Yarn Haul!

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

It seems like I am always saying that stash enhancement is a special thing around here and doesn’t happen very often, and yet here I am sharing some new stash yet again. I guess I should just add to this that this year I have been very blessed and have been given some very nice yarn as well as some money to buy yarn. That has been so much fun and that is where this yarn order came from.

I don’t like Black Friday but I had asked for a book that can be purchased at Knit Picks for my birthday, so my family requested I make an order from Knit Picks when they had their Cyber Monday sale and get some yarn as well. I decided to finally purchase my own sweater quantity of yarn so to start, I got some Wool of the Andes in the color Blackberry. I also got a skein of fingering weight Chroma in the color Avalon. Finally, I have been oogling over the Stroll Fingering Brights since they first came out. I caved and bought one skein of Pickle Juice and one skein of Razzleberry. The book I purchased was Rebecca Danger’s 50 Yards of Fun, that I had heard about watching back episodes of the Knit Girllls, and really liked the concept.

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Well, let’s just say that I am a happy camper with all this yarn and a new book. Can you tell I have been into purples lately…it isn’t exactly a new trend for me so a purple sweater was definitely going to happen eventually. With the Brights yarn, I’d just like to add that these are truly neon. I love neons, despite the 80’s, so I was skeptical that this yarn would be an actual burn-your-eyes-out bright. I was pleasantly surprised when I took the yarn out of the box and they practically glowed, so great!

Anyway, life is here, my brain is so scattered if I don’t write something down 20+ times I don’t even know it existed, Christmas is making me giddy with excitement (and I’m not 2 years old), and my knitting keeps veering in 40 bazillion directions. Spoiler, I may have already broken my rule to finish FOs, but more on that later.

~Stay Inspired

This post was not sponsored, all opinions are my own. I just feel inclined to share my thoughts on my new purchase.

Scrap Afghans Attack

Scrap Afghan: Wooly Mastadon

This scrap afghan has been mentioned a lot recently around here, but I realized I haven’t really explained what is going on. Just about every year at the start of summer I get this urge to BUST THROUGH ALL THE STASH! Typically, I then pull out all of my yarn, sort it, organize it, and think of a bazillion projects I want to make. I am growing as a knitter, crocheter, fiber enthusiast, so I often gravitate to yarns with natural fiber content, often wool, or something a little nicer and upscale. However, my budget doesn’t allow for much of that yarn and neither does my family’s budget, so I have a ton of acrylic sitting around begging to be used (and some, not many but some, that I want to get out NOW because I am just not a fan of it…hey it happens). Granted, my stash of Caron Simply Soft is of my own making because it is my absolute favorite for Amigurumi, but the rest often gets out of hand. I get a lot of Red Heart Super Saver throughout the year from different people, but frankly, it just isn’t the softest (although it definitely has its uses). Thus, just about every year, I turn to some sort of scrap afghan. Cue the frantic digging in my stash to find anything that might work (which is a lot, enough for a few blankets, not just one). This year I searched through my Crochet Today magazine archives and found the Chemistry Blanket by Marty Miller, and was intrigued by the offset shape and colors. I immediately started working, only to realize that I had seriously messed up the motifs about 8 pieces in and they were all circles instead of hexagons.

Well, I went with it and have been working on it on and off for the past several months. It is a project that I pick up and work on, perhaps bust through a ton of circles, and then let sit. With the finishing bug I mentioned in a past post, and the Elder Tree Shawl and potholders under my belt, I decided to work on this afghan figuring it would take me forever to finish the motifs, much less consider a border color and start connecting them. Then a lazy Sunday came and a new series called The Librarians aired (and may I say it is pretty good, perhaps not as good as the movies they made but good) and I realized I was 10 motifs away from seeing if I had enough motifs to fit my idea and close enough to the border that I had to figure it out. In the original pattern, there is no fancy border and the shape of the afghan is non-traditional. Because of my fluke with the pattern, I decided to default to my black border and finishing method, one that has not treated me badly since I started it with a massive granny square afghan that is still by far my favorite. I also decided to make more motifs and create a semi-rectangular afghan. Ironically, I had to buy the black yarn, but alas, such is life. Now I am on my way to finishing up the motifs and connecting the afghan together.

Will I finish this before Christmas? Probably not, but I am sure happy with my progress and that the end is finally in sight. Do you use your scrap yarns for anything? What is your go-to stashbusing pattern of choice?

~Stay Inspired

Finish it FOs

FOs: Wooly Mastadon

I can’t believe it, but I have several FOs to share today. Well, by several I have two projects but both are very big. First I finished my Christmas gifts, the never ending potholders! In the end I completed 21, 19 of which are the complete green ivy variegated yarn. One is half variegated half cream and the initial test potholder is the solid cream. That was a long standing project of repetition and I am so happy it is finally finished.

