Sunday, December 31, 2006

Z is for Zingiber

Okay now you have to be asking what is zingiber. I know I was. Well it's ginger! I'm not going to bore you with a bunch of ginger trivia and facts. Check out the wiki entry if you want to know more about ginger.

As I was scouting around the house for possible items starting with Z; I came across this antique pharmacy bottle in the downstairs powder room. I have two old pharmacy bottles that were rescued from the trash pile. This one has a cracked glass label. Maybe that is why is was in the trash - but I thought that they were interesting, so I kept them.

I thought I could use the bottle for my Z post - but I had to search and find out what the heck Zingib. meant. The only thing I found that made sense was zingiber and that is ginger. I suppose that it is plausible that pharmacies stocked ginger. It has long been used for medicinal purposes. If anyone knows what might have been originally kept in the jar, please let me know. The jar currently is filled with lavender to help make the room smell a little sweeter.

I've had a lot of fun with the ABC Along this year. I've learned some things and it was a real help when I started my blog last year. I always had something to post. Maybe it made me a better photographer too - and if not better at least more aware of what I know and don't know.

I decided not to post a 2006 finished objects round up. Looking back, there really aren't a lot of finished objects so my list would be a little lackluster compared to others out there. Also, I'm still hoping to get one more thing added to the list! I'm trying to finish my Anastasia socks before midnight tonight and I can added them to the 2006 finished objects. You can view my 2006 Finished Objects on Flickr if interested.

I'm going to start 2007 with a goal of trying to finish projects I've already started and start projects only with the yarn I already have stashed. I will be joining the Rocking Sock Club again, so that is exempt. I can think of a couple other reasons I might buy yarn too - but I'll try hard to stick with the plan.

I also hope to expand my camera skills and become a better picture taker. Maybe someday I can get paid to take photos. Not likely - but I can always dream. Other than that I will work on a few personal things and I will try and be a better person overall. Not that I was bad this year - but there is always something we can do better. Have a happy and safe New Years Eve.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Fiber Friday - 2006 STR Club Finale

Just before Christmas I received two packages from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The first was filled with a sock yarn splurge that I'll show later. The second was my final 2006 Rockin' Sock Club package. There were two lovely skeins inside. The first was Mustang Sally. This yarn is variegated reds and is so pretty.

The pattern for December was Winter's Eve, designed by Sivia Harding. You can see a sample of a finished sock on Knit Me's Blog. I love pattern. The pattern has a little bit of beading on the cuff and a cable going up the side. Very festive for the holidays. I've never done any beading and knitting - but the results look great! I will have to give this pattern a try.

The second skein is called Rare Gems and each skein is different. Mine is mostly made up of blues, purples, and turquoise. There is also a little shot of pink in one end. Both skeins are the light weight version.

These are the first pictures I've posted form my new camera. I know I have a long way to go to fully figure every thing out. These photos were taken in auto mode. I did have the external flash attached; which seemed to help with capturing correct color. I didn't really have to do any type of color correction. The new camera certainly is fun to use. Hopefully I can continue to improve my skills.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lizard Ridge - Again!

More Lizard Ridge squares finished! I just can't seen to stop knitting these squares. I have so much other stuff to knit, but every time I see this project I just have to knit another square. Plus the squares work up so quickly. I'm able to finish a square in the evening while Brad is watching college basketball. This square is out of Kureyon color # 185. What maybe appearing as blue is actually purple. Purple has always been one of my favorite colors, so I'm pleased with this square. I'm hoping my new camera will produce color that is closer to the actual item. I took these photos with my old camera.

This square make eight complete. Getting closer one step at a time. This square is in Kureyon color # 164. The tough part is going to be seaming all the squares together once they are complete. The pattern calls for a crocheted border but I've never done any crochet. I do like the crocheted border - it is a scalloped pattern that I think goes well with the short row stripes. So I'd like to learn to crochet for that reason. Does anyone know of a good website or book on learning crochet?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Y is for Yipee!

Santa was very good to me this year because he brought me a new camera! Yipee! Now that all the family is gone and the festivities are over, I'll have to spend some time learning how to use it! This is a Nikon D80 DSLR camera. I also got a big thick book on digital photography that I have started reading.

I've always wanted a more advanced camera and be able to control all the settings manually. Plus there are all type of accessories for the camera! You can change lenses, add a flash, filters, etc. And who doesn't love accessories? So I'm very excited about my new toy. Now I just have to sit down and learn how/when/why to change settings and hopefully take some great pictures.

