Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, I had a birthday. One of the ones that ends with a “0”

And demolition started on my house. It was awesome.

As my IRL friends have heard me saying for months, this is the last big planned renovation that we want to do on my kid-hood home. Back porch will be demolished (roof stays), we’re putting on a big ‘ol deck and we’re taking what used to be the formal dining room and making it the new “family room” or TV room.

It’ll be great when it’s done. I’ll try to document as much as I can here, but I’m out of town for the first two weeks of June (eek!) so I’ll do the best I can. Meanwhile …

Here is what the back of the house looked like before we started anything. It’s the layout I always remember, although apparently the stairs were re-done when I was a kid.


Some interior shots of the enclosed back porch …




My parents insist that they used the back porch all the time. I remember my mom sleeping out there occasionally when I was a kid, before the house was air-conditioned and it was the hottest part of the summer. Personally, I always felt like when it was warm enough to use the back porch, there was so little air circulation out there that it was stifling on the porch.

We’re gonna fix that.

For the first day of demolition, I’d say we really only had one surprise. Ants in the far wall, center post. Yuck-o.


Beyond that, it was just kind of cool to watch the back porch melt away. Demo is loud, but it’s fast. A lot got done today.


The stairs were one of the first bits to be altered.


If you look at the ground in this next picture, you can see that the AC unit is already gone. This pic was taken at lunchtime.


And a look at the outside, also at the lunch break.


So that was pretty much it from opening day. I’ll try to update periodically, but I’m also planning to put lots of pictures HERE, on my Flickr account.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Maryland Sheep & Wool, 2011

So I took a break from my regular crazy last weekend and switched to a different flavor of crazy by traveling to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. A few of my favorite visitors-from-afar were unable to attend this year and they were missed. But I still saw several of my favorite peeps and a good time was had by all.

I spent very conservatively on Opening Day, and then let loose a little bit on Sunday. I had Camnesia for the most part, and did not manage to take people-pictures, but that’s OK. We’ll skip to the haul:


Top Step (L-R): Jennie the Potter mug, Echinacea honey from The Bee Folks, Mug from the Lion Potter, Crochet hook needle roll, Inkle loom in the background, Recycled sweater mittens, Lunatic Fringe (weaving) scarf kit; Bottom Row: Broom from One Oak Brooms, Bamboo Honey, Miss Babs sock yarn, Sanguine Gryphon Bugga (x2), Killer Bee honey and Lemon honey candy, Socks that Rock (x3), Miss Babs Yowza! Whatta Skein (x3)

Let’s take a closer look at some of those non-yarn purchases, shall we?

My first purchase of the day made me a repeat buyer of this item.


They’re made from recycled felted sweaters and fleece-lined. I bought a pair on my second trip to MDSW, but that pair is a tiny bit small, so I was able to justify a second pair. While I hope it’s a long time before it’s cold enough to wear them (they’re really warm!) I’m excited to have such a fun winter accessory to look forward to.

About three steps later, I solved a problem I’d been pondering for several months.


Since I filled out my Addi crochet hook collection last summer, I’ve been thinking about the fact that they needed a home. Yes, I’m perfectly capable of sewing a case, but this was a good price and it meant that I didn’t have to think about making it myself. WIN!

Another three steps and I landed on the doorstep of one of my favorite vendors, the Spanish Peacock. They moved from their “one spot” near the door because the Main Barn is being wired for heat and AC, but they were still easy to find.


I forgot to put something “for scale” in the above picture, but these are stick shuttles, about 5" long for the bigger one. Used for Inkle weaving. I’ll get to that later, but they were pretty and very reasonably priced, so YAY!

After meeting up with Jenn, the newest Hurricane Knitter, we started making our way uphill. She was unfamiliar with Jennie the Potter, so I dragged her into Jennie’s booth.


The mug on the left appealed to me because, well, the yarn is blue, and because the sheep on one side is white and the sheep on the other side is black. Yay! But there are two mugs in the picture, you say!

Well, Jenn decided to return the favor by walking me up to her favorite potter, the Lion Potter, who is one of the outside vendors at the top of the hill, near Brooks Farm. The mug was beautiful, and somehow those “dents” you can see in the body of that blue mug make it fit perfectly in my hands. I’ve spent the last six months having a cup of tea just about every morning, so I figured it was a reasonable purchase.

The only problem is that now I want to ignore my entire shelf of mugs and just use these two. They’re both awesome.

All of those purchases had been made by lunchtime on Saturday. I perused quite a bit more as the afternoon wore on, but didn’t make any other purchases.

All of the yarn was purchased on Sunday morning. Three of those skeins were purchased for friends, the rest will appear on future Yarn Pr0n Fridays.

