Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Warmest of wishes for joy and happiness to you and all of your family (whatever the species!) during whatever Holiday you celebrate in this season!

From myself, and the Insane Weasel Posse (Frick, Frack, Finn and Elf)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Drive-by Geeking

If Earth had rings like Saturn

(It cuts off too much if I try to embed. Click and enjoy!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You Made Art From What?

In the "More Fun With Recycling Household Junk" department, this weeks random foray is dryer sheets!

We all have them - sometimes found when we finish laundry, and sometimes found in the middle of the night stuck to your foot because you didn't notice them stuck to your sheets. I've seen some interesting things done with them that take advantage of the semi-transparency, yet at the same time sturdiness. This week I decided to have a go and see what I could do.

First off, I had to iron it to get it nice and smooth (one of the times I'm glad I'm single with ferrets, and don't have to explain to an S.O. why I'm ironing dryer sheets). Then I taped it down to a piece of used printer paper (yes, I also save my test sheets and misprints, just for things like this!). You can use whatever you'd like to tape it to, but you definitely want a backing, as colors will bleed through due to the sheerness of the dryer sheet.

Then I rubber stamped an image on it, and colored it in with colored pencils. I plan on trying this with different mediums, as I'm sure you'd get a completely different effect with watercolor pencils, or liquid paints. At this point, I felt like the stamped outline was a little weak, so I went back over that with a fine brush and some black ink.

That's it! An interesting, semi-transparent image waiting to be collaged on!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Busy, Busy!

Welcome to the Holiday season, and the season of drive-by blogging! In addition to all the projects I have going, I discovered I have apparently turned into one of "those people". I took the IWP out today to have their pictures made with Santa. I don't think Santa or his photographers had dealt with ferrets before. We managed to get a couple of cute poses out of the general mayhem induced by a man in a white beard and red coat and four ferrets going "Whee! New peeples! New places! Did you brings us chickenses?"

On the creative front, I finally finished the Pillar socks.

The former grungy macrame board is well on the way to becoming a landscape. (I think it might end up having sheep made from yarn tags and ball bands added.)

The former musty old book is well along in the altering process. The photos on this one didn't come out too well, I think due to the reflective glazes and embellishments. I'll have to try again on a day with better light.

And while we're in the Holiday season, don't forget our furry, feathered, and scaly friends. Many shelters and rescue agencies are in need of donations. A gift of something as simple as your old towels can make a huge difference. Check with your local shelters and agencies (if you're not sure where they are, you can go to Petfinder and put in your zip code to find out what is available in your area). If you'd like to help make a Holiday happy for a weezul, there is the Ferret Giving Tree. Many of these are older or special needs ferrets, so any act of kindness you can show them is especially appreciated!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


People frequently boggle at the number of projects I have going at any given time. Not just the knitting, (which is usually a result of "Oooooh, Shiny!" kicking in on either a pattern, yarn or both) but the variety of types, media, and interests. Honestly, this is not something I generally plan, it just happens - projects feed into each other and reproduce like bunnies! Just in the last week, I've witnessed one project morph into three. I'm going to document what happened, not just as my usual WIP commentary, but as either Great Inspiration or Dire Warning to those who wonder how (or how NOT) to have a lot going on.

As many things do, it all started innocently enough. I've had some ideas for altered books floating around for a while. Last weekend, for whatever reason, I finally decided to give it a shot. I wandered out to the garage to pillage the piles of junk art supplies and treasures, looking for a set of outdated "How-to" books that I had no interest in, and had had no luck interesting anyone else in.

While out there, I discovered an old, stained macrame board that had come from someone else's stash in a bag of "Hey, can you use this?" type stuff (which I never turn down, hence the piles of stuff in the garage, hence the tendency to....well, you'll see). This came in also, as a whim, and as a "Hmmm, what can I make with this?" thought.

I mixed up a batch of diluted glue, got out my brayer, box cutter, rulers, brushes, etc. and set about prepping the book. I sliced out chunks of pages (which were set aside for later collage projects). I glued together stacks of remaining pages to give a stable background, separating them with waxed paper and weighting the whole thing down with a stray sewing machine head that was waiting around to either be fixed up or parted out (OK, so the sheer number of hobbies I have contributes to the problem here....)

The board was just sitting there, so I figured, since I had supplies out anyway, I'd mix up some diluted gesso, and prime it. If I decided I didn't want the print showing through, I could always go back and paint over it, but it would still need to be primed. I'm being efficient, right? Since I've got everything out, and am right there and all, right?

The board and the book spent the work week sitting downstairs in waiting, as the book needed to dry. After letting the book sit for a day to ensure everything was stuck together and more or less flat, each night I dutifully turned another page set, carefully peeling the waxed paper off so the next set could finish drying completely. Meanwhile the board sat patiently, waiting for me to figure out what it would be.

As it frequently does, an idea came to me overnight after spending the week pondering various collage and mixed media possibilities. I remembered I had some lovely blue tissue that came in a shipment of - something - can't remember what, but yes, I hoarded it as potentially useful. I had seen something a while back about how the color runs and fades from damp tissue, so thought if I crumpled it, sprayed it with water, then rolled it around a bit, I would end up with a mottled, textured background I could glue down to the board. Not being one to let a batch of free color go to waste, I put a piece of watercolor paper down to do this on. This seems to have worked well, as I have a lovely, pale, splotchy blue background now on the watercolor paper. I also now have a third project going. Yikes. Meanwhile the tissue is drying so I can uncrumple it and collage it to the board.

