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?

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!

Saturday Swatch

After sitting with the idea of a springy pink gansey, and not feeling at all comfortable with it, I stumbled across Willow by Pam Allen. I love her designs. I’ve decided this is the gansey for me. I purchased the pattern, but what to do for yarn? Yes, I really wanted to purchase a sweater quantity of yarn, but went stash diving instead. I found just the thing: this Arcadia DK in Moonstone by Less Travelled Yarn! I got gauge and it has great stitch definition. Problem solved! I’ll make a lacey throw over with the pink yarn for spring and summer.

What are you swatching these days, and how is it going?

Saturday Start: A New Venture!

One of my favorite things to do is curate gifts and collections. I once worked as a personal shopper, and walking around with customers and helping them select items was an absolute favorite activity. With this in mind, I have decided I want to combine my love of knitting and fiber arts, handmade items, natural fibers, and curating collections by starting my own yarn mystery box company: Chestnut Hills Farm and Fiber! This will be a part time enterprise. I’m planning to curate a mystery box seasonally, so just four times per year, at least at first.

The first box is called Spring Thaw, and is inspired by my original photo below:

I’m very excited to be including yarn from Cornbread and Honey, along with her fabulous lotion bars. I’ve always loved her color aesthetic, and she will be dyeing on non-superwash merino wool in a special colorway just for this box! There will be stitch markers by MAB Elements, who I recently discovered, and I am in love with her work. (Look for a shawl pin in a future box!) And for those who want a little more mystery, the Cultivate Box will include a special flower pot made by Megs Levesseur, also inspired by the theme! I will be including some seeds from my garden to plant in the pot, along with information about the seeds and season.

In future boxes, I hope to include original patterns, some of my own hand dyed yarn, and other goodies made by regional artisans I admire. I hope you’ll consider supporting me on this new endeavor! There are a limited number of boxes available for purchase, and you can also support by sharing this link on your blog, or resharing on social media. Thank you! This has been a long time coming, and I’m very excited about the possibilities of this enterprise.

Swatch It to Me Monday

I finished my swatches for Auchnaha. The gauge was close on size 6 US needles, with the Tukuwool DK in Rohto coming out just a little bigger, on the left. (I made an oopsy with an accidental row of purls on the knit side.) As you can see, it’s a very woolly yarn that did not soften with washing. On the right is Kate Davies’ Designs Schiehallion in Mooring. It’s a much softer yarn that I think will be better for this design, which I intend to wear over short sleeves. In fact, this design in this color is perfect to wear over my plaid A-line dress. So that’s that. The Tukuwool will make a wonderful, warm, winter cardigan or pullover, so I’ll save it for something in that vein.

Do you swatch? As a rule, I don’t always. But I’m starting to find the fun in swatching for design. I may become a regular swatcher!

All the Knitalongs and Bloganuary

In addition to the Vertices Unite Knitalong (KAL), I’ve joined another shawl KAL! This one is run by Malabrigo, and I’ve signed up through Mass Ave Knit Shop. I was visiting Indianapolis this week for work, and of course I stopped by the yarn store! The yarn on the left is for the KAL: Arroyo in Marte, Cian, and Frank Ochre. The pattern is La Mondiola Wrap. I guess 2022 is going to be The Year of the Shawl for me.

The pink is Chunky in Hollyhock. I’ve been wanting to knit a Getting Warmer Cowl for myself, and this color stopped me in my tracks. I’ve knit one already for a silent auction item from merino I picked up in Kenya that I dyed vermillion red. I loved knitting it and trying it on, and wanted to make one for myself. I think this pink will look fantastic with my royal blue melton coat I’m going to sew!

The necklace in my photo is from Purlsmith. I love their sterling stitch marker jewelry. And right now I am really identifying with the rough freshwater pearl, feeling as though I’ve been through the wash a few times but still have some rough spots to smooth out. Although today I’m wearing a green agate stitch marker on my necklace, which I received in my Yuletide Mystery Box from November Woods Fiber Co. I can’t believe I never blogged about that. It was a lovely gift to myself in December, including indigo dyed green yarn and a handmade mug.

