March 2009 Archives

And for the gentleman


I got Leo's scarf all warped up. I haven't spent as much time weaving as I'd like to, but when I do, it's completely entrancing.

So far, I've been kinda winging it with my weaving projects, but since this is for someone else, I wanted to carefully plan what I did. I had two possible accent colors; red and blue. The blue was fine but both Leo and I liked the red better. So I went through three stages of plotting the pattern, shown below. I did this all in Illustrator. The first shows a very small scale plaid, which would be fine but I have found that stripes that are less than 4 rows long don't look as nice because you have to weave in the ends and they take up as much extra space as the rows themselves. So the second version shows the same plaid but with all the rows doubled. The last version has the plaid slightly modified and offset so the center stripe is the accent color. You can click each of the swatches to embiggen.

As much as I like the plaid, I might make a version for me that's thinner and has just the vertical stripes. I think that'd look pretty nifty, and I'll have plenty of the yarn left over.

The dynamics of working a weaving project is pretty different than knitting. With knitting, if I get a little bored with a project, it can go into a black hole of solitude, never to be seen again (or at least until the yarn or needles are required for something else.) But with weaving, I can't start my next project until I finish the one on the loom, which means that my constant startitis is handily defeated. It's not that weaving isn't fun it's that I have a dozen different ideas I want to execute and I can't do them all at once so I have to do crazy things like prioritize and time manage. Whoda thunkit?

Brown and red plaid scarf

I'm awaiting yarn for a publication piece so in the interim, my knitting time has been spent on some brown lace

Prett brown lacy something

I don't yet know if this will be submitted somewhere or self published so I'm just showing this little teaser for now. Notice the lifeline running through. Lifelines are like car insurance, damn inconvenient when everything is going fine and totally worth it when you actually need it. Ask me how I know.

Also, I think this blog needs some dog


For some reason, they'd much much rather lie on our bed than on their own.



I'm not so much the domestic type, especially in the kitchen, I have a few decent dishes I can pull out in a pinch but mostly I classify my cooking style is "faux-made," whereby I spruce up ready-made dishes. But hey, I can do things to ramen that would rock your world.

Still, there are a few things that are easy enough that even I can make them from scratch (I get a pass on broth and canned tomatoes, right?) and stews are top on that list. I love stew, with its big chunks of yummy goodness and lots of veggies and some sort of starch. (I have a love for carbs that knows no bounds.)

Lately, I've been exploring lentils. I don't much care for beans but I wanted to get more legumes into my life, so, lentils it is. A little reading online and what I discovered (no attempt has been made to determine the veracity of these claims) about lentils is:

  • Don't cook your lentils with salt, they get tough
  • Standard lentils are better for soups than the various color ones because they stay firmer
  • The "best" lentils for soups are the French Green
  • Hard water can make lentils tough
  • You don't have to soak the lentils ahead of time but it's often recommended anyway.
  • Otherwise, you really can't mess them up

So, with that in mind, I created this fairly simple concoction.

Not Quite Vegetarian -- but could be -- Veggie Lentil Soup

I'll make note of how you could make this vegan, were you so inclined.

Ingredients 1 Ingredients 2
a whole lotta stuff

Makes oodles, halve or quarter if you don't plan to freeze some of it.


  • 1 c. - dry standard lentils
  • 1 c. - dry french green lentils
  • 1 - sweet onion
  • 1 - head of garlic
  • 2Tbs - fresh thyme
  • 3lbs - fingerling potatoes (I really like taters, adjust to your taste)
  • 1.5lb - carrots
  • 3 c. - mushrooms
  • 3 oz - pancetta (1 package, give or take) leave out for vegetarian
  • olive oil
  • 2 cans - diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart - chicken broth replace with vegetable broth for vegetarian
  • 2Tbs - tomato sauce (or to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Garnish goodness. Use some or all.

  • olive oil
  • fresh cilantro or parsley
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh grated parmesan omit for vegan

I'm just dyeing to show you this


These aren't the best photos ever taken, but I wanted to record my first ever dyeing experiment. If you can believe it, I started with some handspun cashmere. I know, loco.

But, lest you think I'm completely irrational, part of the reason I went with cashmere is that I knew it would just languish in a big pile of undyed lovely handspun I have sitting around and also, it doesn't felt, so it'd be harder to ruin. So there, method + madness = marnie.

Dyeing Cashmere
1. Undyed Cashmere, 2. Cashmere in Black Cherry Kool-Aid, 3. Cashmere dyed with Kool-Aid, 4. Overdyeing Cashmere, 5. Kool-Aid used for overdyeing, 6. Exhausted dye bath, 7. First go at dyeing, 8. First go at dyeing
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.


  • Fiber: Mongolian Cashmere
  • Yards: 168
  • Source: Chameleon Colorworks
  • Plies: 2 (using the Andean Plying method. Can you say, "hand cramp"?)
  • WPI: 12
  • First Dye: 2 packets of Black Cherry Kool-Aid
  • Second Dye: 1 packet of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and 1 packet of Grape Kool-Aid

I found out the hard way that you need to tie your figure eight even looser than you think you need to. My first dye session didn't quite get around some of the knots and left a few white patches. I knew I was going to overdye the yarn so I figured it'd just add more interest, but it still wasn't my intention, you know? To make sure the second pass dyed properly over those spots, I reskeined the yarn to distribute the light patches, and tied really loose figure eights all around. Way more beuno.

The second go, I used two flavors and, what surprised me is that the yarn drank the grape way faster than it drank the blue raspberry lemonade. The water started out a deep dark, nearly black purple, but was pure cyan about ten minutes after dropping the yarn in. It took almost a full hour for all the cyan to be absorbed. So there you go, cashmere likes grape. Take note.

