Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...

Seven baby possums,
Six Canada geese,

Five live octopuses!

Four tabby cats,
Three hummingbirds,
Two Muscovy ducks,
And an egret in a western red cedar.

“You know, I can’t figure out whether to report you to PETA, the UN, or Homeland Security.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...

Six Canada geese,

Five live octopuses!

Four tabby cats,
Three hummingbirds,
Two Muscovy ducks,
And an egret in a western red cedar.

*sigh* “So much for the carpets.”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...

Five live octopuses!

Four tabby cats,
Three hummingbirds,
Two Muscovy ducks,
And an egret in a western red cedar.

“What is this I don’t even...?!”
“The Red Wings are in town, there was a sale.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...

Four tabby cats,
Three hummingbirds,
Two Muscovy ducks,
And an egret in a western red cedar.

“You’re a sick bastard, did you know that?”
“Did you know there’s an egret on your head?”
“Can you blame him?”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On the third day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...

Three hummingbirds,
Two Muscovy ducks,
And an egret in a western red cedar.

“You know one of these hummingbirds is trying to take on a duck?”
“They’re very territorial.”
“And he’s winning!”
Flzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” “Wrawk.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the second day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...

Two Muscovy ducks,
And an egret in a western red cedar.

“What the hell is a Muscovy duck, anyway?”
“They’re the big ones with the nubbly faces that live in the park.”
“Ugly suckers.”
“Hey, that’s no way to talk about your Christmas present!”
“Well, I wouldn’t want to meet one down a dark alley at night, is all I’m sayin’.”

Photo by original uploader Steevven1 at en.wikipedia and used under a  Creative CommonsAttribution 2.5 Generic license with my thanks.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I have a little gift for everyone. A new post will be made every day from now 'til Twelfth Night. Have a blessed and peaceful holiday and a prosperous New Year!

The 12 Days of Christmas, Northern California Style

On the first day of Christmas my True Love sent to me...
An egret in a western red cedar.

“Hey, where’s my pear tree?”
“You don’t even like pears.”

Photo by Len Blumin of Mill Valley, California, United States and reshared under a Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license with my sincere thanks .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stocking Shopping

I realized again this Christmas that many women end up filling their own stockings for whatever reason. I find this kind of sad, not in the pathetic sense but in the sense that it's too bad that they have to find their own little goodies. After all, the surprise is part of the fun, right?

So I thought it would be nice to put together a guide to small gifts for grown-up women. I intend this post to be a kind of work in progress - I'll add things as I think of them and then repost next winter for maximum helpfulness.

So here we go, broken down into categories.

