Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Book Review: Girl in Translation

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I truly enjoyed reading A Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.  Kwok with seriousness and humor shares Kim and her mother's lives as immigrants in Brooklyn.  You soon learn that the help they get isn't much.  Kim now Kimberly goes to school and in time does very well despite the hours she needs to work to help her mother prepare clothing orders for pennies at  the clothing factory.  Kim grows up in a bit of a limbo of the Chinese culture and United States culture.  You get a window into the challenges immigrants  face when they come to the States.  How even their own can limit them and the prejudices they face everywhere.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fiber Friday: Tin, Tin, Tin

So what does a Peppermint Bark Tin have to do with fiber?  It holds important knitting and crocheting accessories and wee bit for spinning too.

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Currently in the lid I have spinning information so I can do some calculations to figure out yardage, yards per pound or more.  For socks I have foot measurements for me, my husband and daughter.  My sons feet haven't stopped growing yet so I measure them right before I start a pair of socks and again just before I turn the heel.  Next formula are reminders so I'm not stuck while on the go when knitting a pair of socks.

Now that I have sock stuff in the tin lid I can bring my socks with me no matter where I am.  Maybe now I can finish the socks I started for Stephen.

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Inside the tin are even more tins,  On top of the tins I have sticky notes to keep track of patterns or do calculations with.  Which reminds me I need to make sure I have a pen or pencil in the tin as well.  A calculator to do said calculations.  Knit Picks needle sizer and ruler which is used more as a ruler than a needle sizer. Also visible are the folding scissors, retractable tape measure and a roll up yardstick.

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Maybe you are wondering what a roll up yardstick is? Well it's a metal yardstick that rolls up.   I grew up with that thing.  I wondered if you could still find them because they are cool.  Looks like they are a vintage.  In mint condition some one was asking $38 for it! Most on ebay were going for $15.  I'm not selling.  It's hardly in mint condition.  It's handy for me because it rolls up.  I use it to measure handspun or yarn I re-skeined.

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Lovely colorful clear lid tins I inhereted from my mother.  I've tried to find where she got them.  I'm only finding plain tin ones online so far.  So if anyone has the google fu and can find them  kindly share with me and I will post here.

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This is what I can easily bring with me.  I will have everything I need.  It's replaces some other things I made that just weren't working as well.

Knit/Crochet tool roll

The case was nice but it wasn't user friendly for stitch markers and other tools.  The tools were never in the case.  It was fussy to put them back in so I didn't.  The large tin is kind of  bulky but I have all the basic tools I might need at my finger tips.  I keep it open beside me and take what I need and put it right back when I'm done.  I found another use for the case so all is good.

Next up how do I organize my hooks and needles?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Book Review: A Grown Up Kind of Pretty

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Another winner by Joshylin Jackson, A Grown Up Kind of Pretty.  Is about family and what makes a family.  It's sort of a mystery too. If you are bit  put off by the beginning of the book do keep reading it gets better.  At first I was a bit worried the direction this book might go but it was fine. I was looking for something uplifting and happier making.  There are sad parts but good sad parts.

Currently reading:
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Looks like you get this review anyways since I forgot to move it to next Sunday.

Sunday Book Review: Sort of a Review

I had a different book I want to review and recommend but something came across my facebook feed that I thought was important to share.   February 19th is Rememberance Day is a day to remember and never forget the internment of Japanese Americans and immigrants during World War II.

One way we can remember is to read a book.  Even it's fictional it gives us a window into a time we didn't live.  It may not tell the whole story but it tells part of the story.  Hopefully we learn something and we remember.

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas is a story told through the eyes of young Rennie a13 year old girl.  How Rennie's family and a Japanese family lives intersect after an internment camp is set up near their home.  You learn a bit about what interment was like. You explore along with Rennie the morality of it all.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is about love but about fitting in but what if you can't fit in.  It's told through the eyes of a young Chinese boy living in San Francisco just after the Japanese Americans and immigrants were sent away to live in the internment camps. You get to hear how they were removed from their home.  How they had to leave so many important things behind.   How Japantown became a ghost city and how others took advantage of it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sip it Saturday: Cable Car Red Wine

Cable Car Red Wine is your basic red table wine and I picked it up on a guess that it might not be that bad with a 85 rating from the Wine Enthusiast July 2011 Issue.    

