Tuesday, July 12, 2011

and I am off....

Every year, my family goes dip-netting for salmon the the Kasilof. Last year, I was only able to watch as I wasn't yet an "Alaskan Resident" but now I am a "real Alaskan"!

We will head out tomorrow. My house will be able to get 45 salmon -- that scares me. What does one do with 45 salmon? The boyfriend (BF) heads off to his job on the North Slope tomorrow and will be gone for 3 weeks.

That leaves me to deal with whatever fish we manage to get -- gulp!!!

Needless to say, the Tour de Fleece spinning will be put on hold until our return (I think we have this weeknd off for a rest anyway, maybe).

So far, I have gotten three skeins completed, and have one on the wheel.

FAR LEFT: The blue is 50/50 silk and merino 4 oz. three ply. Didn't get as much as I would have liked, but I am very happy with the way the yarn turned out. 282 yards

MIDDLE: all sparkly and neon pink and neon green, mixed with black--"Hot Nights". Two ply; about 110 yards.

FAR RIGHT: "Chocolate Dipped" deep browns with richt pinks and sparlkes - single ply - 270 yards.

My spinning will stay home, my knitting will come with.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tour de Fleece -- July 2 - 24, 2011

Okay, I really do not think I will be able to spin all 14 fleeces I have during the next 22 days. But, I will give it my best shot!

Today I popped out of bed, enjoyed the quietness of the house as the others slept. Brewed a pot of coffee, sat down to spin a half hour or so, and two hours later, I looked at the clock and low and behold, I got 120 (+/-) minutes of spinning in!!!

My goals are simple:

1. Complete what I currently have on the bobbins. I had one bobbin completed of this beautiful 50/50 silk merino. I am attempting to spin 820 + yards of 3 ply fingering. This morning I was able to almost complete the second bobbin. I love spinning this beautiful roving. I am hoping to have enough to knit the Forget-me-not Shawl.

2. Play with this lovely roving from LittleMonkeySns. A wonderfully soft and luxurious batt -- the pictures did NOT do this roving justice. It is called "Chocolate Dipped" with 52% Merino, 42% bamboo, and 6% nylon sparkle. Not sure what it will become other than yarn. Am thinking I might try to knit a hat with it. It will become what it will become. After the stress of 820 yards 3 ply fingering, this will be a wonderful break.

3. Finish spinning some boring natural BFL that is to knit into a bag to be felted (need it to go with some other wonderful self-striping yarn I spun over a year ago).

4. Back to fun as I spin some more roving from LittleMonkeySns -- it is the wonderful green/orange braid in the front left of the basket.

This will push me! If I get those 4 goals done, I will play with the 5 +/- ounces from the Phat Fiber [rip-off] box.

Oh! Sock update -- mom's socks are almost done. I am working on the cuff and happy with how it is turning out.....pictures to follow...maybe after Tour de Fleece!!!!


Today's accomplishment - 3 hours

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Phat Fiber Box

Okay, if you have never heard of Phat Fiber Box, you, like me, live under a rock.

A friend told me I should really look into contributing to the Phat Fiber Box; it is a great way to get your name out and increase business.

So I looked into it.

Once a month a husband/wife team collect samples from "contributors", gather them together, make a video, collect email addresses--which they use to inform of the super secret time the boxes will go on sale.

The "contributors" need to send in a minimum of 20 samples (but if you send in 50 samples, you will get your own box, and, as state on their blog, "a spot in our popular and entertaining monthly video!").

I was game, though trying to figure out how to make 20 or 50 "samples" of my row counters had be perplexed. I contacted the Phat Fiber lady and found out that they had too many stitch marker contributors, maybe next month.

Okay, by now I was hooked so when I found out the super secret date and time the boxes were to be sold, I made sure I was online, credit card in hand and ready to go to spend my $36 to get a Phat Fiber box.

Somewhere between finding out about the Phat Fiber Box and receiving the box I got to thinking.

There were 3 different boxes. I do not know how many each different box they sold, but you need to send in 20 samples (50 if you want your own box). So, let's just, for the sake of simplicity and argument, they only sell 20 boxes.

