I’ve missed this very much. Sitting outside enjoying the lovely weather, knitting, watching the world go by…
Classes are over until Fall semester and I’m taking on a task I’ve been meaning to do for a while now: documenting the yarn stash. For a while, I had been really good about photographing and adding yarns to my Ravelry stash so I’d know exactly what I had. Then I had Declan, and life happened, and the stash got a bit out of control.
I’ve always had this goal to work on knitting my stash down, which is admittedly pretty hard to do when you don’t really know exactly what you have where. After a nightmare of a morning, Declan had his TV and screen time taken away and I decided that this was a perfect opportunity to recruit his help. He likes using my camera, so his job was to take photos of the yarns. I’d pull yarns out of the cabinet, make sure they were added to Ravelry and add them if they were not, and he got some practice learning how to focus the camera to take photos so I could upload them to the coordinating yarn stash page.
Some of the pictures were blurry and I just went with them. Others – when he took a bit more time to really slow down – turned out pretty darn good for a 4 year old using a DSLR. I really just wanted something – anything – listed on there so I could know the colors and yardage on a quick glance.
So far, I have nearly all the full skeins accounted for. Next up is the partials, which will be more difficult as I’ll not only have to try to remember what yarns they were, but I’ll have to weigh them to gauge how much leftover yardage I have. Mostly that’s all sock yarns that I plan on mixing and matching to make some frankensocks just to use them up.
I may or may not just decide to skip the partials and just try to remember to weigh leftovers going forward so I keep an accurate count of yardage, but we’ll see. I’ve got a LOT of free time now with summer break and I might go a bit crazy if I don’t stay occupied at the rate I’ve been accustomed to. Boredom and I don’t really mix.
Spinning yarn is this magical thing. It’s magical enough, to me anyway, to be able to take something as simple as some fluffy sheep’s wool and add a bit of twist to it to make yarn. But the magic that really gets me is the kind that happens with dyed rovings.
I know how it happens, of course. It’s not actually magic. I understand that the way the fiber is prepped and spun, the way it is plied, etc all contribute to this transformation. But every yarn I make leaves me feeling the same way – this feeling of disbelief that THIS yarn came from THAT fiber. That the colors – gorgeous already in their original form – blended and muddled to become an even more beautiful finished yarn that shifts and flows.
It’s not even the pretty colors, either. I have found many projects from other spinners where the initial braid would have been a hard pass for me. It just would never be something I gravitate toward and buy. But spun up? Totally different story. Which, really, is just a lesson for me to stop turning my nose up at certain things so often and make more of an effort to branch out. Because chances are, there’s really hardly a way for the finished yarn to be anything but amazing at the end of it all.
It’s rare these days that we get to take days off at the same time, but the planets aligned this year and we both had Good Friday off. We wanted to go camping, but the weather was expected to be cold and rainy and, generally, miserable, so a quick change of plans led us to Newport, KY for a quick overnight trip.
We spent a little time on Friday exploring Covington and the river front, which was lovely. When the rain started up again, we ended up heading back across the river to Cincinnati to find a mall where we could hide out from the rain. Instead, we ended up eating dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse, and then venturing into Whole Foods for wine and little bunny cupcakes for dessert before we made our way back to our hotel so Declan could swim in the pool while I knit on the socks I brought with me.
Saturday we did breakfast at Wafflehouse before we headed to the Newport Aquarium. I almost feel like having the Columbus Zoo so close to us has ruined Declan on things like the aquarium. He didn’t seem to care so much about much of any of the exhibits except for the sharks and the shark bridge. I, however, loved seeing some things I haven’t seen before. Especially the moon jellies – I almost wish I had taken my knitting in with me, as I would have just sat there and knit and watched them for hours as they floated so peacefully.
Today I’m home working on a paper for class (well, trying to, anyway). It’s the last week and I am MORE than ready for a break after taking classes for over a year straight. I’m not sure I’m going to know what to do with myself having weekends free to actually relax instead of doing homework.
You can’t have Easter without a carrot cake bunny for dessert. We’ve been out of town most of this weekend, and I’m still working on going through the bazillion photos we took on our little adventure, but we were up bright and early this morning to bake for lunch at Nana’s this afternoon. With help from “Chef Declan,” as he called himself.
Just a quick post to show you how I intended to wear my Mount Pleasant tee – which was over my handmade Hinterland dress! Which means today my outfit – outside of shoes – is completely handmade 🙂
I did, in fact, bind off too tightly on the sleeves and neck so but not so much that’s it’s unbearable so I’m just going to go with it. I’ll make adjustments on my next knit of this pattern, including a few rows of garter stitch before starting the lace edging so it doesn’t curl up quite so easily with wear.
I’m supposed to be doing homework right now, but the lighting in the craft room is too nice to ignore taking photos of my latest finished knit: the Mount Pleasant tee.
