Favorite new gadget.

My new cable needle ring.
Yes, cable needle ring. Usually I do cables without a needle but sometimes a pattern has you working 5 over 2 stitches with bulky yarn and that really needs a needle. Usually I just grab a spare DPN but I splurged at SPA this year and bought myself a cable needle ring. This very unassuming little ring:
halliard-cableneedle3
This thing is perfect. It slides the stitches on and off so easily and when not in use, it rests easily on my thumb.
halliard-cableneedle2

And when I have to put the knit up, I just hook it in there and it stays.
halliard-cableneedle1

If you want of your own you can get them on Etsy HERE from Leslie Wind. Or you can catch up to her at a show and pick one up. Really a brilliant little gadget that I’m happy I have.

The knit by the way, is Halliard being done in Spunky Eclectic Targhee Biggie. I’m enthralled with this pattern. I’m hoping I get enough knit time that I can get this sweater done before the weather turns too warm.

Giveaway results!!!
Rachel (although she wanted number 13) ended up as #8 on my list of names. As it turned out, 13 was not her lucky number this time, it was 8. Thank you guys for all the commenting. I might have to do this again sometime.

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Baby Sweaters

Y’all seem to be popping them out.
If only it were as easy as popping right?

I’ve made 2 little sweaters lately. They’re like potato chip knitting. A minimal amount of yarn and a little knitting that result in a warm baby. It doesn’t get much better.

yarn-tracks-bsj
Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Sporty
Colorway: March 2014 Club – “Making Tracks”
Notes/Mods: None. This pattern is perfect as it is.

thatchersweater
Pattern: Baby Sophisticate
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Fat Panda
Colorway: Steelmen
Notes/Mods: tons. My gauge was way off and I knew it. I just wanted the look and shape. I made up the rest as I went along.

I have at least one more baby sweater to make. Possibly 2. I just need to decide on yarn and pattern then I’ll be on my way. Potato chips.

I haven’t forgotten the Giveaway – I’ll draw a name on Tuesday….if you have entered you have a couple more days

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Watercolor Palettes (with a Giveaway!)

Palettes are easy. A whole bunch of colors right there in a neat little package. Perfect for the carry along or just to have them right at hand. They’re not all created equal though. I have opinions and I figured I’d share them.

palette-koi
Koi Palettes
12 pack and 24 pack
You might think this is overkill to have 2 palette packs but I don’t see it that way. The 24 pack stays at my desk. The 12 pack travels with me. I like the 24 pack very much. It has many the colors. I have gotten used to mixing a lot of my own colors but the 24 pack gives me a wider range especially when I start mixing. So, the colors are pretty vibrant. It doesn’t take a lot of layers to get some depth should I want it. I really enjoy these palettes. They also come with sponges and water brushes which can be handy. The one draw back for me with this palette is that it’s squares are not refillable as little squares but I can buy little tubes of color from Koi and refill them that way. (more info on that at the end of the post)

palette-aa
Art Alternatives Pocket Set
hmmm….
I’m not entirely sure how I ended up with this set. I think maybe I meant to give it to the kids. Oops. The colors are good but they’re light. They are definitely not pigment packed in any sense of the definition. If you have a heavy hand and want light washes, get this set for that. Otherwise, it’s probably not worth having when there are other fantastic palettes out there.

palette-cotman
Winsor & Newton Cotman Colors
Vibrant, pigment packed, inexpensive and refillable. This is my oldest set and I really do like it. The colors are great and it’s a nice little set. Seriously. Get this one if you only need 12 colors. The Koi is almost as good but these little pans of color are bigger and refillable. For the money, this is probably the better set. You can buy little water brushes and a bag to keep it all in. That may be the one draw back if a waterbrush is important to you. There isn’t place in the kit to put one. You probably need a little bag to carry this and your pens, pencils, and paper anyway. Right? They also make a studio set and a student set as well. There are 24 and 45 colors in them. All refillable.

I have a bunch of Winsor and Newton Cotman colors and Grumbacher in little tubes. Watercolors in tubes are gummy suspensions of color. Very good and lovely but over the years I’ve come to prefer having a palette of dried colors. So what do I do with all the tubes of color? I just put them in a palette and let them dry out. Voila! I have my own pans. You can buy empty pans and palette sets from someone like Daniel Smith or you can make your own from empty tins. Look at This cutie from a tiny Altoids tin and another one that uses a larger Altoids tin and some store bought pans. This last one is particularly genius because you can remove one pan, clean it out or exchange it as needed. There are companies that make tins and pans for you to fill yourself, like this one from Dick Blick. If you have a tin, you can buy little pans or make little pans from Sculpey.

