All wound up

I have been in need of a ball winder for awhile now, but I kept buying yarn instead!

However, Joann.com is having a sale on their ballwinders and swifts. So I have finally bit the bullet and bought one. Only $30 plus free shipping! I got this one:

I don't know anything about different styles of winders, but the reviews for this one were good. I didn't get a swift. I'm a rebel. Or maybe just stupid. Time will tell.

Code for free shipping: CCABINFEBFS9


Binding of another kind

My night classes have required that I design and assemble several books, which has allowed me to dabble in the world of book binding. So far I have only tried a few soft cover methods.

The first is the star-fold. This is a very simple method and I was shown this by a couple of instructors. I have tried to illustrate it in the crude (sorry) drawing below.

Star Fold Diagram
The pages are printed in spreads (two pages per sheet of paper). Then each spread is folded in half. The backside of pg 2 is glued to the backside of pg 3 and so on.
When all the pages are glued together the backside of the front cover is glued to the backside of pg 1. Then the cover is wrapped around the spine and the back cover is glued to the backside of the last pg.

The pages are all printed in numerical order (odd numbers on the left and even on the right). However the covers MUST be reversed (back cover printed on the left and front cover on the right). This is because the spread with the covers folds in the opposite direction as the spreads with the pages.

The second type of binding I've used is my own made up sewn binding :) I tried this before I knew much of anything about binding. And I just sewed the pages together as I saw fit. The actual stitches were pretty messy, but I was able to cover them with a strip of cardstock. It wasn't not very sturdy, but whatev.

After using these first two methods I got curious. So I bought Bookcraft by Heather Weston:

Bookcraft by Heather WestonBookcraft: Techniques for Binding, Folding, and Decorating to Create Books and More
by Heather Weston
Published by Quarry Books
ISBN 9781592534555

So far I have found this to be a really great resource. It has not only filled my head with dreams of creating masterfully bound books but also gives detailed descriptions of materials and instructions.

After perusing Weston's book I decided to try out the Japanese stab binding. Which up until I started writing this post I thought it was Japanese sLab binding. Don't ask my why, my mind just processed it as such. Here's the result:
Cowichan with Japanese Stab BindingSo far the best book I've made!

Japanese Stab Binding close upThe JSB is characterized by the decorative sewing along the spine and the spine caps (those little peices of green cardstock protecting the corners of the spine).

Cowichan History
Cowichan Symbols
So those pictures don't have anything to do with the binding, I just like those pages OK?

Notice the subject of my book was Cowichan Sweaters :)

I plan to try a hardcover binding method in the next couple of weeks. The instructions are a lot more complicated that anyting I've tried so far. Hopefully it won't be a total disaster.


Little Knits

I am constantly adding baby and kid knits to my RavQ, they are just so cute! Luckily my oldest sister has two daughters, Megan (2yr 8mo) and Anna (10mo):

Perfect recipients for all of the little items I dream of knitting. For Christmas I decided to knit them sweaters. I decided this on December 1st. This left me 24 days to choose a pattern, find and purchase yarn, and knit two sweaters while working full-time and going to night school. Not ambitious at all.

The Pattern: Duck Soup by Anny Purls Find the Pattern on Raverly
The Yarn: Jeanne purchased from WEBS yarn.com

Anna’s Duck Soup See it on Raverly
Anna’s Duck Soup
Color: 24 Lilac
Size: 18 months
Needle size: 10

Megan’s Duck Soup See it on Raverly
Megan’s Duck Soup
Color: 29 Pale Brick
Size: 2/3 yr (see below for details)
Needle size: 9

This is a great pattern. Very fast to knit, Anna’s sweater (w/o the closures) only took me one week and Megan’s a mere 4 days. Of course I was knitting every second of my free time. By the end of this my hands felt like little claws, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to straighten my fingers again!

The part I found most time consuming was making the i-cord buttons and loops. I felt like the i-cords would never end. Of course you don’t have to make i-cord buttons and loops, you could add button holes and use regular buttons or put in a zipper, but I’m in love the look of the i-cords.

I followed Anny’s instructions almost exactly as-is, including using her favorite type of increase: “knit into the back of the stitch in the row below the next stitch". It has now become my favorite type of increase as well. The only adjustment I made was to knit Megan’s sweater in the 4/5 size using size 9 needles resulting in a 2/3 size.

