[cross-stitching] Baby Blanket

Stitched a baby blanket for Dollar's nephew, whose name we drew for Secret Santa.

Cross-stitch blanket

Quick and easy. Used an alphabet from the book 2001 Cross-Stitch Designs and some tonal thread. I added some small yellow diamonds across the rest of the blanket, so it wasn't completely bare. 


[misc] Penny Wednesday

If I leave a papertowel or any kind of paper out, Penny finds it and shreds it. With all the Christmas wrapping I've been doing, I've tossed some heavy tissue paper to the floor for her enjoyment-

This paper... It is boring.

Penny, you don't look very excited. Maybe if we try to wrap you up in it:

Trying to wrap up Penny.

Well that didn't work. 

Murderface came over to inspect the paper and a wrestling match ensued. Here's how 99% of the wrestling matches between MF and Penny end:

MF is a pacifist.

Looks like Penny gets to keep all the paper. Her crazy-face keeps everyone else away:

Wrapping up Penny.


[crochet] Snowflake Ornaments

Finished all the snowflake ornaments:

Snowflake ornaments

SO. CUTE. Used leftover commercial angora for most- so soft and fuzzy. Also made a couple with handspun angora.


[misc] Santana Friday

Finally, a decent amount a snow is forecast for the weekend. Good. 

Santana, what do you think?


Meh. If it's not going to snow food, she doesn't care.


[knitting] Aran Cap #2

A finished gift:

Aran Cap

The pattern is from an out-of-print leaflet by Candide Yarn. I made an identical hat 2 years ago for Dollar's father. It's a smidge too short, so I made this one a bit longer.

Christmas presents are starting to arrive in the mail. I'll start wrapping things and putting them under the tree (for the cats to rip apart in the middle of the night). 

"Who? Me? Rip apart presents? I promise I won't this year..."


[crochet] Snowflake Ornaments

Working on ornaments to give as gifts this year:


The pattern is Snowflake Ring Ornaments. Last year I made wreath ornaments by the same designer. She has many other similar Christmas themed ornaments on Ravelry- I'm already planning to do stars for next year!

Oh wait, I have to finish a bunch more snowflakes for this year. Good thing they are SO easy. I made one in 15 minutes and showed Dollar. He said, "Wow, looks intricate." But it's not- it's only three rounds to do and the first two are just single crochets. 

Using up some white DK and light-worsted weight scraps from my stash. I've made a couple angora snowflakes that should only get softer and prettier over time.


[misc] Oh Christmas Tree

Got a Christmas tree at one of Nichol's lots (at I-89 Exit 18). It's an 8 foot tall Balsam Fir. I usually get a Frasier Fir because the branches are so much stronger and the needles stay on better, but the balsam smells so much more Christmas-y. 

Christmas Tree up and decorated

Murderface is already waiting for presents under the tree.


[misc] Murderface Friday

Murderface at the vet this morning. He's fine. Santana punched him in the eye last night. She owes me $55 for the vet bill.

Brought Murderface to the vet. Santana scratched/punched him in the eye. He was squinty in his left over after and hid under the bed. The visit to the vet was fine- she put dye in his eye and used a black light to see if his cornea was scratched. It wasn't, so he didn't need any ointment or medicine. 


[knitting] Plain Socks

I rarely knit socks but I started a plain ribbed pair, for something portable and mindless to work on:

Simple Sock

I've spent much time recently in the auto mechanic's waiting in room, waiting for scheduled maintenance and winter tires. 

The yarn is dyed by me, during a class at one of the early Green Mountain Fiber Festivals:

Dyed by me

Of course, I can't work on these "filler" socks now since I'm busy CRAFTING ALL THE THINGS for Christmas. Last night I finished knitting a gift hat and immediately started cross-stitching a project... But after one letter, I moved on to a knew knitting gift... But I need to make sure to embroider a new handkerchief for Dollar... And crochet a doily... And make some Christmas cards... 

