In like a Lion, out like a…Lion?

I would apologize for not posting in a month but honestly… I have had way too much going on to blog. March has been a whirlwind of not only crazy unseasonal winter weather, but also activity! Right about the time we moved into our new house, we received some surprising news:

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There’s a baby D on the way! We are so excited, and nervous, and thrilled, and terrified. That contributed a lot to the lack of blogging. I was so sick and tired for the entire first trimester, that doing anything besides getting up, going to work, coming home and going to sleep was too taxing. Plus it’s hard to keep a secret like that when you have a blog. I mean, there wasn’t much I could talk about besides “looked at baby knitting. Was sick all day.” 

What’s new in knitting? Well, I started a baby sweater! This is the owlet pattern by Kate Davis. I needed an easy pattern to start out with, and I have wanted to knit an owls sweater for ages. This seemed like a great one to start with. I’m already binding off the neck, and only have to graft the sleeves, weave in ends, and block it.  This sweater will be done in no time!

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Oh, J’s 2013 birthday socks? I finally  finished them last week. They are done, ends woven in, and sitting on top of his dresser. I am so glad to have those done. I never want to look at that pattern again. 

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Other than that, not much going on. My full-time job has me working more than full-time right now, so any free time I have is spent doing homework for my graduate class, or trying to keep up with housework. I’m hoping now that I’m in the second trimester that I’ll be able to keep up with things a little better. In the meantime, I plan on spending the rest of this gloomy, rainy, sleety Sunday sitting on the couch with a hot mug of tea and some knitting to relax with. 

 

 

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And We’re Back!

Whoops, a month since my last post! It’s been crazy here, between moving, coming down with the flu, fieldwork picking up, and trying to keep up with bag orders, it’s been hard to find time to blog. 

So, what has been going on besides that? Well, we got a little bit of snow the other week:

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We’ve moved into our new house, and now I have an entire room to craft in! My own personal space! I’m excited. There is still a lot of organizing to be done, but it’s to the point where it’s functional, and that’s good enough for now. 

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My bags are now available at Little Owl Knit Shop! They have only been open for a month but already have an amazing selection of yarn, and a nice display of awesome project bags if I do say so myself. 

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Josh’s birthday socks (for 2013) are *almost* done. I love the pattern, but the one thing I hate is knitting men’s socks toe up. The easy part gets done first, and then the rest just drags. Pictured is sock #1. Sock #2 is done up to the heel, and all that is left is the leg portion.

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And in non-crafting news, we have been geeking out lately with our newest game- Star Trek Catan. This version of Settlers of Catan is so much fun. Well, it would be a lot more fun if J didn’t kill me in every game we played. 

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Hopefully things will be slowing down a bit over the next couple weeks, and I will be able to post more. I do want to post some of the new things showing up at Rock Solid Designs in the next month or so.

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Things and Stuff…and a Giveaway!

Oh man. There is nothing worse than having to do fieldwork in the middle of winter…with a fever. Needless to say, recovering from that has really limited my crafting lately. In addition, we are getting ready to move next week. J has been boxing our household items up daily, and every time I turn around something has been moved or packed. I dread how much worse it will be after the move- I’m sure I won’t be able to find anything for weeks!

Luckily I was able to get some knitting in before my entire life ends up in boxes. I finished my Opulent Raglan over the holidays. This is hands down my favorite top. It fits great, the color is amazing, and the pattern was a pleasure to knit. I got tons of compliments on it when I wore it to my company holiday party last week. I made some minor modifications to it: instead of a turned hem, I just did a 2×2 rib along the bottom. I also stopped the sleeves just short of the elbow and did a 2×2 rib there. I think this makes for a more versatile top, plus I really hate wearing ruffles.

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I also completed my annual New Year’s Cast-On Along project. I needed something quick and simple to cheer me up. This cowl was the perfect thing! Knit with bulky baby alpaca yarn, it knit up in one day and soft and cozy. I found the perfect large, purple buttons to put on it. I love wearing this thing. I’ll be sad when it warms up this spring! (also, please ignore the awful florescent indoor photos. Winter in PA is an awful time to try and get natural lighting.)

