It has been a very long time…

Yarn Bowl

My beautiful yarn bowl

It has been a while since I have posted. A lot has happened in life. Unfortunately not much of that time has been spent doing anything crafty. Some, but not much. It is funny how life is sometimes. The good news is life has evened out quite a bit and I am making more time for things that I enjoy.

My ex-husband asked me a while back asking me for some new hand knit socks for work. I accepted the assignment and have (slowly) been knitting him socks. I don’t normally take this long to knit socks, but he wanted black socks. I mistakenly started out with a pattern that I know that he likes, but in black yarn it is extremely difficult to see the patterning as I am knitting. Add the splitty nature of the yarn and it means that I have to actually pay attention to what I am doing and no knitting in low light situations.

He wanted black socks so I went on the hunt for inexpensive but decent black yarn. This was a surprisingly difficult task. Not a lot of yarn brands have a black yarn in a sock weight, but I finally found some. I don’t hate the yarn but I am not in love with it either. Like I said, it is on the splitty side, but it has a nice feel to it, sturdy but soft. We will see how it actually holds up to wear. For the next set of socks I am probably going to use the same yarn but a different pattern and see if that helps any. I also was planning on knitting two at a time, but somehow forgot. Next time I will definitely knit them two at a time. Next time I may do a plain ribbed sock instead of the Gentleman’s Sock. It would cut down the time and frustrations with the black yarn. But since they aren’t for me, I will have to consult with him. At least they are finally completed.

I currently have the Renewal Shawl on the needles. Because I am a (mostly) monogamous knitter, I have painfully put it aside while I worked on the socks. It is currently sitting in my lovely yarn bowl. Y’all this yarn bowl is the most beautiful gift I have ever received. Not just because it is gorgeous, but because of the thought that went into it. It is probably the most meaningful gift I have ever received.

My wheel is in need of repair so I haven’t been spinning at all the last *ahem* year or so. I need a new drive band. So I am going to make one out of cotton yarn and we will see how that goes. Hopefully I will have a new blog post before too long with some new spinning.

I haven’t done much else crafty. I have some plans to get some sewing done eventually but it has not been a priority. Since my last blog post I have done a little but not much. I am planning on sewing a couple of weighted blankets. I would also like to sew a couple more project bags and maybe an apron. My mom and I did reupholster a chair and I have helped a small amount with some home improvement projects at my boyfriend’s house. Mostly I sit there and look pretty and keep him company, but I help where I can.

I have been reading a lot lately, but understand that this is a relative term. In the last several months, I have read a few very good books. Books that I have enjoyed:

  • Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
  • Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams by Gareth Roberts
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

I have read a few others and enjoyed them as well, but not to the same extent so I am not even going to mention them. I am currently reading Outlander and am loving it. I highly recommend it. I am finding that I am too sleepy to read much, but again life happens sometimes.

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Working Spinning Wheel!

At some point in the last two years, my monster sweet darling, adorable, tiny, innocent little boy decided to take my wheel for a spin. He stood on it and bent the rod that holds the treadles in place. I have always had issues with the rod walking its way out of place but after my son decided to ride on it, it has been near impossible to use. I decided then that I needed to just wait until I could come up with a good fix for it or buy a new wheel entirely. Yesterday we made a family trip to Lowe’s. My hubby needed to pick up some pvc to make fishing rod holders for his kayak and I decided that we would search for the right thing to replace the rod. I should mention that I tried cotter pins, but they walked themselves out just about as fast as the rod did. I finally found the fix. I purchased a 3 foot length of threaded metal rod. Basically it is like a screw without a head on it. I just cut a foot off of it and it works perfect!

I realize that it has been a little over 6 months since I last posted. I have had a lot of things happen in that time. Quick update. My dad passed away December 16, which was just a few days after my last blog post. I miss him very much. Some day I am going to make a big long post of memories with him, happy thoughts, and all that, but I am not there yet.

