Saturday, November 20, 2010


Here's a little photo tour through my most recent spinning:

1) First I spun the single ply yarn.

 2) Then, I wound it onto the niddy noddy to see how much I had spun (43 yards).

3) See how charged it is? It is all wound back on itself and kinky.  It needs to plied in the opposite direction as it was spun to even it out.

4) Then I wound it into a center pull ball to get ready to ply it.

 5) Here it is on the bobbin after it has been plied (2 strands twisted together).  In this case, I plied it onto itself.

6) It isn't nearly as charged anymore, but it still needs to relax a little. (now it is 21 yards)

7) This is just a better picture of it at the same stage twisted into a skein.

8) Here it is after being washed with Kookaburra wool wash and hung to dry.  It is all set, soft, and clean now!

9) Final product: 21 yards of double ply 7 wraps/inch natural wool yarn from my first fleece.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Master Charles Hat

Cutest. Hat. Ever.
I saw the pattern for this hat on and couldn't resist.  I mean seriously, just check out the pattern here and look at the kid!  Too cute. So I decided I had to make one for my friend's baby, Cole.  The pattern comes with several sizes and I decided to go with toddler instead of infant so that it wouldn't be too small.  Turns out, that was unnecessary.  So, this red one will go to my sister.  She requested the tie strings, so I added I-cord with puff balls on the end to the ear flaps.  The yarn for this is knitpicks Gloss, which is merino wool and silk.  It is really soft, warm, and has a nice shine.  

Then, I decided to do some charity knitting and made this infant version for a March of Dimes charity auction to raise money for prematurity (which happens to be one of the conditions we research in our lab).  Our lab made a Hawkeye themed basket of baby goods.  The auction was last night and I heard our basket was a hit and went for $150!

Here you can see the size difference:

I LOVED making these hats.  This is probably the most fun I have ever had knitting.  I really like cables and knitting in the round.  They look so difficult, but really aren't.  I learned a lot with this pattern.  You knit the two ear flaps on DPNs and then knit them into the round.  I learned about different decreases that lean different ways to keep everything symmetrical.  Finally, I had to pickup stitches around the bottom to add the ribbed edge.  I'd never done that before either.

Speaking of learning things about knitting and knitpicks, let me just say that I LOVE the knitpicks podcast.  I have been listening to it for the last year (and a lot of ones from previous years) and have learned so much and gotten so many ideas.  I don't know many people (especially near me) that knit, so just listening to someone talk about it introduces me to techniques and terms that I didn't know about before.  I would highly recommend the podcast.  Furthermore, I would highly recommend the entire business.  I was traveling last week and left my pattern from one of their kits on the plane.  I just called them, and they emailed me an electronic copy right away.  I got the feeling that even the people answering the phones were knitters and knew how frustrating a lost pattern could be.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bridesmaid Jen bag #5 - All Done!

This one is for a junior bridesmaid.  See how it is a little smaller than the others?  I was told she loves pink and butterflies so I put butterflies on the inside.  That way it looks like all of the others from the outside, but has a little surprise on the inside!

What a nice collection of bags!  I hope that the bridesmaids all enjoy them!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bridesmaid Jen bag #4

This is the 4th bag in the set of 5 I am making.  It has a very different color theme than the others, but I like it. I am always surprised at how much more I like it when it is all put together!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bridesmaid Jen bag #3

The third of 5 bridesmaid bags is done!  Hopefully, the last two will be done by the end of this weekend!  I really like this one.  The Alexander Henry fabric on the outside is great, the top is sort of shiny, and I love the button.  I think it ties it all together!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Andrea Bag

I designed this bag for my friend (and loyal blog commenter) Andrea.  It has been really difficult keeping it a secret until I could give it to her!  I am really pleased with it.  I showed it off at work this week and got some good ideas from others.  I am going to make a variation with one longer handle side to side and a little bigger body to be more of a messenger-style bag than a purse.  I already have the fabric and can't wait to try it out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Jen Bag

This is the second of the set of 5 I am working on for Bridesmaid gifts for a customer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Handles has handles

I posted back in February about this wool I got at a local woolen mill and asked for ideas for handles.

