Monday, March 31, 2014

Yarn Love - Nashua Knits

Mom and I (Pam and Kirsten!) like to trade yarn. In the last few years it's been mostly Mom sending me yarn, because her stash is a lot bigger than mine, and I haven't really been able to purchase new yarn! A while back when I was expressing my desire to knit Bobcat themed items, Mom sent over some blue and yellow yarn for me to play with. The Nashua Creative Focus Chunky yarn she sent was a little more purple than blue, so the yarn hung out in my closet for a while (one to two years...a relatively short shelf life around here!) A few months back when I was in the haze of infinity scarf knitting I came across the Nashua again, and holding the yellow up against some gray Knitpicks yarn, I had a spurt of inspiration. The poor purple/blue is still languishing upstairs, waiting for its turn in the spotlight, but the yellow made a beautiful moebius!

The yarn itself knit up beautifully, it is a chunky yarn, but with my knitpicks rainbow needles I never had any issues catching or splitting it on the needle tips. The fabric is lush, soft, fluffy, and warm! (Knit up on size 15 needles I believe, in a checkerboard pattern.) This yarn does have one downfall - it shed a bit while I was knitting. The composition is 75% wool and 25% alpaca, and I fear the alpaca wasn't as fine as I am accustomed to. But overall, this was a fun yarn to work with. If you click the link on the picture (sorry it's so small!) you can see the fuzzy quality of the yarn.

Nashua Handknits Yarn Creative Focus Chunky Lavender Heather 0712
Lavender Heather
I'm honestly not sure where Mom got the yarn, but it is relatively easy to find online. Here are a few colorways on Royal Yarns website.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Tea and Honey

I love tea and honey, and Etsy is a great place to find both!

A Honey Tasting  --  One sampler of  6 Varieties of Honey's from the Hive Ohio Proud Christmas Favorite
Honey Sampler from Kline Honey Bee Farm
Mulled Wine Fruit Blend Herbal Tea | ArtfulTea Luxury Loose Leaf Blend | Festive Winter Drink | Caffeine Free
 Fruit Tea from Artful Tea

Swing through next weekend to see what else we've found!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I'm trying to sell some extra pepper plants on Craigslist, and have had no bites so far. It's no wonder when we've had snow the last three days! I'm sick of saying I'm sick of snow (and sick of waiting to put up my greenhouse!!!) so... here are some kitty pictures. They are Norman phone pictures :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yarn Storage

A while back Pam and Kirsten both discussed their methods of yarn organization. Well, Kirsten's closet of yarn has evolved slightly and now there is photographic evidence!

My yarn storage still needs some help, and I hope to someday completely reorganize again, but for now it looks alright, and it's relatively easy to find the yarn I am looking for!

Yarn Stored in a Dresser in a Closet
Yarn Hanging from Recycled Shower Hooks
Close Up of Yarn Hanging from Recycled Shower Hooks
Do you get the spring cleaning bug? How do you manage your need to reorganize?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Spinning Tools

People are so innovative! Here are some cool spinning accessories from Etsy :)

Knit Spinner ( African Coralwood)
Yarn Spinner from Craftiness
Spinners Control Card/ WPI tool - Clear and Various Colored Acrylic
Control Card from Hip Strings

Next week we'll have even more for you to gaze longingly at!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Double the Pleasure, Double the Cats!

Some kitties love a companion. These cats make it look good for a camera :) Except of course Gizmo and Bentley, who actually do like each other!
Gizmo and Bentley

Lela and Norman

Spike and Ginger

Spike and Bruce the Dog!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Be Inspired to Knit

Inspiration for knitting can come from just about anywhere - but Pam is here to share a story of her most recent inspiration!

We were watching a TV show one night and I couldn't keep my eyes off a hat that one of the characters was wearing. It was an Aran ear flap hat! I thought to myself, "I know I have a pattern for something like that!" So I spent some time digging through my binders of patterns and found one. I decided to use some of the yarn that Lindsey spun for me at Kurth Valley Spinning Mills, it was some yarn from my white sheep. It's a great yarn and has some character to it. I thought this should be easy, it starts with casting on just 28 stitches! The problem was that every other row had cables. It had a chart but the chart was very hard to read so I had to use the written instructions. I spent many nights in my recliner working on one or two rows! Last week I thought maybe I should have written a chart that was easier to follow but I only had about 30 more rows to knit! Here it is mid construction. I decided not to add earflaps in the end!


I also find myself paying more attention to what characters are wearing than what they are doing in some TV shows. I also tend to find myself spaced out on campus, intently staring at someone who may be wearing a piece of knitting that I am recreating in my mind. Sometimes I worry that those other students will notice and think I'm a creep, but I think that is just the peril of being a Noticing Nelly Knitter!

Novice Knitters may need an extra push to be inspired to knit, but once you start knitting, it is difficult to stop. You may see someone in the grocery store, at work, or even in the car next to you on the interstate, and think - I wonder if I can knit that? For Novice knitters - don't be intimidated! If you see something cool, file it away, and some day you may just have acquired the skills to make it yourself! 

Or you could be like Matt, who wanted to do intricate designs his second project out of the gate! :) (Matt, while being a very skilled knitter and quick to learn, has since put aside the art. He says if he has to pick between the hobbies that will eventually give him carpal tunnel, he'll stick with video games.) Either way, don't be afraid to try something new. It is only in experimentation that we find our limitations!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Hiding Spots for a Dog and a Cat

We have a kitty who loves to hide, so I always love when I come across little houses for cats and dogs. Today I give you one for each, both in a very mod style...and both super cute!  

