A Letterpress Pop-Up Show

Letterpress Pop-up Show: Wooly Mastadon

As I had hinted in my last post, I was looking forward to an even this week that would boost my spirits and just simply be fun. That event: a mini poster pop-up show in a local coffee shop. Why was this exciting? Well, because my work was going to be in it. As part of the apprenticeship program I went through at my local letterpress studio, we all thought it would be cool to put together a pop-up show of some work. Mini 5*7 inch posters were printed by each of us to sell to benefit the arts center and the letterpress studio. It was such a fun event. The show was held at a new local coffee shop/old fashioned toy store. It was just so much fun to look at the posters, get a drink, and go into the toy section to just play. They had juggling equipment that the staff showed everyone how to use, wind-up toys, old wooden train sets (my favorite!), puzzles, awesome board games, just everything. It was a lot of fun. The fact that my work could be in such a joyous and fun space was the best thing for me this week.¬†Although I didn’t take photos of people there (it’s a small space so I didn’t feel like getting in people’s faces) I still had fun and got some photos of the work.

Letterpress Pop-up Show: Wooly Mastadon

In short, I have been busy with letterpress. I just didn’t share it here until the posters went up in the show. I also have a reject piece I did that just didn’t fit the evening, the text was far too somber. I can share that here at a later date, as I still like it. Well, that is all for now. I’m going to try to finish my Splitstone, the deadline is fast approaching! Have a wonderful weekend.

Oh yes, if you understood the reference I made in my poster in the first picture, you are amazing. Spoilers…Labyrinth is the best movie, the little worm in the brick-work is the cutest.

~Stay Inspired

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Breath

Doodles: Wooly  Mastadon

I’ve been reminding myself of this lately: sometimes all you can do is breath. It has been an interesting weekend/week. Things happened, there was drama, and all through it I was working the evening shift at work (aka not functioning as a human being, I’m a morning person people). Through it all one thing has really helped me to calm down and actually try to get some sleep: doodling while listening to music. It sounds cheesy, and in a way it is. I remember in one of my first college art courses we were instructed to go home, listen to music, and draw/doodle/anything based on what we heard. We needed to let go and react with the music. I enjoyed the exercise even though all I ended up with was a bunch of squiggly lines. Even now I remember that project, but I never did it again. Then last week happened. My mind was racing, I couldn’t fall asleep, and the emotions were piling up to a level near explosive. I remembered this exercise and thought why not.

I put on some Enya (I grew up listening to her music and it is the best thing for relaxation) let go of my day, and sketched. All I ended up with were scribbles, some geometric patterns and a few random sketches, but the thing is, it worked. I was able to consistently calm myself down several nights in a row. I was able to let things go. Some nights it took longer than others to finally get into it and calm down, but it worked.

Perhaps some people would find this a random thing to post, but I thought I’d share. I missed Monday’s post this week, I was not in a place to make anything, do much of anything, or be very personable. But music has been getting me through, as well as friends, family, and knitting. The week is going to get better, and I am truly looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll share my exciting events with you later this week. Until then, listen to music, take time for yourself and

~Stay Inspired

P.S. It looks like Enya is coming out with a new album soon…maybe even this year. Is anyone excited with me?!

Spinning Shenanigans and Splitstone Nonsense

Spinning Shenanigans: Wooly Mastadon

Remember back when I said I wouldn’t be putting my spinning on the sidelines anymore, back when tour de fleece 2015 was coming to an end and I had been spinning every spare moment to crank out more finished skeins in such a short amount of time than I ever had before? Well, remember that and then compare it to my silence of posting spinning projects here since. As a last nod to tdf this year, I put some fiber on my wheel, some of the last miscellaneous fiber I had received from a friend. I named it cloud fiber because of its colors. I don’t know the fiber content, and the prep isn’t good, but I thought I’d spin it up to get the fiber out of my stash and in a form that I could knit up. Well, it started spinning pretty thin (Ravelry project here), and I got caught up in other knitting projects, so spinning took a back seat. I have been spinning on a semi-regular basis around here, but for about 10 minutes here and there, mostly when I am about to head off to work, have everything wrapped up and just spin before I get up and walk out the door. That being said, this week I finally finished the first bobbin/half of this fiber. I also started the second half and am hoping to get this done soon. It’s always nice to get a project to a clear progress marker, such as finishing one bobbin. Hopefully this gives me the push to keep going.

As for my Splitstone, it has been taking up most of my time. I am slowly approaching my personal deadline of October 10th and I need to get this done. My current roadblock: how on earth do you pick up stitches for the neck and armholes? I have, can you believe it, never done this on a garment. I think I did it partially once on one of my dog’s sweaters but never on this scale. It has me paralyzed. So, I’m putting this out to all of you, do you have any tips or tricks on how to pick up stitches for a sweater? I want to tackle this but I am stumped. I’ll take any advice I can get.