I used 2 skeins of Tilting Planet’s Gazelle Sock in the “Tea with Sybil” colorway, which I picked up at a new-to-me LYS, Yarn It & Haberdashery, on my annual yarn shopping weekend with my friends. I didn’t gauge swatch because I like to live dangerously, and I knit the medium (also dangerous, given my measurements are on the edge between medium and large most days). Based on how it fits on my dress form, however, it’ll do just fine.
I did knit extra length on the body, as I worried the cropped shape would sit too close to my boobs and not be a good look on me. That’s about the only modification I made, however.
Knitting this pattern was a complete breeze up until I did the ribbing on the arms and neck. I had trouble getting the right number of stitches picked up for each side and by the time I got to the neckline I just kind of winged it. I also did not bind off those portions as loose as I probably should have so I may have to redo them, but we’ll see once it’s fully dry and I try it on.
I had intentions of wearing this with my olive green Hinterland dress I made a few weeks ago, but the colors of the yarn also look pretty fabulous with a skirt I made out of some Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co fabric so hooray for knits that will coordinate well with some other handmade pieces. I will definitely have to wear it with a tank underneath, if I wear it with the skirt, just because the finished fabric is more see-through than I wanted. I’m OK with it, though – it’ll be perfect for spring/summer.
I definitely have plans to make more of these in some other colors. Maybe even one out of some handspun, though the colors would have to be more muted than I typically spin for socks or scarves. I probably won’t alternate skeins every two rows, either, because it was just a huge hassle and I’m not sure the effect of blending the two together was even that big of a deal with the speckled yarn.
For a while now, wood turning has been something the husband has expressed an interest in, but has never really taken the leap to try. Honestly, we don’t really know anyone locally that does it that could show him, and the equipment can be kind of pricey to buy when you’re not sure it’s even a hobby you want to stick with.
A few weeks ago, we ventured to Columbus and made a stop at Woodcraft just to check it out and see what all they had. I was hoping he’d get some ideas to maybe strike some excitement or inspiration or something in him. But while there, we discovered they offer the COOLEST thing: date night wood turning classes! And not just any kind of wood turning – HARRY POTTER WAND TURNING!
Obviously signing up was a no-brainer. An excuse to get out of the house without the kid? While also learning a new skill together? While also making something super fun? SOLD!
The class format was super relaxing and fun. We went over some basic safety and instructions on how to approach the spinning wood with the tools first before we started, and the rest of the class went along swimmingly. We worked our handles first, then worked on carving down the wand portion after, then moved on to sanding. THEN we did this super cool trick of taking guitar wire to wrap in the grooves I made to create burn lines to add some extra flair to the wands, using the friction of the spinning piece to gently burn and create those dark lines (literal magic, if you ask me).
A little mineral oil finished the wands out, which turned mine this gorgeous darker shade and the husband’s turned out the lighter shade. They were both made of hard maple, and it’s so interesting how the same type of wood will come out a different shade once the oil gets applied!
The only thing I wish I had done differently was to get the wand portion at the top thinner. I was worried about chunking away too much of it and ruining the whole thing if I had managed to get it too thin, but after it was all said and done I think I probably could have made it work going little by little with the rouging gouge.
Ah well, there’s always the next time. And there WILL be a next
(That shirt? Bought it just for the class. Because of course I did. )
I’m going to try to make this a weekly thing. I really am. Yep, I’m not at all going to fall off the wagon with this like I have everything else I attempt to do on a regular basis.
For real, though. Self-care is something I lack. My own needs get ignored a lot of times, which I imagine is the same for women everywhere. I used to be better about it, and it’s time I try to reclaim some time back for myself.
It isn’t all buying myself flowers or some retail therapy because I’ve certainly been pulling that retail therapy excuse an awful lot for someone who actually recognizes how unhelpful it really is. It isn’t about drowning my stresses with a bottle of wine, and besides, I’ve actually made a point to try to significantly decrease my alcohol intake. It isn’t mindlessly scrolling through my phone to zone out, because all of that social media intake consistently makes me feel like crap.
It’s doing the things I need to do to actually care for myself so I can care for others. Eating real food. Exercising and stretching. Keeping the clutter around the house down to a level that doesn’t trigger my anxiety.
So, today I am doing just that. My gym bag is packed for the week. My lunches are being prepped. Yoga is on tap for after Declan goes to bed. It’s not
Today I’m breaking out another me-made item. It’s an Everyday Skirt and I made it out of some of that $2 clearance fabric I picked up at Hobby Lobby earlier this year.
I made the large, based on my measurements, but this morning as I put it on to wear I ended up taking out one of the seams on the elastic waist and tightening up the elastic. The pattern is supposed to sit on your low waist, I believe, but skirts that sit that low drive my bonkers! I like them to sit on my natural waist, which is higher up on me and far more comfortable so i’m not fidgeting with the skirt every time it shifts its way up.
Next time I might make the medium given that I had to take it in a bit. We’ll see, though. I do like that this skirt has elastic so I don’t have to worry as much about weight/ size fluctuations.