Cherry Bomb Baby

I live in a pile of bricks with a fire puter-outer, a Halloween enthusiast and a pretend lemur, who sometimes admits to being my second son. I have a kitchen for flowers. I know all the lyrics to the Spiderman theme song and (am forced to) sing it everyday. I cook with color. This was a blog mostly about yarn spinning and natural dyeing. Now, it is fair to say, it lacks direction entirely.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Bad Kitty

Bad Kitty, as I've been calling her, is done. She is even done way before our November birthday deadline. Super M's favorite stuffy is his kitty (an Easter gift from a neighbor long ago), her name is Gravestone. Really. I ought to consider changing Super M's title to Gothy M since he is a 5 year old G.I.T. (That's Goth In Training to those of who you never went to camp.) He requested this book from his Scholastic Book club catalog at school. Since its his birthday month and I just happened to have this little kitty in the works and because, its so very him, we ordered it. I have no idea what type of book this is, we go through a LOT of children's picture books in this house so I am excited to find something entirely new to me. I am also quite pleased that this is done with time to spare and can only hope I will be forgiven for not making his kitty "all black and with red eyes" as he requested.

And yes, another fall bunny has been gifted for our October birthday girl. I named her Pumpkin Bunny as I knit because it is fall and I am super creative and original like that.

And in progress, for Little J, Grey Kitty. Or possibly, Gravestone 2 (like I said, I am SUPER original). This is only the second of the 2 animals I've made for my own kids. Little J is wishing we could keep some of these animals for our own house and I think its about time he had one myself.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Learning to knit

At our semi-regular Friday craft circle we've slowly been learning new things. My friend Kay learned to knit and I am learning how to teach someone else how to knit. Kay is now working on a skinny scarf for one of her daughters with some of my left over malabrigo yarn. Addi turbos are probably not the easiest needles to learn on but Kay is a champ and is slipping and sliding those stitches off like a pro, as you can see. I figure if you start with a variegated rainbow malabrigo for yarn you will be pretty well hooked on knitting for life. This is a my strategy as a fiber enabler-shh!

Last week I was working hard on a "skeleton" type mask for Super M's halloween costume. And then he changed his mind. Now he wants to be a gorilla. I am wanting to tell him that I started knitting his gorilla costume so he can, again, change his mind. We go through this every year and it is certainly a deliberate move on his part to avoid my handmade costume ideas. Up until this point he has had only (silly-ish) mama made costumes. (And one awesome hand me down space suit costume when he was 2. It was an all orange jump suit with a couple of patches and it was so tight it was 3/4 up his butt the whole night. The best part was that half the people who saw him thought he was a "tiny inmate.") I'm finishing this mask one way or another and he will be shown here modeling it in all its ridiculous glory. I am having to sell this to him as a "skeleton" mask but really, its a bit more like a knitted psycho mask. In the end, it may be more fitting for myself.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Harvest Fair

Here are my boys disappearing into the popcorn field at Ardenwood historic farm. I've been looking forward to this little fair since summer. The corn harvesting is definitely the highlight for all of us.

J was more enamored of shucking the individual ears of corn than gathering and picking. It was tough to get pictures of Super M who would appear only sporadically from the field with more ears of corn for me. I think I caught the back of his shirt before he was completely out of sight.

The Indian corn was so beautiful. We loved opening the different colored husks, not knowing what the ears would look like on the inside.

Another favorite spot were the bales of hay, piled sky high. Or so it seems when you are 3 years old.

And, as always, I jump at any chance to visit the great wheel at Ardenwood.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Cleaning House

Here is a 4 oz bump of roving that it took me nearly 4 years to spin. It was one of those random pick it up/put it down/lose it under the passenger seat for 6 months type of projects. I started it long ago on a drop spindle and carried it around very sporadically since then. I think I lost various balls of it once it was wound off the spindle and finally, finally I recently gathered them all and finished plying on my ebony Jenkins Turkish spindle.

Its a pollwarth roving that I picked up at Deep Color, it had LONG color repeats with subtle color changes. The fleece itself has some natural (brownish) coloring in some places, I think its a blend of brown and white fleeces all blended together.

Since it was spun here and there and everywhere over the course of a long period of time, it is a whole mess of different amounts of twist and thick and thin. Now that I can see it in terms of doll hair (squeal!) there is a whole new world of beauty in these irregularities.

