Sammath Naur, X-34, and a little bit of The Dreaming

Handspun round up!

I showed these off in my video last weekend, but I finally got around to photographing the yarn. I’m working on getting the lighting conditions right and some of these aren’t the best example, but I’m glad I finally got the photos of these.

All of these yarns will be available in the shop on my next shop update!

 

Sammath Naur

 

 

This was spun out of 4 oz of superwash BFL from Highland Handmade’s Edge of the Inferno. This was lovely spin and I’d definitely love to get some more lovely fiber from her in the future. I’m excited to spin up the other braid I got from her booth at Stitches East.

 

X-34

This was spun out of 3 oz of CT grown Merino top from Yarn Crafters. I bought this one at the Coventry Farmers’ Market this past year. It was a little slow for me to get going with spinning this wool on my wheel. It’s rougher than I expected merino to be, but once I got going, it was a good spin. I like how the colors turned out. The final skein in this set is actually chain plied because I ended up with one single longer than the other and I think this color set works well as both a 2 ply and a 3 ply.

 

The Dreaming

This was a little extra Merino and stellina batt that was included in an order of Greenwood Fiberworks Pig Tails mini-fiber braids. It was so sparkly that I had to spin it first because the sparkly bits kept falling out and getting everywhere.  It ended up looking really neat.

 

.

Buffalo Linen Stitch Cowl

 

 

This past October I had the pleasure of talking to some of the folks at The Buffalo Wool Co at Stitches East. It’s a really cool company that sells some really interesting bison wool and bison wool blend yarns and fiber. The yarn itself is a little pricey because of how unusual it is, but I knew I had to try some of it. I bought a Splash of Color collection of Buffalo Skies (50% bison, 50% wool) mini-skeins and made up this linen stitch cowl.

And because I really enjoyed how it came out, I wrote up the pattern. You can find my Buffalo Linen Stitch Cowl for free on Ravelry!

Pattern: Buffalo Linen Stitch Cowl

Needles: US 5 – 3.75 mm circular needles

YarnThe Buffalo Wool Co – Splash of Color – Buffalo Skies mini-skeins

Edited to Add 3/1/15: It looks like my Ravelry page is having problems actually providing the PDF link. I uploaded everything the way the pattern publishing guides told me to and I’ve reported the problem with the page, but until that gets cleared up, you can find the pattern here under the Downloads menu item.

Edited to Add 3/4/15: Pretty sure I’ve fixed the Ravelry page! Go on over to Ravelry and check it out!

Halloween Cross-Stitch

Apparently, I completely neglected to make a post about my Halloween cross-stitch?

Good on me. Here you go!

 

 

Tada! I didn’t finish them by Halloween, of course. I finished these the week before Thanksgiving. Which is, you know… not what I planned at all, but I’m very pleased with how they turned out!

Both patterns are from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and I enjoyed making them both immensely.

 

   

 

I got the frames in time to set these suckers up in the dining room for Thanksgiving. So we had decorations of pilgrims, turkeys, and Halloween cross-stitch.

.

The Winter Soldier

While the rest of the world seems to be dashing off to Christmas (insert rant about not being able to find good Thanksgiving decorations in November), I thought I’d take today to look back on Halloween.

Mostly because this folder of costume photos has been kicking around and I need to make a post about it.

Also, because I didn’t get a chance to show off my robot arm closer to Halloween.

Those are the good shots. And here’s a terrible full body one taken for the costume contest at work:

Ta da! And I thought, since I have this blog and all, I’d show you folks how I put together my cheap Winter Soldier costume.

Most of this costume is stuff that is really easy to get or something you might already own:

– Black boots
– Black socks
– Black pants
– Black fingerless glove
– Silver glove
– Black button down shirt (that can be altered)
– Black Humvee combat vest 
– Winter Soldier arm leotard thing
– Sunglasses
– Face mask

The sunglasses were an Ocean State Job Lot find for $2.00.

The black fingerless gloves are just a cheap pair of gloves that can be picked up practically anywhere with the fingers cut off. Not even hemmed or anything. They were a part of another costume a few years ago and I think a work friend picked them up for me for $1.00. 

