Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Postcard Swap

So, I joined my second quilted postcard swap because the first one was relatively easy. I had to send out 14 cards and since my skills were pretty novice-like it was quick to turn out my postcards. With my previous experiences in mind, I joined a new, more advanced holiday postcard swap - 24 people with advanced quilting and artistic postcard design skills *UGH!* The cards I've been receiving in the mail make my little patchwork pieces look like arts and craft time at summer day camp. I really have to step up my game and I only have 2 weeks left to do it. Postcards must be mailed by January 15th - my birthday great. I think this is my last postcard swap for a while...

Here are a few I've finished, only 18 more to go:

Monday, December 29, 2008

and of course...

Well, since it wouldn't be "V" without a fiber shot, here it is. I call it, "Ruby Red Grapefruit with Extra Pulp" - its a merino superwash spun without carding or combing.

Hot new album!

Check out this hot new album from new artist "K*LA" (Kay-lah)...

WRONG! Its actually a photo of my daughter... I found it posted on her Facebook (sigh). Why do they have to grow up so fast? Here's how I prefer to see my daughter...
I know, I know... but just wait till YOU have a teenage daughter!

Crafty 4 day weekend

So, even though I'm back to work for a couple days today (off Wed - Fri this week), I wanted to share a pic with you that sums up my 4 day Christmas weekend of sewing, quilting, spinning, fiber dyeing and various stages of laziness...

Site of the week

Its Monday again and my memory is still pretty good. As promised, here's my site pic of the week:

Liberty's Yarns. What's so great about this site? Well, not only does she offer some amazing yarns in her Etsy shop, but her tutorials are fantastic, everything from "Drum Carder 101" to "How to make your own yogurt." I spent the better part of my morning taking in the wealth of information she's posted on her site. There are also patterns, project statuses and of course, blogging :)

I'm adding her blog to my blog list right now...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Necia's dye job

Necia came over yesterday to spin and teach me how to dye fiber. We dyed up some white punta and grey stripey superwash from The Sheep Shed Studio. Necia however was less than thrilled with her work on the punta. I loved it! I think it has beautiful subtle colors that are warm and unexpected. My fiber screamed turquoise! red! and yellow! (pic coming soon).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Site of the week

As long as I can remember to post, I'll be adding a Slick Site of the Week on my blog every Monday (hopefully). My latest find: IKEA Hacker http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/ This is a very cool site that offers tips and tricks on how to repurpose your IKEA purchases, or how to make something even cooler our of an IKEA product (as if IKEA products could get any cooler).

I've got an IKEA not far from me and will be making a trip in the very near future.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Heathered Rainbow?

Its what a rainbow becomes after its been carded, drafted, spun, set and navajo plyed. Did I mention this is my first (successful) navajo ply? Yay me!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More of what else? Fiber of course.

Tonight (today now), I reached into my fiber stash and pulled out a lovely one pound bag of super soft hand dyed combed top merino. It spins like butta! I swear I could have gone to the kitchen to make a sandwich and that fiber would be spinning itself. I do so love a good fiber...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I attended another funeral this week... Last night we said goodbye to baby Lauren Andrea Marie Baker (LAMB), born prematurely and surviving just 59 days in top neonatal care before her parents had to make the heart-wrenching decision to remove her from life support. Her Godfather shared with us that when she was removed from the machine that kept her vitals stable the assumption was that they'd have 5 or 6 final minutes with her before she expired, but God said, not so. Lauren's heart continued to beat for more than an hour afterwards! 112 minutes to be exact. This little fighter proved to everyone, doctors included, that she was no lamb but a roaring lion. She taught us that ALL things are in God's time and in His hands.

While I never had a chance to meet Lauren she'll always be a part of me in memory. I'll never forget the lessons of Lauren, the little lion who taught me more in 59 days than I've learned in 41 years.

Thank you Lauren Andrea Marie Baker AKA Lion.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wensleydale laceweight!

Wensleydale single
Originally uploaded by beingv

Watch out world! My singles are getting thinner and thinner! I think I've finally hit laceweight! Yippee! Too bad I don't have my sock knitting machine anymore - I could make tons 2 ply of sock yarn... But then again, who has time for socks when there's so much fiber to be spun!