Anyone want to place bets on how many offshoots or random spawnings will occur before the original project gets finished?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That's What You Get

Yes, that is exactly what it looks like - a big pile of yarn barf. That's what you get when you don't check your gauge closely enough. The pattern is the F.A.O. beret, worked in Cuzco alpaca/wool. The problem was not discovered until about 6 or 7 rows from the end, when the yarn ran out. (cue wailing, gnashing of teeth, and flinging of yarn)

I am happy to report that the victim, erm, project made a full recovery following attention and treatment with a one-size-smaller needle. Whew! Thank goodness this was only a small project!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

I know of people who never go back to old projects. They look at them, see the mistakes, or see how much their technique has improved, and scrap the whole thing for the real or perceived flaws in it.

Not me. I love to look at them, cherish them as a reminder of where I was, a milestone on the road to where I am now, and a reminder that I had the courage to start something, even if I wasn't sure it would be perfect when it was done.

Isn't this where most of us should be in life? Nothing is ever perfect, or turns out as planned. Instead of bemoaning our lack of perfection, or lack of that new car, or new job, or hunky husband, shouldn't we look at where we are now and view all these things as what made us who we are? No, you may not have gotten that promotion, but if you had, would you have met the really neat person in the cubicle next door? Maybe your car broke down, but if it hadn't, would you have ever discovered the fantastic coffee shop next door to the car repair place?

Today's featured finish is Midwinter's Eve, which was started about two years ago. Since then, I've discovered I was twisting my stitches when knitting, learned a lot about lace knitting, and knitting in general. There are several mistakes that, to me, are glaring. You know what? It's still wonderfully warm and cozy. It still impresses people to find out I made that. You can still see the pattern - the snowflakes coming down over the snow covered mountains, with the trees, stream and snowbank at the foot of the mountains.

Yes, you've come a long way, baby, but you wouldn't be here, if you had never been there.

(p.s. It appears Blogger is testing my theory. It's refusing to load pictures right now. I promise they exist - looks like I'll have to edit the photo in later. Now off to figure out what I'm supposed to be learning from this.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finding My Mojo

Backtracking to the month of intermission time - I came down with bronchitis/pneumonia/respiratory crud that landed me on a week of antibiotics and general icky. Once over that, I seemed to have lost all ambition. Apparently "over" and "OVER" that crud were two different things. (Either that or the ferrets stole my Mojo and hid it under the couch. did seem to resurface right after I had to get the broom to chase Frack out from under the couch so I could put him to bed before going to work....maybe my Mojo was in the pile of toys and day old treats that came out with him.)

I finally think I'm getting back on track with actually getting something done. Just since Wednesday, I've finished two - yes TWO things! (After nothing for a month!) OK, so it's not major projects or impressive finishes, but it's something!

Circle socks, done in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport. Due to the yarn being heavier than called for, I dropped one repeat out of the pattern - cutting down from 64 stitches to 56 stitches. Miracle of miracles, it actually worked!

I also finished (JUST under the wire!) the October block for the Basket Case block of the month group. I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with this one, I think I will at least add a bow to the top of the handle, but will probably wait until I have more baskets and can evaluate adding embellishments to them as a group.

Now to wander off and try to mojo up some more projects! Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Knit Knerd

This week is FlGaWeen at work. Yeah, kind of a bizarre footballholidaymashup thing. We're having theme days all week. Yesterday was Think Pink. Today was Nerd day.

Normally I either forget, or just flat don't get around to doing a dress-up for these things. For today though, I managed to get it together. About 10 minutes quality time with some glitter glue and my scrap bag of yarn ends and I had this nifty shirt.

To complete the outfit, I had on hand knit socks, hand knit wrist warmers, a hand knit shawl, knitting needles and a small ball of yarn stuck in my hair, and instead of the standard nerdly tape wrapped around my glasses, I had yarn.

Fortunately, or unfortunately no pics - but yes, the image is as silly as you're thinking.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Intermission's Over

Wow, over a month? How did that happen? Well, you know what they say, I try to take one day at a time, but lately several have been ganging up on me all at once.
Due to the general non-fun, life-induced mayhem, not a lot has been done in the last month.

I did finish the basket block the coffee dyed fabric was made for.

Only a week behind on mailing, but I finally finished the next two blocks for the Yes We Can group quilt. The flag is an original design. (OK, so not too original, and not too much to it, but I thought it turned out nicely.) The other - well, just let's say if anyone hears me suggest I'm going to do that many flying geese to put into that small a block (4.5" finished), please come over and smack some sense into

Hopefully things have settled down a bit, and I can return to the regularly scheduled mayhem. This business of doing nothing but sleeping or working just isn't much fun!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not Quite What I Was Expecting

I decided to go ahead and tackle the basket block for the Block of the Month group this morning. Not being the kind to plan ahead, I had no idea for color scheme, and had not done any purchasing other than a few fat quarters of assorted browns for the basket portions. I wandered off to the stash closet to look for background fabric, and discovered that I have successfully managed to diminish my quilting stash at some point. There are a lot of small scraps, so I'm set for the applique, but background size bits? There were very few in a light or neutral color, and none that were really suitable - most were too busy. This left my old standby of muslin.

Now, muslin is what I consider a staple, so I have plenty of it. It's the kind of thing I wait for the 50% coupons, and buy a bolt. I had a couple of different weights, I had bleached and unbleached, but even the unbleached seemed cold and stark for baskets. What's a girl to do on a Sunday morning with no quilt shops open?

