Merry Christmas to all

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I know this is a day when families gather, open some presents, have some good eats and reflect on your lives and your heart and be thankful. This is a time when I most miss my Mom as she was the epicenter of our Christmas celebration.  This will be the 17th Christmas without her and her absence is always felt.  I miss you Mom.

I've battled a cold/sinus allergy/lots of sinus drainage this past week. I went into the office on Wednesday but they sent me home. They were afraid I would get them sick. Luckily, I can work from home and it's not an overly busy time of year for us.  It's still hanging on after a little over a week, but I do feel much better.  It's back to work tomorrow as we only had Christmas day off.

We had a few fat snow flurries last night but it only lasted a few minutes. It'll be a quiet day for DH and I.  I'll do some laundry and I'll either work on the ZickZack scarf or I'll get a little spinning done.  I'm hoping that you get to steal a few moments to knit  or sew a few stitches for some quiet time.

I'm gathering my photos for the end of 2017 post. It has been a productive year and I'm not going to post everything, but I've got a mixture of knitting, spinning and quilting.

Merry Christmas ya'll!

Weather changes and knitting project update

Yep, weather has been warm, then chilly, then warm again, then cold again. It's hard to know how to dress for it, then the weatherman can't get the forecast right.  Then germs start getting passed around and next thing you know.....bam! Someone gets sick.  It hit me Friday night with some dry coughing. I thought it was just a little dry, didn't think anything of it. Saturday told another story. I did manage a couple of hours in the hobby room, but after that I was down. I would lie down for hours and sleep, get up and sit like a zombie on the couch with some hot tea for a little while, only to go back and lie down again.  That continued through Monday. Tuesday I felt a little better, but not good enough to go sit in the hobby room, so I would just knit a little bit.  Then off to work on Wednesday and they sent me home to work from home. So here I sit, monitoring email and doing a little surfing.

While I was sick over the weekend, and didn't feel like going into the hobby room (aka sewing and quilting), I worked on my Giant Square Scrappy Blanket which is mostly all knitting in the round except for the increases every other row.  I've made good progress on it and I've been using up some more of the sock yarn scraps.  It's quite a bit bigger than the pic below, but I haven't taken a new pic of it yet.

The other item I'm working on steadily is the ZickZack scarf. This one is fun and I love watching how the colors play together. This is a free pattern and well worth the cost. :-)  I'm using 2 balls of Indulgence (sadly a discontinued yarn) and you alternate using the yarn every 2 rows. You let the colors play as they will.

That's it for now.  Quilting update later.

Sunday discussions

As our lives are not all about knitting, spinning, quilting or any other of our textile hobbies, today was the day where DH and I talked about my work benefit plans for the new year. So after we finally finished that discussion, I moved on to organizing my calendar for the new year. I had been making some changes to my format over the last half of the year and decided I liked that format. So...since I had already purchased a calendar for the new year, I thought I'd go ahead and get it ready.  So while I use my Google calendar for real appts (doc, dentist, oil chg, etc), I like to use my paper calendar for lots of other stuff. We spend so much time away from home and my fun projects, I like to carry stuff with me so I can refer back to it.

So, this year I made my own cover for it, with a few pockets. I have also gone the way of a pseudo bullet journal in that I have a KEY but that's mainly for identifying the section (Month) in where I have my Lists.
This works great for me and I love carrying it.

The KEY so that I can flip to the Tab for the month I need.

Just little notes or pictures that make me smile.

 While I keep my ongoing and completed projects in Ravelry, I don't always have on-line access and sometimes when I'm sitting somewhere with a few minutes free-time, I like to peruse my on-going and future projects. Maybe at the yarn store I can peruse the future list so I can determine if I want to look for yarn.
My TO DO list is all with Post-It notes, so that when something is completed, all I have to do is throw away the Post it note. I can move it from short-term (right side) to long term (future) at any time and vice-versa. This way I don't have to re-write lists.  If it's something I want to document the completion of, I'll put a date on it and place it in the calendar section, so I can memorialize it on my computer journal that I keep in Word.

I started a new spinning project yesterday, which was on my To Do list.  This is a 8 oz blend of merino/bamboo called In Bloom from Knittyandcolor. It's white/pink/blue/purple/green.

A long time gone and bout time I'm back!

