Monday, March 30, 2009

Biggs the chi-cat

Sharing a pic of Mr. Biggs, my chihuahua who thinks he's a cat. He curls up in a ball and sleeps in front of any available heat source (here he's in front of his small space heater). When he's not sleeping, he's climbing up, clawing at or jumping on the furniture. What a life.


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Friday, March 27, 2009

PVC Niddy Noddy for next to nothing

I've seen them around online, the DIY niddy noddys made out of PVC for under $10 and I thought, "um, yeeeeeah." That is, until my fellow Ravelry pal Lafemme got a cool looking PVC niddy noddy in her swap package. It was complete with caps and rubber "O" rings and just looked so professionally made that I became intrigued and set out on a quest to make a couple of my own. There are dozens of pages online with instructions on how to create your own PVC niddy noddy, but I found this site to be the most practical and complete - there's even a couple of instructional .PDFs that you can print out and take to the store with you!

I purchased a 10 foot piece of 1/2 inch PVC for $3.19, 10 - 1/2 inch couplings (I wanted to have extra on hand) @ $0.24 each = $2.40 and 4 - T connectors @ $0.28 each = $1.12. Oh, and since my sucky Home Depot wouldn't cut the PVC (other than in half so I could put it in the car), I purchased a cheap little wonky hacksaw for $6.94. All for a grand total of $14.13 (including $0.48 tax).

The result? Three niddy noddys for less than $15 plus a wonky hacksaw in case I need to make some more :) I measured and made a 4yd, 2yd and 1yd piece. The center shafts can be interchanged so there's no need to actually make more than one niddy noddy. I made two complete units, but kept a couple pieces of extra tubing for interchanging.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Love Sickness

Our Sheep Shed Studio Fiber group on Ravelry had a swap recently and I was the recipient of some very cool stuff: Koolaid dyed merino roving, beads, sequins, thread, chocolate and chocolate chip cookies! lotions and a beautiful set of stitch markers!

After receiving our swap packages we were required to spin up the yarn using something from the package. I spun up my fuschia fiber using sequins and thread. I love how it came out.
And I shall call it, "Love Sick". I think the name totally fits :)

Inspirational Reading

Two of the several books I've recently ordered arrived yesterday "200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans" and "Decorative Knitting." One is full of wonderful knitting applique and embroidery design ideas - including the use of embroidery floss, bobbles, hand applique and other cool ways to enhance your knitted items. The other book is crochet eye-candy - 200 crochet square patterns, with projects and more. I'm thinking about starting a blanket and these books are giving me great inspiration for designs, textures and colors.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cool site of the week - 3/23/09

Look at me, on time for a change! Yes, it does happen ocassionally :)

Today's cool site of the week is one that's near and dear to my heart. I've recently ordered a new Majacraft Rose spinning wheel and I'm sooooo anxious for its arrival. Majacrafts are excellent wheels - smooth, beautiful, long lasting and high quality. Their parts and accessories are pretty much interchangeble between most of their wheels and they are very flexible in terms of positioning. For example, you can choose to have the flyer set up for right or left handed spinning. You can angle the the orifice, raise or lower the head, use a delta orifice or a fine fiber orifice, change whorls and ratios and more. I fell in love with Majacraft wheels after I received my first Alpaca wheel back in January (I purchased used from a fellow Raveler). Unfortunately, that wheel arrived damaged and had to be replaced, this is how I came in contact with Tracy at Woolly Designs.

Ok, I know you're thinking - "what's so great about another spinning wheel dealer...?" Well, there's a lot that's great about Woolly Designs. Tracy and Jean are fabulous! Majacraft directed me to Tracy (their designated US repairer/dealer) for information on fixing my damaged wheel. Tracy however realized that the broken base would require a total replacement and that the new base would need to be shipped from New Zealand. He also advised me there was a chance the new base would not fit my wheel perfectly. He gave me all the pros and cons and left the decision up to me - no pressure. Once I realized the cost to replace would be about the same as the cost to repair, it was a no brainer, I was getting a new wheel!

Tracy created a very detailed document outlining the costs and risks involved in both replacement and repair options. I submitted the document to my carrier for my insurance claim and they accepted it and sent me a check for my new wheel. Since Woolly Designs prices their wheels based on the current rate of exchange of the New Zealand dollar, I saved over $250 on my new wheel! Yes, that's right... two hundred and fifty dollars. YES - you read correctly! Here's how it works...