Fortunately, I hadn't done my weekly grocery shopping yet - so, remembering bits and pieces of tips and tricks from the many magazines, blogs, and random tutorials I wander through, I picked up a jar of instant coffee. The intent was to create a splotchy antiqued tan background. I've put the step out on it below - it didn't quite do what I envisioned, but I still have a very nice, warm background ready!

I started by cutting the muslin into suitable squares. The blocks are going to be 6 or 12 inches, so I went with 14 inch squares to allow for shrinkage during the applique process, as well as room to square up. I tossed these in a sink of plain, warm water to soak.

I then scattered instant coffee over the top of the damp fabric and misted it with more plain water. (I usually have plenty of spray bottles thanks to the ferrets. The enzyme cleaner for their cages comes in spray bottles, so I wash, save and reuse those for this type of thing.) I think I would have had a more splotchy end result with less water - either wring the fabric out more, or spray less. I then let this sit covered for about an hour.

Not being particularly patient, I then popped the fabric squares onto baking sheets (the cheap kind they sell as disposable oven liners are great for this type of thing!) I set the oven for 200 and let the fabric set for about 20 minutes. If I had let it go longer, until it was dry (or at least dryer) I may also have gotten more uneven results. (I'll keep everyone posted, as I'm sure there will be more experimentation!)

I rinsed the still damp fabric, at which point I discovered I had more of an overall tan, than completely splotchy.

I ironed it to set the color that was there, then gave it a final wash to make sure the coffee was out (since coffee is acidic). The strip across the middle is a trimming of the untreated muslin on top of the fabric before the final wash. You can definitely tell a difference!

This is the final washed and pressed version, again with a strip of the untreated muslin for comparison. I'm pretty sure that with more patience and time and less water, I would have completely different results. As it is, I'm still pretty happy with the end product. I think it's definitely warmer and more inviting than the original color - and there is still a little bit of subtle variation that doesn't quite show in the pictures.

P.S. The ongoing projects stand at: Pillar socks knit through today, Midwinter's Eve knit up to today, still needs today's two rows knit, and Per Terras has been a Very Naughty Shawl and is in time out until I am focused enough to rip back about a dozen rows.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Corporate Zombies

Yes, it's come to this. Even the zombies have gone corporate.

engrish funny brains
see more Engrish

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Good Run

Well, the potholders are finished. Everything except the Per Terras is caught up. Per Terras is not quite at Friday's target. Depending on ambition, it may make it to Friday's goal before the evening is up. The quilt block wasn't on the schedule anyway for this week, so I'm going to declare it doesn't count.

Even if I didn't get caught up, I think that's a pretty good run, considering where I started the weekend!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Getting There

Midwinters Eve is now caught up. I may even try to get two more rows in tonight so it's done through tomorrows schedule.

Per Terras, potholder finishing and quiltblock to go...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Status Check

All I have to say on status right now is I'm glad it's a long weekend. So far progress is at:

Pillar Socks - knit through Monday's goal (ahead of schedule)

Potholder finishing - not started

Midwinter's Eve - Erm, there was an incident. The type involving wailing, frogging and flinging of yarn. This afternoon I managed to recover back to where I was Sunday night.

Per Terras - Not touched since Wednesday due to above mentioned incident.

Also, need to get going on a quilt block for an online block of the month. You don't get the next pattern until you post a photo of your completed current pattern. This is the first official month (there were some warm-up blocks that can be done at any time).

Now, back to the yarn mines. I can do this, really I can. Just really, really glad I have an extra day here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can I get a Pod Check?

You may know, (or have gathered) that I am not particularly focused on my creating and making. I have to pretend to be a responsible adult and meet goals and expectations all week, so generally don't do that on my "me" time. That is the time when the OSS (Ooh Shiny Syndrome) is allowed free reign.

Something has happened. Something strange. I don't have a basement, so that's not where the body snatcher pods are - maybe I should have someone check the closet in the stash room. I have been setting and meeting goals on my fun stuff.

Goals for last week stood at - 10 rows per night on the Per Terras shawl, 4 rows (one pattern repeat) on the Pillar socks, complete the Jitterbug Velvet Olive socks, work through chart 3 on the Midwinter's eve shawl.

Frighteningly enough - all were met. We'll see how long this bout of responsible behavior lasts. (Even more scary in the light that just last week I was discussing responsible behavior as well - AND I have a Magic Purple Unicorn with cashmere/silk/merino yarn waiting in the wings to be cast on - and it' still waiting until I finish some things!) (Well, OK, honestly, or until I lose focus on the current bout of responsible behavior.)

This week, goal is to continue the Per Terras 10 rows per night, the 4 rows for the Pillar socks, 2 rows on the Midwinter's Eve (I can only do so much before and after work, after all!) and get the finishing done on the potholders that have been languishing at 95% done, just waiting for batting and backing.

Can I get someone over here to do a sweep of the house with flashlights and flamethrowers? (Get the pods, just look out for the stash itself!)


Sunday, August 23, 2009


Having finally realized (or accepted) that I long ago reached SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy), I have been making a concerted effort to dig out and finish assorted WIP's, WISP's, and UFO's. I figure when my son has to hold my estate sale someday, it will be easier to sell complete, unopened kits than half finished items. (And no, I don't expect this temporary round of being good and responsible to last, my Start-itis is both chronic and severe.)