Then I just go hide in bed and play iPad games and cuddle with the cats.


[knitting] Dabbling in Double

After taking the "Dabble in Double" class by Lucy Neatby, I was highly motivated to finally start tackling some double-knit potholders. I started with this elephant one:

Elephant Potholder

I cast-on in brown and worked a couple rounds in brown before introducing the green contrast color. 

The opposite side:

Elephant Potholder

A bit of the circle border design is lost on this side because I was working brown on both sides. In the future, I'd like to do a tubular cast-on for two colors (I think there is such a thing) and immediately start working the two colors on either side.

Next, because I've had this idea and wanted to do it for a while, I charted out a USACE castle logo and double-knit that:

USACE Potholder

I like it but need to revise the chart a bit. Also, I'm not so sure why my stitches are so zig-zaggy. That didn't happen with my elephant potholder and I wrapped all the stitches the same way. Huh. Hm. 

The inverse side:

USACE Potholder

I like making these potholders- they are small and quick projects. Once I feel more comfortable, I'll move on to larger double-knit projects.


[misc] Murderface Monday


Had a good weekend- apart from crazy weather. Saturday evening we had to go out to a family dinner but left right in the middle of a squall. Visibility on our hill was zero and I don't have winter tires on yet, so I was sliding. I said, "Nope." We turned around to come home and decided to wait about an hour. We were able to make the dinner but it was slow getting there and back home. 

Sunday I braved the wind and cold to go to the Green Mountain Fiber Festival in Wilder, VT. I saw some friends and picked up some new yarn and spinning fiber. And buttons! For future biscornus. 

Hurray for a short work-week! I just hope the impending snow-storm-of-doom, sure-to-ruin-any-holiday-plans-that-you-might-have, hope-you-enjoy-ramen-on-Thanksgiving, isn't going to making driving terrible. 


[misc] Santana Friday

Used a cartoon filter on a recent picture of Santana:


Looking forward to this weekend! Will be stopping by the Green Mountain Fiber Festival tomorrow in Wilder, VT! 


[knitting] White Tree of Gondor

One of the challenges this month is to make something based on a nerdery other than your own team's (I'm Team Iron Throne). I'm still slowly-but-surely working on afghan squares for a aran blanket, so I chose this block to make:

Tree of Gondor

It's from the Great American Aran Afghan booklet but looks like the White Tree of Gondor from the Lord of the Rings.

I saw the chart for this block and through, "Oh man, here we go." But it was a quick and fun pattern to work on- the landscape and tree and side cables progressed logically. Based on someone else's recommendation, I printed out the chart and color-coded all of the different cables, which helped immensely.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Old picture of Murderface:

sunday napping

He doesn't sleep belly-up in total abandon anymore :'(  Now he has to worry about Penny dive-bombing him in his sleep.

Had my Lucy Neatby class this past Saturday. It was a double-knitting class called Dabble in Double. The class was three hours long- I got there, sat down, blinked and class was over. The time went by so fast. I didn't have too much trouble with the techniques and it's something that I could teach myself, but you learn extra tidbits that only experience and time will reveal- like purling the far side stitches in a clockwise (rather than anti-clockwise) manner. My purl stitched can be loosey goosey at times and this trick helps to sort that out. I've started a double-knit potholder to practice, practice, practice.


[knitting] Pup Tent 3

3rd time making the Pup Tent pattern:

Pup Tent 3

Modifications: Cast on for a k4p4 brim, long enough to fold over. For the main portion of the hat, I converted the twisted Left and Right stitches to purl the stitch being passed behind. The original pattern has you knit both stitches, I believe just to keep things easy, but on the following round you purl the stitch that was passed behind. So I just did it when the small 2-stitch cables came up. This makes the design pop more. I like it.

I used practically all of one ball of Berroco Weekend. Nice, smooth yarn- perfect for the hat and stitches used- the only negative aspect is that it's made up of a lot of plies that were easily speared by my needles.