I know, I know. I've been gone forever. I feel like I need to apologize to my blog and for everyone who reads it from time to time.  I know you guys have all given up on me.  I took a little break from social media to rein in my feelings about what was going  on in the world.  I did post pics on IG for timeline purposes and kept up my projects on Ravelry, but very limited interaction on both. Even my friends were wondering what had happened to me. So, I'm back and we'll see how it goes.

A lot has happened in the year and half since I've posted. I believe I mentioned in the last post that we disconnected our satellite TV service 2015 and it has been wonderful. Not only for the monthly savings, but also for the time spent in front of the tv. So while DH and I still spend time on the couch in the evenings, we spend it listening to an audiobook, or some music on Pandora, or just quiet time, each of us doing our own thing. It's been lovely and we don't miss tv.

The last couple of months have been a little trying on the family side. My Dad suffered a stroke right before Labor Day which has affected his memory.  Still working through some personal feelings on this one.  A couple of weeks ago my brother lost his wife of 20 years to cancer, she battled it for way too long and now she is in peace.  I will miss her very much.

I have been knitting a lot, have a very strong renewed interest in sewing and quilting and I've been dabbling in some embroidery as well.  I was telling my DH just last night, that while I have been spending time in my hobby room on the weekends in front of my sewing machine, I've not done any spinning in several months. So I hope to remedy that this weekend or at least over Thanksgiving's 4-day holiday.

Speaking of the hobby room. We are working on clearing out an extra room in the house that is connected to my existing hobby room with a jack n jill bathroom.  My DH and I currently share the existing hobby room and the new one will belong to just me. I'm so excited!!!!  So, I'm in the planning stages of it and will make it more of a sewing room and I will also have a dedicated table for my knitting machine. I am planning a cutting island as well. Most of the furniture I will get from Ikea so stay tuned.

Here are a few pics of what I've been doing:

Crumb blocks. I love making these when I just want to sit at my sewing machine and do mindless sewing. I use small pieces and just connect them any which way.  I made a tutorial for them here.
 I will connect the blocks at some point, I still have more of them to put borders on. I made one larger crumb block and made a knitting project bag.

To aid in my sewing I made these pincushions. I've since given one of them away.

My first finished embroidery project. This was done on yellow linen (looks white due to flash)
I've since framed it in a blue frame.

Back in mid 2016 I bought some I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby to make a baby blanket for a coworker. I bought dark green and light green to make a tortoise shell pattern. (the dad loved ninja turtles). I had yarn leftover and thought I could make some squares for the pinwheel blanket. (I had started a fingering weight pinwheel with leftover sock yarn and that was taking a while). My friend said "wouldn't it be pretty in different colors?" So back to HL I went to buy more colors.  This yarn is like the Energizer just keeps going.  So below is what I have made with the yarn so far, All of these projects are in Ravelry if you want to see the patterns.

The turtle blanket.

Dean's blanket.

Purl Soho's My Favorite Blanket

Rainbow Feather and Fan blanket
 Pinwheel blanket

Scarf ... I just sort of winged this one.  I gave this one to my brother because he said he wanted a long scarf with lots of wild colors.  This one was 30 stitches wide. I'm making another with more of the leftovers but the next one isn't as wide. 15-18 stitches I think.

Gnorbert was a test-knit which I ended up giving to Ann because she has a gnome garden. However, this little guy stays in her house, on her mantel.

That's all for today. I'll post again in December.  I anticipate 2018 to be very busy, so stay tuned.

Tour de France - Tour de Fleece 2016

Another year has rolled around for the Tour de France. DH and I have watched this fabulous race for the last 20+ years and have enjoyed every minute of it.  We made a decision last year to disconnect from satellite/cable and really haven't missed it........until now. I am sad that I won't be watching actual coverage this year, but I will keep up with it online.  Another exciting road trip planned as they go into Andorra and Switzerland as well.  While I have some misgivings of the Tour going into other countries, those two should be good because of the mountains.

Here's a view of the map for 2016.

This one is a view from a mountain stage last year.  You see the road below the mountain in the top left of the picture.  The french created this Z road to get to the top of this mountain because the other route available to get to the top was a very long way around. This road just scales the mountain. Is this not unbelievable???

So have you started the Tour de Fleece?  I spun a little on my Trindle today.  One of my goals on this Tour de Fleece is to do some core spinning.

I've also been working on another woven wall hanging.  I am overcoming the "blank canvas" fear. It's not as daunting and it's getting easier to create. I have gotten inspiration from many different sources, alot of them on Instagram.  Here's one I warped last weekend and then started weaving on yesterday.  Not sure how I'll finish it off yet, but I'm pleased with it so far.

Otherwise, as to knitting. I've started a baby sweater using Berroco Modern Cotton.  This yarn is delicious to work with. It feels glorious in my fingers. Some might consider it to be splitty but I'm not a fast knitter and I usually look at my knitting (noun) while I'm knitting (verb) so I'm pretty good about not splitting my yarn. :-) 

I've also been getting the sewing bug, whether it's doing some quilting (hand piecing) or some clothing. Time will tell.  OK, I'm getting off the computer! 

Father's Day weekend

I've already spoken to my Dad today to wish him a Happy Father's Day. He lives in another state but he's on my mind. Sending him happy thoughts!!

Yesterday, I spent the day in the hobby room, working on a woven wall hanging. This activity is like "painting" on a blank canvas. All you have is the warp and it's ready to design. whew! that's challenging. But once you get going, and you have a box full of fun fibers sitting next to you, well, it's just a matter of grabbing one and going to town. Totally free-form, you just have to make sure and lock down the free-form weaves every now and then with a couple of rows of standard over and under.  I used a little bit of nubby yarn, some unspun fiber, and a lot of leftover yarn.  Fun to make fringes and loops etc. I need to make the next one less busy with different colors and more plain weave so that you can actually see the loops and special stitches.  This one turned out a little busy but I still like it. I made a homemade frame using an old picture frame I had purchased somewhere for like $1 or $2.  Last weekend, I followed instructions on how to space the nails, marked them and then began nailing. Last Sunday I warped it and then on Saturday, I started creating.

I also have some finished projects. 
The first one is Fiona.  This was a surprise knit and it has been given to the recipient, so now I can blog about it.  This was knit with a light fingering weight yarn for a 24 month old. Relatively easy pattern to remember once you get past the increases. I did not knit in the round, but the next one I will. There are comments from other knitters on how they did it in the round, the pattern is written for seaming front and back together.

Next up is the Chevron Scarf.  Written to be a Cowl, but I wanted a scarf. I loved how this one turned out. This was so much fun to knit, it was like eating a potato chip, I couldn't knit just one row. I kept going, and going, and going.
The color is handspun from the 3 lb bag of fiber I had spun. The cream color is Malabrigo Sock. Love it!

Otherwise, I still have socks on the needles and a few other scarves and cowls. Many projects are being bounced around in my head but haven't landed on any just yet. Lists are being made!!!

Starting the next decade

As I posted on the 23rd of May, I've had this blog going for 10 years now. Although I've been sporadic in blogging, I have been posting pictures on Instagram.  The ease of Instagram........I can do that anywhere and anytime. Thanks to Christina for opening my eyes to Instagram. Blogging, I need to do it from home, so it's a little more difficult. In addition, I do post my projects on Ravelry with the yarn and needle information.

What I like about having this blog is the ability to see the improvements in my knitting from 10 years ago to now.  My skills have improved dramatically. I have recognized that I am a process knitter at heart, although I still tend to knit mostly things that I will want to wear or use. But I love to try out new processes and new stitches, which is when I like to make baby things because it's a smaller time commitment.

During that 10-year span, I've also picked up spinning and weaving. I adore spinning, there I've said it. I  love the "zen" of spinning. I don't have to think about it. I don't have to follow a pattern. I love that you don't have to plan ahead for it. I've not gotten to the point of planning a spin for a particular knitting project and I may never do that, although it would be good to learn how.  As for the weaving, I've mostly played around with it but made a long narrow scarf and some towels for the kitchen. I'm still using the Cricket but lately been eyeing the Kromski Harp. The issue I have with the peg warp is that I don't have anywhere to place the peg that will give me the length of warp I need. So, the Kromski Harp provides a warping board on the reverse side, which would be perfect. More weaving time is needed as well.

So here is a question. When you have time constraints due to working, commuting, kids, fill in the blank with whatever, how do you pick which fiber art you want to work on?  If you're spinning, you're not knitting on that project that you want to finish. If you're knitting, then the spinning fiber is calling your name. If you want to weave, well first you have to plan your project, warp the loom and then you have a little time to weave a little. Sometimes, it's just difficult to pick. I find I tend to spin when I'm in between knitting projects. Although I always have at least 4-10 projects on the needles, one or two are usually my main focus. So when I've finished one of them, I can take a break from knitting and do some spinning.  I used to sew and quilt as well, but can't seem to fit those in my limited time. How do you manage it?  What is your primary focus?

So, on to some things I've been working on.
I posted here about the latest fiber I had spun. It was a beautiful blend of blues and yellows and I really love the way it turned out. I couldn't quite decide what I wanted to do with it, so I sat and stared at it for awhile. I looked at different shawl patterns, but didn't quite have enough yardage for most of the ones I was interested in. I then decided on the Quaker Yarn Stretcher.

I won't make this post heavily laden with pictures, so I will ask that you click on the Instagram link above to see what I've been working on.

I started the Chevron Scarf on Thursday. I am really enjoying this project. It's knit with a solid color, I chose Malabrigo Sock in Natural and then for the color, I chose some handspun that I spun from that big 3-lb bag of loose ends that I spun randomly.  I'm loving the way it looks.

I do have a goal this year. Socks. I've created a right foot sock to accommodate my arthritic toe, so my goal this year is to make a minimum of 6 pairs of my new sock pattern. I have been getting rid of socks I can't wear anymore and making room in my sock drawer for new socks. I have finished 3 pairs so far and have 3 more on the needles with different levels of progress.

That's it for today. For those of you who blog, I highly recommend printing your blog to PDF. We all know that these blogging platforms can go away, just as many loved cloud systems went away. So preserve your history of blogging by printing to a PDF. I usually pick a year, which then loads up that year and then print. Do it today.

10 years - May 23, 2006 to May 23, 2016

Yep, it's 10 years today that I started my blog. I've been pretty sporadic posting this past year, maybe 2 years, but it's always on my mind.  Work got in the way these past 3-4 months, way too many long hours.

I've got a lot to post, but I've run out of time today. I have a new desktop.  A workhorse!! My DH started the building of it on Friday night and I have it in my hands this afternoon. Much more powerful than my 4 year old laptop. Still getting used to Windows 10, but so far so good.

So, I've had very little time for knitting recently, but I have finished another pair of socks, which I'll post more tomorrow. Also been working on a gift which I'll post more about after I've given it to the recipient.

So Happy Anniversary to me and I'm making a promise to myself that I'll get better about posting. The faster computer will help that decision a lot!!!

Spinning again and more knitting

I think it's been a month since I've posted, I forgot to look at the date of the last post. Anyway, it's been a very busy February.  I ordered a new Subaru Outback and I picked it up 2 weeks ago. I love it. I wasn't sure I would like all the new bells and whistles, the new information (entertainment) screen, but it's come in handy. I love that it has 2 USB ports so I can have my podcasts, books and music with just a touch of a button. The screen has a backup camera, which I've also enjoyed. The auto-dimming rear and side mirrors....not so much. Sometimes you need to see the headlights so that you get a better picture of where the cars are, but I'll adjust.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've spun because my right shoulder was so irritated. I've tried to adjust how I knit, a little more Portugese style and some continental too. Those methods just change my tension so much, I revert back to throwing.  As for holding the yarn in my left hand, I haven't developed a good method that works for me. Still playing around with that. I watched some Youtube videos to see how others hold it, but so far it's not working easily. Practice, practice, practice. The Portugese style works well though, so I will continue with that to ease any strain on my shoulder. Oooops, squirrel!!!!  ok, back to spinning. :-)

I started spinning this fiber last weekend and finished plying it on Saturday.
395 yards of 2-ply merino/tussah silk

 Then I've had these cakes on various traveling Turkish spindles. So I finally finished spinning this yesterday and plied it as well.

218 yards. 2-ply

Then I got on a hat knitting kick. I really wanted a slouchy hat so after some trials with the Rikke Hat, I have two of those. The white one is for me and the darker one is for hubby.
The dark one is knit with handspun.

Then I made a stockinette vanilla hat with some handspun. It's soft, it drapes well and I'm in love.

Then lastly, I finished my bulky yarn mittens that I started in October and I was able to use them these past 2 weeks because it was COLD!!!!

All in all, I've been very productive and it's a great start to 2016.