While I enjoy the ease of buying a ready made palette, there are definitely colors that deplete faster than others. Being able to refill them with little blocks or with a tube of color make all the difference. There are other palettes I have my eye on right now. Pro colors that are super rich and just full of pigment. No “hues”. But as time goes on I’m getting pickier and will probably want to fill my own palette as I see fit.

travelset
Oh, and if you’re looking for a bag to put it all in; you probably want a waterproof or water resistant bag. Something with rip stop nylon. Look in the kids section for diaper bag accessories. Wet bags will make a great case. Alternately, if you want something with more adult appeal, look in the makeup bag section. Better yet, go on a makeup buying spree when someone is having a “buy the makeup get a free makeup bag” deal. This is how I got my little bag. Thank you Christian Dior.

These are not the only palettes available. These are just the tip of the iceberg. The ones I mentioned are student grade so there is a whole level above and a whole level below them. There are so many companies making palettes and really good ones too! You don’t need pricy to be good but sometimes cheap is an indication of blah colors. If you have an artist supply store nearby, go and look at what they have. With any luck they will have samples out and you can see for yourself.

What about this giveaway?
Turns out I had purchased the Sakura Koi set in 24 colors for myself a long time ago and never used it. So I have 2 sets. One not used….fresh and awaiting someone to use it. Do you want it? Comment here or send me an email at the usual place. I’ll do a random number generator kind of thing and pick a name at random who will get the set. It will be just like the one shown up above but it will be fresh and unused.

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Community Gardens

I’ve been done with this hat for a while now. I just neglected to talk much about it.
communitygardens-4
Pattern: Community Gardens
It’s a Twist Collective Pattern by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Targhee Classic
Colorway: Forest
communitygardens-2
I didn’t make any changes to the pattern. It’s well written and it’s super cute.
communitygardens-3
The kids were enthralled with the idea of blocking it on a plate.
communitygardens-5

It looks like spring is really here so I have no use for this hat right now but come November, I’ll already have a new winter hat ready and waiting to warm my little head.

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All the Circles.

The other day I doodled some circles. I just took a couple of my watercolor blanks and I painted watercolor circles on them. Blends and solids. Happy little circles. Of course they’re never done until I get some ink into them. This one I decided it needed to be yarn and inked over it all in black.
circles-yarn

The other looked more like bubbles to me so I found a bubble saying and practiced my fancy penmanship over it. Adding some “popped” bubbles in another ink.
circles-enthusiasm
It says “Enthusiasm just creates bubbles; it doesn’t keep them from popping – Adora Svitak”

Then because I liked these so much I grabbed more postcard sized paper and painted more circles….
circles-big

And then a few more in the trading card size….
circles-lil

I still want to make more and I haven’t even inked over the ones I have done. I have no idea what they’ll all become. Yarn? Bases for bubble quotes? Something else? It all depends on what I see in them at the time of inking.

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Weaving with no header

You don’t need to weave with a header.
I used to…strips of bags, bulky yarns, pieces of paper etc etc. If it was laying around and I thought I could un-weave it easier later, I used it. This is no longer my practice. It has been this way for years now. Sometimes I forget to share these things. I sent out this hint in the last Spunky Eclectic Weaving club pattern but I figured I should share it here with you too.

Just advance your warp and start weaving.

I know. Sounds simple. It is.

We’re usually taught to weave a header so it seems like an odd concept for many. If you’re weaving a header that will stay with project, well that’s still a valid process. If you’re weaving a header and picking it out later, you don’t need to unless you want to.
NOstart
This is how I do my weaving whether it’s on a floor loom or a rigid heddle (like this little Cricket loom project).

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One Sock Wonder

This is a knitters term, in case you aren’t familiar with it.
I think it’s mean to be derogatory though I don’t take it as such. It’s more of a statement of how it is. I am a One Sock Wonder. I have the incredible habit of making one sock and moving on without making a second. It’s probably not a good habit. I don’t wear that one sock in a pair with some other one sock. I just let them languish. If we’re being honest here (and I am) I would like to finish a pair of socks sometime. I mean, I used to finish socks in pairs but somewhere along the line, I stopped doing that. I am down to 2 pairs of woolie socks in my drawer. They won’t last forever and more times than I care to think about, I’m wearing some store bought sock (like almost every day). Yeah, I heard that. Someone out there gasped and someone else is now weeping for me a little bit. Thanks guys.

So lets get this walk of (not so much)shame rolling. I dug through all my projects and yanked out the lonely socks. I am in no way guaranteeing that there aren’t more hidden. Those of you that are monogamous to your projects and don’t have a large stash might want to turn away now. I have a massive stash and I have horrible organizational skills. I lose projects. Usually not permanently but they do disappear from time to time. More projects might be hidden away but these are the ones I have found. They’re enough. You’ll see.

Let’s start with the ones that have at least a whole first sock done:
1sock-boucleblue-walkabout
^Blue/white sock:
Yarn: Handspun Boucle and SE Supernova Sock
Colorway: White and Sky
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: over a year ago. I have no idea why I didn’t finish these. I really like them and the first sock went fast.

