Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stunning! Knitted Wallpaper

Just what every knitter needs! I wonder if I could persuade my husband that we should put this up in our room?

Cream Knitted Jumper Mural

Thursday, June 27, 2013

And the winner is....

#125 which is Michelle!

Congratulations to Michelle who chose Killer Tomato as her favorite. It was definitely a popular choice.

I've sent Michelle an email to sort out the details and confirm her choice.

Thanks to everyone for playing along. I've loved reading your comments and seeing which colorways & names you enjoyed. I hope some of you will treat yourselves to your favorite skein from Lola-Doodles and enjoy her yarn as much as I do. It's a dream to knit with.

As for me, I think I need a little Patience, Young Grasshopper.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last Chance!

Today is the last day to enter the Lola-Doodles Giveaway.  Just read my post raving about her awesome yarns and leave a comment with your favorite colorway and/or colorway name. And remember - if you leave a comment using the Anonymous feature, you need to leave some way of identifying yourself (like a Ravelry name, or some part of your name/email name) in case you win.

I'll use a random number generator Thursday morning to select the winner and announce it here on the blog tomorrow morning. The winner will get to pick a skein of yarn to receive - it doesn't have to be the one you named in your post. After all, everyone's entitled to change their minds and it's so hard to choose among all the lovely colors!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sneak Peek

I'm in the final stages of prepping my newest sock pattern for release. I just need a few good photos, which are always dependent on the weather and time, and those two things coinciding.

These new socks are definitely on the piquant to extra spicy side (using Knitty's scale of difficulty). There are cables everywhere. The cables themselves are fairly simple once you get used to them. If you use pointy needles you should be able to zip through them after some practice.

I'm hoping to release these next week, so keep an eye out on my blog for the announcement!

Back cables
Front cables: mirrored zig-zags

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A note from Lola-Doodles

I didn't think too many people would see it buried in the 100 (!!!!) comments on my Lola-Doodles post, but Temple, of Lola-Doodles posted this message:

"Hi everyone! I am Temple of Lola-Dodole's and just wanted to say THANK YOU to Hanging on By a String for such kind words about my little shop and to all of you for your compliments! Made my day to read this! I am in the middle of dying up a large wholesale order, but should have more shop updates soon--if there is a color you love that isn't listed just convo me! Again--THANK YOU!!!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Contest - Sharing the Lola-Doodles Love

I like browsing through some of the main Ravelry forums and checking out the chat threads dedicated to sales, self-promotion and contests. It's a great way to discover new design and designers, accessories and best of all, new (to me) indie yarn dyers.

I'm always on the lookout for new sock yarn to love. A while back I placed an order for some absolutely scrumptious looking sock yarn from Lola-Doodles Etsy shop. I was attracted by the vividly bright colours and delightful names.

Annabel Lee - 100% superwash merino sock yarn
I purchased Annabel Lee, a superwash merino sock yarn for two reasons: the lovely shade of blue and the wonderful reference to the Edgar Allan Poe poem. (Yes, I majored in English.) And just to break away from my love of blue, I added some Dowager's Prize Rose to my basket. (Why yes, I quite enjoy British Victorian-era literature.)

When the yarn arrived, it was squishy soft and just begging to be made into socks. I quickly cast on Annabel Lee for a special project I'm hoping to submit for publication. It's quite full of cables and the traces of black in the lovely aquamarine add some very nice depth and dimension to the cables.

Juniper Wisp: 80% Merino wool
and 20% silk l
ace yarn

The yarn is absolutely delightful to work with: soft, squishy and with a nice high twist that gives great stitch definition. Pretty much everything I look for in a sock yarn.

Lola-Doodles is run by Temple Trueblood, a true fiber enthusiast, down in the heart of Dixie. In her Etsy shop you'll find lace, fingering and DK yarn that are all hand dyed in very small batches (2-3 skeins each). She also welcomes custom orders, with some of her favorite colorways being the results of customers asking for a particular shade or combination of colors. 

Temple offers a range of different sock weight yarns:
  • Classic Sock - a 75/25 wool/nylon blend 
  • Buff Sock - a 75/25 BFL/nylon blend
  • Posh Socks - an MCN blend
  • Twinkle Toes - 100% super wash merino
Lace and DK lovers aren't left out either. Temple has you covered with a merino/silk lace weight blend and her DK super wash merino wool.
Daddy Likes a Little Scandal - Classic Sock

To make a great deal even better, Lola-Doodles offers loyal fans a fantastic discount: After buying 5 skeins, you receive a secret code so that your 6th skein is a whopping 75% off!

The name of her shop comes, in part from Lola the Wonder Corgi  who, along with Amos Lee, her sweet pit bull terrier supervise each batch of dyeing.  

As usual, I do not accept or solicit sponsorships or do paid/in kind product endorsements. I write about stuff that I've discovered and that I enjoy. All pictures are used with permission by Temple Trueblood of Lola-Doodles, but that's the only involvement. She doesn't even know I'm going to do this:
Killer Tomato: Classic Sock,
75% merino, 25% nylon


Leave a comment telling me your favorite Lola-Doodles colorway name between now and Wednesday, June 26th and you could win that skein! On June 27th I will run a random number generator to select a winner from the comments and have Lola-Doodles ship your skein to you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Manatees, Part Deux

One of our cameras seems to have gone missing, so I won't have dolphin pics, but we did see dolphins in King's Bay, near Crystal River, FL, while we were waiting for our boat to arrive for our manatee tour.