The plan was to add a big, foofy pompom to the top. I know I bought two balls. I mean, I'm pretty sure I did. I'm, like, 99.99999% sure. But after looking through the usual stash spots, dumping out bags of yarn, rummaging through tubs and essentially tearing apart the craft room, I couldn't find the other ball. I decided to stop looking and simply make the pompom when the other ball magically appears (I didn't give it away did I? Did I use it for something else?). 

I'm sick. I've been sick since Carnage this past weekend. I only had a day or two of headaches and chills, now it's just cough-cough-cough. I've mostly lost my voice. And I'm taking a knitting class tomorrow that my local yarn shop organized. Lucy Neatby and Sally Melville are coming for the weekend and I'm taking a double-knitting class with Lucy Neatby! I'm so excited for it but kind of bummed that I sound like a raspy boy going through puberty. Oh well :(


[spinning] Autumn Batt

I can never resist a pretty batt to spin. Opening up a batt is like opening up a pretty wrapped present. I picked this one up from the Fiber Stash booth at the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival this year:

Autumn Batt

I have to hurry up and prep the fiber before any of the cats (coughPENNYcoughcough) see it opened up on the table and try to rip it apart or, more likely, sit / lay / roll around on it.

Pre-drafting the thick pieces of batt into ready-to-spin balls of fiber:

Autumn Batt: pre-drafting

Spinning the singles:

Autumn Batt - spinning

The finished two-ply:

Autumn Handspun

At this point, I feel as thought I have a dozen skeins of handspun in various autumnal shades. I should figure out a way to use them all together.


[spinning] Purple Fiber Stash

Picked up a few bumps of fiber from the vendor Fiber Stash from the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival this year. I love soft, bouncy merino and couldn't resist spinning this right away:

Purple fiber

I only had 4 oz and split it into three equal portions, to make a true 3-ply.

Handspun Purples

The finished yarn:

Purple 3-ply handspun

Love this yarn so much. 


[boardgames] Carnage on the Mountain

Went up to Killington on Saturday for Carnage on the Mountain. This game convention moved from Fairlee, VT and the new location is great. The Grand Resort is really nice and clean. I ran a couple games on Saturday. First, Shadows Over Camelot:

Ready to play Shadows ! #carnageonthemountain

Then a homemade Twin State Ticket to Ride in the evening. Generally, I run two games at every convention for free entry. I think next year I'll just skip running games and sign up to play new games instead. I've wanted to play a historical miniatures scenario for years. Here's one set-up for the Seven Years' War:

Historical Miniature games are so incredibly detailed! #carnageonthemountain

The new vendor area is nice- I picked up a few new games. Hive was recommended as a good 2-player so I got that. The rules are simple but it's 100% strategy (no luck-based elements), so appeals to Dollar and I. We played a couple times Sunday- it's a nice tile game.

I was surprised to see snow up at Killington on Saturday but then woke up to this at home Sunday morning:

Woke up to snow. How pretty. Now hurry up and melt- I have stuff to do.

In the immortal words of No No No Cat: "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO." Ugh, I so don't want to deal with snow yet. Snow tires. Plowing. Shoveling. I mean, really. I still have some Lily of the Valley bulbs that I ordered this summer that need to be delivered and put into the ground still. 


[knitting] Baby hats to donate

I'm making some baby hats to donate to Alice Peck Day's birthing center:

Hats to donate to APD

Using up leftover yarn that is machine washable.


[knitting] Handspun Mohair Mittens

Wool/mohair fiber by Fantom Farm (love them so much!) purchased at the 2010 Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival:

Fantom Farms

Spun into a bulky two-ply:

Fantom Farms

Knit into a pair of plain mittens:

Handspun mohair mittens

I think these are going to be my work-horse mittens for all the snow I will inevitably have to shovel this winter. The mohair is a tad itchy/scratchy but the knit fabric is tough and strong.


