Saturday, March 29, 2008

Look at all my fancy new yarns

I got busy dyeing yarns the other day, and here's what came out. I'm still trying to master mixing colors. For this first one, I wanted more of a sage tone than a lime tone:


These two are alpaca, and are soooo soft.



All are available at my new etsy shop, Burstyriffic. I plan to use them, but if they sell first, so be it.

When's the last time you went to yoga?

Well, missy, I think it's high time you get off yer ass and go to yoga class. You need to get all Zen and limber and stuff. Unmotivated? Maybe having a cute way to carry your yoga mat will help. Here, let me help:



Tote your stuff, undercover

This is kind of camo-like. It's like being in the Army, only not as hard or as honorable. And more stylish.


Available at Burst of Happiness

Friday, March 28, 2008

Look at me! Look at me!

I got a bit o' free pub in the Local IQ newspaper.

Here is another Robyn Vines Smith bad scan:

And here is a link to the article online.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Trying new things is hard

A little over a year ago, I taught myself to knit. It's not easy, like in the cartoons. It takes patience and practice and lots of mistakes.

I got to where I was making some pretty cool scarves, but that was getting boring. The thing about scarves is that they are rectangular and flat, so you don't have to put much effort into making them. I thought the fact that I was getting bored with them was an indication that I was ready to try new things.

Right now, I'm trying my first sock! This will probably be a lonely sock, since I only have one 50g skein of yarn, which I understand to be enough for one sock. I bought the yarn from an etsy seller and hand-painted it, so I can't just go buy more. I wasn't sure what I'd do with such a small amount of yarn, so I'm using it on my practice sock. That way, there's no stress if I mess up.

First I tried using a cotton sock yarn that was really thin, but I think my needles were slightly too big for it because I had a hell of a time getting things started. I started again with this yarn, which is a wee bit thicker, and it all came along quickly. The first few rows were scary looking, but I reminded myself that the first few rows of everything are scary looking, and then they come together suddenly a few rows down. And that's what's happening now. This is the top of the sock. It will get terrifying later, when I get to the heel.

New things I'm learning from these two projects: how to use double pointed needles; how to use circular needles; how to knit in the round; how to decrease and create shape; how to sweat and give myself a headache.


This is my first hat. In hindsight, I might have been better off with a slightly smaller needle for a tighter stitch. My yarn may be too thin for these needles. The colors also pooled strangely at the top when I started to decrease, but that's OK. I'm about to send my nephew his birthday present, and I think I'll toss this in for him. It's good boy colors, and it's cold where he lives. It might be too big, though.


Diaper bag a'comin'

My friend Shannon is having a baby! I am making her a diaper bag out of two or three of these really cute chocolate and pink fabrics.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy rise-from-the-dead-day, Additional Jesus!

Actually, did Additional Jesus get to rise from the dead like his more-important brother, Real Jesus? I'm really not sure.

(See here for more on Additional Jesus)

My brother called briefly on Easter. He said he was having apple pie from that day's Easter festivities. I said, "I bet Jesus loved apple pie." He said, "Why do you think he came out from behind that rock? He smelled apple pie." I don't know. I mean, my parents tried to take us to church, but look at what infidels we've become.

Worse yet is my husband, who is Catholic. From what I know, Catholics are pretty involved in church. I mean, baptism, Mass all the time, catechism, Midnight Mass. It just seems that if you're raised Catholic, you get exposed to lots of church stuff. So I was rather surprised when my husband referred to Easter Sunday as the day "they stole his body." And his sister said, "I think it rose from the grave, Mark." And he looked a little sheepish, then said, "No. They stole it," like we all really know what happened.

Friday, March 21, 2008

More yarns

I dyed some more yarn yesterday. The first one I ordered online, and it's a light worsted weight superwash merino wool. I got more dyes in today, but as of yesterday I only had a bunch of blue tones: teal, light aqua, sky blue and robin's egg blue. The robin's egg and aqua are from the same company, but they looked identical to me on the yarn. Maybe I'll add more of the robin's egg next time for a bolder shade. Here, I used all four colors:


This yarn is left over, but there was still quite a bit left. It was an undyed, bulky, thick and thin wool. For this one, I used just the teal and robin's egg, and I left some of the natural cream color in places:


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Best tummy

This is the most snorgly, snuggly tummer in the world.


Monday, March 17, 2008

I learned to dye yarn!

I just took a class on yarn dyeing at Village Wools. I love Village Wools because it feels like a community and it has an entire building full of wonderful, quality yarns and an abundance of knowledgeable people.

My class was in hand-painted yarn dyeing. We basically took one skein of yarn and wrapped it on a warping board in such a way that it created three connected skeins. Then we dyed each separately. After it dries, you unwind it all and wind it back together as one skein. The end result is that all the colors stripe together.