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I’ve also finally pulled my spinning wheel back out for a few days before we need to pack it up for the move. I have some merino/bamboo blend from MDSW 2010 that I’ve finally decided to dive in and spin. This fiber is like butter. I wish I could remember who the vendor was. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them every year though, so I’ll have to remember to go buy some more this spring.

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…that’s a bad photo. I really need to find time to take a photography course of some sort. You always see all these blogs with beautiful photos, and I wish I could make mine look like that. Maybe that will be a goal for this summer.

 

 

Finally, exciting news! Over at Rock Solid Designs, we are adding needle rolls to our product line-up. To celebrate, I’ve decided to give away this roll.

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All you have to do to win this, is enter the giveaway over here. You need to hurry though! Entries close on January 21, at 11:59pm. 

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2013 in Review

Hello, 2014! This past year has been such a crazy, busy, educational one that I hardly know where to start with my summary. A year ago this month I decided to go back to school. This was a tough decision; my husband is currently a full-time student, and I work full-time.  After much thought though, we realized that we can handle it financially, and tax-wise it was most beneficial for me to do it now. To date I have completed 19 graduate level credits, and am almost halfway through my program, while still working full-time (much of the time out in the field). 

This year we really tried to buckle down on following a budget. It was definitely rough with me travelling so much for work, but we are figuring out where our downfalls are. In an effort to try and save as much of our CSA produce as possible, I decided to learn how to can. With only being home on weekends, food wasn’t getting eaten before it was going bad. This was a great way to keep money from going to waste, and it’s giving us delicious fruits well into winter!

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I also decided that this was a great time to start a side business! My timing is, to say the least, awful. There has been so much going on that some days I feel so overwhelmed I could cry, but it has been worth it. I’ve gone from making bags and hoping people will notice them, to having a fully stocked website, an active facebook page, a presence in local craft shows, and the latest achievement- bags for sale in our new local yarn store! This has not been an easy road and there are still many challenges ahead, but I am sure I can handle it.

Knitting has been slow this year. With all this chaos, knitting has sadly fallen by they wayside. Even so, there have been a few finished projects this year! Below is a gallery of my 2013 FO’s.

Ok, so technically the Opulant Raglan is currently blocking and still needs ends woven in, but the knitting was finished before the year ends, so I am counting it. 

I will be casting on my annual New Year’s Cast-on-along project here soon. My goals for this year are varied; can more, stress less, knit more, run more. We’ve already decided on doing two sprint triathalons this year, and I cannot wait!

Do you make resolutions, or set goals instead? Or do you just ignore all of that, and just plan on enjoying everything 2014 sends your way?

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The Calm After the Storm

Christmas has come and gone for another year here. Presents were all received with much excitement, and cookies, fruitcake, roast, and sweets have all been consumed. I look forward to a few more days of relaxing before having to go back to the daily grind of work, classes, chores, and social obligations.

J and I have joined my parents, grandparents, and one of my uncle’s families up at the lake for a few days. This time is my favorite; we all sit around drinking coffee and talking, take hikes, play board or trivia games, and just enjoy catching up with everyone’s goings on over the past year.  There is chaos and laughter, exchanging of advice, and copious amounts of beverages. 

I never really partake in New Year’s Resolutions. They always seems to be something vague “get in shape,” and setting something more specific always makes me feel like a failure if something happens that prevents success.  I prefer to go with hopes for the new year- things to strive for, to look forward to, but not obligatory successes. I’m still finagling the details, but it gives me something to think about while I drink my morning coffee. 

I also partake in a “New Year’s Cast-on-along”  started a few years ago by a rubbernecker friend. The purpose of this is to cast on a brand new project, something for yourself, as an enticement for good omens in the coming year.  I haven’t even begun thinking about what I should start for myself. Three years ago it was my wedding veil (so far the good omen seems to be working), and last year I did a quick pair of mittens. Maybe this year I’ll do something simple, such as a nice winter scarf, or a quick hat. Something to wear through the rest of the winter to cheer me up. 

 

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Goodness and Light

We are a mere days away from Christmas, and preparations are in full swing! Because of exams and fieldwork, I got a late start on the Holidays this year. Life has been so busy, we didn’t even get a real tree, we just put up my artificial one from college. I don’t mind too much- I’m glad it’s getting used. I just miss having a real one. 