20 times $36 is $720. Now if they sell 10 of each box (one only fiber, one yarn, and a combo box) that would be 30 times $36 for $1080! For what? Okay, the people who put these boxes together do advertise, they do take pictures, they do organize the boxes, but......? The only thing the "contributors" get is advertising for 20 samples, or a "free" box for 50 samples, and the people who came up with the idea get somewhere around $1000?!

The box arrived and for all it's fibery goodness and hype and I was disappointed. For $36 I would have rather taken a chance on full-sized items from fellow etsians. I got less than 5 oz of fiber, in tiny batches. Got a stitch markers, a diz (I think that is what it is), coupons, etc. I did get a WAY cool "spinning because knitting isn't weird enough" button!

Are any of the contributors likely to get a sale from me? I can't say the Phat Fiber Box has really hooked me to buy fiber from anyone. I feel it is a rip off for both the consumers and those who "contribute!"

The friend who told me about how wonderful Phat Fiber was, USED to be a contributor, but has since decided she the few number of sells she was getting from contriubting to Phat Fiber was not worth the work to contribute!

edited to add: I have since been told they sell more than 120-150 or more boxes a month--this past month was $36 per box, so I'll just leave you to do the math!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

About those socks....part II

The hunting trip, and the possibility to be able to have all that time to knit, drew me to my knitting bag (which was a mess), and the three works in progress (WIP). We have those socks, oh "those socks." I am very hopeful that the hunting trip will allow me to get them done and off the sticks! I have never had so much trouble with knitting projects!

The Sad Sagga of Mom’s Socks:
· Followed lace pattern as directed, didn't like the way the k2tog tbl turned out. Tried ssk and liked it, but continued to knit, despite my disappointment of the first part;
· Continued knitting to heel turn; forgot to slip first stitch so couldn’t pick up stitches for gusset;
· Frogged back to heel divide – picked up stitches wrong, had ridges on bottom of sock and couldn’t fix;
· Completely frogged socks and started over;
· Latest issue – needle popped off cable. Purchased double pointed needles – realized I hate them and had to purchase new cabled needles;
· A couple more pattern repeats of the lace and I will be adding the cuff and binding off!
Cousin’s Socks Pair 1 – original pattern cuff down. After picking up gusset and working on gusset decrease, learned during a trial-try-on that I couldn’t get leg of sock over heel. WHAT?! I had tried them on multiple times and now they don’t fit!? Frogged them and restarted and am doing the same pattern, but knitting them toe up. Cousin tried them on when we were in Las Vegas and loves them.

Cousin’s Socks Pair 2 -- A trip to the store to purchase needles for Mom’s Socks required me to purchase several skeins of yarn (all sock yarn was on sale, I couldn't resist!). The only issue, so far, with these is that I sat in the parking lot knitting and texting my cousin about the yarn. I had the car radio going and the battery of my car went dead. These too were tried on, they will be a heavier sock and she will love their warmth this winter!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

hmmm, about those socks.....

Last post, I was madly knitting two, I mean THREE pair of socks. Trying to get two of them done before the end of May.

What happened?


The boyfriend and I decided we needed a lawn. Bring in a backhoe with a blade. He decides we need gravel -- enter dump truck with a load of gravel and two loads of dirt. Add fertilzer, shovels, wheel barrows, grass seeds, LOTS of work (BF's 15 year old son was forced into slave labor)--and you get. A back yard full of lovely DIRT! and NO knitting!

He leaves for work (he is out of town three weeks at at time), I wrap up what I can in two days before I leave for Las Vegas and come home to a "hint of green" in the back yard! A HUGE thank you to KM who watched the 15 yr old boy and watered the dirt!

I brought the socks to knit while flying, I decided sleep was more important than knitting on the red-eye from Anchorage to Las Vegas. I did knit the small amount of time we were in our hotel room. And my cousin got to slip her toes into her socks....just the toes, nothing more because that is all there is of her socks right now!

Are the socks done now? Uh, well, uh...nope! Enter more yard work, our 30 year high school reunion (that my boyfriend proudly announced SIX MONTHS AGO that we were co-chairs for the planning "committee" of two--thanks to all who have helped), the arrival of my new Majacraft Rose spinning wheel.

Knitting? uh, yeah...right!