I already owned the silver gloves from an old costume; I just cut the left one down so that it wasn’t an elbow glove and hemmed the cuff. It’s not a neat cuff, but it’s hidden by the black fingerless glove. Silver gloves are pretty easy to find online if there’s no party store or costume shop nearby. A quick search shows them from $6.00 to $13.00.

The altered shirt is also really easy. I just cut off the left arm about an inch below the shoulder seam and hid my hemming stitches along the shoulder seam that was already there. I bought it at a thrift store for $4.00.

The Humvee combat vest was also a part of a costume a few years back, but my work friend found these at a surplus store for $25.00. It’s not as impressive as the Winter Soldier’s actual leather coat thing, but if you’re on a budget, it’s a good alternative.

The arm is really where all the work and money went. There are some really great tutorials online for Winter Solider arms and I did take some direction from them, but my arm is not as detailed as many of the ones I had seen previously. I think this is a good alternative if you’re not sure how far you want to get into making this arm. I could definitely add more detailing and paint to this to make it more realistic if I was intending to wear this to a convention later.

The first things I started with were a $4.00 long sleeved shirt from Ocean State Job Lot and a $40.00 silver leotard. White ones are cheaper, but I didn’t want to paint the whole arm for time reasons.

I used the $4.00 shirt to create an arm model for myself.

 

 

As you can see, it’s mostly masking tape and that shirt. There’s plenty of tutorials for making dummies of yourself online, so if you need some help with this part, there are lots of resources. I’d recommend having a friend help out with the arm dummy; I did it on my own and it was really hard to cut off the masking tape dummy up by the shoulder and neck.

I then put on my sweet, sweet leotard and stuck safety pins into key points on my arm: my wrist where my glove would reach, the inside of my elbow, the top of my shoulder, and approximately where the star might end up. I then dressed up my arm dummy and lined up all those points with the same points on the dummy.

 

 

I then drew out a diagram of the Winter Soldier’s arm in Adobe Photoshop and created a PDF that I could print out as a stencil. I’m going to make both the PDF and PSD available for free download at FreakishLemon.com for anyone who wants to play around with it. I have it sized to my arm, but if you’re familiar with Photoshop, you can alter it to fit your own arm measurements. The stencil print out for me took 6 pages (printed poster style).

 

 

I cut the stencil in half around where the elbow would be and lined it up with my arm dummy to check the measurements. If the points on the dummy and the points on the paper are far off, you might have to rework your stencil.

 

 

I then started cutting out each panel and pinning it to the arm dummy. I left spaces where the gaps in the plates (the blue lines on the paper) would be and taped the paper together where the ends meet on the back of the arm. It’s not exact, but it worked well enough for me. Put larger gaps where your arm will naturally bend.

And then I continued in the same way up the rest of the arm. The star is shown there, but I ignored the edges of the star in the next step. I left it there for the plates that go through the star. Once the whole thing is pinned together, I used fabric paint to paint the lines where the plates gap.

 

 

I did the first coat in a silvery fabric paint. I didn’t know how it would turn out, so if I really screwed up I could repaint the whole arm. I took it slow painting one side of the arm, letting it dry for half a day, and then painting the other side of the arm. Try to keep your hand steady as much as possible and don’t worry if it looks weird at this step. Just try to keep the line in the middle of the space between the paper pieces.

 

 

Once all the silver paint was dry, I took off all the paper pieces. The paint is different enough from the leotard that the lines were clear to follow. I then took a smaller brush and did a thing line of black fabric paint in the center of my silver lines. Again, first one side of the arm, waiting half a day for it to dry, and then the other side of the arm.

 

 

Once everything was dry, I printed out another copy of the arm star for a stencil and put on my fancy pants leotard with arm lines on it. I lined up where the star should go in the mirror and pinned the star in the right place with a couple of safety pins. I stuck the arm back onto the dummy and traced a star in red fabric paint. Once that was dry, I removed the star and painted in the rest of the red for the star. I goofed on my paint choice, so my Winter Soldier arm has some sparkles in the star, but it didn’t end up being all the visible against the leotard. I only painted the one coat of the red, so the coverage is slightly uneven. That was fine for me. It looks more like an inlay with very definite border lines in the movie, but I like the look of the star being painted on rather than built in.

