Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday's Toot - I didn't expect much and I got...

This past weekend I participated in the Shepherd's Harvest Wool and Sheep Festival's Alpaca Fleece Show sponsored by Alpacas of MN DBA: Upper Midwest Alpacas. I went into the show with little expectation of winning anything since it was my first fleece show and I am relatively new to raising alpacas. I didn't have any idea of how to prepare my fleeces for show. I called a couple fellow members of UMA and got a little bit of advice. I even contacted my online friend on Twitter, @AlpacaFarmGirl for advice. She gave me a link to a website showing how to skirt a fleece to go to a mill. Of course, without a hands on demonstration, it is easy to miss things and advice isn't always as thorough as we would like it to be. I did the best I could and entered the fleeces anyway. On Sunday I picked up my fleeces from the show and was pleasantly surprised to receive a ribbon on each one! The best part, I designed the logo that was on the ribbons and now I can proudly desplay the ribbons and I get to admire my handiwork too :) Toot Toot

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fiber Friday - Handmade Felted Journals

Last fall I appeared on the morning television show Showcase Minnesota to help promote the fifth annual Alpaca Farm Tour hosted by Alpacas of Minnesota. On this show my handmade felted alpaca journals appeared briefly but were not left unnoticed. I have received requests for the instructions on how to make these handmade felted journals. I ment to get this tutorial put together sooner but real life got in the way. It took a simple request from my online twitter friend @AlpacaFarmGirl to get my behind in gear and get pictures taken and the tutorial compiled. Click here to download this FREE tutorial to start creating your handmade felted journals today! I hope you enjoy my Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival Entry!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I've been bad...

at blogging that is. Just terrible. I've been micro blogging on twitter so you know I am around. I haven't been busier than usual so that isn't my excuse for not blogging here. I have things to do, of course, but busier days have found me blogging (here). I even joined a 31 day blogging challenge and still I am not blogging. I've been creating things so it isn't for lack of things to share :). Let's face it, I've just been bad to my blog. Then, yesterday I get this email from my friend Brenda. She gave my blog this neat little award:

The PROXIMITY Award is defined as follows:
“This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!”

This award has given me good reason to write! I thought about myself and the nature of what I tend to write on my blog and realized, Brenda is right on. I love to help out. I am an improver. I see a lot of that in Brenda too :)

With all of this in mind, I want to share some blogs with you that I think deserve this award too.

1. Helen at My Heart Exposed. Helen is deserving of this award because she shares freely of her creative designs and owns and operates a successful loom knitting group on yahoo dedicating to helping out fellow loom knitters all over the world!

2. Maria at Loom Knitting and Something Else. Maria is my friend from Mexico. She is a kind and gentle spirit. She is always ready to give a shoulder to cry on. She freely gives out compliments and lifts artists and crafters up all over the world as a Moderator on the DAlooms yahoo group!

3. Dusty from Dusty's Doings is my third nominee. Dusty is the co-ower of the yahoo group Loom Knitting Newbie Beginnings. Dusty has been very busy caring for her 14 yr old grandson Tyler who is Autistic, but she still has had time to offer a shoulder during my own personal crises and she organized and executed a huge Chemo Cap drive for Bev at Bev's Country Cottage.

Please check out these wonderful bloggers and make friends with them. They will offer friendship and lots of help if and when you need it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Raining cats and dogs...and ducks and geese and every other kind of animal you can think of...

And my 3 year old wanted to go outside. I told her I didn't want to go outside because it was soaking wet out. A few minutes later I told her I was getting in the shower and she said, "Well, it is soaking wet in the shower too!" LOL, LOL, LOL!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My new Etsy name is...

Since I've gotten some emails lately about my Etsy name, I think I better post what name I picked! I don't want to keep you wondering and voting...

I added my new banner to my Etsy shop and that is about it! I looked at my banner so long I am not sure it reads the way I want it to. What do you think it says?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Will you help me pick a name?

I am setting up an Etsy shop. My shop will have mostly alpaca yarn, roving, and raw alpaca fiber. I plan to add dyed alpaca fibers and drop spindles eventually. I want my name to be creative and rememberable but don't want to limit it to just alpaca. I want it to feel like my brand name. For many years I used the name "Creative KJ" because my nickname in highschool and college was KJ. Someone added "Creative" to my nickname because they thought I was always so creative. A few years ago I changed it to "Cre8tivkj". My blog name uses it. My pattern's blog uses it. It is my Ravelry ID, my Yahoo ID and now my Twitter ID. Now I am wondering, have I successfully branded this as my name online?

