Wednesday WIPs: Pink Moons and Birthday Skeins

This week I’ve continued to focus on the Ocean Moon shawl, which is finished and blocking. I’ll post pics of that on Friday.

I also recast on Bob’s socks. I found the flips a little slippery, so I’m back to my Lykke Driftwood and magic loop method.

I’ve been practicing my dyeing. These skeins are inspired by an artists’ trading card I made years ago. They are 50/50 cotton and wool dyed with low impact acid dyes. The cotton content creates a heathery effect, as the wool takes up the dye but the cotton doesn’t. The three skeins shown came out as expected and are now listed in the shop.

Two skeins came out muted due to a less consistent dyebath temperature. I decided to try overdyeing them, inspired by the full lunar eclipse. (Image of lunar eclipse on right by friend Miriam Climenhaga.) I was hoping for a complex black with pops of red. Because of the cotton content in the yarn, there is no way I could get a true black with acid dyes. They are more gray, but a nice memento of seeing the Flower Moon eclipse in the sky on my birthday.

I don’t know whether to call it Flower Moon or Blood Moon. I guess it was a Full Flower Super Total Blood Moon Eclipse! It was quite a sight centered over the trees behind our house. I’m still singing “Pink Moon” to myself.

I’ve also been practicing with procion dyes for the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box, but won’t share images as they are a mystery! I’ve got a pretty good handle on procion dyes for cellulose fibers and acid dyes for protein fibers. It’s the blends I’m practicing to see if I can improve techniques there. I also want to make sure I know how to get the most vibrant colors possible for nonsuperwash yarns, as colors tend to be less vibrant than on superwash wool yarns. I’m experimenting with that, and ways to ensure the colors are well set and lightfast —all while trying to exhaust the dye baths and impact our watershed as little as possible.

I had a lovely birthday and received heartwarming cards and gifts. This is a small sample of knitting related gifts from friends. I can’t wait to start reading the Knitstrips comic book!

I also finished weeding and planting the garden. I planted less this year in hopes it won’t be such a jungle.

Today I hope to get some sewing done! What are you working on this week?

Me Made May and Year of Projects

Happy May Day! I hope you are dancing around a maypole or at least enjoying some spring flowers today. We are having thunderstorms, so I will likely be spending most of the day indoors.

Sewing

For Me Made May, my goal is to alter four handmade garments this month to get more wear out of them. I’m starting with something easy.

Before shot with long pants.

I made these Pietra pants last year. They fit great but are voluminous on my short frame. I’ve decided to hem them into culottes. The fabric is lightweight, so it’s not like I wear them in any other season except spring and summer.

After shot with shortened pants.

I’ve paired them here with an a-line tee made in deep stash quilting cotton and my Hitofude cardigan. I love the yellow dots in the top fabric. It makes me want to wear more yellow, and buy some yellow clogs.

I’ve enjoyed wearing my Melba dress, and have decided to make a black one. I don’t have enough fabric for facings, so I will bind the neckline and armholes instead.

Pattern pieces and brown floral fabric on a background of teal lining fabric with a Holly Hobby pincushion.

I’m also sewing a Felix dress in this floral cotton voile. It’s semi sheer, so I’ll be lining it in teal Bemberg. I need a nice dress for spring events. I really love the feel of this Bemberg lining fabric, which is made from viscose.

Knitting

I’ve only been working on the Ocean Moon mystery knitalong. I’m frustrated with how slow I am at knitting intarsia, though I love the result. I am hoping to catch up this week on the clues.

Gardening

Kale, broccolini, and lettuce growing in a pop up greenhouse.

I’m really pleased with all the greens that overwintered in my pop up greenhouse. This kale is ready to harvest. We’ve already eaten all the arugula and some of the lettuce. I have high hopes for the broccolini, kale, and cabbage starts that will be protected from moths under the greenhouse covered in netting. I’ve also planted some ginger root here. It’s my first time growing ginger.