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We got the tree up at the beginning of the month, and decorated soon after. Even though not much else was completed all month, it is nice having it there, decorated and lit up. It helps bring a little bit of the holiday spirit. There is a certain cat here that feels the tree is meant for eating. I think from now on we need to suffer through getting a real tree. At least those are less toxic than processed plastics.

 

 

 

I’ve been working on my Opulent Raglan almost exclusively this month. I hope to have it done in time for my work holiday party in January. This photo is old- I cast off the body this morning, and am getting ready to pick up stitches for the sleeves. This is a perfect tv watching knit.

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Yesterday my mother and I finally found time to get together and knock out some of the baking. We managed to complete two batches of spritz, 1.5 batches of gingerbread and a batch of peanut butter blossoms (peanut butter cookies with a hershey kiss in the center). I still have two batches of sugar cookies and some gingerbread to complete, but that’s not bad for one day!

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In my family we usually do half the gingerbread with red hots, and the other half plain, but this year I had a sudden urge to ice some of the plain ones. I had so much fun giving them little faces and outfits! They will be much more entertaining to eat than the plain ones. 

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all joy and light around here. On our way to dinner Friday, Skye had an unfortunate incident. Seems the lady behind us at a red light was in a great rush to get somewhere, and nailed us on the right corner. Skye isn’t too bad, but her car 

is totaled. It could be much, much worse, and I will say that considering how hard she hit us, I am so thankful for how well made Honda’s are.  

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Today is going to be full of baking, prepping for perogi’s to eat on Christmas Eve, and sewing some special project bags for Christmas gifts. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

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This and That

I have been travelling for my full-time job almost non stop lately, home only long enough to attend my graduate classes two evenings a week. This means that little crafting or blogging has been completed recently, so today will be random things I forgot to blog about earlier in the year.

Rhinebeck Haul

This is my haul from Rhinebeck this year, minus the amazing cheese and pesto I bought. Those are already gone.  Starting from the upper left: BFL naturally dyed from Spencer Hill Spinning and Dyeing. She only uses natural dyes for all of her products, and gets amazing colors from them.

Next is 4oz of baby mohair/wool from Steam Valley Fiber. The White skein is also from them; it’s a mohair/wool blend dk weight yarn.

Next are two skeins of sock yarn from Spencer Hill (can you tell where I spent all of my money?) in indigo/lac and indigo. Then two miniskeins of sock yarn from Miss Babs for some colorwork mittens I am planning. Finally, 8oz of CVM/Silk from Carolina Homespun. It is like touching a cloud. I LOVE it.

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This was my big birthday present from my parents- an antique yarn blocker! It is fully functioning, and makes a popping noise after approximately 80 rotations (I need to count again, it’s hard to keep track). Some of the spokes are chipped, but they will still hold yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

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This Book was a present for my inlaws. I cannot wait to start making some of the projects in it. The Penguin and Alligator specifically look like so much fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 I posted back here about spinning up some pink corriedale in fauxlags. This hat is the result of that yarn. It used about 2/3 of the skein (125yds). It is so warm and squishy, I love it! I didn’t want to take it off once I finished it. This hat only took about 3 days of intermittent knitting.

 

 

 

 

 

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And finally! Yesterday we went to Afternoon Tea at the Jefferson Hotel to celebrate my cousin’s 16th birthday. This was the fanciest tea I have ever been to. Absolutely gorgeous, amazing foods and delicious teas. Such a great experience. And probably the only time I’ll be able to set foot in a hotel that swanky. ;)

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A Quick Stop

To say that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. My full-time job has me out of town during the week, and personal life has me out of town on the weekends. This means that any spare time I have is spent sewing and preparing for the Carlisle Christmas Craft Show this weekend.

project bags

Here is a (blurry) progress photo I had of some bags two weeks ago. I’ve determined 12 bags a day is my limit- I tried to do 20 last night, and while I succeeded, it also took me from 9am to 2am. I do not plan on having a repeat performance of that.

