Monday, October 23, 2006

Knitty's new hat pattern

Now you can look like this

everyday with very little effort!

Knitty just released their latest newsletter which includes the Desperate Housefrau pattern. Will I make it? Doubtful...but OH! I love this design...simply fun!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There's no place like my home

I love living on our property. It's a home, a source of interest, and an art gallery all rolled into one.

We are a close-knit family (hubby, daughter, two dogs, and myself) and together, we make our house a home.

We live close to Totem Pole Ranch. They lease their land out for events and movies. Today I noticed trailers, caterers, tents, supply trucks...all that jazz...were setting up. It must be a movie shoot 'cause there were small buses with "Star Bus" written on the side (gee, ya think? What was my first clue!?)

We left for our day and found the movie location less then a mile from our driveway.

Sorry for the awful picture but as we were running late, I couldn't stop. My darling daughter took the picture while I drove. ;-)

Since I decided to post the pictures about the movie (or television?) shoot, I decided you should also see what we found so attractive about our place when we first saw it. The fact that it's outside city limits was a deciding factor. And the beauty of the mountains surrounding us made it attractive. Then there are the howls of the coyotes and the lion roars coming from Cougar Ranch. But what makes this place so special is the artist touches left by the man who built it. His death was the reason his wife put the place on the market. He wasn't a famous artist but he had a wonderful imagination.

Here's a little tour of our outside art gallery. We'll start from the road where our mailbox is.

The first piece of art anyone notices are the "eyes."

If you look up to our little hill while still on the road that runs in front of our property, you'll see them.

When you leave the road

to come up our drive way (which is a quarter mile long)

you'll get to see some "wildlife" ;-)

A cricket,

a dog,

a spotted pig,

a worm (actually several but they all look the same),

and an owl

which is at the top of the driveway.

Along the walkway that runs between the house and garage, you'll see 4 paintings...caricatures...which we love!

(excuse the reflections...the paintings are covered with plexiglass)

Now you know why I think there's no place like our home!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The need to bead

In between loom knitting projects, I brought out my bead loom to weave a fall necklace. Beadweaving is a passion of mine. Here's the result

The "leaves" are 3 dimensional (I love adding 3D to my beadwork).

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Designing minds

Before I get to the "meat" of this blog post, I'd like to give a little background of why this is on my mind today.

I'm a member of a loom knitting group on yahoo. It's a large group that produces more postings then I'm able to keep up with so I don't read or post often. But I did manage to check on Sunday night (I think it was). There was a question on how to do a technique that is in one of my patterns. No one else had posted the info on how to do the technique, so I answered. I also added that since I don't check the group postings often, they could email me directly - this is because I might miss a question posted directly to me. From this, came a discussion about why I (or any designer for that matter) should charge for patterns. These few felt that since we were all member of this group, we should share with one another. (I'm not sure how the discussion went there, but it did.)

Rather then fuel the discussion on that board, I'm taking the liberty of posting my thoughts about it here. If you prefer not to "hear" my thoughts, stop reading now!

My first thought was that these few people must be the same ones who corner doctors at a party and ask for free medical advice. But since my Mother always told me that my smart mouth could get me in trouble, I will not comment further about that.

My next thought was...Gee, these people must donate their time at their work place! If being a part of a group means we should share our expertise, then it only makes sense!! Oops, I believe that's my smart mouth again.

Seriously, perhaps these people just do not realize what goes into writing a pattern. So I would like to take a little time to explain it.

First comes an idea, a vision, whatever you want to call it. I also have the ability to visualize some of the "how to" - so I work some of the mechanics out in my head.

Then comes the drawing, the swatching (in fiber designing), the measuring and math to determine how to get there from here.

With the knitting loom, also comes the "how in the world do I make that happen when I'm limited to the amount of pegs on this thing!" So there are times when I take a piece of paper, cut it up and fold it, bend it, tape it together, see how it might work. (Similar to making a sewing pattern.)

Then comes some fun time - the actual knitting. Most of the time, this also involves a lot of frogging when the vision and the actual piece do not match up.

Once you're lucky enough to have it all come together, you then have to come up with the words, diagrams, charts, explain to someone else how to do the same thing. I'm better at teaching it so I struggle with this part.

All of this takes days! Weeks! I have one pattern that I'm still working on and it has been almost 2 months Of course, I haven't worked on it daily...probably only 3 hours per week but still when you think of how little the charge is for the pattern, it will work out to LESS THEN 1 cent an hour. Would you work for that? Of course, not. But since it pays for more yarn, and I'm addicted to doing this stuff...

