My New Hobby: Spinning While I Walk


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That’s right, I’m that weird spinning lady wandering around my neighborhood with a drop spindle, walking and spinning, spinning and walking. I love it. Not only am I getting more exercise — who needs power walking? And in my opinion, that looks just as weird — I’m spinning more yardage than before I started.

I currently have four hanks of yarn drying in my bathroom thanks largely to this new-old technique, because after all that is what people all over the world used to do. Some still do: according to Respect the Spindle, people spin and walk *in the Andes Mountains*. Phew.

I’ll stick to my neighborhood for now, and the lovely conversations it inspires. (“What is that? Can I touch it? I think my daughter/niece/nephew/friend might like that…where can I find out more?”)

Ah, to be a roaming spinning evangelist. This is the life.

Now if only the weather would cooperate. It’s a tad bit nippy right now…

A correction and a giveaway

Like books? My friend is running a book giveaway in preparation for an upcoming trip. ^_^

Bibliophibian Inc.

I missed someone out of my auto-read list. This is a bit mortifying as I’ve actually had personal interaction with the author and adore her books. She is lovely and offers good advice on home remedies for things like acid reflux. She wrote a book that felt just perfect for me, like she’d written it for me — I’m speaking, of course, of Jo Walton’s Among Others. She’s written in a lot of different genres: dystopian alternate history with a detective story in the Small Change books; dragons in an Austenesque society in Tooth & Claw; fantasy based around the home and relationships in Lifelode; alternate Arthuriana in The King’s Peace/The King’s Name… She’s a versatile author who has yet to write a book that I didn’t enjoy, and The Prize in the Game is one of those few books that moved me to tears.


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Holiday Gift Idea: Cookies in a Jar


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Spoiler alert: If you live in my immediate geographic area and I know you personally, this might spoil your holiday present. OK, you have been warned.

The problem with baking for people for the holidays is, in my opinion, twofold:

  1. You have to do a TON of baking all at once, which means weird timing with the oven.
  2. Everyone receives a TON of baked goods from all of their acquaintances at approximately the same time, which is not good for health/blood sugar or for not wasting food.

What if you could help someone with most of the steps of making something delicious, yet it was still a good holiday present that was homemade and showed that you cared? Also, what if that meant they could have something delicious anytime it was convenient for them? (You know the kind of chocolate emergencies I’m thinking about, people.)

The good news is, there is a solution: cookies in a jar. Basically, you mix all the dry ingredients together in an a clean jar (think upcycled tomato jar) that you have decorated to your recipient’s taste or yours, and then add instructions for the finishing process.

I do a lot of vegan baking (it means you can eat the dough with no worries! and your vegan friends will love you forever!), so I was delighted to find this recipe for a vegan cookie jar mix from the Post Punk Kitchen, creators of my favorite vegan baking recipes.

Of course, I *had* to beta-test the recipe myself first…

Double chocolate walnut vegan cookies

Double chocolate walnut vegan cookie on a red silicone baking mat.

I may have eaten more than I intended, but it was good motivation to go for a walk to prevent a sugar crash. Which prompted me to take this lovely late-autumn photo, with which I will part from you and attempt to hide from the rest of the cookies.Autumn light
Trees with yellow leaves in autumn light

LGBT Solidarity

These are really cool and creative and remind me of graffiti on the Berlin Wall.

Pockets McGee's Workshop

After being struck by some timely inspiration, I decided to take a break from creating cut paper mantras and sayings and begin instead on a series of LGBT-positive pieces. More specifically, I wanted to focus on the L (lesbian) and the T (transgender). I had a few ideas tumbling around in my head, mainly visual representations of support and love.

I decided to use the solidarity fist as the basis for the first group of pieces, cutting out the main hand and wrist and then incorporating the lesbian and trans symbols onto the lower arm. I’m thrilled with how they turned out – the lines are so crisp and the overall look is clean and simple. Needless to say, I plan to make many more using a host of other symbols.

If there’s a symbol in particular you want to see, leave me a comment and I’ll give it a…

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When Someone Criticizes Your Knitting or Creative Work-in-Progress, Remember


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Have you ever had someone criticize or “critique” one of your creative works-in-progress, only to have them turn around and compliment the finished product? This kind of approval whiplash can be draining for me as I try to figure out what’s different, or worse, if it causes me to shove a project in the back of a closet because I think the person is right in criticizing it. However, I have a new theory as to why this happens.

The person critiquing my art, whatever their intentions, has no idea what the work-in-progress is going to look like when it’s finished. Heck, sometimes I haven’t even decided yet! So often it looks…unfinished. Off balance. The colors seem a little out of whack, because I haven’t added the third one that will neutralize that rowdy second color.