 

 

And that’s the arm!

And the face mask ended up being the cheapest part of this costume. I bought a pack of 10 dust masks from the dollar store, chopped them up, taped them together, and painted them black. I only ended up using 3 masks. Here’s a series of photos of me putting them together and adjusting them to my face:

And that’s how I put together my Halloween Winter Soldier costume. 

  

  

Also, that’s a record for the number of photos taken of me within one month. I felt absurd taking that many photos of myself. I’m not a fan of how I look in static images (or, you know, how I look in general). I’m a bit better about video due to YouTube video stint that lasted a few years before I drifted away from it, but I’ve always had a hard time with photos. It’s easier for me when I’m in costume, but even then it can be a bit much for me. I just don’t like my face.

But I find that I really like these photos of me with my face mostly covered. I mean, with the mask on, you’re missing out on the worst parts of my face, so my eyeballs and eyebrows look pretty good there. And my hair’s not too bad in the actual Halloween photos either. 

But it’s still weird to post photos of myself online when I’ve spent so long avoiding photos of myself. 

 

.

Autumn Scrap Garland How To

I have a tutorial for you today!

Sort of. I mean, it’s really easy to pull off and it looks pretty cool, so I thought I’d share how I made some autumn scrap garlands for decorating things.

Here’s what you need:

 

 

-Scrap fabric
-Thick Yarn
-Scissors
-Patience
-A large workspace

That’s it, folks. I used a long thick cut of yarn as my base for the garland because that’s what I had. The one you’re seeing in these photos is the one that I made for my cubicle at work, which measures a total of 4 yards (12 feet), but you can make them at any length you need. The ones on my windows that you’ll see in the final photos are about 4 feet long.

For fabric, I chose whatever I had on hand that looks autumn-ish. Yellow, orange, brown, black, red, little bit of green… Those kinds of colors. You can choose whatever colors you want or have for whatever season or holiday you like. If you don’t have a ton of scrap fabric like I do, you can get remnants or fabric quarters for pretty cheap at most fabric and craft stores. And if you have trouble matching colors, check out jelly rolls. At my local Jo-Anns’ a jelly roll costs about $10 and has a variety of matching/complimentary 2.5″ strips of fabric. I’ve used them for quilts, but they’d be great for a project like this.

 

 

Cut a bunch of strips of fabric about 5″ long and 1″ or 1.5″ wide. Mine range from 4″ to 5.5″. You don’t have to cut them evenly at all. Some of my pieces are weird shapes because my fabric scraps did not all have square edges. There’s some triangles and trapezoids and half-circles in there. 

I started with the fabric I had the least amount of so that I knew I could space it out evenly. I started tying scraps to the yarn about a foot apart. These are tied using a basic square knot. Once I had my first groups of scraps tied on, I started tying pieces halfway between each piece to slowly fill in the garland.

 

 

And just keep tying scraps to your yarn until you like how full the garland is. You can leave them spaced a little or scrunch them all up close so that you don’t see the yarn at all. 

Once you like how it looks, hang it up however you like! I mentioned before that I tied some loops about 6″ from the ends. For my window garlands, I used these loops to hook the garland up on some Command hooks on my walls. For my cubicle, I used T-pins to pin the yarn to my cubicle wall, which were easily hidden by the scraps. 

Here’s what the finished product looks like on my bedroom windows:

Well, that’s not quite my windows look like right now because of Halloween, but these look just as cool over some of that creepy Halloween fabric. And everyone who’s stumble across me putting these up has said that they’re really cool, so if you want something a little different to decorate for this autumn, give this a try. 

Stitches East 2014

This past Friday my mom and I headed to our final yarn event of the season, Stitches East 2014!

(I say last, but I’m pretty sure I’m still heading up to the New England Sheep and Wool Festival in November, so… we’ll see.)

This is our second year going to Stitches and I think we managed to plan a little better this year.

– We planned to eat lunch at the Arch Street Tavern this year. We managed to skip lunch entirely last year due to being overwhelmed and running on crazy adrenaline.

-We printed out maps of the show floor and, on our first tour of the show, marked down the booths that we wanted to return to for purchases. Last year, we had to split ways and run around in opposite directions because we couldn’t remember where we saw things we wanted.

