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.

Being crafty is a fine art

In the last few weeks, I have really been trying to make more time for the things that I love most. It has been a little hit and miss. I love spinning, I love knitting, I really enjoy sewing, but more importantly I love my little boy. I am still trying to find the best balance between doing the normal chores around the house, raising my son, and enjoying my passions. I haven’t touched my knitting in days, but we have gone to the splash pad and celebrated my hubby’s birthday, so I am calling this a victory. I have also cut out a rough pattern for my next sewing project. It isn’t super secret or anything, but I don’t want to reveal too much until it is done. Mostly just in case I decide to do something different with the fabric. I am still trying to hammer out the details of my design so it will be a while before it is finished. I may end up picking up another fabric for the contrast, too.

The thing that I enjoy more about sewing than knitting or spinning is that, while I know how to sew from a regular pattern, I prefer to do my own designs. I am basing this one off of a bought pattern, only for the basic shape, but then there will be many modifications to it so it is loosely based on it. My friend Bethany pinned a pattern on Pinterest the other day that I fell in love with and will be making at some point in the near future. She made one and it came out adorable. I am afraid that the fabric that I bought may end up being used for this bag instead. You should check out Bethany’s blog, Pretty Little Fiber Co. She is an amazing knitter, spinner, photographer, and is a pretty awesome person in general. I am thankful to have friends like her in my life. We have a wonderful group that gets together every other week to knit, talk, and enjoy each other’s company. I love that I get to see my best friend, Jessica, every other week, and recently her newest addition to the family, Mae, as well. Without Jessica especially, and the other ladies in the group, I don’t know where I would be right now.

Progress may be slow on everything I am doing, but I will have more updates coming! Have a wonderfully yarny day!

Almost counts in spinning, right

Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, but I think it counts in spinning too. I started plying up the singles that I’ve been working on forever. I forgot that my sweet little boy threw my bobbin I use for plying and broke it the other day. It’s plastic and just the end broke off where the two pieces were joined. I’m pretty sure that the super glue that I have will do the trick. I stuck it back together and am going to let it sit overnight to be on the safe side. I only got about 3/4 of the bobbin filled when the bobbin started popping apart so I went ahead and washed it so it is hanging to dry now. I first did a few yards as a sample to see how it’d come out and I knit it up. I am in love. So the entire amount that I have is not done, but because I can see what it’s going to look like and I will finish tomorrow, I’m calling it almost finished and that makes me happy.
I did complete my sewing project during nap time today. Jonathan is the proud owner of two toddler pillows! Now I understand that he is 19 months old and is not really supposed to have a lot in his crib with him, but we started putting small baby blankets in with him since he was about 14 or 15 months old. I’m a scardy at when it comes to my baby. Some things are not worth the risk, but I feel confident in the pillow that I have made for him. They are one inch thick and are foam so they shouldn’t be all fluffed on his little face. I had so much fun with this little project. It made two pillows. I am barely more than a beginner in front if a sewing machine, but these turned out well. There are things I would change for next time, but I am very pleased with how they turned out. I did a hem around the open end edge and they matched up perfectly. You can’t tell where the seam started and ended. I have a few more sewing projects planned, but they will have to wait until I can get more fabric.

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Sewing, knitting, and spinning, oh my!