It was really neat. A small pod (podlet?) of about 4 dolphins appeared, directly beside the dock we were standing on. They seemed to be corralling a school of fish into a small cove, swirling around and around. Then we saw them leaping around as fish jumped out of the water. One dolphin 'stood' with his head out of the water and his mouth open, just waiting for the fish to jump into his mouth. It was quite amazing to see! The kids with us were in complete awe of this spectacle, being typical city dwellers. Frankly, we adults were quite impressed too.

Idle speed, please! Watch out for manatees.
A few other manatee facts which I didn't squeeze into my first post. Captain Casey shared with us that while many manatees have scars on their bodies from boat propellers, these wounds are rarely fatal and will heal up. What is more deadly to manatees are ship bows (prows?) (the pointy part at the front of the boat). If boats are going too fast, manatees can't get out of the way and the sudden impact will cause significant blunt force trauma like broken ribs which can puncture their lungs or cause other internal injuries. Many manatee habitats will have posted speed limits requiring boaters to go no faster than an idle through these zones.

As you can see from the picture to the left, the water wasn't that deep. We snorkelers were fairly close to the manatee.

Our guide was very clear about the rules to ensure the manatees weren't harassed. There are pretty steep fines for diving down below the surface to touch a manatee or interfere with its feeding/sleeping.In fact, I believe he said that the only time you could touch a manatee was if it came to you and interacted with you, and if you are part of a licensed tour operator. If you're just out on your own swimming in the springs and a Wildlife officer noticed you playing with the manatees, you could get a warning to leave them alone. But don't quote me on that.

Captain Casey also mentioned that on this particular bay there was some tension between residents who owned boating or other aquatic sport equipment and those who want to protect the manatees. A special sporting zone has been set up to provide a stretch of the river where boats/seadoos can go faster than at an idle. Apparently some people want to be able to go fast and don't see why their fun should be restricted because of these gentle herbivores.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Just a quickie for now until I go through my photos and video some more.

Today I crossed off an item from my bucket list: I swam with, and touched, a manatee. We signed up for a tour with Crystal River Manatee Tours for a 2.5 hr tour of King's Bay and made the 2 hour drive up from Kissimmee.

It was an incredibly hot day and I was looking forward to getting into the 76 degree F water. The folks at Crystal River Tours suited us up with wet suits, masks and snorkels. After watching a short video which covered the safety rules of how to treat the manatees (and how not to), we hopped aboard the pontoon boat. Captain Casey gave us a short talk about the manatees and what we'd be seeing and doing out in the Bay.

Winter is the prime manatee viewing season, when approximately 600 manatees escape the cooler waters and come to King's Bay to bask in the 68F waters provided by the dozens of springs. King's Bay in winter is home to 1/3 of Florida's manatee population. Large areas of the bay are roped off as manatee sanctuaries to keep the manatees safe. It's much easier to see the manatees in the winter when they hang out near the springs where the water is very clear.

Manatees are vegetarians, grazing on the plant life on the bottom of the bay. They eat and sleep on the bay floor. Otherwise, they're near the surface of the water where it's warmer. They need water that's 68F or warmer. When they're not sleeping, they come up for air every 3-4 minutes and when it's time to snooze, they take 20 minute cat naps before needing to surface for air.

Floating in search of manatees
There are about 35-50 resident manatees that live in King's Bay year round. So it was a bit of a challenge to find them. We made a few attempts as we sighted a couple manatees, but the water was incredibly murky, with only 2-3 feet of visibility. Let me tell you, it goes against all of one's self-preservation instincts to swim in green murky water towards something you can't see that weighs 800-1,000 pounds.

After a few attempts, where all I saw was the tail of a manatee, Captain Casey took us down a side river, past the large Three Sisters springs. And we finally found a manatee who would tolerate all of us floating above him (her?) while s/he nibbled on a late lunch.

It was a bit intimidating at first, but I soon got accustomed to floating on the top of the water and watching our manatee. It just calmly nibbled along (they tend to graze in a figure 8 configuration) and surfaced at regular intervals. The visibility was much improved as we were closer to spring water and we spent a good 45-60 minutes drifting along, following along in awe. I think everyone in the water got an opportunity to touch the manatee when it surfaced. It was covered in algae and its skin was leathery to the touch. At one point I was perfectly positioned to be face-to-face with the manatee when it surfaced!
Captain Casey and a very happy customer

My daughter, who is part fish I believe, had a blast as well. She was thrilled to see the manatee and snorkel along with it. She's inherited my adoration of this gentle creature and will be doing a school report on them.

My husband manned the video camera and got lots of video. He's hoping to edit it together, so if I can figure out the whole video thing, I'll post it eventually.

Monday, June 3, 2013


To celebrate being mentioned in the Yarn Harlot's blog, I'm offering a 25% discount on all purchases in my Ravelry store, June 3-7th, 2013. No coupon needed! Shop here for patterny goodness.