– We brought snacks. I guess you’re technically not supposed to do that, but when we sat to munch on a couple of granola bars, a lady raised a sandwich out of her purse in solidarity. I have a tendency towards blood sugar issues and my mom was hurting through some flu shot side effects (she gets sick after them every year, but she’s a nurse so she has to get them), so we wouldn’t have made it through the show without snacks.

-We both came to this show with a stronger resolve to buy for specific projects instead of just whatever we found to be pretty. Last year was pretty haphazard, in terms of purchases. I ended up buying more spinning roving this year than yarn for that reason. You generally know what you’re going to do with roving and there’s plenty of time for me to figure out if I want to use it or sell it while I’m spinning. Last year we were immediately blind sided by a booth with Lord of the Rings themed color ways, so budgets were pretty screwed from the start. The only I bought without a clear plan is the clearance yarn I’ll show you below and the only thing my mom bought without a clear plan is some of the Lord of the Rings themed color way from the same booth left over from last year (in Bree, which is a gorgeous auburn variant).

-We made a stop on the way home to buy loose leaf tea from Teavana at the mall. This doesn’t sound like much, but when you spend hours doing nothing but walking and then have to drive the hour home, it can wear on you. It does on me, anyway. Getting out to check out the new Disney store and buy some fancy tea worked out some stiffness in my legs. My mom bought her very first loose leaf tea (pumpkin spiced brulee), which was exciting.

And now the part that everyone likes, the stuff!

 

1. The Buffalo Wool Company

I bought a set of mini-skeins from The Buffalo Wool Company. This booth was really cool. And by booth, I mean a big travelling van set up to be a store that spilled out onto the show room. The lady running the joint had tons of information about buffalo wool and its properties and there were a handful of really interestingly textured buffalo wool and buffalo blend wool. 

A lot of it was pretty pricey, but I couldn’t leave without something buffalo. This set of mini-skeins was only $20 and there were some fantastic cowls on display with them. I’m planning on a striped cowl, which will easily use up all of the yarn without leaving very much left over.

2. Holiday Yarns

This booth was lovely. Lots of beautifully dyed yarns, but what caught my eye was the sock kit display. There were almost a dozen mannequin feet with fantastic superhero kits socks. I didn’t see all of the superheros from the models as kits on the racks, but the Wonder Woman kits were there and I really liked how the Wonder Woman yarn was dyed up. So I bought a kit. Can’t go wrong with too many socks, right?

3. Swan Hollow Studios

 

 

My hands ache to touch this stuff just looking at the photo. Swan Hollow Studios had a big sprawling booth filled with incredibly soft fibers for spinning and silky yarns. The fibers were all piled around in these huge open sacks, like giant bean bag chairs, so you could just stick your arms in the wool and touch it. I kept walking in circles in the booth coming back to this beautiful mass. It’s a blend of camel, tussah silk, and Shetland sheep wool. It’s so soft that some of the more calloused parts of my fingers could barely feel it. I’m am very excited about spinning this up.

4. Ummm…

 

 

I’m terrible. In my excitement, I forgot to get the name of the vendor at the booth. Also, this was a skein I pulled out of the clearance for $9.00 bin, so it doesn’t have a label. The receipt doesn’t have the vendor name and I paid in cash, so there’s no electronic receipt. It’s mystery yarn that’s worsted weight (I’m guessing). All I know for sure is that I love the colors and it’s soft.

5. Highland Handmades

And more roving. These are colorways The Rom and The Edge of the Inferno from Highland Handmades. They’re both braids of BFL, which is a wool that I consistently have enjoyed spinning. It’s soft, but sturdy. I find that the fibers aren’t smooth enough to pull loose if I spin the wheel too fast, but are very soft and don’t irritate my dry hands while drafting.

I also love the colors that she uses in her dyes. All of the braids in the booth were beautiful color combinations and it was hard to pick just two of them. I hope to buy more from her in the future.

 

And that was Stitches! I didn’t manage to really get any photos of the show floor or anything. I was too excited to be putting my hands all over all the yarns and things, and there were too many people around for me to feel comfortable taking photos. I don’t mind taking photos around a lot of people, but I feel very uncomfortable taking photos of strangers when you can see their faces clearly. It’s a thing. Maybe I’ll get some photos of the booths and things next year. All in all, a great event that I’m glad to say is probably going to be an annual thing as long as it’s in Hartford.

