Sign Me Up Saturday!

I signed up for my first Mystery Knit Along (MKAL)! Raven Knits is hosting The Lonely Heart is a Hunter MKAL, and leads with the story of The Selkie. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. (See what I did there?) I had some squishy Cormo lace in my stash, and dyed it with a mix of periwinkle and silver. I’m really proud of myself for using what I had. I’m also proud because my technical dyeing ability is getting better. I had intended to exhaust the dye bath with more fiber, but the dye was all taken up by the yarn!

I went to World Wide Knit in Public Day at Stitch and Skein in Marion, Ohio. I had a lovely time, and even won a prize! I am knitting a pair of Pride socks for Bob with Dye Mad’s June colorway. I also picked up a couple of skeins of Arrowhead Fibers.

Did you knit in public today?

Mostly Gardening with a Side of Sock Knitting and Podcasting: A YOP Update

I’ve started a new pair of socks for myself. I’m in love with this yarn, which is Honeybees and Violets Please from Bone and Birch. Other than the socks, I’m knitting on my Hansel Hap. I’ve just about talked myself into focusing on the Arrowhead Cardigan instead of casting on a new one, so that I can wear it in the fall.

My garden is exploding. This is the middle, where there’s a lot going on. I accidentally broke off a pea shoot yesterday while weeding, so I ate it. It was delicious!

Full length of the garden. Elderberries in front. I’m not sure how well they’ll do here, but we’ll give it a try. The sunflower transplants are struggling in the back. I found out what happened to all my seedlings back there. Slugs!

For Mother’s Day and my birthday, Bob put together a flower bed for me out of some old wood he found in the barn. We went to the local garden center yesterday, and while I did get the foxgloves and coral bells I wanted to attract hummingbirds, the bed is looking a little sparse. We’ll see how these do. The smaller two are ground cover, so maybe they’ll spread out.

I did get the lilac bush I wanted, and a rose bush too! I didn’t really want yellow roses, but these had the best scent so I couldn’t resist. I also got hollyhocks, coneflowers, and a Joe Pye Weed for under the bird feeders.

I’m trying out wool pellets in the lilac and rose bush plantings to condition the soil, along with some compost. I’d like to add the wool pellets to the vegetable garden, but I’m going to wait until it needs a feed.

These lilacs smell so good! I have a small bouquet by my bedside.

My new podcast episode is up for The Just Craft! I had a wonderful visit at Tarheelbilly Farm, and am releasing the episode in two parts. I am so grateful to Charis and her husband Ben for spending time with me. It was a lovely day.

The sheep in front is Hollis, whose fleece I knit my Paris Toujours Shawl with. I met Hollis! And a few other shweeties as well.

This is Charis’s hand knit sweater she made with her Tunis yarn. She spun the contrasting gray herself. It’s so squishy and lovely!

And I got a sweater quantity of yarn! I had already purchased two skeins of Clancy’s fleece, and the eight new skeins are from Julie. They are close enough that I think I could use them together if needed. Because I don’t want to dye the yarn and loose the sheep smell, I’ve decided to knit it au naturel into a cabled cardigan. And because I was so pleased with the Franca I knit for my Mom, I’ve decided to knit Kiki by Cocoknits.

This has been a Year of Projects Update. You can read my updated list here. You can find out more about the group here.

Virtuwool Events

There are two virtual yarny events this weekend. One is Maryland Sheep and Wool. MDSW was my first big wool show many years back, and I loved every minute of it! I went with my friend Sara and a tiny baby newborn Freya, who was a super easy baby. I bought what seemed like a lot of yarn at the time, but I look back now and think that I was pretty restrained. Their virtual show takes place on Facebook.

I learned about a new yarn festival this week, Botanica, and it’s all about natural fibers and dyes. I’m definitely going to be “attending” this one, which takes place on Instagram live. I may make a few purchases if I fall in love, but I’m thinking it’s probably pretty competitive to get your hands on some of these precious skeins. I figure it’s okay if someone beats me to it.

There has also been a “Virtu-Wool Fiber Festival” on Facebook over the past year. I have attended some of them. That’s where I learned about Ramsay Farms and their delicious Shetland yarn. I don’t know if these will continue.

With COVID cases rising again in some states, I’m hoping the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival doesn’t get canceled. But I bought travel insurance, just in case!

Have you attended any wool or yarn shows virtually, or are you planning to attend any in the near future?

Blogcrastination

It’s Saturday. During the week I am so engrossed with work that when Saturday comes, I don’t know how to transition. I want to make something but I don’t know what I want to make.

These are some cute pants from Seamwork. The only thing I don’t have that I need is a zipper. I’m thinking about braving Joann in a face mask to get what I need. I tried ordering a zipper online three weeks ago and I still don’t have it. I have some navy stretch cotton twill that I think would be fab in this pattern.

This is the tile in the kitchen of the house we made an offer on. I dream about walking barefoot across this tile. I hope we get the house.

We went outside today. We took a hike at Infirmary Mound Park. It’s called that because there is a prehistoric mound there, and also an old home that was called The Infirmary for a time. You can read more about that here. It is a beautiful park with many lovely trails. Wildflowers are blooming right now, and there is a fairy garden trail. But we left it to the families with children.

