Wednesday: It’s a Wrap! Or, a Haunted Hap?

While running through the haunted woods behind her house, the author’s shawl gets hung on tree branches. Should she turn and rescue it? Or keep running? What is she running from? Is it the Blair Witch? Hold on… Wait a minute… She IS the witch! Stop running, witch! Put your shawl back on and go home.

I finished knitting my Halloween Livie shawl! Pattern is Livie by Tamy Gore. Yarn is Spectacular from Knit Circus in Trick or Treat and Quoth the Raven.

I started knitting this last October, but realized pretty quickly I was not going to be able to finish it by Halloween. I was also annoyed that I had to take the stitch marker off every right side row and move it. Fast forward to July 2022: I loved knitting this! It was great TV knitting, intuitive and repetitive, and the whole stitch marker thing became part of the rhythm. (I guess I was more grumpy and stressed last year. Funny how that works.)

As much as I love a good wrap, let’s face it. I’ll be wearing it more like this.

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?

Dye Hard: Yarn of Projects

I’ve been traveling and entertaining the last couple of weeks, as well as focusing on the mystery box stuff, so I don’t have much progress to show. I’m still knitting on the Blueberry Popover Day socks, my Pumqueen Cardi, and Arrowhead. But as promised, here are pics of my haul from the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair, in order of acquisition.

BFL fiber for spinning
Darning Egg and Damsel Plum yarn in two weights from Knitting Notions
Bulky in Salmon Run and sock in Squash from Laughing Cat Fibers
Litha and Taurus from Dye Mad Yarns

Did I buy more superwash? Yes. I need to draw the line on superwash. It’s great for socks and summer shawls, but not warm enough for winter knits.

I have been editing and updating my Year of Projects list. I make minor changes to my knitting plans throughout the year. However, I made some significant changes to my sewing list. Me Made May taught me I need to make more tops and pants. I have enough summer dresses. Below is the new list. I’d love to finish the first three this month.

  1. Ottobre blouse in Liberty blue paisley lawn and black linen
  2. Two A-line Tees in batiked cottons for summer
  3. Pietra Pants in indigo linen
  4. Audrey Pants in navy stretch cotton twill and gray cotton twill
  5. Ophelia Overalls in teal corduroy
  6. A Logan Shacket in navy wool flannel
  7. Ottobre Coat in black wool floral embossed coating

Bob gave me this natural dyeing kit from Botanical Colors for my birthday. It arrived yesterday! I’ve never dyed with prepared natural dyes before, only from foraged botanicals or plants from my garden. I’m looking forward to trying this. Funds raised from the sales of this kit supports sending vital supplies to displaced children and families in Ukraine as well as supporting Botanical Colors’ BIPOC scholarships.

I have been dyeing hard lately. I’m going for another experiment on cotton yarn this week. And then I’m going to dye some wool yarn in fall colors for the shop.

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.

Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair

I had a great time at the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair today! Bob’s Mom, Margie, and I went for a couple of hours and shopped the booths. I got to see some of my favorite yarn dyers, and pick up a few precious skeins.

I was really excited to meet Catherine from Knitting Notions in person. You may know her from the yarnmama blog. I had a hard time choosing from her displays dripping with glorious tonal yarns, but I managed. I also picked up a cherry wood darning egg!

Next stop was Laura from Laughing Cat Fibers. I got to meet her husband Joe on this visit. Laura will be dyeing the yarn for my Autumn Yarn Mystery Box! I picked up a few skeins and a free pattern!

It’s always a pleasure to banter with Kelley from Dye Mad Yarns. I grabbed a skein of Taurus and another of Litha, for summer seasonal knitting joy. I also selected a Porch Goose magnet set for my refrigerator. I’m really glad I got one, because I’ve been wanting it for a long time. You need one too.

I met a new-to-me Ohio dyer, Lorna from Bewitched Pigments. Their yarn colors are stunning! I didn’t get any yarn from them at the event, but I did sign up for one of the clubs on their website.

I also got to visit with the ladies from the Central Ohio Weaving and Fiber Arts Guild for a moment. I didn’t have time to sit and knit in public, but I’ll be volunteering at a couple of events later this summer.

Sharon, above on the right, suggested I try spinning with BFL as I’m learning. So I brought home a braid of natural BFL, which I may dye before I spin. I will save photos of my acquisitions for another post.

Did you knit in public today?

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!

It’s YOPday, It’s YOPday, TGIY: an FO!

