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.

Garden Update and a Yucca Story

I thought it would be fun to take you on a little ramble through my garden. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen it. 🙂

And, yes. My dress does have root vegetables on it.

I found another dragonfly in the garden. I’m not sure what kind it is. Maybe you know? I also saw a praying mantis, but they are still too small and quick to get a photo.

We have black raspberries.

We also have yucca in the front landscaping that are flowering. I was surprised someone planted them here. But they seem to be surviving. I have a yucca story to share with you.

When I was a student at the University of California, San Diego, I took a Southwestern American Art class. We had to weave a traditional Pueblo basket as a project. Most students bought reed at the hobby store, but not me. I saw a traditional basket woven from yucca at a museum, so I had the bright idea that I was going to find yucca and strip it and weave my basket with it! So, I dragged my surfer boyfriend out to the desert to look for yuccas with me. I had a photo from a book so I would know what they looked like. We spent an entire day hiking. We did not find a single yucca. We went home and I was exhausted and sad because I couldn’t weave my traditional yucca basket, and guess what! There. Was. A. Yucca. Growing. Right. By. Our. Front. Door. In the landscaping of the condo complex where we lived.

I did weave my basket and I still have it. I used Rit to dye the yucca fiber because traditional methods called for urine as a mordant and I didn’t have the guts to try that. I got an A. The end.

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.

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. 🤣

Enchanted Kimono Robe

Have you ever seen the film Enchanted April? I haven’t watched it in at least a decade or maybe longer. I hope there is nothing offensive in it. I sometimes think fondly on an old film and then rewatch it and find myself appalled by something I never noticed before!

Anyway, in the film, Josie Lawrence is wearing a lovely silk kimono robe. I’ve always wanted one. I have shopped robes but never found one I liked or felt good about buying. Then I decided to make one, and I shopped silk but couldn’t find quite the right thing. I finally settled on this cotton lawn with cranes and peonies (printed in Spain).

This was a very zen make. I didn’t follow instructions or a pattern. I measured and cut rectangles and sewed them together. I made the sleeves extra long for extra waftiness. Isn’t it great with the pink tile? I purchased this fabric several months ago, before I’d even seen the pink tile! Happiness score = 😃

Bob and I walked our local rails to trails bike path this morning. It wasn’t too far and it was a well kept path. I got all my steps in today!

I can’t wait to drink my coffee on my hammock swing tomorrow in my new robe.

Saturyay

This is my yarn closet and my sewing corner in my office. All my yarn and fabric fit in that narrow closet, but not all my fiber. I have two big tubs of fiber — mostly wool — in the hallway outside. Don’t judge me. Or do, I don’t mind. I have an art show in 14 months. I’m sure I will use most of it up. I have angora and silk as well — the angora from my old bunnies. What will I make?

Bob and I went to downtown Newark for gluten-free pizza for Saturdate! 2020. What a year!

We liked the face on this building. Green Man? Gargoyle?

Heel flap time on my Pride sock! I’d better get knitting if I’m going to finish these by July 1. Not likely, if I’m honest.

I just finished reading The Mirror & the Light by Hillary Mantel, the final book in the Thomas Cromwell series. It has been criticized as having too many words, but each word is so delicious, I didn’t mind savoring it.

I watched the fox kits in our back yard last night. I was worried about them getting enough food, they seem so skinny, until they rustled up some vermin from the compost pile. Human-Fox symbiosis! Their den is under our barn.