Mara Shawl

Mara Shawl in Handspun
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Mara Shawl in handspun

My knittas and I have started a bit of a knit-a-long!  Here are the specs:

Pattern: Mara ShawlYarn: Handspun (fiber dyed by Spunky Eclectic)

I really love working with handspun yarn on projects like this.  The garter stitch makes it super easy to carry around to work on and the handspun helps to keep it interesting.  There’s a really good chance that I will run out of yarn before I reach the end, but I’ll just work the trim in a coordinating color.

It’s a fun knit and I expect to see quite a few of these shawls around town. ;)

A Very Braidy Cowl

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I finished another knit!  I wanted something quick and relatively simple to work on, so I was thrilled when I came across A Very Braidy Cowl by Maryse Roudier

Very Braidy Cowl

I really enjoyed it because of the small amount of time it took to complete, as well as the fact that it didn’t get boring for me.  I love cables, and I especially love big cables (is that wrong?!)

Enough gab, here’s some photos:

A Very Braidy Cowl

Here’s some more details over on Ravelry.

Since I’m on break, life has been all about knitting, photos, reading, and working lately and it feels awesome.  I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday and Happy (belated) New Years!

Kindle & Knit

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  My family and I celebrated the holiday by staying home and having a great dinner made by my mom.  Simple.  I love simple.
One of my favorite gifts was an Amazon Kindle, and I gotta say that I am falling in love with it.  1) Browsing books online is one of my favorite past times; 2) I wanted to keep my physical library to a minimum, but don’t like getting rid of books; 3) I can buy and read books anywhere; 4) It’s lightweight.
In all honesty, I was a little worried that it would take time for me to get used to the screen, but the Kindle has a screen unlike a computer or phone. . . it really is like reading something on paper.  I also worried that I wouldn’t like the lack of page turning (it’s something I love about reading from paper books), but pushing a button isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. :)  The one and only thing that I will miss that the kindle cannot replace is the smell of books.  Ah well, life is about give and take anyway.

Enough of that – I’m gonna prove to you that I still knit.

Abalone Cardigan

Pattern: Abalone by Beata Jezek
Yarn: Hand dyed (main) and Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (cc)

The sleeves turned out too big for me, but I intentionally knit the body a little bigger so that I could close it up in the front if I needed to (with a shawl pin).  Either way, I’m pretty happy with it and I’ve almost completed another project which will be posted soon!

In the meantime, give me book recommendations!

A Finished Knit!!

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I’ve been on a knitting hiatus for a while, but I’m happy to say that I’m BACK!  I finally finished a pair of socks for Monster that I had started sometime last fall.  The sad part is that it only took me a few hours to complete the second sock.

Luckily, they do fit him right now but we’ll have to see if they still fit when Winter comes along.  If not, he’s got a younger brother!

Panopticon Socks

Details
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Sock “Franklin’s Panopticon”
Pattern: Followed instructions according to “8 stitches per inch socks” by Ann Budd

And I even have something special going on the needles right now!  An upcoming bag designed by the one and only Snowden Becker.

Falling off the Earth

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This post is a collection of my thoughts and concerns from the last few weeks.
I promise I haven’t really fallen of the Earth although my posts here seem to have indicated it.  In reality, I’ve been overcome with things to do and I have too many tasks going on, and I think I’ve found myself at yet another crossroad in my life.

Lately, I have become extremely scatterbrained (instead of just a little bit like usual);  I find it really difficult to remember little things such as a conversation that I held only a day ago – because during that conversation I was also thinking about something else that I need to get done, or an idea that I need to make sure to write down before I forget.  In terms of my knitting and crocheting, I have felt blocked every time I have tried to start a new project – as if I’ve forgotten how to do it even though I understand and remember all the motions.  Even though I want to make something, I feel as if it’s lost some of its appeal to me because for the last few semesters it has turned into a daunting job instead of a relaxing hobby.  I don’t like this feeling of being unfocused.

I have gotten to the point where I feel as if a stick has been thrown into the spokes of my life, and I won’t be able to move onward until I decide the best way to remove it.

For me, I have determined that the best way to remove the stick is to choose a single subject to major in.  At the moment, I am majoring in both Fibers and Photography, and not only do I think it is unwise to have two different focuses to be identified by in my artistic life, but I think I should lessen the burden on myself (and my living space) by choosing one or the other to focus on.  The decision that I have made is to focus on Photography.
I have a lot of reasons as to why I have chosen Photography that I won’t go into right now, but inevitably I think that it will create space in my life that I desperately need both emotionally and physically.