We did go to Joann and waited in line to get in due to social distancing restrictions. We gave our new kitenge masks from Kenya a whirl.

They fit great! Now it’s time for nachos and Joe Bob. I will keep knitting on my sock. I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday!

Weekend Quizzaroo

(Image credit The Knitting Goddess)

Karen posted a sock quiz! I’m a notorious sock knitting eschewer but quizzes are great for personal development and blog fodder.

1. Do you knit/crochet socks?

I want to knit socks. I have knit socks. But generally, no, I don’t.

2. If yes, how long have you been making them? If no, why not?

It doesn’t sound fun. I’m primarily a sweater and hat knitter.

3. What is your preferred method? Top down, toe up? Which needles? Do you have a preferred heel type?

I prefer toe up so I can make sure the foot fits well. I hate a baggy sock. I prefer fine yarn for socks but they sure do take a long time! I like a well-turned heel. I’ve never tried an afterthought heel. Are their more flaps than that? Double point needles for me.

4. Have you gifted socks? Were they worn, loved and appreciated?

Never! I am considering knitting a pair for Bob, though. It’s a lot of pressure.

5. Could you make nothing but socks for the rest of your life and be happy?

If I can knit one more pair of socks (I’ve made two pair in my life so far) I could be happy the rest of my life never knitting them again. Or, who knows, I might knit another pair and enjoy them so much I will want to knit more! That’s my hope.

6. One of the most addictive things about sock knitting is the amazing selection of fingering weight yarn that is available. What is your favorite yarn for socks? Do you prefer solid or multicolor yarn? Do you have a fiber preference?

For me it will need to be crazy hand painted colors or solid yarn with textured knitting. Wool plus silk (for strength) is my favorite fiber combo. Throw some cashmere in there and I’m hooked.

Well, that was fun and inspiring. Maybe I will cast on a pair of socks today.

February Frogs:

I’m pulling out the linen stitch cowl. It is taking too long and I am afraid I don’t have enough yarn for it. My Hogwarts yarn will make a great pair of clog socks though.

I’m pulling out this Bousta Beanie. It’s not happening.

Do you like my new photo prop? It’s Fair Trade and I picked it up at Pachamama Market when I was in Troy, OH for a work meeting.

I think one should feel good about frogging and this wool felt sunflower does the trick for me.

The new The Just Craft is up!

It Feels Like Spring!

winter aconite along the ravine

I went for a walk in the neighborhood this morning. The winter aconite and snowdrops are blooming. It feels too early!

My trip to Kenya was a profound experience and I am so grateful to have been able to go, visit with artisans, and see what fair trade looks like in action. I’m really excited for our plans!

It took several days for me to recover from the jet lag. I did not get sick, but I need a lot of sleep. My anxiety has also been out of control. I heard an article on NPR about menopause and anxiety. It put some things into perspective for me.

I have not knit anything since Kenya. I haven’t sewn anything either. February is finish it, frog it, or forget about it month, and there are a few projects I foresee will be frogged. I really want to start my Farmhouse Cardigan, so I’ll probably go ahead and do that.

I’m hoping to get my February The Just Craft published by the end of the month. (I have an extra day because it’s a Leap Year!) I will focus on Kitengala Hot Glass and save Kenana Knitters for next month.

This weekend I will be attending Midwest Craft Con for the first time. I’m looking forward to learning some new things and meeting new people, but grateful nothing is really expected of me except to show up.

I can’t wait to catch up on your blogs! You’ll forgive me if I’m heavy on the liking and light on the commenting. Do you do anything special for Leap Day on February 29? It seems like it should be a holiday of sorts.

Creation Hive Knitters

This week I’ve been at Creation Hive looking at products and talking product development. Today we talked woolens, and as I had suspected, they are accomplished knitters!

Jane, middle, and Jacqueline, right, picked up my Bousta Beanie in Milarrochy Tweed and carried on where I left off. Jane then cast on her own hat using locally produced wool yarn. They don’t have circular needles here, but we’ve found a source for them.

I have great faith in these ladies developing a line of Fair Trade woolens in Kenyan merino wool yarn! It will support their textile economy as well. It’s a great solution and I’m thrilled to have played my little part in it. I can’t wait to see their creations and to bring them to the US through Global Gifts!

Kenana Knitters

On the way to Eldoret we stopped at Kenana Knitters. Unfortunately we were there on a Saturday when the workshop is closed, but the Manager, Susan, met us and the founder, Patricia, came to meet us. I was able to interview both of them for The Just Craft, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Susan and Patricia showing me one of their handmade spinning wheels made with a repurposed bicycle wheel.

They use locally produced wool for their yarn, and dye it with native plants! As you can imagine, I was totally geeked out.

They don’t allow photos of their products, but if you go to their website you will see what they make. It’s a wonderful workshop offering gainful employment and empowering programs for the local women.

I finished my first hat in Kenyan wool. What do you think about the tassel? Two tassels? No tassel? Pompom? I like how the tassel looks like a thistle and I am calling it my Thistle Tassel Hat. It’s a tad big (I have a big head) so it needs to be taken down by a couple of stitches. But it’s simple and a novice knitter could accomplish it easily, I think. I might add another tassel.