My current work in progress:

Roscalie Cardigan by Alice Starmore, knit from Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift  on a US 3 needle

Archives for October 2009


I am very fortunate in that I get many lovely craft books sent to me to review. I love looking through them and telling you about them, and often will pass them on to you.

But very rarely (if ever) do I get a book that makes me go “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” as soon as I clap eyes on it. But squee I did when I pulled this baby out of its mailing envelope last week:


This is The Polymer Clay Cookbook: Tiny Food Jewelry to Whip Up and Wear by Jessica and Susan Partain. Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, its release date is today, October 20.

And oh my gosh and golly. My first instinct was to take photos of every freaking page to show you. But that would be wrong.

The authors, Jessica and Susan, are sisters. In the introduction they explain that they’ve been playing with polymer clay since childhood. They talk about their relationship with food — how it evokes memories and emotions, and ties to places and times of our lives. So what could be better than to create a “Cookbook” of miniature polymer clay jewelry in the shape of favorite foods?

They start with a section of great information about polymer clay and how to work with it.


This section is extremely comprehensive and covers types of polymer clay, tools that you need, and includes a lot of great information about working and baking the clay and adding color and glazes to your masterpieces. Included in this section is a recipe for a sugar scrub that will remove excess clay from your hands.

Next is a chapter called “Jewelry-Making 101: Tools and Techniques.”


This covers supplies, tools and techniques that you need to turn your tiny clay masterpieces into charms, earrings, rings, bracelets, etc. There’s even a great section on bead stringing — beads can really enhance your mini-food jewelry.

Now we get to the really fun stuff: the recipes for tiny foods.

These are divided into five chapters: Fresh Fruit, Morning Favorites, Savory Entrees, Sweet-Tooth Delights and Other Treats, and Holiday Goodies. The photos here had me squeeing all over again.

Check out this banana bracelet.


And who the heck doesn’t want a bacon and eggs ring? Seriously.


Or taco earrings?


Or would you prefer soft pretzel earrings?


And of course, the ultimate Thanksgiving accessory: a pumpkin pie necklace!


My only question — is that whipped cream or Cool Whip on those pie slices? 😉

An added bonus: a recipe or two for a real (i.e. edible) treat is included in each of these sections. A very nice touch!

Believe it or not, I’m going to give my review copy away to one of you. You may ask why, since I’m squeeing all over the place about this book. The answer is simple: if I were to keep this book I would very quickly find myself surrounded by pounds of polymer clay and jewelry findings and my poor knitting would languish unloved for an extended period of time. Yes, I have a compulsive personality.

Ah yes, I remember The Unfortunate Incident of the Bead Stringing Class back around 1989. I took one innocent class in bead stringing and very quickly found myself taking more classes, and more classes, surrounded by piles and piles of jewelry supplies. I gave away all my jewelry supplies a few years ago and I don’t need to become obsessed once again, thank you very much.


So leave a comment to this post if you’d like to have this book, but do so at your own peril. It is addictive!

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

The Random Number Generator will select a winner next Monday, October 26, noon-ish.

Lucy Sez:


“Are there salmon earrings in that book?”

P.S. — yesterdays pile o’ packages? Mostly boring non-yarn household items. Sorry to disappoint.

P.P.S. — Lucy loves the cleaning lady. She always enjoys the days that Miss Jackie comes to play with her clean the house. The only part she does not like is the vacuum cleaner, and Jackie thoughtfully does that last.

I Fought the Stash and the Stash Won

It was right thoughty of some of you to offer to come and help me with me stash. 😉

I did make some good organizational in-roads into the stash yesterday, but got sidetracked by switching my closets from summer to winter. Still, I can see the bed in the stash room, so that’s a start.

But all this industrious organization means that little knitting got done. However, I’m about done with my first skein of Mini Maiden on the Two-Thirds Shawl.


I’ve got two skeins and each skein is about 550 yards. So at this point I’m more than halfway done with the shawl because I don’t anticipate using the entire second skein.  The shawl is measuring about 15″ (unblocked) down from the center back at this point. I don’t plan on blocking it too aggressively, and I don’t think I want it more than 22 — 24″ long. So I am poised for last minute adjustments to my pattern.

I did actually knit a bit on my Bamboo sock.


It is knit from Wollmeise 100% merino superwash, which has 575 yards per skein, so I can pretty much knit this baby with as long a leg as I want. I think I’ll keep going for at least a couple more inches.

I may finish this sock before I leave for Oklahoma on Thursday, in which case I’ll cast on the second sock and take just that one along for travel knitting.

The suspense is killing me.

