Friday, December 11, 2009

The Cheeky Little Monkeys pattern is available





After a very long wait, the Cheeky Little Monkeys pattern is now available. Visit - Cheeky Little Monkeys - for more information or to purchase. Don't have a Ravelry account? You can click this link - HERE - to purchase the pattern.

Details:

Needle - US 9/5.5 mm

Yarn - Brown Sheep Lanaloft Worsted in dark brown and white

Pattern techniques - include i-cord, increases, decreases, picking up stitches and felting. Pattern includes directions for both knitting flat AND in the round.

Approximate finished size after felting: 7”

Thanks for all of the comments and monkey love you've shown my little monkeys. There will be more monkey madness in the near future. Stay tuned! Have a fab weekend!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Got Monkey?

For long time readers of this blog (does anyone read it anymore?), you may recall my love of all things monkey. Four or five years ago, my felted monkey, Zira travelled the globe and I even developed a smaller pattern that I named the Cheeky Little Monkeys. Well for a variety of reasons, I never wrote up the pattern for the Cheekys and forgot about them. Thanks to a good bit of monkey love that several of my family and friends share with me, I dusted off the pattern, rewrote parts of it and am about to release it and several holiday versions over the next couple of weeks. Here's a preview of the newly revised Cheeky Little Monkeys

Thinking Cheeky closeup Retouch

You can see more pictures on the workshop site - http://theindigomuse.ning.com . Check back for registration information since I'm planning on developing an online workshop for these little fellows since there are so very many tips and tricks that I can't adequately describe in print. Patterns will be available through the site and Ravelry. Keep your eyes peeled :)

In other news, I've been busy filming/developing online knitting workshops and writing up patterns. Not much personal knitting happening except for Knitspots beautiful Leafprints wrist warmers and I'm actually knitting them out of the recommended yarn - Great Northern Yarns Mink/Cashmere (heavenly stuff). I did have a fab weekend away from the guys last weekend with my Maryland peeps Heather, Ei and Donna. You can read more on H's blog HERE. My Grandma has been in the hospital for almost two weeks after cardiac arrest a couple of weeks ago. Please add her to your prayer list. Poor thing had to spend her 87th birthday on Saturday in the hospital :( We are blessed because this is only the second time in her life that she's been in the hospital and she's actually doing very well. She's in rehab now to get her left arm back up to full capacity so she can go home.

Here's hoping that Thanksgiving is low key and relaxing for everyone.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Online Knitting Workshops

When I originally thought that my job was going to be terminated, I immediately started to tap into my available resources. I approached the local yarn shop - Yarn Explosion - about teaching knitting classes as a stop gap until I could find gainful employment. And then I didn't lose my job but had already started planning classes. See the dilemma? Around the same time, Glampyre started offering online classes and encouraged me to try it too.

And soooooo, I'm pleased to announce that registration is now open at IndigoMuse's Fiber Workshop for my first online workshop - Felted Fortune Cookies. Some of you might remember these cookies from Chinese New Year a few years ago. The pattern is a great skillbuilder workshop where you can practice short rows and use up your wool scraps.

Once you’ve paid for the workshop, you’ll receive 14 days access to the invitation only workshop site. Patterns, tutorials, felting tips and tricks, forums and live chats will all be posted on the site. Local yarn support is provided by Yarn Explosion. Call (540) 206-2638 for more information on ordering and shipping your supplies directly to your door. Local participants will also have the added bonus of “live meetups” to get assistance, support or to show off finished projects. I’m working with other yarn shops in Southwest Virginia to also provide yarn support for future workshops for participants who don’t live in Roanoke.

You can view a sneak peak of the class below:


Find more videos like this on IndigoMuse's Fiber Workshop


By joining IndigoMuse's Fiber Workshop you're already set to get regular updates of new workshops, specials and other offerings. If you're curious, here are some of the other workshops I'll be offering in the coming weeks:

October 21st - Felted fortune cookies
October 31st - Drop stitch scarf/wrap/cowl
November 4th - Felted fortune cookies
November 7th - Trinity Log Cabin Triangle
November 11th - Getting to know your yarn (complete with “fiber tastings” of yarn)

Be sure to check the events calendar on my Ning site for more information.