[knitting] Pup Tent 2

I had one skein of Shelter yarn and decided to make another Pup Tent. I made this pattern once a couple years ago but didn't get a picture of that hat- it was given away.

Pup Tent Hat

Pattern: Pup Tent

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, one skein

Needles: US 8

Notes: I made the large size and was not in any danger of running out of yarn. 

The yarn itself is rustic. There is a decent amount of vegetable matter spun into it so that, if you're like me and MUST pick it all out as you go, it's a bit annoying. I've run into this with many of the yarns spun at Harrisville. 

I'm making this pattern again but changing a few aspects.


[misc] Penny Monday

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen...


Nobody knows... my sorrow...

Penny, locked away in Laundry Basket Jail. I want to fashion a little tin cup for her to drag along the bars.

Her jail is nice, though. I don't think many people locked away compare it to curling up into a pile of warm, clean clothes.

Good weekend- productive knitting-wise. Finished a hat, a pair of mittens and a skein of yarn. Started all new Nerd Wars projects for the month of November.


[knitting] Kimono Scarf

Finished a scarf that I started in 2008:

Kimono Shawl


It was big project. It was lace-weight. It got repetitive and boring really fast. But, it was time to finish it. For good.

Here's where it was when I pulled it from the depths of my hide-it-and-forget-about-it bins:

Lace scarf WIP

About halfway through a ball of Alpaca With a Twist Fino. Pattern is Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls. I made it scarf-sized.

All finished and blocked:

Kimono Scarf

Not the most glamorous photo of it but it's quite stunning in real life. The lightness of the lace is very nice.

Kimono Scarf

I made a mistake on one row on this scarf somewhere (yarn-overs were shifted). I only noticed it when I had worked so much more past it that I decided it wasn't worth ripping back to. When I blocked the scarf, I stood and scared at it for a good 5 minutes, looking for the error. I couldn't see it and thought, "Fine. If I made the scarf and I can't find it, hopefully no one else will notice it. Ever."

My US 4 needles didn't fare so well:

Stained needles

Stained. Which made me wonder: If I were to wear this scarf with a white shirt and got caught in the rain- would this scarf BLEED all over my shirt?

The only answer is to gift this scarf to someone I hate and hope they wear it in the rain. 

Just kidding. I washed the scarf prior to blocking and it did bleed quite a bit. Took a few rinses to get most of the extra dye out. Hm. It should hopefully be okay. Will probably give it to my mom as a Christmas gift. And tell her not to wear it in rain. Or snow. Or fog or anywhere even kind of damp-ish.


[cooking] Maple Cream Candies

Maple Creme Candy

Followed this recipe. I didn't want to make too much, so I cut the ingredients down to:

1 cup maple syrup (Grade B)
1/3 cup cream
2 tablespoons butter

Boiled, then simmered until the "ball-in-cold-water" stage. After it cooled a bit, I stir-stir-stirred until it was kind of like a warm paste. Then I pushed small bits into a silicone mold to set.

These came out waaaaaay better than I anticipated. I was worried they would be like the opaque maple candies you find in gift shops and general stores around the state. The light tan ones often shaped like maple leaves. They're usually gritty/grainy like sucking on granular sugar. 

These cream candies are epically smooth. Better than fudge- softer and silkier. I'm not sure if it was the addition of cream and butter- I think the commercial maple candies are only maple syrup that has been boiled and stirred (perhaps over-stirred? which causes the grit, I think?). These candies have super-strong maple flavor from using Grade B syrup- but that also made these darker. Lighter syrup (fancy) would make lighter candies.


[spinning] Icy Fantom

Blend of Wool/Mohair/Viscose by Fantom Farm, purchased at the 2011 Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival:

Fantom Farm

Spun into just < 700 yards of heavy fingering-weight 2-ply:


This yarn is either going to be a pair to tall socks or a shawl.

Fantom Farm Handspun

Or, I can use it to line a nest for Penny:

Penny likes this yarn

I've made a Haruni shawl twice, but never for me. Hmmm...