Until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful, fiber filled weekend. Fall weather is finally rolling in which means cozy evenings with fiber, tea, and some simple comforts.

~Stay Inspired

A Quick Getaway

Eagle River: Wooly Mastadon

I managed to slip away again this week for a little over a day to visit my Grandmother and help with some fall chores. This time I remembered to bring my camera. Although I didn’t knit a whole lot (outdoor chores take time and time with my Grandmother is important) I thought I’d just share a few photos from the trip, just a couple this time.

Eagle River: Wooly Mastadon Eagle River: Wooly Mastadon Eagle River: Wooly Mastadon

~Stay Inspired

I Bought a Rigid Heddle Loom!

My Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom: Wooly Mastad

So, as you can see from the title, I may or may not be a bit excited. I now own my very own 20 inch Schacht (old style, it was discontinued about 10 years ago) Rigid Heddle Loom. Now here’s the deal, I have been saving up for a Kromski for a while now. I had planned it out, I wanted it to be able to have two heddles, a stand, the works. In the end, everything I wanted would put me up around $500, which I didn’t and still don’t have saved up. I hadn’t even really given it a thought for a few months now because I knew it would take a very long time to save up.

My Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom: Wooly Mastad

Then my local community arts center (the one I volunteer at, am a board member at, and work in the letterpress studio) had it’s Fiberama Sale. This is huge yarn, fiber, fabric, notions, books, everything sale that happens about twice a year. Items are donated from the community and then sold as a fundraiser to benefit the center. More often than not, women from the community who are older or who are moving away donate weaving supplies (like the cones of wool I bought earlier this year) or sometimes even looms. I was there a day early to help set-up and price things as I know fiber/yarn quite well, and this loom was sitting in a corner. I was talking with the director and she really wanted to get it out and sold so asked me how much they typically go for. Let’s just say that this deal couldn’t be passed up. I asked if I could buy it, maybe even right away and she said sure. She was happy that I could use this loom, and that they had it sold and out of the building. I was thrilled because now I have a loom!

This was long-winded to say, I am stupid excited to get this warped and start weaving on it. I have had some hurdles, and more research will need to be done, but once I have some time (hopefully in the next few weeks) I will get this warped and ready to weave. I never intended to walk out of there with anything, and now I own a loom and the creativity is hardly contained. Any suggestions or tips? Do share.

P.S. Please excuse the image quality. I really could not figure out how to photograph this in an area where it would look good without clutter, so you got a carpeted floor and clutter to the sides. Hopefully if you’ve read this far you will forgive me, haha.

~Stay Inspired

My Fall Must-Knits

My Fall Knitting List: Wooly Mastadon

This fall has really gotten me wanting to knit all of the things, especially shawls, cowls, sweaters, mitts, hats, everything. Since my Ravelry queue has grown quite a bit with fall in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things I want to knit soon. Perhaps you can help me choose (or even share some other ideas, I love being introduced to patterns I otherwise wouldn’t have known about or looked at).

First off, ever since I received my Interweave Knits Fall 2015 magazine, I couldn’t keep my mind off the cover sweater. This thing has to happen. It is the Tucker Sweater by Amanda Scheuzger. Let’s just say the cables and simplicity have me hook, line and sinker. I need to knit this.

Next, let’s talk about mara. It is a shawl by put out by Madelinetosh yarns and I have wanted to knit this for years. I think it’s time. I have some yarn that would be perfect and I am ready for a cozy shawl that is like a giant hug to wear during winter.

Ah Starshower, I have been so inspired by your design, I should just knit you shouldn’t I. Hilary Smith Callis designed this cowl/shawl hybrid and it is ingenious. I need this for my fall wardrobe, don’t you think?

Another sweater, why yes and also by the same designer as Starshower. Hilary has my fall must knits in the bag. Published in Knitscene, the Thyri Pullover made me immediately start scheming to see if I had enough yarn in my stash when the magazine arrived in the mail. I love this pullover, it has to happen.

Let’s talk about this shawl for a moment, shall we? Quicksilver by Melanie Berg is stunning. I want to recreate this exactly with the same colors. I love its bright color mixed with muted tones, its drape, everything.

Now, this is just a slice of my queue right now on Ravelry. If you’re curious, take a look at the rest. On top of all this I really want to knit all of the shawsl from Kirsten Kapur’s Shawl Book One, which I purchased in a heartbeat. Fall is knitting season. I have two almost complete projects and am looking for my next one. What should I cast on?

~Stay Inspired


I’m Getting There

Splitstone: Wooly Mastadon

Yet another week, and another hot one at that. Can we please just get into weather that is more like fall. I’ll even accept 50 degree temps if it could just get out of the 80s. Ah well, the life of a Northern Midwest girl involves loving cooler weather. Seeing all of the scarves, purchased or knit, has really gotten me wanting to be able to wear the stuff. Ah well, I am also here to share my knitting progress with you. I will do just that.

My toe up socks had gone on a bit of a hiatus, but they are now back. I had just not wanted to cast on the toe of the next sock, but I got over that hurtle one early morning before work (say around 6:30 in the morning). Now I am set to go, no excuses, but not enough progress to share a picture.

My other project, which has been almost all that you’ve seen around here lately is my Splitstone. I have been pretty monogamous on this project with my goal to finish it by October 10th (I started it on October 11th of 2014 and I don’t want to let it hit a year). Thus I am happy to say that I have divided for the…sleeves? I don’t know, it’s a vest so perhaps dividing for the armholes is more appropriate. Either way, I am chugging away on the back portion and will soon be close to working on the front again. I am loving this knit and the way it is turning out! I can’t put it down and it has been the cause of many late nights (and thus hard mornings at work, haha).

Splitstone: Wooly Mastadon

With all this, I am so ready for fall. I love the decor, the sweaters, the need for a sweatshirt outside but not a jacket, being able to wear jeans and not melt, hot tea, small fires in the fireplace, outdoor reading, all of the scarves, all of the fiber crafting, knitting, spinning, crocheting, weaving, just everything about fall. I’m ready, and hopefully will be ready with some awesome socks and a vest quite soon. Until then, I’ll just cheer on the tomatoes to ripen.

~Stay Inspired

A Multitude of Opinions

Splitstone: Wooly Mastadon

When it comes to Fridays, I normally try to post something showing that I have actually done something throughout the week. I aim to share something inspirational that will fuel your weekend of creativity. Yet, sometimes that doesn’t always happen. This week seems to be one of those weeks. I have been busy, but mostly at work. I have been knitting, but I shared my projects with you this week already. It feels like it has all been done. But the truth is, it hasn’t all been done. I am still creating, still working on new projects, and plodding on old ones. I know the feeling that podcasters have when they say that the episode is going to be short, and that’s okay. Life can and will happen and it should.

This week was hectic, but also good. My mother celebrated a birthday, one that almost a year ago we weren’t sure she would even be able to celebrate. I knit quite a bit on my Splitstone, and don’t want to put it down. I am scheming for more letterpress projects. I have been able to spin a bit more. I have truly been enjoying music. There have been positive and good parts of this week to far outweigh the bad. And that is all that needs to happen. Hope your weekend is a good one.

~Stay Inspired

Knitting, Knitting, Knitting my Splitstone

Splitstone: Wooly Mastadon

I’ve picked up my Splitstone again…finally. I realized that I had started knitting it on October 11th of last year and by golly I don’t want this project to reach the year mark. Thus I have faced the heat and knit regardless of the sweat dripping down my face have bravely started knitting. I am about half way through the bust increases which means, since there aren’t sleeves, that I am really quite far on this sweater/shell/thing. What surprised me is that after not actively knitting on it for over a month the cable panels have gone quite smoothly. I have run through one repeat of each cable and haven’t had any trouble. I noticed similar things when I was working on my Elder Tree shawl. It seems that if I put a project down for a long period of time and pick it back up it all of a sudden seems so much easier and I can finish it without too many issues. Alas, this is not my preferred method for knitting something, but it seems to work and just happen so there it is.¬†Regardless this sweater is going to be finished by October 11th. I have put it down in writing here, hold me to it! I want to wear this this fall and winter and still love the pattern so it needs to happen. I will make it happen.

On another note, I hope if you lived in the U.S., that you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Hopefully, even if you worked like I did, that you were able to take some time for you. It’s the middle of the week. It can only get better.

~Stay Inspired

First Fall Colors

Fall Color: Wooly Mastadon
Fall Color: Wooly MastadonFall Color: Wooly Mastadon

Fall is, for many, considered officially here tomorrow (as long as you don’t stick to the calendar). Labor Day acts as a marker for the end of summer in the U.S. and everyone slowly filters back to a fall schedule. Despite society’s decision, the trees decided otherwise. They have already started to change color here. I have shared a few images on different social media sites like Instagram (I’m @victoriaschwanke if you want to follow me) but I haven’t shared some here yet. I just love fall colors, and I love fall. Here’s to the perfect season for the fiber maniac. Here’s to knitting and crocheting under afghans by a fire, snuggling in warm shawls that you can still show off without a coat, and to drinking lots of tea. Here’s to fall. Let’s make Labor Day the first day of fall, shall we?

~Stay Inspired