Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spin, Knit, Repeat

I love my hobby. I feel so fortunate to have discovered it, picked it up so easily, and have the means to continue with it. I guess that can be said by anyone, of any hobby, but I really do feel this way.

I learned basic crochet stitches as a child. My grandmother (mom's mom) is an amazing crocheter and can design intricate filet crochet doilies on the fly. She taught me the basics and I made many cheap acrylic granny square baby blankets and scarves growing up, but never really did much more than that until I was 16. That's when I got my spinning wheel.

I raised and showed rabbits as a youth and was always so intrigued by the angora breeders spinning at shows. My parents bought me my Ashford Traditional for my sweet 16 and I took a quick lesson from a local French Angora breeder. I loved it, but even then didn't do much with it since I had limited fiber funds and time. I spun here and there and never really learned to knit well. I did make my dad a scarf that Christmas... purple Shetland, overspun singles that I then messed up plying by keeping the same twist direction... super hard and wiry yarn resulted! He loved it anyway.

In college a roommate was making a simple garter stitch scarf for her sister and I showed her some of my handspun and my wheel. Talking about it got me back into it. That was it from then on. 2007 was the year that I started spinning like mad and really started improving my knitting skils and learning about different yarn companies, different fibers, etc. I've had many short-lived craft endeavors, but none have stuck like spinning and knitting. It's a part of who I am and I can't imagine not toting my knitting bag around everywhere, checking ravelry obsessively, and dreaming up of more beautiful things to make.

(Esker Scarf in the Club Spunky fiber I got the other day.)

Friday, July 25, 2014


Two posts in one day? Yes indeedy. I'm bored.

I ran across this while trying to get caught up on blog reading (I'm horribly behind):

Summer Sweater KAL

(Hey, I linked from the kindle! Kind of a pain, but not too bad)

I joined. It seems fun and laidback, the only way I will ever actually participate in a KAL. I never really did much more than join them before finding the My Sister's Knitter group on Rav.. hers are the best. So fun, great community, etc. I'm always in her current KAL, but think it'd be neat to join in on others too. Since I have plans for at least two me-sized sweaters and a few mid-sized ones anyway, why not join in on the SSKAL, make some new friends, and maybe win a prize?

I will be entering Arthur's pullover (WIPs are allowed) for sure, then have to decide which adult sweater I want to make first. I'm planning on making a Paulie in the handspun merino and a Sporto hoodie in the handspun mystery wool (one link is all you get tonight, so search on Rav to see these). I think the Sporto might be best to do first since I know I'll get lots of wear from it and it's in a heavy worsted weight (versus the fingering/sport weight of Paulie), so it'll be faster. Then again, I'm dying to see how the merino looks all knit up. The swatch was gorgeous.

Anyway, I'm fixing to run off to join the KAL group on ravelry. If anyone is planning any sweaters this fall, consider joining us!

Seriously Obsessed

I love baby knitting! In particular, baby girl knitting. I always wanted boys and would've chose this new baby to be a boy if I could've, but the closer it gets to her arrival (less than 8 weeks!) the more excited I get about having a daughter. I finished up two little girl knits this week (both were tests, of course. I seem obsessed with those too):

This is the Ruffle Butt Diaper Cover in KP WotA, Papaya Heather. Isn't it the cutest?! It serves no real purpose other than to give baby girl a cute tushie (it won't work as a soaker over cloth diapers), but I'm loving the frilly girly goodness. I never thought that I'd want to dress my girl in ribbons, bows, and frills, but there you go.

The we have Smocked, a super adorable baby dress. This is 12 month sized. See the dyelot mismatch at the yoke? Yeah, annoying. It's really not that bad though and most people think it's an on-purpose design feature, so I'm not worrying over it. I used KP Swish DK in Marina for this one.

Currently OTN are a baby bib in KP Dishie, a pullover for Arthur in KP Stroll HP (to match the cardi I made for baby girl), and a crocheted sleep sack I'm testing for the gal that designed the diaper cover above. This baby will be covered in handknits!