I found it a bit acidic at first sip. I am impatient and don't give it time to air.  Has what  I think is a very oaky smell and taste.  Not completey unpleasant.  Maybe not what I was wanting just then.   I should have picked up a Malbec instead.  Anyone have a good recommendation?


Note to blog viewers. Color is all wrong  Lighting was bad. I'm so sorry.  Felix the cat is quite upset that you can't see what a lovely blue he is.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fiber Friday: Rainbow!

While at Spring Yarn School 2011 I learned how to use a drum carder.  Not only that I learned what happens when you combine different colors.  The yarn samples you see below are from the same fiber batt.  The one on the left was only run through the carder once maybe twice.  The one on the right was run through the carder three times and maybe four.  You get two very different yarns with something that starts out mostly the same.  Its a really fun way explore color.  I love both of these yarns but I favor the heathered on the right.  I love me some heathered yarns.


So in my spare time I dyed up some primary colors with some Blue Faced Lester(BFL) I had on hand.


These are my vary sketchy dye notes using Jacquard Acid Dyes

60 gram BFL maybe a bit more - 50ml of 1% solution sky blue with a little yellow

60 plus grams of BFL -  added about 1/4 tsp of yellow to the pot
60 grams plus BFL - added 50ml 1% solution red to the pot.


While watching movies on netflix I hand carded them into some lovely rolags. . 

Charging my carder lightly with each color in the portion below. So for example with Blue purple I added a small bit of blue then red then blue.  You don't want much on your carders then you don't get a very good rolag.  I' m not sure I did a very goo job of it myself. 

Blue purple: blue, red, blue
Red purple: red, blue, red
Orange: red, yellow, red
Dk Yellow: yellow, red, yellow
Lt Green: yellow, blue, yellow
Dk green: blue, yellow, blue

Then I got my spin on.  Spinning two bobbins of  singles with long rainbow color repeats. 


Then finally I had yarn! 


Spun on my Ashford Single Drive Traveler
ration 5:1  ratio and an attempt at long draw
2 bobbins chain plied to preserve the striping.

Skein 1
2.6 ounces   
121 yards
744 ypp
8 wpi
Skein 2 
2.6 ouncess
 108 yards
667 ypp

My goal was to make a self striping yarn but the stripes were longer than I wanted for the project I had in mind. So if I did something like this over again I will make each colorway first then make the project.  Someday when my spinning skills and patience align along with the stars I will spin a striped yarn.  I know it's possible but do I want to do it? That is the question. 


I have very basic notes how I knit these up on ravelry here.  If you've knit mitts before you they should help.  Basically it's knit in the round and the color change is a seed stitch.  So really easy peasy if you can be a bit fearless.  I'm working on a free pattern to share soon.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Snow!

It finally snowed here in Kansas this week.  I'm thankful for the snow , for the moisture it brings and the fun it brings.  There is something so pleasing about it's brightness that cheered me this week.

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Especially when the house is full of good food and I don't have to go anywhere. 

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
 but the fire is so delightful.
 Since there's no place to go. 
 Let it snow 
Let it snow
 Let it snow!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday: What was I thinking?

That't what I'm calling this, this thing that someday will be a blanket, a lap blanket.  Right now it's about the size of a large doily.

What was I thinking?
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 Because what was I thinking about when I started a new blanket  knit with sock yarn on 3.25mm / US 3 needles?  When I still need to weave in the ends on this mother of a blanket?

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See ends

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My Crazy Blanket, as I fondly call it, fits my queen size bed.  It's made of wool so maybe I don't need to weave in the ends.  I can consider it extra insulation.  Right?  If I do weave in the ends there are several.  Let's see.  It's 18 mitered squares by 18 mitered squares. So I knit 324 mitered squares over the past two years.  So with an average of 2 ends per square that's 648 ends to weave in.  But wait there is more!  Some of the squares have more than one color. So lets add an extra 10%. So there are about 712 ends to weave in.  So if I did 2 a day starting now I could be done by the end of the year.  Yah, right a girl can dream.