The camera does have a point and shoot feature that I have been playing with the last couple days. So hopefully by Friday I will have some yarn pr0n taken with the new camera.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Six Weird Things about me....

I've been tagged...

Thanks to Ang at Angelarea Knits, you are about to learn some things about me that just weren't meant to be known. And if you listen to my husband - six things just isn't enough to cover it. So I'll try and pick out a few key things.

Now the rules say I'm supposed to list six weird things about me and then tag six people to do the same. But I'm not going to tag anyone. If you are reading this and willing to post six weird things about you - please do. But let me know, I want to read about them!

Six Weird Things About Me:

1. I have a fear of bridges. Not of the bridge itself, it's more involved than that. I am actually afraid that the car I am riding in will go careening over the edge and plunge into water and I won't be able to get out of the car and I will drown. If there is ice on a bridge - you can almost forget about me driving over it. When I do drive over a bridge, I walk through steps to get out of the car if it does go over the edge and I keep my finger on the power window switch. You know (well I know; I've read about it) that the power will fail in power windows if a car is submerged in water. The window has to be down in order to swim out. I need to just get one of those little tools that will break a car window and cut a seat belt strap if needed. There is also the pressure from the water that will prevent you from opening the car door. I think the weirdest part is that I've read about what to do if this does happen. My college roommate figured I died that way in a former life. I don't really buy into that; but I'm not sure where the fear comes from.

I know Zonda has a bridge phobia too. But I'm not sure if she is as far along as I am.

2. I don't like to drink directly from a glass at a restaurant - I have to use a straw.

3. All the clothes hanging in my closet are arranged by color. I guess the weirdiest part is that the colors have to be in a certain order. I order them according to the spectrum (ROY G BIV). White and black aren't covered by that - so white clothes always hang in the first section and black goes at the end. My husband and I share a closet so his clothes have to be done this way too.

4. You know the screws in the wall switchplates? Well all the little slots in the screw heads must be going the same direction. And, they must be vertical.

I guess by now you might have figured out that I can be a little compulsive.....

5. I'm clumsy. I've fallen downstairs and upstairs (both this year). I will even trip over my shadow if it gets in the way. My husband call me his little ballerina.

6. When things are grouped together - like knick knacks on a shelf or plants in the garden - they must be grouped in odd numbers; usually numbers of three or five.

So, if you are willing - please take this as a tag to post Six Weird Things About You!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

X is for X-ACTO

This is my X-ACTO carving set. I think most people have used some type of X-ACTO tool at some time or another. My favorite X-ACTO tool is this carving set. It is made up of several gouging type blades and several cutting and saw type blades.

I was into paper arts and rubber stamping in a former crafting life and decided I wanted to carve my own stamps. So after a little research I decided I needed some white vinyl erasers and this carving set. I took a look through some old crafting supplies and was able to find some of the stamps I actually carved. The stamp in the lower left corner is actually me. I transfer a photo to the eraser and carved it out. Not too bad for an early attempt.

Most of my ink pads are all dried out, but I was able to get a print of the lion stamp. It is the stamp in the lower right corner on the picture above.

I haven't used any of these supplied in a very long time, but I think that I'll keep the carving set out. I'm betting that they'd be a good tool for decorating and carving pumpkins!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fiber Friday - Lizard Ridge Edition

I went shopping yesterday. I had a few errands to run and decided to stop by the local yarn shop and see if they had any colors of Kuyeron I don't yet have for my Lizard Ridge Afghan. I found several colors I didn't have, including color #138 pictured above.

This is Kureyon color # 78. I hadn't seen this color before, so I figured I pick up a skein. It is mostly greens with a little purple and burnt orange color.

The shop also had a lone skein of color #88 that I had to pick up. I think the color has been discontinued and I was hoping to find a skein for the afghan.

I also picked up a skein of color #92. It is sort of a muted rainbow of colors. I have been ordering my Kureyon from Webs because of the discounts available, but none of these colors were available.

The shop has a small rack of buttons up by the register and I always take a look as I stand there waiting to pay. And as usual, I found a little something.

There are two of these ceramic buttons and each one is 1.75 inches wide. I think they will be nice on a bag with a loop closure.