This has been a Year Of Projects (YOP) update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

We’re coming up on the July 1 renewal for Year of Projects. I’m trying to decide if I want to continue to list my projects in a blog post, or share a spreadsheet with links to the completed project pages. I’ve started tracking my knitting projects and stash in a spreadsheet in Google Drive, and I like organizing my lists that way. What is easier for the reader? Do you ever reference the list of completed projects? Does it matter? Please let me know your preference, if you have one, in the comments. Thank you!

Bob and Alissa in front of the kraken from a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie poster.

In personal news, Bob and I went to see the film Everything Everwhere All at Once for Saturdate yesterday. This movie was wack but also amazeballs. I laughed and cried at the same time. It also manages to be sentimental. Highly recommend if, like me, your brain likes a little exercise while being entertained. Two thumbs up. Thanks to Mackenzie for recommending it.

Cryptid soap from Tuft

I also wore my Born to Knit Melba dress to one of my local yarn shops for Local Yarn Shop Day. I purchased this Mothman soap, some lavender apple soap, and some stickers. Because cryptid soap makes me happy. I exercised extreme restraint and self control. I’m proud that I walked out without purchasing yarn. I really have to be careful with my purchasing now that I’m semi-retired.

Did you visit your local yarn shop for Local Yarn Shop Day? Did you make any lovely yarn purchases? I would love to live vicariously through you! 😊

Garden Update

Madder root?

I’ve been weeding the garden in patches. Today I cleared out the snap pea patch and put in their climbing supports. While most of the deep rooted weeds and vines are gone (there are still a few) we now have hairy cress all over the place. Also some kind of ground cover. So gardening is my exercise this time of year. If I worked out and gardened, that would be it for me!

I accidentally pulled up this plant which I think is madder root. My plant ID app disagreed with me, though. I put it back in the ground, just in case. I wasn’t sure if the madder survived since the indigo overgrew it. I’m pretty sure this little guy is madder, though. Fingers crossed! I might have a little root to dye with this fall if so.

New Me, New Studio Space

Mackenzie and Dan Bill moved out of the spare room ( 😔 We miss them) but I was able to fill the void with my craft room! It feels good to take up space.

I finished section 3 of my naturally dyed Vertices Unite. I’m really wanting to finish this before Saturday, when I will be starting the Ocean Moon mystery knit along. I think it’s possible if I spend several hours on it each day.

Most of my plant babies have germinated. The Dyer’s Chamomile and Madder haven’t come up yet, though. My garden is full of weeds, and I’ve already seen the first slug babies emerge. Preparing the garden for planting will be easier than last year, but still a slog.

What else have I been doing with my time? Healing. Journaling. Easing back into exercise. Logging my food. I confirmed some new bad-for-me foods: coffee, chocolate, turmeric, chili powders. I can’t promise I will never eat chocolate or drink coffee again, but I will definitely be making it more of an occasion. I’m already noticing a decline in my symptoms.

I need to revisit my Year of Projects list and my knitting project spreadsheet. I want to sew a dress this week. I want to practice my French on Babbel, and spin for 15 minutes every day. I’m trying to create a routine for myself that is more in tune with my natural rhythms, and I feel a little wobbly. Bob moved into the office, which opened up space for a dyeing area outside the kitchen. My business is going well. I put the Wool & Roses boxes in the mail yesterday. My heart is full, and I am grateful.

What are you working on this week?

Wednesday WIPs, Including Me

As I transition out of my job, and into focusing on home, my (very) small business, and my creative endeavors, I’ve been struggling to blog. Transitions are hard for me. It’s not that I don’t like change — and this will be a good change. It’s difficult for my nervous system to regulate change. I’m always surprised by the period of paralysis that is inevitable.

I couldn’t wait to cast on my Spring Thaw yarn. I’m making a Bandana Cowl Number 4 by Placemarker. I’m thrilled with the feedback I’ve received on the box. And I’m so grateful to everyone who placed orders, and to the talented makers who partnered with me.

I got a head start on my flax seedlings in my Megs Levesseur Ceramics pot.