Tell you let me know what your expertise is, and if I want or need something you provide, we'll barter services (products).

BTW, here is another thing you can do with the loom -

For those who may be too young to know, that's a peace symbol.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Knit Lites

I admit it! I'm a knitting needle snob. I love my bamboo needles. They've been with me for almost 25 years. So when Michaels (where I teach knitting) got the Knit Lites needles in stock, I found them silly and (horrors, of horrors) made of plastic! Plus the cost is horrendous. For the same price, I can buy Addi Turbos (not plastic wonders).

Well folks, during today's yarn event at Michaels, I demo'd these needles (in addition being the knit doctor). I've changed my attitude about them. I think they will become a great knitting aid to we who are (cough, cough) getting older. I mean, I now have to have bifocals. (Hey! It happens!) And I'm finding that as my prescription gets stronger, it's more difficult to see stitches of dark colors. Those little lights really do help! I just wish they weren't made of plastic (sigh)

(Cartoon "borrowed" from Lion Brand)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Taking pictures

I've been unhappy with the photos that I snap of my finished designs. They look like home photos....yeah, I know I take them in my home but I would like them to look like they came from a studio. This became an issue for me this past week. So I had to spend time building a light box

I had a "build a display" type of thing left from the days when I sold my finished pieces at craft fairs. Main pieces look like this

with connectors so that the display can be shaped to meet your needs. This is what I came up with

It's lined with fingerpaint paper which has a shiny side and turns out pictures like this

I added a sheet to the inside to get a draped effect in the background for this photo

And for a black background (for bead projects especially), I inserted a black posterboard into the light box with the cuff on the display hand. It turned out "OK" since the display hand shows dust particles in the light ... have to work on that one ... but here it is...

Here's another way to make the light box. I just may try this one too...when I have more time.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Accessing my website and some fun links

If you try to access the old web site and have problems with any pages, please let me know. Yahoo helped me by moving the files to the new domain. So essentially they made more work for me as I have to check all the pages before uploading the new files. Oh well, at least the domain name is "official" now. ;-)

I'm hard at work on the website and a couple of other projects. No pictures but I will leave you with some fun!

How would you like to knit a slice of cherry pie? Or a
cinnamon roll? No calories in these!

Are you a cat person? Here’s a place to get a dose of kitty-hood everyday – Daily Kitten I love it. ;-)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Score! and website

Twice a year the local branch of the Los Angeles County Library has a Friends of the Library book sale. All members of my family are avid readers and these events are special to us because we find all sorts of books that we might never buy otherwise. We hit the sale, armed with bags and anticipation of "what will we find this time?". Among other topics, I always look for knitting or crochet books/magazines but normally there aren't any. However this year I scored!

Someone evidently de-stashed and I benefited. All of this for about $10!

I felt so good about all the money I saved that I finally ordered the sock loom I've been drooling over. Then rushed to tell hubby what he was getting me for Christmas!

Website news - I had planned to have my new website,, up and running yesterday. But Yahoo is having problems of some sort getting it "propagated" (don't ask me to explain that term 'cause I don't know! I'm a knitting/beading geek - not an internet geek).

I called the customer support service of Yahoo yesterday morning and spent over an hour with a helpful rep - really suprised me that there would be one that actually is helpful! Problem was, she didn't know why either and had to call in technical support. Technical support needs to call me back and I'm still waiting (they probably do not work weekends - figures).

Humerous story - technical support had the customer service rep on hold for 30 minutes. Evidently even if you work there, you still stand in line for help.

So the launch of the new domain is postponed until technical support comes through. But it will be worth the wait. I have new patterns ready to go and the new domain does not have the "time out" problems the current one has (well, it's about time I did that!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Finding pleasure is the little things

We have a lot to learn from dogs…like how much fun making the bed can be.

When I make the bed, I have help! Cagney (the short guy) and Bogart (tall and lean) love to be on the bed while it’s being made. Part of the pleasure is making sure I fluff the pillows just right by making a grab for them.

They also make sure I tuck the sheets in fast by nipping at my hands as I’m working. Then there’s the last minute “tussel” over who gets to pull on the blanket while I’m straightening it.

And the mad dash for getting under the check for anyone who might still be sleeping I suppose.

Whew! Well done guys!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Busy, busy!

Class preview was great Saturday! Sunday was filled with demo's and knitting classes (the needle kind). I'm working on new loom patterns and trying to type the old ones. (pssst....Did ya notice? I hate paperwork!)

Here's something to help decorate the blog for Halloween!

Your Halloween Costume Should Be


Trick or treat! Send chocolate!!