Friday, April 27, 2007

FO Friday: Sleepy Eyes "Tipsy Socks" pattern!

So, what do you think? My first REAL Sleepy Eyes pattern in .pdf form. Here are the details:

Title: Tipsy Socks
Yarn: Sereknity Sock Options sportweight, 100% superwash merino, 1 skein (246 yards)
Colorway: Pretty in Punk
Needle Size: US 3 [I used (2) Knit Picks Classic 24" circs]

How can you get this pattern?

Two ways:

1. Go to Sereknity and download there... and also buying a luscious skein of the lovely Heather's sportweight sock yarn.

2. Click on the picture below:

Sleepy Eyes

Here is a close up of the "Tipsy" slip stitch pattern:

Here is the finished sock on my footsie:

When you make a pair, PLEASE email me a pic and I will add you to the Tipsy Sock Gallery. Speaking of galleries, did you see the Radiance Lace Headband Gallery? Check on the right side bar. If you've bought my pattern, you could be the next one up!!

Podcasting Update:

I will be putting out the podcast on the 30th, so please keep an eye out for it. It's called, "Lace Race". I can't believe it's taken me so long to put it up....whew....lots of busy, busy, busy!

Have a great weekend and grab that pattern! Share with your friends! G : )

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MAKE Play dough... (literally)

Today, no knitting news. Still working on the same stuff. No spinning news. Haven't been able to find time to sit at my wheel in a week : (


The kids and I had TONS of fun making play dough...from scratch! The recipe is from the CRAFT magazine, publishers of the MAKE magazine. Nancy Dougherty, publisher of CRAFT, has a VERY simple recipe for this play dough.

I had actually seen this recipe somewhere in a different magazine, so I THINK it's okay to say what the ingredients are. (If not, I'll end up deleting some of this post later...)

You'll need:

1 cup all purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1 cup water (I used cool)
1/2 cup salt (all I had in the house was a 7 or 8 year old iodized salt and it seemed to work fine)
1 tbs. oil (I only had extra virgin olive)
2 tbs. cream of tartar (it's in one of those small plastic containers in the spice asile)
Food coloring

This is what I did:

Mixed all ingredients in a non stick saucepan. Put heat on medium-low (or on my electric stove, the line BEFORE medium). Turned the timer on to 10 minutes. I pretty much stirred constantly. At about 6 minutes, the stuff inside the pan turned to a soft doughy mass and I added some food coloring. I only used 5 drops or less and got pastel/watercolorish shades. I think you can use much more if you want vibrant colors. Stir again. You can lift the mass of dough right out of the saucepan. It's a bit warm, but pleasantly so. If you have arthritis, it would be wonderful to mold in your hands. I liked doing it.

Here is the pale blue:

Here is the pale lilac:

Tim playing and shaping....

Ben making balls....

Tim's finished Cyberworm character....

I can't tell you how much fun it was to make this. SO EASY! And this dough is fantastically soft and pliable. You can read more about it on page 133 of the latest CRAFT magazine. Even if you don't have any kids, you should make this.

*If you don't want it to harden into your personally designed shapes (and you're not using it for more than 5 minutes), put it into a plastic bag along with a damp paper towel to keep it moist. The outside edges start to get "crispy" after 10 minutes or so.*

Happy Dough Day!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's ALL about JACKIE......

Introducing the BEAUTIFUL Jackie wearing her namesake, "The Jacqueline" Radiance Lace Headband!

Can she look any more vibrant? Jackie, did you know you were vibrant? She used the merino/tencel fingering weight yarn that I dyed for her a while ago, called "Mermaid" and created a truly better looking beaded fringe than I wrote for the pattern.

I'm so excited...this is the second Radiance Lace Headband to be completed....shall we try to have at least 8 more done by the end of May???? Come on, I know you can do it! (I mean, I AM bribing you with yarn, soap and knitting books!) Amanda, can I hope that you'll be third??? Perhaps wearing YOUR namesake headband??? (pweease?....lip out...)

Do you know what I spent this lovely Saturday doing? Would you believe that 7 of us Manchvegans went to Barnes and Noble in Manchester to teach beginners knitting? Even more you know how many we taught? NONE!

Either it was our lack of advertisement (well, besides the little write up that B&N put in their fliers)....we had no big sign saying "Stop Here and Learn to Knit" or the crazed look we all had while we were all (mostly) knitting on socks. Ericka did her very best by creating a small sign out of notebook paper and using my pink (!) pen to make a mini sign...hung it on the balloons we had on the table....but no dice. (or maybe it was the STENCH of all the acrylic yarn) Look how pretty our table was!

