Monday, July 24, 2006

Yarn Parking....

I'll have to retake photos when there isn't a major thunderstorm passing through...the sky outside is dark and natural light just isn't available. I'd like to have these posted quickly though, since I've had some questions about 'yarn parking'.

I'm knitting a pair of Kilt Hose for my son. I've got 2 socks on 2 circulars, the ball of wool is a natural color, and I'm working it from both ends of the ball. The ball is parked on the Nostie the center pull yarn is attached to one sock, the other yarn that unwinds from the exterior of the ball, is attached to the other sock. When it is time to 'flip' the needles, I simply 'flip' the Nostie...the yarn never tangles.

Here, I have set up 2 balls of yarn, each on its own Nostie. I am currently working a swatch on the one shown here. To work 2 socks from 2 different balls of yarn, park each ball on their own Nostie. The center pull is attached to the knitting work.

Here, I have a commercial yarn 'parked' on a Nostie. (Yes, I sometimes have commercial yarn to work with)
I was swatching with the needles, so I had them detached already from the work, but you can see that the pull center is coming off the working end of the Nostie, going to the needles and the project.

With all of these, when I need to clean up or put any of this away, I simply lift the Nosties and the project and place them all in a project bag. The yarn never tangles or collapses in on itself. The projects are kept neat and simple.

As the Ball Turns...

Continue those diagonal wraps as the Nostepinne turns to let the next wrap rest above the previous one.

Voila! The ball is done. All the yarn is wrapped. There is the 'center pull ball'. However, the 'pullable' side is facing the handle, and I want it to face off the 'end' of the Nostepinne. So, I slip it off the end and turn the ball around, then slide it back onto the point of the Nostepinne.

Here it is, turned around so that the 'pullable' side is facing the end of the Nostie, ready for that side to get on the needles or hook.

Here is the center pull ball, parked, ready to use!

What Do I Do with that Nostepinne?

I thought that people might like to see how I use my tools with yarn.

A Nostepinne is useful for winding a center pull ball, especially when the yarn/thread is thin or the total amount of yarn is not enough to make a 'jumbo' ball. However, even an abundance of yarn can be hand wound, if necessary, and with a Nostepinne, the job is much easier than using no 'core' or center to keep the middle section open for the 'pull center' to freely flow from the yarn ball.

Here I am using my 'mini Nostie' to wind a mini handpainted yarn skein for a mini sock.

Hold the Nostie, working end out.

Hold the end with thumb, this will be the center pull start so do NOT lose this strand. It is important to keep hold on this end. I have lots of slack beyond my thumb, to ensure that this end does not get lost.

Wrap around the end of the Nostie for an inch or two. This is a mini Nostie making a mini ball, so I wound it just about an inch.

To start the crosswise winding, wrap the yarn up to the top right of the straight wraps, bring the yarn around the Nostie and back to the lower left of the straight wrap. This makes a diagonal line across the straight wrap.

Continue to wrap the diagonals, while turning the Nostepinne around so the the next diagonal sits on the top of the previous diagonal.
Look above, to the next entry for the continuation of winding...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

New Creations, Nosties and Darning Aids

Well...after a week of storms and fighting internet and electricity, we've managed to create a few new wood items that really don some beautiful traits.

Take a look...
"Caramel Hourglass"is just one of the newly listed Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs and Aids at

We've added more Darning Aids, some are Eggs, some are not. Each is unusual and One Of A Kind. We've even added a few mini editions...all functional for any miniature thread/yarn work.

Please take a look.

Free Shipping, orders over $50, shipped to one address within the USA

Saturday, July 08, 2006

2nd Release Nosties & Eggs

The Parallel Duck

New Large Darning Egg

We've got new Nosties and New Eggs! Thanks to everyone that responded with much excitement for the 1st sets...we had a hard time keeping them posted...they'd sell as soon as we listed them! Quick, take a look!
Free shipping, orders over $50, mailed to one address, within the USA
Please email with inquiries.
Many people have emailed us...the ideas are pouring in. ;)

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Additions to "Nostepinnes"; The DE (Darning Egg)

We appreciate all the support we've received from everyone that viewed, comment, and purchased our handmade Nosties. We received several different types of requests...and are working on a few additional creations.
John managed a few new goodie... Darning Eggs!
This DE is turned from Live Oak from a neighbor's yard in our old neighborhood. They had to chop this HUGE Live Oak down to the ground. It is pretty sad to see such a grand tree become just a large stump. There really wasn't much the homeowners could do, parts of the tree fell on their house and with the fear that it could happen again, they said the tree just had to go.
This is a matched set turned at the same time from the same lot of wood. He's been inspired by acorns lately. We've come across a lot of them while cleaning up around the areas. I love the dark patterns on the wood. Thing is, it is always a 'surprise' when you have spalted wood...that black marbling pattern is erratic and unpredictable...sometimes it is just that 'extra something' that makes an otherwise 'plain grain' special.
These are added to the Nostie collection at
*free shipping, orders over $50, mailed to a single address within the USA
John has a new collection that he is working on as well. He will release them tomorrow and upload the photos and info. Coming Soon: spindles, other darning aid designs, mini niddy noddy

'Round the Tube...Off with the toes!

