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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Recently took a great class from yarn artist and author, Donna Druchunas. She might have the best-named knitting blog ever – Sheep to Shawl.

The class was on Lithuanian beaded wrist warmers, also called Riesines.

Donna is a very enthusiastic teacher, and she’s done her homework and research in Lithuanian yarn shops and art galleries. She brought along her collection of riesines she’s collected through the years, along with a great slide show of the wrist warmers in action in everyday life in Lithuania.

Students in the class ranged in age from 16 to, oh, 65 and we bonded over yarn, beads, tiny needles, and a love of all things Joss Whedon. Donna’s one of those remarkable people who speaks and translates multiple languages and acts like that is nothing at all. Perhaps she is secretly European?

Having spent the past week knitting one wrist warmer, not even a pair, I’m beginning to see why they sell for upwards of $40-80 a pair on ETSY. I’m also thinking that, like socks, it will be best to start on the second one right after finishing the first. Wait too long and the desire for a pair of these will fade.

Riesines - Wrist Warmers

Yep, size 0 needles

I ended up dumping my original alpaca lace-weight yarn and switched to 100% bamboo crochet yarn from JoAnns. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that these are being knit on size 0 needles. Size 0. And Donna makes some on 00 and 000. Yikes.

You can use sock yarn for these, but that isn’t as fine a weight as the original Lithuanian ones. I remember seeing some smaller-than-sock wool yarn at Colorful Yarns, so I might have to plan a trip down there soon. You can see more of these by doing an image search on google. (Click at your own risk).

The idea behind taking this class was:
1) see my friend NekoMade
2) learn something new-to-me in knitting
3) incorporate objects into knitting

My original plan was to incorporate the LED sequins from AnioMagic.

Now I’m thinking it is a better idea to sew those on separately, just in case something goes wrong with the electronics. You can remove a sewn-on LED fairly easily, but if you’ve incorporated it into/onto the yarn itself, you’d have to destroy the knitted object to remove a faulty sequin. Or destroy the expensive LED in the removal process.

Plan. Plan. Plan. Design. Design. Design. And Think. Things I’ll have to do as I work my way into eTextiles.

“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

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Gobsmacked

That pretty much has to be the word of the week, month, year. I spent most of the weekend at a workshop on eTextiles sponsored by SparkFun and PlugAndWear

The brains behind the thing were Lynne Bruning and
Troy Nachtigall amongst others.

AnioMagic also stopped by to give a demo of their program-on-demand LED lights.

We all received a SparkFun LilyPadPro starter kit as part of registration. If you look at the photo you can see how small this is. A little electronic board, 2 inches across, which (when wired up and programmed properly) enables you to do amazing electronic things with and to textile objects.

LilyPadPro Kit

LilyPadPro to blink and bling

I wasn’t able to stay for the Make and Play session (had to go to work), but I’ve been gathering supplies. In fact, have already spent money today at ARC (things to bling), RadioShack (things that blink), and Resource (cheap wire to help make things blink and bling).

Put my five skeins of 100% bamboo yarn in one place. I’ve been hunting for 100% bamboo yarn online, since bamboo is recommended for eTextiles (along with linen it wicks away water from sensitive electronics). Good luck with finding any of that yourselves, since most of the 100% bamboo knitting yarn seems to have been discontinued. If you find it, I suggest snagging it asap, even if you aren’t crazy about the color.

Next stop, Weavolution eTextiles group. Okay, and the used book store to find an old book on C+ programming.

Current DVD: Warehouse 13 Season One

Current Book: Nargun and the Stars by Patricia Wrightson. From Philip Reeve’s list of favorite books.

“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success… Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.” – Nikola Tesla

Every year I promise myself that I’m going to get to the National Western Stock Show to see the wool and spinning judging. It is mostly a cattle show but other stock do get a little bit of time.

The wool and spinning was last Thursday. I didn’t realize until Friday that the Stock Show had already started. One more year where I’ve missed the fleecy boat. I keep hoping that one year they’ll have one of those great Sheep-to-Shawl competitions, but it never happens. I don’t think we have one at the annual Weavers sale either.

One of these days I’ll be industrious-enough to try to organize one. It took me five years to finally remember to put something in our County Fair weaving category, but it did get done (one of many second place ribbons, but hey, it is something).

I went out to the Michaels sale to try to find more of the Discovery drawer pulls. Instead I found these mildly-steampunk coffee mugs for $0.43 each which are part of the same line. Not crafty but very fun.

Steampunk Mugs

Steampunkish Mugs

The Michaels sale was great – two-for-one on all kinds of things – I just couldn’t find anything I needed to make my crafting life complete. (Two weeks from now I’ll be back to purchase beads at full price for a knitting class, but since I don’t have the instruction sheet yet, I didn’t know what to purchase.)

“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” – Johannes Sebastian Bach

I needed more Cascade yarn in wine heather and couldn’t find it at any of my local haunts. Since I originally bought the skein at Tangle in Grand Junction I figured I’d try ordering from them online. Simple interface, item in stock, and I think she shipped it out the same day. GREAT service. They also have free patterns on their website which you can download easily.

Tangle Yarn Shop Rules

Tangle Yarn Shop Rules

I ran over to Michaels to try to find size 9 knitting needles. They’re still out, as is JoAnns, if you can believe that. Are all of you knitting on size 9s this month? Michaels is having big sales right now, 60 percent off of Christmas. Snagged some cute cookie tins for next year’s treat giving. This Sunday, everything (but clearance) is 20% off. Except for those of you living in Paramus, New Jersey. I’m not kidding, that is printed on the coupon.

While I was waiting to check out yesterday, I dug through the $1 bargain bins. Even the bargain bin stuff is onsale. I found three treasures, so I’m going to have to hit up another Michaels today to see if I can find more. Check out these great drawer pulls – for $0.43 each!

Discover Drawer Pull

Discover Your Inner-Crafter!

What crafter doesn’t need a few of those on the drawers of their craft table? They also had ones that read “pull” which might need to come home with me too.

Current Audio: Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Current Book: Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. Shockingly-enough, this 1954 youth book by Sutcliff about a Roman legion in Britain has been made into a movie starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell (from the brilliant Billy Elliot).

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato

Looking about for a gift for my brother’s birthday this coming week. He’s very anti things, so there will be a gift certificate involved. I also started thinking about how cold my hands get whilst on the computer all day and thought maybe he felt the same.

I located some great free patterns for fingerless mitts online, including this one from Canadian Living. And of course I did not have appropriate yarn, so it involved yet another trip to the yarn shop. That makes three days in a row, once during a snowstorm and 10 degree weather; good thing I took them treats for the holidays or they’d be sick of me. Picked out Cash Vero DK number 029, a deep, rich gray. Once knit, these wristwarmers do look small, but they stretch to fit just fine due to the ribbing.

Wrist Warmers for Brother

Stretch-to-fit!

Made these fingerless mitts while listening to the great Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. The fantasy/adventure/post-apo story seemed to match the Dickensian feel to these mitts. Highly recommend it.

“A brother is a friend given by Nature.” – Jean Baptiste Legouve