Chris, Ericka, Caroline, Jackie, Lora, GiGi and I did our best with trying to get people to come over but, sadly, it wasn't meant to be.

Only two people really stopped to talk....Blogless Amanda's little protege, Rachel (she is SO cute and the recepient of my gift bag full of beginner knitting books/patterns, VERY nice wool mini balls, bamboo needles, accessory bag and bigger knitting bag) and a woman whose name I completely forgot. First, here is the adorable Rachel....(Amanda, she asked for you and I gave her that yarn you gave to me to give to that right?)

The Woman-Without-A-Name came up and started asking us about our knitting...we babbled on and on and then I asked her what she was working on. Here is the resulting conversation...not quoted, but as I remember it....(which could be COMPLETELY different from bear with me):

WWAN: I'm working on a lace shawl.

Me (very excited): Oh, which one?

WWAN: It's from the Victorian Lace Today book....

Me (cutting in, shouting): REALLY????? Which shawl?

WWAN: Um, I think it's the Myrtle Leaf Shawl.

Me: (HUGE GASP, jumping out of my chair) Oh, Wow! I was going to make that, too! Actually, a few of us in the knitting group are going to make that! What yarn are you using?

WWAN: (stepping back slightly) Uh, it's the Misti Alpaca Lace in black.

Me: (practically jumping up and down) Wow! (again) Our friend Mike is using that SAME YARN!!

WWAN (stepping back more and looking at me wearily): Yeah, well, there's a mistake in one part of the pattern...yada yada yada.....

( I started writing things and went into a lace zone-out, so I forget what she really said....something about k2tog and it being a knit 1 not knit 2 or something.)

Here she is, that poor soul....who probably won't ever come and visit our group again (even though I gave her our card.....):

Ericka and I chatted with her more about spinning and things like that and then she left...looking a big relieved, I must say.

Guess who else came to the knitting "class"? Our very own, "LITTLE JACKIE"! Complete with her mini Wicked and jeans...just like "Grown Up Jackie"....but not known as "Big Jackie". Aren't they adorable together? (psst...I think Jackie may be planning evil deeds with her tiny counterpart...I believe they want to RULE THE WORLD!!!) Not that that would be BAD.....especially since I will be Mrs. Jackie someday!

Two more Show and Tells....

1. A rare and wonderful shot of the beautiful GiGi, modeling a lace scarf knit by my SpinToKnit pal, Naomi...who had given it to Ericka when THEY were pals. Doesn't she look great?

2. A fantastic surprise I got in the mail on Friday from the always lovely and prolific, Cayli. A skein of Mountain Colors Barefoot (one of my favorite sock yarns) in a super older son has already put his name on it for a pair of socks!

All in all, a fun, if not successful day. I'm working on so many knitting projects at once (can't seem to get my mind focused on one thing at the moment) and I'm SOOO behind on getting the next podcast out! ARggh!

Ian's putting the little guy to bed tonight, so I hope to get more of SOMETHING done! (while having a delicate cup of Wild Sweet Orange herbal infusion with clover honey...usually it's peppermint tea only, but I went wild tonight with something new)

Good Knit! (oh, I mean, Good Night!)

P.S. I forgot to tell you!!! BTG (Body Talk Guy) was at B&N....and it wasn't even Wednesday! Someone in white shorts, a white tshirt and a bandana (YES, a BANDANA!!!!) said hi to me in line at the cafe...I said hi and then realized it was HIM!!! He's like, "Fancy seeing you here on a Saturday!" and I'm thinking...oh, god...where is someone I know?? Luckily, Lora came quickly to my rescue and I only had to talk to him about his idea to write a book about his pet peeves for a couple of of them being people talking too loud on their cell phones...but only when the subject isn't about "body talk". EWWWW!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Headband Contest Stuff! (also, an Alien Invasion)

Radiance Lace Headband CONTEST

What do you need to do?? Well, read on....

1. Buy my pattern (on right or at One Planet Yarn and Fiber...they also offer kits!)...many cyberhugs will be sent your way.

2. Buy the Yarn Botanika 100% superwash merino/tencel yarn here for the headband and size 4 needles. (This yarn comes in fingering weight or dk)

3. Knit up the headband (either the Jacqueline or Amanda) and take a picture of it...if you want to take one of yourself wearing it, that would be even better!

4. Send me the picture(s) via email, your name, blog (if you have one) and yarn info.

What will you win? Well, read on more...