Did you know this month is Bloganuary? I’m getting a late start. Today’s prompt is to write about what year you would travel to — back in time — if you could. My answer is 1536: Tudor England. Henry VIII turns England upside down for Anne Boleyn, she is queen for three years, and then he has her beheaded. What the heck happened?! I have read and watched so many historic and fictional accounts, but none of them satisfy my curiosity. My latest acquisition is The Story of the Death of Anne Boleyn: A Poem by Lancelot de Carle. His poem is an eye witness account of the event in verse form written for the French king. The book is a translation with essays by Joann DellaNeva. The poem is not new, but a full version has been discovered that was suppressed in England because it’s pro-Anne. I guess Henry didn’t like that.

In Betwixt Yarn Advent

I was very pleased with my yarn advent from Lizzie Bird Yarns. It’s an “in betwixt” set for the days between Christmas and New Year’s. As you can see, it came with each skein lovingly wrapped, plus lots of special goodies, including a sweet set of gingerbread stitch markers.

I chose the Log Cabin set, and I love the subdued colors and gold sparkle. As fate would have it, I have a skein of Campfire Yarn’s Cranberry Forest with gold stellina that is a perfect match for this set. It was a gift, and I’m excited to put these together for a Yuletide shawl later this year.

I have to say, I am really glad I purchased a yarn advent and didn’t just go with my DIY idea — which honestly was kind of a let down. I love the advent chest, though, so I’ll try to come up with a different idea to use it next year.

Did you receive any yarn over the holidays? Are you already planning your holiday knits for 2022, as I am? I would love to hear about it.

DIY Fall Advent: #1

Last year I realized I got so excited about fall and Halloween yarns and knitting patterns, I decided to make my own fall advent with yarns from my stash. The goal was to keep me from going overboard buying yarn this fall. I paired the skeins with patterns (some I had, some I purchased, most were free) and stitch markers from my collection. Then I sewed fabric bags and tagged them with the date I should open them.

This is the contents of the first bag. I love it! I don’t have any socks on the needles, so I may cast these on. This colorway is Fall Sangria from Cornbread and Honey. I have two weeks until the next advent bag!

Hi! Vacation Day 1 – All The SQUIRREL!

Today is the first day of a badly needed week of vacation. And… I have cast on block. I have so many things I want to cast on, I don’t know what to knit first.

Short List:

1. Arrowhead Cardigan – Colorwork and it’s a great week to pay attention. It’s cast on and ready in my basket. (All links are Ravelry links.)

2. Vintersol Sweater – My yummy new yarn is calling to me.

3. Celtic Myths Shawl – Cables and it’s a good week to pay attention. I’m so close to finishing it. I think I will try to knock it out.

4. Hansel Hap – since the start of this will be good TV knitting, I will cast this on later in the week so I have it ready when I go back to work and need evening wind-down knitting. The Ramsay Farm Shetland yarn is calling to me. So squishy and smells so good!

5. New socks for Bob. One should always have a pair of socks on the needles.

6. New socks for me. I have some very springy sock yarn I would like to knit into some shorties.

7. Onipa’a Shawl: “Stand Firm, Resolute. Be true to yourself.” I did and I was. I fell in love with this pattern and bought some gorgeous Finn and Kid Mohair yarn from Mindful Folk Farm during Botanica last weekend, dyed with Logwood, to knit it with. It’s gorgeous. Early birthday gift to myself.

8. Skipwith Cardigan: Number 1 in my queue because I would like to wear this and soon. It’s a fingering weight cardi. Even if I do cast on, is that likely to happen? 🙃

Okay, see now I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.

In other news, it’s taking me forever to finish the body of my Anker’s Summer Shirt. “Just a few more inches,” “Just a… few… more inches!” “Ok, two more inches!” “One and a half more inches!” At least it’s short sleeved.

Things are popping up in the garden! It’s getting a little chilly at night and I’m worried. Hopefully the microclimate is a real thing and not a mass delusion by overeager gardeners in northern climes.

Last week I toodled around town with family that was visiting, and bought this pillow in a little shop. JoJo is not as amused as I am, but she does love our new-to-us couch.

Pete has emerged from hibernation. I planted all kinds of flower seeds here, but so far the only thing to emerge are volunteer sunflowers from the bird feeder. I think there are a few sweet peas, too.

Right! Time to sew a dress! 😂

Oh, yeah, I have art to make. 🤣