Yummy Yarn Goodness

I’ve been asked to post some yummy yarn goodness. Here are some laceweights I picked up recently from Knitpicks. Knitpicks was having a big ol’ sale and I got them cheaper than I usually get my Skacel, and it is far superior yarn! (plus I am getting more yarn for that cheaper price! It rocks!)

I picked up 2 100% Merino laceweights:
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I think I will be using the blue for Secret of the Stole Knit along rather than the taupe Skacel. I’ll save the taupe for a shawl as there is so much of it!
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I also got a variegated yarn, this one is 70% baby alpaca/30% silk:
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And now for my favorite of the group. 100% baby alpaca and soft as soft can be. Also so light!
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What the heck is a blind nut?!? From Nick

Before starting on the arms I wanted to address something I was not thrilled about. The screw that sticks up from the Susan for the arms to attach to. This was going to be permanently in place. Thing is I could see it getting damaged in shipping or storage. Also things like hanks of precious silk yarn could get snagged on it by accident.
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Here’s a mock arm (I will call it mini-arm, BTW, I HATED that movie so much I turned it off after 5 mins and the 50th Ya Baby) screwed down with the thumb screw. It works. But again I’m not thrilled about the screw sticking up after the swift comes apart for storage. Time to come up with something better!
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Enter the all mighty “Blind Nut”. AKA “T-Nut”. These are used profusely in model airplanes for things like engine mounts and hatches. I did a Wikipedia search on “Blind Nut” but nothing came up. So bare down for a play by play on how a blind is installed and used.

BTW there is no entries for “Yawn Swift” on Wikipedia yet. Get working on that Shells!
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1st thing I need to do is make the center hole in the top circle slightly larger to accommodate the blind nut.
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Now the blind nut is inserted from the bottom and the “barbs” hold it in place temporarily.
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Then a screw is put in from the top. This pulls the barbs of the blind nut into the wood as it tightens.
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Now the blind nut is secured permanently in place. Note how the barbs sunk into the wood.
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This allows for an improvised thumbscrew (a screw and wing nut joined together) to be screwed in while the nut stays put.

I guess the term blind nut comes from the fact that you don’t have to mess around with a standard nut on the other side of the wood. Perfect in this case since the bottom will be “sealed off” with the anti-skid material. And it will allow Shells to assemble the swift with nothing more than her fingers… ( *aside from Shells: …which is good, since I am the type that can assemble a vacuum cleaner backwards!* )
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Here’s Mini-Arm all snugged down. Time to start the real arms!!!!!
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Take her for a spin, from Nick

Looks good, but how will it work? Only one way to find out, take it for a spin:

The Susan spins freely and the center screw stays centered as it spins. This means everything lined up well. I let out a huge sigh of relief once I see that!

The arms (big-ass arms, Shells wants this thing to be able to handle a 100″ circumference hank) will attach to that screw. Those get started tomorrow…

Moving right along part II, from Nick

Next it’s time to expand the center hole of the bottom circle. This will be so I can secure a blind nut to the top circle (more on blind nuts later).
For this I break out a drill hole saw. What a fun toy.
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Here’s the center hole cut out. All the access holes are done now. Let’s get this thing together and see what happens.
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It’s kinda hard to tell what’s going on here. But I need to 1st screw the bottom plate of the bearing to the bottom circle. I used long wood screws to line it up with the screw holes in the top. Then I used the calipers to double check that it’s centered. Then it’s the same process as screwing in the top plate, mark holes, drill small pilot holes half way through the wood, screw in the plate.
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With everything upside down on the work bench I can line up the top plate with the screw holes and line up the access holes so I can screw them in from the bottom. Everything lines up freakishly well.
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Normally when I have to screw something down a hole like this it’s a simple matter of rubbing the screwdriver on a magnet (remember 4th grade earth science). Rub a magnet on a piece of metal and it becomes a magnet. This would be great if some genius wasn’t using all stainless steal hardware (hint, magnets don’t adhere to stainless steal). My thinking while buying the hardware was “you never know when Shells could be swifting in the rain“.