Speaking of baby girl, we are thinking about names. We were going with Ruby Rosalie Knoll, but she doesn't feel like a Ruby to me. Plus, Arthur and Ruby were my great grandparents... Charlie didn't know that when he thought of the name Ruby, but it seems strange to have our kids have their names. So, we are going with something different. It's hard coming up with girl names! We have tons of things we like for a boy, but can't agree on much for a girl.

Charlie still likes Ruby, but also Ruth and Harper. Ruth is ok, but Harper is a no-go... I love that name, it's my maiden name, but it's too popular right now and we can't have Arthur and Harper. Can you imagine, I call them off the playground, "Arthur, Harper!" That's my brother's name. I just can't do it.

I love Tallulah, Tula for short. Tula Rose sounds so cute to me. Plus, it's distinctly Southern, which I love. Charlie doesn't like it though. I also like Roda. The only name I like that he agrees with is Vidalia. Yes, like the sweet onion grown in south Georgia. It might seem weird or mean to name your kid after a veggie that makes you cry, but we think Vidalia Rosalie is a pretty name, is Southern, is unique enough for us (there have been 5 Vidalias born in Georgia since 1990 and we doubt that there are many outside the state), and sounds nice as Vida Rose for a nickname. For those unfamiliar with a Vidalia, it is pronounced as Vi-DAY-yuh, Vi-DAY-lia, or Vi-DALL-yah (with dall like in Dallas). The first is usually from people with a stronger accent, but all three are right and are used interchangeably. Anyway, that's where we are right now on naming her. I'm getting stressed over it since I feel like she's going to come early like Arthur did and I want her to have a name before she arrives.

Ok, enough about that. I got some exciting mail today...

My first Club Spunky offering! Yay! It's "Happy Accidents" on BFL... to die for color and base! I really want to buy an extra helping, but it's not in the budget at all right now. I will be sampling with it when Arthur goes to be tonight to see how it wants to be spun. I originally thought I'd use it for socks when I saw the spoiler online, but seeing it in person has me not wanting to hide it in my shoes. Then I thought about a baby sweater, but that seems like a waste since it'd get such short use (plus, I'm selfish and want it for me). Now I'm thinking mitts since the fiber is hard wearing, yet still super soft. We'll see how the samples come up I guess.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dogs and Sewing

Great news... both dogs are ok! Neither is 100% yet, but both have their vision back to some extent and are moving well. Barrett is still having some issues with balance, seeing, and depression, but is definitely on her way back to being her old self again. Poppy is acting like normal, with only moments of in coordination here and there. We are so happy that our doggies are doing ok and are expected to make a full recovery!

I had a rough weekend, dealing with sick dogs and a sick baby (Arthur got the stomach bug Charlie had the week before), so didn't get to knit nearly as much as I'd planned. Arthur ended up staying with my parents tonight and Charlie is at work, so I took the alone time to get some housework done and enjoy some crafting. I got my small KP order in today and after transferring my knitting bag over to the new one, I realized that I wanted all my WIPs in their own individual project bags.

I dug through my small fabric stash and found some scraps from the handsewn soccer balls I made for Arthur and my nephew for Christmas last year. I'm no seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but I am quite proud of the resulting project bag. It is now home to the test knit dress I'm working on (and sooo close to being finished with, finally).

Now it's time to finish up that dress and start on a few other baby knits.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Update, Plus Prayers Needed!

We went to Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a last week. My Arthur makes the cutest little calf.

I whipped up a tail and a hat with ears and horns for him to wear. The shirt was painted with puff paint.

He had a great time and liked the giant cow. I had to bribe him to wear his costume by telling him he couldn't see the bull if he didn't wear it. I love that I can negotiate with him now. I do it all the time ("we can do that, but first do this for mommy" works every time).

Poppy, our new mini Dachshund, got an inkle collar the other day. She's sick right now though, which I will go into detail about at the end of this post.

Progress on my second TdF project. I'm still spinning daily.

A finished test knit dress for Taiga Hilliard. I adore it. I used KP Stroll Sport in Firecracker Heather. Please excuse the wrinkles... I usually pull my superwash knits from the dryer while still pretty damp so that I can smooth them out to air dry, but pulled this one late.

