Monday, December 22, 2008

Warm Ewe Up Winter Yarn Swap

I'm pretty darn excited about this, as it's my first swap EVER! Following is the Ravelry Swap Q&A designed to help my mystery swapper get to know me better. I'm not at my home computer so I apologize for the lack of photos, but I've included links where applicable.

Do you knit or crochet, or both? How long have you been at the craft?

I knit. I've been knitting for just over 2 years.

I tried to crochet an afghan once about ten years ago and it was a disaster. It was meant to be a striped stadium blanket for my sister, and it looked like Africa. I swore I would never crochet again. However, the more wonderful edgings I see being done with crochet the more I want to learn.

Do you spin?
I don't spin yet. I have no doubt that I will be spinning at some point. The yarn addiction is bad enough right now that I'm holding myself back from spinning.

What yarns/fibers are your favorites?

I love all animal fibers, but alpaca probably wins. The jury is still out on mohair. I'm knitting a (VERY SIMPLE) lace scarf with some pretty pale green/blue mohair and I like how it's turning out, but I'm still not sure if I like knitting with it.

What yarns/fibers do you not like?
I strongly dislike synthetic fibers, although I did just buy some Berroco Comfort with which to knit my adorable nephews little sweater vests. I also don't like novelty yarns, maybe because when I started knitting I bought WAY too much of it at Michaels (DAMN THEM and their clearance bins!) and I STILL have a lot of it in my stash.

What yarns/fibers would you like to try but haven’t?
You mean besides cashmere? (hee!) I'm curious about linen and linen blends -- I have the Mason-Dixon book and those lovely hand towels keep calling to me. I'm curious about bamboo and silk as well.

What are your favorite colors? Colors that you don’t like?

I like rich colors, jewel tones, and earthy colors. Not a fan of pastels, but it depends on the project. I love colors with a lot of depth to them, and I like heathered yarns quite a lot.

What are your favorite types of projects to knit?
I'm still learning, so right now it's EVERYTHING! I do a lot of felting. I like to make up my own patterns, because I never can find EXACTLY what I want. And sometimes I just like to put the yarn on the needles and see what happens.

What are you currently working on?
The "Swing Thing" sweater for my 2 yo niece, armwarmers for sis. I'm about to start armwarmers for 2 other nieces and a hat/mitten set for another niece and a vest or two for my two nephews... I have a huge family, and a strong desire to cover them in handknits.

What is your favorite FO? (Please post a picture if you have one.)

My favorite FO is usually whatever I just finished, although I am awfully fond of my snowdude. And I love this baby hat and the teeny tiny sweet little mitts.

Are there any techniques that you want to learn?

Mosaic knitting and/or fair isle - I've done a bit of intarsia, and I love knitting with color, but I want to be able to me more flexible in my designs.

I also want to knit lace, and I discovered socks this year, so I want to try some more complicated sock patterns -- or stockings! (I have this strange desire to knit fishnet stockings.) And those gorgeous wonderful things in the Folk Socks book. I love folk knits.

I absolutely MUST knit a sweater for my mom this year, because she's been hinting since I first picked up the needles. (I was hoping to have one ready for Christmas, but now I'm shooting for Mother's Day.)

I'm longing to knit something REALLY BIG -- like a blanket, or a curtain, or a cape. And I'd love to knit something for myself, too.

Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift?
Nope! I'd love a swift, but I don't know where I'd put it, and I often enjoy hand-winding a center-pull yarn ball. It's great when I've burnt out my brain on something.

How do you store your needles/hooks?

Right now my needles are in a crappy, falling-apart toiletries bag, although sometimes I store them fanned out in a jar or vase -- like paintbrushes or flowers. I've made a pattern for a needle case but have yet to sew it up.

Do you collect anything?
Besides knitting needles and yarn? I loathe throwing away useful things, so I have an assortment of cleaned-out glass jars and tin cans that I sometimes use for paint or storage of small things, but I wouldn't say that I necessarily "collect" them.

Do you like sweets?

I love dark chocolate with nuts and fruits in it, or plain dark chocolate. OH! And cinnamon bears. And candied ginger covered in dark chocolate. Other than that, not really.

What are your favorite scents?
lavender, rosemary, and cinnamon. Although not all at the same time.

Are you having a birthday during this swap?


Do you have any online wish lists? (Amazon, Loopy Ewe, etc.) Please include a link for your pal.
I have a wishlist on Amazon. I must find out what this Loopy Ewe thing is. I have a feeling it's going to be VERY exciting.

What is your living situation (Are you married? Do you have kids, pets, or both?)

I have a housemate and two kitties that we share. Vivien was mine, but has adopted Jules, and Xander was Jules', but now owns me. We also call Vivien Squawk-a-lot, and we call Xander (short for Alexander the Great) Master Pathetico.

Are you allergic to anything?
I'm allergic to my cats. hahaha. I'm also allergic to all things melon -- sad, no?

Is there anything else that you would like your pal to know?
I'm an oldest child, with all its attendant rights and responsibilities. I love shoes. I love books, I love to read: Jane Austen, Jasper Fforde, Barbara Kingsolver, Dorothy Allison, and I'm reading Charles Dickens (Great Expectations) for the first time and enjoying it immensely. I also sew and I made wedding dresses for all three of my sisters. I'm a costume designer. I'm an environmentalist. I love filling out questionnaires. I'm addicted to coffee.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is your brain...

This is your brain on yarn:

That's the yarn I think I want to take with me tomorrow when I go to visit my family for 2 1/2 weeks. And that's AFTER paring it down.

You can also take that to be a metaphor (hmm, or a simile) for what my mind feels like right now.