The reunion is this weekend. After that, I'll get to knit, right?

Well, maybe!

Apparently, "the caribou are running" and hunting season starts July 1, and we are going hunting. I don't have a hunting license -- I am suspecting I will be the camp-wench in charge of "womanly chores" like cooking and skinning, and all that lovely stuff while my great-white-hunters get the family meat for the table!

It is the trip of a life-time and we are hoping a way to make up for me not taking the kid with me to Vegas! The 15 year old boy will get to bow-hunt with his dad--while his "kind of sort of, but not really, step-mom" acts as the camp wench!

Knitting will come with me, maybe then, with no internet, no yard, no shopping, nothing else to do, maybe THEN I will get at least one of those lovely pairs of socks knit! It is "Tour de Fleece" and I had such plans, but, I think my Rose will have to stay home!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sometimes I HATE knitting!

I was able to get my cousin's socks to heel divide, pick up stitches and complete the gusset then tried them on and couldn't get them over my heel. What!? No matter how hard I tried, these socks that 30 rows earlier slipped over the heel wonderfully well, would not slip over my heel. I took them off, tried them again and again, thought an hour or so and then frogged them in frustration!!

May 26 is my last day of work for the summer, and we fly out June 4 for our family trip to Vegas. If I hit it hard between my last day of work and before we fly out, I can get my cousin's socks done. So, I figured I would go back to my mom's socks. I have gotten very far on them; not bad for a couple weeks (right?)!

And then???? The cable popped off the needle, snapped right then and there. Do you think this sock knitter would have more than one size 1 circular needles? Nope! Sigh! Late Saturday night, and no way to continue with these socks that night, so I pulled out the balls of yarn from my cousin's socks and started knitting them.

The worst part of knitting socks (for me, besides all the false starts) is the first 30 or so rows! Friday evening, got my cousin's socks restarted and decided to knit from the toe up, using a pattern that really isn't a pattern other than "increase until it hits your foot at _____".

Sunday was a working day for us in the yard, but I managed to sneak out to the craft store to pick up needles for my mom's socks. In, out, off to the grocery store, and home! Quick trip! So why did I leave at 10 am and not get home until after 2?

The craft store had the needles, and then, for reasons still not clear to me, I stepped over an aisle to the yarns and saw "All sock yarn, buy one, get one half off!"

Bad, very bad! Step away from the yarn, Rhonda, step away!

Nope, I text my cousin who knew I'd ran away from home for the morning. Our convo went something like:

  • me --Sock yrn on sale - i am in trouble

  • cousin replies -- COOL!

  • me -- no, not cool, need to step away from yarn do not need more

  • me -- what colors do you like?

  • cousin -- blue, green, browns, (her list went on and on.....)

  • me -- need to step away from yarn

  • me -- do you like striped socks?

  • her -- sure, think of all the money you will save stocking up now!

  • me -- I do NOT need more yarn

  • her -- but you won't have to buy for a while, think of all the socks you can knit....

note to self -- never ever text cousin when I need someone to tell me to save my money!

Ninety minutes and 12 skeins & three sets of needles ($90) later, I leave the store, continue texting my cousin, sit in the warm sun of my car, turn it on, crank the air, contemplating eating breakfast the the nearby restaurant and cast on yet another pair of socks (really, I might have to find a 12 step program for myself!).

I get further on the new socks, size 3 needles knit faster than size 1, than her socks at home. Continue texting, knitting, enjoying the day, air conditioning running, listening to the radio and then my car goes silent.

Not good! Instead of cranking my car on and getting the engine going, I had turned it to "on" and my battery was dead. GREAT! Now I have to call the boy friend and get him to come and help me!

Oh well, now i have three pairs of socks going, at least I cast on a color that was from her list so, by the grace of God, I will be able to hand my cousin two pairs of socks!!!!

Think of all the socks I can knit now! 24 skeins and counting......

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It don't get much better than this

Saturday was one of those "it don't get much better than this" days!

I love getting up early, before anyone else is awake. The sun was shining brightly on our back deck and I sat out there knitting and sipping coffee (wonderful Kona brought back from Hawaii by my mom).

