Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm Going Batty!!

Ok... bad title, but I just had to. My drum carder arrived yesterday afternoon and I literally didn't stop carding for anything except making dinner and picking the girls up from school. And, when my back hurt so bad that I wanted to stop I decided to grab one of the fluffy awesome batts and test it out on my spinning wheel. I posted lots of pictures. Mostly because I just can't get over how bit the batts really are. They are huge! It's amazing to me how you can take crummy, nasty rovings and misc. pieces and turn them into these usuable super soft batts.

There are lots of pictures on this post. One of them shows some fabric that I un-wove to give me lots of shinny pretty fibers to add to my batts. This is a great way to use up fancy fabric scraps. I'll be digging through my fabric waste bin to search out more fabrics to tear apart.

Fancy Kitten Drum Carder Review:
Before reading this review please note that I have never seen, used, or in any way have any knowledge beyond what I have read and seen on the internet about drum carders. Ok... that came out weird, but you all know what I mean. I'm a total NEWB.

The carder arrived within a week after ordering. Service and communication was great! It was perfectly packaged and fully assembled upon arrival. All I had to do was screw on the handle and start carding. To get me started I chose to use the pound of mill end grab bag fiber that I still have left over from my fiber order last year. The pieces were short, messy and ugly. I mostly had black and white mix and a whole lot of fibers that I had dyed wrong. They were a bit felted and messy. I had no idea how much to put in to the carder at once, or weather or not I should hold on to it as it began to be carded. It took me 3 batts before I started to get the hang of it. It seems to like the fibers fluffed out well and then a nice layer of fiber to go through. I haven't pushed it yet, but so far my largest batt is around 2oz in weight. So far I am loving this carder. It will get a lot of heavy use and will become a staple in my fiber hobby.
Check out this huge stack of finished fiber batts. This isn't even all of it. By the time I took this photo I had already spun up one big batt and one mini batt. Today, I will be relocating the carder from our dinner table (I think the family would like to actually eat at the table tonight) to my tall drafting table. First I have to unearth it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Bag For Calily

Yesterday I was suddenly inspired to make a padded bag for my new tiny BJD. She's 5" tall and is a Tinybear BonBon Fat Fairy. I've named her Calily. She will be getting nicer bright blue eyes and a better wig soon. I just love this doll. I'll post better pics of her another time. The lighting today is really harsh.
I know that I will be taking her with my to my parents house in a 2 weeks, and I want her to be safe inside my backpack. I didn't use a pattern. I just layed her out on some graph paper and drew a rectangle around her that looked to be the right size. The exterior of the bag is wool felt and for the lining I used some cotton quilting fabric that I got at Anna Lena's on my last trip to Long Beach. Because her name is Calily, I decided to embellish the bag with Cala Lillies. I found a drawing of Cala Lillies that I liked and traced out the basic shapes and appliqued it onto the bag using white and deep green felt. I made padded sleeping bag for Calily to slip into for extra padding and I also made a drawstring bag to put some of her accessories in. I love this bag.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fiber Goodness Of All Kinds!

It's been a good two days. Yesterday morning I purchased my fiber for the year. (I won't be limiting myself to just this fiber...but I will try and be good) I purchased over 8 pounds of various wools, superwash, nylon, etc from The Sheep Shed. And, I bought a few gorgeous rovings and exotic fibers from Etsy. The exotic fibers include hemp, bamboo, and flax. I didn't even know I could spin flax. I'm so excited to receive it all. I will be a spinning and dyeing maniac! And, to top it all off. For my birthday my hubby bought me a drum carder!!! After tons of research I decided on "The Kitten Carder" from With all the fibers that I have coming, this thing will be getting a great workout. I still have some random mill ends from a grab bag that I ordered from The Sheep Shed last year, that really needs to be carded before I spin it up.
And, just because I needed some kind of picture to post. Here is a stack of yummy fabrics that I bought at Anna Lena's in Long Beach last week. Soooo pretty. I got the backing that I need to make a quilt that I have been meaning to make for a year now. And, I got some other fun fabrics to make... I don't know... something. I'm such a fiber hoarder!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things I Love At The Peninsula

I took my girls down to the Long Beach Peninsula this weekend to visit my parents. We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend there. Though, the weather was absolutely beautiful on the day we left (of course) we still ventured out to enjoy the beach and town on the other cold and wet days.

The town of Long Beach itself is very "touristy". We've been making trips down here for 8 years now, so the sights of the town have become quite common to us. This last weekend my parents needed photos of town so we set off to take some pictures when the rain stopped on Sunday. I caught some things around town that I never really noticed before. Like the little lizard thing that was randomly carved between two shops, and the paintings on the sides of buildings.I posted a picture of my favorite shops here. Anna Lena's... my favorite quilt shop. Unfortunately the owner is retiring and she is closing her shop. I got some amazing deals this weekend, but I think it's the last time I'll get to buy fabrics there. Insert tear here. My kids absolutely love Marsh's Free Museum. They have so many weird things in there... lots of taxidermy animals, but their prize there is "Jake The Alligator Man". Look him up if you get a chance. There are pictures and stories about him on the web. And, finally my favorite bakery of all time. The Cottage Bakery. If you ever get down to Long Beach, you have to stop here. Yummy!!This last one is of course of family. The main reason why we are at the beach so much. It's hard to stay away.
I just had to post this last one. I was following this really really slow logging truck and after starring at it for what seamed like forever, I noticed one of the trunks (the one in the top left corner) is shaped like a perfect heart. I grabbed my camera and shot this pic out my front window.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Ocean Park Scarf

Even without any real motivation, I still needed something to do with my hands night before last while I was watching President Obama at his press conference. So, I decided to pick up my knitting needles and and my handspun yarn that I finished last week called “Ocean Park”. I wanted to make a simple scarf that I could take with me down to my parents house on the peninsula. I frogged the design 4 times before I finally came up with this pattern. I love this scarf sooo much. The colors, sparkle, locks, and random sari silks, all remind me of the beach. And, it's extremely soft and squooshy. I've posted the pattern below for anyone who might want it.