Indoor Camper Doghouse
Dog House from jumahl
Modern Cat House / Cat Cave / Cat Bed
Cat House from Modern Mews 

Drop by next week when we share even more Etsy Finds!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March in Montana

Montana weather at this time of year is fickle. Well, really, weather in Montana at any time of year is fickle! The old adage, "if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes" is very applicable, especially here in Bozeman. It also leads to some scary moments in spring when hail storms pop up out of nowhere! But in March, it means you never really know what to expect. 50 degrees and snow melting, or another foot of snow on the ground.

Over the weekend we had weather in the 40's and 50's, but it was overcast and dreary. On Monday we had rain, that sometime in the afternoon turned into heavy snow, and by Tuesday morning there was close to a foot of snow in the driveway. Yesterday was sunny and gorgeous - if you cleared the snow, the sidewalks were clear and dry within a few hours.

We went for a walk on Peet's Hill yesterday afternoon, the sun was setting, the temperature was perfect, the birds were singing, you could just detect the smell of plants and trees growing, and yet we were walking on packed down snow, and in a few spots big piles of unpacked snow. Today I see even more snow melting and dripping from the roof. I just hope the patch of ground that will become the foundation of my greenhouse clears up soon!

Here are a few photos I snapped on Tuesday morning. In the last one you can just make out droplets of water as they fall, this stuff was already melting by 8 am when I took the pictures!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Have a Great Vacation

First, you have to pick a great location. Like Beautiful Bozeman Montana!

Then, plan out your tour of eating (and drinking!). (I don't actually have any pictures of the food we ate, or the coffee and tea we drank over the weekend. In our normal fashion, once the food arrived all thoughts of pictures just floated away. So you'll have to take our word for it, the food was wonderful, displayed beautifully, and allowed for plenty of conversation.) Our tour included Chickpea, Pho Real, Rice, and Sir Scott's Oasis!

Next, you should plan on visiting a few local businesses. If you don't check to make sure they are open first, and end up driving around town with no luck, make sure you take lots of pictures of the scenery!!

You should also head downtown for shopping, and pick up the local flavor by watching the people of Bozeman.

Downtown is also a great place to look at nifty architectural elements.

And last but not least, get out of town and look at the beauty of the valley.


Thanks to Lisa for the photos provided of her recent visit! It was cloudy and wet for most of her visit, but she got some amazing views of this place while she was here!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Gourmet Food

Last time I shared food with you I said that I love looking at the gourmet food, although I'm not sure that I would even like it! Here are a few of those gourmet items I keep eyeing....   
Dark Chocolate Orange Truffles Organic & All Natural (16 count)
Dark Chocolate Orange Truffles from Esther Aguirre
Hibiscus White Chocolates from CrickleWood Chocolate
Vegan Organic Mulled Apple Cider Caramels -- LAST ONES
Apple Cider Caramels from Feed Your Face

Next week we'll have even more Etsy goodies to share, so stop on by!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pepper Seedlings

I've said it before, I am obsessed with having pepper plants this year. I even bought a greenhouse, and a ceramic heater, just so I can keep them warm at night. I planted them ridiculously early, and some still haven't even popped up. But those that have, are doing amazingly well. Here's a shot of all of them:

A Whole Bunch of Pepper Seedlings
And a shot of the Chinese Five Color plant:

Chinese Five Color Pepper Plant
I have a few more plants than I will have room for in the greenhouse, so I'm trying to figure what I should do with them. Give them away, try to sell them, or go Gollum, and keep them precious....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Knitting Cat Toys

With the semester in full swing I don't have time to do any really intensive knitting. Every once in a while, usually once a week or less, when I need a break from school work, I will allow myself an hour, or two, (or in some really bad cases up to three!) during which I sit on the couch watching something on Netflix and knitting. Since I don't give myself that much time I usually end up knitting replacement mice (for those that have sold recently on Etsy). This way I don't have to bother finding yarn, and a pattern, and needles etc. for a new project. I just reach over, grab my list of mice that need to be knit, pull out the yarn from the mice yarn bag, and get started. Since each mouse takes 45 minutes to knit, and a few minutes to stitch together, I can usually get one whole mouse done during an hour long program. Here is the fruit of my labors so far this semester:

When school gets really tough, I find my mind wandering even more. The last week or so I've been thinking about new cat toys. I need to make more ball and string toys, since we're sold out on Etsy. I even bought a new Embellish Knit to do so. But now I think I might use the Embellish Knit for other toys since the thick cotton yarn will eventually break it. So I now have visions of wool i-cords felted into indestructible toys for the kitties. But what is at the end of that i-cord? That part I haven't figured out yet. I do know that I want to make them interactive toys by looping the i-cord to go around a finger:

Most of our toys aren't interactive, and that makes me feel we are doing a disservice to our customers. Mice are fun for the kitties, but not always for the people! So what do you think you would like to have dangling from the end of your kitty's new i-cord toy? A mouse shape? A fish shape? A ball? Or something completely different? Let me know in the comments!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Roped On Cedar

It isn't often that I feature only one shop from Etsy, but when I came across this shop (Roped On Cedar) I knew they needed their own day! They make some of the niftiest stuff ever, and lots of stuff that I want. I'm even rearranging the laundry room in my mind so I have room for the pantry bins!   

Leaning Planters
4 24" gardening large standing planter system for raised bed vegetable garden herb, tomato strawberry gardening planter kit, urban gardening
Standing Planters
Cedar Bin Pantry Storage

Come back next week to see what else we've think you'll like! :)