It’s a Jungle Out There

You know how they say when you time travel you shouldn’t change anything, because you could change everything that follows? The same is true of nature. If you change the habitat, for example add a little pond for frogs to eat your slugs, you might end up with water spiders.

Water spiders?! Yes, water spiders. I have yet to identify this one. I thought maybe it was dead. It was nearly as big as my little frogs. Then I googled “water spiders” and found out there are indeed water spiders that eat tadpoles. Oh no you don’t. I scooped it up and put it in the grass. Are those baby spiders on its back? Is this a wolf spider? I see they do that. Anyway, no frogs for you!

The raccoons had a holiday weekend hootenanny last night. Drunk on hummingbird nectar, they had the bright idea to tear my National Wildlife Federation birdhouse off of the tree! and pry open the metal plate on the back! presumably to get to wren eggs. Impressive! But the joke is on you, masked bandits. Wrens make dummy nests! No eggs for you!

I think today I’ll stay safe and cool inside and work on my Halloween cardigan. We are watching Joe Bob’s Last Drive In — Uncle Sam because that’s what we do.

Bonjour. Je m’appelle M. Croque

Liz at Highland Heffalump suggested I get a wee pond to possibly attract a frog to eat our plethora of slugs. I thought that was worth a try, so I picked up a small pond from the home improvement store and installed it yesterday. While digging the hole in the garden, I disturbed a frog already in residence! Luckily, it came back. Meet Monsieur Croque!

No, this is not a joke about the French being frogs. I love the French, and French Canadians! I took French for six years in my youth. This is a joke about the dish Croque Monsieur.

Anyway, here’s hoping Monsieur (or Madame) Croque finds the new habitat to its liking. I’m watching for mosquito larvae but hoping those will get eaten as well. If not, I’ll have to clean it regularly, or install a small circulator. I ordered a toad house, and the pond is sheltered in the shade of the Elderberry bush.

I love toads and frogs. I thought I was going to have to go tadpole hunting like I did when I was a kid. I love that M. Croque (to be known simply as Croque going forward) was already enjoying the slug buffet.

I’m not sure what type of frog Croque is. What do you think? Maybe a Cricket Frog?

Wednesday WIPs: a Mid-Week YOP Update

My weekends have been fairly busy, and I haven’t been able to post a Year of Projects update in a bit. So here’s a combo post!

Knitting

I am working on sport weight socks for Bob, a Halloween cardigan, and my Arrowhead cardigan. The yarn shown in the featured image is from my stash and will be used in a Summer Solstice Ambah knitalong. I am also working on my knitting pattern design for the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box.

The Halloween cardigan is from the Fall Favorites Collection, Pumqueen version. The yarn is Cascade BFL, which I am really enjoying working with. I’m modifying the pattern to be a cardigan with a steek.

Sewing

I am focusing on project bags right now. I hope to have a finish to show by Friday. But I did sew matching KISS pajama shorts for Bob and me.

Dyeing

I continue to experiment. I am mostly focusing on the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box yarn. Only one week left to order. Please share with people you think would be interested!

Spinning

I haven’t been doing this. I hope to start back up next month.

In other news:

We have two baby groundhogs in the garden right now. They are so cute.

We enjoyed our trip to ParaPsyCon III at the Ohio State Reformatory. Very creepy and lots of fun!

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! 😊

The Bunny YOP

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time I’ve used Bunny YOP as a post title. Now that I’ve had a couple of weeks of down time, I’m ready to get back on the Year of Projects wagon.

Knitting

I’ve been primarily working on my Vertices Unite shawl. The yarn is naturally dyed, and although the colors are somewhat muted, I think they are great for spring. I was planning to use the pink for the border, but I’ve decided instead to bring in a new color — the yellowy green. I think this is one of those designs that will look better worn, so I will model it when it’s done. This photo also serves as a way to tell you that our porch furniture is out, and we are ready for porch season!

Sewing

I finally got the pattern cut out for the Melba dress. I decided to not use the expensive Spoonflower fabric for the facings, which will be inside the dress. So I’m waiting on some inexpensive cotton knit for that. I’ll use any leftover dress fabric for scarves for my Etsy shop.

I received so many lovely cards from the Global Gifts team after my last day. I thought it would be nice to commemorate them here. I miss working with my Global Gifts family every day, but I am enjoying semi-retirement, if that’s what this is.

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.

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?

Happy Caturday

My name is Dan Bill, aka Daniel Billiam, aka Doob’n Boob’l, aka Doob’l, aka Mr Beans.

Happy Caturday! We learned yesterday that Mackenzie and Dan Bill got an apartment and will be moving out in early April. We’re excited for them, but they will be missed. The good news is I will be moving my studio into the spare room. Now I will be able to sew while Bob works because the noise won’t be a disruption. I will also have a nice cozy room to sit and knit and spin.

