This is more of a mini-tutorial, as it assumes you are already well acquainted with the long tail cast on. Many of you may already know this little tip but I'm posting it for those who may not.

Because I know that not everyone has QuickTime, I'm loading two different versions, one is a video, which is more complete and the other is an animated GIF which should be viewable in almost all browsers and is better for people with slow connections.

For the QuickTime movie, click the image below

What I'd give to have someone do my voice overs for me :oP

If you prefer an animated GIF, click here.

Each frame should display for about 3 seconds and the whole movie should loop if you need to watch it more than once.

Panda happy new year

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Those of you who have been visiting my site for a while may recall that Leo only celebrates holidays that involve lots of fun having and which are, basically, secular. This means that Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year's top the list, with a nod to Valentine's day and, of course, a month for my Birthday. However, that last one is more mandated by the relationship than anything.

Since the plan was to have a rocking good time, I made sure that Panda got a nice long walk during the day.

Does anyone notice that besides the lovely view and adorable dog, there is also a new FO in this picture? A few of you have asked for the stitch pattern, but I plan to do you one better and post the whole hat pattern soon. The stitch is from one of the Barbara Walker books, but I'll have to dig back through to get the exact name. More on all that to come, in the future.

So back to the evening's events. Having moved to Portland, late in the year, we were a bit behind the eight ball in coming up with plans. We really didn't know where we'd wanted to go, because we hadn't really been anywhere and once we decided where we might like to go, all the options appeared to be filled up. Thus ensued a mad romp about the internet in search of options.

Leo found this posting online.

Tango lessons, a 5 course meal and Cirque Du Soleil style acrobatics; it all sounded like a perfect evening.

Well, it wasn't quite what we expected. The reservation secured us a spot at one of the wedding/prom style communal tables for 8 and a chance to visit the buffet and purchase wine by the glass from the bar. While the performers were excellent, much of it happened closer to terra ferma than we expected, so we missed a great deal of it. It wasn't a bad evening, but we still felt it was pretty oversold in the flier.

Oh and there may have been the slight issue in determining where the event was held. The picture above tells you all about the event, but not where it is. Combing their site, I managed to determine where they were performing on December 31st, which just happened to be 37 blocks from the event we had tickets for and lucky us, having taken public transportation in to the city, we found ourselves in a mini-predicament. All that got sorted out with an inexpensive cab ride, though it did put us pretty far from any means of getting home again. Oh, and we'd been warned that starting at about 9PM it would be about a 2-3 hour wait for a cab if we needed it, so if we wanted to take a cab back to the train, we were probably out of luck. Ooops.

Once seated, Leo took to procuring wine and I met our new friends.

That adorable couple would be Erica and Larry. It's a good thing they are gregarious because I am one of those shy folks who probably wouldn't have said a word if they hadn't been so outgoing. That would have been my loss because they are delightful dinner companions.

Most of the evening's performances were set to tango-like music.

Though, I swear, one piece was done to an instrumental version of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters."

After dinner, there was a tango lesson. I did manage to guilt Leo into a few minutes of dancing with me. But when he lost interest, I began my rounds as the dance floor floozy; dancing with both dance instructors, some old Russian man named Alex, whose wife was getting pointers from one of the instructors, and finally a last dance with Larry, who had taken pity on me and my dance addiction. But I can stop any time. I can.

While watching some more floor shows, we heard a rushed "Four...Three...Two...ONE!" and realized it was now officially 2007 in our time zone.

A big wet smooch and hug and then we bid 2006 a fond farewell.

At this point, we began scheming about our plans to get home. Do we see if we can catch a bus back downtown? Do we even know which direction downtown is? Can we walk to a train station? None of that was necessary, instead, Larry and Erica invited us to join them for wine at their place and we jumped at the chance. They'd been so much fun to talk to AND they'd get us close to public transportation and cabs. What good fortune for us.

They have the most lovely and immaculate place in the Pearl. Did I mention is was also impeccably clean? Dear lord! I can understand having your place in order when you plan to invite folks over, but who the hell has their house that perfect just for normal every day living? Damn them!

We kept them up for another few hours, Erica and I talking fondly of road trips and pets, the guys discussing, who-knows-what.

At nearly 3AM, we decided we'd imposed ourselves long enough and began our voyage back to little Panda and the warmth of our home sweet home. But I don't think that's the last we'll see of them.

It may not be what we expected but it was a great way to start the year.

As I spin, so shall I knit

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I generally do not knit variegated yarns. Firstly, when knit normally, they create a horizontal line that, in garments, may tend to add weight where not desired. Additionally, I tend to prefer solid or small scale patterns lest I be lost in all the noise. But I cannot deny the allure of colors combined beautifully and when spinning, it ads another level of interest to the whole process. So I've been thinking about ways to use my variegated handspun yarns. Chevrons and feather and fan stitches are a great way to add interest and I've used those in the past. Lace can produce a similar effect, but tends to clash with the variegation, leaving both looking a little haphazard. So how about a slip stitch pattern?