The mornign flew and before I realized it, it was time to take a quick shower I drive to our monthly Knit2gether. Normally it is at a local coffee shop, but this month it was hosted by a member of our group.

Her place is off the beaten bath, and we knit in a traditional cozy old log cabin. Outside, no matter which direction you stand, you see beautiful snow-capped mountains! Yep, this is why I returned home to Alaska!

Good food, good friends, and knitting -- does it get any better than that! Knittinginatree wore her Dumpter Diving Diva Dress, as well as the rest of us had something we had knit ourselves on!

Warm spring weather, nice drive in "the country", good food, great friends, and knitting. Yep, it don't get much better than that! I drove home warm, happy, and enjoyed the dive, noticing the splendor of a spring day in South Central Alaska!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th

I do not believe in Friday the 13th as being bad luck. Really I don't.

BUT, I am going to blame Friday the 13th on the fact that I have to frog my cousin's socks.

Turned the heel on them today, went to slip them on. I am sure I did a guage swatch. I know I did.

Can't get them over my heel.

Rippit, rippit, rippit.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Smooth Yarn Ahead!

Last night I passed where I had been before frogging these socks to the beginning and now have nice smooth, non-frogged yarn!

Heels turned, gusset picked up, and working on the gusset decrease.

I am torn between keep on cruising with my mom's socks until they are done, or to set them aside once I have finished the gusset decrease and get my cousin's socks that far, and then alternate between the two socks until they are done.

This Saturday is our monthly Knit2gether, and I'd like to have some mindless knitting.

Between the two socks, my cousin's socks are a little more mindless, so maybe I need to get her socks ready for mindless knitting Saturday!

It looks like I will meet my goal to have them both off the sticks and ready for feet by the end of May.

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Knit or To Garden???

I almost made my goal of getting to dividing of heels of my mom's socks.

I had mom over for the weekend and Mother's Day she and I spent the day together shopping and enjoying each other's company.

I purchased some hand garden tools and instead of knitting last night when I got home, I worked on my new flower bed. Started pulling weeds Friday, and finished last night.

So, alas, not as much knitting time as I'd have liked! This morning, before I get ready for work, I managed to knit the last pattern repeat before I divide for the heels. I missed my daily goal of a row or two.

We are supposed to get rain most of the day, so I may end up knitting instead of finishing the flower bed with new top soil and planting my Day Lillies.

P.S. go on over to the FIX Ravelry group and check out this month's participating shops for a chance to win a box of fiber-goodness

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Knit One, Chore One, Repeat


Yesterday was a "knit one row, do some house work, repeat" day. I would sit down and knit a row or two, then go do a chore. I actually got a fair amount done on both the sock and the housework!

I will finish this last pattern-repeat and will divide for the heel and before the end of today, I will have caught up before these socks got frogged!

My mom came over and spent the night last night and (why I made sure the house was presentable), bless her heart, she said I didn't have to rush the socks when I told her I wanted them done before the end of May!

I have been looking for ways to promote my business and had been looking at being a contributor to the Phat Fiber Box. Indies produce 20 or 50 samples (with 50 samples, you get your own box) to match the monthly theme, and then the boxes are sent to people who purchase them. It is wildly popular, the release of the sale is notified via email and the boxes sell out very fast.

Sadly, the lady running it stated she had her slot filled for stitch markers so I went in search of another venue.

I stumbled upon F.I.X. -- Fiber Indie eXperience Co-op. It is a group on Ravelry, (you will need to be a member of Ravlery, which is a great online knitting/crochetting/spinning/fiber community).

People purchase items from the month's Co-op members and each order gives them a entry into a drawing. This month there are three boxes, and each has a value between $100 and $105!

Pretty exciting! This month's boxes are GREAT!!! I am awaiting to see if they will allow me to join the co-op or not. If you are a member of Ravelry, go over and check out the group! I wonder if co-op members can be in the drawings too?!

Again, everyone have a GREAT MOTHER'S DAY!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Getting Back in the Groove

I know that it takes me less than 14 hours to knit a pair of socks. I know this because I knit one sock on a flight from Minnesota to Alaska. So, why is it I have two pairs of socks on the sticks since November?

