any of the other bags I have. Cute, easy to use, great price and holds LOTS of needles. Plus, Heather is one of the nicest people I've met in a long time and goes out of her way to make something special for you. She also has an ebay store and etsy shop. Oh...and her stitch markers....you HAVE to buy at least 5 pairs!!! I can go on and on about those forever.

EXTRAS:

20. (and 21..oops)...forgot to mention two sites that are essential...Knitty for all the patterns you could ever want...new styles, fun toys, gorgeous lace, unlimited scarves, sweaters and more sweaters and even a knitted womb...yes, you read correctly. Lastly, to find patterns to knit the most adorable, squeezable and lovable toys, go here for Jess Hutchinson's knitted arts & crafts dolls.

DONE!!!! Go take a quick chocolate break and come back for an update and 2 pics of the stuff I got/did yesterday...okay, back?

Here is the yarn I got yesterday (Ian took me to lunch at my favorite chinese restaurant and then over to Nashua to the yarn store...what a hubby!)....



Last, a picture of the newest self striping merino worsted yarn that I dyed the other day...it's a giveaway for the DYEORAMA swap to some lucky gal (or guy)...not sure of the colorway name yet...got any ideas?



You wouldn't believe how soft it is...AND it's machine washable and dryable....eeek!

Update on eye: doing well, taking my antibiotic drops and resting it...wearing my glasses to maximize my "geekiness"...missing my contacts but thanking the Eye Goddess for my sight and for sparing my eyes that don't really work well in the first place (I've got 20/80 vision!)

Have a SuperTop20 Day and can't wait to see more lists!

~Gina : )

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Minor Eye-mergency

Sorry, gals...no top 20 tonight...not even pics...damn..had my list ready and waiting to post, but things have happened today beyond my blogging control....

My cute-as-a-button, but equally wacky 3 year old poked me in the eye this morning with his very thin, sharp thumbnail. It hurt so much that my eye (and maybe myself) started to cry and tears were streaming out of my eye...the pain...horrific. Luckily, Ian hadn't left for work yet and, after taking one look at my bloated, swelling, blood shot eye with a HUGE gash in it, took me to the opthamologist (spelling?).

Seems my litte one tore a "strip" out of my cornea...yup....not scratched, but stripped a piece out....so I can barely see out of my right eye at the moment...here is a funny conversation between me and the eye doctor's assistant...

EYA: "So, Gina, just tell me what you can see on the chart..."

Me: "Okay, just tell me when you've got it on the wall."

EYA: "Uh...Gina, it's already there. Can't you see it?"

Me: "You mean that white, blurry rectangle? I thought it was the mirror!"

EYA: "No, it's the chart. Can you read me line 3, or 2 is okay, if your eye is sore?"

Me: "There are lines????!!!??"

EYA: (getting a little concerned) "Um...how about the big letter E...can you see that?"

Me: (feeling somewhat scared now) "no....but I can see the outline of your head....is that okay?"

She quickly got the eye doctor, a very lovely and attractive man (I think!), and we sorted it all out. Thank GOODNESS!!!! (can only wear my glasses...not contacts....for a while....ugh...back to being 17 again....I guess that's one way to feel younger!)

So, today will only be this semi-short blog until I can see better....maybe tomorrow I can do the TOP 20 and talk about how the Birthday morning from Hell became the Birthday evening from Heaven....okay, everyone, say "Awwww....!" : D

~G.

P.S. Thank you EVERYONE for wishing me a Happy Birthday! You all made my day! Really : )

P.P.S. I can't remember who asked about the pink sock bag (Laura?), but it was made by my friend, Jackie...don't know where she found that cool pink fabric or the one with the Hello Kitty playing the guitar, but WOW!...it's cool. Now I have 4 cool sock/spindle bags...so lucky.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oh, the Goodies I Got!

Today brought wonderful sunshine (thank goodness), cool breezes and lots of new flowers here and there (although my lilacs are sadly brown due to the weeks of rain and no sun...darn). One of those days that you're glad to be alive....look how pretty my new pink flowered hanging baskets look!....