Should I stick with my online spelling of the word creative? Keep it spelled correctly? Change it only a little bit? Forget about the word altogether? Which name do you think I should use as my Etsy store name?

1. Cre8tiveSpin
2. CreativeSpin
3. CreativSpin
4. Cre8tivSpin
5. Spin4Fun
6. Fiber4Spinning
7. Spinning4Fun
8. FiberDreams
9. SpinningFiberDreams
10. Luv2Spin

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday - drowning in socks!

We have 8 people in our family. That is 16 feet. That means we go through 112 socks a week! Folding socks in my house is a nightmare!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Fill Ins


1. Please don't tell me it is suppose to get really cold here again next week.

2. Can you wake me in the morning?

3. The color of my son's eyes makes me want to kiss him!

4. I have a craving for real breakfast food. I've been following the Morning Banana diet as a test for 3 days now. Sick of bananas.

5. If my life had a pause button, I'd pause it when I get to Hawaii.

6. Eyes are the window to the soul, right?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some rest since I've been coughing up my lungs for several nights in a row now, tomorrow my plans include giving a marketing presentation and Sunday, I want to start packing for Hawaii!

More Fill Ins here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A dead giveaway: Yes, I am a fiber fiend!

In answer to Lime & Violet's question of the week: What's within 6 feet of your workstation that gives away your fiber passion?


Note: I just cleaned this desk off yesterday. It was overflowing with UFOs, FOs, knitting needles, crochet hooks, looms, etc. and I couldn't find anything anymore!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Travel Anxiety

We were running late as usual. We got to the airport and we saw our plane on the runway ready for boarding. First we had to line up and pick out a barf bag and an oxygen mask and various other emergency paraphernalia just in case. I was thinking to myself, "Man, why can't they just have this all on the plane?" We had to try and carry this along with our carry on luggage. We got up to the gate and were asked for our boarding passes. I looked at my husband and we both had a look of horror on our faces -- we forgot to get our tickets/boarding passes! Back at the ticket counter I realized with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had also forgotten my luggage and all I had with me was my carry on! In my carry on I only had my computer, my purse, a hat, and my knitting! I was standing there, watching everyone else board a plane I was suppose to be on and suddenly I felt someone shaking me on my shoulder. I awoke to my three year old whispering in my face that she wanted to sleep with me. Arrrrrrrrrgh! It was just a dream! I am leaving in 10 days and the travel anxiety has started!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Solution to Crossword Puzzle and 5 Pattern Package Winner!

I stumped you yesterday with my crossword puzzle, eh? Well, to be honest with you, I forgot to write down my answers so I had to really think about the clues too :D

The solution to yesterday's crossword puzzle is:
2. Used to indicate points of shaping or rows completed.
7. A visual of the pattern.
9. Holds a group of stitches to the front or back.
11. Smooth on the front of the fabric.
13. K2tog for one.

1. A way to join sections horizontally.
3. A seaming technique.
4. Adding a stitch to the knitting.
5. Opposite of knit.
6. Used to measure the amount of stitches and rows to an inch.
8. The edge or border of the knitted piece.
10. Used in lace knitting for one.
12. Has a pebbly surface that is identical on both sides.

So, how did you do?

And the winner of the blog scavenger hunt? I put the number of correct guesses into the radom number generator over at Random.org and the winner is:

Linda Jones! Congratulations Linda! Lucky you! You are the winner of a 5 Loom Knitting Pattern Package! Drop me a note to claim your prize!

Thank you everyone for stopping by this week and playing my silly games! It was fun seeing everyone and I hope you had a great time!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blog Party Day 5 - Knitting Crossword Puzzle and Winners Announced!

Time to get out the cake and icecream! Today is officially my blogiversary!

First things first, I put the numbers into the Radom Number Generator at Random.org and the winner of the Loom Knit Toe Sock pattern from Tuesday's Simple Charting Game is.....

Little 'Ol Liz

CONGRATULATIONS Liz! Thanks for playing! Drop my a note and claim your prize!

There were 25 guesses for Wednesday's Picture Puzzle but only 11 people got it right. I have since realized that if you have a pop up blocker on your computer, you may not have gotten the the solution to the puzzle pop up. The numbers have been put into the Radom Number Generator and the winner is, drum roll please....

Pam! CONGRATULATIONS Pam! You get to pick from either my Loom Knit Toe Sock Pattern or my Family of Loom Knit Gloves pattern! Let me know which pattern you choose!

Stay tuned til tomorrow, Saturday, January 17, 2009 for the third and final prize announcement! The lucky winner will win a 5 pattern package of my loom knitting patterns! The game is still on so keep playing!

