Catch Up and Q&As

“Three tomatoes are walkin’ down the street. Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato. Baby Tomato starts lagging behind, and Papa Tomato gets really angry. Goes back and squishes him and says: Ketchup!” — Pulp Fiction

I feel a little like Baby Tomato these days.

I finished my Emerson Pants. I’m pleased overall, but would like to suggest for the waistband that you fold it under on the inside and finish it by hand rather than what the instructions say. Because the pleats are thick I ended up with serger trauma.

It had been so long since I had sewn a waistband I didn’t think ahead on this one. I doubled-down on the stitching. Here’s hoping it survives the washing machine.

I am almost finished with the sleeve section on Cricket Hitofude and plan to be on to the next section today, unless my lilac heather cumulus blouse lures me away with its misty seamless stockinette lull. I finished one chart repeat on the edge of Celtic Myths, and it is so pretty. I look forward to diving into that monogamously at some point soon.

I bought two dress patterns from Grainline Studios and a custom fit jeans pattern from Bootstrap Fashion. I think I have enough natural linen left over to sew one of these dresses, but I’m hoping for an Etsy gift card for my upcoming birthday so I can order more linen from Lithuania.

This week I worked in my studio on some samples for our artisan partners in Kenya. I really enjoyed it and I’m hoping to be able to do more design work in future.

Today is my only day off this week so I’m parked on the couch with my knitting. Here are two Q&As from Karen and Kathy!

1. You’re sitting in your crafting chair or crafty couch, what else are you doing? Do you like to watch TV or maybe a movie? What are your favorites? Do you watch things more than once? Do you listen to podcasts? Do you prefer an audiobook?

I am usually watching a movie or tv show, preferably horror, sci fi, or UK/Euro mystery with beautiful scenery. I have recently started listening to audiobooks. The Shetland mysteries are my current favorite and I enjoy trying to say “murrrderrrr” like the narrator, and failing miserably every time.

2. What is your preferred drink? Are you having coffee, tea or maybe a tall frosty glass of beer? Do you have a snack? Do you like to reward yourself after a particularly long row or repeat?

Coffee or wine, depending on the time of day. I also like tea and shortbread cookies if it is afternoon. Sometimes I like herbal tea.

3. Do you craft alone or are you surrounded by your family and pets? Do they talk or whine while you’re counting? Are they understanding about the time you spend on your craft?

If I am crafting at home I am usually on the couch with Bob and our cat, JoJo. In the studio, where I do the majority of sewing and designing, I am usually alone.

1. What’s your favorite Pet movie?

I do not have a favorite pet movie.

2. Have you, do you play video games?

Not if I can avoid it. When the boys were younger they were always asking me to play video games with them, and I would only do so begrudgingly.

3. Discussing air travel with a friend recently, made me think about this question. Do you like take off and landings?  Do you enjoy the cruising time on a plane?

I enjoy the adrenaline of the take off and landing. I also enjoy the knitting/reading/sleeping time of the cruising. I enjoy air travel, except the waiting in line at the airport time.

4. Mason Dixon recently asked, Do you prefer fair isle or Duplicate stitch? So I’ll ask that of you as well.  Which do you prefer?

Fair Isle, of course.

5. Did you see the SNL skit last weekend about women who hate to shop for clothing?  It was spot on!  Do you like to shop for clothing?  Google it: The Shopping Experience for People Who Hate Shopping….

I did not but I will google it.

6. Some people love those interchangeable needles.  Do you?

I hate interchangeable needles because the yarn always gets caught on the join.

7. Have you ever called the Fire Department?

No, thank goodness.

8. Do you know anyone who had a home birth?  ( how random is this? at least the question is not did you call the fire department during your home birth.right?)

Yes I’m pretty sure I know several people who have had a home birth. My first two were born in a freestanding birth center, which was very like a home birth.

9. Boiled egg, Cadbury Egg, or Marshmallow Egg?

Marshmallow Egg.

10. When was the last time you rode on a bus?

Probably last summer. I enjoy riding on the bus!

Dang, now I wish I had a marshmallow egg.

Ohio Star Cowl

I finished my Ohio Star Bandandit Cowl. I’m pleased because it came out exactly as I designed it. So in that sense, it is a successful design.

It is also a successful garment. It fits, it keeps me warm, and it will stay up over my nose when I need it to.

The star motif is subtle and that’s fine. This isn’t a super exciting design, but it works. I mainly made this for hiking. The Bare Naked Wools Better Breakfast DK is also very soft and very warm. I think I’d like to knit an oversized cardigan out of it.

Slapdash Saturday

I ripped back several inches of the Ohio Star Cowl. As you can see here, my short rows were too steep.

It looks like a sleeve! I will reknit it, decreasing into a more shallow point at the bottom front. Here is a better look at the textured star, which I hope will block out nicely.

And here you can see my math scribbles on a corner of knitters graph paper because I forgot my journal.

Today I started sewing again!

Okay, no actual sewing, but some pattern cutting. I hope to get started tomorrow. I have plenty of fabric to match my plaids, but my goal here is a folksy mismatching of plaid, on the pockets at least.