*Everyone who sends me a pic will be put into a drawing to win something great!*

1. Ericka has donated two of her luscious handmade Down to Hearth soaps.....Soft Rose and Lavender Eucalyptus.

(sorry, that third soap is my Lilac one!)

2. Two books: Special Knits by Debbie Bliss and Luxury Knits by Amanda Griffiths

3. YARN:

-2 skeins of pale purple Online Punta
-2 skeins of Lane Cervinia sock yarn (greens, turquoises, purples)
-1 skein of Berroco Air
-1 skein of Berroco Boho

(and more to come!)

First Prize: First choice of 4 skeins of yarn, 1 book and soap.

Second Prize: Second choice of 2 skeins of yarn, book and soap.

Third Prize: Rest of the yarn (will be at least 1 ball or more)

I will mention your name and blog address on the following podcast as well.


From now until May 31st. June 1st, I will pick the winners. Good luck!

Oh, and you wanna see the newest yarn I dyed up? It's in my Etsy Shop right now!

It's called "Alien Invasion":

What do you think??

[oh, by the way, the podcast is a WEE bit late coming out this time. I'm trying to add in my newest sponsor and organize all of the discount codes some will be offering. Thanks for being patient!]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I DYED! (gasp)

This post is dedicated to lovely Sonya, who has been hoping for a pic BESIDES the darn spinning wheel! LOL!

How is THIS????

Three skeins of goregeous, heavenly soft 100% superwash merino fingering weight yarn (440 yards!) that I dyed on Saturday. (eeee....they're so awesome!)


WHAT- Dyeing class with THE Cheryl Potter of Cherry Tree Hill yarns. (tiny scream!) [Here she is getting the dyes ready for the class]

WHERE- Yarn and Fiber Co. in Windham, NH....Cyndi was, of course, wonderfully friendly, helpful and had things pretty well organized for such a big group (over 20) in such a small amount of space. [Here's Cyndi with some of her crew winding up skeins of undyed Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn]

WHEN April 14th, 2007 from 1-4 pm

HOW Well, it's not really a how...but, you know...Cheryl (and her sweet daughter) gave us handouts and she explained a bit about everything...what handpainted yarn is and how many factors together determine what the final product is....the dye itself, the type of fiber and how the yarn is constructed. I found everything extremely helpful and interesting...especially her idea of "inspiration/creation/translastion" you think of something that inspires you, use your fingers to create that image and then that, in turn, gets translated into how the yarn comes out. Another helpful tip..."Less is More/Don't make Mud!".

[here she is with her daughter...sorry she's so blurry...a phone pic!]

Before we started to dye, she had 4 of us do a crayon demonstration....(including me, Ericka and Rose!)....she gave us a box of crayons, a piece of white paper and wrote down a colorway. We had to picture what the colorway meant to us in our minds and then translate that into a colorway on paper. Here's mine: It was "Blue Bayou":

[Can I brag here? I was nervous that she made me go first (I had NO idea what to say), but said that my colorway was "perfect", an A+.....that was SOOO cool! Complimented by Cheryl Potter??? I'm in heaven!]

Ericka's "City Lights" was really pretty (the colors gave the point across well) and Rose had "Tangerine Dream", in which she mixed orange and yellow together for a kind of "drink" type color. Very cool.

After we did that, a group of 7 went up at a time and started to dye...Cheryl helped everyone and it was so much fun experimenting and squirting dye here and there....there weren't any fist fights over the dye bottles...but it was close at some points! [here is the first group that went up]

Nichole (who I was happy to hang out with before the class started) and Heather also created gorgeous colorways. Heather's was "Pansy" and, boy, it looked JUST like it! I wish I'd remembered what colorway Nichole created. I was so busy dyeing MORE skeins that my mind went blank. Ericka's final yarn (one of the two) had a pretty Japanese name that I liked and it was a sweet color, too.

All in all, I had a FANTASTIC day! Cheryl was wonderful....and she even gave all of us a Potluck Sock pattern. I got one signed, too! (I am SUCH a geek!)

Now, on to the YARN!!!

The colorways I created are:

Baby's Breath-pale purples, peach, turquoise and pink.

Wild Cherry Love-bright red, deep pink and paler pink.

Handsome Hiker-fern green, blue, grays, and forest greens.