So rather than waiting to get to a hardware store for different screws I remembered a trick I read in a magazine a long, long time ago (in a land far, far away). Use a piece of electrical heat shrink tubing to hold the screw to the screwdriver. Then you can start the screw down a hole and pull the tubing off. Lucky for me I had the right size heat shrink handy.
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Here’s a view of the bottom with everything screwed together.
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And the top view.
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The great sweater dissection project, Part I

So, we have previously discussed J’s penchant for brand names. Ralph Lauren hand knit sweaters are a big favorite of his. But he won’t pay full price (be still my beating heart!!!) so we look for deals.

All summer long we have been looking at one Ralph Lauren hand knit sweater. It originally started out at $200 but when we first saw it, was around $150. At that price I was sure he wouldn’t buy it. He decided to watch the sweater. A few weeks later it went down to $50, and he contemplated buying it. Lovely black, white, and red colorwork (insert joke here) but I couldn’t get past the neckline. He agreed. I don’t know what it was about this neckline, if it was just too much for the sweater as a whole, or too feminine for a men’s sweater, or what, but I just didn’t like it. He agreed. I asked him if he would wear it with that neckline. He said that he probably would not. A few weeks later it was still $50 but we could take an additional 10% off. We discussed it again. We decided no, neckline issues. He said, “If it gets down to $35, I will buy it.” Which made sense. 100% lambs wool, it was very soft, and the colorwork really was nice.

Fast forward to this weekend. Where we stumbled across the sweater for $34. So we again had the neckline discussion. Nope, he still wouldn’t wear it with that neckline. I told him that it isn’t a deal if you won’t wear it. Then I had a brilliant idea. I mean, I am a knitter right? So why wouldn’t I change the neckline if I didn’t like it? What was I thinking? At $34 for 100% lambswool, I could recycle it and make it into something else. It ends up being too good a deal to pass up. So I look at the neckline and decide that, indeed, I would be perfectly capable of taking it apart and reworking it.

So begins the great sweater dissection project!

Original sweater:
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You can see that the neckline is funky. Maybe on a plain sweater it would work. But for a guy, it is still iffy if you ask me. There were also buttons, which added to the melodrama. It is just too much!

So plan is to unravel the neckline and use that yarn to make it into a plain turtle neck. 2×2 rib. In addition to that, to follow the cuffs and bottom of the sweater, I will do 6 rows of garter stitch before I start the 2×2 rib.

So begins the unraveling. It went smoothly for the most part. I had to do it in 3 parts as the split had a knitted border on both the front and back. Best part? I have 5 new buttons to use on some other project. How nice or Ralph to provide me with extra!

Here is what I had left over:
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I suspect I will need to skein that yarn and wash it. It is awfully kinked. Get on that yarn swift Nick!

In the end, I only had a few stitches to pick up at the front of the sweater, the rest of it was already bound off.
It looks better already if you ask me!
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Chameleon Colorworks update

Well I do need to post an update on the Chameleon Colorworks sockclub fiasco.

The shop owner assured me last week that she sent both September and October kits in the mail. She said that the post office doesn’t seem to like my work address. That could be, it has happened with various sellers at amazon.com as well.

Today I got my September kit. No sign of October kit all day. Maybe tomorrow. The yarn, to her credit, is really quite pretty and I was pleased with the sock pattern as well. Very cute, I will enjoy making them. Unfortunately the whole thing has left a bad taste and I will not be continuing, especially since the price has gone up.
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Pretty yarn, one cannot deny. What a series of unfortunate events. I am a bit sad over the whole thing, sort of like a potential relationship which sadly went awry before it really began. Weird.

Creatures of the deep….

Today at work I started the spanish christening shawl. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I needed something light. I needed a pattern I was familiar with. I needed some good ol’ lace knitting after working so hard on the “project.”

Enter Creatures of the reef! Yes, it has been a long while since you have had an update on this project. It was never really hibernating, I was just officially ignoring it. But it sure did come in handy tonight, and progress was made.


It continues to be a pattern that I am enjoying. I don’t think that will change no matter how long it takes me to complete it.

