It’s been well over a year since I last blogged. Not for lack of things to blog about – 2012 was a busy year:
Sewing, spinning, weaving, even a little knitting. The biggest development of all?
Yep, I’m pregnant! About 6 months along now, due at the end of March. So the nesting bug has kicked in full swing – I’ve been sewing and cleaning and planning like crazy. I’ve also been reading blogs a lot more, which is what made me come back here. I’d like to be better about keeping track of all I’ve been doing. So, let’s try this again and see how it goes!
Wow, were did the time go? I have an on-again off-again relationship with blogging and have been horrible about keeping up, but let’s see if I can’t catch up a little before the next lapse!
I seem to have caught the spinning bug lately, both in buying/spinning fiber but also collecting Turkish drop spindles. I fell in love with Jenkins spindles at Sock Summit this year, and have plans to take a couple with me to Ireland (more on that later). But in the meantime, my wheel has been busy:
1. Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL & Tussah Silk in Green Eyed Monster 2. Sunshine Yarns SW BFL in Cherry Blossoms 3. Sunshine Yarns SW Merino in Italian Riviera 4. Sunshine Yarns SW BFL in Black Lake 5. Jabberwocky Farm cashgora/llama
Even more intense was my weaving production this year. I started taking commissions to weave scarves, mostly in self-striping yarns, and started experimenting more with plaids as well:
1. Subtle Plaid (Sunshine Yarns) 2. Poppy Scarf (Gothsocks) 3. Verzaubert Plaid (Wollmeise and Sanguine Gryphon) 4. Less Subtle Plaid (Sunshine Yarns) 5. Godric’s Scarf (Gothsocks) 6. Trek Scarf (Sunshine Yarns) 7. Warm Plaid (Sunshine Yarns) 8. Winterberry Scarf (Gothsocks)
This is also still a knitting blog
I have managed to squeeze in some knitting time between all that spinning and weaving, mostly socks but I am wearing a sweater today that I need to take photos of as well!
Working on a Machine
And, to top it all off, I’ve been working on my sewing and latest hobby, working with a circular sock knitting machine! As you can imagine, between all the other hobbies I’ve collected the CSM has fallen a bit behind, but it’s fascinating to work with and I hope next year I can use it to churn out some more socks!
Finished Sunshine Medallion Quilt
CSM in action
That’s great, where were you going with this?
Although I’ve completely fallen off of the blogging bandwagon, I do still enjoy having a place to document my progress and listen to myself speak. I have aspirations of some day being a more reliable blogger, but with my scattered approach to crafting and the hectic nature of my life right now I make no promises. I went to Ireland for a month this summer and transitioned into a new role at work that is sending me back to Ireland in a week or so, which means my life will be all over the place for the foreseeable future. But maybe I’ll get around to editing all those photos I took this summer and can post about my adventures overseas!
It’s been a busy year on the crafting front. I set a goal at the start of the year to finish up 12 items, including spinning some of my fiber stash. By April I was up to 9, thanks to a bit of a spinning binge. I haven’t been knitting as much lately, in part due to my shoulder issues, but in part because knitting isn’t what it used to be for me. I’ve loaded myself up with so many “have to” knits that they don’t feel like “want to” knits any more. Plus the pressure of the stash…
So, what have I been up to?
I finally finished binding my Tokyo Subway Map quilt, which I am in love with. It was a great project to use some of the Japanese fabric scraps I had left over from sewing project bags.
I also finished quilting and binding the ginormous Sunshine Medallion Quilt for our bed, but I have yet to take a picture so that’ll have to wait for another post.
I’ve been doing a fair bit of spinning, here are the last two yarns I finished:
Roving: Pigeonroof Studios BFL, 2 braids, in the color Lazy Daisy
Weight: Heavy fingering? It was 18 wraps per inch before I washed it, then it poofed up some.
Yardage: 630 from 8.8 oz
And my Collections yarn:
Roving: Bee Mice Elf Collections Club, 1 oz of 6 colors in Falkland, Spring Seeds collections
Weight: Fingering? It was 20 wraps per inch before I washed it
Yardage: 830 from 6 oz
I spun this one up to be a gradiant, doing one single with a multi-solid-multi and the other with the corresponding solid-multi-solid. I’m thinking of doing some sort of triangle shawl with this, or maybe Citron.
Yarn: Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock in Shadow Canyon, 1 skein
Details: Ravelry page here. These are for my Dad, for a combination of his birthday (next week) and Father’s Day (in a few weeks). I really enjoyed this pattern – it was easy to follow, and the combination of pattern and color worked well for a pair of guy socks.
Pattern: Sagano Shawl (Ravelry page)
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Cezanne, 1.5 skeins plus some BMFA STR scraps for the bind off
Details: Ravelry page here. These were for my Mom, for Mother’s Day. This was the second time I’ve knit this pattern and I just love the texture of this stitch. My issue is that I have needed more than 1 skein each time I’ve knit this pattern. I modified it to take out a body repeat, but still had to cut out a few rows of the edging and piece together some scraps for the bind off. I think in part it’s because I’ve been knitting looser these days, but also in part due to the smaller yardage of the yarns I’ve been using for it.
Pattern: Clockwork (Ravelry page)
Yarn: Fresh From the Cauldron Silver Sock in Auld Lang Syne and New Moon
Details: Ravelry page here. This was for a swap on Ravelry, where I knit a shawl for someone who knit a pair of socks for me. Due to my loose knitting, I had to start over when I saw how big it was going to be on the recommended needle size and in retrospect could have gone down another size or two beyond what I did. I managed to run out of yarn on the bind off on this shawl as well, and the yarn bloomed like crazy when I blocked it, making for a very large wrap.
Yarn: Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock in Un-birthday (weft) and Spring Meadow (warp)
I finally finished up this scarf I’d had on the loom for awhile. I love Dani’s overdyes for weaving, and this one in particular with all the green and teal. I promptly warped up another scarf with her yarn, aiming for a plaid thanks to an online tartan creator I found. Unfortunately there’s so much overlap between the two yarns I chose that the colors blend, but it will be a beautiful scarf anyways!
I moved over to BigCartel a few months ago and in general prefer it much more to etsy (especially as a shopper of frantic updates). I did a blue-themed update a couple of months ago and have now moved to doing custom orders to deplete my undyed yarn stock. The turnaround time is a bit longer in that customers have to wait for me to dye the yarn before I can ship it, but the number of orders so far have allowed me to ship out in a week or so, which isn’t too bad. With the possibility of more travel later this year, it seemed like a good idea to clear out what yarn I had and then decide from there if I could keep dyeing normal updates. It’s been fun coming up with new colors, so I may do a few new ones and throw them in the shop from time to time!
Time to go enjoy the rest of the weekend – the garden needs to be tended, and my Hulu queue is getting out of control. Plus there’s all that fabric I have for planned quilts, and a yoga mat bag, and yarn to unwarp, and…
Happy weekend all!
As it may be apparent, I have a slight yarn and fiber addiction. In addition to buying yarn and fiber on a sporadic basis, I have also joined these things called clubs where every month the dyer sends you basically a surprise. I’m in two yarn clubs and three fiber clubs. And a tea club! And these last two months I’ve felt like the mailing and club gods are not smiling on me.
The February shipment for one of the clubs just shipped Thursday. For those of you thinking, “Wait, isn’t that almost April?” yes, yes it is. It is now April and we still haven’t received our yarn. One of the fiber clubs is looking the same – our club shipment came in March, and my order was wrong. The dyer offered to send me a replacement and asked me to send the incorrect braid to someone else, but I never received an address. A week ago she started responding to me again and said my replacement braid would be in the mail after that weekend and she’d let me know who to send the other braid to, but nothing.
More and more I see indie dyers struggling to keep up. They become the next hot thing and there’s a frenzy to buy their yarn or join their club and suddenly they’re in over their heads. Life gets in the way, as it often does, and they start to fall behind. And the mob gathers up their pitchforks and fans divide into two camps.
There are two things that bother me about this. First, the mentality that yarn and fiber are things to collect and hoard and use as currency. I will freely admit that my stash is far larger than I can ever tackle and that I joined these two clubs in part because they are popular indie dyers, and I liked their work. But that leads me to the second thing that bothers me – communication. Though both dyers indicated clubs would be late, communication after that was slow. Which is probably due to the same reasons clubs are late in the first place, but leaves me as a customer with a bad taste in my mouth. If I have to keep scouring Ravelry for posts or emailing for updates I start to lose trust and worry that at some point the dyer is going to get overwhelmed and drop it all and no one will get their yarn or fiber. Yes, it would suck to keep posting week after week that the shipment is still delayed, but I trust those business owners more. I’m willing to support them if I feel like they’ll keep me in the loop.
I think about this a lot in regards to my own business. Yes, my updates are small, but I work 40+ hours a week and still want to have time for me. And it’s been a struggle to find a way to process the yarn that doesn’t put me in physical therapy every week for my shoulder (we are not meant to work at computers all day, and definitely not to come home and warp yarn after). While it may sound like excuses, I feel like all I can do is communicate and be realistic about my limitations – how the customers see it is up to them. It’s hard when you want to please everyone though.
I’m on the fence about these two clubs. I like their work, but I’m disappointed in the club aspect – part of the fun is getting a surprise every month. I know I’d be walking away from two clubs I wouldn’t be able to get into again for a long time if ever and that my departure would change nothing because there are many willing to take my place. But then again, Mark might prefer less influx of yarn and fiber. Maybe I should knit him more socks to distract him….
I am at that point again where I feel like I am surrounded by clutter. Physical clutter, time clutter, emotional clutter, people clutter. Mark is out of town this week, so it makes for a good opportunity for me to take stock and clean out on all fronts (not that his presence impedes any of that – it’s more that I’m looking for something to do since he’s not around to hang out with). This weekend, amongst all the dyeing and spinning, I started to do some cleaning and organizing. My hope is that this week instead of surfing the internet or just catching up on Law & Order: SVU on Netflix I can actually go though my stuff and give away what I don’t need/use any more and organize what’s left. Let’s see how that works…
Earlier this month I went to Stitches West with my good friend Dani to help out in her booth – it was a blast! It was absolutely awesome to meet so many other knitters/spinners and some of the other dyers I’ve admired and to be back in CA for a bit. Nevermind the cold I came home with, I also came home with some awesome fiber and yarn. Yarn diet be damned!
Mark and I don’t do gift exchanges on Valentine’s day (though I do request flowers and he obliges), so this year I cooked dinner, complete with a chocolate souffle for dessert! Tasty, but it should have been cooked a teeny bit longer
Ever since I bought myself a Lendrum DT for Christmas, my spinning has gotten so much faster and even more consistent. I think I’ve spun up about 16-20 oz this year so far! I’m loving it, but I need to start knitting with it too instead of just hoarding it
I spent some time this weekend dyeing too, in preparation for a grayscale self-striping update next month. The poor animals and I are still recovering from the vinegar and wet wool fumes, but at least it’s all dyed up now thanks to a temporary space in the basement! Now just to wash and unwarp it all….
2010 was a mixed bag – there were many incredibly high points (getting married, getting promoted, upping the craft ante) and many low points (my grandmother passing away, the stress that comes with getting promoted, the recovery from knee surgery #3). Every year I start off saying, “This year will be better.” I’ll get in shape, I’ll eat better, I’ll clear out my closets and start fresh.
Maybe this year it will actually happen….
I learned more about myself last year, about what stress does to me and those around me. I don’t like it, but I’ve always struggled with how to change my response to those things that are outside of my control. My response is the only thing I have control over, and that drives me crazy.
Last year I threw myself into deserving my promotion, planning a wedding, and trying to make gifts for others. I almost lost (or arguably did lose) my mind. So this year, I will try to learn from my mistakes. I am proud of all that I made last year:
But I will not pressure myself this year. I will not bring my computer home unless I have to, and I will not waste time at work. I will not let dyeing yarn dictate my craft time and cause me personal injury (I’m looking at you shoulder). No more retail therapy or “but it was on sale!” I will go outdoors more and be serious about getting in shape over the temptation to stay home and make another quilt. I will travel more to see friends, all of whom I really missed last year.
So. We’ll see how that all goes. But on paper it seems like a good idea!
It’s been well over a month since my last post, so what have I been doing?
A little knitting:
Pattern: Pasha (rav link)
Yarn: tosh dk in Celadon
(I’ve actually finished all but 3 of the 25 blocks, so this photo is a little out of date) Toykyo Subway Map QAL
Some of the many squares needed to make a large version of the Sunshine Medallion Quilt!
There’s also been quite a bit of dyeing for a sock club order and some custom orders in the shop. Unfortunately I think this weekend is my last weekend dyeing for awhile, since my skeins froze after I left them outside to dry. A sign that winter is pretty much here and dyeing outside may have to be put on hold until the spring! Which leaves more time for knitting and quilting….
And more working than I would like to think about. It’s been rough the last 2 months at work, with our group being somewhat understaffed and overloaded. Add to that taking off 2 weeks for some mental health, our honeymoon (pics coming soon…soonish), and Thanksgiving and all the overtime that had to happen before and after that and you’ll get a sense of why I’m in need of more caffeine these days than usual. Sadly that’s just the way it is for the foreseeable future. Luckily we get a week off at the end of the month, so only 2 more weeks to go!
So that’s a brief update on what I’ve been up to – hopefully I’ll get around to organizing our honeymoon photos and will have those to post soon!