FOs: Wooly Mastadon FOs: Wooly Mastadon

The second and most exciting FO I have to share today is, (insert fanfare here) the Elder Tree Shawl! I am so excited. I was on my second ball of yarn and decided on a spur of the moment thought that I should start weighing out how much yarn that a lace row versus a purl row would take and then do some math from there. I have detailed information about how much each row took for me on my Ravelry project page, so take a look if you are interested in the math. It all turned out well because I decided to start weighing the yarn at the perfect time. I realized I could finish the lace repeat that I was on but then I would have to go straight to the garter edge and picot bind off. I was slightly nervous that I wouldn’t be able to finish the bind-off and would have to rip back one of the garter rows but it all worked out and I had yarn to spare (12g to be exact). Blocking was an ordeal and as you can see in the photo, my blocking boards (only the finest kiddo play mat) didn’t quite cut it in size. I am realizing quickly that blocking shawls on the board might not be the best option in future because it just isn’t big enough and lends itself to making wonky shaped shawls. I don’t want to get more blocks because I just don’t have space for them, but I digress. The shawl blocked out quite well.

FOs: Wooly Mastadon

This has been an exciting weekend. Two large projects completed and checked off the list. Next up my scrap afghan and Splitstone. Frankly I foresee the Splitstone being more of a treat to knit because it will take some thought but is so much fun. The scrap afghan is my mindless crocheting. Socks, of course, are my travel to work/church/etc. project. My goal, finish that afghan so I can savor knitting my sweater. We’ll see. I’m feeling pretty good about my finishing mojo right now, perhaps I’ll just get that FO list knocked down a bit for the new year. How will you finish your projects? Is it a goal? Do tell.

Otherwise around here Christmas is in full swing: Christmas music on the CD player hooked up to the stereo, decorations everywhere, my mini tree in the process of decoration (and by mini I mean 4.5 feet ahem, hehe), cookies baking every few days, and just a joyous attitude to go with it. I truly love this season, especially because I know the real reason (Christ, our savior’s birth) and not the commercial one! Hope that your weekend and upcoming weeks bring some joy and not just frazzled shopping and work. It is a wonderful time of year. Embrace it!

~Stay Inspired

Finish All the Things…

Finish It: Wooly Mastadon

I am a very fortunate person, my Christmas crafting is almost complete. As I have mentioned what feels like a zillion times before, I simplified my Christmas crafting to crocheting potholders for everyone on my list. I bought 2 cones of Peaches and Cream cotton yarn from my local big box store (no comments please, either you deal with it or you hate it) and decided that when the two cones were empty I would stop. What I didn’t realize was just how many potholders these cones would make. I have made so many potholders and am on the last one or two. It has been a long road but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

That brings me to my reason for being here…I have the finishing bug. I watched the latest episode of the Suburban Stitcher Podcast and all of Dianne’s comments about working to cut the number of WIPs down hit home. Now, I don’t have 18ish WIPs but I do have 4 not including the potholders and other bazillion things I want to cast on. For me, 4 WIPs is a ridiculous amount, and one that makes me itch to cut down on the number so I can cast on all of the things. Not to mention, most of these are large scale projects (afghan, sweater, lace shawl). Thus I have a proposition for you. Let’s make a goal of finishing our Christmas knitting early (I know a pipe dream but a dream none the less). Then, let’s make a goal of finishing some of those projects that languish in our project packages, boxes, and bags (you see what I did there…I love you if you get the reference). All of this will be with a goal that when the new year rolls around we can cast on whatever we want, guilt free of our own making. Does that sound like a deal? I think it does and although I might not get very far with this, at least it is a goal and one I actually have a chance at obtaining. Let me know if you’re in on the fun!

P.S. I’ve been thinking about starting a Ravelry group. Anyone interested?

~Stay Inspired

Thanksgiving Week Adventures

Toe Up Socks: Wooly Mastadon

Whoa there, accidentally dropped off the face of the interwebs for yet another week. I’ll be honest, my computer came out around once a day once Tuesday rolled around. I got up bright and early to go to work Tuesday (yes 5 am is early, perhaps the bright part is a lie at this time of year). After work Tuesday I swung by my college to chat with one of my professors who I consider a great friend. Then I ended the day with my church’s Thanksgiving service. All in all, a busy work day that could have been really bad was ended with a wonderful visit with a friend as well as my church family. Then Wednesday it was off to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving for a few days. It was nice, and ended with coming home on Saturday for my Birthday…yippee. That was spent traveling home, doing laundry, and eating pizza and cake with my parents and my dog. Yes, I am boring but I like it that way.

With all of that said and done, I have had some thoughts rolling around my head as well as some rants. Perhaps I’ll skip the rant, well maybe not. Let’s start with that and I’ll keep it short. I hate the concept of Black Friday. It seems two-faced and greedy. I don’t mind people hoping for a sale, but when that encroaches on what is supposed to be a day of thanks…no, just no! I feel that Thanksgiving should be used to give thanks to God for all of your blessings, not preparing to go out at 6pm to buy more than you need for yourself and push people down in the process. I’ve always felt that it is selfish to give thanks but instead of holding that thought and being happy with what you have going out and buying more…junk…that you don’t need at all. Thus, every year I boycott Black Friday by staying home with family, creating, chatting, and having a good time. No crowds, no purchasing, just fun. Perhaps we can make it a thing. I’ve seen a lot online about ‘Craft Friday’. Can we change the culture and make this rule supreme? I certainly hope so, it is much more fulfilling creating something rather than going out and buying yet another flat screen TV because last years just isn’t big enough. Okay, case in point: give thanks and don’t negate it the next day by being selfish and raiding stores. It’s not all bad in the end, some people truly enjoy shopping and use it as family time, but more often than not the intent is just not in the right place. Let’s stay home and enjoy family one more day, creating and sharing company!

All right, got that off my chest. Thanks for listening or not. Now onto the more lighthearted manner of what I created on my mini vacation away from work.

Baby Hats: Wooly Mastadon

For the most part, I’ll have to be honest; I didn’t knit or crochet or craft hardly at all. I spent more time resting and catching up with my Grandma while helping in the kitchen than anything else. My Dad and Uncle also had a huge project slated outside that they decided to do Thanksgiving day (yeah, I don’t know why they chose that day but it worked). By huge, I mean moving a small building (think yard barn but way heavier) across the property. I was enlisted to take photos of the process…it was, interesting. However, when I did knit it was on a project that has been sitting forgotten for a while: baby hats to donate to my local hospital. Over the past two years a friend and I have donated a few hats (maybe 60 since we don’t make these exclusively). I had forgotten about this project and brought it out since knitting those tiny hats is mindless and comforting. I have 3 new ones made to add to the pool (one was already completed and I have another on the needles). All of my other projects that I brought along, including my Splitstone, didn’t get touched. Oops. Ah well, another time. Hopefully as the holidays come full force in the next few weeks, I’ll have more to show you on the creative front. Until next time.

P.S. The opening photo is just proof that yes I did indeed finish another pair of socks. I wore them immediately and then was out of town so I couldn’t snap a photo until Monday of this week.

~Stay Inspired

 

 

Advent is Here!

Advent: Wooly MastadonI just want to wish you all a happy first week of Advent. As a kid, this was always a fun time of year, and the advent wreath and calendar were a physical mark of time passing and coming closer to Christmas. That feeling still holds and is still always my favorite time of year with all of the celebrations, decorations, Christmas music, and general fun. It is an important time to remember that the Lord sent his son for us. What a wonderful season it is! More on my projects later this week but until then, I hope your holiday season is filled with many blessings.

~Stay Inspired

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to wish you all a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with family, friends, good food, warmth, happiness, and time to thank God for all he has given you throughout the year. Now, get off of your computer and spend some time with your family, playing cards, making food, or whatever you love to do best on this wonderful holiday.

~Stay Inspired

New Stash!

New Stash: Wooly Mastadon

In an earlier post I had mentioned going to a yarn shop while a family member was in the hospital. I thought I might as well take this opportunity to share what I got from the shop as well as some yarn I got from a family member for Halloween (yes, I like yarn for Halloween just as much or even better than candy). Here’s what I got.

In the photo above is my stash from the yarn shop. For starters I got another skein of Patons Classic Wool Worsted in black. This is a security net for my Splitstone. If I do run out, I don’t care about dyelots, I just want to be able to finish this sweater. Second I got a skein of Caron Simply Soft in Sage. I use this brand of yarn for all of my amigurumi because it is soft and machine washable. Whenever I see a new color that would make a great animal, I snag it. Finally, I picked up some Patons Kroy Socks Jacquard Prints in Turquoise Jacquard. I have heard about the cool patterns this yarn produces and was excited to see it. I also got a Tunisian crochet hook because I haven’t tried a bamboo hook and it’s in a size I don’t have (M 9mm). We’ll see how it works.

New Stash: Wooly Mastadon

As for the yarn from a family member, my aunt always keeps me in good supply of yarn and other things. She picked me up three skeins of Premier Home Cotton. I haven’t even heard of this yarn so we’ll have to see. I am thinking of making some home decor items because of the nylon content. Has anyone used this yarn before? If so, what are your thoughts for what I should knit with it?

So that’s it for stash in this part of town. What are you knitting in this lovely beginning of winter?

~Stay Inspired

PSA: Thanksgiving is Next Week…

PSA: Thanksgiving is Almost Here, Wooly Mastadon

So, I’ve had some moments of panic in the last two days, mainly because I realized that a) Thanksgiving is next week and I have so much to do, and b) my birthday is next week as well (which I completely forgot about, true story). Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, this year I had promised to make cookies for the family’s Christmas Cookie Exchange that happens at Thanksgiving…and I forgot. Cue the frantic cookie baking that will ensue when I am not working today and this week. It is also a family tradition that I make the Thanksgiving place cards for the dinner table, as I am the crafty person and have been doing this since I was little. I had decided this year to use my graphic design skills and design the cards in Adobe Illustrator. I started months ago…and then promptly forgot. I have to get those finished, printed and cut out still. Sheesh.

But that is not my main reason here…I don’t want you to forget that with Thanksgiving next week, we only have around a month to finish off Christmas gifts. That is not a lot of time. I am thanking myself for simplifying this year and making potholders for everyone, but I am still not done…and I have made 14 already. Alas, this is going to take some time, but I hope it will be worth it. I am thinking about using the tags I designed and posted here for the packaging of my gifts, perhaps with a ribbon. Simple. Easy. Sweet.

I guess that has been my main reason for popping in. I started getting Christmas decor out of the attic (which means crawling through a small space and hitting my head on the beams because my family does not have a full or even half-height attic). This will be an undertaking but Christmas music is playing on the stereo, cookies will be baking soon, and the spirit of the holidays is in full force. I am so blessed to be in the mindset that this truly is the most wonderful time of year, despite all of the bah-humbug. Well, that is all, time to get the oven pre-heating.

PSA: Thanksgiving is Almost Here, Wooly Mastadon

P.S. I just had to throw this image into the mix. This is my pooches face when I start to get crazy about something…like Christmas and it’s activities…or, it also might be the look I get when I whip my camera out and start taking her photo for the millionth time. That face is so perfect, I need to perfect that for those who annoy me, haha. I promise I only took this one photo this time.

~Stay Inspired

Some New Avenues

Hand Dyed Yarn: Wooly Mastadon

In a past post I discussed how stash enhancement is rare and exciting in my life. Thus, this means that I have to get creative with the stash I have. Mind you, I have a healthy yarn stash, and I feel blessed to have all that I have and to have friends and family who gift me quite a bit of what I have. Yet, sometimes I need something different.

Cue dyeing yarn. Several months ago I invested in a few supplies to dye yarn at home with Kool-Aid, icing colors, gel food colors, and regular food colors. I had been inspired after a class I took this spring during my last semester of college. I had dyed one skein of yarn and one braid of roving and wanted to do more. However, I wasn’t comfortable using commercial dyes in my kitchen, thus food safe dyes. Last summer I had messed around with dying single skeins of yarn one color with Kool-Aid, but never got very far. This past week, I took it a bit farther with more experimentation. Once again, the wool is old, some yarn I got from my Aunt ages ago and didn’t know what to do with because of it’s boring white color. Dying was clearly the solution because although my results are so far from perfect, I really want to knit with this now. Any suggestions? I really want to get into yarn dyeing for myself and thus I used one of my hand-bound sketchbooks from a fiber class a year ago to keep dye pot notes. Let me know if you are interested in what I did to get these colors and if you are interested in this type of dyeing. I love it, but do you want to hear about it?

Project Bags: Wooly Mastadon

Another step in my crafty journey has been sewing. Many years ago my Grandma gave me my Grandpa’s sewing machine. She wanted someone to have it who would use it (she also gave me his guitars, I haven’t been as succesful with those but I love sitting down a practicing cords on the instruments my Grandpa made people happy with), and I had plans to do just that…but I never set it up. About two months ago I set it up with good intentions and then just never got to it. Last week after I dyed yarn I put another one of my days off to sewing. Now, I’m not a seamstress and I may have sent distress signals to my Mom a few times (she is the best seamstress I know, although she wouldn’t agree with that title), but I managed to sew the bags on my own. The drawstring bag is a formula I gleaned from my Mom a year ago with my own spin on it (flat bottom). The box bag is from this tutorial. I’m glad I found that because I had never sewn in a zipper or used interfacing so I feel accomplished for only ever sewing a basic apron before. A few things I learned…cut all of the loose strings, they make knots, and don’t use sew-in interfacing when it says to use iron-on interfacing. I spent probably an extra half to full hour messing with that stupid interfacing because it wasn’t ironed onto the fabric.

Crafty adventures unite. I hope to do more of both of these, dyeing yarn and sewing. Do you have any favorite projects? What are your tips for success? I’d love to hear what you have to share.

~Stay Inspired