Moving right along, from Nick

I mark the bottom side of the top circle I just chose. Why the bottom? Because you won’t see it once it’s assembled.
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Time to see if my plan to mount the bearing between the two circles will work. This is the part that I had to figure out in my head while at Lowes. I had to make sure it was going to be physically possible before buying the materials.

Fist I’ll mount the bearing to the underside of the top circle. Here the top circle is clamped down to the table and we are looking at the underside with the bearing roughly centered.
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I was not sure how I was going to center the bearing perfectly. But I figured if I had a truly perfect circle the corners should be the same distance from the circle’s edge. I also figured that if I screwed up I could just move the bearing and try again since this surface is hidden.

I get to used another fun tool. A set of digital calipers. This allows me to measure each corner and adjust until they are the same distance from the circle’s edge.
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Once I’m sure the bearing is centered I clamp down two comers to keep things in place.
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Now I can screw down the other two comers while everything stays centered.

1st I made an indention in the center of the mounting hole with my trusty hand drill.
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The indention helps guide a small drill bit for the srcew pilot hole. Only drill about half way into the wood. If you don’t trust yourself you can mark the drill bit depth with a piece of tape so you don’t drill to far and come out the other side.
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The pilot hole helps the screw go in straight. It also prevents the wood from splitting.
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Here’s the top plate of the bearing all screwed in.
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Now that the top plate is mounted I need to make access holes in the bottom circle so I can screw this thing together with the bearing sandwiched between the circles.

Before you say WHAT? You are making holes in that nice piece of wood? Keep in mind this is the bottom and eventually the holes are going to be covered anyway with some kind of anti-skid material (most likely some kind of cork shelf liner). And the holes are necessary for the final assembly.

I start by centering the bearing again (this time the bottom circle) and marking the centers with my hand drill.
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Next it’s over to the drill press to drill small pilot holes for the larger access holes. When possible I like to drill pilot holes 1st. They are easier to initially drill though the wood. And the also guild the larger bit as it bores through. Making the holes come out straighter.
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Here the larger access hole is being drilled. A 1/2” hole should allow for enough room (if everything lines up nice).
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With all 4 holes drilled I place the 2 circles together. Whew, The access holes line up perfect!
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Making the rough, smooth, part II from Nick

Or more building of the swift!

Switched to fine sandpaper on the disc sander. This cleaned up the edges nicely and allowed for some precession sanding to the line. Here are the edges with the circles still clamped together.
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Finally! Our square wood is now round!

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Now it’s decision time. Out of the 4 surfaces of the circles I need to choose the top of the Lazy Susan. Since this is the only surface that will be seen I choose the one with the most consistent color and grain.
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The project which must not be named.

In knitting lore, one does not knit a sweater for ones significant other until one has a ring on her finger. The reason being that before the sweater is done, the man will be gone.

I decided to tempt fate.

But in order to not hang the proverbial carrot, I decided not to say whom it was for, rather just call it the “project.”

This weekend, after MUCH hard work, it got finished. (OK, just so you know, I ripped out the neckline twice to please the recipient.) I tried it on myself, and it is one hot sweater! (and soft and fuzzy and warm too!) I am certainly making one for myself down the road.

Taking a lesson from Nick, I took pictures of the process of putting it together once the pieces were finished.

So, here are the finished pieces laid out and ready to be sewn together:


I took out the saddle gusset seams upwards of 3 times to make them look as nice as I thought they should. This may be because the first time I gave them a try it was already midnight, and I am not my best at night! I looked at them in the morning and realized that they really really wouldn’t do! I did conquer the seams eventually, leaving me much pleased! See example:
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Oh, and btw….the relationship still exists.

Making the rough, smooth. From Nick

Ok, the rough circles are cut out. Notice how I cut about a 1/16” from the line. There’s a reason for this…
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Time to drill the center holes in the circles (I know exactly where the center is since I used the indention for the compass). Walk over to my drill press… FRICK! The circles are too large to fit in my drill press by about a 1/2″.

Keep in mind the circles are no particular size. I didn’t even measure them out. I just made them as large as possible with the wood I bought. The important thing is that they are exactly the same. The dimension is not important since they are just a spinning platform for the swift arms.