Now a close up...



On Saturday, I had my knitting group over and we had a BLAST! I was kicking myself for forgetting to take pictures of everyone...but I did remember to take a pic of the sock that Jackie was knitting...with MY self-striping sock yarn! So cool...



I taught a relaxing yoga class first (I missed seeing you, Allison!), then we gorged ourselves (or at least I did) on yummy yummy food....Dan brought black bean soup, Laurin brought the Chinese food (and spicy beans just for me! kiss kiss to Laurin), Jackie made amazing scallped potatoes, Amanda brought delectable cream puffs and Ericka & Chris made a to-die-for brownie cheesecake with caramel and chocolate topping....I just made a fresh salad and supplied the beer : )

After that was knit, knit, knit...well, and talk trash...which is what we do best, besides knitting.....lots of TMI going around (which, sadly to say, was mostly by me...do I EVER learn?) I laughed and laughed all night....it's like therapy....it really is.

Jackie gave me an early birthday gift...I almost cried when I opened it up...a bar of sweet smelling lilac soap, a ball of Trekking XXL yarn (I've been looking for that forever!) and, best of all, a Hello Kitty sock bag...and it's reversible....and PINK!!! Handmade by Jackie herself! (hug hug)



I also got the spindle bag from Trek that we traded for....so pretty...the fabric is even nicer in person....with a cute bunny on the front...it's the perfect size for my spindle with plenty of room for fiber and other little stuff. Thanks, Trek!



I got three new patterns in the mail that I'd ordered from HeartStrings....they are beautiful! One is called Spiral Nebula, another is Cat's Cradle and the other is Beaded Lace Scarf 2. Can't wait to start them (once I finish my darn other UFOs!)....rummaging through my laceweight stash is FUN.....do you ever do that? It's like shopping at a store where everything is FREE...well, it's not really free since you've paid money for it....but it was so long ago that it might as well be free, right? Right? I keep saying, "I forgot I had that! Wow! Look at this!"

So...tomorrow is the big day. The big 3-3. So far, I'm not at all scared about it (unlike my hubby, Ian) and I think I'll be okay. It's just that years go by so much quicker now and I feel like there's so much to be done and so little time. You know?

I was going to list my UFOs...so I could be more motivated to do them (like Lisa of Yarn Botanika did in her blog...you're so good, Lis!)...but I think I'll wait until I'm feeling a bit more grounded....don't want to hyperventilate, faint and then whack my head on the terra cotta floor of my kitchen....it's such a nice floor.

Tomorrow will be a list of 20 things I LOVE about knitting/dyeing/spinning...I hope I'll get some of your lists, too. If you email me your number one website by tonight or tomorrow morning, I'll add it into the blog for the day. Have a great day! : )

Ready, set.....start listing!

P.S. Laura, yes the blue/green Manos basket is felted...it's from Cat Bordhi's Second Treasury of Magical Knitting....very fun once you get the hang of the Moebius cast-on, which is torture at first, but excellent afterwards. I love this cute basket!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

If Only Time Travel Were Possible.....

Okay, everyone...did you hear what happened? Maybe not. I feel like the ENTIRE world now knows how foolish I am but, hopefully, that's not true. This is my first experience with the consequences of being "too open". My hubby's been telling me for ages that I just "share too much"...that I'm "too open and trusting" with people and, sometimes (he tried to say this somewhat delicately) I have a "big mouth". Now, I know that he just MIGHT be correct (I say MIGHT).

After my last, unfortunate (one of the understatements of the week) blog entry...where I pretty much cussed out poor Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (who I'm sure you know is the awesome Yarn Harlot) for not thanking me for the handspun yarn I gave her at the WEBS yarn sale/book signing, I got an email from her (HER!!!) titled, "Whoo Hoo"....in which she basically explained that the yarn that I'd given her last month was shipped back home to her separately and that she just received it a few days ago. The package not only got soaked in all the rain, but (because of the wetness) the tags came off so she had no idea (or very little idea) who it was from. She'd been searching for days on the internet for the words "blueberry pie" and "sleepy" and "eyes". She was actually glad (!) that I'd written about her not thanking me because that's how she found my blog with all the key words in her search.

