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.

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Staying awake

I really should be knitting, since there is pretty much no more work for the evening, but I am blogging instead. Enjoy.

I guess I will start off with knitting since it is quick and if you are just reading for the knitting, you can skip the bulk of this post. I forgot that I haven’t blogged in a week! So my knitting date with Jessica, Bethany, and Rachael was wonderful. I am so blessed to be able to call these ladies my friends and even more so that they all knit. I think that we are all probably at different levels of knitting. Bethany and I have both been knitting and spinning for a while. Jessica is fairly new to knitting and I believe that Rachael may be as well, but you can’t tell in their workmanship. Anyway we had a wonderful time drinking coffee, knitting, and talking. I guess we weren’t all knitting. Bethany was stationed at her wheel which REALLY made me miss my wheel.  Plans are in place to get the rest of our stuff from Georgia (hopefully). Since I had finished the Bitterroot Shawl the evening before (which STILL hasn’t been blocked), I had casted on (again) the Hermione socks. I didn’t get a whole lot knitted, but I did get some. I haven’t worked on them much since then. The first sock is a hair over 5 inches long (oddly about the exact size of the baby growing in my belly!) and hasn’t seen any progress in the last 2 days anyway. Or maybe 3. I did find several repeats in that I somehow read the chart upside down. I don’t know how I did it, because I have never done that before, but I did. Oh well. No big deal. It is just now the upside down hermione sock. I think it will be just fine.  In other fiber related news I found a link for some sewn cloth diapers. I am only thinking that I will risk making the actual pre-folds, but we will see. I don’t think I am advanced enough to make an actual diaper that will fit! But that is pretty much all my fiber related stuff for today. I need to change that for my next post so it will be a little more interesting! I will probably not add any pictures of the hermione socks at this point. You will know if I change my mind.

So this week my husband and I decided that we are pretty well unhappy with our current residence. We love the apartment, but hate it too. Let me explain. We live in a college town, and live fairly close to the college. Our apartment is a little on the nicer side and we figured that would probably keep some of the college kids away. Wow. That makes me sound SOOOO old. I do not generally despise college kids. I know several and in general have no problems with them, however I would not choose to live in a college dorm and was not expecting my apartment to be basically a dorm. The first week we lived there was amazing. It was quiet and besides the fact that we live on the 4th floor and at the end of a very long hallway, I had no major complaints, and we have an elevator so I don’t even have to deal with stairs 10,000 times a day. Well we moved in the Friday before Spring Break. So now that Spring Break is over, the parking lots are full and I can hear people walking down the halls and opening/closing doors. Nothing major. I can live with that. Well the closer we get to summer, the more problems we are having. Trash has been a major issue. Pizza boxes, drinks, general trash in the elevators, hallways and “dog park”. Oh and speaking of dog park, apparently I am one of the few responsible pet parents. Someone who has a VERY large dog does NOT clean up after their animal. I have a Yorkie. Her poo is tiny, think tootsie rolls. Granted I wouldn’t want to clean up after a horse either, but that is part of it and they even provide bags and a trash can. Keep in mind I am pregnant. The smell of the “pet park” would normally make me gag, but now its 10 times worse. That I can deal with. I pick up other peoples trash and deal with it, no matter how much I hate it, so that I don’t have to live in filth. I don’t pay the amount of money that we pay in rent (it really isn’t that much but still) to have trash every where. The biggest complaint that I have been having lately is very interesting to me. The doors to our apartments are inside. We have hallways that look similar to a hotel. Pretty much you can hear what goes on inside of apartments in the hallway. This does not work the otherway. Aside from being able to hear doors and heavy footsteps, sound does not travel into our apartment. I like this. A lot. However all the sounds outside are a totally different story. I get home a little after 12:30 in the morning. People should not be outside yelling and carrying on at midnight. There is just no sense in that. This has been a reoccuring thing and it is different people all the time. That being said, when people are having parties in their apartments and you walk by, you can hear them. Loudly. I am still not sure what exactly was going on at the party one down and across the hall from me, but I heard some talk in the hallway that pretty much secured the fact that my 14 year old stepson does NOT need to be walking around this place. My husband feels the same. The last major thing that I have an issue with is the fact that the dog area is not lit at night. I get off work at midnight and when I get home I take my dog out. I feel that with all the cute little college girls around, a dark dog park is probably not the safest place for me to be at 1 AM. I have seen these girls laying out by the pool. They wear next to nothing and none of them are under 5’7 and probably weigh 130 lbs (another reason my stepson does NOT need to hang out by himself) and while I am neither tall nor skinny, I still don’t want to get mistaken for some cute college girl and get attacked. Really I don’t want them to get attacked either, but still! Anyway all of this has sparked the need to find a different place. And we would like someplace cheaper. While we make enough to live where we live, we do have a baby on the way and have things that we need and want and would like to be able to get. So we have found a duplex that we are thinking of moving to. We would be giving up quite a bit of room, but I think that what we will be trading will be good. I will miss my pretty apartment. We have 14 ft ceilings and such, but I would still rather have a “dumpy” place and have enough to keep my phone on all the time. Hopefully more updates on that later!

MMMM….. Fiber….

Knitting The Creatures of the reef shawl is coming along nicely. Slow, but steady anyway. The seahorse/crab chart is complete. I haven’t been working on Jim’s socks much lately because, well the shawl has my undivided knitting attention right now. I absolutely love working on it. There will be more of these in my future!

Spinning We were out on Sunday looking for chopsticks (who knew that a nice-ish set would be hard to find) and ended up in Pier 1. I love that store. Anyway we started looking around and I sat down in one of the chairs. I mentioned to Jim that it was almost perfect for spinning. It was just a little too deep. I am a little on the short side and I don’t like deep chairs. I want something I can rest all the way back so I can sit up straight. If I can’t reach the back then I slouch. So he looks at me and says to try a different chair. Next thing I know I have tried just about every chair in the store. The sales lady is helping and everything. Well I found it. It is the right heighth and depth. It kind of comes around the sides of the back and feels like a hug, but the back isn’t in the way. It was love at first sit. So we bought it. We weren’t going to buy any furniture because we are moving in December and we are pretty well getting rid of what we have, but I guess we are also buying a truck, so it doesn’t matter. The chair can move with us. I moved my wheel back downstairs to the living room and have been attempting (unsuccessfully) to learn long draw. Everytime I think I am getting it, something happens and I realize that I am not really getting it at all. But I am not too frustrated. I know it will come in time. I spoke with the gentleman from the alpaca farm not far from here and he told me about the spinning guild that meets about an hour and a half from my house. They meet every third Saturday so I am going to try to make it down there next month. It is kind of difficult since my husband and I share a vehicle, but I am going to go anyway! I am hoping that someone there can help me. I am very self conscious of my spinning. I didn’t take a class or anything to learn, so it makes me a little nervous that they will tell me I am doing it all wrong. I guess if I am, someone ought to tell me though! I spin a fairly balanced yarn at this point and although it isn’t as thin as I would like it to be, I am still learning. Anyway. I am taking my stepson to the alpaca farm with me on Saturday and we are going to get to tour the farm and meet the alpacas. I would like to come home with some fiber, but since my husband put in his two week notice at his steady paying job so he can start his sales job full time, it may not happen. I am glad he is going to be doing the other full time, but when you start working for mostly commission, it can be a little scary. I have full faith in him though. I am hopefully going to be teaching my stepson to spin soon. I told my husband that I feel confident enough in what I am doing that I think I could teach him correctly. He has asked several times. I think I am going to try to get a new drop spindle at some point and give him the one I have now. It isn’t great, but I don’t know if he will stick with it or not. Fingers crossed.

Sewing and quilting Did I just say quilting? Yup. One of the things that I thought I would never do, and here I am addicted to the fabric store and finding more quilting patterns than I could ever possibly make! My best friend in the whole word quilts and I finally broke down and asked her to teach me. Really it isn’t so bad, except I think I am going to have to modify the pattern just a tiny bit because I should be getting enough out of the fat quarters to make 3 squares, and I am finding myself coming up just short. I am measuring and cutting everything correctly, so I don’t know what is wrong. But I don’t care really. I am also thinking that instead of making it 5 squares by 7, I am going to make it a little more even. 35 squares means that I would have an orphan square. I am a little on the OCD side and I think it would drive me insane. So I am thinking 5X8 squares. As far as sewing is concerned I completed my first ever top. I have sewn other things, but never clothing I actually intend to wear. There were some last minute alterations that I needed to do, and the alterations didn’t come out so hot, one side is a tiny bit crooked but I am the only one who has noticed, but it is done! I haven’t decided how I am going to go back and change it to where it is perfect, but I have to tell you I love to sew! Not just a little either. It is not as much fun to me as knitting, but I believe that there will be many, many more hand sewn clothes in my closet. I need a dress form. Not just for sewing. I would like one for knitting so I can work on patterns a little easier. It is hard to see what something is looking like when it is ON me. I never really thought that I would want to be designing clothing of the non knit variety, but I do! I guess I just want to do it all. But knitting and spinning are still more fun for me and I still intend on them being my focal point. I doubt seriously that I will ever try out for Project Runway, but I think that I will have many made for me clothes in the future.

Well off to knit! It has been a long stressful day and I need some relaxing!