Invisible Illnesses

Today started off wonderfully with an early trip to the sledding hill in hopes of being the first ones there- and we were!

Although my GERD was flaring up, I took some medication and hoped for the best. I wasn’t going to let it spoil my fun. And we did have a grand old time, howling with laughter and screaming down the hill as fast as we could make our little plastic toboggan go.

It was over in an hour, as my stomach and constitution couldn’t handle any more thrills. I had hoped for a good day of sledding, an aromatherapy event for Haven Herbs, and then some time in my studio.

Most of my days are good days. It’s rare now when I have to adjourn from life to the couch or my bed to wait while the worst passes.

I don’t know if it was something I ate or the accumulation of stress over the week, or most likely a combination of things, but I’ve had to accept that studio time isn’t going to happen today. And luckily I wasn’t needed at the aromatherapy event.

I wanted to work on my Ohio Star cowl, and I did spend some time with an app while I lay on the couch.

The gauge here is spot on for my Better Breakfast DK. The chart isn’t perfectly symmetrical as the top half is shorter than the bottom. That can be fixed.

The Ohio Star is a quilt block pattern, and I remember my Grandmother showing it to me when I was young. Because I now live in Ohio and the yarn is from Ohio, I started exploring this design for my cowl. I wanted something intrinsically American, and after perusing different First Nations and early American motifs, I decided this was a natural fit.

I also want to work it in stranded colorwork with the same yarn, but in fingering weight colors of Poppy Seed and Daybreak.

As you can see, I made the best of it.

Invisible illnesses are not only difficult because of the illnesses themselves, but also because it’s so easy to get into the “just shake it off” mindset, which doesn’t work and is psychologically unhelpful. Today I kept thinking I was going to feel better, and as the day wore on, I grew worse and worse.

I do a lot. I have many passions and I’m not the kind of person who can ignore the desires that drive me. But in order to do all the things I want to do, I have to know when to slow down, take care of myself, listen to my body, and let it all go… not forever, but for later.

So I’m back in bed with a cup of herbal tisane. Even knitting feels like too much. I may try a book.

Wednesday Off

I took today off for some self care after my whirlwind inventory tour for work.

I can’t decide if I should get out of bed or not.

It’s finally snowing. I love the snow and would be very sad if we didn’t get at least one good blizzard. It’s only flurrying today, though, so not enough to keep me from going to the gym and running some errands. If I can get out of bed, that is.

Scrummy Studio Time

I’m getting ready for a marathon work inventory progress, so I treated myself to some quality time in my studio today.

I made a colored pencil palette In my Knitting Season journal for Milarrochy Tweed yarn, as was suggested by Kate Davies and other club participants. Once I started coloring, I didn’t want to stop, so I recharted my Birds of Blendon hat.

I also finished the brim on my Otter Ferry hat from Milarrochy Heids. I’m not sure I’ve posted about this project yet, but I have the loveliest ceramic button from artist Megs Levesseur I am planning to use. I’ll include a pic of the button next time. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I’ve misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up.

A Crafty Q&A from Karen

Karen, over at nothingbutknit, posted a Q&A! Here are her questions and my answers:

Q. What are your crafty plans for 2019? Are you going to try something new? If you could learn one new thing this year what would it be?

A. My crafty year will consist of knitting, wet felting, sewing, and beading- embroidery on an art piece I have been working on since 2015. Or, rather, an art piece I haven’t worked on since 2015 is what I should say. For something new, I am seriously considering learning macrame jewelry. I ordered two macrame necklaces on Etsy and I have two cabochons (moonstone and labradorite) that I would love to make into pendants or bracelets. I feel like this is something I should learn how to do. Maybe I will also try to knit wire jewelry again, but so far I have not liked the results.

Q. Do you have a special project planned for 2019? Are you going to make something special for yourself or someone else?

A. This year I have a few sewing projects in mind for my wardrobe. A pair of wool, wide legged pants (which I have loved ever since I bought my first pair from the J Peterman Company in the 1980s) a summer dress, and a summer tunic with pockets. I already have the fabric and patterns, and now that I have the space, I can make them! I have sewn the bibs from the Rosie the Riveter pattern twice before, but I have outgrown both pair! This year I’ve decided to grow a bit in maturity and sew the trousers. I purchased the dress pattern in 2012 because I had intended to use it for my wedding dress, but instead opted for another pattern.

Q. I’ve been wondering if you’ve ever donated something you’ve made to charity. Is it something you’d consider doing? Why or why not?

