Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lauch Embroidery Blog at Wordpress

I've launched an Embroidery Blog at wordpress:
Come over and take a look!

I've figured out a way incorporate ALL my previous art/craft/skill/talent into one avenue of wonderful fun!

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Other Goodies

I have been working on some Beaded items. Wanna take a look?

These are really fun to make. (The parts are small, so it's the perfect creative project for our small crammed living space...)
I've got more listed here.
*NEW* knitting stitch markers

What We've Been "Creating"

In between trying to catch happy moments and trying to make some money, we've been working on painting and sculpting little miniatures. (It doesn't take up much space)

When John isn't busily creating things from 'greenstuff', he's been able to get the lathe up and running and he's been out in his "lanai shop" turning up some new Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs/Aids. So many people have written to us since we dropped out of sight to move in October, so we thought we better get back up and running and make space for our wood items. We did find a great source here in Hawaii for beautiful Exotic Hawaiian woods, koa, mango, kiawe, ohia... John turned several Nostie from some of that wood. We posted an ad for the new items last Wednesday and were sold out within 48 hours. We managed to get the movers to crate and move all our Hurricane Katrina salvaged turning blocks, so we still have a stash of salvaged wood to work with. Here are some of the newest ones being posted to ads today.

see more at:
also, see our other blogs by clicking them on the right ;)

It's Been Awhile!

We are finally home in Hawaii after all the mess of the previous year or two with Hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard and all that MOVING!
We are back here with family, battling OUTRAGEOUS housing prices and testing out our own "Handyman Service" business. Hopefully, we can make enough money doing house repair, remodel, small fix-its, electrical, etc. so that it will keep us from having to work 2 or 3 jobs each, sun up to sunset. We are having to double up and live with family though, as rent is simply way to high and spaces are simply not available.
However, we are able to get into the water almost daily if we can sneak some time for it. We thought you might like a peek at us being silly for a change!

John has some of our adventure photos posted at yahoo photos.
(click the highlighted words) or go to:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Our Katrina Wood items, orginal AD

A little about our hand turned items:Each wood piece has history with us here in New Orleans. We lost our home in Hurricane Katrina. My husband, who is in the Coast Guard, has helped to clear timber and debris from areas affected by the hurricane, near our Pre-Katrina home, and has, literally, "turned" that debris into some beautiful reclaimed art.

If you knit, crochet or spin,you may want to take a look at these tools.

Knitter's use Darning Eggs (or other shaped aids) to keep knitted tension while darning or
repairing a run or hole in knitted material. We've created a wide range of sizes and shapes
for darning aids; some are small enough for sock toes or parts of mittens or gloves, some
are large enough for elbows or shoulder, even for knees if needed. And of course, there are
classic design shapes as well as whimsical fun shapes with a large range of lengths for
handles that reach into all shapes of knitted gear.

Handspinners use nostepinnes to wind center pull balls, ply from both ends of a center pull ball or sometimes, just to hold a ball of yarn. If you knit or crochet, a nostepinne makes a great place to 'park your yarn' so that it doesn't tangle or collapse in on itself as you pull the yarn while creating your project. It will make your projects all a little more portable and more easily mobile by keeping the yarn safe from tangling.

We've created the **NEW** "Midi" sized Nostepinne. It's one that has a full sized handle
and a short, stocky winding shaft; great for thinner, finer yarns or novelty yarn.
There are also a few **NEW** "Micro Mini" sized Nosties. They are tiny all around!
Just perfect for any of us that stitch in minature crochet or knitting.
Even a mini center pull ball needs a place to "park".

Click on our blog or our photo link for pictures and information.
Please email John or Alicia at islandgirl.a@gmail.comto order. PayPal preferred, credit cards accepted.Money Orders accepted.
Free shipping, orders over $50 to a single address within the USA.
Thanks for looking,

Monday, August 07, 2006

Added a New Blog

I've added a new Knitting blog...just seemed like a good place to put my upcoming projects.
This way I'll have a place for

and of course

This blog can be the "Main Blog" for announcements and new items in each other
sub-blog ;)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just a Reminder...

To make it easier for people to find the 'for sale items', our hand crafted wood knitting and spinning accessories, I've just inserted this entry to give you this link:

This link is also embedded in several entries within this blog. You can also click on the WoodWorks blog listed in the right hand column.

;) We look forward to hearing from you!

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!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Whoo Hooo, No More Cheetos!

Whoo hooo, whoo hooo for today! I spent some time today with the drop spindle; that tool I swore was for spinning ugly yarn, and managed to get the lumpy "cheetos" out of my yarn product! I am learning to handle the drop spindle with a large bag of orange wool which makes the yarn either appear smooth and slick when it is spun correctly, or it looks like fat "cheetos" puffs disbursed amongst the thread/yarn variables. Today I've managed to spin what looks like real thread! Whoo hooo! (picture to post soon)

Adding Links

After all the posts about sheep, spinning, wheels and yarn, I thought I would add a section for amigurumi so that I could post some of my book covers as well as pictures of the 3-D critters that I've crocheted in the past few months. I made my first amigurumi about a month or so ago and just fell in love with the Japanese amigurumi patterns/charts and the adorable little animal creatures that are possible to create in an anime style. I also thought that I could do the same type of showcase for the crochet thread bears that I am working on. Then all this thinking led me to add several links for different subjects. Right now there is an amigurumi addition and an addition for our Hurricane Katrina pictures and a place for me to tell our story as we daily deal with the aftermath of that ordeal. I'll add links to a "crochet thread bear" blog, a "friends" blog, and maybe a few more as I think of them. So, feel free to click a link and watch as those blogs grow as well as this one does. This main blog will be my platform to catalog any current events as they happen. Thanks for stopping in...islandgirla (alicia)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Drop Spindle

