Blog, Crochet, Daily Life, Food Allergies, Knitting, Parenting

Perspective

de-stash415

Today has been one of those uber busy, non-creative, mom is running errands type of days.

Little Bear had to go to the allergist (food allergies! yay!!..), which went amazingly well, I mailed out some de-stash yarn, which was a total plus (hooray for more space!!), and then had lunch with my mama… before going food shopping.

Plenty of normal everyday type stuff, but then I received an e-mail from a hospital I asked about making baby hats for, and was told that the need lapghans/small afghans for cancer patients, and those undergoing chemo treatments. It kind of puts things in perspective, when you realize that those who are stuck in the hospital with a prolonged illness would love to have the day I just had.  I’m tired, but they’re exhausted from fighting for their lives.

Guess my day was pretty good after all – I got to spend it with a happy, smiling Little Bear, and got to see my mama!

Tomorrow is surgery day, so I won’t be around tomorrow, and likely won’t be around for a couple days after that. Prayers are welcome (it’s just a minor hernia repair – nothing crazy!), as always.

Current Projects, Daily Life, Housekeeping

Flash Your Stash 2015

A few years ago a tradition of “flashing your stash” was created, and if you weren’t aware of it before, it can be a really fun way to keep track of the yarn & projects you have. It’s kind of like spring cleaning for knitting and crocheting people, especially since we seem to be prone to amassing large quantities of yarn without realizing it, because it’s just so darn pretty!

Here’s my stash flash for this year:

Sport-super bulky

WIP&Fabric

SF1

SF2

So. Obviously something needs to change. I’ve already come to that realization (see the post below about changes being made over this summer), but doing this stash flash confirmed it for me. I’ve obviously gotten into the habit of just buying yarn because it’s pretty, starting projects, and not finishing very many of them. These aren’t really character traits I want to be known for; I would rather be someone who exercises self control, and finishes what she starts. Therefore, I will be working SOLELY from what is in these pictures for the foreseeable future. There’s absolutely no rational reason why I shouldn’t use what I have and finish the projects I’ve already started. I’m really excited to show you all progress photos as these goals are achieved!!

Have you done a stash flash yet this year? What does it look like, and what did you learn from it?

Daily Life

I Could Never be a Writer..

Writers have to believe in their own work; this includes writers of books, plays, movies, songs, etc. Often I read a portion of a poorly written book and wonder about who the author is as a person. How did they get to the point of creating this book, and what are their dreams and aspirations?

What inspires someone to write a book without having it proofread first?

What inspires a lyricist to create a sappy love song for someone else to sing and take credit for?

How do authors spend enormous amounts of time and effort on books and then sit back and watch the books be offered for little to no money? I’m sure I wouldn’t any work of mine to be sold so cheaply!

Along the lines of the first statement I made, writers have to believe in their own work. How does one become satisfied with writing cheap and tawdry harlequin romances, or the teenage equivalent, which has become so prevalent and popular among the youth of today? I have to assume at some point, these authors read a book that inspired them to write – they must have seen the way someone else crafted words and been amazed and awestruck; what was the path that transformed them from these starstruck “wannabe” authors to those who will write anything as long as it sells?

I could never be a writer.

Too often I read books and laugh because I would be so embarrassed for my work to be continually republished and reread if it was written so poorly.

I could never be a writer.

I’ve never grasped the idealism, terminology, and use of cliche that seems to be the desired and accepted norm of today’s literature (if you even call it literature).

I could never be a writer.

 

Current Projects, Daily Life, Designing, Knitting, Paid Crochet Pattern, Paid Knitting Patterns, Promotions, Reviews

Indie Design Gift Along 2014

I know i’ve been bad about posting regularly on here, but there’s a good reason! I’ve been preparing for the Indie Design Gift Along on Ravelry!! <– that’s a link to the Ravelry group. You should go check it out now. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

waiting….

Ok, you’re back now, and you realize how fantastically awesome this is going to be?!

(for those of you silly people who didn’t go check it out, here’s a brief rundown)

Do you know what that means?! That means almost 300 designers are having a massive sale together! That’s 3,822 patterns that are on sale. And then, as if that weren’t enough, we get to all have a massive knit along/crochet along to make christmas gifts together!