In digging around through the various WIP's, I found the Midwinter's Eve shawl from Goddess Knits. Upon pulling it out of its project bag, I realized I was almost done with clue 3 out of 5 total. Figuring this would be a good one to pick up, since it would be a relatively quick finish, I started knitting on it again.

Only a row and a half in, I realized something was very wrong. What I was doing did not look at all like what was already in the shawl. I put it down and thought for a bit, then realized that in the last year and a half, I have corrected some rather strange things I was doing with my knitting (a result of being originally self-taught). I went back, studied the fabric of this shawl, compared to the fabric of more recent items, and, (here's the smug part), not only figured out why it looked different, but was able to recreate it so I don't have to start all over!

I used to knit wrapping yarn clockwise, which results in twisted stitches. This is not something that's particularly noticeable in a finished item (unless you're a master knitter, or a ranking officer in the Knitting Police), so I have no problem finishing this shawl as is. I am now merrily knitting away on this in a completely "wrong" manner, while at the same time knitting "correctly" on other items, which makes for an interesting few minutes when first switching projects.

And people wonder why I'm so confused all the time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drive-by update

Really really tired this weekend. I think I'm starting a flare, plus work is trying to kill me. It was bad enough yesterday that I slept so late the ferrets were threatening to report me to the Humane Society (their breakfast was an hour and a half late - OBVIUOSLY gross neglect - never mind that there was still plenty of food in their dish).

I did manage to finish a big project from the UFO pile. Christine's Rose Garden, from a Yahoo knit along. This has been in progress for about a year and a half. (One of those that bogged down in the middle, and has been picked at for a while until reaching critical mass of being close enough to finished to be prioritized.)

Oh, and here is the picture of the Broadripple socks that I was too lazy to take and post a couple of weeks ago. Like I said - slow week here. Bleah.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Can you give them hope?

As you may know, all four members of the Insane Weasel Posse are rescues. Frick and Frack were a "private adoption", Finn was a rescue from the dog pound (listed as a stray) and Elf was an "owner surrender" at the Humane Society. I've always had a soft spot for abandoned, special need, and otherwise unwanted animals. This is why my first job ever, working in a pet shop, was a bad idea. At one time I had a blind hamster, an epileptic parakeet, a gerbil that was missing a foot...well, you get the idea.

The problem is, many "special needs" or "senior" pets never get a chance. They end up in a shelter, and get passed over for younger, cuter, healthier pets. I see all the time in classified ads notices for senior pets, usually because the owner has had to go to assisted living, or has passed away, and the relatives don't have time or patience for an old or ailing animal. Suddenly, a pet that was someone's baby for many years finds itself abandoned in a lonely cage as people pass it by with never a glance. Eventually they meet the sad end of far too many unwanted, unadopted animals.

August 12 is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Day. Whether it's a senior dog, a special needs animal, or the ever maligned black cat, please consider a "Less Adoptable" animal. Many of them are calmer, already trained, or so grateful for a chance to not be in a cage any more that they make the best pets ever. On behalf of those who can't speak for themselves, Thanks!

P.S. Until I figure out why the code isn't 100% showing, where it says 'code', put in your zip code. Select the type of animal you're looking for from the drop down box, and you'll see everyone in your area that needs help!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


This week is all over the map. I haven't been able to seem to settle down and focus on any one thing, so here goes a series of random updates. There may or may not be follow ups on any of these items later.

Finn did just fine with his distemper shot (this is the one that ferrets can potentially have a reaction to). He wasn't quite as well behaved as last week, but I think that was mostly due to a dog in another room having hysterics. The barking seemed to freak him out a little.

Finished the Broadripple socks. I think they'd have done better with a stretchier yarn (which is what they're designed for). I've been too lazy to take pictures, but will update to Ravelry (hopefully) some time this week. May post pictures here if I do an update that I can manage to relate them to.

I think I have a yarn problem. Seriously. I found a stash of sock yarn I don't remember. I have no recollection of when, where, or why I bought it. Some of it even had patterns packaged up with the yarn (PIGS for those familiar with the term). I'm still trying to figure out why I have over 800 yards of one of them though. No pattern, no clue with that one.

My workplace had free admission for employees at the Cummer museum. This was the last days of the Quilts of Gees Bend exhibit, so was fortunate enough to see those. There was also an exhibit by Paul Jenkins. I wasn't familiar with his work, but took some notes and intend to do some research. That one is still there through August 9th if you happen to like abstract works. A couple of my favorite paintings from the permanent exhibits were MIA however. One of the guard/docent/whatever gentlemen told me that some were on loan, and some were currently off exhibit due to having to clear part of some of the galleries due to roof leaks and repair work.

I think I'm about to fall off the finish-itis wagon. I had been doing pretty well with the finish two, start one goal. The above mentioned sock yarn find may have killed that though. On the bright side, socks are a comparitively quick knit, so that theoretically will help the FO to UFO ratio. (Also the stash to PIG to FO ratio.)

With that, I think I'll wander back to what I've been doing for the last week - randomly picking at projects a seam, a row, a chapter, or a dabble at a time. (Which incidentally is why everything gets finished eventually. Some things just take longer than others if they can't hold my attention for more than a couple of minutes. Things that can interest me for more than that get finished proportionally faster. Level of interest on anything subject to change/demotion to dabbling/promotion to finishing without notice.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

...too quiet

I must say, following a ferret with a plastic bag and a magazine subscription card to get a "sample" is a lovely way to start a weekend. As mentioned last week, Finn had his annual checkup today. After procuring the "sample", I loaded him in the carrier and we headed out. He promptly resorted to hiding under the cozy faux sheepskin cushion and declaring "No weezuls in here! Vet can't give shots to empty crate! We go home now, right?" Um, no sweetie.