Most dealers offer Majacraft wheels for the average suggested price of let's say, $850 for a Rose wheel. Woolly Designs looks at the rate of exchange based on the New Zealand dollar. At the time I purchased my wheel the exchange rate was about $2 NZ for every one US dollar. That made my $850 NZ wheel, about $425! Woolly charges about $100 shipping from NZ + plus a small profit for them and voila! I pay $596 for my Rose. That's a savings of $254! Yes, its true. Woolly Designs has basically chosen to make less of a profit on the sale of Majacraft wheels so they can pass the savings onto the buyer. You gotta love that! I used the extra cash to buy a High Speed Head and a Lace Kit. My new Rose wheel is on its way with accessories, for less than I paid for my Suzie Alpaca wheel. This is why Woolly Designs has earned today's cool site of the week award!

If you're interested in a Majacraft wheel, please contact Woolly Designs. That is of course if you want excellent service, support and have a desire to save money :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On the Ashford 3.21.09

Merino commercially dyed fibers - some stripes and heathers, blended on my Clemes hand carders.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cool site of the week - 3/16/09

Late again :)

Here's my cool site of the week for BlackBerry users - Tetherberry!
A sweet BlackBerry app that let's your phone become a usb modem. Introductory pricing is $29.99 for the PC software (currently works on PC only) and the device app.

I purchased this software over the weekend and was able to tether my phone to my laptop and surf the web at really good speeds on my phone's Sprint Rev A network. From what I hear, the app uses your phone's data connection so you don't need to purchase any phone-as-modem service from your carrier. I had a similar app for my Windows Mobile phone (PDAnet).

Excellent app, works great at a very fair price.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Supple stitch markers

While cruising Ravelry about a week ago I came across an ad for some cool stitch markers. They're made from colored beaded chains. I think they're not only very clever and inexpensive (I got 12 for about $10 incl. shipping) but they're adorable!

Get yours at


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In the dye pot

Dyeing up some turquoise wensleydale curls and some black/white stripey roving. Its a fibery saturday evening. Hope you're doing something fun too!


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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life is for sharing

Can we all just forget about the economy, Chris Brown & Rihanna, Bernie Madoff, Michael's farewell concert, Britney being "back", plane debris falling out of the sky and Mac vs PC for a moment and just Dance?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Addi Click Interchangeable Circular Needles

*Updated* Pics added as promised...

So, my new Addi Click Interchangeable Circular Needle Set arrived yesterday and they are simply marvelous! Smooth joins, great points, flexible cables and beautifully packaged. Plus, there’s a guarantee. The “Click” system is pretty ingenious too. They feel spring loaded and are easily put together. I’m pretty much in love with them at this point, less than 24 hours after trying them out.

Well, I’m at work so no pics yet, but I’ll post them when I get home. I just wanted to show off let everyone know my thoughts on them.


Thoughts of Fiber Reality

A deep fiber moment... "Keeping fiber real in a fake world..."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cool site of the week - 3/9/09

Have the last few weeks been rough on you too? The world is an even crazier place, people have officially lost their minds (IMHO) and the economy isn't in the toilet, it is the toilet. Despite all the crap, there's still time for a laugh.

Today's cool site of the week is Laughing Out Loud Funny. No, really, it is:

Have a laugh or two on me :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cool site of the week - 3/2/09

Happy Monday everyone! We're one step closer to spring! Ahhh...

Today's cool site of the week is a site for spinners. Nope, its not a site with a wealth of spinning info or forums or product reviews. Uh uh, this isn't that kind of site. This site, is about one of the greatest tools for spinners ever! Noooo, not the drum carder. This site is for the Woolee Winder! I know, there are people scratching their heads right now trying to figure out what the heck I'm talking about... but wait a sec, lemme tell ya.

If you're a spinner, you know that spinning involves stopping periodically to move the yarn from one hook to the next so that it spins onto the bobbin evenly. If you have hooks on your flyer (a part of the spinning wheel that spins and holds the hooks) you know that you sometimes end up with little "hills and valleys" as the yarn builds up beneath the hooks. If you have a sliding hook you can do a better job of preventing "hills and valleys" since you aren't limited to where you place the yarn. Your hook slides to any position so you can prevent or fill in any low areas on the bobbin. Even with the sliding hook set up you still have to stop spinning periodically to slide the hook. I don't know about you, but I get into a zone when I spin. I become so engrossed in spinning that its almost like mediatation. I can look up and have a full bobbin and not remember the time it took to fill it. I like that - the uninterrupted mediation of spinning. This is why I am so in love with the Woolee Winder! The Woolee Winder takes care of moving the yarn up and down the bobbin so that it winds on evenly. Its a patented invention that is available only through Nathan at

Woolee winders are a flyer and bobbin set up that contains gears that mesh together and control the hook movement. When you spin on your wheel, the rotation turns the gears which then drive the hook up and down the flyer track. The result? A consistent, even bobbin of yarn without the start / stop involved in changing hooks. It may not seem very glam, but to see one in action or better yet, use one for yourself, is fiber-life changing! My Woolee Winder has made me a better spinner - I'm certain of it.