I’m really pleased it fits. Pattern is Musselburgh Hat by Ysolda. Yarn is Chester Sock by Dye Mad Yarns. The pattern was well written and easy to follow. It took a long time in fingering weight, though. But that made the perfect double layer of fabric. I made the AXL size.

I am taking one more day off from work tomorrow to completely decompress. I hope to catch up on Arrowhead and get some sewing in. A big thank you to everyone who purchased a Spring Thaw Yarn Mystery Box! 💙

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.

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.

O’YOPpenbaum

Knitting

I finished my Ranunculus Sweater! Pattern is Ranunculus by Midori Hirose. Yarn is The Fibre Co Arranmore in color Ruari. (I believe this yarn is discontinued.) Mods: I used Aran weight yarn and knit the original size, which turned out perfect. I opted for a twisted rib cuff instead of an icord bind off. I knit until the sweater covered my derrière. It’s lovely and I don’t want to take it off. I think the only improvement would have been to include bust darts. But who am I kidding. That’s way too fussy.

I’ve started the Unbearable Hat (Ravelry link) for Henry, but there’s nothing yet to see other than some black ribbing.

I’ve mended the heels on Bob’s socks. I’ve learned that garter stitch doesn’t wear any better than any other stitch. I wonder if leather heel patches would help?

Sewing

I haven’t sewn anything this week.

Spinning

I signed up for a spinning class at the Newark Cultural Arts Center for January 2nd! It’s a spinning wheel class that is one on one to go over all the basics. I hate that I am starting over but I am pretty much starting over. I hope this sets me off on the right foot. (See what I did there?)

I started a thing! I created a meetup called the Granville Stitchers and we had our first meeting yesterday. We drank cider at Seek No Further Cidery, worked on our projects and got to know each other a little bit. It was wonderful! We are meeting again in a couple of weeks!

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.

Wool Wins, Natch: a YOP Update

Fiber Art

“Coxheath” wool fiber, 16”X20”, 18”X24” framed, price on request from
Sean Christopher Gallery

I have finished, photographed, and framed ten pieces for my September show, called “Soft.” I drop them off on August 30th. The show event page is here: https://fb.me/e/5o19a4V68 You can see the show card on my Year of Projects page. I will share images of the work as the gallery makes them public.

Yesterday I tested fresh leaf indigo printing on scraps of different textiles. Wool is definitely the winner (far left), and I learned a few things about what kind of surface I should be working on (smooth) and what kind of stone to use for pounding (not one that breaks and imparts its own color, like sandstone, duh.)

What will I do with all this indigo? I’m thinking of bundling the leaves in my yardage of Virginia cotton, for a pretty leaf printed fabric to make — what else — overalls out of. But I need to do a little more research.

I also pulled up as much of the flax that I could find that didn’t have mature seed heads. It’s retting in water in this tub. Hopefully I wasn’t too late to get some fiber out of it.

I have also started harvesting the flax seed for the Rust Belt Fibershed project.

Knitting

I’m halfway through the final clue for The Lonely Heart is a Hunter mystery knit along! (Rav link)

I finished the first sleeve on my Milkshake Cardigan! (Rav link)

Sewing

I made some progress on my linen yarn ball overalls. These are looking like a clown suit. Do I care? Hell no. Will I wear them anyway? Hell yes. Yarny the Clown, that’s me! (Juggling yarn balls.) (Blows up two long balloons. Ties them off. Mimes knitting with them.) Now available for knit nights, fiber festivals, and private knitting retreats.

Plus look at these adorable yarn ball buttons that I found! (Calliope music plays in the background.)

But seriously, I love them. Just buttonholes, buttons, and hems to go.

Gardening

I harvested and put up some sage leaves to dry yesterday.

Bob just brought in this tote full of pears and apples from the trees in our garden. I want to make pie or preserves, but Bob wants to make his own apple cider vinegar. We use a lot of apple cider vinegar, so that’s a good idea.

This has been a Year of Projects Update. You can learn more about the group on Ravelry. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Garden Update

Twocumbers (I have to give credit to Clara Parkes for that name.)

I cleared all of the cucumber and zucchini plants out of the garden. We couldn’t handle any more cukes or zukes. I’ve got plenty for more pickling, and Bob made a delicious vegan lasagna with zucchini sliced lengthwise instead of noodles.

I transplanted the kale, cabbage, and broccoli seedlings for fall. I hope this net keeps the cabbage moths off. I also transplanted arugula, chard, and Bibb lettuce seedlings.

In other exciting news, we have blackberries! Which are my favorite, even if the brambles jump out and scratch me.

It’s worth it.