A. I would love to knit for charity, but I have such a long queue of selfish projects, I never get to it. I blogged about that time I knit a Peace Shawl as a silent auction donation, which left me feeling unappreciated. I’ll probably never do that again. But knitting garments for those in need is a very different thing. Maybe next year I’ll set a goal to knit one item for charity. I will never complete my projects planned for 2019 as it is.

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After blocking, I’m in love with my modified Carbeth even more and am wearing it over my second favorite flannel shirt today! I forgot to mention that I added a few inches to the body. I love this knit so much, I am considering ordering a Carbeth Swan Dance kit in a few months, once I have saved some pennies. That blue is just gorgeous. And although I love the styling of the rolled neckline, it would not flatter me, so I’ll stick with the plain rib.

Also, look how my hand dyed Targhee stripes just like the Manos Maxima on Harald’s sweater! Isn’t that funny? I am now thinking of this as a design element.

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As you can see, blocking didn’t improve the ease. Maybe it would be better if I didn’t wear it over a flannel shirt? Nevermind, it is so comfortable and wearable, I really don’t care.

Also, my underarm grafting did not turn out as well as I would have liked. Although the kitchener stitching worked out fine, and I even picked up a stitch or two on each end to graft, those loose corners get me every time. I ended up mattress stitching them on either side of the grafting, but it doesn’t look as nice as I want it to. I’m all about making a garment look as good on the inside as it does on the outside unless, of course, it doesn’t work out that way.

Today is my first full day back to work, so here I go!

Hello 2019!

As you can see, I didn’t have any trouble getting into my journal today. I transferred over my goals from my decomposition notebook into a list format with the help of a new stencil. After using said stencil, I’m not quite sure I needed it, but as I now have it, I’ll probably carry on using it.

I finished my Carbeth today. This is pre-blocking. Even so, in full knowledge that this does not have the required ease, I still love it and it is perfect over my favorite flannel shirt. I also chose to skip the rolled neckline, because jowls, and instead matched the ribbing on the hem.

Wow, I never thought it would be so difficult to get one photo of myself I felt was decent enough to post on my blog.

I have a full skein of yarn leftover! Super exciting, because I love this gorgeous red Targhee!

For my next cast on, I’ve decided to start Celtic Myths. I wound my skein of Cheryl Oberle’s Dancing Colours today, and as you can see, the colors are sultry! I am casting on with hopes of wearing it to the Celtic Colours Festival in Nova Scotia in October. Bob and I have a goal to get there and spend some time with his parents.

Bob and I went hiking on Sunday. I say hiking, but it was really wandering around lost in the mud. It was still a beautiful day, as you can see.

I really love the community here on WordPress, and I’m so grateful to have made so many new blogging friends in 2018. Thank you for reading my blog!

Happy New Year!

Practice Makes Perfect

Kate Davies posted a helpful article about getting started with your journal. Yesterday, I made my first marks in it.

Rudimentary, but a start. This is a 2 ounce cake of Better Breakfast DK in Poppyseed from Bare Naked Wools. I want to knit a cowl with it, and it’s my first design of the year. My ideas for this design are still pretty half baked, but getting a sketch done and a gauge swatch is helping me inch forward.

Yesterday felt like I was playing house, only playing knitting designer in my studio, because this was very much an exercise. And that’s why my word for 2019 will be “Practice.”

My next entries in my journal will include a list of knitting projects in my queue, and a completed color chart of the Birds of Blendon hat.

But today, today is for hiking!

It’s Good to Have Goals

When I decided to lease a studio space for the coming new year, I made a commitment to myself to set creative goals. One of those goals is to start designing knitting patterns again.

Although I never had much success selling my patterns or kits, I did have some success in making, showing, and selling my designs and artwork, and in teaching sewing, knitting, and felting classes. At the time, it was my way of trying to build a career for myself in the arts while also staying at home raising our young children.

Life happened while I was busy making other plans. I needed to earn an income – fast – and I started over, building another career in business. I am grateful and I feel fortunate to have been able to support myself and my kids, and wholeheartedly love my work in fair trade. I recognize how lucky I am to be able to earn a living wage while helping others do the same with handmade goods.

One of the boundaries to creating my own knitting patterns is the plethora of patterns out there. If I want to knit something, all I have to do is search for it on Ravelry, and there is usually something that fits the bill. This year, however, I’m not going to do that. My challenge to myself is to sketch what I want to make, take the measurements, swatch, do the math, and knit it (if I still want to make it.)

