Monthly Archives: June 2016

I’m Sewing!

I’ve been a good girl. I didn’t look at floor looms or weaving stuff. And only once admired Laura’s new Saxony spinning wheel at Knit Night. It’s beautiful and amazingly quiet. But not something I have to have. 

I did get back to sewing projects for SSK door prizes. Of course, I started with a new idea. It’s not perfect yet. One is being tested with two color brioche knitting. So far she is happy using it like a yarn bowl. 

Earliest versions of cubie bags with elastic loops


Modified version of cubies with snaps

However, I’m stuck on solving the wrist/handle problem. I might need to let this marinate for a week. 

Handle ideas for cubies

The second project, two Japanese knot bags will be done before next Knit Night. 

Japanese knot bags in progress

The third project, slouchy hobo bag might be done by the end of the week. 

The fourth project, my second version of a cross body bag is marinating on Blue Gal. I’ve been using version one. Love the comfort, but it needs more capacity and pockets.  Since version two is already cut and mostly sown, I need to solve the volume modifications creatively. I think I’ll have to add a gusset at the bottom.  (I just can’t waste expensive fabric.)

2nd version of crossbody bag

Ok, at the moment, it looks like half Wilma Flintstone dress. 

Avoidance Isn’t Working

I REALLY did unfollow spinning and fiber people from my social media feeds. 

I did NOT go to any fiber festivals with my friends. 

But I can’t stay away from knit night or stop listening to all my favorite podcasts, The Knitgirllls,  Woolful, and others. Or not have lunch with my knitting friends. 

Alas, exposure to spinning is unavoidable. 

Last weekend, I decided to use an opposite strategy. I decided to do a deep dive into both spinning and weaving. Oops, did I not mention that I have a long-long-long aspiration to be a weaver? Yep, that woke up last week at lunch. Someone wants to go deeper into quilting. But she must first find homes for her two floor looms. OMG!

Floor loom?!? Floor loom or spinning wheel?!!?

Hubby was no help. He thinks both are wonderful.  ‘That sounds great! And the perfect spot for the loom would be the breakfast room. It has great light and plenty of space.’  He has NO IDEA what he could have unleashed in my crafty takeover of yet another room. 

I didn’t know enough to ask specifics about looms my friend had. I think she mentioned 8 heddles?? So I spent the weekend deep diving into YouTube videos and Ravelry forums on moving a floor loom, beginners setup for weaving, etc. Amazing. 

One woman, Elizabeth Wagner, did 19 videos for a beginner, taking you through the whole process. I watched every one. Setup was tedious but looked interesting.  Weaving doesn’t happen until the 17th video. My first thought, ‘Finally! ‘My second thought, ‘Oh no. Please, not 30 minutes of weaving.’ Fortunately, she only showed 10-15 passes of the process.  Mind numbing boring. Third thought, ‘If I think this is boring now, what about when I weave?’ 

I already knew a few other major negatives about weaving. 

It’s a solitary process. Every hobby I’ve fallen in love with and abandoned was solitary. Yes, I already checked. The local weaving guild doesn’t meet until August.

Japanese Ikat book image from Discovery Books

What would I weave? There is nothing I am really longing to have woven. Japanese ikat is the ONLY thing that interests me. But knowing me, my interest is not enough to go through the HUGE process to create it. Japanese ikat is handdyed warp and wefts BEFORE weaving. Wrap your brain around that. 

Weft dyed ikat cotton

Besides, I already have FABLE (fabric acquisition beyond life expectancy) and am trying to use it up. Really messed up there with Hancock Fabrics Going-Out-of-Business sale this week. 

I don’t want to do production weaving and sell it. 

I don’t want to make garments or household items. 

I could use up ALL the thrift shop sweater yarns. That’s the only plus so far. 

Sigh. Ok, enough. Reality of who I am has sunk in. I no longer have a longing for a loom.  I suppose the old aspiration came from when I did need/want stuff. Or some weird romantic idea of a person happily humming with the rythum of the loom. 

Will this thought process work for a spinning wheel?  Hmmm…..yeah….no….maybe….

Back to Google. This time the topics were chosing a wheel (Abby Franquemont, The Woolery), wheel maintenance, and finally examples of spun yarns from specific wheels (Instagram tagging the makers).

At least I figured out what criteria to base a decision. 

  1. Compact for travel, especially to weekly knit night 
  2. Lower orifice for ergonomics
  3. Easy maintenance 
  4. Best for lighter weight yarns (lace, fingering, DK)
  5. With a 3 spool lazy Kate & extra bobbins

So far that narrows my choices to a Louet Victoria, Shacht Matchless or Ashford Joy. 

Gulp, sticker shock ($800-$1,200) and patience (6-9 months). 

The cost of one wheel would be the equivalent of several years worth of really nice indie yarns. None of which I need. 

And apparently you don’t stop at just one wheel. You’ll want a different one for different purposes (1 for travel, 1 for home, 1 for plying, 1 for fine yarns, etc). Wow, bigger deeper rabbit hole than I expected. Ok, I am backing away from the hole. 

Back to google. What do I knit with handspun yarns?  Hats, mittens, scarves, shawls. I currently have enough of all. And already given plenty as gifts. I’m not willing to spin lots of plain solid colored fiber for a sweater.
This is fortifying my position to stay away. 

Maybe instead, I’ll just get two more larger spindles.

Maybe not. 

Maybe I should get back upstairs to the sewing. 

Sneaky Gardener

I live in a zero lot house. Meaning there is little lawn to mow, a patio, a few weeds to pluck every week because the ‘garden’ is under 600 square feet total. And most of it is in deep shade of neighbors’ houses. 

You see, I wasn’t sure whether or not a whimpy California girl could deal with the heat, humidity and hungry mosquitos of the southern summer. I can’t. But apparently neither can southern born natives. I didn’t know you get as much done as possible between Februray and May, hope the weather stays reasonable through June, go out only to harvest or go to the beach in July and August, and come back in September to start your fall and winter plantings. It’s only taken me ten years to realize that. 

Shade garden favorites

I LOVE having a shade garden. Maidenhair and autumn fern love it enough to self seed every year. Just added hellebores and toad lily. 

Only problem.  Shade is NOT good for veggies. And I miss my homegrown tomatoes, green beans and zucchini. They were SO EASY to grown in California. No amount of soil improvement, best sun exposure, in a pot or in the ground, or even a portable greenhouse produced a single veggie. 

That changed a tiny bit this year. 

Last harvest of Little Gems lettuce

Early April I put in lettuce, New Zealand spinach and peppers. The lettuce was semi successful. Some already were tough and bitter (need to start in Feburary or March next year). Battled with slugs. But Little Gems were a champ. Definitely will repeated them. Parsley, basil and thyme are also now happy.All are thriving in the only sunny spot with good afternoon shade, my front yard. 

First harvest of herbs

If you remember, the tiny balding patch of lawn in the front yard was replaced with very large raised brick beds, new shrubs and perennials. When the daffodils were fading, I put in the veggies inbetween. I was hoping no one from the HOA would notice. My justification: the professional landscapers in our neighborhood put in rainbow chard and all kinds of kale last fall. They survive our winters and are beautiful in the spring. The only difference is I planned to harvest and eat mine. I’ll put in plenty for pretty and food. No one but my landscaper said anything, except that the yard looks great. 

New Zealand spinach is thriving among the coleus & begonias

I have my seeds ready to start in about six weeks. Rainbow chard, Dino kale, some other romaine lettuce and more Little Gems. 

Oops forgot the kale

If I add taller perennials like echinacea, do you think I could sneak in some okra next year?


Knitting Progress for SSK KAL


I apologize for haphazard posts. I’ve been dealing with sleep deprivation for the last 4-5 months. Enough brain fog that I had nothing to chat about with you. Last night was short but better quality sleep in a long time. 

My week’s sleep pattern

For a month I woke several times with mild to severe leg cramps.  Last week was fewer & fewer cramps but a weird twitchy feeling.  If I moved my foot or leg just the wrong way, it would spasm. See the shortest night’s sleep. It was a nasty spasm.  

The cause is probably a double whammy, my CLL and the ketogenic diet. And I’ve tried every remedy I could find on the Internet. 

In past month, a combination of an electrolyte drink* and electrolyte supplements during the day, and of all things, milk of magnesia just before bed gave the best nights. 

Last night, short but no cramps and no twitching. It’s finally getting better. 

* Adapted recipe from Pinterest. 

Electrolyte drink 

  • 1/2 tsp No Salt (potassium)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 2 quarts water

Now for knitting:

I am happily knitting socks!

Two pairs

Up and Out by Laura Linneman in Block Head sock blank Gale’s Art

Detail, Up and Out by Laura Linneman in Block Head sock blank Gale’s Art

Up and Out pattern by Laura Linneman in Gale’s Art sock blank, Block Head on double points size 000. I haven’t worked in double points for quite a while. It’s nice. 

Wish I had the Lace Repair workshop already. I could have used it for some mistakes. Instead, I had to frog a whole pattern repeat. 

Socks On A Plane by Laura Linneman in The Cyborgs Craft Room Assockilate colorway Northern Lights

Detail, Socks On A Plane by Laura Linneman in The Cyborgs Craft Room Assockilate colorway Northern Lights

Another pattern by Laura Linneman, Socks On A Plane in The Cyborg Craft Room Assockilate, Northern Lights. This is knit with Addy Lace 000. This patten I modified. Used the round toe pattern from Sock Architecture just for something different. And changed the cable to 10 row because I wanted more plain knitting between cable rows. 

Both projects are tucked away in the newest version of my Japanese knit bags.

Newly finished Japanese knot bag, medium