Browner Sock
Yarn: SE Skinny Sock
Colorway: Walkabout
Pattern: Boomerang (freebie sent with club)
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. I have one whole sock and the second one done to the heel. I picked it up when taking the photo and I don’t remember what I was doing. I’ll have to really look at it and count stitches to figure it out.
1sock-handspun
^Yarn: handspun Falkland
Colorway: SE Dithering
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: 2 weeks ago. I have about 5 rows of ribbing done on the second sock. I actually really want to wear these. They’re perfect.
1sock-opal
^Yarn: Opal Sock yarn
Colorway: I don’t remember. I know it’s on the ball band but I already tucked these back away.
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: more than 2 years ago. This is a love lost. I like them but I don’t love them. I need revisit and have a short affair, just long enough to get the pair complete.
1sock-pandastripes
^Yarn: Panda Sock
Colorway: Hidden and Oxblood
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: November 2013. I made this as a sample for the November fiber show and then didn’t make the second sock. Onward and upward to new samples. But I want to wear these and they are really luscious so maybe I just need to get to it.
1sock-summer
^Yarn: Sockotta
Colorway: I don’t know and don’t care
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. These are summer socks. I like wool and I rarely wear socks in summer. I’m not sure what possessed me to get this stuff. It’s nice enough, it’s just not my favorite.

Moving on to the socks that I haven’t even managed to complete ONE…
1sock-tweedyblue
^Yarn: Ball band is missing.
Colorway: Tweedy navy
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: Spring 2013. I thought these might be for Jay but turned out I didn’t have enough yarn and they weren’t big enough anyway. But they’re too big for me. The bright blue is where the afterthought heel goes. If I don’t put that in, I can wear them as a tube sock….
1sock-EK
^Yarn: Handspun  made from Enchanted Knoll Batts
Colorway: Something random.
Pattern: None
I last worked on them: 1 year ago. I love these socks and the yarn. Thing is, I know I don’t have enough and so it’s stalled me. I need to get another set of needles freed, work down the other sock and then I can make up the difference at the toes with something else. Sounds like a plan right?
1sock-hihoriver
^Yarn: Sporty from SE
Colorway: Hi Ho Silver and Riverwalk
Pattern: Broken Seed
I last worked on them: 2 weeks ago. LOVE these socks, the yarn, and the pattern. I do want these finished. The colors aren’t really grabbing me but I love them enough to finish them. Sporty yarn last forever so….
1sock-estuary
^Yarn: SE – Shine
Colorway: Estuary
Pattern: River…something.
I last worked on them: more than 2 years ago. Love the yarn but I’m not loving the pattern.
1sock-dora
^Yarn: SE Super DK
Colorway: Dora
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. This is my favorite sock yarn. Thick and fast and also thick and warm. I have no idea why I never finished these. I found them tucked into a drawer at the shop so maybe I just hid them on myself and that’s why. I know where they are now!
1sock-brown
^Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Colorway: Brown
Pattern: Husbeast
I last worked on them: More than 2 years ago. I dislike this yarn… I don’t hate it. It’s just not my favorite. Paired with these needles though, I do hate it. I’m afraid to change them because my gauge will be so different. Maybe I’ll just go down a needle size and use wooden. hmmm…
1sock-aztecHsp
^Yarn: Handspun Panda from SE and Supernova toes/heels
Colorway: Aztec (handspun) and Lobster (supernova)
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: Probably sometime in the last year or so. I really do love these. These were another pair I had at the shop and forgot about. Time to stop doing that to myself. I have some shawls I hid here as well. Bad. I’m not sure why I’m doing toes and heels in the Supernova. Panda fiber is plenty strong. I think maybe I just wanted to use up some scraps? Sounds plausible.
1sock-moodyfoods
^Yarn: SE Supernova
Colorway: Moody Foods
Pattern:None
I last worked on them: I remember bringing these on a trip someplace and then never toughing them again. More than 2 years for these as well. Love them too much to leave them forever though.
1sock-cherryslush
^Yarn: Whatnot Sock
Colorway: Cherry Slush
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: more than 2 years ago. I used to like the picot tops and now I hate them. I like the yarn too much to make a sock I hate. I made Short RPM socks from the first half of this (which are now in sock heaven). I am ripping this sock.
1sock-2atoncefailure
^Yarn: Something discontinued
Colorway: Blue Sparkles
Pattern: none
I last worked on them: More than 2 years. These were my first experience with 2 socks at the same time on 2 circulars. I got this far before I wanted to strangle myself or someone else with a circular.¬† You can see I removed one of the socks but by then I hated it so much I was done. I can’t decide if I need to frog or I can plow ahead some day.

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