March 2010

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I’m always trying to find a way to contain the girl’s hair. It’s wispy just like mine. I tried this quick headband with some leftover yarns. The first one was made following this pattern from Carissa Knits (Ravelry link). The only changes I made was to size it down for a smaller head (8″ ties and 8″center). It turned out to be stretchy enough that I could wear it too.

knitted headband with crocheted flowers

I added some rather roughly crocheted white flowers to the ballet pink basketweave headband. The ties are made with I-cord which I had never tried before. It turned out to be fast and easy and fun! The second one was made from green cotton using the same recipe but substituting garter stitch for the basketweave and I used some of the pink yarn to embroider some wonky flowers. The green one is going to my little niece for Easter. Hopefully she won’t notice that embroidery is not one of my better skills.

knitted headband with embroidered flowers

These were so simple I actually made two in one day despite the crankies. I may even make one for myself, I have a little ball of dark plum colored cotton that might be just right.

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I gave my original Cascade Little Si spindle away thinking I could easily replace it. Wrong. I even tried other spindles thinking there might be something else I would like better now that I have some experience. Nah.

I finally wrote directly to the company and they made one for me! I feel special. I’m not normally one to name my tools (except Frances) but I think this spindle may get a name. What do you think?

Cascade Spindle company Little Si high whorl drop spindle

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I know I’ve been busy crafting but I’m not sure what! Origami dragons and paper ballet dancer puppets, little doll blankets and perler beads. And laundry. This is the time of the year where we have all our various types of boots and coats out because we never know from one day to the next what the weather will be like. It seems to increase the laundry as well.

Off the spinning wheel: two ounces of hemp fiber spun into about 100 yards of DKish yarn. Or twine. It’s hard to call something like this yarn. It was quite rough so I kept a dish of water to wet my fingers occasionally as I spun. It was certainly interesting but I don’t plan on spinning hemp again. Maybe a hemp/cotton blend.

handspun hemp yarn

Off the knitting needles: one handspun hemp mesh and leather market bag. I had hoped to knit the hemp into the Ilene market bag pattern but there wasn’t enough yardage. So I improvised by cutting a piece of thin leather for the base and the handles and knitting the mesh pattern for just the body of the bag. I used a tiny scrapbooking holepunch to make holes 1/4″ apart all the way around the edge of an oval traced off one of my casserole dishes. I then used a crochet hook to pull loops through each hole, did a single crochet and then deposited that loop onto circular needles. I then knit up all the yarn in the mesh stitch and cast off. I punched similar holes in the bottom edge of the leather handle piece and used some commercial hemp thread to hand sew on the bag. The mesh stitch stretches easily to accommodate quite a lot of things despite not looking all that big.

handspun hemp knitted mesh and leather market bag

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Some months ago I joined in a little fun that I called
brown paper packages which boiled down to making and sending handmade gifts to other people just because. The nice thing about it was that you had plenty of time and you could make anything you wanted. My friend Krista sent me these lovely felted wool coasters. The images are graphic and organic at the same time and evoke elements of nature. Aren’t they lovely? Truth be told, they may end up on the wall instead of under a mug!

felted wool coasters

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hemp spinning fiber
I should have a contest and have you guess what all these are. Non-wool spinning fibers seems to be a theme this last week or so. I’ve received the one above in a trade with DudleySpinner. This looks a bit like a blond wig doesn’t it? It feels more like very coarse dog hair. It is neither. It’s hemp. I know you are probably wondering the same thing I am, why do I want to spin twine? There are a lot things that are worth trying at least once. And it was essentially free. When I’m done spinning I should have enough two ply yarn to make a strong, antimicrobial market bag such as the Ilene pattern (Ravelry link).

The following fibers came last week in a trade with FuzzyBunnyFibers. The one on the left is made from milk protein! Imagine that? Makes me feel like I need to knit them with my casein needles, casein is a plastic also made from milk protein. And the other fiber is bamboo. Both are quite soft and the two together should be enough to make a pair of soft but durable, moisture wicking lace footies for summer wear. I’ll probably do some experimenting with dyeing these fibers. The acid dyes that I use on wool and silk will also be ideal for dyeing the milk protein. The bamboo will best be dyed with fiber reactive dyes, the same ones Jan and I use to tie-dye cotton and occasionally hemp although I like the natural color of the hemp fiber so that will likely not get dyed.

milk protein spinning fiber and bamboo spinning fiber


Let me first say that I am not a photographer. I wish I had more skills in this area but most of the time the photos I take are just point and shoot and hope that there are no little fingers or cat tails in the way.

But today I needed to take some serious photos. For a serious project. So, I gathered my gear and put my head together as best as I could.

The lighting—overcast sky—perfect.

overcast winter sky

The props and the equipment—steadfast and serviceable.

tripod and case

The assistant—essential. I don’t know why she picked that hat. Maybe she thought we were going out to photograph animals?


Now I’ll weed through 60-odd photos and hope I shot one that will serve the design well. A good original is worth far more than countless hours of photo-editing. Too bad there wasn’t budget to hire a professional photographer to obtain said original. So there will be some photo-editing involved. But hopefully with a little skill and a little luck we’ll end up with a solid finished project. As my old boss, Bob, used to say, “Even a blind squirrel can hit one in ten.”

last remnants of snow in the shade
last patch of snow in the shade

bulb shoots poking up through the soil
bulb sprouts poking up through the soil

our neighbor’s cat lazing in the sun
cat lazing in the sun

newfallen and weathered pine cones brought home to grace our table
newfallen and weathered pine cones

two drakes chasing a hen on the river, not interested in our bread crumb offerings
two drakes chasing a hen ducks on the water

It’s too soon to say we’ll have no more snow this year but there are certainly signs of spring all around. The birds are noisier, the squirrels are running for fun, dogs are out with their people, deer have been spotted slipping through the neighborhood. We are spending more time outside, pretending that our bare hands are not too cold to throw the ball one more time before the sun goes down.

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Actually this is the baby gribble but the details are much easier to see. They are round and fuzzy with long pointy ears and a long snout with which to suck up ants and other bugs. Adult gribbles are solid green and have little stubby legs. I wish I could remember the other details of the habits of the gribble, it was a comical story told to me by the girl with large gestures and lots of giggling.

Here is my interpretation in polymer clay (with direction from the girl of course). Maybe I should attempt it in Fun Fur instead.

polymer clay gribble creature

The artist with an adult gribble—blue ant half way up the snout. Watch out!


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cats sleeping on fabric

Cats. Sleeping on my project. Too cute to bother them. Alright, I have made a little progress on the drapes but not much. Somehow I’ve gotten sidetracked. Yes, it was spinning. 2oz. out of the pound of oatmeal BFL that I’ve been working off of became this fingering weight cabled four ply. And if you don’t know what that means, it’s okay, that might not be the right term. But it’s nicely round and shiny, smooth and strong. Probably make good sock heels.

cabled four ply oatmeal BFL handspun yarn

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