Category Archives: knitting

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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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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Jack of all Trades…

That’s how I’m feeling these days. I spent the other morning wondering where my time went, that all of a sudden summer was over, there were no new blog posts, and I felt like I had accomplished so little.  

Last week my stepdaughter asked me what I was knitting. I told her it was a sample for a class I am going to teach this fall. She knew I was going to school, so here she goes “OH! You’re the teacher, not a student!” Trying to explain to her that I am both (I am going for my master’s in the evenings) was confusing for both of us. It got me thinking, though. It’s no wonder I feel as if I have no time, and that nothing is accomplished. I’m wearing too many hats!

I work all day as a geologist. Two days a week, I then go straight to campus to get a swim in before my 3 hour class. One day a week I typically teach a knitting class at my local Joann Fabrics. One day a week I tutor a friend in the evenings in Calculus. And in between all of that? I am training for a triathalon. (Which is THIS SATURDAY! by the way. Not that I am panicking or anything).

And then, amidst ALL of that (because that is enough to wear out anybody); I am working on my side business creating project bags, yoga bags, and knitting patterns. All while also spending most of the summer as a new parent of a 6 year old, and still attempting to cook all of our dinners, shop local, play with my stepdaughter, and teach her awesome things like knitting and sewing and why quiet time is sometimes nice. 

So my goal: Blog once a week. If I do more, great! But I think we can all agree that right now, I have a lot going on, and punishing myself for not blogging enough won’t help anything.

Next time I post, I’ll have some fun photos. For now, I have to get ready for my tutoring session. :)

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Feeling a Bit Overwhelmed

Some days I feel like I will never finish this sock pattern. I am about to finish knitting a sock in this pattern for the fourth time, but resulting in only two completed socks. I still have two more to go in this pattern. It’s to the point where I almost don’t need to look at the chart for this, and that’s saying something. It’s not a completely straightforward chart for me.

J’s first sock finally has the toe grafted and is all set to be blocked. I’m casting on his second sock tonight. My goal is to get this finished by mid-April. That is going to take some dedication on my part, and some monogamous knitting. I can’t wait to get back to my poor sweater. It’s been ignored for months while I try and get these socks sorted out. After this pair, I still need to start his 2013 Birthday socks. He won’t be getting those until August at this rate.

I’m still working on bags for Rock Solid Designs. I need to focus on items that branch out past knitters, initially. I need to build a solid customer base around here, and I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I’m in the process of applying for doing business under a fictitious name, then I have to complete the tax paperwork. I want to apply for Jubilee Day this summer and have a booth there, but logistically I just don’t think I can get all the legal side taken care of and crank out enough product to have a decent looking booth in time. I don’t need to turn in the application until May, so I guess I’ll just keep working on things and see if life aligns enough to let me take advantage of this opportunity.

In the meantime, I have now ordered labels for my handmade items, and business cards are in the works! I still need to finish tweaking the website, and update some items (the knitting patterns will be moving over there shortly). It’s a lot of work, but I’m excited to be doing it. I’m also still working on classes this spring. I’m a bit stressed that work is going to cause a huge conflict, causing me to either beg my professors to let me work out an alternative plan, or take an incomplete and finish the courses over the summer. I really do not want to do either, and would rather just finish this semester up without a hitch. I knew getting into this there could be conflicts with work, however at the time there were no extended out of town jobs in the works for us. I’m trying not to stress about it until I hear something definite, but it’s hard.

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Birthdays and Bags

About 3 years ago, a close friend of mine decided to try her hand at knitting. We were living in different areas at the time, so it wasn’t my influence that encouraged her. She has been progressing very well with her knitting lately. When I think about it, I try to send her a yarn or knitting related gift. I saw a pin on pinterest the other day of a knitting emergency box, and immediately thought it would be great. It’s not expensive or time-consuming, but it is super cute. Thoughts?

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Of course, I want one for myself, but why would I put yarn into a box for myself? It’s not like I already have an unhealthy collection, and I doubt J would let me display a case of yarn on the wall. Although, if I did one in our living room colors…

My other project lately is working on bags for my business. It has officially moved over to www.rock-solid-designs.com Anyway, I wrapped up a prototype for a padded project bag today.