We also decided to purchase a house here in Hot Springs Village! I love our house. We have a neighbor right next door and beyond that, we are surrounded by woods. We are really settling in the area. I am starting to meet more people and making new friends. I still miss all my NWA people, but I do love it here. We are talking about converting a good chunk of our garage into an art studio/wood shop plus we have an office as well. We have also added to our family. We knew someone who had a kitty that needed a home so we brought home Lily the day before we moved into our new house. A week later we found out she was pregnant. We are now outnumbered by animals. She had two babies, a boy that I named Sebastian and a girl I named Daphne. We are keeping both.

In all the craziness of things going on lately, I haven’t made much time for knitting or anything. I have finished a shawl, save for blocking. I also have a cat toy to bind off and stuff. I have completed an entire pair of socks plus another sock that I will be casting on the second sock very soon. Since this is a lot of updates, I am going take some time over the next week or so to go into more details on things. For now I will leave you with a picture of a pair of completed socks for my husband and a sock that I started for my son. I have not finished the kiddo socks yet.

Sock family

Sock family

Knitting therapy

Although I have decided that I will do no gift knitting this year, I have decided to immerse myself in knitting, spinning, sewing, and writing. My hubby and I were talking earlier and I think we agreed that while this year has been wonderful, there have been quite a few extremely rough moments as well. Our move here was very difficult on me. I love it here, but my heavy school load and spending so much time actually packing and moving all the while being so far away from my husband and I did not make it a habit of allowing myself the time to do anything to help relieve my stress. That doesn’t work well for me so now that I have a little more time on my hands and am even more in need of stress relief, I am making stress relief a priority in my life. What does that mean? Finished projects and lots of plans for hand-made items in the near future!

I drove up to Northwest Arkansas last weekend to spend a little time with my dad and I got a lot of knitting done. I finished one of the vanilla socks I am knitting for me and knit about a half-inch of the ribbing for the second sock. I also finished the Darkside Cowl, and worked a good bit on the second Gentleman’s sock for hubby.

The Darkside Cowl was different to knit. I am in love with the finished product, however the actual knitting was not exactly as loved. It wasn’t overly difficult, it was just not autopilot knitting for me because it isn’t exactly linear. I used some yarn that I spun and dyed a long time ago. I believe that it is BFL and bamboo, but I honestly can’t remember right now. I am very disappointed to see that I didn’t blog the dying of the yarn, but I did do a couple of little posts here and here, about the spinning. The squish of the yarn with this pattern is heavenly. The pattern is done in repeats of 16 rows. I omitted the first row (accidentally) which was a purl row and therefore left out the final row as well. I don’t know how different it would have made it look, but I am perfectly happy without it. I didn’t notice that I had messed up until I was a couple rows in and wasn’t willing to rip back.

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I had purchased some sock yarn with the intentions of knitting socks for my hubby for his birthday in *ahem* May. I have had a lot going on so we are going to leave it at that. I decided on Gentleman Socks by Kristi Schueler. This is a free pattern with multiple sizing. It is done in a 4 row pattern repeat and then a separate pattern on the instep. I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel as that is my current favorite. I like the ease of the knitting and I feel they fit well. I am using this heel for my Knitmore Girls Vanilla socks for me as well. I can’t remember what the yarn is that I am using for the KG Vanilla sock, but I used Patons Kroy for the Gentleman socks. I am pleased with both.

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My hubby tried to fix my wheel last week and while he made a very good effort, it just isn’t cutting the mustard. Basically there is a rod that connects the treadles to the base and as I spin, the rod tends to walk out. I am going to look into some different options. I think that I am going to save up and buy a new wheel in the next year or two. I love my Babe, but I want something sturdier. Let’s face it I want several wheels. I have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of my Babe and I will probably never get rid of it. It isn’t a great wheel but it is a good wheel and it is my first.

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I purchased some Wizard of Oz fabric a few weeks back that will be turned into a new project back sometime soon. This makes me so happy. I may try to get that done tonight, or at least the cutting done, but I think I am going to go back up to see my dad again tomorrow so I may not have time to get much done. Just in case you were wondering, cancer sucks.