OK, no drill press so we have to drill the center holes the old fashion way.
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You might have noticed that my work bench is a slab of steel. Actually it’s a slab of steel glued to a plate of ¾” glass. This is not because I’m crazy, it’s to ensure the surface remains perfectly flat. This is important because normally I build flying model airplanes (when I’m not doing some kind of side project like a swift). As you can imagine straight planes fly better than crooked ones.

The steel surface comes into play with a system of magnetic clamps and presses. Here one is holding the circle steady while I drill.
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With the center hole drilled in both circles I can now “clap” them together with a screw and nut. A few fender washers protect the wood.
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Look at those rough edges. YUK!
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Time to attack those nasty edges with my disc sander. Since I’m starting about 1/16” away from my line, (remember how I cut a 1/16” away from the line with my jig saw?) I’ll be sanding down to the line and squaring off the edges at the same time. And since the circles are clamped together they will turn out exactly the same.

I start the sanding with coarse grit sand paper since there is a good amount of material to remove.
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After some time and lots of dust the edges are cleaned up and perfectly square. Next I’ll switch to fine grit sand paper on the disc sander to remove the scratches that the coarse sand paper leaves behind. But that will have to wait for another night…
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Maybe you would like to hear from me too!

Mystic Waters.  Yes, yet another secret knit along. But it is what I bought the Textiles a mano silk for. I bought the silk without seeing even the first clue. I just had a really good feeling about it. Yesterday the first clue came out and WOW! Hello difficult pattern but hello beauty! The openwork is stunning even just on the pattern. I just can’t wait to see it knit up. (I am on hold for some appropriate needles though.) Of course, you must know I cannot leave the pattern as it is, I must add beading. I have some of them charted out, but I think it will help to be a bit behind on the clues so I can better see the repeats, as to facilitate where the beads should be placed. I loved the beads in MS3 soooo much, I must have more bead work!  I haven’t bought beads yet either, and the ones I have will not do.  I am thinking clear silver lined beads to mimic water drops, or black beads to mimic darker waters.  I will have to bring the yarn to the bead shop.

Luckily, my “project which must not be named” will be completed this weekend. Seriously. I am not kidding. It will be done. I refuse to accept any other option.  Its current status is thus:  Second sleeve completed to a more appropriate length.  All in all I think I added at least 3 inches to to the sleeves in Alice Starmore’s pattern.  Which is odd, because I had to shorten the body of the project by more than two inches.  So from this I conclude that though she is a brilliant designer, she is using a very lanky and short armed model to practice on.  The shorter sleeve gusset is ripped out, the stitches unbound and back on the needles, all stitch markers replaced and 2 rows knit on it.  Once that is finished up, all that is left is to sew the whole thing up, add the neckline, and then block if necessary.  I truly believe that this can be accomplished in a weekend.  Oh, and pictures!  Preferable ON the intended recipient.

My hands will be blissfully happy to work with some lace after this.  All those cables and twisted stitches and tight knitting were really causing them to protest.  No more cable knitting for awhile, I need to save my hands so I can continue knitting long term.

Let’s get started, from Nick

We are starting with square (technically rectangle) wood. That’s too harsh for this project.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHow do you get a square wood to be round? 1st step is you stop at Michael’s Crafts and pick up a $1.99 compass. BTW, I always feel GHEY when I walk into that store for some reason. Maybe it’s the flowery smell or all the damn fake flowers they have.
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Let’s get that nice piece of Poplar cut in half. One half for the top, one for the bottom of our Susan.

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Next step, let’s measure for the center. FRICK! This wood panel is only 11 5/16″ wide. NOT 12″ as the label says. No wonder the 12″ bearing was too large. Oh well. These things happen for a reason. This will turn out better!