I’ve been testing rose wax and lanolin candles for the Wool & Roses Yarn Mystery Box. Only a few days left to order! I can’t wait to see how Kelley at Dye Mad Yarns interprets this colorway in alpaca and silk yarn.

My Vertices Unite is coming along. I want to finish this before April 15, when the Ambah Ocean Moon Mystery Knitalong starts. That’s probably not going to happen, but I’m going to try anyway.

My Arrowhead Cardigan looks much the same. I try to knit a row or two a day, striving to get to the shoulder seams.

I finished the ribbing on my Auchnaha cardigan. I’ll probably put this away for a little while, until I finish Arrowhead. Although, I’d like to be wearing it now!

It’s supposed to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit today, after a low of 19 yesterday. I guess I’d better get my seeds started. I’m going to grow more natural dye plants this year.

What are you working on this week?

Year of Projects Update

The Elderberry plant survived the winter.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week. We lost a beloved family member, Bob’s Stepfather “Poppy.” I got some tough news at work. Poor Dan Bill has a UTI and had to go to the vet. I still got some crafting done. Making things brings me joy, and helps me deal with stress.

Knitting

I’m loving the way Vertices Unite is coming out. I’m about 1/3 of the way through section two. It’s all naturally dyed merino and super soft.

Design

I’ve been working on a knitting design for my summer yarn mystery box. I told my therapist that trying to sketch ideas for designs was not working for me. She told me to try picking up the needles and yarn and start making something, so that’s what I did. And it worked! It won’t win any design awards, but it will be a nice, practical use for the yarn.

Sewing

I sewed two more pair of joggers — in speckled gray French terry and navy organic cotton fleece. Very comfy, and I should be good on joggers for a while.

This is my next sewing project, a Melba dress in this knitting print. I can’t wait to rock this.

Other than that, I’ve joined our local fiber arts guild and signed up to help, and I’m rediscovering the joys of our library system. I’m hoping to start baking and cooking again, and I needed some inspiration. And it will be time to start seeds and dig up the garden soon. I’ve planted peas and greens already!

This has been a Year Of Projects (YOP) update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Put Your Bigfoot In: That’s What this YOP’s About

Knitting

I got Marilee the All Sass and No Squatch pattern for her birthday and then subtly suggested a knitalong. I may have gotten really excited and powered through. I just have the crown to do. You probably can’t see the gold stellina sparkle. When I finish and sew on the pompom I ordered, I’ll try to get a better pic. Can you see Bigfoot? It’s okay if you can’t. Bigfoot is elusive.

I’m making good progress on my Arrowhead Cardigan sticking to my one row a day.

Sewing

I’ve been wanting to sew a velour sweatshirt for a couple of months. What can I say. I’m a child of the 80s. I found some mostly cotton velour fabric. What color, you ask? Well, Valentine’s Day is coming. I thought, “I know. I’ll get rose.” Yeah. A pink velour sweatshirt. Good thinking. Except, it’s really pink. Will I go ahead and sew the sweatshirt? Or maybe I should sew a robe instead? I’m going to stew on it.

Spinning

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Gardening

I ordered some kale, broccolini, and German Chamomile seeds for the garden. The greens under the greenhouse are still alive but not in great shape. I do think that I can plant some kale and cabbage in there when I plant the snap peas, though.

I’m still getting over whatever virus this is that isn’t Covid. I may have had a secondary sinus infection. I’m fatigued. I’ve been working, knitting, and binge watching Scott and Bailey. It’s my new favorite show (after UK Ghosts and Beforeigners.)

How are your projects coming along?

This has been a Year of Projects update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Ten for Tuesday: Project Peace

The Healthy Knitter posted on December 1 about Project Peace and her need to let go. The blog post touched me, and in the spirit of lighting my own candle from hers, I thought I would write about ten ways I can experience more peace.