 

.

2014 Western Connecticut Yarn Crawl

This past weekend was the Western Connecticut Yarn Crawl! Seven stores got together to plan out a cool weekend for yarn-folk up and down the western side of our little state. My mom and I spent two days driving around meeting some great shop owners and checking out some great shops.

Friday

1. Knit & Purl – Avon, CT

 

 

This is a great shop. My aunt heard about the yarn crawl and called me up to make sure I was going. She was really excited that Knit & Purl was a part of the crawl. Apparently, she stops in there often. 

We were immediately welcomed, even though it was technically before the shop opened, and everyone setting up was so excited about the crawl. There was a great selection of yarns at surprisingly good prices. Mom ended up buying some alpaca there and it’s a shop that we both want to go back to sometime.

 

2. In Sheep’s Clothing – Torrington, CT

 

 

Mom and I have known about this shop for a couple of years now, but just have never taken the time to go looking for it. When we found it, we were both smacking ourselves for not having taken 2 minutes to look for it before. It’s literally one storefront off of Main St. and I’m down in Torrington all the time for my weekly errands. 

This one’s a smaller shop and it’s a little cramped in there, but there’s a decent selection of yarn and there was a pleasant rack of spinning roving in the corner. Also, the shop owner let me know that I can order Ashford spinning wheel parts from her, which I might take her up on. 

And here’s the roving I bought there! And she threw in a needle gauge for free!

 

 

3. Black Sheep Yarns – Kent, CT

 

 

Oh my god, getting to this store was an adventure and a half. Firstly, our directions kept telling us to turn onto BlahBlah St which turns into Something Lane and all that, when it could have just said follow Rt. 4 West to Rt. 7 South. Then, the street name in the photo there? Old Barn Road? It’s not particularly a road. It’s more of a parking lot and it doesn’t have a sign on the actual street. It’s a little shopping avenue type thing. So we passed through the town shops, turned around, passed the “left” we were supposed to make, turned around, parked on the street, and then walked to the shop. It was a little ridiculous. 

This was a great shop, too, with some great yarns. They were a little pricier than the other shops we had been to, but there was some great quality stuff there. The shop owner also ran a food drive at the same time as the yarn crawl and it looked like she got a bunch of stuff to donate to the food pantry, which is great.

I bought this really soft blue yarn to go with a green yarn for an undetermined color work project.

 

 

 

 

4. New England Yarn & Spindle – Bristol, CT

 

 

Ah, Bristol. This is my local yarn shop. I don’t actually go in all that often because I’m trying to bust stash, but I like to stop in from time to time. Mom hadn’t been there in a long time and was surprised at the new layout. It was nice to poke around. It’s a small shop, but has some good staples. I picked up some orange yarn to do some undetermined color work with some red yarn I bought from their sidewalk sale a couple of weeks ago.

 

 

 

 

And that was it for Friday. We finished at about 3:00, which is not bad time driving around to all those places. I spent some time winding skeins for myself and mom into center-pull balls and then pretty much chilled out for the rest of the day.

Mom had to work on Saturday, so she worked and I did my weekend errands/laundry/whatever. And then Sunday, we resumed the crawl!

Sunday

5. A Stitch in Time – Bethel, CT

(Not pictured here because I forgot! Whoops!)

This is a great shop. We got a little lost on our way there, but it was a weird off-ramp issue, so… not our fault! But we weren’t turned around too bad and were able to find the place easily enough once we got into Bethel. 

Mom and I had a great time in this shop. It’s set up with all these little nooks full of yarn on one side and needlepoint stuff on the other. In the middle of the shop is a counter with lotion bars and wool soap and stuff. I tried out a lotion bar which I liked and might go back to buy when I’ve got some more spare cash. I ended up buying one skein of yarn to go with a very similar yarn that I bought from a stand at the NY Renaissance Faire. 