I may have a perfect vision inside my head of what the finished beautiful project will look like, but I can’t pipe that into the observer’s head. All they may see, for example, is four rows of garter stitch and me thrusting a pattern photo into their hands going, “See! It’s going to be the most beautiful sweater!”

Imagine, for example, showing someone Elizabeth Zimmerman‘s “Baby Surprise Jacket” before it had been finished. The whole point of the pattern is that even the knitter is surprised when this lumpy misshapen piece of material turns into a beautiful sweater (and with only two seams).

WTF Happened to my Baby Surprise???
The baby surprise jacket I knit out of allegedly superwash wool >:

This is my roundabout way of saying that the next time someone goes, “Um, what is it?” or something similarly unhelpful when you show them what you’re working on, remember that they can’t see the other half of your project still in your soul.

Crafting and Exercise (not as scary a post as one might think, but timed around Halloween just the same)


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I did an impromptu drop spindle demonstration for my cardiologist this week. He had asked if I spent a lot of time sitting still when I said that I do “a lot of crafting.”


Some of the handspun alpaca I was spinning for my cardiologist. He did actually ask what fiber it was. Oatmeal/gray yarn on a drop spindle resting on a brown skirt.

While he agreed that the drop spindle was good, in that it got me up out of my chair and moving, I still get to do a fun course of exercise physiology to help with my dysautonomia and general functioning.

My doctor also recommended that I not sit in one place for more than 30 minutes at a time. Instead get up, stretch, or just walk around for a couple of minutes. For me, this can help get the blood flowing in my extremities and prevent venous pooling, the build-up of blood in my hands and feet. However, this can also be helpful for the average person.

Recent research suggests that even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, the other 15.5 hours of sedentary activity have a very negative impact on your body, and can increase the risk for all those diseases that are associated with inactivity.

My plan? Use my ironing board as the occasional standing desk when I’m crafting; accidentally-on-purpose forget all the scissors on the other floor of the house (though let’s be honest, I do this anyway); spin lots; spinning means setting the twist on yarn by whacking wet yarn against a hard object. And of course there are the methods suggested in the NPR story, like fidgeting or just getting up for a drink of water. Or maybe walking around a yarn store…

Although yesterday, as I was mixing concrete with my bare hands to make stepping stones for the garden, I had to laugh at the idea that crafting is all sitting. Yes, there can be a lot of sitting, but because you are making things with your body that are usually done by machine, it can be a lot more physical than one might suspect, as long as I remember not to sit and knit for a marathon stretch.

Pink Merino, Dyed in the Wool


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This week saw my second attempt at dyeing in the wool, and my first time doing so without accidentally felting the fibers. It helps if you don’t shock the fibers by rinsing them off in cold water when they’re still hot. >.< But all that aside, here is a 5-am-winter-dark-photo (i.e. not completely color true) of what I made: 3 oz of pink merino. I was aiming for red, but oh well…things happen. I like the pink.

Pink merino dyed in the wool
A drop spindle with a small amount of pink merino spun on it, with a small section of the dyed fiber next to it

As I am currently going through a button craze, I foresee that this will become a hat with button embellishments.

(For the curious, I used Greener Shades “Ruby Red” Fiber Acid Dye.)

Dear Knitting Pattern Designer


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Dear Knitting Pattern Designer,

Your pattern is lovely, but thinking about knitting even one more stitch makes me want to stab something with my knitting needles. Don’t get me wrong, your pattern is well-written, easy to follow, and will produce a flattering result. I’m even getting gauge. The yarn is gorgeous. The colors are gorgeous.

I just don’t know why I thought that knitting an entire cardigan knit in fingering weight yarn in stockinette was a good idea. It would have been fine if it was a sweater done in the round. Hell, at this point I’d even consider steeking, and that usually terrifies me.

In other words, I am bored. Bored bored bored.

If I still feel this way tomorrow, I will be ripping back and looking around at good ideas for shawls. I have enough yarn for two! (Or maybe I’ll make socks!)



Autumn Sale on My Etsy Shop


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Just a quick heads up that if you have been hankering for something from my Etsy shop, Rogue Crafter’s Studio, now might be a good time to get that special something for yourself or for a holiday present (or for holiday crafting, for that matter).

Now through November 1st, if you use the coupon code “AUTUMN13” at checkout you can get a 10% discount on orders of $5 or more.

Happy Halloween/Samhain/Dia de Los Meurtes/Harvest, or whatever times you happen to celebrate (or not) at this time of year!