My poor mom has been waiting for her Christmas present, her first pair of socks knit by me. They are my first attempt to take a lace pattern and create my "own" sock pattern. A couple weeks ago, I was on the home stretch, about to pick up the gusset and finish the legs. But, I wasn't terribly happy with them. The pattern had a k2tog tbl after a yo, which left the left tilting stitches in a zig-zag. I wasn't happy with the zig zag and tried a ssk in place of the recommended stitch and was happy with the results, but not happy with the earlier rows.

I wrestled then; frogging and starting over? I kept going. It's been such a long time I have knit socks, so when I divided for the heel, I forgot to slip the first stitch of each row and when I went to attempt to pick up stitches I realized my mistake.

"To frog or limp along?" became my question. I frogged back to where I'd divided for the heel, picked up stitches and managed to leave ridges on both socks, no matter how many times I'd drop stitches, and pick them up, I couldn't get rid of the ridge, so I in frustraion, I frogged the socks all the way!

I am happy I frogged and started over. My poor mom states that, with all the frogging and reknitting, by the time she gets her socks, they will be "used"! But the lace pattern is looking great, and now I just have to start carrying my project bag everywhere and get those socks done.

The other pair of socks I have been working on are for my dear cousin, Tracie. She too is waiting her Christmas present!

I know that it "only" takes me about 7 hours per socks (thanks to knitting one sock on a flight from Minnesota to Alaska), so, why is it taking me half a year!?

So, my goal is set -- have them both done before the end of May. We are going as a family to Las Vegas in early June and I will be seeing my cousin -- so both socks MUST be done.

Now that I have posted that goal, I have to make it happen!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011


The February Lady Sweater
Knit for me by a friend from my home dyed and spun yarn.

Karma – I believe what goes around comes around.

So hard to remember that when I am dealing with a situation at work that has stressed me to the max. Just thinking of the situation can cause shooting pains behind my eye. I leave work every day with a pounding headache. I frequently find myself in tears over what is happening at work. Migraines are on the rise, and my friend Jose (in my margaritas) and I commiserate almost every evening beside the fire. I often wake up at 3 am and can’t fall back to sleep.

And all because of one women who lacks the self-esteem to treat others with respect.

But Karma will take care of it. I am sure of it.

You can’t be that mean, that nasty, and that rude and enjoy your life! As they say "People in glass houses……"

Karma - it will come back around, if it hasn't already.

When I was making the move from Minnesota to Alaska I had a huge stash of yarn to “re-home.” Most of it stuff I had spun. I couldn’t ship it all, and knew after a year in storage, it would be ruined (though, now I have a vacuum sealer-but sometimes you just have to let go!). So, I posted a “help, anyone want a large amount of home spun yarn?” on facebook and a friend offered to help me give the yarn a loving home.

In that huge bag of yarn was over a pound of green yarn for the February Lady sweater I had spun for, but with the divorce and move, I didn’t have time to knit, and hoped it would find a new home and become something other than yarn.

She asked me what I had planned for the green yarn and I shared with her the pattern and Ravelry (she’d never heard of Ravelry!). Never thought much more about that yarn until I received a package in the mail of! That yarn knit into The February Lady I had spun for (pictured above) I love that sweater, and wear it whenever I can, and love sharing the story behind it. The sweater pictured above was knit by her from my yarn.

She recently posted this - a sweater knit from the remaining yarn I spun. I never thought they could be knit into one project, let alone turn out so beautiful! I gave beautiful yarn to a wonderful friend, and she turned it into that beautiful coat of many colors!

Karma—what comes around goes around. I must distance myself from the ugliness at work and never forget the wonderful friends I have.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good Things Come to People Who Surround Themselves with "Good People"

Good things come when you surround yourself with "good people"!

While thinking about my move from Minnesota to Alaska, I joined a group of ladies that meet once a month to knit and socialize, have lunch, and enjoy each other's company. It is quite an eclectic group of ladies, with one thing in common, our love of knitting and all things fiber! The group is wonderful, full of very warm and caring people.

January I re-opened my etsy store, FiberJewels, and told the knitting group I would bring my knitting row counters, as well as any hand-spun yarn I would be willing to part with.

Sales were GREAT, just about wiped out my store's inventory!