I also decided I love my red Targhee sweater too much to not be able to throw it on over jeans- with no shirt underneath because it is super soft- which means it needs a handspan of length added to the bottom to cover my hips. I spent a good deal of my time ripping out stitches.

I stopped before ripping out all the ribbing because it was lunch time. I’ll finish tomorrow.

Here’s my swatch for one of the Warm Hands contest designs. I’ve decided to forget about the contest since it may not be happening, and I promised myself I didn’t have to put anything out there this year if I didn’t feel like it. And I’m not feeling like it. Ostrich Sleeves will have to wait.

Today I realized why I cram so much creativity in on the weekend. When I was working as a store manager, I used that part of my brain every day on photography and social media. Now that part of my brain doesn’t get much exercise during the work week, so I’m hitting it hard on the weekend.

After studio time it was Date Saturday. Bob and I went out for Mexican food, saw Green Book, and picked up Ethiopian food to take home for dinner. We ate out twice today! How decadent.

Thursday

I have been exhausted all week. I don’t know if I’m coming down with something, but other than working, all I really want to do is sleep.

I am still working on this Ohio Star Cowl which may be better suited to a giraffe once I finally get the short rows done on the front. I really want to finish it!

The bad news is… Kate Davies had to put the Knitting Season Club on hold due to health reasons. I’m not sure where that leaves the design contest.

The good news is… my first Ottobre arrived! There are a few things I would like to make, but that means I would have to buy fabric! That wouldn’t be so bad, but I already have sewing projects lined up.

I recently read this article which has me wondering why I always want to turn my hobbies into a job. Granted, when I was home with kids making and teaching and selling my wares at craft fairs, that line of reasoning made sense. But now I have a job, a good job I love, and I seem to be good at it. So why don’t I just let my hobbies be hobbies and enjoy them? I don’t have to justify or monetize them, do I?

Tea and Books, and a Swatch

I’ve noticed knitting blogs also have a tendency to run toward tea and books, so I thought I would share my new favorite tea.

I have been drinking Level Ground coffee for a couple of years, but this is the first time I’ve tried their black tea. It was on sale at work so I stocked up. It’s delicious!

I was worried about drinking black tea on top of coffee, but I notice I sleep better when I drink black tea. Bob says it’s the Theanine. I remember my ADHD psych telling me that if I’m not sleeping well, I’m probably undercaffeinated. I thought that was hogwash, but now I’m starting to wonder.

I am looking through stitch dictionaries to help me with my designs. Believe it or not I also owned the Vogue Knitting ones in addition to these -Interweave and Walker. I donated the Vogues to a knitting group for a potluck swap. The recipient was very happy. I got an Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, so I was also pleased.

I do sometimes read non-knitting books, but not as much as I’d like. Right now I’m listening to Leviathan Wakes on Bob’s recommendation. Pam mentioned fandoms and I decided if I was going to have a “thing” I wanted to share it with Bob. So we’re trying to make The Expanse our thing and we’ve started watching the show. I’m a little disappointed with the show because I don’t feel it represents the diversity and social justice issues as well as the book, though I should probably give it more than two episodes.

I’m starting to wonder if we should make Godzilla our thing like Skeinherder. Honestly, I’m pretty sure horror is our thing.

I spent all of my knitting time yesterday working on this swatch in the round. I did a fair amount of improvising. I’m not 100% pleased but it’s a start.

If you have a holiday today, enjoy! If not, Happy Monday. 🙃

Studio Sunday

Bob and I had a lovely hike yesterday, and I got lucky with this photo, which I plan to make into a felt painting.

Today’s essay from Knitting Season Club is about losing yourself in the creative process. I don’t need any help with that as I am a daydreamer by nature, but she did share two songs from Alice Coltrane. How refreshing to be introduced to a female jazz great, and I now have a new favorite song which I am currently listening to on repeat as I swatch in the studio.

I have two design ideas for the Warm Hands competition. I am swatching for both today. One design is for Milarrochy Tweed, the other is for Ard Thir. These arm warmers were knit for me by my friend Marjorie (holla!) and they, along with this alpaca poncho from Bolivia, are my inspiration for one design.

The other is a spin off of a design I was already working on. I’m being careful not to put too much out there, because designs aren’t considered if they’ve already been made public.

And I got some new yarn this week!

This is Cabecou Lace in Sel Gris. I will knit Anne Hanson’s Dust Devils with it. This yarn smells really good, by the way. I had a hankering (get it?) to knit something lace this summer.

I’d better stop yapping and get swatching.

Saturyay

February is that month when you’re supposed to finish it, frog it, or forget about it. I don’t normally follow prompts, but I realized I was avoiding knitting on my sock, probably because it was boring. So I frogged it.

I tried to get JoJo to wear it like a turtleneck, hoping she would run around and help me pull the yarn out, but no such luck. I kept saying, “C’mere! C’mon! It’ll be fun!” And Bob said, “Are you hearing yourself?” So I gave up.