I have to say that I was not glad, but truly and utterly EMBARASSED that she read that (hence my conclusion that I MIGHT have a "big mouth") and I felt so bad....really bad.

Her email was extremely nice, thankful and apologetic (!!!...more guilt) and she said she loved the yarn and would use it in a baby sweater she was going to knit up. I then, after frantically emailing my ManchVegasKnitting group for help and advice (of which I got both...thank god for knitting friends...as well as comfort...from many....Laurin, Jackie, Melissa, Rose, to name only a few), emailed Stephanie back and told her I felt like a "sh*t" and hoped she didn't think I was some gigantic, gift-giving jerk. She emailed again (my hands were shaking as I clicked on the email...oh, jeez, what will she say in return?) and was so understanding that I almost cried with relief.

All I can do now is shake my head and say, "I'm only human". I have lapses of being a total jerk like everyone else, though I try REALLY, REALLY hard not to...I like to be a "nice, friendly, soft-ee" and occasionally a "doormat" if the situation calls for it and I don't mind at the time.

So, Stephanie....wonderful and talented and hilarious Steph, please accept my public apology for having a "big mouth" and not being patient enough to wait for your thanks....which, in my heart, knew would come. Since I am an impatient person by nature, my typing hands and crankiness got the better of me and for that I'm sorry. : (

If I could only go back in time (like in those Star Trek-y shows where they say, "Beam Me Up, Scotty"), I'd change what I wrote or just not write anything at all that day...or maybe something nice....like about creamy chocolate or bubble baths or that sexy guy from LOST...you know who I mean!

But, since that's not possible in the next 10 minutes, I will show you pics of the yarns I just dyed up...of which 2 sold immediately before they even made it to ETSY.

Here is a self-striping, fingering/sportweight sock yarn I dyed up for Jackie (who made me an incredibly cute sock bag in pink...yes, PINK!)...she asked for purple and yellow...which I named, "Denim, Lemons, and Lilacs"



This is another worsted weight, merino self-striping yarn that I made and sold to Lucille at knitting last night....it's called "SweetTarts" and is sooo soft...looks kinda similar to the first yarn I dyed but with more purple and green.



Another yarn...called "Kiss Me Softly"...is a mohair/wool/nylon blend and became even softer and fuzzier after dyeing...it's also a "pastel-y" color...so I'm going to try to do more jewel tones next...this one is space-dyed!



Finally, Donna (my Knitting Angel) asked if I could overdye her 18 (eek..18!) skeins of Tahki yarn...which is a cotton, silk, ramie and linen blend...about 1650 yards total...so here is the pile...looking and waiting for me to DO SOMETHING with it. I think I'll try creating a nice cobalt blue-ish, plum color. We'll see...I'd like to experiment with it....any ideas on how I could dye the whole 3.5 pound lot-o-yarn?



Let my sorry-ass experience be a lesson to all of you in Bloggerland....keep your damn big mouth shut when bitter, or at least slightly closed, while blogging.....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Slightly Bored and Bitter

Do you ever have one of those days where it's raining, gray and miserable and then YOU start to feel that way? Tim was home from school due to all the flooding and the kids were going bonkers...I was becoming a little (ah-hem) irritable and decided to do something fun...

So, the boys put on some music in the "nice living room" (do you have one of these?) as a treat and I took pics of them. Then, they got tired (is it possible?) and they sat down on the "nice, new couch" and Tim read some books to Ben. It was the cutest thing...look at this:



Didn't I tell you it was a gray day?

That made me think of when they were little and I found this picture to compare:



I was feeling a big giddy from all the cuteness and all the grayness, so I took this pic:



Okay...this was a little TOO dark, I think.

Since we're all sharing this week, and you guys know mostly everything about my "creative life", I thought I'd share a little bit of my family life...with this family pic from around when Ben was 4 months old:



This is when we lived at our older, smaller and very leaky house....thank goodness we moved!