My current test knit, another little dress. See the problem here? The lots are clearly different, though this came in a full bag and the numbers on the band's do match. Ugh. I will be overdyeing the FO later. The difference is less obvious in real life, but still frustrating. I'm not about to rip back and start over though.

I am anticipating some new fibery arrivals in the next week or so. I have my first Club Spunky fiber coming after the 20th (the colorway clue is 'watery' so I'm curious to see it) and I have 2 KP orders coming. I wouldn't have been able to justify orders right now, but they were small and for very specific projects. Plus, there's an awesome summer sale going right now so I got good deals. First is a set of circs I needed for the Paulie sweater in the merino handspun I finished recently, then I have some red and black Cotlin coming for UGA themed hair scrunchies (they've been selling well at the farmers market), a cheapie knitting bag since mine is on its last leg, and one bump of WotA roving in Dill for a hat for Charlie for Christmas.

Now for the sad news...

My doggies are sick and might not make it. Barrett and Poppy got into some ivermectin horse paste dewormer this morning and both have ivermectin toxicity. Barrett ate enough for an 1100 pound horse and Poppy only had a lick, not even a pea-sized amount (I'm not sure how that affected her since I routinely gave more than that to rabbits much smaller than her without issues and the dogs have eaten that amount before). I suspect that there is an issue with the brand of dewormer and will be looking up recalls and such soon. Anyway, both dogs are blind and have coordination issues. Poppy is ok for the most part, other than the blindness, but Barrett is bad. She's stumbling everywhere, very disoriented, etc. We couldn't go to the emergency vet today because of only having one vehicle and all that, but the treatment is for symptoms only. Basically, they're either going to make it, or they won't. I've been forcing fluids, giving electrolytes, giving fatty foods, etc. All the stuff to treat them. If they make it (prognosis is typically good), they could have lasting neurological effects. At the very least, they could be blind and loopy acting for weeks/months before fully recovering. I just want my babies to live. I don't care if they're blind or if I have to provide special care forever. Just please don't let them die! My family would really appreciate any prayers/thoughts for us and our pups right now. We are worried sick and I'm feeling so guilty for letting this happen.

On top of the dogs being sick, Charlie has been battling some sort of stomach bug and now Arthur has it, plus yesterday we got a flat tire that can't be patched without taking it to the pros and getting it fixed or replacement won't be cheap. So, while I still have plenty to be thankful for, it's wearing to have so much bad stuff happen within a week.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Knitting Confessions

- I just started swatching last year. For the 6 years before that, I just went with the recommended needle size and hoped that it worked. It sometimes didn't. I am now more successful with my knits fitting, though I still don't bother with row gauge.

- I don't differentiate between m1r and m1l. I do them both the same and don't even know which one it is that I do.

- I knit everyday. There are some days that I don't, but they are few and far between. I'm also getting into the habit of spinning daily.

- I don't like knitting socks anymore. I used to love it, but lost my sock knitting mojo last year and can't seem to find it. I still plan on knitting them, but know that I won't really enjoy it.

- I'm obsessed with knitting for my babies.

- I've been promising my brother a knit sweater since 2007. I'll get around to it one of these years.

- In the past year, I've become super aware of skin tones and how colors affect them. I love the seasons theory (I'm a warm autumn) and find it so helpful when picking colors to knit with and wear. I'm just glad warmer natural colors look best on me since those are what I like most anyway.

- I'm not a technical spinner, though I've been doing it for 11 years. I just go with what feels right. I can get the yarn that I want, but when other spinners start talking about ratios, angle of their singles, etc, I am lost. I guess I ought to learn those things, but I spin to relax and make pretty yarn so will just keep spinning in ignorant bliss for now.

- I do not like superwash wool, except for sock yarn. I have found that it all eventually felts in the dryer, it's just a matter of time. Superwash has to go in the dryer to get its shape back, so it annoys me. Give me regular handwash-only wool any day over superwash!

- Related to the last point, I don't get when people are so against handwashing/air drying knits. It's just as easy a machine washing... I put the knits in a bath to soak and forget about them fora while. The only part that's even a tiny bit inconvenient is finding a good place for larger stuff to air dry, but that's not too difficult. Even for the new moms that everyone thinks can't manage handwashing, it's still not hard and I don't get that mentality.

- I don't consider myself a yarn snob (I'm too poor to be one), but I guess that I am to some extent. When I see knitters that only use big box brands and who are clueless about LYSs, I think that they are unskilled or undedicated. It's wrong of me to do, I know. I was once that big box store knitter and I wasn't unskilled, I was just new to it all and didn't have the funds for expensive stuff. I need to change my attitude.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I love to spin, but have been quickly going through my small fiber stash since we moved. I used to purchase fiber regularly when in college, but my only purchase in the past few years was the Woollie Bullie merino I got last year. Since I'm spinning daily now, I need to find ways to replenish the stash of I want to keep up that part of my fiber life. Thing is, we are living paycheck to paycheck and don't have lots extra for fun stuff. What to do?

I found a solution and I'm quite excited about it. First though, some of my recent spinning FOs:

The Woollie Bullie! I got over 1900 yards of 2-play fingering weight. I'm in love! I should've planned it out better and spun all the singles first, then plied, to get the best weight and color distribution, but oh well. Isn't the swatch pretty? (Oh, and RIP pretty little swatch... Arthur took scissors (!) to it yesterday when I wasn't looking). I think I'm going to make a Paulie cardi, using the lighter skeins for the trim and stripes.

Then my first Tour de Fleece project. I couldn't care less about cycling, France, or whatever is involved in TdF and I can't even watch it if I was interested because we don't have regular tv (we just do the Netflix thing). However, I do love spinning and I do love challenges, so there you go. The above is what I did for the first 5 days of the tour. A friend had gifted me a Karakul/Lincoln blend, which was interesting to spin. It's a light weight 3-ply that I think will be incorporated into a dog sweater (it's a tough and rough yarn that'll be good for taking some abuse).

Anyway, I only have a little fiber left and have already started on it. So, to my fiber stash enhancement solution...

Club Spunky!

Spunky Eclectic (Google it, again my apologies for not being able to link!) Has been running a monthly fiber/yarn club for years and I've always wanted to join. I've never been in a fiber club before and it seemed like a big and expensive commitment, but SE has hers set up as a monthly recurring billing thing with no commitment... cancel anytime. I never did join because I was either still too broke, moving too much, etc. Well, I did some figuring yesterday and realized that I was spending 20.00 a month on fancy coffee at my knitting group. The club is only 21.00 a month for 4 ounces of fiber (one month a year is a luxury fiber, so 2-3 ounces). Fiber is fun, lasting, and not full of calories. The decision to drop the coffee treat and add the fiber treat was a no-brainer.

I should be getting my first shipment around the 25th or so and am super excited!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I'm Honored!

Magpie Making Do (link to right, I'm posting from the kindle and it's difficult to link in posts) nominated me with the

How sweet! I know that I don't have too many readers here, but that's ok. I mainly do this for myself as an outlet to vent and such, and as a way to keep a log of my life changes and my growth in general. That said, knowing that I do have a reader or two (and that one finds me inspiring!) is so nice.

I'm supposed to do a list of facts and link to other blogs, but I need to think on it some so will get to that another day.

I do want to show off the modeled Melusine Boatneck Vest (though the little monkey would only wear it for two pictures and I couldn't get the sweet model shots I wanted):

He won't object to it come this winter. It's been in the 90s here, so I don't blame him for not wanting to wear a thick wool vest! Don't you love his "cheese" face, though?

I also finished the crocheted test sweater (Every Baby Sweater in KP Shine Sport, Cosmopolitan):

It was a fun crochet project, finished in just one day. I see more of these in my future.

I'm just about finished with a patriotic shirt for Arthur to wear tomorrow. I will be sure to get some good pictures of him wearing it while we are out on the square, enjoying the celebration. Oh, and I will have a spinning FO to share next time as well!