now with dreadlocks

Yesterday I attended an internationally themed bridal shower. No, I’ve never heard of such a thing either. What is more, in what is truly *not* a logical move, I was chosen to represent Jamaica. I found a crochet pattern on ravelry (on ravelry | on the web) to make a big, floppy, Jamaican colored hat to wear to the party.

the hat


now with dreadlocks


I made the dreadlocks by spinning some large diameter yarn from naturally colored brown wool roving. I lightly felted it by soaking in hot soapy water and then running the entire length of yarn though my fingers a few times. I broke apart the yarn into appropriate lengths but then trimmed the top end with scissors to make things neater. I sewed the dreads down to a piece of fabric (with my machine) so that the ends were tucked inside a double fold tape situation and then sewed the fabric into the hat. That seemed to work well and was easier than sewing each individual dread into the hat. It looked creepily like hair…

The event itself involved several sticker-based activities. It took me a while to put the pieces together, but I eventually figured out that the bride’s great-aunt is Mrs. Grossman. What crafty lineage!

one year

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who was about to start a road trip from Seattle to Utah. I raced through my calendar to see if I could possibly drive out there to meet him, but I couldn’t quite make it work this time. This is the same friend who once, on a suggestion during a phone conversation, agreed to meet me at a prescribed time on a particular day in Utah when he was driving from Maryland and I was driving from the bay area. We both made it and the trip was great fun. I’ve been thinking over the trip last spring, which was exactly one year ago, and wishing that I was there now.

One year ago today:
devils garden




dance hall rock




Improved Sheep-Wash

Yesterday during a routine academic search for journal articles about the sensitive dependence of coupled carbon cycle climate models to land surface parameter values I came across this patent.

What do you think you get from boiling tobacco, adding chalk and tersulphide of calcium (prepared it in the usual way, whatever that is)? Improved Sheep-wash, thats what. Apparently the wash is not limited to sheep (on no!) the author claims that it is “equally efficacious when applied to cattle and other animals.” Get yer tobacco a boilin…

Oh google scholar, how you do entertain me….

red

My first flower of the spring came out a few weeks ago. By now the cherry and magnolia trees have past their prime but the bright red Nasturtiums on my porch are still going strong.


I brought my camera to knitting last week to do some long overdue documenting of the oh-so-fabulous wallpaper at the Mel-o-dee. The bar was opened in 1969 or so and has clearly been untouched since. I found three different flocked filigree patterned wallpapers between the two rooms of the bar and the ladies restroom. My photography does not capture the atmosphere of the dimly lit establishment, but just imagine this wallpaper surrounding tufted vinyl built in benches and lounge tables.





Finally, after drooling over sweaters cut like jackets all winter I’ve decided to knit myself one (with a nice moss stitch front, pattern from DROPS in Ravelry). I ordered a bunch of bulky handspun from handpaintedyarn.com in a color called Caoba.



I wound up some skeins and started swatching last night. Hopefully I will finish before next winter!

busy busy

but not with crafty things… There has been a real sense of urgency around the office lately. It has good effects by motivating me to get work done but I don’t enjoy the elevated stress level. I’m starting to feel a bit more relaxed now, at least enough to show off a few photos.

Spinning:



Merino dyed by Girl on the Rocks in colorway Europa. I navajo plied it and I’ve been pawing at the skein trying to decide what to make. It’s soft and squishy and probably bulky weight. Any suggestions?




Yak! I spun yak! Locks were from A Verb for Keeping Warm.




Romney single-ply also dyed by Girl on the Rocks this one is called Apollo (after you know who). It is a pretty good match to his kitten years, but he is a bit browner now.

Knitting:



A hat! I knit a hat using my bruised handspun. I never did pick a pattern but I eventually figured out a size that would work and remembered to write it down (hooray!). I have enough yarn left over to knit two more hats (or something else). The hat is lovely and soft but it has already gotten too warm around here to need it. I guess I’ll just have to wait until summer for those cold foggy nights.




I have also mostly completed a sweater. It’s made from Debbie Bliss Alpaca-Silk (mmmmm soft) and has been in the works for at least a year now… I have a real problem following directions (or even choosing directions) and my pattern-less knitting projects always require some adjustments. This one is now seamed and awaiting a button band and collar. The neckline is a little funky and I might have to re-knit it but I guess thats what I deserve for trying to make a short row neck without even keeping track…

And I have new toys on the way too… A Beka rigid heddle loom and 30 yards of seatbelt webbing. Isn’t that every girls dream?

Get ’em while they are hot!

The Tweed Chicken had a photoshoot today out in the lovely spring sun.

Why so much attention? Well, I’ve opened an etsy shop. Thats right, now you can get your very own tweed chicken via etsy and the US Postal Service.