There are a few lessons I learned. The instructor told us to use superwash wool because the color would take better, but I wanted to use a thicker yarn, and it wasn't superwash. That's why my colors aren't as vibrant as I would have liked.

I don't love this one, but I thought it was going to be more of a disaster after it came out. The little areas that connected the three separate yarn sections had colors that bled strangely and I thought it would look really obvious. But once you unwind and rewind it, you see that each of those parts is quite short and unnoticeable. It's just bad at first because they are all grouped next to each other. In the end, if there's a white spot or something weird, it might only be a stitch or two on a knitted product.
For this one, I was thinking "sun, water, earth." In the end, the colors aren't great together. If the brown were darker and the yellow lighter, I might like it more.


This one came out better. It's teal and golden ochre. (That reminds me of the Cat Stevens song "Angelsea" where he describes her "golden ochre hair" and I thought he was calling it "ogre" hair.)


Tea for me

Lately, I've taken to tea. It all started with my friend, Ren Adams. She taught me about it, and I never knew there was so much to learn. I have been drinking it a lot lately and find that it's calming and delicious. If I drink a pot of green tea between lunch and dinner at work, I find that I don't get hungry.

There are also beautiful teas that bloom into flowers, and more interesting flavors than I had imagined. Plus, you have a reason to buy pretty teapots.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Good publicity!

Things are going my way this past week. After a bit of a dry spell, I got several orders. I shipped the second of two out today -- to Australia. The others I'm waiting for fabric to come in.

This is the diaper bag I made for the Australian woman:


and the inside, which is the interesting part of a diaper bag. I lined it in a complementary but different patterned fabric. There are elastic pockets along one side and the ends. Along the other side (behind the divider) is a divided pocket the length of the bag. The divider has a magnetic snap to keep it in place. This offers a place for Mom's stuff -- wallet, phone, iPod, etc. so that she doesn't have to carry a purse also. There is a Velcro pocket on the outside for keys.


On another note, I was mentioned today on OK, so it's not like they discovered me on their own, but I made myself known and they apparently thought I was worth a post. So, yay!

And on an even better note, I was also contacted yesterday by someone at Local IQ. This is a local, Albuquerque alternative paper. I also work in the publishing biz, so I have been fortunate to have ended up being contacted by a few local publications. It's who you know, right? They're going to do a little write-up for some shopping guide next week.

Here's a little lesson I learned: People now use their cell phones a lot, even for business. I got home from work at midnight and got the message. He said he was on deadline and needed to hear back soon, so I thought I'd leave a voice mail for him at his work and let him know I sleep a bit late but that I do want to talk to him. As the phone rang, it suddenly dawned on me that this might be his cell phone and I may be waking him up at 12:15 a.m. To my horror, he then picked up. Thankfully, he was not asleep and was actually ordering Greek food at some all-night Greek place (who knew of such a place here in town!?!)
I felt sort of ridiculous that I return business calls in the middle of the night, but he was cool with it. I will not do that again, though!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Motivation: I'll take it where I can find it

I saw my friend Karen the other day. We have known each other since high school, but she just recently moved back here from Texas. We enjoyed a movie and some healthy dinner (yay for Buddha bowls at Flying Star!).

We agreed to start walking together, maybe someday running, twice a week. I think this will help us get out and do it. Knowing someone is depending on you is supposed to be a good way to get moving.

Hand-painted yarn

I took my first of two classes on hand-painting yarn today. It's taught by the lady who runs Scout's Swag online and held at Village Wools.

I naturally chose some ridiculous 500 yard skein that ended up being rolled into a ball that could bowl over a small village if released from atop a hill. I am now regretting that as I try to wind it all into a 3-section skein to prepare it for dyeing next week.

It's really interesting and fun so far, and I'm so excited to get to learn it.

Next month is my spinning class. That would be yarn spinning and not exercise spinning. I'd rather die than do the latter. And I'd rather dye than die. Yeah, that was stupid. I'm really excited for spinning, though, because I'm hoping to buy a spinning wheel. I've saved up money and Village Wools store credit from my birthday and may soon be able to afford one. They just start at $350-$400.

In the end, I hope to be able to create interesting yarns of my dreams without spending $50 on yarn for a scarf. Maybe I can even sell some, who knows.

((Dear Mark: So what if all my hobbies are for 90-year-olds?))

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Decorate yourself

A couple of new rosette brooches:

Turquoise and green, wool, crocheted, with pin back:


Yellow and gray, wool, felted, crocheted, with pin back:


Both available at

And, a wool, fringed scarf that I may be keeping, unless someone comes screamin' for it: