Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months since the last blog post. Things have been so crazy here, I’ve barely had time to think, let alone work up a blog post. Working out of town, completing classes, having my stepdaughter come to visit, the in-laws showing up…it’s been a very busy summer! So, instead of writing about “what I did on my summer vacation” I decided to do a photo essay instead!
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I finally feel as if I am making progress on my spinning, knitting, and sewing projects. Not having classes two nights a week really does give me a lot of free time! The hardest part about wanting to update on all of this is figuring out where to start. Guess I’ll start with the spinning. Last year a dog got into some combed top I was working on, and strew it all around the house. It would be impossible to spin it as prepped top now, but with my fancy new hand cards I could turn the top into rolags pretty easily and spin from that!
This is my spinning set-up from last week. In the front are the rolags I prepped from the affected fiber. The bobbin on the back left is full of 3oz of merino/mohair singles. The bobbin on the right is another 3 oz of the same fiber, chain plied. In the back you can see my yarn bowl and WIP.
I was hoping to spin a bulky single. Unfortunately learning to spin rolags in a truly woolen manner was a bit difficult, and I ended up with thick and thin singles, about a worsted weight. The colors in this photo are the most accurate for the pink fiber.
Here are the singles. About 200yds, 4oz. I spun it up as a gradient, from dark magenta to a pink so light it’s almost white. I really wanted a thicker yarn, but if I ply this I’ll get a really awful barber pole effect, and I’m just not sure I want that yet. We will see. I have time before I need a winter hat from this.
Here is a swatch knitted up. It’s not bad, but this is on size 8 needles. Definitely worsted.
Here is the finished product of the chain-plied mohair. This skein is about 275yds, 3oz. I ended up with about a sport weight yarn. I’m still plying the second bobbin, but it should be around the same. I’m ok with that, I just need to figure out what to do with 500yds of a mohair blend. I’m not so sure it will make great socks. Maybe house socks? It could make a nice small shawl, too. That’s the hardest part about spinning- trying to figure out what to do with the yarn once it’s made!
Oh, and here was my super fancy set-up to skein this yarn once I was done spinning it:
I know, don’t you all wish you had this impressive layout? I can’t wait until I have a craft room, and a table that has enough of a lip to attach my swift.
This weekend we are heading up to the lake to spend the holiday with family. I’m bringing the Border Leicester, as I said earlier. Gertrude, all her supplies, and the hand cards are coming along, too. I plan on getting a good start with the Border Leicester this weekend. I’m hoping I bought enough of it- the original intention was to knit myself a sweater from it. If I am low on fiber though, I’ll have to decide if I want to blend it, or do a colorwork yoke to try and make the yarn last. I may kick myself if I find out I didn’t purchase enough.
The trindle went out in the mail today to get fixed/replaced. I’m hoping he is able to fix it. I really love that little spindle and was very excited to spin on it this past weekend. I’ve learned my lesson though. Never take a trindle out of the house!
And b ack again. Once a week(ish) is still better than my previous average of once a quarter. Things are getting a bit hectic over the next few weeks- wrapping up the semester, traveling for a wedding and balancing work is going to be difficult at best. The sewing looks like it may be limited to just 2-3 bags a week while I get everything sorted out in my life. Luckily my classes this summer are online, so there’s a bit more flexibility coming my way.
Flexibility is good, considering I signed up to run (and bike and swim) a sprint triathalon this fall. I tried to talk my mother out of doing it, but somehow that plan backfired and next thing I know, I’m registered and bought a bike! The things we do for our parents. This should be really great for us though. It’s giving my mom something to work towards that’s for HER. Not her job, not her family. Something she is doing for her.
This is my bike. It’s not a tri- or road bike, it’s a hybrid/comfort bike. I figure I probably won’t do a whole lot of triathalons, so I might as well get something I enjoy riding at the lake or at home. It’s lacking a kickstand though…has anyone ever had a bike show up without a kickstand? Anyway, it shouldn’t be too hard to get one for it. I got it for $300- not bad, and let’s be honest. Crappier bikes are going for not much less.
The only things I completed this weekend were a custom order project bag for a good friend and a prototype hairpiece for my great-aunt. That hairpiece kills me. It took me 3 tries, and while
it’s workable now, it’s still not perfect. But how do you turn down a great-aunt?!