Let me know if you have questions or comments and I’ll make every attempt to answer them. Thanks again for all of your great ideas and enthusiasm about the workshops already :) I look forward to "seeing you" in class.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A wild and crazy coupla weeks

The end of the summer is always a little nutty and bittersweet round these parts. King Thing sadly says goodbye to his beloved beach, the kids head back to school and I reclaim the house from its constant state of being overly lived in for four months. Its eeriely quiet, lonesome and blissful all at once.

King Thing hit a major milestone birthday - the big 4-0. I'm careening toward 40 though I get to put it off for a couple of months. Thing 2 started his first year of public school and so far so good. He's loving math, science and spanish so far. I'm keeping fingers, toes and eyes crossed that he continues to like his new school. Thing 1 hasn't played in a football game yet but hopes to soon (picture me as scared Mom in the stands).

And oh yeah, the job thing for me. I'm still employed with my organization (insert happy dance) while we rework my position and its responsibilities. I know better than to jinx negotiations until after the ink is dry but if all works out, I'll still have a job after October. I'll keep you posted (still doing happy dance).

I've been knitting like a fiend since we've been home more and on the road less. I finished a drop stitch scarf that I just realized I haven't photographed yet. I made a little wiener dog for a friend of mine earlier this summer.

Knit Wiener Dog


And I finished the Mandarin collar tank but royally effed up the depth of the sleeves. (((sigh)))

IM's Mandarin-Collar tank

So I picked the collar off, shortened the shoulder seams and just need to reapply the collar. Now I just need a tall drink before I undertake that process. Taking the collar off alone nearly brought me to tears (but I did it dammit).

My favorite new project is by the very talented Stephen West and is called Daybreak.

Daybreak shawl grows even bigger...

I'm making mine with Karabella Boise (a yummy 50/50 merino/cashmere blend) and Punta Mericash (a 30/70 cashmere/merino blend). Great yarn, great pattern, not enough hours in the day to finish it faster. I've got a touch of carpal in my left wrist from overdoing it this weekend - ouch!

I've joined the 2nd She-Knits Mystery KAL on Ravelry and can't wait until it starts next week. I get a little antsy when I don't have another project planned as another one is winding down. Not like there aren't enough FOs in my knitting room that could use some attention. We'll just shut the door and pretend that they're not there.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that I'm Twittering now as theindigomuse. What's your Twitter name? I'd love to follow your tweets too. Have a super week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Teenagers in the house

Another major milestone in the Muse house. Thing 2 turned 13 on Monday.

Thing 2 celebrating his 13th with the piggie

Its so weird to think that my boys are developing into young men.

Thing 1 and 2 and the Piggie

The Things celebrate Thing 2s 13th Bday.jpg

There's alot of nekkidness around the house in the summer so sorry for the bare bods. I'm the only chick in the house besides the Piggie (who's in the picture with the Things) so I don't have much say in the matter. I should have taken a picture of them when they both looked so very nice in their polo shirts before we headed to lunch with King Thing. And don't ask me what's up with that hat and Thing 1. King Thing bought it for him after a trip to Canada last year and he's taken to wearing it every night this summer while he plays on the 360. It has a big Maple leaf on the side. What strange kids we have.

I'm still recovering from some sorta flu/virus. I got it thanks to a colleague who sneezed on me during a conference I attended last week. Nice, huh? I hope it was H1N1 because I hear that once you've had it, you can't get it again. I really don't want to be this sick again anytime soon. I say all of that so that you know why I look so hazy in this picture with my boy.

Sick mom with the birthday boy.jpg

It was all I could do to make his birthday cake without ruining it. BTW, it was a very cool and uber yummy recipe from Hershey Kitchens "Especially Dark Chocolate Cake". You add boiling water to the concoction before you plop it into the oven, go figure. Twas a hit with all of the boys so I won't doubt the process. I iced it with my special buttercream icing that included almost a pound of local Homestead Creamery butter - YUM!!!