So dyeing went fine. I'm not sure it's my "thing" but I'm glad I gave it a go. Kool-Aid is a great safe bet for the uninitiated who has some wool lying around. If you want to learn more, yourself, you can check out this knitty article.

Keeping it simple


As much as I love wearing scarves I really don't enjoy knitting them, but throw me in front of a loom and I can't stop myself.

My third scarf is a simple pattern: just a strand each of tencel and cotton in similar colors.

Simple Purple Scarf
1. Simple Purple Scarf, 2. Simple Purple Scarf detail, 3. Simple Purple Scarf, 4. Simple Purple Scarf
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

The colors both catch the light slightly differently giving it just a little bit of depth and texture. And since there's no wool, it's a great all seasons wrap or scarf. I can see keeping this in my beach bag and throwing it over my shoulders once the sun sets.

Project Specs

Simple Purple Scarf and pup

As always, my quality control inspector was never far.



As much as I love my wheel, there's something truly satisfying about spinning yarn on a spindle, and my spindles are quite lovely, don't you think?


I wanted to play around with combining colorways and pulled out some variegated orange and pink fiber as well as some warm vivid red, both merino/silk blends. I thought the solid red would dominate. It's so intense on its own, but the finished yarn really just looks like an intensified version of the variegated fiber.


I'm thinking it'd be pretty knit up into some sort of lace. I've only used about a third of the total quantity, maybe less, so I should be able to get a decent amount of yardage out of my stash.


Wanna watch?


I love watching people spin.

Now, I'm no Abby or Beth or Janel or Jenny. I'm just a novice spinner, so definitely don't take this as a technique post.

But in the interest of doing unto others and blah blah blah, here's me spinning on my 0.9 ounce Golding Spindle.

If you are so inclined and technologically capable, I'd love it if you posted a video of your own spinning style too. Just leave a comment here and let me know if you do so.



WEBS is evil. You think you'll buy yourself a little bit of inexpensive warp and then you realize that if you just buy a wee bit more of this and a little of that, and heck, you could use another shuttle, you'll get that discount, and well, then, you are cleaning out the ol' paypal account. Curses!

So I have a a few projects in mind. First up, a burgundy scarf worked in a strand of cotton warp and a strand of shimmery tencel. The colors are just different enough to give a lovely depth to the fabric.

Burgundy Scarf Warp

Unfortunately, I didn't plan my project well and used up three quarters of my supply of cotton on the warp.

Burgundy Scarf Warp

That wee little bit is all I have left of the cotton, plus some on the shuttle. The white is just there so you can see how much I used. I have oodles of the tencel, so no worries there. It should be an easy enough fix. Just order more, but (*sob*) it's on backorder. I'll just have to nurse what I have, until it arrives.

On an entirely unrelated note, we got hail here, the other day.

Hail Hail

The pups think it's fantastic, and I love listening to it ping off the corrugated roof of the overhang outside my office window.

What a Pitty


I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for pit bulls. It's unfortunate that people have bred and raised some to be violent. There are a lot of sweet ones that just turn me into a pile of goo.

Still, I'm not one to push my luck. We've had an un-neutered male running around the neighborhood doing his best to make himself a nuisance. The "fertilizing' and "law reorganization" efforts are not necessarily endearing, but as someone with a pup who has been known to make a dash for a neighbor's place, on occasion, I certainly wouldn't pass judgment. It was just when he attempted to go for a bit of rump o'neighbor with a baby carriage, that I decided it might be time to call animal control.

A loose dog

The girls were quite displeased when he stopped by our lawn. There was much ado and some language that cannot be repeated in polite company.

Basking in sunlight and hair

It exhausting guarding the house.

Ridiculously Long Scarf


Purple and Gray Plaid Scarf Mosaic
1. Purple and Gray Plaid Scarf, 2. Purple and Gray Plaid Scarf, 3. Purple and Gray Plaid Scarf, 4. Purple and Gray Plaid Scarf
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I couldn't go to bed, last night, until I finished this scarf and I'm glad I did. These photos are pre-washed. It's now drying so I can use it tomorrow for school, if it's cold enough.

One of the nicest thing about the loom is that I can stash bust. This yarn has been languishing for years, waiting for a good project, but I didn't really have enough yardage to do anything interesting with it. Go loom!

Project Specs

  • Loom: Ashford Rigid Heddle
  • Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Inca Alpaca in colors 1182 and 1103
  • Width: 8.5"
  • Length: 87" plus 6" of fringe on each end.
  • Weight: 166 grams / 5.9 ounces

I definitely haven't mastered getting an even selvage, and my warp tension is still a little uneven, but the yarn is very forgiving, so it's not too obvious. Next project will be a scarf for Leo.

And for my less crafty friends out there, here are some silly videos of my girls being awesome, inspired by videos that Mary-Heather and Mai have posted in their respective flickr accounts.

Do try to ignore the trunk junk and wrinkly jammies.

Dulce De Leche


The spring issue of Twist Collective is live and guess who has a little pattern there.

Dulce De Leche pattern
Photo copyright Caroline Bergeron

It's called Dulce De Leche and it's made with 1/2 N 1/2, a wool/milk blend. The piece features flattering body darts and subtle gathering at the neckline placket and sleeve hems. The garment is worked from the bottom up, in the round, with no seams. The set-in sleeves are worked from the top-down, also without seams.

Dulce De Leche pattern Dulce De Leche pattern
Photos copyright Caroline Bergeron

If you are interested in the pattern, you can purchase it here.

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