Going into Sunday, there were two things that I knew would be purchased: Honey from The Bee Folks, and a broom. After a wonderful conversation with the staff at The Bee Folks, I tried at least a half-dozen honeys and landed on three varieties to bring home. Bamboo, Killer Bee and Echinacea. All very yummy. I finished my Wildflower jar from last year’s MDSW on Monday morning, so I figure that’s good timing. Oh, and I tried the lemon honey hard candy last year and YUM! So I got more.

I didn’t take close-up photos of the broom because, well, it’s a broom. It’s been doing a great job getting the bud-bits from the tree in our front yard off of the front walk, and I expect it to get heavy use on our new deck, and clearing snow from the front walk next winter.

As for the final things in the picture … Over the last month or so, I’ve been daydreaming about getting an Inkle Loom (that's a YouTube link, so you can see how it works). It will give me a portable loom, and it makes warp-faced bands. I can take it back and forth to the Lake, and because it’s small and portable, I’ll be able to use it in front of the TV when I want to work on something smaller than whatever is on the floor loom.

So I caved.


Yeah, it’s goofy looking. It’ll make more sense when you see it in action in a month or two.

And I made one other weaving purchase. A scarf kit with cotton yarns from Lunatic Fringe (purchased from a resale vendor, actually, the same vendor where I got the Inkle). I’m quickly getting sucked in to Lunatic Fringe World, and am already part of their yarn-of-the-month club, but an eight-yard two-scarf warp should go on and off quickly … assuming that I ever finish the rep weave placemats.


So that’s about it. The weather was nearly perfect, although I forgot sunscreen on Saturday and got a mild burn on my arms. Still, no complaints. I look forward to returning to the Howard County Fairgrounds again next year!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WiP Wednesday

Another boring knitting week. I actually didn’t do much knitting at Maryland Sheep & Wool, a trip that I’ll recap tomorrow. Meanwhile, back at WiP Wednesday …

My plain vanilla Miss Babs socks are chugging right along, but since I haven’t started the heel turn, they still look exactly the same as they did last week, so no new picture.

Shortly after taking last week’s WiP Wednesday photo of my giraffe, I went to knit night. While there, I finished the Giraffe Torso:


Yeah, it looks like a pear. I’m sure it’ll improve in appearance as soon as it has limbs and a head. Actually, that’s the back of its head on my DPNs to the right there.

In the car on the way to MDSW, I actually was a passenger rather than the driver, and did a little knitting. Sadly, my Chart Tracking System for the BFF socks is small-notation driven. I struggled through about 10 rounds, then got massively frustrated and gave the hell up. Still, some progress!


I have a sweater vest I should start. I’d give just about anything to show you even one warp thread’s worth of progress on the rep weave placemats, but there just isn’t time. Speaking of which, I need to get back to the writing gig.

MDSW recap coming soon…

Monday, May 09, 2011

Bunny Luv

So my niece turned two recently. I needed a present to go with a couple of board books to complete her gift.

Enter this guy:


Yet another home run pattern from Susan B. Anderson and Itty Bitty Toys. He’s even cute from the back!


I had to resist my urge to do a “proper” full pom-pom with as much yarn as I could stuff into my Clover maker. Instead, I counted wraps just like the pattern-writer said and I took the additional step of using my sewing machine to sew all the pom-pom bits together. I figured the biggest pom-pom danger is having pieces fall out. Hopefully this will keep Mr. Bunny’s tail intact for the long haul.


Of course, Susan was right. The slightly scraggly pom-pom looks much better than the really full one!

I figured Mr. Bunny wouldn’t mind meeting some of the other animals in the store. He played with Baby Bobbi Bear for a little while


And he hung around with the store’s Gauge Chickens for a little bit too.

See those three chickens? Knit with the exact same yarn and exact same needle by three different knitters. That’s why they’re “gauge chickens.”

All in all, another Susan B. Anderson success story. If you want to knit toys, Itty Bitty Toys is full of great patterns.



Pattern: Bunny from Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton
Quantity: One skein did everything but his feet and ears. Ears were leftover yarn from the Owls, as were his feet and tail.
Needles: US 5, magic loop, KnitPicks Options
Started: 17 April 2011
Finished: 26 April 2011
Mods: None

Thursday, May 05, 2011

WiP Thursday

Holy week that sucks. Tons of stuff to do before I leave for Maryland Sheep & Wool. Running out of hours to get them all done.

And yeah, I’m a day behind on WiP Wednesday. Sorry about that. These photos were taken on Wednesday morning, though, just like normal. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Itty-bitty progress on the Miss Babs socks …


Another tiny little chunk of progress on the BFF socks …


A giraffe tush … yeah, you heard me. I finished it at knit night on Wednesday night. Now it looks like a gigantic pear. Started its head Thursday night …


And, finally, I managed to start warping the loom. Hallelujah.


This is going to be my first Maryland as a weaver. I hope I find some cool stuff and can stay within a reasonable budget. So I can have leftover cash for my weaving class next month. Geez, that’s right around the corner!