Thanks for all of your kind words and words of encouragement. I truly draw strength from them :)

And yes, I'm still knitting though not much since I've been both out of town and sick. I'm working on the Mandarin Collared Tank and am in the home stretch. Let's hope I look good in it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Well as of August 31st, I will join millions of other unemployed people in the US. Our non-profit has taken some serious hits over the past few months and while I've dodged the bullet for the last three cuts, I didn't make it through this last round. (((Sigh))) So now the soul searching and fun begins as I try to figure out what to do next. There might be some contract work in my field as there are a couple of grants that will come up in September so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I'm going to do some teaching at the LYS Yarn Explosion and try to keep my chin up. At least I was able to get through the summer with a paycheck. I found out right before our vacation but decided that I didn't need to ruin everyone's fun by dropping the bomb on them. I'm lucky to have a nice stash of fiber and yarn so I shouldn't want for any hobby related goodies. Unfortunately, we'll have to pull Thing 2 out of private school to keep our expenses in check. I think he'll be fine but I'm nervous about the world of public school for him. I'm not going to commit to a new job until at least October so that I can focus on the transition with him. So much happening all at once.

We have had a fun summer inspite of the news. We spent the week of Fathers Day, 4th of July weekend and another entire week in July at the beach. On the spur of the moment, we jaunted off to DC last weekend to see Paul McCartney perform at FedEx Stadium (What a HUGE treat! The man played for three hours non-stop!). And we're thinking about getting another Corgi nearly two years after saying goodbye to Mavis.

There has been some weaving and knitting though not a ton. I kinda lost my mojo for a brief stint. I'll post some pictures when I can take some with good lighting.

So what have you been up to this summer? BTW, go show some birthday love to my knit bud Robin(who I REALLY missed seeing at knit nite) whose birthday is tomorrow -August 7th.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Belated Blogiversary Celebration

Whoops! I missed the actual date by a few weeks. Needless to say, the beginning of the month was a blur but things are finally starting to settle down. So June 6, 2004 was the first time I posted in Bloglandia and that first post brought me headlong into the wonderful world of knitting, spinning and the people who inhabit it. I've made some wonderful "real" world friends, learned advance techniques, gotten tips for practically everything and tripped into spinning, dyeing and most recently weaving.

Speaking of weaving, here are a few pics of my first "real" planned project - a wrap - off the loom. Twas a success!

New weaving project on the loom

Jubilee Woven Wrap

Finished Woven Jubilee Wrap

Jubilee Wrap and me

So how am I celebrating my blogiversary? With a little happy dance and another first - I'm PUBLISHED!!! I've been waiting and waiting for my copy of Feltique to arrive from the publisher and it finally arrived.



It just didn't feel real until I had it in my hot little hands. Guess what's on the first page of the book? One of my little felted fortune cookies - SQUEEEE!

Felted Fortune Cookie - Feltique pattern

The fortune cookie pattern is on page 99.

Felted Fortune Cookies - Feltique Pattern

I also wrote a pattern for a felted floppy flyer (pretty much a felted frisbee but because of copyright issues, we couldn't call it that) that's on page 105.

Floppy Flying Disk - Feltique pattern

Feltique is FABULOUS! I love the variety of felting techniques that you can find in this one book and how visually appealing it is. I love books that not only show you the finished product but also shows you how to construct the project. This book is one that I will carefully study and toy with for years to come. I'm so very honored to have been asked to be a part of this beautiful book.

I can't begin to tell you how many hours Nikola and Brookelynn worked with me to tweek the pattern, mailing samples back and forth and fine tuning the technical info. Now multiply that times 18 different fiber artists. That takes dedication. The entire process took nearly two years from start to finish. I must say that I'll never pick up a knitting/craft book and look at it the same way again, knowing now how much time, blood, sweat and tears goes into every picture and project.

If you want to see more of Feltique, please visit the website or check out the Craftzine feature that Brookelynn did on several of the contributors (I'm featured HERE).

Thanks for letting me have a little virtual party here on my blog. My family and non-knitting friends don't "get" it. I'd kinda hoped that being published might validate my craft but they still think I'm on the nutty side with regards to fiber arts. Oh well, guess I'm in good company :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

A bummer of a month

That's how Thing 2 summed up the past several weeks in our household. I couldn't agree more. King Thing's grandmother passed away unexpectedly last Saturday. She was making good progress in her recovery from surgery but I guess her body was just done with the entire process. Its a sad time for his family and I just hope that some serious healing can begin for those left behind. Thanks for all who offered prayers for our family - they're always appreciated.