Ocean Park Scarf

Finished length is 72” long and is 3.5” wide.

Supplies Needed:
125 yards of Handspun thick n thin yarn (any yardage will do, your scarf will just be longer or shorter)
Size 13 OR 15 needles – The ones I used are handmade needles that are about a 14 in size


Cast on 12 stitches
K1, *YO, K2tog (5 times) K1 Turn
Repeat this row until desired length or until you run out of yarn
Cast Off

Finishing: Weave in your tails and enjoy! See, told you it was easy peazy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Completely Unmotivated

That's how I've been the past few days. I just don't want to do anything crafty. I just want to sit and read.

I did get done the labels that I needed to make up for my hand spun and recycled yarns that I'll be listing on etsy. I'm not completely in love with them, but they will do for now. I think they look a bit uninspired.
Today I have to get going on a valentines gift for my girls. A few weeks ago my daughter begged me to buy this fabric so I could make her something with it. It was on clearance, so I bought it. It's being washed at the moment, so I can so I can make both girls something. I'm not sure what yet. But, I'm thinking either a simple comfy basic shirt or a long tunic style simple t-shirt. I do love this fabric, so I'm sure whatever I do they will love and wear it. I'll post pictures when I'm done.
My "Ocean Park" yarn is finished having the twist set. So, it's ready for the scarf that I want to make out of it. I don't know about a pattern. I know that I want the scarf to be long, but there is only 138 yards. I think I'll just go for it and do a very simple stockinet stitch until I run out of yarn. I'm thinking I'll try for a 5" wide scarf. But, that may be to wide. We'll see.
Ok, so just writing this has made me more motivated. I'm off to get to work!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Artisan Breads = Yummy

I saw this post on House on Hill Road and I got the itching to make some yummy bread. I haven't made bread without the bread maker in soooo long. It was kinda peaceful to kneed up the dough this afternoon while both girls were at school. I found a few free recipes online to try out. One of them was just a basic crusty white bread recipe and the other was a artichoke bread recipe. The white crusty bread turned out great and tastes very yummy. But, the hit of the night was definitely the artichoke bread. I'll try and post the link to the recipe later if I can find it again. Inside the bread there is artichoke hearts cut in to small pieces, pine nuts, garlic, pepper, and hard goats cheese cut into large chunks. I'm quite proud of these breads. I don't think I've ever gotten such good results before.
(the picture was taken after we ate half the loaf. note to self: restrain family from munching bread until you've taken a picture)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

CPSIA - They Heard Us!!??

Yesterday I logged into Etsy to see this post: I'm soo happy. I actually feel like I've been heard, in whatever smallish way. It's not permanent, but at least they are looking into making the law better. Which is exactly what I and so many others wanted. I'll get to keep sewing for children and that makes me happy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Danger!! Danger Will Robinson!!

That was the thought going through my head when I went out to the garage the other day to see this lovely contraption. I knew that my hubby was preparing to drop the engine from his car... but I never imagined this. He used the wood as a lever system to lower the engine. Or, should I say I used it. Yep, that's right. I had to help. It actually went really well and when all was said and done, the engine was safely on the ground without injury to either of us. I'm now looking forward to getting that car out of the garage! Nothing will please me more than the sight of that red thing getting towed away. Of course his other broken car, (AKA: His Baby) will be moved in to have it's engine replaced with the one that we just dropped. But, that means one less car in the drive way. And, a finished car with great gas mileage when he's done.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Daddy's Scarf

I finished a very late Christmas gift for my dad last week but forgot to post about it. I'm mailing it off to him tomorrow so I grabbed a few pictures of it before it's sent off.

I used this pattern that I found on Ralvery. (most awesome website ever) I used exactly 2 balls of Pattons Classic Wool in a light gray color. The scarf is 4.5" wide and 80" long, so he can do a french knot with it to keep his neck toasty warm.

More Yarns & Fibery Goodness

This weekend I needed to custom dye some self stripping yarn for a Dr. Who scarf that I'm making for a doll outfit commission. I decided to try Rit Dyes. I loved them. I took the whole day yesterday and did nothing buy dye, dye, dye. Here is the Dr. Who yarn:

I dyed up a LOT of other yarns and rovings as well, but I didn't get any photos of those yet. I'll try and post those pics sometime soon.

On Friday night I spun the "Beach" roving that I got from the "Artclub" stuff that I received last week. I used some of my irridescent angelina and the locks and some of the sari silk that she sent along with it. It weighs in at around 4.5oz and is 138 yards of thick n thin goodness. I LOVE this yarn. I'm going to call it "Ocean Park". Because it reminds me of the beach at my parents house. I'll be knitting up a scarf that I can wear while walking on that beach week from next.