General Interest
  • Gift Cards - always fit in the stocking and always fit the recipient, assuming you don't give a Harbor Freight card to a lady that's not into power tools. Think of what stores she frequents, and I DON'T mean the grocery store. Book stores, craft stores, and her favorite coffee shop are good choices.
  • Lip stuff - gifting makeup can be tricky. But you can probably make a pretty good guess at what she likes. Does she wear lipstick or lip gloss? Then a tinted gloss or clear sparkle gloss might be good. If she's outdoors a lot a SPF chapstick is a good choice. If she's into natural stuff Burt's Bees or a local-made beeswax balm are a good choice.
  • Beverages - no, not a bottle of beer, unless you're positive that's what she wants. Fancy tea, gourmet coffee or cocoa mix are usually welcomed by their respective fanciers.
  • Flashlight or booklight - really handy for anyone. I like to have an LED flashlight on my keychain, not only for finding my way in the dark, but for finding things in my purse/computer bag/carry-on. MagLite makes the mini and micro sizes that are great and the Sapphire light is also a nifty light.
  • Pocket knife/multi tool - if she doesn't have one she probably doesn't know she needs it...yet. Find a small model that includes a scissors.
  • Chemical handwarmers - my brilliant idea of the year last year. If you live in a place that's even remotely cold it can be nice to have a set of handwarmers handy just in case.
For Crafters:
  • Scissors - you can never have too many. New embroidery scissors or clever travel scissors are good stocking-sized choices.
  • Marking pens/pencils/Sharpies - pens run out, they hide, they get left in the other bag. More are always welcome.
  • Measuring tape - using a cloth tape means it needs to be replaced every couple of years anyway due to stretching. A smallish metal tape is nice for some applications, but sometimes the flexible tape is a necessity. Also useful for many crafters is a really nice straight edge/ruler like this stainless steel one.
  • Craft gloves - repetitive motion becomes an issue at some point for almost every crafter. Having a pair on hand can be a lifesaver.
  • Notepads - like the pens, they have a tendency to wander and are consumable. Don't get ones that say Grocery List or Things to Do unless you know she won't take it as a hint and make you sleep on the couch.
If you have a knitter to buy for, you're lucky. They need all manner of nifty things that will fit in stockings.
  • Luxury needles - like these super sweet carbon-fibre DPNs. Or some pretty wooden needles.
  • Cable needles - mine have a tendency to escape into the wild and are never seen again.
  • Yarn needles - maybe I'm just bad at owning needles.
  • Fancy yarns - get her something she wouldn't get for herself, like a ball of qiviut/silk blend. Or if she's a sock knitter get her something she would get for herself - sock yarn! (Remember that it takes 100 grams of fingering weight yarn to make a pair of socks. Most sock yarns come in either 50 gram or 100 gram balls.)
  • Row counter - this is where my partner came up a winner last year. I had been using polyhedral dice to keep track of my patterns. (I'm such a geek.) Being able to tote my counter along with my project is a huge improvement!
  • Stitch markers - pretty stitch markers abound, on Etsy and elsewhere. (Example search of Etsy.)
Mostly the same as knitters, but I'll note the differences as they're kind of important.
  • Fancy hooks - pretty wood hooks, ergonomic hooks, light up hooks...all fun and a little different.
  • Yarn needles - same as above.
  • Fancy yarn - crocheting takes around 30% more yarn than knitting, so keep this in mind when purchasing.
  • Row counter - I never used one for crocheting, but I also never had one before. I'm guessing it's as handy for hooking as it is for needling.
  • Stitch markers - similarly useful, but crocheting stitch markers must be removable/openable.
  • Needles - this is getting to be a theme. In this case you might have to ask what kind she uses - take notes!
  • Travel scissors/snips - I really like these ones, and TSA has never given them a second look.
  • Luxury thread/floss packs - DMC Light Effects are fun, as are hand dyed flosses.
  • Magnetic needle keeper - either for the table or on a necklace or brooch. Until I got one of these I just parked the needle in my can guess how happy that made the people who wanted to hug me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Not Dead Yet

I'm deep in several projects right now: two about to be published crochet patterns and another in the design stage, some nifty needlecases up on Etsy, and a novel that is moving right along thanks to obsession, the nice ladies and gents on Rav, and Dr. Wicked's awesome Write or Die program.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Placing Beads on Sock Yarn

The May techniques for Sock Knitters Anonymous are beads and texture. And even more exciting is the Mock (mystery sock) which also includes beads!

Here's a simple method to get the beads onto the yarn without having to tear your hair out, aka forcing yarn through the eye of a beading needle. All you need is some sewing thread and a needle with an eye that will pass through your beads. I prefer a small-gauge tapestry needle for this task, though a sewing sharp will also work. (In the photos my beads are strung on yarn for visibility. If you use thread this will all be much easier. Also I haven't wound my yarn yet.)

Step 1: Wind your yarn into cakes or balls if necessary and string your beads onto a length of sewing thread, leaving the needle on the thread. It is okay to knot the far end of the thread (or use a bead) to keep the beads from escaping.

Step 2: Loop the working end of your sock yarn ONCE around the sewing thread, doubling both fibers back on themselves. Your work should look like this:

Step 3: Thread the needle back through the first bead, being careful not to split the thread (this is where the tapestry needle makes it a bit easier).

Step 4: Slide the bead down to the loop of yarn.

Step 5: Tug the bead a little to pop it over the junction.

Step 6: Pull the yarn tail free of the bead. VoilĂ , you have a bead right where you want it!

Once you have the steps down you can do several beads at once limited only by the length of your needle. Good luck and enjoy your beaded socks!