January 2012

  • Celebrating Fiber Month with a Yarnia Giveaway!

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    Lovely January! My favorite time of the year: to organize my cluttered storage areas tossing out or giving away stuff I don't use or need; to clean out all my downloads, bookmarks, and photos deleting tons of stuff I no longer want on my computer; to set up the blog calendar for the coming year; and to finish making a few tree ornaments I didn't get to make during the holidays.

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    Best of all I plan fiber-y projects for the coming cold, dreary months remaining before spring.

    Making my sweetie a knitted hat is top priority!

    And finishing two projects on the needles (barely touched since fall) - a pair of socks and a scarf.

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    And definitely finishing the snowy white weaving still on my loom!

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    Practice, practice, practice crochet!

    I guess it could be said that January is fiber month at my house! And pretty much on Gingerbread Snowflakes too!

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    One of my favorite Yarnia Yarns - Persues!

    So it is time again for a Yarnia Giveaway!

    The winner will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to use in the online shop or in the custom yarn shop.

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    At Yarnia, this amount goes a long way! (The giveaway winner last year - Nancy Kelly who blogs as Zuzu's Petals - knit this beautiful pair of heavy weight "garden socks" and still had yarn left over for headbands.)

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      In the online shop, the winner can choose a pre-made cone like this one - Sweet Kisses - one of the favorite shop yarns last year...

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    or create a unique blend of fiber goodness using the custom yarn creator in the Custom Yarn Shop.

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    All you must do to enter is make a comment on this post!

    Internationals are welcome as long as you are willing to cover the cost of shipping. (Shipping to the continental USA will be covered my me!)

    The giveaway will end at 6:00pm PST February 3rd and the winner announced on February 4th.

    Curious about what it is like to play with Yarnia yarns? Now is the perfect opportunity to satisfy your curiosity!

  • Stealing or Intuitive Consciousness?

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    Throughout my lifetime, I have found it quite curious that cultures - ancient cultures with no possible connection to each other - have developed artistic expressions that are quite similar.

    Huichol Indians of Mexico weave Ojo de Dios - a similar weaving is practiced by Tibetan monks. Patterns in Navajo and Turkish rugs are amazingly similar.

  • Don't Miss the Third Blogiversary Giveaway on MegaCrafty!

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    Did you know Meg is celebrating her third blogiversary?

    Pop over to MegaCrafty and say happy happy and while you are there don't miss the chance to enter the blogiversary drawing for a Simply Screen - Silk Screen Kit by Plaid. She has already tried out a Simply Screen kit, loves it, and wants to share the fun!

    I am NOT going to enter so that everyone will have a fighting chance to win!

    I won her second blogiversary prize last January (that's how I met Meg!) and I just won the Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color! I LOVE winning Meg's giveaways but I think it only fair I give someone else a chance.

    Pop over right now and enter! Giveaway entries close January 27th!

    Happy Blogiversary Meg!  And many, many, many more!

  • Hard Core Knitters Close Your Eyes! Newbie Solution to Blocking a Cowl!

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    This idea may or may not be terribly revolutionary in knitting circles. But it sure has been working great for me!

    Wanting to block several cowls and not wanting to block them flat, I came up with this idea. And it works so well I thought I would share. All that is needed - bath towels and steam!

    The roll of bath towels can be made to fit almost any size and the loops work great to gently hold the wool in place. (Pins could be used if desired but in my case - absolutely NOT necessary.)

    Steam irons work for steam blocking; however, I have an even better tool! A "vintage", I suppose, Steamstress II - see image here! No hot surfaces - just lovely steam! I originally purchased this tool when I was sewing every garment I wore and used it a great deal when setting seams in wool fabrics and when sewing with velvet.

    Don't know it something similar is still available - mine still is working like a champ so no need to find out! Many of my brides are using "commercial type" steamers on their gowns and I suppose those would work too.

    Technique!

    Roll bath towels to the circumference of the cowl. Don't make it so small the stitches bunch up or so big that it stretches the stitches.

    Place the cowl on the rolled towel as shown above, nudging the edges into shape so that the width of the cowl is nice and even all the way around.

    Place the rolled towel on a flat surface in the position shown above. Thoroughly steam one half of the roll and let the knitted fabric sit until it feels mostly dry. Roll over, steam the other side and let sit until it feels dry. 

    At this point, I will usually set the towel roll on one end and let the cowl dry completely overnight. In case you are thinking the cowl will slide off - the lovely little towel loops will hold your cowl in place.

    It really does a great job of wrangling those stitches into sweet symmetry!

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    I used the same technique on Diane's market bag. This is the after felting before blocking shot when I was testing how much produce the bag would hold. 40 lbs of fruit and veggie goodness in case you are wondering!

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    After felting, I filled the bag with plastic baggies and let it dry. It really didn't look so great! So I built an oval roll of bath towels and placed the bag on the towels so that the bottom was facing up.

    Then I steamed away! I think the results speak for themselves!

    And if anyone owns or knows of a newer steam tool that works without getting hot like an iron, please let me know because this much loved Steamstress may not last forever!

  • Impossible? NOT! First Crochet Reveal!

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    Me learning to crochet! No longer impossible, improbable, unimaginable, or 'not going to happen'!

    I am thrilled, and totally surprised, to share my very first crochet project!

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    A whole finished project!

  • Colour &Stitches WINNER!

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    Congratulations Maureen!

    You have won a copy of the very first ever issue of Colour &Stitches!

    I will be contacting you by e-mail so we can get your copy to you right away!

    And a big heartfelt thank you to all of you who entered! I wish I could have given each and every one of you a copy because Colour &Stitches is absolutely beautiful and packed with stitchy goodness including color theory, seriously charming embroidery patterns, and an excellent applique tutorial!

    You can order your very own copy right here!

    To wind up January - fiber month on Gingerbread Snowflakes - I will be holding  another giveaway a week from tomorrow on January 29th.

    In the meantime, don't miss the giveaway taking place on MegaCrafty beginning Monday, January 23. Meg is celebrating her third blogiversary!  And if her prize is anything like last year (which I won BTW), you won't want to miss the chance to win!!

    I will be back tomorrow to remind you! :-)

  • Enchanted God's Eyes (Ojos de Dios) - a Journey

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    Gorgeous hand spun yarn rescued at a thrift.

    Treasures left to be discovered on my path by crows, jays, sea gulls, robins and chickadees.

    Inspiration from Susan, a reader who shared a picture of a gift she made a good friend.

    The seeds of a new God's Eye (Ojos de Dios) to add to my collection.

    I have never outgrown my absolute enjoyment of weaving a God's Eye. Perhaps it has to do with something Susan said about "the symmetry and intent of protection of the God's Eye".

  • Crochet? An Impossible Dream?

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    Imagine the Impossibilities! A current challenge taking place among crafters who have decided to imagine that something they thought was impossible is actually possible!

    The Imagine the Impossibilities Challenge is being hosted by Karah on her blog the space between! Pop over and see if you are up to the challenge!

  • January 2012 Giveaway! Very First Issue of "&Stitches"

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    If you are into embroidery - any kind of embroidery - or hand stitching for that matter - I am willing to bet that you are going to love this brand new e-zine "&Stitches" published by Carina (Carina's Craftblog and Polka and Bloom Shop) and Nicole (Follow the White Bunny blog and Follow the White Bunny Shop.

    Since I own and love both of Carina's e-books - "Small Stitches" and "Stitching Borders and Beyond", I absolutely knew the new magazine would not disappoint! The very first issue, "Colour &Stitches" is packed full (48 pages worth) of excellent, well written and thorough content that is generously and beautifully illustrated.

    "&Stitches" will be published quarterly and each issue will be built around a specific theme - this first issue - all about color!

    I am ready to sign up for a whole year as soon as they make that option available!

    Take a minute to read more about "&Stitches" right here and also on the &Stitches blog here. Or go here to order!

    Carina and Nicole are graciously allowing me to give away a copy of the very first issue of "Colour &Stitches" to one very lucky reader!

    Simply leave a comment on this post before 6:00pm PST,  Saturday January 21st to be included in the drawing. Winner will be announced on Sunday, January 22nd.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Knitted Gifts Reveal

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    Now that everyone has received their hand knitted gifts, I can share what I have been up to on my needles this fall and winter!

    Knitted baby owl for my Mother.

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    Felted bag for my Mil.