Chair o'yarn

Chair o'yarn
Originally uploaded by beingv

My freshly spun and dried "Cotton Candyland" yarn is all ready to be knit up... what shall we make? It looks pretty darn good right where it is on my spinning chair.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Life is fleeting... Live, Love, Laugh Now

Last night I attended the funeral of my friend Che, a vibrant, fiesty, funny, warm and wonderful human being. Che was never too anything not to find humor in a situation. When I remember Che, I remember her smile and how it lit up the darkest rooms and left its mark in all the right places. Right up to the end, she told us how she wasn't afraid of what lay ahead because she knew she was going to be with the Lord. All she wanted was to do His will before leaving, and she did. She brought family and friends together, she settled feuds and squashed pointless arguments and bickering. But, most importantly, she left us laughing.

RIP Che Lee - "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." - Matthew 25:21

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

A day to reflect and give thanks... surely everyday should be a time for reflection and gratitude but when you bundle that day with 3 days off it does make it more appealing.

I'm up *surprise* finishing up my new yar. I spun half a bobbin full of "Children's Joy", a batt I made on my new drum carder, then plied it with an army green merino roving. The result is gorgeous! The colors pop and blend and fade and return... its my best work ever :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking fiber prep to the next level

What a day. I picked and fluffed my nearly dry Wensleydale fleece all day. I must say, for a first fleece, its pretty awesome! Clean, fluffy, no felting. I did good.
Here's a pic of my home made fleece and yarn dryer:

To top a near perfect day off the postman rang with a huge box. My drum carder. I didn't realize it was so big. I am even happier now! After ripping the packaging to shreds and dealing with peanut cleanup I immediately begain carding fibers and created this lovely batt. My better half named it, "Children's Joy". I think the name fits.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wensleydale goodness

This luscious, soft, curly lock fleece arrived at my door today from Carlson Farm. Wenslydale sheep are prized for their curl and extreme luster and are utilized for everything from socks & outerwear, to felting, weaving and doll hair. Fleeces from Sherry Carlson of Carlson Farm range from $15 to $24 per pound for adult vs. sheep up to 2 yrs old which produce a finer fleece. I couldn't wait to stick my hands in the bag and feel the incredible softness. The natural lanolin from the sheep does wonders for your hands too. I'm taking the long weekend to bathe this fleece and prepare it for dyeing and spinning. I can't wait to get started!

Will work for Weave-its

I just got this cute little vintage weaving loom, a Weave-it by Donar Products. They were produced from the 1930s in bakelite and wood. This one makes a 4" woven square that can be sewn with other squares to make a variety of things. I think I'm addicted...

Soft Drink Color Card

I found this at www.piper.com - its a color chart for Koolaid and other soft drink mixes. Drink mixes are often used as dyes for coloring yarn. I was at the supermarket this weekend trying to pick out colors based on the color of the drink in the Koolaid guy's hand. How annoying is that? I ended up with a pack of each: red, orange and blue colored flavors but I couldn't help wondering the color difference between say, strawberry and cherry. Or, tropical punch and mango-berry. Well, I wonder no more thanks to this neat little chart!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Free Hugs

I saw a performance on YouTube Live tonight - it was the band, Sick Puppies performing the song from this real life video that got a huge following on YouTube.
I love everything about this video, this song, this concept and this guy, Juan Mann and his "Free Hugs Campaign." Do you and someone else a favor, give and get a free hug today. XOXO

Friday, November 21, 2008

Glam L'amour

Everyone's got an alter ego these days. Beyonce has "Sasha Fierce"; David Bowie had "Ziggy Stardust." Me? I have Glam L'amour. The fiesty yarn design Diva. To bad she only makes a late night appearance when accompanied by her spinning wheel entourage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Late night snack...

And now for a little snack: Chocolate Mint Chip in a merino 3 ply. Yummy!

Good looking single for ya

My first good looking single - Chestnut merino roving from eBay... I love this stuff!  Thanks Necia, for hooking me up with the seller.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today's lesson in Spinning

Alright class - settle down. Just in case there's anybody here who doesn't quite grasp the concept of carding and spinning wool, please pay close attention to today's video lesson. There will be a quiz.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Moja Polska Księżna

After working from home today and waiting the entire day, UPS finally saw fit to delivery my package at 6:32PM. I seriously wish they could have felt the stress and anxiety I had over this delivery. This my friends, is what I've been waiting an eternity for (ok a week, but it felt like an eternity...) my beautiful Polish Princess, a Kromski Mazurka spinning wheel - all the way from California, courtesy of Kyle.