I’m also selling wallets made from recycled tyvek envelopes and vinyl banners from the bart station.

You can even get a button to show your tweed chicken pride.

I havent actually sold anything through etsy yet, but I know there are a lot of people out there who could use a little tweed chicken in their lives and hopefully this will help spread the love.

abmatic on etsy

movin on

We finished our move a few weeks ago but are still getting settled. Im working on acquiring some additional furniture so we can finish unpacking and I can get back into all of my projects. I’ve been scouring craigslist for the perfect finds but it is so time consuming to find anything that falls under a generic description. We have made one late night trip to ikea, but otherwise have relied heavily on donations from my parents and some carpentry. I have gotten one thing from craigslist though, a table to serve as ground zero for crafty adventures. It is your classic 1950’s kitchen table complete with two spring loaded pull-out leaves. I think it goes nicely with my 1950’s sewing machines.

I do occasionally feel nostalgic about our old place although the nearly constant cold rainy weather of the last two weeks would not have been any more fun with 85% of the walls comprised of unsealed single pane windows. Nonetheless the full southern exposure in the winter was something close to heaven for me on sunny days and I will miss it.


I made a set of photos of the old place, a retrospective if you will, and you can see them on flickr.

I call it cardboard mountian


This is the current state of our move (well, as of this morning). Believe it or not, there are way more packed boxes than unpacked boxes, most of which are squirreled away in closets and corners.

We got keys to our new place today and were happy to discover that it’s larger than we remembered so our mountains of crap might even fit. Moving is a good time to take inventory of ones things and I’ve been trying to reassess. I’m really not kidding anyone here, I’m terrible at parting with things that could be potential craft material, but I did say try….

We had one last sunny Sunday morning to enjoy and now it’s goodbye to all that. Wednesday is the big day but you can rest assured that I’ll be preoccupied about it for the next two days and probably be so distracted at work that I’ll have to go move a carload just to feel better.

Important things I have learned in this experience:
I have a serious OCD side. To me, this isn’t normally obvious but the last few weeks it’s been on display and driving N crazy.

Compared to the volume of stuff we have boxed up we really don’t have much furniture. Just piles and piles of crap. Unfortunately I think the new place will need additional furniture just to accommodate the crap.

I now own more fiber than yarn (by volume). This might not be that surprising due to the packing capability of yarn except that I only recently started spinning and even more recently buying fiber.

I own far more fabric than either fiber or yarn and it’s the heaviest. The fabric had been accumulating in the closet where I never saw it all together so I didn’t even really know how much was in there. Needless to say there is a fair amount. This goes well with my three sewing machines (and upcoming back-ache).

I might actually enjoy having walls. Oh, and cupboard space. The dishwasher wont hurt either. After we move I can look back at this loft/studio/attic/greenhouse and get nostalgic, but right now I am just ready to get this over with!

hats etc.

spinning, spinning, spinning and a hat…

Ah, just like a fresh bruise.. I finished spinning some merino roving that Karrie helped me dye in late November. I really, really, really like the color… I just need to decide what weight yarn I actually made so I can pick a pattern to knit myself a new hat.


Cato is proudly modeling a hat I made quickly before xmas. I used most of 2 balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK from my stash (originally purchased at the Webs booth at Stitches West 2007) one light blue and the other in navy. The pattern is the Inga Hat and I found it on Ravelry. I knit the hat using size 6 needles instead of size 5 which resulted in a really big hat, but it fits the recipient well. Oh, and the yarn is yummy…

multiplying

First there was one

then there were twins

and now a whole family!

Ive been keeping a bit of a secret from you… In November after a tip-off from Karrie I went to the East Bay Depot and adopted a twin of my singer 301 sewing machine. The new 301 looks pretty, has a nice box and all of its attachments, but it also looks as if someone poured motor oil everywhere inside and then let it sit for 30 years. It was completely seized when I took it home but after some elbow grease and a good dose of advising from my dad the gears are all turning. With enough time spraying solvent into it I think I can get it running again.

Fast forward to January 2008 and an unanticipated craigslist find. Ive been looking on craigslist for the table which goes with the singer 301. I’ve seen them on there before and I’m not in a hurry so I figure that if I look long enough I’ll find one. My RSS feed picks up a lot of other sewing machines though and yesterday I saw a little featherweight listed for $100 (they usually go for $200-$400). I couldn’t resist and drove down to Mountain View to pick it up last night.

Its not in perfect condition – it looks well used – and thats the way I like it. I dont want a machine that cant be used! It runs and all the parts and attachments are there – even the original manual!

Look how tiny it is!

Just about everyone I talked to said I was crazy. 3 sewing machines in a studio apartment?


Well there is another bit of news I have yet to share…. We are moving. Our new place is still in Berkeley about 2.5 miles south of where we are now. It will have walls. More on that later…