I truly believe that this is a tool to make the ugliest yarn on earth. ;) While waiting for my spinning wheel to be delivered, I am having to 'practice' on this drop spindle. Yesterday, I succeeded in making what is probably the ugliest yarn ever. But, hey, I figure, I DID make something that at least LOOKS like yarn. I will have to get a few snapshots of the yarn and post them here as well. It's made from my practice bag, generously supplied by my mentor, of orange wool. Let me tell you, when I first sent this thing spinning I was thinking of all those thousands of years that humans had to use this tool...and how fine the work was that they produced. In these modern times there is so much talk of how much time is spent in front of the TV, but I'm sure that this little tool caused many a people to sit with it for HOURS on end trying to get a few yards of thread/yarn to supply the villages. I've had to learn to stop this little do-dad from spinning the life out of my yarn and while each of my hands is doing something on their own accord, my toes have had to get into the action to secure this little bugger while it's 'dropped' and stopped. My first few spindles few of yarn has spots in it that look like Cheetos...the fluffy baked kind!

Meet the Sheep

If you haven't done so yet, go to the Running Moon Farm website to see all the wonderful sheep. When we went out to meet the sheep we thought the nursery area for all the new lambs was adorable. They are so small! They grow quickly though, as we saw the little bottle fed lamb that seems almost too big to pick up already. (I don't think the little lamb is more than a few months old) Needless to say, when we turned the corner we encountered SHEEP that were BIG. I never knew sheep were that big! I think the children's picture book writers and illustrators should all be FIRED! They seem to portray all animals at a much reduced size when presented in picture books. (You have to remember that I am from Hawaii and we just don't have access to many animals let alone variety of breed of animals.) The goats were just beautiful as well. I really like the one silvery goat that is penned alone. I'll have to look up his name. Of course, Margrett knows all of them well, so she'd know exactly which goat I am speaking of. He stared at us the whole time we were walking around though the gated areas. I think the whole experience was 'cosmic' in some ways since we visited on my mom's birthday on April 1, making her an Aries, John and I are both Aries, my Jack Russell Terrier, Mr. MacKenzie is an Aries (and he was there at the farm as well) and my dad is a Capricorn, and here we were, under the sign of Aries, surrounded by Rams and Ewes...and the goats were part of the package as well. John and I both felt so 'at home'. I wonder if I could have a sheep-pet once I get back to Hawaii this October? My little Mr. MacKenzie would love a sheep sister, right?

Creative Wool Process

While visiting the sheep farm, I was just overwhelmed with stimulating creativity. It was the best "field trip" that I've ever taken. I got to see the life cycle of yarn from the back of a happy well cared for mammal to the hands of a fiber artist. Margrett was washing fleeces as I got to poke around her studio. There were tubs filled with drying wool tufts, racks of air-drying wool, an enormous drum carder surrounded by wool in all stages, a cedar lined room with floor to ceiling choices of fibers, dyed wool, blends, you name it...a palette of wonder. I saw several weaving projects in progress set up on several looms. I saw her knitting room set up with several knitting machines and a sock knitting machine as well. And, the purpose of the trip, I got to try out several spinning wheels. When we had spent hours inside experimenting with fibers, we got to go out to meet the sheep!

Birthday Present Surprises

While at the Running Moon Farm, I got to test the "Joy" compact spinning wheel. It was one of wheels I had considered buying online prior to taking the road trip out to meet the sheep. I was lucky! Margrett had her personal "Joy" right there to test the treadling action and to tinker with. It has smooth, easy to control treadle action. And just look at all that surface area to paint! While trying to narrow down my zillions of choices for a spinning wheel, one of the considerations was the surface area of some models...lending to even MORE creativity by offering up a blank canvas for personalized painting. This is my birthday gift for this year. (4/07/06) All from my generous hubby. His only request is that I take raw material, spin it with the wheel, and no matter what the result, use the yarn to create an original 'anything'...just so I experience the entire process at least ONCE; that's it. If I just do it once, that makes it all worth it. It will take a couple of weeks for my new "Joy" to get to me via UPS, I think. So, meanwhile, I am tinkering with a drop spindle.

Sheep Farm Fun!

We went to a Sheep Farm on Saturday! (4/01/06) It was part of my birthday week celebration, an idea of fantastic adventure to support my fiber art forms-all made possible by my thoughtful, encouraging husband, John. We took a little road trip to Running Moon Farm ( to meet Margrett and Lloyd, touch all their spinning wheels, see all their HAND MADE tools for spinning, drool over their wonderful working studio of looms, weaving, spinning, knitting...and of course to see the source of it all...the SHEEP and GOATS that make it all possible. It was so exciting. Go to their site and click around. They have great photos of farm and the studio.
(photo is from Running Moon Farm website)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This is my very first thread bear. (01/06)He's 'Charley bear'... made with #70 tatting thread. ;)

Not only is he my first thread bear, but he is my very first attempt at creating a 'toy' or 'doll' with crochet. I really didn't think that I'd like making 3-d items, but I just love's sculpting with a thread!

Just arrived!

I've made some friends that introduced me to Hello...and now, I suppose, this is an area in cyberspace that was just 'born'. I've got a few crafty journeys to post here...let's see how it goes...

smiles, a...