SUP boarding and knitting

I have a new goal in life. I want to go to Tahiti and find a nice spot with a good view and sit down on a sup board and knit. Until I can make it to Tahiti, I will take Lake Desoto since it is a mile from my house. I am itching to knit. Time has been so limited lately with this crazy move, being in school full time, and having my hubby so far away, that every last second has been devoted to either moving and all that entails, school work, or my kid. Now that we are moved, I need to check out the LYS. I also need to plan a home for my yarn. I haven’t decided yet where it will live. It is a hard decision since I have so much room!

Life changes

Things have been kind of crazy for me lately. Unfortunately that means that I haven’t been making much time for knitting. I have done a little cross stitching here and there, but mostly I have been keeping busy with other things.

First, I was a crazy person and decided that in my first semester back to school, I was going to take 5 classes. Not my smartest move ever. All but one of my classes is online so I can work on them as I have time throughout the day, which lately has been been less often than I had anticipated, but more on that later. I have my little guy in mother’s day out twice a week, which has been helpful, but 5 classes is still 5 classes.

My dear husband’s work decided that the very first week that I had school that they wanted him to go down and train in Hot Springs for the week, which meant that I had all the responsibilities of being in school and more or less taking care of the kiddo by myself, minus Wednesday evening when my mom watches him while I am in class. So basically it turned out that this wasn’t a training deal, but more of a job interview. He came home on Friday and they told him that he needed to be back down there the following Tuesday (the day after Labor Day) to be the new sales manager for that branch. Yay! On one hand we are very excited for this move and for the promotion, but on the other hand, living in two places and having to juggle full time school and having a kid isn’t easy. If I had known that this was going to be happening this soon, I would have taken less of a load, but I know I can do it.

Like I said, we are very excited for the move. We got a townhouse in the village that is huge and I think will fit us so well. I am ready to be down there and settled. Have I mentioned that I am going to school full time, have a kid, and am alone in packing and everything? I am sorry to complain, but I am having a rough day and am so ready to be with my husband more than just on the weekends.

Today is a really hard day for me. Back in March, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has been going through chemo since then and it has definitely taken its toll on him. A few weeks ago, he was hospitalized because they thought he had pneumonia, but it turns out he had internal bleeding. They gave him a blood transfusion, which wasn’t his first one, and won’t be his last either. They finally did an EGD last night and found that the internal bleeding is caused by a lesion in his stomach that they can not fix and is only getting worse. Hubby and I went and sat up in ICU with him for a while today. I wish more than anything that I didn’t have be home for school and I could sit with my daddy all night long. I wish I could make this better or easier for him or something but there isn’t anything that I can do. The hospital is too far away for me to be able to spend much time up there, because I can’t leave my kiddo all the time.

While at the hospital today, I got a lot of cross stitching done, though. I don’t have any knitting that I felt like working on. I just finished a Tardis and am now working on a Dumbledore by weelittlestitches for my stepson for Christmas. The Tardis is for me.

So it may be a while before I have any more knitting to post, sadly. I am itching to do some knits for Halloween, but at this point, it is not a priority.

The gauge didn’t lie

I rarely do a gauge swatch. I understand the importance of them but I am usually right on gauge so I don’t waste time with a swatch. I wanted to knit a particular pair of socks, however I only have the next size up of needle so I decided to spend some quality time with a gauge swatch. The thing about gauge swatches is, you can’t fudge them very well so when you know that you are a stitch larger, you have to listen to the swatch or it doesn’t do you a bit of good. I speak from very recent experience. I knew it was off but I thought maybe it wasn’t that far off so I could get by with it. Guess who is going to be frogging her sock that is made for a giant. Luckily I was only a couple of inches into it so there isn’t a lot of progress lost.