The project bag was simple enough- same fabric as a drawstring bag, but this one is 8” with a handle instead of drawstrings. You can also see my new label inside it! I forgot to attach the hang-label to a seam, so I cut it in half and hand sewed it onto the lining. It doesn’t look great though, so next time I’ll make sure to get the tag put in properly!
That reminds me- do you prefer a hang tag on items, or a sewn in woven label? I’m torn. The hang tags are cheap and nice, but they are too large for a few of my projects, and I worry it might make them look cheap. Thoughts?
This weekend we are taking a trip to a wedding down in GA. This is bad news for my sewing, but good news for my knitting! I hope to have some good progress photos on J’s socks (75% done the second sock!) and maybe even progress on my sweater. We will be staying outside of Atlanta, so there plans to check out the aquarium, meaning we will have then been to both the largest AND second largest aquariums in the world, eating at some delicious restaurants, maybe the Coca-Cola experience, dinner with a rubbernecker (or two) and if my family really loves me, a trip to Stitches South! So hopefully next week we will have a blog full of photos and less full of my rambling.
While I am proud of myself for becoming a more consistent blogger, it gets frustrating when I find myself with too much to do, and not enough time to do it in. I had planned on getting three blog posts out this week, but then life caught up. I spent two very long days in the field, and another long day in the office. Getting home at 9pm to go to bed, then turning around and getting up at 4:30am to leave was rough. But! Enough whining. I wanted to share with everyone what I made this past weekend.
My first attempt at a box bag. I’ve always thought these bags were adorable, but was too intimated by the obvious skill they required, to make one. Turns out they aren’t really that difficult at all. This was a first run in many, many ways. The bag turned out smaller than I had planned, while the strap turned out much bigger than I expected. It makes the whole thing look a bit disproportionate. But it’s a learning experience, and now I know what to do differently next time!
I have wanted to share this project for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to getting a photo of it. This is a quillow I made for my stepdaughter at Christmas. It’s made with Disney princess fabric- the main princesses on the pink side, and Cinderella on the blue side. She loved it, and immediately put it on her bed to use at night. I love quillows. They are such an easy project to make, and convenient for families who travel a lot (such as ours). I still have the quillow I made myself 15 years ago! Sidenote: I can’t believe I made it 15 years ago. Wow.
I also finished a wallet to match the purse I made a few weeks ago. I really, really love this fabric. I love vintage images, and the romanticism in the fabric is so sweet. The wallet turned out pretty well. I’m still working on some problem issues with them, but it’s getting better. Next up: A Star Trek wallet for myself!
This weekend will probably be a knitting/ spinning weekend. We are heading up to the lake, and trying to bring all the sewing supplies gets to be a hassle. I may take up fabric to cut, but that will be it. I also need to get to work on my final! paper for my first graduate level class. That’s not terrifying at all. Plus put together a presentation on it, to give in three weeks. Luckily, there will be no fieldwork for a while, so hopefully I can divide my time between crafting and schooling a bit more evenly.
Oh, I almost forgot the most exciting news of all! My new project tags came in! I love the way they look. I ordered them off etsy. The shipping was pricey, but it was really worth it. They are a bit large, though. I need to find smaller tags for items like the wallet and smaller 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?
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.
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.
And yet I have gotten so little done this week.
I am currently dividing my time between working full-time and taking classes for my Master’s program part-time in the evenings. This week is spring break- a week I have been looking forward to for months now. I planned out all the things I would get made, all the housework I would get done, and the baking. Oh, the baking I would do.
Unfortunately, none of that seems to have happened. Oh I got some things done. I am finally caught up on laundry (for a day), and we got floors mopped and couches cleaned and vacuumed. my craft area has been organized for the first time in weeks, and I have gone to bed at a reasonable hour, but my crafting doesn’t seem to be benefiting from this extra time at all. It seems I’m convinced that spring break days have more hours than normal days. Apparently that’s not true? Hm. Someone needs to work on that for me.
I have been working slowly on J’s sock. The heel has been turned, and I am now working on the gusset. I did get one bag sewn and listed for sale on my website, but that is it. Work has stepped up so much this week that by the time I get home, I need something brainless to do.
