Two Down, Ten to Go

Before I reveal how well I did (or didn’t) do in keeping my New Year’s Resolutions in the month of February, I’d like to point out that February is a very short month. Consequently, a few of my goals weren’t realized until a couple of days into March. Nevertheless, I didn’t do too bad.

1. knit something from my handspun – Remember this gradient that I spun in January?

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Well, it became this.

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This shawl was a knit-on-the-fly kind of project, in which I didn’t really have a plan at the beginning. I did know that I wanted it to have a sort of “blossoming from the ground” kind of feel with the blue at the top being the flowers, the green being leaves, and the brown edging being roots. Accordingly, I agonized over every stitch pattern, count, and twist until it drove me crazy with the wondering if it was going to turn out okay in the end.

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The magic of blocking put all my fears to rest and I am extraordinarily pleased with the finished shawl. I am considering writing a pattern for it with a few tweaks to make it even better, but that takes a lot of time, so it might not happen (this year, anyway).

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Then I promptly gave it to my dearest friend for her birthday.

So, knit with my handspun? Check.

2. Knit a christmas gift or christmas decoration – This was the project that fell into March knitting time. To be fair, I had two of them done in February, but I have seven kids, so seven ornaments was, obviously, the goal.

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Elvish Mini Christmas Ornaments in all sorts of scraps

This photo is awful. Even now, they aren’t quite finished. I ordered little bells for them and will use the ends that you see for sewing them on.

So, knit something for Christmas? check.

3. Spin one braid (at least) I am halfway done spinning this –

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Mosaic Moon “Fallen” on Superwash Merino

See?

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I would have more spun, in fact I acquired several amazing braids that I cannot wait to get to, except that I had a mental hiccup. You see, I ordered my dream wheel – a Schacht Reeves!– and I want to spin on that! Alas, it isn’t coming until the first of April, so I have to content myself with my (still wonderful) old wheel.

So, spin at least one braid of fiber? check (halfway)

4. Keep my yarn/fiber purchases to the bare minimum (an unofficial stash down of sorts) Ahem. Ah. Hmmmm. Welllll. It’s like this….

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Actually I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just say I had to expand my stash storage. I am now officially declaring a moratorium on stash growth. At least for March…

So, unofficial stash down? BIG FAT FAIL (oh! you have no idea)

5. Keep my WIPs to a maximum of four. Yes! I did it! And I love it. I am finding that in my growingly chaotic life, having fewer projects on the go is very comforting. That is not to say that I didn’t get hit with a case of startitis here and there.  Because I totally did. But I resisted. And I am happy.

So, focus on fewer projects at a time? check

Two months down, ten to go. And I’ll do better in March. It is longer, after-all.

One Down, Eleven To Go

I just read an interesting study about New Year’s resolutions. In 2007, the study tracked 3000 people through one year to see how they fared in keeping their New Year’s promises. The end of the year showed dismal results. Only %12 percent of the original 3000 people had accomplished their goals. SO, how are you doing with yours?

As for me, I am going strong here at the beginning of the second month. And this is what that looks like –

My knitting/spinning goals were set out as follows –

1. knit something from my handspun – I am working on this one. I spun up a lovely merino/yak blend for the Follow Your Arrow mystery KAL and that is still in progress. It’s not my fault it isn’t finished. I blame Ysolda.

IMGP1759_mediumSpunky Eclectic Club Fiber August 2013, 8 oz of two ply sport weight. Ravelry page here.

I would post progress pictures, except that it is a mystery knit and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. If you want to see it so far, here is my project page.

2. Knit a christmas gift or christmas decoration – The Blessing’s Christmas Stocking is finished, blocked, and packed away for next Christmas. The feeling of accomplishment that fills my chest at having a Christmas item finished before February even began is enormous!

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This is a mish-mash of patterns, mostly Kristen’s Creative Christmas Stocking, and is knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes  avocado, lullaby, cranberry, and semolina.

3. Spin one braid (at least) I spun 12 oz of fiber in January. I showed you the merino/yak above, but there was also this gorgeous Mixed Color BFL progression.

IMGP1873_mediumSpunky Eclectic Colorway for a Cause “It’s a Beautiful World”, approx 450 yards of fingering weight singles.
Ravelry page here.

This is already on the needles and half knit. I got a head start on February’s handspun knit.

4. Keep my yarn/fiber purchases to the bare minimum (an unofficial stash down of sorts) Unsurprisingly, I didn’t do so well at this one. Thank goodness I wasn’t more specific!

This month I added to the stash 24 oz of fiber, and only spun 12. I gave/traded away 4 oz. This puts me at +8 oz.
As for yarn? I added 10 skeins and only knit 4 and scraps. But I gave/traded away 5 skeins. So +1 for yarn.

5. Keep my WIPs to a maximum of four. (In my original post I said a minimum of four, but ya’ll knew what I meant, right?) This I accomplished with great difficulty. And, right now I have five, but just since yesterday. The Mystery KAL kind of doesn’t count, because once this week’s clue is finished, I can’t work on it until the next clue comes out, which makes it kinda like a finished object each time I finish a clue. Besides, last night I didn’t want to knit my lace Hitofude Cardigan, and the rows on the Allegro are getting snore-inducingly long, and I finished my clue on the MKAL Shawl, and the other knit is taking too much brains, and I just really wanted an instant gratification type project. So I cast on a dress for The Blessing with this lovely stuff.

IMGP1845_mediumMosaic Moon Targhee DK in Burlap and Burlap Semi Solid

I am half done. I will be knitting longies to go with it, too. Awesomely cute!

One month down, eleven to go. And doing just fine. 

I love the challenge of resolutions and the feeling of accomplishment that sticking to them brings!

(I am doing really well with my healthy changes resolutions, too, but that is kind of boring, so I won’t detail it. Suffice it to say, the longer I go without sugar and coffee, the less I want it, and the more active I am, the better I feel. These are lifestyle changes, not just for this year, so I will just carry on and continue to reap the benefits thereof.)

Dale & Dolly – Dolly’s Gift

Dale and Dolly Christmas Wheel

“Dale and Dolly” is the collaborative work of The Bookworm and I. After I sketch out my idea in goofy little stick figures and scrawled lines of dialog, I hand it over to my thirteen year old daughter who works her magic. Her attention to detail and sense of humor make this comic strip what it is and I give her all the credit for this amazing series.  

Three Things

1. School Has Begun

First Day PixParadoxically, this has given me more knitting time. Homeschooling four different grades, plus teaching preschool and toddler wrangling and caring for a newborn, requires a pretty tight schedule if I am going to have any free time for my hobbies (and it does help with keeping me sane). Then there is the fact that everyone loves school. We have so much fun doing crafts, learning to read, studying exciting events in history, and conducting science experiments. It is exhausting but oh, so satisfying. (For those who would ask, our schooling is a blend of unschooling where we can, Charlotte Mason because it is fun and interesting (amblesideonline.org specifically), with Making Math Meaningful and Hooked on Phonics to teach the basics.

2. Knitting has happened

IMGP0127Not a whole lot of knitting, mind you, but just enough that I can show off a new finished project (and the baby. I never miss an opportunity to show off the baby!).

IMGP0101This cute little hat was a test knit that I did for perfectdisplay on Ravelry. There is no pattern, yet, but I will update my Ravelry project page when there is. Working with this yarn (Cascade Yarns Epiphany) was a heavenly experience, which came as no surprise seeing as it is spun from alpaca, silk, and cashmere. And the buttons! Oh, the buttons! Tessa Ann makes the most adorable buttons and these are no exception. 

3. A very little bit of spinning has happened as well.

IMGP9986And by “very little bit”, I mean a very little bit. This is the sample I made before I committed all 5 ounces of my muga silk to the wheel.  (This braid was a gift, purchased from Lucky Cat Crafts on Etsy.)

IMGP9960Talk about heavenly! This stuff is amazing and spins up into a gorgeous laceweight. It wants to be threadlike thin so it will be two ply. And when I said it is spinning up slowly, I was thinking of the fact that, though I started it weeks ago, I have yet to spin even half of it. 

Spinning is the hardest thing to do right now. My spinning time is at the end of the day after all of my little ankle biters are asleep in their beds. But, these days, despite my best intentions, I only have enough energy in the evenings for a little Netflix watching (currently we are enjoying old episodes of Lie to Me) and then to bed I go, falling asleep before my head hits the pillow! So, some nights I spin for an hour or so, but most nights I satisfy myself with dreaming of spinning, which is the next best thing, despite the fact that I have nothing to show for it in the morning!

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Girl Knitting

While I am perfectly happy not finding out the baby’s gender until the moment I push it out, it sure is fun when my friends find out what they are having! Girlie knitting is so much fun, so when my knitting buddy found out she was having another daughter, I was very excited (in a purely selfish, now-I-can-knit-something-gender-specific kind of way). And I knew what yarn I would use, too.

Mosaic Moon BFL/Silk top always comes in a super fluffy braid of yummy fiber goodness, and this braid, dyed in the Colibri colorway, was no exception –

IMGP8353_medium2I spun it up right when it came in the mail and n-plied it to keep the colors pure. Then it sat in the stash, waiting for the perfect project. Ravelry stash page here.

IMGP8437_medium2The perfect project ended up being something straight out of my head, a onesie with frills and a balloony butt. Ravelry project page here. (I pretty much wrote out every step, so if you wanted to, you could make one, too.)

IMGP9332_mediumIt is always so much fun to see how my handspun knits up, and this was no exception. I am very pleased and proud of how even this yarn turned out and pleasantly surprised by the way it striped up.

This was a very hard thing to give away, but there are few as deserving as the recipient. I am so excited to see her little baby girl wearing it in just a couple more months!

 

 

 

A Collection Of Randomness

First off, I would like to thank all of you who have been asking me if I am still alive. Yes, I am here, still pregnant, and healthy, and extremely uncomfortable. Hence the lack of blogging. I don’t want to make this blog my whining place about all of the ways that this pregnancy is torturing me, so I simply stay away. And then there is The Cave, which is once again beckoning me to hide away and finish off this gestation in solitary confinement, preferably in a warm bath with soft music and occasional, brief visits from the little people whom I love, but are who so loud and energetic!

There are some things that I can share with you, though, of the knitting and spinning variety, that would make a decent blog post. So, here is a random collection of my yarnie activities from the last month. (to shorten my sitting at the computer, I am not going to provide individual links to all of these projects. The details can be found in my Ravelry notebook here.)

1. Rainbows!

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2. Billowy Blanket

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IMGP9134_medium3. Fishie Socks!

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4. A baby sweater that came out too big (and so was reassigned to The Fraggle) and a second version that came out just right.

IMGP9197_medium2IMGP9192_medium25. Some sewing has happened, too. Necessitating some matching knit shorties, of course. (Super easy and cute sewing pattern from here and adorable fabric from this Etsy shop – you gotta check out her fabric. She has Mo Willems Pigeon fabric! Oh my! Too cute! )

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6. And, of course, some spinning. It feels like cheating to not properly post about these yarns – they were all great learning experiences and I have a lot to say about them. Maybe I will come back to that later. (Notes are on the stash pages if you can’t wait) For now, just enjoy the pretties. ooooooo, pretties!

IMGP9167_medium IMGP9211_medium IMGP9131_medium IMGP9171_mediumIMGP9162_mediumThere is knitting in progress, some baby related, some not. Spinning is on hold for now, as my feet swell horribly after I sit at the wheel for any decent length of time.

In other news (since this is a random post), my three June Bugs are turning 6, 4, and 2 years old this month and there is a super frilly, pastel pink, girlie-girlie, ballerina tea party coming up that will be very fun to show you. I think that I enjoy planning the parties more than the kids enjoy the actual event, which really is a good thing, because it is a lot of work!

And, now, the obligatory belly shot – 35 weeks down, 5 more to go (give or take)

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SO, that is me for now. I’ll try to check in again before baby comes, but I make no promises. Just know that when this pregnancy finally ends and I have a wonderful new baby and a body that doesn’t torment me anymore, I will surely return to being a good blogger. Thanks again for all of your support and well wishes. I enjoy hearing from all of you, both here and on Ravelry. I have such a sweet group of cyber friends. Thank you for hanging in there with me!

 

 

 

It’s A Lot Like Working Magic

Bibbity

IMGP8910Bobbity

IMGP8964Boo!

IMGP8990Spunky Eclectic April 2013 Club, Seashells on Oatmeal BFL
480 yards of worsted weight, true 3-ply, fractal spun with a tiny skein of leftovers that I navajo plied (I hate waste!)
Ravelry stash page here

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This is quite possible the floofiest, squishiest, airiest yarn that I have ever spun. I was trying very hard to not overspin it and I think I did a pretty good job. On the other hand, while I was spinning it I thought I was going to get a DK weight yarn, and what came out was worsted to bulky, so fluffy – yes, DK – no. At least it is fairly consistent.

 

IMGP8985I have no idea what to make with it so into the stash it goes. I am sure inspiration will hit and this will become something awesome.

 

 

 

 

Spinning Day Lilies

Sundays are for spinning. It is a most relaxing way to spend my Sabbath – especially when I am navajo plying.

I started spinning this gorgeous South African Fine Merino from the Spunky Eclectic Club a couple of weeks ago:

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February 2013 Club Day Lily

Because I was spinning it super thin, and because I also spent a lot of time knitting and mothering, it took me a long while to get this four ounces to look like this:

IMGP8915This is probably the thinnest that I have spun yet.

Navajo plying has got to be the most relaxing activity there is. I just love it. I love the yarn that it produces, too.

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I got about 415 yards of fingering weight yarn out of the one braid. Then I sold my other two to a fellow Raveller because, while I love this yarn, I have no idea what I would make with 12 ounces of it.

IMGP8918As it is, I have no idea what I am going to do with 4 ounces! It is very pretty and I am happy to let it ruminate in the stash for awhile. Maybe socks? Maybe a baby thing? We shall see.

As for me, I have moved on and already have a bobbin full of this months’ Spunky Fiber, a gorgeous BFL that has me completely over the moon (and not just because it is purple)!

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