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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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.

Almost Finished Sweater

I apologize that I haven’t been posting lately, but I have had a lot of non knitting things going on that I will save for later.
I have finally finished (almost) the Bethel Woods Cardigan by Lion Brand. I am going to install a zipper and I haven’t blocked it yet, but otherwise everything else is complete on the sweater. I haven’t taken pictures of it completed yet, but I plan on doing so soon and will take pictures soon. I am now tasked with what to cast on next. I have so many things that I want to knit, but it seems like I have the hardest time making a decision on what I actually want to knit. I have enough of the Cascade Eco Wool left over from the Bethel Woods Cardigan to knit a sweater for my son, I think. Wouldn’t father son sweaters be adorable? Maybe a different pattern, but similar. It is definitely something to think about. I think I will cast on some more socks, at least until I can come up with something else. I may have to spend a day or two on Ravelry. Oh darn! 😉

What is everyone else working on? I love seeing other people’s projects.

For now, here is a knitting, reading, drinking coffee, and playing outdoors picture. Life is good.

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Spring, where are you?

We have officially made it to spring. Unfortunately the weather seems to keep forgetting that it is no longer winter. Here in NW Arkansas, we will have a couple of days of nice weather followed by almost freezing again. My solution? Finish knitting the sweater for my husband. That has to make the temperatures start rising, right?

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The main body of the sweater is finished and I have cast on one of the sleeves. I am happy with the way the pieces are looking so far. I do feel that the sleeves would have been better to have been knit in the round, but I chose to follow the directions and leave them knit flat. I am sure that this will make attaching them to the body easier. I haven’t been making enough time to knit lately. Shame on me, but that gives me something to work on.

20140324-112059.jpg This is what my evenings have been looking like lately. Staying up later than I should while knitting and watching classic Doctor Who.

My husband and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary. The weekend before, we went out to a nice dinner with our little fella and bought a couple of movies to watch at home. We also had wine and strawberries and chocolate while watching the movies. And of course I had my knitting!

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No second Sock Syndrome here!

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and general holiday season. I love Christmas, but with a toddler, this year it was slightly stressful for me. We managed to only have a few ornament casualties and we didn’t put out presents until the evening of Christmas Eve. I finally finished knitting the second sock in the pair I was knitting. All that’s left is weaving ends. I think I may have to do that today.

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I haven’t been doing much other knitting lately because I have been letting life get in the way. Honestly my stress levels go up drastically when I don’t knit that it makes me not feel like knitting and then we end up in this vicious cycle that sadly doesn’t involve knitting. No worries, I have several projects being planned out right now. I did start knitting on the Bethel Woods Cardigan for mg hubby again this week. I am still not completely sure that I am comfortable with this while uneven number of stitches in a 2X2 rib, but whatever. I am hoping that I don’t end up with some weird seam trying to hide extra columns of stitches. The Lionbrand site says that the pattern is completely up to date and I haven’t found any other posts of people having an issue, so either they are making a different size that has even numbers of stitches or I’m just crazy. I’ll knit it like the pattern says but I am not going to like it! Lol! If I get it finished and it looks funky, I’m ripping it out and knitting it in one piece. I’ll update more on that as I make more progress. Hopefully it won’t involve ripping things out.
I am wanting to start spinning more, but I am running into issues with my wheel and children. I still haven’t fixed my wheel from the last time my child broke it (no permanent damage, just loosened the nut holding the actual part that turns the wheel) and now I watch another child during the day, so I can’t always be in one room and I don’t trust either of them near it, even though she is older. Right now it is hidden in my storage closet which the kids aren’t allowed to get in to. It makes me so sad to have it locked away, but I don’t want it broken more permanently. I need to work on my schedule so that I can work more on things that I want to work on.
Speaking on scheduling, I am spending a lot of my time trying to learn a new skill (non fiber arts related). I’m one of those people who want to do it all, but I have had to sit down and look at life realistically. If something were to happen to my husband or he decided that he wanted to retire one day, I’m not in a very good position to jump into a career. I don’t have a ton of formal schooling and while I have a lot of experience in data entry and customer service, It isn’t my first choice of ways to spend my life. I’d love to write, but I don’t think I have the drive to do that, at least not at this point in my life, although I will always write. It’s what I do. By the way, my blog should not be any indication of my writing style! Lol! So what I am trying to say is that my spare time is being pulled yet another direction, as I am doing a ton of independent studying right now. I am not planning on quitting knitting or blogging, but my progress and posts probably won’t likely be as often as I’d like. Who knows. Maybe I will surprise myself!
Now since today is Saturday, I am going to spend most of the day laying around knitting, so I better get to it!

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Let it snow!

It’s been a while, but we’ve had a lot going on. Where to begin? Well let’s start with the most recent events! We have snow! I believe we got about 8 inches here in Northwest Arkansas but that is not an official number.

20131206-210932.jpg I am not a fan of cold weather but something about snow turns me into a giddy little girl again. I played in it twice. Jonathan has inherited the love of snow. That would be awesome if coming back into the nice warm house wasn’t a huge fight, but he’s 2 so I don’t expect any different.
What is the best thing to do on a beautiful, snowy day? Knit and drink the hot beverage of your choice while curled up on the couch in a cozy blankie. What did I do today? Sadly not knit. I have become obsessed with Pretty Little Liars and finished the second season today. I haven’t touched my knitting much since the obsession began, but luckily I will be done soon and life can go back to normal. I’m shooting to be done this weekend.
My birthday was last weekend (November 30). I got to start my birthday a little early with some shopping with my mom on Friday! Our first stop? The yarn shop!!! I couldn’t decide on what I wanted because I don’t have my next project picked out, but I did go home with a new set of needles for sock knitting. After we went and picked out a new top for me, I went home and ripped back to the cuff on my socks. Now that I am almost back to the heel, I’m thinking that should start all over, but we will see. Since I haven’t made that decision yet, I’m not really in a big hurry to knit on them.
I have worked a little on the cardigan for my handsome hubby. The back is completed and I have started on the right front. I’m a little past the ribbing but I’m a not real happy because it’s an odd number of stitches and it’s a knit 2 purl 2 rib. I’m beginning to feel like it would have been so much easier to have knit it as one piece. If I didn’t already have the back finished, I would. And despite the fact that the back is done, I may still rip it all back. I hate being indecisive about this kind of thing because it makes me not want to knit until I can figure it out. Maybe that will be a good thing to do tomorrow.

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Who needs monogamy?

For the first time in my knitting career, I have cast on two projects within days of each other, with the intent of working on both projects at the same time. I have been known to cast on a new project if I get bored with a current project, but I only work on one at at time. I know that the sweater will take me a while to knit and I want to start adding to my sock drawer so I cast on a pair of Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks. I have a feeling that I will end up working on just one project, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to knit on both regularly. I will post pictures at a later time. It’s pretty dark in this room and I have a snuggling baby so I’m not going to get up.
My knitting may be slowed down a little for the month of November, as I am planning on participating in NaNoWriMo. Believe it or not, I can actually write. I like to keep my blog pretty informal, especially since I usually post from my phone. That means there are the occasional autocorrects that I don’t catch, and punctuation errors. I’m excited for it, though 50,000 words is quite a bit considering I am a busy lady. It will take some scheduling time in, but I’m excited for it. If all goes well, I should have my first novel completed on my 31st birthday, which is a pretty awesome birthday present to myself if you ask me. I won’t blog much about it, but in case I don’t blog much in the month of November, you’ll know why!