This is the only Anny Purls pattern I’ve knit, but she has more including a few free patterns. Check out her website at jujubeandlolo.com.


Bake My Valentine


On Thursday my office had a Valentine's Day celebration. So I donned my apron and got baking.

I had this great plan to bake these:

Vanilla Chocolate Wafers from MarthaStewart.com

Vanilla Chocolate Wafers from MarthaStewart.com. And instead of leaving the vanilla side white I would add a little red food coloring so that they'd be pink! So cute!

Hmmm...I didn't take into account that as the cookies bake the edges brown up, making my pretty pink and brown cookies brownish-pink and brown cookies:

marn's brownish-pink and brown cookies

Note the wonky shape the two colors create, definately not like Martha's. Oh and I burned half of them to cinders. They were so horrible not even the pigeons would go near them. Okay I didn't really try giving the to the pigeons. But I thought about it.

I was also really excited to make these:

Raspberry Almond Financiers from MarthaStewart.com

Raspberry Almond Financiers! I'd never made a financier before and didn't know exactly what one was, but the picture and description left me believing that they would be cupcake-ish.

"honeyed, cakey interior beneath a crisp, crackly surface"
-description from MarthaStewart.com

A French pastry. The financier is a light tea cake, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring."

-definition from Wikipedia


Mine turned out like this:
marn's raspberry almond muffins

More of a muffin than a cupcake. The tops were rounded not flat like in the photo. And I couldn't get the raspberry to look like Martha's! These were the best looking out of the batch.

Well at least everything tasted good.

**note: all recipes are from MarthaStewart.com. I am in no way associated with Martha Stewart, I'm just a fan of the recipes.**


Dear Charcoal Blue Gedifra....

I'm sorry we could not meet. If you should ever return I will be here waiting.

Forever yours,



I had this new year's resolution:
I will not buy any new yarn without a specific pattern in mind.

My first slip was January 31 when I bought this:

Noro Kureyon Sock Color #164
I was at Knit NY purchasing yarn for my yoga winter solstice swapSee it on Raverly project and it called to me from the sale bin. It wasn't until after I walked out of the shop that I realized I'd broken my new year's resolution. January wasn't even over yet! Well I couldn't turn around and return it right away, I'd look like a weirdo right? Anyway, one skein of yarn isn't that big of a deal.

Then not even two weeks later along comes this:

Well that would just be perfect for a cardigan right? Maybe I don't have a specific pattern in mind, but I still have a purpose: CARDIGAN.

Hmm I think I'll have to get this too:

I've always wanted to try bamboo and it's on sale! If I can just find a pattern to justify it: chevron scarf (or not, I'm still undecided). Well I better get it before its sold out right?

Oh wait what about this:

Jo Sharp DK Wool 356 Venice, 911 Maple, 910 Oak
I find the colors just yummy! Well there is only one skein of the Venice colorway left, I better call and see if I can add it to yesterday's order.

Finally the next day this color of the Gedifra Shetland DeLuxe became available again:

Gedifra Shetland De Luxe 9202 Charcoal Blue

Well I had to get it. It was the color that drew my attention to the Gedifra Shetland and I'd been kicking myself for not ordering quick enough after it first sold out.

So less than two months into the new year I'm 25 skeins heavier and $110 lighter, crappers.

Here're the stat's on the above yarns:

Purchased at LYS: Knit NY knitnewyork.com

Noro Kureyon Sock
Sock 100% wool
Colorway: 164

Purchase online: WEBS yarn.com

Gedifra Shetland De Luxe
Worsted 50% Wool/25% Baby Alpaca/25% Mohair
Colorway: 9293 Med Brown

Plymouth Royal Bamboo
Worsted 100% bamboo
Colorways (left to right): 01 Taupe, Blue, & Silver, 24 Blue

Jo Sharp DK Wool
DK 100% wool
Colorways (left to right): 356 Venice, 911 Maple, 910 Oak

Gedifra Shetland De Luxe
Worsted 50% Wool/25% Baby Alpaca/25% Mohair
Colorway: 9202 Charcoal Blue