Ahh, Memorial Day

Memorial Day Reads: Wooly MastadonWell, there it is then. Memorial in the U.S. is the unofficial kick off to summer. All of the high schools in my area had their graduations. Tourists and part-time residents are flocking back to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Everyone is preparing to grill all of the things and enjoy a nice sunny day in the back yard…and it is raining. Mind you. I really am not to upset with this outcome. I still have to work this evening (as I have worked the entire Memorial Day Weekend and it has been a zoo at the grocery store, let me tell you), and I stumbled upon what seems to be a bit of a bug (congested head). Yet, I’m not too upset about this weekend. Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous and I was able to spend some quality time reading on the back patio in the shade as it was a warm day. I’ve been able to soak up some rays, and now I am happy to rest.

The thing with evening shifts is that I feel that my day is somewhat a waste. I know I have to go to work later in the day, so I don’t start anything with the hopes that I won’t get into anything too much and then have to stop. I know it’s stupid, but there it is. I have, however been reading and using this time to catch up on the latest episodes of some of my favorite podcasts. As I have mentioned these podcasts way to many time here (namely the Knit Girllls and the Suburban Stitcher Podcast), I thought I’d share what I am reading.

Yes, I’ll admit it, I am re-reading a children’s book…and yes, I said it, re-reading. Yet, I don’t descriminate and I read what I want so going back to these books after many years has been nice. I am working my way through the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud and am on the first book, The Amulet of Samarkand. I enjoyed reading these books the first time, and was looking for an easy yet entertaining read for the beginning of the summer season. These books are easy reads, yet there is enough snark from the main character to keep it interesting and the plot-line engaging. I am actually borrowing the first three books from a family member, but I own the fourth which was a later release (thus it’s technically no longer a trilogy). These are some good books if you are interested in Djinn, summonings, wizards, and in some ways, politics so be sure to check them out.

Oh yea, and have a good Memorial Day if you are in the states. Otherwise, have a wonderful Monday.

~Stay Inspired

My Travel Yarn Haul!

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

 

Time does fly when you’re having fun…wait, did I just say that?! Well, blog week was a lot of fun last week but that meant I have been saving the yarn haul I mentioned a while back for when it was done. When I went down to Wausau, WI the other week, the first thing I did was make sure that I would get a chance to stop at the LYS, The Black Purl. It was completely worth the time and I must say I went kind of crazy and got a ton of stuff. First of all, I’d just like to say that this is one of the most welcoming yarn shops. At the front of the store when you walk in is a table with chairs just for people to sit and knit, which was exactly what the ladies in the store were doing. They were friendly and asked what I was working on, but were also content to just let me browse (some yarn shops have people who follow you around talking and I do like my space to think about new projects, but also like to have the option to chat it up if I want to). Can I say the store was amazing. Even the outside was cool. When we drove up (my Mom was with me) and the building looked awesome with it’s black paint with pops of neon. The store was really artsy (which I absolutely love) and had lots of shop samples and interesting fibers. To many of you, the things I got perhaps aren’t as exciting but every yarn in this haul is new to me yarn. I have never tried any of the brands but have wanted to. So, with that, here’s what I ended up getting.

The first thing I got (well, first four, but I’m lumping them together as one) was four skeins of Berroco Vintage in colors #51180 (coral color), #5182 (plum color), #5197 (teal color), and #5107 (grey color). I ended up getting these skeins in the hope of making a crazy project using all of the colors (I know I’m not smart, as I got four different colors, but I loved the way they looked together so it shall have to come to pass). I have heard of this yarn as good for sweaters so I am excited to try it out.

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

The second thing I got was a skein of Cascade 220 Heathers in color #2423. I loved the color, I don’t have anything like it in my stash, and have wanted to test out this yarn in a project. It’s not crazy soft but I would definitely wear it against my skin…a cowl perhaps?

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Thirdly, I got a Zauberball. It is color #2082 and the crazy purple stripes were just calling my name. Because I have heard that the thick-thin places in this yarn don’t always work for socks, I knew that going in and hope to make this into a crazy shawlette or something like that. Regardless, I am really excited about this one.

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

The last skein of yarn I got (but not the last item from the shop) was a skein of Madelinetosh: Tosh Merino Light, in the Espadrilles colorway. I have seen the colorway before and loved it, so when they had it on display at the Black Purl, I knew it had to be mine. I have really wanted to try out this yarn, so when I spotted this I nearly squealed with joy. I am so excited for this one. Again, perhaps this may become a shawl, or perhaps I will obtain another skein and make a two color shawl…the possibilities.