Before you go for today, here is a Knitting Crossword Puzzle for your enjoyment! Have fun, and thanks for stopping by!

2. Used to indicate points of shaping or rows completed.
7. A visual of the pattern.
9. Holds a group of stitches to the front or back.
11. Smooth on the front of the fabric.
13. K2tog for one.

1. A way to join sections horizontally.
3. A seaming technique.
4. Adding a stitch to the knitting.
5. Opposite of knit.
6. Used to measure the amount of stitches and rows to an inch.
8. The edge or border of the knitted piece.
10. Used in lace knitting for one.
12. Has a pebbly surface that is identical on both sides.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blog Party Day 4 - Blog Scavenger Hunt

We are gearing up for the big party day! Friday, January 16, 2009 marks my two year Blog Anniversary! If I mentioned earlier it was my one year anniversary, I must have had too much virtual bubbly because I realized my blog is two years old tomorrow!

The picture puzzle I posted yesterday proved to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. I was surprised there were not very many correct guesses. I circled the area in the puzzle that, if not put together correctly, would not solve the puzzle and you would not get the secret pop up message:

When the picture puzzle was correctly put together, the message that popped up was: "loom knitting is fun and easy".

I had a lot of people ask me to post the solution for the Simple Charting Game also. Sorry for not doing that! Everyone that posted or sent me their guesses got it right! The hidden message in the chart was "Let's Party!"

Today's game will last all of today and throughout the day tomorrow. I will not post the "guesses" until Saturday morning. The prize for the correct guess will be radomly chosen and announced on Saturday. Don't worry about posting your guess since your answer will not show up on my blog until after the game is over. The lucky winner will receive a copy of each of these patterns:

Perfect Fit Toddler Mitts
Bunnies in Love Dishcloths
Family of Loom Knit Gloves
Loom Knit Toe Socks
Playful Dragonflies Loom Knit Dishcloth

Find these pictures hidden in posts from my blog archives (January 09, March 08, May 08, and September 08):

I don't expect you to read the posts, just look for the pictures, write the title of the post down and comment in THIS post what your guesses are or drop me a message. Good luck and have fun!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blog Party Day 3 - Picture Puzzle


The party is in full swing! I am having a wonderful time and I am really enjoying seeing all of my friends stopping by to wish me a happy blogiversary! I hope I didn't tax your brains too much with yesterday's game :) I had a lot of fun putting it together. The game is now officially closed. Not to worry, I have a few more games up my sleeve and more chances to win!

In this post from last year, I wrote about my adventure in meeting Isela, the author of Loom Knitting Primer. I was so excited to learn she was going to be in my area for the Knit Out and Crochet 2008 event at the Mall of America in MN. I was even more excited when I found out I was able to go! Even though I had a tough time with bringing my children along and I didn't get a Keepsake Loom, I was still very honored to meet her and bring home my copy of Loom Knitting Primer with her autograph!

Today's Picture Puzzle contains another secret message. Once again, to keep things fair throughout the game, I will not post any comments until tomorrow morning. I will place a CLOSED banner above the game when it is officially over.

Successful guesses of the secret message will be entered into a drawing for a copy of my Family of Loom Knit Gloves or a copy of my Loom Knit Toe Socks pattern. The winner gets to pick! I will draw a name and announce the winner on Friday, January 16, 2009.

To begin playing, click here! Place a comment in this post or tap me on the shoulder here at the party and let me know what your guess is. Good luck and have fun!

ETA: The message pops up when the puzzle is complete!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blog Party Day 2 - Simple Charting Game


The guest are slowly arriving. The h'ordeurves are going around. Grab a drink at the open bar and settle down on the couch or love seat and try your hand at this Simple Charting game I've created just for my loom knitting friends! To sweeten the deal, I am inviting you to post a comment here when you are finished letting me know what it is a picture of and you will be entered into the drawing for a copy of my Loom Knit Toe Sock pattern! If you don't have the ability to post a comment, track me down here at the party and whisper your answer in my ear.

To make the game fair for all, I will not approve any of the guesses until tomorrow morning when this game is officially over! I'll place a CLOSED above the game. The winner will be announced on Friday, my official Blogiversary!

Click here to download the file. The latest version of Adobe Reader must be installed to view this file.

Edited to add: To play the game, download the directions and print the file out. Sit down and place an "x" in the spots on the chart where the written directions say to purl. It helps to count the blank spots on the chart that equal the knit stitches. When you figured out the picture, drop a comment in this post with your answer! Good luck!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blog Party Day 1 - A Loom Knitting Word Search

In celebration of my upcoming bloggy anniversary, I have created some fun and games for my loom knitting and fibery friends! Today's game is a Loom Knitting Word Search! Have fun!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Fill-In since I have a bad pain in my neck!

