Sunday, December 30, 2012

I like Podcasts!


For about a year now I've been listening to podcasts, most specifically knitting or spinning podcasts that have really added a deeper dimension to my crafting life.  I enjoy hearing the reviews on products and books, as well as tips and thoughts that others share on crafts so instrumental in my life.  The podcasts fill a desire I have for information and conversation (even though it's just me listening).  Although I belong to a knitting group that meets fairly regularly, most of the members are new to the crafts and I tend to the be the one everyone asks for advice.  Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy the group but I feel an additional need for peers that are more equal in ability and interest or nerdy obsession!  My guild, Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild (VCHSG), is a fantastic resource for information and comraderie -many of my fellow guild mates are extremely knowledgeable- but I only see them once a month.  And my local LYS Anacapa Fine Yarns in Ventura is also fantastic but it's kind of far from my home so I don't get there as often as I'd like.  You get my drift...I want more fiber craft input.
So far my favorite podcasts are The Knitmore Girls Podcast and SpinDoctor.  I'm wondering if any of my readers also enjoy podcasts I haven't found yet...there are so many and I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

The projects pictured were inspired by books I learned about on the Knitmore Girl's Podcast. The fingerless gloves are done a handspun single made of wool and silk, the pattern is in the book A Knitter's Book of YarnThe Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn: Clara Parkes: 9780307352163: Books.  

No More Guilt - #1 2013 goal

What do I have guilt about?  The craziest of things, not cleaning my house, having too much cool stuff, not weeding my garden, not having a job, having too much yarn and fiber stash, not knitting enough, not finishing enough, too many I said CRAZY!    It basically boils down to not doing as many things as I would like and that mindset is just setting me up for failure!

Goal 2013:  I am just who I am and I love and accept myself for being that person that's all!

This is all part of a bigger theme of self love, forgiveness and acceptance maybe it's too much and personal to write about in a blog.  But here is how I see this playing out in my blog life...I have lots of projects going at once, sometimes I don't finish them as quickly as I envision and I will just go ahead and post and share.

Happy New Year!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hats and cats

The hat obsession has continued and moved on from Madd Hatter hats for people to witch hats for cats!
The red one was a TDF prize donation that went to Canada!
The turquoise one was a gift for a lovely dancer friend Edenia
The cat hats remain unfelted ...then they may be too small for Dinah & Jenny Linsky after felting.  That means I have to make some larger ones today.

Monday, September 17, 2012

BFLA - Belly Fusion Los Angeles

 BFLA did an awesome show in Hollywood on Saturday night called Cinema Classics 
She'enedra danced with Jillian in my place (so imagine her in this picture instead of me).  They did a tribute to Rosemary Clooney with some of my choreography as well as a She'enedra choreography.  I went along to watch and sported a hot pink wig since I thought that would be more cheerful than a hat!

AND they got some great pictures in the L.A. Weekly!  So take a look at that!!
I also am writing a review of the show which will include a lot more pictures later this week!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Autumn Tablecloth

Every year we decorate our house with an Autumn theme right before my husband's birthday because it's our favorite time of year.  This year I wanted to make a tablecloth for our yearly celebration.  And it seemed like I could just buy some nice calico prints, use one for a center piece and then build large rectangle bands around it for borders.  When I put the fabrics that I bought onto the table I just didn't think one was right for a center piece.  So I started looking online at different quilt type tablecloths I began by considering a log cabin type pattern, but I couldn't find anything that made me feel satisfied.  My dining table is really large and whatever I put on it makes a really big statement.  It is also one of the first things you see upon entering my home so it is important to me that it look extra nice.

As do all humans, I enjoy of the beauty of things designed based on the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci sequence.  This basic design principle can be found everywhere from nature-in the spiral pattern in a sunflower to architecture- the Parthenon and the pyramids.  Even a cornucopia an ultimate symbol of Fall follows this mathematical design principal.   I was first introduced to the idea by weaving friends who were using Fibonacci for planning stripes in their warps using the sequence.   I've used it in making handwoven scarves and dishcloths and found it very pleasing!

I'll try to explain how it works as best I can.  Not being a mathematician this may be somewhat flawed but here goes.
For stripes the sequence is
0, 1, 1, 2, 3,5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 etc
to get this pattern you add a number to the previous one
so if you want to have a stripe sequence starting with 5 yellow yarns you would do this
0+5=5 yarns
5+5=10 yarns
5+10=15 yarns
and so forth until you have enough threads to make what you want.

But then I had to figure out how to make this into a flat piece of fabric.  I pondered this picture from  Wikipedia for a long time:
Here's the source for the picture

I wanted more squares-after all I was stuck on the whole Fibonacci idea.  I found these pictures of the Fibonacci sequence inside of the Golden rectangle:  Source:

Eventually I made the decision that I wanted rectangles of about 24" x 15 1/2".  To make this size I needed 4 different sized square pieces of 1-15", 1-9", 1-6", 2-3".  I added 1/2" to every square for the seam allowance.  I am making 8 of these completed rectangles and then I will alternate in between them with plain fabric rectangles.  If I ever get to the point where I quilt the surface I will use the spiral shape as a motif.

