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

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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.

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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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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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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