Good choices are ones that are meant to combine multiple colors and will work best with yarns that have a lot of very intense color changes. So a monochromatic or subtle variegation is probably not ideal. I thought this would be a great way to work my Autumn yarn.


This is a relatively simple slip stitch pattern meant to be worked in two colors. You work a series of double YOs over on one row, then slip those YOs for 4 rows, working the other stitches in stockinette. Then you fan out and work those YOs, over the course of 3 more rows, to produce a leaf like motif. The idea is that you'll probably be working a different color in the yarn than that used when you first created your YOs.

This breaks up the very horizontal effect of the variegation and introduces some interesting vertical lines from the slipped stitches.

Here's a close up for you as well. And for those of you who think I'm a consistent and skilled spinner, you'll note all the thick and thin/over and underspun sections as well

I think this is the first time I've ever wished my yarn had even more variegation. The whole piece will need some good blocking, but I think you get a good idea of the effect.

The goal is to work this up into a little hat, and maybe a pair of gloves or mittens. It'll be a nice reminder of the colors of autumn through the long winter months.

Purple and Green make...

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I have finally finished all my unbloggable work except for the editing portion which will probably be ongoing for a month or more. That means I can now do stuff just for me! Yay. Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff I was doing, but it's a relief to have the work done.

The first thing on my plate was to do something with that yummy sage green silk/merino blend I've been spinning.

I only had a small amount left, just enough to half fill a bobbin, so I decided, instead of doing another navajo ply, that I would make a funky tweedy yarn with something else from my stash. But what? I have some beautiful green fiber from my parents, but I have enough of that to make a garment and don't want to disperse too much of it amongst other projects. Plus, green and green is not so exciting a combo. It occurred to me that I have a nice quantity of purple merino/silk that my brother gave me last year. Basic color theory would tell you that purple and green are not generally a combo that would blend well, but I wasn't going to be deterred by none of them thar theories. So I cranked out a half bobbin of beautiful purple roving into some very fine gauge singles to be plied with the green.

In total, I spun up about 1.6 ounces of each fiber.

I plied them together and noticed that the bobbin, when being filled (i.e., spinning really fast) was actually a navy shade. Who would of thought?

Close up, there's no navy at all, but the overall effect is sort of a deep muted shade of bluish something.

It's a little hard to put your finger on it.

I love all the various colors that shine through. The green had a lot of red, yellow and bits of blue in it, so that areas of the yarn show no green at all, but instead, soft shades of pink or a shocking flash of blue.

I'm not sure I'd suggest this color combo, but I think there's a place for it in my stash.

Specs

  1. Ounces: 3.6 ounces
  2. WPI: 20 (give or take)
  3. Weight: Lace/Sock
  4. Yards: 380

It's fairly consistent though, while getting used to the WooLee Winder, I did manage to get a few underspun bits in the green singles. even so, the yarn should knit up pretty evenly.

Best looking beach bunnies

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Both Leo and I have a 4 day weekend so we decided we would take the little poopers to the beach, come hell and especially come high water. She really digs that. We bundled up on the first relatively dry day, and packed into the car.

Cannon Beach has really been our beach of choice if only because it's the closest one for us to go to. So a lot of these pictures will give the regular reader of this blog, a vague sense of déjà vu all over again once more...again.

It was a brisk day with a light breeze and nary a drop of rain. Perfect weather for a game of doggy tennis.*

All the fun was set against a gorgeous foggy backdrop.

But Panda is a bright girl and she knows a dog cannot live on tennis alone.

Bring on the SQUIRREL!

I got it in my head that we really needed a "family" photo for once, so I propped up the camera and set the timer.

Attempt number two was foiled by a bad case of "shake the squirrel."

Maybe today wasn't the day for a family photo.

Back in the car, just out of the beach parking, we saw a field of bunnies. I all but leaped from the moving vehicle and ordered Leo and Panda to find a place to park for a moment.

The bunnies, they are very cute. I crouched down and tried to get a good photo, when suddenly, one began bounding full speed ahead at me.

Being the entirely sane and not-at-all-girly person that I am, my initial reaction was "OH GOD! I'm about to be attacked by a charging WILD ANIMAL!" I stepped back. And then reality tapped me gently on the shoulder and mentioned that it was a bunny rabbit, nearly domesticated, and probably unlikely to prevail in hand to hand combat.

Having regained my momentary lack of composure, I was able to get some rather fetching, if I do say so myself, photos of the little chap.

Ahhh, all weekends should be 4-days long and full of such joy. Here's hoping all of you are having just as much, or more fun.

*Doggy tennis involves two people standing relatively far apart and each calling said doggy, in turn, so that she must run back and forth until she tires her cute little butt out a little.

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