I got my first yarn mystery boxes in the mail this week. I can’t wait to read reviews and watch unboxing videos! I have been practicing my dyeing and designing for the Volunteer Sunflowers box. I also listed my Autumn Yarn Mystery Box which doesn’t ship until September. As much as I appreciate Etsy Seller tools, I regret they restrict my ship by date options. It might be a good reason to move forward with a commerce website. I haven’t because I can’t really afford that right now.

I joined the Ocean Moon Mystery Knitalong by designer Ambah O’Brien. It’s my first Ambah pattern. This is my yarn from Fiber Optic Yarns. I think I chose well. It’s five mini skeins from the Oceans Six gradient plus Ebbtide for the moon and Storm for the sea. I’m going full on with the intarsia version. It’s all Kashmir, which is merino, yak, and silk.

I swatched for a Lodge Sweater with Cornbread and Honey’s Peaceful DK with some KnitPicks Aloft in Sydney (on sale). I’m looking forward to knitting this, but I will probably wait until fall. I fluffed my stash yesterday while organizing my yarn. I have many sweaters waiting to be knit. I’d better get on it.

I made myself breakfast in bed today. Eggs and pie. The best! My sense of smell and taste are coming back after my January illness, and I’m enjoying coffee again.

My name is JoJo, aka Jo, aka Jolene, aka JoJoBelle, aka Miss PetiPaws, aka Pretty Princess, aka Queen. I am glad the interloper will be moving out soon, though I will miss the extra hooman.

Hope you have a great weekend!

It Ain’t What You YOP it’s the Way that You YOP It

And that’s what gets results. I’m getting cornier and cornier with my post titles.

Knitting

I started some shorty socks to wear with clogs and white sneakers. Yarn is Cascade Heritage. It’s my first time using it, and it’s really soft.

I’m ready to start the armhole steeks on the Arrowhead Cardigan. Yarn is Lopi.

I’m the cow’s tail on the Vertices knitalong, still plugging away on my first section. This yarn is super soft, but the blue indigo dye is rubbing off on my hands. It’s naturally dyed merino from two different dyers. I do love the colors.

I’ve made minuscule progress on my Taxus Mittens. I doubt I’ll finish for the knitalong, but they were on my list anyway, so I’m happy to take my time. Yarn is Tukuwool Fingering. I’m not sure about the brown berries. I might tink those back. I think I’d prefer the first round of berries to be orange, like the cast on, what do you think?

Sewing

I finished my Clare Coat! Now I’m ready to start on some spring wardrobe sewing.

Spinning

Move along. Nothing to see here.

In other news, I put in my notice at work. I’ve been struggling with GERD for over a year — nocturnal vomiting at least two or three times per week. I kept trying to pin the cause down to food, but there were no consistent triggers. Turns out it was stress, which I suspected, but now I know for certain. I haven’t thrown up since I put in my notice a week ago. I knew the job was a bit of a stretch for me, but I didn’t know we would be entering into two years of a global pandemic when I took it. I love it, which makes it even harder, and love the people I work with. But I have to prioritize my health. I had a scare with inflammation and swelling in my throat, and then I knew I had to do something. I’ve tried medications, but they’ve never made any difference. I’m going to take some time off to heal, and work on my side hustle for a bit, to see if it grows. By the way, today is the last day to order the Spring Thaw box! And I’m working on a new box that should be suitable for Mother’s Day, as well as a summer box that will include an original pattern design (I hope).

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.

It’s Beginning to YOP a Lot Like Christmas

I haven’t posted for Year of Projects (YOP) in a few weeks. I haven’t really been focused on crafting. But I did update my list today.

Knitting

I added this cowl, which is the Marled Alaska Cowl (Ravelry link) in Moondrake’s Soft Shawl, colorways Driftwood and Zombie held together. I should be able to finish this up this week.

I had to frog my Stash Aurealis. After I got through the short rows and increases for the yoke, my stitch count was wrong. At first I was going to fudge it, then I realized that would be silly as it is a very small bit of knitting that I can certainly reknit quickly once my head is in the right place. So that project will be disappeared back into the yarn tubs for now.

I removed some projects from my list that I can’t see myself making anytime soon.

Sewing

I added my Plateau Joggers, which are now cut out and ready to sew.

Today I will make some Canada, Eh? flannel PJ pants for Bob. He has requested pockets, so I hope the pocket pattern from one of my dresses will do as a template.

Spinning

M’lady
M’lady Bug

I added spinning to my list. My goals this year are modest. 1. Relearn to spin 2. Improve my spinning.

Listening to Music Intentionally

I removed this from my list. I’ve been enjoying indie folk playlists on YouTube that are themed by season or mood. It’s like hygge Muzak and is really the opposite of listening to music intentionally. But it’s nice background music and helps calm my nervous system.

We had snow flurries yesterday and the holidays are right around the corner! I’ve finished my shopping. It was easy as everyone is getting a Fair Trade Subscription. It feels good going into the season without many have-to-dos. I’m going to bake Rosemary Shortbread Stars today.

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.