So. Much. Happy.

Must knit All. The. Things.

*sigh* I know I won’t be able to make all the things, but guess what? I get to include my designs in the sale!! You know how I said i’ve had a good reason for being AWOL? Check out the new patterns I was getting tested and published:

BWIS KPSIS Whalecowledited_small2

These are (from left to right): Black Walnut Infinity Scarf, Karen: A Puff Stitch Infinity Scarf, and A Whale of A Cowl

(aka examples of how my photography skills have improved *facepalm*) These patterns and more will be part of the sale (that starts in just 2.5 hours, at 8 pm EST – I’m so excited!! There’s a countdown clock here, I keep looking at it!)

So, what can you expect from me through the end of the year? Interviews with designers, project photos, me squealing with joy when someone has interviewed me and I feel like the most legit designer ever, and just generally a lot of yarn-y goodness!

 

p.s – like my new logo?!

 

Current Projects, Daily Life

Scheduling

Say that with a British accent, please, as that’s how it sounded in my head when I wrote it!

I’m the kind of person who likes to have checklists, spreadsheets of projects, and timelines for what i’m working on. I guess you could say that makes me a nerd, but I like to have everything i’m going to be working on laid out, especially if I have multiple large projects going on. Want to see what my current timetable looks like? (it’s totally unreasonable, and is in the process of being revised..)

Current Timetable

So, this is my brain. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start! These are all intended to be finished before Christmas (there’s actually a couple small items missing here, but that’s because they’re small, and can be worked in 1-2 days each, such as stuffed animals, mug cozies, phone cases, etc).

 

Highlights for right now:

Remember the HPKCHC group on Ravelry? They’re super good for inspiring me to keep deadlines, by offering imaginary points for finishing projects 🙂

For the next two days, i’m finishing a colorwork mitten test knit, which shall be revealed.. eh, probably Wednesday or Thursday – once I get all the ends woven in.

Am I the only one who makes spreadsheets? My favorite part is going to be highlighting/filling in the cells once I accomplish these projects!

Current Projects, Daily Life, Designing, Free Knitting Pattern, Knitting

New free pattern coming soon

It’s fall! Well, sort of. I’m so excited for knit and crocheted accessories! I’m working on a bulky mitt recipe/pattern and just had to share my progress! I’m using patons colorwul, and I adore it. I’ve never used it before, but it is my new favorite mitt/mitten making yarn!

image

Sorry for the fuzzy phone pic- I’ll take good ones when they’re done, promise!

Current Projects, Daily Life, Knitting

Progress!

I’m very pleased to announce that I’m actually making progress on the tote of projects I posted about a couple days ago!

Remember this? My Sock Yarn Blankie?

wpid-imag1321.jpg

It has 18 new squares! I haven’t counted yet, but i’m probably going to need about 30 more before it’s completely finished, and will also be doing the i-cord edging, but 18 in a couple days is pretty significant for something I haven’t worked on in years!

Here’s a couple of the new lovelies:

wpid-imag1361.jpg  wpid-imag1363.jpg

Can you spot them? I’m using a bunch of mini-skeins from Ravelry swaps, and it’s turning out quite nicely, I think. I’m just wanting to finish this one for now (you’ll find out why in a week or so..), but i’m thinking if I did one again, I’d probably just buy a bunch of mini skein grab bags off of Etsy, or something like that. I have a bunch of fingering weight yarn, but a lot of it is solid, and in large quantities, which really doesn’t lend itself to this project!

 

Also on my list for this week is adding more products to my Etsy shop. I’ve gotten really bad about that, because i’ve MADE a ton of things, but haven’t added them all to the shop. Hopefully I can add one or two per day, and get everything listed this week!

Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, Knitting, Uncategorized

Projects, projects everywhere…

One of my goals for this year has been to cut down on the number of active projects that I have going at the same time. I’m great at starting projects, but i’m really not so great at finishing them. In light of that [not so surprising] revelation, yesterday was spent frogging old projects that had been sitting in a plastic tote for almost 3  years (literally – 3 years!), and finishing up one blanket that I made the squares for while still in high school. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a “before” picture of the tote, but you can use your imagination. This is all that was left after the frogging and blanket assembling:

wpid-imag1329.jpgNice mostly empty bucket with reclaimed yarn, yes? A couple projects did end up getting tossed, due to the fact that I think moths might have been at them, and it just wasn’t worth it to risk my stash!

wpid-imag1327.jpg

Here’s the blanket that I assembled last night – my taste in colors and design has obviously changed since high school, as you will see as we start to look at my current projects!! (get ready for lots of pictures!)

In the spirit of trying to finish up projects that have already been started, I re-filled the tote (the one I had just emptied) with projects (I took pictures first!) and have decided that I am going to knit/crochet only from that tote until it is empty, and then fill it again. It includes mostly already started projects, with yarn for one new one, and once I get the supplies for one commission project, that will be in the tote as well. My hope is that this will give me motivation to get rid of my old projects, either by finishing or frogging – it forces a decision. So, without further ado, here are the projects in my tote! I hope that I will be able to post finished pictures very soon!

wpid-imag1321.jpg  wpid-imag1331.jpg  wpid-imag1345.jpg wpid-imag1353.jpg  wpid-imag1341.jpg

These five are my blanket projects they are (from Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

The Sock Yarn Blankie, by Shelly Kang (started in May of 2010), Owl Obsession, by Marken of the Hat & I, (Started April 2014), a scrappy blanket of five strands held together knit on US 50s that I have no pattern for, because i’m just making it up as I go along! A Purple Crocheted Lace Baby Blanket, by Baby Dear (Which I so believed I wasn’t going to finish, I deleted it from my project page on ravelry!, and a square for an ongoing test that i’m participating in, so the pattern is not yet published.

wpid-imag1333.jpg  wpid-imag1334.jpg

These Two are my Mitten/Gl0ve projects:

Ringwood gloves, by Rebecca Blair, (started who knows when..), and a KnitPicks kit: Woodland Winter Mits (Started on my honeymoon.. December 2011!)

wpid-imag1338.jpg wpid-imag1344.jpg

Sweater Projects! The Rose Trellis Shawl Vest by Vera Sanon (to be started soon – and will actually be for me!!), and another KnitPicks Kit – The Corrie Fair Isle Vest (Started while I was still in high school – I’ve never gotten up the courage to steek it! Hopefully this filling a tote thing will force me to..)

  wpid-imag1346.jpg  wpid-imag1360.jpg

A couple random projects: Dragon, by Stacey Trock and Norma’s Bag (Pattern is my own – modeled after a picture I saw, but the pattern is no longer available, so i’m making it up as I go along!)

 wpid-imag1349.jpg  wpid-imag1358.jpg

Feet! A Slightly adapted version of DROPS 150-4: Little Red Riding Slippers and a pair of Galilee Slippers, by Tara Murray

wpid-imag1352.jpg

Last, but not least, projects that only need ends woven in, or blocking.

Hemlock Ring Blanket, by Jared Flood (Which is such a pain to block, but so pretty when it’s done.. I just really, REALLY hate blocking this pattern. I made two of them before blocking one. If I had waited to block the first one before making the second, i’d have never made a second one!)  A Brunello Cardigan,  by Amy Swanson, (This has been done for.. at least 3 years? Only requiring ends woven in and blocking. Such a slacker..), That thing that looks like unicorn vomit is a Lafayette Shawl, by Julie Farmer, and just the TARDIS portion of Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherly, because I really wanted a TARDIS scarf, but not a shawl..

Keep in mind!! These are NOT (I repeat, NOT) all of the projects i’ve started – just the ones i’m actively trying to finish in the near future! Phew!

How many projects do you all have going on right now?

Have you ever been a monogamous knitter? (If so.. teach me?!)

 

Blog, Current Projects, Daily Life, Spinning

So.. I have a spindle and fiber.. How do you actually SPIN yarn?

There’s plenty of things in life that we know what they should look like in process, but just can’t quite execute ourselves. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair like the hairdresser when you were a kid? Exactly. You know what it looks like to get your hair cut, but you can’t do it.  Spinning isn’t like that. North American culture (for the most part) doesn’t use spinning, or even know about it beyond sleeping beauty pricking her finger – and even that’s on a wheel, not a drop spindle!

I got a comment on this post I wrote about making my own drop spindle, which for some reason didn’t show up on the site, so i’m not able to respond to it there. I’m sorry Katie, whoever you are, I hope you see this post!

-Katie asked: What did you do after you made it?  I mean to spin it and all.  I have never attempted this or even thought I could do it.

-Answer: I’m a super beginner when it comes to drop spindling, so I can’t necessarily tell you how i’ve perfected my technique, what to do, what not to do, all that. BUT! I can show you where i’m learning from!

The internet is fantastic, and i’ve found a number of excellent spinning videos, and i’d like to share a couple of them with you (and what i’ve learned from them).

Absolute favorite tutorial: Abby Franquemont, hands down. This video will help you with drafting, basic spinning, and understanding what in the world people are talking about in other videos when they explain spinning.

You have to be able to draft the fiber before you spin it

The Paradise Fibers Intro Tutorial – I really like this one for its details, and not making you feel silly!

Megan La Core – She also has an entire series on spinning

This isn’t so much a tutorial, as a fascinating video of a very experienced Navajo spinner/weaver. I find it extremely helpful to watch

people who are skilled at what i’m trying to learn, and to listen to their advice, because it stays in my head when i’m attempting to spin.

 

So here’s what i’ve learned so far:

-Spinning (at least the basics) isn’t the difficult part – consistent drafting is.

-Consistency takes practice – your first spinning isn’t actually going to come out looking like machine spun yarn.. because it’s not machine spun. Did you miss what my spinning looks like right now?

Image It looks like twisty wool. (I’ll post better pictures soon. Promise.)

-Watching experienced spinners (even when they’re not doing tutorials) is an awesome way to learn what spinning should look like.

 

Katie, I hope this helps, and that you saw this!

 

Anyone else have good spinning tips? Like I said, i’m still a super beginner! I can use all the help I can get!!

 

 

 

Daily Life, Designing, HPKCHC, Spinning

In Which Ruth’s Fiber Addiction Reaches the Next Level!

It’s finally happened!

I knew the day would come…

I can finally spin my own yarn!! {because I made my own spindle!! you can too – keep reading!}

 

I’ve dabbled in spinning before, but without having done much research and, it seems, without having a decent spindle, most of what I produced was super super super bulky weight yarn, which doesn’t do anyone much good.

I know i’ve mentioned before that I participate in something on Ravelry called (don’t judge my nerdiness) Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (henceforth referred to as HPKCHC). I love this group because i’m forever learning new crafting techniques and being challenged to try new ideas! This month, the Room of Requirement challenge is to make your own spindle! There were a couple tutorials but, being me, I wanted to figure it out on my own.

I went digging through my craft drawer and found the following:

A dowel (don’t ask me the size, I don’t know), and a wooden wheel of some kind

Spindle and Wheel

So My first problem is that the hole in the wheel wasn’t big enough. Thankfully, I have a lovely husband who knows how to use power tools, loves to help me make things, and fully supports my fiber related endeavors!

First we matched the drill bit size to the size of the dowel:

Matching Sizes  Matching Sizes 2

 

Next, I got to play with the power tools and drill a hole in the wheel

Drilling Hole Making Ruth's Spindle 011 Making Ruth's Spindle 012

 

 

Clint had to help me put the wheel on the spindle, because it was a super close fit and I didn’t want to use any wood glue to keep the pieces attached:

Making Ruth's Spindle 013

 

Since I didn’t have a hook to put at the top like normal people have, we used a screw.

Clint says to tell you that if you’re going to do this, you must drill a hole in the dowel first, or else you could crack the wood. I’m also supposed to tell you to use a small-ish bit, because you still want the screw threads to catch the wood, not just be all loose and rattly in the top hole.

Making Ruth's Spindle 016 Making Ruth's Spindle 018

 

Making Ruth's Spindle 019 Making Ruth's Spindle 022

 

I left the screw a pretty good bit out of the dowel, and Clint cut a notch in the side of the screw for me.

I tried to use just the screw to secure the fiber (silly me!) but alas.. it didn’t work. The notch in the screw works REALLY well, though!

Want to see what happened when I started spinning?!

Making Ruth's Spindle 024

BAM! I’m so pleased!

Better pictures will come soon, but I just couldn’t wait to share this!!

 

Have you ever made a spindle? What materials did you use, and how did it work out?