Well, only one more Fiber Friday for 2006. This may be hard for me to participate in for 2007 as it is going to be the year of the stash for me. Although I will have new yarn from the sock club and yarn purchases will be allowed to finish a project. So we'll wait and see.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

W is for Wreath

This is our favorite Christmas wreath. My mother-in-law made it several years ago. The "reindeer" head came from a stuffed moose my husband and his siblings had and loved. My in-laws had a house fire and the head of the moose was the only thing salvageable. So she decided to take the head and turn it into a reindeer wreath for Christmas. He does have a red nose - it just isn't attached right now. It is packed away in some box of Christmas decorations and I haven't been able to put me hands on it. Hopefully she doesn't call me on it when she visits this year for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

V is for Vase

This is one of the first pieces of North Carolina pottery I ever bought. It is a piece of Raku pottery. After the piece is taken out of the kiln, it is placed in some type of combustible material like straw, sawdust or newspaper. I was mainly attracted to the psychedelic colors. I also like that it has a matte finish. A lot of the Raku potter I see has a high sheen and often a metallic feel.

I bought this vase at the State Fair a couple of years back. I love the green color and shape of this vase. I think that this was done with a Raku technique as well.

If you don't know, North Carolina has an abundance of potters and several pottery festivals. There is even a tent set up at the fair where local potters sell their goods. The Seagrove area has such a festival and you can visit many of the potters at their studio/kiln. Sanford North Carolina has a pottery festival too.

I like the idea of local craftsmen and often try and find special gifts at the festivals. You can find things from very functional and practical to highly decorative art pieces. It is amazing the wide variety of styles and finishes that are available.

I've always said if I win the lottery that I'd take some time and try an apprenticeship with a potter. I would love to learn how to throw pots and use a wheel and master a bunch of different glaze techniques with a kiln.

This is another favorite. It has a neat three sided shape and is made with a salt glaze. Salt glaze usually results in things appearing a little more rustic, but I love how this one has glass melted around the circumference.

The picture here actually shows the backside of the vase. The little white circles are from where the vase sat on little pegs in the kiln. You can also see how the glass melted around the vase and ended up with little glass buttons at the back.

Only a few more letters to go and I will have made it through the alphabet. I'm almost sure I'll be able to do this before the end of the year. I sat down last night to figure out the last remaining letters and the only thing I'm still not sure about is X.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

U is for Unfinished

This is the oldest unfinished project that I have. The interesting thing is - it was never my project until now. This project have to be over 15 years old. I may be wrong about that - and I'm sure my mom will correct me. My mom and a friend traveled to Ireland many years ago. One of the things my mom brought back was the wool you see above. She bought it at a local shop. There were no labels or anything. She said the wool was wound into balls and placed in a basket at the shop.

The yarn appears to be 100% wool and is a nice tweed. She bought ten different colors and began knitting the sweater you see in the picture. She actually knit over half the sweater. The front and two sleeves are in the picture with the remaining balls of yarn.

She sent the project to me with the hopes I would frog it and knit something else. The idea is to knit something that she can give as a gift to her friend as a memory of their trip. I think it is a wonderful idea and agreed. Now the unfinished project is mine and I have been tasked with coming up with making something nice that she can gift to her friend. I'd also like to knit something for my mom with the yarn too. There should be enough for two somethings.

My mom has seen some of the felted items I've made and she knit up and felted a swatch of the yarn for me. I've been leaning to making up a couple felted bags or bowls for them. The first thing to do though, is get the pieces frogged - which will be a job in itself!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas is Coming

Well I got one more Christmas gift made just in the nick of time. I finished a stepping stone for my SIL. I think this will be the last thing that I do get made for a gift. I hope she likes it. If this turns out to be one of those gifts you hide in the closet and only put out when the giver comes over, she'll probably strain her back with repeated lifting!

The ballband bow presents were a hit! Thanks for all the nice comments. One of the recipients has even asked if I would be willing to knit here some more dishcloths to match her kitchen. She did offer to pay me too. I'm going to try and knit her a few as a surprise over my days off. We'll see how that goes.

Thank you for the ideas on my abandoned project. The kitties will be getting a new little blankie for their bed over the next couple of days. I'm sure they will love it. The love laying on blankets around the house and the part I did have finished is more than enough for a kitty. I wish I's have thought of it!

I also got one more square for Lizard Ridge knit this week. This square was knit in Kureyon color # 95. I did split this skein and rewind into two separate balls so I could control the colors more. I think if I would have knit the skein as it was that the green would be missing. I like the idea of getting as many of the different colors in the skein into the completed square.

This makes six squares complete, which puts me a quarter of the way through if I follow the pattern of twenty four squares. I need to start getting the squares blocked. I won't have any space to do them all at once.

My husband and I are going to a small Christmas party tonight and I've go to take a dessert. So I've got to get that started. I'm making a pumpkin streusel cake. I'm hoping that turns out too.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fiber Friday - Longtime UFO

This yarn was one of my first purchases. It is Bernat Soft Bucle in Carnival Shades. Each skein is 140 grams. I bought it to try and make a shawl/wrap type item that I could use to curl up on the couch with. I wanted something soft and washable and since it was one of my first projects, I was looking for something inexpensive.

I have the project about halfway completed, but it has a mistake and needs to be frogged back; probably completely frogged. So it has been sitting in a bag in a closet for over a year. I think I need to decide what to do with it now - the time have come and I want the needles that are stuck in there!

I have two skeins that haven't been used at all. Two skeins is probably what has already been knit into the project too. So I'm thinking I'll save my needles and put the partially knit project in the trash. I actually still want to knit the project. I just don't think I can stand to frog what I have done and start over. It just seems much simpler just to toss the existing part in the bin and start over. Now I just have to get over throwing away perfectly good yarn.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Peppermint Ballband Tied in a Bow

I'm in work mode trying to get everything ready for Christmas and this is the week for festivities at the office. We have a lunch on Friday and a gift exchange. The lunch is a pitch in type thing so I still have something to make for that and I have to pick up a gift for that exchange. My husband's office is having a pitch in lunch the same day. So there will be very little knitting this week. The good news is vacation starts Friday afternoon!

The department I'm part of at the office exchanges gifts too. I joined this department about three years ago just before Christmas. The department is small - three ladies plus me - so exchanging gifts isn't too bad. But the first year I didn't know they exchanged. And it was kind of awkward at the end of our annual planning meeting when the other pulled out gifts for everyone and I didn't have anything to give. But this year I'm prepared. I have some homemade carmel and little candle votives wrapped up with a Peppermint Ballband wash cloth tied in a bow. I thought they came out pretty cute!

Project Info
Pattern: Ballband Dishcloth from
Mason Dixon Knitting-
Yarn: Peaches & Creme 1 skein white / 1 skein peppermint
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 7/ 8.0 mm
Gauge: didn't check gauge
Other: I used wire edged ribbon to tie the dishcloth to the top of the box

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Well, I'm sure you know how the rest of the poem goes, but the stockings are both knitted and felted and hanging just waiting to be filled.

Now I have two red velour stockings with no purpose. I think I'll save them and use them as gift bags or something.

Project Info (Stocking on Left)
Pattern: based on Rainbow Stocking by Barbara Albright in
Christmas Stockings - 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit
Yarn: Noro Kureyon #87, just over 3 skeins
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 11 / 8.0 mm
Gauge: didn't check gauge
Pre-felting Measurements: 33" long, 10" wide
Final Measurements: 20" long, 7" wide

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fiber Friday - Koigu KPPPM

This little lovely is Koigu KPPPM color p606. I am currently using this to knit the Anastasia Socks from Pepperknit. I looked in my knitting journal last night and apparently these sock have been on my needles since August! I've got one sock finished and I am at the gusset for the second sock. I just keep getting side tracked with other projects.

I'm going to make an attempt to get this project kick started this weekend. I'll have to put down the Kureyon and pick up the Koigu. That isn't a bad compromise at all!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Second Stocking and Fifth Square

I've finished knitting my second Christmas stocking. This one is in Noro Kureyon #87. I also knit a square for my Lizard Ridge in this color. It's the green and purple square in the previous post. You can see that my square didn't have all the colors that were actually in the skeins, but the stocking sure does!

This one is about the size my first one was before felting. I put the finished stocking in the picture to show the size difference. I'm hoping to get this felted and ready to hang over the weekend. I want to get them both hanging up!

Last night I also finished another square for Lizard Ridge last night. This one is Noro Kureyon color #89. The main colors are red, pink, and blue. I think this might be the only colorway I have that has any red. I'll have to look for some more. I like the red. The blue in the picture is a little more vibrant than it really is in the square. The blue is mixed with red and pink and isn't nearly as solid looking in person as the picture shows it to be.

I can't wait to get the square done for this blanket and get it all put together. The pattern calls for a crocheted border. I'm not sure I'm going to try that - I've never crocheted before. But I still have a lot of knitting to do before that becomes an issue.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lizard Ridge Continues

Well I managed to finish three more squares for the Lizard Ridge Afghan before the end of the Norovember KAL. These little squares are really addictive. I love watching how the stripping comes out for each square. The square above were knit in Kureyon color #126 (back left), color #131 (back right), and color # 87 (front).

The pattern has you change yarn after every 6 rows. So, I've been knitting each square from both ends of one skein. For the purple and green square (#87) that meant that several colors that were in the skein didn't end up in the finished square. Color #87 also has a pink, turquoise, and a bright blue color that didn't show up in my square. I like the way the square came out though. I'm planning on using the leftovers from each skein to knit more squares. I did end up splitting the skein for color #131 and rewinding so that I did get more color variation in that square. If I didn't rewind for that one I would have missed out on all the blue and green that is there.

I joined the Norovember KAL to use up some of the stash I had built up of Noro yarn - quite specifically the overflowing pile of Kureyon that is in my stash. For some strange reason, I just can't seem to get enough of this stuff. I really do love the vivid colors and watching the stripes emerge as I knit. I love the texture of the finished felted fabric. Kureyon and sock yarn are my addiction. And it is starting to get out of hand.

So I though the KAL would be a good incentive for me to use some up. First I made the felted stocking and started a second. Then I decided to use up some of the stash for the Lizard Ridge Afghan from the recent Knitty. I have knit a total for 4 square so far for lizard ridge. Including the two stockings and the squares, I used up about 11 skeins of stashed Kureyon.

After I finished that fourth square, I went back to the stash to decide what color to knit up next. But as I started going through the stash I just couldn't bring myself to break up any of the remaining colors in the stash. If I did that - I wouldn't have enough of each color to knit the originally intended projects I plan to knit! Then what would I do with all those odd balls that were left? So I did what any addict would do - I bought more!

That's right, I bought more Kureyon. Twelve skeins to be exact. (But aren't they pretty?) Each of these lovely colors will be another square for Lizard Ridge. So the KAL did not help me bust the stash as intended. In fact, I ended up with a one skein gain overall. Certainly not what was intended (head hung low). I guess I should be grateful that it didn't cost me more.

I think that 2007 will be the year of the stash for me. I have yarn stashed for all kinds of projects and have a long list of things I want to finish. So I will likely add a yarn moratorium to the list of resolutions that will get made at the first of the year. Just as long as you understand that doesn't include my membership in the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club - I can't give up that!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tiled Kitchen Backsplash

Well we finished our project! We got most of the work done over the Thanksgiving holiday. We did seal the tile and caulk around the edges this week. We did forgo a large traditional Thanksgiving dinner to do all the work, we ate frozen microwave dinners instead. But I think the results were worth it! This project has been on our list of to do since we moved into the house 3-4 years ago.

We used a 4x4 inch travertine stone for the main tile and used 2x2 inch glass tiles for an accent. The photo on the left shows how we finished off the edges of the large area. There was actually about 4 inches of wall on either side of the cabinets. So we edged each side with border pieces that resemble a picture frame edge and covered the area to the baseboard. I really do like how it finished it off - but the border pieces were the most expensive of all the tile.

The trickiest part of the whole project was getting the glass tile to set level with the stone. The glass tile is thinner than the stone tile and required more adhesive to build it out from the wall. And the messiest part was the grouting. We do have a wet saw which made cutting the tile very easy. Although the saw did create a mess, luckily we did all the cutting in the garage.

I really like the framed out part above the cooktop. The glass tile really sparkles under the lights of the cooktop hood. Hopefully it won't be hard to clean up cooking messes and splatters. The sealer we used was supposed to seal the tile and grout from staining -so hopefully that won't be an issue.

The only thing left to do is find some type of replacement for the wall switch plate covers. The white just doesn't look right. I'm thinking I might looks for some stainless steel covers to go with the appliances.

The project was easier than I thought it would be. I would definitely do tile work again if needed - especially when you consider all the money you save on labor.

This was our first tile project and I think it came out pretty good. There were a few miscalculations and cutting mistakes - but everything was correctable or hopefully something no one will ever notice.

But now it's done and we can sit back and enjoy. I have a slide show that shows before and after photos as well as some progress shots I didn't include here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another Fiber Friday

What you are looking at is a skein of Peacock Yarns; Rainbow Brites. The skein is 100 gm/328 yards. The yarn is acrylic and does have a nice feel to it. This was gifted to me by a secret pal quite a while ago. I love the bright colors too. The only problem is I have no idea what to do with it! I have two skeins, so that is over 600 yards to create something with. Any ideas what to knit with this yarn?