I don't travel well. I like to think that I do, I sometimes pretend that I do, but I obsess over packing for a trip to visit my parents the way some people would obsess over packing for a three-month trek to Nepal. And I'll still wind up forgetting three or four things. The top four things I forget, every time? Toothbrush, deodorant, contact case, meds. You know, the stuff you use EVERY DAY.

That, and instead of knitting Christmas presents for the last month and a half, I've been trying to update and promote my shop on etsy, so I'm trying to bring yarn for every gift I think I might have time to start, as well as all the UFO's. Not to mention all my knitting needles. So after that, there's room for a couple of pairs of socks and whatever I happen to wear on the plane, assuming I remember to get dressed at all.

So that's my excuse, albeit not a very good one, for not updating y'all about the winner of the drawing. And the winner is:

Marie of Knitted Gems!

She'll win these:

Plus a few things that are just not going to get photographed, the way I'm going! ARGH!

I think I need to lie down.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We interrupt this program

So sorry, everyone, for not updating with pics of the ornaments. I feel like I have been hit by a truck! I know it doesn't seem like taking photographs would be that tiring, but somehow finding the camera, attaching it to the tripod, setting up the lightbox, and pushing that little button feels like more than I can do right now.

Today is the last day to comment and the drawing is tomorrow!

In the interim, here's another one of my favorites:

It's a switchplate by Fondue made from vintage wallpaper. I got my brother some of their baseball magnets for his birthday -- so cute, and such a great price for a great gift!

Okay, it's back to the Theraflu and the couch for this girl.

Results tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What to get... and a giveaway! Part 2

Because the men in your life are equally deserving of handmade gifts!

For your Dad:

In case you don't want to get him yet another tie, and assuming that either you have already gotten him every possible combination of golf paraphernalia (unless he's not even a golfer, in which case you don't even have that to fall back on) and assuming he has taken you camping at least once in your life:

This wonderful and funny Campfire in a Can candle from Mountainmamaskitchen is perfect to bring back memories of summer in the mountains! Add these beautiful soy wax fire starters from Berry Creek Candles and he'll know that, despite all your complaining, you liked it well enough to go camping with him again.

For your geeky (or is he nerdy?) brother.

You know he likes Star Wars, right? All those home movies of him attacking the couch with a broom -- er, I mean, a lightsaber -- should be a clue! Indulge his inner child while appealing to his all-grown-up sensibilities by getting him this gorgeously crafted Star Wars Fighters and Starships clock by YOUgNeek:

For your hipster cousin:

Okay, so maybe sometimes you just want to slap him silly. Instead, get him this awesome, unique monster tie by beckaboo. The price is perfect, plus it's recycled!

For the creepy guy you picked in the gift exchange at work:

You have to be careful with this one! You don't want him to think you LIKE him or something! Get him this ceramic magnet from CircaCeramics and everyone will wish you had picked them instead.. Add the upcycled shirt coffee cozy from TheLilMonsterShoppe and he'll be the envy of everyone in the office.

How to Win the Giveaway:

1. Search etsy to find an off-the-beaten path gift for someone unusual or hard to shop for on your list -- or you can use one of mine.

2. Comment on my blog with your find and a link to the item on etsy.

3. Every person who comments with a link will be entered into a drawing for a set of 4 ornaments made from upcycled materials, in a gift box which is also made from upcycled materials. (Picture in a previous post, more pics to come as I perfect the design.)

You have until Thursday, December 11 to comment and the drawing will be on Friday, December 12. (I changed the date because it took me so long to put part 2 together. Sorry folks!) Winners will be posted here, with a link to their etsy shops.

You don't have to have a shop on etsy to play, you just have to find something wonderful on etsy for an "ungiftable" and post it here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What to get... and a giveaway!

This is getting so long, I've decided to publish it in two parts: Part one is for the women in your life, and tomorrow I'll publish part two, for the men in your life.

It's the holiday season, and the "end-of-year" season, and chances are, there's someone on your list who needs a gift and you don't have a clue. So before you do anything else, buy a pound of these succulent and unusual fleur de sel caramels from haveitconfections. If you can resist eating all of them yourself, add a few to anything else you might be giving, or tuck some into a stocking for a sophisticated treat.

All done? Great! Now let's get down to it.

For the person who has everything:

The wonderful thing about buying handmade for the person who has everything is that you can be sure she doesn't already have it. So instead of a sterling silver telephone dialer, why not opt for this gorgeous Berry Bowl from Studio Elan:

For your daughter's favorite teacher:

(or her least favorite teacher, who could also use some love). You can always go with something trite from the mall, or you can show her you care by putting together a gift box made up of this sweet little personalized rubber stamp from cupcake tree: and this ambrosial Sugar Plum Soap from Inseine Creations.

For your picky Grandmother:

Did you know that the reason Grandma is always cold is that, as you get older, your body loses its ability to circulate blood as efficiently? Get her this
gorgeous alpaca scarf by nfall2art. The alpaca makes it extra warm and super soft (see, she can't complain about it itching!), and the beautiful hand-knotted fringe at the bottom makes it extra-special.

How to Win the Giveaway:

1. Search etsy to find an off-the-beaten path gift for someone unusual or hard to shop for on your list -- or you can use one of mine.

2. Comment on my blog with your find and a link to the item on etsy.

3. Every person who comments with a link will be entered into a drawing for a set of 4 ornament tags made entirely from upcycled materials!

You have until Sunday, December 7 to comment and the drawing will be on Monday, December 8. Winners will be posted here, with a link to their etsy shops (if desired).

Here's an example of one of the recycled paper ornament you will receive (I am still perfecting this design. There are more pictures to come, and the ornaments will arrive in a handmade, recycled box, which I am designing RIGHT NOW! But you have to play to win!)