This is actually common when dealing with lumber. Did you know a 2×4 is really 1.5″ x 3.5?
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Now that we have the center it’s time to introduce one of my favorite tools. A hand drill. Perfect for making a small indention for holding the point of the compass.
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Just like 2nd grade art class. This compass has a nice locking feature on it. This will ensure both circles will be exactly the same. Not bad for for $1.99
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Two perfect circles marked out ready to cut.
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Break out the jig saw for the rough cutting of the circle. Yes that saw is older than I am. You can tell from the retro green. But wait. This is going MUCH slower than it should be. This wood is soft, it should not be this difficult to cut. That’s why, this blade is for cutting metal. Look around.. No other blades. I guess that means a stop at Home Depot on the way to work tomorrow morning. And the end of building for tonight…
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An hour at Lowes, from Nick

My hour at Lowes…
This is going to be simple. The web site shows this nice 12” bearing and 18” piece of wood:

How to build a lazy susan

Build a Lazy Susan in 10 mins. The basis of this swift. Head to lumber. I find the round “Table Top” as shown on the web site. It’s about 2” thick and weighs about 15 lbs. Way too heavy duty for this project (and would have cost $100 to ship via freight). Crap, that’s the smallest round piece of wood they have.

Look around. Time to find some other wood. Oak? Nah, too heavy and EXPENSIVE!!! Pine? Ick, The thing I hate about pine is you can never find a piece that is not warped. And for some reason I don’t think it would do your yarns justice. What’s this.. Poplar… It has a nice greenish hue and looks soft and subtle (because it is). Also the pieces are “straight as a board”. This is going to work great! And they have a 12” x 24” piece. I can make that work with the 12” Lazy Susan bearing somehow. Pick it up and go find the bearing.
Find the round bearing shown on the site. Look at it over the wood. FRICK! The bearing is larger than the wood… Either the bearing is lager than 12” or the wood is not 12” wide. But in my mind I’m sold on using this wood. Go back to lumber. 12” is the widest piece of Poplar they sell. FRICK! There is some pine “butcher board” that is interesting. Nah, I can’t have knots touching your yarn. OK, back to hardware. What else do they have? A square 6” bearing. That’s not going to work. With the arms of the swift extended a 6” square platform won’t be stable enough. Unless… I used that bearing with a piece of wood on top and bottom. That will work! But how am I going to screw this thing to both pieces of wood since it’s going to be sandwiched between them? Think, Think, Think, Got it! I know how to do it. This will work, be VERY stable and look great (since I can use the Poplar). Back to Lumber. No Poplar dowels for the pegs, Oak will have to do…

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The label says 12″…
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A nice close up of the base and arm wood
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The oak dowel
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The Lazy Susan Bearing
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Miscellaneous Hardware

Guest Blogger

I am pleased to announce a guest blogger here at Suzy Sells. Nick has kindly agreed to let me post his emails and progress on the yarn swift. I think that exploring another craft will be interesting and fun. Yes, it will contain pictures. No, not necessarily of him, wipe that drool off your faces ladies. (Of course if you ask nicely…..)

So here we go!

(Oh, and Nick? I will be correcting your typo’s. You really should thank me!)

Trading crafts…

The upcoming commission is off….

So my friend Nick does some woodworking. The latest commission, for a nice long scarf, was requested by him. In the past, he has looked at yarn swifts and commented that he could make one himself. But I have never taken him up on the offer. Then tonight I got this brilliant idea…..why don’t I make the scarf, he makes the yarn swift, we trade and call it even? Yeah, apparently he was thinking the same thing. Nice. I am gonna have a yarn swift!

Remember Nick?
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Edited, please see note! Did I get scammed?

ETA:  See comments, as there is now a comment from the owner herself.  Now that is service, someone who is paying enough attention to come right to the blog and comment.  Thank you Janel.  

And…..another potential advantage of Ravelry.

At the end of August, I signed up for Chameleon Colorworks Sock of the month club. At that time, you received the pattern and hand dyed yarn each month for $17 (which at that time included shipping). I thought it was a pretty decent deal since most sock yarns are about that much anyhow. I thought a sock of the month club might be kinda fun and I liked the patterns that I saw.

Quote from the site:

IMPORTANT!!! Your first kit will arrive the month after you sign up. Current subscriptions are calculated on the first of the month and dyeing commences! Kits are mailed on or near the 10th of the month. This means you might have an overlap in payments (i.e. if you signed up near the first of the month, you may pay for 2 kits before your first one arrives). Don’t worry, you will receive your kits as scheduled. If you choose to unsubscribe, your last kit arrives the month after your last payment! You will be billed each month automatically by Paypal on the same day of the month as your initial subscription, and you can unsubscribe at any time by logging in to your paypal account.”

OK, so by my calculations, if I signed up at the end of August, I should certainly be receiving my October kit. But it is now October 23, and no kit. So I canceled my subscription because I certainly don’t want them to continue to take money from me when I don’t seem to be seeing any sock kits. Now, to give the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume there was an issue. So last week I emailed explaining the situation. Nothing, not a word from them. Today I emailed both available emails. We will see if I get a response. I have already decided I will not continue in the future. My subscription will stay canceled. I now know I don’t have the time to knit socks, even if I want to. (I joke with J about having him learn to knit JUST so he can knit me some socks, since I just love to wear handknit socks but prefer to work on bigger projects.)

Since on the website there is no number to call, I decided I would need to do a bit of sleuthing, I googled them and didn’t come up with terribly much. But, on an encouraging note, I did not come up with people blogging about issues with them, leading me to think this is indeed a fluke. I then had a brainstorm, where should I be going for all my knitting needs these days? What is the BEST online source for everything knitting? Hhhmmm, let me think, why Ravelry of course! So I put in a search on Ravelry and up pops their yarn as well as the owner, and a group for the sock club. In the postings of the group there are posts about frustration with September and October sock club shipments, they all seem to be late or not coming. There is also an apology from the owner. So now, at least if I do not get an email response, I have somewhere I can go to contact her directly. Who knew this was a potential use for Ravelry?!?!

Weekend field trip

For the past month or so, I have been trying to get to Textiles a Mano. The shop is only open 2 days a week and by appointment. Laura, the owner and artist, hand dyes and hand paints yarn. I had heard some good things about her work and was eager to go see this shop, but since it is quite far from home and an appointment needed to be set, the logistics didn’t work out as quickly as I had hoped. I think I canceled on Laura twice before the stars aligned enough to get me there. Luckily, Laura was most gracious about date changes. I was really wanting to have a sitter as taking my daughter (who will from now on be referred to as The Bug) could have been quite the hassle! She loves yarn (echo’s of me with my Nana) and can’t keep her hands and face off it.

So on Saturday evening, J and I headed out to visit this lovely shop. To be honest, I wasn’t too positive that this would be a trip he could enjoy, as I have never taken him to a yarn boutique, but he has a great eye for color and contrast, as well as enjoying anything artistic. And he does indulge my desire to knit and to learn other fiber related crafts, so if nothing else, it might be a learning experience.

J, being also introverted but much more gregarious than myself, tagged along happily, knowing that we would get to go to Starbucks, TJ maxx, and a movie post haste. We found Laura’s shop with little trouble, worked through introductions, and I feasted my eyes (and hands) on some lovely silks. J, meanwhile, had her open up her studio within 3 minutes of arrival, so that he could see what the dye process looked like, and proceeded to question her about dying, her music choices, the art on her walls, and determined that her accent (which sounded American to me, though not midwestern) was not from here. She mentioned that she is originally from Argentina. He saw some pictures on her computer of her family drinking mate and was surprised, as it is something he is accustomed to enjoying at home as well. He then asked her where to get good mate here (she didn’t imagine there was anywhere except perhaps NYC) and then they went into lengthy discourse on their respective country’s habits and associated health problems/social concerns. Meanwhile I continued to enjoy looking around the shop and interjecting only when asked or when I truly had something to ask. Astounding how an introverted person can be so extroverted at times! J’s true advantage is his avid curiosity and desire to learn, causing him to question everything which in turn just draws people out, as they want to share what they know and love!

I picked out a pale green silk laceweight with subtle color variations, all within the pale green. There was certainly much more that caught my eye, but I could have dropped too much money there easily and knew I needed to have one specific project in mind before I walked in the door. Laura asked what I would dream of seeing in color, to which I told her I was very interested in seeing something in a lime/aqua colorway, to which she responded by showing me that she had JUST put something along those lines in and promised to send me a picture when it is completely painted. By the end of our time there, I had J whispering in my ear that I should ask if I could apprentice with her. (not to mention asking why I didn’t bring any of my own knitting to show off!)  I think a shop that is a couple hours away from my house would be tough to apprentice at, but it was great to know he could have as enjoyable time as I did at this shop.

Laura is a very kind woman who has an eye for color, evidenced not only in her yarn but in the art which she has hanging on her walls. I look forward to buying from her in the future as well as sending as many knitters as possible her way. I would not have had trouble finding conversation with her myself, even if J was not there. Also, I have to say that her taste in music is impeccable, she has all of Yo Yo Ma’s CD’s and often plays opera in her studio. How can one go wrong?

Pictures of yarn purchase to follow.

Oh, also, in sad news, the completed sleeve of “project” is too short. I am going to do the next sleeve to better size specifications, then tear out the gusset and cast off to add to the one which is too short. I think I am looking at about 2 weeks more of work on it.

One sleeve done

On project which must not be named. Second sleeve started. Do we think I can get it done by next weekend? Perhaps that is one more ambitious and unattainable goal. I should set my sights on 2 weeks from now. Especially since last night I couldn’t help but cast on for the spanish christening shawl for my dear friends upcoming birth. OK, it was really the harmony needles which were calling me, and the fact that all the cables and twisted stitches in “project” were really starting to bother my wrists. I needed something more simple and comfortable to work on for a bit.

No more “project” pictures until it is done!

Slightly grumpy post

I have not been feeling all that well. Nothing major, just not feeling well with a bit of a fever. On top of that, I seem to be having nightmares which keep me up at night. So the grumpiness is compounded.

Now, I subscribe to Gevalia coffee. I get a small shipment once every 4 months or so. I like to have it around, but I don’t drink a lot of coffee at home, so 4 boxes every 4 months is more than enough for me. I usually have excess that I keep in my freezer. Needless to say, I don’t want more coffee.

I am on the “do not call” list, which helps keep down on sales calls for the most part. But local sales calls for various things like dance lessons get through anyhow. So, I get a call from a Gevalia sales person wanting me to sign up for an additional service, seasonal coffee selections. Mind you, I see the advertisements and file them in the blue recycle bin every time I get a shipment. If I didn’t respond to them, I think it is safe to say I didn’t want the service.

So the salesperson introduces himself and starts his sales pitch. I listened patiently but he was really going on! I was not feeling well and not too pleased about being called at 9 PM. Finally I interrupt him and tell him that he is wasting his time, I really have no interest in his seasonal coffee shipments. He says that he understands but then continues and goes on about the free gift (a free gift that I have already received from them, therefor do not need). I interrupt him again, telling him precisely how I feel about him continuing, “Look, if you don’t stop calling for sales calls, I will suspend my current service permanently!” “OH,” he says, “Well…..if I can ever be of” thats as far as he got before I hung up.

Just because I subscribe to a service does NOT make it OK to contact me to sell me additional services from the same company.

Yes, I am grumpy.

To a Mouse part II

All weekend, no sign of my friend the mouse.  Either it is not tempted by organic peanut butter or is too smart for my humane traps.  A new tactic is being considered, thanks to “J”.  Sticky traps.  In a circle, on the counter, with cheese in the middle of the circle.  Something he cannot resist so he feels the need to cross the barrier of stickiness.

My question is, what do you do with the mice after you catch them?  Obviously with the humane traps they are still alive.  With the sticky ones, they are too.  What is to be done with a live mouse that you don’t want in your house?  If I let it go outside my home I have no doubts that it will find its way back in.  I don’t want to take it in the car to relocate it farther away.  But I am positive I am not up to killing it.  There is a limit to the intensity of dislike I can have for a creature.  (Snakes not included!)

Sugar and Spice cookies

Thanks for your interest Ali!

Sugar and Spice Cookies


¾ C soft shortening

1 C Sugar

1 egg

¼ C light molasses or dark corn syrup


Cream above ingredients together. 

2C flour

2 t soda

¼ t salt

1 t cinnamon

¾ t cloves

¾ t ginger

Combine with first ingredients. 

Bake at 375 for 10-12 min.

Top with powdered sugar


To a Mouse

 I wonder what Burns would have done if the mouse was in his house?