When I got home from work today and picked up my packages from the condo office, this is what they handed me:


It was just one of those days . . .

Meanwhile, Lucy is showing off her fluffy little “cataloons:”


You can tell by the vacuum cleaner tracks in the carpet that my cleaning lady was here today. I love her.

Friends of Colombian Orphans Auction

Friends of Colombian Orphans, Inc., is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children in Colombian orphanages. Established in 2007 by parents who adopted Colombian children, the Friends focus on orphanages in need that are open to outside aid. They organize and supervise improvement projects using donated funds. 100% of donations go toward projects.

It was founded after seeing the conditions the girls live in while they’re in orphanages there.  They started by cleaning up the buildings, fixing windows and the like, but they’ve moved on to vocational training.  Specifically machine knitting as opposed to broom making, which is what they were being taught before.

The organization has established an online auction of mostly hand-made goods in order to do some more fund-raising. The auction is live now, and the items are on eBay, here. There are a lot of lovely handmade items, as well as some knitting kits. This would be a great opportunity to do some holiday shopping while supporting a great cause. I believe the auctions went live yesterday, and are all 10-day auctions, so you have time to browse through the offerings there. I’ve bid on a couple of the items there and I hope you will consider doing so as well.

Book Giveaway!

The Random Number Generator has spoken! The winner of Haiku Knits: 25 Serenely Beautiful Patterns Inspired by Japanese Design by Tanya Alpert is: Angel!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment!


Today I am venturing into the stash room to try to do a bit of much-needed organizing. If you don’t hear from me after, say, three days, send help, okay?

Lucy sez:


“It’s chilly in here and I don’t think Momma’s gonna turn the heat on anytime soon!”

It’s Wimplicious!

Hearty thanks to Gail for coining that phrase in the comments yesterday.

Yesterday evening I sucked it up and finished the wimple I was working on, while watching The Diary of a Chambermaid on television. The film is in French and has English subtitles, but as I was doing mindless stockinette, and I do know some French, I could happily knit and watch at the same time.


I did 4 rows of garter stitch at the edge before binding off, using a Russian bind-off.

In the interests of full disclosure, the wimple is clipped together under the neck of my disembodied head, because it is smaller than an average sized human head. The wimple fits nicely on my head sans binder clip.

I made this wimple using approximately 350 yards of Alchemy Juniper sock yarn and a US size 7 (4.5mm) needle. I started by knitting a lace edging and joined it to make a tube, then picked up stitches along the top edge, and knit a lace pattern up from there, decreasing a bit as I knit. Then I increased a bit after the neck and just knit straight after that.


The pattern will be available at some point. And for now it is called “It’s Wimplicious!”

So now I am concentrating on my Two-Thirds Shawl, being knit from Handmaiden Mini Maiden in the “periwinkle” colorway.


At this point I have approximately 350 stitches in each row so a row takes a whole freaking lot of time to complete. But it is fun to knit, and the pattern is so nicely geometric that not only do I not need stitchmarkers to separate the repeats, but I need only glance at the chart at the beginning of a pattern row (wrong side rows are just purled across) to remember it for the row. It’s close to being mindless knitting, so it came on the train with me today.

And I may need to find another foreign film with subtitles to watch tonight while knitting. 😉

Lucy sez:


“I’m just hanging with my pink mouse. Whatcha doin’?”

Parade of WIPs

I currently have an almost-unheard-of-for-me three knitting projects in progress. Let’s review, shall we?


This is my traveling sock which is growing very slowly. (And I don’t seem able to take a non-blurry photo of it.) I started it on my trip to Virginia Beach last month and then stopped working on it when I got back home. It did come with me to Florida last weekend and I managed a few inches of knitting in-between doing classes, etc. And I haven’t touched it since I got back. But it will accompany me to Oklahoma City next weekend (October 22 – 25) so I may actually finish it. Then I need to cast on for the second sock.

Psst! — info on my visit to Oklahoma City is here.

Next up, is the lace cowl/wimple:


This is my current commuter knitting and as you can see, it is almost done. I’m in the boring part of it, so I’m afraid it grows slowly as I am sometimes tempted to sleep on the train instead of knitting mindless stockinette in the round. But I should be able to suck it up and finish it in the next day or so.

And this is my at-home project:


My Two-Thirds Shawl. It stayed home last weekend so I’ve not made a whole lot of progress. I picked it up again yesterday and did some work on it, but I’m at the point where the rows are getting mighty long, so it doesn’t look like too much progress each day.

Yarn and needles used for each project are listed in the “Work in Progress” box at the top of the page. 🙂

Lucy sez:


“May I have some more of that totally awesome fresh catnip, please?”