Voila!  A balanced looking design and that reflects the ultimate symbol of Autumn as well!

I am not going to finish this in time for Robert's birthday...fortunately he seems amused by all the hoopla I made over making him a tablecloth (what a sweetheart after all he doesn't really want a tablecloth for his birthday) I think he's just touched by the thought of it.  And he will be getting a pumpkin cheesecake so that should satisfy him temporarily.
p.s. Aren't those pumpkins cute?  They are from my garden.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My life right now

I wasn't actually planning to blog about this but it seems that I actually need to do it.  A few months ago when I had surgery to remove my thyroid it was discovered that I had non Hodgekins Lymphoma.  I was so lucky that this was discovered fairly early in the game as well as the fact that this is one of the easiest cancers to cure.  The treatment is really pretty minimal.  Normally I would only choose natural treatments, but since I have been assured that chemotherapy and radiation are very effective for this particular fast growing cancer I have chosen that option.  I am UNBELIEVABLY grateful to my husband, family and friends, they have been beyond helpful and supportive.  Also I have the good fortune to have excellent health insurance...there are some costs but they are small compared to all the work that is happening.

The reason I'm blogging about this now is because I haven't been able to keep up with my blog and Etsy shop as well as I'd like to.  There are so many days I stare at my computer and I just can't write anything even though my brain is swimming with thoughts and ideas.  And forget about trying to hold two dance troupes together!   Currently my troupe mate and friend Tonantzin is teaching my classes at the AHCCC and my daughter Jillian is teaching the home class.

The reality is that I'm just a lot more tired then I would have imagined.  I am positive and know that I will be well again.  For now my focus is my health in the meantime I'm going to keep to posting and sharing but probably not as consistently as I would like!  So I'm here just not super reliable.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


 Gem is the name of my newest pet!  Yes...he is a goat!  An angora goat to be specific.  He was named Gem because he is a gem just an incredibly sweet old boy.  His previous owner passed away and her partner didn't have a clue what to do with him, so he sent out a message to our guild for an adoptive parent.  In Gem's case he has co-parents, me & Deb.  Deb is the owner of the other 4 goats in the picture and she has a nice little ranch where Gem lives!  Deb's other goats are 2 pygoras, & 2 angoras.
I love this shot of Gem, I like to think he is smiling at me!  Or he is growling...but I don't think so!

 Gem is 8 years old and he is a whether (aka fixed).  The other goats are babies,  all under 18 months.  While I was out visiting Deb and her lovely family and ranch a package came with bumps of the pygora's first shearing!  Amazing fiber!!  I wanted to spin it!!  She'd better sell me some!  Tee hee!
All these guys have the cutest little faces.  And they are a happy little herd.  When I get a big property I will get some goats to live there too, and some sheep, and I also want milking goats.  But for now I have to live my ranch dreams vicariously through Deb!  

 Deb purchased this blue eyed Angora from Namaste Farms.
Here are some more pictures of our weekend with the Meadows family!
 Deb's husband with his new horse and Great Danes.
 Peyton gets a chance on the new horse!

 And even my city boy Robert gets to take a ride!
 English game hens, I want to get some of these.
 Cisco the new horse.
I'm teaching Deb to weave in exchange for Gem's room and board.  For me its a good trade!  

Friday, August 31, 2012

Spin Off Magazine Fall 2012 and My Secret

Well it's not a secret any more.  I submitted an article to Spin Off magazine and they accepted it!  I was very secretive about it because I didn't want to jinx anything until I knew it was definitely in print.  Now I know it is available I'm comfortable telling you about it!  
The article gives the instructions for making my coiled yarn scarves I've also been careful not to put any pictures of them on my blog or anywhere online so unless you've seen me in person you may not have seen them yet.  
When I submitted this idea I also submitted a proposal to Jane Austen Knits for my beaded bags which was rejected.  I was sad about that but only for two or three seconds when I saw that the Coiled Scarves article was accepted!  I have to say it was great working with Spin Off, they were very helpful to me  with writing this article, something I have never really done before!  And I have lots more ideas that I will submit in the future.  Also I discovered that I wouldn't die of the pain of rejection, so I'm ok with that!  If you have ideas for patterns or articles I encourage you to try!  It's fun!  

 You can learn to make coiled yarn by watching Jacey Bogg's dvd Sit and Spin
or take one of her workshops or read her book!
 If you'd like to buy a scarf I do sell them and will be posting new ones in my Etsy shop soon.  OR if you want to make one using the instructions from the article and you don't spin or spin coils you can purchase coiled and other specialty yarns from me also in my Etsy shop.