The ferrets and I are actually quite lucky in our vet. Dr. Rossi is a top notch exotic specialist, with several books out. As a matter of fact, I got lucky - his new book What's Wrong With My Ferret is now available. It covers first aid and home care for ferrets, including ferret CPR - something I don't think I've seen in other books. I got a copy direct from him, and he was even kind enough to autograph it to the Insane Weasel Posse! He is also a tremendously good sport, and gladly posed for a picture with Finn when I explained I have a blog with the ferrets, and asked if I could get photos for the ongoing documentation of the ferret plot to murder humans. (Which he seemed to think was a reasonable assumption, ferrets being ferrets and all.)

As far as Finn's health, the visit went well. Finn checked out fine, got his rabies shot (we have to go back next week for his distemper, as ferrets are too small to just do everything at once). It does look like he'll need his teeth cleaned, but for a middle-aged ferret, not too shabby. He also behaved remarkably well. Too well, actually. I'm sure retribution is just a trip on the stairs or a slip on the tile away....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slow progress

Still not a whole lot going on in Ferretland. Life has a way of doing that to you sometimes.

About the only thing I have to show is progress on a sock. This one has been lurking in the WIP's for over a year. For whatever reason, the pattern and I had a difficult start, with 4 or 5 do overs. Finally got the pattern going, knitted all the way past the heel, and finally had to admit (after it was pointed out to me) that it was a little small, resulting in a complete frogging, pattern restructure and reknit. Ah the hazards of yarn substitution.

At this point, there is one full sock (which has been tried on and verified that it does fit an adult human foot), and part of a second sock. Meanwhile, the house is still uncleaned and the yard is still unweeded.

Next week could be interesting though. Finn has a vet appointment. Fortunately, he's not much for participating in the ferret plot to murder the human. Of course, a jab in the rear with his yearly shots could change that.....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

May I present.......Nothing.

Yep. Been that kind of week. Got confirmation my blocks from last weeks post made it to the coordinator. Finished one sock of a pair. Knitted a few rows on some other stuff. No sewing. Despite having at least one project done except for finishing (probably less than an hour's work) didn't finish anything. I didn't start anything either. (This is probably a good thing, considering the WIP to FO ratio around here.) This weekend I slept, I caught up reading some email lists, I did laundry, and I ate M&M's. Yay. Hopefully next week will be more productive.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Presidential Ambition

One of the many projects I'm working on is a Dear Jane quilt (the same quilt and group that I did the swap blocks for a while back). The group tends to have a lot of collaborative activities - especially around historic events. They contributed to a new and fitting grave marker for Jane A. Stickle, the creator of the "Mother Quilt". After September 11, they created a red, white, and blue "United We Stand" quilt for President Bush. After this year's historic election, it was decided to create Yes, we can Jane!, a collaborative quilt for President Obama.

At this point we are on round one of blocks. There is a rough draft (which looks amazing!) of the layout, and all participating members are sending in their first two blocks by July 15th. (If you'd like to participate, there will still be more blocks needed - feel free to sign up!) There is a designated background fabric that will be sent to you on signing up, and the rest are to be civil war reproduction fabrics (due to the President's historical interest).

My first two are ready to go - or at least as much so as I can get them. I've spent all weekend working on two little blocks, have done everything wrong I possibly could, and am still convinced they are nowhere near good enough. I'm taking a deep breath and mailing them out anyway. Yikes!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


It's been a while since a zombie update, so here you go. From the files of the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Well THAT was interesting

Ahh, summer in Florida. The heat. The humidity. The giant bugs. The freak thunderstorms out of nowhere.

I work in a call center for a large company. Think corporate campus, multiple multi-story buildings type place. Large buildings, full glass sides - you get the picture.

A little after 5 this afternoon the safety commitee comes dashing through telling everyone "Get OFF the phones, get INTO the stairwell there IS a tornado!" As I rounded the corner headed to the stairwell, you could SEE the tornado! Several people stopped to get pictures - I'm not that brave. After a quick glance, I headed straight for the stairwell.

Yes, I did gather the important things before I left my desk. Purse, car keys and knitting. Welcome to summer. I will be spending the rest of the weekend either cowering at home, or cowering in the safety of the LYS with my friends, if anyone needs me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fifteen of Ferret Fame

If you're on Ravelry you may be familiar with the "This Week in Ravelry" feature. One of the semi-regular columns is "Ask Auntie BubboPants", an advice column that occasionally features a guest column for pets, written by Auntie BubboPants dog, Chester.

Some time back, there was a notice that Chester would again be doing a guest column. I let the Insane Weasel Posse send a question, and in the most recent (OK, it was the June 11th, but I just realized it was up) column, Chester answered them!

For those not on Ravelry, who would still like some ferret-y amusement, I'll include just their letter and the reply.


Dear Chester,

Hi, we’re ferrets. We’ve never seen a question from ferrets before, but we’re hoping you can help anyway, ‘cause you know stuff! And a bunch of the stuff you know, is stuff we know, and stuff we like too!

