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November 2009
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December 2009

Simple Small Bear

I'm imagining a really quiet week, this last week of the year. I have just a few yarns in my shop and they're all 10% off. I'll start adding new ones again as soon as the calendar flips to January. But until then, I'm taking some deep breaths, playing with the new marble run, reading a book or two, drinking some really nice coffee, and knitting the Simple Small Bear pattern from The Best-Dressed Knitted Bear.

Simple Small Bear

R says that when I finish this one, I could go on to knit the Bear of Unusual Size Likely to Win in a Battle of Wits, perhaps followed by the Gigantic Misunderstood Bear. I'm not sure there's that much time left in the year, but we'll see.

How are you spending this last week of the decade?


Ready?

I'm ready for Christmas.

It's fairly easy to get ready when you plan to have a very, very simple Christmas. I love all the usual fanfare, but this works for me this year.

Tomorrow, we bake cookies for Santa (double chocolate chip, methinks). Today, V wants to go out for more gathering of her beloved nutbabies and pine cones.

pine cones sweetgum balls leaves

Sounds good to me.


Mud & stuff

Oh my, but this month is moving fast! Isn't it? But even though I feel like I'm not getting enough done, the house isn't nearly clean enough, and I don't enough time to breathe, really nice things are happening. Like my mother-in-law getting a new KitchenAid mixer and giving me her old one (woot! cookies are right around the corner!). And Shaye wrote the most thoughtful and kind post on her experience with my handspun yarn. She's a sweetie and the hat she crocheted for her daughter with some of my Red Delicious is adorable.

Also, I set up a new shop for my photography - I got the name from the strip of moss that runs across our backyard. There's nothing in it yet but I have lots and lots of ideas for it, so I'll (very slowly) be working on that over the next couple of months. You're welcome to check it out. I would've loved to have it ready in time for Christmas but, as my mom would say, that's the way the mop flops. No idea what that means, but there you go.

Yesterday when V and I went outside, she wore her new cowl that I knitted up from one of my sample yarns that I made while working out how to spin ultra thick and thin yarn. I love this look. I know lots of photographers use this sort of yarn for baby hats, but it also makes soft and pretties for older folks.

V & her cowl

She looks so sweet, doesn't she? Yeah, she was digging in the mud. Sometime today or tomorrow I'm going to find out how easily Georgia red clay comes out of supersoft Merino wool. That's my girl. One day, I'm going to get her both The Daring Book for Girls and The Dangerous Book for Boys. Though I'm pretty sure she's got both daring and dangerous covered all on her own.

V & her mud

While V dug holes in the moss, I walked around the backyard looking for fun things to photograph. We need some more plants or something back there. A good swing set would be golden too.

A few weeks ago, V and I made bird feeders from mini bagels, peanut butter, and birdseed. I've left this bit of yarn on the tree in hopes that a bird can use it for her nest. Do birds build nests in the winter? I dunno. They might have to patch theirs up occasionally, I suppose, should a winter storm hit. It's nice to think of the birds in the neighborhood using handspun yarn in their nests. And I love the jewel droplets.

v handspun yarn 086

More jewel droplets on the grass. They make me so happy.

v handspun yarn 140

And dead leaves, lots of those around. Pretty in their own way.

v handspun yarn 127

This spring, we'll have to plant some flowers so we can have more color and more jewel droplets in our lives.


Hey babe, your hair's alright / Hey babe, let's go out tonight

Today we went for lunch with R's mom. I brought along my finished skeins to photograph because I didn't think I'd get another chance this weekend. Then I brought V out in the cold and showed her the differences between a pine tree and all the other trees.

bud

I think it's a camellia bush.

buds

Tonight I've been editing said yarn photos and suddenly remembered "John, I'm Only Dancing." It's a David Bowie song.

Merry Christmas

I commandeered my mom's ChangesOneBowie record sometime around 1985 and my friend Clay and I listened to it endlessly. I've been missing it ever since we set up my old record player a couple of months ago and I found that it wasn't in my carefully-saved-and-carried-all-over-three-states box of records.

So I found the song list and made a playlist, which is now in my top left sidebar. And then I ordered the vinyl from Ebay.

And now I'm dancing. Won't someone dance with me?


9 down, ? to go

Spinning 20 yarns is definitely a worthy goal. This just wasn't the week to accomplish it. I've spun 9 so far this week. I plan to spin a few more, but I doubt I'll get to 20. I'll try again next week.

9 so far

There are 8 in the photo above - the 9th I spun on Sunday and it's already in the shop. There have been so many other things to do this week - I think I spent half of Monday photographing yarn and the other half ruing that I didn't order V's Christmas gifts in November. But eventually I found everything I wanted to get her. More or less.

In my quest for 20, I completely ignored the blog - didn't feel like I had anything to say anyway other than must spin more, which I don't believe could possibly be that exciting to anyone else but me. And tonight R and I are going to the company Christmas party. But all in all, it's been a good week. I've had some good ideas about a few things, I listed 5 new yarns in the shop, was on Etsy's front page twice, am working with someone lovely toward getting a little something new and wonderful to give away with each order, got something new to wear tonight, started reading The Complete Beatrix Potter with V, taught V how to get warm water in the sink so her hands aren't freezing every time she has to wash them, and more. And hopefully Saturday I will get that book giveaway up and running. Yay!

Hope you're having a good week as well, and that you're closer than I to accomplishing any goals you've set for yourself for this week.


Spinning & spinning some more

What are you up to this month? The usual? Holiday shopping, decorating, merry making?

Me? I'm up to spinning. And lots of it. I had a goal this week to spin 15 yarns, more than I've ever spun in one week before. I got off to a very good start on Monday - I spun 6 yarns! Then 3 on Tuesday and Wednesday and 2 on Thursday.

012

That means I have one more to go to complete my goal, but I'm hoping to spin 3 today. I've got some pretty wool all dyed up that I'm looking forward to spinning. Out of all these I think 4 will make it to the shop today or tomorrow. One will sit in a basket because I don't think it's up to my standards (the colors got all muddy but I spun it anyway because sometimes it still looks cool, but this one ... not so much! I will use it for something, though). Several are for custom orders (whew!). I'm setting the twist on 2 right now, so they weren't ready to have their pictures taken this morning with the rest. Two are for yarn club members. Yay for yarn club!

I need to decorate the fireplace mantle - maybe I can do that this weekend? And I need to take some pictures this weekend for a children's book giveaway that I'm really excited about for next week.

008

My goal for next week is to spin 20 yarns. Wish me luck!

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See more fibery goodness at Alpaca Farmgirl's Fiber Arts Friday!


Hey, color!

Yay for color! If you look at the new banner, you'll see that we have a white Christmas tree. R wanted it and V concurred. We love it - it's fun - like a little spot of retro in my living room.

Here's that hat I mentioned yesterday. It's a pretty Merino/silk blend and so colorful!

v christmas tree 103

I didn't knit it from any special pattern. First I made a little swatch so I could see how many stitches per inch the yarn knit up to on my needles. Then I measured V's head and figured out how many stitches I'd need to get around it, making sure the number was divisible by 6. Then I just knitted it in the round - no other stitches. The thick and thin yarn and the bright colors don't really need fancy stitches. After it seemed long enough, I decreased every 6, 5, 4 stitches, etc. If that makes any sense. And if not, the basics are probably better explained here. That was the very first hat pattern I used when I learned to knit on circular needles and could be the basis of wherever you want to go from there.

v christmas tree 124

I only had 54 yards of yarn but I have a good 2-3 yards left over. Must be pretty bulky yarn, but I didn't measure it. I'm such the rogue knitter!