Friday, December 31, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Santaclava

My Brother is awesome.

He doesn't take himself too seriously... at least not too often, anyway.  ;-)

He had a serious handle-bar mustache at our sister's wedding a couple of years ago and Einstein Hair at Hubba's and my wedding many years before that.  So when I saw this post by the Student Knitter, I knew I had the perfect project for my bro.

The only thing was, I didn't quite see him as a Viking.

A Cowboy or a Ski-bum or a Skiing Cowboy, I could see, but not a Viking.  So I spent some time thinking about it, looking for cowboy hats and ski caps, finally looking through the finished projects for the Bearded Touque on Ravelry when one project really inspired me... I decided to make my own Bearded Santa Hat for my bro... aka The Santaclava.

This project is a combination of Santa's Ho-Ho-Hat and the Bearded Touque with a bit of improvisation in between.  The Bearded Touque pattern was confusing to me, so instead I made a sketch of my plan and just went for it.  Which means it has some issues.  In the end though, I think it turned out pretty well.

This was super fun to knit.  Mostly because I was giggling the whole time I was working on it.

Apparently the family liked it too...

Happy Fiber Arts Friday, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ah-Ha Moments

A few ah-ha moments come to mind this year.  They're mostly small, little, ah-has that make day-to-day life a tad easier.  Ah-has such as: I can make car payments at a local, sister, credit union; I can bring knitting and spinning tools on board an aircraft; and Frontline does not require a prescription.  Sometimes though, an ah-ha can be quite profound.  The one I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is: Forgiveness does not need to include Trust and Friendship.

It really is a very simple idea, and one that many of you have probably already learned.  I suppose sometimes the simplest things have the largest effects.

We all have someone who has wronged us in some way.  Whether it's on purpose or not.  With or without cause, it happens to all of us.  When it does, it's up to us to decide where to go next.  Do we repair the friendship or let it go?  Do we stay angry forever or do we forgive?

Certainly it depends on the size of the wrong, hurt and anger involved, but if the goal is only to move past the anger and not to a point of friendship, then the idea of forgiveness is not so daunting.

This ah-ah is still quite new for me, so I have a lot of work to do in one particular situation.  I just wanted to say that it was quite a freeing moment to realize trust and friendship don't have to come along with forgiveness.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Few Lessons I've Learned Recently

Our circuit breaker can only support three water de-icers.

Credit Card payments can only be made once every three days.

Rabbit actually does taste like chicken.

My iPhone can receive photo texts, but can not send them even though it acts like it can.

Baby hats should have ties because they don't stay on otherwise.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Odds and Ends

I was travelling again this week, so there was no progress on my Plumber Sweater.  There was no progress on my Recycled Wool Nightcap.  Nor was there progress on spinning the remainder of my Cashmere/Tussah Silk roving.

I have been working on a Top Secret project for a sometimes reader of this blog, so I will not be posting about it here until the time is right. :-)

I have also been making plans for the lovely Suri and Yak/Merino yarns that Hubba brought from Japan.

Finally, I have been planning a second BFF Hat and shopping around for just the right roving.

I fear a bit of Fiber Arts ADD is in my future.  But it doesn't matter because it's Fiber Arts Friday and I bet there will be more great ideas to add to the list.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Out of Touch

When I'm not on the road, I feel a bit out of touch with my projects and client.

When I am on the road, I feel out of touch with home.

Don't get me wrong.  With email, instant messaging, tele- and web-conferencing, the Internet and cell phones.  I am able to keep in contact.  I can attend meetings, update projects and whisper good night to my Hubba regardless of where I am.  However, there is no real substitute for seeing people in person.

Which means, I always feel out of touch with something that's important to me all the time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Lovely Yarn from Japan

Hubba went to Japan last month for the 30th Oita International Wheelchair Marathon.

He had a good race and lots of rah-men and sushi.

I did not go, so he asked what he should bring home from Japan.  My answer was Yarn, of course. I told him that only natural fibers will do... wool, alpaca, cotton.... absolutley no acrylic, polyester or nylon shall be brought into this house.  To which he replied, "This is not my first yarn rodeo."

So since I've been on the road this week and haven't made much progress on any of my works, I thought I would share the lovely yarn Hubba brought back from Japan.

One of the race volunteers helped him find a yarn shop. Where he found, not just a couple skeins, but a huge sack of lovely yarn.  Which included...

Two skeins of an amazingly soft beige suri alpaca blend.

It is a very fine strand and blended with something, but I don't read Japanese, so I don't know what it is.  I suspect it's silk.

Our WonderWhyGal and other Suri breeders will appreciate this... When Hubba told the shop keeper that he needed "the best" yarn she had, she found this yarn and told him that "it is very special."

It is very special indeed.  Each one is only 25g, so I need to find something equally special to make with it.  I am thinking small, lacey and close to the skin...  and after reading this post from If the Knit Fits, I'm am feeling optomistic that I will be able to find something appropriate.

The other wonderfulness he brought home was 9 skeins of Yak/Merino... I'm in love with this yarn.  I love the natural colors, I love that they could go together or alone.

I also love that it's Yak!  I haven't worked with yak yet, but I have met some yaks.  I have some yak down in my stash waiting to be spun for the perfect project, and frankly, yak is just really fun to say.  :-)

As Hubba was making his selections, the race volunteer suggested that he should choose brighter colors, but he knows me well.  He knows that I love the natural, earthy colors best.  After all, it was one of the (many) reasons we decided to raise alpacas.

By the way, is it called a skein when it's wound like these?

I wish you all a very happy day.  Of course since it's Fiber Arts Friday, it is already. ;-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I got a Haircut

Normally this is not noteworthy.  But it's been a long time.

I suppose that's a testament to the last person who cut my hair. It must have been one.good.haircut.  Which is surprising to me since I wasn't entirely thrilled with that experience or initial result.

It wasn't my intention to wait so long, but with travelling and such it just never got scheduled.

My ends were really dry and starting to split, which is unusual.  So I had to stop and figure it out.  Yes, I had to go back to my planner to see when my last haircut was.

It had been more than a year.  Honestly?  16 months.

It feels great to have freshly cut hair.  I love it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We've been trying to find some old friends for years.

You know how it goes.  They moved and changed jobs.  We moved and changed jobs.  Life goes on.  We lost touch.  In this case, my sister had a special friendship with their daughter and they became pen pals.

I asked my sister a few weeks ago if she had heard from the daughter.  But both had moved and lost touch also.

Then last week, my husband was visiting in our old town.

He ran into our old friend.  Yep.  Our friend was in town visiting as well.

Both were out for a run, on the same trail, at the same time, in a city that neither lived in anymore.


Then today, my sister called.  She found a letter from the daughter "just sitting on a shelf."

The letter is 10 years old.

Isn't that strange?

We've been looking for them for years and now we've found them.... on all channels.

It makes me wonder.  Are those things/people/events always there and we just don't see them until everyone is ready? Or... does someone place them there when the time is right?

I guess that's why they call it serendipity.

I wonder if there's a way to make things like this happen.  Or do we just have to be patient while we grow more?

What do you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010


I was feeling unsettled all weekend.

I was preparing to travel to Minnesota.  It was sort of strange after being home for a month.

The dog was unhappy.  He knows what the black bag means.

I had to be home for much of the month of November and I am very blessed to work for a company and client that allowed me to meet my personal requirements.  But, after a month of client meetings in my jammies and coffee breaks with the alpacas, I was preparing to travel again and feeling unsettled.

I enjoy being at home.  I enjoy being able to spend time with the alpacas, our dog and Hubba every day.

But this morning I was back in the groove.  I woke up early, went to the shuttle, breezed through security, a two-hour flight, picked-up the rental car and was off to the office.  Just like normal.

So I'm not sure why I was unsettled.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Trouble Coffee

My cousin is unconventional by nearly every measure.  But she is dedicated and believes in what she is doing.

She has studied coffee for years.  She has a passion for it.

The last time I saw her, she was on the verge of opening her coffee house, Trouble Coffee in San Francisco, California.

She put everything into it.  She was sleeping on a friend's floor and trying to get open before the rent was due.  Now a few years later, she's getting some very conventional support.
The level of admiration I have for my cousin is very high.

If you ever find yourself in San Francisco and in need of caffeination, visit Trouble Coffee.  I suspect you'll be pleased.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Plumber Sweater, part 5

As I mentioned last time, this was my first trip down the body-to-sleeve joining road.

I added life lines.  Carefully read and re-read the instructions.  Then joined the sleeves to the body of my Plumber Sweater...

...and it was no big deal.

I have now successfully created a few short rows too.  They were actually quite easy.  This video from Knitpicks was helpful in describing the wrap and pickup.

This sweater is officially the largest item I've ever knitted... I'm up to skein #8 of 12.

As of today, I have completed the first decrease, so I feel like I might actually finish this project one day.  I only have about 7 inches to go.  :-)

I am travelling over the next couple of weeks and the sweater is now too big to come along.  Which means the progress will slow down a lot, but I am very happy to be this far.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday and Happy December.  Please head over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see some great fiber arts.