It doesn’t mean I’m not going to knit other designers’ patterns. I have a whole list of knits I want to make that will last me well into next year, and I’m sure there will be more! But when there is something that I am envisioning, I am challenging myself to create my own pattern for it.

I’m also setting goals to sketch one design per week, and create a pattern draft for one design per month. That doesn’t mean I have to knit it. But I do hope to knit at least four of my own patterns next year. I will also make patterns available for free to people who would like to test knit them for me.

In order to meet these goals, I am dedicating 8 hours each week to studio time: 3 hours on Wednesday evenings, and 5 hours on Sundays. This is a lot on top of a 40 hour work week, family time, Haven Herbs time (5-10 hours per week), gym time (1 hour per week,) hiking, phew! There’s so much I want to do! Luckily I’m one of those people who wakes up at 5AM and is finished with half my work before breakfast!

I also still need to fit in art making time at my studio, as I need to create work for another group show taking place in July 2019. I have old artwork on display in my studio, and another fear I have is of going down the artmaking road more than the design road. So I’ve got to be sure to balance these things if I really want to create my own designs.

Wow, thanks for reading all of that if you are still with me. Here’s your reward, some photos!

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Here’s me being impatient to try on my Carbeth sleeve. I’m ready to start sleeve number 2.

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Here’s my favorite 10 year old being creative with glitter. I love how scientific her approach is to creativity.

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Here’s my Christmas gift to Bob. He’s lived in the US so long, he does not have a passport. If he leaves the country, he can’t return. So I put together a little kit of (almost) everything he needs for his Canadian passport. The only thing I didn’t do is fill out the form for him. We are hoping to travel to Nova Scotia in October to visit his family.

Here’s a Q&A for you, my first! You can answer questions in the comments or post them to your blog. If you post them, please leave a comment so we can go read them!

  1. Do you set New Year’s Goals or Resolutions for yourself?
  2. Do you have any creative goals for the new year?
  3.  Some people like to set a goal for a certain number of things to make for the year. For example: 18 in 18. Do you do this? If so, what is the number? How do you decide the number of things to make?
  4. Do you have blogging goals for the new year? If so, what are they?
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve made in 2018? Post a pic!

Now I have to answer my own questions.

  1. Yes, I do.
  2.  Yes, I listed them above.
  3.  I did create a number of designs I want to create in the new year. I came up with the number by trying to decide what was realistic, but still challenging, based on the time I am setting aside.
  4. My blogging goal for 2019 is to blog two times per week, although I hope to blog more.
  5. My favorite thing I’ve made in 2018 is my Birds of Blendon Hat!

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New Year New Club New Studio Same Me

I’m very excited for the new Kate Davies club. I received this beautiful journal and a bag full of Milarrochy Tweed yarn! I admit I feel intimidated by this gorgeous blank journal. I look forward to starting the club. Until then, I’m afraid to make a mark in it.

I am starting to look around for washi tape and stencils, even though I feel silly since I’ve never used a bullet journal before and have no idea what I’m doing.

I am mostly moved into my new studio, where the above photo was taken, on my new standing desk. As I was moving and sorting I found some old artwork. If it aged well I went ahead and set it out. Why not?

I’m currently knitting away on my holiday red Carbeth. I’ve just started the sleeves.

And here is a photo inspired by skeinherder.

JoJo insists on curling up in my lap while I’m knitting, so I should be allowed to have a little fun, right?

Also, do you remember how Charlie Brown had a kite eating tree? I have a knitting needle eating couch.

Christmas Knits

I finished all my Christmas knitting by the end of the day. That counts, right?

Harald’s sweater is massive, but he loves it and wore it all day. I suppose we could felt it a bit and shrink it a tad, but I think he really likes it as is. The stripes ended up looking okay as the entire back is like that.

I had to modify the Goats of Inversnaid hat pattern in order to use the Milarrochy Tweed yarn. I ended up knitting two more repeats of goats before starting the crown. (Look at me learning from my mistakes and listening to myself.) I really like how long and narrow the beanie is. It looks a little more trendy this way. And I’m pleased with how the crown came out.

We had a great day of Ethiopian food for dinner, presents, and Christmas movies. I’m surprised by how many we watched this year: Elf, Rare Exports, Krampus, A Christmas Horror Story, Christmas with the Kranks, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Black Adder’s Christmas Carol, SCTV Christmas Special, and Scrooged.

Merry Christmas! I hope your day was jolly!