 

 

I have been working out of town for the past month straight, making it very difficult to make enough time to sew the bags and prepare for the show. While I didn’t have as much inventory as I would have liked, I did have enough to keep my booth from looking empty, and it did attract a fair amount of people in.

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One thing I got many compliments on that I wasn’t expecting is my new business shirt. J had two custom made for me for my birthday, and they were a big hit! I do love how professional it makes me look at an event such as this.

Rock Solid Designs polo shirt.

 The show was a lot of fun, and I learned so much about how to build my booth to entice people in. I can’t wait for the next show to put some of what I learned into practice!

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New Pattern!

Hey everyone! It’s been crazy busy around here lately. Between fieldwork at my fulltime job, schoolwork, tutoring, and trying to get bags done for my home business, I have hardly had time to stop and think. I did get a chance to finish knitting the photo model for my new pattern though. Pictures were this weekend, and the pattern is now live on my website!

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Cozy lace legwarmers, just in time for fall! These are perfect for staying warm in the house, or walking around the neighborhood. The lace pattern keeps them interesting, but there is no shaping! Just drop down a needle size to make them smaller.

Because the lace pattern spirals around the leg, all shaping is done by changing needle sizes. I chose an alpaca/wool/silk blend for these, to provide delicacy and warmth. 

By request, I will also be expanding this to a sock pattern. Once the sock pattern has been test knit, I will update the legwarmer pattern to include both options.

The pattern is available for sale through the link above, or on Ravelry  

Now it’s back to sewing bags. Hopefully I’ll have the majority of the drawstring bags done today, leaving me with the box bags and needle rolls for the rest of October.

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Canning Achievement: Unlocked!

Growing up I was always aware that my grandmother did a variety of preserving different items, but it never really piqued my interest. As a kid, who cared if you canned it? Pickles were gross, and fruit was meant to be eaten right away! Canning seemed pointless and something I would never be interested in.

Enter 2012. It seems that when one begins to engage in rustic activities such as knitting, it slowly leads to more. From knitting came spinning, and from spinning came the desire to know where my food came from at a better depth than “the grocery store.” Sure, stuff from the store is fine, but I kept hearing stories about how home grown produce has so much more flavor, and was a much richer experience all around. I wanted to check this out. So, in the spring of 2012, we joined a CSA. Everything I heard was absolutely true. I never knew tomatoes actually had flavor! The ones from the store always felt like I was eating cardboard! On top of that, we got a variety of fruits and vegetables I have never heard of or tried, and learned that there are a number of items I really enjoy. $400 for 26 weeks was a great deal- we definitely got more than $15 worth of food in each box, and I think the added value of having items picked within the last 48-72 hours was worth it.

But we quickly had a problem: We couldn’t eat it all fast enough! Last year was upsetting because we did end up wasting so much. It was a lot of food, and while we were attempting to eat healthier, we just couldn’t eat all of it. This year we signed up to split the CSA with my parents, but it was still more food than we could eat in a reasonable amount of time. So then what do you do?

That’s when I remembered my grandmother’s canning, and wondered how much of our produce I could do that for. Turns out, almost all of it! Our CSA does a few days a summer where we can pick as much of a certain item as we want at a low or no cost. This seemed like a great opportunity to start! When J’s parents were visiting this past month, we took everyone out for peach picking. $13 for a half bushel, and that half bushel held a LOT of peaches. I bought some pint size canning jars and decided to dive right in!

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Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the first photo I took of the set-up prior to canning. I would also like to point out that this was the second canning event- I had already done a case of pint jars, and needed to finish up the peaches. So this was just the last of the peaches from the picking. I have already given 2 jars to my parents, and 2 to some friends. There is no way we would eat half a bushel of peaches ourselves, canned or not!

When I wasn’t canning yesterday, I was doing some knitting. Doesn’t this look like the perfect Saturday morning, right here?

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It would have been a lot more relaxing if the purpose hadn’t been to do a final troubleshoot on a pattern I’ve been working on. I plan on releasing it next week, but I need to make sure the pattern works 100% the way it is supposed to before publishing. So far it’s only been tiny mistakes, but in doing this I need to focus solely on my knitting.

So that’s my weekend: knitting, canning, coffee, oh and bonfires. Everything about my weekend shouts “it’s fall!” and I love it. 

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