Now to the bitter part.....you know that I bought some gorgeous "Bejeweled" blue Corriedale roving from Yarn Botanika....and that I spun it all up into this to-die-for yarn, so soft...so lovely...which I called "Blueberry Pie" yarn. Okay...now I decided that I've had so much enjoyment from the Yarn Harlot's blog that, when I met her in person, I wanted to give her a little gift. So...I gave her BOTH skeins of this yarn...my beautiful, handspun, spent-hours-and-hours-spinning yarn. And...I never heard from her...no thank you....no I really didn't like this color, but thanks for the thought...nothing. She had my business card (attatched to the yarn) and I even emailed her after to make sure the label didn't come off and she didn't remember who it was from. I had handed it to her myself. Here's a quick pic just to remind you which one it was....



I KNOW that she must have lots of people giving her gifts. I KNOW that she's so busy and she must have been exhausted that day at the book signing. I KNOW that I gave her the gift out of kindness, not asking anything in return.

BUT...I'm only human and I feel bad that she never acknowledged such a precious gift with even a short email like "I got it." or "Thanks" or "I hated it but it's here." Trying to rise above the feelings, but it's difficut sometimes, you know?

I'm thinking...Just breathe...tomorrow will be better...it can't rain forever, right??

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away....

I'll start off with Saturday....

I could go on and on about how much it rained on Saturday while Laurin and I were at the NH Sheep and Wool, about how wet our feet were and how cold our asses got, but I will spare you the sad, sad details. I will, instead, tell you how much FUN we had...how awesome the vendors were...how freaked out (in a good way) I was over the tons and tons of gorgeous fiber there was to buy (went over my budget...like that was surprising!) and how the hot cup of cocoa that Laurin's hubby got for me made me feel all warm and cozy inside.

I could have bought WAY, WAY more fiber than I did. Really, it's true! Even though my fellow knitting and spinning friends gave me slightly nervous looks when they saw the amount of bags of stuff I was walking around with, in addition to my carry bag, umbrella, and cup of cocoa... (I thought Jackie looked a little impressed but also shocked at my amount of fiber...Denise gave me the "I can see you went overboard" look, but with compassion and understanding and, Laurin, well, Laurin gave me the "sadly-shaking-her-head-at-me-but-loving-me-anyway" look....I think her hubby, Mark, was very amused at my wild eyed, drugged out look while browsing through the fibers) All in all, the day was well worth the cold, wet and long drive.

Do you want to see PICS??? Unfortunately, they're not of the cute, but freezing alpacas, or my friends, or the stalls of fiber or even the rain.....the pictures are of stuff that I BOUGHT!!!!....(evil laugh....heh heh heh)

This one is the Bosworth PurpleHeart maxi spindle I bought (not associated with sanitary pads) and one of the balls of angora/cormo fiber I bought...which is a dream to spin and I LOVE this spindle...super easy to use, very balanced and beautiful.



Here is a very frightening pic of part of my closet....this is the "clustering of yarn and fiber" that happens after I go shopping....some is from the SuperBowl Sunday Ewe'll Love It shop sale...the other half is from the S&W....see the two huge bags of cream colored fiber? Oh, heaven of heavens....it's a blend of cormo and silk from Fox Fire Fibers...you MUST check out the website....she's also featured in an issue of Wild Fibers Magazine, as well.



A close up of the rainbow batt of fiber (made of alpaca, silk and merino...oh, gosh, I almost fainted when I saw this!)...I think it's a pound, but I'm not sure.



This is the handturned nostepinne I bought, along with 2 sets of silverish blue merino/tencel fiber and my (giggle) bag of Buffalo Gold 100% buffalo roving....you have to feel this stuff..it's like cashmere! Have NO idea how to spin it yet, but WHO CARES??? I can just stick the blob of it in my ample cleavage and off I go!



Okay, here's a close up of the buffalo in it's gauzy, gold pouch....feeeeeel it....