Speaking of dolls, here is some really smelly alpaca seconds and thirds that I got CHEAP for stuffing. I was thinking I'd card it with second quality wools I've got laying around. But its incredibly tedious, sometimes I wonder how can I be this cheap! The time alone to do this kind of boring carding is worth the extra couple dollars a pound to just buy the stuffing already in carded batt form. This fleece made the whole back half of my house smell terribly while in the pot.

Stinky or not, there is something about raw fleece that you've got to love. If only there were some sort of smell-o-blog program so we could share the irresistable putrid goodness together.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Nature Table and Witch's Circle Part Deux

Yesterday I had quite possibly the best morning ever. Seven of my best, craftiest, sweetest mama friends came over to drink tea, eat pastry and make stuff. The night before, Mr. Partner (remember how he totally hates how I call him this? And so I totally must call him this.) wished me luck with my "Witch's Circle". Thanks honey, it was definitely The Best Witch's Circle Ever. Marina has more kindly dubbed it an Inspiration Circle and blogged a far more beautiful Part Un than I ever could.

Some learned to cast on and knit for the first time ever! Some were old friends and some met for the first time. It was a group of women, who I feel share very similar values and, I think, everyone hit it off really well for this reason. It was so meaningful to craft with other moms who do most of their creating late at night by themselves. Those quiet nights of blog perusing and random creating are crucial part of my daily rhythm and sanity. Its usually through other blogs that I feel connected to other moms like myself. This daytime, real life gathering made me absolutely giddy. We got to touch and see each other's work, and oh my, there was some serious talent in the room. Arriving very fashionably late was one crafster (who is known as Mama Sandra around these parts) and she casually strolled in with this:

Yeah, no big deal, right? Here you go. Its only a handmade lotus flower! And, of course, it has to live here on the handmade nature table/fairy house:

Quite possibly forever. I don't know how seasonal that idea is but my flower is not going anywhere. Its an evergreen lotus as far as I'm concerned. Some of the wool was naturally dyed locks I gave Sandra for needle felting. There was some delicate cormo and merino that I handwashed LONG ago and rinsed a little to rigorously and so it felted a little. She felted it a lot and turned it into this gasp worthy gift. Thank you mama Sandra and thank you ladies for coming and sharing all that you did. Please tell me you'll come again soon. Meanwhile I guess I'll drink tea, eat pastry and make stuff.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Gifts and The Name

At this stage this doll was nameless. I couldn't even make up pretend names because I knew it was not my job to name this one. So, I fussed with her an awful lot, enjoying certain parts of the doll, and of course, lamenting the parts I felt I screwed up on. But still, I think she had a funky but sweet personality that was right for the girl I was making her for. I spent a fair amount of time wondering about her name while I was sewing the features and hair.

I felt like I made a lot of mistakes on this doll, maybe more than the first one. But still, her hair and her eyes make me pretty happy.

An old fat quarter came in handy to make up a little nightgown. I dragged my heels on sewing doll clothes for a long time-and I have no idea why. I guess it was one of those mental crafting blocks. I felt totally unqualified to sew them. The nightgown was a good ice breaker for doll clothes and I, very simply constructed and easily done. And it didn't matter much if it didn't fit quite perfectly-you can see its quite roomy. In some languages, this italicized "roomy" means "too big". In my world of sewing it means "better than naked." This dolly now has a home and a name: Samantha. Which, as it turns out, was my doll's name as well. Although I had a prenamed American Girl doll, still I look for these little coincidences and like to think of them as stars and planets alligning all for me. I'm sure all two of you agree with me on this.
This is our "fairy home" and sometimes nature table. It was gifted to us by the mom of the 7 year old girl I gave Samantha to. This was a party favor for her previous year's birthday party-yes, a PARTY FAVOR. You read that right, although favor isn't the right word. So, how lucky am I? I've decorated this with various playthings and nature items along with my kids over the last year. Currently, we've done it up Autumn (and Halloween) style. There is a lot of important stuff in there for me right now.
But I think this one is the most important to M, who is obsessed with all things dark and ghoulish, a Ghost Gourd:
We are in agreement that it is a cool gourd and absolutely ghost like. And the felt flower? Yes, it is awesome beyond words and no, I didn't make it. That really deserves its own post and will be blogged about it in Nature Table (and Witch's Circle) Part Deux.