Since the last sock posting, I made NO progress...until TODAY! I just HAD to force myself to sit and knit ...around and around and around the tube part of the sock foot. I just finished it! Whoo hooo!!
All that is left is...'just' grafting the toe.
If I had to do this sock all over again, I would carry the leaf repeat down the front of the foot. I know that this sock will not end up in a shoe, so I did the leaf pattern down the heel...but it should have been carried along the front of the foot too. I like the yarn patterning...the picture makes it seem as though the leaves are difficult to's not that 'blended' when viewing it in person.
Just grafting and blocking left to go!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Support...and Thank You's

There aren't enough words to describe how different 'artsy', 'handcrafty' people are...and a great deal of this difference is FELT through "support". John and I have always believed that as a "community", handcrafters, artisans, creators-in general, need to truly be each other's customers and consumers. If we can't rely on each other, how can we ever think to venture into sales OUTside of the community of like minded folks?
We, literally, have a small storage unit, 5 hours outside of our 'now-house', holding everything we own...which, by the way fits in the bed of a regular sized pick up truck... ;) And we, without 'voicing' our intentions, have only purchased items that have been related to crafts/art or items handcreated or handcrafted by other fellow spinners, knitters, sewers, woodworkers...artists. I've really got to thinking about that this morning.
The 'lists' I belong to and have frequented these pasts months, have really helped to keep me sane...To keep US sane. We have never sat and mourned loosing everything. What could we do? We felt that all we CAN do is: find a way for us to 'recreate' our artistic lives. Look at losing everything as an opportunity for something new, instead of dwelling on the loss. We've learned to knit, spin and turn...since April. We've bought accessories and supplies from local suppliers here, also hit hard by Katrina or Rita (Running Moon Farm)...we've purchased one of a kind sewn items (The Frog Pond),bought newly invented items (pvc Needle Keeps), (wooden Socks In Progress holders)...and have promoted them quietly to other handcrafters out there as well. We have to stick together.
We are simply in awe of this community. We put these Nostepinnes up here on the blogspot, asked a few email lists for permission to advertise...and what we've received already is Incredible support...emails not only to inquire about the Nosties themselves, but to ask about us, in general...asking about what it is like for us here...I suppose this is a nudge for me to get to our blog about Hurricane Katrina and add some thoughts there... will do.
Each and every inquiry about a Nostie makes us...I just don't know how to describe it...'warm and fuzzy'...if that makes sense. It's not about a 'sale''s about someone, "a stranger", out there, someone who is a fellow woodworker, a fellow knitter, a fellow spinner, someone who appreciates and knows how much goes into a hand creation, has taken the time to look at something we've made...and appreciates it!...adores it!...finds something in it that speaks to them... that is really what handmade items are about. And the handcrafting community is one with a big heart...lots of compassion...and caring. Thanks to all of you who have made the things we have bought, who have opened email lists about knitting and spinning, created a place for us to gather and meet and keep each other sane, who have shared your creations and and goodies, who have now come out with support for us, by 'adopting' our goodies 4 sale...and by showing how much you care through simply asking about us...and how we are doing. You are helping us to smile. ;)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Nostepinnes - Devastation 'Turned' Art

Our newest endeavor- My husband, John, learned to spin wool right alongside of me this past April. We have been so enamored with all the steps from sheep to socks, sweaters, blankets, or shawls, that we've even learned to make tools needed for spinning.
The short of a long story is this: We lost our home in hurricane Katrina, lost everything in it. We've lived in 2 separate hotels for the last 10 months and just last month got into housing via the Coast Guard, (although we have NOTHING to put IN the house, mind you). We don't own anything now except for the spinning wheel, drum carder and any fibers that we have purchased since April. John lost a whole wood shop to hurricane Katrina, and when he knew our housing included a covered garage, he got one and only one, woodworking tool. A lathe. He has found innovation resources for all his necessities...including the wood supplied for the nostepinnes.
Each nostepinne is hand turned, made of wood collected by John, as he has had to venture into our Pre-Katrina neighborhood, near New Orleans, to clear timber...all part of his responsibilities with the U.S. Coast Guard. Each nostepinne is a 'little bit of Katrina history'. We have linked a photo album to our current collection to sell. Everyday is a struggle here in New Orleans, but with such wonderful outlets of artwork and crafts, we've learned greet each day as an adventure in creativity; it is what keeps us sane. Please email either me (alicia) or john at to inquire about 'adopting' any of the nostepinnes you see here. We accept funded paypal, cash, check and money orders. ;)
*now, free shipping, orders over $50, mailed to one address, within the USA

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Official Start KAL

Today is the day! Official start date of the KAl, July 1.

I got a great start this morning. I had the swatch knitted up already for gauge, so I was all set to go without much experimentation this morning. So far so good. I've casted on, 2 sets of 2.5mm wood dpns, got a short 5 row rib around each, instead of the 10 row rib; and I carried the leaf pattern down the heel flap, since my mom will not be wearing these in shoes at anytime. I've rounded the heel too. (The heel was fun to do!) All progress prior to lunch! Whoooo Hooooo!!!

Side view now, socks in profile:

Backs of can see the heel turn and the pattern on the heel flap:

Maple Leaf Socks Knit-A-Long... (KAL)

Well, it's been a while since last posting...and there are many reasons...moving mostly...LONG STORY...
I want to get my pictures posted for the KAL, so I am going to skip the past few months of hiatus explanation to move along with it.

I joined up with the T Socks KAL, starting with the Maple Leaf sock pattern. I decided to spin up some sock yarn and handpaint it. These will be for my mom, who can relate to Maple leaves, since she grew up on the East Coast. The yarn skein is Caramel, Mahogany, Buttercreme, and Yellow Gold. I really love the way it turned out!

When it's wound as a center pull, the colors are even more interesting! After winding , I slide it on one of our hand made Nostepinnes for easy center pull and end of skein work. (I'm working one sock forward on the skein and one backward to produce symmetrical socks instead of identical ones.)

I'm really very pleased with the turn out...can't wait to get started!