Anyway, our human Mom takes us to the park sometimes. We really like the park! We dig in the leaves, and visit with the little humans and the big humans, and sniff stuff, and dig stuff, and have lots of fun. Sometimes, we find these tunnel things - right under the ground! And kind of sticky uppy, above the ground too! Mom says they’re made by something called ‘moles’. We dig and dig when we find these tunnels, and we stick our heads down in them, but we never ever ever see ‘moles’.

Is there really such a thing as ‘moles’? Or is this one of those tricks humans think are funny, like squeak your squeaky, then hide it so you freak out and can’t find it?

Just wondering -
The Insane Weasel Posse (Frick, Frack, Finn and Elf)

YOU ARE FERRETS!!! OH MY GOD!!! the lady’s sister used to have the things called ferrets and the lady tells the very funny story about the ferrets and they jump sideways and go chkchkchkchk and sometimes I see the ferrets in the place that is the dogstore and they play tumble games and I want to play with them!

Moles. OH YES!!! there is the thing that is the mole. I see them sometimes at the dog park. and one time there was a very little dog that was not a little it was just smallish and the dog was doing the thing that was being very mean to a mole and the mole made lotsof squeaks and the lady got SO MAD!!! and we had to do the thing that was go to the other side of the park but that is good because that is the place where the toads are!! Do you know toads? sometimes the toads are the kind that are insideout and you can roll in them and they smell SO GOOD!!!!!


(For those wondering about the toad thing, that's a reference to a very early Chester column featuring a question from a dog about why their humans would bathe them every time they found something good to roll in. Chester apparently likes to roll in roadtoads.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


hu·bris (hyōō'brĭs)
n. Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance: "There is no safety in unlimited technological hubris" (McGeorge Bundy).

[Greek, excessive pride, wanton violence; see ud- in Indo-European roots.]
hu·bris'tic (-brĭs'tĭk) adj., hu·bris'tic·al·ly adv.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


1884, from Gk. hybris "wanton violence, insolence, outrage," originally "presumption toward the gods," of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper


The act of angering the Gods of Knitting by somewhat bragging about a good round of finish-itis.

So far, this has earned me a little over a weeks worth of frogging, tinking and screaming.

The Broadripple socks? Yeah - should've checked gauge when I decided to use a different yarn. Frogged back from just past the heel turn and restarted with an extra 8 stitches added.

The Queen Anne's Lace shawl? Apparently 5 rows of self corrected mistakes, resulting in careful tinking (it's already been to the frog pond once), counting, re-counting, carrying to a friend to have her count and verify that yes, the row should indeed end in a multiple of 9.

I've been afraid to even touch paint or fabric. That's a LOT harder to correct than picking out knit stitches.

Anyone have any suggestions? Do I need to sacrifice stash? Attend remdedial kindergarden for counting week? Seriously. Help!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Block Party!

You may remember a couple of months ago I was making blocks for a quilt swap from the Dear Jane list. Well, the payoff showed up this week!

Blocks from 79 different people and 6 different countries.

I have US, Canada, England, Australia, Belgium and The Netherlands.

A block from "The Queen of the Blanket Circus" herself, Brenda Papadakis (yes, the one who wrote the Dear Jane book!)

There are blocks with rhinestones, blocks with state stamps, personal references, one that was completely hand stitched, one with a tiny button stitched on, and even one talented and aspiring 11 year old quilter!

There are still a few people I will be emailing who did not participate in the swap, but who have indicated they would be willing to swap one-on-one for a few blocks, so the numbers may go up a little bit.

I find it really interesting how history has come full circle in a way. Signature blocks were popular in the 1800's as people moved westward. Friends and family who knew they may never get to see their loved ones again, and would have only limited postal contact would put together quilts with their names and sentiments written or embroidered on as a way to remember those left behind. Now, in the digital age, the same method is being used to bind those with a common interest who may have never met, and who may never get to meet. I wonder what those first makers of siggie quilts would say if they could see what goes on now?

Sunday, May 31, 2009


In a completely uncharacteristic burst of actually having an attention span, I spent the weekend finishing projects. I manged to get THREE items off the knitting UFO/WIP list. (This is the only UFO/WIP list at the moment, actually. Everything else is waiting to be located, admitted to, and cataloged).

First off - basic Jitterbug ballband socks. These are actually the most recently started project due to an unfortunate frogging incident that led to the project in progress being given a timeout. I was also having a flare and realized I was not safe around lace or any other knitting that involved actualy thought. Yarn - Colinette Jitterbug, colorway Popsicle. Odd thing I've noticed about Jitterbug - for some reason it tends to pool completely differently from sock to sock, even using the same skein. Go figure.

Second - the single oldest knitting WIP I'm aware of. I started this, got 13 rows from the end and ran out of beads on the perle cotton. This meant calculating how much yardage I would need to finish, cutting that much off the ball of cotton, and stringing beads from the other end to finish up. I finally worked up the nerve, attention span, and enough light to finish this. (Plus, I bought a bead spinner a while back. Definitely worth using a Jo-ann's coupon for if you do anything with large quantities of beads!) Yeah, I know. First attempt at bead knitting and I pick dark colors. Did I mention common sense and forethought are not my strong points? (Dime included in the picture for reference as to size of beads and lack of sense.)

And finally, a bit behind the trend, but my first foray into the world of amigurumi. What better way to start than a cute, cuddly, crochet version of the Lord of Darkness himself, Cthulhu!

Thanks to this burst of activity I'm actually down to - um, erm, *mumble,mumble,19,mumble,mumble* knitting WIP's!