Oh, now here is the early bday gift I got from Lovely Laurin (she was kinda forced to give it to me since I saw some of it on her table after the S&W...oh, well!). A basket with pink (my fav color) lining filled with 3 (count 'em) skeins of Doucer et Soie (baby mohair and silk) laceweight yarn in pink, a skein of some I-could-just-eat-it Sockotta in sherbet colors for a pair of socks and a bar of soap wrapped in felted fibers smelling like lavender and rosemary.....heaven! Am I spoiled or WHAT?



So, on to Sunday....

I had to work at the nursing home to give a yoga class in the morning, then I went home to grab a quick breadstick before giving a Reiki treatment....after that, I was free to be a pampered mom on Mother's Day...but, alas, I had to go grocery shopping and we didn't end up going out to eat (because of the damn Weight Watcher points I must adhere to) and the kids were pretty crazy being shut up inside because of all the rain...but I did receive a gorgeous vase of flowers from Ian and some adorable homemade cards from the kids (and even the bunny...who left me some of her angora on a piece of paper).

I was able to finally finish spinning the black wool yarn with turquoise and magenta angelina sparkly fibers...made over 200 yards of dk weight 2 ply...it sparkles like you wouldn't believe! You can see it here, but the pic doesn't do it justice:



Lastly, I started spinning the fiber I was waiting for (which I bought from Yarn Botanika)...."Lipstick" is amazing....the fiber is super sproingy, elastic, I'm in love with the color and it's a dream to spiin...I could spin it all day and not get sick of it. This is what I've spun so far...can't wait to do more.....



Okay, now that you've wasted an hour of your life reading this blog, you can resume your normal, more interesting life. Just let me know what you think of my "stuff" and I'll know you care.....(LOL)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Talents of Others....

I believe it's the talent of other people that truly inspires me. When I see how beautiful something is that someone else has made, I think, "I want to do that!". Knowing that complicated, gorgeous, handmade things are possible for one person to create opens up worlds of wonder for any crafter who wants to be more of an "artisan".

For example, I just traded one of my 100% silk, hand dyed yarns for one of Trek's Sock Bags. These bags, which I saw on her blog, are adorable. They have a satin ribbon pull on the side to close the bag and made of one fabric on the outside and a coordinating fabric on the inside. They are the perfect size to hold sock a ball of sock yarn, needles and your sock in progress. The ribbon pull fits perfectly on your wrist if you want to walk around and knit, which I often do. I love the little applique elephant on the front, too...a cute touch. Here's a blurry pic that doesn't really do justice to this great bag...



A look on the inside:



A pic of my current sock project (for my sis, Kim) and the sock bag:



Another example of some amazing craftsWOmenship is A Crafty Kat's needle rolls. I have her circular needle bag (check earlier blog...not sure what month it was...April or March 2006?) which I love, love, love. I asked her to make me a double pointed needle holder with some melit-in-your-mouth cute, cute fabric she had...and here it is...(the pic is dark, sorry...)



Here's the roll unrolled, but not open:





And now, the opened case with LOTS of needle sets...it's all I have and there's tons of room for more...with sections for shorter and longer dpns...



This case couldn't be more user friendly, cute or compact....I love it.

Lastly, I know I've mentioned how much I love Yarn Botanika's hand-dyed and handspun yarns and fibers, but I'll briefly mention it again. She's now offering these gorgeous stone spindle kits with some of her fiber, too...a MUST have. I've bought at least 4 of her hand-dyed fibers and each set is better than the last....soft, easy to spin...and the COLORS!!! I want to lay in bed with them sometimes....mmmmm...but, to keep on track, I wanted to show you some of the "Lipstick" fiber I bought from her and predrafted...it's just waiting for me to spin it....



I didn't mention names, but all three of these talented women are part of our Blog Contest and I hope they will give us more information and tell us what inspires them next week at question time. And, of course, LINKS!!!! so we can take out our credit cards and buy, buy, buy!

What inspires YOU????