Ok, maybe not so much crochet, but I do have some knitting and sewing projects in the works.
I really wanted to have my Queen Anne’s Lace shawl finished before our next knit night, but I don’t see that happening. I haven’t been making enough time to knit on lace lately. Despite the fact that I feel as though this is an easy lace pattern, it just requires more attention than I have been able to devote to it during the day. Since I can’t give it my undivided attention all the time, I decided to work on some other things for a while so I went to my storage unit the other day to pick up some fiber and yarn. I found 2 nice skeins of sock yarn hanging out in there so I decided a nice, simple pair of socks were the right project to cast on for when Jonathan is playing by himself. Unfortunately I realized that I didn’t have circular needles in a good size for sock knitting. I did find a set of US #3 DPNs. Let me tell you, I hate DPNs. So far, I have 4 inches of one sock done and have had two incidents of needles coming out of my knitting. Luckily for the DPNs, I enjoy fixing issues in my knitting. One time was my fault. I thought I was grabbing the free needle out if my bag and it wasn’t. The second time, I left my knitting alone for a minute to run in the other room and my sweet, adorable, darling, precious, cute toddler, decided to “knit”. Yup. Thankfully I like my little fella and I was able to pick everything back up. Only a couple of stitches dropped down a few rows so it wasn’t a big problem. Note to self, pick up some new circs in smaller sizes in the not too distant future. So now I have some “social” knitting and lace. I won’t finish my spiral shawl by next knit night, but it won’t be too far off.
I said I had to pick up my fiber as well because I have been super fired up about spinning the last week or two. I have finished 2 bobbins of the peacock fiber that I died that I now look at and think Mardi Gras. I still don’t know how I am going to ply it yet, but I will work on it on Thursday while I watch the series finale of The Office. I am seriously thinking about spinning up another color and plying them together, but I’m going to do some playing with it. One of my sweet friends who also spins and knits let me borrow a book/DVD that I have been wanting to watch, Spin Art by Jacey Boggs. It is amazing. It made me realize some things that I haven’t really figured out yet in spinning. I don’t claim to an advanced spinner, but I do feel comfortable in front of a wheel. The techniques in this book are not beginner techniques but I think I could pull them off with enough practice. In the first few minutes of the video, I realized how very limited my spinning really is. I simply do what works for me. I don’t know very well how to manipulate what I am making. I don’t really know how to spin with the final product in mind. This is a spinning goal I have. I want to upgrade my skills and be able to make just about any kind of yarn I want. I mean that should be what I am doing. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this. So I am going to be trying out some new techniques and really start learning the craft. I feel as though I am close, I just don’t know everything that I need to know yet. I want to be able to confidently spin beautiful yarns, including texture yarns. Lots of practice will be happening over the next few weeks.
Speaking of brushing up on skills, I have decided to do some small sewing projects and really work on my sewing skills. I am making a small pillow for my son. He loves laying his head on blankets and stuff and honestly since he is only 19 months old, it makes me a little nervous still so I decided to make a real light pillow for him and start to transition his room from baby mismatched stuff to a big boy pirate room. I’m not doing it all at once, but a little here and there. The pillow is the fist step. Also I might make me a little bag out of it.

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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!

Plan for Etsy store

First of I wanted to say that I will hopefully have everything ready to start listing on Thursday, December 31, 2009. I am starting out with a kind of light load of hand dyed roving. The hardest part right now is that I need to take some pictures to list. Once I get that done, I will be ready. Also I would like to put some hand-spun on there, but most of what I have ready to go right now, is some that was kind of beginner yarns, if that makes sense, so there are sometimes places that are not entirely even. Just in a few spots. I am wondering if that would even be something that anyone would like to buy. It isn’t thick and thin yarns, it is like thin with the occasional underspun spot. I may put it on and explain about it and if no one buys it then I will just keep it. I do need to measure it all again though, before I can list. I was going to have some stitch markers to go with them, however, I have just not made the time to make more than one. Yup. One. There are reasons though.

Knitting: I did not finish the sleeve before Christmas. The Fog sweater is STILL not done. Every time I have tried to set aside time to knit, something has come up. Ok. One of the somethings was a PS3. Christmas Eve I planned to knit all day, but we had 14 people in the house, and I couldn’t concentrate with everything going on around me. I did really enjoy the fellowship with the family though, so I suppose it was worth it. It WILL be finished before Jan. 1. I have all day New Years Eve to myself to knit. If I have to stay up until midnight finishing, it will get done. If it doesn’t please don’t yell at me. So since it is coming up on the new year I figure that I ought to go through and start looking at projects for 2010. I am excited about this. February is the Ravelympics and I will be knitting along with TEAM KNITMORE! I haven’t decided on a project for this yet. I am seriously thinking a pair of fair isle mittens, but I have to see what hours I will be working before I commit to this project. I may try entrelac socks. I will post my 2010 knitting goals later on this week, probably on New Year’s Eve. For now I will say that I would like to knit a tam, as well as at least 3 shawls this year; one for me, my mother, and my best friend. I also have Christmas crocheting to do for my favorite 3-year-old in the world. Spiderman blanket. I believe that once I get the pattern down, it will take me no time. *fingers crossed* I just have to finish this sleeve first. I am skipping lunch today to knit on the sleeve.

Spinning: Ok. Fiber. I have been trying to put as much time in this sleeve as I can so I have set the spindle down until I get it done. I have been doing some dying and some of that will be spun up. I have a few ounces set aside that were a test dye, if you will, that is broken up into about 6 or 7 pieces and I don’t really want to sell it that way. If it was like two big pieces, it would be different, but some of these are just 8 or so inches long. Maybe someone would like that, I don’t know, so I am going to spin it to sell. It will be laceweight, probably. Most of what I have been dying is two colors. I am going to do some probably tonight that will be a solid color. I haven’t decided on the color yet though.

Sewing: I have been working on some designs for some bible covers. Mine currently does not have one and I have some ideas of what I would really like out of a bible cover, so I have them drawn out. I need to do some measuring and get some materials and get to work, but the knitting and spinning are higher on my priority list. Just know that this is stewing in my brain a bit. I will have pictures as soon as I get one completed.