She's too beautiful for words - so I'll just let you bask in her glow for a while. Do promise you'll try to break away to eat and use the restroom at some point today. Ok?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Night Batt Girls

Fun, fun, fun was had today when my pal Necia stopped by with her son Cee, her Majacraft Suzie Pro, tons of wonderfully colored fibers, glitz and curls, and her cool Louet Jr. drum carder.

After a "light snack" (calamari pizza - yes, pizza slathered in crispy calamari!), we got to work on making some "novelty" batts for spinning. Here's what we came up with:

Above, our joint production batt of mainly purples and glitz drummed and carded together - I call it, "The Little Mermaid."

Below, my first batt ever! I initially called it, "WTF!?!" but it looks more like Sushi so insert your favorite roll here _______ . I absolutely adore it! I can't wait to see how it spins. I'm saving it for my new wheel, a Kromski Mazurka which is scheduled to arrive in 2 days!
Chopsticks anyone?

Making these batts is almost as much fun as spinning them. If you haven't tried carding fibers together into batts, you're missing out on a lot of creative fiber fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...

My second attempt at spinning - its just a "Fruit Blast" single. Doesn't it look like it wants to be plyed? :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

A gentle reminder from my daughter this morning...

Lovingly posted on her bedroom door.

Hankering for a skein?

I am! Well, not anymore since I've spun my first hank o' yarn today.. I actually spun the yarn a few days ago but the twist was too tight and the yarn looked crazy. I respun it today and it turned out quite well - nice and balanced. After soaking the skein in warm water and squeezing out the excess, I used my kitchen curtain rod as a yarn rack. The dripping yarn is actually watering my plants. Hows that for a dual purpose yarn?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Craigslist Has Given Me The Urge To Serge

I've always wanted a serger. There are so many sewing projects that can be enhanced by the beautifully finished seams & edges a serger can create. What I really love is that most sergers can cut away fabric as they sew. This is an absolute must for reconstructing garments. Unfortunately, sergers cost - A Lot! Even older or vintage ones are hard to come by, but if you do find them they usually have no manual and no threading diagram (sergers require pretty complex threading for operation).

Well, after scouring Craigslist waiting for ads to jump out at me something did, a listing for a Singer 14 series serger in the NJ listings (my State) - But get this, the cost? $50! "That HAS to be wrong," was my first thought. Or, its missing something, or broken or cross posted from some state somewhere clear across the country. What the heck, I decided to email the poster and leave my phone number as they requested. Within 20 mins I got a call back - the serger was working (although the poster hasn't attempted to use it) and is located about an hour away from me. The downside, no manual and no accessories. No worries. I ordered a $5 downloadable manual from http://www.mastersewusa.com/ so I had all the info I needed to thread and use the serger - assuming it really worked.

What I found when I arrived, the serger was in like-new condition! It couldn't have been used more than once or twice. Even the foot pedal was like new. Still, I was a bit leary about whether it worked or not and the seller was very hesitant to confirm that it did. However, when I got home I read the manual and found that the front plate of the serger is actually a door that opens to show the threading guide! I followed the instructions and thread all 4 threads, oiled the oiling points, adjusted the tension and stick in a fabric scrap... bada-bing-bada-boom - it sews! Beautifully, I might add. Here's what I think: Seller purchased serger; seller couldn't thread serger; seller posts serger on Craigslist for cheap; buyer (me) buys serger and finds out how to thread it and tells her readers all about her great buy; readers think, "dayum she's good!"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

This Hatbox Is No Trick

Funny looking hatbox? Old time radio? Wood bowling bag? Not on your life. Its my Vintage Louet s40 aka "Hatbox" Spinning Wheel. I recently purchased a beautiful Kromski Mazurka wheel in walnut stain from my online pal Kyle, just waiting for it to arrive. Its such a gorgeous wheel that I had reservations about traveling to my knitting/spinning group with it so I started looking at some more portable options. That's when I came across a listing for the Louet Hatbox wheel. A lot has been written about these cute little wheels online, so rather than reinvent the wheel *ouch* I'll just leave you with this link so you can read up on it yourselves ;-P
Big thanks to Jessie for agreeing to meet me and make the sale. This little gal was well worth the roadtrip - a two hour each way drive. My daughter, my dog and I took it in stride, sang songs and stuffed our faces there and back. Ok, gotta run, I've got more roving to over-twist into funny looking yarn on my new wheel.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES We Can