Monday, May 08, 2006

Back from Birthday Land

Whew! I've survived Tim's bday weekend! Friday through Sunday night was birthday, birthday, birthday STUFF! Parties, take out, arcade, family, friends, etc. All in all, everything went well and Tim had a BLAST! Here he is (with little Ben next to him and my hubby next to Ben in the red tshirt) licking his ice cream:



Now that I'm back to the blogging world, I can show you the pics of the yarn I dyed for my DyeORama pal, Bev. I used (for the first time...eek!) real acid dyes from Wool2Dye4.com and, you know, they really weren't much harder to use. The potential for huge messes and other diasters is greater, but the results....MWA!....air kisses all the way. I made some stock colors, then mixed my own in smaller cups...Bev was looking for either honey amber or some autumn type colors. Wasn't able to make the amber, but I'm sure I'll figure it out sometime (or DYE trying!...ha ha....good pun? bad pun? ugh)

This is the finished yarn (8 damn ounces, dude!) hanging in the sunroom....



This time, I was VEWY wise and tied the yarn in three times as many places as last time and really spent a lot of time when I arranged the yarn back on the board to unwrap. It took forever, but I was pretty successful and that was totally worth my time. No more swearing my head off trying to wind the yarn on my niddy noddy. It all came off pretty easily, although that night, my arm and shoulder were KILLING me! ("Honey, would you please rub my right shoulder?"..."Yeah, okay"....squeeze sqeeeze....."Oh, you're done?"...thanks alot...I feel MUCH better.....yeah, that's right, I'm being sarcastic!)

But, the yarn itself came out FAB (super, super soft, huge skein AND self striping!) and I've decided to call it "Marigolds at Twillight":



Okay, must go make dinner...oh, but wait...just wanted to show you two more pics....one is of a gorgeous white flower in my garden and the other is one of my lilac blossoms on the tree that I have almost in bloom. Wish you could smell them....as soon as I walk out of my sunroom, I can smell that "oh, God, I'm in Heaven!" fragrance. MMMMmmm. Don't you wish you were here?



SNIFF DEEPLY!!!



Have a great day! ~Gina : )

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Self-Striping Sock-O-Rama!

This is the day when I can squeal and giggle all I want because......I created my own self-striping SOCK yarn! Of course, this would not have been possible without my crafty hubby's help...who very happily (!) used Scout's Ghetto Warp Board instructions to make me this:



Here is the board wrapped with my yarn to experiment with (Patons Classic Merino wool...worsted weight...only $3.99 on sale at A. C. Moore):



Next, we have the dyes (McCormick again...for my experimental purposes) ready for the dyeing process:



Now, the yarn in the dyes.....the coolest part (or next to coolest, anyway):



Here is the newly dyed yarn wrapped and ready to go in the steamer to set the colors:



A pic of the yarn back on the warping board to dry:



Now we're getting to the final stages.....are you ready?....here is the yarn after I wrapped it on my niddy noddy into skein form: (more about the wrapping part after...long story)



Drum roll, please.....everyone hold their breath and get ready to "ooh and ahh"!....a sock knitted in the new yarn:



Isn't this the most fun sock you've ever seen???? (well, maybe not...but it's pretty awesome, I think!) I'm in LOVE! My knitter friend, Jackie, named this yarn "Easter", which I think is just perfect, don't you? I was thinking, "SweetTart" or "Baby Shower" or "Baby Girl"....

The only, only bad thing that happened during this whole process was during the unwrapping. This process is similar to HELL....or maybe like waxing your legs with wax that is too cold and your kids are running around the house screaming because the house is on fire...something like that.

Thank goodness Ben wasn't in the room because I was swearing my head off and yelling and crying on and off. I heard Ben say to Tim (my older son) in the other room, "Mommy crying?" and Tim said, very seriously and sadly, "Yeah...she is." Jeez, the guilt!

But, after 1 1/2 hours (not kidding), I finally got the yarn from the board into a clumsy, fumbly ball (couldn't even wind it onto my niddy noddy until later) and could BREATHE!

All in all, it was worth it and I just love the striping pattern it made. There are SO many other ways to make the stripes with this board...this is just MY way!

What do you think????? : ) (virtual hugs are totally accepted)