Oh yeah, almost forgot -

I also finished a bottle of wine and a bag of M&M's. A girl's gotta have goals, right?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Recycle Bin

Occasionally I get comments from someone who observes "Oh, it must be nice to have the money to spend on craft supplies." Guess what, I don't. Now I do save on budget in several ways, I don't have a TV, I'm one of those thermostat guardians (or would be, if it wasn't just me and the ferrets), etc. Craft supplies however, are NOT necessarily a huge investment on every single item involved, if you just take a good look around you. You still need to invest in some basic tools, but the consumable supplies - that's another story!

First, there's the internet. Whatever you are interested in, I can pretty much guarantee there are free patterns, directions, how to tutorials and YouTube videos demonstrating techinques. At the moment, one of the projects I'm still plugging away on is the crazy hair doll head. I've decided to go with a soft body based on a free pattern from Nuno dolls.

After looking over the pattern, I decided I will probably try to make her a little more full-bodied, so will need to trace the pattern, then add a bit around the edges. I tend to prefer traceable patterns when possible anyway, just because I like to have the line on the fabric to go by when I'm assembling. Many magazines and books will suggest buying cardstock or template plastic from a specialty store or craft store. This is another item there's no need to spend money on.

My first quilting teacher showed us the magic of the plastic that comes inside bacon packages for templates. If you happen to not have bacon in the house, check the recycle bin. Odds are there's some form of thin cardboard in there. In this case, said cardboard probably provides a disturbing glimspe into my dining habits, but oh well. You can also use the thin cardboard from priority mailing packages, the piece of cardboard that is frequently in a pack of paper to keep it from bending before purchase, or - well you get the idea. Look around, you probably have most of what you need on hand.

Next idea - I was reading through a magazine that had some really cute pendants that were made from sheet metal that had been stamped, glazed, painted, beaded, embedded in polymer clay, etc. Most makers already have basic paints, assorted beads etc. You can run to your local craft or hobby store, pay for a sheet of aluminum, OR (here goes another distubrbing glimpse into my dietary lifestyle) use the sheet aluminum you already have on hand. Yep. A can and a pair of tin snips and you have enough for several pendants.

So what else do you already have on hand? Take a good look before you toss that item! Plastic yogurt cups, frozen dinner trays? You just replaced a plastic palette and a paint or resin mixing cup (and you don't have to feel guilty if something dries in it and you have to toss it out - there's another one easily available!) Drying dome for clay? Didn't you just replace a light bulb? Yep, same dome. Multi compartment tray for beads and small craft items? Egg carton. Linter for paper making? Check your dryer (and as an added bonus, if you're organized enough to plan your laundry and check your lint trap, you can somewhat color control your lint! Denim lint gives a lovely soft blue-grey tint.)

Grab your fedora and whip and head outside for the great recycle reclamation - you might find ideas you never even knew you had!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Hate Being a Grown Up

There is absolutely nothing fun to report for the weekend. I've been doing boring adult stuff for the last two days - all around housekeeping in one way or another. Bleah.

In lieu of anything interesting, I'll just give you more zombie follow up.

Five scientific reasons zombies could happen

*Warning* Adult language and some graphic zombie-ness in the link.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Zombie Update

Ongoing Public Service Announcements.

For those of us in Southern states - as if zombie humans weren't bad enough, now we have to worry about Zombie Fire Ants!

Apparently the Zombie Animal Threat doesn't end there either. I would enourage you to check here to see if you have imminent threats in your area!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled weirdness.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Seriously - Why I'm Not Getting Anything Done again

"Symbiosis" by Pilobolus

More geekery

Really - I'll get some real posts up eventually. Busy wandering through I'll tear myself away and get back to work someday.

In the mean time -

Levitation, Science and Sculpture

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Drive-by Cool Stuff Alert

Theo Jansen, Creature Builder

Amazing - sculptures? Creatures? Artificial Life? Just go see.

This is why I'm on so many groups and sites - amazing things like this get passed on!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Trees Are Watching (or Why I Flunked the Crazy Test)

A while back someone posted this quiz to one of my online groups. Most of us flunked with varying levels of distinction. Now bear in mind, the best description of this particular group would probably be "Merry Band of Misfits", as it involves artists, knitters, dyers, and general non-conformists. Also bear in mind, I in no way believe in any "diagnosis" delivered by a few questions online. The results, however sparked an interesting discussion.

The part most of us flunked, regardless of the other levels, was the bit about seeing, perceiving, or thinking differently than other people. One person related a tale of working in an artist studio collective, coming in, and mentioning "There's a really cool dead seagull across the street" at which half the studio emptied out to go see. Some of the others had at other times posted pictures where you could see a face in a flower, or an image in a stone. It seems those of an artistic or creative tendency see these things, but others don't - therefore the massive flunking of the "differently than others" portion.

On my part, I recall training for my current job. Most of us parked in the same area, which led past a row of trees to get to the building our training class was in. Due to the way the trees were trimmed, several of them had the appearance of eyes, or faces - one particular tree more so than the rest. I noticed this, and pointed it out to several people. The most creative of the bunch immediately said something to the effect of "Oh wow! How neat!" A couple of the others were more on the "Huh?" level, but after being shown "See? There are her eyes" said "Oh, yeah, I guess so....". The ones who were the most no-nonsense, black and white, career focused, "I don't have time for that" types maintained they could not see anything at all, even when specifically pointed out - and in fact, gave me and the other highly creatives odd looks and a wide berth for the remainder of training.

So which one are you? Is the tree looking at you? Can you see her?