1. It's January; time to get out the alpaca socks, a deep freeze is headed our way and we are going to have high temps below zero next week.

2. Sleep is what I crave most right now (I coughed all night and couldn't sleep).

3. Cork and wine go together like yarn and a loom (hee, hee).

4. Rest is so nourishing.

5. Let us dare to make changes to the new CPSIA law taking affect February 10, 2009.

6. Welcome to my home.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to bed early (hopefully I won't cough up my lungs and can rest), tomorrow my plans include celebrating a belated Christmas with my family and Sunday, I want to have a belated Christmas brunch!

More Fill-Ins here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What I've Done MeMe

I snagged this from Denise's blog.

Copy, paste, and bold what you have done!

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Gone rollerskating

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb and a baby alpaca too :D

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Acted in a play or performed on stage

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business more than one :D

58. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies, no, but I've eaten a lot of them :D

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar, unfortunately, yes, YUCK!

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible once, would like to do so again!

86. Visited the White House

87. Won money

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Had to put someone you love in Hospice Care

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Loom knitting "knit" stitch definition - let's clear some things up!

Let me begin by saying I am by no means an expert. I am merely sharing knowledge I've picked up over the past few years. I've technically known how to needle knit for over 30 years -- I learned when I was 8 years old or so. I did not, however, devoted too much time to needle knitting since there were many other crafty sort of things I was more interested in. Loom knitting piqued my interest almost 3 years ago and then I became a lot more interested in needle knitting as a result. I starting truly studying needle knitting and playing around with it so I could convert it over to the loom for my own personal use and to open myself up to more design ideas on the loom.

Over the past several years I have seen the subject come up over and over again on my loom knitting forums about the difference between the regular knit stitch, the e-wrap knit stitch, the flat knit stitch, and the reverse purl. To a new loom knitter, this causes a great deal of confusion! I know, I've been there! When a new loom knitter thinks they have things all figured out they come across a pattern that says they need to use the "flat stitch" and it then it says to knit in stockinette stitch (more on that later) and they get all confused because all along they thought they were doing stockinette stitch when they were e-wrapping and knitting off for row after row after row straight! Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

Just as with needle knitting, there are several ways to make a "knit" stitch in loom knitting. Here they are with a little explanation:

Flat Knit Stitch = lay the working yarn ABOVE the loop on the peg and with the loom tool take the loop and bring it up and over the working yarn creating a new loop (this can be a very tight stitch). Here is a video demonstrating the flat knit stitch on the loom.

U-wrap Knit Stitch = lay working yarn ABOVE the loop on the peg and
slightly wrap this working yarn around the peg and towards the inside of the loom. Take the loom tool and bring the loop up and over the working yarn (this is a way to make the flat knit stitch less tight). Here is a video demonstration of this version of the "knit" stitch.

Regular Knit stitch or what some refer to as the Reverse Purl stitch= lay the working yarn over the loop on the peg and with the loom tool, come from under the loop and snag the working yarn to create a new loop, take the old loop off of the peg and replace with the new loop (this stitch resembles the knit stitch created from standard needle knitting the most). You can watch a video of the regular knit stitch here.

E-wrap or what you may see referred to as the Twisted Knit Stitch =e-wrap all the pegs and then e-wrap each peg again. With the loom tool bring the bottom loop up and over the top loop. Video demonstration here.

All of the above "knit" stitches are used in combination with the "purl" stitch to create all kinds of lovely fabrics out of yarn!

The Purl stitch = lay the working yarn BENEATH the loop on the peg
and with your loom tool come from above the loop and snag the working yarn creating a new loop, remove the old loop and replace with the new loop. Isela demonstrates this stitch here.

When a pattern says to knit in stockinette stitch for "x" amount of inches you can use ANY of the above mentioned "knit" stitches (i.e. flat knit, regular knit/reverse purl, e-wrap/twisted knit stitch). You will want to use whichever one gets you to gauge on the pattern. The stockinette stitch is a series of knit stitches that produce a smooth fabric which tends to curl since there are not any counter balance stitches used.

To create a stitch pattern that is referred to as the "garter stitch" on the loom you will knit one row in all "knit" stitches and one row of all "purl" stitches. A garter stitch pattern is a bumpy fabric and is also a fabric that will lay flat since it is counter balanced from the knits and purls.

To do a one by one Rib stitch you will do the following: *Knit one stitch, purl one stitch, repeat from * to end of row or round. On the next row or round do the same. If you want to do a two by two rib you would knit 2, purl 2.