The first two yarns will be on my Etsy shop by tonight....BUY NOW! The other one I'm saving to knit for Ian....since he is the handsome hiker! (I thought the name "Handsome Geocasher" didn't have QUITE the same feeling)

P.S. Two other is the yarn I spun for Jackie for her birthday (which is on Monday)...called "Endless Bliss"'s a 50/50 baby alpaca/merino 2ply fingering weight....with 356 yards out of 2.5 ounces. The BEST yarn I've ever spun so far...

AND, speaking of dyed yarn...I got my "Mandy" yarn from Awesome Amy ofSpunky Eclectic for my new sweater and socks to match. I actually got this a while ago and kept forgetting to blog it. The yarn is so soft and the colors are great....can't wait to knit it up!

Any comments??

Monday, April 09, 2007

Can a Spinning Wheel fit in a Forester?

Yup. It can!

On our way down to RI to visit my family for Easter, we stopped in Bellingham, MA (at the Whole Foods Market...why don't we have one in NH?) to meet lovely Ilene...and to pick up my new wheel.

Eeeeeek! It's great. Yes, at spinning on Friday, a lot of women were bashing Ashford wheels, but I still LOVE, LOVE my Joy and I'm so happy to get this new Traditional. It's how I've always thought a spinning wheel should look like. This one is for home and my Joy will still be for traveling. So far, I've had 1 minute (literally) to spin on it, but I'm looking forward to many, many more hours on it this coming weekend.

I've been up to my eyeballs (with my patience level at NIL) in packing and getting my older son (who is usually known around here as Cyberworm) ready for his trip to D.C. with his 8th grade class. There is a list 5 pages long of all the things he's got to bring, can't do, should do and what he should think 24 hours a day (well, maybe not THAT far...). But, it helps for me to know what he'll be up to all day long...not that it will make me miss him any less. He's been driving me BONKERS for the last week, but I know I'll be crying in the car all the way home from dropping him off. (Beware of me on the road if you live in Londonderry and plan to be driving around about 5:30 am)

Anyway, Easter was fun...I got to see my sister's new apartment (awesome! I wish it were mine...I tried to stow myself away, but Ian noticed I was missing...damn it!) and was able to give my Grandma her sweater....which she LOVED! My sister took a pic of her in it, so I can hopefully post that soon. She put it on right away and seemed very appreciative. It fit her perfectly...though it might have been a bit long (she's like 4'8" to my 5'2") and a bit roomy around the bust.

My mom and dad made a great lunch (Ben and I had turkey burgers!)...and everyone else had ham, potatoes and such. Ian and I took the kids to the playground (where I used to go as a kid!) and my sister came, too, which was fun. I REALLY wished that I'd brought my camera. After the kids got tired of playing (it was freezing out), my sister and I took the kids home and Ian did more geocashing. He is SO addicted!

My mom got the kids tons of cool toys and candy...she got me a Hello Kitty dvd and lollipop, some makeup and candy, too. Am I spoiled or what??? It was a fun time and I was glad I got a chance to spend with them. On the way home, Ben kept saying, "I miss her......!" (meaning my mom) So sad...

Good news, though. I got my fiber swap package from the beautiful and talented and super awesome Kimberly of The Giving Flower and, when I tell you it was FANTASTIC, I so mean it!

I got these:

[golden and blue fiber are 100% merino and the red (oh, Ericka, you're going to drool when you see this!) is merino and luscious tussash silk! Plus, a handmade herbal bag with lavender! Smells so good!]

and these:

[tons of yummy chocolate from you know that those eggs have TOYS in them??? Not just junk, but very cool toys?? The kids went crazy over them!]

and this:

[PINK!!! Regia self striping sock yarn....oh, Kimberly, I love you!]

and, finally, these:

[Hello Kitty magazine (in cool!), pencil and adorable notepad set in a cute tin...she even gave me the HK shopping bag in came in...oh, I'm a pile of mushy love!]

Thank you so much, Kimberly! BEST SWAP EVER!!!!

And, last Wednesday, I bought these yarns from the talented Heather:

Punky in Pink and Martian...aren't they awesome??

Finally, a pic of my progress on my Lizard Ridge....

Hope you all had a great holiday and my next post will be goodies to win if you send in a "Ask Sleepy Eyes" question. 'Night!

P.S. Here are some belated pics of the snow we got last was disappointing because I thought spring had come! But, it was pretty....

and one pic looking up at the ceiling of the sunroom....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Absolutely NO willpower....

No, I'm not talking about dieting (which, of course, I have no willpower for either...or I wouldn't be dieting constantly)...I'm talking about the Lizard Ridge afghan.

After seeing (and feeling) a swatch of the afghan at Yarn and Fiber on Sunday, I just couldn't wait any longer.