I encountered a “Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie” in my kitchen last night. I have had my suspicions about his presence. I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye one morning. I then placed traps (humane ones, since they work the best) and checked them daily. I even put tempting peanut butter in them. But to no avail. So I had begun to think that perhaps I was imagining things.

Last evening I made spice cookies, hummus, yogurt, and pepper oil along with dinner. I was a cooking machine! The spice cookies were the last thing to get done, and all the rest of the dishes were done, so I rinsed out and filled up the cookie dough bowl with water and let it set overnight. I went to bed. A bit later, before I went to sleep, I heard this Plop! I thought, “now what just fell in the water and how did it get there?” So I got up, and turned on the kitchen light, and came face to face with a very wet mouse on my sink counter.
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This is a picture of my sink and sink counter (how 50’s right?)  I actually like this self contained unit quite a bit.  So my encounter with the very wet mouse took place on the left hand side, and he and I just stared at each other, him frozen in fear, me wracking my brain over what I could contain him with.  When I moved in to try to catch him, he ran behind the window shade and down behind the sink unit.  Well at least now I know WHERE he is, I moved all my traps to the top of the sink.  We will see if it helps.  Once I catch him, I should be able to seal up the opening between the sink and the wall, which should keep additional invaders out.

Current score:  Mouse 2, Me 0

Since I have been avoiding it….

A school post.

First off, I aced the quiz this week. That is a good positive start to this post.

Secondly, we got our first exam back. Now, class breaks down like this:

10% class participation grade (active and intelligent class participation)

15% quiz grade (lowest grade dropped)

20% exam # 1

25% exam #2

30% exam #3

So, class participation is graded on a curve. Just for being there, we get credit. For participation, a bit more credit, for active intelligent participation, even more. If we don’t feel confident about this, we can do an 8 page research paper. (yuck, no thanks, Not for 10 %, I’d rather participate). Some people don’t show up. Some people leave half way through class. Some never talk at all. So if this is graded on a curve, I think I am doing ok.

Quizzes. I have aced all of them except one, where I managed to miss one question. Pretty good record so far.

Exam# 1 has been taken and handed back. I was devastated. Cried all evening long. I knew it might not be great, and I know I can learn from this test to know what he expects for the next test, but I was truly upset over…….my B.

So, what exactly is my problem? In my head, I know this isn’t a terrible grade. But if it isn’t an A, it isn’t worth having. I seriously considered dropping the course over this B. Had a terrible night. I suspect this might have been some of the trouble I had in school my first time around. I look back at my transcripts and am consistently surprised that they aren’t all D’s and F’s! I didn’t get ANY D’s or F’s back then, but I was SO SURE that I had. Seems that B stands for “Big Fat Looser” in my head. Where did this all come from?

Let’s top this off with how the class spread went. 4 A’s, 9 B’s, 9 C’s, 8 D’s, and 4 F’s. See? I am still toward the top of the class. So brain? It is time to SHUT UP!

Oh, I wanted to add, there are people in the class who are PERFECTLY happy with their C’s.  These are gals that will, in the next year or so, be teaching our children.  They aren’t just happy with C’s in this class, but all their classes.  They are perfectly content with mediocrity.  They make every excuse in the book why they are happy with their C’s, the teacher wasn’t good, the test was too hard, they didn’t understand the questions, the teacher didn’t let them participate, the teacher didn’t know their names.  On and on.  Makes me so eager to enter my child in the school system.    *rolls eyes*  If the teacher is that content with mediocrity, how are they going to help teach my child to reach as high as she can?  Where is the happy balance between beating yourself up over a B, and being a perfectly contented underachiever?

So tomorrow….

Yes, tomorrow was the day I had given myself as a deadline for Project.  It is a sad state of affairs, that project is NOT done.  I have 8 more rows left until I can cast off for the back.  The sleeves then need to be started.  Project is not done, and even if I knit all night long, it won’t be done by tomorrow.  Therefore, I will make cookies.  Cookies, to tide us over ’till project is done.  Spice cookies, that taste like autumn and compliment the suddenly cool weather.  Cookies that are like comfort, meant to be enjoyed with tea and candles and quickly darkening evenings.  Instead of knitting, tonight I make cookies.