I'm so very proud of what we as a nation have accomplished tonight. Not only do we have a new
President who is of and for the people, but we have our first President of color on his way to White House. I've never seen a nation come together with such a sense of purpose before. Young and old, rich and poor, black and white - we did it. We all came together, came out (early) and changed the course of history. The Powerless became the Powerful tonight. Let's not stop here. There is still much work to do. Tomorrow is a new day...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What's Knot To Love?

Get a load of this...
my first attempt at a Japanese Knot Bag. A friend sent me the link to this project's tutorial today while at work and I couldn't wait to get home and try it out.
I love this project! It's quick and easy and makes a great gift. From only two fat quarters (sewing speak for about two quarters of a yard of fabric, pre-cut) you can create stunning little bags.
I recently purchased a number of FQs in coordinating fabrics, just perfect for this project.
Knot bad, huh? Oh, if you're interested in making your on Japanese Knot bags click here for the tutorial.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin, Still On My Injured List

Well hello you "Joe Six Packs" and "Hockey Moms" out there! Didn't Sarah do "gosh darn" well last night? *wink*. I thought so. To be honest, I was waiting for the train wreck that never came like most Dems and Reps alike, but the fact that Sarah didn't lose it, doesn't mean she made it.

Remember your report cards in school? Remember how you could goof off for half a marking period and then finally get it together towards the end just so you could get a passing grade? That's how I see Sarah Palin's performance. If you average it all out over the last "5 weeks" she's been at this, she may receive a passing grade for the class, but definitely not an "A". So many people are ready to give Sarah Palin an "A" grade simply because she didn't wreck last night. I wish grading were that easy in school! "Ok, V - all you need to do is not fail and we'll give you an "A"!" It doesn't matter that she's wrecked several times before, or at the very least come close. Some people would have you believe that last night was all that matters and she's deserving of an "A" grade. Well, I "say it ain't so Joe!" I'm glad there was no Palin blood shed again last night, but I ain't taking her off the injured list because of it. She's still got many broken bones to heal.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nothing much to say today, thanks to Sarah Palin

So, I was ready to write a post and share my insights on the world and the economical issues at hand, but after viewing Sarah Palin's response to a question posed by Katie Couric during an interview I suddenly don't feel like talking. See how you feel after watching:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Extremely easy indoor houseplants, without the attitude

Even though the weather is cooling down in preparation for fall and ultimately winter, my backwards nature is suddenly craving greenery.

I got my green thumb working on a couple easy indoor houseplants. The first and probably the easiest to maintain: Bamboo. You know, the kind they sell in the dollar store by the stick, but also at expensive flower shops in asian inspired pots surrounded by polished stones? Well, I got mine at the dollar store when they were quite small. I wanted to give them lots of light and water but I opted NOT to add the stones. I've found in the past that the roots can become entangled with the stone and make the plants hard to transfer to another pot, should you decide to do so later on. So, here are my three hearty bamboo shoots in my very stylish red 7-Eleven Extreme Gulp thermal cup.

Next up, the mystery plant. Pretty nasty looking start, but a quick growing, beautiful plant emerges after only a couple weeks. What could it be you say? Well, it ain't Audrey II. Although it does bare a striking resemblance to the infamous man-eating plant from "Little Shop of Horrors" (one of my favorite movies and soundtracks). Can you say, "Feed me Seymour?"

Give up? Ok, think, Mexican, think Guacomole!

Think, an avocado plant. In fact, I have three of them. I started these plants by eating the avocado fruit (is it even a fruit???), then cleaning the seed and sticking 3 or 4 toothpicks in it's side. The toothpicks hold the seed upright in a small cup of water (pointy part of the seed up). The water should cover about two-thirds of the seed at all time. Leave it alone for a couple of weeks in a sunny spot and you should start to see roots poking through the bottom of the seed, then shortly after the seed will split and a young plant will emerge. Once you see the roots touching the bottom of the cup, its time to transfer the plant to soil so it can get some real nourishment. As you can see, I'm a little late in transfering mine but I'm picking up some pots and soil today. I promise.