One of these wonderful ladies purchased row counters and yarn. One her way home, she stopped by her LYS to get the skeins of yarn wound into balls. She showed the owner my row counters and the owner in interested in talking to me. Might even be able to work with store owner to teach spinning classes.

This same wonderful lady asked if I would make a row counter for a swap she is in with a "spring theme."

It is great to be back in the swing of things, difficult to get back into "that groove" but great, none the less. While making this particular row counter, the yellow and dark blue beads reminded me of the Alaska Flag. The light blue and yellow reminded me of the state flower, Forget-me-nots, leading me to create what I am now calling "The Alaskan Row Counter".

"The Alaskan Row Counter"

Light blue and yellow of the state's flower, the Forget-me-not. Dark blue and yellow for the flag, and an "Alaska Black Diamond" better known by the rest of the world as Hematite! And least I forget, it is made out of gold toned wire, with small gold beads to accent it all.

Yes, when one surrounds themselves with "good people" good things happen. I am so lucky to have my knitting group, even if we only meet once a month!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It was only a matter of time!

Beading is one of those hobbies I have been doing prior to knitting and one of the only craft/hobby that I have continued with.

Beading is quicker than knitting, but it isn't as portable.

Way back when, there was no way I'd spend more than a buck or two on a single bead; this summer I spent $10 for a beautiful handmade lampwork focal bead.

A little research on lampworking lead me to know it wasn't a craft I could just jump into.

This weekend I took a lampworking class and I am hooked!

I will return next weekend to see my beads and make more.

It was only a matter of time.

I am in so much trouble!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their friends and family of the shooting in Arizona. It is a tragic event, no doubt.

As I listened to the news while they try to sort it out, the one thing that hits me is that they are so busy pointing their fingers at who is at fault and it left me with the question: When did we become a nation not responsible for our own actions?

The shooter purchased the gun, bought the bullets, and pulled the trigger, END!

He, and no one else, is responsible for his actions! They have not found anyone who forced him to do what he did. He did it on his own. Yes, he is a troubled man, who seemed to have a lot of warning signs, but hind sight is always 20/20. There are many many more who have many of the same “warning signs” that won’t ever come close to doing what he did.

If, in a rant here on my blog, I state that someone should be hurt or killed and one of my friends carries that out for me – am I to be blamed?

WAKE UP PEOPLE! If blame is continued to be placed on everyone except the shooter, we will continue to lose more and more of our rights!

I hear talk of making it illegal to buy clips larger than 10 rounds. A lot of blaming for what people said on websites – will our freedom of speech be on the chopping block to because of this?

Under the guise of our “safety” we are losing our rights to be free.

We have been forced to accept either to have our picture taken of our bodies, that basically a nude picture, or you can be sexually assaulted by the TSA.

If you were like me and thinking “it keeps us all safe”, chew on this: What happens when terrorists start using body cavities to hide bombs?

Bit by bit, stone by stone, right by right we are becoming prisoners in our own country.

I bet our forefathers are turning in their graves at the sad state we are in!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Alaska - Where Dreams Come True!

Well, here I am, in Wasilla, Alaska, almost settled in!

My brother and I have purchased a small Piper Tri-Pacer plane. I am hopeful this will help speed my dream to get my pilot's license faster. My goal is to be flying solo before the end of summer. Right now, I am waiting for it to warm up a bit, and for the sun to set a little later than 4 pm.

Shortly after moving here I was asked to create necklace/earring sets for a local lodge that is a hot tourist spot. I decided to take her up on it, but wanted to settle in first (and I had to have my beads shipped from Minnesota to Alaska) and then I would start my etsy store back up, and start making items for the lodge. I want to be able to use Made in Alaska labels and such for the lodge, that requires a business license before I can apply to use the labels/logos.

I have been busy knitting socks, and have two pairs going right now. They are Christmas presents; saddly for the Christmas 2010.

I have also been spinning. That is something that is a big time sucker for me. My wheel is at my mom's right now, thinking that if it were there, I'd be more inclined to knit.

Oh well, the best laid plans! I got an order of three different fibers in the mail today, it was so hard for me to drive home and not head to my mom's! Knit, girl, knit!

Knit on!