I will continue to do fibers work because I do love it, but it will not be what I focus on as a working artist.  I enjoy the processes of fiber arts, and the colors and textures are always interesting to me, but I don’t see it as a subject that captures me as conceptually as photography does.  My mind sees “pictures” all the time, and I feel that I can best interpret, express, and share those mental images through a photograph.  In speaking for myself as an artist, I feel the need to be able to speak about the work I create in a way that can not only cause reaction with an audience, but also to feel a deep connection to what I am trying to share with others.  I need to feel that I am creating a sort of message instead of creating something that is only aesthetically pleasing, which is how I feel about my fiber art.  This is not to be confused with how I feel about other fiber artists, because I can find meaning in many other artist’s work, but I feel that I personally don’t convert my feelings and thoughts into fiber art successfully like I can through photography.

So overall, my decision to narrow my focus will give me clarity in my life.  I also believe that I will be able to enjoy the simple act of crafting something through knitting, crochet, spinning, etc. and it will bring me more joy than it has in the last few months.

Felted Bag #1

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As part of my desire to learn more about wet felting, I took a class that allowed me to felt around a template.  When felting around a template you are able to create a seamless, non-flat project.  So, I made a bag!

Felted Bag

The fiber was hand dyed, and the light green “zips” are bits of handspun singles that were leftover from when I plied some yarn a while back.  The lining is a batik fabric, but unfortunately I can’t claim it as my own because I bought it from JoAnn’s!  I have gotten the urge to do some batik though. . . but that’s a whole ‘nother post.  Here’s a shot of the lining:

Felted Bag Lining

I’m pretty proud of it considering it’s the first one I’ve made.  For the next bag I’ll take more time to add an inside pocket (or 5) and also figure out a way to close it up;  I think I’ll want to add a flap to close it instead of only a zipper.

ETA:  One of the most useful resources I’ve used to learn more is the website: Felting Lessons.  She has great, free videos that will guide you through the felting and fulling process.

Wowweeee. . .

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Excuse me while I dust the cobwebs off of my blog header. . . k, all done.  For the 5 readers who still check in from time to time, soooo sorry to have abandoned you for so long!  There is a lot of catching up to do, but I’ll mostly do it with a photo and a short explanation to get this blog back up to speed.

1.  Monster is officially 5 years old!! Craziness, I tell you.  Not only does he grow like a weed, but lately he’s been very assertive in terms of his independence, as in, “talking back”/”stepping over the line” or whatever phrase you’d like to use.  And although he has his moments, I love the kid to no end;  he’s at such a fantastic age where he’s like a sponge for knowledge, very imaginative, is able to make complete sentences (but still jumbles his thoughts), cares whether he looks “cool” or not, and can sit down for a real mommy-to-son chat.  All of those things and so much more, of course.  He amazes me constantly, and I’m so proud of him and Bobo.  I feel extremely lucky to be blessed with such awesome kiddos.  Really.
Oh, and he got some snow on his birthday. ;)

Monster's 5th Birthday

The boys and I on Monster's 5th birthday

2. Knitting has taken a backseat in my life lately.  Not that I’m not interested in it anymore (not by any means!) but I think holiday scarf knitting just sucks all of the joy out of the process for a moment in time.  I’m still working on a scarf that I promised my mom, and it’s nearly done.  But I won’t allow myself to work on anything else until it’s finished, because otherwise the scarf will never get completed, lol.
When I get my knitting mojo back, it’ll probably be a big post. ;)

3. Hooping has been sneaking it’s way up in my life, as I find myself loving it more and more with each practice session.  I will dedicate a whole post to it and how it’s influencing my life, but for now I’ll leave it at that.

4.  I am now a double major!  I will now be getting a bachelor of arts degree in Studio Art (Fibers) and Photography.  I know, I know – I agree that I am probably quite cuckoo in the head, but my intuition was telling me that something needed be done about the excitement that Photography brings to my life.  Being in the darkroom is a bit like a sanctuary to me;  Fibers is of course a major love of mine. . . but Photography has been my love since I was a child and it feels foolish to ignore it.
So – it only added one semester onto my life sentence years of college, so I don’t see why there is not any reason to not go for it.

Alright!  Hopefully I will be back soon to post in detail about what’s going on in my life (because there is a TON more to tell), but for now I leave it with a small dose of my roller coaster existence.

Crunch Time

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Well, it’s officially crunch time in terms of getting everything that needs to be finished, done in time for Christmas.  I’ve placed my last order through Amazon, wrapped a few presents (with some to go yet. . . ), and have finished some knitting projects (and ripped out some knitting as well)!

What is this about the ripping of knitting, you ask?  Well, as it turns out, Monster’s sweater will not be making an appearance in time for Christmas because Mommy doesn’t have a good sense of making a sweater from scratch. YET.  I’m guessing that I just added too much ease, therefore the sweater was a bit too wide for him for my liking.  And it needed to be a little longer in the torso as well – it’s easily fixable, but then I would have to rip back to the short rows. . . . yada, yada, yada.
Either way, I want his sweater to be done right and not fudged, so I will restart it after the holidays have passed.

On the other hand, I finished a scarf for him!  And I will be casting on for his brother’s scarf tonight. :)

Details
Pattern – Noro Striped Scarf from Jared Flood
Yarn – Malabrigo Merino Worsted
Notes – CO 35, worked until it measured 43 inches

Also, a big thanks to Stacy for picking out the colors!

More from the holiday happenings ’round here after Christmas! :)

A week later. . .

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Look! I’m blogging after only a week of silence!  Let’s get started, shall we?

Classes:
Nope, not going to talk about school classes – but I do want to share my teaching schedule with you for this month at The Knitting Nest.
There will be 2 crochet classes and 1 kool-aid dyeing class!  Look for more details at TKN’s website, but here are some photos to get you interested:

1. Christmas Light Bulb Ornament — Friday Dec. 11th from 4 to 5:30pm

2. Dyeing Yarn w/ Kool-Aid! — Saturday Dec. 12th from 3:30 to 6pm (only 4 spots available for this one, sign up quick!)

3. Super Mario Invincibility Star — Sunday Dec. 13th from 4:30 to 6pm  (you can make it w/ or w/o eyes)

Knitting:
I wasn’t sure if I was going to knit any Christmas presents this year after going through tons of scarves last year, but alas, I just can’t help myself.
There are a couple of projects cookin’, but I can’t show all of them on here for fear of the recipient seeing their gift. . . you understand. ;)
However, I can show you what I’m going to try and knit Monster: a Seamless Hybrid sweater out of some Dream In Color “Classy” I bought.  It’s gorgeous, really.  I’ve never used this yarn before, but so far it is an absolute joy to knit with!

Speaking of Monster, today he said he wanted to look “cool” – and I think he did a job well done.  He has an official new nickname (coined by the one and only Amandizzzzle) – “L-Money” (or “L$$”??).  Either way, my kid is totally cool in my book, and not just because of his shades. ;)

Last but not least:
My good friend, Snowden the knitonaire, has a new pattern out!  So run, don’t walk, to get your very own Agatha pattern.

Have a great weekend!

What Am I Up To?

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Costume:
In my last post I proudly proclaimed that I was going to make my own costume this year. . . well.  Maybe not.  I got it all cut out, and then I think I cut it out on the wrong side of the fabric.  Nice.
So I’ve deserted it for now, and maybe something will light a fire on my bum to get me going on it again, but probably won’t pick it up for a while.  I won’t even look at it yet.

Kool Aid Kids:
In other news, I taught a group of middle school kids to dye yarn using Kool Aid the other day!  It was my first time teaching a workshop, and I am surprised at how fun it was.  I mean, of course I love to teach people to dye yarn (who wouldn’t love dyeing yarn?!), but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to attend to everyone’s needs during the process.  I was wrong, because there were other adult helpers, and it turned out to be a great project for everyone.
Here’s some of the yarn that was dyed, isn’t it great?!

Tree Planting:
Today my parents and I went and got a terrific deal on two Maple trees from Lowe’s.  They were only $29/each!
We planted one in the front yard, and will plant the second tree in the backyard tomorrow.  They are so beautiful and I hope they grow big and tall. :)
Below is one of my favorite shots of the day, and you can find more shots here.

Knitting:
I’ve finished a project as of today, but cannot show it on here because it’s going to Jessica.  And she can’t see it yet.  Sorry, chica! :P
Details soon, though!

Hooping:
I’ve been practicing regularly, and I think it’s paying off!  I can chest and shoulder hoop now.  Man, I love hooping. :)  Here’s my corny video: