October 30, 2011

A few crafty things of the season

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Certainly, when the leaves are bright and crisply colorful, everyone loves autumn.  I love autumn for the once-a-year things that autumn brings:  apples, apple sauce, apple butter, pumpkin butter, cozy evening fires in the fire place, crisply cold evenings (cold mornings are NOT among my favorite autumn things, however), piles of leaves, and cowls.  There are other things, of course, but you do those things to and the point is that I have a new cowl and a bunch of new cinnamon applesauce to show off.

First, last weekend's trip to Fletcher, NC for the annual SAFF (Southern Animal & Fiber Fair) convention brought some great new fibers to spin (I've been so busy they haven't even made their way out of the shopping bag yet!) and a bushel of Jonagold apples.  I don't care what anyone says, Jonagold makes THE BEST apple butter!  And, though I was flying solo and without an actual recipe at the time, as it turns out, it also makes the best cinnamon apple sauce in the history of the world!  1/2 bushel yielded 7 quarts, one pint, and the bowl that Rocket ate of apple sauce.

Then, although I finished the knitting part last week, I put the finishing touches on my new cowl for the season. This is my own hand painted and handspun superwash merino.  Although accidental, when knit with my bamboo stitch scarf pattern, I ended up with very cool coppery angled stripes in an even pattern all the way through the piece.  I used about 200 yards for this cowl.  The buttons are a copper color and they go with the stripes.

Oh, and I finished spinning up a sinfully soft skein of 50% camel & 50% caramel-colored alpaca yesterday, too.  177 yards.  It's so soft that all I can think of is that this skein would make some heavenly soft gloves.  It's about to be listed in the Etsy shop; but I might have to spin one up for myself later. :)

And that's some good work for the weekend, I think.  Apple butter will be next on the list for today, right after I knit up a sweater for Pickles.  Apparently, the chihuahua has gained a few pounds and the puppy with the fat belly needs a new sweater.

October 28, 2011

Web Page Face Lift

I don't know about others, but I sure do have a difficult time building and maintaining a web page for my Etsy shop.  It never seems like there are enough directions, which is ironic because I rarely follow directions--teachers make the worst students!  When it comes to building a web page, I sort of learn as I go.  I'm married to a computer guru but, when it comes to anything involving both the Internet and my business, Honey is decidedly hands off.  I think he knows better than to try to help.  Anyway, the point is that I have tried out three different web page hosts in the past 12 months, and now I am on to #4.  I just can't seem to get the amount of traffic I need to compensate me for the cost of the site.  So, here's the NEW WEB PAGE, and soon it will be linked with the Zibelineknits.com domain.  I even have a mobile page.  And the best part?  It's all about FREE!  You can click on the pic to go to the page.

And, I just want to say "best laid plans ..." and all that about the birthday doll.  I ended up having to finish a project for my mother's birthday today (happy birthday mom!) and couldn't get to finishing the sweater or the other slipper.  Absolutely they are on the weekend agenda.  So maybe this next Monday you will get to see the finished masterpiece.  And if you are thinking that I waited until the last minute to make a gift for my mother ... you are so wrong!  I actually began it two months ago, got 2/3 of the way finished, attached the last of three skeins of silk/merino, and discovered that even though the dye lot number was the same, the new skein was a totally different color when it knit up.  A froggin' I did go.  Then I couldn't get any more skeins in that dye lot.  More yarn had to be ordered, and I had to start from scratch.  I made her a candle flame scarf, and I sure hope she loves it.  I'd show you a picture, but in my haste to get it packed up and sent off (yes, yesterday) so Honey could work some FedEx magic and get it to its destination by today, I forgot to take a picture. :(

October 21, 2011

Doll Adventure: Nearing the Finish Line

Rocket's birthday is only a few days away, and I am nearly finished with her doll.  Originally, the doll was a project that followed a pattern.  Of course, once the body was made, well it all went off the grid.  The only thing that is true to the pattern at this point is the pleated skirt and the shorts.  Rocket's sense of creative individuality struck, and I have been fussing for two weeks to make this birthday doll fit 8 year-old expectations.

So, the first pattern change was the eyes.  They had to be blue, not black, and just the right kind of get-your-attention blue.  Then the mouth had to be changed.  Can't be a little straight line, has to be a smile. It's not so easy to stitch a smile onto a doll's face and make it look like a continuous line, let me tell you!  It took me five attempts. 

Then, the hair.  Okay, it was going to be a light turquoise blue from the beginning, but it was going to be constructed like a wig with braids that just gets sewn onto the head down the middle and around the back.  NOT so much how it worked out!  Curly hair became the order of the day and each and every loop of hair has to be hand-sewn to the head.  I spent over five hours sewing curls to this little head.  Over FIVE hours!  I will not be taking orders for dolls with curly hair again.  The end.

The shirt is a tank top that came out a little roomy on the sides; so I opened up the body and added more stuffing to shorten and widen the torso.  There's still shoes with a "fur" cuff--I'm working on dark brown with fuzzy alpaca/acrylic fold-over flaps--and a cardigan sweater.  Actually, the one thing in this special order that I am okay with is the cardigan sweater because that's knitting with my eyes closed compared to the embelllished intarsia multi-piece pullover that was part of the original pattern.  I had enough intarsia with those little hearts on the tank top.

Rocket seems to absolutely love the doll, which is the important thing. She was ready to adopt it when it was naked and faceless into her repetoir of dolls.  Oh, and I almost forgot.  No longer will we be calling this doll by its pattern name Posy; it's new name is Judy.

I'll show off the final product on Monday as one of my Monday Masterpiece posts.  Have a great weekend and happy knitting!

October 14, 2011

It's National Yarn Day!

Just wanted to mention that it's National Yarn Day today people!  Pretty much, knitting and crocheting is a required activity today.  I don't think you really have a choice.  I think you are going to have to just drop everything and pick up those needles.  Seriously.

If you are looking for a nifty site to visit for the celebration of this particularly special holiday, try this one:  Craft Yarn Council.

October 11, 2011

New Adventure: Posy!

My daughter, who is about to turn 8 years old, loves dolls.  I don't think that she so much loves playing with them as she loves possessing them.  In that vein, I showed her some dolls on Etsy from Dolly Time, a great little shop full of adorable knitted doll patterns.  So guess what she wanted for her birthday?  Originally she wanted Alice in Wonderland and the Rabbit OR the twin babies, but I managed to convince her that I really only needed to make one doll that was appropriate for an 8 year-old.  Thus, I obtained the Posy pattern, and away I go! 

Well, not just like that.  Actually, it took me a few weeks to even locate yarn that I could use to make Posy's body.  The original pattern calls for a brand of yarn that appears to be only available in Europe, as every Canadian supplier was out of the requisite flesh color. I did find a flesh color at Knit Picks (Comfy Fingering in "flamingo"); however, it's in cotton and my experience with it tells me that cotton fingering weight just doesn't fill in the gaps when stuffed like a wool would do (per original pattern).  Anyway, it's still looking good. She's about 16 inches tall.  She even has thumbs! 

These pictures represent about a week's worth of work.  We had a long car trip last weekend to Chattanooga that allowed me to get the legs accomplished--so far, that's been the most time-consuming part of the pattern. Rocket's birthday is in two weeks, and I still have shoes, underpants, a pleated skirt, a sweater, and a hat--oh yeah, and Rocket also wants me to create a purse instead of the flowers.

Stay tuned!  Soon she'll have a face and turquoise hair (Rocket's personal touch).  She probably won't be named Posy when it's all said and done, either. 

This is, actually, turning out to be fun!


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