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Later this week I want to try my hand at a padded box bag, and padded spindle bag.  I’m also going to work on a wallet to match this purse I made last week.

In the meantime, my knitting is still all J’s socks, all the time. I’m starting to really wonder if I will get this thing done in time for his birthday in May. 

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Actual Knitting Content

It’s been a while since I’ve posted knitting content. Honestly, It’s been a while since I’ve knit.  Between work, grad school, and trying to get Rock Solid Designs up and running and semi-viable as a company, I have barely had a second to relax!  This post will be a review of knitting I have completed over the past two months. 

Remember the Viper Pilot socks I was working on for J? Yeah. After 3 attempts and two different needles sizes, I gave up and told him I was keeping them for myself. I couldn’t handle ripping half a sock out a third time. That’s just demoralizing. So, here is the first sock of my new pair:

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Not the best pictures, but you get the idea. At least the sock fits someone now. But because I love J oh so much…I promised I would still knit him the sock. So we went digging through my stash, and found a yarn that would work better with a larger needle size. These are coming along quite nicely.

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Here is the start of his sock. Going along much smoother, thank goodness. I like the color of this yarn. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but it’s a subtle gradient from dark blue to dark green-blue. 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get a sweater knit before winter ends, but it doesn’t look like it will get done. I haven’t even worked on this since Christmas. I LOVE this sweater, and I LOVE this yarn. It’s an Opulent Raglan knit with Madtosh DK yarn. I wish I had more time to work on this, because it’s done nothing wrong. It deserves to be loved.

 

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Hopefully I will have time to work on her once spring break starts for my classes next week. 

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2013 Cast-on-along

I have this group of internet friends that are pretty cool. One of these cool kids told us back in 2011 how she makes it a habit to cast on something for herself on the first day of the new year. One of those superstitions about if start off with something for you, that you want, that maybe your year will go more like the way you want it to. No additional requirements, just cast on.

I did it back in 2011 with my wedding veil. In 2012 I was so busy with wedding prep and trying to find a job that I didn’t join in, but I did it again this year. I decided this year I absolutely needed a pair of mittens. HAD to have a pair. Could not LIVE without a pair. And so, I started bella’s mittens.(sidenote: I haaaate twilight. But these mittens are adorable. The making of these mittens was in no way, shape or form an endorsement of those awful books or movies).

It only took me about 6 days, and I ended up with these adorable mittens.

They are knit with Cascade 128, which is a “chunky” yarn. Perfect for a quick knit project to wear out while it’s still cold.

I may have an unholy love for these mittens. I wear them even if they don’t match my coat. I wear them even if it’s really a bit too warm for mittens. 

 

I have also learned mittens are extremely impractical for important things like “buttoning your own coat.”

I don’t care. They are mine and I love them.

 

What do you do to get the new year off to a good start?

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Sewing Sunday

It has been two months since I last blogged. I keep promising I will do it more often, then life goes crazy on me. It’s been a hectic last few weeks, here. I just registered for graduate classes, starting in the Spring. Christmas crafting and preparations are in full swing, and I have been baking and cooking up a storm to make sure we get full use of our CSA boxes.

I have decided that having a specific topic to blog about, might make me blog more frequently. A lot of craft bloggers have days such as “Work in Progress Wednesay” “Finished Object Friday,” etc. Today will be Sewing Sunday! 

My first finished sewing item of the last few weeks: my new yoga bag!

 

I bought some neon paisley fabric at JoAnn fabrics for half price. This project took literally 2 hours from start to finish, including washing. It was really quick and easy to do, and I have a completely unique bag whenever I go to class now!

I will post a tutorial on how to make this tomorrow. The materials cost me approximately $7, including the drawstring and clip, and ribbon for the strap. 

 

 

 

My second sewing project I will share this week wasn’t fully sewing. I knit an earflap hat for my stepdaughter, but the flaps kept curling up, and wool can feel pretty scratchy to a 5 year old. So I bought some clearance remnant fleece and sewed it in! I think it’s pretty darn cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is it for today! Tomorrow will be a yoga mat bag blog. Wednesday I will show you all my current works in progress, both sewing and knitting. Friday will be knitting finished items, and Sundays will now be sewing finished items! 

 

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