 

6. Nancy O – Ridgefield, CT

 

 

This shop was a combination yarn shop and clothing shop. The actual yarn selection was a bit limited and some of it was pretty pricey, but it was a pretty shop and was very busy when we went, which is always good. And the lady who stamped our passports was a Doctor Who fan, so that was fun! We had a brief nerd talk when she wasn’t swamped. And they had cookies. Bonus!

7. Westport Yarns – Westport, CT

After a quick pit stop at The Gabbers’ new apartment, we went to the last shop! Westport Yarns is a pretty small shop. It might have been the smallest of the shops and was definitely the most expensive, but Westport is rich people country, so it wasn’t unexpected. The Gabbers ended up buying a ribbon yarn from the clearance bin, which worked out. 

The yarn shop was busy and the shop owner was courteous, but it seemed to me like the other patrons weren’t thrilled to have crawlers in the shop. I was getting some annoyed vibes off of a couple of ladies in there. I don’t know if the patrons were just sick of yarn crawlers getting all up in their local shop or if my T-shirt and jeans were too low class or that I’m dude-identified in a primarily lady space or what. It didn’t seem like they minded The Gabbers or my mom, but I didn’t feel welcome in the shop after a few minutes.

 

But we didn’t stay long. We were starving and wanted food, so we skipped out of there and got some Five Guys.

And then we dropped off The Gabbers and trekked back up home. 

A successful crawl! It was really fun and we’re planning on doing it again next year now that we know the ropes. The Gabbers said that she might take that Friday off and do the whole this with us next year, so that’ll be fun.

Next Yarn Event: Stitches East!

2014 Coventry Farmers’ Market – Fiber Fest

Yesterday was my first official yarn event of the season! My family and I headed out to Coventry for the Fiber Fest theme weekend of the farmers’ market!

 

 

I love this farmers’ market. The Fiber Fest booths were fewer this year, but it was nice to walk through the tents and see some familiar yarn-folk and meet some new ones. My mom was keeping half an eye out for a yarn to match the yarn in the cowl she was working on because she needed another skein and ended up finding the exact match from the vendor that she’s pretty sure she bought the original skein from! It was hilarious. She couldn’t remember where she’d bought the yarn from and she had lost the label, but it all worked out. 

There was a lot of lovely yarn and wool to touch everywhere. And the regular vendors for the market were great, too. Our favourite jam and pie folks weren’t there this year, but we made a stop at the fudge stand and the new cannoli truck. There was a lotion bar and handmade chapstick stand that I grabbed a card from which I may end up buying from online. It was a great trip.

 

 

And The Gabbers brought Audrey the corgi to the market, which everyone loved. It was hilarious. Audrey doesn’t particularly like other dogs and generally won’t be social with them, but there were dogs everywhere. She avoided all the dogs her size and smaller and wanted to say hello to all the giant dogs. GIANT DOGS. A gorgeous black St. Bernard and an Irish wolf hound and another giant black dog whose breed I can’t recall… But she didn’t want to stick around too long once she’d greeted the dogs and all the big dogs were disappointed that they didn’t get to play.

Frankly, I think it’s Audrey’s ploy to make other humans pay attention to her. Folks love looking at the little corgi sniffing out the dogs five times her size. And she got plenty of human attention, too.

 

 

We didn’t end up eating at the market, which is normally our tradition, but Dad had it in his head that we’d find some kind of outdoor cafe thing to eat at. We ended up eating Taco Bell in a park in Willimantic, which is fine, but I missed eating great food truck sandwiches. We then met up with Pickleface at college to drop off some stuff and catch up on his new college-ness and get ice cream. It was good times.

I worked on my Event Socks during the car ride, but didn’t end up getting very far due to dog in the car and some elbow pain, but I did finish the gusset and did a couple of rows on the foot. So that’s progress!

I didn’t end up actually buying any yarn at the market. I did, however, re-establish my roving stash for spinning:

Some white alpaca and a big ol’ blend of alpaca/BFL/merino stuff that’s really soft. I’ll probably spin these together.

This is some gorgeously dyed BFL that I had to have. It’s beautiful. I’m including two photos because I needed everyone to see both sides of this skein.

And these two braids are lovely as well. I think I’ll be spinning these separately because I don’t think they’d quite work as combo-plies, but that green is really calling my soul and I love a good autumnal red/orange/purple.

 

Next yarn event, Yarn Crawl!