  1. Start the day with knitting. Instead of spending most of my day thinking about how I can’t wait to knit at the end of the day, and then reaching the end of the day too tired to knit, I am going to try starting my day with a little knitting. I used to do this and I think it helps set the right tone for the day. And considering I spend a couple of hours in the morning staring at a screen while drinking my coffee, I think this is completely doable.
  2. Journal every day. This is another opportunity I have to make the most of my morning. It doesn’t have to be morning pages, it can be jotting a few lines in my journal, like this list!
  3. Go for a walk. I need to set the intention to go for a walk at least a few times per week. Walking down my country road is very peaceful. Once I start working it’s difficult for me to pull away from my desk, but I need to find a stopping point to do it when I can. It makes a big difference in my mental health.
  4. Real talk with friends. I am fortunate to have friends that I can be real with. I need to work on ways to incorporate this into my daily routine, even though we are far apart.
  5. Bake! Baking helps me slow down and savor the moment, so I’m going to try to make time for this on the weekends as a more regular thing, and not just a holiday thing.
  6. Listen to music. I made a couple of holiday playlists on YouTube and have been listening to them this month. I could certainly make other playlists and continue to add to them and edit them. I can also listen to other people’s playlists when I want to experience the surprise of new artists.
  7. Eat meals at the dinner table. I tend to eat breakfast and lunch at my desk while working. That really needs to stop.
  8. Hand write a letter or card. I’ve been enjoying writing the few holiday cards I usually send, and I could easily write letters to friends as well. Taking the moment to hand write something is really a luxury these days when a text or email will suffice.
  9. Take more photos. Photography was one of my first creative outlets, and I still enjoy taking the time to craft a good composition. It takes me out of myself. Even if the photos aren’t for posting and are just for me, I should take more time to create them.
  10. End the day with reading. I would like to have enough energy at bed time to read one chapter in a good book, maybe with a cup of tea. I am still reading Making a Life, which is perfect for this. I would like to cultivate this practice, instead of falling into bed and pulling the covers over my head and waiting for sleep because I’m too exhausted to read.

If you looked carefully at my first image, you’ll see I replaced number 7 to check the garden greenhouse with eating meals at the table. That’s because I went out to check the greens, and last night’s hard frost has ended them. I should have picked them this week, but I didn’t take the time to do that. Checking the garden is still a great way to find peace, but maybe not in the middle of winter.

What are your ways to find a little peace? I hope you will share them in the comments, or on your blog with the tag projectpeace.

Garden Variety Friday FO

This morning, instead of working out, I worked in the garden. I cleared out another section and put together my new pop up greenhouse! You can see I left some flowers at the end of the garden for the pollinators. I’m still finding bees in the garden.

I planted kale, arugula, and two varieties of lettuce seed. My hope is the cooler weather and greenhouse will keep the moths at bay. I will have to watch the slugs, though. Fingers crossed we’ll have some greens soon! And if it works well, next spring I’ll plant cabbage in there, and hope to have some to harvest early.

I also got my hair cut off this week! I love it. I tried to grow it long, but once it hit a certain length I kept pulling it back. Why have long hair if you only wear it pulled into a ponytail? So I went back to short hair. I will probably never try to grow it long again.

Do you have any finished objects to share today?

Garden Update

I spent some time in the garden this morning. One of the great things about being a lazy gardener is the surprises, like when your Japanese Indigo flowers and you didn’t know how pretty their little pink flowers could be. I also found some volunteer Lamb’s Ear. I don’t know where that came from, but I’ll keep it. There were tenacious weeds. These weren’t the same plants that I had pulled up in the spring. These were other weeds that took the place of the weeds pulled up in the spring, like Bitter Dock and Evening Primrose. I like Evening Primrose, but they will take over so I made sure to pull up what I could. I found two bell peppers and a few springs of basil to add to our pizza today.

I amended the soil with compost when I made the second planting of cabbage, and it did help the plants make heads. Too bad the cabbage moths got to them, even under the netting. I guess I’ll have to try something different if I’m going to get cabbage and kale out of the garden.

My plan is to spend the rest of the day knitting on the couch. I’m so glad it’s October!