Yarn Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Finally, in one of my blog week posts I mentioned that my Lavishea bar was almost gone and that I needed to get another one. Well, here it is, the exact same thing. I just love this scent so I decided not to veer off to another although they all smell good.

Well, that is all (and that was a lot) for this yarn haul. I was a regular wool pig but I don’t regret a single purchase. I am excited to try all of these yarns which are often considered stables in many knitters stashes. Also, if you even go through Wausau, WI, definitely stop by The Black Purl. It is a wonderful shop, and the next time I am down there I am stopping by. Love it!

~Stay Inspired

Blessings…

Hope: Wooly Mastadon

After last week’s burst of posts thanks to Eskimimi’s Blog Week, I’ve been feeling the need to pick up the pace with this space once again. I’ve been wanting to share something with you all for a week, but thought I’d save it for after the blog week. I mentioned in a past post that I had some really good news. Well, it is beyond good news, it is a miracle. Over the past few months, you may have gathered that my Mother has cancer. I have knit and crocheted a bunch of chemo caps (see my Ravelry project page), and have had to struggle with the many what-ifs that come with a family member with cancer. In October of last year, within 10 days my mother was diagnosed with a possible cancerous extremely large tumor, underwent life-threatening surgery, and was officially diagnosed with cancer. Through all of this, the surgeon and cancer doctors were very positive, and everyone felt that once she survived and overcame the surgery, she could kick the cancer. She had many intense chemo treatments, taking one of the highest doses they could give her. She had hardly any sickness, just mainly bouts of exhaustion. Through all of this, we all had to go through the ideas that we could lose her. In my mind, I didn’t know what 2015 would bring, and was taking every moment, praying, hoping, holding on. Well, my mother is strong and stubborn.

By the grace of God she was declared cancer free. The cancer is gone. Gone. Just gone.

I almost cry writing this. We have covered the range of emotions, my family and I. The diagnosis, the fight, the treatment, and now the finish. My mother has shaved her head, lost her hair and proudly worn my hats refusing to wear a wig. She has pushed on, complaining on her worst days not of people or things, but rather that she didn’t have the energy but wanted to do things like bake, or create. All of the things she used to do and couldn’t she has started to do again. It is just a blessing.

God has blessed my family and I am thankful. I leave you with this: to all who struggle with or have a family member of friend who struggles with cancer, there is hope. It is terrible and not all overcome it, but it is worth the fight. Take every minute and treasure it. I am very very happy that I did just that. I need to stop now, I’m crying again. Praise God!

~Stay Inspired

Day Seven: My Time, My Space

My Knitting Space: Wooly Mastadon

The final prompt for blog week was to describe where/when you take time to create. Where do you knit and crochet, and when is the best time. Here we go.

For starters, I will knit and crochet most places. The stigma doesn’t stop me and I have learned to embrace the fact that some people think I’m weird or stupid because I knit/crochet in public. Typically I will draw the line when it comes to knitting/crocheting. Personally I don’t feel comfortable knitting/crocheting in restaurants, certain types of presentations, or the movies (one time I have laser focus on a movie, haha). Otherwise, if I am at work in the break room, at fellowship at my church, or have other small bits of time, I knit/crochet.

However, my space to create at home is usually either my desk or the couch. In conjunction with these, my computer is almost always out with a good podcast or some music. I can relax and focus on knitting/crochet for a brief time. Preferably, I like to take this time in the evening after work, but I work a sporadic enough schedule that it could get pushed to the morning or afternoon; any time that I have a spare moment. I always have at least two projects going, one easy travel project (like socks), and one more detailed project (like my sweater or a shawl). I also usually have some type of crochet project going on (my afghan right now). This time is also for spinning, but I find spinning easier to fit into nooks and crannies of time around work, as a soothing stress reliever. I rotate through projects, cast new ones on, and go through finishing sprees. I occasionally just take my day that I have off as a splurge and use it to create, spending lots of time on the couch with tea (iced or hot depending on my mood), my knitting/crochet, a good podcast or music (depending on the detail level of the project…music is easier to block out at complicated parts in a pattern), and my pooch at my side.

My Knitting Space: Wooly Mastadon

This quiet time, this me time, is what I push through my day for. I look forward to that stray moment when at last I can sit down and just enjoy my craft. It keeps me going, and helps me let go of stress. Knitting and crochet make me happy.

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Well, that wraps up the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com. Thanks to Eskimimi (or Mimi) for coordinating and keeping this blog week going. I really enjoyed participating, especially as my first year to this event. Great prompts and motivation made this a breeze to blog every day. So much fun!

~Stay Inspired

Day Six: Reader Survey

Reader Survey Wooly Mastadon

Today’s post is all about surveys. Please don’t groan. I thought this would be the perfect time to learn about you, what you want for the blog, and to see how I’m doing. I had some technical difficulties so to take part in my survey please click the link below. Thanks for all of your input!

 

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Wooly Mastadon Reader Survey

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Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

Day Five: A Bit Different

Day Five: Random Favorites

Today’s prompt is to create a post in a different format other than the normal word + picture posts. Can you tell it stumped me a little, haha. My attempt was a random no-knitting/crochet related favorites post, including my crappy handwriting for good measure.

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Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

Day Four: What’s in My Knitting Bag

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

Today’s prompt is to share what I keep in my knitting/crochet bag. I have actually wanted to do a post like this for a while, and do one every so often so that you can see what has changed over time. I love reading these posts so hopefully this will be an interesting addition to the interwebs. Here we go.

First of all, I don’t ever use one single bag for my knitting. Admittedly I am a bag hoarder (I prefer the word collector but we are being real here). I have purses upon backpacks upon tote bags, upon pencil bags upon…you get the picture. Big or small, if it is a cool bag, I probably have it. Granted I shop thrift stores and look for bargains so I don’t think I own a single high-end bag (unless an LL Bean backpack counts, haha). Thus I switch out my knitting depending on the need. I have a sort of system of levels of bags and what I take with me. I have the, ‘oh, I’m just going to work or a small event in town level’, the ‘it’s just a day trip’ level, and the ‘oh my goodness it’s more than 24 hours I must pack all of the things’ level. I also own a core notions bag that goes with me everywhere, no matter the project. Here’s how it works.

The Notions Bag (pictured above): In this bag I have a lot of different random items that I take with me everywhere. These are my essentials and they never leave my knitting bag, no matter which one I am using or the size of the project. The pouch is a little mesh pouch that I actually swiped from my Mother (she forgave me, haha). I keep a ton of stitch markers in various styles ans sizes. I have a bunch of the cheap plastic rings, a few open rings, and a bunch that I made myself with lobster claw clasps or jump rings and beads. I also have several tapestry needles (plastic and metal) and a needle threader. Crochet hooks are a must: these are smaller because I have been knitting a lot of socks. The scissors are a favorite I got recently and the brown sheath I made for them is knit and then felted, something I whipped together. I finish it off with a row counter, clothes pin, old cable needle (from a friend’s grandmother), medium stitch holder (I somehow lost the small one), and tape measure…of course!

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

The Sock Bag: I also have a pouch (sewn by me!) that I use only for socks. When I knit socks I always have the coordinating dpns to the project I am making. I keep them in my case I made out of duct tape and velcro tabs so they don’t get lost in my bag or poke through anything. The pencil is a must. I also keep scrap yarn for afterthought heels. Finally I keep a few 3*5 cards with my basic sock recipe as well as a reminder for Kitchener stitch.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

The Addtional Notions Bag: When I am going on a slightly longer (read day trip) trip, I add this pencil pouch filled with awesome to the mix. I’ve been using this particular pouch for a few years…it’s just so darn cute. Inside I keep several sizes of dpns and a ton of crochet hooks so that I can start whatever the mood strikes. I also keep my large stitch holder, a row counter, some color-work bobbins, a sewing needle and embroidery thread (for amigurumi), and a small seam presser. I finish it off with a needle gauge, a lip balm (of course), and some 3*5 cards that I have written out quick patterns in a form of abbreviated pattern writing that I use for quick projects I do often, and I am set to go. I throw a lot of random stuff in this bag.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

The Extras: For long trips I add a few more things to my bag. I own a set of Knit Picks interchangeables. The base set is the nickel plated set and I have added sizes in both the same type as well as their Harmony, Caspian, and one set of their Jumbo Sunstruck needles. In the needle case I also keep a small crochet hook set, dental floss for lifelines, tapestry needles, another tape measure (not pictured) and all of the extra cables and hardware. I almost always add in some pencils, highlighters, and pens (I love the G2 pens by Pilot). I also grab my cable needle set (with an additional added tape measure) if I am working on a project that has lots of cables like my Splitstone.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

Typically I stuff all of my additional items and my project into a backpack like this one. This is what I travel with for longer trips.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

Finally (yes, one more thing. I have a lot of tools and I even own some not pictured), I have a small pouch containing an assortment of stitch markers that I have made over the years. I love making these, especially the ones with the lobster claw clasp. They look like jewelry and are fabulous for just about everything. I also made a few beaded lizards and dangles on plain jump rings.