I love this yarn and I have a couple of cabled clog sock patterns, so I’ll cast on one of those at some point probably. Although I’m more than a little smitten with the Purl Soho toe up sock pattern. The only pair of socks I knit that I actually wear were toe up, which makes me want to get the pattern even more.

I spent some time perusing glove and mitten patterns to see if I could get inspired. I wanted to knit myself some gloves this year from Milarrochy Tweed. I thought, “Perfect! I’ll design myself some gloves and submit the design to the contest!” But I’m completely uninspired.

I was hoping I would be able to get a sense of what my design aesthetic is by what I like, but my likes are all over the place! I like bright colorwork, subdued cables, comfy cozies, clever textures, funny graphics, and over the top cosplay.

I told myself, “Make a pair of gloves that you would enjoy knitting and wearing.” But I don’t know what that is. I currently wear knit alpaca gloves and mittens from Bolivia, and I would say they are very warm and on the plain side. I would get bored knitting them by hand. (Sock lesson learned!)

I would also like to make some thrummed mittens one day, and the Ard Thir yarn might be a good fit for that.

Today is date day/night and we are going hiking and then to dinner. I look forward to posting hiking in the naturehood photos tomorrow! Have a great weekend!

Remember When I…

Today’s blog post brought to you by Knitting Season Journal prompt, Facebook memories, and lunch time naval gazing.

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Remember when I turned the front room in my house into my first studio? The walls were a cheerful green, and I had Ikea cubes full of yarn, fabric, fiber, patterns, books, tools, sketchbooks, colored pencils, there’s even a statue of Indra up there. It was a very creative and prolific time for me. I was knitting and sewing, designing garments and knitting patterns, teaching, and making artwork, most of it knitted.

 

I had to scroll back through a decade of old Facebook photos to get these – back through other memories and times when I hurt so bad that I hurt all the way through, all the time. I felt that phantom heart pain as I scrolled – and tried to scroll faster so I wouldn’t feel it! Anyway, these dresses. I loved this dress so much I made two for friends and one for me. I wish I still had mine, the linen one on the right.

 

I made a lot of fun things. All of the things I’ve shown here, with the exception of the hand dyed, hand spun mulberry silk yarn and the linen dress, were birthday gifts for friends in my Mother Artists at Work group. It was friends that got me through those dark times. Thank you, friends!

Sunday Studio Time

I was good and completed my swatch for The Oa on the smaller sized needle. I haven’t steamed it yet. I also threw in a row of the green for color C to see how it would show up and I’m really glad I did, because it doesn’t! Show up that is. I also tried some knit 2 of A and C before binding off, just to be sure. Someone who has more experience with colorwork probably would have seen this coming. It’s ok, though. I ordered two balls of black and I’m sure that will work.

This week’s Knitting Season assignment was to write every day with the prompt, “Remember when I…” So I wrote about the time I dyed this silk top blue, spun it into yarn, and knit it into this tam. It’s a little beat up now. I wore it and so did some of the kids, which made me happy. It inspires me. I think I might like to save up and get a spinning wheel again.

I also spent some time working on this design for a colorwork Ohio Star Cowl and beanie.

And the original Ohio Star Bandandit is almost done, but I ran out of yarn! I ordered another 2 ounce hank and am looking forward to blocking it and wearing it. I want to knit another one with more texture work in The Fibre Co Arranmore Light in St. Claire, the bobbly tam yarn.

So it has been a productive week. I guess I am slowly but surely getting closer to reaching my goals.

People ask me how I do all of this on top of a full time job and my very part time work with Haven Herbs, and I can say with certainty it’s because Bob does all of the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. And he does it because he likes it. I do my own laundry and dishes, and clean the bathroom sometimes, but that’s really it. So shout out to Bob! ❤️ Also, I only have one kid still in school and he is super low key. ❤️

And I’m a much happier person when I am knitting. ❤️

ETA: I cut a steeeeeeek!

Practice

Today I backtracked a little on my Knitting Season Club assignments. I used the provided chart and tried experimenting with the colors and patterns. My main goal was actually to see if I could get gauge for The Oa with the Scout DK yarn, and as you can see, I did.

This is on size 3 needles and 7 stitches per inch! So I suppose I could have gotten 6 stitches per inch on a size 4 needle. But the fabric was stiff with no drape so I’m glad I didn’t try that.

The Buachaille yarn the pattern was written for yielded a much nicer fabric. I was somewhat surprised by this exercise. I expected the red and orange to run into each other, but the orange actually popped up a bit. I quite like it against the red and blue.

So I practiced. I think I botched the chart some, but since it was just an exercise I left it.

I thought I might try to design my own sweater with all over stranded colorwork for the Scout yarn, but now I’m not even sure I like the green and gray with the purple well enough. Although I just saw the Tensho Pullover and thought these colors might work well with a pattern like that.

My Ohio Star Cowl is coming along, but I am afraid I will run out of yarn.

Maybe “practice” wasn’t a great choice for my word of the year, as it seems 2019 wants to hold me to it.

I did order some Cascade 220 Sport for knitting The Oa, in silver, dark plum, and granny smith green. I hope I like the colors together!