I want to talk for just a moment about the pattern that I was knitting before I realized my mistake. I chose the My Cup of Tea Socks for this project because I really liked the crocus pattern on the front. I did a twisted german cast on, which is one of my favorites because it is sturdy but has a lot of stretch to it and leaves a nice edge. The ribbing is different. I have mixed feelings about it. It isn’t a K1 P1 or K2 P2 or anything like that but a weird combination of the two. I think that it is that way so that the patterning on the front wouldn’t look strange. Sometimes when you have ribbing followed by patterning directly underneath, it can make things look a little out of shape. Either way, it made the ribbing slightly more difficult because I actually had to look at my knitting. I only made it through the ribbing and one full pattern repeat before I accepted the fact that this sock was going to be huge, but the pattern isn’t horribly difficult. The back of the sock is in St st and the front has a pattern which is basically 12 stitches forward and then backward. Since I didn’t get to the heel, I don’t know for sure, but it looked a little strange. I probably would have substituted the heel for like an afterthought heel or something. I will likely knit this pattern again at a later time with either a lighter yarn or the correct size needles.

When life gets in the way

I mentioned yesterday that I have had a lot of non knitting things going on and I thought I would make a separate post to go into, at least a little bit of what has been taking up my time from knitting. This will be a tad long. You have been warned. Sadly the bulk of what I have been doing is planning for the future and that means I have nothing physical to show for it so I feel as though I have accomplished nothing, even while I have accomplished quite a bit.

First of all one I am starting back to school this fall and because of that, I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything turned in and situated for classes and financial aid. This may not seem like that big of a task, but I had a hold on my account for not paying a fee that I didn’t have any clue was owed. Once I got that squared away and got my application put in again and all, I couldn’t log into the school website. It ended up taking me something like 3 phone calls to get that fixed only to find out that I couldn’t register for classes because I had another hold on my account. Apparently they sent something to an address I haven’t lived at in over 7 years and the mail was returned. They didn’t use the address that I had on my application, which would likely be a better address than one I used 10 years ago. In fact since that time, I have lived at other addresses and been registered for classes and have never had this problem. After several phone calls, I finally got it fixed. Then there is the financial aspect of it. Financial aid and applying for scholarships takes a lot of effort and time. I am still waiting (im)patiently to see how much this is going to set me back next semester. I honestly can’t imagine getting ready for school with a full time job and a toddler, because it has taken me weeks of being a stay at home mom with a toddler and having time to do things. A lot of it has been waiting on other people to get things done and now I am playing the waiting game on all my financial aid stuff. For once I didn’t procrastinate and I am so thankful for that. I know that all of this will be worth it in the end, because it will put me in a better position to do the things that I would like to do as Jonathan gets older and as it gets closer to my hubby getting ready to retire. We are hopefully looking at 15 years, give or take, so I should be able to be done with school and get a good career going by then. I hate that it has taken me until my thirties to get all of this going, but life is what it is.

Outside of preparing for school, it has been a lovely, busy spring so far. Jonathan and I went with my dad and one of my best friends and her two boys to Silver Dollar City and Branson. It was so much fun. The day we came back from Branson, hubby and I took little man on his first camping trip. So far I have really enjoyed camping in the hammocks, though once the bugs start getting thicker, we will have to get the bug nets before we can do it again. Jonathan’s first camping trip was wonderful. He had a lot of fun. The campsite that we went to is in a lovely Arkansas State park nearby on the lake. We chose a site that was up above all the others so that we could have a little bit of privacy and it is now our favorite spot. We ended up going again the next weekend, just the two of us. It was wonderful, even if it was a quick trip. I think that if the weather keeps this up, we will be going camping a lot this year. While it was easier without the little guy, I sure don’t sleep well when he isn’t around so he will be.

I have been itching really bad to do some spinning. It has been almost a year since the last time I have gotten to use my wheel. Shortly after we moved into this house, some sweet adorable little boy stood on my wheel and knocked a nut loose so now it doesn’t treadle. It is a simple fix, only it requires a wrench which I haven’t made the time to look for. I will look for it tonight or tomorrow, because I want to get back to spinning really badly.

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