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.

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

What the heel?

The Nutkins pattern calls for a short row heel. Now it had been a few years since I’ve done a short row heel but I don’t remember it being like this. This could be poor memory on my part, but I don’t think so. I was a little confused on the very beginning of the heel. Thankfully I’m not the only person that has had this problem. Ok. Let me stop here real quick and give my two cents. I read a few posts where people said that this a poorly written pattern. I have to disagree. I don’t believe that it is written clearly, but written poorly seems harsh to me. Maybe I’m just not that frustrated yet! I may figure out which heel it was I used last time and rip back. This one seems to make holes, but I am probably doing something wrong. *sigh*

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Nuts about Nutkins

A few weeks ago i purchased some lovely Spud & Chloë Fine in the Bumble color way. I have had my eyes on this particular yarn for a few weeks and was so excited when the time came that I was able to purchase. Rarely have I found a yarn that I obsess over as much as this yarn.

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I really prefer to have a project in mind before I buy yarn because then I cast on near immediately. I’m not a patient person when it comes to casting on. This time I agonized over which project I was going to make for just over a week. I finally settled on a pair of Nutkins. These are a cuff down sock. First things first. The cuff consists of a few rows knit, a purl row to turn the cuff, a few more knit rows, and then pick up stitches and knit with the live stitches to close the cuff. I typically use a knitted cast on for most things and occasionally a twisted German cast on, but this called for a long tail. I don’t like long tail cast on so much. But the first attempt, I tried it. I got through picking up some of the stitches when I decided that it wasn’t even looking to me. It was time for a crocheted
provisional cast on. Not my favorite method, but I love having nice evenly spaced live stitches rather than picking up stitches on a cast on edge.

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I am currently a few inches in and the pattern is a delight. It is one of those patterns where everything is just moved over one stitch within the repeats for 10 rows. It is very easy to see where you are in the pattern. The only thing I’m not crazy about on it is the first row of the pattern has a purl 1 and then a YO which creates a small hole. If I would have paid attention I would have made things extra snug on the first row, but I didn’t really notice it until I was a couple rows in. The rest of the row 1 repeats don’t do this the same way because of the shaping in the previous row. A slight gap, but not the same way. If I knit this pattern again, which I likely will, I will change that up, but as I’m already this far in the game, I’m not to worried about it. I also went down from the prescribed size US 1.5 (2.50) to a US 1 (2.25). I almost always knit on gauge with a pattern. So much so that I rarely knit a swatch first, except for sweaters, then always. I have noticed though that the last few socks I have knit don’t fit like I would like, despite knitting gauge on them. So I changed this up and knit a half size down. I think this was a wise decision.

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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