I've been trying my VERY BEST to put off starting this....I was trying to finish at least two or three of the current projects I'm working on, but....alas, it wasn't meant to be.

So far, I've completed one of the 24 "squares". I'm using colors 40 and 183 right now...of the Noro Kureyon. The designer has written the pattern so that you make 24 of these "squares" and then sew them all together. You'd have to sew 6 of them end to end to make one long panel and then sew the 4 long panels together to make the afghan. I'm going to save myself a WHOLE lot of sewing and just continue on through the squares (without binding off and casting on again) so that I make one long, continuous panel. Then, make 3 more. I'll only have to sew up the 2 long center side panels that way. (and I'll save some yarn, too)

I'm LOVING the pattern, too. The first time you go through the 12 row pattern, it's confusing (or at least it was for me). I also didn't realize that the pattern was written so that the bubbly parts are SMOOTH at the edges and not ridged, like the one I saw at the yarn store. I had the hardest time figuring out how to make the sections BUMPY...until I had a sudden "DUH" moment...instead of doing the 5 transititon rows in stockinette, you just do it in GARTER! DUH!

So, I've decided to work a little on it here and there so I can start using it once the cooler weather comes in October/November. I figure, if I can make one part of the 24 in less than one day, then it will only take me a month or less (have to figure in sewing the panels and doing the crocheted border) to make the whole thing. So, I have PLENTY of time, right?? Right?

I also have a picture of ONE of the finished handspun skeins of yarn I made from the Coopworth fleece that I washed, combed, etc. I only used 1/4 of the finished fiber and I got 75 yards of 3 ply worsted weight yarn....about 12 wpi. It is MUCH softer than I thought it would be (but not like angora or cashmere...or even merino) and so "homey". Now, if I can finish spinning the rest, I have plans to make Ben a hat and mittens for next winter.

And, dum dum dum dum (drum roll please), I have the long overdue picture of the first Radiance Lace Headband pattern completed! Well, one besides the two I made!

It's Cayli of Spin A Yarn for Ewe!!!

Cayli not only knit my headband pattern (the Amanda), but also spun the yarn herself!!! And, not only that, but she used our very own Heather's handpainting roving!!! It's the Beaches colorway and in the superwash merino/tencel can find her fiber HERE. Isn't that amazing? Like a partnership of handpainting/spinning/knitting/designing all at once. Doesn't she look fantastic in this?

And, lastly, here is the yarn I spun for lovely Donna. It's only 1/2 of the 2 oz of merino/bombyx silk fiber from Chasing Rainbows...the Moonstone colorway I spun up here is the third from the left. I got 75 yards of 3 ply sportweight from 1 oz of the fiber. It's super shiny and I hope she likes it. I'm working on her Ashland Bay purple-ish merino top right now.

Any more headbands in the works????

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy Blogiversary and New Podcast!

It's been 2 years since I started my blog! (well, it was actually March 31st, not April 1st) I can't believe it! Time goes by so quickly...Woo-hoo for blogging!

The new podcast is up and I'm looking forward to some feedback from it.....can't wait for all of you to listen. Some might hate it, some might love it. We'll see.... It's called "Fooled".

Before podcasting today, Jackie and I went to the Yarn and Fiber Company in Windham for their April Fool's Day sale. Everything was 10-40% off. (We saw Lora and Heather there, too!) Jackie, Lora and I both got only 10%, but Heather pulled 15%! Pretty good!

I got the Alpaca Yarn Company's Winter Wonderland Shawl kit (scroll to bottom) and also a French Girl knitting pattern called, "Daphne"....a knited summer shawl using either Rowan Summer Tweed or Kidsilk Haze. Both will be expensive, so I thought I'd wait and see if I can get the yarns on ebay....I'd like to get white....

I also got two skeins of yarn for something special and tha's about it. We had a fun time just hanging around, talking, squeezing yarn and looking at patterns. I was hoping to get another Ashford Joy bobbin, but no luck this time.

We went out to the Common Man for brunch and it was YUMMY! A nice treat not to cook or clean up! Back home to the kiddies and letting Ian take a break to go geocashing.....

Some of the LINKS on my podcast (that aren't my sponsors, which are on the right) are here:

A Knitter's Garden
Cascade 220
Tibet Silk
Spunky Eclectic
Knit Picks' Alpaca Cloud Laceweight
Skacel Merino Laceweight
The Yarn Sellar
Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb laceweight

Hope you had a great weekend and please remember to send questions for the next podcast! Gina : )