So everyone run out and buy the Fall issue of Spin Off!  Or order it online
 Because it is cool and there are so many great articles to read there.
Also just so you know I am going to be putting some free patterns on my blog in the coming weeks.  So keep an eye out for those!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shopping the Fashion District and a little sewing project

One of the best things I've discovered in recent years is the Fashion District in downtown L.A.  It is like Disneyland for sewists and costume makers.  On downtown shopping days I leave my house right after rush hour and make my way straight to the roof top parking on the corner of 9th and Maple.  This sets me right next door to Michael Levine-what JoAnne's wishes it was with awesome bins of $3 a yard fabrics as well as all the standard and luxury fabrics- and Mikey's -great for sparkly stretch fabrics that belly dancers love- and the feather store, along with others on my favorite block of fabric stores.

If it's trim you want just walk north-east on Maple to the corner 8th and Maple, there you will find aisles and aisles of trim -the nicest man owns this prepared to be to be thoroughly complimented on your stunning beauty.  Since you have already wandered over there go 1/2 a block to the right and check out all the beads at Berger's.  While downtown make sure you watch out for random vintage bags of buttons and trims that are leftover from the 60's I have found some real treasures.   I have also heard that some people like to go dumpster diving downtown because they find amazing stuff being thrown out...I don't know $1 a yard & $3 a yard deals are good enough for me...I prefer to avoid hanging in the alleys that much.
As far as yarn goes, I haven't found much downtown.  Michael Levine does have a small yarn section but the prices are the same as any yarn store.  But there are a lot of cheap ready made items when you venture out of the 9 and Maple block, especially good if you need crazy yellow boots or a hoop skirt for  a Halloween costume and you don't want to spend a fortune.
When you are ready for lunch make your way back over to Santee between 9th and E. Olympic for the food court.  There used to be a fantastic Indian food spot there, but there are still plenty of other choices that will suffice.  You can use the restroom at the food court for free with your food receipt.  Be warned there are not a lot of restroom choices downtown (you can use the restroom in Michael Levines as well) and if you are fastidious you may want to be sure to bring some hand wipes, this is not the suburbs people!  Lots of germs and smells doesn't bother me (after all I'm not moving in) but some people may be more delicate.  Across from the food court also on Santee and wrapping around the block towards E. Olympic you will find a row of stores with ready made beaded things, veils, and exotic belly dance type items.  All of the stores take credit cards but if you have cash you can usually do some bargaining -especially great if you are buying for a troupe.  And many of the stores offer an option if you can buy wholesale.  Santee alley is on the other side of Olympic, it's not on my usual path but occasionally I go there if I'm looking for cheap belts or bras and I need lots of them.

On my last trip I found some calico fabric with a spinner shepherdess printed on it I couldn't resist that!  Just enough fabric for silly placemats! Next time I downtown I will take some pictures to share more visuals with you!

So here is how you get there!

 maple and 9th los angeles - Google Maps

Friday, August 24, 2012

My booty from Convergence 2012

I didn't get to attend Convergence but since it was in Long Beach I had to go!  Robert was sweet and tolerated me and a little shopping.   Now what to make? hmmm...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Labyrinth of Jareth-Costume fun

Every year I look forward to the Labyrinth of Jareth costume ball that is put on in Los Angeles.  I was lucky to have my surgery scheduled after the ball because I bought these tickets months ago.  And in the last few weeks my husband was offered an opportunity to play his music at a show in Westlake the very same night!  I suppose a dutiful wife would have gone to his show but I guess I'm not dutiful.  Instead I bought 2 more tickets and brought my daughters and daughter in law and we made it a ladies night.

There was much tying and tightening of corsets of course....

This year I dressed as a Unicorn!  And since it was also the first night of the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry, I had to do some spinning for "Spinning in the most unusual place" challenge.  I think anyone who spun on a beer bottle at a masquerade ball should have won, but I guess they choose the winner randomly and not by actual unusualness!

 Luckily we have a lot of costumes in our house.  Jade found the parts to make her "Fox" costume and then had Jared (my son) make her a paper mache mask.  Jillian wanted to be a dragon...she made her headpiece.

 Jasmin is a really good seamstress and made herself into a mermaid with all kinds of shells as details.

 I found my friend Adam the Juggler there.

We found the Junk lady from Labyrinth

 And we saw an aerialist by the full moon.
 Every year I see Sean and his friends in their interesting costumes which he designs and makes.
 Well if you saw Spirited away you get this one right?  And of course it's perfect...Jillian the dragon and the spirit...
One day...maybe next year, I will make myself a copy of Sarah's dress (played by Jennifer Connelly) from the movie.  I also love the headpiece she wore, it was so delicate.  This would also require me wearing a fall, I think I can manage that!