A more lively post is coming ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a long strange trip its been

Busy, busy, busy. Its now my middle name. So much has happened in such a short period of time. I promise to add pictures before the end of the day (if you don't want to wait, check out my Flickr photostream HERE) but in the meantime here's an update:

Thing 2 was reassessed recently and was found to have severe ADHD and significant problems with executive function. (((sigh))) I know he could have worse things to deal with but I couldn't help but feel bad for him. And contrary to rational thought, I felt like a bad mom because its likely I have it too and passed it on to him. Long story short, we decided to give Straterra a try inspite of my anti-medication stance because he was quite miserable at school. Several weeks in and he's doing very well, no side effects and is thrilled with the ability to focus. Praying that he continues to do well into the future.

My best bud's sister had her twins (the ones that I made the stroller blankets for). I made them some cupcake hats to match their stroller blankies and some teeny tiny socks to keep their little tootsies warm.

Twin cupcake hats and matching handspun socks

N in cupcake hat

T with his handknit blankie

We spent Spring break with The Dead (minus the late Jerry Garcia) - thus the title to this post. Thing 1 and King Thing went to the shows in Greensboro, NC and Washington, DC. Thing 2 and I joined them for the show in Charlottesville, VA. It was quite the 90s flashback for me and a first for Thing 2. Thing 1 made his rounds to several shows when he as a baby but of course he doesn't remember any of it. After the kids were quite appauled at first but eventually they settled in and had a blast people watching. I'm always amazed at how laid back everyone is and how the police don't bust anyone's chops. If only the weather had cooperated - brrrrr!

Chillin' at The Dead Show

Me and King Thing chillin' at The Dead show

Sadly, during Spring break week, my grandma's sister (Great Aunt) and King Thing's grandmother were both hospitalized :( My great-aunt didn't make it and we said goodbye to her on April 24th. She was one of the neatest people I had the pleasure to know and her antics and eccentricities will truly be missed. I feel blessed to have known her as long as I did. While I'm sad that she's gone, I'm so glad that she no longer has to suffer.

King Thing's grandma is still in ICU, on a ventilator, trying to recover. We feel pretty helpless and just continue to pray. Her recovery is in God's hands and those caring for her now.

I hit Maryland Sheep and Wool in the midst of all of this crazy train that is life and was so glad to have had time to visit with my buds Ei and Heaz.

Ravelry Meetup 2009

So good to see familiar faces

Familiar faces

Look who else we got to visit with - Carrieoke! And we got to meet her sister, Ysolda and so many others at the Ravelry meetup this year. I think this was my fourth trip and the wettest to date - ick! But we still had fun in spite of the rain. Heaz is getting married soon - squeee! Ei and I coaxed each other into buying rigid heddle looms this year so I came home with a Schacht 20" Flip. Wee doggie, there is so much to learn about weaving. I feel like I have to learn yet another fiber related language. Warp, weft, sett, arghhhhh. It's coming slowly but surely and after three practice projects, I've warped the loom for a "real" planned project - a wrap.

Look Ma  I'm weaving

Finished woven runner

Sad Wonky Woven Koigu Scarf

Keeping my fingers crossed that I did the calculations right and I have enough weft yarn to complete the project. Math is NOT my forte so I won't be surprised if I'm off in my calculations. I'll just chalk it up to yet another learning opportunity.

So in general, life is crazy but good. The sun and warmth and green is back and I'm loving every minute of it. I've got some other good news to post about but that will have to wait for another post. I promise it won't take me two months to get to it :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nesting

Trust me, it’s not what you think. I’m not pregnant and I’m not busy feathering my “nest”. I’ve been busy making little fiber nests out of combed merino fleece that I scored on my visit mid-February to Lynn’s Fantasy Farm in Pearisburg during sheep shearing day. I came home with Dinah and Alice’s beautiful fleeces and upon the owner’s strong suggestion, sought out some combs vs. hand cards. I borrowed a friend’s Louet/Edward Scissorhands like combs and combed the freshly scoured fleece before rolling them into nests.