Well, I think that is about it. That was a lot of ground to cover. Hopefully next time I do one of these I can pare it down to a smaller list.

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Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

Day Three: WIP Photos

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

So, today’s prompt was all about taking creative and slightly different from your normal project photos. As you have probably noticed on this blog, I tend to take photos on a white background with only the FO or WIP in the frame. Thus, here are some of my attempts at taking different photos.

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

We start off the day playing hide and seek in my toe-up socks. The goat wanted to join in on the fun and hopped up on the yarn ball.

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

The puppy saw how much fun the goat and sheep were having that he had to make up a game himself. The Splitstone was the perfect obstacle course for a game of jacks.

Project Photography: Wooly MastadonGuess who?

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

We ended the day with some interesting scrap ‘ghan adventures and words to live by.

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Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

 

Day Two: All About Me…Sort Of

A Little About Me: Wooly Mastadon

Today’s prompt is an interesting one as it states to share something about yourself other than the crafting. As I do often change things up and share tidbits about myself here often, I thought I’d take a slightly different angle on this and share something specific.

So, about me. As you know, I am a reader, a pet owner, an amateur photographer, and a maker, just to name a few. I am also a graphic designer. I do a lot of random stuff. Clearly I have no idea where my path is going to lead at this point, but I thought I’d share some aspirations with you for the future. As a 20-something working through life to figure out what I want to do with it, I have come up with several theories as to what career path I’d like to take. I always end up finding something else that I’d really like to add to the mix, and can never settle on one thing. It can be confusing.

When I first graduated from college, I wanted to land a job at an awesome design firm and work with a team of graphic designers making the materials we see in day to day life amazing. I was quickly disillusioned by this path for a variety of reasons and let’s just say that my focus changed dramatically. I started to put myself more into the fiber world. I started this blog. Slowly I realized that I needed to make fiber crafting/art a part of my career if I wanted to truly love the path I chose. I started to rework my ideas. First came the idea to start an Etsy shop. I love making things and often people ask to buy what I make. Yet, if I chose this path, I would not really have time to knit or crochet things for myself.

I switched gears again. This time I was thinking about being a graphic designer for a knitting/crochet/spinning publication. Being able to use my skills in graphic design right along with my love for fiber crafts and the written word would be the perfect intersection. To be honest, I still have this as a hopeful future goal for my life at some point. I would love to even be a lowly graphic design minion to one major publication, or even just one of the lowest positions there, if only to be at an amazing company.

I’ve gone through one more phase as well. I want to design knitwear. This may or may not tie into my previous hopes to work at a fiber craft publication. I love to create, and I have delved into knitwear design (and am working on a pattern now for what seems like forever). I love all of the aspects of designing and even have found someone to help me along the way. Now, all I need to do is decide on where I want to put my time, and just work towards that goal. Perhaps this is where most people get stuck along this journey. Let’s hope that I have the tenacity to push forward in a world of competition and amazing people, because the fiber world is really a welcoming one.

Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-6-Badge Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

Day One: If I Were Yarn

If I Were Yarn: Wooly Mastadon

An interesting topic for sure for the first prompt for Knit and Crochet Blog Week. If I were yarn…hmmm.

If I were yarn I’d be versatile. I’d be that yarn that sits in your stash quietly, but at the last minute would be ‘ta-da! I’m amazing!’. I’d be that treasured indie dyed sock yarn, not the 100% merino, but a nylon blend. I’d be yarn that is amazing, soft, and beautiful, but a hard worker and something that has been and can be put through the mill (all puns intended).Why sock yarn, well, it’s up for anything. It can be made into a very utilitarian project such as socks (like a close friend), but it can also lay in wait and become that beautiful lace shawl (like that crazy person that shares their personal strengths all at once after a long time waiting and that always gives you something to think about). I’d be that yarn that is always around, as projects take longer. Oh, and did I mention I’d be that obnoxiously bright, multi-colored and artsy yarn and not afraid to show it.

On the flip side, this yarn can occasionally be confused as to what it really wants to become. It would be slightly too colorful for some projects, and definitely not perfect for every situation. It would be that yarn that is really cool, but also hard to match to your outfits until you finally give in and wear the piece anyway. This yarn could be awkward and trounce into a party not knowing what kind of event it actually is attending making a fool of itself, and then sit in embarrassed self-conscious thought afterward. My yarn counterpart would have some knots in the skein…bumps in the road showing that no one is perfect, especially not me.

In the end, this skein of yarn would be learning to live in it’s own skin, and own the awesome. Can I live up to that standard?

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Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired