Fox Guarding the Henhouse

Naturally, when my stash was threatened this morning, I went on high alert.

I even posted a guard.

In a stroke of genius (and because I am a super fun mom), I appointed my number one suspect as guardian of the yarn, as if I never thought she would be capable of such crimes.

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I’ll let you know how that worked out as this story unfolds.

She is SO Predictable

My inner knitter is doing it again. She is so predictable. You see, I had the audacity to plan out my knitting for the next couple of months. I have made a list, I have checked it twice. Christmas is coming and it is deadline time once again. I told my inner knitter that she has to buckle down and get some things accomplished. She was happy at first, to have such a pretty list of knitting to do. Inspiration was flowing and the yarn went on the needles in a happy fashion. It was hard to not knit all the things! This list was inspiring! This list was exciting! This list was totally doable!

Fast forward to today, however, and my list has made a mysterious change. My once alluring siren has now morphed into a harsh task master – whipping my conscience for not completing projects in a timely manner, shaming me for desiring a smidge of inspiration, and shackling my creativity with a sense of obligation.

My inner knitter yearns to be free from her list of must-knits, but knows that she will be so satisfied if she could only see it through. She slogs through knitting projects that long ago lost all of their cast-on excitement, and she dutifully works to complete what she started with great determination and resilience.

But she also dreams of the day when she can cast on some frivolous knit with no deadline and no anxious little person endlessly asking, “Mama, is my ______ done, yet?” and no Christmas tree to mock her.

And so, oftentimes when I sit down to knit, I will find myself on Ravelry, surfing through everyone else inspiration, living vicariously through the creative expression of other people. I will waste the entire window of knitting time poking around on other peoples’ project pages and adding more patterns to my queue.

The irony is that my queue is full of the things that I found the last time this list tortured me so. And some of the things that I am knitting now came from that wandering eye when I was trying to avoid some “must-do” knitting of the past.

It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. Vicious. And my inner knitter never strays from the merry-go-round. Make list. Cast on. Knit. Get bored. Surf Rav. Make new list. And on and on it goes.

This actually reminds me of my stash. Oh, inner knitter! You have gobs of gorgeous yarn! Pounds upon pounds of heavenly fiber! Why do you continue to haunt etsy? and Eat.Sleep.Knit? and swap groups? Use the amazing stash that you have, already!

My inner knitter is so predictable!

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.)

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!

 

 

 

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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A Handspun Sweater and Three Years of Wool and Chocolate

When this fiber came in the mail, I knew that I wanted to wear it.

I wanted to wear it all the time. Day and night. Night and day. The colors were so “me” that I wanted to frame it and roll in it and write sonnets about it. And, as I have mentioned before, the Romney wool is new and exciting for this still beginning spinner.

So after I spun it up, I made this.

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A sweater of my own design, (Ravelry project page here) in Spunky Eclectic March 2013 club, Lightening Strike on Romney (Ravelry stash page here).

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A sweater made from a bit of fluff.

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I only had 12 oz to work with, so it has narrow fronts and 3/4 sleeves, both of which suit me just fine. I added a bit of shaping at the waist (which is totally lost on my currently more rounded form) and used up nearly all of the fabulous, 2 ply, worsted weight yarn.

IMGP8785 I love it, love it, love it! And it is just in time. As you can see, today is looking mighty dreary, wet and cold. Just the right weather to try out a new wool sweater!

But that’s not all! That’s right, folks! Three years ago today, I acted on a whim and started blogging. It took me awhile to get some momentum, to develop my style, and to figure out what it is that I want to say. I have met many interesting folks, both knitters and not, and learned a whole heap of new stuff. Thank you for reading my (sometimes) drivel. Thank you for commenting on my rants. And thank you for coming back for more.

Making Yarn is Too Much Fun

Mosaic Moon is one of my favorite dyers. This is a BFL/Silk blend in the colorway “Colibri”. IMGP8436

I decided to navajo ply it preserve the colors. This is my favorite way to make yarn these days. I love the structure of the three ply, how round and bouncy the finished yarn becomes. And the smooth motion of chain plying is both soothing and interesting.
IMGP8437I wonder what it wants to be knit into?

You Know You Knit Too Much When…

We were headed home after a long day of grocery shopping and errand running. The kids were tired and a little grumpy. I heard bickering in the back seat. “What is the problem back there?” I asked glancing in the rear view mirror.

“She won’t let me look at the book,” The Munchkin complained. “And now there is nothing for me to look at!”

“Nonsense!” I declared. “Look out the window and what do you see? I see grapevines and mailboxes! I see clouds and, oh! look at those great big houses over there! I wonder if that big, huge one only has two or three people living in it. What do you think?”

After a little speculation about what one would use 5000 square feet for (mind you, we are a family of 8 living in 1100 square feet!), The Boy piped up,

“Mama! I bet they have a whole room for the yarn stash!”

I love that boy! 🙂