What about now? Are you crazy too? Think about it for a bit. If you are, welcome to the group. Isn't it delightful to enjoy things other people can't?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Everyone, I'd like you to meet my sewing buddy Miss Eleanor Davis. She's a Davis vibrating shuttle treadle from some time in the 1920's. She is not a Vertical Feed, the most commonly known and sought after type of Davis, but she's one of my best sewing buds. Her presser foot measures out to a perfect scant 1/4" allowance. She knows enough about sewing, that she really only needs me to treadle. If she could figure out a way to self treadle, I'm sure I wouldn't need to do anything but cut pieces and leave them stacked on her cabinet. When I woke up in the morning, she would have them all taken care of for me!

This week, Eleanor and I have been making blocks for the Dear Jane Big Siggie Swap. That comes to a total of 84 blocks sewn, pressed, stamped and signed. And yes, I did give her full credit on the blocks, and included her name too! Unfortunately I forgot to get pictures before I packed them up and sent them (I was pushing to get them out to the Swap Mom before deadline).

For those of you who don't know, I sew almost exclusively on treadle and hand-cranked machines. I suspect it has to do with the episode of getting my sewing badge as a Girl Scout, when my Mom would constantly warn me that I was going too fast and was going to sew through my finger on her electric. Regardless, I find treadling a nice activity - there's something soothing about the steady rhythm of treadling while watching pieces go together. No noisy motors. No guessing at speed. Just nice steady pedal, stitch, pedal, stitch - and as a bonus, the ferrets like to ride on the treadle pedal while I sew (then chase the quilt blocks as they spill off the back while chain piecing!)

I'm sure a lot of you may have a family machine tucked away in storage, or sitting in your living room as decoration. Think about giving them a try! On a treadle, there is virtually nothing to go wrong. Unless they're seriously rusted or deteriorated, all you need to do is find a belt, oil them up, maybe grease the treadle moving parts a bit, and you're off. You may even notice that you get a true straight stitch (if you're detail oriented enough to notice that type thing). Modern machines that are made to zig-zag have play built into the needlebar to allow them to move back and forth. Treadles have one mode only. Straight. And the stitches themselves are a nice, neat, straight line, not the series of angled lines in a row you get from a modern machine. Plus, Earth friendly power, the ability to work even during a storm if your lights go out - you really can't beat them!

If by chance you're interested in giving yours a rehab and try, or if you're interested in getting one, there's a great group on line at where you can find support, information, and even people who will help with parts and supplies. Plus the neatest local gatherings (called TOGAs for Treadle On Gathering and Academy) that you'll ever get to attend.

OK - time to get off my treadle soap box, and back to all the rest of the 500 projects in process! And I'll get pics up once I get the swap blocks back, so you can see the final result!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My New Hero

By this time, you've probably all seen this clip, but just in case, here's a link.

May she inspire us all to follow our dreams, no matter how big, no matter how much everyone else laughs. Congratulations Susan Boyle.

I Dreamed a Dream indeed.

May all of yours be so grand and so successful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Public Service Announcement - Zombies

Thanks to the LSG group on Ravelry, (special thanks to Hallie) for bringing this to my attention:
If you act now you can still get supplies and a copy of Max Brook's definitive Zombie Survival Guide.

If you already have a copy, review your basic Zombie Survival Rules:

1) Organize before they rise!
2) They feel no fear, why should you?
3) Use your head: cut off theirs.
4) Blades don’t need reloading.
5) Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
6) Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
7) Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
8) Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
9) No place is safe, only safer.
10) The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on!

Now back to the scheduled projects for the weekend.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Talking Heads: Part II

As promised, here's the follow up on the disembodied heads that are currently living in jars on the counter and bossing me around...

Head Two - Introduction:

This one is the wide head. Originally intended to have a Cheshire Cat type grin on a more or less human face, I mashed in a mouth as well as eye spaces on the original styrofoam ball and clay overlay. As I was adding the Celluclay on the first layer, it began to demand a dorsal ridge. Erm, this point, I'd already had the discussions with head one, and was quick to just give in and do what I was told.

Once I got to the paperclay level to smooth out the skin, I was informed that it needed lips - not Cheshire Grin teeth. *sigh* Okay. Fine. Whatever you want. I just live here and buy the supplies, you know.

Then the eyes. She definitely was showing fishy characteristics here, so again, I didn't bother to argue or discuss. Remember, I just do what the disembodied heads tell me. Somewhere around here is when she mentioned the bicycle. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to do that. Hopefully I'll find one in a toy store, or lawn ornament section.

And here we have the paint to date. I'm still not sure I'm 100% sold on this. It's a coat of interference silver, then a drybrushed coat of blue-green with a pearlescent medium added. I was definitely not happy with the appearance at that point, so dry brushed again with iridescent pearl. I like this better, but she's still in the sit and think mode.

Head One - Cameo appearance and follow up:

Here's our friend from last week. She was debating at that time between a purple and sparkle roving, a bundle of novelty yarns, and a bag of multicolored Cotswold lamb curls for her hair. She decided on the curls, individually applied with gel medium. Yep, she's turning into a high-maintenance kind of girl. She needs a little styling and tidying of her locks once they're all dry and set, and fill-ins in a few spots, but I'm kind of liking the out of control curls, so don't know that I'll do much with trying to get it into an updo or more tamed style. I have a feeling after this, though, that she's going to be living on her jar for a while until I can find a suitable body and wardrobe for her!