I do want to share something exciting. This past weekend was mine and J’s first wedding anniversary. We decided that each year, we will exchange traditional gifts. My gift to J was a print of the original Star Trek Enterprise, shaped out of quotes from the show.
His gift to me? He has been secretly scanning all of my knitting magazines. Every single one of them. I have been collecting magazines from two subscriptions for 5 years now, plus random older issues or different companies here and there from swaps. It must be about 40 or 50 magazines, and each one takes him two hours to do. How amazingly sweet is that gift?! I knew I chose well. ;)
This weekend we are heading once again to the lake. Spinning has been seriously ignored by me lately, so my plan is to only take spinning and knitting with me this weekend. No homework, no sewing, just yarny stuff.
What activities do you look forward to when you get extra time off?
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:
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.
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.
Hopefully I will have time to work on her once spring break starts for my classes next week.
It’s been pretty busy here lately. I’ve been working on building up some inventory for the yoga bags to sell at a local studio, plus easing in to making other types of bags and purses as they are ordered. This has sadly left very little time for much else. I have been slowly working on J’s birthday socks from LAST year. I haven’t even thought about birthday socks for this year yet. I’m just trying to make it through the next few weeks with my sanity in tact!
I was hoping to post progress photos of my knitting, but I was running around all day teaching classes and mailing packages, that I missed the good daylight. I’ll get photos and post them tomorrow, so you can see that I have actually gotten SOMETHING done with yarn.
Last week I ran a contest- once my facebook page reached 35 likes, I gave away a handmade wallet. This pattern was absolutely adorable, and so easy to follow. I really wish I could have kept it for myself. Alas, it was not meant to be, and it was mailed off to the winner this past Thursday.
I wrapped up a drawstring project bag for an internet friend. The fabric is one I bought two years ago when I visited J in Okinawa. It’s absolutely beautiful, but I’ve been hesitant to do anything with the fabric because what if I try something, and it doesn’t live up to the awesomeness of the fabric or the memories it holds?!
I think this bag lived up to the fabric. I love the coordination of the drawstring and lining color- it matches the flowers scattered through the pattern. This fabric was a joy to work with. In fact, I’m thinking of making a matching purse.
My mother also recently gave me her serger on “long-term loan.” I am finally going to take the time this weekend to learn how to use it. I’m excited- while the items I make are nice as-is, being able to serge the seams/hems will add a nice professional touch to everything. Plus I’m going to attempt a pair of jeans here soon, and it would be great to finish the edges off on those. I’m running a contest on the facebook page- name the serger, and be entered to win 20% off a purchase from my business! It can be anything I make- yoga bags, purses, wallets, or drawstring bags.
Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let everyone know that I have decided to start selling yoga mat bags through my new website under the Yoga Bags link.
I will have ready to purchase bags for sale on a regular basis, plus photos of fabric choices for custom bags. Most will be drawstring bags with a pocket on the front, although I can make ones with a zipper in them instead.
Check them out, and if you want to go ahead and order a custom one, let me know!
Sorry for the lack of posting. It’s been busy here as we get ready for fall. I’ve been busy making soups, knitting socks, finishing languishing projects, and planning for fall and Christmas decorating. October snuck up out of nowhere!
This week lost all productivity, unfortunately. J caught something when his daughter came to visit this past weekend, and has been running a fever for two days, so most of my time has been spent taking care of him and trying not to disturb him too much. Hey, any excuse to sit around and knit, right?
I’m trying to plan some cheap fall decorations to do. We currently live in an apartment with no balcony so I can’t do outdoor decorations, but I would love to do something inside. I just seem to have no knack for interior decorating. Pinterest has a ton of great ideas, but most of them are for outside. I’ll have to get to work on that.
I’m also starting to plan Christmas gifts. I try to make at least a few of the gifts be handmade each year, so in October I start using coupons and sales to maximize savings on my projects. This year I’m hoping to give a shawl, a pair of socks, and a quillow. If time permits, I may even knock out some winter hats, but we’ll see.
Tonight I made an amazing Leek and Potato Soup, which J loved (even though he’s sick, so that’s a big deal!). I’ll post the recipe with photos later this week.Tonight, I am going to cozy up with my beer and watch the presidential debate.