Not to say that I don't love my big warm Crazy Blanket.  I do. I love that it's made from leftover stash yarn, yarn I dyed myself some of it with natural dyes and some of it with acid dyes and some with food coloring, my handspun, and yarn I inherited from my mom's enormous stash. So it's a bit of a fiber journal that keeps me warm on a cold winter night.

So What Was I Thinking will be similar.  I'm using up leftover yarn knitting socks and even some sock yarn I don't want to knit socks with.  I have some undyed sock yarn that I just might dye to add to it to.  Quite a bit of it is left over of my mom's sock yarn scraps.  My mom knit lots of socks.

So that's my WIP (Work in Progress) what's yours?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Heart bookmark

This holiday seems to lead to lots of turmoil.  I remember feeling sad not having a valentine to share the day with. Yes, it is a commercial holday.  Yet what hasn't been commercialized? It's pervasive in our culture.  Why not reclaim it to something better.

Ideally we love our boyfriend or girlfriend,  husband or wife, children, friends every day.  How about this be a day that we reflect on love, comapastion and thankfulness. Let it be a day to remember the love we feel and rekindle connection or passion as needed.  Some chocolate and a back rub can certainly help with that!   Make it a reminder to bring joy to others more often to be joyful more often.  If we find ourselves a bit lonely love ourselves.  We are all worthy of love.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Musing: Math

I will come out of the closet to say I like numbers.  I wish I understood the principles and patterns of  math stuff better.  So I find it really cool when I come across different ways to do things like multiplication.

This method I first learned as a Japanese method of multiplication but have since learned it's Vedic.  

More on Vedic Maths can be found here.  I'll leave you with one last math magic video:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Book Review: Austenland

It's been a while since I read anything by Jane Austen but I enjoyed Austenland by Sharaon Hale as much as I have enjoyed other books by Hale.

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Austenland is a light hearted story about Jane, a young woman who might be a bit more obsessed with the world of Jane Austen than is healthy.  She inherits a trip to escape into the world of Austen.   She gets to dress, talk, and eat in the manner of time.   She finds herself again and maybe love as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sip it Saturday: New Belgium Dig

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Mr. Purple and I were hankering for a brew. I noticed on my facebook feed that New Belgium had a spring seasonal Pale Ale called Dig.   It was a lighter beer , at 5.6% alcohol that make sense, than I usually drink.  It wasn't the right pairing with the pizza I brought home for dinner.  It's some what lemon flavor was drowned by the flavorful pizza. I finished off  the beer I started and had a second with a few candy bars left over from the fried candy bars we made earlier in the day.   Yep fried candy bars. Yummy melty goodness but a little goes a long way.

But I digress the chocolate and the beer was not bad, not bad at all.  Mr.Purple thought so too.  I'll get this one again but skip the pizza and go for a light cheese and crackers maybe and some chocolate.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fiber Friday: Yarn School

I finally went to Yarn School in Harveyville, KS, Spring 2011.

Yarn School Spring 2011

Drank lots of wine...

All evidence of wine drinking has been erased or recycled.  Move along now.

Spun a little:

Big Lofty Yarn

Art Yarn

Barber pole and Heathered yarns carder on the drum carder. See next weeks Fiber Friday for more about this.

Carded on the drum carders:

Dyed lots of fiber:

Yarn School Spring 2011 Sammimag Colorways
That's 4 pounds of fiber!

Pet Angora Rabbits


Hung out and had lunch at Alapcas in Wildcat Hallow:


(photo - taken by fellow yarn schooler)

and pet the dogs:

Ate lots of super yummy food! Mmm Bacon.

Came home with over 4lbs of fiber and more:


Not visible the alpaca/silk fiber from Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow, dye color card, and a turkish spindles, lots of door prize fibers, and some fiber I bought.  And a cool t-shirt I'll need to model some time.

It took a while to get back into the groove.  Yarn School is part of a unique space and time. So I was a bit wobbly when I came home.  Bliss is fiber, good food, fiber geeks and wine.  I'll be going back again Spring  2013.

Stay tuned for the sweaters and more worth of yarn I spun up from all that fiber.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful that I have hobbies I am passionate about and love to do.  


I'm thankful I have found friends who share the same crazy passion for fiber and yarns that I do.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tangling Tuesday: Tools and Organization

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I like having things handy.  The easier things are to find and use the more likely I will use them.

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I re-purposed a basket that was being used but not efficiently.  This basket has good memories.  When I look at it I remember our time living in Sebastipol, Ca. I bought it at the consignment shop there.  It's perfect to keep my pens and papers handy for tangling.   Papers and other items fit in the larger basket. behind the pens.

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These are all cut to size 3.5 by 3.5 inches.  Sometimes I have Art Trading Card size c2.5 x 3.5 inches. The colored paper is some basic cardatock I got at Micheals.  The white paper is Strathmore 300 Series.  It's 100 lb paper with a vellum surface.

I have black and sepia sakura pigma pens in a few sizes.  I can find these at Michaels but online I like to get them at Jet Pens.  So far the size I use the most is .25.  I got a brush one for filling but wish I had the .5mm instead.  I have a few colored pens and would like more. also sells pens in sets for tangling.  

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I love using altoid tins to store things.  This one holds some blending sticks that blend pencil shading, pencil sharpener, and an eraser.  I just might add an empty tin to collect pencil shavings.

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This tin holds tangling patterns.  These are only the ones I've made so far there are many more. So when I am working on a zentangle I can get inspiration.  Sometimes I get kind of stuck and don't have a direction I can see.   I pull these out to inspire me.

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I also have a journal where I doodle around.

Zentangles 005

So now go get your doodle on!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Book Review: The Leftovers

The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta is all about the "What if?"  What if the Rapture happened  but those who left weren't who you expected to go.  What if your entire family disappeared, your two young kids and your husband? How would you feel?  Would you be disappointed if you weren't chosen? If you weren't what would you do?  I warn you there is a bit of a disturbing plot twist near the end.  I'd tell you more but I might give too much away. All in all I'd give it a thumbs up since I couldn't put it down. I read it in about day and half.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Foodie Friday: Bitchin' Kitchen!

One day when I sat down to knit on something I was in need of some entertainment.  Knitting is entertainment but not always enough entertainment.  There wasn't anything on my dvr queue to watch so I did a bit of surfing and found Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen.  At first I wasn't sure about this chick.  Is she for real? Nadia G and I are like opposites at least on the surface.  She's a rockin' young hipster and I love comfortable shoes. But she loves food and so do I.   So I fell in love with her rockin' self.  Even though she has issues with nerds she really is a nerd about food, although I think she might deny it. Maybe some of her wardrobe sense can rub off and I can become a stylin' hip mature broad ;)

Sadly, I can't watch the show since we canceled cable.  Before I lost cable I saved up several episodes on my dvr and had a Bitchin' Kitchen party to watch episodes with some of my favorite peeps.  You have to have some food at a bitch'n' kitchen party and some wine or bring or something.  So what if  the party started at 1pm in the afternoon.  A gals got to have fun sometime! 

I'm crossing my fingers that Bitchin' Kitchen will come out on dvd soon so I can have another party. For now I will have to settle for youtube videos to get my Nadia G fix. I will leave you with one more.  Some foodie ideas for Valentines Day.  Even better you get to met Hans and  the Spice Agent.

Now Go Rock Your Kitchen! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I've been struggling with my thankful posts.  So I decided to re-read some of my own blog posts on thankfulness  here and this one here.   I'm reminded that no matter how "small" or "big" that thankfulness is important. Having a day to bring my attention to what I am thankful for is good but even better I need to make it a daily thing and bring those things here to share.  As I write this my daughter is in her room laughing.

I love it when I hear my daughter laughing
 about something she reads or watches.  
I love it that she laughs so much.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Fibonacci Poncho

Fibonacci inspired that is. So the poncho starts with 13 rows of yellow then 8 rows of dk brown, 5 rows of blue, 3 rows of brown, 5 rows of yellow, and so on back up to 13 rows then down to 3 rows.

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But it was too big. Sigh, knitterly denial bites me in the but again. Rip it, Rip it....

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Frogged and all balls of yarn are marked to which section of the sequence they belong and how many rows to knit with it.  I'm most proud of myself for this. It's called organization.  It satisfies No. 2 on my uberlist. 

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 So all I need now is a glass of wine and some Deep Space Nine reruns and some company on the couch or not and knit this thing!