Laura suggested wooden handles. Well, I finally bought some wooden handles and made it into a bag.

I really like the look of the wood and wool together.  Plus, the round handles and squareness of the bag seem to work well together.  I had a really hard time deciding how to attach the handles and tried a different method first.  I should have taken pictures of it that way - it looked horrible!  This second approach worked much better.  I didn't put in any pockets, though, and I wish I would have because stuff just gets lost inside of it!  I can't decide if I want to keep it for myself, put it up for sale in my Etsy shop, or just give it away.  I'll just have to think about it for a while, I guess.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tie Blanket

I was shopping at the fabric store this weekend and saw that fleece was 50% off.  I had been wanting to make a new tie blanket that matched the living room, since the Nebraska Husker tie blanket is now in our downstairs rec room, so I just couldn't resist!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Remember the Jen bag?

I previously posted about the Jen bag: 
Well, someone contacted me through Etsy and asked me to make 5 of them for her bridesmaid gifts.  I am really excited about it!  We have picked out the fabric for all of them, and here is the first one!

 I am a little bit in love with this one.  Now I want to make one for myself!  It has a zipper pocket and patch pocket inside and closes with a magnetic snap.

And, I now have logo tags:

I got these on Etsy from Priya Creations.  I feel so professional!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dishcloth 8 of 26

8) Cluster rib:

I really love using cotton for these swatches so that I can use them as dishcloths, and in general, I am a big fan of cotton, but it just isn't as nice to knit with as wool or even acrylic.  Cotton doesn't have the stretch and give that other fibers do, so I have to be careful to knit loosely or else I get frustrated, especially when trying to slip stitches over others.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hand spun and hand dyed

This is my first batch of yarn spun on my new drop spindle.  The drop spindle is a little easier for learning to spin because it is slower than the wheel.  I have more time to concentrate on drafting consistently.  I am still not great at being consistent, but I think I'm getting better.

This is also my first batch of dying yarn.  I just used food coloring and used a combination of yarn dying techniques that I have read about in books, including this one, and the directions on the food coloring box.  I figured that wool is a protein fiber and egg shells are protein, so food coloring should work on wool if it works on eggs.  I heated a couple cups of water to just barely a simmer and added vinegar and food coloring as specified on the box.  I used 65 drops of blue and 15 of red.  The water looked really blue so I expected the yarn to be more close to indigo than purple, but I still like how it turned out.  I was surprised to see how differently some parts of the  yarn took the dye.  I am excited to knit something with it to see how it looks knit up!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A morning of mending

A few weeks ago I had a really productive morning mending clothes.
I re-sewed seams in 2 pairs of pants, patched a pair of jeans, sewed buttons on 2 shirts, fixed the hem in a pair of dress pants, and fixed a seam in a shirt!  I can't believe I waited so long to take care of these!

Mending clothes isn't that exciting, but I did learn how to use the blind hem feature on my sewing machine for the dress pants, so at least I learned something in the process.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Iowa Koozy - Hayden Fry

Another koozy. These are some of my favorite projects - someone made a joke about wanting a koozy with Hayden Fry on one side, thinking that would not be possible. I surprised him with this koozy and he was adequately surprised and excited!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Well, this isn't exactly a craft, but I am excited about it so I'm going to share. I planted a garden in May. Here is the BEFORE:

I got home from my week long vacation today and was really worried that it would be dead...but here is the AFTER:

Everything had grown and was ready to be picked! Look at all this! I even had 2 blueberries from my blueberry bush. Check out my web album if you want to see more before and afters!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cole's Robot Quilt

I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything, but I finally have something to show for myself! I had great intentions of posting updates on this quilt as it went, but I was sick for a couple weeks, traveled, had guests at our house, etc, etc and never got around to it. So here is the finished product. It is a baby quilt for my friend who just had a baby boy. Their theme is robots, so I thought David Walker's Robots was an obvious choice. The pattern is my own. I did applique planets and rockets in the 4 corners and a big robot in the center - all inspired by the fabric. The shapes are free-hand, so not perfect, but I was pretty happy with the result.