Dinah's Fleece 2009 (merino)

Gorgeous Fleece

Dyed merino locks
Washed and dyed locks

Combed merino nests Purple merino nestsRed and orange merino nests
Lots of loverly little nests

Plied handspun hand-dyed merino yarn
Spun and plied yarn

Finished plied merino yarn
Close up of colors

Merino Yarn 18 wpi
Finished Yarn


While I’m all about the process, the hand combing merino thing is a lot of work. And there’s a great deal of lost fiber. However, it’s equally difficult to find a fiber mill that a.) takes in small amounts of fleece to comb into top and b.) hard to find a mill that even combs fiber into top. Long story short, I’m going to have to buy some more fleece so that I can hit Zeilinger’s (http://www.zwool.com) minimum and hope that it will be ready in time for me to pick it up at Maryland Sheep and Wool in May. It will be worth it. It’s a dream to spin top and this merino is fabulous stuff.

Thing Two and I had a blast at Lynn’s farm though it was mighty cold that day.

Sheep Shearing Day 2009
The shearer hard at work

Watchful dog
Her two dogs were the sweetest creatures I’ve ever encountered and her flock was well cared for and very loved.

We got right to work, skirting fleece. I was stunned that Thing Two jumped right in because there was lots of icky stuff to pick out on the skirting table. He simply donned some rubber gloves and went to work. What a trooper! I hope that we can make it again next year.

Thing II Skirting Fleece
Thing Two at the skirting table

Fleece skirting table

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Color Therapy

Awwww, ya'll are so good to me. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's heart warming to know that someone is reading me out there. I don't have a whole lot of contact with people on a daily basis so I treasure any and all interactions, including comments. If your email is in your Blogger profile, then I'm able to and try to respond directly to you. (((Big Hugs))) right back at ya.

I've been sucked into dyeing again by a certain someone - ahem Catie - who showed me some kettle dyed yarn. I became totally obsessed with doing it and am now totally hooked. Here are some braided ropes of my experiments on Shetland, Finn and Cashmere-Finn...

Braided Kettle Dyed Finn Roving

Kettle Dyed Shetland Roving

Kettle Dyed Cashmere-Finn Roving

I realized as I played with dyeing this roving that I LOVE COLOR and really need it ever present daily. I can't begin to tell you how happy these little braids have made me and have sucked me out of my funk. One is destined to be a birthday present and I just may pet the others until they tell me what they want to be.

So I can spend more time playing with color and less time processing fiber, I've sent off most of the fleece I accumulated last year to be processed at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers. Wish me luck. I hope that they do a good job.

So what makes you happy these days? What's your therapy for the winter doldrums?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A bit of a funk

I've been called out for not posting in a while. Frankly, due to the lack of comments, I wasn't sure anyone even read my blog so I've wondered if I should even bother. I've been in a bit of an anti-technology funk these days. I've read few if any blogs since Christmas, haven't logged into Ravelry in ages and barely read the news but once or twice a day. I think it has been hard to stay plugged in because bad news abounds. I've retreated from it all in an effort not to get so horribly depressed. I'm of the mindset that I AM my brother's keeper and I feel so helpless to do something for my fellow (wo)man get through these tough times.

I have been knitting and spinning but have had a problem finishing anything of substance. My energies have been focused on reclaiming my house during these winter doldrums. I've succeeded in cleaning the entire main floor from top to bottom and hope to begin to tackle the upstairs in the coming weeks. My crafty room needs lots of work but I hope that I'll find my mojo when I attack that space. So many hidden treasures to unearth.

Since I posted last, we've celebrated several birthdays and events, the most notable being Thing 1's 16th. My boy will fly the coop in a couple of years and I can barely believe he's not a little smiling chub, toddling around our first home. I still have my job but several of my colleagues have recently lost theirs :( My brother is coming home this week after having spent three long years activated with his Army reserve unit. He still has 17 months before he retires. I pray that they don't get activated again during that timeframe.

I promise to post pictures as soon as I take some. What are you up to these days? Do tell :)