Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yarn winding . . .

So Chris turns to me one day, very slyly, and says, "Would you use a yarn winder, if you had one?"
"No, not really", I told him.
I felt bad afterwards, when I realized that he was 1) proving his knowledge of the knitting world and had clearly looked at the Webs catalogue that came that week, and 2) trying to lock down a birthday present for me. Bless 'im.

Back-story . . .
Sometimes yarn comes in balls (or "cakes") . . .

sometimes yarn comes in center-pulled skeins . . .

and sometimes it comes in hanks . . .

Personally, I find the hank the most annoying, because you can't just pull the end from it and knit away like a center-pull skein. You have to undo it and ball it.
Really nice yarn often comes in hanks. Sometimes they have a winder in the store, so when you buy it, they will ball it for you.

"Real" knitters will buy their own winders or "swifts" and do it at home.
Plastic and Metal Swift

 . . . I am not that fancy. I end up wrapping the hank around my feet and rolling it myself.
Sometimes I ask Chris to help . . .

This works too:

But I don't buy enough fancy yarn to make a swift a practical purchase.  However . . .

I came across this posting on the Craftzine blog . . .

DIY Yarn Ball Winder

Which led me to . . .

DYI Yarn Swift: desperate measures
DIY swift

But even better . . .

Winding a skein into a centre-pull ball
wind around the thumb

And, Chris, you are not off the hook for my birthday. Sorry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh the crafty!!!

Lots of crafty potential! After my laptop slipped into a coma and suffered massive brain damage (fried motherboard), Chris and I discussed pushing up Christmas a bit and replacing both our laptops now (his is just as old as mine . . . age-ist, I know). After a little research, playing in Best Buy, and waiting for a sale, we celebrated an early Christmas last night with our new toys.


One problem: they are exactly the same. So I am now window shopping for skins for mine.

Knit Love Laptop / Macbook / Notebook Computer Decal Sticker

Knit Happy Sheep Laptop Notebook Macbook Computer Decal

And while I'm at it, might as well get a matching one for the phone.

I'm loving the super huge hard drive, so I don't have to exile my Harry Potter Audiobooks and Friends movie files to the external hard drive. PLUS!!!! I happen to have a sweet little set of CDs hidden at the bottom of my "things with cords and buttons" box, which happen to have a sweet little pirated version of a little something called Adobe Creative Suite 5. And now I have enough RAM or processing speed or magic computer juice to run it. I'm pretty excited.

I also had an interesting conversation with Chris last night as I was installing the new Microsoft Office and found to my disappointment that the one he bought didn't have MS Publisher. "What do you need it for?" he asked. "With CS5 you'll have everything you'll need! You don't actually use it to edit pictures, right?" Actually, I explained to him, I do. MSPub is my all-time favorite way to quickly add text or simple graphics on top of a photo. With all my computer and digital imaging skill, I can't seem to figure out how to put a g-d circle on a photo in Photoshop! Or to put an arrow on something! The good thing about Windows 7 though is that it runs previous versions of software pretty well, so that's on the To-Install list for this week.

I haven't downloaded photos from my camera in ages, so there are a few belly shots looking forward to seeing full-screen. And while I'm at it, my couch is full of knitting that needs to be documented (photographed, weighed, and Ravel-ed).

On to Food Craft! This week I experimented with Apple Strudel and Layered Jello Molds.



1) I overfilled the pastry, which led to a very high filling:pastry ratio.
2) I don't know how to work with Filo dough. I think I took too long getting it ready, because it dried up and didn't fold as well as I think it should have.
3) I can secretly feed Chris cream cheese as long as he thinks it's frosting.
4) Filo comes in packages of too many for my cooking methods. I ended up quickly experimenting with home-made Hot Pockets because I couldn't bear to throw away half the package.


Layered Jello Mold:

Was supposed to look like . . .


My first try looked like . . .


1) I need an actual Jello Mold and not just the bottom of my Big Top Cupcake pan.

2) I need to correctly mix the Cream-Cheesey layer, and not just mix in Cool Whip until I think it's done.
3) I need to not spill jello juice in the bottom of the refrigerator. 
4) I like how the top looks like a kiwi . . . unintentional. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Battle Against Dysentery III: Wagon Train of Destiny"

It's that time of year again!!! The Geeks with Issues are hosting their annual Oregon Trail charity webcast and telethon to raise funds for Child’s Play and the Hillcrest Educational Centers in Pittsfield, MA.

The action starts on Saturday, November 27, 2010 at Noon et and runs for 24 hours, non-stop. If you live in Pittsfield, Dalton or Richmond, MA, you can watch the program live on Time Warner channel 18. If you live outside of that area, you can see the show on the GWI website. You can even chat with the hosts LIVE!

Busy over Thanksgiving weekend? THEN GIVE NOW! You can donate at any time at http://www.geekswithissues.com/charity/.

Still not convinced? Ok, I'll let you in on a secret: there are some pretty sweet prizes for a few lucky viewers, including one from Tough Love Knitters!!! One person will win a custom-made, knitted, "geek craft" item. This can be anything the winner wants!* A hat and gloves, a pillow, a Nintendo DS cozy! I will work with the winner to design something he or she will really love. To get involved, just go to http://www.geekswithissues.com/charity during the broadcast and join the live chat. You can also send an email to tuck@geekswithissues.com, saying you want to be entered. No pledge necessary to enter (though, of course, we would appreciate it).

Need an example? Last year's winner received this lovely, hand-made Firefly Jayne Cobb Hat and arm-warmers.

Jayne Hat (1)

Jayne Arm Warmers (1)

More Geek Craft ideas?


Please give what you can, and tune in November 27th!

* max $30 for raw materials

Friday, November 5, 2010

Next Way-Too-Big project?

May even try to sell this one . . .

mta blanket

Knitting in action!

Anyone recognize that sweater?

Baby Natalie is sporting a Mollie Hartford Original, perfect for a brisk fall day. Apparently her feet were never small enough for the booties, but they're saving them for her dolls :)